Yet Again

Windows vs. OS X
Intel vs. AMD
Canon vs. Nikon

Evil vs. Good?

It’s a characteristic that plagues us, our constant desire to reduce situations to “us vs. them” battles in which proponents defend their brand or ideology point-by-point, each concession a defeat of unimaginable magnitude.

I never had to guess at the cause. Never – because I’ve been there.

In the photography world, a line was drawn somewhere in the sand between Canon and Nikon. Fanboys. Pixel Peepers. Noise Bandits. Call them what you want – each new camera from either company is met by a wave of adulation from one side and a predictable wall of negativity from the other. Nowhere was this phenomenon better observed than in the rarified world of DSLRs where a perfect storm of causal conditions existed:

  • Relative expense of entry
  • Swift pace of change
  • Availability of in-depth technical specifications
  • Lack of migration path
  • Loyal userbase

You could depend on this dynamic. Very predictable. Very ignorable. That is – until very recently. Like February 16 recently.

What’s so special about February 16th? That’s the day Nikon released its product offerings at PMA 2005. The storm of protest that greeted its product line was deafening Marketers, engineers, the management – the entire Nikon hierarchy was derided for its incompetence. Complaints flooded forums. Individuals protested. Stated that they were selling systems and moving to Canon. Individuals were angry. And what’s more – they felt betrayed. Adding fuel to the flame was Canon’s subsequent announcement of a D70 competitor – the EOS 350D [Digital Rebel XT]. Now not only did Nikon users have to stomach a disappointing PMA – their arch rival had released a camera that took square aim at the most popular and celebrated camera in the lineup: the Nikon D70.

Could the Nikon management have foreseen this debacle? Yes. Without a doubt.

It’s only as I observed this situation from the sidelines that I started to notice the parallels between Nikon and a brand that is far more recognizable: Apple. “Dying since the ’80s” Apple. I don’t know what facet of my personality fuels my fascination with the underdog – no doubt some deep masochistic desire for punishment.

[To be continued…something is better than nothing]

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