Does Brand Loyalty Mean Anything to You?

Does Brand Loyalty Mean Anything to You?

A few of the major players have recently released cameras that are attracting quite a bit of attention. The Canon EOS R, the Nikon Z7, and Fujifilm’s X-T3 are all great for their intended purposes. But are new releases enough to keep you loyal as a customer?

I grew up in a family that was into motorsports. Dodge (Mopar) vehicles were the best in my eyes, and Ford, Chevy, and the other manufacturers just made junk in my uneducated opinion. While I may be more educated today and have owned a number of vehicles made by various manufacturers, my bias towards camera-makers has remained pretty solid.

I’ve remained loyal to Nikon products for more than 10 years and have had no complaints (let’s not talk about the dust issue with the D600 sensor). It wasn’t until recently adding a Fujifilm X100F to my lineup that I realized Nikon has been robbing me of an experience. If you own one or you’ve read anything about Fujifilm's X100 line up of cameras, you already know how much fun they are to shoot, which leads me to ask, where has Nikon been hiding all of this fun for the last ten years?  

Nonetheless, Nikon FX cameras have become vital tools, still necessary for me to create the images I envision, but for some reason, releases like the recent mirrorless offerings make me stop and think about my future investments and whether or not I’ll remain loyal to the brand.

Are you loyal to any specific camera manufacturer or are you inclined to jump ship when something better comes along? What have camera manufacturers done in recent years to retain their customer base? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Tony Tumminello's picture

I'm personally a multi-brand user: Canon for full frame digital and APS-C, Olympus for Micro Four-Thirds, Canon/Minolta/Nishika for 35mm film, Mamiya/Bronica/Yashica for 120 film, Fuji for Instax. I would have purchased a Nikon DL18-50 had they ever released it, but that didn't happen.

No need for brand loyalty, I'll use whatever I feel like because they all provide different experiences in their own way.

Jason Levine's picture

To me, brand loyalty means fanboy.

Camera, cellphone, tv, they are all tools to do a job. If another (read better) tool comes out with more features that I see value in I will buy it (assuming I can justify the expense).

It’s ridiculous for people to have brand loyalty unless you can honestly state your in love with X product, and then we need to have another discussion.

Arianna Domínguez's picture

After been a Nikon shutter since I started photography about 7 years ago, I'm switching to Fujifilm. I received the X-T20 as a birthday gift and it's been given me such a joy that I started questioning my self, why can't always be like that? With the release of the X-T3 and the current lighting options available for the Fuji system, I pre-ordered the X-T3 and I'll sell my Nikon gear, not because I'm not graceful for it's service, but because I can't afford to keep it, and I'm using my X-T20 more frequently. Now I'll have 2 bodies of the same system, same color science (that I love) and the advantage of a mirrorless equipment that brings me joy, I'm shutting so much more just because I can't help it. I wich Fujifilm all the best, hopefully they will keep their soul intact for a while. Thanks for your article!

Jonathan Reid's picture

I could be loyal to a brand if it continually showed loyalty to me. What I mean is, if Canon proved that it was willing to listen to its customers, I’d hang on, but it’s so obvious that it has become about squeezing as much as possible from the client. Therefore, it becomes a numbers game for me too - who is offering the best value?

lee qid's picture

Hey, Dusty Wooddell, I totally feel you.

Let's face it, brand loyalty is an illusion. Brand loyalty is nothing but a simplification strategy that humans use to cope with a complex situation.
Basically we just go: "Oh what product should I buy? Well there are a gazillion parameters to take into account and a boatload of features to understand and evaluate, do I look at all of them? No, let's keep it simple, I've taken a look at the market a couple of years ago and decided to buy product a by brand z. They recently releases product a+, so let's just buy that because it's an upgrade over my a and it was all right with me so far."

Objectively there's no reason to be loyal to a brand at all, because brand y might have product d* which is superior in every way. But because we like to keep things simple when faced with things we don't understand we easily discard it, in favor of something we think we know better already. And this is precisely what makes it easy for a brand to create loyalty. They just have to deliver an upgraded product that delivers on the old product's strengths and offers a significant added value to justify the purchase of the upgrade.

So, is this bad? Well not in my mind. You're basically buying the simplicity not having to make a choice. Brand loyalty makes buying things simpler for me as a customer, when I'm satisfied with what the product has to offer and I can afford it.

Andrew Ashley's picture

My first camera was a Fujica, then a Nikon, moved to Canon, early on shot with Pentax, had an Olympus, still have most of them. Recently stuck with Nikon, but mostly because I invested in their lens system and various accessories. The one thing they all do is help me capture images, the one thing none of them do is take pictures for me. As was said before, they are tools, and the only logical reason people would stay with a single brand is familiarity with the location of features (ability to keep your eye on the action) and investment in lenses and other supporting accessories. Funny how brands encourage that fanboy'dom... but yet they change the layout of controls, and most recently start changing lens mounts making the switch from one brand to another more of an option, i.e. if I'm going to have to buy new lenses, they why not try something different?

Andy McIntosh's picture

I am mildly brand loyal:
1. assuming they keep doing what attracted me to them in the first place (meeting my needs)
2. Because of the unfortunate cost of switching when they don't. I am invested in Canon... and I'm not overly thrilled with their last number of offerings. I am not against switching brands; but the high cost of a glass swap really makes such switches into fairly permanent decisions. Not everyone can do a multi-thousand dollar switch every time something new and cool comes out.

Jarrod McMatt's picture

Brand loyalty or boxed into an ecosystem because of investment in lenses?

Dusty Wooddell's picture

At this point, boxed in for sure! I have no legitimate reason to jump ship right now, aside from the fact that Fujifillm cameras are much more pleasant to fondle.


Same issue. Been with Canon for almost 14 years. Got an XE3 late last year and love it. Now figuring out if I live between two systems (and if so, which do I invest more in) or go full on into Fuji or Canon Mirrorless.

Andrew Morse's picture

I have no loyalty to any company, but I will certainly invest my time and money where I feel I will get the most direct benefit. These companies are out to benefit themselves, and I am out the benefit me. When those objectives overlap, I'll do business with whoever can service my need.

With that said, I'm pretty invested in Canon because that's where I started and I haven't seen sufficient benefit to changing. I always prioritize the investment in new gear based on what opportunities it adds that I don't already have. That usually means glass makes a much bigger difference to me than the body (based on what I shoot) so I haven't seen any reason to change camera companies. It isn't out of love for Canon, it's out of limited need to change.

Richard Keeling's picture

Also a multi-brand user, Canon and Nikon, not to mention Contax and Rolleiflex. I never understood brand loyalty, and even less those who argue the virtues of one brand over the other. Sometimes one manufacturer takes a technological lead, but it never lasts and sooner or later someone else leapfrogs them. I'm just glad there are cameras.

Dana Goldstein's picture

As a question of budget, most people just can’t get a little of everything because of all those lenses. The x100f is a unit unto itself, so you don’t have to worry about lenses for it, making it an easy yes for people who shoot other systems. So I think it’s a bit of an outlier. I went from Nikon to Fuji specifically for the GFX. If the GFX had been made by someone else, I would’ve gone to them. It had nothing to do with Fuji per se but what that particular camera offered me.

Rob Davis's picture

There are some pretty practical reasons to stay loyal to one brand. The cost vs. benefit of switching being a primary one. Another is it distracts you from mastering your gear if you're constantly looking ahead rather than right in front of you. It's a breeding ground for excuses that don't necessarily move you forward.

Santiago Olay's picture

When it comes to SLR I've been loyal to Nikon for decades. First with the FE2, then the F80 and now with the D750. Fanboy? I'm not sure. I'm used to them and I always liked the backwards compatibility of the F system if you don't mind shooting "M" mode. When it comes to point and shoots, I've had Olympus and Kodak film, Canon, Nikon, Casio and now the magnificent Panasonic LX-100. As I was not constrained by the glass, I felt free to experiment and try several cameras. If I had to choose now a mirrorless, I think I'd go with the Fuji XT3 plus an F adaptor. But I think it's much easy now as the mirrorless system can be made to work easily with whatever glass you would like, and accurately focus with the focus peaking much better than with any DSLR.

Jonathan Brady's picture

the following words/phrases/notions can illuminate a brand loyal mindset. *not an exhaustive list*
-INVESTMENT (or other synonyms and phrases like "committed", "bought into", etc)
-(fill in the blank with a brand name) ______ shooter
-*any emotional word*
-fanboy/troll (when used to insult/ridicule others who have chosen a brand which is different than yours)
-I'll wait...
-derogatory comments about other brands (or technologies), especially when coupled with inexperience

Believe it or not, Wikipedia has a decent page on brand loyalty for those who didn't study it in school or need a refresher.

Interestingly, it talks a bit about how dominant players in a market HAVE to change slowly or risk upsetting their long-established customer base who are resistant to change. It also mentions emotion/feelings a LOT. Interestingly, it never mentions that companies have an emotional tie to their consumers... only financial.

Chris Terrell's picture

I’m have a bit of a dilemma myself. I currently shoot a Canon 6d and a Fujifilm x-t20. I love shooting the Fuji, but I have more invested in glass in the Canon and love the resolving power of the FF. Although I admit to being a pixel-peeper, I tend to like more of the images I create with my Fuji.

Is it because of the mirrorless functionality? Is it the way the Fuji makes me slow down and think about a shot?
Or is it just simply the little flippy screen?

Do I get the eos-r? Gaining mirrorless functionality and a flippy screen but giving up the Fuji fun...
Or do I get the X-T3 and a new lens? Gaining a proper weather sealed, much faster camera, with a proper (for photos) flippy screen, but giving up pixel-level details...

I love both, but the bank does not.

Dusty Wooddell's picture

If I were going to switch exclusively to mirrorless, I'd be more interested Fujifilm's offerings, but that's just me.

Martin Peterdamm's picture

Today I just had a small job on a fair, went there with two D800 bodys with grip, lenses etc- what a pain to carry around. Never again, even when the files are still super gorgous

Santiago Olay's picture

But what about the money savings of not needing to go to the gym?

Jonathan Brady's picture

There's money pit number 2 for me... Home/garage gym!

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

How is that a questions of brand?

If you think you need FF then no mirrorless will save you from the weight

Martin Peterdamm's picture

for this stuff which is often social media only, you never need the resolution.
and you can also adopt a mirrorless without selling your other stuff :)

chrisrdi's picture

If I was rich I would buy as many cameras as I could simply because I love cameras and photography. I want to collect them all. I love how different each of them function. from film to digital. TLR, SLR, DSLR, medium format, pinhole, giant box truck cameras. There are so many different ways a camera manipulates light to produce and image. The science and technique, everything about photography fascinates me. I use what I can afford and what does the best job for what I'm trying to do. I have no brand loyalty but I love all brands simply because they make cameras.

Penny Fan's picture

Being brand loyal is a good thing if you are Fuji user, they take care of their customers and constantly upgrade their cameras with firmware, this is unseen in other brands. They are also one of the very few company that will listen to their user and give them what they desired.

Ralph Hightower's picture

I stayed with Canon; I started with the A-1 and have a few FD mount lenses and added a used New F-1. I could've switched brands since the Canon FD mount lenses are incompatible with their EF mount. Other than two Fords, both Mustangs, we've owned GM products with the majority being Chevys, 1 GMC, 1 Pontiac, and 2 Saturns.

Jovany Morales's picture

Love my Canons, for FF DSLR it was the easiest to grow into from a crop. Most likely will have another. I do have an Olympus EP-5 thats awesome i have a few lenses on that system. However I would love Fuji as well. For film, i have several brands, of which my Canonet is my favorite to use and see results. I don't feel I'm missing out though, I've shot FF sony's and nikons which are great but wasn't as fun.

For cars, love my Chevy's and will have more as well for my personal car. Wife drives VW and we have had several. Reasons behind each choice.

Rifki Syahputra's picture

for me it's a kind of journey/process.
I'm shooting Nikon for 20-ish years, and shoot/experienced in other brands along the way
Nikon will always have some place, sentimental reasons :) I kept around 20 Nikon lenses (mostly AF-D and Ai/Ais) and still shoot with it
I remember being "loyal" to Nikon in the first 5-10 yrs of shooting, and it changes along the way. I don't know if it's a common evolving-process or not

Basicly now I shoot with whatever brand that suits my need/taste. For now I shoot mostly with Sony & Fuji camera body and various lenses (adapted if needed). The enjoyment of shooting comes first for me now, while not quite a concern anymore

Scott Seroka's picture

Loyalty is a two-way street. I am as loyal to a brand as the brand is to consumers in terms of providing value and keeping up with innovation and consumer expectations. When a brand coasts along on its own equity, showing little effort to retain its customers, it provides a smooth path for competitors to provide products that out-innovate and out-perform them. I was a loyal Canon APS-C and FF shooter for many years until I picked up an Olympus, took it home and rigorously tested it against my Canon gear. I was, and still am in disbelief that a micro 4/3 16mp camera was able to go toe-to-toe against my 6D + L Glass. And although Canon makes excellent products, for my own personal needs, my loyalty has switched to Olympus. I wish Canon well, as catching up to SONY, FUJIFILM, Olympus and Panasonic will be a steep hill to climb.

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