Canon Exec Says ‘We Don’t Cripple Our Cameras’

Canon Exec Says ‘We Don’t Cripple Our Cameras’

In a recent interview, one of Canon’s directors has said that the suggestion that Canon cripples its cameras in order to protect other product lines is a conspiracy theory and that doing so would make no commercial sense.

Speaking to CineD, Katsuyuki Nagai, Product Management Director of Image Communication Business at Canon Europe, answered questions about Canon’s recent releases, the EOS R5 and R6, and made it clear that theories that Canon deliberately limits features on its DSLR and MILC cameras in order to protect its cinema cameras have no foundation.

CineD was bold in its questioning, mentioning that Canon has been accused of undermining the trust of its customers as a result of limiting specific features. Nagai was unequivocal: 

This is an accusation we’ve seen before which belongs on the conspiracy theory pile. It is simply not a sensible business idea as users are more likely to switch to competitor systems than buy a much more expensive camera to get a certain feature.

The interview comes just after LensRentals published the results of its teardown of the R5 which concluded that the R5 does not dissipate heat very effectively, probably in part thanks to the level of weather sealing. This ties in with Nagai’s comments that the design of the R5 and R6 is careful to avoid risking “low temperature burns” to users as a result of holding the cameras for extended periods of time.

Are we any closer to knowing what’s happening with heat levels in the R5? Would Canon deliberately crippling its cameras make no commercial sense? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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41 Comments

Robert Nurse's picture

I'm sorry, but crippling makes perfect business sense. You can't give a $3900 camera equal or superior functionality to your $6000 line and think that those sales won't be affected. From what I've been seeing, that heat timer on the R5 is bogus as temperatures don't seem to be rising. You just can't have 8k video on a camera at that price point outperforming your higher end lines.

Timothy Linn's picture

You're not wrong and yet I would argue that what sets Canon apart is that it is willing to cripple its products in a way that competing companies don't. It's as if Canon thinks it is dominant enough that it doesn't need to compete with all the other also-rans holding half of its market share. Maybe they're right but it is an obnoxious practice. I'm not a fan of Sony Electronics but I respect the fact that when they release new products, customers are almost always getting more than they expected, not less. As good as the R5 is, it is less than what it could be.

Robert Nurse's picture

I'm a software developer by profession and I've learned that if you don't want your customers to see or touch features, don't put them in there because someone, with enough time and curiosity, will find them. Canon should have just left 8K out and bolstered the other video capabilities or given customers full uncrippled 8K access. The guys and gals in marketing screwed this up. That said, mine is on order solely for the still photography aspects.

Felix C's picture

I am sorry, but you are a software developer and not a hardware engineer. The way Canon implemented the overheating software sounds like it was an issue that developed late in the stage and the firmware group had little time to develop something before the project was frozen and sent off to manufacturing and QA. 8K develops a tremendous amount of heat compared to 4K, 4 times as much. If you exceed the maximum design temperature of components, you will reduce the life of the product. There are standard MTBF calculations that are done. You definitely do not want a Leica M9 issue where all the cameras will fail eventually.

Adriano Brigante's picture

It reminds me of the Asahi Pentax S1a vs. the Asahi Pentax SV, both made in 1962. The S1a was a cheaper version of the SV. The SV had a 1/1000 top speed and the S1a had a 1/500 top speed. But because it would have cost money to produce two different shutters, they just put a different shutter speed dial that goes to 1/500 on the S1a. So if you set it to the next unmarked click-stop beyond 1/500, it would actually fire at 1/1000 like the SV... :)
So I guess it can make sense to artificially cripple a camera to "protect" your higher end models. And it's even easier to do now with all the embedded software.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I really don't care if they do or not. Yes I may suspect it, but what I am interested in is if the model works for me or not. R5, definitely not. No one needs to spend his or her life trying to figure it out, that's not going to change the camera.

Just me's picture

Well,
One month of internet bashing forced Canon to released a first Firmware update to extend these time. It's almost a fist for a Camera maker to release such so quickly after release.
.
People are not that stupid and can see that using an external recorder is without any time limit and Canon accept the camera body to be super hot.
But taking picture in freezing temperature block the video mode.
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Pushing the date reset this timer.
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So people have to think something can be done to give a decent recording time, between the unlimited with recorder and zero minute inside a fridge.
It have to be something possible in between.

Felix C's picture

Honestly, do you not realize the difference between recording internally and externally and the difference in heat each one generates? Go look at an Atomos Shogun and tell me what you see. You will see more heatsinks than electronics.

In one situation, the camera is doing all the heavy work, in the other the external recorder is doing all the heavy work.

Paul 2's picture

Lets hope there will be more firmware fixes in the near future ans they listen to the consumers!

Timothy Linn's picture

Two thoughts: First, why does Canon need a timer if they’re using three temperature sensors? If the temp sensors tell the camera to shut down, okay. But if the temp sensors aren’t saying shut down and the timer shuts the camera down anyway, how is that not a cripple? Maybe Canon has a good reason for this but it’s not obvious.

Second, the existence of the cripple hammer is fully documented. To pass it off as a conspiracy theory is an insult to Canon’s customers. I’ll bet I’m not the only one who remembers Canon arbitrarily removing 24p from camera bodies only to add it back in with a firmware update after customer outcry. That is the perfect example of a needless cripple.

Robert Nurse's picture

LOL, yeah, that "conspiracy" line was priceless.

Felix C's picture

You have idiots like Tony Northrup, Matt Granger, and Andrew Reid of EOSHD all saying that Canon purposely limited the camera and have these wonder workarounds to defeat the timer. Exceeding the maximum temperature of a component will cause the camera to fail prematurely. That is a fact. Plus, you run the risk of the camera going into thermal runaway. As things heat up, efficiency decreases and generate more heat. Andrew Reid believes it is a conspiracy, so using that word is not priceless but spot on. Stop trying to be a wannabe hardware engineer. The timer is just a poor implementation on Canon part to make sure the camera does not overheat, nothing more, nothing less.

Just me's picture

The hack do not remove the heat sensor.
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The camera actually shows another icon when it overheat and this happen in picture mode at all.
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The hack only reset the infamous cripple timer.
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If you can point me another device that have heat management based on usage time; I would love to hear from you.
Can you?
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canon5d squared's picture

Canon in 2012- 1D C is $15,000 for internal 4K recording

Camera users- That's too expensive!

Canon in 2020- R5 is $3,899 for internal 8K recording as well as better 4K modes than the 1D C

Camera users- Still found a way to complain about it.

Just me's picture

Good luck to shoot as advertised.
Even playing with Wifi menu or only taking picture in a fridge gives you zero minute of 8K or 4K HQ. ZERO. You can't even go to the menu, the camera shut itself off!
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Did you even tried?
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So, no, they did not provide a 8K capable camera.

canon5d squared's picture

Advertised? Do you mean this?

https://www.dpreview.com/files/p/articles/0965339225/Canon_EOS_R5_Overhe...

They were fully transparent so I don't know who is paying you to slander but they should stop.

Just me's picture

Your recording time chart is the maximum possible duration.
If you takes one picture in a fridge every minute during an hour;
Your recording time is zero in 8K and the camera shut down.
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ZERO MINUTE OF VIDEO.
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Nobody needs to pay me or anything.
This is not what this chart explain.
0 minute of recording video HQ mode after 60 pictures inside a fridge, sorry, I'm not impressed.
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canon5d squared's picture

You're all about this fridge thing today, even on the other forums you're talking about it through fake accounts that were just made today. It's okay EOSHD, we know you stuck it in a fridge and it overheated, did you also know that a fire will still burn even when its fridge temps outside? That's how physics works.

If you stick a Sony in the sun it corrupts the file you're shooting and turns the camera into a brick but if its the R5 it simply overheats and shuts down, so why aren't you all over the Sony articles and forums about this issue?

Because you're being paid to slander Canon. So please, stop.

Just me's picture

Sony do not block your camera for recording video an entire hour after reaching 0 minute of recording just because you were playing with the Wi-Fi menu.
EOSHD have discovered nothing special, just gathering real user test compare to paid bloggers as you.
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This article is about CANON. Not Sony,
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So please, stop, and go get your money for Canon.

canon5d squared's picture

This article is about camera crippling and I think the a7sIII is pretty crippled if the R5, with it's "overheating issues", can outperform it in direct sunlight.

And, I guess you didn't read from the clickbait you've seen when the camera is in 8K, it's in 8K no matter what you're doing with it. If users had the camera in HD mode while in the menus or shooting photos then it wouldn't cause any issues. I am not saying that is okay, Canon needs to fix that, but it explains how the clickbait "put the camera in the freezer article" still caused the camera to overheat.

Because these users don't know how to use the camera.

Tom Reichner's picture

Why are you taking photos in a refrigerator? That is not an actual, real life usage at all.

Just me's picture

HaHa,
Global warning is everywhere, but you still have area where temperature are close to 0 outdoor.

It's a proof of concept to show how fake these "over heat" blockage are.
This is simply timers to limit user for using the camera without link with actual temperatures. (At least on the cold side)
It also debunks Canon claim that a fan will help you reducing wait time.

Just me's picture

Their definition of "hybrid" is very funny.
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It should be understood like half video / half picture or even better, a 100% video +100% picture
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But this a 200% picture with 10% video.
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Hybrid?

Just me's picture

We don't cripple our camera?
Really? So why a new firmware 1 month after release that suddenly let people record 50% more?
Why pushing the date with the visionrouge net method is reducing internal temperature to let you shoot forever?
Why the camera overheat in a fridge but let you record forever with external recorder (And the body is so hot that you can't touch it?

Felix C's picture

You would expect that the firmware would be optimized after some time. If the firmware group got the task to implement a lock with little time, then yes, I would expect the times to be better and some of the hacks eliminated.

Tammie Lam's picture

2016: QAnon and #pizzagate
2020: CAnon and #hammergate

Malcolm Wright's picture

There's a lot of comment about the Canon R5 as though this is the first of their products that is suspected of being deliberately crippled. It isn't the first and a Director categorically denies the practice of crippling their products so they don't compete with their more expensive offerings.
So this leaves us with one other satisfactory conclusion.
Since Canon reached market dominance they're happy to deliver flawed products for top $ otherwise they wouldn't do it.
In this case it doesn't just look like the cost of brand loyalty is measured by the price of the product, but also by the flaws in the product.

Ben Coyte's picture

I once bought an all singing/dancing CD player from Sony. Dozens of ways to play a CD. Well it died one day and I went and got a basic one that just played a CD from beginning to end. The funny thing is that when I used the old players remote on the basic model, it did almost everything the fancy player did. In this case I believe all the fuzzy logic which probably resides on a single chip, is in every player, but the front panel buttons and remote are the limiting factor. The manufacture saves costs by having as much of the internals generic to all models. Why tool up different manufacturing for each variation of what is essentially the same product. It could be the same with cameras where the logic and processing are in every camera, you just don't have a button or menu to reach them.

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