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Canon Profits Down, Nikon 200-400mm Rumor, and Zeiss OLED Confuses Owners | Daily Roundup

By Anthony Thurston on July 27th 2015

Welcome to our roundup series where we will hit on several gear news and rumor topics each day. This gives you a chance to get caught up on all of the day’s news and rumors in one place. Make sure to check back daily for the latest gear news, rumors and announcements.

Canon Profits Drop 16% in Q2

Canon-pro-neck-strap

Canon has announced a cut in its projected earnings for 2016 following a 16% drop in profits in Q2 of this year. The drop in profits, Canon says, is due to consumers continuing to use their smartphones to take pictures instead of compact cameras.

The company’s second quarter net profit was just 68 Billion Yen – roughly $550million – down from 81 Billion Yen last year. Both Canon and Nikon now are reporting lower than expected sales – both blaming the compact market.

One also has to wonder the effect of the growing mirrorless market, with companies like Sony and Fuji picking up steam in the more advanced photographer markets. You can get all the details about this Canon profit drop, here.

Nikon To Announce New 200-500mm?

nikon-300mm-f4

According to the latest Nikon rumor buzz, the company is expected to announce a new 200-500mm lens “soon.” The lens would obviously be meant to go up against the new Canon 100-400mm, Sigma 150-600mm, and Tamron 150-600mm.

So far, all we know is the focal length, and that the lens is coming. Details about things like VR and aperture are not known at this time (Though I can’t imagine Nikon producing a lens with that focal range and not including VR).

Another rumor states that the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 VR is expected to be announced soon as well and pointed to the possibility of these maybe being announced together.

New Zeiss Batis OLED Screen Confusing New Owners

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The big hubbub over the weekend in Sony land was it coming to light that owners of Zeiss’s new Batis lenses were running into problems with the screen going dead. Obviously, this would be a huge problem, and not something characteristic of a Zeiss product.

Luckily, as it turns out, it seems that this could be a mistake and user error. One user reporting “I had mine ‘die’ on my first day too. It didn’t die. I just turned the focus ring too far and somehow the setting switched it off. You can configure the display by turning the focus ring very far. It’s described in the manual.”

So it seems the OLEDs on the Zeiss Batis lenses are not going dead, but in fact, some user error is at play here. So word of warning to those who buy a product, especially one with new features like this Zeiss: read the manual. If you have or are going to buy one of these Batis lenses, keep this in mind before you freak about your OLED going dead.

What are your thoughts on today’s roundup? What news/rumors did we miss? What would you like to see covered in future roundups? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ralph Hightower

    Regardless of whether one is shooting with a smartphone, P&S camera, mirorless, SLR or DSLR, one has to be cognizant of photography techniques to get at least decent photographs.

    For example, flash against glass. It just won’t work, at least from my experience. I was on a bus watching the Space Shuttle support convoy waiting in the predawn hour for the final Space Shuttle landing. I knew the light from the flash of my smartphone would be blasted back. It took several steps to disable the flash on my smartphone. 2012, at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum, my wife and I took our cameras to the museum. She with her P&S camera; me with my Canon A-1 and “potato masher” Sunpak 511 flash. I didn’t tell Paula how torn off the flash; plus, I think it reset each time it powered off. When she photographed an exhibit behind glass, it got washed out. I used flash sparingly. I’m also the photo geek in the household.

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  2. Jerry Jackson

    At this point I honestly don’t know if there is anything that will make Canon wake up to the fact that technology is changing (and consumer demand is changing with it) faster than Canon is willing to move.

    The point-and-shoot market is dead or dying as just about everyone (even experienced photographers) use smartphones for those “point-and-shoot” candid moments. Just about everyone who follows photography and the latest technology available to photographers has pointed out the similarities between Canon’s reluctance to commit to mirrorless and Kodak’s reluctance to commit to digital.

    I still argue that Canon “could” turn things around if they are willing to risk killing their EOS line, but I don’t believe Canon executives are going to cross that bridge until it has completely burnt down … at which point it really will be too late.

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  3. nathan shipp

    I wonder how much it has to do with the large price increase every time Canon releases new technology. Take the lenses for instance. Every time Canon releases updated “L” glass it jumps at least $400 from the previous model and with Sigma producing high quality glass at lower costs this has to be hurting their market. I’ve seen a trend with many professional photographers jumping over to the 35mm Art and 50mm Art lenses.

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  4. Dave Haynie

    I’m surprised that Canon’s still that sensitive to the lower-end of the P&S market. That’s been collapsing for years now, and most P&S camera markers have moved most or all of their product upscale. Of course, the actual announcement also suggests that Canon DSLRs were also part of the problem, at least outside of Japan.

    With the anticipation of the 5Ds and the rumors of both a new 5D mark 4 and a 6D mark 2, a few new announced but unavailable higher end P&S models, a bunch of new lenses similarly announced or highly rumored, it seems to be related to far more than just the regular shrinking of the low-end P&S market.

    And of course, another possible explanation for the loss of DSLR volume would be the rise of mirrorless. That’s been suggested for ages, but hasn’t really shown up as a financial reality until recently, and only for some of the mirrorless companies. But some of these things tend to be non-linear… the growth starts out pretty small, as small numbers sample the mirrorless, then dabble, and eventually switch and spread the word. Is Canon in denial?

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  5. Samuel Sandoval

    I think Canon need to step up in their game with Canon bodies. Lens are fine… But how about Mirrorless body?

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  6. Jesse Maier

    Oh yeah… consumers are using their phones instead of buying DSLRs to take pictures these days; the decline of Canon sales/profits has no correlation to the incline in sales/profits of Sony a7 Series and other mirrorless lines.

    Can’t help but think there is a little bit of a head in the sand thing going on with the big two.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Totally agree.

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    • Trevor Dayley

      Make a great point Jesse

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    • Anders Madsen

      Actually both Anthony’s summary as well as the Reuters article specifically attributes the drop in profit to people using their smartphone instead of *compact cameras*.

      Nowhere is there any mention of DSLR or mirrorless cameras, and, to be frank, there are plenty of sources that clearly shows that the growth in mirrorless cameras is far less than the drop in DSLR shipments, so although I agree that Canon and Nikon are fools not to take mirrorless more seriously, your statement is based on wishful thinking, not empirical numbers.

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    • Jesse Maier

      “Mirrorless sales in the USA are rising, with sales values up 16.5% over the past year, says market researcher NPD Group. Sony highlighted the figures while celebrating its own success: with the success of the a7 series helping it generate 66% more revenue from mirrorless sales over the last twelve months. NPD Group says DSLR sales values fell 15% over the same period.”

      And, mirrorless is doing even better overseas.

      But, who knows… you might be right, Anders.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      Anders, I believe it’s both happening at the same time. You’re right that overall, smartphones killing compact cameras is the biggest impact on the camera manufacturers. On websites like this we forget that the biggest market segment of cameras is compacts, not DSLRs or Mirrorless.

      But even looking at just the more professional side of the market that smartphones don’t enter into; mirrorless is eating up all the loss DSLRs are having. There was an article recently showing the trends in videography use of cameras and in the last 3 years mirrorless grew at the rate that DSLRs shrunk.

      It’s not really earth-shattering logic. Basically a new market segment came into being and it’s squeezing out it’s own place between DSLRs and compacts. The only people that are ignoring the logic are those that are in denial enough to think that mirrorless is a “fad” and will eventually disappear.

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    • Stephen Jennings

      If Nikon’s last financial statement is any indication, people are just buying less cameras, and less lenses. Personally I think some of it has to do with a plateau in technology, digital cameras were new and every new body was a massive jump forward. Now it’s honestly not .. iso gets better and new features, but nothing ground breaking at a reasonable price. Bodies last longer. As for lenses there’s so many alternatives, Sigma and Samyang eating away at the prime market and kicking ass while doing it. The Big Two are lazy, are not developing to a high enough standard at a competing market price. A 200-500mm lens? Really? It MIGHT be a tiny bit better than Sigma’s Sport and twice the cost .. asinine. How about a new 135mm that people have been asking for? I think I’ll just get the Rokinon …

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    • Anders Madsen

      I think Stephen Jennings is pretty much bang on: Camera technology has reached a point where upgrading makes less and less sense in that you only get very marginal improvements between generations, and you can easily sit one or two generations out.

      As for the DSLR versus mirrorless situation: Yes, mirrorless definitely has a growing market share, but it is nowhere near growing as much as DSLR is slipping. I think the perception about mirrorless taking over is because of the large growth percentiles that gets thrown around from time to time, but the hard numbers makes it clear that – like Stephen just said – camera sales as a whole is taking a hard beating right now. Overseas sales were mentioned and at least in Germany the overall market is still slipping far more than mirrorless is growing:

      http://www.mirrorlessrumors.com/big-germany-camera-sales-report-mirrorless-is-on-raise

      Looking around, I get the distinct feeling that mirrorless isn’t taking over because of the size or weight advantage (which is pretty small when you mount a full-frame lens on that body anyway), but because it does video so much better than DSLR (4K DSLR, raise your hand, please. Anyone?).

      And yes, I’m aware that there are some pro photographers that use Olympus and Fuji, and they DO have weight and size advantages compared to DSLR, but they are – at least where I live – very few and far between.

      We discuss mirrorless versus DSLR a lot, but I really think we should be discussing stills versus stills and video, at least if you are a professional photographer. Look at the graphs in the link I mentioned above: The growth in mirrorless is dwarfed when compared to action cameras (GoPro and the like), and they all have one thing in common: They suck profoundly at stills and excel at video.

      This could perhaps explain why Canon is reluctant to be serious about mirrorless – they want you to buy into their C100 and above for video (yeah, right…), but why Nikon hasn’t gotten the message yet is really beyond me – they should be throwing new 4K mirrorless cameras with Nikon F-mount left and right at the moment, and they have absolutely zip, nada, zero.

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    • Dave Haynie

      If you look at the actual Canon report, they absolutely do mention DSLR sales being an issue outside of Japan. And it’s really hard to image anyone, including Canon, is making that big of a deal out of lower-end P&S cameras being replaced by smartphones, simply because this has been going on for nearly a decade. Most companies have been upping their game on P&S. There were about 1.4 billion smartphones sold in 2014… if any camera manufacturer is only now coming to grips with those also being “The Instamatic of the 21rst Century”, maybe they deserve to have financial problems.

      But there’s definitely something else at work here. And I’d suggest that, in general, it’s the maturation of the digital camera, and specific to Canon, it’s the at least in part the camera model cycle. In the first case, any new technology that’s successful will grow rapidly, and have pretty good year over year growth, both due to its spread and due to the usual rapid improvements you get in an early product. But eventually, that product meets a kind of maturity. How often did you upgrade your analog television? How often do most people today upgrade their PCs — a problem that’s been well discussed in the PC industry, where they also have a smartphone issue (Android outsold Windows 4:1 in 2014). The camera body I bought this year, and a couple lenses, were mirrorless — that’s a new thing, and there was a fairly good upgrade available.

      So the other part of Canon’s thing: rumors and pre-announcements. The 5Ds made lots of press, but it only just became available. I didn’t see a breakdown of Canon’s consumer, DSLR, pro DSLR, and video business, but just knowing about that being on the way will have many buyers waiting. So does the rumor of the 5D mark 4 or the 6D mark II coming later this year.

      Mirrorless sales are of course rising, but as others have mentioned, when you go from 0.0001% of the market to 0.01% of the market, that’s a 100x increase in sales, but could just mean you sold 10 one year and 1000 the next. Mirrorless is overrepresented in the camera press, because it’s new, interesting and even exciting. All of the companies really pushing mirrorless are not major DSLR markers, they’re hungry, they’re doing innovative things, and maybe even selling some cameras. So lots of press, but neither press nor percentage growth of a brand translates to “reducing DSLR sales”. Even tracking mirrorless as a growing percentage of all cameras doesn’t mean real growth if that’s an overall shrinking market. There was a quarter or two some years back that showed Apple’s Macintosh growing as a percentage of all PC sales for the first time in awhile… but it was actually the case that the Mac was selling less, just falling slower than the rest of the PC market.

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    • Jesse Maier

      I’m a relative newcomer to photography; I work in the technology industry. So, when photography caught my attention, I had an outsider’s perspective. It was immediately obvious that almost all professionals used DSLRs from either Canon or Nikon, and if you wanted the best, that’s where you looked. But, then I looked further.

      With my background in technology, and a fresh set of eyes, it appeared to me that DSLR tech had plateaued, but there was this new mirrorless technology that seemed impressively innovative with an open road ahead for further advancements.

      I have a couple professional photographer friends and a number of semi-pro photographer friends. The advice was unanimous: “FF DSLR is the only way to go… mirrorless is, at most, just a hobby camera… a professional can’t use one of those little toys and be taken seriously… if you want the best, you have two choices: Canon or Nikon…”

      As we talked, I was surprised with how little they actually knew about modern camera technology, sensors and mirrorless in general. One was adamant that film SLR was the only way to get truly accurate photographs. Most of them had no idea that there was a full-frame mirrorless camera on the market; they thought the a7 series was a crop sensor.

      Before making a purchase, I borrowed several cameras. So, I have experience holding DSLRs, viewing the frame through the OVF, and shooting in various situations. They’re cool. Alas, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that they felt “old”.

      Last year, to get my feet wet in photography, I purchased a Sony a6000. I loved it! I prefer the wysiwyg EVF, and it was a camera that worked well for me. Then, it was stolen. To replace it, I decided to step up to the a7m2. I love it! I don’t mind being snubbed my my Canikon friends. I do miss the 11fps of the a6000, and I might even pick up another a6000 (or the yet to be announced a7000) down the road, but I’ve fallen in love with the FF a7 Series.

      I can understand why a professional wedding photographer would feel more comfortable with an impressive looking DSLR with a vertical grip and a 70-200/2.8 attached to it. It looks pro. It takes great shots. There’s nothing wrong with it. The average person is probably more inclined to view you as a professional.

      In the end, for me at least, photography is a personal thing. I’ve even grown a little attached to my a7m2. My first lens was the Sony/Zeiss 55/1.8. I’ve taken thousands of pictures of my daughters with it, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m currently drooling over the Zeiss Batis 25/2 and 85/1.8.

      Mirrorless is my companion along my odyssey in photography. And, from my perspective, I think we’ll continue to see DSLR sales decline (it’s a mature system with not much room for growth and technological advancements), and we’ll continue to see mirrorless sales rise (mirrorless technology is young and will advance to the point that it’ll be hard to argue against it). Within a decade, I think the DSLR will go the way of film, and if Canikon doesn’t jump on the mirrorless wave, they’ll go the way of Kodak.

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    • Tobias Heyl

      Such a pity they are now looking for explanations rather than fixing their problems. I haven’t decided yet whether to laugh about this ‘breaking news’ (which was to come anyway) or to be sad, because Canon has just f*cked up again once more and I’m wondering for how long customers will tolerate this in the future.

      Fuji, Sony and other camera manufacturers have shown that Canon’s alpha male demenour is long outdated and their fundament’s cracking. Not considering any statistics in the past they try to find lame excuses.

      When Sony finds out something is not working the way it was supposed to work in one of their camera models they release an update, they bring corrections and new features at no cost. Canon just releases a new camera instead.

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  7. Trevor Dayley

    I am just puzzled as to why our $3500 camera bodies can’t pull off some of the same things are smart phones are doing, such as panorama stitching in camera.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      You have to go to mirrorless land if you want those features in a real camera. So far Canon and Nikon are oblivious to these sort of features.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      That never made any sense to me. I think it’s proof that Canikon are deliberately withholding features to pack into their more expensive bodies. Although super useful things like fully articulating screens are still being left off because “It’s not professional looking”. So they’re still shooting themselves in the foot.

      Their profits are now showing the result of having a dinosaur mentality in a fast changing market.

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    • Stephen Jennings

      I think a dslr could pull off the stitch.. but, just as with hdr, it’s better done on a computer using raw files.

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  8. Pye

    Seems like Canon should start making smart phones ;) I think I would actually buy one

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    • Anthony Thurston

      or at least coming up with some awesome camera tech that they could license to phone manufacturers.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      Their competitors are already to market with camera.smartphones like the Panasonic DMC-CM1 so its not that odd of an idea. Although I still prefer an actual smartphone so I think I’d be more in line with Anthony’s suggestion.

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    • Peter Nord

      Why not make a hybrid camera which mates with a phone for comm, display, software control. The camera would only have controls necessary for high speed event control, e.g. shutter, exposure, camera events etc. Use the phone display and computer for everything else.

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  9. Tom Blair

    Thanks for the info on The Nikon lens

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    • Steve VanSickle

      I’m really intrigued by that lens, too. Though, I have to wonder how it’s going to be priced. I certainly expect them to be more expensive than the Tamron and the Sigma C 150-600 lenses (and that’s fine to be more expensive), I feel like it’s going to be tough to get anybody but brand die-hards to get it over Sigma/Tamron by the time it comes to market.

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  10. Peter Nord

    RTFM

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