Canon losing their way

I noticed in this weeks photographic news that Nikon are selling well in the UK and the current recession is not affecting them; sales of the D90 and D700 DSLR’s are described by Nikon as “outstanding”. This doesn’t surprise me. If I was advising anyone who was buying into digital SLR’s at present which brand to go for, it would be Nikon. They have a good range of cameras and class leading noise performance in more than a few of their models. The only camera Canon have which is generating real excitement is the 5D which at present is sitting above £2000 in the UK. I have mentioned before now that the camera below that in the range, the 50D, hasn’t generated any real excitement, and costs around £800-£900. Nikon’s D700 is around £1600 for a full frame sensor. If I was a Nikon user, I might want a full frame D700 so much that I would find some way to buy it. I want a Canon 5D, but there is no-way without my camera earning me moneythat I’m going to pay £2000+.

In my view, Canon are losing the marketing war very badly for the following reasons:

1.    The gamble they are taking in positioning the 5D and 50D as higher resolution cameras than the competition at 15 and 21 megapixels means that the competition gets better magazine reviews for high ISO performance. Since almost no-one prints pictures at poster sizes, the reviews probably have the right priorities. These reviews influence the market hugely!  The 50D gets lukewarm reviews, the Nikon D300 gets great reviews at 12 Mp and better high ISO noise performance; the 5D has pretty good reviews, but the D700 at 12 Mp gets stellar reviews for high ISO performance. They made a mistake, the market clearly values slight resolution increases with large high ISO noise performance increases and that’s what Nikon has given the market.

2.   The sensor that we call APS-C in the Canon 100D through to the 50D is a little smaller than the Nikon; that’s why the lens multiplication factor is 1.6 for Canon and 1.5 for the Nikon. This means that the Nikon has a 370mm squared area and the Canon has 329 mm squared. The Canon pixels have 11% less area if the pixel count is the same. If the technology is similar, then Canon can’t compete on noise performance due to smaller pixels. Why don’t they make slightly larger APS-C sensors?

It occurs to me that Canon have an interesting sensor in the previous professional 1D mk2. It has a 1.25 crop factor, and amazing noise performance with 10 Mp (APS-H). Why don’t Canon put a camera together for amateurs looking to move up from the 40D  using that sensor, upgraded to 12 Mp or 15Mp like the 50D if they must; that could be camera to undercut the D700 for price that could come close for noise performance. They can’t compete with a smaller sensor and higher resolution.

WAKE UP Canon!


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