I guess by now most of you have already seen the supposedly leaked Nikon roadmap. Let me tell you that if even half of that is true, we’re fucked here at Canon at least up until 2014. Already we’re having a hard time trying to top the D300, D700 and D3(x) Nikon camera models. Based on where things stand right now, I’m projecting our products in the same categories to catch up to those models sometime in 2011. The problem is that all of those Nikon models will be updated in 2010 already, setting us back to catch up at least until 2014. This is quite depressing to say the least.
I’ve been coming home drunk at night for the last few days because of this, and I’m seriously thinking about a career switch. I’m still hopeful that the 1D Mark 4 will do something for us, but the 60D is not going to come anywhere close to the D300s Nikon is going to release soon from what I see. And as far as I’m concerned, we can just stop manufacturing the 5D Mark II when the D700x gets released by the end of this year. It simply won’t stand a chance. Hell, the 5D Mark II is having a difficult time right now already. You can’t even begin to imagine the support nightmare it is causing us at Canon USA. But more on this later.
As if all this is not enough, the marketing morons at Canon Inc. have been busy again trying to improve public opinion of the 1D Mark III autofocus (AF). The last time they tried this was with the 1D Mark III autofocus manual website, where they also enlightened photographers worldwide about the “Autofocus Philosophy” (Autofocus Joke is more like it) at Canon Inc. The 1D Mark III, as we all know, has been a complete fiasco for us ever since Galbraith sold out to Nikon and showed everyone how crappy its autofocus system really is. Canon Inc. has tried to fix the AF issues a few times, without much luck, according to Galbraith. We’re now up to Silver dots on the 1D Mark III boxes. Who knows how many more colored dots it will need to finally deliver a working AF system with the 1D Mark III. They may have to go beyond the color spectrum of visible light with those dots. I for one have stopped keeping track.
But anyway, now those marketing morons at Canon Inc. somehow managed to get funding for another one of their boneheaded marketing ideas. They went out and interviewed photographer Takahito Mizutani so he could tell all of you how good the 1D3 autofocus really is. Now when I saw this, the first thing that went through my mind was who the fuck is Takahito Mizutani and why should people care about what he says? Seriously?
Does it, really?
If you watch the interview with Mizutani, he mentions the “excellent AF” of the 1D3 so many times it becomes very obvious what the purpose of the whole interview really is. Heck, the interview begins with Mizutani claiming the “excellent AF” is the biggest advantage of the 1D3. You simply can’t be more obvious than that. Even if this wasn’t a problem, there’s still the issue of why people should listen to some Japanese guy named Takahito Mizutani who likely got paid (or possibly threatened) to do the interview. I mean for Christ’s sake, couldn’t they find someone better? At Nikon they have Ashton Kutcher! The guy probably never actually uses a Nikon camera longer than 2 minutes a month, and that’s when he’s able to figure out how to turn it on. But when he tells people he’s using a Nikon DSLR, millions of people who know and like him listen. And that’s marketing. But at Canon Inc.? There they have the great Mr. Mizutani. Couldn’t they pay someone better to talk about the 1D3? How about Arnold Schwarzenegger? Nikon has Ashton Kutcher, why can’t we have Schwarzenegger? Can you imagine Arnold dressed like the T-800 on his Harley looking very serious, pulling out a 1D3 and going “I require excellent AF.” That clip would have moved some serious inventory. Instead, we have this:
One would sure like to hope so...
Bradley Cooper and Chase Jarvis - Separated at birth?
This is not the first time I complained about our marketing efforts. A while ago Nikon released the D90 and had photographer Chase Jarvis talk about it on his blog which created a lot of publicity. I’m willing to bet that a crapload more people know who Chase Jarvis is compared to Mr. Mizutani. And this is another thing, you see. Why is it that almost all the cool, fun, edgy and vocal photographers on the Internet use Nikon gear? These guys have entire communities of fans and followers, unlike Mr. Mizutani. So you know when they talk about the gear they’re using, people are going to notice. Take Chase Jarvis for example. He’s been hit by a car, hosed down, fell from a bridge and exploded into flames. And he’s using Nikon gear. How cool is that? Then you have people like Joe McNally who get attacked by midgets on tricycles, also a Nikon user. I can’t imagine Canon Inc. funding such a project for me. I’m stuck answering technical questions on the Internet in my Tech Tips columns in such a boring way. I can barely keep myself awake when I read my own Tech Tips. Can you imagine me in such a video, getting hit by a midget on a moped in the middle of explaining custom function settings for the 1D3? One can always dream. At least I have this blog, right? And then you have even more people using Nikon gear with entire communities, like the Lord of the Speedlights, showing thousands of people on the Internet how he lights stuff with his preciouses. Even Scott Kelby uses Nikon gear. But at Canon Inc.:
If you keep repeating something, people start to believe you.
To be fair, I have to admit that we did have our moment at Canon USA when Vincent Laforet, God bless his soul, created the short movie Reverie with the 5D Mark II. But that was entirely his initiative and thank God we were able to give him a 5D2 for a few days to do it. And you’d think the morons at Canon Inc. would have noticed the success and try to do more of this, but instead they’re doing crap like interviewing Mr. Mizutani. This is what I can’t stand about Canon Inc., their sheer arrogance. Nikon appears to be listening to photographers worldwide, contacting them and asking them what they need, actively participating in the community in various ways. Canon Inc. doesn’t appear to be interested in what anyone thinks. Years of feedback I’ve been sending them keeps getting ignored. They keep kissing eachother’s asses in upper management and pretend all is well. You can’t imagine how frustrated and tired I am of this.
The result of all this are the mediocre products we’re releasing lately, compared to the competition. For example, Nikon is far ahead with their flash system compared to ours. It didn’t surprise me one bit when one frustrated user wrote down his complaints about our flash system this week and published it on the Internet. Now everyone knows how much we suck. The only thing that seems to be missing in his list is the addition of a small beep sound to the flash head so you can hear if the flash went off or not without having to look at it and blind yourself in the process. I’ve been sending a lot of the feedback in that list to Canon Inc. for years now, and they keep ignoring it. One reason is their absurd mentality of just refusing to release certain features for ‘marketing’ reasons, and another is their lazy engineering attitude. The EOS 50D is still crippled with a laughable 9 point AF system while Nikon’s D300 has a whopping 51-point AF system. Our 5D Mark II has a pathetic 9-point AF system that’s inferior even to the 50D, while Nikon’s D700 has an asskicking 51-point professional level AF system. In the case of the 5D2, the pathetic AF system has practically ruined what could have been a great product.
Let me give you an example of what I call lazy-ass engineering at Canon Inc. in Japan: The viewfinder closing ‘mechanism.’ First, let us observe the Nikon solution:
The viewfinder on the Nikon camera can be opened and closed internally by simply turning a switch (pointed to by the red arrow).
That’s a simple and elegant solution, right? Now let us look at the solution the schmart engineers at Canon Inc. in Japan came up with:
First you have to remove the rubber eyecup from the camera by pressing the sides and lifting up.
Then your camera will look like crap.
Then, you take the rubber eyepiece cover attached to the strap of your camera, and you place it over the eyepiece.
And finally, the eyepiece is closed, holding part of the strap against the back of the camera and making it fucking difficult and annoying to work with it and access certain buttons. And ofcourse, to open the eyepiece again, you go through the entire process again in reverse.
See that? Now that is some state of the art engineering if I ever saw it! You look at this and you start to wonder if maybe somehow they managed to recover a crashed UFO disc in Japan, reverse engineered the advanced Alien technology and used it to create this marvelous piece of engineering. I mean, this is high tech. Future generations are going to look back at us and mention how we were so ahead of our time with this technology.
I look at this and I wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier for Canon to just supply users with a roll of black electrical tape so they could use it to cover the eyepiece.
This example clearly illustrates the problem with Canon Inc. Lazy and mediocre engineering. That’s why our DSLR bodies are beginning to look pre-historic and seriously lacking features compared to the competition. So is our flash system, and soon even our lenses.
This is the attitude that crippled the 5D Mark II, and is now causing me to get loads of emails every week from people complaining about the autofocus system on the camera. Now can you understand how the 5D2 ended up with a pathetic 9 point AF system that is struggling to do the job? Remember, Canon Inc. had 3 whole years after the release of the first 5D to come up with a better AF system for the 5D Mark II. And yet, they had the nerve to release the 5D2 with what they claim to be the same AF system of the 3-year old 5D. The 5D Mark II bodies might be flying off of the shelves, but they’re flying into our service centers just as fast. Just look at some of the comments on this website:
I was glad I stumbled on this post. I have been having some major focus issues lately and starting googling it, and found this. Describes exactly what I have been experiencing at recent portrait shoots and my last wedding, which forced me to focus all of my lenses manually not to miss any shots. The problem is that I do not have perfect eyes and while the diopter compensates, it is not perfect either, and it can still be very difficult in low light, such as the reception, to tell what it actually in focus. Im going through this wedding now and am very disappointed by missing several shots due to the focus issue! Many are just very soft or off the mark. The focus just hunts and hunts, even in GREAT light and had a hard time deciding between the brides white dress or the grooms black tux, thus taking way to long to focus.
Even in a couple shots where I had time to play with the live view zoom, in an effort to zero in on a specific part of the image and know exactly where the tack sharp point should be, some of the images still came out soft, despite what appeared on the LCD.
I’m sending it in to Canon to see what they can do to fix or replace, but for a $3000 camera and as a wedding photographer where I cannot miss moments, I find this unacceptable.
WOW!!! I am glad I finally discovered what has been going on with my new 5D MII!!!!! I’ve only had it for about a month and have become VERY unhappy with the focusing issues. At first I thought it was me….. but I have been a professional photographer for over 24 years, so to question my skills at this stage of the game, really gave me cause to scratch my head.
I am missing key moments. I am primarily a wedding photographer and when you miss things like the bride coming down the aisle, Daddy giving her away, the final kiss, or mom wiping away tears as she dances with her son on the dance floor….. this is UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!
This past weekend, I even had moments where the camera would not focus at all! I had to reach up and throw it into manual focus just to get them cutting the cake. And then go back to Auto-focus when the moment was over. Not to mention…low light situations with weddings is pretty standard. I enjoy the high ISO’s and they rock….. when you can get it to focus.
What is the point in having the new high ISO’s, if the damn thing won’t focus in low light??? Not to mention I had to do a little “Creative Financing” just to be able to afford the price tag in this economy.
Well, all I can start off the say is, it’s a great video camera but I cant get that thing to focus properly for the life of me. I have done everything I can to make sure it is not me. I have owned 10D, 20D, 30D and the 40D. My 40D can kick my 5D’s butt any day of the week when it comes the image being in focus. I had two big projects that went down last month and I had to reshoot everything practically and still couldn’t get a super sharp shot. So two days ago I went to the local camera shop and told them my story- I have a new camera coming no questions asked.
DO NOT PURCHASE A CANON 5D MkII!
I am a full time photographer and I have sent my 5d mark II back 2 times! Canon acts like I am crazy when I tell them I am getting soft images! What the hell! They said that they can not find anything wrong with my camera. I guess their testing does not include taking pictures because this thing is bad. And to top it all off my shutter locked up and I had to have them replace the mirror and the shutter. Wish that would have helped the soft images! Did a shoot yesterday, took 140 images and only (your gona love this) 6 were in sharp focus!
Purchased a 50D last year as a back up, shot with it for a week to test it out and sold it the next, very soft images and the ISO’s were worse than the 40D. My old 5D has been a camp, giving me great images all the time but it is getting old, wish there was a Canon camera I could purchase to replace it.
Canon must be forking out major money for all these reviews to be so good on most media outlets.
I have been using Canon for 14 years and the only thing they can do is act like it is a user problem! Well, that was the last straw, I have contacted my local camera store and I am changing all my equipment out to Nikon before the end of the year. It sucks that I have to change out all this equipment and spend all this money ($20,000.00 to replace all my lens, bodies, etc…) for something as fundamental as focus on a camera!
F. Scott Kennedy
And these are just the last 4 comments, there’s plenty more where that came from. And the noise and banding in dark tones at low ISO on the 5D2 are just plain ugly. If you look at my blog’s homepage on the right side, you’ll see the post titled “Banding and Pattern Noise – EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 50D” as the top post. If you wonder why, it’s all thanks to Google. People are seeing these problems on the camera and searching for solutions on Google. They sure as hell aren’t going to find it at Canon. Looking at the search keyword statistics of my blog, every day there are quite some people looking for solutions to the noise, banding and autofocus issues with the 5D2. Really, just look at the top posts on my homepage, it says it all. I don’t know anymore what to say to people that are emailing me about this either. I really don’t know how much more of this I can take.
Anyway, I’m going to get me a nice cup of Irish coffee right now and try to relax.