Archive for August 19th, 2010

Market Segmentation: one of the evils of the world

Today, Canon announced their two highest-end HD-capable small digicams, the SD4500 IS and the S95.

The S95 is the superior still camera of the two, with a large CCD sensor and a very fast stabilized lens (for what it is). Surely, a great buy for stills. Regarding video though, the S95 has the same capabilities as their much cheaper digicams have: 720p at 24 mbps bitrate, h.264 MOV, color control, exposure compensation, the as importantly exposure locking, and manual focus via the “wheel”. The only difference between the S95 and the other cheaper Canon HD digicams in terms of video is that the S95 does 24p instead of 30p.

And then there’s the CMOS-based SD4500 IS. The SD4500 IS has an embarrassingly small sensor for its price/range (same as in their $100 digicams), and a not-so-fast lens. But, it does 1080/24p. At 43 mbps no less. And 720/30p at 30 mbps. Plus all the other video features mentioned above.

So here we have the perfect small still digicam that leaves a lot to be desired in terms of video, and we have another small still digicam that comparatively sucks at stills, but it does video better.

Perfect market segmentation for Canon! This way they can sell both of them, to people who are mostly interested in video, or mostly interested in stills. But absolutely none of the two lives up to the expectations. This pisses me off so much.

The only hope I have right now regarding “small” digicams is for the upcoming Canon G12 to have SELECTABLE resolution AND frame rate: 1080p/720p at 30p/25p/24p each (and why not, 720p @ 50p/60p).

Because if they screw this up too, these guys don’t know what they are doing. Why not give their market what they need, instead of creating 40 products with 99% the same feature-set, confusing people? Or segmentize their products so much, so no one gets to be happy with what their bought?

I’m not asking for freaking manual control here. That would indeed be somewhat high-end at this point for the price range of these cams. I’m just asking something that is most important for video to be able to do something useful with it: frame rate selection first and foremost, and then resolution. For their higher-end digicams, these features should have been there as standard.

UPDATE: Well, I’m now even more pissed off at Canon. C|Net just leaked by accident the details of the new G12, and it also only does 720p.

Another worthless “high-end” digicam in terms of video — at a day and age when Canon has the capability of adding the resolution and frame rates needed without much trouble.