Canon Executives Talk Upcoming Professional Mirrorless Options, Why They Limit the Features of Cameras

Canon Executives Talk Upcoming Professional Mirrorless Options, Why They Limit the Features of Cameras

Canon is in an interesting place right now, holding the largest market share, but seemingly behind competitors in innovation. In this interview, Canon discusses the future of professional mirrorless cameras, why certain cameras get limited features, and more.

DPReview sat down with several Canon executives recently and discussed much of their strategy in the camera market. Many have been frustrated with the company, accusing them of artificially hobbling the feature sets of cameras beyond a normal level and generally having a glacial pace of innovation. For example, in addressing the lack of simultaneous 4K and DPAF in the EOS M50, executives responded that that was simply something they would not put in a camera at that price point. With regards to professional mirrorless, Canon said:

...in terms of both autofocus and viewfinder [experience], we still believe there’s some work to be done before we can achieve the level of satisfaction that our users are looking for before they could confidently move from DSLR to mirrorless. That’s where we are right now. We’re still on the path to development.

Altogether, the interview is full of some interesting points that really illuminate Canon's philosophy and why they do things the way they do. Head over to DPReview for the full version.

Log in or register to post comments

56 Comments

Black Rock's picture

Key words: "... at that price point ...", we need to squeeze our Canon users as much as we can.

There, I fixed it for the Canon executives.

Pham Anh's picture

And at that price point, another company *hint: Sxxx * provide true 4K and decent AF on video 2 years ago.

Stephen Kampff's picture

I don't mind Sony's efforts, but Canon's Dual Pixel is still my favourite. Shooting on the C300 MKII really reminds me of what AF should feel like.

Not that this justifies holding it back on their mirrorless cameras.

Joseph Anthony's picture

Why is offering more features at a higher price point squeezing? That's simple, logical business. If all the millions they spend in R&D finally allows them to build a [add features here] camera and at the highest quality they can, I expect them to sell it at the highest price. When that tech gets old and R&D is recouped, I expect it to start showing up in the lower price points. That is business. If another manufacturer can do that, it is usually because time-to-market is more important than quality, which makes sense for them, especially if their goal is to grab market share.

"...in terms of both autofocus and viewfinder [experience], we still believe there’s some work to be done before we can achieve the level of satisfaction that our users are looking for before they could confidently move from DSLR to mirrorless."
I wonder if the folks who have already moved to mirrorless are just less picky about such things due to their subjects and, for a lack of a better word, "pickiness".

This is like de ja vu, all over again. We've had this discussion before. I have zero interest in any camera with an EVF. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. :-)

I enjoy actually the connection I get with my subjects by looking at them as opposed to looking at a live video of them. No matter how good an EVF is, I'll still know I'm not actually looking at them. It's a kind of Zen thing, I guess.

Jon Kellett's picture

I'm eyeing a move from Canon to either a Sony A7 III or a Panasonic G9.

I'd like to think that I'm pretty picky. After playing with the G9 I spent a long time prodding the raw files to see how they stood up to punishment (damn good, actually). As for the EVF, no issues at 10 FPS. There is a caveat though - If you set the EVF to emulate the exposure and use continuous AF with back button AF, the aperture opens up between frames resulting in a slight flicker. Don't know if it's the same "issue" with shutter button AF.

I believe that Canon's comments reflect a desire to hedge their bets, should they be unable to catch up on EVF tech. I'd love for Canon to release a 5D equivalent mirrorless in the next month or two, for similar cost to the G9 or A7 III - That's the only thing that would keep me with them.

I'm doing an informal poll. There are obvious reasons to switch to a mirrorless camera but what are yours? Anything you'll be giving up to do so?

Chris Rogers's picture

I'm switching because mirrorless cameras have pretty much caught up to the point to where i can use them for paid shoots and get great results. I also want to switch because they are a lot lighter and smaller. I'm tired of people looking at me like i'm a terrorist because i have a big black camera. mirrorless cameras are also getting some really good dynamic range. i'm mostly eyeing the fuji system because i like the color reproduction lens set and dynamic range you can get out of those cameras. I also really like that fuji listens to it's users and makes changes to their cameras and issues updates that reflect what users actually want. Oh yea they actually release updates.

Jon Kellett's picture

On paper the Panasonic G9 is a worse camera than my Canon in some important areas: 12b vs 14b raw files, half the battery life, lower (base) resolution. Then you look at reality...

The G9 performs better than my crop-sensor Canon, with greater DR, better ability to push shadows, higher FPS, pixel-shift 80Mpx images, IBIS + lens stabilisation, USB charging(!). Better weather sealing too, not that I had any complaints with my Canon shooting in the rain.

Then there are the features that only mirrorless has: Peaking, zebras, 20 fps (albeit with caveats), exposure simulation in the EVF if you want, small and light.

The G9 with lenses equivalent to my 24-105/F4 L + 70-200/F2.8 L weighs only 1335 grams. On it's own, a Canon 70-200/F2.8 lens weighs 1310 grams!

If shooting with a two lens pack, I can halve the weight by shooting with a G9 and Leica glass. I shoot street, travel, abstract and fine art - Having a smaller, lighter camera, that looks less "serious" whilst still having excellent optical quality and pro features is a big win. The only area where I _could_ be disadvantaged is abstract, due to the deeper DoF.

Whilst DPAF is theoretically superior to DFD, in practice you'd only notice if shooting _certain_ sports against a sports oriented SLR. I used to shoot the occasional triathlon, DFD would be fine for that.

I'm not saying that mirrorless is the right choice for everybody, however for me the only real question is G9 or A7 III. Definitely not Canon any more.

Thanks for the response. Very thoughtful and balanced! :-)

Mr Hogwallop's picture

More likely Sam, due to Canons conservative corporate culture it is not the pickiness or lack there by the mrroless users that caused the delay in their EVF tech. More likely they waited to see how the other companies were accepted by photographers. Once they decided mirrorless has staying power they had to play catch up and tell us they are late to the game because they care more.

Well, like the number of licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop, the world may never know! :-)

Kevin Hatcher's picture

or an american....

I'm mexican, under 30yo, and I still watched the commercial, I think they still show their commercials on tv, but mostly for the "tutsi bota".

I was 50 years old a ways back. I'm still an American. :-)

David T's picture

The AF on my 5D2 started to suck (especially non centered points). Video was so-so... an upgrade to MK3 or MK4 would have been 2.5k or 4k.

Panasonic G81 offered Touchscreen AF, Custom AF Areas, Eye AF, 4K, Wifi, IBIS for a third of that price. EVF was pleasant and AF good enough for concerts. Goodbye, Canon.

Thanks for replying! :-)

Pieter Batenburg's picture

@ sam fargo I just wonder if these executives have ever looked through the viewfinder of an entry-level Canon d-slr. It is like looking through a straw at a very tiny world. Their high-end ovf's are good, but this is not the case for their cheaper cameras.

Eric Salas's picture

To wrap it up for everyone, "Canon doesn't care about you or how they get your money so they will continue to throttle products and lag behind Sony".

You're welcome.

Chris Rogers's picture

That was a perfect summation. Thank you!

Pieter Batenburg's picture

And they will continue to do so as long as you buy their products. Vote with your wallets.

Chris Rogers's picture

Absolutely. The last product I bought from Canon was my 60D because I wanted both Nikon and Canon systems. I like my 60D but everything after is just suuuper incremental upgrades. I really don't have a reason to upgrade to the 70D or 80D. The last good pro offering was the 5DMKIII in my opinion. I won't buy canon products until they get their business together. I know this has nothing to do with photography but I refuse to buy anything that is published by EA and Activision the video game publishers for similar reasons. They constantly screw their customers, and dev studios by using draconian business practices and riddling every game with game breaking microtransactions. Then when a game doesn't sell because of those greedy issues they close entire Dev studios killing once great franchises. EA destroyed the battle field franchise and Activision ruined the Destiny franchise and the Bungie name. which is really sad because Destiny could have been and amazing game. I understand a company needs to make money and that's why they are in business but when you start putting profit far above your consumer is when you fail. You can not forget about your consumer.

Alex Armitage's picture

I'll still never understand why so many people complain about Canon's lineup. If you don't want a canon because you think it's outdated, buy something else!

It's like Toyota releasing a new car and everyone that probably doesn't even own a Toyota complains it doesn't have all the new features the Honda has. Just move on and buy what you want!

Michael Coen's picture

The problem, though, people who’ve been at it for a while have likely invested a great deal of money in lenses. So when you see other manufacturers offering features not available for your current lineup, it makes the switch difficult and expensive. If I’d invested in enough Canon lenses I might have similar complaints.

Alex Armitage's picture

I'd like this argument better if it wasn't for the fact that a lot of people buy Canon glass for their Sony/Panasonic cameras. I think it goes without saying that Canon probably has the best lens lineup in comparison to everyone outside of possibly Nikon.

Most people I know with Sony cameras don't like Sony's lens line so they just adapt canon lenses, sigma, etc. Just as an example.

Jon Kellett's picture

The issue is that adapted lenses have a reputation for lower AF performance than native lenses.

I know that this is not universally true, I also know that you don't always use AF (macro, video, etc) but mentally it's a big deal.

Also if you're using adapted glass on a mirrorless camera, it looks a little ridiculous. Not that how it looks should matter, as long as it works...

That said, if I do jump ship to an A7 III I'll be keeping some of my Canon L glass and selling my Sigma macro. G9, go native all the way.

Alex Armitage's picture

I've never been fond of electronic focus so I'd always use non sony glass on sony cameras personally.

Chris Rogers's picture

they might have thousands of dollars invested in lenses. reselling lenses won't net you what they are worth and you'd still have to shell out thousands more just get the lenses you need for the system you are moving to. I'm trying to move to fuji from Nikon but i would still need about 2-3 grand after selling my nikon gear to get the lenses i need. if it wasn't so expensive i would have switched a very long time ago.

More comments