My friend sends me an article with the title “Study: Cheap Cameras Break More than Expensive Ones, and Panasonic Breaks Least”. Thinking back on my experience on photography equipment that I bought, I agree with the title. The article should read “Cheap Compact Cameras breaks more…” as the study only refers to compact cameras and not on DSLR because they didn’t have enough data for comparison of DSLR camera warranty claim.
The study was conducted by Square Trade, which sells warranty so they have a pretty good idea based on the data they amassed over three years for their study.
And they found that cheap compact cameras have a 7.4% failure rate while the expensive compacts have a 4% failure. This brings to mind my experiences with digital equipment whether it is cameras, computers, components or gadgets and I have my fair share of these equipment breaking down on me. I read an article somewhere that the defective rate for digital devices is approximately 5%. And if you are unlucky like my brother-in-law, it seems almost every piece of his hardware that he bought has some kind of defect bringing his defective component experience more than 10%!
Although pouring in extra money to buy a better expensive one should theoretically based on the empirical data carried out by Square Trade will reduce the incident of buying a defective camera.
Another study that they conducted came up a surprise! Based on the range of premium compact camera brands in their study, the most reliable brand is Panasonic. With the next Nikon, Sony, Olympus, and here’s a surprise! Canon coming in last in their reliability!
I know Olympus was pretty bad having had lots of problem with the old film compacts and one digital compact which I got for my dad, but Canon coming in last was a surprise. No wonder my Canon Powershot had a battery drain problem just two years of having owned it. I seldom buy extended warranty since it just a matter of luck when your device will fail, except for my brother-in-law of course having very bad experience with digital products, he bought extended warranty whenever possible especially for expensive equipment.
Of course when comparing against a range of value compact cameras, Canon is in the middle. The best is still Panasonic and the worse is Casio at 13% on malfunction.
So now, with the above figure, my suspicion was correct about Canon quality and my feeling about brand reliability for Panasonic brand is well founded. Heck, I have many Panasonic products and I do say they are pretty durable and reliable. Panasonic products such as air-conditioner, water filters, household appliances, even their batteries I have used with very good experience so why not their compact cameras too! If they come up with an affordable DSLR with lots of easily available basic photography equipment accessories and compatible third party photography equipment, I might just switch over from my Canon EOS camera to perhaps Panasonic GH1 for the brand reliability and durability! And that was just want I did for my recent compact camera choosing a Panasonic Lumix TZ7 over a Canon compact camera to replace my defective Powershot!
When it comes to DSLR photography equipment, their study concluded that between Canon and Nikon, the defect rate is about 4% and neither brand was better than the other. While they don’t have enough data on the other DSLR brands, but you could always take a guess based on their study of the premium and value compact cameras. Perhaps you might want to go for Panasonic DSLR which they have been releasing lately? But they are kinda very expensive judging from the listed price. Perhaps in time they might come up with affordable ones, and hopefully have a mount that can take up either Canon or Nikon lenses! That would really save some bucks when planning for a switchover!