UPDATED: Nikon's D610 and Canon's T5i are Proof That Brand Loyalty is One-Sided

UPDATED: Nikon's D610 and Canon's T5i are Proof That Brand Loyalty is One-Sided

When Nikon released the D610, I’m sure that many of you (myself included) initially reacted with joy. “Hooray!” we said. “They’ve fixed the problem of the D600! Nikon made things right!” But then I let things sit for a few hours and I realized, Nikon did no such thing. They didn’t fix anything, no more than Canon “fixed” the T4i when they released the T5i. Hooray? No. Not hooray.

As photographers, many of us have an unhealthy attachment to our cameras, and rightfully so. I’m sure there are many of you who have a camera shelf, a place for you to venerate cameras you might no longer use, but can’t seem to part with. They’re part of your past and your dedication to your craft. They are an extension of who you are.

As such, Canon and Nikon each have their insanely rabid fans, fans that fight tooth and nail in comments sections, forums and on Reddit furiously to claim their little black box is better than the other little black box. For those of us who keep a clear head, we know there isn’t really a huge difference. In the end, it comes down to preference (but even then, we would still like to claim for one reason or another that our chosen preference is the smarter, better preference).

So we fight, we bicker, and we defend our camera and the camera maker time and again. Some of us might not even know why we’re so fiercely loyal. But it’s time for all of us to stop deluding ourselves and recognize one serious fact: this loyalty is completely one-sided.

Canon and Nikon don’t love us back. They love our money and they love the free publicity and viral reach they get when we argue. They want us to list the products we use and tell our friends how great their latest product is. They want to see “shot on a Canon 5D Mark III” listed in the first sentence of a Vimeo description. But don’t confuse the desire to see us use their equipment with their desire to make us happy.

Canon and Nikon are guilty of exactly the same thing. When Canon’s T4i exhibited problems with the rubber grip, rather than recall the cameras, fix every broken one and return them to the users, they just re-released the camera with a new name. Within six months, all was forgiven and forgotten. Mistake? What mistake?

Even though I’m a Canon user, I still find myself respecting Nikon a bit more for sticking to their roots. Canon has a ton more products across a vast number of markets, so to me they’re the big hulking beast. So for that reason, I found myself holding Nikon in higher regard. “Nikon would never do what Canon did,” I found myself admitting. “They have too much respect for their much smaller customer base.”

I was wrong. Nikon, rather than issuing a recall and replacing the faulty parts for all those proud D600 purchasers, ignores their customers and releases a “new” camera with marginally expanded functionality. What about all those D600s already out there? What if you saved for 6 months and finally were able to purchase one last week? Tough. Nikon doesn’t care about you. They care about money. Fixing your camera doesn’t make them more money.

Maybe it’s time we took a hard look at how we talk about and feel towards the big two. Do I think or advocate moving to a different manufacturer? No, because the sad fact is they would all act this way. Why? Because they’re corporations whose single goal is to make money. That’s a fact. Not a sad fact, not a disappointment, just a fact. But it’s important for us to actually mentally recognize it, because our blind loyalty to these brands is only benefitting their bottom dollar, not our experience as consumers.

UPDATE: Canon totally did recall their T4i, and I missed it. That was my error. So kudos Canon!

[Originally published on JaronSchneider.com]

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Jaron Schneider's picture

But that OLED viewfinder... I can't do it.

I personally really like the OLED viewfinder. As a Fuji X-E1 owner and its terrible viewfinder, that viewfinder is fantastic. Why can't you do it?

Jaron Schneider's picture

I want to see the world how it really is in frame, then be able to compare that with how my camera sees it. Just personal preference and workflow.

Actually, that Electronic viewfinder is pretty much the only thing keeping me with sony.
I love the idea of the cheap fullframe like Nikon and Canon have but i really want one from sony with an EVF.

I guess its a preference thing but i find Optical View finders very limiting. Also there is no difference in perspective or frame size when using OLED. No only that but you actually see what the end result is going to be. Remember on a optical viewfinder you are at the widest aperture until you press the shutter. You have to use Fstop preview to actually see what the end result would look like. EVF shows you that fro the get go.

If you need an EVF to see what the picture is going to look like, then I think you should really get some practice.

Nice try, Peter. I guess per you moronic logic every pro out there that chimps after taking a picture also needs some practice? Get a clue. The tools are there to be used.

Most people that say they can't do EVF have never used it. I know I was the same way before I got my a77. Now, I'll never go back and I shot OVF for 30 years.

honestly.. the a99 is a pretty ugly camera ergonomically. Function wise it takes great pictures and great video not a fan of the oled viewfinder and also how expensive the sony zies lenses are.. at the end of the day i still feel like consumer and second hand consumer wise canon and nikon are easier to find and more accesible if you catch my drift

I'd have to say that every DSLR is ugly. They aren't made to be pretty, they are made to be functional. I'm not buying a camera because of the looks. The viewfinder is just preference. To the Zeiss lens being expensive, they really aren't. The Zeiss 24-70 is only $100-200 more than the Canon one. The only real expensive (in comparison) lens, is the 50mm Planar which is $1000 more than the Nikon or Canons. I personally love the look of Zeiss lenses, they have 3Dness that the other two just don't have. I guess it's just where you put your value. I do agree that they are hard to find second hand, but if you are a working professional, it is just a cost of business if you find value in those things.

Yes but in all i am a hobbyist among many hobbyist who would like to go pro one day and with all that being said im sure you will agree with me that it would be and impractical thing for me and people like me. And even if i were a professional that doesn't mean i have all the money i can spend either it's the cost of business but that doesn't mean i shouldn't want to find a bargain now and then you know?

I believe when Jerry said "is a pretty ugly camera ergonomically" he was speaking about the button layout and menus and such. Not the looks of the camera.

Clearly, I didn't get that. For me at least, every camera is ergonomically poor being a left eye shooter.

i'm a left eye shooter and totally disagree that camera's are ergonomically poor for us, in fact, they are designed for us, for steady shots because we can hold it on our left shoulder

yes that is exactly what i meant

Used the A99 shooting for a local indie film. Really hated using it (the VF drove me nuts among other things) but I'm willing to admit it could just be a personal preference thing. I know people who love them, but I've used 2 alphas for video and never left with a positive perception of them.

Don't bet too much. I've been waiting years.

I don't think I'd every believe that Sony in particular would behave any differently than Canon or Nikon.

dont bother with the sony option same thing just less publisized

Funny you say that when the fact is that both Nikon and even Some canon have sony sensors in their cameras.

Loyalty? Some fools need to learn what the term means. "Brand loyalty" is just a matter of habit and convenience.

Remy Musser's picture

This is the reason why all brands on my gears are taped (except for my sponsors), I'm using generic camera straps and never mention any brand.

David Vaughn's picture

How would this help with Canon L lenses though? Dat sexy white paint....

Adam T's picture

As a avid renter, I can say I could care less if I'm using nikon or cannon. It's my opinion that these companies are just trickling down technology so you constantly have years of upgrading them. I'm sure they have 4k video and medium formate sensors waiting to be introduced after they first give you a 2k sensor and 50mp and raw formate and mirrorless optioning and new lens rings so you have to buy new lenses.

The big tech moto is to pee on the people, they'll stand there with their mouths open.

... well THAT was graphic.

So you rent Canon and Nikon every other time? You have no preference in what you rent? Do you just close your eyes and pick? I can't imagine you have no specific gear you have in mind when you rent.

Adam T's picture

No if a rental house has a certain lens only for one type of cam I will choose that cam. If there is a special or deal I will go a cheaper route. I will also rent for specs, do I need a faster burst ect.

As someone that has freelanced and dp'd, for various production a lot of the time you have no choice on what your shooting on. That has not only made me a better photog but allowed me to stay very unbiased toward the gear.

Andrew Williams's picture

I have no loyalty I'm a camera whore.

Werrd. I like just about every camera I can get my hands on. They operate different ways and I enjoy figuring them out :D

GoPro have done the same thing - the hero3 was a flawed design, released full of bugs but rather than recall and fix the issue they have released the hero3+. Same camera but without as many problems.
Every company is as bad as each other. Don't expect good customer service from anyone and you won't be disappointed. :(