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Canon's Mirrorless Camera Emerges, but Why Should We Care?

07.21.12 @ 2:01PM Tags : , ,

It’s been rumored for awhile, but images have finally appeared that show the new Canon mirrorless camera in all its glory. With pictures like this surfacing, there’s a good chance that an announcement is not far away. The new Canon mirrorless mount lenses will use the name EF-M, and it seems they will also be video-optimized lenses based on the STM lettering. Those lenses were first introduced with the new Canon T4i, but they aren’t completely silent as we might have first imagined. With so many other mirrorless stills cameras out there (with the GH2 featuring the best video quality), what makes this one special?

The Verge had this to say about the photos that appeared on a Japanese site:

The sensor size remains unclear. Canon Watch’s sources claim the EOS M will employ an APS-C sensor, but it’s possible that Canon could reuse the slightly smaller 1.5-inch chip found in the G1 X. Otherwise it looks to be a small, simple, and accessible camera — there’s no mode dial or viewfinder in sight, and the design is decidedly closer to the Nikon J1 or Panasonic GF5 than the enthusiast-focused Sony NEX-7 or Fujifilm X-Pro1.

CanonPriceWatch expects the announcement next Monday, but it is not confirmed just yet. It’s possible that the camera will deliver video quality as good as the Canon DSLRs, but its form factor and possible native support for Canon lenses would be a bigger draw. The 18-55mm lens in the picture below would seem to indicate that the camera will have a rather large sensor, as it makes sense that Canon would want to release a wide to telephoto lens as the kit lens. Either way, to me, this camera isn’t all that exciting for video. What is exciting, however, is the possibility that this mount will make its way into the cinema cameras from Canon. This would open up an entirely new world for lenses that we’ve never seen before on a Canon product. I’ve said multiple times that Canon is missing a huge potential audience for users between $5,000 and $10,000, and this mount would be far better than a standard EF mount (or PL mount, for that matter).

The GH2 and FS100 are both easily adaptable to virtually any lens out there, and this is part of the reason for their popularity. People don’t mind adapters. An unchangeable native mount is not the end of the world, but it limits you to a certain selection of lenses. With a mirrorless mount like the one Canon is creating, we should be able to mount almost any lens out there with relative ease.

It might be wishful thinking, but Canon would be well-served to include this mount on their next entry level digital cinema camera.

What do you guys think? Is this camera interesting for video? Would you like to see Canon use this mount on their next digital cinema camera?

[via The Verge & Digicame & CanonPriceWatch]


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Description image 17 COMMENTS

  • john jeffreys on 07.21.12 @ 3:42PM

    I like the texture on the focus/zoom rings. Looks high end. But I have the feeling that they are going to price this thing at like 800 dollars or something totally unreasonable, typical Canon and their recent behavior. I bet it would be a great social/walkaround/party camera, or one for quick and noiseless set photography.

    • john jeffreys on 07.23.12 @ 2:20AM

      WOW I TOTALLY GUESSED IT RIGHT the official price is 800 with the 22mm lens.

      Canon is comedy

  • I’d be interested if, like the Panasonic, it can shoot longer video. It would be great to have as part of my collection. I could use this as a primary for a wedding (if it shoots 2hr+) and do pick up shots with my T3i. I could have one set of lenses for both long-form and shoots made of quick shots. That’s worth doing.

  • Adapters are never going to be as perfectly aligned or stiff as native mounts, and yes microns matter to IQ. So in general I don’t view an “adapter-expected” design as high-end or even midrange pro-level. I would put the C300 into the latter category alongside the Scarlet and F3. The EF-M mount could go on a low-end pro camera in the category of the FS700 I suppose, but I don’t think Canon wants buyers of pro level bodies to get cheap lenses from them or any lenses from other vendors particularly. So no they won’t humor you.

    I’d just keep the pressure on Canon on the main complaints of resolution, color depth, codec quality, frame rate, cost, aliasing/moire in the under-$3000 segment, etc. I’m sure this Nikon-1-like toy doesn’t help any of those points. Here’s hoping for a good GH3 or a firmware update for the RX100 that allows 24p. In the meantime, there is Blackmagic for your wide lenses/tele shots…

    • Adapters can do all of those things, but the camera’s design has to help facilitate that. A perfect example is the Cinevate adapter for the FS100. I’ll bet they are actually stronger than the native mount, and they allow backfocus to be adjusted thanks to the short flange distance of the FS100.

      The idea is that Canon will start making better lenses for the mirrorless camera, and just like Sony, those will be the native lenses for that cinema camera. I would expect that just like Nikon, Canon would be able to make a very good and solid adapter for their own EF lenses on the mirrorless mount.

      • Well the EF to EF-M adapter is about the size of the Canon 40mm f/2 pancake, so if you get your wish there will be no flange-to-sensor problem with that mount. However I’m not sure if it does the full Super35mm area in width, that camera is just APS-C which is a bit narrower than Super35.

        The EOS M is too big to be small and too weak to compete with the Rebel, which it is just a miniaturization/simplification of. So I ordered an RX100, for steadicam and slo-mo and pocket walkaround.

        I think the opportunity remains in full frame. Super35 may be the old standard, but bigger is better in sensors and why not make progress. Everyone knows how to covert focal lengths in their head now.

  • Earlier this week Panasonic announced pre-GH3 cameras with 1080p60 at 28mbps, expanding beyond AVCHD. That’s an appealing concept for Panasonic. Most newish NLEs can handle 1080p60 and mix frame rates.

    Conversely, Canon has its advantages because it can keep 5DM2/3 shooters in the same family. Those with EF lenses can maybe consider smaller body options if Canon offers an EF adapter with electronic contacts, AF, etc. However, I don’t fathom how compact camera lenses will fit full-frame bodies, and in fact EF-S vignettes on full-frame. I think it’s a one-way street: EF lenses on EF-M bodies.

    It seems some 5D shooters have an M43 system as well, so perhaps Canon’s mirrorless array is an attempt to sway shooters into one company. If I had a 5D system, I wouldn’t want to maintain a second system because of incompatibilities, redundancies, and expenditures.

  • Stu Mannion on 07.21.12 @ 8:46PM

    With the EOS branding and the 18-55 lens it’d have to be a APS-C sensor right?

    If there’s a EF-M to M smart adaptor available then moire and record times is what I care about. Mind you it might not even have manual control!

    • Yes that’s why I wrote that above. There’s no way it’s much smaller than APS-C if it’s not already APS-C.

  • I would have to agree with you. I think there is a ton of potential for cinema cameras in the 5-10k budget range. Not only would budget film makers be interested, but all professionals. A new line of lenses to work with is always a plus and allows for new creativity to flow with new users and old ones as well. I like your logic on this outlook Joe.

    • Yeah I think once we get a few more real digital cinema cameras in the 5-10 range it’s going to really get interesting and open up options for shooters. The more competition the better!

      • absolutely! Competition really drives companies to create great products and competitive prices. I remember you posting in an older article about how there will probably be some great startup companies in the near future that will truly come out of left field and give the big companies a run for their money. With funding sites like kickstarter and such, the sky is the limit with product development within the budget cinema field.

  • No viewfinder!!!!
    Why do these camera manufacturers neglect such a key feature from what is supposed to be a DSLR alternative?
    LCD- fine for consumer cameras, but most enthusiasts rely on a VF, especially on sunny days.

  • Viewfinder? Richard you’re funny