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”.
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.