What does it mean to me as an individual, as I am a creative person? What does the world think of loyalty?

In the past people would pledge their loyalty to their queen and country and everyone knew what was meant by this. However, in the commercial world loyalty is no longer, or not always, rewarded. Car insurance rockets in price if you are loyal. It took me ¾ of an hour negotiating with my breakdown insurance company to get close to the same price as last year, even though I have only done about a ⅓ of the usual miles!

Advertisements are used to promote a loyal following. My mum has used the same washing powder for most of her life. Is this because it is the best? Does she gain by her loyalty?

What does it mean to me as a photographer?

I was loyal to Nikon and owned a Nikon SLR film camera which I was happy with. Nikon then produced a digital SLR camera which I have used for many years. Then they introduced a DSLR with a mirrorless camera system. Unfortunately nothing from my old system works on the new. My investment in my original camera became devalued. Nikon is not alone; I have experienced this with Canon too … twice. When the existing 10 year old camera is good, it is frustrating not to be able to keep on using it. I still have a camera from 1967 which still functions, so longevity is possible.

No doubt phones are springing to mind! Apple has a hugely loyal following despite needing to upgrade them at regular intervals. I have a friend who has an iPhone which ‘talks’ in turn to his iPad and his Apple Mac giving him a chain of communication. Every 3 to 4 years part of the chain ‘drops’ due to a new development and he then has to upgrade a device in order to keep the chain working. My 15 year old car can still function – but a 15 year old phone? I have a Pentax K1000 film camera which, other than the meter, works as well as it did from day one. Loyalty does not mean longevity.

Have you ever noticed that a new camera body needs a new type of battery? The cost of a branded battery is, in my opinion, over the top! This is the manufacturer’s way of making loads of money out of us. The only exception I know of is the Nikon EN-EL 15 Battery range which I think will have its own blog post!

A different battery for each camera.

When it comes to creativity, I have now almost completely moved away from Nikon cameras. Nikon, with their new camera Z system of cameras and lenses, is the ‘elephant in the room’. They may be able to upgrade the sensor size into something larger than the 35mm format, similar to the Fuji GFX camera mount and system, but would I go for this higher specification/higher resolution camera? It is an improvement in terms of electronic intelligence, but my conclusion is that all the improvements will not make me a better photographer, just give me more options.

Loyalty it seems is most valuable to me when it arises from having discovered a good product. Tilley hats, made by a Canadian company, are breathable and dry quickly, an asset to the outdoors photographer. Paramo clothing gives warmth, protection and longevity. It is light to wear, suitable for outdoor hobbies and the company has an ethical outlook. In purchasing these products my loyalty is well-founded.

I have second-hand experience of Tesla who produce cars, solar paneled roofs and a power wall (containing a battery where you store excess power). People are loyal to them because of their green credentials. They are able to recycle 98% of the chemicals in their batteries so they have a very sustainable world vision. If this is important to you, loyalty makes sense.

Companies without this vision cannot expect loyalty if they are expecting us to throw away a good product in 5 years’ time because we can no longer get the parts or servicing. In fact, in the photographic world, are we being sold a lie that we need all this stuff to be the best? This is clearly nonsense!

Continual upgrading for every progression of technology creates a new sense of exclusivity but does not necessarily lead to more creativity. Surely loyalty is useful only when it supports creativity which is our primary purpose.



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