More Hot, More Not

Just a quick few followup thoughts to my Hot or Not List article.

Some people think that I was describing which cameras are selling best. No. While there is a correlation between being "hot on the Internet" and sales at retail, it's not even close to a perfect one. The four cameras in my hot list are not the four best-selling cameras.

They are simply the four most-talked about cameras. Four cameras in which the adjectives used to describe them all tend highly towards the positive and exaggerated side.

Things have changed since the film era. In the film era and even early-DSLR era, if someone was going to spend a lot of money on a new camera, they'd tend to ask someone they knew who was into photography. Word of mouth really was word of mouth. 

Today, the first thing everyone does is fire up a search engine or go to a known photography Web site. And just as we found with politics recently, there's a lot of hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims running around.

One photographer I respect, who I don't believe has actually used a Sony A9, used the words "new monster full-frame" camera and "spectacular performance machine." That's an example of hot wordage that gets repeated and amplified. It's the very definition of hotness.

Even in a report from someone who shot with the A9 at the Sony-sponsored sports event, their description doesn't really match what I see from their examples ("90%+ keeper rate" and "nearly every frame of this long sequence was in sharp focus"; but I only found four tack sharp photos that nailed the face of that runner in that sequence). Don't get me wrong, that sequence is respectable, but word usage has this tendency to be exaggerated when products get "hot." Count the exclamation marks. Count the excessive use of adjectives and note when they change to words like "monster" and "perfect" and "superlative." 

This inevitably sets products up for a negative swing when, in full evaluation, the product doesn't quite live up to the level of "hot" they were touted at during the launch. The small annoyances and inconsistencies start to become noticed. The image quality eventually shows that it could use a little tweaking. 

I'd say that Fujifilm and Sony are managing to use the Internet as efficient marketing tools these days. They know who most of the big influencers with large Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube followings are and how to get them writing positively about their products. They tend to encourage speculation and rumors, too, which makes them seem even more relevant than the products you can buy off the shelf today. 

Nikon clearly has no clue any more. While they're out and about trying to get people to post pictures of New York City on the Internet that may or may not have something to do with their cameras, I'm not aware of any attempt by Nikon to actually use the Internet positively as a way to expand their own product marketing visibility. They seem to not really care if their products are hot or not. Which, almost by definition, will make them start out as not. 

Consider, for instance, if Nikon had taken twenty D90 owners and created a faux shooting event where they used the about-to-be-released D7500 to capture their experience. Indeed, get them to post directly from SnapBridge. Plus invited some of the Internet press around to amplify what happened. Instead of everyone complaining about a missing card slot, maybe the Internet might have been talking about "gee, this is so much better than the camera I've got I'm going to buy it as soon as it's out." 

Hot or not is highly manipulable by the product companies. That we get products that aren't hot is not because the products suck, it's because the marketing for them sucks. 


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