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White Lens Envy

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

Those that follow me on social media know that I took a full set of Canon gear to the ROAR test at Daytona in early January. Having been a Nikon shooter since the first time I ever held a DSLR in 2008, it was quite a shock to be holding Canon bodies and glass. Why the change? A lot of reasons. None of which need to be aired on a public forum. Suffice to say, I wanted to see what Canon could offer in terms of gear....and support. I've heard NOTHING but amazing things from all my friends who shoot Canon about their support network and service system for professional photographers.

After a chat with one of Canon's pro reps, they sent me a pile of glass and gear to use. Two 1DXmk2 bodies, their flagship camera body (at the time), a 400mm 2.8 mk3, a 70-200 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 11-24 f2.8, two speed-lights and a 1.4 Teleconverter. I used ALL of it. Every single lens and piece of equipment. I abused it, in all the best ways. I made some images I'm really quite proud of during my time with it.

Ultimately, what I learned is something I already knew, and have known for a long time. Camera gear is just that, a tool. The photographer pushing the button is by far the most important part of the equation.

I LOVED the 1DXmk2 bodies. The ergonomics. The customization. The buttons. The feel of the lenses in my hands. I LOVED the 400 2.8mk3. It is so insanely light. Almost too light, if that is even such a thing. The speed-lights did exactly what I asked them too. The autofocus on the camera is INSANE. It did things I could only dream of previously. So, what did I not like? Honestly not much. I think the sensor that Canon uses is very different to the Sony sensor in my Nikon D5 bodies. I think the D5 is more robust in it's dynamic range and ability to work with the RAW files in Lightroom. BUT, could I get used to the Canon cameras and sensors permanently? Absolutely. I did struggle a little bit getting used to, and understanding how the cameras see the world, and how to RAPIDLY change the settings given a changing lighting condition (ie going from garages to outside, pit tents and pitlane) but I did eventually get used to it! Like anything, if you shoot one system for 12 years, and then suddenly try and reprogram your brain, it takes time to become accustomed to that change.

Now, before any of you desk jockeys jump down my throat and say "Go on then! Why are you still shooting Nikon almost 5 months later?" Well, I don't do this for fun. As a result, a complete and total switch of my equipment, would cost me north of $35,000 USD. That's a big price tag to carry considering the current financial climate! If anyone has a spare 35g to throw at me, you know how to reach me! So, for now....I'll carry on with the equipment I have.

Here are some of my favorite moments from ROAR testing at Daytona in January to kick things off for 2020. Let me know in the comments what you think of how the Canon cameras and I faired! I promise to start making blogging a more regular thing.

Thanks to Wright Motorsport, Grasser Racing, PPM, WRT/Speedstar, Lamborghini SC, IMSA, DIS, Jennifer Klein, JP Grice and all my friends and colleagues in the media center who helped me get to know the ins and outs of the Canon gear over the weekend. Special thanks to Canon USA for the loaner gear.

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Walter Melzer
Walter Melzer
Jun 15, 2020

Fantastic shots. I use Canon myself and love it.


David Lambert
David Lambert
Jun 11, 2020

Good stuff, Jamey. I fell in love with Canon bodies the first time I picked up a 30D -- it just felt right in my hand, with controls falling (generally) where they made sense to me, and the ergonomics have remained through several upgrades. I know I've given up some sensor capabilities to Nikon & Sony over the years, but having the camera behave the way I expect when I don't have time to think about it? Priceless. I've also come to realize the absurd durability of this equipment. I may be on the lucky side of a MTBF curve at this point, but aside from small glitches few and far between, I've put a lot of miles o…

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