Among the many announcements last week — Nikon’s new Z 50, pricing for the Sigma fp, the Lume Cube 2.0 — there was one announcement that was, well, a head scratcher. Canon announced the IVY REC, a clippable 13-megapixel outdoor camera that looks more like a first-generation iPod Shuffle than a camera.
The fact that Canon even thought the IVY REC was a good idea shows how out of touch the camera company is in today’s smartphone-centric world. There are no groundbreaking features of the IVY REC. They can be found in pretty much any modern-era smartphone on the market. The audience that Canon is going after are those looking for adventure. But I bet all of those have a phone that can capture just as good photographs — if not better — than the IVY REC.
In Canon’s press release, it states that “the clippable and wearable design allows users to wear it on a belt or bag and the clip doubles as a viewfinder — eliminating the potential to crack a screen.”
Go buy a screen protector for your phone, or a rugged case. Problem solved.
The funny thing? In its marketing materials, Canon touts the Canon Mini Cam app to extend the functionality of the camera. You know, for checking things like battery life, remaining image capacity and (gasp) using it as a remote shutter.
So they’re trying to sell a smartphone alternative … but then touting the fact that owning a smartphone actually makes the camera better.
It’s clear Canon is trying to grab the attention of a younger audience who lives an adventure-filled life. And the IVY REC may have worked quite well 10 years ago. What the company somehow doesn’t realize is that audience is more likely to own a smartphone than anyone else out there.
And the best part? They launched it on Indiegogo. For a company that makes millions, they needed the support of the public to launch a $129 camera. They somehow, miraculously, got that support.
So … who’s going to buy this thing again?
The latest in a troubling trend
While the IVY REC literally made me stop in my tracks and ask “what on earth?” to myself, this isn’t the first time I’ve been scratching my head at the world’s largest camera company.
For example, with last year’s release of the EOS R, Canon failed to shake the world of mirrorless cameras by introducing a camera with absolutely no groundbreaking features. Included on the body was an awkward multi-function bar — better known as the “rocker” — that proved difficult to use and get accustomed to. They removed common buttons you’d find on most competing cameras, replacing them with a touch screen interface. Their pro-centric lenses and adapters were their saving grace.
While Sony just came out with another camera upgrade in its a7R IV and a9 bodies, Canon is repeatedly behind the game. And it shows — I see more and more photographers switching away from Canon than ever before. They’re going to Sony, Olympus, Fuji and Lumix — all companies who are continuing to push the envelope in one way or another, whether it be in terms of hardware, software or a combination of both.
While it’s been rumored, Canon has yet to release a higher-resolution mirrorless camera marketed at the professional photography audience. At least Nikon offered that from the get-go when they released the Z 7.
Drop the cutesy cameras, Canon. Start doing some market research and focus on your core audience.