I’ve watched a large number of posts across various Sony forums since the announcement of the Canon R3 and I’ve come to a realisation of Sony users. The real reason they don’t want a big Canon camera is FOMO (Fear of missing out).
It may seem like a strange statement but bear with me on this. The Sony fanbase is a strange place and their minds are the same.
I’ll be honest here, I think Canon is making the right move for one simple reason: Choice. Whether you individually would buy one is irrelevant. It’s whether someone else would buy one.
Choice is one of the greatest options you can offer your user base. That’s why Apple offer 3 different sizes of iPhone. It’s why you get different sizes of cars, bicycles etc. Choice allows for individual preference.
Sony themselves are not dissimilar in their lens selection. The reason you get a f/1.8, f/1.4 and f/1.2 lens is that different users have different requirements and the choice gives them the ability to decide on the best compromise between size, price, image quality, depth of field. Having only a f/1.2 or f/2.8 lens to pick is not a good outcome for anyone.
So that being the case, if Sony makes a big camera and these users won’t buy it, why would they care? There are after all 8 others cameras in Sony’s range that are small, so what’s the issue?
The problem with amateur photographers is like most things, they aspire to be better than they are. That’s why hobby cyclists spend $10,000 on a carbon bike that makes no fundamental difference to their cycling. Are they going to get a medal for getting home 2 minutes faster? Nope. But they can show their friends they have the latest bike and have them “ooh” and “ah” over it.
Most of Sony’s current base are cashed up amateurs (professionals are normally the slowest to switch to newer technology), and many of them were not happy that cameras like the 1D or D5 were only offered in large bodies, which they didn’t want.
Are they actually good enough for the camera to make a difference? No. For 99% of these people, a much lower camera would have the same output, much like the bicycle above. In many cases, these people are pairing these bodies with 24-105mm travel lenses, the classic issue of amateurs spending money on bodies instead of lenses.
So what does this have to do with the FOMO aspect I mentioned above? Well, the problem with Sony producing a larger body is that it would be too big for them. They still want the mantle of having the best Sony body and that is of particular concern to them. They are scared of Sony having a better body they wouldn’t buy.
If Sony produce a bigger body, it will be better technically. Basic engineering 101 says they can fit more battery in, and have more space for other electronics they may want to consider because they aren’t constrained by dimensions as heavily, IBIS could be better, weather proofing as well.
It’s a sad perspective on the world because sometimes its the bigger better options that lower the cost of ownership for the small items. As they get better at miniaturising technology, it could be pushed down to the smaller bodies with a higher degree of reliability.