Monday, December 12, 2011

Nikon D4 Vs. Canon EOS 1DX

Canon has officially announced its new C-Series cameras, along with a video-oriented SLR-style camera, and the EOS 1DX. Nikon's upcoming D4 has had some of its specs leaked, likely by Nikon itself. I'm not interested in determining which camera is better, since that's a pointless conversation, but instead what these cameras say about the underlying philosophies at their respective companies.

It's obvious that both companies understand the importance of video. Canon, probably because they have greater resources, have split off their video focus to an entirely new line. While Canon has touted the video performance of the 1DX, Nikon appears ready to completely leap-frog it. The D4 allows for a HDMI connection to external storage and a stream of uncompressed video. This seems like a minor decision, but I don't think that it is.

Canon has made the decision to leave out certain features from the 1DX. These features will likely be in the upcoming C-Series SLR, which is stupid. There is no reason why these features couldn't be put into any camera. The hardware is cheap. It's the desire to keep their cameras artificially delineated that motivated the decision. And it's that decision that gives me a window into the workings of Canon.

I have been a Canon fan for quite awhile. Their D-SLR cameras were easily the best for many years. That has changed in the last couple of years. Nikon matched and then surpassed them. Pentax and Sony were next. And now Fuji is surging. This should be the time that Canon throws everything it has into every camera that it makes.

Instead, we get artificial restrictions. Instead, we get Canon trying to push yet another system on people. These are not the behaviors of a company that is ready to deal with an increasingly dynamic, innovative market. It is the behavior of a company that is soon to be reduced to a bit-player by other companies who are willing to push boundaries.

I don't think that Nikon is much more willing to innovate, but this shows that they are at least somewhat. Mind you, I won't be caught dead buying into either Canon or Nikon, right now. The market is shaping up to be entering a stage of extreme upheaval, the likes of which we haven't seen since the shift from European companies to Japanese companies with the rise of autofocus. Yet Canon, more so than Nikon but not by much, is behaving as though things are staying more-or-less the same. When I see arrogance and laziness like that, I can't help but hope to see them fall flat on their face.

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