How Canon and Nikon Can Catch Up to Sony and Win More Pros Back

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Watch out, Canon and Nikon; Sony is starting to win the pros over with their super fast mirrorless cameras.

While many of us have seen how and why mirrorless cameras will take over the bigger and bulkier DSLRs, the pros have remained a tough nut to crack for the mirrorless market. Many of the pros still prefer holding on to the big investments they made in their DSLR gear, but some have started to jump into the mirrorless side. Bloomberg recently reported that Sony has been especially enticing them with their new super-fast offerings.

According to the Bloomberg report, speed is a need that the pros simply cannot compromise. With Sony churning out mirrorless cameras that are faster and more compact than their DSLR counterparts, the company has essentially started to “break the pro-photography duopoly” that Canon and Nikon have been basking in. Fujifilm has taken a bite off the cake, but Sony still gets the biggest part, especially in the full-frame mirrorless market.

It seems that Nikon has finally taken heed of the need to step up its game with a new full-frame mirrorless camera coming out very soon (August 23, to be precise). As it will come with a new mount but also accommodate existing Nikon lenses, it could be a good start in letting the pros take a dip if they’re not ready to abandon their lenses entirely. Canon, meanwhile, has still yet to take it seriously; hopefully they’ll pick up some points on what we’d like to see them put in a full-frame mirrorless camera.

What’s at stake for Canon and Nikon at the moment? The Bloomberg report notes that it’s a market worth $3.2 billion a year. It may only account for a fraction of the total camera (and smartphone, as they have already gobbled up the digital compacts’ share) sales. But whoever gets the biggest slice of the pie is likely to end up dominating overall camera sales when mirrorless cameras completely overtake DSLRs.

Sony remains the team to beat, and they’re ironing out the kinks in their lens manufacturing and customer support to keep it that way and convince more pros to come over. Whoever ends up taking the top spot in the mirrorless game, one thing is for sure: we all win — the pros, especially. So here’s what Canon and Nikon need to do.

Create Both Professional and Enthusiast Mirrorless Cameras

To really get the ball going in mirrorless, Canon and Nikon need to get into both the enthusiast and the professional game. For Canon, make something like the Canon 6D Mk II/5D Mk IV and or something like the 5DS/1DX series. For Nikon, they’ll need something like the D5 and the D850.

Oh Yeah, Make Them Full Frame!

Of course, these cameras will need to be full frame. Nikon has already been teasing us about this. But Canon? We’ve got no news.

Give Them Good Sensors

Nikon does a great job with their sensors. Canon on the other hand has been giving us sensors that work more like slide film than anything else. It’s time that Canon starts being the leader in innovation again. Sure, you’ve got a lot of patents, but what are you doing with them?

Have a Great Initial Lineup of Lenses, Including a 50mm f1.8

Folks who want to get into their systems will need to have great lenses. I’m not sure a 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 will make as much sense here as small, fast prime lenses.

Make the Cameras and Lenses Weather Sealed

This is sort of obvious at this point: all of the cameras need to be weather sealed. I should be able to take these cameras out into the rain and shoot with them while having no problems.

Work with Third Parties and Don’t Give Them Problems Like They Did With Their DSLRs

Years ago, Canon used to make it difficult for third parties to work with them. Remember the PocketWizard fiascos from years ago? Or what about when third party lenses get mounted to their cameras and users need to turn off a certain feature to get rid of Canon’s own corrections? Sony has embraced third parties and it’s time that Canon and Nikon do so. It’s evident that they can’t do everything.

Canon and Nikon Need to Keep Their Simpler Menu Systems

Please, please don’t change this. It’s the major leg up that you have on Sony.

Canon: Don’t Purposely Cripple the Camera

Does more need to be said about this? Photographers everywhere have felt this way.

Nikon: Give Us the Evolution of the Otherwise Perfect Nikon D850

The Nikon D850 is in many ways a perfect camera, but it’s a DSLR. If it were mirrorless I might have considered switching to Nikon a while back.

Don’t Forget Battery Life

Canon’s 5D series of cameras haven’t been able to hold up in the battery life game since the 5D Mk II. So they need to up their game. Nikon? They’re good, but now they’re working with live view LCDs and they’re going to need to improve.

Additional reporting in this article was provided by Chris Gampat