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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Previous comments

Amen to that Enticing - I have been buying Nikon glass since I bought my first body (F3) more years ago than I can remember. There is NO WAY I could ever start over and get back to where I am with the glass. And, thank God Nikon has allowed us, by and large, to use 30 year old lenses with new DSLR's. I have the D800 now too. Good point!

I am not sure what you are saying about the rubber grip on the T4i. I sent mine back under warranty and it was replaced. As I remember they did have a process for owners to get it replaced. Not sure how you might have missed that.

Nikon also replaced the shutter for many D600 owners, but its not recalling. Recall, covers all customers, even those who dont know/hasnt find yet that their gear has any issue

well, your statment is only half right, yes, they want your $$. but they d600 has been out of stock for the last month in a lot of retailers. And they have not ship any "newer" d600 out. if you can find a d600 to buy and think you got rip off, its just because you shop at a slower camera shop that actually have some old stock left.

sorry you are wrong .. maybe where you live. but thats only a small part of the world.
the D600 sits her on the shelves in germany and france.
and can be ordered online in europe.. no shortage at all.

well intelligent persons like myself say it as it is... there is no brand loyalty here.

I'm slowly ditching Canon for Fuji. If Fuji's video was up to par, I would've gotten rid of Canon already.

the video capability of the new Pentax K-3 just announced yesterday:
1920x1080, 60i video in H.264 format
4K timelapse video

headphone jack, microphone port
dual SD cards slots
USB 3.0

60i video? That's not a feature.

I'm slowly ditching Nikon for Fuji as well. I havent touched my D700 since I got an X100s.

As a Nikon user [gosh sounds like a drug... well never mind] I propose that the combined Canikon conglomerate jump on the cult bandwagon of Pentax for a while. Perhaps not an improvement for the FF people out there, but under most situations anyone would be well served by their good prime lenses and crop bodies.

I don't think this is limited to Camera companies. Nintendo does this regularly every time they release a new handheld console. The original has problems r irks that are later "fixed" on the XL, pricier model, and sold anew.
Many, many corporations are guilty of punishing the 'loyal' early buyers with an upgraded model in a few months'/year's time. The first one is only ever a beta model.

Ariel Martini's picture

pentax did the same with K5 II, "fixing" K5 unreliable auto focus

D610 is a joke. If i were a D600 customer i would hugely pissed off.
Nikon repeats the SB-900 case...

I never thought of it that way with the SB910 but you're totally right. The 900 overheats so Nikon came out with a "new" flash that "fixed" the problem...And I have both of them! I fell victim and didn't think twice about it until today.

I agree, These camera makers are not concerned with us. If Nikon wanted to do the right thing they would have fixed / replaced the bad shutters. Not just clean the sensor. That is wrong. People who are looking to buy their first large sensor camera (crop or full) should consider the way manufactures treat their customers and make that a part of their purchase decision. It would be nice to have a manufacture satisfaction rating site.

Know what you mean--Canon enabled clean video out on the 5D Mark III quite a while ago but STILL haven't done jack for 1DX owners. All 1DX owners have gotten from Canon is a notice about their crappy production recall, requiring us to send in the camera and get back a dirtier camera. And that may be the last we hear from Canon.

Brand loyalty is somehow something stupid... especially when it comes to something like photography. Every camera on the market can produce some good quality pictures. I don't care about shooting test charts and pixel peeping. A good picture, is more the result of the photographers craft and creativity than of a camera brand or camera model. When I see a good picture, I first look for the photographer, not for the EXIF...

Sad fact is: For many people brands are the new religion.

On the other side: The war of the fanboys - Canon vs Nikon, Apple vs Microsoft and so on - is really entertaining... you get lots of first class comedy everywhere and for free...

I've got my first camera as a birthday present in 1972... a stupid little Kodak Pocket Instamatic... but that seven year old boy, who was always fascinated watching his father doing his magic in the darkroom, was proud as a peacock. Some years later when my interest in photography became more serious, my father gave me his old Voigtlander Vitoret DR... and it was in 1981 when I bought my first SLR... a second hand Olympus OM-1. In 1991 I started my way into photojournalism with another second hand SLR: a Nikon F3...

These four cameras, my old Leica M6 and my fathers old Leica M3 are the only cameras that still have a place in my office because they are part of my personal history. Everything that came later was just a tool...

For me, brand loyalty is nothing but the result of spending lots of Dollars in brand A glass... you think twice before you spend about the same amount of money (or even more) in a nice collection of brand B lenses. In my case: Adding more lenses to the F3, upgrading camera bodies, going digital in the 2Ks... I stayed with Nikon because of all the glass I owned...

The industry is changing and at the age of 48, after living in many cities and coutries, I finally found a place to settle down. So I recently made the decision to quit photojournalism and started my own business... video becomes a bigger part in that business and after some testing I bought a Canon C100 and some glass... the next step was selling my Nikon stuff and buying a 5D Mark III and some more glass to simplify my workflow.

I only kept the D800E and 3 primes for my studio work - but I will replace it as soon as I find a good deal for a decent second hand midformat system...
And again: Phase One? Hasselblad? I don't care, I'm just looking for the best deal...

Just my 2 cents

Jaron, you hit the nail right on the head. What both Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm and what other loyal fan should realise is that whenever they go nuts attacking their hated brand or defending their favourite brand in forums or comments sections online, they are unwitting and unpaid marketing mouthpieces for these multi-billion dollar companies. Buy their product if it fits your needs but don't give these big corporations more then that.

Jaron, you hit the nail right on the head. What fans of companies like Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm and etc should realise is that whenever they go nuts attacking their hated brand or defending their favourite brand online, they become unwitting and unpaid marketing mouthpieces for these multi-billion dollar companies. Buy their product if it fits your needs but don't give these big corporations more then that.

Spy Black's picture

It's not so much that Nikon didn't do anything about the issue, it's that they never fessed up to it, much the same way Apple never fesses up to problems with their products (and they've had many problems with many products). Unlike Apple, who truly don't give a shìt about their client base, this strikes me more as a combination of Japanese pride and a guarded corporate approach to handling the issue.

They quietly went about fixing the issue, first with sensor cleanings, and apparently towards the end replacing the shutters. Unless they're REALLY stupid, the D610 is merely the camera the D600 shoudl have been, hopefully with better QC. Chances are pretty good the D610 is the most QC'd camera in a while, from anyone, because all eyes will be on it. We'll have to wait and see how it all pans out.

Totally agree!

Spy Black's picture

it's not necessarily brand loyalty. It's not just buying a new body, you know. Unless you're willing to deal with everything involved in jumping from one brand to another, such as the loses on selling your used investments, the additional expenditure of the new glass and support gear, the reorientation of using gear different from that which you've been using all along, and the total time it takes to do it all, frankly you'd have to be pretty damned STUPID to jump from brand X to brand Y. At least, as a professional. You have work to do, remember? You don't have time to be dicking around and starting from scratch in the middle of maintaining your client base and paying life's bills. You'd have to have a shìtload of damned good reasons to do so.

few days ago, an "im selling my Nikon equipment to switch to Canon" post of a guy in google plus became Hot post in few minutes, and his only reason was Canon Tethering!

Spy Black's picture

Pretty stupid, eh?

Mark Goodwin LRPS's picture

In real terms I don't feel there is such a thing as Customer Loyalty from the big guns in the marketplace. There certainly is brand loyalty. I have been Loyal to Nikon since my firs used Nikkormat followed by my F2. When I cam to upgrade my D2x I asked one of London's number one Nikon outlets if the D4 was on the horizon and was told categorically NO! They will be updating the other units first he said like the D300/400 etc. OK, said I, send me a D3S then please and here is my £3,000 plus pounds. Within 4 weeks the D4 was released!
And now we have Adobe who, once again are dictating to their customer base just like, Nikon, Canon, Apple et al. 'If you want to upgrade your Photoshop software from PS6, you will have to join our club and pay us a monthly fee. We will not allow you to purchase the software in a box off the shelf as you have done in the past. And as soon you stop paying us - could be a year from now - we will stop you using the software. And even though you may have paid us many pounds, you will be left with nothing!'
It seems to me that today, once an organisation has a great product and they get you hooked on it, that's it they have you by the cobblers. Goodness know how many thousands of pounds worth of Nikon glass I have, there is no way I could afford to swap companies. And if I stop using Photoshop, what else could I use? There is nothing out there that is an Industry standard that will do everything that Creative Suite will do.
I wonder who it was who thought up the phrase about Customer/Brand LOYALTY?

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Yeah... machines have never had issues... I mean, that's ridiculous right? I think 90% of the d600 owners out there are only pissed off because now they have this mental insecurity about "spots" appearing in their over processed images. They probably would have never noticed if it weren't for the ones who ranted about it online. I sent in my D600 after checking for dust/oil spots and found a good amount. More than I was comfortable with. My D600 was purchased refurbished, and the 90 warranty had expired, however, Nikon kindly handled a full service at no charge, and it was back in my hands within 2 weeks. P.S. If you're calling yourself a pro, buy a backup camera.

And this is why Sony, Fuji, Olympus are looking like better choices more and more.

just "looking" better

Have you ever looked at the A99? It's a pretty awesome camera. I'd consider jumping ship once they update it. The sensor in the A99 is phenomenal and they have Zeiss autofocus lenses. I bet sony will be a big player soon.

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