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10 questions I'll be asking Canon and Nikon at Photokina - join me and present yours


Andrew Reid
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Why does Canon not care about the small to mid range indie fillmmaker? Several loyal Canon shooters like Dave Dugdale and Caleb Pike have ditched Canon for the performance of the GH4. As a longtime Canon shooter, what choice do I have? I'm running a 60D with Magic Lantern, external audio recorder, rigged headphones, etc. Why have you forsaken us?

 

Time to switch systems I'm afraid. 7D Mark II won't be what you're looking for if the rumoured specs are true.

 

If it wasn't for Magic Lantern and AF with EF lenses (for stills), I'd have put my 5D Mark III on eBay about 16 months ago.

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Very unprofessionally-put questions that will lead to absolutely nothing, not a single usefull answer compared to what a professional journalist could get by asking similar question just in a different way.

 

Some of the questions wouldn't even have been asked in any form by a professional journalist because professional journalists do research before having a hardball Q&A session with corporate representatives.

 

Here are some FACTS a professional journalist would keep in mind when speaking to Canon and Nikon.  The first is historically DSLR sales have been volatile.  You need a lot of data points before you can claim there is a trend... not just a few months worth of data during economically turbulent times.

 

Another FACT that should be kept in mind is the number one selling DSLR on the United States' number one online reseller last week was the Nikon D750.  It was bumped from number one to number two when I checked today.  The new number one selling DSLR is the Canon T3i... hardly a 4K aliasing/moire free video machine.

 

FACT number four, I'm losing track now, there are no mirrorless cameras of any sort in the top 10 DSLR cameras sold on Amazon.

 

FACT number five there are no Sony cameras of any type in the top 50.  Let me make this absolutely clear.  The 7D outsells EVERY Sony DSLR/mirrorless camera.

 

Against this backdrop I would think it is ill advised to tell Canon and Nikon either explicitly or implicitly that they are somehow a sales failure.  And I would think, given the data, that suggesting, again explicitly or implicitly, that 4k and ditching the mirror is going to somehow work wonders is a bit foolhardy.

 

Anyone can choose to ignore these data points but let me assure you Canon and Nikon have those data points and many more.  It's interesting.  You remove Japan from those mirrorless numbers and you really wonder where they settle out.  Japan is a unique market.  It is not necessarily a trend setter or ahead of the curve as people like to often imply.  Let me put it to you this way in Japan Fuji still sells plenty of FILM I can no longer get in the US.  Does that mean the world is moving from digital to film or does that just mean the Japanese have peculiar tastes... particularly in regards to photography?  Don't get me wrong in many ways I wish the US photography market was like Japan, but wishing doesn't make it so.

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Some of the questions wouldn't even have been asked in any form by a professional journalist because professional journalists do research before having a hardball Q&A session with corporate representatives.

 

What a joke, seriously you must be kidding me. Are you suggesting that in the 5 years I have lived and breathed DSLR video, writing hundreds of articles on EOSHD about the gear, and unlike you actually fucking shooting stuff, that this does not count as professional research for a bunch of questions at Photokina in 2014? You are out of your mind and damned bloody rude if you don't mind me saying so as well. Really angered me with this. I think you should take your animosity towards Andrew Reid and put it back on a forum like DVX where it belongs.

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The only question you need to ask Canon and Nikon are:

 

"What are your plans for video in near future products?" .... and go from there. Those 20 other questions I would totally forget. Don't waste your time  ;)

 

Or even better, ask Canon about any future addtions or plans for their EOS cinema lineup (they have been steadily releasing small sensor video cameras).

 

I agree that telling the best selling DSLR brands why they are so bad and far behind at selling DSLRs is not the best approach. Not long ago many people on this forum claimed that if the A7S was released at a price above 2.000$ it would be a stupid marketing decision and pricing policy, and that they would fail against the GH4. I honestly do not know which one is selling better, but I have a feeling the A7S is far from being a sales failure.

 

The truth is that Canon, Nikon, Sony and Panasonic have large and experienced R&D, sales and marketing departments and that they probably have more and better information to make their decisions. They may be wrong, but in those instances the "cause and effect" is likely quite complicated.

 

We don't know if Nikon's contract with Sony prevents them from pushing their video capabilities. We don't know if a year from know Canon will renew the Cinema EOS line. What we know is that they still are the top brands in photography and that the C300 and C500 are very widely used in filmmaking (from top hollywood to indie). Squeezing every dollar from your technology is not a bad company policy and sales tell the "overpricing" is not such. They know what they're doing, even if I agree that Sony and Panasonic are more innovative lately.

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I agree that telling the best selling DSLR brands why they are so bad and far behind at selling DSLRs is not the best approach.

 

Have you read the main post? Where do I say Canon & Nikon are not sales leaders? They are not leading in the technology and DSLR shipments are down year on year since 2012. It isn't that Canon and Nikon are behind on sales.

 

Geez!

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Have you read the main post? Where do I say Canon & Nikon are not sales leaders? They are not leading in the technology and DSLR shipments are down year on year since 2012. It isn't that Canon and Nikon are behind on sales.

 

Geez!

 

Yes I did, and I never said you denied them being sales leaders, I just wanted to point out that telling the top selling companies that their products suck compared to the less-selling competition may not be the best approach, especially cause the rebuttal is easy: "We outsell them considerably. Most pro photographers worldwide choose to pay extra for our "outdated and underperforming" products instead of working with a GH4 or an A7. Do you know better than them?"

 

I believe you know it is much better not to include a conclusion (or even less a personal opinion) in the question. The idea is for the questions to lead to that conclusion and I think there are ways to make the Canon rep blush if they have nothing new to offer. Kinda happened "naturally" at NAB this year, whenever they appeared in a panel with reps from Sony and Panasonic and all the Canon guy had to talk about was the autofocus upgrade.

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Hey Andrew,

 

Do you plan on having your question/answer session with Canon and Nikon filmed?

 

I think it is especially important to get this on camera as they may shrug off some of your questions.  If this is the case, showing them side-stepping a question on camera can be very powerful.

 

Innovative companies like Sony and Blackmagic are creating a tipping point in the market for indie-filmmakers and the answers you get from them could tip it further.

 

I think many people such as I are waiting to decide which direction to take our gear, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic or Blackmagic because we simply don't know where Canon and Nikon stands.  I think Sony, Panasonic and Blackmagic have made their position VERY CLEAR.  But for "C" and "N" not so much.

 

So for myself it would be great to hear what their future intentions are and if I am wasting my time waiting on them to do something that can be relevant and impactful to my filmmaking.

 

On that note, would you have time to ask smaller scale questions such as why they window the hdmi output when menu overlays are active on their DSLR line of products instead of keeping the image full screen and having the menu overlay on top of the image such as on the FS100? 

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This is where news reporting has gotten it wrong. There shouldn't be "professional" questions to ask. You ask the questions that are pertinent, and you don't pull the punches. I'm sick of media sugar coating this stuff. They have the technology to give us what they want, it's their job. Product cycles, or just not enough $ into R&D, isn't our problem. A good company would take a market lead and capitalize on it. They have not. Typical lazy corporate bs. Thank you for calling them out on it.

I know for a fact Sony's internal communication between departments is terrible. Imagine if we had a lart tech company that actually ran well.

 

 

What have you been smoking? It's their job to give us what they can do? And I assume you want it in a cheap package also, right? Like a Canon 5Dm4 for €2500,00 with 12 bit 4:4:4 ProRes recording, 4k @ 200 fps, long battery life, build in ND's, and the like. 
Cause yes, today's technology is ready for this. Why aren't they giving it to us?
 
Because: That would be the end of the capatalistic economy as we know it. First of all, companies don't owe us anything except a working product for a price that we are willing to pay. That's it. It's not their job to develop and 'give' the people things. It's their job to make money now, and in the future.
 
If every company 'gave us' what we want and what is possible with their current technology, we would have already have 100 inch flatscreen TV's at home, 16-core super computers at home that cost 800 bucks, cars that massage your balls while you're driving, etc etc.
But you know what, they'll save that for later. They release stuff in increments. The new i7 processor is 10% faster / more efficient than the previous. So we all buy that after skipping 1 or 2 generations. I'm 100% sure that Intel already could produce the latest chips around 5-8 years ago for the same costs / price.
 
Let the market sort itself out. Panasonic is giving us much more for fewer money when it comes to video than Nikon, so video-enthusiasts are moving away from Nikon. Slowly, but it's happening. And you know what, Nikon doesn't care. Cause 95% of their customers are photographers. And those 48 MP camera's are great!
 
Same for Canon. They don't care about those people who buy a 650D / rebel t4i for 500 bucks and shoot test videos of their cats and house with. That's not even a market big enough to consider. It's a stills camera with a video function, nothing more. If you want to shoot better video, buy our EOS C line. And that's what many serious people are doing anyway. They don't care if it's 5000 for a C100. As long as it works.
 
Just to be clear, I'm with you on the same page. I would like the perfect camera for €1000,00 and I know they can do it. But why would they? 
I could also make wedding films for €200,00 and color grade every clip to perfection. But I don't. You want more? You pay more. Same difference.
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Definitely a possibility to film the interviews. Let's see. Once again, it will all be professional, polite and objective not a personal rant at a poor sales rep. I'm going to arrange to meet product managers at Canon and Nikon, people who should be in the right position to answer. And yes if they avoid answering or give a politician's shrug-off then that can be just as interesting, it speaks volumes about the truth doesn't it? You're quite right. The only thing I know they definitely 100% won't answer for sure, is questions relating to future products.

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Some of the questions wouldn't even have been asked in any form by a professional journalist because professional journalists do research before having a hardball Q&A session with corporate representatives.

 

Here are some FACTS a professional journalist would keep in mind when speaking to Canon and Nikon.  The first is historically DSLR sales have been volatile.  You need a lot of data points before you can claim there is a trend... not just a few months worth of data during economically turbulent times.

 

Another FACT that should be kept in mind is the number one selling DSLR on the United States' number one online reseller last week was the Nikon D750.  It was bumped from number one to number two when I checked today.  The new number one selling DSLR is the Canon T3i... hardly a 4K aliasing/moire free video machine.

 

FACT number four, I'm losing track now, there are no mirrorless cameras of any sort in the top 10 DSLR cameras sold on Amazon.

 

FACT number five there are no Sony cameras of any type in the top 50.  Let me make this absolutely clear.  The 7D outsells EVERY Sony DSLR/mirrorless camera.

 

Against this backdrop I would think it is ill advised to tell Canon and Nikon either explicitly or implicitly that they are somehow a sales failure.  And I would think, given the data, that suggesting, again explicitly or implicitly, that 4k and ditching the mirror is going to somehow work wonders is a bit foolhardy.

 

Anyone can choose to ignore these data points but let me assure you Canon and Nikon have those data points and many more.  It's interesting.  You remove Japan from those mirrorless numbers and you really wonder where they settle out.  Japan is a unique market.  It is not necessarily a trend setter or ahead of the curve as people like to often imply.  Let me put it to you this way in Japan Fuji still sells plenty of FILM I can no longer get in the US.  Does that mean the world is moving from digital to film or does that just mean the Japanese have peculiar tastes... particularly in regards to photography?  Don't get me wrong in many ways I wish the US photography market was like Japan, but wishing doesn't make it so.

 

I don't think Andrew is talking about the business side of Canon and Nikon.  He is not speaking from a shareholder's point of view.  He is talking form a pure filmmaking point of view.  As a filmmaker, I could care less what the manufacturer's bottom line is.  I need gear that speaks to the creativity of storytellers not greedy shareholders.

 

I've traditionally thought that companies like Canon and Nikon, being on a public stock exchange, would be crippled for innovation by their shareholders need to get a return on their investment.  But Sony is also similarly structured as they too have an army of public shareholders, but yet manage to innovate and surprise us every 4 months for the last year or so.

 

So what is holding Canon and Nikon back?  So far it is clear that they don't care about the indie filmmaker and the craft of filmmaking.

 

When I need to select the creative tool for the job, I am less and less looking at Canon and Nikon and more looking at Sony, Panasonic and Blackmagic.  That is the trend that counts.

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I am indeed talking from the perspective of a filmmaker who wants to buy Canon's products but nothing appeals. Why would I want a Cinema EOS C300 for $12,000 when I could get a Sony FS7 for $8000? It shoots compressed 4K internal at manageable data rates and 180fps for slow-mo, along with an E-mount which can adapt to Canon and PL not just one or the other. I need this stuff, features Canon just doesn't have! Simples!

 

The DSLR / low end side is a mess. I wanted to upgrade from the 5D Mark III to a 1D X that shot 4K for $6k. That would have sold like crazy. Instead they put an insane mark-up on it to $12,000 and badged it as part of the Cinema EOS range, 1D C. I am not about to invest $12k in a camera that has already fallen $2k in price new and will be worth half as much in another 12 months. I don't even need to buy the 1D C now the A7S and GH4 are out anyway!

 

As a consumer, which I am as well, then why would I want to shoot stills on a 70D or 7D Mark II when I can get a full frame Sony camera for around about the same price?

 

Canon became sales leader because they were a price / performance leader. Now they're not leading in the technology or on price and DSLR shipments are going down, the evidence is on my side and the questions I'm asking are perfectly pertinent.

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The trend in society is that demand ultimately determines the fate of the future.  Not the supplier.  If organization "A" refuses to acknowledge the demand, then some other organization will, thus resulting in the demise of the previous organization.

 

So if Canon and Nikon don't want to recognize the indie-filmmaker, then the demand will simply go elsewhere and companies like Sony, Panasonic and Blackmagic and other companies will be glad to fill the void.

 

Metabones is a GREAT example of this.  Their active E to EF adapter is society's way of mitigating Canon's lackluster effort.  An "adapter" by definition is our way of saying we like some aspects of what you do (i.e. Canon glass) but unfortunately we need to source the remaining solution elsewhere (i.e. the camera body).

 

In 2009, at the height of the 5D Mark II craze, I never thought that we needed to create a single company (metabones) to side-step having to use Canon DSLR bodies.

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Here's the manner in which I'm going to be presenting my questions:

 

First of all congratulations for being a sales leader in the DSLR market and for the successful launch of Cinema EOS. I do however have some concerns that I feel my readers would like addressing.

 

Canon’s strong sales are based on having that price-performance ratio just right and about leading in performance at a price which is attractive to the customer. Looking at a lot of the recent output of the company in terms of DSLRs I feel that performance advantage is now actually a shortfall to the competition especially in two regards - video and image sensors.

 

Panasonic and Sony are offering 4K video on their consumer stills cameras and Canon are not. Moreoever Sony’s image sensors are ahead on all the key performance metrics - resolution (36MP), low light (12MP full frame), dynamic range (even the cheap A7 is 2 stops better than the 1D X) and video (full pixel readout on the A7S).

 

In terms of price Sony have a more aggressive price point for the A7 vs the Canon 6D on full format, cheaper still when it comes to enthusiast APS-C models.

 

Also it is clear the C300 is outdated relative to the Sony FS7 just announced at IBC, which does 4K recording internally for $8k and 180fps slow-mo with a 10bit 4:2:2 XAVC codec and more importantly filmmakers who I have known to have embraced the C300 as owners are saying to Sony “well done on the ergonomics”, an area of great strength traditionally for Canon and a great selling point of the C300.

 

Additionally it’s now possible for Canon users to take their hefty investment in Canon lenses to other systems, notably to Sony and Panasonic mirrorless cameras. Speaking as a user myself of a huge range of EF lenses, the only reason I haven’t sold my 5D Mark III yet is because of auto-focus. I am shooting stills and video on the A7S.

 

How would you address the concerns I’ve highlighted here today?

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i have to agree that these are very loaded questions.

more or less, many of them simply translate to: "why do you guys suck more than these guys?" or "how do you explain your failure to be as good as the other guys?"

 

at the end you may not get any answer other than some corporate newspeak cookie cutter reply such as "this is not the direction we have chosen to go with at this time" and possibly alienate yourself from future interviews.

 

i would also like to hear the answers to many of the questions, but perhaps they should be reworded into a less attacking manner?

 

EDIT: just read your last post (must have posted it as I was typing) and that is definitely a better approach :)

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The only question you need to ask Canon and Nikon are:

 

"What are your plans for video in near future products?" .... and go from there. Those 20 other questions I would totally forget. Don't waste your time  ;)

 

Exactly. I agree about concentrating on asking about their near future video policy and simply forgetting about those 20 nerdy ones.

Getting their views on that would be actually interesting. We can draw our own conclusions from what we hear/read.

 

 

The only thing I know they definitely 100% won't answer for sure, is questions relating to future products.

 

But you expect them to give you a good answer to "Is it a business failure that Canikon did not do this or that?"

 

M'kay.

 

You could rephrase the questions about their future plans for better results, just like you could rephrase the question above.

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What a joke, seriously you must be kidding me. Are you suggesting that in the 5 years I have lived and breathed DSLR video, writing hundreds of articles on EOSHD about the gear, and unlike you actually fucking shooting stuff, that this does not count as professional research for a bunch of questions at Photokina in 2014? You are out of your mind and damned bloody rude if you don't mind me saying so as well. Really angered me with this. I think you should take your animosity towards Andrew Reid and put it back on a forum like DVX where it belongs.

 

 

I just want to make a couple of things very clear.  First of all I do NOT go around the internet creating accounts at other video forums and bad mouth you.  I've made hundreds of posts on your forum... that's more than enough.  If I have something to say I post it here so you can read it.  My purpose is do have a dialogue not bash.  If I thought everything you had to say was useless I would just not come to the forum.

 

The second thing I want to state is my comments regarding "research" were about a very narrow part of the videography world... marketing and economics.  I have never questioned you when you have said "this camera has good video quality" or "this camera has a weak codec."  I come to your site, read your reviews, and decide based upon that and viewing a few clips.  If you say a camera has a weak codec that pretty much ends my research on that camera.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Your video camera image quality rank is my bible for my hobby.  It saves me a lot of time and effort when trying to decide what to spend my money on.

 

And finally the only reason... or perhaps 90% of the reason I posted was because I didn't want you to torch your relationship with Canon and Nikon.  I may not have understood how exactly you were going to ask your questions but what you say in your article had me worried.  I don't wish anything bad upon you or this forum.  Frankly I thought it was a bit inappropriate for people to egg you on.  Maybe some of us could have been more constructive and done as you asked an provided question we would ask.  Honestly first and foremost what I want you to do is your job... but I also want you to maintain your relationship with Canon and Nikon.  I am not saying compromise your journalistic integrity.  I just thought a little more finesse was called for.

 

At any rate I like what you did with your revised post in this thread.  Do not misunderstand me.  I really appreciate there are people like you out there advocating for us videographers.  It is just from time to time the manner in which it is done that I thought needed a little tweaking... or maybe I just misunderstood and you were just thinking out loud on your website but in person you were going to handle things differently.

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