In the last two years, there has been a massive shift in the pro-sumer video market, as cinematographers and videographers have been switching from Canon to Sony cameras as their main tool for image capture.
I’ve been a faithful Canon user for many years, starting with the T2I (my first DSLR), going all the way to the 5d Mark III, and the C100 that I still occasionally use now. Their cameras have always been easy to use and presented a cinematic image that was easy to work with and pleasing to clients.
Now with all things in life, I have an aversion to change. And true to form, I was one of the last of my compadres to make the switch to Sony. And even though I’m still in the midst of making the transition, I don’t think I will be going back.
Below are some of the reasons why I’ve made the switch –
Canon is notorious for crippling in-camera features to protect the sales of their higher-end cameras.
Take the original C100 for example… It’s one hell of a camera, except for one major flaw – NO SLOW MOTION. (WTF, right?) This really is a simple feature to include, hell, even most of the DSLR’s in Canon’s product line have it.
What was Canon thinking to not include this simple feature in a $5000 camera? Well I’ll tell you –
They want you to pay thousands more and get the C300.
But then here came Sony, offering feature-packed cameras for a lot less $$$.
Look at the A7S mark II. This little camera has it all, and a big of chips. You want internal 4K recording? Check. Slow motion? You get 60fps and 120fps. Log mode? You get Slog2 and Slog3. How are the low light capabilities? You can film in Sicario’s border-crossing caves and not even need night-vision goggles. (A slight exaggeration, but you get my point. Helluva movie, by the way.)
And what’s the cherry on top? Internal image stabilization, which works REALLY, REALLY, REALLY well. I love it. Let me say it again – I love it.
Canon’s C-series cameras are overpriced. Plain and simple.
Don’t get me wrong -- they’re ergonomic, produce a great image, and are very easy to use. Their cameras also have that “special sauce” which makes skin tones look totally killer, even in run & gun shoots where lighting is far from optimal.
But come on – $4500 (after a recent price drop) for a Canon C100 Mark II, which doesn’t even record in 4k?
And how much would 4k cost in a Canon camera, you may ask? The Canon 1DC will run you $8000. And what’s worse – the C300 Mark II comes in at a not-so-cool $16000.
Yes, that’s right, you would need to sell your car to buy one.
For the sake of argument, I will say that Canon released a more affordable camera that captures 4k video footage – the CANON XC 10… But they decided to cripple it with a non-interchangeable lens (which is absolute $h*t, by the way) and a very small sensor.
I’m still scratching my head over this camera, by the way, and I know many of you are, too.
Compare these cameras with the feature packed Sony A7S II, which comes in at $3000. Or even the Sony FS5, which comes in at $5500.
For all intensive purposes, the FS5 looks to be the C100’s bigger, stronger, taller, more athletic, smarter, better looking older brother.
If the FS5 is Michael Jordan, the C100 is…everyone else. (Perhaps a slight exaggeration once again.)
I think you get the picture.
I’m going to bring the FS5 back down to earth… Just a bit...
Early camera adopters have reported image issues, such as macro blocking and artifacts, in low light situations. Now issues like this are common with new cameras, but what’s really impressed me is how Sony is handling it.
They’ve been responding directly to user complaints as well as online blogs, letting everyone know that the issues are being researched and that they’re working on fixes.
Another example of Sony’s responsiveness is how they handled the “black hole sun” issue on the A7S II.
Let’s back track a bit -- in certain situations, when filming with the A7S II, the sun would appear as an unpleasant black spot in the frame.
Once Sony was aware of the issue, they immediately released a firmware update, fixing the problem, right-quick.
What does Canon do to address their problems? The answer to that is a bit complicated --
Out of the box, Canon cameras seem to do what they do with very little issues or problems. They work great. In fact, most of their customer complaints involve users venting about the crippled features in their cameras, or how everything is completely overpriced.
Canon and Sony seem to have two very different philosophies when releasing their cameras.
Sony seems to be dropping a camera every month. Unfortunately their products seem to be 95% of what they could be when they release, and they ask for customer patience while they work on that last 5 percent.
Canon, on the other hand, waits until their cameras are 100%, but they are unwilling to release significant updates or add features once they drop.
I can’t speak to what other consumers prefer, but I’m fully on board with the Sony philosophy.
WHAT CANON CAN DO TO WIN ME BACK
Canon has been all about protecting their bottom line. But from recent reports, their philosophy seems to be backfiring. They’re losing money. And fast.
What can they do to win customers back? I have a few ideas –
-Release a C200 with internal 4k at a competitive price ($6000) … If Canon were to do this, I guarantee that they’ll win back all of the users that left them to buy the FS5.
-Release the 5d Mark IV before the end of 2016. Make sure it records 4k internally… And make sure not to charge more than what the Mark III cost when it was released.
- Release an upgrade to the Canon XC10…let’s call it the XC20… and make sure that users can mount interchangeable lenses on it. And once again (I’m probably sounding like a broken record right now), please price it competitively.
Canon, if anyone out there is listening (which they’re probably not), all is not lost. You can win us all back. Just don’t abandon the pro-sumer video market that you STARTED with the 5d Mark II.
You are the sleeping giant. It’s about time you wake up.