Canon and Nikon Both Preparing to Respond to Sony and Fujifilm With Professional Mirrorless Cameras

Canon and Nikon Both Preparing to Respond to Sony and Fujifilm With Professional Mirrorless Cameras

With Sony and Fuji continuing to win over photographers with their quickly evolving mirrorless options, many are waiting for Canon and Nikon to respond with truly professional-level mirrorless cameras. Those responses should be coming relatively soon. 

Keep in mind that "relatively soon" means likely within the next year or so, but the news is definitely good for those waiting for Canon and Nikon's mirrorless cameras. The Nikkei Asian Review published a small article that summarized the philosophies that have kept Canon and Nikon from aggressively pursuing mirrorless and how their hand has essentially been forced by Sony. Nikkei notes that both companies felt that their DSLRs have "strong brand power" and profitability and did not want to cannibalize those with self-competing mirrorless options, but Sony's progress in the market has made it impossible to continue to ignore professional-level mirrorless options and thus, those are being pursued as we speak. Of course, the critical question of lens mounts remains unanswered, which could very well be the determining factor for a lot of buyers who are wondering if their existing lens libraries will be compatible with the new cameras. Nonetheless, the next year or so for should be an exciting one for the industry, as mirrorless continues to evolve and competition grows.

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28 Comments

Mr Hogwallop's picture

This is sort of like in the 70s-80s when the Big Three car makers thought that cars from Japan and Germany were toys...CaNikon will catch up to PanaSony eventually but with PanaSony having a 4 year head start it will be tough.

And how will Canon slice up their mirrorless features in order to hobble some cameras and get you/us to buy the higher end models.

Michael Holst's picture

Canon/Nikon could find themselves in a bit of a dilemma when they try to avoid their mirrorless models from cannibalize their high end models. Sony has pretty much gone head first into the mirrorless market and have built up a extremely hard position to compete against. This will be interesting for sure.

user-156929's picture

You're assuming Canon and Nikon have been sitting on their collective butts all this time. Unless they're stupid, and they're not, they've been developing the various technologies that will make their way into their respective cameras. Panasonic and Sony, on the other hand, have defined systems they're more or less locked into.

Mr Hogwallop's picture

No, not their butts, they've been sitting on their big piles of DSLRs hopling the mirrorless "fad" passes.

user-156929's picture

I can believe Canon is sitting on big piles of DSLRs. Nikon, however, can't make D850s fast enough for any to even hit the shelves since they're still filling preorders. Retailers are probably using that space to hold all their unsold Panasonics and Sonys.

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Canikon is tooled up for selling DSLR and will be selling them for a long time, as long as people are buying them. When I said piles of DSLR I meant their entire catalog of cameras is DSLR and Coolpix heavy. Not referring to one hot selling model.
When the big two introduce their high end mirrorless, if they play it right the cameras will be successful. It'll be interesting.

I agree. Canon and Nikon had far more to lose with an ill-developed product than did Sony. They let Sony, Olympus and Panasonic do the painful field testing and R&D.
Meanwhile they were able to sell a ton of DSLRs to those less committed hobbyists who saw them as "real" cameras.

user-156929's picture

I'm not sure I understand your last sentence. You seem to be saying only "less committed hobbyists" use DSLRs and they're *not* real cameras.

Nope, that is not what I meant.
The large number of DSLRs sold is because the layperson sees them as more "pro". As the camera market is kept afloat by amateurs and gifts to teenagers this does not go unnoticed.
When every trope about professional photography is linked to the sound of an old SLR with a drive or a DSLR with the loud rattle of a flipping mirror, the small quiet ML camera seems more akin to a snap shooters toy.
Note that even phones use the artificial DSLR sound to say "camera".

user-156929's picture

Understood. Thanks for the clarification.

It will take them that long to catch up on lens line up at least and people already complain about Sony's lack of FF Mirrorless lens selection, anything Canon/Nikon comes out now will likely be that much worst.

They both have a complete FF lens lineup already out there with their potential clients. With already perfected lens designs, etc. All they have to do is use the same mount or offer an adapter without optical elements that could degrade IQ and that’s it.

I agree Neu. Nikon will surely let their DSLR lenses be used on their new mirrorless. If they didn't and you had to buy new format lenses, people would just switch to Sony. Owning a lot of Nikon glass a key reason for people staying with Nikon.

Just remember that they, like others who have ventured into mirrorless, will have to re-engineer lenses, focusing system algorithms, and many other retooling systems which will take a bit of time and a lot of $$$. I’m sure it will be a bumpy ride for both of them. As a footnote, even mirrorless cameras are down 11%, so it may be a stretch for Canon or Nikon to invest heavily at this point.

Anonymous's picture

I'm not big on the tech side here, but out of curiosity, do these systems differ all that much from those used by current DSLR's in Live View mode?

If it's not all that different, I'm really not sure how bumpy the ride will actually be since even if they use a brand new mount, they will likely have OEM adapters which should preserve all of the performance of their current lenses which would give them plenty of time to release a new line of native lenses.

If you look at the current generation of third party adapters and how well Sony cameras are able to use Canon glass for instance, it makes sense to me that Canon (who don't have to reverse engineer anything here) could make an adapter that would perform perfectly right off the bat.

Nikon would probably have more to worry about than Canon here since their current Live View autofocus is not as good as Canon's and the nature of their legacy F-mount glass (lots of screwdriver AF-D lenses, and the fact that until only very recently they've been using a mechanical aperture) probably requires a much more complex adapter than Canon's if they really want to preserve the functionality of as many of those lenses as possible.

David Penner's picture

The problem will be that if Canon releases adapters for their mirrorless they most likely wont be any better then just using an adapter on a Sony. From what I've heard the adapters on the last gen Sonys is not far off native.

Live View uses contrast detection AF which is generally slower. Canon dual pixel AF may help to get the lead, Nikon - have no idea how far behind they are in baking Phase detection AF into sensor.

They filed a patent for on-sensor multi-pixel PDAF in 2012, it only got approved recently. http://hi-lows-note.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2017-08-03

Tomash Masojc's picture

Nikon had mirror less with not bad live view focus, and it was still better than in their latest dslr's. And it was few years ago.

Phil Bautista's picture

The best line for CaNikon to take is to use their current FF DSLR mounts so that their mirrorless cameras can take full advantage of their current lens lineup. If they choose to follow the Sony route, abandoning their A-mount and coming up with a new E and FE mount, then it will take quite a while to build up a new lens lineup. In that period, Sony could easily fill up the holes and gaps in their lens lineup and become the new king of the block.

Oli Aponte's picture

I'm a Nikon shooter..and this is what I think a Nikon mirrorless should have.. In Body Image Stabilization, 4K at atleast 60p, a LOG format, and a mount compatible with their current dslr lenses...

You can’t have both shorter flange and the same mount. But having native adspter and support of at least modern lens would be great.

In body stabilization and fast continuous video autofocus. The lack of autofocus on the excellent D850 makes a lot of us who shoot vid yearn for it. If the stabilization in the D850 was on par with Sony and it had video continuous autofocus it would satisfy all my needs. The image quality of stills is terrific. So is the video quality.

Anonymous's picture

I think the approach of Nikon is very clever. They sit and observ the tops and flops of Sony, Fuji and other which are spending a lot of money in an evolving market. When the things sorts out Nikon wil start to produce saving a big bunch of cash on experiments.

Kursad Sezgin's picture

Maybe we can see adapters to let Canon mirrorless cameras use Sony mirrorless lenses. This would be interesting. Sony was highly criticized by CaNikon fans by not having a full range of lenses by the time. I wonder if the same critics would go to CaNikon.

Phil Bautista's picture

My biggest issue with Sony lenses is their pricing. Getting a Sony lens adapted to a Canon mirrorless is a terrible idea, AFAIC. I switched from Canon to Sony and Olympus because of the feature set on their bodies but I continue to use my EF lenses on them because Canon/Sigma/Tamron/Tokina have a bigger selection and better price points. I would prefer to see Canon use the EF mount in this new mirrorless range.

This is a misleading title and content lacking any citation or valuable information. You end up questioning the quality of the platform...

Alex Cooke's picture

Misleading how? It states a true fact and even qualifies it with a time span. The citation is in the fourth sentence ("The Nikkei Asian Review published...") and whether you find the information valuable is subjective. Judging by the comments, most people did.