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

The ignorant people that argue gear on forums are generally the ones that don't go anywhere with their photography... they only seem to acquire more. I've stopped using forums because of the utmost idiotic arguments about gear and people who only focus on gear, not their photography. I started improving tremendously when I stopped focusing on gear and making excuses to own more gear.

I was a fuji user for years. Since no dslr from them anymore I bought Pentax k5 and build a quite good system. I remember back in 2011 I think we had this terrible sensor stain issue. Well at least Pentax respected us and replaced our cameras. Some times we have to make big companies respect us. If they see their sales drop dramatically something that will not happen in the near future because of all the fanboys out there they will start loving us as customers again. But in the other hand you can't built new systems every day.

For whatever it's worth to readers here: I bought a D600 last April, believing the reports that the shutter/spotting issue had been resolved. It was not, and a lot of photos I shot on a tour of Britain in the spring are ruined from sensor spotting.

The good news is, I sent my D600 in to Nikon for servicing, expecting them to just clean the sensor, but when I got it back, there was a line in the receipt that said "RPL Shutter Mechanism." I asked what that means, and, yeah, sure enough, they removed and replaced the shutter mechanism. I further asked if they'd replaced it with a shutter mechanism from the D610, but they could not answer that because they had no info on a D610 at the time. That was a week ago.

I've been loyal to Nikon since 1974, but they're losing me now... not only because of the sensor grime, but because the AF array in the D600 is so pitifully concentrated in the center of the frame. I started shooting w an Olympus OM-D about this time last year, and now find that I carry it much more than the Nikon. And the stuff I brought back from Britain that shot with the OM-D is every bit as good as what I shot with the Nikon - but with NO sensor spotting issues.

When the EM-1 arrives (hopefully in the next week or two?), it's very likely that the D600 will wind up on eBay.

Anyway, if anybody is pissed at Nikon for the D600 sensor issue, send it in and they'll replace the shutter.

What I really miss is the D300s I already sold on eBay... but I wanted to move up to full frame, after 10 years with crop sensors. Instead, it looks like I'll be going entirely in the opposite direction.

Anthony Woodruffe's picture

had a bit of a rant about this in a certain hidden photography Facebook group. The verdict was leaning more toward it being a good move by Nikon. Myself with a 15 week old, now obsolete camera can't quite see it that way. I believe retailers will now fire sell their stock D600s, meaning any chance of my camera holding its value over the next year or two is now gone. That's a hard battle to win through Nikon Customer support. How do you put an exact price on a forecast?

If the cameras would be 50-100 bucks I would have camera for each different scenario.. if the lenses had standard mount and AF system that can be used on all.. same thing but once you start buying stuff in 3 or 4 zero digits like lenses, accessories, flashes we.. it builds up and even though you have bad camera turn the things around is just impossible.. unless you sit on pile of gold.. and that .. hmmm... -H-Blad is not the best for everything but having that latest H5D as overall camera .. yeah I stick to that too even though Pentax used to be much better on some things.. M. RZ67 or RB67 better at other things.. Leica at that but that's what it is.. those camera camps we can't really advocated because unless we do have camera store we won't have chance to fully try all of them... Good luck with the store Fstoppers!!

Great article.

I'm not loyal, but an unhealthy amount of my net worth is mainly listed in japanese glass and other toys. So I can't switch systems every time some corporation decides to f me sideways. It's like with these malicious mobile apps. Can't just switch mobile systems because another part of my net worth is listed in 99c apps...

I preordered a nikon d800 the day it came out and sold my 5d MKII and lenses. Fantastic sensor but I've had to send it in 3 times and they never quite fix it. I've had everything from the infamous side focus issues to the shutter/mirror splashing oil on my sensor. They haven't been fun to work with.

I think the worm turned when they started releasing new models of cameras every 12 months with tiny minor upgrades...I think its amazing that great film cameras with more moving parts are lasting 50, 60, 70 years, whilst digital cameras are on the scrapheap after 3 or 4...

My only loyalty lies in the fact that I have canon lenses and don't want to buy different expensive lenses for a different camera. If canon did away with their current lenses, I would most likely switch brands, since the old lenses wouldn't fit a new camera anyway. After I got my canon, ( an entry level T1i) I found myself wondering if I should have chosen a Pentax as an entry level camera, since the anti vibe is in the body (theoretically lowering the cost of lenses) and come weather resistant from the start... Alas it is too late to start again, as I am not made of money... I guess it's a lot like the iphone vs. droid thing, once you're in the app store with apple, or the google store with droid, changing phones requires you to buy all new apps that are the same...

I don't really understand why this surprises you. When has a big company like canon or nikon ever issued a recall? Heck..when has a camera company ever issued a recall? Recalls are for things that have to do with serious safety (cars, children's toys, ect) and even those type of companies fight to avoid it if they can. What would make you think a camera company would ever do a recall?

Well, I have a D600 and it had the oil problem which was not even much of a problem for me. I had a Canon before and it didn't have an oil issue, it just wasn't weather sealed, I had to clean that thing a gajillion times after a walkabout. I cleaned my d600 3 times before it reached it's 8000 clicks mark, and I haven't noticed it since. It's a 2000$ camera, but I also bought a 20000$ car and I have to clean that, change the oil, fill it with gas, take it in for maintenance. Camera and car aren't the same thing... well I have a 2000$ computer, I have to clean the dust out of it too. It just happens.

I like Nikon more than Canon due to the dynamic range. I think it's fitting for my type of work, I liked Canon for portraits, but Nikon to me is a better all around camera *for me*. I tried a Sony for awhile and I couldn't stand the quality of images. I haven't worked with an Olympus or Fuji or Pen, so I don't really know much about those. I just find that the glass for Nikon or Canon is usually the best overall lenses to have. As far as the best camera, well I think that depends on the type of work you do.

Loyalty to corporations is silly to me, these guys provide a product. Not emotion, friendship, or anything like that. They aren't our friends no matter how nice they are, anyone who is a diehard fan of a corporation over a product is just silly. I love my d600, I wouldn't trade my d600 for a canon 6D, but if Canon makes a camera that has better dynamic range and noise control I wouldn't hesitate to move back to Canon. Selling my lenses is easy as ebay, amazon, or craigslist.

If my d600 dies and my insurance doesn't cover it, I'll buy the d610. Unless, there is a better camera out... lenses don't hold me back, it just takes longer to sell them.

I beg to differ. Of course, as a proud owner of a D600 since only one week (!), the news shook me a little. But after thinking a while, I came to the conclusion that my recently manufactured D600 was probably identical to the new D610, apart from the weather coating and the slightly faster shooting rate. Heck, I would not be surprised to learn that latest D600 also do have that faster speed.
Why? Because the new faulty parts have certainly been upgraded long ago in the D600 production run. They would be completely out of their mind not to.
The D610 is rather a way to give a new virginity to the model. We are approaching Christmas! They certainly changed as little as they could, to take no risk at all.
Had they upgraded the autofocus to the same one as found in the D7100, or fitted its denser screen, now that would have been a story. The D600 would be insanely great with a wider AF, but they did no such thing.
So I'm very happy with my new D610 hiding in a D600 body.

This Nikon D600/D610 story smells really very funny. Unfortunately I am a D600 owner, and I can tell you: never a Nikon again.
Just this morning I was at Nikon Professional Services to have my sensor cleaned ( third time in +/- 4 months). There was another photographer before me who had his D4 and D3s sensor cleaned. He had to wait for maximum 3 quarters of an hour and went home with his two cleaned camera sensors.

When it was my turn, the guy at the desk said: "ah, a D600, sorry sir, as the previous times, it's going to take at least 3 days, we have to follow procedures". I said "huh, again wait three days? what exactly are these procedures?" He again: "sorry sir, we can't tell".

So here I am again, driving two hours, waiting perhaps 3 days, but more probably 4 or 5, to drive two hours back, to get a camera that I KNOW will have the same problem after a couple of hundred shots.

Thank god I have a back-up. My Olympus OMD camera. And guess what: it's a mirror less camera, I change lenses very often so the sensor is there, open in all it's glory , and i NEVER EVER HAD DUST ISSUES WITH THAT CAMERA.

Bye bye Nikon!

Is this really surprising? What's the point of this article anyway? It's blatantly obvious, and always has been. A camera is a camera is a camera-it's how you use it that counts. Buy the camera that you like and choose the lenses that you want. Then stick with them. They all do the same thing, and they're constantly outdoing each other. Get over it, and get shooting.

I've been a Nikon user for as long as I can remember. I have no complaints.

I consider that the camera chose the buyer.. My first Nikon (D80) was a present from a good photographer friend, I feel in love with it, I never sold it, I gave it as a present to another friend of mine. Since I got used to it, I kept on Nikon and so it is. I believe the fight between Canon/Nikon is as valid as the fight between Apple and Samsung (another similar example). Cheers :)

As always each coin has two sides. Every one of us is eagerly expecting each new release of 'his' brand. After each new announcement we all discuss the pros and the cons, what could have been included, and what should've been improved. The sad truth is we feel robbed at some point.

Yet, on the other side, in order to put all those things in a new camera, every brand invests in research, know-how, licenses, resources, you name it... So if you are in the place of the managers of any brand, you get pushed by investors for more profit, more sales, more money on one side, and more features, better product, better performance from your customers for less price.
If any company tries to satisfy both - it will be torn apart. So it is up to us to decide on which bus to hop on - wait for another release of the brand of our preference, or hop on the competitor's bus. I would stick on my bus, as I have invested quite a lot in glass, and I have no major issue to complain about, but if in an year or two I do not find an adequate camera to replace my current one, I am ready to switch. After all cameras are more or less the same.

I have been loyal to both Canon and Nikon and do they care? As you say, no! They both seem content to churn out mediocre updated camera models and charge a shed of of money for the privelege. Where is the innovation? I can't remember the last time a camera was released and it blew me away. I wish companies like Sony, Samsung and Panasonic would rise up and challenge the status quo-give them something to sweat about.

Whether anyone is a loyal brand customer or not...you do make valid points.

This is why I never buy new issues. I tend to wait a year or more. I rarely get caught up in the " gotta have the new one" thing.

I default to Canon primarily because I shoot videos, not photos. The Canons started with a better video codec than Nikon, so that's why I use Canon. Loyalty? Maybe, maybe not. But I know I can't just dump what I've already invested on lenses for a camera with different problems.

Why do I feel like Im the only one that got a perfectly working D600?

Canon Did Recall their T4i's and are Fixing the problem! Free! So i can respect that. Now the T5i, simply a joke.. T4i is a great camera.. Put the right lens on there.. and your good to go. Remember, its the photographer, not the camera. although, the camera does help lol.. But yea i was a Nikon shoot, i just feel canon is more versatile. I still shoot both, but get excited when i get to use the canon.

I don't have an option. I do own too many Canon lenses.

I like the fact, Sony is after the "Big Two" and is on its way to become Number one. Sure, this will be good for Canon and Nikon users! :-)

Yep. Companies will be companies. The most powerful thing that the consumers can do is vote with their wallets. I don't know many instances where brand loyalty helps, regardless of the industry.

Of course, where should you get your cameras and lenses? If you're looking around, you should visit an online store with tons of deals on all sorts of cameras and equipment at BestCameraSolutions(dot)com. It carries all of the brands, and it's a great place to look around and see what you may want, or to look for good prices on what you already want!