Sunday, February 16, 2014

Where Are You, Canon?

As a long time Canon user, I was attracted to its products that were innovative and features that were a cut above its competitors. The original 3.2 MP G1, with its fast f2.0 lens, swivel screen and "low noise", got me into the realm of digital photography, despite the $1200CAD price tag. Then came the 6 MP digital Rebel 300, that got me into the DSLR "hell". For more than 10 years, I stuck with Canon, and accumulated many of its finest L lenses, and went through a variety of camera bodies from Rebels to 1D series. At the current count, I still have a 20D (IR), 5D II, and a 1D III.

When the competition overtook Canon in image quality, low noise, and other areas (hello Nikon D700), I believed Canon would be back with competing and affordable products. But no, we have seen the same 18MP crap [that's not a spelling error] sensor iterating itself over and over again for years, with poor dynamic range, poor high ISO and generally poor image quality compared to the competition. The 1Dx and 5D III is better, but most cannot afford.

Ducks - NEX-6 & Jupiter-3 5cm f1.5

The recent product introduction is even more telling. All the underdogs, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, and even Sigma, are introducing innovative products. What did Canon bring us? Rehashed G1x as the G1x II and Rebel T2i in the form of T5. Compared that to the sexy Fuji X-T1, 4K Panasonic GH4, highly praised OM-D E-M1, mouth watering Alpha A7/A7r, and even the Sigma DPx Quattro with its unique Foveon sensor, it's not hard to see that the competitors are not sleeping at the helm, as Canon seems to be.

I guess Canon is no longer interested in making cameras for the photo enthusiasts like me; someone who likes better image quality, smaller body, with features that depart from the ho-hum. Luckily for us, there are so many other choices.

Lone Walker - NEX-6 & Helios-103 53mm f1.8


  1. during the past decade CANON made 80% of its money with IXUS and similar stuff. This market has broken away to the smartphone market. To be able to develop things you need money. I fear not only CANON in in severe trouble. SONY has learned from Minolta's crash, consolidated what it has taken over and is about to have a start from scratch with NEX and alpha7. The DSLR market will die within the next decade. No need for it any more. Only professionals may offer a niche market for it. Nikon will cover it if it survives.
    Young people are happy with the images taken with a smartphone, few use an additional camera. My son liked his CANON DSLR much but since he got my NEX-7 he never again touched the CANON. I understand why. I guess you know the reason too.

    Just my 2 cents...

    1. Yup. I think they are sitting on their laurel and getting complacent for too long. It won't be long before it comes back and bite them in the ass. Most people still have the mindset that DSLRs are better then mirrorless, ad to some degree it's true, but to most people for what they do with the camera, mirrorless are far better; smaller, more accurate focusing, and a lot more enjoyable to use.

    2. why were SLR developed? The photographer wanted to look through the lens. A LEICA did not provide this. Since a EVF today is even better than a look through the lens using a mirror (especially @ night!) there is no need for SLRs any more - except some special needs in scientific photography. A most wanted side effect is a smaller camera you always have with you - or at least you could.

    3. I must say I prefer EVF for manual focus lenses. It's liberating to be free of focus errors!

  2. I fear that conservatism paralysis has overcome the big 4 from Japan. Its easy to sling mud at them (heck my blog is full of that from me) but given that the market in general seems to not have a clue (enthusiasts aside) who can blame them for not knowing which way to jump.

    I raise as example the Panasonic G1 vs the Olympus EP1. The blither written about the G1 having a FAUX Prism (no such wanking about the same EVF hump on the OM-D I notice) and the price differences ignored the big sites pushed the Oly and in many ways the G1 languished. Eventually they praised the viewfinder add on unit of the EP2 which in reality did not exceed the G1 EVF by much at all, and made the camera ungainly.

    I think that the Sony A7 literates that the Panasonic design was bang on first time. Yet that the Sony does not even have a fully tilt swivel screen indicates how well Panasonic succeeded with their first try.

    So with all that in mind it must be confusing for the dinosaurs who run Canon to make a decision. After all its been decades since they innovated.

    1. A lot of people are simply not educated on the benefits of mirrorless. They think bigger is always better.

      When I got my G1, I was in awe of the awesome EVF. Finally manual focus is a breeze. No doubt about it, save for the niche pro market, EVF is the future of digital cameras.

      Can't agree with you more about Canon's innovation, or rather, the lack of it. It will come back and bite them in the ass. Sometimes, a paradigm shift can disrupt the market and causes the established players to go the way of Kodak.

    2. As I said before: it is not CRC or EVF that hit CANON. It is the smartphone. IQ of smartphones is good for all the normal users who want some images from vacation, Easter and Christmas etc. CANON has lost its main income. They need be careful with next step and where to push money into. SONY has made a decision. We will see what the next months and years will show us. I fear some will "go the way of Kodak" - or Minolta.

  3. "to go the way of Kodak"

    a modern arrangement of "to go the way of the Dinosaur" ... both died from changes to the environment