Thursday, March 27, 2014

An open letter to Canon

Dear Canon,

For years we have used your products but you have started to lie on your laurels. The past 5 years has brought out nothing new and nothing really worthwhile.

Sure - you've rehashed the 5D several times, rehashed the 20D many times as well as rehashing the Digital Rebel many times. These are just rehashes of tired old products. A two year old could have been more innovative.

I am an avid photographer. I love photography. I am very disappointed by the cameras available in 2014 as they are so little different (insignificant tweaks excepted) from my 8 Megapixel 30D. When I go out taking photographs, do I take my 30D? Hell no. I'm more likely to use my phone camera (which is also 8 megapixel). Yes the 30D images are clearer and technically better. The problem is that the 30D and none of the current Canon line-up really cut it any more. I certainly wouldn't spend money on something that's not really any different from my 30D.

What can you do to rescue the situation? Think about it - a camera manufacturer whose offerings are eclipsed by a mobile phone camera! Let me offer you some suggestions and explain why my mobile phone is my camera of choice.

  • My phone is small and almost always in my pocket. You need to make your cameras and lenses smaller. That Canon EOS M was an April Fool's joke, wasn't it. You do have something better that you're waiting to release that's actually compact, don't you?
  • My phone puts GPS coordinates on every picture regardless of whether I'm in a cellular coverage zone or not. None of the current Canon cameras do that. Sure - you sell a GPS add-on unit that makes you look greedy and incompetent. GPS is just an itty bitty little chip that would run happily off the camera battery. I'm certainly not paying $1K+ for a camera then God knows how much extra for an add-on GPS unit that should have been built-into the camera.
  • My phone uploads images via wifi as I pass through a wifi hotspot so that when I get to enter my blog, I can just select an image to include easily without having to mess about with moving my memory card from the camera to a reader or connecting my camera to the computer via a cable. It's all done wirelessly and before I even sit down. Sure - I could use one of those Eye-Fi thingies to do it and in fact I actually had one but found it so poor in use that I threw the miserable thing in the trash.

I suggest, Canon, that you pull your finger out and get to work. It's time to stop resting on those laurels - they're flat enough already. You need to start doing the following (perhaps some other manufacturer will do it first and I'll end up switching brands):

  • Put a GPS logger into each camera
  • Put a wifi connection into each camera. Bonus points if it works automatically with all wifi hotspots worldwide without needing a touch screen.
  • Make a truly smaller mirrorless camera. I'm sorely tempted by the Nikon 1 system and that's a big hint about the direction I could well go in.
  • Do some genuine innovation. Slightly bigger sensors, slightly more megapixels, live view - they don't count - that's just playing games.
  • Invest in LED flash units.

Take note, Canon, I'm watching you closely and will happily jump ship if there's no great improvement from you when my 30D dies. I simply don't care about losing money selling the flashes and lenses - they've lost so much value already that I just don't care any more.
The Yellow Pages is something that's well past its sell by date. This is what happened to the Yellow Pages that was delivered to my house. I have no need for a chunky great lump of rainforest that's heavy and tricky to handle.

I'm amazed that such a waste of resources continues to be produced. All of these chunky great directories end up in the trash just like this one. I hate to think how many trees are murdered just to produce landfill like this. If I had a fireplace, it would probably have made excellent kindling but I don't so it just becomes landfill.

I rather suspect that if Canon doesn't shift its collective arse and produce cameras that are as easy to use and as useful as a mobile phone camera, that Canon will become a mere footnote in history.

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