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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old November 15th, 2009, 11:41 PM   #1
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Canon's new slogan

Sooo. Just wanted to get the opinion of fellow DVinfo members. Canon's new slogan is "The only thing that gets blurry is the line between amateur and professional." This is used for their VIXIA line.

Sounds subliminal to me.

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Old November 16th, 2009, 09:27 AM   #2
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well I guess it's just me? Or maybe it's too early (I don't sleep much)? Anyhow, I'll just say what I think about it...

Right now we are in the days where the digital age has taken over many venues that would normally be approached through analog mediums. This means two things:

1) It will continue to cost less and less to get a job done (by this I mean the tools used, of course the operator is still what's most important)

2) More and more people will say "I don't need to pay that much to do this, Bill just got one of those HD cameras and he said we could use it"

Of course this is just a small piece to the puzzle, some may even view it as insignificant. Here is the reason I don't take it lightly:

For one, I am a new Photographer, in a professional sense, as of 2009. I got into the industry during one of the nations worst ecinomical times (which doesn't bother me one bit, IMO those that are great at what they do will still be doing just fine financially). I was at Walmart a couple weeks ago and I walked by their Photo Studio and guess what I see...brochures advertising Wedding Packages for $500 bucks! We are talking about the worlds largest retail chain offering wedding packages. We all know that artistic professions thrive off proper exposure, who has more exposure than Walmart? I'm suprised they don't hang billboards in that place. Another thing is ignorance. Most brides will not think to look for other Photoraphers once they find out that Walmart can take their photos (just my opinion, not based on any research). But really, if a bride sees Walmart with a $500 package, and a local Photographer with a $3500 package, how easy will it be for her to realize that the latter may be the better deal?

Some may think I'm taking this to heart, well I am and I think any professional should. Consider this. Years ago there was a Photographer that shot an AD for Coca-Cola. It WAS used, I'm not sure if it was on a National level, but if it's Coca-Cola why wouldn't it be? So sure they flew him out, paid for his boarding and dining etc...but how much do you think the soft-drink giant paid this Photographer for his services? ZILCH! He got a fancy name to add the the resume, which is a big deal, but how can he feed his family with that? I'm not going to lie, if I got the same offer, hey I'd take it. Then again I am far from experienced. This is simply a chain reaction from events, such as Canon saying "The only thing that gets blurry is the line between amateur and professional." Each of these events further saturates the industry.

Ugh, and I'm not even going to touch on the subject of how many ads I've seen with people looking for "Student Photographers that need to build a great portfolio with a "successful [un-named] company"."

I don't want to sound like a hippocrite, I am still a Canon user, and will be as long as I feel they are providing me with the best tools for my profession. But I really hope that others don't take things like this lightly as I once did.

/end rant

JS
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Old November 16th, 2009, 12:28 PM   #3
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Where are you seeing this, John? On the Canon USA web site it's "Shoot. Capture. See. Be HD."
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Old November 16th, 2009, 01:51 PM   #4
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That looks like something in the promotional material for the EOS-50D.
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Old November 16th, 2009, 03:01 PM   #5
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Well I was shopping for a new flash unit. I don't recall what site I saw it on. I was browsing several including Amazon and Canon USA, and it was on one of their animated ads. Perhaps "slogan" isn't the best word, as I'm sure [I hope] this was a "one time run" type of thing. I was just a little dissapointed. If I see it again all grab a screenshot.

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Old November 16th, 2009, 03:02 PM   #6
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Ya get what ya pay for - if Walmart is coming out and shooting the wedding day for $500, I'd be surprised... taking a picture of the B&G onsite, MAYBE, but not true "wedding photography", by a long shot. Probably about as much "feeling" as a super size pack of chips... from aisle 11... might be fine if someone wants a generic "wedding portrait".


As for the tech...
We've discussed at lengths what one can do with virtually ANY camera nowadays, and how much better the output can be from a $1K handycam (image quality wise), than a much more expensive camera from just a few years ago.

IIRC they say your average desktop computer has 100-1000x the computing capability of the early Space Shuttle systems, at significantly less cost...

This is the DIGITAL revolution, whereby things that once cost thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars (or your favorite monetary unit), now are churned out by Chinese factories for pennies... technological innovation generally gets faster and cheaper and better, and on a scale similar to Moore's law.

It does still come down to the operator to SOME degree, but we had some discussions elsewhere on this site about how some of the new Sony handycams can actually adjust/adapt and correct the settings (and decide when to take the shots) faster than a human operator could hope to.

It's entirely possible with proper programming that the "machine" can exceed the operator capabilities in some if not all circumstances - it's a simple question of operations per second, and frankly, the flesh and blood operator, no matter HOW skilled and learned, is in a losing race! That doesn't mean the programming is always "right", but that can be refined, and when you throw more computing horsepower at it, you can improve most systems requiring analytical mathematics.

There's only ONE thing the machines don't have, and I don't know that they can EVER have it... creativity (that and "consciousness", probably related IMO, but that's for the philosophy forum!).
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Old November 17th, 2009, 01:04 AM   #7
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I suppose you get your Walmart wedding prints within the hour?

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Old November 19th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Ya get what ya pay for - if Walmart is coming out and shooting the wedding day for $500, I'd be surprised...
Exactly! The only problem is some brides won't take the time to research the differences between a Walmart job and a Photography professional, and really they shouldn't have too. But yes, they do come out on site, for 2 hours if I recall. I grabbed one of their cheap brochures but didn't bother looking at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
It's entirely possible with proper programming that the "machine" can exceed the operator capabilities in some if not all circumstances - it's a simple question of operations per second, and frankly, the flesh and blood operator, no matter HOW skilled and learned, is in a losing race! That doesn't mean the programming is always "right", but that can be refined, and when you throw more computing horsepower at it, you can improve most systems requiring analytical mathematics.

There's only ONE thing the machines don't have, and I don't know that they can EVER have it... creativity (that and "consciousness", probably related IMO, but that's for the philosophy forum!).
As far as operations, I could see how this would be possible. But when it comes to movement, knowing when/where you WANT to over-expose, etc...that's where the creativity and human-intervention comes in. I mean, it's incredible to even have this discussion. But I agree...the future is scary! I read somewhere that within the next decade, there will be a computer that is "smarter" than the human brain. The beauty of it is the computer is limited to its' hardware, and the human will always evolve!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
I suppose you get your Walmart wedding prints within the hour?
Andrew
I'm sure prints are available the same day...kind of funny actually.


To get back on topic, I haven't seen the little VIXIA ad since I made the post. I actually decided to go to the local dealer to pick up my 580EXII so haven't been doing as much web surfing. Anyway I guess I can't blame Canon for the "Digital Revolution." It is what it is. In the end it just forces us to take our profession to new heights! But CANON, please change your slogan : ).

JS
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Old November 24th, 2009, 08:50 AM   #9
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sidebar update...

This wasn't the main topic, but I did mention it in an above post. Just an update on Walmart's fabulous portrait packages. Their new brochures now read "Save hundreds - even thousands - when compared to independant photographers." Seems they are targeting us explicitly now rather than indirectly. They have changed their price to "starting at 149.99 an hour." They actually linked up with a Photography Corporation that supposidly has 3000 studios in operation. No opinion on this, just a thought. Reason for me to shop at Target.

JS
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Old November 24th, 2009, 12:38 PM   #10
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economic realities

From a very practical standpoint, the democratization/commoditization of the equipment is directly related to Wally-Mart being able to dive in and become a competitor...

if there's a profit being made, particularly one that appears to be "high margin", you can bet there will be competition, sooner or later.

The equipment can be cheap to buy, the "tools" may be easy to use and inexpensive, and the needed "education" on how to use the equipment may be easy to find/cheap/free online...

BUT, no matter how good and easy to use the tech may be, give a camera to a thousand monkeys, you won't get an end product with mass market appeal...

From a very practical view, you have to remember that 95%+ of the "consumin' public" isn't that picky, and are also pretty cheap (myself included on SOME things!). So when they wander past the greeter and see a sign saying "cheap"... impulse kicks in if it's something they "need" right then. To them it's not a lot different from that ginormus bag of cheezey blobs...

It's one more reason that it's not the equipment that makes the user, it's the user that makes the equipment... wield your tools well, and remember to focus on the 5% that will actually appreciate quality, and are willing to pay for it. Generally speaking competing with the ghost of Sam W will get you a greetin' job in the long run!
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Old February 12th, 2010, 10:45 PM   #11
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All the Moore reason to position yourself at the high end of the market...higher margins, more discerning clients, fully funded projects.

Consider raising your rates 10% annually and painstakingly, incrementally, improving your excellence [to far exceed your competition] by working on multiple small projects that push your limits.

The exciting thing is this can be done with lower and lower investment in gear. Skill and technique will not likely be found at Wal-Mart.

One difference between amateur and professional is the courage to ask for what they're worth.
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