Disappointment After Disappointment — What Is Wrong With Canon?

Disappointment After Disappointment — What Is Wrong With Canon?

Back in 2008 the Canon 5D Mark II was a photographer’s dream. The camera revolutionized the industry and opened new creative horizons for many professionals. The low light performance, dynamic range, and image quality were unheard of. This technological wonder was a huge hit in the photography world and beyond, especially in the indie filmmaker community. Later in 2012 came the 5D Mark III, with a solid body but somehow conservative specifications. Since then, it seems that Canon has decided to freeze progress, and lately, take a few steps backward.

Before going any further, I’d like to emphasize that I have been a long-time Canon user since the 90s. I own several Canon cameras and an extensive collection of EF lenses. I don’t mean to trash Canon for no reason, but truth be told, I’ve found the 5D Mark IV and 6D Mark II to be huge disappointments.

The Problem

Ever since the launch of the 5D Mark II, Canon has been extremely conservative in every aspect of its products. The only exceptions being the great Dual Pixel Autofocus technology (DPAF) and the high resolution Canon 5Ds body. However, the DPAF is a video feature designed to be used in live view mode, not for stills photography. Unfortunately, the video modes on Canon DSLRs are so crippled that there is no point on giving us a nice autofocus system if everything else fails.

Like many of my fellow photographers, I was eagerly waiting for the 5D Mark IV and Canon 6D Mark II to update my camera’s body.

Finally, the long-awaited 5D Mark IV came in August 2016 but the dynamic range at base ISO was only matching the entry-level crop-sensor camera from 2011 and lagging far behind its direct competitor. A little bit embarrassing for new a $3,500 flagship camera. The rest of the features were nice but nothing that could justify the upgrade from the Mark III, at least in my case.

The dynamic range of the Canon 5D Mark IV only matches the Nikon D5100 crop sensor from 2011. Source: DxOMark.

At this point, many photographers were expecting miracles for the 6D Mark II, but the first reviews of this new camera show a worrisome trend. Not only are the specifications underwhelming but the image quality is not even matching that of the previous version. The test results from camera tester William J. Claff of Photons to Photos shows that the dynamic range of the 6D Mark II is slightly worse than the Mark I at low ISO, and significantly lower than the Canon 80D crop-sensor camera.

According to William J. Claff measurements, the Canon 6D Mark II dynamic range at base ISO falls behind the original 6D and 80D

DPReview confirmed these results and revealed that “almost as soon as you start to push the image or pull detail out of the shadows, you risk hitting the camera's electronic noise floor and hence you won't see the advantage over the smaller sensor 80D that you might reasonably expect.” Continuing, “The EOS 6D II should have a 1.3EV image quality advantage over the 80D, when the images are compared at the same size, since its sensor is so much bigger. Despite this, the EOS 80D's images shot with the same exposures look cleaner, when brightened to the same degree.”

Video Wreck

On the video side, the situation is even worse. After creating the DSLR video revolution back in 2008 with the 5D Mark II, Canon constantly crippled its DSLR. Basic video features like peaking and zebra never made it to any DSLR of the brand. The 60fps mode was sadly missing on the 5D Mark III. Was it a hardware limitation? Absolutely not, the Magic Lantern team demonstrated that the Mark III was capable of 1080/60 in raw recording and gave us all the video assist features via their firmware hack.

Another issue that consistently plagues Canon bodies is the image softness and moire. Video Specialist Andrew Reid from EOSHD noted about the Canon 100D/SL1 magic lantern hack: “Forgive the conspiracy theory, but I thought moire was a result of pixel binning on the sensor itself. But now we have unfiltered direct access to the sensor output in video mode with raw, it seems the sensor isn’t so much to blame as Canon’s image processor. In the stock Canon video mode it is as if the sensor is doing a nice output, but the processor is resampling the image to purposefully hobble it with moire and soft detail.”

But as if holding features and crippling image quality were not enough, Canon decided to take a step backwards with the new 6D Mark II. The video All-I mode has been removed, leaving us with lower video bitrate compared to original 6D.

When it comes to 4K, the new 6D skipped it entirely. Sure, the 5D Mark IV has 4K, but with a 1.74x crop and completely huge and inefficient 500 Mbps MJPEG codec from the 90s, the 4K mode is just unusable.

Want to film in 4K at 24mm equivalent? You’ll have to attach a 14mm lens to your camera. And by the way, be ready to buy a substantial amount of memory cards because at this rate, a 128 GB card will be full after only 30 minutes of recording. I hope you like to transcode. But for real, the Dual Pixel Autofocus is great.

Perhaps remorse struck Canon a few month later when it decided to issue an update to enable the LOG mode on the 5D Mark IV. However, LOG is not available at this time on the top-of-the-line Canon 1Dx Mark II. I’m sure that loyal Canon customers will appreciate being left behind after spending $6,000 on this professional body while cheaper versions are being upgraded.

“Why don’t you buy a damn video camera?”; “DSLR are not made for video.”; These are usually the kinds of comments we get when we dare asking for decent video features on Canon professional cameras in 2017. Let me answer: No, I do not want to buy a damn video camera. The reason is not due to the hefty price tag, but due to portability and versatility. Even if the C200 was available at $900, I would not buy it. Video cameras are big and bulky, and I cannot afford to carry a C100 Mark II that weighs twice as much as my current 5D. As a run-and-gun shooter I want to take photos and videos and be able to switch conveniently between the two. Another point is that professional cameras are fitted with S35 sensor giving a 1.5x crop factor. But I like to maintain the full frame look and non-cropped focal range of my DSLR.

By the way, DSLR can and has been used for video for years now, even in Hollywood movies. We are not asking for extravagant video features in DSLR. Built-in ND filters, XLR connectors, ultra-high frame rate, and uncompressed output are reserved for professional cameras and we know it. What we want is decent video specifications contemporary of the era with reasonable image quality. If the 5D came without 4K crop, clean 8-bit video, and codec from this decade I would have bought two already.

Market Segmentation

The reason behind Canon’s choices is called market segmentation, which is the art of distilling camera specifications among the product range in order to force customers to purchase the different versions. You want 4K video? Then you’ll have to buy the $6,000 EOS C200 camera. Want high resolution? Get the 5Ds. Swivel screen on a full-frame camera? Get the 6D Mark II. LOG mode? You’ll have to drop the 1Dx Mark II and buy the 5D IV.

The folks at Canon think they can get away with this because their loyal customers are being held hostage by their EF lens collection. Switching brands is not easy when you have invested thousands of dollars over the years to build a nice assortment of lenses.

But the breaking point is coming. For the reasons explained previously, I need a small video camera. One than can fit in a portable gimbal and does not weigh a ton with cables and handles coming out from everywhere. I got the Panasonic GH5 with a few lenses. Close to $3,500 lost for Canon thanks to its nonsense market segmentation strategy. Dear Canon, people are not buying products they do not need; they’ll just stop buying from you, especially if the competition is offering alternatives. This brings me to my next question: Is Canon too big to fail?

Too Big to Fail?

Back in 2013 at the CES show in Las Vegas, most people were filming the event using a Canon 5D Mark II or III camera. A few editions later, these bodies almost disappeared from the alleys, replaced by Sony or Micro 4/3 cameras.

However, impressions can be deceiving. At the moment, Canon remains the leader of the digital camera industry. Far ahead of Nikon and Sony, with the lion’s share of the market. Facts must be stated and the vast majority of photographers are only taking pictures.

Various estimates show that the DSLR video crowd only represents 5–10 percent of the market. But is the camera business doing so well that Canon can ignore this minority of users? The latest CIPA report shows that the shipment of digital cameras have been free-falling over the last 10 years, eaten up by the smartphones even though the interchangeable lens camera market shows some signs of resistance.

But video aside, the photo features of the new 6D are not encouraging: stagnation or decrease of the image quality, lack of dual memory card slots, and concentration of the AF point to the center. This is not appealing for potential buyers. Sure, the 5D Mark IV shows some sign of progress on the dynamic range front but still lags behind three years old entry-level crop-sensor cameras from the Nikon.

Unfortunately for Canon, the competition has been extremely active lately with Sony’s massive level of innovation (albeit not always functional) and fast release cycle. Fujifilm cameras are also delivering impressive image quality with the X series, while the Micro 4/3 consortium is uniting many manufacturers under the same hardware standards. Even Pentax is hunting in the full frame market territory.

In this context, Nikon had to celebrate its 100-year anniversary with humiliating news. Canon’s traditional competitor is facing important financial losses and is seeking help from Fuji at the demand of the Japanese government, which wants to prevent the yellow company to fall under Chinese or Korean control. Canon is not there yet, but Nikon has been overtaken by Sony for the first time in history early this year. Sony now finds itself in the number two market position for full-frame interchangeable lens cameras in the U.S., ahead of Nikon and behind only Canon.

Personally, I’m afraid that Canon may face a similar fate if the company refuses to respond to the fierce competition in a stagnant market. Falls can be quick; The drone maker DJI was founded a little over 10 years ago by a Chinese student, yet it became the main civilian drone manufacturer and joined the Micro 4/3 consortium. DJI has hurt GoPro’s business and entered into the photo market with the Osmo camera. The Shenzhen-based company recently acquired Hasselblad, another legendary name in the industry, and who knows what they are going to do next. What if DJI decides to tackle the photography market head on? History shows that DJI will not hold the specs.

Another reason of concern is the lens business, a traditional stream of revenue for Canon. Again, more and more Chinese and Korean companies are stepping in Canon’s turf with aggressive commercial strategies. Rokinon for instance is now making autofocus lenses. In Japan, Sigma has seen success for its Art series lenses, which cost up to 40 percent less than the native Canon equivalent.

Conclusion

Every day, more and more photographers are jumping ship to the likes of Sony, Fujifilm, Pentax, or Nikon. Yet, Canon remains the leader in terms of market share thanks to its captive customer base. Some will call them “Canon fan boys” but the truth is that dynamic range is not everything, and Canon products are extremely solid performers. Lovely colors, legendary reliability, perfect ergonomics, and flawless customer service is what professionals need and Canon knows it. No need to be condescending with Canon users. They are not dumb.

At this point, what are the alternatives? If I do not opt for Canon, who else produces full-frame cameras with cutting-edge technology, decent video performance, and a solid selection of lenses?

Sony would be an obvious contender, yet the overall reliability, battery life, and color science is preventing me to switch. Sony lenses are extremely expensive but things should change soon with Sigma jumping in the FE mount wagon (another sign that Sony’s market share is growing). The new Sony a9 also showed some signs in the right direction in terms of battery life and ergonomics.

Nikon cameras have the best dynamic range, their lens selection is on par with Canon, but this brand also lags behind in terms of video features and is somehow as conservative as Canon. I don’t expect any radical changes from Nikon with the D810 successor that will be announced soon. However, Nikon recently shared its ambition to take the mirrorless market seriously and delivering the ultimate camera. Time will tell, but with their current financial situation the future of the company is at risk. There might not be another opportunity to impress.

Then, the Micro 4/3 segment is extremely dynamic thanks to Olympus and Panasonic. As I mentioned earlier, I bought a GH5 to cover my video needs after the 5D Mark IV disappointment in this area. By the way, Panasonic proves that a company can propose ground-breaking DSLR-like cameras but still offer professional video cameras at the same time. Take note Canon.

Unfortunately, I find the Micro 4/3 sensor a bit too limited in terms of high ISO performance and dynamic range. Hence, the GH5 will not completely replace my Canon camera for photography.

Finally, I have no other option left than to wait. Canon does not want to deliver and the alternatives are not completely satisfying. Canon is its own enemy. I’m still satisfied with my current 6D and 5D Mark III. They serve me well so unless an upgrade opens new creative options or facilitates my workload, why should I spend another $2,000 or $3,500 to get a slightly improved version of my actual camera?

Therefore, I’ve stopped investing in my EF system completely. I am keeping an eye on the future Sony a7R III and a7S III cameras. If Sony puts itself together and fixes its well-known issues, I may make the switch once and for all.

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112 Comments

I think that Canon's problems are obvious. They do not see blogs like Fstoppers as the omniscient marketing gods that they are. Thus they continue to provide solid solutions for the 90% of photographers who never push their exposures 4 or 5 stops in post or compulsively buy the latest most powerful computers to process their 4k videos that nobody watches anyway. Shame on Canon! Their board of directors should be required to meet and review Fstoppers and other blog content every day for insight into the needs of the tiny fraction of their customers who need bleeding edge features at higher prices.

One could wonder why they aren't keeping up with what everyone else is doing, though.

But still they charge 2000$ and that is ok ?
If you don't need all those things what is the point of buying this camera ? You can stick to your 6D or if you don't have one buy it used for a lot less than 2000$

Eric Lefebvre's picture

I'm still shooting with my 5d2 and a T3i. When my 5d2 dies I'm not sure what i will do ... probably sell my L series lenses and move to Micro 4/3 or Sony.

I've actually refrained from purchasing some Cine Lenses (ok, cheaper rokinons but still) because I don't think I'll be staying in the Canon / EF ecosystem much longer. I mean, how long will my 5D2 last, it's already something like 8 years old.

In terms of RoI, upgrading my 5D2 to a 5D3 or 5D4 makes no sense for me. The feature sets aren't worth the cost at this point. I'm actually considering getting a G85 RIGHT NOW and slowly exiting the Canon ecosystem. That's 2000$ I normally would spend on Canon gear but just can't justify doing now.

What's their plan going to be when the a7iii looks like a real competitor to the 5D4, but only costs a fraction more than the 6DII? You can just go an entire decade when everyone looking to start taking photography semi seriously doesn't see Canon as in the game in the mid-range market?

Non-Canon cameras have genuinely useful features: 5 axis in-body stabilization, histogram in the viewfinder, eye-focus, etc. Try to take advantage of 36+ megapixels? It's tough without stabilization, first curtain shutter, and mirror slap doesn't help.

Translation: Canon's on top, and thus shouldn't be expected to be competitive on actual features. Brand recognition negates this need from a shareholder perspective.

And thus goes the tale of many a market leader who eventually lost their lead due to hungrier competitors. The market may react slowly. But Canon's days on top are inevitably numbered. This is economics 101.

Michael Kormos's picture

In all honesty, I would bet that 99.99% of people that buy Canon cameras are not aware nor do they read blogs like fstoppers.

Maybe not, but it's not the first time I've heard people state that canon has been coasting. some say since the 60d.

japanese pride and their inferior ego is what stopping them ,even among their japanese competitors canon directors are too proud to bow down and admit defeat in their outdated marketing concept , they just want to stay in their bubble and as long their sales still oil the machine its all sun shine and butterflies there.

Tom Rose's picture

Brilliant comment from Jeffrey Puritz. Wish I had said it. What is with all the Canon bashing? If someone does not like their products then stop whinging and buy something else, whatever you prefer or that better meets your needs.

Leigh Miller's picture

That's like asking...what's wrong with Kodak, Bowens, etc...add now defunct company "HERE". They are failing to do what Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony have done for over 4 years now...innovate.

I feel it for them though...if they abandon DSLR tech in any major way the user base will defect fast to other brands...likely Sony. They should have started with mirrorless much sooner.

Seconded, just look at the feature sets and flexibility you're getting from Sony that Canon should have had 5 years ago? Min shutter when in Av, anyone? Also, they have no aspirational camera line for the dad-photogs like me that hold up to the similar lines from Sony.

Canon is very good and very bad at listening to their customers. The good: they make work horses, and they work without fuss. Their customer service is great, and they have awesome printers / lenses to boot. Dynamic range being worse than the previous 6d is a huge problem though. It means there's zero reason to upgrade if you shoot portraits or landscapes (your subjects are still, and focus system hardly matters). If your subjects are fast moving, it's almost better to pick up a 5d3 at this point than get a 6d2. It was probably canon's intention that you'd splurge on the 5d4, but I don't think they envisioned the 5d3 sales would cannibalize their 6d2 sales. They should have seen it coming.

Kyle Medina's picture

Nothing, everyone wants a perfect camera regardless of where a camera falls within their product line. High end pro features in consumer/hobbyist cameras. BLAH BLAH. Bitching to bitch especially from people who don't use them or ever will, just go shoot.

Brian Schmittgens's picture

I think one of the big points is that Canon purposely cripples their camera bodies with inferior firmware/software. Not every new camera body needs to revolutionize the industry like the 5DmkII did, but when they're releasing an "update" that's inferior to the previous version, that's a pretty big deal. As long as consumers are fine with what they're releasing, there's no reason to sink a ton of money into R&D. When people bitch about what the cameras are missing or buy other brands, it forces them to innovate which is good for the industry overall.

Agreed. Find what you need and shoot.

Brands don't matter to me, capabilities do.

I was frustrated with Canon stuff so I picked up a Sony A7sII. and still use my canon glass with it!

well said Kyle

Josh Leavitt's picture

I'm hoping Canon will deliver radical innovation next year with the announcements of the 7D II and the 5DSR II. The 6D II was a disappointment to most, but it also happens to be an entry-level full-frame model, so I wasn't expecting miracles from a technical standpoint. And the 5D IV, while technically conservative from the 5D III, could be a game-changer if Canon dramatically overhauls Dual-Pixel RAW. That's the only pro-spec camera on the market that can adjust focus in post-processing - albeit in a very limited fashion with its current build.

Canon will restore my trust in them if they can deliver a megapixel monster in the form of the 5DSR II. It's been rumored for years that Canon have been working on a full-frame 120MP sensor, and it demoed at the Canon expo 2015 in the body of a 5DS. Furthermore, rumors are swirling that it's abandoning the Bayer CFA in favor of Foveon-like sensor; so 40MP per red, blue, and green layers (if calculated like the Sigma Merrill) will produce a level of image quality that will contend with medium format. That's the kind of Canon innovation I want to see.

The fact that you don't have the option to buy what you want, regardless of company, shows that it's not just Canon leaving you wanting.
As for myself, I've been shooting with Canon for years, but have an A7r ii on the way, along with a metabones adapter and 55/1.8. I'm going to test this out to see if it can tackle the majority of my shooting and if so, I'll snag an A9r if it tackles the rest and I'll switch completely. There are undeniable advantages to mirrorless but Canon's not implementing them with their M line (I have an M5). Sony with their IBIS, eye AF, and an AF spread/count which covers almost the entire frame are 3 of the biggest to me. Canon simply doesn't compete.

One word: METABONES

Keep your canon glass & switch to bodies by Sony, Nikon, etc.

Mike Hunt's picture

Sony's color is very digital and often leads to lost clients. Unless you shoot kids soccer games

For one thing, if you're shooting video with canon dslr it doesn't matter. the clients are generally commercial services and products, for web delivery. if you're bigger you're shooting RED the higher end Sony and canon. DSLRs aren't generally shooting those larger budget campaigns. Clients don't see the supposedly superior canon quality, neither do I, and clients keep coming back to this videographer.

the second thing is that the 4k footage from my A7sII is pretty good, if you about a lot of movement and the bad rolling shutter.

thirdly, I shoot log and all footage I touch is corrected anyway. canon "color science" just doesn't figure in my production.

David Love's picture

The 5d mark 4 is not a huge step but to me it fixed some things I needed from the mark 3. Even cropped 4k is better than no 4k and I have plenty of memory cards and batteries. I can edit the files without converting in Premiere and the auto-focus is amazing. Most of the time I shoot with the mark 3 while using the 4 just to video bts footage of shoots, etc. When you watch this video do you care or notice that it's cropped?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5iHnPKJPWc

Mark 4, shot in 4k with a glidecam and 24-105.

Touch screen is another feature that really makes things better. Those two alone were enough for me to upgrade. If you don't need that, then no reason to upgrade. I don't notice a big image quality upgrade. A better codec would be great for file size, 4k 60 is a must need, Zebra definitely but if it wasn't for autofocus issues, I would grab a gh5 and video is done. As far as holding back on features just to get people to upgrade, NOBODY does that better than Adobe and they making a killing off their cloud crap.

Mark James's picture

I'm no video guy, but that video quality at 1080 is not good on my computer and I couldn't find a 4k option. While it might not impact their sales much, it seems to be affecting their reputation. The real question is, is the video good enough for you to keep your clients. If it is than it's all good.

David Love's picture

Was a mix of 4k and 1080 to save on card space cause of the crap codec they use and the rest is youtube re-encoding videos to look worse. But for a camera meant for taking pictures first, it does the job.

Anonymous's picture

I don't even know where to start. First off, if you're a working professional, you're shooting on a 5D. Second, DSLRs are not video cameras, so don't complain when a still camera doesn't shoot 4k or have quality video processing. Third, people don't stick with Canon because they're held hostage by their lenses; Nikon, Zeiss, Sigma even are rivaling L glass. Fourth, people stick with Canon because they tend to produce the best skin tones and overall color and look - just look at the White House press room - they're all Canons. Fifth, the GH5 is great but it does not have the features and overall flexibility of a C series; again, preferred by most video professionals. Sony is ultimately too clinical in look - it's all about skin tones and color. Regardless of the numbers game, Canon comes out ahead because they just produce the most pleasing images for the price range. If you're shooting on a GH5 you don't know what you're talking about when it comes to critiquing tools used by working professionals. If you want 4k on a reliable, professional camera, you have to pay a little more for it. Canon knows what they're doing, and professionals see these articles and roll their eyes because they're just so stupid.

>> Second, DSLRs are not video cameras, so don't complain when a still camera doesn't shoot 4k or have quality video processing.

This is imbecilic as well as childish. The camera has a video mode. It is a video camera. And even if it didn't, it really is none of your business what features other people need or want. You can say, without seeming like a prat, "I don't care about video" - but telling other people they shouldn't, no.

>> Third, people don't stick with Canon because they're held hostage by their lenses; Nikon, Zeiss, Sigma even are rivaling L glass.

This is also less than bright. *Everyone* makes glass as good as Canon (you missed Panasonic and Olympus.) But if you have lots of $ in Canon glass, there is a degree of lock-in.

>> Fourth, people stick with Canon because they tend to produce the best skin tones and overall color and look - just look at the White House press room - they're all Canons

No, it's because Canon made the right moves years ago. Canon got an edge over Nikon at a critical time, became widely adopted, and until something significantly better comes along, it makes sense to stick with the standard. People don't evaluate skin tones from their cameras every year and change their entire system based on the result...

Anonymous's picture

Panasonic and Olympus do not make lenses for EF outside of Micro 4/3. And what I'm saying is that there are plenty of better choices that Canon glass when you're shooting on Canon EF - Zeiss, (older) Nikon, Sigma, Tamron all make lenses that rival Canon's glass in some way - there's so much glass to choose from when shooting EF - Schneider is even making Cine lenses for EF. IDK what you're getting at here.

And I'm definitely not an imbecile since I've been shooting for a decade on all kind of cameras - including DSLR - and quite simply a C100 MkII has way better image processing for video than DSLR video mode. Not to mention the simple tools like focus magnification (while rolling) and auto focusing. Oh and XLR audio. Internal recording at broadcast quality (C300). Don't talk to me about external HDMI recorders because HDMI cables will loose signal at some point in your production and screw up a take.

Finally Canon does produce the best skin tones and overall image quality in its market segment - has nothing to do with business - it has to do with sensors. Just ask anybody in the ASC and they're pretty high on C Series cameras for these very reasons; if not for their uniform look across all their products - making it easier to cut together footage from different Canon cameras. Professionals use the C series cameras because it makes the on camera talent look their best. Not too sharp, not too soft, not too cold. That's why.

"Imbecilic as well as childish." Ha ha. It's childish to suggest something's wrong with Canon when they don't deliver cheap 4k cameras to a small segment of fanatics who want 4k on the cheapest DSLR model they make. Nothing's wrong with Canon's business - they have a huge market of professionals using their slightly higher priced products.

I've shot on Reds (MX, Epic, Scarlet), Alexas, F65, F55, FS100/700, 1DC, 5DMkII, Ikonoskop, Bolex D16 - the best of them for video is Alexa of course. Why? Because of skin tones. Sharp but soft. Makes the actors look good. Canon has the same characteristics at a lower bit rate, and frankly a great price when you consider the other options.

I just had to register to make these comments because I see these articles and they're so ridiculous. Like Canon owes cheap prosumers 4k when they'll just bitch about the codecs anyway and go shoot on their micro 4/3 GH5's. Which is perfectly fine - very nice camera for the price esp. with a speed booster. But the dirty truth is your clients like to see a camera that looks professional.

But by all means, continue your internet trolling of numbers and charts, but the bottom line is this guy/ article is way off.

Let me see if I understand this.... you claim to be a professional who has worked with all these camera systems, and you don't understand what someone means when they say "Canon glass"? And what are "lenses for EF outside of Micro 4/3"?

When people say they have "lots of Canon glass" this does not literally mean "made by Canon" - it means "EF mount glass." Whether it is any of the manufacturers you named, if you have a large collection of EF lenses, you are "locked in" to the Canon system. Obviously, just in case this actually needs to be said, you are not literally "locked in" - you can sell and switch, but *generally* it costs money to switch systems. Generally.

Your emphasis on skin tones and how much value people place on them is so dramatically overstated it's hilarious. I actually agree with you, at least as far as Canon vs Nikon vs Sony, but no professional looks at the announcement of a new camera and says "wonder how the skin tones are" and no amateur walks into Best Buy and asks the camera salesperson which camera gives them the best OOC skin tones.

And no video professionals evaluate the slew of cameras you mentioned on skin tones. Sure, that's a factor, but lenses and post color-correction are arguably more important regarding that outcome than the camera itself (color-correction especially, which can make pretty much any camera's video look decent or like total shit). When I look at video cameras (as a professional), I evaluate them based on their DR, codecs, compression, in-camera and output options, bitrate, tonal rendering, highlight rolloff, native lens system, ergonomics, cost, and about 57 other things before I get to "skin tones."

I've heard countless professionals praise Alexas (rightfully). Never heard a single one mention skin tones.

Notice that I'm not pointing to any one brand as the "best" or "better" because that's stupid. I use numerous systems and have, at one point or another, owned camera(s) from every major manufacturer. I can't even tell you what is "best" for me because it all depends on what I'm doing; I certainly have no right to think I know what's best for someone else.

So, mainly I'm commenting because I don't think you know what you're talking about.