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.

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Dusty Wooddell is a professional photographer based in the Southwestern United States. Self-proclaimed thinker, opportunity seeker, picky eater, observer of things.

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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.

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.

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!

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?

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.

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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

How is that a questions of brand?

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

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 :)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Brand Loyalty depends on the company behind the brand. Let's face it. This conversation is a lead in to trash mostly Canon and to a lesser degree Nikon. So, I will discuss automotive products first. In 1986, I purchased a Honda Accord. Up to that point, it was the most consistent and dependable car that I'd owned. I kept that car for 175,000 miles on the same clutch. It would start no matter what. Since that time, I've owned other Hondas, Acuras and I now own a Honda Ridgeline truck. All of my power tools from my lawn mowers to my power washers have Honda engines. Throughout the 34 years since that first Honda, every vehicle and engine have matched the original quality. Moreover, the cost of maintenance and incidence of failure have been consistent. I also own a Mercedes Benz which is a great car, but outrageously expensive to buy and to own. I bought it because I was curious; I did not replace my Honda. Consequently, when I think of cars, I think Honda. I purchased my first Canon camera in 1980 and have owned them since. I love Canon products and throughout that period, I have never had a Canon film or digital camera to fail. Now, Canon is criticized for two things: Its sensors and its late arrival to mirrorless. As a photographer, I believe that it is the skill of the user that makes great images. The camera is only a tool. I personally don't adopt new tools just because they are new. In all of these discussions about mirrorless, it seems to be all about technology. Canon has been a great brand for me from bodies to lenses. It would be an expensive proposition to dump my Canon gear for a new system for the sake of technology. Canon has served me well in terms of reliability and innovation. So, I am a loyal fanboy. I would need a compelling reason to change. I am giving Canon a pass for being late to the market this go 'round. I may add a mirrorless Camera... probably a Sony. However, it would be in addition to and not in place of my Canon gear. In summary, I buy Hondas primarily, but I also own a Mercedes. That Mercedes will never replace my love of Hondas.

Brand loyalty means something to me to the extent that sticking with the same brand often means developing a familiarity with their products, menu systems, control layouts, etc. As long as the brand is releasing competitive offerings, it's logical to continue buying that brand.

The trouble comes when the products are no longer competitive in features or price. Then you have to make a decision as to how much that familiarity and muscle memory are worth to you.

I am a Sony user and have been since the beginning. However, that has nothing to do with brand loyalty but more with finance. Switching systems costs a lot of money and unless there is a really good reason, I won't switch.
I don't have the means to pay easily for an entirely different system and buy a new body and new lenses.
Besides every system has its ups and downs.

I worked part-time in a photo shop in the late 60s. That gleaming Nikon F in the window was all I aspired to. The thrill I got when a customer wanted to see it. I had an opportunity take it out of the window and to handle it. Wow! After a Praktica Nova, a Minolta SRT101, a Pentax Spotmatic, I could afford my first Nikon F2 Photomic in 1978 and have been blindly loyal to Nikon ever since - owning roughly 20 models at some point or other. I jumped ship occasionally, but always returned. Now extremely content with a D850. My investment in lenses over the years means that I'm pretty much stuck with Nikon. And why not?

Having said that, with my video head on, I've bought Sony since 1999, and do keep a firm eye on the way it's developing its stills technology. I own an RX100 m3 and love it. Given its video heritage, it should come as no surprise that Sony's mirrorless technology is advanced.

What is so much more fun in a Fuji?
I think i'll have to get my hand on one as everyone keeps talking about it. So far i only held a XT2 in a store and i didn't like it at all.

Regarding brand loyalty. When I started I didn't like the feel of any Canon i tried at all and I loved the feel and grip of the D5500, it has the perfect fit for me. Now between me and my wife we have 2 Nikon bodies and switching brands doesn't make any sense economically as a pure enthusiast with limited budged, if (!) i were to upgrade the probably to Nikon.

It's not like i haven't tried anything else, but for me ergonomics are above everything else and so far I never liked anything else i tried.

To me loyalty only works to things I don´t buy, like family, friends, work. I´m a Canon user not due to brand loyalty but unfortunately because I entered in the ecosystem before things changed a lot. I´m stuck with many L glass and don´t want to sell it and lose a lot of money.

This year I bought a Fuji x-t2 and love using it. It´s a really great experience shooting with it.

I’m in that same boat, Pedro. Fell in love with an X-T2 a couple of years ago and now I have a shelf full of Canon glass collecting dust, except for my 70-200. I’ll just buy a Sony body, at some point, to use that glass with. From what I’ve seen on YouTube, Canon glass already works great on the current Sony bodies and I expect that to only improve with future camera and adapter releases.

Lenzy I´m thinking exactly the same as you. Maintain the EF lenses, wait for news on the adapter chapter and switch to Sony. I think that their new bodies are really good, quite capable and versatile.
I´m "stuck" with a 5ds. Love the camera but for my current work it lacks of features.

I was all Canon until I got an X-T2 a couple of years ago. I’ve used it and the 24-84mm equivalent lens for 99% of my paid work in that time and I can’t wait to upgrade to the X-T3.

I’ll eventually get a Sony body to use with my Canon glass since Canon insists on hobbling each camera, while all the other manufacturers try to deliver as much value as possible in each camera.

Depending on how the a7Siii compares to the GH5, I’ll get one or the other to handle my increasing video demands, if I can’t hold out for the X-H2, which “should” be the video camera I’m looking for by the time it comes out.

My loyalty is to myself. I choose the best tool for the job. Fortunately, technology has freed us From being locked into one manufacturer.

Heck no, I started out with a Sony point and shoot, then Nikon was my first DSLR. Switched to Canon, and now I currently shoot Sony, Fuji professionally, and have a Canon for my personal.

I am a multi brand user: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Fujifilm X-T2. Might add Sony or Nikon to the mix soon

Funny, another 'opinion' post that can only get flamewar ala 'which color do you love ?'.

Why ? I came from Fuji bodies to a Nikon Dxxx body and I really prefer the experience and results I get from the latest..

No need to brand loyalty. Just a matter of lens mount and accessories investments.

Swaping from one system to another just cost tons of money and time for meaningless advantages until you really encounter several and recurrent caveats with your usual system.

Of course, I don't talk about abandonware.

On the other side, I really think that people able to swap system regularly are just people that only have 'too rich people' problems.

And I really loved we have several photocamera manufacturers, as I would get mad if we only got one pseudo universal all in one system, as usually the worst system won each time in this world !

brand loyalty doesn't really matter.....but when you have some becomes a thing. In all honesty I think it'd be nice if they standardized all lens mounts. But ya....

I'm going to go out on a limb and argue that loyalty does matter to an extent. It matters if the company is offering incentives for investing in their system. I don't mean incentives like cookies and punch (I hear Canon users get cookies and punch... who knows), I mean quality service, like Nikon's NPS, accessories, brand specific events, ambassadors, professional relationships, support near where you live, etc. I think all of that is worth taking into consideration at some point

No brand loyalty at all regarding any kind of products, I will switch anytime I feel like it'll be better for me. At the end, we're just numbers for these companies and I will treat them as such too. Fanboyism is just the lamest thing.

I'm only loyal insofar as that brand has an appeal to me. Right now I am shooting Fuji simply because I dig the style of the camera and their philosophy on things. That doesn't mean my next camera will also be a Fuji or I'll run around and proclaim in the streets how that brand is better than any other brand of camera. I just like it for me, it's a very personal thing.

I guess I am brand loyal. When I first started photography I did my research and ended up with a canon rebel. It served me well as a new DSLR user and eventually I upgraded, I of course had purchased 2 lenses so when I upgraded I got another canon brand. Over the years I have gotten much more gear and they all happen to be canon. Does that mean that canon is the best? No, but for me it seems to be pretty expensive to change brands and not to mention time invested to learn a new camera. Canon hasn't failed me, of course I have no experience with other brands out there but if something hasn't failed you then why go in a different direction?? If you have spent years learning everything you can about your camera and lens then why buy a different brand and learn all over again? Unless of course what you currently have isn't meeting your needs, then that is a different story of course. I guess if you can afford to have multiple brand sets ups then that is great, but not this girl. lol

Had Canon for a decade and finally switched to Fuji. I put a Canon in my hand the other day and I started crying right there in front of everyone. I was super emotional. I told my 1D I'd never let go but I did. Just like the woman in my life I LET THEM GO BEFORE THEY BREAK MY HEART.

Canon has done well by me. I dealt with their service department to repair a camera (7D), a lens (300 f4L) and a printer (Pro 100) and all came out very well. That means a lot to me.

If I had all my gear crushed by a charging hippo and got a nice insurance check, would I buy Canon again? It would be a tough choice as I really like the D850. But as far as changing brands just because I like the D850, nope.

Fact is, there is no FF offering that would make me change brands. There is no FF mirror less that I like, the D850 is the only FF out there that I like better than my 5DIV, I love the Fuji GFX, but it is really limited in its scope. Way too slow for sports or wildlife and a very short lens choice. But as I mentioned on these pages before, if I could afford my Canon AND the Fuji, I would grab that medium format gem in a second.

So....I'm brand loyal to a point is probably the best description.

My first serious camera was a Nikon F Photomic with a 55mm 1:1.2 lens. I still love those old Nikkor lenses and they work great on my Sony a7 mirrorless. I am a pragmatist, I’ll choose whatever brand I think best fills the need. This setup owns the night and it didn’t break the bank.

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