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Thread: Canon falling behind ??

  1. #1
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    Canon falling behind ??

    With Sony releasing a two new mirrorless full frame cameras it takes me one step closer to believing the "Canon is falling behind" hype we read on other forums. So I did some checking.

    Canon's R&D spending peaked about two years ago, last year it dropped 12 to 14% and it was lower last year than it was 2011. Looking at the mid year financials it looks like R&D will drop again this year, it appears to be 25% under 2012. As someone who believed in Canon as an investor in the past it concerns me now. Right now I have no stock, I think it is still to shaky to get back in. With the P&S market dying and less R&D it makes me wonder will the be ahead again.

    A few other things that I think are of concern when it comes to my lens and camera investment. When the 5D III and the 1D X were released it seemed Canon rushed these bodies out to answer Nikons latest selection. When they did Canon had went a different direction than Nikon. At the time it appeared that possibly Canon had ideas that may work out to be better than Nikon's, their were improvements but were these improvements just the best they could do?

    Then there is video, it seems all of the latest releases have been geared more toward video than photography. Even the new sensors and new AF system seem to be designed for the videographer not the photographer. It makes me think that Canon is not focusing very hard on photography improvements unless they go in hand with video.

    Then the Rumor Mill site seems to be dead ( or not very active) this year. Rumors are few and far between and no announcements expected till next year. If R&D was taking place wouldn't there be a few leaks?

    Should we be concerned yet?
    Should we be comparing Nikon lenses to see if they would be good enough?
    Will there be a EOS M II?
    Will there ever be a 7D II?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Raid's Avatar
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    HD, when you talk about R&D is that the Camera division or for Canon in general?

    As I understand it the reason for Canon's new body delays had been the new sensor mass production facilities.

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    .....take a step back from the ledge Rick. Everything is ok.

    First, whenever I start to let threads at CR get to me, I go check out nikonrumors.com and they are just as bad if not worse. For example, you ask about the 7DII, they've been waiting for the 400s even longer. How about Nikons service? Or their quality control?

    Is anyone making money in the mirrorless market?

    I am not so much trying to defend Canon but I just don't see greener grass elsewhere.

    I think we are looking at a shrinking (mostly P&S) and maturing market. The shrinking part is going to lead to cuts like in R&D. The maturing part is going to lead to a leveling of the playing field. Just look at Apple and Samsung.

    All that said, i think Canon has a big problem on their hands: How to get anyone to buy a 5DIV or 1DXII. Right now I think it has to be significant sensor improvement. But we'll see how Canon solves their problem in about 2 yrs.

    At least that is how I look at it.

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    That was Canon in general and of course they have many divisions.
    I think we might have to dig deeper in to the financials to see how it is divided up. With the P&S market collapsing I wouldn't think that the ratio of R&D went up for cameras and is less for other divisions.

    Years ago I remember Intel's CEO giving an interview, and Intel's philosophy at the time is if you start to fall behind or the economy goes bad you increase your R&D. When profit margins go down you increase R&D. R&D is what fuels a tech companies progress.

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    Brant, it would be a year or more before I fell off the edge. I just see a pattern developing from Canon where video is the focus. Will still photography benefit enough from this focus to keep up? I guess we will see.

    I doubt any companies are making money on mirrorless, but I think mirrorless is the future. I think they will replace the conventional mirrored DSLR eventually. The idea of the mirror was to give you the view through the lens, eventually the technology will take us to a point that you can do that digitally through a viewfinder. For sure we are several years away from this happening though, many hurdles to overcome. AF and battery power I think would be the biggest things to overcome.

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    In short, Canon's performance beginning from the original 1Ds, through the 5Dmk2 to the latest gen, have turned them into this guy:

    They're growing fat on the profits from their previous successes, so why should they spend more on R&D? Consumers keep buying whatever they put out with whatever R&D budget input they use, so it's naturally falling.
    Don't forget, Sony (at least their camera division), are a small fish in a big pond, they need to spend the R&D money to bring out the products like this to make the waves they need to make to survive.

    This all sounds very similar to the big AMD vs Intel battle of a few years ago. AMD brought out a vastly superior Opteron Dual Core when Intel were just chasing clock speeds higher and higher with their Pentiums. It took a few years, but AMD's market share went from something like 10-15% to 15-20%. Not much in the scheme of things, most OEMs had long-standing contracts and brand loyalty, and most customers didn't know or care enough to switch. Eventually, it got to the point that AMDs chips could crap all over the Intel offerings, at half the price and a fraction of the power, while Intel's chips were, per square mm, putting out more energy than the surface of the sun.
    Someone at Intel finally woke up to all of this and realised that they were going to lose, and lose in a big way, to AMD if they didn't turn around. They canned almost their entire work up to that point, took a little-known notebook-chip architecture from their Israeli plant as their starting point, and within a year they had built the new Core architecture. Now Intel has the (arguably) better chip, and sells more of them.

    In short, my point is that Canon aren't losing market share, so there's no impetus to do anything dramatic. Give it a few years until they start losing market share, then we might see them wake up and respond, and in a big way. Or maybe they're just completely misguided and spending all the R&D money they do have chasing the video-market, believing that to be the bigger profit-making area. It might be, I don't know. But they're certainly (still) not giving me any reason to upgrade from my groundbreaking-at-release-time 7D, there's just nothing remotely affordable that does much better than I need. (That said, I love the idea of the A7R, but I still can't afford one...)
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    Dr, it appears that when profit and sales started to slide down Canon reduced R&D spending. Sound business? Maybe, maybe not. If you slow your R&D down in a tech industry and start to slide behind it only takes a short while and you are a generation behind on your product.

    I think it was in the 90's I remember the Intel CEO interview. They spent a huge amount in a down year and made little that year. Profits and R&D were not linked together by the balance sheet as much. It worked for them, even if AMD has caught up or not they established themselves as a company that demands a premium for their product.

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    Oh just stop myself.....

    I am really interested in mirrorless technology, afterall the mirror has been around for a long, long time. just about as long as the keyboard..... w/ the dual pixel, etc tech the focusing need is rapidly going if not gone. I don't know if the focusing speed on the 70d is "maxed out" or moderated for future enhancements - either way some more CPU power is all that is needed and Moore's law on that has yet to fail.

    Kodak was the major benefactor of the film camera boom - film, chemicals, paper - an annuitized revenue stream. Digital P&S crushed film, and jpg & e-mail crushed paper, cameras in cell phones is crushing P&S and actually opened a window for the HERO mini/waterproof still/video cam with space & left over bucks that the cell phone camera provided. Lets face it "kids these days" seem to want to do video. And why not, strap on a Hero, vid some gnarly waves, up load by the time you get back to shore and "cool dude" vs. pics from shore, waiting 1 week to be developed in and printed - an amazing shrink in the delay of gratification. And by the way - I think lots of the Hero shots are indeed way cool.

    Now 4k video - basically 8mp stills are at the door step - TVs are coming out w/ 4k resolution. It isn't going to be long before we can have reasonably priced 4k monitors.

    6k or 8k video is inevitable. I recall a "shark week" episode of the flying great whites, the guy had a machine the size of a dorm room fridge that could do something like 10 seconds of HD "retro" he would push the shutter and it would then keep the last 10 or 30 seconds - all because the file size/data pipe was soooo big - ha 256g flash card, i am good for a long long time.

    There is something romantic about clicking the shutter at the exact right moment - I live for that and have experienced a few times in my life. With data pipes and resolution getting solved, the batches of lenses from all manufacturers are pushing new resolution boundaries, why not experience life at 60 fps, 18mp/8kvideo?

    My fantasy is that it comes quickly, in between now and then, I still dream of being able to swap out a sensor for uber low light, to uber high res.

    And yes, I will give Canon until the spring to come out w/ a M2 otherwise there is an A7 in my future.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Busted Knuckles View Post
    ...I will give Canon until the spring to come out w/ a M2 otherwise there is an A7 in my future.
    I was initially thinking along similar lines. However, the EOS M won't be FF, and it will almost certainly be much smaller...and size is the main reason I got the EOS M in the first place. Quick scaled comparison of the EOS M, Sony a7, and 5DIII:

    Name:  5DIII-SonyA7-EOSM.jpg
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    While the a7 is certainly smaller than my 1D X, the EOS M + 22/2 fits in a small belt pouch. The a7 body is larger and over 0.5" thicker, and the 35/2.8 is also over 0.5" longer, making the total package a lot less portable.

    Food for thought...

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    First off...love the Fat Boy Slim reference....

    Quote Originally Posted by Raid View Post
    As I understand it the reason for Canon's new body delays had been the new sensor mass production facilities.

    Sent from my XT905 using Tapatalk
    I think everyone here hopes you are right Raid. It would be great to see a new sensor in a 7DII in in 2014 with the same technology moving into the 5DIV and 1DX II in 2015.

    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    I just see a pattern developing from Canon where video is the focus. Will still photography benefit enough from this focus to keep up? I guess we will see.

    I doubt any companies are making money on mirrorless, but I think mirrorless is the future. I think they will replace the conventional mirrored DSLR eventually. The idea of the mirror was to give you the view through the lens, eventually the technology will take us to a point that you can do that digitally through a viewfinder. For sure we are several years away from this happening though, many hurdles to overcome. AF and battery power I think would be the biggest things to overcome.
    I am concerned about the video trend too. I don't mind some overlap as I do occasionally switch to video mode at family functions. But 99% of my use is for still photography. The item that concerns me the most was this video on the 1DC and that people may think this is the future of still photography. I certainly understand the concept of trying to grab a frame of a video and using it as a still and certainly their images looked good. The obvious issue is resolution, but I've also read that there are significant differences in how you optimize an image for video vs still photography. The concept I could most easily understand from what I read and thus remember is that with video you actually want a certain amount of motion blur at all times. Going from sharp image to sharp image actually makes the video look a little choppy. Of course, with still photography, you usually want the sharpest image you can get. These two can not co-exist. I am not sure if these boil down to the camera hardware, but it certainly impacts the style promoted in the video.

    So, I am hoping that the "Cinema" series are optimized for video and that the still series, such as the 1DX and 5DIII, etc, remains optimized for stills with the availability of video. For that reason, I was actually happy that the "C" series was introduced. At least Canon has the structure to split the two.

    Quote Originally Posted by Busted Knuckles View Post
    Oh just stop myself.....

    I am really interested in mirrorless technology, afterall the mirror has been around for a long, long time. just about as long as the keyboard..... w/ the dual pixel, etc tech the focusing need is rapidly going if not gone. I don't know if the focusing speed on the 70d is "maxed out" or moderated for future enhancements - either way some more CPU power is all that is needed and Moore's law on that has yet to fail.

    And yes, I will give Canon until the spring to come out w/ a M2 otherwise there is an A7 in my future.
    I remember a thread a few years ago where Daniel Browning was talking about the benefit of mirrorless cameras. I remember him mentioning several benefits, but I only recall four: 1) increased fps as the mirror no longer limits; 2) Increased camera life as you remove number of shutter actuations as the common limit to a camera life; 3) You remove the slight vibration caused by the shutter actuation for those that want the sharpest of images, and 4) smaller camera bodies as you don't need the space for the mirror box/OVF.

    Are there any others? Hopefully this doesn't make me "old" but I've never been too into the mirrorless concept because I am only slightly interested in any of those benefits. I am probably most interested in #1 and #4. But #1 creates additional issue (file storage, memory card size, transfer rates, etc). And I already have a tough time selecting between photos. #4, sure you can make a camera smaller, but very soon the lens becomes the primary bulk of the camera, not the body. Even on the current EOS-M, those two lenses are what drive the "bulk" of the camera, not the body.

    Maybe I am missing something on the mirrorless market. I'd love to hear from the rest of you. But as of now, I see it as a niche whose primary benefits are for mid-size/rangefinder camera bodies between pocketable cameras and dSLRs such as Sony just released. As others have pointed out, that could really hurt Canon's consumer level line, so I get why they haven't raced into the field yet. Granted, I think they should evolve the consumer line to include the M.
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 10-18-2013 at 01:47 PM.

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