I’m not a fan of Canon’s recent decision to ban some third-party manufacturers from selling RF mount lenses. This is a smart short-term financial decision, but the long-term is another story.
Because of this decision, I invested in a Sigma lens (24-70mm and adapter), and while the adapter is one more piece of gear to lug around, I’d rather vote for my dollar. I don’t support Canon’s decision. Then, this week, I bought another Sigma lens (35mm prime) to replace the Canon lens.
Maybe not a dent in Canon’s bank account, but that’s two lenses sold that should have gone to Canon. I did it because I remembered what the younger Walid wanted. Buying native lenses was out of my budget so I relied on third party lenses, but I still had to get the job done. After being able to buy a lot, I bought a small handful of lenses from Canon.
I was a loyal Canon user. After the purchase of the 5D Mark II, I almost stopped buying another camera. I ran that camera into the ground with several repairs because I didn’t want to jump around like other brands! For many years, I didn’t feel that anything sold by Canon was worth the purchase, but I still stayed with the brand, hoping to bypass camera repairs.
Then, they released the R6 and to my surprise, I felt it was worth making the purchase. My R6 needed lenses and my only option was the expensive choices from Canon because other brands wouldn’t let them make RF mount lenses.
They make money, but in the long run, they lose a lot of brand loyalty. That’s the biggest price tag. Here’s how we can learn from Canon as a small business decision maker.
Here’s how Canon can help you make better decisions
- Canon customers have some options. Our customers have so many options, and like Canon’s behavior, they won’t win over new customers. It’s always important to remind yourself that customers have other options. They go with businesses that make them feel valued. Do you help your customers feel valued and appreciated?
- The market will make or break your business! If you treat your customers as worthless, the market will find another king (or queen) of the mountain! As photographers, it’s important to remind ourselves that ultimately the market will decide who wins. Canon’s move is good in the short term, but in the long run it will drive new photographers to other competing brands. You and I may not have the luxury of waiting that long. Never feel that you are not entitled to anyone’s business. We must be grateful and practice gratitude in our daily dealings.
- Canon’s move is pretty much “buy our lenses, and that’s your only option.” That’s not good for me. 3rd party lenses helped me when I started photography! And when I could buy local Canon lenses, I did and Canon benefited from that. When you give your customers the “this way or the highway” treatment, they take the high road almost every time. Always give your customers multiple options, never overwhelm them.
- The younger me needed third party lenses to learn and develop my photography business. Today’s new photographer may not be able to jump on Canon gear because of this limitation. They start with Sony or someone else and build brand loyalty there. Lesson for photographers: Don’t overlook people who are new to the market but have a small budget. Treat them well, give them options and let them have a small sample of your work! If you treat them well, they will build with you.
- Yes, Canon is making more money by forcing lens sales, but it leaves a bad taste with most of the community. I doubt I’m the only crazy person who bought Sigma lenses. Now, we’ve read countless articles about canonical decision making. It clearly hit a nerve with the photography community! Here’s a lesson: bad news travels fast, far and wide. Treat your customers like gold. They could have gone elsewhere, but they chose to support you. Canon seems to have forgotten that, but it might serve as a lesson to you and me.