Canon Germany addresses recent Viltrox RF mount lens demands, and it’s a case of patent infrigement

Canon Rumors Guy

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    Last week a bunch of reports hit the web about Viltrox being told to stop producing lenses for the RF mount by Canon. In an exclusive report, German magazine Photografix has received word from Canon Germany about the issue.
    It looks like it affects autofocus lenses being made for the RF mount and patent infringement. What the exactly Viltrox was infringing on is unknown. Rokinon continues to sell AF lenses for the RF mount.
    From Canon Germany (Google Translated)
    “SHENZHEN JUEYING TECHNOLOGY CO.LTD, manufactures auto focus lenses for Canon RF mount under the brand name “Viltrox”. Canon believes that these products infringe their patent and design rights and has therefore requested the company to stop all activities infringing on Canon’s intellectual property rights.”
    So what does this mean for the likes of SIGMA and Tamron...

    Continue reading...


     
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    dolina

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    Edit: I created this table for easier comparison

    Edit 2: For context on manufacturing plant output I added dSLR full frame body & lens SKUs listed on BH Photo. Added Pentax who sees dSLR as the future.

    I googled this timeline so everyone's on the same page.
    Brand​
    Canon​
    Sony​
    Nikon​
    Full Frame Mirrorless Mount announced​
    2018
    2010
    2018
    3rd party lens license​
    N/A​
    2021
    Last dSLR body announced​
    Feb 2020​
    Sep 2016​
    Jan 2020​
    Last dSLR body model​
    2019 Brand ranking​
    #1​
    #2​
    #3​
    End of dSLR manufacturing​
    2026(?)​
    2021
    2026(?)​
    As of Today on BHPhoto

    BrandCanonSonyNikonPentax
    Age of Full Frame Mirrorless Mount4124N/A
    Mirrorless Full Frame Lens-only SKU with USA warranty306329N/A
    Mirrorless Full Frame Body-only SKU with USA warranty594N/A
    Future mirrorless lens roadmap by 202632N/A3N/A
    dSLR Full Frame Lens-only SKU with USA warranty3445923
    dSLR Full Frame Body-only SKU with USA warranty5031

    It has been reported that Canon Japan's CEO committed to 32 new lenses by year 2026.

    https://www.canonrumors.com/canons-roadmap-includes-32-new-lenses-by-2026-according-to-canons-ceo/

    30 current Canon-branded RF lenses + 32 future lenses = 62 unique lens SKUs before year 2027

    vs

    63 current Sony-branded E lenses + unknown future lenses.

    It is guaranteed Sony/everyone else will release new lens SKUs that are

    - updates to ~10 year old E mount lenses
    - equivalent counterpart lenses of their 1st party & 3rd party competitors
    - unique focal lengths & apertures that Sony pioneered

    From 2018-2022 Canon & Nikon have both put out key focal lengths that photo news agencies & journalists need in their work.
     
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    I googled this timeline so everyone's on the same page.

    Sony

    - 2010: E mount introduced
    - 2011: E mount is licensed to 3rd parties
    - 2016: Last dSLR (SLT) was announced
    - 2019: Sony becomes #2 player displacing Nikon
    - 2021: End of dSLR (SLT) manufacturing

    As of today on BHPHoto from 2010-2022 there are

    - 63 Sony-branded E mount lens-only SKUs with USA warranty
    - 9 Sony-branded E mount full frame body-only SKUs with USA warranty

    Canon

    - 2018: RF mount introduced
    - 2020: Last dSLR was announced
    - 2026(?): End of dSLR manufacturing

    As of today on BHPHoto from 2018-2022 there are

    - 30 Canon-branded RF mount lens-only SKUs with USA warranty
    - 5 Canon-branded RF mount full frame body-only SKUs with USA warranty

    Nikon

    - 2018: Z mount introduced
    - 2019: Sony becomes #2 player displacing Nikon
    - 2020: last dSLR was announced
    - 2021: Z mount is licensed to 3rd parties
    - 2026(?): End of dSLR manufacturing

    As of today on BHPHoto from 2018-2022 there are

    - 29 Nikon-branded Z mount lens-only SKUs with USA warranty
    - 4 Nikon-branded Z mount full frame body-only SKUs with USA warranty


    It has been reported that Canon Japan's CEO committed to 32 new lenses by year 2026.

    https://www.canonrumors.com/canons-roadmap-includes-32-new-lenses-by-2026-according-to-canons-ceo/

    30 current Canon-branded RF lenses + 32 future lenses = 62 unique lens SKUs before year 2027

    vs

    63 current Sony-branded E lenses + unknown future lenses.

    It is guaranteed Sony/everyone else will release new lens SKUs that are

    - updates to ~10 year old E mount lenses
    - equivalent counterpart lenses of their 1st party & 3rd party competitors
    - unique focal lengths & apertures that Sony pioneered

    From 2018-2022 Canon Japan has put out key focal lengths that photo news agencies & journalists need in their work.
    Woow, that's a lot of research. Thx for the effort!
     
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    dolina

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    Woow, that's a lot of research. Thx for the effort!
    This is a rumor site! Someone needs to substantiate it! :LOL:

    If anyone's in the market for 3rd party lenses then get any EF lens and use an EF to RF adapter with it.

    I read on this forum that pharma companies have a monopoly on pharma products they R&Ded for 6 years(?) then it becomes generic?

    Canon deserve to recoup whatever money they spent on R&D and make a tidy profit as an incentive to innovate.

    It takes a shorter time to buy a new system than to wait and complain online. :ROFLMAO:

    Digital still camera market has been shrinking YoY for over the past decade.

    From all all time high of 121,463,234 in 2012 to 7,850,000 for year 2022 forecast.

    All time low was 5,088,207 back in 1999 which doubled to 10,342,084 in 2000.

    Last thing I want to happen is for Canon digital still camera division to go bankrupt because 3rd party lenses outsell RF L lenses on the 1st 6 years of the mount's introduction.
     
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    As some users on CR and other forums have noticed, the Viltrox lens has been identify as EF 85mm F1.4 in post-production, so I guess the company might have copied Canons firmware.

    The absence of a press release on behalf of Sigma, Tamron on third party lenses leaves us unknowing. I expect that "behind the curtains" they are negotiating terms about how and when Sigma etc. will come out with RF lenses. At least, that's what most people hope.
    The more cameras and lenses Canon sells, the more they'll demand in return to let them sell RF lenses. Sigma is probably betting on Canon sales to decline and Canon "needing" Sigma lenses in order to compete. It will be really interesting to see, how it turns out.
     
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    dolina

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    Sigma is probably betting on Canon sales to decline and Canon "needing" Sigma lenses in order to compete. It will be really interesting to see, how it turns out.
    It appears in 2021 that Nikon licensed Cosina the Z mount for a Voigtlander 35/1.2 MF lens.

    There are business reasons why Sony & Nikon licensed their 2010's E & 2018's Z mounts.

    They do not want or do not have the R&D and manufacturing resources to develop thin margin lenses.

    They both at one point were #2 players to Canon's #1 position.

    To my understanding Sony's licensing the E mount in 2011 was at a symbolic fee. This is to get them to 2nd largest camera brand by 2018 without spending much R&D money.

    Is Canon in that business position? They aint. They're the largest camera brand.

    https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/news/camera-market-share-canon-owns-48-sony-22-nikon-drops-to-14

    If you're a leading player in your market what incentives do they have to share? Any 1st party manufacturer makes a better margin than licensing it out per unit sold.

    This is why Apple stopped licensing macOS to 3rd parties nearly a quarter century ago.

    Typically companies outsource when they cannot do it themselves or they do not want to do it themselves.

    If my primary purpose for wanting 3rd party lenses to work on the RF mount was because of financial reasons then I'd stick to EF or F mount. There are thousands of perfectly functional used bodies, lenses and gear to buy at a discount because many are migrating to mirrorless. If the used goods breaks then you can easily find out one on eBay or FM's Buy-Sell for the same SKU for even less in the near future.

    If you want 3rd party products because ABC lens on MNO mount is not available on XZY mount then buy the MNO body. Saves the photographer time and gets them shooting yesterday.

    What I dislike about going multisystem is the down time away from shooting because you have to relearn how to use a camera's physical button placements and menu system.

    So being system-neutral may sound progressive on paper but at the cost your time & money.

    Not to mention smaller player's after sales service level does not exceed or much less match Canon's.

     
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    neuroanatomist

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    To my understanding Sony's licensing the E mount in 2011 was at a symbolic fee. This is to get them to 2nd largest camera brand by 2018 without spending much R&D money.

    Is Canon in that business position? They aint. They're the largest camera brand.
    Exactly. I’m really not sure why this is so difficult for some people on this form to comprehend, but sadly that seems to be the case.
     
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    dolina

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    Exactly. I’m really not sure why this is so difficult for some people on this form to comprehend, but sadly that seems to be the case.
    Photographers tend to be artists and and business know how tends to be about their profession.

    So it is excusable for them not to think that way.
     
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    dolina

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    Why not make an RF mount lens with EF contacts and protocols?

    It's not using the RF chatter, you don't need the control ring. There must be a way around the patents.

    In the past 3rd party lens makers

    - reverse engineer the tech in-house
    - develop IPs that are legally different enough but functionally near identical to EF mount
    - hired ex-Canon engineers or moonlighting Canon engineers to create work rounds of Canon IPs
     
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    entoman

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    Canon have a long history of thousands of patents protecting their designs and concepts, all published and available for third parties to browse.

    Did Viltrox fail to look at the patents, or did they realise they were infringing, but hope to get away with it?

    I assume Canon threatened a lawsuit if Viltrox failed to stop production.
     
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    entoman

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    Why not make an RF mount lens with EF contacts and protocols?

    It's not using the RF chatter, you don't need the control ring. There must be a way around the patents.
    If you don't want to buy genuine Canon RF lenses, why not just use Canon or third-party EF glass via the EF-RF adaptor?

    That would provide you with an incredible amount of choice of AF glass.

    If you want the advantages of genuine Canon RF glass, you have a choice between state-of-art L exotica, or very affordable Canon "budget" glass (although unfortunately not a third tier of middle-of-the-road lenses). Canon's RF range covers almost every need, and anything that isn't available in RF mount will be available in EF mount.
     
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    Chaitanya

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    As some users on CR and other forums have noticed, the Viltrox lens has been identify as EF 85mm F1.4 in post-production, so I guess the company might have copied Canons firmware.

    The absence of a press release on behalf of Sigma, Tamron on third party lenses leaves us unknowing. I expect that "behind the curtains" they are negotiating terms about how and when Sigma etc. will come out with RF lenses. At least, that's what most people hope.
    The more cameras and lenses Canon sells, the more they'll demand in return to let them sell RF lenses. Sigma is probably betting on Canon sales to decline and Canon "needing" Sigma lenses in order to compete. It will be really interesting to see, how it turns out.
    I had Sigma 50mm Macro which would be detected as Canon EF 50mm Compact macro for corrections in camera and on Pc. Canon didnt chase 3rd party manufacturers during EF era(Nikon did sue and win against Sigma during DSLR days) for misidententifying lenses to Canon equivalents.
     
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    Avenger 2.0

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    Last thing I want to happen is for Canon digital still camera division to go bankrupt because 3rd party lenses outsell RF L lenses on the 1st 6 years of the mount's introduction.

    Guess people that buy expensive camera's today will do some research beforehand. If they can't afford the RF lenses, they will just go to Sony, Nikon, etc were 3rd party lenses are available. So Canon might be sacrificing market share in the long run and still go bankrupt...
     
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    entoman

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    Similarly, a third party lens maker should be able to use a mount without license fee, until and unless the mount maker makes a lens of similar spec.
    On that point, I have to disagree.

    Canon has spent a vast amount of money developing RF cameras and RF lenses, and IMO they have absolutely every right to stop third parties from cashing in.

    If photographers want access to third party AF glass, they can choose Sony, or they can use EF glass via an adaptor, on RF bodies.

    No one is forcing anyone to buy Canon, but those who *choose* Canon RF cameras do so with the full knowledge that that they are restricted to Canon's own RF glass (plus any third party or Canon glass in EF mount, via an adaptor).
     
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    Canon really needs to clear that up, because otherwise many photographers - including me - will be hesitant to invest $6,000 into an RF body. It is very annoying when Tamron or Sigma announce new lenses for Nikon and Sony mirrorless cameras, but not for Canon. In the EF area the record breaking lens formulas for the EF mount mostly came from Tamron or Sigma. For example the fastest zooms in a specific range or the widest stabilized lenses. For the EF mount Canon NEVER developed an 24-70 f/2.8 with image stabilization. You has to either buy the non stabilized f/2.8 version or a stabilized f/4 version. The same was true for the 16-35, if I remember it right. Of course with the RF mount Canon finally offered at stabilized 24-70 f/2.8, but I am sure Tamron and Sigma would top that again with a stabilized 24-70 f/2 or 24-105 f/2.8. Sigma and Tamron always went a step futher than Canon. Also the idea of a Tamron 35-150 f/2.8-f/4 was great or the stabilized Tamron 45mm f/1.8. Both are EF lenses and I expect the RF version to even top that.

    For most use cases glass is more important than the body. So any limit on third party glass limits what a photographer can do with his expensive Canon body.

    Next month I will likely visit Germany's largest remaining photo fair "Photopia" (unfortunately Photokina is dead) and there Canon, Sigma and Tamron will all show their latest glass. I will ask the Tamron and Sigma people why there is not third party RF glass yet.
     
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    neuroanatomist

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    ...bought my first third-party lens ever last month, but yesterday for the first time I advised someone not to buy Canon because of this issue. I think Canon is a 100% excellent choice for wildlife, sports, and high-end reportage with trinity zooms. If you want to do street, budget, or art photography, go with someone else.
    Well, that'll show 'em! :ROFLMAO:

    Incidentally, I’ve advised several people to go with brands other than Canon. Somehow, and I’m really, truly, incredibly puzzled and mystified by this, Canon’s business doesn’t seem to have suffered as a result of my actions.
     
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