Low expectations of Canon/Nikon mirrorless

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Jonathan Brady
Jonathan Brady Veteran Member • Posts: 6,015
Low expectations of Canon/Nikon mirrorless
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This is long. If that bothers you, don't bother reading beyond this...

Nikon's pre-announcement announcement got me thinking about the role of marketing in the success of a product/system/company, specifically as it relates to FF mirrorless. I then remembered reading something from one of the execs at Canon, presumably in regards to FF mirrorless, where he stated that the smartest strategy can be to let others blaze the trail, which is resource intensive and expensive, and then come in down the road when everything is perfected and take advantage of the lower costs that being late to market provides.

Thinking of those two things, marketing (especially with a globally recognized name like Canon and/or Nikon) and being (absurdly) late to the party, I'm curious why so many people have such low expectations of Nikon and Canon when it comes to their impending FF mirrorless ecosystems.

As evidence of my assertion, go to any thread or comments section where Canon or Nikon FF mirrorless is discussed and very few people, if any, are saying anything like "Canon/Nikon must surpass Sony's cameras in features and performance". Instead, what we're seeing is expectations of not being on par or maybe equaling Sony's offerings, but probably at a higher price tag. It's rare to see someone say that they think Canon/Nikon can offer a technology which is better than what Sony has already done or doesn't exist at all, yet. Usually, any claims of a superior product come down to subjective features (handling/size, "color science", menus) and not objective technology (autofocus, metering, etc.). Personally, I do believe that Canon/Nikon will exceed what Sony has done with weather sealing.

Now, as an A9 owner, I understand the mentality behind setting the bar at the "equal" or "almost as good" level. Let's face it, the A9 is incredible and it took Sony 4 years after the A7 to reach that package of features and performance. So, it's not a "gimme" shot at all. It takes time and resources to make a camera that great.

But, it's not fair to consumers or manufacturers to hold Canon/Nikon to an "equal" offering when it comes to performance and features when compared to Sony. After all, the first of Sony's third generation mirrorless cameras were announced about 16 months ago! Camera tech/features evolve rapidly!

So, when you're late to the party (the A7 and A7R are almost 5 years old) shouldn't you make an entrance to "WOW" everyone and justify your absence? Especially when, in the case of Canon, you've already stated that the reason you're late simply boils down to not wanting to invest money into something - not some other barrier. I mean... SHOW US SOMETHING AMAZING that justifies your complete silence! Shouldn't we expect the "Titans" of this industry who have had an extra half-decade to develop their systems to blow our hair back? (Good Will Hunting reference)

The entrance should sound like this:
"Hey everyone! We're a little late but CHECK THIS OUT!!!!!! It does things never seen before!!!"

And this would be us...

This should be the audience and us at home at the announcement:

and not this:
"Hey everyone! We're here,... too. And, umm... we brought something you've already seen, like... well over a year ago. But, it's not quite as good. On the bright side, it cost us less to develop but it's going to cost you more to buy because we're the big guys and we know your loyalty knows no bounds! PROFITS!!!! (oops, did I say "profits" out loud?)"

And this would be us...

So, what I'm curious to know is why aren't more people expecting MORE from Nikon/Canon than they what Sony has already done and will reviewers hold them to such a standard? Or, will everyone breathe a sigh of relief since "the big 2" finally showed up to what was "the future" but is now "last year"?

I'd like to see Canon and Nikon held to a standard which focuses on the technology available TODAY when it comes to the feature set of their cameras. Not only that, but lens tech doesn't advance in leaps and bounds like camera/sensor/processing tech does so shouldn't we also expect a fairly robust lens rollout? As there's no "we're doing nothing while technology matures in order to save money" excuse with lens development, I'm thinking Canon and Nikon should at the very least bring to market:

  • 4 primes
  • 3 of the f/2.8 zooms
  • 3 of the f/4 zooms
  • 2 variable aperture zooms
  • all within 6-9 months, 12 if we want to be generous

That's 12 lenses (while Sony has 25 + 2 teleconverters, I think, plus all the 3rd party native options). Demanding that Canon and Nikon offering half the number of lens options that Sony does is fair - given that they've had the better part of a decade to bring this stuff to market (again, the A7 and A7R were announced almost 5 years ago plus there was the 2-3 years of R&D prior to announcement - hence, "the better part of a decade").

Should Canon and/or Nikon bring to market anything less than

  • Cameras with the best technology and features of TODAY
  • Along with a decent selection of commonly purchased lenses within 1 year of announcement

Then I believe their system should be met with animosity by reviewers and consumers because anything short of that will reinforce that it's okay for Canon and Nikon to be complacent. Their complacency is bad for them, bad for their competitors, and ultimately bad for us as consumers as well.

Two notes...

  1. I have absolutely no qualms about switching systems again if either one of them offers me a meaningful difference in terms of the shooting experience - that's why I switched to Sony in the first place. Thus, I'm personally looking forward to Canon and Nikon's FF mirrorless cameras. Why?
  2. I believe that both Canon and Nikon CAN wow us and, from a tech standpoint, make the wait worthwhile.

Disclaimers and (hopeful) guidance:

  • I fully expect that this thread will result in
    • TLDR
    • name calling ("fanboy" is name calling and IMO, should be moderated as such)
    • heated arguments
    • claims of intellectual inferiority (likely in the form of name calling),
    • and all the usual antics to DPR.
  • How about, instead, we all focus on dialogue. Crazy idea, I know.
  • Please note that nowhere in my post did I say DSLR dead - I don't think that as I believe both of these technologies can and will co-exist.
  • I also believe Canon, Nikon, and Sony can all co-exist - I don't believe any of them have to fail for others to succeed.
    • I also think that each company has genuine advantages - a personality if you will - and while all of them make cameras and systems that can work for practically anyone, any of them can be the right fit for a particular individual.
  • Finally, I believe it's possible to love technology AND photography. The two are not mutually exclusive.

So... Your thoughts?

 Jonathan Brady's gear list:Jonathan Brady's gear list
Sony a9 Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G OSS Sony FE 100mm F2.8 GM +2 more
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