There was a time not too long ago where flashes and speedlights from the same manufacturers as your cameras were considered must-haves. Still, because of companies like Godox, the need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on first-party lighting gear has dissipated. Some recent news about a new flash patent Canon has filed has us asking whether or not it’s worth it for Canon and other first-party manufacturers to continue pouring money into lighting gear. Let’s talk about this after the break.
A recent patent filing from Canon, which was reported on by Canon News, shows Canon has been working on a new Speedlight that incorporates both LED lights and a built-in fan. Regular speedlights don’t usually feature LEDs as they produce a lot of heat when they are being used continuously, so it makes sense that there is also a built-in fan in this light. You would have to assume that the LEDs are there for modeling lamps, but who knows really? At this point, Canon’s only at the patent application stage and no details have been revealed.
The amount of time and money that has likely gone into developing this light is probably off the charts. So we have to ask, is it worth it? There are so many companies now whose whole business model is based on ripping off others that you have to wonder why Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Leica, and others bother at all. You can almost guarantee that Godox or another third party brand will come to market with eerily similar lighting gear. They will, of course, undercut Canon (or whoever they are copying) to the point where the average photographer will just choose their light instead of the name brand version.
This must be incredibly frustrating for first-party manufacturers, and it will no doubt have an impact on their bottom line. Despite cheaper, similar lighting gear that’s coming out, there is still a need for companies like Canon to produce and market lights like this.
Why would you choose first-party lights over a much cheaper alternative? The main reason you’d want to go with a first-party branded flash is compatibility. Slot a Canon-branded light onto a Canon camera body, and every feature will work flawlessly. Then, there’s the build quality. Sure, lighting gear from third parties gets the job done, but ultimately, its quality is just disposable. In the long run, you’ll likely end up spending more money due to failures and breaks if you go with the cheapest option. Spend more on companies that genuinely innovate and put the time and effort into their own gear (that goes for first-party and some third-party manufacturers), and you’ll have equipment that will stand the test of time.
So, to answer the question of whether or not it’s still worth Canon putting resources into creating lighting gear, the answer is a solid yes. Canon’s experience and their ability to innovate (in some areas of their business) set them apart from the pack. Without companies like Canon spending time and money to research and bring products like this to market, you wouldn’t even have the option to buy disposable lighting gear that other companies pump out. As technology improves, I cannot wait to see what the geniuses behind the scenes at Canon, Nikon, and others can produce. What do you think about the patent that Canon has filed? Let us know in the comment section below.