New Canon executive interview

Started Sep 10, 2007 | Discussions
RDKirk Forum Pro • Posts: 16,093
Also depends on who is talking

Canon Inc (in Japan) markets the 5D to a niche group of well-to-do hobbyists.

Canon USA most definitely does market the 5D to professionals.

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RDKirk
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Its RKM Veteran Member • Posts: 3,136
The word you are looking for seems to be "enthusiast" (n/t)

I said N/T!

Its RKM Veteran Member • Posts: 3,136
Re: Translation

"Unless the competitive manufacturer disputes, the good product does not come out"

Well, since a competing manufacturer has just announced some products that dispute Canon's leading edge, I guess we might finally see that "good product".

uk102 Senior Member • Posts: 1,286
Re: Lost in Translation

I think there was some cues, basically it's not considered a main stream product.

That sounds to me like their may not be a mkII bascause they are saying feature are entry level sensor in boarding on pro = Product that confuses customers

Canon has two options drop it or give it 40D body. The latter at $500 over Nikons D300 would be interesting, but do Canon consider that to much for the non- pro market?

Ted Williamson wrote:

Doublespeak and sarcasm.

The problem with not understanding a language natively, is you miss
the little cues that indicate hidden meanings.

Who knows if he's really saying "sure we'll continue the 5D (as it
cut into our 1D sales, like hell I'll promote that product line
again!)"

Or

"The maniacs (the ones who drive our profit margins with the 1D
series) better stop buying the 5D or we won't think of them as
professionals"

-Ted
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to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
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Vance Zachary Veteran Member • Posts: 5,168
it's all a marketing ploy...

cameras are not professional, people are

a pro camera is any camera that can serve a professional person to tun a photography business

Canon wants to spend a lot of money to buy a "professional" body and "professional" L lenses in hopes you images will look like those of a pro

of course, we all know that this doesn't always work

Vance Zachary Veteran Member • Posts: 5,168
excuse the typos...

Canon wants you to spend a lot of your hard earned money to buy a "pro" gear in hope that your images will be as good as those of a "pro"

this strategy works in large measure to sell us gear heads more expensive gear

Robert 55 Senior Member • Posts: 1,413
"enthusiast"

you have to be an enthusiast to buy a Rebel, for anything more you need something stronger. Gearhead might do, but many people actually like calling themselves that.

So whtether or not the Canon man said it, or meant it in the way we understand it in the west, I vote we keep 'maniac'

RDKirk Forum Pro • Posts: 16,093
Canon surprises me in that aspect frequently

For a long-time global company to be as Japanese-centric as some folks on this forum would have us believe does not seem a reasonable assumption.

Canon certainly appears to be. Canon execs have stated more than once that Canon is a very traditionally Japanese company (consensus-driven and employment for life are two concepts they've stated are strong in Canon Inc).

Quirks in Canon design philosophy that are...inscrutable...to most of the people on Western forums become explanable when one looks first at the Japanese market.

Once one knows, for instance, that Canon Inc sees the 5D market as the well-to-do amateur with a mania for photography--and once one knows that Japanese digital photographers are not nearly so personal-computer oriented as Western digital photographers are, then that print button begins to make sense.

Back when Canon was having its problems with the 20D grip (two problems, one with power and one with flex), Canon utterly ignored Western complaints, but when home-market complaints came in, Canon execs rushed out with humble apologies (the translations of their statement carried the world "apologize" at least three times) and offered a recall.

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Carl Contributing Member • Posts: 610
Re: New Canon executive interview

Not sure whether the translation is wrong or the canon exec is just stupid: Why should he think that the current 5D is not high powered or interesting enough? The 5D is a unique camera and better suited than the rest of the canon lineup for some purposes.

David J. Littleboy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,317
Re: Canon surprises me in that aspect frequently

RDKirk wrote:

For a long-time global company to be as Japanese-centric as some folks on this forum would have us believe does not seem a reasonable assumption.

Canon certainly appears to be. Canon execs have stated more than
once that Canon is a very traditionally Japanese company
(consensus-driven and employment for life are two concepts they've
stated are strong in Canon Inc).

Those two concepts have always been a myth. For example, lifetime employment simply can't be real because there aren't as many management positions as there are entry level positions. The hierarchy is a steep pyramid (just like any other pyramid scheme) and serious thinning of the ranks happens at each promotion stage.

People who aren't promoted are shipped off to subsidiaries, where they either sink or swim. Canon never fires anyone, but their subsidiaries do. There are a few "madogiwazoku" positions (desks by the window out of the way where the occupant hopefully won't get in the way) , but these are for people who have managed to not get shipped off until near retirement.

There's a new trick at large Japanese companies. People who survive into their 50s and are actually doing good solid (but not promotable) work, are "asked" to take early retirement and then rehired in the same job at 2/3 salary. It's not all that painful for most people, since their kids are grown and loans paid down, but I have a cousin (in-law) at NTT whose kid wants to redo college in the US, and there's no way he can afford to be as much help as he'd like at 2/3 salary. Engineers who are too good to let go but don't want to play in the management rat-race fast lane, for example.

Having worked in both a large US electronics company (AT&T's Tokyo Unix office) and a large Japanese electronics company's research labs, it's amazing how similar they are. It's a very different game from the contract research start up I had been familiar with in the states.

Quirks in Canon design philosophy that are...inscrutable...to most of
the people on Western forums become explanable when one looks first
at the Japanese market.

Once one knows, for instance, that Canon Inc sees the 5D market as
the well-to-do amateur with a mania for photography--and once one
knows that Japanese digital photographers are not nearly so
personal-computer oriented as Western digital photographers are, then
that print button begins to make sense.

Exactly!

Actually, minor quibble: they differentiate the "well-to-do amateurs" from the "enthusiasts with a mania"; the article here admits that the 5D isn't snappy or feature dense enough for the maniacs. Oops: the intervierwer states that.

Canon: I very much want there always to be a 5D class FF camera in the EOS product line in the future. This was my very first order when I became head of this business unit.

The FF camera is the product that can get the most from the capabilities of EF lenses. From the standpoint of increasing the pleasure of using interchangeable lenses, it is critical that we provide a FF camera at an affordable price. Therefore Canon will foster the growth of the 5D and its successors with great care. This is extremely important for supporting users for whom photography is a hobby.

Inteviewer: While the 5D very much is a camera that brings the advantages of full frame to the average user, it's response is a bit slow and leaden for the enthusiast. I'm actually a 5D user but, there aren't very many aspects (of the responsiveness) I'm really enthused about, and when shooting with the camera, I don't find myself thinking "Wow, what a great camera" very often.

Canon: I've felt the same thing about Canon's whole consumer line. If possible, I'd like to quantify the elements that contribute to "responsiveness" and make using a camera a pleasure, and work this out in detail with the development teams. It's not only a matter of making a high performance camera, I'd lke to create cameras that our users will get truly enthused about. Canon is serious about improving operability (ergonomics): you will continue to see great things from us.

Machine translation's getting better and better these days, no?

Back when Canon was having its problems with the 20D grip (two
problems, one with power and one with flex), Canon utterly ignored
Western complaints, but when home-market complaints came in, Canon
execs rushed out with humble apologies (the translations of their
statement carried the world "apologize" at least three times) and
offered a recall.

I missed that one, but in general, the customer gets listened to a lot more carefully over here. Service is uniformly wonderful (I've dealt with both Canon and Nikon service; positive experiences every time.)

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Tokyo, Japan

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Anastigmat Forum Pro • Posts: 12,686
Re: Trends

dnjake wrote:

I would divide the history of the DSLR market at this point into
three periods starting with the introduction of the D30.

During the first period it looked like Canon owned the market and
might wind up dominating it the way Microsoft dominates PC operating
systems. Canon's products seemed superior on both basic technology
and features. Nikon was very slow to introduce new products and
their big attempt at technical innovation produced the badly flawed
D2H. Everyone else was close to invisible.

Period two started with the introduction of the Nikon D2x.

Disagree. Period two started with the introduction of the Digital Rebel, which is a firmware crippled EOS 10D with a plastic body selling for the magical price point of less than $1,000. All of a sudden, the DSLR became affordable to the masses, not just the professional. What followed was the Nikon D70, Nikon's quick and very well done answer to the Canon Digital Rebel. THe D70, although flawed in many ways, was arguably better than the Digital Rebel, and with this single camera, Nikon turned its fortune around. Before the D70, Canon had a whopping 80% market share in DSLR cameras. After the D70 was introduced, Nikon quickly took the lead in market share. What a turn around. Canon eventually regained the lead with the 8mp Digital Rebel XT, followed later by the 10mp Rebel XTi, but Nikon has recovered enough financially to undergo development of the D2X, D200 and now the D3 and D300. Without the D70, Nikon may not have been able to bring any camera like the D3 to market.

Nikon
became much more aggressive in introducing new products.
Particularly during the last couple of years, they succeeded in
improving their position with Canon by bringing more features down to
lower priced cameras. This trend was reinforced some by the minor
players gaining some more share of the market through offering more
in low priced cameras. However, during this period Canon retained
the aura of technical leadership through the preceived superiority of
their sensors on low noise and through their delivery of full frame
DSLR's.

Canon sensors had a real lead in low noise, not a perceived lead. Canon got there with nothing magical, just sensors that have large individual pixels.

We now look to be entering a third period where Canon may have to
struggle just to stay even on technology.

Not really. Canon still has the lead. The Canon 1D MKIII has been surpassed by the full frame D3, but there is no reason why Canon cannot replace it with a full frame DSLR that can do nine frames per second. Of course, pride may prevent it from doing it right away.

Even during period two,
Sony actually did reasonably well at catching up with Canon on sensor
quality. But they still looked to be a little behind and they did
not deliver full frame. It remains to be seen exactly where we are
now. But it could easily turn out that Sony's new crop sensors are
better than anything Canon can deliver in full frame. While Canon
may be able to respond. It would not be that surprising to see Sony
take over technical leadership in the long term. Realistically Sony
is the stronger of the two in analolg electronics and one of the
strongest in the world in that technology.

Canon has the advantage in noise reduction technology. It has many patents that Sony have no access to. These patents will enable Canon to keep the lead in technology, allowing it to have sensors that are less noisy than comparable Sony sensors.

The interview sounds like the executive is still coming to terms with
the challenges of period two. It seems to me that Canon got used to
the illusion that they owned the market and have been slow to realize
that they have to compete more strongly with more features in lower
priced cameras.

Canon was alone in the lead, so it can be excused if it got a bit complacent. Now that Nikon has fired off the D3 and Sony has introduced a 12mp APS-C camera for the serious amateur, I expect Canon to release a 12mp APS-C camera of its own and possibly update the 1D MKIII with a full frame model.

But if they loose preceived technical leadership it
will be a much bigger impact. I doubt that their executives have
begun to understand that yet.
--
David Jacobson
http://www.pbase.com/dnjake

Canon's technical advantage is not perceived. It is real. Since Canon had no competition, it became complacent. The 30D was universally criticized for being a non-upgrade, and the 1D MKIII, wonderful though it may be, has fallen behind the D3 already because Canon did not update the sensor with a full frame model. Canon has shown with models like the Digital Rebel XTi that it can move quickly in response to competition if necessary. And the Digital Rebel XTi has pretty much beaten back the Sony A100's challenge, regaining Canon the top spot in DSLR camera sales. It will need to counter the D3 and A700, and I think it will.

warren prasek Senior Member • Posts: 2,460
Nonsense!

Anastigmat wrote:

Canon sensors had a real lead in low noise, not a perceived lead.
Canon got there with nothing magical, just sensors that have large
individual pixels.

Canon's lead in low-noise was not due to larger pixels, but to the CMOS sensor technology with on-chip noise reduction. Now that sony has its own (apparently similar concept?) CMOS solution, it seems the playing field has been levelled, if not tilted in the other direction.

Obviously pixel size relates directly to noise, but canon's APS-C chips were always lower-noise than their competitors due to CMOS vs CCD. That difference may wel have disappeared now... we'll find out over the next couple of months.

Canon has the advantage in noise reduction technology. It has many
patents that Sony have no access to. These patents will enable Canon
to keep the lead in technology, allowing it to have sensors that are
less noisy than comparable Sony sensors.

Does canon still have an advantage in NR tech? Just because it has its own patents, doesn't mean sony can't (or hasn't already) developed its own different NR tech which may be equally effective, or even better (as may be proven by the D3).

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Robert 55 Senior Member • Posts: 1,413
eventually

The D70 was announced feb '04, the 20D August. That's half a year. Bit short for eventually. Oh. and the Rebel was announced August '03. These timeframes are too short for C and N to react to the actual model the competition announces.

Anastigmat wrote:

.... What followed was the Nikon D70, Nikon's quick and

very well done answer to the Canon Digital Rebel. THe D70, although
flawed in many ways, was arguably better than the Digital Rebel, and
with this single camera, Nikon turned its fortune around. Before the
D70, Canon had a whopping 80% market share in DSLR cameras. After
the D70 was introduced, Nikon quickly took the lead in market share.
What a turn around. Canon eventually regained the lead with the 8mp
Digital Rebel XT, followed later by the 10mp Rebel XTi, but Nikon has
recovered enough financially to undergo development of the D2X, D200

warren prasek Senior Member • Posts: 2,460
Not necessarily

If they have several prototypes with difference spec levels (and especially features via firmware which could basically be enabled/disabled with a simple, virtually zero-cost "flag" or parameter) then they could easily be forced to release a new/different body within 6 months in reaction to the competition.

That would be very prudent in a business sense - an insurance policy so to speak

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warren prasek
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Robert 55 Senior Member • Posts: 1,413
interesting thought, but

Seems to me that does not show in the models actually released. A couple of years ago someone posted on dpr that it seemed the manufacturers had completely different views as to what a DSLR should be like. But they have clear views as to what their mid-level camera should be

Also I think you underestimate the cost of developing different spec-levels. The firmware anyway would have to be developed for the highest level and would be more complex than necessary. Canon had one model in which features that were possible in hardware were turned off. I don't think they thought of that as a smart move afterwards.

warren prasek wrote:

If they have several prototypes with difference spec levels (and
especially features via firmware which could basically be
enabled/disabled with a simple, virtually zero-cost "flag" or
parameter) then they could easily be forced to release a
new/different body within 6 months in reaction to the competition.

That would be very prudent in a business sense - an insurance policy
so to speak

OP greentoe Veteran Member • Posts: 4,490
And they've got lots of little subsidiaries in which to stick them

Always amazed at how many little subsidiaries Canon has here and there and everywhere. As you probably know, Canon ran into problems with the gov't last year, for essentially making Canon Inc. look like it had fewer employees than the cut-off for some tax scheme... by exploiting its many little hideouts...

BTW, your translation of the execs comments on the 5D is eloquent... though for some reason I get the feeling that his answers were a little bit pithy... for example, he didn't touch on his predecessor's statements about pricing (his predecessor had indicated in Aug 2005 that he thought the 5D price was not quite to where they hoped FF price could reach. He had also indicated at that time that 2006 would see something that made the 2005 introduction seem like only 50% of what would be... and from that many people came up with the speculation of the 24MP 1DsII successor for 2006... all for naught.)

I also thought it a bit terse of Uchidoi to refer to Nikon just as "another company", as when a Nikon exec was interviewed by the same magazine (after the 5D was launched) he had congratulated Canon (on coming out with the 5D) and even called Canon "elder brother". The Canon exec here (to me) comes off sounding a bit cold...

We'll see of course if he changes the flavor of Canon's cameras, if indeed that is what he wants to do. A little voice in my head keeps telling me this whole interview was more of a show-the-flag event rather than a revelation of something new. We'll see....

-gt

mpixel Veteran Member • Posts: 5,779
Re: Two 5D options?

tissunique wrote:

Sounds as though there's a thought there of making a 5D and 5DS - a
very interesting strategy if true - one lower than existing price and
one higher (more pro for want of a better description).

Sounds like the old EOS 5/EOS 3 strategy, later the EOS 7/EOS 3 strategy although they may go with a 5 and a 3 since the 40D is basically the 7.

Also the

hybrid in body IS is something I would really welcome - means I can
hang on to my L glass without having to sell and fork out for IS
optioned lenses.
Tony

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RDKirk Forum Pro • Posts: 16,093
Re: And they've got lots of little subsidiaries in which to stick them

We'll see of course if he changes the flavor of Canon's cameras, if indeed that is what he wants to do. A little voice in my head keeps telling me this whole interview was more of a show-the-flag event rather than a revelation of something new. We'll see....

As I said before, though, if it's contoversial within the company, it's not likely to happen. And I don't think the current direction is going to change unless next year's bottom line makes it abundently clear that all Canon's future plans (and they've got them two to five years out, at least) are also doomed to failure.

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