Joey Lawrence on the problems when a Canon boy falls for a Nikon girl.
Joey Lawrence on the problems when a Canon boy falls for a Nikon girl.
I had a few questions regarding why I mark off the Canon logos on my camera gear based on the video I posted earlier today with Marc Silber. I thought I’d explain that here in a new post.
In 2007 I had the tremendous honor of having my portrait taken by photographer Bill Wadman as part of his 365 Portraits series. Bill’s project involved shooting and posting in the same day a different portrait every day for an entire year. Bill is one of the best portrait photographers working in the business today, and in addition to my shot (which is probably my most favorite shot anyone’s ever taken of me) Bill shot a number of amazing people, including folks like astronaut Buzz Aldrin and CNN commentator Tucker Carlson. If you missed this series back in 2007 you should definitely check it out for some truly inspirational portrait work.
Anyways, when I met Bill I noticed that he had all the Canon logos on his gear taped off with black tape. I asked Bill why he did that and he said for two reasons, 1. Because he wanted to make his camera gear look less expensive (and hopefully less interesting to steal) and 2. Because, what had Canon ever done for him and why should he give them free advertising.
And so those are probably the exact same reasons why I do that now myself. I’ve had two Canon cameras stolen now — A 5D and a 10D. I know that some people will steal anything, but I think a big Canon or Nikon logo on your gear only makes it that much more of a target. By changing my Canon strap for a plain black one and taping off (with black electrical tape) all of the logos, hopefully this makes me and my camera less of a target. I taped off the red rings on my L series lenses where I could as well. I’d rather be incognito than look like the hot shot photographer.
Secondly I got kind of pissed at Canon over the whole release of the Canon 5D Mark 2 and especially felt after that why should I walk around every day advertising their product on my body. I shoot all the time and so that’s a lot of free advertising for them. I was pissed because I had such a hard time getting a hold of a 5D M2.
Originally I talked to Canon back in July of 2008 at the Microsoft Pro Photography Summit and asked if there was any way that I could get a review copy ahead of the release so that I could write a review on it. Not a free one mind you, just a loaner, like any other member of the press, that I could use to write a review in the same way that newspapers, magazines, and everyone else does. Canon told me that they didn’t do that sort of thing which was fine I guess. Although I’m pretty sure that some people got them based on the early reviews and press on the product.
So I did the next best thing and I got on a preorder list ahead of the release (which was slated for the end of November 2008) — but come early December I still hadn’t gotten mine. I was pissed because I saw all of these other reviews being published and I wanted to publish one myself and couldn’t get my hands on one to review. So I contacted Canon and basically said look I want to write a review. Is there any way I can get a review copy or can you at least help me out and point me where I can get one of these? I felt I’d done everything right by preordering and yet still was not getting the camera to review.
Canon responded saying that I should probably expect my preorder from Wolf soon because a new shipment had just been sent to them. So I didn’t get my 5D Mark 2 in the next week. In fact I didn’t get it until over a month later from an entirely different vendor in January. What was worse though is that Canon just blew me off. After I sent them multiple emails they simply never responded to repeated additional emails on the situation.
I want to be clear I didn’t want special treatment here. I felt that as a blogger with a prominent photography blog that I should be treated like any other member of the press. But if they couldn’t provide me a review copy then I’d hoped that they could at least point me in the right direction where I could buy one so that I could review it. You’d think publicity would be good.
The fact of the matter is Canon doesn’t give a rats ass about social media or bloggers. Their PR and marketing team are happy to treat the mainstream press well but view the sort of stuff we are doing as insignificant. So that made me mad too and probably contributed all the more to my not wanting to advertise their product.
Even though I use my Canon 5D Mark 2 every single day and love it, I have no interest in promoting their products. I never did write my review on their new camera, because what’s the point in writing a review in January on a camera that came out last November?
So those are the reasons why I black off the Canon logos on my gear and they are the same reasons that I tell to everyone who asks me (and I get people asking me about it every single week). Hopefully someday Canon decides that our opinion on their products matter.
Black Star Rising did an email interview over the weekend with the Fake Chuck Westfall, an anonymous blogger based on Canon’s real Technical Information Advisor Chuck Westfall (pictured left), that Canon Inc. tried to shut down last week. I’d previously blogged about Canon’s take down request that they’d sent to WordPress (who hosts Fake Chuck’s blog) here. The whole incident seemed to do little more than provide a tremendous amount of free publicity to Fake Chuck as a result of Canon’s efforts to squash what is clearly a parody blog.
Kudos to WordPress for standing up for one of their users.
From Black Star Rising:
A: It’s a bit early to say because traffic hasn’t yet stabilized to a new average per day. It went as high as 26,000 visits a day, and was above 15,000 for 3 days. It’s now down to 2,000 visits per day. The average visits per day were around 350 when I don’t update for a long time, and around 700 when I made updates.
I usually update the site once a week so I don’t expect a lot of traffic per day. This is not the first time I got this much traffic on the blog by the way, a while ago my post about the 5D Mark II got me almost 29,000 visits in a single day.
The controversy did give the blog a lot more exposure, it got mentioned on many of the popular technology news Web sites around the world and a lot more people know about it now. I’m expecting more interview requests in the future, perhaps a few book deals, magazine articles, maybe a motion picture. Who knows?
Holy parody Batman! I just saw over at the Fake Chuck Westfall blog (read *fake* Chuck Westfall blog folks, sorta like that *fake* Steve Jobs blog from a while back) that Canon Inc. and some lawyerish type named Douglas E. Mirell from Loeb & Loeb are trying to shut poor fake Chuck down.
Apparently Canon and/or the real Chuck (pictured to the left) are a wee bit pissed off at fake Chuck for running around poking fun at their expense and sent our good man Matt Mullenweg over at Automattic a take down request.
From the lawyer’s letter:
“Canon U.S.A., Inc. currently employs Mr. Chuck Westfall as the Technical Information Advisor for its Camera Marketing Group. Mr. Westfall’s job responsibilities at Canon include providing market feedback to Canon in terms of constructive comments on current equipment and software, as well as feature suggestions for future products. Accordingly, Mr. Westfall is a well-known figure in the photography community; he is frequently interviewed in many prominent publications concerning photography and photographic equipment, including magazines, online publications, special interest forums and blogs.
It has come to our clients’ attention that one of the blogs hosted on the wordpress.com site — http://fakechuckwestfall.wordpress.com (the “Blog”) — is using our client’s trademark and Mr. Westfall’s name and likeness without authorization, and is violating several covenants contained in your own Terms Of Service, as well as many federal and state laws including the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.. 1125.”
blah, blah, blah, etc.
The main objections that Canon seems to have as cited in their takedown notice are.
1. The fact that Fake Chuck is using “the Canon stylized” logo.
2. Threats of physical violence against their client and employees.
3. An invasion of privacy.
4. That the “overall look, feel and tone of the Blog” is calculated to mislead recipients.
For Pete’s sake! It’s the *fake* Chuck Westfall Blog Canon! Fake, in the title, Fake in the url. And the whole thing is written in such an absurd over the top manner that there is no way anyone would believe that it were a real Canon blog from the real Chuck Westfall.
Interestingly, Canon’s agents of censorship over at Loeb and Loeb, cite a comment in the post “Thank you Maeda,” (check out the dude’s hair) as the threat of physical violence:
“Micahel, you don’t give me a lot of hope with your comment, but I’m sure you know that. Do you think they’ll listen to me if I come in one day at the office and start bashing their heads with a two by four? Or perhaps I could also come in with a shotgun and lots of ammo and start shooting in the wild. I’m not going to kill anyone, just scare the ever loving crap out of them and show them I mean business now. Do you think that would make a difference?
But your comment about Nikon making tools for photographers is right on, even though, I must admit, I hate to admit that. I guess I’m a bit jealous, but I really hoped we could have gone more in that direction with our latest products. I guess it’ll have to wait for a while.”
I’m sorry, but the whole “look, tone and feel” to use Loeb & Loeb’s words, of the Fake Chuck Westfall blog are anything *but* designed to mislead people. While the blog takes some serious jabs at Canon and mocks both Canon and the real Chuck to no end, it ought not confuse anyone any more than someone might misconstrue Weird Al Yankovich’s “Eat it,” as Michael Jackson’s similarly sounding tune, “Beat It.”
This takedown notice is simply an attempt by Canon, Chuck Westfall and their lawyers to silence a blogger and silence a critic. I hope someone from the EFF or some other type can step up here and help the good Fake Chuck Westfall out. With blog titles like “5D Mark II Fix Coming, 50D is Fucked” and “5D Mark II Banding Problem – Why has the lord forsaken us?, Fake Chuck has provided a humorous look at the fake inside working of the fake Canon.
Maybe Canon should spend a little less time harassing bloggers and a little more time working on getting their new cameras out on time.
If you want to read the take down request yourself you can do so here.
Update: Automattic CEO Toni Schneider has responded to Canon over this take down request and it’s good to see that he and Automattic are standing by Fake Chuck on this one. The Fake Chuck Westfall has removed the Canon logo from his blog and below is Toni’s email (reprinted with permission) back to Canon’s lawyers:
We have received your complaint about fakechuckwestfall.wordpress.com.
The owner of the blog has removed the Canon logo.
We consider the privacy complaint about the names of Chuck Westfall’s wife and child void since Mr. Westfall mentions them in his own bio at http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0604/westfall.html.
We also reject your other complaints regarding the blog being confused with an official Canon site given that the blog name and URL contain “Fake”, the about page starts with “Hi, I’m not actually Chuck Westfall.”, and the tone and content of the whole blog are clearly satirical.
Update #2, More comments from our good friends over at Slashdot. Seems like by trying to shut Fake Chuck down, Canon might have only just, well, drawn more attention to his blog than he was getting in the first place.
I just spent a few minutes unboxing my new Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR that I bought from the good folks at Adorama.
I’m charging the battery on the puppy and will take it out this afternoon to play with it a bit.
I had a heck of a time getting my hands on one of these hot new cameras and while it’s probably too late for any serious review, I’m sure I’ll be posting my thoughts and reflections on the camera over the next few months here and various other places.
I wanted to especially say thanks to Adorama who was finally able to get me a camera after Wolf Camera pretty seriously botched my pre-order in my opinion. I initially wrote sort of a mean post about Adorama when I thought my camera wasn’t going to come through, but they really stepped up and got the camera for me as advertised. Wolf not only didn’t handle my pre-order well in my opinion, but they also botched up other pre-orders pretty badly as well. I’m not going to get into the details here yet, but I’ve heard from other people that their experience in getting Mark II’s from Wolf were problematic as well.
More than just getting the camera for me though, once Adorama was aware that I thought I had a problem with my order, within hours they contacted me and gave it immediate attention. This sort of customer support is refreshing and shows that Adorama takes social media and their brand very seriously. Specifically, Helen Oster does a great job for Adorama in monitoring their brand reputation on the internet. Helen contacted me personally on my order both by phone and email. Helen also has a good reputation of focusing on various online forums and other places online looking for ways to offer customer service for Adorama. Other companies would do well to have a Helen Oster on their staff who so carefully looks after Adorama’s reputation.
I’m excited to finally have the Canon 5D Mark II in my hands and am looking forward to what it can do — especially given that my old 5D is completely dead at this point. I’m going to be sending my old 5D into Mackcam.com who I bought a 3-year warranty from on the camera in the next few days and then once it is repaired I’m planning on using it as a back up camera for my new 5D Mark II.