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Author Topic: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?  (Read 4576 times)

dilbert

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Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« on: December 18, 2011, 06:46:18 PM »
Michael Reichman on Canon, CSCs (Compact System Cameras) and the evolving camera marketplace...

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/sony_nex_7_rolling_review.shtml#closing


Canon has apparently not yet received the memo. Or, if they have, they have chosen thus far to ignore it. As a market leader in DSLRs they clearly have turf to protect. Those cameras and lenses carry higher margins than CSCs, though top of the line CSCs, like the NEX-7, clearly can be quite profitable if they become successes. The lesson that if someone is going to eat your lunch it may as well be you, seems not to resonate with Canon. But as all of the other companies scramble for position in the new CSC marketplace it is highly unlikely that can will sit on their hands for too much longer. The real question will be whether Canon decides to play it safe and follow Nikon with a very small sensor, or attack Sony, potentially Fujifilm, and to a lesser extent Panasonic and Olympus with a 2X or larger sensor.

But there is no question that the traditional DSLRs segment has lots of life left in it. It's a big "but" though, and its my belief that while pros and advanced amateurs in various fields (fashion, advertising, sports, wildlife, landscape) will continue to appreciate and demand the advantages that DSLRs have to offer, consumers and prosumers looking for versatility and image quality will increasingly be turning to CSCs. Smaller size, lighter weight and lower cost are the ingredients that appeal. And if a camera can also offer a large sensor (APS-C or MFT) than there is no serious compromise in image quality or availability of shallow DOF.

I'll close this out with a personal anecdote. Because of this web site, my workshops, seminars, writing and teaching, I meet and communicate with a lot of pros and advanced amateurs. We chat about photography, the industry, gear, and related topics. A year ago I hardly knew any that owned or even stated an interest in owning a CSC. But this is changing at a very fast clip. A great many are now saying that they've bought a Panasonic, Olympus or Sony Compact System Camera, and with the success and appeal of the Fujifilm X100 are hoping that an interchangeable lens version is under consideration from that company as well. I even know some serious photographers who are selling their DSLRs, and who are looking at advanced CSCs like the Panasonic GH2 and Sony NEX-7. Those that own legacy lenses also find these very appealing, since they can take virtually any lens ever made via adaptors.

Are we at the beginning of a new revolution? The entire world of photographic technology has been in a state of revolution for the past decade. The emergence of the CLC is simply another step in this evolutionary process. And with products like the Sony NEX-7, the category isn't going to remain an under-appreciated one for much longer.

November / December, 2011

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Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« on: December 18, 2011, 06:46:18 PM »

handsomerob

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2011, 08:13:05 PM »
Nice read, thx for sharing.

NEX-7 sure is an interesting gadget and is 'the camera to beat' in that segment. Canon is very well aware of that and I'm sure they are going to launch their own sometime soon. Maybe they first wanna see how Nikon will do with their "Nikon 1"? I'd rather wait longer and see a worthy answer to Sony than a rushed fail product.

I don't see CSCs replacing DSLRs, not now, not in the near future. They serve different purposes. While the small size and light weight is very appealing (who doesn't want a huge sensor in his pocket?), I would surely buy one to complement my DSLR and not to replace it, no way lol ;) One might think differently, if a mirrorless camera is more than enough for his line of work.

tshermankb

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2011, 09:51:20 PM »
If they have they are keeping it pretty quiet!  My guess is they really dont take Sony as serious competition.  Especially given their past attempts to steal market with features like in body stabilization.  I really want to like the NEXs but I keep getting turned off by all the little flaws, menus, firmware bugs etc...

gmrza

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2011, 10:39:04 PM »
If they have they are keeping it pretty quiet!  My guess is they really dont take Sony as serious competition.  Especially given their past attempts to steal market with features like in body stabilization.  I really want to like the NEXs but I keep getting turned off by all the little flaws, menus, firmware bugs etc...

There has been a lot of noise about the NEX-7 - and early indications are that the hype is well-founded.  What Sony needs to get right still is the lens selection - which is too small at the moment. - The lack of a broad selection is probably the biggest weakness.  I also don't like the fact that Sony still does not move to an ISO hotshoe.

That said, there have been a lot of rumours about the upcoming Fuji LX10, and even Leica has a mirrorless system coming - supposedly to be announced at Photokina next year.

If Canon does enter the mirrorless market, hopefully it will be an APS-C offering.

I will be waiting in the wings for now, but will be watching what Fuji announces.
With the advent of decent mobile phone cameras, my compact camera no longer needs to be pocketable.  I will probably move mirrorless when it comes time to replace my G11.  If Sony can add more lenses, or if Fuji has a solid offering with the rumoured LX10, I may be making a foray away from Canon.
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T3Heavyshop

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2011, 11:42:21 PM »
Maybe I am under-educated in this, but what does the mirror do other than make the image visible in the viewfinder?  And if it does do something other than that, does not having a mirror decrease performance?

pwp

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2011, 11:53:50 PM »
If they have they are keeping it pretty quiet!  My guess is they really dont take Sony as serious competition. 

Canon are the equal of Apple at keeping things quiet. They must include a "death by a thousand cuts" clause in their non disclosure agreements.

Sony are a remarkably resourceful company capable of taking a long term view. Canon, or any other of their competitors should underate Sony's potential at their peril.

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2011, 12:24:25 AM »
Maybe I am under-educated in this, but what does the mirror do other than make the image visible in the viewfinder?  And if it does do something other than that, does not having a mirror decrease performance?

Yes.  That's all the mirror does.  But it is a little more complex as SLRs have their autofcus sensors positioned above the mirror.  Mirrorless cameras take a different approach and rely on the LCD screen at the back of the camera (like a point and shoot camera), or have an electronic viewfinder to replicate the SLR viewfinder.  They use a different method for autofocus.  There is a marginal performance loss as it takes a tiny fraction of a second longer for the image to appear in the viewfinder compared to a regular SLR.  This isn't ideal when shooting action scenes.  Traditionally, autofocus has also suffered, but newer mirrorless cameras seem to have solved this.  The Olympus EP3 claims to have faster and more accurate autofocus than all DSLRs.

While there is a small delay with electronic viewfinders, they do have benefits.  You get to see the whole picture, they are nice and bright and you see the image exactly as it will be photographed.  So, like most things, there are positives and negatives.

I'm not totally surprised that Canon hasn't jumped on board.  There are a lot of other players out there and none seem to have been highly successful financially.  Besides, I've got a little Olympus EPL-1 that I love.  If Canon was to release a similar model with EF compatibility, my loyalty would be tested - not a position I really want to be in.
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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2011, 12:24:25 AM »

Hillsilly

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2011, 01:02:25 AM »
As another thought, has anyone not looked at the Leica M9 and thought, "If only Canon could do something similar but with autofocus and at 1/3 the cost". 

I think that's where Fuji is heading next year.  And that will be really interesting.   
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tshermankb

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2011, 01:03:04 AM »
I sincerely hope the nex-7 is a winner, I have one on pre-order right now.  Still I have been disappointed by Sony too many times over the last 10 years to really get my hopes up.  I could go on and on about all the great stuff Sony has announced then never followed through on.  This article from last year sums it up pretty well http://gizmodo.com/5477633/how-sony-lost-its-way 
So where canon sits right now why stress?  The  currently available A-77 and A-65 don't quite seem to be starting a revolution, in large part because of the same short sighted design deficiencies Sony has become infamous for (although I think the nex-7 is a much more exciting product). 
I am sure they will eventually see the light, I only hope they dont overlook Sony and one up Nikon as they have always done. A canon version of the Nikon 1 would be upsetting!


J. McCabe

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2011, 01:29:38 AM »
My look at this issue is ...

Making a mirrorless camera EF compatible, it would have to be at least as thick as the rest of Canon's DSLRs. This would make Canon's mirrorless cameras less attractive than the competition's, making it harder to profit from it.

Giving up on EF compatability means either a new line of lenses or compatible with other companies' lenses. My impression is that Canon has it's hands full with DSLR & cine lenses, making the first option problematic. Making new bodies & having customers buy other companies' lenses before Canon lenses come out, well, I can see why Canon wouldn't love that option either.

Considering Canon has patents on mirrorless cameras, my guess is Canon invests in what it considers more profitable market, and will enter the mirrorless market later on, if it seems profitable.

wickidwombat

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2011, 01:38:27 AM »
My look at this issue is ...

Making a mirrorless camera EF compatible, it would have to be at least as thick as the rest of Canon's DSLRs. This would make Canon's mirrorless cameras less attractive than the competition's, making it harder to profit from it.

Giving up on EF compatability means either a new line of lenses or compatible with other companies' lenses. My impression is that Canon has it's hands full with DSLR & cine lenses, making the first option problematic. Making new bodies & having customers buy other companies' lenses before Canon lenses come out, well, I can see why Canon wouldn't love that option either.

Considering Canon has patents on mirrorless cameras, my guess is Canon invests in what it considers more profitable market, and will enter the mirrorless market later on, if it seems profitable.

Make a mirrorless with a small compact lens range and a seperate EF/EF-S adaptor for the die hards who want to strap a 600mm EF lens to it aswell, there are cheap nasty EF / EF-S adapters for the Sony NEX but none with electronics. if there was an adaptor for the NEX that let you use the lens AF and all the electronic goodies i would snap one up.

It would sell well I think it would need to have a proper APS-C sensor and not some neutered thing like the nikon 1V and 1J
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Hillsilly

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2011, 01:50:10 AM »
When people talk about EF compatability, I think we're all referring to an adapter between the camera and the lens (Essentially, just like an extension tube) that allows autofocus.  An EF lens wouldn't be the usual lens that people would use, just an extra capability if you wanted it.  Canon really only has to design a few lenses to kick things off.  A wide, medium and a tele prime lens with big apertures, and a normal zoom as the kit lens.

One advantage of redesigning the mount is that they can reconsider the optimal lens / sensor distance and come up with some great wide angles.   
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dilbert

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2011, 02:58:33 AM »
My look at this issue is ...

Making a mirrorless camera EF compatible, it would have to be at least as thick as the rest of Canon's DSLRs. This would make Canon's mirrorless cameras less attractive than the competition's, making it harder to profit from it.
profitable market, and will enter the mirrorless market later on, if it seems profitable.

It's not the "as thick as the rest of Canon's SLRs" that is the problem, rather the distance from the mount to the sensor needs to be the same. That is the reason for the big, thick, lens adapters for Sony/Nikon SLR lenses onto those small cameras. Canon could easily do the same.

To me, the user interface cannot be ignored. The camera should not get in the way of taking photographs. I don't find Nikon's all that intuitive, nor many of the P&S's (and I've lost count of how many I've held trying to take a photo of some couple.) If Sony deliver a new firmware for the NEX-7 that fixes this (or a new camera..) and someone brings out an EF to NEX mount adapter, I'm sold and I'll join the growing heard. Otherwise, I'll hang out and see what Canon brings to market.

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2011, 02:58:33 AM »

walter_strikes

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2011, 05:24:30 AM »
I work at a popular photography store and can tell you that canon is missing out. I have people coming in all day saying "olympus pen?" "Sony Nex?". They dont even know what they are but there is such a buzz surrounding those cameras. I inform people on those cameras and they are a pretty easy sell. To be honest we have been sold out of the olympus pens but could have sold tons if we had them (due to xmas aswell). I also show them the nikons and they say "where is the canon version of these?" The sony nex sells extremely well too.

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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2011, 07:49:26 AM »
http://ricehigh.blogspot.com/

There is a hint at the above link that someone at Canon might have said there will be a mirrorless next year. Ideally we need someone who can translate Japanese to translate the appropriate part of the article linked there. But the google translation of a chinese translation is a bit too challenging to read...
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Re: Has Canon received the memo about small mirrorless cameras yet?
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2011, 07:49:26 AM »