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Author Topic: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)  (Read 21814 times)

UrbanVoyeur

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Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« on: May 03, 2012, 10:22:57 AM »
I don't think Canon planned to release the 5D MkIII as it exists today. I think Canon intended to put a much higher MP, lower noise sensor with greater DR in it, but it wasn't ready in time. This is all pure conjecture.

I think Canon was fully aware of the Sony sensor and Nikon's plans, and physics and electronics being what they are, was able to produce a sensor equal to the one in the D800 using Canon technology. There's nothing revolutionary about the Sony/D800 sensor. But I don't think Canon could get it produced in the quantities they needed.

I suspect there was a quality control/yield issue. Yes, the sensor worked, but not enough of them were coming off the production line that met their standards - too many rejects in each batch.

This left Cannon with some choices:
- Release no update to the 5D MkII, already 3+ years old until the sensor was ready, and in so doing, appear to cede that market segment to Nikon.
- Put the top of the line 1D series sensor in the MkIII - an improvement, but the only way to maintain the price point would be to take a loss/break even on every body.
- Put a slightly tweaked MkII sensor back into the MkIII along with the other planned feature upgrades and basically mark time until the new sensor was ready.

I think they took the last option - issuing a minor upgrade so as not to be seen abandoning the market segment to Nikon.

Nikon took advantage of the situation by knocking down the price, and I think that, more than anything else caught Canon off guard. Canon would do well to take a price cut on the MkIII.

Why did Sony and Nikon succeed with the new sensor where Canon did not?


I'm not so sure they did.  First, I think Nikon may be creaming the sensor production - paying a premium to Sony for the very best of each run.  They don't need that many, since the D800 is a relatively expensive, low volume camera.

A company Sony's size may be able to afford production runs 100x or 1000x larger than Canon. Their yield of the very best sensors may be no better than Canon, but they may have buyers for the lesser sensors - other camera makers and other Sony models that may be happy with fewer pixels, more noise, lower DR or even, via trimming, smaller sensors.

Or Sony can afford to take a loss on initial production runs, knowing everything will work out in the near future. Sony did this with the PS 1 and PS 2 gaming processors.

It could also be that Canon's sensor production facilities for this model were in Thailand, were flooded out, and the replacement factories are not fully on line yet or tweaked for higher yields.

I think Canon's next full frame camera will be very informative. If it is in the  18-24 MP range, but retails near the 7D, then I would bet that these are based on the same sensor that was originally planned for the 5DMkIII, but represent the lesser quality production yields.  (18-24 usable low noise, high DR pixels vs 36-45)

I bet that within a year, Canon updates the 5D MkIII type camera with a much higher MP count, lower noise, higher DR sensor. They may not call it the 5D, but it will be what they had originally planned for the MkIII.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 09:54:10 AM by UrbanVoyeur »

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Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« on: May 03, 2012, 10:22:57 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 10:26:19 AM »
Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII?

To make a profit.  And guess what?  They will.  'Nuf said.
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PhilDrinkwater

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 11:31:53 AM »
Sorry - I think your argument is fundamentally flawed:
* They are releasing a camera with an entirely new sensor as you say. It's the 1dx and it's 18mp. It's their flagship sensor. They don't have another one in the wings that was better that they were going to put in the 5d3 or it would be in the 1dx.
* Most people don't want the 5d3 to have any more resolution and I'm sure Canon knows this because they will have asked (http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=6096.0).

Also for whatever reason, Canon didn't increase the low ISO DR on the 5d3. It could be:
* They don't have the tech
* They don't think it would make them any money
* They don't think the market (as a whole) cares about low ISO DR
(or any other reason)

The 5d3 sensor will have been being worked on for probably 2-3 years now. I can't believe it's something you can knock together in 5 minutes. Maybe 2 years ago they didn't care about DR.

I think people who did want more MP can't believe that people want it to stay at 22, but I'll be clear on this point for me - I hope canon NEVER release a 5d1/2/3 which is higher MP since it's just a waste of my time and money. By all means release a different camera (3d, 5dx), but 22MP is more than enough for me. I neither want nor need more.

I'm sure Canon will release a new camera with a new sensor. I've got no idea what that sensor will have or when it'll be released. Given all of the discussion about DR I suspect they're "all over" that particular aspect. However until recently very high DR wasn't something that people particularly cared about - it's just because the d800 is out that people care about it now.

I suspect Canon were caught slightly with their pants down. I think it's that simple. They guessed people wouldn't care / notice and they have. Whether most of those people really *need* high DR is irrelevant - they're now seen as lagging behind and that will hurt them somewhat.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 12:17:57 PM »
I suspect Canon were caught slightly with their pants down. I think it's that simple. They guessed people wouldn't care / notice and they have. Whether most of those people really *need* high DR is irrelevant - they're now seen as lagging behind and that will hurt them somewhat.

You seem to be refering to DR with that statement, and if so, I don't see how that can come as a surprise to Canon - they've clearly lagged behind Nikon on sensor DR for a few years/generations now.  So, rather than being 'caught slightly with their pants down,' I think it's more of a case of Canon either truly not caring about the issue, or being technically unable to solve it with their sensor technology.
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PhilDrinkwater

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2012, 12:31:16 PM »
I suspect Canon were caught slightly with their pants down. I think it's that simple. They guessed people wouldn't care / notice and they have. Whether most of those people really *need* high DR is irrelevant - they're now seen as lagging behind and that will hurt them somewhat.

You seem to be refering to DR with that statement, and if so, I don't see how that can come as a surprise to Canon - they've clearly lagged behind Nikon on sensor DR for a few years/generations now.  So, rather than being 'caught slightly with their pants down,' I think it's more of a case of Canon either truly not caring about the issue, or being technically unable to solve it with their sensor technology.

Yeh - I keep forgetting about the d7000....... 2010 then :)

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2012, 12:43:51 PM »
Sorry - I think your argument is fundamentally flawed:
* They are releasing a camera with an entirely new sensor as you say. It's the 1dx and it's 18mp. It's their flagship sensor. They don't have another one in the wings that was better that they were going to put in the 5d3 or it would be in the 1dx.

What I think you need to consider is how the resolution relates to other aspects of the camera, the 1DX benefits in FPS and high ISO performance over the 5D mk3 due to the lower resolution, the 5D mk3 benefits from FPS, high ISO and video performance over the D800 due to a lower resolution.

My guess going from these releases and some comments from Canon is that they were unsure of the market for ultra high MP and felt that the need for an all round "event camera" was stronger given that the 5D mk2 had been selling well to the landscape/studio market very recently.

Equally I'd guess Nikon felt that there most pressing need was an affordable high resolution body given how far the D700 lagged behind the 5D mk2 and believed they needed to push beyond it.

Personally I won't be supprized if we see a Nikon body with similar specs to the 5D mk3 and a Canon body with similar specs to the D800 released within the next year.

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 01:53:17 PM »
I think Canon just doesn't have the high DR sensor built yet. I think they are working on it. I think it will happen eventually, or else they will fall further and further behind Nikon in sensor technology. I think they are giving us the best that they have to offer, but they can only offer it if they have the means to mass produce it. Canon will come out with a high MP camera in 2013. The question is whether or not it has dramatically improved DR at ISO 100-400. If it doesn't then Canon has failed for too long in this area. The resolution of cameras is great right now and I think DR and high ISO performance are the two areas Nikon and Canon should be focusing on. Right now Nikon is kicking Canon's but in terms of DR. The same can't be said for Canon and their high iso performance. They are barely beating Nikon in that. So I think Canon is showing us their hand. They just don't have the Ace of Dynamic Range. It has escaped them so far.
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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 01:53:17 PM »

UrbanVoyeur

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2012, 03:01:30 PM »
* Most people don't want the 5d3 to have any more resolution and I'm sure Canon knows this because they will have asked
Until it comes out. Then everyone wants it. Nikon users are no different than Canon - both companies hear the same things from their customers, and both companies have a pretty good idea of how the market will react to a given upgrade.

Given a choice between more MP OR less noise and more DR, many/most users choose the latter. When given the option of getting all three (more MP, less noise, more DR) nobody turns it down.

Editor's Note: I am retracting the "many/most" statement. It is factually incorrect (not being based on anything but my conjecture and opinion) and is a distraction to the discussion.


The 5d3 sensor will have been being worked on for probably 2-3 years now.
That's kinda my point. Canon has been planing this upgrade for 3-5 years and working on a new sensor for that long. They just couldn't pull it all together in time for the MkIII.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 04:21:25 PM by UrbanVoyeur »

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2012, 03:24:50 PM »
Canon's market cap is much bigger than Sony's if I remember correctly....  Furthermore, Sony has patents on a lot of the technologies that are making their chips better.  And there are no other sensors with the same pixel density as the D800--so how could Nikon be paying Sony for the best of each run?  They're paying for all of these sensors that exist, at least for now.

This just isn't true...Canon has issues with their sensors and they have more read noise.  The 5DIII has a three-year life cycle.  Canon won't disrupt that prematurely.  The 7D may have surpassed the 5DII in terms of monitoring and frame rates, but the 5DII remained the flagship prosumer HDSR in Canon's arsenal through its product cycle.  If you buy a 5DIII, it will have a three-year lifespan as top of its market segment.  Don't wait on something that doesn't exist and won't.  It's also an awesome camera and the video quality is very underrated (it is soft, however).

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2012, 03:49:04 PM »
They brought it out because it was spec'd exactly the way I wanted it....and I could not wait any longer  :)

Would I have liked a better price?  Yes....but a few hundred USD are not a major issue, and I blame that more on the weak $, not, so much, Canon.

Greater DR at low ISO?  Maybe..?  But more as insurance against my not getting the correct exposure.  While intellectually it may seem nice to open up all the dark shadows, an image like that usually looks too artificial and is why we often tire of HDR....even if it is not garish.

More megapixels?  Always nice, but has trade offs....which I guess is true of pretty much all the specs.  It's like what we are told about tripods....if you want cheap, light, and sturdy, you can have any 2, but not all three.

In summary,I believe the 5D3 is an extremely well balanced system....and aim glad I jump on getting it right away (even if it is going to need some taping up).

John

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2012, 03:52:50 PM »
Canon [is] technically unable to solve it with their sensor technology.

This.

The thing about competition is it spurs innovation.  The fredmiranda.com d800/5D3 comparo speaks volumes to the advancements Sony/Nikon has made with respect to DR.  Those shadow recovery samples are simply mind blowing.  Comparing to the Canon images, it's clear they are still languishing a few years behind in that regard; and there's no amount of spin that Canon fanboys can pile on to change that fact.  Canon simply couldn't pull off the same improvements in time for the 5D3.

Hands on samples/reviews/comparos are now all over the internet, and Canon has been made well aware of where they stand ... and you know damn well they are pushing their engineers for improvements.  They simply have to - waiting another 3 years without offering some type of serious update in sensor tech will put Canon in trouble with the large-format-print/landscape/studio crowd.  They are already causing too much confusion with their convoluted lineup of bodies and their heavy push into cinema - where they still aren't being taken seriously.  It's time they get back to the basics of making great still cameras, and I'm assuming they well.

Don't worry - Canon will respond.  Just be patient and give them time.  Their sensor upgrades are coming.  At least, I'm putting my faith in them that they will be.

prestonpalmer

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2012, 04:07:52 PM »
Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII?

To make a profit.  And guess what?  They will.  'Nuf said.

+1

UrbanVoyeur

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 05:01:27 PM »
Canon's market cap is much bigger than Sony's if I remember correctly
The market caps of the two companies are about the same but Sony's semi conductor business is much larger than Canon's.  see wikipedia and yahoo finance.

And there are no other sensors with the same pixel density as the D800--so how could Nikon be paying Sony for the best of each run?  They're paying for all of these sensors that exist, at least for now.
Creaming is a common practice in the semi conductor business. Intel does it every day with chip Pentium chip speed, as does Apple and its ARM chips.  In a given run, the chips that past the most stringent tests get the highest speed rating, and thus command a premium price. Chips that pass the tests at lower speeds sell for less. The same also applies to quad vs dual vs single processors. The best become quads, and so on down the line.

The sensor Nikon gets is the last step in long manufacturing process for Sony, which starts from silicon wafers.

Like every semiconductor part each of those steps has a yield; in gross terms good, bad, perfect and junk are produced in each run.

Nikon pays for the low noise, high DR, full frame 36 MP sensor - that's the only chip they want. In that same run, there may be low noise, high DR version, but only if you ignore the outer sensors - APS-C @ 22 MP.  Or you my get a full frame with great noise and DR, but you cannot use adjacent pixels - FF @18 MP.
 
My examples are crude, but I think you see the point. There are many cameras models from Sony and other manufacturers that don't need 36 perfect MP's on a FF chip, which may present an opportunity to sell chips Nikon rejects.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 10:05:58 AM by UrbanVoyeur »

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 05:01:27 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2012, 10:34:07 PM »
Given a choice between more MP OR less noise and more DR, many/most users choose the latter.

Damn, you must be right. After all, for the past several years, Canon has more MP along with more noise and less DR, while Nikon has had less MP but also less noise and more DR.  Since, as you say, 'many/most users' would choose less noise and more DR, that must explain why Nikon has beaten Canon for dSLR market share for the past several years, and why Nikon's market share has increased while Canon's has decreased. 

Oh, wait, as we established earlier, Canon's market share went up while Nikon lost more than 10% of the dSLR market. Perhaps, just maybe, consider the fact that your opinion isn't representative of 'many/most' users.
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UrbanVoyeur

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2012, 10:46:25 PM »
Perhaps, just maybe, consider the fact that your opinion isn't representative of 'many/most' users.
Umm. Ok.

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Re: Why did Canon Release the 5D MkIII (pure conjecture)
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2012, 10:46:25 PM »