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Canon "exploring" 4K GH4 competitor


Andrew Reid

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This is probably the most revealing interview I can remember with a Canon exec. Barney Britton and Rishi Sanyal at DPR have asked not just tough questions, but the right questions!

Canon imply a small GH4-like 4K camera is "under consideration" and they want to satisfy demand from the news media industry.

Read the full article - http://www.eoshd.com/2015/03/canon-exploring-4k-gh4-competitor/

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With 7D, 5D still being #1 sellers I just don't see this happening......

 

Panasonic did it because it needed to compete, Canon is still #1 and their new Cinema Camera (C100 mark II) and soon to come C300 will have that pro market covered. Now lets see what happens next month as you really never know at the end of the day.....

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Sounds to me like the statement that it will be geared towards the news media is an indicator that they may be hearing that it would be nice to be able to record video of news events and pull stills from it for publication.  This is how they tried selling the 1DC by showing how wedding shooters could do this.  It also seems clear, particularly with the emphasis on news gathering, that Canon in their typical fashion will leave out many features that would make such a camera a must have for many of us.  Should we care to wager on which features.  24P anyone?  

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With 7D, 5D still being #1 sellers I just don't see this happening......

​I remember a time when the 5d ii was back ordered for months after it's introduction.  However, when the newer 5d iii was introduced, you could pretty much buy it the next day...  As for the original 7D, it was months before stores were giving discounts.. Now it looks like a lot of places are...  Oh well, let's see what canon has at NAB.  I doubt they have anything.. it's always "canon will bring something at the END of the year".... just like how people say, "this will be the year the Cubs win the world series"...

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It's looking extremely likely that at NAB this April Panasonic will be releasing a successor to the AF100, with 4K and 18MP still capability, as well as other great features. If Canon doesn't release their own take on this video/still hybrid device at NAB 2015, they will be generations behind the competition. Reading Andrew's selected grabs from the man from Canon, it reminds one that even chief executives can be either significantly out-of-touch, or simply lacking insight. The senior Olympus designer recently featured on EOSHD, seemed to make similarly misguided comments - about there being no real need for 4K now in Olympus cameras, since it was only Panasonic and Samsung seeking to generate content and therefore business for their 4K screens. That's like saying, "We'll build fast cars when all the motorways are completed."

I've already let my local dealer know that I want to be first in line when the new Panasonic's become available... And, with the new firmware for the GH4 imminent, it's looking good for m43 right now. I couldn't care less (yes, I said it the right way) what Canon comes up with.

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I'm only with Canon because of the lenses I own. They need to think of themselves as a company that captures "images" and not in these rigid product categories they seem willing to go down with the ship over.

I don't get the "news" angle either when there is such a demand for corporate, weddings and filmmaking. They still offer cameras that stink of moiré, use horrid codecs, lack 60p+ and seem firmware crippled in very strange ways.

I think companies that don't evolve should be punished, I'm just sad I cast my lot with them a couple of years ago and they did not even try to keep up. For now, 2015, I can still do what I need to do with my set-up, but the writing is one the wall. I don't expect my changeover will have much to do with Canon's offerings. I'll miss my workhorse 70-200 f/2.8 L though. It's one of those cases where, yes, a piece of equipment did make me better at my craft.

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I'm only with Canon because of the lenses I own. [...] I'll miss my workhorse 70-200 f/2.8 L though. It's one of those cases where, yes, a piece of equipment did make me better at my craft.

Well the best news for you then is no matter what you switch to, as long as it's not a mirrored Nikon camera, you can keep using that beautiful Canon glass if you want to. It's some of the most adaptable optics in the industry, covering photographic 35mm all the way down to the BMPCC.

And, with the new firmware for the GH4 imminent, it's looking good for m43 right now.

​Assuming this isn't vapourware. It's been "imminent" since the last firmware practically. And so far it's just a rumour. I'm as hopeful as anybody, but I'm not biting my nails waiting either. I'm as hopeful about the next round of hardware as I am about this firmware, and honestly it's not stopping me from going out and making films, I just have to be careful with exposure and light control - but that's filmmaking, no? I guess my point is that M43 is already looking pretty good even now, and it's still in it's first real 4k generation. Give it some time hardware- and software- wise and I think it'll always have a superb place in compact, lightweight filmmaking, much as 16mm did before it (although it has the potential to be far far better than 16mm). 

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I'm only with Canon because of the lenses I own.

​Exactly.  In order for Canon to make 4K is needs to make it with an APS-C sized sensor or better.  The only reason Sony could pull it off was by increasing pixel size and reducing resolution, and even then, you need an external recorder.  

"Yes this is something we’re working on but it’s very difficult. The challenge is data. Processing that amount of data. If we were using a supercomputer it would be OK!"

This is Canon's root problem.  Big lenses mean big sensors mean bigger processor demands.

He also said a couple of things about corporate realities that I've pointed out on this forum.  

"The threats that our mirrorless cameras team face aren’t from other companies, they’re from other divisions within our company."

I’m saying “sell it!” but it’s their decision whether they want to or not. 

IF the market for 4K video grows, what can Canon do?  1. Use MFT sized sensors or 2. Use a smaller resolution size APS-C/FF sensor.  Their best bet is the EOS-M line, but as he said, internal politics is a bitch.

 

 

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[...] but as he said, internal politics is a bitch.

​This is exactly why these companies are so far behind right now. They have nobody who is specifically creating large-scale strategy for the firm - each division is effectively independent and in competition. 

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It may be closer than we realize.  There was this rumor from 3 months ago that suggested something was coming at NAB.

http://www.canonrumors.com/2014/12/canon-to-target-the-gh4-with-new-dslr-type-cr2/

 

​Interesting spot, however a fixed lens 1" camcorder doesn't sound much like a GH4 competitor to me.

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​Exactly.  In order for Canon to make 4K is needs to make it with an APS-C sized sensor or better.  The only reason Sony could pull it off was by increasing pixel size and reducing resolution, and even then, you need an external recorder.

​How do you explain the Samsung NX1 then? APS-C, 28MP and yet does 4K with full pixel readout. Barely gets warm. It's cheap. The processors for 4K are already even in smartphones.

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With 7D, 5D still being #1 sellers I just don't see this happening......

Panasonic did it because it needed to compete, Canon is still #1 and their new Cinema Camera (C100 mark II) and soon to come C300 will have that pro market covered. Now lets see what happens next month as you really never know at the end of the day.....

​That's pretty optimistic. I don't see the 7D II and 5D III leading the sales charts at the moment.

The 7D Mark II body in the US market is only 17th on the Amazon rank for DSLRs, placed 249 in the overall Camera and Photo sales rank, well outside the top 100.

The 5D Mark III is number 5 in the DSLR ranks but there are 3 cheap Nikons ahead of it.

The D750 isn't far behind at 7.

This chart excludes all the mirrorless stuff. Look at that rank and you will see Sony in places 1 to 7. Stuff like the A6000 and A7 Mk II is selling very well. Even better in Europe and Asia where mirrorless has caught on.

Canon USA won't even release a new mirrorless camera in the states. They are too scared or cannibalising their DSLR sales.

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Canon USA won't even release a new mirrorless camera in the states. They are too scared or cannibalising their DSLR sales.

This is also the same reason canon will not release a gh4 competitor this year.  It will cannibalize their cinema line.  If canon cannibalizes their cinema line, it would basically be Canon admitting they made a mistake when they created the cinema division which was suppose to be their next cash cow.  It's a pride issue.  Canon is a very prideful company... and they are losing market share not to mention mind share..

The issue with the cinema division is that it is marginally successful enough NOT to be dismantled... but not successful enough to be a cash cow or drive sales at canon.

When canon de-emphasize their cinema division, that is when we know they are serious about competing with the gh4 (gh5???) and the a7s (a7s II???) of the worlds...

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​How do you explain the Samsung NX1 then? APS-C, 28MP and yet does 4K with full pixel readout. Barely gets warm. It's cheap. The processors for 4K are already even in smartphones.

​Samsung can do it because they just entered the DSLR business.  You're a wedding photographer, does Samsung have the color science and lenses to deliver you the results you can get with your 5D? (let alone FF DOF).  You're an architectural photographer, where are Samsung's tilt-shifts?  You're a documentary filmmaker, where's the Samsung camera with XRL inputs?   In Canon's labs I'm SURE they can do 4K with the 70D, for example, just like I can get 720p RAW out of the EOSM using Magic Lantern.  But it's one thing to tweak the camera in a lab to get 4K and another to put it in the real-world where it must co-exist with your working technologies which are important to your market, which is broad for Canon.  Or put another way, Canon can't do 4K without creating a lot of risk that they'll screw up something with their mainstream business.  

I'm sure it's the same in Berlin, as it is in London, as it is here in Cambridge, MA.  Walk the street.  You'll count Canon after Canon in DSLRs, and some Nikons.  No matter how nice the NX1 might be, people want to buy the camera that fits their lenses, with menus they're familiar with, that their friends use, etc., etc.  If Samsung screws up a feature it's no real big deal for them, they sold a few thousand cameras.  Canon has a LOT more to loose so is more risk-averse about new features.  Canon probably sells more cameras in a day than Samsung in a year.  When Canon releases 4K, it has to be right.  Look at the problems Nikon had with its mirror assembly as it tried to improve frame-per-second shooting.  Large stakes.

BTW, I'd rather have 1080 RAW from a Canon, than 8-bit 4K

 

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The NX1 has great color, and I'd argue that for weddings, it's miles ahead of Canon. Have you tried AF video on a Canon lately?

i can put my NX1 on my gimbal, set it to face track AF and forget about it. It's downright creepy, but it actually tracks faces and keeps them in focus, fairly reliably. It's light weight, and on a carbon fiber gimbal, I can run around all day getting shots of a wedding that look like crane shots or dolly shots... In 4K. Or in slow motion. All this kit cost less than a camera from the C line of Canon, let alone Canon lenses.

 

theyre going to HAVE to canibalize at some point, all companies do. Why they have such a problem with that is another matter.

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Don't know how many Canons and Nikons are out there, and I couldn't care less for the reasons they have for protecting their own markets. All I know is that I've got plenty of Canon glass, but if Samsung really continues with the firmware updates, listening to feedback, and Samsung glass (or adapters) keeps coming... I know where I'm heading, I prefer companies trying to adapt to my needs, not the opposite.

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