Just a few days ago I chanced upon a photography workshop event conducted by a famous photographer. As someone who is obviously into photography, going for such events to learn and appreciate someone’s skills and knowledge is really an eye opener. I gingerly pushed the application form in, hoping that I get the opportunity to attend.
A few days later, some of my friends got the seats and no good news for me. Most of the time I would just shrug the disappointment off. What got me riled? In the correspondence to congratulate the chosen attendees, part of the requirement was to have a certain brand and type of camera in order to attend.
The consequences of such a requirement, more damaging when the invite was already in the hands of the invitees, is to give the impression that event was not meant for the general public. Secondly, it creates the impression that those who did support the brand but did not buy their top of the range cameras, are not eligible for such workshops and talks. In the end, the positive perception of the brand is greatly undermined and it has lost the opportunity to showcase its cameras to non DSLR owners.
Everyone is different, so would be our physiology and how we look at art and colour. So when it comes to photography and its equipment, how a person perceived the output of the camera and control the camera will be very different too.
The main differentiating factor amongst camera brands is how aperture, shutter, ISO and exposure value compensation can be adjusted. The principles of photography has not changed much even when digital photography was introduced to the masses at the turn of the century and how a camera brand distinguished itself from other brands is via its controls. A good equipment or tool, has to be an extension of the physical body and this applies especially to photography.
The second differentiating factor would be the picture output of the camera. All the brands reproduces the scene with very subtle differences, especially when it comes to colours. That said, photo post editing, especially when one shoot in RAW format, has even the field in this area unless one shoots JPEGs extensively.
Hence attempts to answer questions about the superiority of a certain camera brand is more often than not, misleading as the method which the enquirer uses his or her tools and perceives the photos and image quality would be very different from the one answering the question. The requirements of a professional or serious amateur photographer will be vastly different to a beginner.
So what’s the message for marketing departments of camera manufacturers? Cameras, especially DSLRs, do not come cheap as a system. To convince new consumers to part with their money on DSLRs would require maximum exposure of the camera equipment to as many types of shooting environment as possible.
For a camera to be used extensively by the customer and build loyalty, a user has to get acquainted with it and be comfortable with its handling or ergonomics. Either one has the camera for an extended period of time to learn about the tool or the product is so well designed that it can be used intuitively the moment the camera is picked up.
How? Give ample opportunities for potential customers to use the camera and its various lenses in settings that would stretch the camera’s capabilities. Give free testing sessions at various events and activities both indoors and outdoors. That would convince the public about the performance of the equipment in question. On that end, Canon has move towards the correct direction of opening up its range of lenses for rental to convince the public of its offerings.
Of course one could rent equipment from some local shops to have a feel of the camera before buying. However wouldn’t it be better if the camera brands itself conducted the hands-on workshops and present its product proper without any money being spent by the customer? Wouldn’t the brand present a more positive image to its customers by being involved in the buying process through such testing sessions and workshops and capture its audience earlier?
It pays for the camera brands to be mindful on how to reach out and engage its markets. The earlier it can convince new customers, the better would be for the brand.
Do look out for my links on how to choose a camera for yourself.