Has Canon developed a new 21mp sensor for the Canon EOS R system? [CR1]

Hector1970

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Mar 22, 2012
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Just a personal opinion but I own a 5DIV and 5DSR. I acquired a 1DX III earlier this year. 20mp feels quite old fashioned. To me the 1DXIII processors and buffer are designed for a larger sensor. It could easily have been a 30mp sensor and it would have handled it. It may have been more for the video element they went for 20MP. I find it good for large objects but no good for small objects like birds. It would have been a much better all round camera at 30MP.
 
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StandardLumen

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Jul 20, 2020
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I don't understand all of the opinions that 21mp is as much or more than you'd ever want. I'm not saying that action photographers necessarily need 45mp+ this instant (there's a big gap between 21 and 45), but "the current standard is good enough, it doesn't need to improve" is not how technology works. I can't help but think of the old "640K ought to be enough for anybody" quote.

I'm sure there are some photographers out there that take huge numbers of images and are constantly filling their storage medium, or rely on real-time WiFi transfer of a large number of images and that are really being bottlenecked by file size, but as we move into the future, all of our technology should continue to improve, and that includes image quality. (And yes, I realize that higher resolution is not all there is to better image quality, but it's definitely part of it. And yes, I reject the idea that lower resolution means inherently better low light performance). Even for those photographers, scaling down to ~20mpx is likely to produce equally good if not better results than using a 20mpx sensor, similar to the R5's high quality 4K video, which scales down from 8K and produces exceptional image quality.

I'm welcome to being wrong about this, I'm aware that different photographers have different needs. If Canon believes that there are enough photographers out there that will still buy a new, high-end, stills-focused camera with a 21mp sensor for it to be profitable to make, I'm sure they'll have you covered. It just seems to me that if someone really doesn't want more than 20mp, no one is taking the 1DX Mark III away.


I'm not pretending to be an expert on camera design, nor do I know what Canon's plans are, but I'm still guessing that, if real, this sensor is intended for a hybrid camera that has good quality stills and can film 6K, rather something like an R1.
 
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GMCPhotographics

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I’m a stills only portrait photographer and I’m dying for a global shutter sensor for mixing daytime ambient and flash on location with out the need for ND filters, HSS, or HS. you could get away with very portable small lighting equipment or get maximum power from a 250-500w light. And 20 stops of dynamic range . But I would want FF and 45mp. 30mp minimum.

....lol...you don't want much then do you!
 
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GMCPhotographics

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I don't understand all of the opinions that 21mp is as much or more than you'd ever want. I'm not saying that action photographers necessarily need 45mp+ this instant (there's a big gap between 21 and 45), but "the current standard is good enough, it doesn't need to improve" is not how technology works. I can't help but think of the old "640K ought to be enough for anybody" quote.

I'm sure there are some photographers out there that take huge numbers of images and are constantly filling their storage medium, or rely on real-time WiFi transfer of a large number of images and that are really being bottlenecked by file size, but as we move into the future, all of our technology should continue to improve, and that includes image quality. (And yes, I realize that higher resolution is not all there is to better image quality, but it's definitely part of it. And yes, I reject the idea that lower resolution means inherently better low light performance). Even for those photographers, scaling down to ~20mpx is likely to produce equally good if not better results than using a 20mpx sensor, similar to the R5's high quality 4K video, which scales down from 8K and produces exceptional image quality.

The 1DX range is a very specific tool for a specific groupof buyers. It's not intended to be a general "Pro / Semi Pro / Very serious Enthusiast" camera. It's designed to scratch the itch of photojournaists and ports photographers...ie press photographers. That's the market that drives that camera. Back in the day, the 1D was available in 2 guises...slow fps and highest MP that curent tech would allow and the other camera was a highest frame rate that current tech would allow and low MP. The former was full frame and the latter was a 1.3x crop. Canon consolidated these two cameras into the 1DX. They then upspecced the 5D series (5D3) to a pro spec and offered that as their general use "Pro / Semi Pro / Very serious Enthusiast" camera. The 5D3 and 4 are the most versatile digital cameras available and in the hands of more pro photographers than all off the other cameras in the world put together...and that's not including the videographers too.
Every time Canon hand a prototype 1Dx series camera into the hands of a press photographer...the resounding reply is WE DON't WANT MORE THAT 20mp!!! Sure more fps...any other feature...but limit the res so we can do our jobs quickly and effectively. Maybe this will change when we all drive electric cars with Wifi 2.0 / 5.5G enabled and venues can source super wide data paths over their wifi....but until then, there is a functional limit of 20mp for these venues. It's a case of the business need is stipulating the technology. Super High MP Pro series cameras don't actually sell that well. Look at the 5DSR's sales figures. No where near as strong at the 5D3 or 5D4.

As a landscape photographer, good and sharp rendered images from a 5D3 are more than sufficient. I'm able to exstract fantastic detail at 100% with my 22ish mp sensor with a tripod and carefull technique. Blow up sizes for me (A0 max) is more than suffient. For my wedding work where I need to turn around images fast, 22ish MP is again more than suffient. A typical wedding can yield 4000 source images. A 15 hour shoot is common for me and using 2 photographers (myself and a 2nd) that's actually quite a low click per minute rate. From these 4000 images I have to import them into Light room...arrange the camera / stoot time to be the same betten multiple cards on 4-5 cameras. Then I need to select my 250 delivered images and post process them. I generallt have less than a week to do this while fitting in the rest of my photographic and domestic life and it's quite possible in peak season for me to shoot 3-4 weedings in a week. So processing / workflow / delivery times / storage / cataloging as all important business factors. For me, 24mp is ideal, 32mp is slightly more than I need and 50mp is just a pointless waste that will just much up precious Hard Disk space and Light Room processing time.

But that's just me...however, I am not unique in this and your milage might vary.
 

old-pr-pix

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Dec 26, 2011
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Back to the rumor that it is a 2/3" sensor... that is one-half the dimensions of a micro four 'loser' thirds sensor and one-quarter the area. 2/3" sensor = 8.8mm x 6.6mm i.e. 4:3 format. The 2/3" reference relates back to the old video tube standards and how large a sensor they could fit on the flat portion a video tube of that diameter. The sensor itself isn't 2/3 of an inch. Just like a 1" sensor is no where near one inch in any dimension. A 1" sensor is smaller the m4/3 as well. Bash me if I'm wrong!
 
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HarryFilm

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Jun 6, 2016
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I actually read something like this in a chinese forum before canonwatch reported this rumor. I'm pretty sure the source read this in the same place as me. I think it's pretty much fake, 120db are something like 20 stops of DR

===

120 dB means they are sampling the pixels using a final output of 16-bits per colour channel which MEANS the DSP (Digital Signal Processor) is a 20-bit or even 24-bits DSP for proper output re-sampling purposes. This means the sensor is going into an R1dx series camera probably coming out just after the 2021 Tokyo Olympics likely in October/November 2021. The 1Dx3 will LIKELY be produced side-by-side with the fully mirrorless R1dx series probably until 2023 to keep the "analog shutter" newshounds happy.

When you have 48-bit RGB/YCC/YCbCr colour (i.e. 16 bits per colour channel) using GLOBAL SHUTETR then it means PRO-LEVEL stills and video work. This is AWESOME coming from Canon !!!!!

Can't wait to see it!

GLOBAL SHUTTER IS THE KEY FUTURE FEATURE of a ALL NEW mirrorless cameras! To make for the BEST image quality you REALLY DO MUST HAVE a global shutter sensor with 16 bits per colour channel sampling (i.e. 120 dB dynamic range for 48-bit colour) for your stills and video capture.

THIS IS FANTASTIC NEWS! Good on you Canon -- Now put that global shutter sensor into a RUGGEDIZED AND WATERPROOF-50-metres ACTION CAM with a high quality fixed or removable 16mm lens that's just a tiny bit larger than the latest GoPro and can do 120 fps Long-GOP H265 4K, 6k or 8k resolution video + audio onto TWO really-fast internal CFexpress cards!

...AND.....

can I now have my 135mm to 650 mm L-series f/4-to-f/5.6 Sports Zoom Lens for my upcoming Global Shutter 48-bit colour R1dx pro-level mirrorless camera ?!

V
 
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canonnews

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I’m a stills only portrait photographer and I’m dying for a global shutter sensor for mixing daytime ambient and flash on location with out the need for ND filters, HSS, or HS. you could get away with very portable small lighting equipment or get maximum power from a 250-500w light. And 20 stops of dynamic range . But I would want FF and 45mp. 30mp minimum.

yeah but that's really multi-exposure to some extent. because you have a combination of full well capacity (it has to hold enough electrons) and at the same time a high pixel density.

maybe some other material than silicone may work - who knows.

otherwise you are playing tricks with exposure.

Basically, every pixel on the sensor gets an electric charge when hit with a photon. These electrons are then stored in a capacitor. To read the image off the sensor, you read the resulting charge in the capacitors.

The Canon sensor described in the patent has TWO capacitors per pixel, and can globally switch between charge being built up in capacitor A or capacitor B.
you can only do that with two exposures, or a much longer exposure that does a charge reset part way through (essentially 2 or 3x times). basic electronics here. a pixel fills with electrons. those electrons are then moved to the capacitor and stored. there is no longer any electrons in the pixel. otherwise you have a perpetual energy machine, and i'd love to see that.

you need a subsequent shot to fill the other capacitor, you also need it at a different exposure time. any time you "slice" a time, you get ghosting. it's impossible to not get ghosting on a stills image no matter how quickly you take slices. while this isn't an issue for film at all (ghosting in film exposure is an entirely different animal which is what Canon was looking at with that white paper), it's a definite more hard issue for stills. which is why all these tricks are employed on what? cinema cameras. that discussion document that Canon did many small timeslices, but again, it would still have issues with stills photography. there's simply no way around this.

also if you have two capacitors per pixel and a corresponding light shield over your capacitors your overall quantum efficiency is quite low (literally 1/3). Again, canon has no BSI or stacked tech in production, so there's only so much real estate on a FSI sensor. So in instances where you have to turn this "off" your DR drops down to pre 2008 era sensors.

stacked sensors with quad pixel arrays are most likely the way to go around this overall but canon is certainly not there yet - probably 2 or 3 full generations away.
 
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HarryFilm

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Jun 6, 2016
705
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This definitely sounds fake. A global shutter negatively impacts dynamic range, so it's not really possible to have 20 stops of dynamic range and global shutter at the same time. Unless the global shutter can be deactivated?


Actually, if your DSP/CPU/GPU System on a Chip Input/Output sampling (i.e. I/O) is 20 to 24 bits in sample size and the sensor size is 22 megapixels (as Canon has implied!) then the image processing rate is around 88 megasamples per frame (i.e. typical Canon 4 RGBG channel sampling x Total number of sensor pixels) used as an oversampling factor. Multiply 88 megasamples by 20 bits per channel to get the minimum clock speed per frame needed to create a final 48-bit RGB/YCC/YCbCr stills/video pixel. That works out to 1.76 Gigahertz which is right spot on for many higher end Qualcomm processors such as the Snapdragon 636 series which the Canon DIGIC-X is likely based upon, which runs at 1.8 GHz.

That still leaves CPU power available for other tasks, as the image processing would be done on the GPU part which can do as many as 512 parallel instructions per clock cycle giving the camera a theoretical maximum frame rate of 128 frames per second (i.e. 512 parallel instructions per clock cycle divided by number of channels to process per pixel which is RGBG or four channels in Canon's case = 128). In all likelihood this will mean 4K video at 60 fps and/or 120 fps or a burst stills rate of probably 25-to-30 fps at my best guesstimate!

The MATH is looking good so far because a Canon DIGIC-X SOC core-set that is Snapdragon 636-based is basically $75 per chip to make so it is an inexpensive part!

So yeah this is likely going into the R1dx and PROBABLY a new 4K 120 fps action cam or even an M50 mk3 or M5 mk2/3 camera.

V
 
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HarryFilm

EOS RP
Jun 6, 2016
705
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Back to the rumor that it is a 2/3" sensor... that is one-half the dimensions of a micro four 'loser' thirds sensor and one-quarter the area. 2/3" sensor = 8.8mm x 6.6mm i.e. 4:3 format. The 2/3" reference relates back to the old video tube standards and how large a sensor they could fit on the flat portion a video tube of that diameter. The sensor itself isn't 2/3 of an inch. Just like a 1" sensor is no where near one inch in any dimension. A 1" sensor is smaller the m4/3 as well. Bash me if I'm wrong!

Since it was alluded to that the photosite size is 6 microns at 22 megapixels, that means at a typical Canon 3:2 aspect ratio where there are 1000 microns per millimetre AND knowing that you NEED on-chip spacing for DSP circuitry, it looks like this is going to be a typical 36 mm by 24 mm FULL FRAME CMOS image sensor at around 5800 by 3866 pixels of native resolution (actual photo output resolution will be slightly smaller!) or about 22.4 megapixels!

THIS IS GREAT!

Good Job Canon!

Soooooo, when IS this Global Shutter 22 megapixel R1dx and the 135 mm-to-650 mm f/4-to-f/5.6 RF-mount L-series Sports Zoom Lens coming out for sale?

V
 
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Feb 7, 2013
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Tasty developments Canon and Canon's coming very good now.

Not sure what's Canon plans are for this sensor, difficult to say with a shrinking camera market on how viable a new model will be.

They could put in a Compact EOS R (RC) (follow Sony A7c if Canon does this ?) or maybe possibly MK 2 of EOS RP ? (2022)
 

Antono Refa

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Mar 26, 2014
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I don't understand all of the opinions that 21mp is as much or more than you'd ever want. I'm not saying that action photographers necessarily need 45mp+ this instant (there's a big gap between 21 and 45), but "the current standard is good enough, it doesn't need to improve" is not how technology works. I can't help but think of the old "640K ought to be enough for anybody" quote.

There are two camps here: 21MP is enough for some, and 21MP are enough for nobody.
 
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domo_p1000

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Aug 22, 2013
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... importantly, (and presuming all these thoughts are accurate), 21MP is sufficient for many of the photographers for whom the R1dx is being designed.
I am certainly excited about the superb potential this sensor will bring. For those who want a 40+MP global shutter sensor, you will just have to wait for technology to advance that far.
 

RunAndGun

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Dec 16, 2011
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Global shutter as it is technically implemented requires base ISO increase (pixel's electron well depth decrease) by a stop.

At this point, the benefits of global shutter outweigh the stop* less of sensitivity and/or DR.


*technological advancements are quickly closing this gap. one just has to look at recent announcements and releases in the video/cine world with global shutter CMOS sensor cameras.
 

canonnews

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At this point, the benefits of global shutter outweigh the stop* less of sensitivity and/or DR.


*technological advancements are quickly closing this gap. one just has to look at recent announcements and releases in the video/cine world with global shutter CMOS sensor cameras.
those advancements don't translate well to stills, you simply can't get around the fact that video is recording over time with the world in motion around us, while stills photography is shooting that world in motion and stopping time to do so.

Canon could have put in a global shutter sensor into a stills camera years ago if they weren't concerned with dynamic range / quantum efficiency. if they are going to do it now, they would most likely come out with a EOS-R5c versus anything else.
 
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Busted Knuckles

Enjoy this breath and the next
Oct 2, 2013
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Could the R1 be the top of line of the convergence of stills to video - 120 fps is a common desire for 2k, 4k and now 6k. 120fps is in line w/ top of line functions.

I would also expect some serious WIFI/LAN ability to offload files quickly. Thinking this is for the Olympics, and image consumption is primarily web/TV 21 mp provides some framing relief for 4k and 6k.

The low light ability is very interesting. My guess that the db expansion is more toward the low light side vs. high. Physics in glass is harder to solve, so improved low light allows smaller lenses, etc. It would be giggle city to pick up 2 or 3 stops of low light. all of a sudden that 400 f5.6 looks pretty darn handy. compared to the 400 2.8.
 

SecureGSM

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Feb 26, 2017
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CPUs could still go faster but the focus has been on adding more cores. Cooling solutions exist to get around the complaints in that article but they're not really worth it compared to adding cores. The trade off for cameras is that frame rates are now what is being ramped up, not MP. A 100MP camera would have to make to with a 2 frame per second limit or somesuch. Instead, the 20.x MP cameras are going 12, 16, 20, and up.
righto.. so the 45Mm R5 would have to make it with 5 frames per second limit or some such according to your logic? it's a 20 fps capable camera.
again, you are incorrect, 20 MP is not a tech limitation but rather a designation at this stage.
 

MiJax

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Mar 30, 2016
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Back to the rumor that it is a 2/3" sensor... that is one-half the dimensions of a micro four 'loser' thirds sensor and one-quarter the area. 2/3" sensor = 8.8mm x 6.6mm i.e. 4:3 format. The 2/3" reference relates back to the old video tube standards and how large a sensor they could fit on the flat portion a video tube of that diameter. The sensor itself isn't 2/3 of an inch. Just like a 1" sensor is no where near one inch in any dimension. A 1" sensor is smaller the m4/3 as well. Bash me if I'm wrong!

Its based on a current (for sale) 2/3's, 5.5MP, 3.4um pixel, industrial high speed use (120fps), global shutter sensor. The pixel and sensor size suggest they could use this tech on MUCH higher consumer MP count applications.

I feel like this is more of a when than an if. Will it debut in the R1, or will it be pushed further down the road to the next high end body? The fact that Sony is going to be close behind, as these things tend to all get "found out" at the same time as accompanying tech becomes available to clear past hurdles tells me we'll see it sooner than later.
 

SwissFrank

from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
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you can only do that with two exposures, or a much longer exposure that does a charge reset part way through (essentially 2 or 3x times). basic electronics here. a pixel fills with electrons. those electrons are then moved to the capacitor and stored. there is no longer any electrons in the pixel.

I'm just quoting information YOU SHARED, as best I remember it. If that patent described multiple wells, not multiple capacitors, I'm happy to say I may have gotten the wrong microdetail of the exact component used for storage. Guess what, the exact details of the storage weren't really the main point of my comment. The macro detail of how it works, and what the advantages are, are accurate.

I'm cutting out your insult because this isn't that kind of forum.



you need a subsequent shot to fill the other capacitor, you also need it at a different exposure time. any time you "slice" a time, you get ghosting. it's impossible to not get ghosting on a stills image no matter how quickly you take slices.

As I said, picture it switching 1ns for one sensor 999ns for the other. That's a total of one microsecond. If the hardware can switch at that rate (I don't recall as it was many months ago) you'd get 125 slices into each set of buckets even in a 1/18000 sec exposure, and the technique would normally be used for far longer exposures as one of the sensors is 10 stops underexposed. (I don't recall the exact slice time from the article, but the principle of switching between two buckets, with something like 1000:1 ratio in exposure times, was the main point and I portray it accurately here.)

I'm not sure what you mean by ghosting: motion blur not being smooth but rather being discrete? Granted! I'll bet you anything that if you use this mode to shoot something with extremely fast subject motion, it won't be quite smooth. I didn't say it would be smooth for all possible subjects. Neither did the patent. And yet consider how fast something would have to move. At the swapping rate I gave as an example, the highlights-only half-exposure would show those dots as a connected line if the subject moved up to 125 pixels. At 1/8000, what subjects are moving more than 125 pixels? I grant there are some but not that common... and this mode will show some artifacts in this case. What percent of photos don'ti have that rate of subject movement? 95%? 99%? 99.99%? I think I've only taken one photo in my life with substantial subject blur at top shutter speed. But the camera is full of features that can only be used in limited circumstances, right? I don't see this as an argument that you couldn't have one more feature that "only" works for 95% or 99% of your shooting.


while this isn't an issue for film at all (ghosting in film exposure is an entirely different animal which is what Canon was looking at with that white paper), it's a definite more hard issue for stills. which is why all these tricks are employed on what? cinema cameras. that discussion document that Canon did many small timeslices, but again, it would still have issues with stills photography. there's simply no way around this.

Fair enough. The rest of us will enjoy it while you sit there in your Sony T-shirt saying it's impossible :-D

Seriously, I haven't heard of a cinema camera using this kind of setup either, but that is the point here. This is something new.

also if you have two capacitors per pixel and a corresponding light shield over your capacitors your overall quantum efficiency is quite low (literally 1/3).

If the storage buckets for the pixels are half normal capacity, though, then perhaps they individually have half the area, so two of them fit the same area. Note my recent post showing the R5 DR at 11.85 stops. Cutting area in half will trim that by a stop or so. Leave some room for slop and extra wiring and it could be that one set of these buckets only has 10 stops by itself. But then make an equal exposure between the two sets of buckets and you're back up to 11 even without using the built-in HDR-style unequal exposures.


Again, canon has no BSI or stacked tech in production, so there's only so much real estate on a FSI sensor. So in instances where you have to turn this "off" your DR drops down to pre 2008 era sensors.

Again, this is something new. By definition, they are not doing this new thing yet. It is something that is about to start.

Down to 8 stops? Half the current area, all things being equal, would be 1 stop less, not like 3. And the paper's unequal-split exposure method, to get 20 stops, would need 10 stops (or more) from the buckets individually, and underexpose the second set of buckets by 10 stops.

I mean, if you don't think that paper you shared last year was serious or possible... why did you share it? Now that there's a press release of a sensor with the exact capabilities we'd expect from that paper, why do say it can't possibly be what was in the paper?

How do YOU think they're jumping from an absolute firm best of 11.85 to 20, if you don't think their published method to get another 10 stops is what they're doing?
 
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SwissFrank

from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
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They could put in a Compact EOS R (RC) (follow Sony A7c if Canon does this ?) or maybe possibly MK 2 of EOS RP ? (2022)
As a brand new sensor with absolutely world-beating specs (DR, if not MP) it's not going into a low-level camera.

My best bet is that like the 1D and 1Ds era, they may do the physical engineering for a high-end pro body, but make two versions where the sensor and related electronics differ.