An Open Letter to Canon by a (Soon-to-Be Former) Customer
You have been a market leader for decades and the choice for many professionals and amateurs alike. Over the years you were at the forefront of innovation in the photographic industry: The AE-1 was the first camera featuring a micro computer, the EOS RT was the first with a fixed semi transparent mirror and the EOS 5, the first SLR with eye controlled AF.
Even at the beginning of the digital revolution, you managed to stay on top of the game. The Canon 20D and especially the Canon 5D were milestones. Lately, however, I have been wondering on a regular basis what you are up to and where you see yourself in the future. Exciting products that would bring actual change and improvement to the way photographers like myself work have been few and far between.
Let’s talk about your cameras a bit more. Although you offer new bodies on a regular basis, the changes and upgrades are minor while the increase in price is often significant. To me, it seems you are just doing enough to keep the cash coming in, but don’t really care about the wishes and needs of us, your customers.
The Canon 5D Mark III is a nice example of what could have been. It is a very good all around camera, there is no doubt about that, but Magic Lantern has shown that the hardware of the camera would be able to do more than your own firmware allows.The ML firmware, among other features, increases the Canon 5D Mark III‘s dynamic range by 3 stops and allows RAW video. But you probably have heard about that already.
This makes me wonder what else and why you are holding back especially when your competitors don’t. The Nikon D800 has a high megapixel DSLR without low pass filter which makes it the perfect tool for landscape photographers. I had the chance to work with one for a day and the detail, clarity and dynamic range is astounding. In situations where my Canon 5D Mark III needed the help of graduated filters, the D800 captured shadow and highlight details all by itself. Sony’s new Sony A7R goes in the same direction and even at a bargain price. Don’t you think it’s time to step up your game a bit?
Your lenses tell a similar story. You have one of the most extensive range of SLR lenses including anything from the standard zoom to specialty glass. While some of the recent launches were groundbreaking, I am thinking especially about the Canon 17mm and Canon 24mm TS-E lenses, most of your new lenses left a sour taste in my mouth.
The Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II and Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II, upgrades that were long overdue, but came with astonishing price tags. What is however even more astonishing is the fact that the optical quality of these lenses is, according to most reviews, only slightly better than the older and much cheaper Canon 24-105mm f/4L and Canon 17-40mm f/4L.
The exorbitant prices of your new lenses start to look even more disturbing when Sigma launches one high quality lens after another. Both the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 more than match your L glass and cost less than $1000 while you would have to pay twice of that for comparable lenses from your lineup.
To make things worse some reviews show that even Rokinon/Samyang/Bower lenses live up to your professional line.
I understand that developing new products takes time and costs money. I don’t understand why you obviously don’t take the wishes of your paying customers on board. There are many professionals and amateurs out there who would like to see a high megapixel body without a low pass filter, even more would like to see an increase in dynamic range and lower high ISO and long exposure noise. In addition, an affordable price point would be nice. Other manufacturers have shown that it is possible to be innovative and produce high quality products with a decent price tag. Why not you, Canon?
Perhaps, it may be time for me to consider parting ways and looking for a company that understands my needs and is actively working to stay current in their product offerings.