Urban Landscape + Lifestyle Photography

Canon quantifies creativity with the EOS M

Canon Creativity in Motion

Canon Creativity in Motion

I came across this graphic that Canon created the other day and I had to comment on it. It is a bit hard to see so click on it for a larger version. I heard this chart was released by Canon just after their new EOS M mirrorless system camera was introduced. Apparently, it was meant to position the EOS M against Canon’s other offerings. Three things crossed my mind as I studied this chart.

1. I wonder if Canon’s marketing department created this graphic before or after the release of the EOS M? Was this a hasty response to all the chatter about this latest camera? The EOS M is right smack in the middle of the chart right next to the Rebel T4i. Can you imagine the corporate marketing team brainstorming to figure out how to position this new device? I can. Maybe I’m being a bit cynical. I don’t know. Any product that needs to be positioned in this way may lack a clear set of advantages or perhaps your company’s camera line might be too large?

2. This chart seems to confirm what I have suspected for the last year about Canon. They are really interested in promoting video above still photography. You notice this graphic is comparing the video capability of the EOS M to the other video capable Canon products, not the still’s capability. Perhaps there is another graphic out there that compares still image quality and I just didn’t see it. But, look at the new products recently released by Canon like the Cinema EOS C300, EOS C500 and EOS-1D C. Ever since the ground breaking short video shot by Vincent Laforet on the Canon 5D Mark II 4 years ago, Canon’s been increasingly talking about DLSR video. Closer to home, at the last Austin Photo Expo organized by Precision Camera, Canon’s presentation only talked about video production on the Canon DLSRs. I guess this all makes sense. Canon realize that there is an opportunity out there for high quality, lower cost cinematic video. But for me, I’m not interested in video, at least the serious cinematic kind, so Canon’s focus seems to be moving away from my still photography interests. Sure, other camera companies have rushed to add video to their cameras, however, it just seems like Canon is transforming itself more aggressively into a video centric company.

3. I left the most bogus part of this chart for last. I understand the X axis; yes, more pro features as you go right, makes sense. But look at the Y axis. Are you kidding me? How can you put creativity on a scale like that? Do corporate marketing types really expect people to take this chart seriously with this Y axis? How can you say you have more creativity with an expensive EOS C300 than say an inexpensive PowerShot S100? You can quantifiably compare features or price but creativity? I would argue that it might take more creativity to produce a compelling video with an point and shoot like the S100 than a very capable and professional C300. Is the story going to be better because it is shot on a more expensive camera? Anyone remember the Blair Witch Project? This very successful film was shot on a consumer camcorder. Yes, the more expensive camera might be more capable of higher video quality but that is definitely not the same as higher creativity.

23 responses

  1. Greg

    Interestingly, I received an email the other day from Canon with a short survey regarding shooting video on cameras. I believe they are trying to determine how far to push video with “still” cameras. My two cents is that I would love to have a Mark III with no video capability. I do not take video and would rather have other still features instead.

    Greg

    August 5, 2012 at 11:33 am

    • Thanks Greg, very interesting indeed. I don’t mind the video being included if it does not hamper the still capability or make it more expensive. My concern is if Canon’s still’s technology falls behind the competition because they are concentrating on the video.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:40 am

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  5. Gregg Mack

    I think that the Creativity vertical scale correlates strongly with how much more thought one will have to possess in order to explain to their significant other why they need to spend more money to purchase the products positioned higher up on the chart. :-)

    I also only use my cameras for taking “stills”, so the video capabilities don’t mean anything to me either. If I could buy a camera without video capability, and save $100 at the same time, I would gladly save the cash, and give up nothing in return.

    August 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    • You might be on to something. Honey I really need that EOS C300 because I’m making that Indie film.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm

  6. Richard

    When I first saw this chart, it bugged me too. I didn’t give it much thought though. Then after seeing it a couple more times I came to similar conclusions as you, especially the video. Then after thinking about it a bunch more, I think this chart originally had different axis labels. Consider if x were price and y were weight, or some other quantitative values. It would be the kind of chart an engineer may put together quite innocently enough. Then a marketing “genius” being prodded along by management changed the labels to create some spin to counter all of the negativity that was blooming. I can see that happening.

    August 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    • Your scenario sounds plausible. Maybe it was a marketing remake of an engineering slide. Of course there are many out there that believe expensive = better. And some people may also think expensive = more creative. This slide maybe targeted to those folks.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm

  7. This is a terrible graphic. Basically its a linear line of their products with small deviations. Yes, I also agree a “Creativity” axis is bogus.

    August 6, 2012 at 1:11 am

    • At least Canon got us talking about them, which may be the purpose of marketing anyway ;-)

      August 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm

  8. The more you spend, the more creative and professional your videos are. Yeah, it’s a chart by a marketing suit. ‘Nuff said! Last time I read something marketing put out about a product I worked on I almost had an aneurysm.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:59 am

    • You are tougher on the marketers than I am.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm

  9. Looking at the Y axis in a pure mathematical sense, the EOS M is actually below that Vixia and about a mile to the left of the 5D Mk III.

    Richard’s comment is also interesting:

    “Then a marketing “genius” being prodded along by management changed the labels to create some spin to counter all of the negativity that was blooming.”

    I totally agree. Don’t forget, stuff that comes out of marketing needs to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Professional shooters or experienced amateurs don’t need the marketing pablum, and they certainly don’t need a chart to see what’s better than what. All they need is a spec sheet and an image of the camera in order to get a feel for relative size and ergonomics. This is grade school crap.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm

  10. As an additional note, I don’t mind having the video there. The Leica D Lux 4 was the first “common” camera I got with video that was of any decent quality, and I’ve used it for scouting locations and a few small very creative projects. But I can’t see touting it as a main feature just because so many people just suck badly. And if they can shoot, they can’t edit. to tell a story. Have you ever heard of youtube? ;-) I can do funny cat videos with the Leica. (Reminder to self to go out and get a cat…)

    August 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    • Video is fine, I personally like still photography a lot more.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm

  11. Video is a very dangerous area.. When there was movie film and cameras, in 8, super-8 and 16mm, it was noted in the case of Super-8, the average user shot a lot at the beginning, then tapered off completely. The average consumer, if i remember correctly was about 30 films over 2 years..Today sharing is easier, sound part of the package, but very hard, to compare or compete with an actual movie. Sure some commercials can(CAN) be shot on DSLR. Most true movie-makers prefer a real, dedicated camera.
    Seizing stills from a “movie” image may make sense to the technical minded but creatively wanting mob.
    i shot a few movie bits now and then with my digital camera, but now very seldom..
    i have worked on actual movies..as a cameraman and in directing assistant.
    i think Canon is fearing the phone cameras, the pad cameras..

    August 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    • I agree with you from my personal experience. When my kids were younger I shot a lot with a mini DV camcorder. I made a few movies but found the process painfully long and ultimately the results just did not satisfy. Now I use video to take short clips, at most, to supplement my still photography.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm

  12. My feelings toward marketing is perhaps best summed up by the late great Bill Hicks. :) Warning, audio NSFW! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVZo1Jjfshw

    August 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    • What a bunch of Bill Hicks YouTube videos, interesting POV.

      August 8, 2012 at 1:19 am

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  14. Laurent

    I had a chance to look at Cameras yesterday at best Buy (no surprise, no m4/3 to look at there), and noticed the same thing on the Sony/Nex side. “more creativity” is printed at about every paragraph.

    I agree the work creativity is pure marketing genius. “controls” is scary, because it implies technical knowledge, experimentation. In short, work, dedication, time. “creativity” implies magic, direct translation from ideas to pictures, immediate and effortless result, just the result of pure inner talent.

    The chart is pure genius too. Even if “creativity” and “professional features” are strongly correlated to the price (resulting, effectively, in a straight line), all the prospective buyers (the “professionals”, or the “creatives”) will find an axis they can appreciate, or understand.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:29 am

    • I like your observations. My local Best Buy has the Olympus E-PM1 but that’s about it. Sony certainly has more mindshare, being a bigger and well known company.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

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