With Sony unveiling a new flagship a9 III model featuring a global shutter sensor, speculation instantly swirled whether Canon would follow suit for its next generation of mirrorless cameras.
But based on insider information received by Canon Rumors, Canon will forego global shutter technology in its upcoming EOS R5 Mark II and professional EOS R1 bodies.
Global shutter sensors capture the entire scene at once, eliminating distortions from rolling shutters that read each line of the frame sequentially, which is what has made Sony's a9 III one of the most groundbreaking cameras ever, as it features the world's first consumer full frame global shutter sensor.
Many wondered if Canon would replicate this advantage in future cameras to match Sony's technology. Canon is not new to global shutters, with the Super 35 sensor in EOS C700 GS cinema camera having one, along with industrial full frame global shutters appearing late last year.
However, sources indicate neither the EOS R5 successor nor the flagship EOS R1 arriving in 2024 will incorporate global shutters. Canon will instead focus on maximizing performance based on traditional rolling shutter sensors, with the rumor being that readout speed will be sufficiently fast to handle most situations.
Canon's commitment to the rolling shutter is likely based on strategic calculation of global shutter's costs versus benefits for its target users. While eliminating distortion, global shutters lose light during transfer, reducing dynamic range and low-light performance, something that is particularly valued in 1 Series cameras, where high-ISO performance is often more valued than resolution and other factors. This trade-off may not align with expectations from Canon's core stills shooter customer base, especially after Sony's announcement, however. Sony's market may differ, with more videography-first buyers willing to accept smaller sacrifices in still image quality for distortion-free video.
Nonetheless, it suggests Canon's readout speeds on the next cameras will impress compared to predecessors. The EOS R5 Mark II and EOS R1 will likely remain optimized for elite image quality, but faster sensor scanning will slash rolling shutter, likely closing the gap with global shutters, though not equaling them. Global shutters will hold the advantage in flash sync speeds and extreme action shots.
The news, while perhaps disappointing, isn't particularly surprising, as Canon tends to be rather conservative a lot of the time, opting for refining tried and tested technology as long as possible before rewriting paradigms. No doubt, global shutters will eventually make their way to consumer Canon cameras, but it might take a bit longer than some may have hoped.