25 May

Camera Company Failure

Posted by Jenna, Under Photography

Have you been thinking about purchasing a dSLR? Maybe you are considering in investing in one of the lesser known brands to save a little bit of money? In Are We About to Say Goodbye to a Well-known Camera Company, Scott Bourne points out that one or more camera companies may fail within the next few years.

If you told me three years ago that Chrysler would file for bankruptcy, I would have laughed. But they did. Looking at what’s happened to Chrysler is instructive here. If you were a recent Chrysler buyer, are you worried about getting parts or warranty work? I would be. What if you bought a camera from XXXX company, and they failed? Who would honor the warranty? Long term, who would continue to make lenses, training materials and other accessories for a camera that’s no longer manufactured?

I’ve said before that I have no preference for either Canon or Nikon, I use a Canon because that is what I bought. Although all companies have the potential to fail, I feel good about the future of Canon, even in a bad economy. If you are thinking about buying, you might want to think about the future staying-power the company you are buying from before you invest in a camera which requires lenses, flash, repair and many other expensive investments.

If you own a dSLR, who is it made by?

24 Comments


  1. I have a Nikon – and just like many other people, I have that brand just because it was the same brand that the first person to introduce me to DSLR had. I had read/heard that there were no huge differences, so I just went with what my photographer friend liked.

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  2. Canon, despite the fact that my high school photo department used Nikons. My favorite digital point and shoot was a Canon and most of the photographers I knew and respected shot with Canon. [shrug] I feel no need to weigh in on Canon vs. Nikon debates, since I really don’t care one way or the other.

    My film SLRs are a Minolta and a Pentax.

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  3. My dSLR is a Canon. I bought it mainly because I fell in love with photography using canon point and shoots, so it was easy to transition to a Canon dSLR. In addition, most of my dSLR friends are also Canon users, so that led me as well.

    I’m not worried about Canon going under. Or Nikon. They both have such great staying power, and I think they will continue to thrive in the dSLR market well into the future.

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  4. I think the first point to make is the Chrysler is an American company. Nikon and Canon are Japanese companies. Secondly, this is auto versus photographic equipment. The writer of that article, while well meaning, has really oversimplified the complexities of the current crisis and what happened with Chrysler.

    The American auto industry is inefficient on a number of levels (and I don’t think unionised labor is the only issue at stake) and has been for a long time. Add to that their insistence on manufacturing ecologically and economically irresponsible cars like SUVs, then you have a recipe for disaster when you have a focus on taking a “green” direction and a credit crunch unlike anything seen in last sixty years. They made no attempt to design for the future, because anyne with an ounce of business credentials could have seen this crisis coming at least to some extent. Three years ago I had a discussion with my Dad about sub-prime and the impact it was going to have on the US (and Australian) auto industry.

    Asian car manufacturers aren’t experiencing anything approaching the crises that the Big Three US auto manufacturers have. Chrysler was relying on continuing the results that had been coming from an economy which had long been in a false boom.

    Sorry for my rant, but I was originally an economics major, and I often feel the need to point out the hows of this situation so people don’t feel as though it fell from the sky. It didn’t.

    As for who I’m investing in? Canon. I culd have fallen either way, but a lot of the people I admire online use Canon and I figure I may as well be a lemming. Says I, after a rant about the hows of the current economic quagmire.

    /essay.

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    Jenna Reply:

    I think he brought up the Chrysler thing in relation to these “off-shoot” camera companies that are American based that could potentially fail. The whole point of his post was to point out the potential for any camera company to fail, not specifically Canon and Nikon.

    And also, I’m not that great with economics, but aren’t the majority of countries around the world suffering from poor economies right now?

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    Hannah Reply:

    I understand what he was saying; he just really oversimplified the whole issue and you can’t really compare the two industries or brands. Even the smaller brands aren’t American, as a rule. They’re Asian.

    Economically, most developed and developing countries are in recession or experiencing a contraction in activity. However America is in a kind of unique situation in that the contraction in the economy was extremely rapid, occurred earlier and will definitely last longer than for other countries. Add to that the fact that far more companies are requiring government subsidisation and administration specifically to keep what’s left of the economic activity afloat. Whilst countries around the world have been impacted by the financial crisis, the poor practices that resulted in this situation (for example sub prime mortgages) were far more entrenched in the economy in the US than it was in other countries, so the impact on business is harder.

    I didn’t meant to be facetious or pedantic, it is just that the whole crisis is sorely misunderstood and I wouldn’t want the example of Chrysler to impact on someone’s decision to go with a certain camera brand. Chrysler was not a small off shoot brand.

    For example, Japan’s economy has been struggling with deflationary issues and stagflation for eighteen years and companies such as Pentax and Minolta have remained well and truly afloat despite the market being largely saturated with Canon and Nikon consumers. It is down to a fundamentally different method of organisation. Will they be impacted by this crisis? Yes. Will it bring them under? I doubt it.

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  5. I went with a Canon for a number of reasons (spent 8 years in my childhood shooting on a 35mm film Canon SLR, had both Nikon and Canon P&S and was happier with the Canon, etc.), but when it came to choosing my own DSLR, I DID actually consider the “staying power” of the company. I don’t believe there is any difference between Canon and Nikon because they have both dominated the field, but I have a friend who loves her Pentax and even though it can save money, I wouldn’t have considered an “off-brand” exactly because of the support, with so many companies folding these days.

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  6. I have a Nikon. Why I chose Nikon over Canon? I guess because the only time I had used a dSLR camera was my mum’s Nikon.

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  7. Olympus here!

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  8. I have a Canon and I love it :)

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  9. I don’t have a dSLR, but my camera use over the years has spanned the scope – I started on Olympus, then I had a Nikon, then I went back to Olympus (for three cameras), then I went to Canon, and now I shoot on both my Canon Powershot and my new-to-me Panasonic Lumix (my mom upgraded and gave me her old one.) With point-and-shoots, something like staying power doesn’t matter because nobody fixes their cameras anyway – they just buy new ones. It is important to me to buy a camera from a reliable company that has always been in the camera business, because they make better lenses (although it’s panasonic, the Lumix uses a Leica lens), and staying power is an indicator of quality to me.
    I thought that one of the main draws of dSLRs was that the lenses were uniform and you could buy them from anyone – I understand that service would be a problem, but is the lack of available lenses really that big a deal?

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    rksquared Reply:

    While lenses are interchangeable within brands for dSLRs, they are not interchangeable across the brands. For instance, if/when Jenna decides to upgrade her Canon 50d to [for example] a Canon 5D Mark II, she will still be able to use the lenses she has now. However, if she were to decide she prefers Nikon (Olympus, Pentax, etc), she would have to buy all new lenses.

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    Kelli Nicole Reply:

    There are SOME lenses even within brands that are not interchangeable. I’ve heard that certain Nikon lenses have some type of screw in them that limit the use (only used on lower end models…or maybe higher end). As far as Canon there are some lenses that you can purchase for lower end models that won’t fit on something such as a 5D mark II (I believe this was one of Jenna’s concerns when she was purchasing certain lenses). L-series lenses for Canon are interchangeable with all bodies though.

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    hannah Reply:

    This lens issue is something that is definitely of concern to me. I’m about to buy a 50D, but plan to upgrade to a 5D in about eighteen months when I can afford it.

    Knowing that lenses are as, if not more, important than the camera body itself I have a bit of a quandary when it comes to how much I should invest in lenses for the 50D.

    That being said, I plan to keep the 50D as a backup body and I’ll need good lenses for that purpose so maybe it is not such a quandary after all.

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    Jenna Reply:

    That’s why I told TH I didn’t want to waste my time investing in $500 lenses, when they would all be worth nothing to me when I upgraded eventually. Not only is the glass better with the professional $1000+ lenses, but I’ll be able to switch both kinds of lenses between both kinds of bodies when I’m out there shooting with both a 50D and 5D on me for a wedding.

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    Hannah Reply:

    That’s pretty much my plan. I’d rather spend a bit more now and have a real investment to last me through multiple bodies.

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  10. I have Canon now, although I’m seriously considering switching to Nikon while the money I have invested in Canon equipment is [relatively] low. I’ve read some things about the Nikon auto focus system (particularly for catching a moving subject, and focusing in low light) that has me really intrigued.

    I could go either way between the two big brands, but I don’t think I could buy on off-brand.

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    Jenna Reply:

    Yes, Canon has backfocusing issues. Grrrr. :)

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  11. Canon. I have confidence in Canon as well, but at the same time, anything could happen!

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  12. Canon girl, here. Interesting thought….

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  13. Future hubby and I both use and love Canon (mine is a point and shoot, but his is a dSLR). It never occurred to me that camera companies might also be facing financial issues. Ironically, this thought failed to occur to me EVEN after the death of Polaroid cameras forced me to rethink my wedding guestbook plans.

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  14. I’m a Canon user – so far, so good!

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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