Long-Time Nikon Photographer Scott Kelby Explains Why He Switched to Canon

About six months ago, well-known photographer Scott Kelby switched from Nikon — which he had shot for many years — to Canon. The switch has caused a flurry of questions from the photo community, and so today, Kelby asked Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon to stay for a few minutes after they wrapped up an episode of The Grid to help him answer this question.

The interesting thing is, Kelby’s first digital SLR was the original Canon Rebel, but somewhere along the line he switched to Nikon and never looked back. Until six months ago, that is. That’s when he got a chance to set aside his D4 to try a 1DX for an NFL game he was shooting.


We won’t go into every reason he switched — that’s what the video is for — but everything from the ergonomics, to the customizability, to the quick dial, to the AF system, to how well skin tones are rendered played a role.

To hear all of the reasons from the man himself (and please, do your best not to shoot the messenger), check out the video at the top and let us know what you think of his reasons in the comments. Also, lets turn the tables a bit. Canon shooters that have or are considering switching to Nikon, what are your reasons for wanting to make the opposite swap?

(via Photography Bay)

  • Fernando Callo

    I mean when he wanted to borrow lenses from his friends (which I supposed happened regularly)

  • Andres Trujillo


  • lexplex

    I’ve used both and trust me there’s zero difference in the focusing tolerance. It’s easy to blame the kit in your hand but there are literally billions of pin-sharp photos on both Nikon and Canon on 500px and Flickr so you really have no excuse.

  • Banan Tarr

    I have both Canon and Nikon and this just comes off as a puff piece. -1 Flamebait.

  • whisky

    i wholly concur. if one is going to critique Kelby, let’s look at the complete package of whoring, and critique him for the way he whored Nikon as a former editor of Nikon World, or the way in which he promoted the hell out of Adobe just to sell more books.

    let’s NOT not critique him for changing camera platforms because he smells a fresh opportunity for whoring another vendor. let’s be fair, and critique him for a life-long pattern of excesses and flip-flops he’s indulged in just to make a quick buck.

  • Sir Stewart Wallace

    Anybody going from one system to another should never affect you in almost any situation.

  • Sir Stewart Wallace

    What makes him just a gadget guy? Considering his primary source of income is his photography, I’m betting you’re wrong on that.

  • Sir Stewart Wallace

    It’s not a slip of the tongue. His friend works for Canon and he met him at the various trade shows. It’s all explained in the video.

  • Frodo

    You forgot to include, “the best camera, is the one you have with you.”

  • John Adkins

    If you get butt hurt because someone else is using a different brand of anything other than you, then I’d say the issue is yours. I’m happy for anyone that can find a solution that works for them, and I would support others to do the same.

    For what its worth, I think Scott Kelby is an amazing photographer, teacher and seems to be a good person too… and I’m still a Nikon shooter *gasp*, unless of course you count my iPhone and Holga.

  • Kaybee

    I changed from Canon to Nikon! Just because I could use F mount lens especially AF-D lenses because I am a Aperture priority shooter and also like to use the lenses on my M43 so bargain overall… Canon is good but the service in India sucks. I don’t know about Nikon service in India but the Canon charges and response was enough to make me a not a fan. Also I had better reason- Aperture ring. I am now looking at Pentax system…

  • Frodo

    I went to best buy the other day and when I picked up the 5d Mark 3 and looked through it’s viewfinder I noticed that it was incredibly bright through the entire field of view. When I picked up the D800 and did the same, I felt like I was looking down a tunnel with dark edges on all sides, which is not uncommon for lower end models of dslr with smaller viewfinders. It’s not quite as bad on the d800, but it’s still there. Perhaps this is what it’s like to have glaucoma.

  • Eli

    James Nachtwey, Paula Bronstein, Chris Hondros (RIP), David Guttenfelder, Goran Tomasevic… should I go on? All use Canon.

  • Eli

    PS if you’re going to cite famous photographers that you look up to and admire, at least effing capitalize their name. Show some respect. You second rate commenter.

  • Raul Nunes

    This reminds me of Zack Arias and the Fuji x100….. dito!

  • Thomas Campbell

    You are making more work for yourself by shooting in Aperture Priority with all the variances you will have in exposure. Kelby was shooting in Av even when he was in a dome with constant light. Rather than a consistent exposure throughout, it is going to go up and down depending on how the camera metered.

    So in the long run, he took the lazy way that will cause more work on the back end.

  • kendon

    ridiculous, and a good reminder why i don’t like kelby. also, i am so glad that my dslr is nothing like it was designed by apple, but by photo professionals.

  • Ivor Wilson

    The douche *is* strong with this one…

  • Ivor Wilson

    Yeah, and he (Kelby) explained his reasons. It’s not his fault that some people here are unwilling to take him at his word, and who, while bereft of evidence, throw all sorts of accusations in his direction about him being a paid shill.

  • Ivor Wilson

    The Canon people? Where do these people live? Are they indigenous to some small South Pacific island?

  • Ken Elliott

    Well, Scott was very up-front about Canon offering sponsorship. Hey – its business. But did anyone notice his comment on the speed of image reviews?

    To save you from watching the video: Scott says as a wire photographer, he has to review and mark the best shots between plays. If he takes too long, he misses the snap (start of play) – thus missing shots. He says the rear wheel lets him review much faster. That one feature seems to be the reason he switched. Can’t blame him for wanting to reduce the “on-stage” stress.

  • Allen Cook

    A DSLR is a tool. A hammer is a tool. Regardless of brand, the tool has to feel right. That’s the only thing that makes one tool “better” than another. It’s all personal, subjective. The image is seen first in the mind anyway. Can’t switch brains.

  • Omar Salgado


    He just should get a Red camera. He’s more a videographer than a photographer. I bet he hasn’t used manual focus on moving subjects.

  • done_druff

    I’m not a fan of Scott Kelby so I’m not affected for whatever system he chose. But honestly, to each his own. Even if I’m his big fan, I will not switch. I am only after the image he creates. And nothing more, nothing less!

  • philask

    This video seems to me just digging a deeper hole, he’d have been better saying nothing (and if Canon did give him free stuff then I hope that’s been disclaimed)

  • Mark

    What in earth is an ‘explorer of light’ ???? I’ll be adding that to ‘imagineer’ on my list of things that no photographer should ever call themselves!

  • WDF??

    Scoreline so far: Nikon 1 (Canon own goal): Credibility 0. Thank you.
    Mr Kelby, (former thatnikonguy) Matt Granger and whatsisname at Digital Trev are the new Canon disciples because dissing good stuff gets more traffic than dissing crap. Maybe FroKnowsPhoto will be next???

  • daniel

    mmmm….i bet he simply got a better sponsorship deal but he cannot say that now can he? Just a thought….

  • James

    lol, as true as I know this is, is till want something F/1.2

  • nevets4ever

    There are hints in Scott’s voice and mannerisms that he also could have switched because of some combination of the “grass is greener on the otherside” effect and “the seven year itch” syndrome.

  • Noli Yamsuan

    I am a photojournalist and I have used Nikons for more than 40 years now and not a major issue. why should I shift to Canons? Pray tell me.

  • dshooter

    I see the big picture here. Dont you all?
    Nikon has a better ergonomic and no doubt for lenses not to mention speedlight capabilities compare to canon. Come on.

  • KJ

    Yes, it’s called Japan.

  • BigEnso

    Right on fds. I have a Nikon D800, an Oly OM-D E-M1, a Canon G12, a Fuji X10, a Ricoh GR Digital II, and, of course, an iPhone 4S. I have no brand loyalty. Give me a camera, any camera, and I can do decent work. Heck, I can even use a 4×5 view camera if I have to.

  • Buzzard Breath

    Ask Bambi Cantrell why she switched from Canon to Nikon. Or Marcus Bell, or Jerry Ghionis or….

  • greg s oc

    Good grief. Wake up! This guy doesn’t take a dump unless it’s sponsored.

  • clifflwms

    well… almost. Michael Jordan is/was the face of Nike, there isn’t any question about it his relationship; also, I don’t remember him making a video where he suddenly discovered that the Converse’s that he used to wear just aren’t as good as the Nike’s! Michael Jordan wears Nike’s because they pay him, and I think that he’d openly admit it; he may actually, love them, he probably does, but that’s not the point. I think that Scott would have been better off not making this video, or just saying that “we’re pleased to welcome our new sponsor, and we’re delighted to use their wonderful equipment!” It probably would have been received better.

  • BigEnso

    What’s the big deal with what brand of camera to use. Read a bit about what Ansel Adams told PBS during the making of a documentary him I think the last sentence is especially important.

    “Well, people have asked me what kind of cameras I used. It’s hard to remember all of them. Oh I had a box Brownie #1 in 1915, 16. I had the Pocket Kodak, and a 4 x 5 view, all batted down. I had a Zeiss Milliflex. A great number of different cameras. I want to try to get back to 35 millimeter, which I did a lot of in the 1930s. Using one of the Zeiss compacts. In the 20s and into the 30s, I would carry a 6-1/2 x 8-1/2 glass plate camera — that was a little heavy. And I had a 4 x 5 camera, then of course we went to film, to film pack, things became a little simpler.

    “But William Henry Jackson and [Carleton] Watkins were all over this country with much bigger cameras. Wet plate cameras. And I believe it was Jackson’s series of pictures on the top of Mt. Hoffman, with wet plates, that is, having to take the darkroom, cook the plates on the spot, expose and process them immediately. For the wet plate process you have to complete the development of the image before the emulsion dries. And when the dry plate came in it was a great godsend. I guess we all did the best as we could. If we had very heavy cameras we simply didn’t go so far or take so many pictures. Knowing what I know now, any photographer worth his salt could make some beautiful things with pinhole cameras.”

  • Brian Pratt

    I use a Sony A99 so everybody hates me. :)

  • Brian Pratt

    Nikon’s are for kids shooting for the high school newspaper. Canon’s are for professionals.

  • Mack

    I’m an amateur, so much of what is said here eludes me; what does NOT elude me is that Nikon did not honor its written warranty.
    I bought a Nikon J1 as a vade mecum because of its pocketable size. Within a year the internal plastic spring that holds the battery in place crumbled. Okay, doo-doo happens, and I appreciate the reality of keeping prices down, but Nikon refused the warranty and offered to replace the spring for ca $150 + shipping.
    Happily, I kept my old Canon Rebel. I also kept the Nikon J1 – as a paperweight.

  • 1LifeSoLiveIt

    Same here… in every shooting session, people come and ask why I use an A99 and try to see my Carl Zeiss lenses :)


    I shoot Sony and Zeiss. But if I didn’t….Canon. Why? All around system I find more appealing. Although, I’d give Nikon a hand in terms of better glass. Whatever, at the end all this garbage gets PP these days anyway.

  • yellow n red

    the man said “they give me a week before…” so you change because someone gave it to you is it LOL

  • greg s oc

    Good grief. Wake up! This guy doesn’t take a dump unless it’s sponsored.

  • Harvey

    You grammar is out of the line. Why dafuq you want a 36MP when you can shoot with more dynamic range and have better AF system on the Canon? NIkon also don’t have any other choice because their 36MP sensor is made by Sony. Grow up you ignorant fool.

  • Breeze

    Ahh so Canon approached him and said..”Hey why don’t you work with us?” In other words.. we are gonna give you loads of money for the advertisement!.

  • ramon

    I bet nobody talks about Kelby these days so he came up with a brilliant idea, “Oh hey, I’m switching to Canon!” lol

  • Roger M Olson

    I shoot Nikons and I do a lot of sports. They do a great job in poor lighting. However, I have always felt that the Canon sensors render flesh tones in a much more pleasing way — kind of like a warm Agfa film of days gone by. I will likely pick up a Canon for that.

  • Graxxor Anandro Vidhelssen