Why I believe Canon should give a better ending for the DSLR system

Aug 24, 2022
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I know this sounds nostalgic, and I know the era of SLR is long gone, but there are better ways IMHO that Canon can end its best period of history in camera industry in a better way.

Canon is the winner and by and large its ruthless pragmatic determination, when it switched from mechanic to electronic, from film to CMOS, and from EF-M to R. There is no hesitation, no back-looking, no doubting, but pure calculation. I appreciate it and admire it because that is the right thing to do to survive. Look at Olympus, Pentax, and Minolta (or even Nikon), do you think there persistence helped their loyal user ultimately? So first thing first, I am not saying that Canon should continue producing DSLR cameras and lenses. I am saying that Canon should have a better ending of it.

(1) 5D and 5D mark II, 6D and 6D mark II, 7D and 7D mark II are great lineups and "touch up". I would consider 5D mark III and 5D mark IV as a new line that should be named 4D and 4D mark II as upgraded version to compete with mirrorless cameras. So I think Canon has done everything it can here. However, just like EOS 3 in the days of film photography, Canon should have made a EOS 3D to summarize all the "black technologies" that promises sequels that could knock your socks off (if it wants). It can be anything that is either not mature in time, or seemingly useless, or just unconventional for DSLR. That is what Canon can do as a finale. Of course, a 135L IS, a 50L IS, a 99D (catch up everything for the euthanistic amateurs), or even a m5 mark ii are all good candidates as well to end the era.

(2) This is not about selling or marketing. This is not about keeping the same lens mount like Nikon or Pentax did for SLR. (I know Sony is doing it as well, but it is too young to be discussed...) Again, this is a elegant gesture and a love letter for all the Canon users that says, I care of you. Look at what Olympus did in the past a couple of years-as a much smaller company department, they have the gut to upgrade nearly all their lines and squeeze in all techniques that they can before it went bankrupt. What do you think the purpose of it? It says, I am a reputable manufacture and I care about my reputation which is all about the best design and a dedication to the best engineering. Craftsman's spirit of Japan is what makes the camera country-all the innovation is based on the limitation of feasibility, affordability, and reliability. And DSLR can really showcase such spirit. That is why DSLR should be a tradition, not a trend.

(3) I know it is funny. Yesterday we complained about Canon that is too slow to make mirrorless with a concern of losing its market share of DSLR. Today we complained about Canon that do not make better DSLR afraid of competing with its own DSLR. But that is the beauty of being conservative. But let me think of a world without Sony. If Canon slows down a bit, the design pitfalls of m6 mark ii will not happen; the weird design of EOS R and R7 control wheel/bar will not happen. And R and Rp will have better modulation of the chips and will not be in their position today (think about how graceful and adequate when Canon started to lauch its full spectrum of DSLR from the 00s, one by one). All these rushed products are fundamentally ruining the reputation and market shares in the end since it is not about creating the best camera no more-it is all about beating Sony. So can you be sure that there is really nothing can be learnt from the 30 years of DSLR? Do we just want to follow Sony to do everything in the design of a good camera? In the end of the day, it is not a war of specs, at least that is not the game Canon has been playing successfully for the past 20+ years. Who do you want to sell your mirrorless cameras? How many of them are shooting videos (and upload to Youtube and discuss about the video capability)? There are many good questions that no one dares to think!

RIP DSLR...or?
 
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m4ndr4ke

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Canon ended their DSLR line-up with a bang, by producing the best DSLR ever made, the 1DX Mark III. What could be better than that?

By the way, in Japan, the number four is considered an unlucky number and is usually avoided, it is correlated with death.
 
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Czardoom

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Every Canon camera I have owned makes Sony look like a maker of gadgets - not cameras. I doubt Canon cares as much as you think about what Sony does. and to talk about the pitfalls and the weird designs as if they were pushed into being some sort of radical company by Sony is absurd in my opinion. They took their time with IBIS and by most accounts it is better than Sony. Yes, Sony has had top of the line sensors and AF. Now there is essentially no difference, so where exactly did Canon sully their reputation. Their ergonomics are better than Sony, their color science is better than Sony, their weather sealing and dust removal are better than Sony , their IBIS as mentioned is better than Sony, their EVFs in the opinion of many are better than Sony.

Rushed products ruining their reputation? That would describe the first two generations of Sony camera (I briefly owned them, so opinion based on experience). Those were rushed, and were lousy cameras, but guess what, their strategy worked. In my opinion, Canon (and Nikon, too) have been heavily criticized for being so slow to bring mirrorless to the market (and Canon still being criticized for not having their flagship R1 on sale yet), so I see nothing fundamentally different in their approach as they shift to mirrorless compared to their strategy during the DSLR era. In my opinion, they still make quality dependable cameras. I see nothing that makes me think they aren't trying to make the best cameras. Sony, on the other hand, has always tried to make the camera with the most impressive list of specs. Specs priority, not quality priority.

And one other point, why do we make it out to be that DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras are so fundamentally different? I have never understood that, DSLRs and Mirrorless are 98% the same, all that is different for the most part is the viewfinder. I know for some, that is a big deal, but I would guess that is a small, vocal minority. There are now some specs that can be upgraded (such as FPS) due to the lack of mirror, but I see nothing revolutionary about mirrorless that would have created this sort of competition between the two types of camera or such a distinct categorial seperation. To me it has always been an evolutionary step, no differrent from adding IBIS, or, in the old days, when light meters were incorporated into the camera. What is different now, is the mount. If Canon had kept the same mount, I would have seen no reason for them to have differentiated between DSLR and mirrorles at all. The R5 could easily have been named the 5D V. So I find it a bit odd that we should talk about the end of the DSLR system. It hasn't rally ended, just evolved to have no mirror. And I doubt there is anybody that ever really thought much about the mirror in their DSLRs.

All my opinion, of course.
 
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AlanF

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Every Canon camera I have owned makes Sony look like a maker of gadgets - not cameras. I doubt Canon cares as much as you think about what Sony does. and to talk about the pitfalls and the weird designs as if they were pushed into being some sort of radical company by Sony is absurd in my opinion. They took their time with IBIS and by most accounts it is better than Sony. Yes, Sony has had top of the line sensors and AF. Now there is essentially no difference, so where exactly did Canon sully their reputation. Their ergonomics are better than Sony, their color science is better than Sony, their weather sealing and dust removal are better than Sony , their IBIS as mentioned is better than Sony, their EVFs in the opinion of many are better than Sony.

Rushed products ruining their reputation? That would describe the first two generations of Sony camera (I briefly owned them, so opinion based on experience). Those were rushed, and were lousy cameras, but guess what, their strategy worked. In my opinion, Canon (and Nikon, too) have been heavily criticized for being so slow to bring mirrorless to the market (and Canon still being criticized for not having their flagship R1 on sale yet), so I see nothing fundamentally different in their approach as they shift to mirrorless compared to their strategy during the DSLR era. In my opinion, they still make quality dependable cameras. I see nothing that makes me think they aren't trying to make the best cameras. Sony, on the other hand, has always tried to make the camera with the most impressive list of specs. Specs priority, not quality priority.

And one other point, why do we make it out to be that DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras are so fundamentally different? I have never understood that, DSLRs and Mirrorless are 98% the same, all that is different for the most part is the viewfinder. I know for some, that is a big deal, but I would guess that is a small, vocal minority. There are now some specs that can be upgraded (such as FPS) due to the lack of mirror, but I see nothing revolutionary about mirrorless that would have created this sort of competition between the two types of camera or such a distinct categorial seperation. To me it has always been an evolutionary step, no differrent from adding IBIS, or, in the old days, when light meters were incorporated into the camera. What is different now, is the mount. If Canon had kept the same mount, I would have seen no reason for them to have differentiated between DSLR and mirrorles at all. The R5 could easily have been named the 5D V. So I find it a bit odd that we should talk about the end of the DSLR system. It hasn't rally ended, just evolved to have no mirror. And I doubt there is anybody that ever really thought much about the mirror in their DSLRs.

All my opinion, of course.
"DSLRs and Mirrorless are 98% the same". Well, our DNA is about 99% the same as chimps' and 98% as gorillas'. Food for thought!
 
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unfocused

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I've always argued that the fate of DSLRs does not lie with Canon, Nikon or Sony, but with consumers. Yes, I believe Canon would like to port all its customers to the R system, but I suspect that they have a "magic number" known only to them that will determine if they can drop all DSLRs or if they continue to make DSLRs. In a shrinking market no company wants to loss customers or leave potential customers on the table.

If Canon determines that a certain percentage of their customer base will never move to mirrorless and if that percentage is sufficiently high enough, they will keep making and releasing DSLRs and EF/EF-S lenses. DSLRs are a mature product that should require very little R&D to update a select few models.

Right now, Canon's resources are concentrated on building out the R line, but at some point they will take a hard look at the DSLR lineup and decide if they need to update it or not. If I had to make a bet, I would say I'm about 90% confident that they will retire DSLRs, but I think there is still a 10% chance that they will never be able to lure some customers away from DSLRs and that those customers represent a large enough base that they can make a profit selling them replacement bodies and lenses that offer small improvements.

That said, I agree with @Czardoom that the practical differences are small and the remaining differences will get smaller as time goes by. As far as that goofy throw-away comment about chimpanzees, gorillas and humans goes, the difference is that the 98% similarity between mirrorless and DSLR results in bodies that can produce exactly the same results. Until we see the first novel written by a chimpanzee that 1% difference will continue to represent an unbridgeable gap.
 
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neuroanatomist

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All these rushed products are fundamentally ruining the reputation and market shares
Last year Canon’s ILC market share was ~50%, an increase over prior years.

Making patently false statements in a diatribe doesn’t help your credibility.
 
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AlanF

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I've always argued that the fate of DSLRs does not lie with Canon, Nikon or Sony, but with consumers. Yes, I believe Canon would like to port all its customers to the R system, but I suspect that they have a "magic number" known only to them that will determine if they can drop all DSLRs or if they continue to make DSLRs. In a shrinking market no company wants to loss customers or leave potential customers on the table.

If Canon determines that a certain percentage of their customer base will never move to mirrorless and if that percentage is sufficiently high enough, they will keep making and releasing DSLRs and EF/EF-S lenses. DSLRs are a mature product that should require very little R&D to update a select few models.

Right now, Canon's resources are concentrated on building out the R line, but at some point they will take a hard look at the DSLR lineup and decide if they need to update it or not. If I had to make a bet, I would say I'm about 90% confident that they will retire DSLRs, but I think there is still a 10% chance that they will never be able to lure some customers away from DSLRs and that those customers represent a large enough base that they can make a profit selling them replacement bodies and lenses that offer small improvements.

That said, I agree with @Czardoom that the practical differences are small and the remaining differences will get smaller as time goes by. As far as that goofy throw-away comment about chimpanzees, gorillas and humans goes, the difference is that the 98% similarity between mirrorless and DSLR results in bodies that can produce exactly the same results. Until we see the first novel written by a chimpanzee that 1% difference will continue to represent an unbridgeable gap.
Have you written a novel?
 

Maximilian

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I know this sounds nostalgic, and I know the era of SLR is long gone, but there are better ways IMHO that Canon can end its best period of history in camera industry in a better way.
...
RIP DSLR...or?
To make it short: "Yes!", not "or?".

Long version:
I can understand your thoughts and partly feel the same.
I wished for a 5D Mark V and/or a 1D X Mark IV as a last Canon DSLR. Like Canon did with the EOS 3 and the EOS-1V in film to digital days.
But seeing what you can do today with the R3, 5 or 6 (apart from the price strategy), I can understand that Canon has decided not to do so.
The difference is too small, yet not just 2 %. And the advantages of the R system outweigh the few disadvantages.
It is much easier to change today than it was in the days of changing from film to sensor. Put simply, we "only" change the view finder, not the recording medium.
So a 5D Mark V or a 1D X Mark IV would have been a low sales number nostalgic tool for people like me, therefore as expensive as the R5 and therefore not for me.
In other words:
If I had to spend money just once, an R5 would deliver me much more advantages than a 5D V would.

So thank you, DSLR, for a wonderful time (and my 5D IV hopefully much longer) but my next body won't be a DSLR any more.
 
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Czardoom

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Just a curious thought...what if DSLRs had never been called that, but instead were just called DSLCs (Digital, Single Lens Cameras)? Since Mirrorless cameras are also DSLCs, would we making such a big deal comparing the two types - which in my mind- are not two types at all, merely 2 DSLCs with a minor difference? Would be lamenting the end of DSLRs if we merely thought that a mirrorless camera was just another variation of a DSLC, the same way a camera can have IBIS or not, or two card slots vs just one, or a low-pass filter or not?
 
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Aug 24, 2022
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To make it short: "Yes!", not "or?".

Long version:
I can understand your thoughts and partly feel the same.
I wished for a 5D Mark V and/or a 1D X Mark IV as a last Canon DSLR. Like Canon did with the EOS 3 and the EOS-1V in film to digital days.
But seeing what you can do today with the R3, 5 or 6 (apart from the price strategy), I can understand that Canon has decided not to do so.
The difference is too small, yet not just 2 %. And the advantages of the R system outweigh the few disadvantages.
It is much easier to change today than it was in the days of changing from film to sensor. Put simply, we "only" change the view finder, not the recording medium.
So a 5D Mark V or a 1D X Mark IV would have been a low sales number nostalgic tool for people like me, therefore as expensive as the R5 and therefore not for me.
In other words:
If I had to spend money just once, an R5 would deliver me much more advantages than a 5D V would.

So thank you, DSLR, for a wonderful time (and my 5D IV hopefully much longer) but my next body won't be a DSLR any more.
I think you fully understand what I mean and made some great points for me to follow.

(1) If we argue that mirrorless is 99.9999% similar to DSLR, then we might wonder, what is the point of making such a change? Isn't DSLR good enough for photography? If not, that is because of the redundant mirror, or because of the limitation of technology to fully release the potential of such design? I think Canon (or maybe Nikon to a less extent) should have the answer.

(2) I agree that film to digital is big, and we probably eventually will go to "electronize/digitize" every piece on a camera just like the disappearance of analogue electronics. Computational photography is going to overcome any hardware limits. Video is going to replace still photography just like color to b+w. So yes, if we are talking about what camera is the next worth the money, I am with you. But I don't think any of these are small changes (regardless how small it feels like) and I don't think another DSLR will not make an important contribution to the technology development of this industry.

After all, from a user's perspective, we decide what camera we buy and how we use them. But from the camera's point of view, "they" decide and manipulate human beings in the same way. The only way that we can stop AI to control the world is to make them compete.
 

dolina

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Canon ended their DSLR line-up with a bang, by producing the best DSLR ever made, the 1DX Mark III. What could be better than that?

By the way, in Japan, the number four is considered an unlucky number and is usually avoided, it is correlated with death.
I think he wants a

- 5D Mark V after 2016
- 7D Mark III after 2014
- 6D Mark III after 2017

For me it was a good business decision for Canon to selectively spend R&D money on the EF mount. Though I'd have wanted them fully commit to the RF mount in 2018.

My guess is that the EF mount to cease production as early as 2024.

What I would have wanted though is CFast memory cards replacing CF 167MB/s cards in these EF bodies.

2008 CFast v1.0 300MB/s

- 2008 5D2
- 2009 7D
- 2009 1D4
- 2011 1Dx

2012 CFast v2.0 600MB/s

- 2012 5D3
- 2014 7D2
- 2015 5Ds & 5Ds R
- 2016 5D4
- 2016 1Dx2 (has CFast built-in but added to list to avoid confusion)

2019 CFexpress v2.0 1.0GB/s , 2.0GB/s & 4.0GB/s was immediately implemented into the

- 2020 1Dx3
- 2021 R5
- 2022 R3
 
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stevelee

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My 6D2 will outlive me. I’m not going to give up looking through the lens. It will not add much value to my estate in any event.

And, yes, I use Live View on it sometimes, and I occasionally use the EVF on my G5X II, so I can function without a mirror. A 5D IV might be a worthwhile upgrade for me, so some day if I get a good deal on a rebuilt one, I might go for it. I’d still have the 6D2 when I wanted to flip out the screen. Otherwise, I don’t see myself buying another Canon camera. The R5 is clearly superior to my cameras, but mostly in ways that I don’t need in reality. But were I spending that kind of money on a new camera, I’d go for a bigger sensor. I have taken very few pictures in July and August. It has been either too hot or raining, and no subjects have inspired me. Maybe fall weather and colors will inspire an impulse purchase, and I’ll go on a landscape kick.
 
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stevelee

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Oh, and as for our DNA similarities, if I recall correctly, my biology prof friend said that some of the genes we still have in common are turned off, and that is some of the difference.
 

Joules

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Oh, and as for our DNA similarities, if I recall correctly, my biology prof friend said that some of the genes we still have in common are turned off, and that is some of the difference.
Those numbers sure don't tell the whole story - we also share about 60% of our DNA with Fruit Flies and even Bananas! :oops:

Source: Pfizer.com

But just as with cameras, how much those numbers mean in terms of actual differences depends on who evaluates them and from what angle. I think it is quite a large difference. Certainly one allows Canon to viable produce and improve its lineup in the new market conditions we transitioned to since the rise of smartphone while the other appears to not do so. That's more than a 2% difference if you ask me.
 

Joules

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Just a curious thought...what if DSLRs had never been called that, but instead were just called DSLCs (Digital, Single Lens Cameras)? Since Mirrorless cameras are also DSLCs, would we making such a big deal comparing the two types - which in my mind- are not two types at all, merely 2 DSLCs with a minor difference?
I don't think the naming matters at all. A small technical difference can radically alter the complete product package if it implies a lot of other differences. If you just look down at a smartphone from a very abstract perspective, it is nothing but a small computer. But because the size also implies mobility and different form of interaction, its use case is wildly different.

Just eliminating the mirror implies so many downstream changes. Not all of them are positive for every use case, but they are different nonetheless. Having the focus sensors exposed to light virtually 100% of the time, instead of just for a fraction of a second each time the mirror moves; Having an image inside the viewfinder that can be manipulated to match 'what the camera sees' enables seemless integration of IBIS and digital IS; Removal of moving parts has implications for engineering, lifetime and production costs; Having free space between the lens and sensor eliminates shutter box artifacts and lifts restrictions for lens design, and so on and so forth.

Just because DSLR are also SLR, they sure had a lot of differences.
 

Antono Refa

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What I would have wanted though is CFast memory cards replacing CF 167MB/s cards in these EF bodies.

2008 CFast v1.0 300MB/s

- 2008 5D2
- 2009 7D
- 2009 1D4
- 2011 1Dx
AFAIK, CFast cards didn't hit the market until 2010. It would be pointless to release the 5Dmk2 & 7D with memory slots it would take customers at least a year to fill.
2012 CFast v2.0 600MB/s

- 2012 5D3
- 2014 7D2
- 2015 5Ds & 5Ds R
- 2016 5D4
- 2016 1Dx2 (has CFast built-in but added to list to avoid confusion)
The CFast v2.0 spec was released in the 2nd quarter of 2012, and the 5Dmk3 was released in March of 2012.

I dislike CompactFlash, but what's the point of discussing what Canon should have done 5 or 10 years ago?

2019 CFexpress v2.0 1.0GB/s , 2.0GB/s & 4.0GB/s was immediately implemented into the

- 2020 1Dx3
- 2021 R5
- 2022 R3
Buying cameras with the latest & greatest tech is exciting. I bought a laptop with Intel 11th gen CPU and thunderbolt port as soon as it hit store shelves, and pre ordered the first Samsung Galaxy S model sold locally with 5G reception. As my ex noted delightfully, its been over a year, and both home & work are still a mile away from the nearest 5G antenna.

I think its sensible for Canon to be conservative and wait till there's a working 3rd party slot it can integrate into its cameras, and cards on store shelves.
 

dolina

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AFAIK, CFast cards didn't hit the market until 2010. It would be pointless to release the 5Dmk2 & 7D with memory slots it would take customers at least a year to fill.

The CFast v2.0 spec was released in the 2nd quarter of 2012, and the 5Dmk3 was released in March of 2012.

I dislike CompactFlash, but what's the point of discussing what Canon should have done 5 or 10 years ago?


Buying cameras with the latest & greatest tech is exciting. I bought a laptop with Intel 11th gen CPU and thunderbolt port as soon as it hit store shelves, and pre ordered the first Samsung Galaxy S model sold locally with 5G reception. As my ex noted delightfully, its been over a year, and both home & work are still a mile away from the nearest 5G antenna.

I think its sensible for Canon to be conservative and wait till there's a working 3rd party slot it can integrate into its cameras, and cards on store shelves.
What's the point of replying to me in a rude tone?