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Canon EIS System next year? We think not

14 Sep Posted by Matt in News |
Canon EIS System next year? We think not

Canon LogoCanon’s EOS line of DSLRs are very prominent in the market, but along with the other dominating force, Nikon, they have yet to venture into the realm of mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras like the Panasonic Lumix G2.  There’s no huge shock then that internet rumours started to heat up over the weekend, seemingly originating from China, speculating that a Canon EIS system of mirror-less cameras is in development for 2011.

We’re not bowled over by the rumours, but seeing as they have gained more traction today after featuring on sites like Gizmodo, we thought we should round-up the speculation and give our take on why we don’t think it will happen.

Canon EOS 550D DSLR HD Video

Canon EOS 550D

To clarify, Digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras rely on a flipping mirror to direct light coming into the lens to either the viewfinder or the image sensor. Whilst this is a tried and tested technology, the flipping mirror means that DSLR cameras are forced to be reasonably bulky.

Other manufacturers, including Panasonic, Olympus and Sony, already have cameras on the market with interchangeable lenses that don’t use a flipping mirror, and one of their main selling points is generally a compact size. Technically there is no reason why a mirror-less camera should be any less capable or produce results any less good than a traditional DSLR.

The rumours we’ve seen say the Canon mirror-less cameras will start hitting shops in 2011, and have been dubbed the EIS range.  Whilst we can believe Canon is working on such a system, we can’t see it arriving next year, and the other details we’ve managed to fish out make us think this rumour is probably just wild speculation…

Things We’ve Heard

  • 22Mp image sensor – Straight off this seems odd, 22Mp is a lot of pixels! See Marks Megapixel Myths article for why this isn’t even really desirable. The rumour does claim that the sensor will be backlit to improve sensitivity, but we cant see 22Mp on a sensor this size working well with current technology.
  • Micro 4/3 sized image sensor – the micro four thirds size is a standard, but not one which Canon have ever shown any interest in before. It would seem strange to start now, and 22Mp on a sensor this size would likely struggle to keep noise low.
  • Touchscreen LCD – This camera would be expensive and high-end, so the photographers using it are unlikely to be won over by a touchscreen interface.
  • The EIS line would use a different lens mount to the current EOS range – distinctly possible, if likely to be unpopular with current lens owners. However when we consider that…
  • The lens options rumoured are mostly wide-angle and of fixed focal length – this strikes us as mad. If Canon were to make a whole new lens system then we would expect a good range ‘typical’ telephoto lenses at launch.

So, as you can tell, we think this is a red herring.  For now, if you want a compact DSLR alternative then we recommend taking a look at what Olympus, Panasonic and Sony have to offer, though if you can stomach the bulk you can do an awful lot worse than a Canon EOS DSLR.

Still desperate for a very capable Canon that keeps the bulk down? Check out the new PowerShot G12.


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