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)

  • Diane

    personally, i am waiting for smaller mirrorless like the fuji cameras to get good enough and have enough lens choices. i think they should be there in 2 years. who wants to lug around any of these big cameras all day? not me.

  • Patrick Mc Donnell

    Some of the comments here are just mean-spirited. Scott Kelby is almost certainly more wealthy than most of those who say he’s sold out to Canon…his reasons are most probably NOT financial but those he mentions in the video. Many years ago (1988’ish!) I was deciding between a Nikon F3/4 (can’t remember which) and a Canon T-90…one felt as if it was designed for me and the other (equally capable camera) did not. I’ve used Canon and Fuji ever since. Scott was at pains to point out that the Nikons he has are still great cameras, but FOR WHAT HE SHOOTS the Canon the 1DX suits him better. Your milage may vary. Would be a dull world if we were all the same!

  • ramon

    When I was first starting out with photography I even watched a few of his earlier videos until I realized he’s more of a business man than a photographer.

  • ramon

    fmrfarmboy has a point. If he switched to Canon we want to know if he did so on a personal level or as a Canon representative.

  • Harrison Lansing

    But again, who are any of us that he needs to prove himself to us? We don’t employ him, we’re not his family, we’re not some best friend who feels betrayed, we’re just people on a forum, people who don’t mean anything to him…and really, should we?

  • ferrell

    lord eels, add Dave Black to the list.

  • Renato Valenzuela

    non-story to sell cameras.

  • Linsey Walker

    same here. I have a 5Diii and i’ve just bought a Leica M7. I think a full conversion to Leica will be in my future.

  • Praverb

    A camera is just a camera well unless you get equipment for free hehe.

  • BrokenHelix79

    The only thing clear is how trollish you sound.

    Scott Kelby hasn’t made a career out of sports photography, and yet, if you take a little time to look through his portfolio, you’ll see there’s nothing “2nd rate” about his work. He consistently delivers the same high-quality shots that you would see from any true pro sidelines photographer, so you must also think that the men and women who make a living shooting sports are generally second rate. I also think it’s worth noting that he doesn’t hide behind an illusion of perfection, the way most other photogs do. He frequently highlights his failures and frustrations in the middle of the learning process.

    He’s also not a professional travel photographer, but again, if you take a little time to look at his travel stuff, you’ll see some really excellent photography. I’d argue that for someone who technically doesn’t make a living in one particular field of photography, he delivers some great stuff. He teaches AND he does, which is more than I can say for you, lord eels.

    BTW, I don’t care what brand someone uses, as long as they don’t insist their brand is the best.

  • Ferrell

    shoot me….. not with a camera.

  • kodiak xyza

    you just have to live with the idea that “photographer” has become a broader term. switching is a big part of this new broad term.

  • Guest

    Recently saw an exhibit of great old pinhole camera images. When photographers were men and didnt “chat” about buttons.

  • Smoky the Bear

    I care slightly more about what Honey BooHoo is doing than what camera brand this person (or any other) shoots with. Yawn.

  • ramanauskas

    Yet somehow you cared enough to open the article and leave a comment. Go figure.

  • Brian Sio

    haha agreed the round dial for browsing images, I jumped from 1Dx to d800e

  • Jake

    Well, you know, some photographers like to make a decent living, and some like to make a BETTER living.

  • sshoihet

    Many, many pros shoot in A mode; why make more work for yourself? The main reason to shoot in M is because you don’t want to listen to the meter, and it’s also useful if you want to set both the aperture and shutter speed with AutoISO. I also prefer M for TTL flash in lower light as i can set my exposure for the ambient light and let the flash metering look after the main subject.

    My goal is to shoot photographs and not play with my camera, i let my camera do as much for me as it can because that lets me concentrate on other things.

  • sshoihet

    That’s some pretty faulty “logic”, by your definition anyone that is employed by Nikon is getting free gear…unless you think that doing advertising is not a job that one should be paid for. I have a friend that works in the IT dept for a law firm and is allowed to buy pretty much any piece of computer equipment for himself; HE is getting free gear, HE does not in any way provide advertising for the firm.

  • whisky

    kelby comes across as the sort of guy who whores himself out to the highest bidder. that said, people switch back and forth every day. good riddance. JMO.

  • Alan Klughammer

    If I am just walking around I shoot in Aperture mode, and use exposure compensation to lighten or darken the exposure. If I am in a studio, or shooting at one location, I will shoot in manual because I know the light isn’t going to change, and I don’t want different subjects to affect my exposure.
    And I just use two dials on my Nikon. I am not sure what he is talking about.
    I also use a 5DMII as a backup, but I prefer the layout and ergonomics of the Nikon. I find the rear wheel to be a bit of a pain to use…

  • Alan Klughammer

    Not sure what you are saying here… Nikon has three (I think) non IS 70/80-200 2.8 lenses.
    I would argue that Nikon has more lenses available because they have never changed their mount, however Canon probably has more recent lenses.

  • Alan Klughammer

    Both Canon and Nikon make great cameras. For some people the Canon “feels” better, for others it is the Nikon. I think the glass for either system is pretty equivalent, and the cameras can be pretty much set up the same way. For me, it is little things, like having the on/off switch around the shutter, rather than on the other side of the camera. And as I said, I prefer the feel of the Nikon rear dial rather than the Canon wheel. But I would not berate anyone who prefers the Canon way…

  • Alan Klughammer

    Interesting. A couple of assistants have been complaining about how soft the Canon images are. I thought it was just not using the camera properly… I will have to look into that…

  • Karel

    You can just use your phone. If you don’t wanna lug around a big camera, get a Nokia Lumia Pureview. It’s got a 41Mp sensor and a Zeiss lens. You’d be a real pro!

  • sharpshooter

    So many of the comments on this “issue” are so childish that the poster comes across as a 7th grader.
    Who cares what equipment others use? How does it affect YOUR photography?
    Do you think your gear is magigally better or worse whenever they get good / bad ratings or someone endorses one brand or the other? Rest easy, these are real world objects that do not change characteristics based on their success.
    Anyone making personal attacks on a dude just for switching camera make is a total and complete idiot himself. Now THAT is a FACT.

  • Robert Jewett

    Change to spot auto-focus, you’ll drop to 5%.

  • Robert Jewett

    This one.

  • LuchianC

    Boooring… Marketing :)

  • Jordan Butters

    Scott Kelby is largely in the business of selling photography advice. End users have the right to know whether that advice is impartial or sponsored by brand X.

  • Cinekpol

    He earns enough money from his training programs to be in any system he wants – regardless of who pays him what.

    Thanks to him whole generations of photographers learnt their basics (pumping money in his wallet) so I wouldn’t dismiss the guy so easily.

  • BrokenHelix79

    I honestly don’t understand why there’s so much hatred for Kelby.

    He has always been very transparent about his business relationships, especially when it comes to Adobe. He has admitted to a voluntary position on a recommendations board at Adobe, which makes sense given that he has built a career around using Adobe products. He has also said this position is an unpaid one, and I take him at his word.

    I would argue that Scott Kelby has more credibility than many others in his field. He shares his thoughts about what products he likes, what products he uses, what products he has problems with. He has been remarkably forthright with his frustrations regarding everything from Drobo to PocketWizard, and yes, even Adobe. He also is quick to highlight products and services that he has had success using, even if they directly conflict with one of his sponsors.

    As for your stupid fragmented sentence: “And anyone cares what the Adobe hand puppet has to say about anything”, I would say a LOT of people care, including yourself, since you took the time to comment.

  • Rory Daniel

    Does it come with steak knives too Mr Kelby?

    If I wanted a under-hand sales pitch, I would have watched the home shopping channel.

  • Rene

    Totally agree…

  • John Sexton

    Oh pleeease .. love his workshops & on-line training, but does it really matter what type of Camera he shoots ? Look we get it … he used to shoot Nikon, then Canon come along & offers $$Gazillions on a sponsorship deal to switch ( none of which will be admitted of course ) and hey presto, he likes Canon now :D .. I’d switch my mother for a similar deal :D .. so we get it. By the way, how false is the story re: ” A ‘friend’ of mine loaned me a Canon Camera at a game & I was hooked ” .. just to see through the story .. listen to the segment at time-mark 2:30 where his “Friend” asks if he’d like to use his camera .. then listen to the ‘Slip of the tongue’ at 3:01 where “They” sent me to a game a few weeks before the big NFL game to get used to the Canon 1DX ?!? .. I thought his “Friend” loaned him a Camera ?? … Yeah right :-P

  • Esam

    He is a rich guy, esay for him to switch from brands, also the cameras company will take care of him as an advertisement for them,
    He is not a real photgrapher his just gadgets guy,

  • dafuq

    Downvoting when someone corrects grammar has got to be society’s new low.

  • huner

    why they made variety of lenses if using adapter is enough?

  • MMielech

    Kelby IS all about “selling out to anybody”. It’s his nature.

  • Toby Madrigal

    Seriously dudes, how often you gonna use f1.2? My widest aperture is f1.8 on a Nikkor 85mm (the original one). DofF on that is great wide open. With f1.2 you are gonna have eyes clear and tabs a blur. Horrid, horrid pics.

  • Nat Tiongson

    if he can afford why not. whatever gets the job done.
    as for me i’m tied to nikon, switching would be a loss.

  • julien

    Nikon doesn’t make sensors (until recently for entry level cameras), sony does ;)



  • greg s oc

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

  • Jimmy Fartpants

    So? Do we attack pro athletes just because a shoe company pays them to wear their brand?

  • Steve Reganato

    I agree with Alan, you have a lot of tele-zoom lens options with the Nikon. Pretty much every Nikon 80/70-200 is available to you. The current 80-200 is known to be an excellent lens with a price of about $1000 new, pretty good I’d say (though it’s a very no frills lens) and you’ve also got two 70-200 2.8’s available, both with VR among other features. So there’s no reason a Nikon photographer can’t find a compatible, quality tele-zoom for their camera.

  • Jimmy Fartpants

    A lot of Nikon fanboys in here with a lot of butthurt.

    And so what if Canon is paying him? You’d take that deal too, and you’re lying if you say you wouldn’t. He’s a pro. One of the biggest names in a business that’s not easy to make a dime in. He get’s paid, Canon get’s their product attached to a big name. What’s the problem?

    I don’t see how this is any different than Michael Jordan being paid to wear Nike shoes.

  • Steve Reganato

    I’m just going to throw out the old cliche of “it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer.” Both systems will take legendary photos and really the only people who nit-pick about this stuff is us photographers. Your average viewer I don’t think cares as much. That said, what’s best is really a subjective thing, I’ve not heard of Scott Kelby before so him going from one system to another doesn’t have any kind of effect on me. As far as I’m concerned, and I work with both systems all the time, the best camera for any given “you” is the one that you seem most comfortable with for whatever reason. Both are quality systems and you’re not going to go wrong with either.

  • Harrison Lansing

    Really? He gave his reasons, but if you and find it reasonable to call him a liar and demand to see some “proof” (PS, farmboy, what would credit card receipts do for you that an expense check used to pay those credit card bills wouldn’t undo?) that he’s telling the truth then be my guest.

  • Harrison Lansing

    And image quality, lens quality, and final output being equal isn’t that (‘feel’) what the Nikon/Canon choice is really about? Feel, fit, your personal comfort while you shoot?

    It was for me, Canon just fits my hand better, it rises more naturally to my eye, I find the controls suit me and the comman menu is intuitive for the most part. That’s why I made a brand decision between two equal offerings.

    Let’s face it, averaged across the entire professional product lines; my red line lenses are not quantifiably better then your gold line lenses. They’re not quantifiably worse either. The image quality is a toss up, etc.

    Nikon and Canon are on a level playing field for the most part…and let’s face it, if one was clearly just plain better all around it’s what the pros would all be using…so it typically does come down to ergonomics and how intuitive the command set is for you.