Friday, 18 October 2013

Magazine Bias to Canon and Adobe?

In successive weeks, Amateur Photographer has been accused of favouring Canon over Nikon and Adobe Photoshop (the full fat version) over other editing software. The former was stoutly denied by the editor but I am surprised to see the letter now. A couple of years ago there was a clear bias towards Canon, subtly and not so subtly, in AP – to the point at which several family, friends and former colleagues (all very satisfied Nikon owners) would e-mail 'did you see that in AP' stories to laugh about.

The writer of the letter stated quite rightly that Canon for a short time held the lead in DSLR technology in terms of the performance of the sensors fitted. A number of professionals swapped to Canon at that time. Canon marketing was also clever. The distinctive colour of their long lenses shows what sports photographers are using and the generally sheep-like amateur camera buyers did what sheep do – they followed. Two high-profile professional wildlife photographers I know are provided with top of the range telephotos on long-term loan. Their cameras and lenses are noticed and copied. The distinctive colour helps again of course. Since then, of course, Nikon have come back with a vengeance in the DSLR stakes.

The obvious bias towards Canon in UK photographic magazines shifted most noticeably after the Olympics. The photographs of Usain Bolt with that Nikon must have been worth a fortune in marketing terms. Interestingly, the photographers who infest Wimbledon were sporting a greater proportion of black-and-gold lenses last year (an interesting diversion from the tennis and on the same level as looking for the binocular brands on BBC's Springwatch).

Both Canon and Nikon obviously make (or assemble) excellent cameras and the competition between them has generated rapid progress over the past 10 years.

The writer on Photoshop made the point that there are other software suppliers while Mac Aperture users (the premium end of the computer market) do not even get considered. We all know that the professional graphics package is the full version of Photoshop but that it comes at a very high price with a new selling strategy that stinks. Software specific articles in magazines are a pain because non-users are paying for content that is often completely irrelevant. If I were the editor, I would advocate a problem-based approach and then deal in outline the steps that would be needed in a variety of software packages. Generic advice on such controls as levels, curves etc that are common to lots of packages would also be useful.

Even though some of the more obvious bias in AP has gone, I must support the two letter writers. Some of the recommendations and comments have been outrageous over the years, not just by AP but by many magazines. Even when pictorial and graphic evidence was presented to the contrary and there for all to see, one brand was favoured in comparison articles.