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June 28th 2013 10:38 am

Canon's new ad targets smartphone users, but does it miss the mark?

PetaPixel made a post a few days ago about a tip they got regarding a new Canon ad campaign. In the ads you see someone trying to take a picture with their smartphone, while someone is getting in their face on a phone. In the corner it says "Don't let a call interrupt your photo." Canon's intentions are pretty clear with this ad and they are certainly trying to get the smartphone market to come back to Canon cameras.

One thing I think they're being a little presumptuous about is assuming that a phone call, or any type of notification, will only ruin your photo if you're on a smartphone. The angle makes sense, but Canon makes this statement as if you have no choice but to answer the call. With a simple swipe of your finger you can decline the call, taking you right back into your picture. This same kind of interruption is no different when using a camera that may not get focus right away, have someone walk in front of your shot, missing or charing flash, etc. Basically, it's not that different from any interruption you may receive when using a regular camera.

I think if anything this ad signifies an attempt, or perhaps a disconnect, by Canon to reclaim a market they are rapidly losing. If you look at Flickr's "Camera Finder" tool (www.flickr.com­/cameras) you can see that Apple dominates the most popular camera on the site with spots 1-3. Canon comes in 4-5, but only their higher end DSLR models. If you turn to popular point-and-shoot models Canon has slots 2-3 but they are trending downward with Sony rapidly trending up; the PowerShot G12 has a slight up trend towards the end of the graph but not before dipping.

Larger image: imgur.com­/5M2XOZb

If we dive in a little deeper and look at metrics for Canon and Apple specifically we something a little more interesting. For one, Canon's most popular entry level camera is their T3i with 2,798 average daily users(highlighted in red)****. On the other side of things Apple's iPhone 4S is their most dominant coming in with 6,370 average daily users, or nearly double what Canon's most popular entry level camera is producing.

I decided to go a little further and look into Canon's most popular non-DSLR model, which happens to be the PowerShot G12 coming in at number 20 on Canon's chart. The number of average daily users is just a partly 347. Apple's iPod Touch, 3G, and even the first generation iPad come in at higher numbers than that.

Since Samsung is slotted in as the number six most popular brand, only three behind Apple, I looked into see how they compare with Canon. Their Galaxy S3, which has sold over 100 million devices, is showing average daily users at 1323. This falls behind Canon's most popular entry level model, but crushes their most popular non-DSLR model.

There is no question that as smartphones continue to become more and more viable for photos, people are turning to them. The bigger question is can Canon do something to recapture that market? Cameras like Sony's RX100 are appealing to prosumers who want more control but without the bulk. Canon's closest competitor is the S110 but in nearly every review it was surpassed by Sony's image quality. Samsung and Nikon are giving people Android power cameras making it quick and easy to get their photos to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The closet attempt Canon has made to get into this fun and quick market is the PowerShot N (which interestingly enough isn't showing up at all on Flickr's charts) can only share via Canon's iMAGE Gateway; the only social network options are Facebook, Twitter and Youtube (kbsupport.cusa.canon.com­/system­/selfservice.contro...).

Canon is struggling to adjust to this market and find ways to attract customers. Either they need to produce something on the level of the RX100 or give consumers are more social device.

Source: PetaPixel petapixel.com­/2013­/06­/25­/new­-canon­-ad­-campaign­-tak...

****Flickr measures active daily users by number of photos uploaded the day before.

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4 replies

(Warning: Long winded post with hopefully some good conclusions)
I thought that DSLR's were mostly irrelevant and not for the average photographer until about 2 weeks ago. Until my eyes were opened by the following.

A good friend was having a birthday party. He always loves having good pictures for memories sake. My girlfriend jumped at the chance to take pictures because she "loved her fathers old DSLR" and my friend lent her his Canon T2i for the day.

Without much experience, she took phenomenal photos. Everybody loved them. Now Canon is currently pricing its DSLRs fairly aggressively. They all seem to be on sale this month. She went out next day and got a T3i, 3 lenses and a bag for $800

Last weekend we went camping, and again she was able to take amazing pictures. Butterflies, flowers, friends all turned out great.

The kicker was when I got to use the camera. I had 0 experience with a DSLR and I was able to take some really good pictures too! I am now even considering getting my own DSLR.

However, these were the annoyances that I am sure most people find with them which makes them impractical for everyone.

1. SIze- its a bit of a bummer lugging around 3 lenses and a body.
2. Price- They may be expensive, but Canon needs to convince people it is WORTH it. I only realized that after seeing one in action and then using it myself
3. As you said, social features. It was a not cool process trying to get them to facebook. It involved taking the SD card out, putting it in my MacBook. importing to iphoto. Selecting them to upload to facebook, then tagging all my friends. With a couple hundred photos, it sort of sucks.

Also a side question, if you made it this far. Does Flickr accurately represent enough of the photography base to make the statistics valid? I know both iOS and Android have flickr apps presumably making the service easier to use than a device that doesn't. Like my problem uploading to facebook. Is there incentive for DSLR owners to use flickr? No app, does it store high quality photos? I admit I am not a flickr user so these are honest questions
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I went with Flickr because it's the only source I know of making these metrics known. It also continues to remain as a popular source for professionals to host their photos. I think one thing you may touched on though is that people with iPhones, or any smartphone, may be more inclined to compulsively share everything due to the ease of sharing via an app. While professionals or enthusiasts may be more inclined to sift through and better pick their photos.

Also funny you bring up the ease of use with a DSLR now because Sony did a survey last year showing most only use their DSLR in point-and-shoot mode (petapixel.com­/2012­/11­/20­/survey­-majority­-of­-dslr­-s...). So even with how well a T3i or D7000 can take photos, if you're just going to be in full auto why not pick up a LX3 or RX100 for a few hundred less and save yourself the trouble of carrying something bigger around?
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I am very guilty of that. :) I can't actually tell you what an F Stop is right now. I am just the type to think I could learn how to use something better.
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I thought the same thing when I bought my T2i, it ended up sitting on my desk 99% of the time. The 1% of the time I took it out for photos I never used it because it was annoying to go in and out of my bag. Sold it and picked up the RX100 instead.
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