Canon UK Backs Out of Focus on Imaging 2011 at Last Minute

Canon at Focus on Imaging

Focus on Imaging is the largest annual trade show in Europe and is scheduled for March 6-9, 2011.  Focus on Imaging is a place where Canon has had a massive presence in past years.  This year, however, Canon won’t be there.  Moreover, Canon’s decision to not participate was only made public today.

While Canon USA did not attend PMA 2010, it made the announcement in September 2009 that it wouldn’t be attending – more than 5 months before the show.  As a result, Canon was never scheduled to appear at PMA 2010.  Canon had apparently planned to attend Focus on Imaging as recently as last week; however, a subsequent review of “marketing activities for the year” prompted Canon’s withdrawal from the show.

Focus on Imaging touts attendance numbers of over 37,000 last year; however, CES 2011, which Canon attended (with a large booth) saw 140,000+ visitors with over 30,000 of those coming from overseas.  The obvious difference is that Focus on Imaging has what would seem to be a more relevant audience, while CES brings in a more technologically diverse crowd.

Canon at CES

Who knows why Canon would go to CES and not attend a photographer’s show like Focus on Imaging or PMA?

One possible explanation may be market penetration.  That is, if you are a photographer, you know Canon.  You may not use a Canon camera, but if you own a DSLR, you are at least vaguely aware of Canon’s DSLR and lens line.

If you are a general tech consumer, you aren’t necessarily going to hear about Focus on Imaging or PMA; however, you probably saw something about CES on CNN or the like.  As such, the more general tech audience and press members are perhaps more likely to be lured in by Canon’s rather diverse offerings at CES (DSLRs, point and shoots, camcorders, printers, etc.).

I can attest to the fact that Canon’s booth was generally packed at CES 2011.  Additionally, Canon had guys like Shane Hurlbut and Alex Buono talking about their Navy Seals movies and SNL Digital Shorts, and how Canon DSLRs helped produce that media.  The audiences were huge at each of these sessions.  I would venture to say that the awareness of Canon’s HDSLR capabilities was increased much more at these sessions during CES than they would be at similar sessions at PMA or Focus on Imaging.

How well that awareness translates into converted sales….?  That’s for the marketing geniuses to figure out . . . and perhaps they already have.

As for PMA 2011 (now CliQ 2011), Canon USA reps on hand at CES 2011 told me that a decision had not been made yet with regard to Canon’s attendance of the September show in Las Vegas.  One would expect a product announcement or two around that time; however, that’s no guarantee in light of the recent T3i/600D announcement, which was sure to be featured at Focus on Imaging next week.

What are your thoughts on Canon’s presence (or lack thereof) at photography-specific trade shows?  Are there better ways Canon and other manufacturers can make their products and reps available to photographers?

Sound off in the comments below.

[via AP & BJP & Focus on Imaging]



  1. forkboy1965 says

    It is a bit of a mystery. I wonder if it’s simply a matter of the economy. Perhaps Canon feels there simply isn’t enough of a return on their investment to make these photography trade shows at this time.

    A reduced presence might be perceived as a weakness (and who at Canon would want that), but completely passing on them only leads to questions.

    But your story has a good point: maybe a larger audience, geared towards consumer electronics in general, is a reasonable move for a company already holding either the number one or two place in the minds of photographers worldwide.

  2. Alan says

    It’s a shame they’ve pulled out. Over the years I have attended the Focus show many times, and Canon’s stand has always seemed to give great emphasis to highlighting the more esoteric lenses, especially long white ones – i.e. ones that you never normally see at dealers. but this probably led to very few sales. However, the in depth view of a complete range can’t be seen elsewhere in the UK, so I’m sure it will lead to lost sales. I can remember from past years viewing the 28/1.8, 40D, 16-22, 24-105L and the 550D, and then purchasing them at dealers’ stands at the show. One advantage of the show is that it brings different brands together. For example you can compare Nikon + X,Y,Z with Canon + X,Y.Z, etc. Sony have always seemed to fare badly in these situations, so they, and of course Nikon, can only benefit from this decision to quit. But it is a loss to the consumer.

  3. Mike R. says

    Only 10% of the digital cameras sold in Canada last year were DSLRs. Logic would say that it’s difficult to get the point-and-shoot crowd, who have moved up to digital from film, to more up to the higher quality and diversity of DSLRs. Does that mean that Canon will have more luck at a photography show, or a consumer electronics show? I doubt that DSLRs and specialist lenses are going to have much impact on folks wandering through rows of camcorders, cell-phones, notebook PCs, and iPods.

    Not only is Canon’s withdrawal a slap in the face to those who are actually interested in attending a photography show, but it’s a slap in the face to the U.K.’s Canon-only PhotoPlus magazine which has been hyping the show and Canon’s participation. Picking the tyros over those who are dedicated to high quality shooting is a marketing mistake unless Canon is planning on withdrawing development from DSLRs and their lenses, in which place leaving the dedicated photog to play only with Nikons, Sonys, Pentaxes, etc. is acknowledging a lack of market share.

  4. Aussie Allan says

    What ever the reason, Canon will have to sleep with it !… But will it make any difference to Canon sales at focus 2011? All the lenses,bits and bobs will still be available at the plethora of stalls that are going to be there anyway.

    Being sheep that we all are really,… visiting the same watering holes without even conscientiously thinking about it,…who is going to be occupying Canon’s prime real-estate ??? Sony,Nikon…For every decision made there’s winners and loser’s, and this has been a serious opportunity missed for one but gold for others,…I can’t help but think after weighing everything up, that this is not a calculated marketing decision by Canon to further it’s market penetration,but an in-house monumental stuff-up!… If this is the case, heads will eventually roll
    Aussie Allan

  5. Rae says

    I wonder what connection, if any, these promotional decisions may have with the failure to deliver major products ie 400mm/2.8 et cetera.

  6. Kevin says

    I am not a Canon user, but for many Canon users it gave them the opportunity to see what Canon had on offer and get to speak with the sales staff to keep up to date. An own goal.

  7. Phil says

    I and many others will be disappointed with the news that Canon will not be present at Focus on Imaging. As an amateur I look forward to see all of the latest equipment and technological advances and be tempted to upgrade my equipment. I personally feel let down by Canon as this is not the first time they have not appeared at Focus and I agree with Aussie Allan that there will be winners and losers and Canon will be the latter for there decision.
    Last year I bought a rather expensive Canon purchase this was after a long and extensive review and hands on at Focus comparing it with Canons arch rival Nikon, on reflection given Canons apparent total disregard for it’s amateur followers maybe I made the wrong choice as I’m sure Nikon and other manufacturers can see the potential for showcasing there products at one of the largest shows of it type. Shame on you Canon!!!

  8. Bernard Roughton says

    They should at least have given much more notice, before people paid for tickets. This is a very unwise decision on their part & rather shows contempt for UK photographers. (And yes, I use Canons)

  9. says

    I agree with Alan, it really is a loss to the consumer. Lets face it, Europe’s biggest show, what a chance to showcase what is new to there customer base. Spending “facetime” with the people who have bought Canon equipment is priceless, the chance to talk with them and pickup from them what might be just around the corner and alternately provide feedback to Canon on what we like (or don’t) and what we would like to see in future updates. After spending upwards of £15k on Canon equipment I personally feel let down – especially at such short notice. It just does not settle right with me and I am not sure if I now have the confidence in Canon’s support to the European market that I once had. This is the 2nd time in recent years Canon has pulled from Focus and only the near future will dictate whether this was a good move by Canon or not. I was taking a few photographers specifically to pickup and hold the 550D & 60D with the intent on buying, myself for the 1DMkiv. That chance to physically get “your mitts” on the kit is very important indeed and I guess in the grand scheme of things they not be too bothered about the sales loss. However, I am pretty certain Nikon will be laughing all the way to the bank this year at NEC and good luck to them too. Hmmm wonder if I can get a good tradein for my Canon outfit ;-)

    Best wishes,


  10. mr D Sharp says

    I was going to Focus intending to purchase a Canon 1D Mk4 and 70 t0 200 IS Mk2 lens but this has made me change my mind. I shall now purchase a Nikon D3 and Nikon 70 to 200 VR lens. My existing Canon equipment I shall now sell.