Some outlandish rumors regarding the forthcoming flagship mirrorless full frame camera from Canon have emerged, but given that the R5 took the industry by surprise, just how ludicrous are these proposed specifications?
The rumor was passed on to Canon Watch by an anonymous source, which doesn’t inspire confidence, and the stats are being taken with a healthy pinch of salt. However, with the R5 having far exceeded expectations, you have to wonder what Canon is capable of achieving. The rumor suggests an 85-megapixel CMOS sensor with a global shutter, giving an instantaneous read-out, which would achieve a significant milestone in the evolution of camera technology. To date, stacked sensors with memory built into them have been pushing the speed of sensor read-outs, but a global shutter has still felt a little way off.
Such a sensor would eliminate rolling shutter — the wavy horizontals captured when panning the camera quickly when shooting video and the warping effect when shooting high-speed action — while existing cameras rely on a mechanical shutter to give the required speed when shooting stills. Other specifications include the ability to shoot at full resolution at 20 frames per second, with 40 frames per second possible if you drop down to 21 megapixels.
Quad Pixel Autofocus?
One interesting item on this list is the claim that Canon will upgrade from its very efficient Dual Pixel Autofocus (DPAF) to Quad Pixel Autofocus. This would split each pixel into four (rather than two), giving greater reliability and accuracy. By allowing the system to judge left and right as opposed to just top and bottom, in theory, QPAF cameras would have far better performance when focusing on horizontal lines.
DPAF was first introduced by Canon in the EOS 70D back in 2013 and has evolved into the excellent autofocus performance currently found in the R5 and R6. Canon News spotted a patent for a Quad Pixel Autofocus sensor in 2019, and it seems likely that Canon would be looking to incorporate this technology into what it hopes would be a class-leading camera. Sports and wildlife shooters could see noticeable improvements, and given that the R5 and R6 are already excellent birding cameras, the R1 might take it to another level.
Autofocus aside, the five-axis IBIS will give up to nine stops of stabilization and it’s claimed that Canon will match the EVF in the Sony a7S III — 9.44 million dots. The rumored price is $8,500, which would make it Canon’s most expensive flagship camera to date by some distance, and you can understand the price if these wild specifications are correct.
Canon News has done some number crunching to figure out how much of this is feasible, while Canon Rumors regards it as highly implausible, with some wondering if this rumor has arrived a couple of weeks too early. Traditionally, Canon’s previous flagships have not been high-resolution beasts, with the manufacturer preferring to give photojournalists and sports/wildlife photographers speed rather than megapixels. That said, we’re seeing a few molds being broken of late, as evidenced by the R5 and the Sony a1. The 50 megapixels in the latter can churn out 30 frames per second, albeit with a couple of caveats.
The prospect of QPAF is possibly the most exciting detail in this rumor, especially as this sort of technology tends to trickle down a manufacturer’s line of products.
If the rest of the specifications have been plucked from someone’s darker recesses, what might be more realistic for us to see in the R1 when it comes to market? 45 megapixels would probably be the sweet spot, and you’d expect that with a larger body and a bit more development time, 8K video will be possible without the same overheating restrictions seen in the R5. In terms of price, $8,500 would have seemed a preposterous amount of money had Sony not just put a price tag of $6,498 on the a1 (shipping starts next week, by the way).
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