Sunday, June 22, 2014

GH4 Leads Major Bloggers to Leave Canon DSLRs - A Trickle or Beginning of a Flood?

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A few years ago, when one of the most outspoken Canon EOS bloggers on the web, Andrew Reid of, switched to the Panasonic GH2 and starting writing about the lack of innovation in Canon video DSLRs, he was a bit of a voice in the wilderness.

In the early part of this decade, most of the bloggers I followed, emm at; Dave Dugdale at; Caleb Pike at; DJ at and others were all shooting video pretty much exclusively with Canon DSLRs (I really respect all of these guys, so please visit their blogs and support them).

As long time readers of this blog and my forum postings will know, I tried a Canon video DSLR for a few months in early 2010, but quickly became frustrated with its limitations - no viewfinder in video mode, no autofocus in video mode, limited recording time and lack of a swiveling LCD. My GH2 fixed all of those problems for me back then (plus problems I didn't know I had, such as moire and aliasing) and I have been a mirrorless shooter ever since, upgrading to the GH3 in 2012 and to the GH4 this year.

That is why what is happening now is so interesting to me personally (and I admit it, a little satisfying). In the wake of the GH4's release, several of the bloggers on the list above, all of whom have been identified very closely with Canon DSLRs, are now very publicly expressing their displeasure with Canon's lack of innovation over the past 5 years and failure to add even the most basic video features, such as 1080/60p and focus peaking, to their DSLRs below the $10,000 Canon 1D C. Heck, they won't even give shooters a headphone jack below the price of the $3000+ Canon 5D Mark III.

Here is why Dave Dugdale and Caleb Pike are leaving Canon, in their own words:

At the high end, DSLR shooters who can afford it have already moved away from DSLRs entirely, and up to large sensor, interchangeable lens large sensor camcorders from Canon Cinema EOS, Blackmagic and Sony. So many, in fact, that many mainstream professional shooters and blogs have declared the DSLR revolution to be "over".

But there are still many serious shooters who have resisted the move away from Canon DSLRs because of the size & cost of high end camcorders - or because, like me, they want to carry a single hybrid camera for stills and video. Among these shooters were Dave Dugdale and Caleb Pike - but now, because of Canon's failure to innovate, these serious Canon DSLR shooters are moving on.

This is very bad news for Canon, in my view.  Many mature industries over the past few decades have taken their market position for granted, failed to innovate, kept prices higher than the market was wiling to pay - and been overtaken by smaller, more nimble competitors (see the US auto and micro-computer industries circa 1974).

The mass market often follows key thought-leaders who drive what the media and then consumers start to believe about products.  If the "Canon" brand and the words "lack of innovation" start to become linked in the minds of a critical number of consumers, this great company could very well suffer the fate of many leading companies that have gone before it.

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