Canon Breaks the Silence on Viltrox Lenses

Canon Breaks the Silence on Viltrox Lenses

News recently broke that Viltrox, a brand known for their affordable lenses, has stopped manufacturing for the Canon RF mount after rumors that Canon had asked them to pull their products. Canon recently confirmed that news, and it certainly raises questions about the future of third-party lenses for their mirrorless cameras. 

The German Photografix Magazin published a statement from Canon Germany on the issue:

SHENZHEN JUEYING TECHNOLOGY CO.LTD, manufactures auto focus lenses for Canon RF mount under the brand name “Viltrox”. Canon believes that these products infringe their patent and design rights and has therefore requested the company to stop all activities that infringe Canon’s intellectual property rights.

It is not clear what exactly about Viltrox lenses was infringing upon Canon's patents and rights or if Canon plans to go after other companies with RF lenses on the market. Both Sigma and Tamron have been noticeably absent from Canon's RF mount, and it is not clear when or if we can expect lenses from them. Canon has had their foot on the gas when it comes to lens design, with prices to match, and they may be trying to protect their own lineup, but if that's the case, it isn't clear just how strictly they plan to do so. 

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Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Whether they’re in the right or not, Canon is just going to look bad in this situation.

Very much so.

I use a Canon RP and plan on upgrading to an R5. This news has made me reconsider moving away from Canon altogether. Conventional wisdom recommends choosing the lens ecosystem rather than a camera. By that standard, if I were choosing a camera today, I would go with a Sony for this reason.

I recently moved from M4/3 to FF. It never occurred to me to go Canon simply because of the closed ecosystem.

I have a canon r5 and i'll only buy sigma lenses , it's more , I'll never paid for super expensives canon lenses. When the times comes and still canon insists in this market strategy I will be forced to sell the camera and change the brand to other.

It's most likely very simple - Canon and Nikon don't want 3rd parties in the mount without any control to sell their lenses more (at least at the moment), like it was before with decades old DSLR mounts.
It's probably unrealistic to sue makers of manual lenses with no electronic contacts and no AF/exif/etc functionality, because it's just a bunch of glass and metal with no communication, but modern AF lenses on modern properly patented mount is a different story.
I suspect same happened with Samyang/Rokinon RF AF lenses, they just "vanished".
In case of Nikon, they do it a bit smarter with the deal with Tamron, that now makes 28-75/2.8 directly under the Nikon Z brand and is apparently allowed to introduce their own Tamron lens like the recent 17-28/2.8 under the Tamron brand for Nikon Z mount.
Still seems to me short-sided given the lead Sony ecosystem has, but who knows.

I must be missing something here. The article states "SHENZHEN JUEYING TECHNOLOGY CO.LTD, manufactures autofocus lenses for Canon RF mount under the brand name “Viltrox”." I am not sure how Canon could mess with Contactless lenses?

They are not contactless. They are AF lenses.

Voigtlander have produced some manual lenses with electronic contacts for Nikon but don't know why Canon are being so pigheaded. Yes this strategy worked in the DSLR days with third party reverse engineered lenses but people will leave Canon if they don't start allowing third party AF lenses. All Canon have is expensive L lenses and mediocre non-L lenses, still with lens hoods as overpriced extras.

Canon is giving me good reasons not to stay with Canon.

Viltrox infringed on Canon profit margins.

So glad I have Sony, really like my Viltrox lenses too.

Woah... Canon really shot themselves in the foot with this. And here I was, considering the R5 as a potential purchase.
Guess not anymore.

Canon, and Nikon..... The reason you're still so far behind Sony is because of the horrible lens lineup... Accept all the help you can get in filling it up 🤦🏻‍♂️

Meh....I'll stay with Canon. My current third party lenses work very well adapted to my R5, better than they did with my 5DIV. And my EF lenses work better with my R5. But it's horses for courses. If you don't want to adapt lenses, then I can see your point.

Let's see if some entity has the will to take Canon to court.

When Canon allows outside companies to make affordable quality lenses I'll buy a Canon R mount camera. Until they do that, I will not buy one. Just that simple,as an amateur I cannot afford Canon's better lenses.;

I have a Canon R5 and was thinking about purchasing an R3 but when news like this hits it makes me want to move to Nikon or Sony. Canon is creating a little monopoly on Canon. This kind of stuff not only makes Canon look bad but hurts innovation and the ability to purchase cheaper quality glass.

Canon is right. Just like apple, canon wants to preserve the integrity of the user experience. When so much of today’s equipment is software driven, the ability of the vendor to implement change is critical. Unless there’s an established licensing procedure which would allow third party manufacturers early access to future improvements to help maintain compatibility there is a constant exposure for customers, others make allowances - micro 4/3, l-mount alliance, sony - for example. Canon chooses otherwise.

If you think Canon are right to restrict lens choices because of 'user experience' then go ahead and use Canon if it makes you happy. Me, I like my Voigtlander E mount lenses with the sort of character you don't get from the high end clinical (corrected) lenses, plus with the advantage of electronic contacts. Sometimes the 'integrity of the user experience' comes at the expense of choice. For those unable to afford L lenses, the choices for native RF mount Canon lenses is pretty low.

How would Dick be limited when adapted third party lenses currently available work better with the R cameras than they did with the DSLRs? I have Tamron and Sigman lenses that tell me that you don't need RF lenses to get great performance.

I could understand if the adapter weighed 3 pounds, but it's only a few ounces. You can choose to adapt or you can choose to stick with RF only. The fact that you have two great choices makes Canon R cameras quite attractive.

But, it's easy to sing with the choir...I get that.

Yes, the inevitable adapter argument. Dick talks about 'the integrity of user experience' which in his comment means native lenses designed for compatibility with future camera releases and he isn't talking about or mentioning adapted lenses. Adapting lenses is sadly the only way to extend the lens lineup for Canon RF. Good job there are plenty of third party lenses being made for other systems that can be adapted. Personally, I hate adapting, especially with primes like Voigtlander or Zeiss where you lose the electronic communication.

Your choice. I can't afford Zeiss class lenses, so that's no concern to me. As long as my lenses work as well or better as is the case, I'd say owning a Canon, at least for me, is a real joy.

Comparable would be Apple not allowing non-Apple software in the app store. They control things through the app store, and take their cut... they don't shut 3rd parties out.

Sounds absolutely ridiculous. What are you going to say, sigma lens users are calling Canon to get their lenses fixed or because focus is not good? Lol cmon.

I'm a canon guy, however I will not be purchasing any RF L lenses unless I hit a lotto of or something. The prices simply don't make sense. The 70- 200 is somewhere around $2,400 dollars? Non L lenses are compromised in optics and quality. And after 30 years or so, Canon refuses to build a non L 50 mm.. so you're only two choices are super cheap nifty fifty or a $2,000 50 mm. It is idiotic by any measure. And it's nothing different than taking their 2500 body and sticking a 20 megapixel sensor in it which is less than even EOS M bodies.

Thanks to Canon not making the smaller bodies that I want, eventually I'll also be a Sony owner with a sigma lens on it. They can take their cripple hammer and smash their heads with it LOL.

I don't really care about all of the cheapo lenses, but I am glad that Nikon is apparently dealing with Tamron and getting some Tamron lenses introduced to the Z mount. I hope they are able to do the same with Sigma. I did have a Sigma lens at one time that was excellent. I can't imagine a scenario that would ever have me buying another Sony product.

Sony owns a decent stake in Tamron. They also make most of the Nikon sensors.

Oh, I am sure if you go through supply chains you will find all sorts of cross-pollenization. I have not regretted a Nikon purchase and have had terrible experiences with Sony purchases and (lack of) support. So, whatever, I'd be stupid to buy another one.

Canon took a page from Sony when they went mirrorless. Canon, don't stop now.

How so? Sony has many 3rd party lenses available for their mirrorless cameras, unlike Canon.

That's exactly what I was saying. With Sony's success with mirrorless, Canon followed suit. Now, with Sony's wide range of lenses with the help of third parties, Canon should continue to follow suit.

I have 5-6 EF-RF adapters... so if Sigma made some new EF-compatible lenses, well I just might have to buy some.
I hope the EF mount will still be open!

I'm not sure if the EF mount was ever open. AFAIK, companies like Sigma and Tamron had to reverse engineer it.

You know what that's true. Sigma could still snatch a little part of the canon market simply by making EF mounts and making sure they work as well as possible.

I mean they might as well make a new 50 mm cuz it's not like Canon has one. 50 mm for Canon has been wide open for a very long time. My workhorse lens is my 51.4 BF but that took four copies to get one that worked well, and once I go below to eight the focus absolutely falls apart. Thankfully 2.8 is shallow enough that I really go below. Only recently I experienced shooting 1.4 with absolute clarity and it is so amazing to be able to do so.

Of course that wasn't with a Canon lens, that was a 30 mm 1.4 for EOS M..

That's too bad. I think Canon is going to end up painting themselves into a corner with this decision. Their decision makers will most likely be forced into opening things up to 3rd party lens makers after they lose more customers. Every day I see posts from Canon shooters saying they are fed up and switching to Sony or Nikon.

Canon crippled their R6 and R5 cameras' video recording times in order to prevent overheating damage and then had to change direction with a firmware update to reverse that decision due to hybrid shooters switching to other brands, mostly to Sony. Now Nikon is letting Tamron make Z mount lenses.

I don't think Canon will be able to hold out too long on this. Seems like doing licensing/royalty agreements with Sigma and Tamron, at least, would be beneficial to Canon. Canon might have to lower its prices a little but would make that up on the licensing/royalties end and would have happier customers and more of them. And Canon could continue on its merry way making new L glass options because there will still be plenty of purists and pros who will only buy Canon. Canon would also be able to continue making their entry level RF mount lenses cuz I'm sure there will be a good market for those. Then Canon would be set with entry level Canon RF glass, intermediate-priced 3rd party RF glass, and high-end Canon RF L glass.

In the about 25 years that Canon made APSC-DSLR cameras they really didn't make any good lenses for that format. It seems now that with the introduction of the new APSC R7 and R10 cameras Canon has no intention of making good lenses for these cameras either. Since Canon clearly doesn't want to be bothered they should urge Sigma and Tamron and anyone else to make the Mirrorless APSC lenses for the Canon cameras so Canon doesn't have to.

I don't get it. Canon is relying on brand loyalty but Sigma and Tamron have loyal customers too. Canon is trying to exert control over their customers the way that Apple and Tesla do. Wait until Canon exerts copyright over the RAW files forcing customers to purchase inferior Canon software or until Canon introduces their own memory card format. I wonder what those are going to cost? I wonder if Canon users will have to pay Canon a monthly fee to keep the cameras working.

Is this just hyperbolic on my part? Well maybe the memory card thing but you get my comparison to Apple and Tesla. Exclusivity and control.

Happy picture taking everyone!

The funny thing is the most rabid fanboys are Tesla drivers and Apple users. So it seems to work.

Foot, meet pistol.

This can't possibly be good for Canon in the long run.

I'm very happy using a system (µ4/3rds) with a published mount specification.

I have no issues with Canon's position. Protecting intellectual property is a basic principle of many if not most companies that create and produce their own products. Although I don't have many lenses, what I do have are the L lenses as I know I'm getting excellent pieces of glass. Also, If you do want to save on the cost of lenses and want to add to your lens portfolio, you always have the option of buying a 3rd party EF lens and use the adapter for the R series cameras. There are still many available at very good prices and good quality.

Apparently, you and I are in the minority. Reading posts at other internet sites and You Tube, I sense a bit of 'Canon is being uppity, so I'll show them' kind of responses. If my adapted lenses didn't work so well with my R5, I might join the bandwagon, but I'm really happy with the increased performance over my 5DIV.

I'm adapting my EF lenses as well but I do like that the new lenses are smaller. I too think that the R5 is a better camera than the 5D-IV and worth having regardless of anything else.

I agree about the new RF lenses. But, that's not supported by my photo piggy bank. Doesn't matter to me, though, because the performance of my current lenses is better than before, so I'm happy.

I'm in agreement with you as well. It seems so backwards for people to want to buy a 4000 camera and stick a cheap third party lens on it. Personally, my style requires long focal length lenses and the third party lenses in that category are horrendous. Slow af and soft. But I think lots of people want a cheap wide angle prime for video and af performance and IQ aren't as much of a priority. But you certainly get a feeling that the upset folks have a spoiled grapes attitude. I say, if you want to base your whole purchase decision on cheap lenses, then go buy a Sony. I couldn't care less about those threatening to leave. Go already! Buy your camera of choice and enjoy it! You don't need to broadcast it to those in your amen corner lol

In all fairness, there are some pretty good third party lenses. One I covet is the Sigma 105 f1.4. It's a proven winner, albeit not a favorite for those that like lighter stuff. I would love to be able to afford Canon's top line super telephotos like the 600 f4, but I can't, so I do with the lesser 150-600 Sigma zoom.

Then just don't buy into they system. I don't think you can say it's "bad for customers". Buyers have no right to assume that any company will comply with third party companies to help cannabilize their own sales. I'm sure Canon has decided that as of right now, it is not a sound business decision. Maybe they change that in the future, but for now they want to keep their intellectual property for their own use. Buyers are free to purchase elsewhere if they can't live without their cheap Tamron or Sigma lenses.

It's strange how people commenting here think that Canon is going to lose money by selling less cameras because of this decision. If you look at the situation with a business eye, and not as a single consumer who feels slighted, you can probably look beyond the smaller picture. So a potential new customer might want to but that brand new R7 which is relatively inexpensive. That consumer who is looking for less cost as a buying decision is probably not the same person who is going to turn around and suddenly decide to buy an expensive lens. I'm sure the profit margin on selling a single camera to a consumer once is way less than selling a more expensive camera and a whole system of lenses to someone who isn't going to buy a camera and then be done. It's common sense. Canon makes its $200 profit off that person and never has return business. Someone buying an R5 and serious about photography is probably buying RF glass. That's someone who is going to be a repeat customer most likely, and who is putting more profits into their pockets. I'm sure Canon has studied the issue and seen that people who tend to buy aftermarket products are "one and done" buyers. I am sure I'll hear the argument that, "Well, they may buy native glass in the future". I bet Canon has spent a ton of money on focus groups and research that says that's not the case.

I always assumed there was a per lens licensing deal when it came to non-mfg glass.

Canon has lost me . I currently shoot with a Canon dslr set up , full frame and aps-c , upwards of a dozen lenses , only 3 of which are from canon . I am looking to move to mirrorless . I had been waiting for some sigma/tamron glass to hit the market before committing to an R6.
I have since tested my favourite lenses adapted onto a friends sony body and they worked fine .
Bye bye canon.