Here are some ideas for the camera industry, to make better cameras and DELIVER them better…

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I have some tips!

Nikon and sample footage

  1. I am customer like everyone else reading this blog. I shot the video above, in a way to show off what the small and cheap cameras have been capable of over the past few years. I’m currently trying to decide whether to buy a Z7. The spec looks good, but the official Z7 sample footage is – for want of a better word – just a massive TURN OFF. Uninspired glossy trash, isn’t it? Why not give the camera to someone who actually has an eye for cinema? The one to show off N-LOG had more blown out highlights than a 1970’s porno!
  2. Nikon also have an issue with actually getting the cameras into shops. They might not even have enough to satisfy the pre-orders bought sight-unseen mostly from Nikon faithful. The Z6 is delayed until 2 months later, which is the one we really want for video and it has a much more competitive price. The Z7 with F mount lens adapter is nearly 4000 euros where I am. What Nikon need to work on is clearly a major ongoing supply chain issue. The heaviest demand for the camera is always when it launches and not so much a year later! Yet even then, Nikon seem to have trouble maintaining enough supply – at some major retailers the Nikon D850 is far too often out of stock like at B&H. They need to hire a really good operations guy from a large tech company and figure out a way forward.

Blackmagic

  1. I am a Resolve user and get very excited every time NAB rolls around. What camera are they going to announce? With every NAB launch though, there is that long agonising wait after. They ship almost like clockwork around November after NAB. Why not announce the camera until they are 100% sure of a shipping date? Or at IBC in September? Camera development is a very complex thing. It’s almost impossible to announce a reliable ship date so far in advance. It would be much less of a tease and people like me who pre-ordered it wouldn’t get so frustrated if they don’t get one 🙂
  2. When it comes to the marketing, obviously there is a big interest at the moment in YouTube and Instagram subscriber numbers. I think camera companies sometimes lose sight of why these subscriber numbers are so high. Blackmagic seeded a Pocket Cinema 4K camera to a K-pop music video director in South Korea. I am sure he is a very talented guy with many avid followers, but I have my doubts and I have expressed them to Blackmagic as well so they know where I stand. The situation is this – His K-pop channel may have 300,000 subscribers and he has his own record label, but he went and shot a load of giraffes. Do Blackmagic really think his subscribers are there for camera tests? Do his subscribers even need ProRes? It’s easy to see the allure of a K-pop video with an incredible 7 million views on YouTube but the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K footage is all shot in a zoo and out of those 300,000 subscribers just 14,000 of them have watched the footage! I wager that most of those views come from the camera forums rather than his own subscribers. They honestly don’t care what camera he uses to shoot his videos. I think when he finally does shoot his sexy K-pop video with the camera, those 300,000 subscribers still won’t care about what it was shot on. Blackmagic’s aim is for some great content to come out of this director in the future and high awareness of their camera, which is fair enough – they need material to show off the image quality. However, the audience for it is all wrong – disinterested in cameras. The audience here isn’t.

Sony

  1. I am looking forward to the Sony A7S III. We know so little about it. Is it even coming? Anyway Sony haven’t been at all wary of letting these cameras get very close to, or even exceed, the specs of the professional cameras like the FS5. Sony seems to realise (unlike Canon) that pros buy an FS5 or FS7 for the form factor and A/V interface, not the outright specs and image quality (not that it’s lacking there). So although Sony have not cannibalised their Pro sales with an A7 camera, I think they have cannibalised their own A7 camera sales. Why buy an A7S III when the A7 III shoots such incredible video? They are really going to have to make the A7S III VERY VERY special indeed for it to get people back with a more expensive $3500 A7S after so many “downgraded” from their A7S or A7S II to an A7 III.

Canon

I also recommend reading STEVE HUFF’s take on the EOS R. Thanks for the mention Steve!

  1. Oh my god, where to start. Canon’s great strength is in lenses.So bearing in mind that their lenses are such a great strength – I would have been more than happy to spend $3000 on THAT amazing 24-70mm F2.0 and 50mm F1.2 were it not for the fact that these full frame lenses cannot be used!! What I mean by that is of course the indefensible 1.8x crop on the EOS R in 4K. You cannot make use of the wide end of the 24-70. So why spend $3000 on one? INSTANT LOST SALE.You don’t see the incredible rendering at the edges of the frame on the 50. You are spending a big premium on a full frame lens, only to use it on a small area of the sensor!! That for me is a rip off. Is it still tempting to put down $2300 for the EOS R? I like Dual Pixel AF. Ergonomics look sensible. I like the drop-in variable ND adapter. I think Panasonic, Fuji and Nikon do just as good a job on mirrorless ergonomics though if not better. Canon’s colour science is lovely but again – Nikon, Fujifilm and Olympus are arguably superior in some ways, and Sony / Panasonic are catching up fast.

    I just think if I buy an EOS R I will regret it. In 6 months to a year there will probably be one with a 1.5x Super 35mm crop mode for a similar price! Then 6 months after that there will be a 1.3x crop one for $3500! Then maybe in 3 years or whenever Canon decides to get real there might be a 1.0x crop full frame 4K camera for $4000 or so, by which time you’ll be broke!

    And what will Sony, Panasonic and Fujifilm be offering by then? 8K medium format?!

  2. A 1.8x crop is fine on a GH5S because you have the glass for it. The Micro Four Thirds lenses are designed for that crop factor. You have a Speed Booster to convert your EF lenses into a full frame field of view on the MFT sensor, or at least close. Wide angles aren’t lost and you get the dreamy shallow depth of field, we pay a premium for on a full frame system.On the EOS R, Canon is urging people to use APS-C glass as if it’s a $500 body. It doesn’t even shoot APS-C 4K. It’s not 1.5x crop, it’s 1.8x crop. An 18mm wide end on your Sigma 18-35 F1.8 is not going to be 28mm like it is designed to be. What’s worse is that I have experience shooting crop-glass on a full frame camera and it frankly is awful ergonomically. EVERY TIME you want to reel off a full frame still, you have to change the lens.Lenses are Canon’s biggest strength right? SO ACT LIKE IT?
  3. The Cinema EOS range started when it became clear that pros wanted an upgrade path from DSLR video. Small chip camcorders were plateauing in use and actually soon on the way down. The demand for larger sensors come 2011 was huge. Almost every pro had a DSLR for video at some point or another. Even George Lucas. So Canon seeded their dominant pro camcorder business from the stills business and pros brought their EF lenses with them. Rather than have the DSLRs remain a seed, they uprooted the field where the seed was planted and built a big F**K OFF sign on it.Cinema EOS is nicely established now but people have been taken OUT of the ecosystem. We now have a mix of Sony and Panasonic and Canon cameras in the hands of the same person who previously only shot Canon or RED! For every Canon user that chooses to buy a Sony A7 model for video as a B-cam to their Cinema EOS camcorder, it weakens the foundations of the Cinema EOS business.
  4. And let’s not mention the rental market where the slow-mo capable FS5 and FS7 have stomped all over Cinema EOS.
  5. A lot of people say Canon know their market and they certainly do. Unfortunately markets have a habit of changing and the more you think you know your market the more entrenched your product strategy becomes. It happened to Kodak. Canon is a bit out of touch. They were the best of all the camera companies at understanding their “existing” market but have not been quick at realised how fast it’s changing. Canon are slow. They have huge inertia. That’s part of the reason why the EOS R is so little, so late. It is why thousands upon thousands of Canon users have taken their EF lenses off to an alternative body from Sony or Panasonic… And now also Fujifilm.
  6. Soon we will be using our Canon lenses on a Nikon Z6! How ridiculously ironic is that? Canon must plug this 4K leak once and for all.

Pricing

  1. The average price of cameras has skyrocketed since a few years ago. There’s a good reason for the focus on high-end enthusiast and pro models, but you have to wonder where it’s all going to end on pricing?Sure, smartphones have lowered the shipping quantities of cheaper low-end cameras (DSLRs as well as just compacts), which makes the small margins harder to justify. It’s an understandable business tactic but I think accessible pricing is a very important aspect of almost any market especially the video and photography trade. I feel it is being lost sight of. There are very few and far between interesting models in the low end with the exception of some of the Panasonic and Olympus cameras. Even the Sony A6000 was the last of it’s kind, with subsequent models such as A6500 aiming upward of $1200 and the RX100 series just gets more expensive with every release! If the camera companies are determined to reach fewer and fewer people at higher and higher margins, I can’t see it ending well for them overall. At some point some upstart company from China is going to blow the doors off the whole endeavour. It will be an amazingly designed and incredibly spec of camera for far less money. Maybe if DJI or Samsung move into the mirrorless camera market, they will bring prices of the higher-end stuff down too, to win market share. Be careful Sony.

Apps

  1. The camera companies are ignoring billions in revenue from apps. They shun Magic Lantern, and it all just shows a general lack of understanding from elderly management. Smartphone cameras are the success they are because of apps. If there wasn’t Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and so on, I hardly think smartphone photography would have become so widespread, do you? They’d be all offline photos and they’d be far less incentive to buy a smartphone. The incentive to buy a camera is massively reduced because they still shoot offline images. Dedicated cameras still can’t do apps in an intuitive way. I don’t just mean for stills – people want to upload short video clips as well and it is a HASSLE. Samsung came close to trying the hardest with a full-on Android OS on one of their Galaxy NX mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensor and interchangeable lenses. It even had a sim-card slot. Didn’t sell. Why? Because smartphones are so easy to use and so familiar. Learning a new system is a ball ache. Pairing a camera via WiFi just to upload a photo is an utter ball ache. The current pairing process is a dinosaur! Uploading to Instagram should be as simple as installing the app, selecting the photo and pressing ‘ok’. What I think is needed, is an embedded E-sim chipset and collaboration with some of the networks to 100% ENSURE you can use your existing contract for more than one device EASILY. Problem solved. WiFi network access-only in a camera is just not enough I’m afraid!

Any more ideas? Send them my way on the EOSHD Forum…

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