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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Ed Sanford's picture

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.

Michael Jin's picture

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.

Ansel Spear's picture

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.

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

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.

Pedro Quintela's picture

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.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

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.

Pedro Quintela's picture

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.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

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.

Jonathan Allen's picture

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

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

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 !

Corey Weberling's picture

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

Dusty Wooddell's picture

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

Kang Lee's picture

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.

amanda daniels's picture

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

Aaron Bratkovics's picture

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.

David Pavlich's picture

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.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

I want to be loyal to Hasselblad but my wallet says I should be loyal to a 10-year-old point-and-shoot.

Korey Napier's picture

I've had the pleasure of using multiple camera brands. To date, I've shot with Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm and dabbled a bit with Panasonic and Sony. For the last 2 years, I've settled on Fujifilm and have been exclusively using that platform for all my photography, paid or otherwise. I've never been so happy with my photographic tools. The enjoyment factor is through the roof compared to shooting with my full frame Canon and Nikon systems. There are many reasons for my loyalty towards Fujifilm, but chief among them is the fact that no other camera company offers the experience Fujifilm does.

eran yardeni's picture

i'll always remember the used nikon f-301 i bought a few days before my first long travel abroad, i guess that's why there will always be something romantic about this brand