What Canon's Full-Frame Mirrorless System Needs to Be Successful

What Canon's Full-Frame Mirrorless System Needs to Be Successful

To many of us, it's become apparent that mirrorless is the future for cameras. The huge advancements in short period of time have made them very popular. Companies like Fuji, Sony, and Panasonic have developed some fantastic cameras, and their respective ecosystems are growing fast with new lenses and accessories. Currently, Canon and Nikon have remained behind when it comes to effective and professional mirrorless systems and many disappointed professionals have already jumped ship to other manufacturers. As it becomes clear that Canon is developing their own model, here's what I think it needs to compete with those alread out there.

Keep The EF Mount

I really can't stress how important it is for Canon to keep the EF mount for its pro-level mirrorless system. The EF-M mount can be used for mid-range and entry-level mirrorless cameras, but the EF mount must remain for their pro system. Canon's main advantage is the fact that they have such a vast number of incredible lenses. They may, in fact, have the best lens lineup on the market. If they develop another mount for their pro-level mirrorless system, that will spark the beginning of the end for the EF mount. Getting rid of this major advantage is extremely ill-advised and one of the worst decisions they could ever make. Canon is already a few years behind companies like Sony and Fuji when it comes to sensor technology and camera features. An incredible amount of money will be required to develop all the new lenses, only for them to end up in second or maybe even third place. Moving away from the EF mount will also potentially make all of their current customers free agents, and I'm sure Sony would love to tap into that market. Sony should be praying that Canon does not continue with the EF mount.  Nikon, on the other hand, has needed to update their mount for some time now, and this is why they've had to go for what is currently being described as the "Z-Mount." Canon needs to capitalize on its strengths. The EF mount is a major strength and will put them far ahead of the competition. With this one point, they could secure their position for decades to come.

Adapters? 

For the love of god, no. Adapters are not convenient. They are horrible, ineffective, bad solutions for a problem that doesn't need to exist. Stick with the EF mount! The way to do this is to create somewhat of a hybrid camera. Keeping a similar body design with the same flange distance will save a ton of money. Get rid of the prism and the mirror and simply add in an EVF. Whatever potential space is left can be used for something more useful like better cooling, maybe more internal storage, more powerful processors, or maybe even features currently in development that we may not know about. You may be asking the questions: "What about adapting other lenses? Won't a shorter flange distance be better"? The most popular adapters currently available are for EF lenses, and if Canon sticks with the EF mount, then there's very little need to adapt. Many professionals that have switched over to Sony only do so for the body and continue using Canon lenses; therefore, keep the EF mount. 

Size and Weight? 

Weight is important, but as discussed above, get rid of the prism and the mirror; this will automatically reduce the weight of the camera by a very noticeable amount. Also, maybe lighter-weight materials could be an option, although that may require more investment than it's worth. Size, on the other hand, really isn't that important. In fact, having a smaller camera is a disadvantage for a number of reasons. Many tech companies seem to think that having a smaller device is somehow a great achievement when it's actually a compromise and potentially a flaw. Ergonomics are far more important than having a smaller camera, and smaller cameras are generally terrible for ergonomics. Some may suggest using a battery grip, but then, what was the point of making it smaller in the first place? Also, lenses can't exactly get much smaller, and only the flange distance is going to be different. The trend seems to be pointing towards tiny bodies and huge lenses; eventually, maybe your 50mm will need a tripod collar. 

Battery life is another major disadvantage for smaller cameras. The fact remains that mainstream battery technology has not progressed very much and bigger batteries will have better battery life. Mirrorless cameras also require more energy, which only compounds the problem. Even batteries from bigger mirrorless cameras such as the Fuji GFX 50S can't compare to batteries from a 1D series camera. It's extremely difficult or not at all possible to keep the same battery performance with a smaller body. Bigger is without a doubt better. Canon should save themselves some money by keeping to a similar body design and sticking with the EF mount. 

Expected Features

Canon really needs to step up their game when it comes to features. Aside from the 1D X II, all of their other new releases have been underwhelming at best. Here is a quick list of features that Canon needs to have as standard:

  • Full-frame 4K capability with a more efficient codec
  • 1080p at 120 fps
  • Better dynamic range of at least 14 stops
  • Log profiles as standard
  • Focus peaking
  • Flip-out touchscreen
  • Dual card slots 
  • Focus stacking 
  • A fully developed time-lapse feature
  • A minimum of 9 frames per second continuous shooting spped

Yes, DSLRs are meant for video too, and Canon needs to start taking it more seriously. They are the company that made it popular; it's only fitting they continue to develop this. 

Recommended Features

There are some features that I strongly recommend Canon consider; however, I doubt these are features we will see in a Canon camera anytime soon. 

  • Built-in sensor stabilization (not just an electronic version of this)
  • Pixel Shift technology coupled with Dual Pixel raw files
  • 16-bit raw files (seriously though, this would be amazing)
  • Better Wi-Fi with a better app
  • Native ISO 50 
  • 15 stops of dynamic range or more

Final Thoughts

"This is now an era when latecomer manufacturers stand to gain." This specific quote from Canon's CEO sums things up pretty well. The stars couldn't have aligned themselves any better. A few key decisions that Canon makes in the next year or so could have a huge impact on the company. I doubt that Canon will be releasing anything earth-shattering, as they are very reserved in many cases, but whether or not they continue with the EF mount may determine their future. Nikon may have a tough road ahead of them when it comes to developing their mirrorless system. This, however, is something they will need to do in order to compete. It may take them up to a decade before they have a fully developed ecosystem, and the amount of investment required puts them at a great disadvantage. Nikon may have to settle for third place. Sony, on the other hand, is growing their mirrorless division very well, and the market sentiment seems to be in their favor. Effectively, this has become a race for two companies, and Canon potentially has the upper hand. Not only does Canon have a significantly larger range of lenses available, they are also cheaper and have better third-party options. The overall sentiment seems to be against Canon; however, the practicalities of their system outweigh the sentiment. Many professionals will simply continue with them. They already hold the number one spot in various key areas, and if they stick with the EF mount, it's going to be very difficult for other companies to compete. 

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87 Comments

Derrick Ruf's picture

I do not necessarily envy Canon's decision here. Like you said leaving EF behind would be crazy as that is one of their main competitive advantages. Part of the draw though for mirrorless for some is losing that mirror box and ultimately slimming down body size, which the native EF lenses may not allow to happen as much. It will be interesting to see how this goes!

Usman Dawood's picture

Personally I’d say, don’t slim down Canon you look great. Wear stripes :-p

Honestly though I don’t see the appeal of a smaller less comfortable to hold camera. Sony with the A7RIII had to end up making a bigger camera because of issues like ergonomics, overheating and battery life. I’d personally ask for an even bigger camera with a larger grip.

Lighter is good, smaller isn’t necessarily.

Michael Leadbetter's picture

If you do location shooting, smaller is definitely better. If you fly for work, being able to get lights and camera plus lenses in carry on is gold.

Usman Dawood's picture

Yes but that's very niche in all fairness.

David Mawson's picture

Travel photography is not "niche". Nor is having a camera small enough to carry every day or on social occasions. This is one of reasons Fuji sold so many X100's to people who already have full-frame systems.

woon jia wei's picture

I disagree. A camera that you don't bring it out is as good as not existing. I never bring my d750 for casual purpose, after switching to sony, i found my passion in photography again. Bring the small primes and adapted lens is the biggest appeal of mirrorless

Usman Dawood's picture

Canon have small primes too that's not unique to mirrorless. This is not a discussion about casual shooting. Canon already have their mirrorless systems for that market. This is for the high-end pro level cameras. Small primes don't perform as well as many of the bigger primes.

Also which brand of lenses get adapted the most, it's Canon.

David Mawson's picture

>> Canon have small primes too that's not unique to mirrorless.

Again, it's obvious that you don't know anything about optical design. Canon's "small" primes have to use designs that don't require an element close to the sensor, which means that they have to accept other trade-offs - lower aperture and lower optical performance. If you compare the Canon 40mm to the tiny lenses on high-end film compacts like the Contax T2, they kick the hell out of the thing - they shoot like Canon's best L glass or better. Or try comparing the Ricoh GR lens to the Canon equivalent "small" prime.

Usman Dawood's picture

Canon 50mm f1.2L vs Sony 50mm f1.4

Look up the weight and size difference?

David Mawson's picture

Again you demonstrate your lack of knowledge and thought. WHICH Sony 50mm f1.4???

...The SAL50F14 weighs 220g and the Canon weighs 600g. The Sony actually has substantially better image quality and costs about 1/3 what the Canon does.

I suspect you were thinking of the Sony 50mm f1.4 Planar - but that lens is in the same quality range as an Otus. (In fact in the lensrentals tests it outscored the Otus 55mm.) And trust me, it's a lot lighter than an Otus. And half the cost. Because it doesn't have to work around a mirror box.

Usman Dawood's picture

SAL50F14 is an A mount lens why would you even bring that up??

Nonsense point, typical diversion tactics.

The Canon 50mm is a very good performer and has a wider aperture too. You talked about lower aperture as a trade-off and I provide an example of how your point isn't necessarily true.

Also let's get one thing straight, at no point in my article do I discuss lens design advantages or why a shorter or longer flange distance is better. You've completely made up this strawman argument. Read the article again and then make points addressing mine.

In several of your comments, you discuss lens design, optical design, and flange distance advantages as if I made points around that. Stop making stuff up and using it as a means to argue against me.

I discuss lens line-up, not design.

David Mawson's picture

>> SAL50F14 is an A mount lens why would you even bring that up??

Because you didn't ask the right question.

The correct comparison would have been the Sony vs the Otus. They're the same quality - much better than the Canon - and the same aperture. And the Sony is lighter (700g to +1kg) and half the price, because not having to work around a mirror box allows a cleaner designer. They're both super-high resolution designs intended to let +40MP sensors compete with medium format; comparing them to a much lower resolution walk-around lens like the f1.2 is something only a person who doesn't understand what he is talking about would do. Building lenses for high sensor resolution is expensive in terms of cost and weight.

..To brutally hammer home to you how silly your comparison is, look at the dxo tests for these lenses. The Canon only achieves an effective 21MP on a 50MP sensor! The Planar gets 41MP of resolution - yes, ***double***. You simply can't compare them - you have to compare Planar to a DSLR lens in its own resolution class.

Oh - and if you want to be taken seriously in a discussion about optics stop using meaningless words like "very good performer". The LX7 is a very good performer - that doesn't make it sensible to criticise a 5Div for weighing more...

>> I discuss lens line-up, not design.

Yes, that's the problem. You can't intelligently discuss a lens line-up or camera mount without understanding at least very basic optical design issues. You don't. You haven't even considered something as basic as the fact that every SLR lens wider than 35mm needs to be a retrofocus design. Which adds enough complexity to a prime but is much worse when you try to build a wide-to-tele zoom. You've made it clear that you don't even understand that different lenses have different resolutions and building for higher resolution adds weight and cost. So why on earth did you think you could write this article? Bizarre.

Usman Dawood's picture

The goal posts have been moved lol.

I guess you just want to sit in your corner and argue points that you make up yourself.

Ok fine enjoy.

Canon 24-70 vs Sony 24-70 :-p thought I’d just throw that in hee hee.

Usman Dawood's picture

Also I just properly read your points about the Sony and the Otus. You've cherry picked points to serve your arguments.

A few things to consider when comparing the weight and size difference.

The Otus is much better for vignetting, it has a much better T Stop, and better for CA. All of these things generally require more glass and a bigger front element which the Otus does. You can't simply attribute the extra wight to having to work around the mirrorbox, the Otus actually gathers noticeably more light.

In regards to image quality the Sony is much softer in the corners wide open in comparison and the Otus is sharp edge to edge wide open. The Otus is a better lens overall all of this information can be gathered from DXOmark.

Do you need to brush up on your understanding when it comes to lens design?

David Mawson's picture

>> You've cherry picked points to serve your arguments.

Now you are being a hypocrite. No, you were the one who chose the f1.4 Planar. I compared it to the only other lens - or at least the most obvious - in the same resolution class. So the only person who could possibly be cherrypicking is you. I can hardly be cherrypicking for providing the only possible like-for-like lens for the Sony lens you selected, hmm?

>> The Otus is much better for vignetting,

It's somewhat better, yes.

>> it has a much better T Stop,

The Otus and the Planar tested by dxo are about 7% apart for their t-stop. That's not only virtually identical rather "much better" it's also one with the sort of range you get for acceptable samples of the same lens...

Again, why the hell do you think the rest of the world needs to be told what to do by you on a subject you know nothing about?

Usman Dawood's picture

Vignetting is kind of like 2 thirds of a stop better. It's not "somewhat" at all lol there's a big difference. That's why the Sony has a 72mm filter thread and the Otus has 77mm. Bigger front element, which of course increases the weight.

T stop is almost 2 thirds of a stop better. That's not a small difference at all.

Where are you getting the 7% from are you sure you're looking at the right lens?

Also you made no points about edge to edge sharpness. The Sony is not on that level.

You talked about Aperture being a trade off and I pointed out how actually that's not always the case I didn't cherry pick I directly addressed your point. You brought the otus into the mix and I pointed out how actually that's not a good comparison for a number of reasons.

I then also offered another lens the 24-70 which you didn't discuss at all.

You seem to enjoy telling me what I should and shouldn't do. You make a bunch of sweeping statements which don't actually ring true in the real world.That doesn't sound like someone who knows what they're talking about.

L B's picture

I'm not sure I really understand the desire for mirror-less. Is it to compete against iPhones? For anyone with a range of lenses, what's the advantage? (For me, with a bunch of lenses weighing between 600g and 1500g, the last thing I think about is a smaller camera body. I really don't want anything smaller than a 5d-sized body, since the grip on that is only just deep enough as it is. I'm also not sure I understand the video phenomenon; if I wanted a video camera I'd buy a camera specifically for video.)

Usman Dawood's picture

I completely agree about the size I really don’t understand the appeal cause it just makes things more difficult. Like you mentioned about your lenses and their weight, you can’t make high performing lenses much smaller or lighter anyway so your left with an imbalance.

Also about video, it’s here to stay and only going to get better :-).

Oliver Kmia's picture

The removal of the mirror and viewfinder leaves more space for IBIS, processors, more efficient thermal management, etc. So you can stuff more in the same body, or make it smaller. The lens size won't change much though (see the FE lens).
The mirrorless also remove the need to have two different AF systems (one for liveview direct to the sensor and one in traditional viewfinder/mirror down). AF on DSLR is a delicate thing and you have to manage back /front focus adjustement and variation between lenses whereas mirrorless is more nominal (what you see is what you get on the AF).

On the pro side for DSLR is the direct link between the subject and viewfinder, no lag, no low light issue, etc. Even though this point is not very relevant with the lastest generation of mirrorless cameras.
Mirrorless also need more power compared to traditional DSLR.
Finally, having a mirror in front of the sensor helps to protect against sensor dust. Mirrorless camera tend to get dirty much faster (but again, you can swab your sensor).

Suraj Jagmohan's picture

Mirrorless camera's are expensive, Fuji XT-20 + 35mm 1.4 = $1298 , Nikon D5600 + 35MM1.8dx =$843 .

Abel Bautista Palomo's picture

You're comparing an 1.4 vs 1.8 lens. I'm not into fuji x, but surely this is the pro grade lens.

David Mawson's picture

>> You're comparing an 1.4 vs 1.8 lens. I'm not into fuji x, but surely this is the pro grade lens

Yes. The 1.4 is as good or better than Canon L.

Nate Dorsey's picture

While Canon certainly has good glass in their EF lineup, I disagree about the lens mount. In fact, if Canon doesn't have a new mount that would allow them to create more compact lenses, I don't think I would purchase one. A big draw, for me at least, with mirrorless cameras is a more compact and lightweight system. A mirrorless camera with the current 50mm 1.2 L or 85mm 1.2 L would be imbalanced and likely feel a bit awkward. However, I don't know how long it would take them to engineer equivalent lenses in a new mount...

Usman Dawood's picture

The compact lenses argument for mirrorless isn’t true at all and the weight imbalance you discuss is very apparent for Sony.

Consider the 85mm f1.4 for both systems, the canon lens is only slightly heavier with IS and is actually smaller than the GM version.

The 24-70 from canon is noticeably lighter than the Sony version and dimensions are very similar.

70-200 from Sony is actually slightly bigger than the canon with almost exactly the same weight.

Canon also have pancake lenses like the 40mm and their 50mm f1.4 is much smaller and lighter.

Developing fast aperture lenses require them to be bigger and this is something no manufacturer can get past. Also every new lenses that canon will have to make for their new system will undoubtably cost more and provide basically the same performance so why not skip the fuss?

Abel Bautista Palomo's picture

The comparison you're making is totally off, it surprises me coming from an editor who, at least, should be a bit educated.

Lens designs benefit from the reduced flange distance at focal lengths of aprox the flange distance. So, lenses on the >40mm focal length are about the same weight and size and differences in those kinds of lenses are a matter of tradeoffs given same skills of the engineers.

I can give you an example: Sony 12-24G vs Canon 11-24L. No size benefit? No weight saving?

You might say, Sony engineers were inspired. Zeiss Loxia 21 2.8 vs Zeiss milvus 21 2.8.

And then you compare the Canon 50mm 1.4 vs the Sony Zeiss 50 1.4. It's like comparing a Chevrolet Corvette C4 of 1993 with the top of the line Corvette 2016 C7. If you don't get it I'll put it plain and simple: the canon 50mm 1.4 was marketed on 1993 and is screaming for a replacement.

The only thing missing in the mirrorless lineup are supertelephotos. And mirrorless mounts allow more space for super wide, wide and normal lens designs. Like the before mentioned lenses or the 55 1.8 which design is impossible on a DSLR mount.

Even the Sony 85 1.8 last element sits so close to the sensor that its design would be impossible on a dslr mount.

After 85mm the flange distance advantage vanishes.

You just picked the lenses you needed tovalidate your own beliefs.

GM lenses are aiming to get a good bokeh, sharpness, contrast and very good optical correction. That's why they're made bigger but you can have a very good pro-grade system with a big saving in size and weight vs the Canon counterpart.

Usman Dawood's picture

Most common lenses used are 24-70, 85mm and 70-200. That's why I picked them. You're comparing niche lenses which are also different focal lengths too.

11mm vs 12mm is a noticeable amount Also the canon is a significantly better lens, I can use your own car analogy here.

You can't make pro grade lenses much smaller you still need to capture the same amount of light relative to the fstop for the larger sensor. The sensor size is what ultimately limits how small you can make the lens.

Abel Bautista Palomo's picture

11 and 12 give 4.5° of difference in field of view. It's like going from 18 to 19 is 3.1° and from 19 to 20mm 2,9°.

So, they're different, but they're comparable. Take the sigma 12-24 f4 if you want to.

I'll give you the real differences and a link to lensrentals blog, where Roger Cicala does a MTF comparison.

The specs:
Sony weight (565g)
Canon weight (1,15 kg) +102% aprox
Sigma weight (1,15 kg) +102% aprox

Sony diameter (87mm)
Sigma diameter (102mm) +17%
Canon diameter (109mm) +25%

Sigma price (1599$)
Sony price ( 1698$) +6,1%
Canon price (2699$) +68%

Canon max fov (126,5°) +3,68%
Sony max fov (122°)
Sigma max fov (122°) +0%

Again, the difference

Lastly the link to the comparison/review of the MTF's to show you that the canon isn't better than the sony, it's actually a tiny bit worse. But we will give it like a tie because it goes to 11mm.
https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/06/sony-fe-12-24-f4-g-mtf-tests/

Usman Dawood's picture

It seems you've really latched on to one bit of information and you're using that to determine your points. You do realize I pointed out 3 extremely popular lenses and you're sticking to discussing one niche lens.

Full frame sensors require full frame size glass.

Eric Venora's picture

I think probably the more salient point here is that a shorter flange distance will likely allow sharper wides to be created. Small is probably out the window. The trend has been towards sharper lenses and those tend to be bigger as we've so clearly seen in recent years. Maybe they're a little less big for mirrorless but eh...

The comparison I have in mind here comes from the medium format world where flange distance is something of a flexible thing. It is commonly accepted that if you want a really sharp wide you get a tech cam which has no mirror box. Even modern phase lenses can't touch what's possible on a tech cam even with the same digital back.

For wides on a tech cam you do not use bellows because the lenses are designed with very little sensor to lens distance in mind because apparently that is optimal engineering wise.

David Mawson's picture

>> It seems you've really latched on to one bit of information and you're using that to determine your points.

It's called "using facts". You haven't used a single one.

Abel Bautista Palomo's picture

"Full frame sensors require full frame glass"

Every lens I quoted is full frame.

While 24-70 and 70-200 might be more broadly used, surely sony has seen that the advantage of mirrorless designs are in the wide side.

Anyway, the 16-35 GM is smaller and lighter than the 16-35L 2.8 III as well.

David Mawson's picture

>> surely sony has seen that the advantage of mirrorless designs are in the wide side.

That's where the most obvious advantages are, yes. But if you want a fast, cheap, bright standard lens with excellent tonality and defocus, the Sonnar is still the best design - and that won't work with a mirror box. Or if you want a lightweight 40MP class lens and are ok with aperture topping out at f2.8, then the design Sigma use on the DP2 will do the job - but won't work on a camera with a mirror box.

Tom Dibble's picture

If we are just talking about flange distance, there are two potential remedies:

1. Offer an EF-I mount ("I" for "Internal", or whatever; "M" already taken obviously) which allows lens elements to extend beyond the flange where needed. Obviously the back-of-lens cap is going to be different if the glass sticks out/in an extra inch, but that allows the elements to take up the space previously allocated to the mirror box. Still more difficult for true wide-angles, but would improve some lens formulations I believe.

2. Mechanically move the sensor (or, less likely, the flange itself) between the "EF"/"EF-S" lens flange distance (mirror box area left vacant) to a much-closer-to-the-lens "mirrorless" flange distance, at least on the "pro" model cameras. Lower end / consumer-grade cameras might stick to being fixed at the "mirrorless" flange distance and having a more slender profile in return.

I'm not an optical engineer, and maybe the sensor design between a DSLR-flange and mirrorless-flange distances necessarily needs to be different for some reason, but it seems like Canon has options to make this work without completely giving up the full history of EF/EF-S lenses and thus preserving existing consumer buy-in to their system. Neither is cheap nor without potential manufacturing/reliability issues, though.

In the end, though, I strongly suspect that Canon would weigh either of these two options against "include the EF adapter in the box" or perhaps "make cheap $20/per adapters so legacy EF mount lenses can be converted to our new mount" (and throw those adapters into the lens boxes of all new EF lenses they ship out prior to coming up with new mount versions of them) and choose one of the adapter-based options.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

The lightweight mirrorless trend went out the window a while ago, even Micro 4/3 cameras are getting up there in size. It's all about the other benefits of mirrorless - electronic viewfinder with live exposure preview and fast and accurate AF done off of the sensor itself (Canon is already ahead here with Dual Pixel CMOS AF), to name just two. As someone that has a large investment already in EF glass, as well as a few other different mirrorless systems and Nikon as well, I'd certainly not be in the mood to add another set of lenses. If Canon (and Nikon) are jumping into the water this late in the game, it's foolish to make people buy into yet another system when I already did because they didn't have mirrorless in the first place.

Kenneth Rhem's picture

I think you're all missing the point. The behemoth that is Canon will absolutely abandon the ef mount (just as they walked away from FD). They'll give us a very adequate adapter (limited to newer lenses) for the transition. Why? Because they're a giant monster & the giant monster is always hungry. New mount means a full new kit of lenses (5-30k USD) for each & every one of us... Ouch!

If Canon is SMART: they'll be working on a global shutter & a way to build a competitor to the GFX\X1D that will be profitable. First to market with a global shutter that WORKS wins everyone who uses strobe the world over. Make that global shutter work in video (no jello) & you'll give red+arri a rash.

What Canon should be doing is making it clear to those of us who haven't jumped ship what the plan is... I've been looking at the landscape & there's no Canon body I'd buy over the equivalent Sony. Not. One. My 5D3 is getting long in the tooth & If I have to drop 12k to replace my primes + 70-200 why not go with the team that's showing me innovation & Zeiss?

Makes me wish for the days of Fake Chuck

Usman Dawood's picture

I don't think it's in Canons best interest to do that, they won't make more money from changing the mount and actually open themselves up to unnecessary risk.

From a game theory standpoint even if it were just Canon and Nikon battling it out if both changed their mounts neither would stand to gain anything. It would be a level playing field and Nikon and Canon shooters would remain with their respective systems, for the most part anyway. Currently, with Sony changing their mount and Nikon looking to potentially do the same, Canon have everything to gain by "cheating" and not changing their mount.

thomas Palmer's picture

They just can't, because you can't obviously put anything between the lens and the sensor if you want to keep the current mount. So, in order to have in body Stab, and all the things you put in your wishlist, the size requirement would be medium format like.
A canon EF mirorless system would be full of wasted space, that's the huge paradox.

So you really have two choices : new lenses and decent adaptor in a "maybe not that small" body(win-win), or a traditional hassleblad without the larger sensor.

Usman Dawood's picture

Sony and Panasonic cameras have a lot of those features and they manage to keep their bodies much smaller. It is possible it's just a matter of being efficient. I'm not suggesting they put anything between the lens and the sensor but areas like where the prism is or where the main autofocus module is are areas that can be used. Also the sensor stabilization is on the actual sensor like how the GH5 and A7RII cameras do it. The camera doesn't need to be any bigger at all.

Matthew Saville's picture

Thank you for writing this reply, so that I didn't have to.

Creating a mirrorless camera with a native OVF SLR mount would be quite possibly the dumbest move in either camera brand's history.

Usman Dawood's picture

Why?

Back up your point, please.

Matthew Saville's picture

If you don't already understand why, then my explanation will likely fall on unwilling ears.

However, here's a push in the right direction:

Your dislike of adapters is likely based on an entirely false premise, that of third-party adapters made for cross-platform compatibility.

Compared to, say, a name-brand adapter for same-brand platforms, we arrive at what is most like a Mac vs PC debate- that is, completely apples to oranges.

Usman Dawood's picture

Canons own current mount is not an effective solution. Adapters are not a pro solution. Native lenses are still significantly better.

The way that DSLRs focus vs mirrorless cameras is very different.

David Mawson's picture

>> Adapters are not a pro solution.

That's meaningless - it's tantamount to saying that you don't know what the problems with adapters are. (Whenever some speaks about a piece of gear in photography being more or less "pro" they are almost certainly talking nonsense.)

Otoh, Mathew's point was clear and concrete: making an adapter for their own lenses is very different for Canon than for a third party - they have the precise technical details for each lens and its interaction with the focus system that independents lack.

>> The way that DSLRs focus vs mirrorless cameras is very different.

This is vague BS. A camera like an XT2 with phase detect focusses more like a 5Diii - which also has phase detect - than a GH5 which uses CFD only. That means that even though the XT2 and GH5 both focus on the sensor they show very different focus characteristics. (Which is why Panasonic, who are video-oriented, stay with CFD.) Then there are the modern Canon DSLR's with dual-pixel AF on the sensor. I really don't think you understand this subject.

James Whitehouse's picture

This article is correct. Physics dictates that, for a given FL/aperture, lenses will be a certain size; there is no way around this *as long as you're actually talking about equivalent FL/aperture*. The flange distance won't change weight or size of the overall system, and a closer mount-sensor distance creates optical design problems. So for the sake of a few mm thickness on the body (who cares?) you're abandoning the best lineup of lenses in the industry for no reason. That would be madness.

I also agree some cameras are too small for good ergonomics. What that extra thickness *can* do, without a mirror box, etc. in the way, is have *very cool stuff* in between which no other manufacturer of mirrorless left room for. E.g. built-in ND, bigger IBIS (like Fuji have found with the X-H1 the more stabilisation you want, the bigger the room for IBIS to move around in, the better), and just better heat dissipation.

Matt Rennells's picture

Why does Nikon need to update their mount? You stated it as if it was common knowledge, yet this is the first I've heard of it.

Usman Dawood's picture

Their current mount is much smaller than many other full-frame mounts and due to this they have certain limitations when it comes to developing certain types of lenses. Canon changed their mount some time ago yet Nikon Continued with their "old" mount.

thomas Palmer's picture

That is indeed true, but the lens line up is more than decent, maybe they can't make a 85/1.2, not really a big deal. Anyway when it comes to updating your mount system, you are always too late, there is no way around it.

Usman Dawood's picture

I agree, I think if Nikon can find a way to avoid the change in their mount they too have allot to gain especially when they're making cameras like the D850. I do think that they are due for a change, although if it works and they're not having issues developing lenses then I guess there's no reason for them to change.

Your last point is very true :).

Matthew Saville's picture

The size of Nikon's F mount is not really holding back their OVF SLR system; the select few elitists who "need" 85mm f/1.2 are just unhealthily obsessed with DOF and "creamy bokeh". As the Nikon 58 1.4 and 85 1.4 G have proven, there is plenty of "creamy" to be had.

The real difficulty Nikon has faced over the years with the F-mount is the complete lack of modernness to the various connections that it has, or used to have.

The AF used to be mechanical screw-driven, and the flagship bodies still maintain this compatibility. Many pros would throw a fit if they stopped, too.

The aperture on 99% of their lenses is mechanically stopped down, too, and only a few of the newest lenses have the "E" electronic aperture. It's not that big of a deal for most people, but when it acts up, it's freaking annoying. It can be a complete show-stopper if you want to shoot a timelapse at f/16.

Nikon *could* make a mirrorless F-mount that is entirely electronic, though, and yet still maintain backward compatibility with old lenses all the way back to AI-S and Series E, or even further back, a la Df.

Having said all that, yes, Nikon does "need" to update their mount, period, much more than Canon does. A larger mount with a shorter flange distance would benefit them greatly.

Having said THAT, Canon still needs their mirrorless system to have a shorter flange distance, too. Like it or not, but that's one of the biggest advantages of mirrorless, even if the cameras are getting bigger and heavier, and even many of the faster, longer lenses are just as big and heavy as their OVF competition. The bottom line is that there are still portability advantages to be had, and other potential new technology benefits.

Kerrin Sheldon's picture

I agree on all of these. If they can make an EF-Mount mirrorless camera, the BIGGEST thing they can do to capture users away from Sony and Panasonic is to use that extra space between an EF mount and mirrorless sensor to add in an ND Filter, preferably variable like the Sony FS5.

I do mostly video work and have used the A7 and GH line for the past few years, but really love Canon's color and image way more, along with its excellent autofocus. Have the features of an A7sII or GH5 + ND filter and I'm all in on Canon again.

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