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The "essence" of a camera brand

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by DeeJayK, May 20, 2015.

  1. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I've been pondering a bit lately what the "market positions" are of the various camera brands/systems available today. In other words, what is the essence of each brand in a few words or a sentence that distinguishes that brand from the others and would induce a photographer to choose that brand.

    Here are a couple I've come up with:
    • Olympus (Micro Four Thirds) - Small, retro styling, IBIS, customize-able controls, fast AF, mature system
    • Panasonic (Micro Four Thirds) - Video (4K), small, good ergonomics, mature system
    • Fuji (X-series) - Retro styling and manual controls, "Fuji colors", great lenses
    • Leica - Posh, classic, for "purists", great in low light
    • Sony (A7) - Full-frame mirrorless, small (compared to other full frame cameras)
    • Sony (APS-C) - Great sensors, ???
    • Samsung (NX) - Technologically advanced, connected, limited lens options
    • Pentax - Rugged, ???
    • Canikon (full frame) - Big, image quality, AF-tracking (sports), professional support
    That last one is a bit of a punt. I've never been a DSLR guy. Canon and Nikon each seem to have their adherents, but I can't see what the differentiators are.

    Which brands did I miss? Let me know where you agree or disagree with these assessments.
     
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  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I would not call m4/3 a mature system. More mature then say Fuji, but not even close to Canon. More like a teenager or young adult maybe.
     
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  3. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Good point. I guess I was thinking compared to the other mirrorless systems primarily.
     
  4. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Just for a laugh I decided to see if I could find how those brands define themselves and pretty much everything so far is, uh:

    TL;DR - it's all weird corporate new-age-y cults.
     
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  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    think if you regard micro 4/4 as an extension of the original 4/3 system then it is a very mature system, and was, until the arrival of Fuji, the only system that was designed for digital from the ground up - both Canon and Nikon and indeed Sony were lumbered with maintaining compatibility with existing lens ranges when they went digital. Olympus were so long out of the system camera game that they could and did start from a clean sheet.

    K
     
  6. battleaxe

    battleaxe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    To be fair Kevin, Sony bought Minolta's old line, and because certain agreements had to maintain certain things(like the Minolta hot shoe/ Their Mirrorless lines a bit more from the ground up, though it does share the same sensor as their DSLT line and many DSLRs from other manufactures.
     
  7. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I am not sure what advantage "digital from the ground up" gave Olympus given that they essentially just made a dSLR system very similar to what the "legacy" systems provided. Canon wasn't much encumbered moving to digital because they scrapped their analog mount in the 80s and started over with a fully digital AF and exposure system and lenses. They were right at home on digital bodies without needing a old school AF screw or f-stop levers or anything.

    Also, Samsung (NX) and Sony (NEX) beat Fuji to the "all-digital-system" by a couple of years. Fuji was one of the last to arrive.
     
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    the advantage was that they could design a new complete lens range matched to single sensor format, that were tailored to match the smaller sensor.

    K
     
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  9. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Yeah, in making my list I looked at some of the corporate websites, but found them of very little value. I don't understand why companies think that they need to share these bland "vision statements" that are almost universally created by committee and thus thoroughly denuded of any actual vision or passion. Such a waste of time/resources, but I guess they have to justify those swanky executive retreats somehow.
     
  10. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Haha I dunno, for Fuji maybe it's just boilerplate, the Canon and Olympus ones make me think there is some enormous bible for Kyosei and Social IN that you are expected to learn backwards, secret Social IN handshakes, ritual Kyosei child sacrifices, etc.
     
  11. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I'm no expert on Japanese corporate culture, but from what I understand I suspect there may be more than a grain of truth to your conjecture.
     
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  12. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Just for fun :dance3:

    Nikon/Canon: Established crowd followers. Heavy marketing budgets. The accepted industry giants. Bigger is better mentality.
    Olympus/Panasonic: Advanced enthusiasts, free thinkers, innovators. Quality/cost conscious consumers. The Avis of cameras.
    Leica: Elitists. Less is more ( as in more $$). Implied scarcity/quality drives price.
    Sony: Brand loyalists who will try anything new or unproven. First adapters. Still want a big name on their products.
    Pentax: Independent renegades who stand apart on a budget. Nostalgic users who research before they buy. Value/quality/cost driven.
    Samsung: New kid in town. Willing to take chances and try something new, but w/recognized brand name quality. Cross marketing.
    Fuji: Boutique little big name brand. "mythical colors"
     
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  13. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    What about Mamiya, Hasselblad, Phase One and Leaf. Where do they fit in? :)

    Fred
     
  14. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    The old 4/3 lenses really only function on one camera, so you can't really count them. Now, I use the one camera they function on and I picked that camera because I needed what the 4/3 lenses have that m4/3 does not. But, even with those lenses it's not a fully mature system, still a lot of holes in the lineup.
     
  15. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Good question, Fred. I don't really see any of those as "consumer" brands, so at least in my mind they exist in a different sphere. To the extent I'm familiar with them at all, I'm completely ignorant as to distinctions amongst them. I guess I would group them all together under the "medium/large format" banner and say that they are generally for pros who require the ultimate in IQ and resolution, generally in a studio setting.
     
  16. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    really... why can't I count them ?.. what glaring holes are you seeing in the current line up?... As far as I can see they are making good in replacing many of the goto 4/3 lenses with Pro level micro 4/3 equivalents.. eg 7-14, 12-40, 40-150, 300. I really don't see any obvious gaps in the range of lens available in m4/3 mount with maybe the exception of a fast 14mm prime and perhaps a faster 25

    K
     
  17. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I'm with you on this one, Kevin, although I think until the 300mm Pro lens is available there's a gap in terms of a long prime lens.

    Other than that (and that's a pretty small niche) it seems like between Panasonic, Olympus and the Kowa, Voigtlander and Samyang's the Micro 4/3 lens lineup is pretty complete (and that's without even really considering the 4/3 lenses).
     
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  18. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Compared to what? Are you implying that if you don't match Canon's range of lenses that you aren't a "mature" system? Unless you cover every possible photography scenario you aren't there yet? Seems a bit of a strange standard.

    Like I asked before, is Leica a mature system? Is Hasselblad a mature system? Is Pentax a mature system?
     
  19. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    This is a pretty interesting part of it - personally I wonder how much of any camera company's "image" actually comes from the accumulated received wisdom of a billion *.advocacy style flame wars over time. Do we have any medium format shooters here (or people who hang out on LL/FM and watch :D) who can illuminate how that market, er, markets? I'm wondering if medium format is kind of where things cross over into "serious tool" territory and advocating one brand over another on the internet kind of becomes like advocating for, I dunno, one kind of large tunnel boring machine over another. Maybe that happens but I've never seen it :D
     
  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014

    The 4/3 lenses only autofocus worth a crap on one body out of how many bodies for m4/3? They are terrible to use as a manual focus lens, better of getting a true manual focus lens that's cheaper if you use any thing other then an EM1. So no, I don't count them as part of the lens lineup for m4/3. Now, I use an EM1 and own two of the 4/3 lenses and plan to get more because the SHG glass is just so damn nice. If I did not shoot an EM1 I would never consider getting any of them, have tried my 50-200 SWD on my EM5 and just got frustrated with it and is why I am selling my EM5 to get a used EM1. So, I guess I do consider them part of the lens line up for the EM1....but that is just for one camera and I would not try to use them on my other camera.

    m4/3 does not have the lens options that would get me to consider it a mature system. Until recently they did not have any pro glass, just consumer grade zooms and some really nice prime lenses. Now we are getting some nice pro zooms that are weather sealed ..................so we have consumer grade zooms, some sweet primes (and some not so sweet primes) and a growing set of pro zooms. There is nothing in between. You have a number of people here wanting ƒ4 versions of the pro lenses because they want better quality then the consumer grade stuff but do not need the quality or extra weight of the pro stuff. Then, even when the 300 pro comes out it is still the only telephoto option other then the cheap xx-300......nothing else, nothing longer(400mm ƒ4 would just be awesome).......nothing faster(200 and/or 300 ƒ2.8 would be sweet)........just nothing. No tilt/shift lenses, no ultra wide prime lenses.

    Now... m4/3 is getting there, but it is not fully there yet. I knew this when I switched to m4/3 and the main reason I switched is for the it keeps getting delayed 300 Pro. I also believe that Olympus will solve the mirrorless camera tracking problems within the next 2 generations of EM1 and that they will (or some 3rd party) will fill the few holes that are still there. Really shocked that Sigma has not made some of their longer focal lengths available in m4/3 yet.

    Yes, actually I do believe that for a system to be mature they have to cover every possible photography scenario that it can.

    ma·ture
    məˈCHo͝or,məˈto͝or/
    adjective
    denoting an economy, industry, or market that has developed to a point where substantial expansion and investment no longer takes place.

    Leica is a very niche product and for their niche I would have to say that they are mature. But, I really don't know enough about them to say that they are or are not.

    Pentax - know absolutely nothing about them other then they seem to be more into medium format then anything else.

    Hasselblad - I guess.....once again it is an area of photography (medium format) that I am not into and do not know much about.

    Those three above fall into niche markets and how one defines said niche market would determine if they are mature systems. As I am not involved in or follow those niche areas I can not really answer one way or the other.
     
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