A recent article by boss man Cookie reported how the demand of DSLR cameras may delay a professional mirrorless camera from Canon. It makes some sense that Canon would concentrate efforts on a system that still has a great deal of demand, however, I wonder if this an excuse or a mistake?
Canon recently announced the development of the feature filled 1DX Mark III which I think could be an incredible addition. This camera is set to feature some brilliant specifications including 20 frames per second using the mechanical shutter and the ability to shoot raw video. I'm genuinely interested in this camera because it offers so much all in one body. The only real complaint I've seen several people make is that they didn't produce a camera such as this with the RF mount. The future for Canon cameras is indubitably with their mirrorless RF mount and it's a fair complaint to make, especially considering how many people are looking to shift over.
The EF Demand Is Real
I don't think anyone can sit and say that no one wants another EF mount camera because that's simply not true. I know that I am personally quite happy to continue with a Canon DSLR; they work extremely well in every condition I need them to. Most of Canon's current customer base is still shooting with an EF mount DSLR and due to this it's somewhat of a tough sell to get them to shift over in huge numbers. The lens line-up currently available for the EF mount is vast in comparison to any other system on the market. To add to that, many people don't like to adapt lenses because it is a little bit of a pain. Due to this Canon continues to sell a significantly greater number of EF mount cameras in comparison to their new RF mount. This of course also has to do with the fact that their mirrorless system is still pretty young and the lens line-up hasn't matured enough. I'm assuming this last point is actually the main reason for the higher demand for their EF mount cameras. The RF mount hasn't matured enough and it's pretty obvious this is the main cause for its lack in demand. The question is, would the demand be greater and grow faster if Canon actually produced a "pro" grade camera with an RF mount.
The current cameras, the EOS R and the EOS RP aren't exactly ground breaking and were both met with a great deal of criticism. Canon essentially rehashed old tech and put a new mount on it. Not just that but Canon removed one of the storage slots which was a frustrating choice and it felt like their approach to mirrorless was half hearted at best. Sure, the lenses are fantastic and I've raved on about how incredible they are but that's only one part of what builds demand behind a new system. Could Canon's reluctance to produce a pro level mirrorless camera be adding to the greater demand for their DSLRs?
An Inadequate Autofocus System
Canon's dual pixel autofocus system is incredible. It's one of the best systems currently on the market. It's so good that when it comes to video it still outperforms all current Sony mirrorless cameras. One of my favorite features is the ability to tap to focus using the touch screen and DPAF will follow and track the subject far better than any other camera on the market. For video, there simply isn't anything better. The problem is that DPAF isn't particularly brilliant for stills.
If you're only interested in photography then Canon's DSLR cameras are probably a better option for autofocus. Not only do most of Canon's latest cameras offer DPAF, they also operate with a very reliable and effective system via the optical view finder. Having two completely different AF systems gives you a much greater degree of flexibility and each system has it's own respective advantages. For example, through the viewfinder the AF system is much snappier and tends to find and retain focus much faster than DPAF does.
Having said that DPAF is fantastic at finding focus even in extreme low light situations. This makes Canon's DSLR cameras far more of an effective camera for photographers. The mirrorless cameras that Canon has are good for autofocus but they're still not ready for prime time. Cameras like the upcoming 1DX Mark III probably wouldn't perform as well with just DPAF. Due to this maybe Canon really isn't ready to produce a high end professional mirrorless camera. Further improvements need to be made to their current autofocus system before it can be ready for the big leagues.
Delaying Is Not a Good Idea
One of the points some people have made online is about how "dumb" phones still had a huge demand a couple of years after the iPhone was first released. If we take a look at companies like Nokia for example, there was still a huge demand for their phones even after the iPhone was first released back in 2007. This was a temporary blip and the wheels were already in motion.
Nokia misread the market and were simply too slow to adapt. We can see the outcome of that huge error now and Nokia is not anywhere near the size it once was. I don't believe that something like this could happen to Canon, however, it would be foolish to think that they can continue in the same vein due to the current demand. It's clear to see that the shift to mirrorless is happening as we speak and the wheels are in motion once again. There are clear advantages of being faster on your feet and operating in a more nimble fashion. It's not as though Canon is making more money than ever right now. In fact their financials aren't looking too great especially with the latest reports. To slow down in this environment and delay a professional mirrorless camera could be described as optimistic yet somewhat foolish.
When you look at the performance of cameras like the 1DX Mark II it's easy to see why so many people prefer DSLRs over the current RF mount mirrorless cameras. Canon does have some incredible lenses available and with the adapter they have the widest range of lenses available on the market. I can see the potential of the RF system but right now it feels like it's just potential.
The current RF cameras feel like a half-hearted approach and this may be down to the fact that the autofocus system is simply not capable enough yet. Looking at all the manufacturers on the market, almost all of them have produced a high-end professional grade camera except for Canon. Sure, Canon has produced some incredible lenses and recent patents for super wide aperture, wide angle lenses are very attractive; however, these lenses require a high-end camera to match. Hopefully Canon does have something up its sleeve and is able to produce something equivalent or better than the upcoming 1DX Mark III for their mirrorless system.