Canon performs the (RF) system


August 31, 2022

The current publicity round Canon apparently ‘banning’ a few low-cost third occasion lens-makers from making RF-mount lenses, together with what it has been saying to traders, plus its launch schedule for R-series cameras and lenses, signifies that Canon shall be concentrating on the high-margin, high-end, skilled sector of the photographic market in future.

The Viltrox AF 85mm F1.8 lens for RF mount has apparently been discontinued on Canon’s directions. There are reviews the lens was utilizing digital connections from a Canon EF lens.

Whereas it hasn’t completely deserted that sector of the market which purchased up the Canon Insurgent (EOS xxx/xxxx) vary within the lots of of hundreds, and has aspirations to proceed in its decade’s lengthy place as digicam business market chief ‘even in mirrorless cameras’ this new technique could nicely see it abandon that market management. In unit phrases a minimum of. And fairly profitably.

What Canon says

Whereas there was criticism of Canon’s technique of constructing it tough for third occasion lens producers to supply alternate options to its RF lens vary, in chilly arduous enterprise phrases it’s working, with lens gross sales pulling the imaging division into elevated profitability within the second quarter of 2022. Right here’s what Canon advised traders and market analysts on July 26:  ‘…unit gross sales of digicam our bodies, as a result of of product shortages, remained under these of final 12 months. Nonetheless, supported by sturdy gross sales of interchangeable lenses, we posted doubledigit progress in each gross sales and revenue, and our working revenue ratio elevated to 16.1 p.c.’If there have been Sigma and Tamron RF-alternatives obtainable, its unlikely this end result would have been achieved.

And it’s all about making and promoting extra full-frame (ie, premium) fashions: Even underneath a scenario of declining unit gross sales, we raised the ratio of fullbody mirrorless cameras for which we prioritize manufacturing and gross sales, and considerably elevated RF lens gross sales to put up a doubledigit improve in internet gross sales general.

The APS-C format fashions within the Canon mirrorless vary are a gateway to premium: Whereas the EOS R7 and EOS R10 models incorporate APSC sensors, they additionally inherit, amongst others, the autofocus topic detection expertise of our excessivefinish mannequin, the EOS R3, and supply excessive efficiency in all points of nonetheless picture and video seize.

The flagship Canon EOS R3 has a neighborhood RRP of $8600, physique solely.

We count on professionals and superior amateurs to, for instance, use these as subcameras, and that it will additionally encourage folks to change their SLR cameras or stepup from entryclass cameras. With these cameras, the launch of two RFS lenses, we will work to additional improve the quantity of customers who undertake our system.

Canon sees professionals and superior amateurs as the longer term for its enterprise: Going ahead, we count on the skilled and superior novice phase to develop additional and that merchandise will grow to be extra extremely developed. Accordingly, we count on the general market to develop any further.

There’s a relentless chorus from Canon that the excessive finish is the place the motion is. This from the primary quarter report: ‘…gross sales elevated due to a rise in common promoting costs, as we prioritized the provide of excessivefinish fashions such as the EOS R5 and EOS R6, and additionally due to a important improve in gross sales of RF lenses.’

What Canon did

Whereas Sony shares its E-mount Fundamental Specification Licence ‘for lenses and/or mount adopters to mount to Sony’s E-mount Interchangeable Lens Digital Digicam’ for no cost, Canon and Nikon haven’t cooperated with third occasion lens producers.

Whereas there’s a alternative of reasonably priced lenses within the RF vary, the bias is in direction of L-series skilled optics, with the US$12K RF 1200mm F8L the Canon RF cannon.

Canon seems to have advanced its closed system coverage for its RF vary of lenses from merely not sharing engineering and design data with third occasion producers, to actively demanding they stop promoting Canon-compatible lenses.

Studies from a spread of internet sites are reporting a customer support worker from HK lensmaker Viltrox advised a buyer that Canon had demanded they withdraw all RF-compatible lenses from sale.

The client was chasing up firmware for a Canon RF-compatible Viltrox lens and the response was: ‘Now we have been advised by Canon to cease promoting all RF-compatible merchandise so we won’t launch RF-related data on the official web site.’

He was additionally advised that ‘we aren’t the primary firm to be stopped’ (from promoting Canon RF-compatible lenses), which might be a reference to Samyang/Rokinon, who it’s rumoured have been additionally warned off by Canon.

Whereas Canon merely could have had high quality/compatibility points with the junior lens-makers concerned, it is going to be attention-grabbing to see what it does if and if and when Tamron (important shareholder, Sony) and Sigma enter the market.

What Canon launched

Canon’s roll-out of R-series cameras and lenses additionally signifies it’s throwing its lot in with the well-heeled little bit of the market.

Canon’s first R-series digicam was the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R, launched again in September 2018. It was a high-end mannequin: ‘With the EOS R, you might be, in essence, getting picture and video high quality from the 5D Mark IV at across the worth level of the 6D Mark II.’ wrote DPReview.

Then got here the EOS RP in February 2019. At US$1299 physique solely, it was the most cost effective full-frame mirrorless obtainable on the time, which contradicts the argument, however it’s the exception to the rule. It was additionally hamstrung in these early days by an absence of reasonably priced lenses to go along with it. At round $1800 domestically, it’s nonetheless near the most cost effective full-frame DSLR available on the market.

Issues actually, um, ‘heated up’ in mid-2020 with the discharge of the skilled degree 45-megapixel R5(US$3899, physique solely) and high-end fanatic 20-megapixel R6 (US$2499 physique solely),

Canon solely launched one digicam of any type in 2021, the 24-megapixel EOS R3 ‘designed for sports activities, wildlife and photojournalism’, and with a hefty asking worth of US$6K.

It wasn’t till this 12 months in Might that Canon launched APS-C format EOS R7 (US$1500 physique solely) and R10 at US$1000 physique solely. (It’s $2300 and $1500 respectively in Australia – that darn Australia tax appears to be creeping again!)

So the Canon mirrorless vary so far favours the excessive finish (with out completely ignoring the toiling punters) , and the lens vary has the same bias in direction of premium, however with just a few lenses which might match properly on the reasonably priced EOS RF.

Sony E-mount digicam house owners have a far broader collection of lenses than Canon R house owners, resembling this Sigma 5mm f1.4 DG DN (native RRP $1369). Sony is licencing its E-mount lens design to 3rd occasion producers.

Of the primary 4 lenses initially launched, three have been skilled normal L-series fashions. The opposite was a extra reasonably priced ($800 domestically) 35mm f1.8 macro prime.

Then got here one other 5 L-series lenses in 2019, with only one non-professional all-rounder, the Canon RF 24–240mm F4-6.3 IS USM, with a neighborhood RRP of $1500.

In 2020 Canon began populating its lens vary with some extra reasonably priced fashions, together with a 600mm and 800mm. In 2021 there have been 4 L-series lens introduced and one other two non-professional fashions.

This 12 months so far now we have seen a few lenses for the APS-C mannequin R7 and R10, together with one other two L collection – the RF 800mm (US$17K) and RF 1200mm (US$2oK) plus one other two, the Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM. (Right here’s a query to Canon’s new advertising and marketing PR staff, if you’re studying this – why is that this lens US$549 within the US and $1500 domestically?)

So whereas Sony has the waterfront lined with a full vary of our bodies (preserving in style superceded fashions within the vary at a lowered worth level  – eg, A7 II  – is a profitable technique) and a plethora of reasonably priced {and professional} lenses each from Sony and different producers, it will seem Canon is taking a special path to enterprise success.

An analogy is likely to be that Sony is aspiring to be the Toyota (Kia?) of digicam methods, whereas Canon is taking a look at extra of a BMW positioning.

Sony’s complete vary of reasonably priced lenses for Sony mirrorless cameras has grow to be what the advertising and marketing fits name a Distinctive Promoting Proposition when stacked up in opposition to Canon and Nikon (which has made a much bigger effort than Canon so far in fleshing out its Nikkor Z vary.) Sony has been at within the full-frame mirrorless sport for lots longer so it additionally has a extra complete vary of Sony model E-mount lenses. Whereas the place in advertising and marketing jargon, the opposite issue within the Sony Alpha system’s benefit is that the Common Promoting Value for Sony E-mount suitable lenses – each Sony and different producers – is significantly decrease.



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