Urban Landscape + Lifestyle Photography

How Canon and Nikon protect their DSLR turf

Canon and Nikon are the big guns of the camera world. Particularly in DSLRs, they control the majority of the sales, upwards of 70+ percent. With the Canon’s EOS M and the Nikon 1, it’s now clear how the big guys plan to tackle the mirrorless system camera market. Both are in denial about this emerging camera category. Both are trying to protect their DSLR sales. They are approaching the threat from opposite directions. Two strategies, the same result?

Nikon released their Nikon 1 series, a completely new camera system with a new sensor size, last year. These cameras have incredible performance, shooting up to 60 frames per second. Unlike other mirrorless cameras, the Nikon 1 focuses well for fast action and sports. It has some neat video options too. But Nikon, hamstrung the system. They used a small sensor that produces okay results but It clearly underperforms their mirrorless competition in image quality. Back a year ago I wrote a post Nikon Creates a Tablet (Nikon 1) but is it an iPad? The market response to the new Nikon was muted. At least it seems that way, since within a year, the price has collapsed from the $650 – $900 range to about $400.

With the EOS M, Canon did the opposite. They paired a big, juicy, APS-C size sensor with a crappy focusing system. As expected, the image quality is great. But the focusing system is so slow that, unless you are shooting landscapes or a still life, there is no reason to use this camera. Of course it’s too slow for action and sports. It’s even too slow for shooting everyday life events. Try getting your kids to slow down for this camera, it is a recipe for photo-disaster. Lucky this camera is made of magnesium alloy, it is less likely to break when you throw it in frustration. We will see where the price lands in a year.

So there you have it. Two different approaches to protect their existing turf. I give more credit to Nikon. At least they developed new technology and rethought the concept of a modern camera. All Canon did was repackage an existing DSLR and yanked out the good parts.

13 responses

  1. I was hoping the pink one would come down in price, but apparently they are holding the price high on that one, some calling it a “special edition”. Screw em – I now have my little pink Canon. In my personal rankings, the Nikon 1 is a short step above the Pentax Q.

    I read somewhere today that Nikon 1 has top rankings at Amazon? Could be. I wrote on the blog post that if you slapped Ashton Kutcher on the display ad that you could sell dog poop and make people like it.

    I hear the DIgiscopers like the One and you have probably seen the new adapter

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/11/23/nikon-announces-digiscoping-adapters-for-1-system

    I’ll just hold my tongue on the Canon comments and everyone will be better for it ;-)

    November 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    • Well Libby, the Nikon 1 has finally fallen to a price that makes it worth it, I guess. Unlike the Canon it’s a decent camera for a certain type of person, especially when you can now get it at $400 or so.

      I know I’m a bit harsh with Canon, but that’s only because they deserve it ;-)

      November 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      • Nikon 1 – but worth it for what? To have a new body/system? The 60 fps is still crap, you need a Phantom to do fine highspeed work, so no advantage. I tried to justify purchase of the standard color discounted models every way I could because I love the toys, and in the end it didn’t make sense at all for me. It would be an albatross for sure.

        Did you see the price fall on the Fuji X Pro? Read somewhere today that the $300 + $300 deal for camera and lens are going to be in effect for “the foreseeable future” meaning it’s not a one day shot or a weekend deal. Bet there are some highly annoyed people out there.

        And this just makes me wonder – are the makers biting off more than they can chew with the new model fragmentation? Do they just not know how to price for their markets that they have to take hundreds off even early in the product life cycle to sell them? This thinking of course is an aside to the discussion of Canikon entry into the land of mirrorless.

        November 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      • Libby, I’m pretty sure you are not the target market for the Nikon 1 and that’s true for me too. I think for a novice that want’s a small high performance camera for weekend soccer games, this little Nikon can be useful.

        I will not consider a Fuji X Pro, possibly a X-E1.

        Cameras have gotten very expensive lately and I think the manufactures are charging a premium. You notice that I mostly get used / refurbed cameras or lower-end lower priced new stuff. For some strange reason, these less expensive cameras seem to take good pictures too…

        November 27, 2012 at 11:47 pm

  2. Right now I wouldn’t touch either the Nikon 1 or the Canon M with a very long monopod. It seems like it will be easier for Canon to correct its shortcomings (autofocus). Only time will tell if they will do it before they completely lose out.

    Reminds me greatly of how Detroit offered up small cars to the market in the 1970s, in response to the small cars from Japan and Europe. Eventually Detroit “got it”, but by then is was essentially too late. Deja vu.

    November 28, 2012 at 11:30 am

    • Exactly. Incumbents frequently have a hard time seeing the upstarts.

      November 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    • Gregg, some of the Canon fanboys have been grasping at stuff to write and one of the newest rumors is a second Canon M. I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that.

      December 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm

  3. Reblogged this on Serendipity and commented:
    Fortunately for me, I never had any interest in either of these products. Caon and Nikon are wedded to full size DSLR technology and both companies do it well. Perhaps that’s the way it ought to be.

    November 30, 2012 at 8:40 am

  4. I LOVE my Sony a77 and a55 and look forward to the new one….amazingly awesome cameras:)

    November 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    • Hot Rod Cowgirl, I hear good things about the A77 from my friend Kirk Tuck. Thanks for your visit and comment.

      I think Sony is the most innovative camera company right now with their SLT and NEX lines.

      November 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      • Seriously I love my camera…videos are amazing….photos are incredible and it is user friendly:) I looked long and hard at both Nikon and Cannon and when I went to the camera stores and truly asked those who knew….they said Sony…at the store I bought mine at there were three salesmen. One was Nikon…one was Cannon….one was Sony…and both the Cannon and Nikon guys told me that Sony makes the parts for N and C….lots of rumors that Sony has economic troubles but what is going on is that Sony is getting more into making parts for other camera companies so they are not as visible as in Sony stores in some of the malls….they are not in trouble they are focusing and designing. I first bought the a55 a few years ago and then bought the a77 this last fall….love them both and will stick with them:) Thank you as I am always open minded to learning new cameras and etc. as I sure do not know it all…but for me right now Sony is amazing:)

        November 30, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      • I’m glad the Sony speaks to you. Having gear that you feel comfortable with is so crucial. Right now I use Olympus the most but I also own Canon and Sony cameras. So I do use multiple brands and different cameras for different circumstances.

        December 1, 2012 at 12:34 am

      • :) Yes…me too…totally agree on cameras and different scenes of life and events:)

        December 1, 2012 at 12:37 am

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