It appears that the date for the third stage of the Canon EOS R6 roll out has been put back until later in the year.
Some camera companies, with Canon leading the charge, have come to realise that a camera launch no longer needs to be a mere one-day event. With much of the international photo media happy to publish anything with the words ‘Press Release’ in the heading, and any old piece of tat from a camera rumors site, the ‘launch’ of a camera can now be a veritable festival, staged over six months or even longer, with a resulting dramatic increase in below-the-line publicity. This sustained ‘free’ coverage also reduces the necessity to invest in advertising the new product. So as they say in the corner offices with a view, ‘Win-Win’.
The first hint we heard of the R6 was tacked on to an R5 rumour in January. We wrote: ‘But wait, there’s more! Canon Rumors has followed up the R5 rumour with an R6 rumour! How incredible. This is a camera which might be announced in May. It might also have a 20-meg full frame CMOS sensor and also include IBIS. Who knows if Camera Rumors is on the money or just talking through their Rs?’
In March the second, more substantial informal leak oozed out. We let that one go through to the keeper as there must have been something actually happening at the time. Oh yes – Coronavirus.
Here’s an (bull) artist’s impression of the full Canon EOS R6 launch festival timeline (‘according to multiple reliable sources close to Canon’):
– a preliminary series of three ‘informal leaks’, with the last one still to take place. This will include unofficial, convincingly grainy images designed to further fuel discussion on the camera’s specifications and features; there will be a rumoured announcement date followed by a fresh rumour that the rumoured announcement date has been put back;
– a formal announcement – the first official event in the launch schedule – confirming the development of the R6, and also confirming some – not all – of the details earlier revealed in the series of informal leaks;
– a follow-up announcement that the R6 is fast approaching completion of development, and that most specifications and other details will be made in an announcement at a confirmed date approximately a month into the future;
– a further announcement two weeks later that the camera’s announcement has been put back due to huge anticipated demand for the soon-to-be-released (release date and price to be confirmed) Canon R5 and the pressures that has placed on Canon’s manufacturing operations;
– the formal ‘reveal’: a ‘working (ahem) prototype’ of the camera will be shown to a select group of journalists via Zoom, but without a release date or price. It will be housed in a glass cabinet;
– Canon will shortly after issue a short, terse, announcement confirming claims – contained in Informal Leak#2 – that the camera’s eye detection function does indeed work on fish, crustaceans and insects as well as humans and other land-based animals and how very dare you think otherwise;
– The official launch – that is, actual availability in store – of the Canon R6, scheduled some time Q2, 2021.
‘There are a few downsides to this extenuated marcom approach’, conceded Rod McSteel, a Canon marketing executive who asked not to be identified. ‘People could mistake what we are doing for incompetence or arrogance, and its understood there’s a feeling in the photographic media that they are being gamed. People can be so cynical sometimes.
‘On the other hand, it’s worth literally millions in what used to be called “free publicity”.
‘We used to spend a lot of money supporting specialist magazines with advertising, supporting trade exhibitions and photo shows, generally behaving like a responsible market leader in the photographic community,’ he explained. ‘It took a few years until we realised a lot of that investment wasn’t necessary. I mean, why spend money “growing the market” when a chunk of that growth goes to your competitors! That’s just crazy. So we put an axe through our exhibitions and events budget, slashed our specialist ad budget and sank it all into social media and National Geographic documentaries in exotic locations.
‘And you no longer have to compete for editorial space – what used to be called “column inches” – because with online publications, it’s infinite. The big photo websites can’t be dicked sorting good stories from dull non-stories. And the business model these days is selling cameras, not quality content.
‘With ad revenue way down, they are all taking commissions from B&H and Adorama. DPReview is owned by Amazon, for Chissakes! They’ve become part of our sales force.
‘So they just run everything our PR consultancy sends them. You don’t even have to talk to ’em any more! As I said, it’s worth millions, and we don’t have to pay a cent if we don’t want to.
‘And mostly, we don’t want to. Cheers!’
(NOTE: Due to Coronavirus, we missed April 1 this year!)