Is it too late for Canon?

My Canon 7D with 50mm f1.4

My Canon 7D with 50mm f1.4

The rumor sites are working overtime trying to predict the arrival of Canon’s mirrorless system camera, with good reason. Canon is the only major camera manufacturer with no mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Now the rumors say that maybe, possibly next week Canon will introduce something. I too have waited with anticipation for Canon’s entry. How big will the sensor be? Would it work with EF Lenses? Would it look modern or retro? Would it purposely be neutered like the Nikon 1? But a funny thing happened as I waited for Canon. If found Olympus. I bought 3 bodies and 5 compatible lenses. Then I started to use these Olympus PEN cameras more and more. My beefy Canon 7D began to sit idle more and more.

Despite my foray into Olympus, in the back of my head, I was always thinking Canon; a mirrorless Canon would be great. I could use my existing Canon EF lenses and …. then I ran out of reasons. I know the new camera will use a different battery. Its native lens format will be a different, smaller mount. Maybe the menu structure will be similar to the EOS interface but maybe not; It might emulate the Powershot line instead. If EF lens compatibility is the only reason for the mirrorless Canon, then it really isn’t that important anymore. I now own the Olympus and Panasonic equivalents for my often used Canon prime lenses. The Olympus 45mm f1.8 is more than a match for my Canon 85mm 1.8. The Panasonic 20mm f1.7 is better and sharper than either my Canon 35mm f2 or Canon 50mm f1.4.

The only lens equivalent that I don’t own is my favorite Canon 70-200 f4 L. But you know that lens is so big that it would look a bit ridiculous on a small mirrorless camera. So having a Canon mirrorless that would support that lens might be a bit silly anyway. I like these mirrorless cameras because they are small. Anything that makes the camera bigger takes away from my reasons for having one. Which means that if I were to buy a hypothetical Canon mirrorless system camera, I would have to invest in yet another lens format. Something that I’m not enthusiastic about.

So what would it take for me to open my wallet and get a Canon? It would clearly have to do something that I can’t do right now. What if it has a hybrid phase detect and contract detect focusing system that works fast and accurately for all situations. Kind of what the Nikon 1 has but not constrained by a small sensor. What if we had a large, high quality sensor at least APS-C sized? The camera will definitely have to have in-body image stabilization. I also want a camera that does seamless still photography and video; something that I thought the Sony NEX-5 might do but I found it lacking. This Canon can go retro and small and have a approachable compact range finder design. I want a selection of large aperture, high quality prime lenses. And finally it needs to be relatively affordable. Not a high-end $2000+ (with lens) Leica wannabe like the Fuji X-Pro 1.

Ultimately to make this a success, Canon needs to make this camera good enough that it would cannibalize sales of its DSLRs. It can’t be purposely limited like the Nikon 1 series. Nikon tried to protect their DSLR sales and their point and shoot sales and aimed for a very narrow middle ground. Canon needs to come up with a killer mirrorless camera that would overwhelm the current contenders. Something that would be so good that the current micro 4/3, Sony NEX, Nikon 1 and even DSLR users will look at and take notice. Will Canon do that. I doubt it but I can hope. And if they don’t make the best possible mirrorless and compromise then I probably won’t be a customer. You see for Panasonic and Olympus they are playing for keeps with their micro 4/3 line. They don’t have a lucrative DSLR line that they can fall back on like Canon or Nikon. Is it too late for Canon? We will see soon enough. I can’t wait.

15 thoughts on “Is it too late for Canon?

  1. The stuff I got via web and through the grapevine are APS-C, and it will not be the same sensor as the G1X, new proprietary mount, adapter for EF lenses. The fanboy types will be gushing – we know that for sure.

    What would make me hesitant to but are the recent debacles 0 the G1x “orbs”, grips with allergens, heat related lens issues in the one compact… That is just too many silly strikes against in a short amount of time. Almost seems like no one is watching the store on the lower tier.

    What is making many too skittish to commit to saying Yes, a new camera is coming, has been the extremely tight lid on the whole thing. If there are no qualified leaks by end of today, I’d be wondering. Maybe they’ll just release a printer like they did a few years ago when everyone was expecting a camera. If I’m right about the printer, you owe me a Fish Taco 😉

    1. I agree that there is a distinct lack of leaks and pictures. Always interesting, this rumors game. However, even if it does not come next week, I think my post is relevant. What does Canon have to do with their mirrorless? For me, it needs to be something really spectacular to get me to buy.

      Libby, you can collect on the fish taco when you visit Austin 😉

  2. Just did some sleuthing and the Japanese sites are really running with that posted image. The foreign language posts have multiplied. You have a good note – I’m packing it in.

  3. Interesting. I wonder if it’s real or photoshopped? It looks too fugly to be a fake, I think. 22mm would seem to point to a possible 1.6 crop factor making it a 35mm?

    f2 is decent. At least it isn’t a wimpy f2.8 prime.

  4. I think the only thing that would do it for me would be for them to create something small, light, compact, but with the bigger sensor that would enable more choices in wide angle lenses because otherwise, I can’t imagine going back to hauling that big chunk of iron around. And anyway, I already gave it to my granddaughter and she loves it. A bigger sensor with a small, light body would be nice. But it would have to be very very special to get me to change at this point. I think I’ve married my PENs. We’re soul mates.

  5. I wish I could see the site that Libby provided the link to, but it appears to no longer be valid.

    Andy, I was in the exact same situation that you describe in your post. I kept waiting, and waiting for Canon to put out something better than the G11 and G12s (which I bought, but never got attached to). This spring I finally gave up on hoping, and bought the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and 4 lenses. This little system meets most, but not all of my photographic needs. I still occassionally need a tilt-shift lens for architecture, a nice 70-200 f/2.8 is very useful (at times), and I have 5 of the Canon 580EX II flashes that I occassionally get all of them going at the same time. Other than these niche uses, the small mirrorless cameras are more preferable to use.

    I would NOT want Canon to use the EF lenses. They need to be smaller. It would be a huge benefit if the new Canon also uses the existing flash units (it’s hard to imagine that it wouldn’t, since the G9 – G12 all did).

    1. Thank for your post Gregg. Looks like you and I are on the same page. I wonder how many other Canon users think the same way. Really interesting that the link is no longer active. Maybe that camera was the real deal. My first, gut reaction was that I was underwhelmed with the look of the camera, if in fact it was the real thing.

  6. I’m curious what Canon will announce but my hopes aren’t very high. It would need to be something that rivals the Fuji X-Pro 1 to get my attention and I don’t think that will happen. It would be really cool if it is a mirrorless that could take EF lenses. I can’t see why they came out with the latest pancake EF lens otherwise. It doesn’t do much to knock down the size of a DSLR. Something like a 70-200mm on a small mirrorless body would look silly and negate the benefit of the small body but since I rarely use that lens I wouldn’t mind being able to make use of it on occasion on a small body in lieu of a DSLR.

    1. Yes, I agree with you. Your benchmark os the Fuji X-Pro 1, mine is the Olympus PEN or OM-D. There is a lot of competition out there it will be interesting to see how Canon responds.

    1. I agree, Libby. No viewfinder and apparently minimal manual controls. I haven’t seen the specifics of operation yet but those controls look rather limiting to me. I know the main market is consumers – whether pro-sumer or amateur – but geez why does basic control seem to escape Camera manufacturers? I don’t want to have to hold my camera at arms length like a damned camera phone. I need a viewfinder, shutter and aperture dials, and a way to make quick ISO changes. Physical controls that I can manipulate while composing the shot, not cumbersome menus. Fast and accurate autofocus would be sweet. Sorry, Canon, I’m out. I suspected as much.

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