Did Canon Just Hand Over The DSLR Video Market To Sony?
Our resident video sage, Bill Pryor, muses on Canon’s position in the high end video market and how Sony stepped in to take a bite of the DSLR video business. Read the entire post here.
Before the Canon-inspired DSLR revolution, $15K for a camera body wasn’t considered all that much. In fact that’s what I paid for my last 2/3″ chip broadcast style camera and thought it was a damn good deal. But since the revolution, the ol’ price/value equation has changed. While a $25K package (and that’s what you’d spend at a minimum for a camera with a $15K body by the time you got a couple of lenses, etc.) is not extravagant for a rental house or a production house, it’s too expensive for individual producers these days. Even though I’ve spent way more than that in my past, it’s too expensive by today’s standards. We’re all doing more production for less money, and the days of individuals like me owning $40,000 cameras are long gone.
Ironically, it’s Canon who caused today’s attitude about pricing. If a $2500 camera, ie., the 5DII, or an $1800 camera, ie., the 7D, can be used on serious production and even intercut with 35mm film, then why the hell should I spend more? I’ve always been willing to spend more for a better camera in terms of usability. That’s why I bought the Sony FS100. As a “real” digital cinema camera (as opposed to a “real” broadcast style or handycam style video camera) it is much more friendly than a DSLR to the type of production I do these days.
But–there’s a big difference between under $5K for the FS100 and over $15K for the C300. In fact, since I got the FS100 for the special price of $4200 at B&H, there was a pretty big difference between that and the Canon C100 at $6500. Even at the standard price of $5200, the FS100 is still a better value than the C100 in my opinion. When the FS100 first came out it was priced like the C100 at about $6500, as I recall. It didn’t take Sony long to recognize that was a bit high for the intended market and they responded in a reasonable fashion. Their marketing philosophy has changed in recent years (at about the same time they dumped the evil American CEO they tried–coincidence?). For a long time they could charge more than anybody else and get by with it. Today, they’re a lot more reasonably priced. I consider their pricing throughout their entire digital cinema line to be very fair and in keeping with what’s happening in the real world. The new F5, for instance, is hitting the market at $16,500, just $1500 more than the C300. Look at the specs and the cameras and tell me which one you’d rather have. Naturally, like Canon, Sony wants to squeeze as much from us as they can get. I think the price will go down a little after 6 months. The C300 did.
I digress. My point is, or was going to be, that Canon has abandoned what they created–the idea of convergence, the meshing of a digital cinema camera and a still camera into one device. Sure, you can still shoot video with one, but they have given up on evolving it to something better in an affordable fashion. They have the $15,000 version which is a still camera and a digital cinema camera, but that’s just stupid. Sony, on the other hand, has the A99 for less money than the 5DIII and I think it’s better designed for shooting video than the Canon. You can even add the audio pod to the hotshoe if you want, for a price that is still too much, in my opinion, but it’s there. Point is, Sony is evolving that camera while Canon has stagnated in the DSLR hybrid arena. Why? Because they want you to buy a still camera AND a video camera.
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