« on: September 03, 2013, 05:24:36 PM »
After following the 30 pages (currently) of obscure debate over DXO ratings, I have to say this:
I am getting a little sick of the conventional wisdom that somehow Canon is "behind" in sensor technology. The more accurate statement is that Canon has placed a different emphasis in its sensor development than some of its competitors. And, it would also be correct that Canon has placed a different emphasis on its sensor development than a vocal group of participants in this forum would like.
Specifically, Canon has decided to push sensor technology that improves live view and video autofocus and has done so without compromising still image quality. Canon's competitors appear to be emphasizing marginal improvements in sensor performance for stills.
One can say Canon is "behind" only if one totally discounts the significant technological advancement that its dual-pixel sensor represents.
All technology development comes at a price and any company – Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, etc. – must do a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the benefit outweighs the cost. All companies have limited resources and must choose where to place those resources.
I strongly suspect that Canon's management looked at the relative costs of various sensor improvements and determined that if they could develop reliable on-sensor autofocus, the potential return on investment would be greater than simply making marginal improvements in sensor performance for stills.
It doesn't take a genius to see they are probably right. As a stills photographer, it pains me to say this, but I know that the greatest growth potential for DSLRs is in video, not stills. With the 70D Canon elected to produce a potentially game-changing technology for live view autofocus and apparently did so while marginally improving stills sensor performance. No small feat.
This is analogous to the 5DIII vs. D800. In the 5DIII Canon focused on features and performance that were targeted to a specific market – wedding and event photographers. Nikon focused on sensor improvements without much consideration to any target market (except for pent-up demand from existing Nikon users).
From what can be gleaned from available resources, it looks like Canon made the better choice.
I would not be surprised if, after the 70D has been available for awhile, we see Canon's sales once again outperforming Nikon's. (Actually, the 70D is currently outperforming the D7100, but it's a little unfair to compare a newly-released body to one that has been out for quite some time, as the same pent-up demand that drove D800 sales is likely driving 70D sales right now).
My point is: declaring one company ahead or behind on sensor technology without considering all aspects of the various offerings is a selective, skewed assessment.
As an interested observer, I think it is evident that Canon has placed its emphasis on developments that will expand sales, rather than on bragging rights for tech forum readers.