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

Dear Canon and Nikon,
Keep NOT including WiFi and built-in radio-transmitters. That's the ticket!

And keep charging $300 for an add-on GPS unit. Idiots.

AAAND... keep charging $300 for a bloody vertical grip!

Yeah, I got off the "has to be brand name" wagon a while ago and vertical grip was the first thing to go. I bought a $40 one off of Amazon for my D90, then did the same for all subsequent bodies. Haven't regretted it for a second.

I did have a regret with the grip on my D7000. The one I bought had a wonky connection to it, causing the battery to drain when not in use. Had a 70% charge when I went to bed and was at 20 when I woke up :

I have a Neewer and a Meike grip for each of my bodies and they have been spectacular. I recommend looking into one of those if you have had issues with any other third-party brand.

Pentax never admitted to K5 autofocus problems either. They just re-released the cam with marginally upgraded specs and a new AF system as the K5II. meh

Nikon had to recall all D600. But he perlaced it with thw D610. As an owner of D600, I feel cheated. For me never Nikon again. After 25 years and 6 Nikon cameras and some more lenses, I say "Goodbye Nikon"...

I purchased a Pentax K-5 II last November and that camera has just been amazing. I've been happy with it, proud of it and yeah just overall good quality. Now Pentax released a new K-3 within less than a year...does it make me unhappy? Heck no. The upgrade they did surely makes me want to buy it. I'm loyal to Pentax since they seem like they are legitimately pushing hard on advancement of their cameras rather than just for money (of course though a business is a business and they are in it for the money as well).

To have a mere bump in specs and call it something like the D610 would surely piss me off if I was a D600 owner. Same goes for the T4i issue.

Now that I'm switching to a dedicated video system instead of using DSLRs for video, I have been seriously considering switching to Pentax. IQ is great, build quality is superb, the body IS on the newer models works great and lots of other reasons. Wish they had a wider range of good native lenses though.

Of course Canon is loyal, they have a loyalty program :)

All joking aside how loyal can a lover with a million men at her feet can be? This is what a corporation like Canon and Nikon is. One day she's going to give joe over there a little more flirty attention than you, and it all goes down hill from there.

This very fact was (I heard) one of the big drivers for BMD producing their cinema camera line. Canon has been holding out on actual development for years and stagnating the industry to release "upgrade" after "upgrade" with marginal improvements at best. The unlocking of RAW video through the ML hack proved this of course and showed that these companies don't give a damn about providing the best camera just selling more of then than the other guys.

This is one reason our company switched back to film.

Umm Canon did recall the T4i cameras with the rubber grip issue. http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/slr_cameras?page...

Mark Alameel's picture

This is a Nikon website, that will go unnoticed. (okay, a nikon heavily favoried website.)

Jaron Schneider's picture

Sweet. Thanks for showing me that, it certainly makes me feel better about Canon. However the main premise of my article still stands, especially when we look at Nikon.

Bruce Kaplan's picture

It's Déjà vu all over again. My $500 SB-900 overheats and completely shuts down after 15min of consistent shooting. So, how about a firmware upgrade to solve the problem? No, that would
be way too easy. Instead, Nikon decides to "fix" the problem by selling me a $550 SB-910. Thank you Nikon … thanks for your understanding. Shame on me for sticking with Nikon.

Doublespeak it is

Nikon took my D600 in for the complementary 3 yr check and clean. They kept it for 3 weeks stating they are making "repairs to it". I managed to get enough info out of them about it to realise they replaced the shutter or mirror or whatever caused the oil spatter. However they didn't specify what they actually did to it. During this time I had a few jobs so I asked for a replacement camera. They sent me a D800. The bastards... This was Nikon Sweden. It is not going to cost me a cent. Hopefully the issue is gone and I have myself a D610.

On point...I have owned canon and nikon and they are about the money more than putting out a quality product...This is what happens when you don't have a lot of competition...

I can't afford a Nikon D600/610 so I wouldn't know about problems with
that camera. All I know is that I've never had a problem with a Nikon
camera, I get fantastic results from my cameras, and every Nikon service
or sales professional I've ever dealt with has been top-notch,
incredibly helpful and thoroughly professional. I wouldn't change to
Canon -- or anything else -- if they offered me one free!

I used to be a loyal Canon guy. After a while, I realized that the loyalty wasn't due to liking or thinking that the camera itself was better but due to the ridiculous prices that I paid for it and the lenses (around $20k all together). What I did not like was how the cameras were released so close to each other and how Canon worked harder on getting a new camera model out than making the one that I bought better with firmware updates. What finally broke me was when the 7D had a third party firmware update that made the camera 100 times better. Same hardware, different software. It was clear to me that while the camera could handle new features and improved functionality, that was not Canon's intention. Canon wanted to simply sell another camera model.

At this point, I am using Canon, Olympus, Fuji, and Sony and have no loyalty to any of them. I am choosing the camera based on the need. Instead of spending $2000 on another lens for my canon, I bought an entire Olympus system which challenges some of the images that the Canon 5D put out in both IQ and speed. Instead of spending $900 on a single Olympus lens, I got the Sony RX1002 which is an amazing point and shoot that challenges many of the cameras out there in all aspects.

As far as the Nikon 610 vs 600 goes, it is my belief that Nikon should have recalled the camera and changed the faulty part. This was not a software issue or an enhancement. It was simply a hardware issue.

I shoot Canon because the first serious camera I bought was
a G12 and as soon as I bought a Canon 430EX flash for it, I was locked into
Canon. It was virtually a coin toss between the G12 and its Nikon equivalent,
but after a week or so of comparison, for a reason long forgotten I went with
the Canon.

If someone came to me today and offered to swap out all my
Canon gear for the equivalent Nikon gear and threw in a couple hundred bucks
for the time it would take me to learn the Nikon paradigm, I would consider the
deal. It would still be a coin toss.

If you think humans are not tribal, what else would explain
why people adopt a religious devotion to a company and its products? It’s a corporation! They sell things in order to make your money
their money! They draw from the same pool of technology and intelligence. They
reverse engineer each other’s products as soon as they come out. There are no
secrets, only patents, and they check for patent filings every day.

Companies have Marketing Departments with budgets and paid
professionals to promote their products. Why are you working for their
marketing department for free? Unless
you are paid, or get free gear, you’re giving something away that professionals
are paid for. Sound familiar? I can’t become a true believer over a corporation
and its products. (Okay, Makers Mark,
but that’s different)

If you need religion, find a church and stop evangelizing
about plastic, metal, glass, rubber and silicone.

I have no loyalty. I'm trapped by my glass investment. Canon owns me... but I respect Sony, Nikon, and Pentax all the same.

Maybe it is time for a class action lawsuit to get our D600's replaced or refunded.

Companies are in business to make money. what a horrible concept!

I'm loyal to Canon because I have a ton of Canon lenses. Nikon has better features on different models that I'm interested in, but Canon also has as many pros as nikon does cons. I think that a person's priority in features is what should be their final decision, but if you have 10k in lenses and don't want to part with them JUST for a few more features on the other.

To pick sides or get emotional over it, is pretty much dumb. It's like saying a Subaru is better than a Honda is better than a Toyota, etc.

Actually Nissan is the best..

Now if only Pentax would release a F.F camera,they we could all leave Canikon.. ;-)

The D600 sensor dust problem is nothing that a sensor swab and the patience to go through 3000 shutter activations won't fix. To me, its major issue was video quality - compared to other contemporary DSLRs, its moire is atrocious. Nikon hasn't made any statements about it, but hopefully they've quietly slipped in a fix for that as well. Either way, I'm very happy with the refurbed D800 I ended up buying instead.

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