With both Nikon and Canon having released systems recently, quite a few people have contacted me to find out why I went Sony, so I would put together was some reasons behind the selection of Sony as opposed to Nikon and Canon.
Just to be clear, from a brand perspective, I have nothing against Nikon and Canon, they have great camera gear. I left Nikon previously and my reasons related to mirrorless. If I was with them now, they might be the logical choice. I saw mirrorless as the future about 3 Years ago. Unfortunately Nikon wasn’t talking a thinking of mirrorless at the time. I was unhappy with their lack of transparency, not the gear.
So, if I considered both, where did they go wrong?
A flawed strategy from day one?
In the case of Nikon, they released two cameras that don’t make complete sense in combination and it has a lot of people scratching their heads. The dual slots is the obvious one…we’re talking about two cameras more expensive than their dual slot DSLR counterparts. On the lower end of the market, I could have understood this. The EOS R and Z6 could have been accepted at their spec and price point, but the upper end of Nikon’s lineup is the same price as the D850, which is a pro body. The Z7 doesn’t offer dual slots, pro level battery life, or even pro level autofocus, and is really hard to find a compelling reason to buy the Z7 side by side with the D850. I want expecting it to be on a par, but this strategy tells me Nikon isn’t taking mirrorless seriously enough to position a camera like the Z7 as a pro body, and if they aren’t taking it seriously, neither can I.
In the case of Canon, again, we have a camera that doesn’t seem to be fully pro orientated, and doesn’t seek to take any learnings from the market. IBIS has been a huge talking point in mirrorless, how could canon not expect to be called to account over that? We’re not talking about a $1000 entry-level camera, this is a fairly expensive full frame camera, again positioned with an amateur strategy, terrible battery life, bad autofocus and a lack of IBIS. To top it off, Canon even went as far as creating a huge new pro zoom, with an f/2 aperture, and paired it with an amateur camera.
Both Nikon and Canon needed to come out with a big bang, and it was more of a fizz that a bang. They tried to replicate what others were doing, but did a worse job of it instead of being different or learning from it. There was very little with the Canon and Nikon offerings that stood out. In doing so, they gave customers no compelling reason to consider them, other than their existing investment in glass. That’s fine for customers with an existing investment, but if you are moving systems and not with Nikon or Canon, there is very little reason to go to these systems over someone like Sony.
Learning from other’s mistakes
Nikon and Canon had plenty of time to learn From other’s mistakes. The question is why didn’t they?
1. Fujifilm took abuse over Sony’s improved AF including eye AF.
2. Fujifilm took abuse over the lack of IBIS.
3. Sony took abuse over the lack of dual cards in early mirrorless cameras.
4. Mirrorless has taken a lot of abuse over the poor battery life with Sony finally doubling battery life and receiving praise for it.
These were all opportunities to learn that were largely ignored.
What I would have done
If I was planning to go to market with a two camera strategy like Nikon, I wouldn’t have gone with two amateur cameras. I would have made sure one of them had a D850 sized body and a decent sized battery.
The world is littered with tiny mirrorless bodies.that I think it would have been great to have a decent sized body for a change. I’m not sure why the manufacturers are convinced that people want tiny mirrorless cameras designed to cater for 5 yr olds.
Why go the effort of creating a mount capable of f0.95 glass and then produce that?
In conjunction to that the price point is a challenge for potential buyers so I would have taken a bit on the pricing to get the cameras out on the market. In Australia, you can buy the A7iii for around $2,200, the A7Riii is around the same price with current cash back specials, the Z7 sits at $3,950, the Z6 at $3,050 and the EOS R at $2,450.
Is there still any reason to buy the EOS R or Z6/Z7? Definitely, but it would take an existing customer to buy them and I can’t see them taking any market share from Sony or Fujifilm in their current form.
For a customer completely changing systems who doesn’t have an investment in Canon or Nikon however, I can’t think of any reason to pick Nikon or Canon, at least not in its current form.