Divorcing Canon

Not many moons ago, Ole Jørgen Liodden was an ace Canon photographer. Armed with his ‘tank’, a.k.a the EOS-1Ds Mark III, he scoured the Arctic permafrost for sparring polar bears. Quest for frolicking king penguins had him lying on his belly on icy South Georgia seashores. Lodged knee-deep in unforgiving snow, he stretched the autofocus limits of many a Canon, shooting sea gulls, hawk owls and hunting eagles. He returned again and again with stunning images of wildlife that stunned the folks and the professionals alike.

Suddenly though, the old companionship crumbled like a sheet of ice into bottomless pits. OJL sold his ‘tank’, 5D Mark II, recently acquired 7D along with the assortment ‘L’ lenses, in favour of the duo of Nikon D3S and D3X, paired with gold-rimmed Nikkors. The latter was admittedly a ‘gift’ from ‘the Dark Side’. But the Nikon apparatus overwhelmed him by its extremely fast and precise autofocus and superior picture quality that he could achieve in a single day. The decision to adopt Nikon for his future photographic journey was easy to take.

The community is choked with contrasting emotions of the two camps. For those on Canon’s side, the treachery couldn’t have been blacker and the venom spouted is suitably worded. The former Canon ambassador became a Nikon whore overnight. There are, of course, insinuations of a banal deal. Canon was incensed enough to expunge all references to the fallen photographer from its Canon Professional Network pages.

For those of Nikon it was a natural thing to do. The good photographer needed to equip himself with a superior imaging system like D3S/X to realise his full potentials.

Regardless of what OJL has to offer, the net is rife with speculation about his extreme step. He was apparently miffed by being bypassed for the field tests of Canon 1D Mark IV. Eventually he would receive a beta body for a brief period with a sealed memory card chamber, with no permissions to download the images or the video for viewing in full, leaving him unsure of the final picture quality. Canon appears to have become touchy about their products getting negative publicity while still in throes of birth, more so after the 1Ds Mark III faltered in the autofocus department. However, Canon’s strategy seems questionable since the early products are put in the hands of no mean photographers. As the high-caliber reviewers stumble upon the glitches instinctively, it would be ideal not to have them handcuffed for the welfare of all, and that includes the end-users.

OJL’s switch to Nikon should also be viewed in the light of his conviction that a photographer should never be fettered to equipment and technology. Prior to the switch and before Canon erased all signs of him from their CPN websites, there were hints of a photographer larger than the brand itself, on the page titled, ‘What’s in your kitbag?: Ole Jørgen Liodden’:

To only think about equipment and technology is not the right track to go down….If you want to build up a name for yourself, you have to take pictures that you want, not like other photographers or how your customers want you to take them. Take your pictures from your inner visions, with your own angles and your own touch.”


  1. I have, for a long time wondered, what DSLR to pick, and have, I think, settled for Nikon (yet to buy though) for its cheaper and the fact that I already have lenses for Nikon cameras. That makes you wonder, if getting stuck to a certain brand is a good thing cause all that money goes down the drain when you decide to shift to another brand. Of course someone of the caliber of Ole Jørgen Liodden need not worry about such issues but for normal people like me, it is no small issue.
    Anyways, I think any company would be miffed if they were dumped unceremoniously but heck if there is something better in the market then companies need to realise that and not act childish!

  2. Fantastic piece.. This is the 1st time I am reading each and every word in net..
    Sometime I do wonder why people show so much of brand loyalties whereas the matter of fact is , it is the work that should speak up about the person.

  3. God has not forsaken Canon and went for Nikon.There are many great photographers who uses either or both. Both these brands have their own followers and lovers. Hearing this news no body is going to throw away canon and go for nikon. Nor should the reverse happen, when some other photographers do the other way.

    Canon or Nikon
    Photography is the Best
    Nobody should reckon,
    gear; Image is the Test

  4. Does it really matter? You can get perfect photos with both Canon or Nikon, when I bought My Canon 40D it was due to how it felt in my hands, the side by side was to close. If I liked how the Nikon felt in my hands that is what I would have bought. Brand has nothing to do with it.

  5. Canon fans need to get their heads out of the sand. I have Canon gear since the 10D and have been patiently waiting for Canon to match the high iso performance of the D700 (at least). It’s been 2 years now. All Canon has done is more megapixels and a great video feature. I don’t care for more megapixels if the image is going to be underexposed. And I don’t care for video. If I want to shoot video I’ll get a videocam. I am not Vince LaForet.
    And Ole is NOT the first nor the last to have switched over. Look at all the photojournalists now.
    Last year Canon did reduce its pixel count for the G11 after Panasonic’s LX3 trounced the G10 in image quality and low light capabilities. As long as uninformed buyers keep buying the silly over megapixed Canon DSLR nothing’s going to change.
    I hate to have to sell all my Canon gear but i will if it’s going to take another couple years of waiting.
    Why is good high ISO performance so important? For shots like these, NOT in broad daylight, I would have gotten a less noisy picture.. the leg tattoos that sweet woman in the subway would have been sharp and detailed..
    Underground Red Affinities - Carpe Diem

    Not to mention all the great night pictures only the Nikon can do.

    1. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Nycandre. Canon isn’t getting any better stuffing their DSLR sensors with megapixels and microlenses. Apart from the number game, most Canon optimizations appear to be video oriented too. No wonder recent Nikons are producing a lot cleaner high ISO images. Incidentally, I immensely liked the tattooed legs in the subway!

  6. I know not what you use – canon or nikon. I am glad i am in the later bracket after reading this post (just kidding). I wouldnt know in my life if a Canon camera is handed over to me with a Nikon badge.. this one sounds like a case of relationship that went sour. Great to connect US.. not sure how you like yourself to be called. 🙂
    ps: thanks for visiting my blog http://mayank-p.blogspot.com

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