EXCLUSIVE: Canon engineers held back by marketing department's "megapixel race"


EOS-exclusive.jpgCanon engineers are being held back from developing new sensor technology by marketing departments in a “race for megapixels”, claims an employee of the Japanese photography company.

The employee told Tech Digest that Canon have the technology to “blow the competition away” in terms of image sensors, but are instead being asked to focus on headline figures like the number of megapixels a camera has. When asked for his opinion on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which we covered this morning, the employee said:

“I am hugely disappointed because once again Canon engineers are dictated by their marketing department and had to keep up with the megapixel race. They have the technology to blow the competition away by adapting the new 50D sensor tech in a full frame format and just easing off a little on the megapixels. Although no formal testing has been done on the new model yet, judging by the spec and technology used, it just seems to be as good or as bad as the competition – not beating them by a mile (which we used to).”

The employee was keen to point out though that he wasn’t wholly disappointed by the new model though:

“The image quality on the 5d1 was so good that it’s still as good as the new NikonD700 even though the Nikon is 3 years younger. I was hoping (…) for two new cameras. One would be a ‘reheated’ 5D1 with a same megapixel count but a slight redesign in sensor combined with new processor and all the gadgets like micro autofocus adjustments, vignetting control, dust reduction, better weather seals and an upgrade to the autofocus.”

“The other one would be a ‘revolution’ 5d, with a completely new sensor design (so it can actually take a lot more megapixels), dual processor for faster frames per second and the gadgets above with a ‘near’ professional grade autofocus for the sake of protecting the 1D series and model segregation”.

“To be honest I was hoping for a bigger upgrade, but they can’t please everyone with one model. (…) On the whole though, I think Canon have done pretty well in fending off competition on all sides – providing a viable upgrade to the 5d1 and worthy competition (on spec at least) to the competitors”

It’s true that megapixels are often used as a benchmark to compare cameras on, but until the media change their reporting style, the pressure from the marketing department will remain on the engineers.

Therefore, I pledge that from now on here at Tech Digest we’ll try to look at cameras on their overall merits – not just the megapixel arms race. Canon et al – we know now that you’re holding back on us, and we want the best cameras, not just the most megapixels, so if you’ve got new releases that have other, better features than the megapixels, then please shout about them.

You, the loyal reader, can also help, by looking beyond the headline specs. Educate yourself on what WB Bracketing is, and buy the best camera – not the one with the biggest numbers next to it.


Related posts: Canon EOS 5D Mark II – 21 megapixels, and HD movie capabilities | Canon releases five more digital cameras: two IXUS, three PowerShot

Duncan Geere
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  • Yes I agree, buyers of digital cameras tends to look at how many megapixels it provides and forget on other important factors.. Can’t wait for your next camera review..

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  • I have a engineer friend in Japan working for Canon and basically his story matches what’s being said here.

    He was crying over Canon’s new 7D’s megapixel as it could’ve been a nearly perfect camera if they had taken it easy on megapixel by keeping it around 1.2k or even 1.4k. But of course Canon Japan’s marketing department pushed it and called it “Image Monster” in the Japanese ad campaign.

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