42 Reasons Why Nikon (and Canon) Suck

Warning: If you don’t have a sense of humor or an open mind, then I would suggest not reading this post and leaving.

Hey! I recently purchased a new Nikon D300s, and I am not satisfied with it. In fact, I’m absolutely disgusted with it! I paid $1800 for this camera, and it can’t do any of these basic functions, most of which are just software/firmware things that could be added without any hardware tweaking. Although this list specifically applies to the D300s (because I own it and know what it can/cannot do), a lot of the things apply to almost any digital SLR camera that are produced by Canon, Sony, Fuji…. whatever.

*UPDATE 1/31/2016*: Things I really want are in bold. Things I noticed have been fixed in 2016 using my current camera (D810) are in green. Anything else isn’t extremely important to me personally, but I wouldn’t be complaining if they added them while still maintaining their simplistic and easy to use interface, in fact I would think they would be there by now but they are not.

  1. There is no sound detection shutter triggering.
  2. There is no motion detection shutter triggering.
  3. There is no headphone output.
  4. There is no sound metering/VU/Volume/Peak meter in camera.
  5. You can’t record audio files (I think this feature is on the D3/D4/D5, however).
  6. The only image recording options available are JPG, TIFF, or NEF. The only video formats available are .AVI.
  7. Nikon has limited the frames per second. The camera is capable taking 8fps without an external battery pack, but in order to enable 8fps properly, the camera has to detect that there is a battery grip attached.
  8. You can’t write your own programs for the camera because the firmware is not open source. The majority of these problems (almost all of them) would be solvable if it was!
  9. You cannot view non-Nikon content in camera on the LCD screen. All images and videos must be taken by a Nikon camera in order to be played back in camera.
  10. It can’t meter beyond 30 seconds.
  11. It can’t blend multiple exposures in certain, useful ways.
  12. It only can do whole number fps integers (4fps, 5fps, etc) and is unable to use more flexible values, such as 4.2 fps or 4.3fps, for example.
  13. It can’t do 2 fps and then 3 fps, and then loop that pattern.
  14. You cannot bracket images with user customized integers/values.
  15. The exposure bracketing only allows up to a maximum of 9 stops.
  16. The self-timer only has 2, 5, 10, or 20 seconds available for customization. What if I wanted 8.5 seconds? What if I wanted 40 seconds, or 8.2 hours?
  17. The exposure delay mode can only be set to 1 second. What if I wanted it longer?
  18. You cannot properly set the white balance in camera for infrared photography or ultraviolet photography. This feature was available in some very old models like the Nikon D50, especially with JPEGs. Why is it gone? The WB is stuck at 1,000-10,000k. Adobe should expand their white balance values in their software as well, then we wouldn’t have to go out of our way to make custom DNG profiles every time we take an IR image using a new camera.
  19. The file naming system is limited. It allows only three characters, an underscore, and then the numbers 0001-9999. What if I wanted the file name to have an unlimited amount of characters at the beginning (or end), and then the file number (for example 00005356342 (as you can see, it can go past 9999 without being reset to 0001 for no reason)) and then another set of characters, and then a custom variable or two, such as the date or camera serial/model number? Having such as system would mean every file would have a unique file name, so there would no duplicates at all in your entire library of 100,000+ images.
  20. The Active folder function (folder naming) is limited. Yet again, it only allows three numbers to be inserted into the folder name, and then a “D300S” is stuck at the end of the folder name. What if I wanted an unlimited amount of customizable numbers AND letters, AND the ability to insert metadata variables (time, date, location, serial no., camera model, iso number, etc)?
  21. There is no live histogram.
  22. The live horizon only meters the x axis, not the y axis.
  23. The BULB mode is limited. It lets the photographer take an exposure while their finger is pressed on the shutter, but if they wanted to push the shutter once to activate the exposure, and then once again to stop the exposure, they wouldn’t be able to do that without buying a cable release or remote.
  24. EV, Exp, and ISO is adjustable only in 1/3 or 1/2 increments.
  25. Accurate exposure times are limited. For example, you cannot set it to 23 seconds. It’s either 20 or 25.
  26. It only can write files to be in horizontal orientation. It can write in the EXIF data that it needs rotating, but if you wanted to write the actual file dimensions in vertical orientation, its is impossible.
  27. It’s incapable of auto-focus bracketing.
  28. The AF Assist lamp doesn’t always turn on when it’s dark, and furthermore, there is no option to turn on the AF Assist lamp at your desire. It is a waste considering how bright and useful the lamp is. It would be convenient for the user to have the ability to assign a button that turns on the AF Lamp so you can see in the dark.
  29. The Interval Time Shooting mode is limited.
  30. There is no way to tell how large the file size is for any of the files on the card.
  31. There is no option to view the pictures in whatever orientation your camera is in. It’s either “ROTATE TALL” or not.
  32. You cannot install different sized crystals inside of the camera body that are in front of the sensor to bend light in certain artistic ways (this one is more of a joke than not, although having the ability to easily swap the Internal Cut Filters would be awesome, and silly cameras like the Nikon D810A wouldn’t need to exist)
  33. You cannot auto-focus the lens from Focus Point A to Focus Point B while it is taking an exposure.
  34. The exposure compensation only goes up or down to a maximum of five stops. What if you wanted to set it over 5? Why limit everything using arbitrary numbers? I like that it stops at 5, because if I want to quickly move it up or down as much as possible, I know that I can just keep rotating the dial until it stops at 5. There should be an option in the menu to change the maximum number, however.
  35. You cannot easily select groups of images to be deleted simultaneously.
  36. You cannot quickly create a playlist of certain images/videos you want to play while in sideshow mode.
  37. You cannot resize images to smaller sizes. This feature was available in older models.
  38. The repeating flash mode is limited to 1HZ to 50HZ. It’s very possible to program the camera to be .5HZ.
  39. There is an option that allows you to trim movie clips from the beginning, and another option to trim movie clips from the end, however if you wanted to do both at the same time, there is no option available. You have to trim the beginning, which makes a new copy of the file, then trim the end of that copy, which makes another copy. In the end you have 3 copies.
  40. You cannot create a movie file of an exposure being recorded in real time.
  41. You cannot set the shutter speed to whatever you want when recording video.
    You cannot set the ISO number to whatever you want when recording video.
  42. You cannot set custom values for each flash burst in the Flash Burst mode.
  43. You can’t watch videos in slideshow mode.
  44. The AGC (Audio Gain Control) is horrible. People have been complaining all over the internet about their frustration of it not being able to switch the AGC to manual.
  45. You can’t take images in any size you want. Cameras offer Small, Medium, and Large image sizes for JPEG and sometimes with RAW. The image size should be able to be customized to any dimension you want, with any filetype, including RAW. With my 36 megapixel D810A DSLR, I want to have the ability to make the images Extra Small.
  46. Each pixel on the sensor cannot have its own dedicated ISO number. Depending on how advanced they made this feature, this could potentially completely revolutionize HDR photography. Mapping just a simple gradient down the sensor would be nice though.
  47. Built in GPS? Nope. I really am wanting this.
  48. Built in WiFi? Nope. I probably would never ever use this, but still.
  49. You can’t link two or more DSLRs together for 3D capturing.
  50. The painted labels near the buttons do not glow in the dark.
  51. There is no RAW for video.
  52. You cannot create animated GIFs.

A lot of the things listed above are already capable of being enabled in the camera, however Nikon decided to just disable them for the hell of it. This leaves all the photographers who want more control over there camera in the dark, with no other option but to suffer.

There is only one solution at this point, and that is  The Frankencamera.  The Frankencamera will allow users to write their own programs for the camera and use it as they please, however it is currently difficult to get one of these, because it is still in development and being prepared for public use… Plus it is extremely bulky.

The Nikon D300s’ competitor, the Canon 7D, fixes some of the problems… but I don’t own one so I can’t tell you which problems it fixes and which ones it doesn’t. I’m assuming that it only can fix a few. Based on a video review I saw of it, the only things better than the Nikon is that it can take longer video footage, it’s 18 megapixels compared to 12, and it can meter the y axis horizon (ohhhh. big deal)

People seem to make jokes about this post and say things like “well this camera can’t make me toast in the morning, so therefore it is useless!”.  That is because the camera wasn’t designed to make toast and it would need new hardware in order to do that and would be ridiculous to begin with. Most of the items that I have listed above do not require any new hardware to be installed into the camera. I am simply trying to point out the un-met potential DSLR cameras have.

There are so many creative (and very practical/useful ) features that could be implemented into cameras that are not being taken advantage of.   Take a look at this theoretical open source DSLR that implements some of the features listed above, and hopefully you will come to some conclusion on why I hate camera companies for not progressing their technology beyond the point of just adding more megapixels and a faster frame-rate each year to their cameras. If they would just make the camera open source, the technology could progress so much faster. They are ruining it for everyone.

Is there anything you think should be added to the list?

11/16/2010 UPDATE: Yes, I researched the camera before buying it, and believe it or not, I felt that it was the best one on the market for me. However, that does not mean that I like it or am even the happy with it. At most, I am truly disappointed with the camera’s available on the market today. If you gave me the most high-end, top-notch flagship camera from Nikon or Canon, I still would not be impressed because of how impractical it is. If the firmware was open source, however…. then that would be completely different story, and paying 3+ grand for a camera WOULD be worth it. I’m surprised Nikon and Canon even give us the option to change the  shutter speed and ISO, considering all the other hundreds of other features they are holding back.

Please write a comment below and tell me what you think.

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84 Responses to 42 Reasons Why Nikon (and Canon) Suck

  1. John Gore says:

    Haha, loved the post, and I have to say I agree with most of what you are saying! Seems the smaller cheaper cameras have all kinds of features, but when you go to “pro” range then more features are removed than added.

    It can be argued that these features are not “needed” for pros, or even that these features are more of a gimmick to help sell consumer cameras, but I feel much like you do, that there are many tech savy / even programmer type people out there that want to install plugins, or hack the firmware to add features.

    One feature I would really like for example, is time delay shutter settings for time lapse photography. Why on earth do I need to buy an external unit to trigger my camera to shoot 1 frame every 30 seconds?? That is crazy. The camera hardware should be able to offer that feature very easily if the firmware / software allowed for it.

    Not sure why our camera’s still have mechanical shutters either. Best argument I have read is that the older folks prefer the noise of an actual shutter. Haha! Take the shutter away, and give us shutterless bodies please! When processing power and file transfer speeds limit the frame rate (to 10fps or so), then allow for a mode with reduced megapixel count. I would happily shoot at 6mp if it gave me 30fps or so. On paper this is very possible, and the hardware can theoretically do it, again the firmware holds us back.

    PS: I shoot 5Dmkii, and love the camera, but feel like you that many needed features are missing, and the firmware is not upgradable / hackable / opensource is a problem.

  2. Francois says:

    It is a professional camera, if you want all that dinky feathers (get yourself a Nikon D3100) or some run of the mill Camera, If you know your lenses and camera you do not need all the dinky feathers.

  3. Bob Todrick says:

    Hey, can I list my 42 reasons why I think you’re an idiot??

  4. Yes, please! I’d love to hear them (I’m serious).

  5. Alex says:

    Seriously quit crying… Cameras don’t take photographs, photographers make them. It’s an art. I suggest a different hobby/profession if you can’t get past these issues…

  6. Alex says:

    You only need a few things… all of which can be manually manipulated. Like i said it is an art. If one is so smart as to want to write programs for a camera and want military grade advanced features then one surely could research the principles behind exposure and photography. The exposure triangle: ISO, Shutter speed, and Aperture… Then there is obviously focal length of the lens, focus, and the final element the shutter release button. I use these on my 35mm Pentax K1000 and it beats a D3 and a 1D on quality any day. There used to be an art in timing the shutter release at the exact moment to capture an action but that has gone away in favor of the near video speed of FPS. This is cheating although I love the feature. As far as Audio goes well one would need to study microphones, pickup polar patterns, and I/O principles… But common sense Would tell one that it is a good idea to try those advanced features out before using them in needed situations. Again quit crying… Cameras dont take photographs, photographers make them. If you want a computer that happens to take pictures then build it, market it, promote it, and sell it… I wish you the best. Maybe general photography isn’t your thing.

  7. Alex says:

    P.S. I have a sense of humor… I was laughing the whole time I was reading the original post. I realize some things are just wishful thinking… But to say they suck… Nah if anything the new wave of amateur wanabe photographers suck. It’s too easy anymore with digital. Hell I think I went through 100 rolls of film before I even got a decently exposed photo when I started out. Anyway. You had your rant and I had mine (about modern digital photography)

  8. What about solar power? You left that off the list.

  9. Toviah says:

    You may have ignored Magic Lanturn… An extendable firmware which essentially opens up a Canon DSLR to nearly all of the things about which you complained up there^

  10. Frank says:

    My brand,first time used Nikon D3100 tells me that I an using the WRONG BATTERY,the one that came in the box from Nikon,and the battery listed on the Nikon website for my camera.The electronic answers on the support website donot pertain to this camera or this battery
    HUMANS are needed to deal with HUMANs
    I AM BUYING AN American camera or a German camera
    FUCK this Japanese bullshit without Product support for people who buy their products.

  11. Dave says:

    You’re doing better than me, my D5000 won’t even turn on. Nikon says they want $200 even to take a look at it. No more Nikons for me.

  12. Dave says:

    You’re doing better than me, my D5000 won’t even power up anymore. NIKON SUCKS!!

  13. Desiree says:

    I’m fairly new to the digital SLR so half the stuff I dont know what you talked about but some of it I do recognize from back in the old days when i took photography in high school. We did some really cool stuff. The sound detection and motion detection are a couple of them. I didn’t think i would ever go digital but i did. It has it’s pros and cons. I know iv saved tons of money on film developement and its nice being able to delete a pic that doesnt turn out instead of the money for the film and developement just to realize it sucked or you missed it but it is sad that some of those cool things can’t be done. FYI: I love your site, your books and videos. Anyone who has anything negative to say is probably just a hater and thinks their funny. They need new material. Thanks for your products.

  14. Akkordinator says:

    Couldn’t you write your own programs with this SDK?
    But if you can get it is another question…

  15. Bogdan says:

    Samsung will make an android camera which should allow any feature you want to be developed. through software. It’s not a great camera, but maybe Canon and Nikon will feel the threat and do something that allows the users to change the software.
    Too bad there is no CHDK equivalent for Nikon.
    Btw, there are android applications that allow tethered shooting from a phone which has USB host. That kind of fixes some things….

  16. Ash says:


    I only wish I had a fraction of your creativity and enthusiasm..

    Problem being that with that creativity comes many ideas and permutations that most photographers would never consider.. Yes the big 2 Camera guys reverse engineer their units, but i think its more to do with snaring the purist photographer that might get overwhelmed by too many options and choices and prefer to think of their cameras as more “purpose built” than “gimmicky”

    …besides which it gives them room to add further features down the line… Every big manufacturer does it whether it be Samsung with their consumer electronics or Nikon…They will drip feed the public their latest and greatest models, withholding many features that will appear on the next. Its the economics of it.. The features that ARE on the cameras today were invented several incarnations before they were released… Anyway massive props to you for what you do and how you inspire dull thinking peeps like me.

    PS I am a commercial photography student doing my degree but busting to be more creative

  17. chris bennett says:

    evan, what camara are you using at the moment?

  18. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a
    pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks

  19. Redrooster says:

    This is for Dave. Your Nikon D5000 could be one that should have been recalled. Check serial number on Nikon Web site. If it is they will fix it for FREE including P&P
    Had mine done took a week.

  20. Gerard Lambert says:

    Couldn’t agree more. On the other hand, Sony rules.

  21. I actually really want to save this specific article, “Photo Extremist:
    Creative Photography Tutorials, Photoshop
    Tutorials, Instructional Videos” on my personal web-site.
    Will you care in the event I reallydo it? Thanks a lot ,Sharon

  22. John says:

    You mentioned at the end people sending comments such as “well this camera can’t make me toast in the morning, so therefore it is useless!” but you seemed to ask for features very similar such as wanting to record plain audio files with a device designed to capture photos. if you wanted to record audio you should buy a Zoom or similar.

  23. Evan, you are so cute. I think you are a genius and a very creative one. Even with all the slams, you make an incredible comeback. Instead of an addiction to drugs AND spending time on useless things, you are out there doing remarkable things with your photography passion. I have a lot of admiration and appreciation for what you give people free. I’ve been having fun with them. THANK YOU!

  24. Bastiaan says:

    I really like your pics. You are helping me furthermore discover and improve this beautiful hobby of photography. And when people say bad shit, wel we all have to deal with idiots in life, most of them would not think of all these items to list, now just hope somebody is reading this and thinking, shit its true, we should put that stuff on that camera. Thanks again!!

  25. Jason says:

    Don’t listen to these bitter, negative nanny’s.. after all they are reading YOUR website. I love your teachings, please keep up the good work. I’m a beginner but enjoy creating pictures, your site gives me more to work with.

  26. WOW! Remarkable and well deserved.

  27. Fuh says:

    Hilarious to see all the small-minded assholes trying to shut this guy down by telling him he’s not a real photographer if he wants more flexibility in how he uses his camera.

    You know, I seem to recall that there are, or were, a tremendous number of traditional film photographers who used any and every technique they could think of to make new and different kinds of images… whether it was sticking their film in backwards, or putting funny-colored filters on their lenses to monkey around with the tone of B/W images, or cross-processing color film for weird effects, or using a shitty camera like a Holga or a homemade pinhole camera to get interestingly primitive/distorted photos, or putting lenses on their camera that freakin’ BEND SIDEWAYS to do weird things to perspective and focus… well, you get the point.

    You’d think all the armchair photography masters out there would get it too, instead of condescendingly trying to lecture the author about “real” photography as if they actually knew anything about it or had a REAL creative bone in their bodies…

  28. Jim says:

    Canon Sucks – Terrible Horrible Bad Customer Service

    A year ago I bought a Canon 70D and installed the software.
    A week ago I went to their website and downladed an update
    for Digital Photo Professional (DPP) from 3.13.?? to 3.14.??.
    Ran the update and the program stopped working. The error was
    DPPDLL.dll not found. Following canon’s support instructions
    none of my Canon software, for either 320 Elph HS or 70D, work.
    Nor can the original versions be re-installed. At the end of
    this nightmare I was told to contact my computer manufacturer.
    What does Dell have to do with Canon’s software problems?

    The details are at http://SwensonStudio.com/CanonSucks.htm

  29. Tom says:

    DSLR’s are a dying breed. Canikon’s dominance is increasingly being challenged by Sony, Fuji and Olympus. Check out the D750. 2300.00 dollars for a camera that shoots at 6.5FPS, 1/4000th of a shutter speed and a horrid live view system- still no EVF. Let me state that again….2300.00 dollars. Unbelievable. Sure, you get dual card slots but they specifically gimped out the camera to force you to upgrade. There is no reason it shouldn’t be able to do 1/8000 and at least 8FPS if they didn’t handicap the buffer. Yet, everyone is flocking to it like it’s a big deal.

    I’m pretty much done with DSLR’s and I’m tired of getting ripped off. 2k for a body…another 2k for a lens. 500 for a flash. You end up with a car around your neck but the performance isn’t much better than what some of the smaller systems are doing. Mirrorless is the future anyway.

  30. Kim says:

    I have the Nikon d7100 and wanted to have a date stamp imprint directly on my jpeg files. I was going to learn C++ so I could write my own program for a date imprint until I saw your post saying we cannot write code for Nikon cameras. BLAH!

  31. Rahul Yadav says:

    Great post mate, enjoys reading. you really keep it simple. thanks for sharing.

  32. steve says:

    30fps sounds great….then again, i could just shoot video with no sound…hmm.

  33. isidroco says:

    A lot of that stuff can be enabled with Magic Lantern in some Canon, best of them is 70d (80d isn’t supported by ML). It has solved most of the green stuff and these:
    35 You cannot easily select groups of images to be deleted simultaneously.
    40 You cannot create a movie file of an exposure being recorded in real time.
    41 You cannot set the shutter speed to whatever you want when recording video.
    You cannot set the ISO number to whatever you want when recording video.
    44 The AGC (Audio Gain Control) is horrible. People have been complaining all over the internet about their frustration of it not being able to switch the AGC to manual.
    48 Built in WiFi
    [51 There is no RAW for video. (not yet for the 70d)]

  34. TR says:

    Why didn’t you check the technical specification of the camera before buying it. Then you’d have known it doesn’t have some of the things you want.

    You seem to think that Canon should be able to read your mind, and then they should make sure that ANY product you buy from them meets your wishes.

    Get real!

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