A Compelling Case for Sony cameras vs Canon

vjlex

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Oct 15, 2011
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Osaka, Japan

I know I may be stirring up the hornets nest. I will say I am somewhat loyal (and therefore biased) towards Canon. But this video caught my attention. Switching camps is not anything I'm even remotely considering, but I thought he made some really good points (actually, I consider myself mostly camera agnostic and just happen to own all Canon gear).

In particular, I liked the phrase that he used: artificial limitations. The term cripple hammer riles people up, and that is not my intent with this post. But the phrase artificial limitation perfectly describes the little things that do irk me about my Canon cameras. They are capable without a doubt. But then they put these little artificial limitations in almost as if to intentionally irk you (so that you never feel like you have the perfect camera, and therefore are always subconsciously open to upgrading eventually). That may or may not be true, but it does seem that way to me sometimes. And I thought he articulated this well. They may be small things, but they sometimes get in the way of creativity.

An example of one of the comments I agreed with (from the comments section):
"The great thing about this video was the focus on the recording limit. When I first started doing videos with a DSLR instead of a dedicated camcorder I was using a friends Canon. I didn't know about the record limit.... until is shut off during a part of a video podcast recording. It became very frustrating because I also became over aware of the time instead of the content. Then I got ahold of a test version of the FX3 and fell in love! Don't regret purchasing one at all!"

I hardly ever use video which is why I haven't cared too much about the video limitations. But this past year I needed a camera to record myself for some grad school demonstration lessons I had to make, and found myself extremely irritated that I had the best cameras and the best lenses- $1000s of dollars worth- and yet, couldn't use it to record my 1-2 hour long classes in-body. I ended up having to make do with two Samsung smartphones instead. I find that really shameful on Canon's part. And like I said in the beginning- I'm only somewhat loyal. If Sony comes along and eats their lunch, Canon has no one but themselves and their staunchly conservative approach to blame.

Another comment that expresses perhaps what a lot of us feel that I believe Canon should really pay more attention to:
"It always feels like my canon cameras came with an asterisk. I still have my eos r too (and a couple lenses ). I enjoyed shooting canon more but had soo much more freedom & create options on Sony."

TL;DR
Like I said, I don't really shoot video, so I don't have much reason to go sniffing around Sony cameras. But as someone invested in Canon, I really do hope they stop taking their position as market leader for granted and cut back on some of those artificial limitations.
 

Czardoom

EOS RP
Jan 27, 2020
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Yes, let's just keep repeating the same old bullcrap. Bad Canon! They don't like their customers, they will screw them whenever possible. Thank goodness for Sony who will save us from evil Canon!

Yes, some people think that when they buy a cheaper camera they are ENTITLED to have the same specs as the more expensive cameras. Aw, poor crybabies! How dare evil Canon to not give us all we want in every camera regardless of price!

Sony, on the other hand, loves us! See all the wonderful things they have done for us, like....

Gave us such lousy mark I versions of their cameras that photographers began referring to them as Beta versions. And then...
Gave us such lousy mark II versions of their cameras that photographers began referring to them as Beta versions.
(And yet still expected us to pay for them as if they were well made, finished products. Hmmm sounds kind of evil, but since it wasn't Canon, couldn't be evil)
Whether true or not, that they went with their APS-C camera mount and decided to cram their FF sensor into it, giving us a narrow mount that caused their initial lenses to have real issues with away-from-center-sharpness.
Gave us perhaps the worst ergonomics of any FF cameras.
Gave us inferior color science.
Continues to concentrate on industry highest number specs rather than the quality of the specs. Latest example: have seen a number of reviews of the Nikon Z9 comparing the resolution of the EVF with Sony - which has the highest number of dots. All the reviewers thought the Nikon's EVF was superior however. How could that be...isn't more dots better? Not if you use cheaper, inferior glass in your EVF, which is apparently what Sony does.
Gave us such a lousy shutter that there is (or was) a class-action shoot against them as shutters were failing long before their expected life expectancy. (based on comments here on CR as well as many other photographer comments, Canon's shutters often exceed their life expectancy many times over).

Having bought and briefly owned a Sony A7 and A7 II, and having experienced how lousy these camera were in many regards, it looks to me as if Sony didn't give a darn about producing a quality product - or having people pay for beta versions - and often paying again for the next generation version because the first version was so bad. So, sorry, this internet myth that Sony cares and is somehow "on our side" while Canon is this big bad, evil camera empire is total baloney in my opinion.
 
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Sporgon

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I guess there’s two ways of looking at this:
A: Canon are so successful in selling cameras that they can afford to cut out various features that their competitors have to include.
B: Canon are so successful in selling cameras because they include the features most people want.
:unsure:
 
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Joules

doom
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So, sorry, this internet myth that Sony cares and is somehow "on our side" while Canon is this big bad, evil camera empire is total baloney in my opinion.
It is no myth that Canon has very firm techniques for market segmentation though. Which is really just another name for the cripple hammer. People should not get offended over one term and not the other.

Any company seeking to gain market share has to position their product to look more valuable than those of their competitors. Software features are perhaps easier to implement than hardware ones, but they still add cost (development, testing, maintenance) and complexity to a product.

The return Sony gets on adding such features is clearly worth it to them to make their products look more valuable, and they have this great marketing community that accentuates that value.

Of course if Sony was in Canon's position, they would scrap a lot more features and pocket the savings. But they aren't, and so them pushing Canon does produce some of the effects people like to put forward as proof that competition benefits consumers.

The R6 and R5 as well as the extent of their firmware updates have demonstrated that Canon is willing to wrap the cripple hammer in cotton and push back against Sony after all.

In the end, being brand agnostic should be the right notion here. Neither Sony nor Canon have any interest in doing you a personal favor, so one should treat them no different.

If you need to buy something, pick what suits you best. Don't assume that what you will like is what everyone else seems to, and don't try to convince anybody that they should like the same products as you either.

That being said, the Sony trolls being unable to acknowledge that people can prefer one product over another even if it is inferior in some objectively measure quantities (Namely dynamic range) is still upsetting and it is easy to see how people can take pleasure from seeing 'their team' do well, now that Canon has exceeded Sony in all those little details that don't matter all that much to most people.
 
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Czardoom

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It is no myth that Canon has very firm techniques for market segmentation though. Which is really just another name for the cripple hammer. People should not get offended over one term and not the other.
Yes, people should not get offended by one term over another - even if one term has the obvious connotations of severe damage being done intentionally and the other has the connotation of being a typical business strategy. I guess someone who doesn't understand that the intended meaning of the two terms is quite different could be called "uninformed" as opposed to being called "an idiot." Clearly then no one should be offended for being called an idiot.

Not that I am calling you an idiot, of course, just using your comment as an example of how there are more levels of meaning in various words and phrases than a cut and dry definition.

But I'm sure you knew that.:)
 

Joules

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Yes, people should not get offended by one term over another - even if one term has the obvious connotations of severe damage being done intentionally and the other has the connotation of being a typical business strategy. I guess someone who doesn't understand that the intended meaning of the two terms is quite different could be called "uninformed" as opposed to being called "an idiot." Clearly then no one should be offended for being called an idiot.

Not that I am calling you an idiot, of course, just using your comment as an example of how there are more levels of meaning in various words and phrases than a cut and dry definition.

But I'm sure you knew that.:)
I worded my point poorly.

Somebody who is upset with Canon's approach and expresses it through describing that approach as cripple hammer should not be calmed by someone pointing out that this is just market segmentation.

Giving it another name with less emotional value attached does not actually address the issue that gave rise to the frustration in the first part.

You are right in that it does not work the other way around. Somebody who is upset about seeing the expression cripple hammer being used will likely be upset because they perceive it rightfully as criticism of Canon's approach, but do not agree that this is valid. In which case my point does not apply.

My point was intended to be that criticism should not be swept away by just focusing on wording instead of content. In the specific case at hand, if somebody wants to criticize Canon for sticking with 30 minute recording limits, I don't feel like that criticism should be invalidated by the use of a single phrase.

Past performance suggests Canon's approach is indeed not just a typical but also successful business strategy. That is an explanation and justification for their behavior, but is does not imply that it has to be approved universally. One can understand a fact and yet wish it were different.

There's plenty of typical and 'successful' business strategies that one does not have to like just because of their success. Subscription pricing models, user data collection, right to repair limitations, and so on, are all wonderful business strategies and yet people can have valid criticisms of them.
 

Antono Refa

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Mar 26, 2014
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Any company seeking to gain market share has to position their product to look more valuable than those of their competitors. Software features are perhaps easier to implement than hardware ones, but they still add cost (development, testing, maintenance) and complexity to a product.
The 30 minutes video limitation is a counter example. Canon software engineers had to implement the limitation, then QA had to check it works. This requires some effort to make sure the limitation can't be circumvented.

Furthermore, I suspect the only people who care about this limitation are people who wouldn't buy an expensive cinema camera. E.g. the Spice Girl's Wannabe video is 3:55 minutes long. Shots in Hollywood movies are rarely even this long. Shots over 30 minutes are usually of academic lectures (45-50 minutes long), vloggers, etc for whom a 5D / R5 is likely an overkill, and are highly unlikely to buy anything more expensive.

Personally, I don't care about this limitation. On the rare occasion I shot video, e.g. family playing a children's book for a kid's birthday, I'm not sure I've ever gone over the 10 minutes line.
 

Joules

doom
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Jul 16, 2017
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The 30 minutes video limitation is a counter example. Canon software engineers had to implement the limitation, then QA had to check it works. This requires some effort to make sure the limitation can't be circumvented.

Furthermore, I suspect the only people who care about this limitation are people who wouldn't buy an expensive cinema camera. E.g. the Spice Girl's Wannabe video is 3:55 minutes long. Shots in Hollywood movies are rarely even this long. Shots over 30 minutes are usually of academic lectures (45-50 minutes long), vloggers, etc for whom a 5D / R5 is likely an overkill, and are highly unlikely to buy anything more expensive.

Personally, I don't care about this limitation. On the rare occasion I shot video, e.g. family playing a children's book for a kid's birthday, I'm not sure I've ever gone over the 10 minutes line.
It's the sort of limitation that you don't care about until you do. As the guy who is good with cameras, I once was asked to record some video of the speeches at a school event and later a wedding. As I was also just a regular participant / guest in both cases, being able to just put the camera on a tripod and let it record for however long was necessary and simply enjoying the events as intended would have been nice.

Video is not just shot by consumers who want to make some sort of personal movie. It can just be documentation of events like the above. That does not require interesting composition and tons of changing perspectives. Consumer camcorders and smartphones may be better suited to circumvent such record time limits, but they also produce much worse image quality just simply because of the tiny sensors and inferior lenses compared to a decent ILC setup. The two occasions I mentioned above were held in dimly lit ventures. Not to mention that it is a sort of redundant purchase to buy a stills and video consumer camera when competitors offer the same range of features in a single ILC.
 
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YuengLinger

Long live the Oligarchy!
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It's my impression that Sony has an aggressive, multi-pronged online marketing campaign. They are one of the most recognized brands in the world, though the past decade or so they have given up a lot of ground with TV's, computers, and audio equipment. Perhaps Sony sees higher-end photography as a less competitive, smaller arena than they played in back in the day, and they have gone all-in for a win.

As marketed, their equipment has appeal, and, in fact, the hardware seems excellent for image-quality.

I think the most successful marketing in 2022 involves not only creating "celebrity" spokespersons on youtube, tiktok, and instagram, but also recruiting lonely fans without much real purpose in life, fans who will become almost religiously supportive, who form echo chambers, and who cleverly begin "conversations" on various relevant forums. Fanatic support of sports teams, of brands of merchandise, of schools, etc. is nothing new, but social-media brings participation to an almost sickening level. A relative handful of anonymous individuals with multiple (screen) personalities can create a lot of noise. And if, occasionally, a big corporation stocks the lake with paid fresh-fish to make persistent, low-level claims of superiority and failure, then campaigns can get boosts of effectiveness.

What saddens me is how tiring the frequently repeated tactics become, and how they can disrupt otherwise wonderful forums. Instead of engaging conversations, we end up with countless bitter complaints about gear that creates amazing images, that people enjoy using and sharing about. Or we see somebody asking for "help" with a problem that is never solved, and the thread gets filled with more complaints about the gear, the brand, and poor service. Wanting to be helpful and polite, to give the benefit of the doubt, we post suggestion after suggestion, only to be disappointed.

Of course these issues have been corroding many aspects of social interaction, especially politics, where brand bashing becomes blood-sport. I sometimes (only half-seriously) wonder if various forums are used by political groups as "training grounds," as places to practice sewing dissension and despair. (But Canon Rumors has, in my opinion, steered a pretty good course through it all over the years!)

I've gotten in trouble here for suggesting certain "contributors" had more than one account, had an agenda to "influence," so I've learned to stop trying to be some kind of forum vigilante. But I think it is fair to politely speculate about marketing techniques and how they affect our purchasing decisions at many levels.

Cheers!
 
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vjlex

EOS R5
Oct 15, 2011
495
398
Osaka, Japan
Yes, let's just keep repeating the same old bullcrap. Bad Canon! They don't like their customers, they will screw them whenever possible. Thank goodness for Sony who will save us from evil Canon!

Yes, some people think that when they buy a cheaper camera they are ENTITLED to have the same specs as the more expensive cameras. Aw, poor crybabies! How dare evil Canon to not give us all we want in every camera regardless of price!

Sony, on the other hand, loves us! See all the wonderful things they have done for us, like....

Gave us such lousy mark I versions of their cameras that photographers began referring to them as Beta versions. And then...
Gave us such lousy mark II versions of their cameras that photographers began referring to them as Beta versions.
(And yet still expected us to pay for them as if they were well made, finished products. Hmmm sounds kind of evil, but since it wasn't Canon, couldn't be evil)
Whether true or not, that they went with their APS-C camera mount and decided to cram their FF sensor into it, giving us a narrow mount that caused their initial lenses to have real issues with away-from-center-sharpness.
Gave us perhaps the worst ergonomics of any FF cameras.
Gave us inferior color science.
Continues to concentrate on industry highest number specs rather than the quality of the specs. Latest example: have seen a number of reviews of the Nikon Z9 comparing the resolution of the EVF with Sony - which has the highest number of dots. All the reviewers thought the Nikon's EVF was superior however. How could that be...isn't more dots better? Not if you use cheaper, inferior glass in your EVF, which is apparently what Sony does.
Gave us such a lousy shutter that there is (or was) a class-action shoot against them as shutters were failing long before their expected life expectancy. (based on comments here on CR as well as many other photographer comments, Canon's shutters often exceed their life expectancy many times over).

Having bought and briefly owned a Sony A7 and A7 II, and having experienced how lousy these camera were in many regards, it looks to me as if Sony didn't give a darn about producing a quality product - or having people pay for beta versions - and often paying again for the next generation version because the first version was so bad. So, sorry, this internet myth that Sony cares and is somehow "on our side" while Canon is this big bad, evil camera empire is total baloney in my opinion.
I don't recall the video saying Canon is bad and Sony is on our side; I certainly didn't say and don't believe that. I recommend not taking criticism of Canon so personally. I have no experience shooting with Sony, so I can appreciate that having owned Sony, you have a better basis for comparison and reasons for preferring Canon. I prefer Canon too. But it doesn't mean I have to love and defend every design decision they make.
 

vjlex

EOS R5
Oct 15, 2011
495
398
Osaka, Japan
I guess there’s two ways of looking at this:
A: Canon are so successful in selling cameras that they can afford to cut out various features that their competitors have to include.
B: Canon are so successful in selling cameras because they include the features most people want.
:unsure:
Agreed. I see it mostly as A. They're topdog, so they get to call the shots in the industry. I just hope they aren't being complacent or too myopic about who their past and current customers are versus who else their future customers could be.
 

Antono Refa

EOS R
Mar 26, 2014
1,402
501
Video is not just shot by consumers who want to make some sort of personal movie. It can just be documentation of events like the above. That does not require interesting composition and tons of changing perspectives. Consumer camcorders and smartphones may be better suited to circumvent such record time limits, but they also produce much worse image quality just simply because of the tiny sensors and inferior lenses compared to a decent ILC setup. The two occasions I mentioned above were held in dimly lit ventures. Not to mention that it is a sort of redundant purchase to buy a stills and video consumer camera when competitors offer the same range of features in a single ILC.
Exactly - the limitation hurts photographers like you, who would not buy a Canon cinema camera to circumvent the 30 minutes limit, making it pointless. Actually, the target audience is far more likely to change brands, whether it be a smartphone or another brand's ILC.
 

LogicExtremist

Lux pictor
Sep 26, 2021
363
250
All brands make mistakes and have their inherent problems or limitations - Their BIGGEST Mistakes: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic & Olympus

Some brands do certain things better, and other things not as well, there are always compromises, and more features always cost more money. It's just a matter of choosing what compromises you're happy to live with for the budget you have, and figuring which brand is the best fit.

Nearly every internet forum for every pastime is filled with meaningless arguments and disagreements over 'the best tool' above all others, which just devolves into emotive tribalism that hinges on brand loyalty. Kind of funny when the companies they're fervently defending have no idea who these people are!

For companies to be successful, they need to differentiate themselves from their competitors, point of difference is critical. They adopt different business strategies to achieve this, which may appeal to some consumers, repel other,s or leave them indifferent, not caring either way.

From what I can see, and is mentioned in the video I've linked to, Sony tries to appeal to its customers by packing lots of tech into their cameras, competing on specs, which really appeals to gear heads a lot. Apparently, the ergonomics of their cameras and software (menus) aren't great, but they do other things very well.

The biggest criticism leveled against Canon, other than being stingy and not including lens hoods with their non L-series lenses (everyone else does), or their overpriced RF L-series lenses, is that they've made the mistake of competing with themselves, intentionally crippling their camera products so they don't cannibalise sales from their extremely expensive cinema line cameras. They've extended this concept of market segmentation in their hybrid cameras (DSLR and mirrorless) by stripping out features from lower model cameras to make the more expensive ones more appealing.

All my gear is EF and RF Canon, other than a Sony high-end compact camera, I just use what works for me, and that's what others should do too!