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Author Topic: Open Letter to Canon  (Read 21338 times)
jdh3777
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« on: September 21, 2006, 05:23:46 PM »
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The following is an open letter to Canon regarding their September 17, 2006 press release titled "PowerShot G7: Canon's most complete compact yet." The announcement describes the new category flagship camera as being “designed for photographers” and promising the attributes required by “advanced photographers”.

Dear Canon:

I’ve been a Canon customer for years, so please consider the following comments in their appropriate context -- the reasoned concerns of a long-term customer rather than the mere ravings of an angry one.

Like my friends and colleagues involved in photography, I was excited to hear about the upcoming launch of the Canon G7. As photography enthusiasts, we’ve been waiting for a quality compact capable of producing expert results -- a simple yet serious camera to keep comfortably at hand.

When I began reading the press release for the G7, I thought that, finally, the camera we’ve been waiting for was here.  Then I learned that RAW file capture would not be supported. To my mind, this broadsides what might have been the best-yet ‘carry around’ camera.

For the photography enthusiasts I know and myself, the exclusion of RAW capture is a deal-breaker.  

Consequently, we’ll have to look to other brands -- in my case, Panasonic and their recently announced Lumix DMC-LX2, despite my concern that it may not be a match for the G7. However, it does supports RAW capture.

As a long-term Canon patron and a decent barometer for the potential G7 customer base, I’m curious to know why the G7 was downgraded from RAW capture when its predecessor, the G6, was RAW capable. Was it an engineering oversight or an ill-informed marketing ploy designed to drive photography enthusiasts like myself up into the digital SLR category? If the later, then Canon misread their customers, forcing a good number of them to not only look elsewhere, but to go elsewhere. Besides, many of us who were eager to buy the G7 already own digital SLRs (in my case, the Canon 5D).

As I’m sure Canon understands, this manner of forced brand-emigration all too often acts as the thin edge of a very broad wedge. Time will tell if the new 'Canon expatriates' created by downgrading the G7 will return to the fold. ‘Isn’t Panasonic coming out with new SLR system anyway?’  You get the idea.

I've taken the time to write in hopes that the these concerns might reach those at Canon responsible for making such critical technical/creative decisions, and to let them know what we, the customers, need and expect from Canon photographic tools in exchange for our brand loyalty. RAW file support is a critical yet basic requirement. Yes, even in a compact. Certainly in a flagship compact.

Ultimately, we want to believe that Canon is serious about photography enthusiasts even if we don’t make our living as photographers. Trashing RAW file support goes a long way toward undermining that belief.

Again, please accept these comments as given -- the real-world concerns of a photography enthusiast who sees his brand-of-choice not only disregarding the basic needs of its customers, but as phasing out of sync with its core brand values.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Hornaday
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situgrrl
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2006, 06:03:22 PM »
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I don't know what to add, I thoroughly agree!  Canon would be on to a winner with a raw enabled G and S series of compacts - afterall, the biggest complaint about the Panasonic is noise - Canon are the undisputed champions of high sensitivities with the least noise.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2006, 06:18:03 PM »
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I don't know what to add, I thoroughly agree!  Canon would be on to a winner with a raw enabled G and S series of compacts - afterall, the biggest complaint about the Panasonic is noise - Canon are the undisputed champions of high sensitivities with the least noise.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77192\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Irrelevant to this thread, but the undisputed high ISO champion in compact digital is Fuji with its F30.

Regards,
Bernard
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raywatson
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2006, 06:45:34 PM »
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Couldn't agree more.  I was looking forward to this new model.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2006, 06:45:52 PM by raywatson » Logged

Kenneth Sky
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2006, 07:12:08 PM »
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The only thing to add is DNG enabled RAW
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oldcsar
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2006, 07:42:52 PM »
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I agree with this too. All three compacts I previously owned were Canon models, and two of them were S series with RAW capabilities. I currently use a DSLR, but I'm strongly considering getting a compact with RAW as a more casual carry-around. Unless Canon brings RAW back to the S or G series, I will go to the competition.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2006, 08:20:38 PM »
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Count me in, too. My DSLR is a Canon 5D, and my pocket camera is a Canon S60, which does still have RAW, as did its successor, the S70.  But the S80, successor to the S70 also abandoned RAW.

When my S60 finally dies, I will have to find a suitable replacement, and it must have RAW. If Canon won't provide RAW. I, too, will (sadly) have to look elsewhere.

Eric
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jimhuber
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2006, 07:39:04 PM »
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Count me in, too; and I agree that RAW should now read "DNG".

I have a 5D, Rebel XT, and the last 'S' series to support RAW: the S70.


Oh, and the S70 can still be had through Amazon.com, but for around $700 new. It sold for about $440 new prior to the S80.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2006, 07:40:18 PM by jimhuber » Logged
jjj
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2006, 08:51:03 PM »
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Oh, and the S70 can still be had through Amazon.com, but for around $700 new. It sold for about $440 new prior to the S80.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Says it all really. Going for over £500 [$950] in UK, it was £210 2 months ago.
My Canon S60 is on it's last legs [it gets used [and dropped] all the time] and I got quite excited when I saw the S80 specs as it seemed to improve on the S60/70 in so many ways and then I saw no RAW!!  
And the stupidity continues with the G7. Someone theorised recently it may be because Canon didn't want to damage entry level SLR sales. Possibly true, marketing people can be that stupid.  
I have 3 Canon pro bodies and choose the S60 as my pocket camera as it was the best of a sorry bunch and had RAW, manual and a wide lens. Canon will be losing my custom as a result of this lack of RAW support.
I would have already bought a Ricoh GRD if the RAW write time wasn't a pathetic 14 secs. Duh! How many people who this camera is aimed at will put up with an unusable RAW feature. Ricoh admit it's an Achille's heel
Leica have anounced a manual pocket camera with RAW.  No mention of write speeds.
[a href=\"http://www.dpreview.com/news/0609/06091408leicadlux3.asp]http://www.dpreview.com/news/0609/06091408leicadlux3.asp[/url]

I used to use a tiny Olympus XA which produced pics as good quality as my full sized pro 35mm cameras. And better than a 20D does now come to think of it.
So Canon why do I have to lug around several kilogrammes of bulky and very obvious SLR kit around with me, rather than a 300g of camera with RAW? Makes reportage, street work easier and less likely to get you mugged too.

I would pay a £1000 for a GRD or similar camera with full frame sensor, 1600ISO + RAW [DNG]. I prefer £500 though!! Far more useful to me and many others than 30D. And think of the prestige such a camera would give Canon.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2006, 09:50:36 AM »
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The only thing to add is DNG enabled RAW
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77196\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Absolutely although knowing how these companies feel about DNG, we might be throwing the baby out with the bath water. IOW, they might consider RAW but would totally ignore the letter based on the request for DNG. But I agree in principle we need both. Good luck.
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2006, 01:37:13 PM »
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I've never owned a Canon camera so really have no business posting, but I'd like to propose an alternate theory re the S80/G7 raw deal.

Canon has long been the leader of the pack when it comes to low-noise imaging. I'm sure they take great pride in that; I'm also sure they are keenly aware of the belly-aching and negative publicity a company like Panasonic gets for not having similarly low-noise products in their compact camera line. To the degree that raw output file really represents the raw output from the A/D converter it is going to mercilessly reveal any noise that exists at higher ISOs in a compact camera.

When pixel pitches are down to less than half that of a typical dSLR, much more noise is going to be there at a given ISO in a compact camera's raw file than in a dSLR's raw file. The noise from the 7 mp S70 and G6 was apparently tolerable to Canon. With the increase in pixel count for the S80 and G7 I suspect the raw noise has now become a form of dirty laundry Canon does not care to air in public. So long as owners and reviewers only see the brilliantly executed internal NR from the DIGIC II engine's JPEG output, the dirty laundry remains private.

There is now tentative evidence emerging on the dpreview Panasonic forum that the LX2's raw output may have had a first NR scrubbing pass before being written to file, at least at higher ISOs, by the Venus III engine. Canon could have chosen to take this route too in order to retain the raw output option on the new compacts. Perhaps this would be acceptable to you folk. But if my theory happens to be at least partly correct, I strongly doubt that anything less than an organized consumer revolt would persuade Canon to change its new tack.
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jdh3777
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2006, 03:46:37 PM »
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Quote from: Dale Cotton,Sep 23 2006, 06:37 PM
...So long as owners and reviewers only see the brilliantly executed internal NR from the DIGIC II engine's JPEG output, the dirty laundry remains private"

Very interersting therory -- or insight, rather.
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thompsonkirk
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2006, 04:08:55 PM »
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I can neither use nor recommend a camera without RAW capture.  

I just completed the Coast to Coast walk in Britain, fearful all the way of soaking or smashing my 5D, & returned home ready to buy a high-quality P&S for future travel.  I headed straight for the G7 announcements, & discovered it can't be of use to me.  

Dale may indeed be correct; otherwise it looks like a self-defeating decision.
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2006, 04:32:00 PM »
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I agree (with the letter to Canon).
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benInMA
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« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2006, 04:34:24 PM »
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It's not the flagship.. and how much smaller is it then the Rebel?

Raw files from digicams require so much processing I just don't get the desire to have to process them all on your computer.

Do you shoot all your digicam shots on a full size tripod too?  If you're not shooting on a tripod you just killed 1/2 the raw advantage.  Take the right exposure in JPG and you ought to be able to make yourself happy.

It probably is marketing.. but the class of super expensive feature loaded digicams is probably on it's last legs when DSLRs can be had for the same price or less.
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jjj
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« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2006, 07:51:17 PM »
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It's not the flagship.. and how much smaller is it then the Rebel?

Raw files from digicams require so much processing I just don't get the desire to have to process them all on your computer.
Uh missing the point. I can fit a little camera in my pocket and hence always have it with me. Therefore it gets used a lot and often under tricky lighting. RAW enables one to get the best result from the image captured e.g. correct the often innaccurate auto WB.
Oh and by the way do you think a ickle little camera is going to do a better job of processing than a desktop/laptop with PS?
Have you even used a camera like an S70 in RAW mode? It's sooo much better than JPEG. I thought the tedious RAW/JPEG debate was put to rest a long time ago!
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Do you shoot all your digicam shots on a full size tripod too?  If you're not shooting on a tripod you just killed 1/2 the raw advantage.  Take the right exposure in JPG and you ought to be able to make yourself happy.
Nonsense. Using RAW is not about absolute sharpness and anyway JPEGs will suffer equally from no tripod.
Besides my S60 shoots at 1/2000, so why would i need a tripod for that. Plus it is so fantastically easy to use at low shutter speeds with its gentle shutter relaeas and no clunky mirror to cause shake in first place.

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It probably is marketing.. but the class of super expensive feature loaded digicams is probably on it's last legs when DSLRs can be had for the same price or less.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77431\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
4x4s/SUVs are quite popular for going to work, but if I prefer to ride a motorbike who cares? Two wheels are faster through the typical urban snarl up too. More discreet too, which is another advantage a non SLR has.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2006, 07:52:13 PM by jjj » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2006, 04:58:12 AM »
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I have an excellent condition G5 for sale. It does RAW capture.

Bud James
North Wales, PA

Quote
The following is an open letter to Canon regarding their September 17, 2006 press release titled "PowerShot G7: Canon's most complete compact yet." The announcement describes the new category flagship camera as being “designed for photographers” and promising the attributes required by “advanced photographers”.

Dear Canon:

I’ve been a Canon customer for years, so please consider the following comments in their appropriate context -- the reasoned concerns of a long-term customer rather than the mere ravings of an angry one.

Like my friends and colleagues involved in photography, I was excited to hear about the upcoming launch of the Canon G7. As photography enthusiasts, we’ve been waiting for a quality compact capable of producing expert results -- a simple yet serious camera to keep comfortably at hand.

When I began reading the press release for the G7, I thought that, finally, the camera we’ve been waiting for was here.  Then I learned that RAW file capture would not be supported. To my mind, this broadsides what might have been the best-yet ‘carry around’ camera.

For the photography enthusiasts I know and myself, the exclusion of RAW capture is a deal-breaker. 

Consequently, we’ll have to look to other brands -- in my case, Panasonic and their recently announced Lumix DMC-LX2, despite my concern that it may not be a match for the G7. However, it does supports RAW capture.

As a long-term Canon patron and a decent barometer for the potential G7 customer base, I’m curious to know why the G7 was downgraded from RAW capture when its predecessor, the G6, was RAW capable. Was it an engineering oversight or an ill-informed marketing ploy designed to drive photography enthusiasts like myself up into the digital SLR category? If the later, then Canon misread their customers, forcing a good number of them to not only look elsewhere, but to go elsewhere. Besides, many of us who were eager to buy the G7 already own digital SLRs (in my case, the Canon 5D).

As I’m sure Canon understands, this manner of forced brand-emigration all too often acts as the thin edge of a very broad wedge. Time will tell if the new 'Canon expatriates' created by downgrading the G7 will return to the fold. ‘Isn’t Panasonic coming out with new SLR system anyway?’  You get the idea.

I've taken the time to write in hopes that the these concerns might reach those at Canon responsible for making such critical technical/creative decisions, and to let them know what we, the customers, need and expect from Canon photographic tools in exchange for our brand loyalty. RAW file support is a critical yet basic requirement. Yes, even in a compact. Certainly in a flagship compact.

Ultimately, we want to believe that Canon is serious about photography enthusiasts even if we don’t make our living as photographers. Trashing RAW file support goes a long way toward undermining that belief.

Again, please accept these comments as given -- the real-world concerns of a photography enthusiast who sees his brand-of-choice not only disregarding the basic needs of its customers, but as phasing out of sync with its core brand values.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Hornaday
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77189\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Bud James
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« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2006, 12:48:03 PM »
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Canon claims to listen to Photographers demands and then they do silly things such as remove RAW support from a line of cameras geared to serious photogs that has always had raw capture before? It's a patently dumb move.

Times like this along with other instances (direct print button but no MLU), it has to make you wonder if they actually do listen, or if that is just lip service...

Quote
Absolutely although knowing how these companies feel about DNG, we might be throwing the baby out with the bath water. IOW, they might consider RAW but would totally ignore the letter based on the request for DNG. But I agree in principle we need both. Good luck.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77400\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Screw their feelings about DNG. It's a blatant disservice to one's customers to lock them into proprietary raw formats (especially considering the history of photography). If they don't hear demand for DNG or any open format for that matter, then they will never bother to consider it.

They are being stubborn, certainly. However this means they need to be pushed more aggressively to open up. They have to hear there is demand for open formats otherwise it will never happen. Strong market demand will always trump any company's resistance to it. Just look at what is happening with the RIAA and digital music for an example.
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gochugogi
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« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2006, 01:52:42 PM »
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"Strong market demand will always trump any company's resistance to it."

And herein lays the reason Canon will likely not return to RAW capture for point 'n shoots. Other than a handful of photogeeks, hardly anyone in this target market gives a rat's tail about RAW capture. Now I wish it had RAW capture as well, but there are plenty of other choices for serious pocket cams. The GR-1 comes to mind...
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« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2006, 03:03:49 PM »
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And herein lays the reason Canon will likely not return to RAW capture for point 'n shoots. Other than a handful of photogeeks, hardly anyone in this target market gives a rat's tail about RAW capture. Now I wish it had RAW capture as well, but there are plenty of other choices for serious pocket cams. The GR-1 comes to mind...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77500\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Pretty much what I believe.  I had the old G1--learned to shot in RAW and haven't stopped since (shooting with 5D now).  But--most of us RAW shooters moved on to DSLRs and I bet most using the G series are not shooting RAW--though it would behoove them to do so.  

I had an unfortunate experience this week--forgot an extra CF card in another bag (here in Maine) and ended up shooting with my husband's Fuji F30 for that part of the day---drove me up the wall (two bags--one with extra body and tele lens and chargers--lesson learned--don't switch bags hurriedly).  I can't deal with no viewfinder for one thing--and no RAW of course.  Taught me that if I would ever buy a small digicam for myself--it would have to have at least the viewfinder--and preferably RAW.  Then again--I probably would never use a digicam.  A Rebel with a small good zoom might work--would hate to stick on my 24-70L on the Rebel for a 'small' cam LOL  (I shoot with primes most of the time, but chose my 24-70 and 70-200 f/4 for traveling plus a 45 TSE--not a light load and I understand others choice of something smaller).

Diane
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