I was just wondering about where Canons innovation has gone? Sure, they put a touch screen on a dslr, but that is not really innovative. We´ve had this on smart phones for a long time (yes, they are caneras as well), but that is about it. WiFi? They have offered WiFi for a long time as well, but as an add on feature. Integrating it is more of an evolution, the same as with the touch screen.
The reason I ask this question, "where are the innovation" is because I recently bought my wife a Sony NEX-6, anf my poor 550D looked really really ancient next to it!! Dont get me wrong, I do enjoy shooting my canon, and I have solid lenses, but it really was a huge gap between the Canon and the Sony.
I do think that Canon produces very good, solid performing cameras, no doubt. The 5D3 and the 1DX really dont have true competition. They are not the best at everything, but as a whole, perhaps the best tools avaliable for the professionals. However, I´m not a professional, though quite enthustiastic
Where is Canons equivalent to the Sony A7/R or the Nikon DF? Where is the downloadable apps for the Camera, motion sensors etc.? The EOS M? Never tried it, but from what I understand, a good, solid performer (after the FW update), but not very innovative.
The thing is, the people at Canon are not stupid, I am sure they have all the technology in the world to make super innovative cameras (yes, even fix the DR-problem that really isn´t a problem), but why dont they show us, or just give us some hints? Where are Canon at the CES?
I am not the type that want the latest and greatest technology at the moment it is released. But, I am gonna upgrade my equipment in a couple of years. Hopefully I can stick to Canon and not feel I´m buying an old relic.
First off, check patent filings. Canon innovated almost 3200 times last year. Thats a lot of innovation, and from a patent count standpoint, Canon actually innovated more than Sony, and a hell of a lot more than Nikon.
Second, adding a touch screen to a camera could be considered innovative. They did not innovate touch screens, but they have produced some innovative ways of accessing and managing camera settings and configuration.
Third, are you seriously forgetting all the innovations Canon has included in their most recent cameras? The 1D X alone is PACKED with innovation, several in the AF system, several more in their metering system, the way their meter and AF system is linked with a dedicated processor is innovative, they innovated with their new shutter and mirror assembly that broke the 12fps barrier, they innovated Dual Pixel AF.
Don't forget, photography is as much about the lens as it is about the sensor and the camera. Canon has even more innovations packed into their newest lenses, and they have a whole host of additional lens releases slated for 2014.
I think your being naive if you think that simply responding to your competitors is innovative. On the contrary, being a copy-cat "me too!" company is actually about the farthest thing from innovative as you can get. Nikon is actually not a very innovative company. Nikon is a company of alliances...they ally themselves with counterbodies like Sony, then buy and sometimes share their own technology in order to produce a product. Nikon does not have a cohesive approach to producing cameras...just look at their camera model naming scheme, and the only thing you'll see is schizophrenia. Nikon camera names are chaotic, confusing, and even potentially conflicting. Nikon, since they don't innovate critical technology, has some extra time to produce fancy little tidbits such as 24karat gold plated cameras, the Nikon Df, and a whole host of other random, one-off, and frequently quirky little devices that...for a SHORT time...make fans rave, but over the long run do NOTHING to make them a better company.
Canon, on the other hand, is most assuredly innovative. Canon, given their track record, doesn't give a flying rat's ass about "the competition." Canon rarely produces cameras that "directly" compete with anything their primary competition has to offer...which is why we don't often see things like a Canon SomethingD with 36mp, or a full frame mirrorless to "directly compete with" the Sony A7r. We probably WON'T see such things either. Canon is not a copycat "me too!" company. They are an innovative company. Canon, as it stands, is actually a company that really seems to listen to their customers, is diligent about filtering the noise from the critical customer demands, careful and conservative in their development, testing, and refinement of their products, and will deliver when they believe they have found a product that TRULY answers THEIR, CANON'S, CUSTOMER DEMANDS. Whatever Canon releases in the coming years, I highly doubt anything but the 1D X will have any "direct" competition from either Sony or Nikon. Whatever Canon releases, it will rather pointedly service Canon customer needs.
Canon hasn't stopped innovating. They just aren't rushing. (Oh, and they have no reason to "hype" by dropping pointless little rumorbombs all over the place to get peoples hopes up about technology that isn't ready yet.)
I am not denying that Canon is not innovating, they are, how else would they be market leader! They have an enormous R&D department, not only for photography, but also medical imaging (I use large Canon x-ray detectors at work, they are very good!).
The wording of your title and body seem to indicate otherwise, but perhapse I misread.
However they dont listen too much at customers.
Before I dive in and counter your statements, this is so fundamentally wrong, its laughable. You have to remember that it takes YEARS for a new camera to be developed. Today, people are screaming for more DR and more megapixels. Four years ago, five and six years ago...do you remember what people were most loudly screaming about? I mean, LOUDLY screaming about? FEWER MEGAPIXELS!! BETTER HIGH ISO!! BETTER AF SYSTEM!!
How many years did it take for them to implement Auto ISO in M-mode? Oh, and only in the 1DX, which cost way too much for most people. Do they even have spot metering linked to the chosen focus point? Fokus peaking? Zebra? Intervallometer? No!! They dont listen too much.
Those are all customer requests...but are they the MOST DEMANDED customer requests? I hear people asking for Auto ISO only after they hear that Nikon has it. And then, it is only a few people who really consistently ask for it. Intervalometer? If you say that word to any random but sufficient sampling of photographers, most will go: "Intervawat?"As for focus peaking and zebras...they aren't that useful in a DSLR, where you spend the vast majority of your time looking through an OPTICAL view finder. They might be interesting little features that get some limited use for live view junkies...but overall, they are FAR from the most significant customer demand that Canon MUST respond to.
There are a few critically important things that are truly critical to Canon's core, loyalist customers. Canon's most important group of customers is not the average Rebel buyer...no. Canon's most important group of customers are the pros, semi-pros, and hard core avid enthusiasts who regularly spend thousands of dollars on their most coveted products...the 1D series, the 5D series, L-series lenses. Overall image quality is one of the single most important factors that Canon MUST address. Focus peaking/Zeebras in live view? Sorry, that just DOES NOT make the cut when you have much bigger fish to fry...such as designing a radical new AF unit that completely trounces anything Canon, or for that matter any of their competitors, has ever released. Auto ISO? Doesn't matter a whit when you have to invest immense amounts of money designing a sensor and readout system that can offer the cleanest and highest native high ISO settings at 14fps. (Auto ISO also doesn't matter a wit when a significant amount of pro photographers just don't care about it...they either use full manual because they insist on total control, or they simply go Av/Tv and forget the rest.)
Canon isn't arrogant. It is not arrogant to not care about the competition, and instead listen to and actually address the most vocal outcry of YOUR OWN customers. It is BETTER to listen to your customers and deliver what they demand, and that is exactly what Canon did. There were three primary demands from Canon's customers regarding the 1D and 5D lines (the two lines that are really the most important for Canon):
1. Stop increasing megapixels without making them better.
2. Improve high ISO performance by A LOT.
3. Release an AF system that does not have the problems the 1D III had & put a MUCH better AF system in the 5D III.
Sports and action photographers, who probably make up the single largest segment of loyal Canon customers, were extremely clear about their demand for a better AF system (especially after the fiasco with the 1D III AF system) and much better high ISO performance. Sports photogs, which includes Olympics photogs, are a MASSIVE group, and account for a significant amount of revenue for Canon's photography division. They care less about megapixels, and far more about having lots of clean, low noise frames per second at high ISO. Canon delivered EXACTLY what that large, vocal group demanded.
Wedding/portrait photographers make up another significant segment of loyal Canon customers. The 5D and 5D II have been staples for wedding photographers for years. The single biggest complaint from them? The AF system. The 5D II 9pt AF system, while not "bad", was FAR from as capable as necessary for wedding and portrait photographers. So it is no surprise that Canon put the 61pt AF system in the 5D III. Again, Canon delivered EXACTLY what a very vocal and profitable group of customers demanded.
Neither of those three critical improvements were cheap to achieve, either. Canon has a large R&D budget, but it gets spread around. They develop medical imaging, printing, CMOS fabrication and other optical technologies in addition to photography. They don't have their full R&D budget to dedicate solely to photography improvements every year. I think Canon responded very well to their customers, all things considered, with the 1D X and 5D III. The 6D, while it doesn't compete directly with the D600, is certainly no slouch either. The 6D demonstrated one even FURTHER improvement in high ISO performance, as it has some of the cleanest, lowest noise high ISO output I've seen (it has practically zero color noise, and very low luma noise, once you get to ISO 1600 and beyond.)
So sorry, but Canon most certainly DOES listen to their customers. They just don't have the option of actually RESPONDING to EVERY SINGLE customer demand. Rebel and xxD buyers are at the bottom of the list, and rightly so. Those are consumer-level products, and in the grand scheme of things, they really don't matter. That doesn't make Canon arrogant, it simply makes them business savvy. They put their money where it TRULY matters.
They are a business, and in it to make money, and that they do well. Canon make a camera, not to be as good as it can be, but to fit a gap in the market. Reasonable, but not exciting. As you put it, "Canon, given their track record, doesn't give a flying rat's ass about "the competition." This is very arrogant, and is sure gonna cost them customers. We saw a little about this in the 50D -> 60D, more or less gimping the camera. In the 70D, they redeemd themself.
I think the 60D was a mistake, but contrary to your opinion...they actually WERE listening to their customers. One of the frequent requests from consumers is for lighter weight entry level bodies. The Rebel series and xxD line are not pro-level lines, they are consumer lines. The 60D's use of a plastic body was an attempt to respond to customer demand for a lighter weight body. Canon DOES listen to their customers. Problem is, the most vocal group, and the loudest demand, changes over time. It seems clear, given the outcry about the 60D's loss of a metal body, that Canon listened to the wrong group. They did indeed "correct" the mistake with the 70D, and brought in more semi-pro features from the 7D to make it a more viable product again. But that doesn't mean Canon wasn't listening. They DO listen...but it can be difficult to filter the noise from the legitimate needs. The demand for smaller, lighter DSLRs from consumers has not stopped, by any means. Canon is STILL responding to that demand...just look at the SL1. It's the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market right now.
I think your misinterpreting a lot of things from Canon, and unfairly judging their reactions to what customers want. You also fail to properly rank the requests that crop up on internet forms with more vocal and critical requests from very large bodies of Canon's key revenue-generating customer groups. Fancy firmware features for live view, and things like Auto ISO, are trivial fluff in the grand scheme of things. It is unsurprising that Canon does not dedicate a lot of resources to those features, because they aren't really what will keep their important customers happy and returning for more. Sorry if that brushes off the low-end consumer, but the low-end consumer isn't what Canon's photography division is really about.
Comparing the old 550D with the rather new nex-6 is not fair, but how did the rebel series develop? Sensor, pretty much the same from 550D to 700D (minor tweaks). 550D -> 600D, added wireless flash control. 600D -> 650D, touch screen and articulated screen, also upped the AF (?), 650D -> 700D Changed the knob to go all the way around... Small steps, carefull evolution, nothing big. Though, they are entry level cameras, they could have done more, not keeping at a minimum all the time. But then again, as tools they are good, steady cameras. No denying!
Your still talking about entry-level stuff. The entry-level doesn't really matter all that much. Consumers are fickle, they jump ship, then jump back on the ship, on a moments whim. Satisfying the consumer is an endless and generally fruitless endeavor. It is NOT surprising that Canon just keeps plugging away with what's working. Why shouldn't they?
I mean, seriously...would you rather Canon actually be like Nikon from a business standpoint? Nikon has struggles for years. They are barely innovative, they can't seem to get all their ducks in a row, they have had consistent problems maintaining supply chain and actually keeping product on the shelves, they often dedicate considerable resources to developing things that DO NOT actually make them much money in the long run (i.e. a $12,000 24 karat gold plated DSLR with real lizard-skin grip...I mean, seriously? It's an INTERESTING product, but it is a complete and total WASTE of time, effort, and money!!) Nikon is a flagging company...they don't seem to have consistent direction. They PACK in as many features as they possibly can because they MUST in order to get the sales they do, and yet, on more than a few occasions, packing in the features caused them problems. Nikon has had numerous problems listening to their customers as well. Ergonomically, Nikon bodies have gone through a couple changes that resulted in some significant backlash, not the least of which were some of the recent button and dial changes on the D800 and other newer Nikon cameras.
Nikon doesn't make a fraction of the revenue Canon does on their photography division. That doesn't bode well for future Nikon innovation. As it stands, the bulk of the innovation in Nikon's most recent camera bodies came from other companies, like Sony. That is a precarious position to be in...relying on other companies so much. If any one of them faltered or failed, Nikon could be dragged right down with them.
Canon, on the other hand, is a business run like a business. Yes, they are in it to make money. That is a GOOD thing. It means they will still be here in ten years. It means they will continue to have revenue to innovate, which means in the long run, they will continue to be able to respond to their customer's key demands.
As Neuroanatomist asked earlier, if I really find the Nikon DF innovative? Well, no, not innovative in the common sense, but it is a very bold move! Not regarding the Leicas (rangefinders), it is probably the second FF mirrorless camera with ICL (Sony A7/R as the first). Anyway, they are early on. It also has no video, which is bold, and it is ugly as hell! Would Canon launch this? No, they wouldn´t. But they also wouldn´t launch something like the Nikon 1 AW 1.
The problem with the Df is not that it's an intriguing and interesting little camera. Nikon has no problem with intriguing and interesting. Like I said, 24karat Gold Plated Lizard Skin DSLR.
The problem with the Df, is Nikon didn't put in the proper effort. It doesn't sell not because it's got a "retro" design. It doesn't sell because it probably has one of THE WORST control designs on the face of the planet. Stacked dials? Seriously? That's about the most useless control mechanism I can think of. Nikon rushed the Df to market. Again, probably because they felt they had to, in order to attract more interest in a niche line, because...well a) that's what they do, and b) they are having a hard time selling things like the D800 (it's total sales volume is a fraction of the 5D III.)
If Canon put their mind to releasing a retro-styled DSLR, I would bet good money that not only would they do it, they would do it right, do it on their own time table, and when it finally hit the shelves, it would sell well. Why? Because it wouldn't be impossible to control, and people would know that it had that Canon guarantee of quality behind it. It would have been thoroughly and properly tested and field vetted before it hit the streets. It would have Canon's superb and superior customer service backing it up.
Will Canon do it? Well, probably not. I'm sure some people are demanding it, but again...Canon responds to the most critical demands first and foremost, and they only have so much money to spend on R&D.