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Canon camera rumours and information

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Canon Rumours
+ General camera rumours (any make!)

Our general camera rumours and news page:


Camera related rumours/patents/info.

Specific camera model info can be found on the rumours index page (along with lenses and printers and other makes).

We’re sent all kinds of suggestions – some more believable than others. Rumour accuracy plummets once you are more than a few months from any ‘announcement’. Please do use your common sense when reading these pages, and remember that they are here for entertainment as much as anything else.

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2019 September

19th A Canon interview [NS] covers quite a few aspects of their business.

  • There will be EOS R above and below the current R/RP lines (no mention of APS-C)
  • EOS-M is seen as something for new markets
  • More automation and cheaper R lenses also get a mention

Note: I’m away at the moment, so normal news/rumour service to resume next week ;-)

15th Canon has had quite a few sensor based stabilisation patents published of late (see below). A new Japanese [CN] one goes into much more detail about making such a system work efficiently. Yes, we’re going to see it, and probably next year.

ibis-canon

12th Canon security firmware updates for several DSLRs address PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) security issues.

9th If you’re using Canon’s DPP on an iPad (there is such a thing?) then be prepared for it going to a subscription model [CN]

This does not apply to the desktop version bundled with cameras…

2nd Good to see Thom Hogan’s take on the camera sales decline [TH] with a look at some of Nikon’s numbers, as well as the Canon motes below.

In a look at the APS-C market [TH] he also points to a problem/issue I’ve long seen with APS-C and much camera marketing in general.

“…more than anything else, APS-C should be more approachable to the masses and more able to share photos without a lot of extra work. I’m not sure anyone’s got that “approachable” bit right, and I know no one’s got the “easy sharing” bit right….
…If the camera market only consists of older men with disposable income who like to brag about the size of their major asset, then the camera market is doomed. 
APS-C has a place in photography, at least for the time being. I sometimes wonder if the camera makers have any idea what that place is and whether they’ll ever discover that place before it disappears.”

A while ago there was some doubt expressed over Canon’s suggestions for a further drop in camera/lens sales.

Well, it happened and there’s more [Newswitch via DCI]

(The digital camera business, which has been driving business for a long time, is facing market contraction)
“Compact digital cameras were sold at 114 million units in the industry in 2008, but in 2005, it was 1/10 million units, less than one-tenth. Single-lens cameras also peaked at 18 million in 2012. In 18 years, the number of units decreased by almost half to 10.3 million units, and this trend will continue for another two years, both of which are expected to fall to 5-6 million units. It ’s a change. ”
(Is it necessary to review the existing production system due to intensifying trade friction between the US and China?)
“We have been reviewing it for some time. We have been working to reduce costs by using robots for production, focusing on Japan, and in-house production of robots and other equipment. The camera factory has been labor-saving through the introduction of robots. The software development and re-education in the machine design field are being completed.When these are completed, overseas factories will not be needed very much.

I also spotted this CIPA graph – 2020 figures could well drop to 60% of the 2018 ones here

CIPA-camera-vs-smartphone-graph

August

28th A big announcement day from Canon with the 90D, EOS M6 II and a host of RF lenses.

This should be looked at in conjunction with Canon’s interim financials issued yesterday, showing the precipitous decline all camera makers are seeing.

That really does suggest that apart from a 1DX mk3 almost all other DSLR updates should be regarded as not that likely. We may see a rebel update, but it will be one that’s cheaper and easier for Canon to manufacture and for them to give the impression of a full range.(alongside existing models which may get longer lives).

The 90D/M6II feature a new sensor and are capable of uncropped 4k readout – it will be interesting to see how the performance of the sensor for photos has changed, since this gives a guide to what we’ll see in the next EOS R models.

I’ve updated the Canon timeline…

  Crop  00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D 90D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D T6s 77D
        750D T6i 800D T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2 250D
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
                              EOS RP
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6 M6 II
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8 dual

15th Camera marketing departments rejoice … the ‘Everyone’s a winner’ EISA awards are out,

I quote from the 2015 rumour archive page (Aug 16th)

Who EISA? A bit of a remnant of the past, representing some of the traditional dead tree media in photography, audio and related mens hobbies. Such awards recognise technical excellence and have nothing at all to do with the ongoing commitment to advertising, by large brands, on their pages.

There are quite a few stacked sensor patents in recent applications from Canon, such as this one [USPTO] looking at low level aspects of signal processing.

multi-chip

I’ve included this one to give a feel for the sorts of things Canon is looking at in sensor design, not as something specifically coming to your camera soon…  See also [USPTO]

stacked-sensor

And this one [USPTO]

stacked-chip-structure

Lastly – specifically looking at the issues for bonding your chip layers [USPTO] and also [USPTO]

layer-bonding

12th A software security advisory comes along every five minutes for PCs, but not cameras. Canon UK have issued an advisory note after holes were found in the PTP protocols used by Canon. Although no known threats are about, new firmware will be made available [Canon  via CR]  The recent 80D update includes this.

The list of affected cameras goes back to the 5D mk3 and includes cameras which can use a WiFi adapter as well as having it built in. It includes Ethernet for the 1DX/1DX2/1DC. and potentially USB connections too.

In general turn off WiFi if you don’t need it (I still use USB ;-), but as targets to hack, your camera is not going to be top of the target list. It’s important to know Canon are dealing with it, but it’s not something to worry over unduly (IMHO)

See more at [Lensvid]

Meanwhile Canon suggests: (emphasis mine)

  • Ensure the suitability of security-related settings of the devices connected to the camera, such as the PC, mobile device, and router being used.
  • Do not connect the camera to a PC or mobile device that is being used in an unsecure network, such as in a free Wi-Fi environment.
  • Do not connect the camera to a PC or mobile device that is potentially exposed to virus infections.
  • Disable the camera’s network functions when they are not being used.
  • Download the official firmware from Canon’s website when performing a camera firmware update.

8th Some time ago, back in the heyday of rumours (~10 yrs ago) I’d posted what was the classic set of responses in a rumour thread on a forum after an new camera was rumoured [Rumour post Bingo]

After posting quite a few Canon patents and seeing responses, it seems there is a similar level of autonomic forum responses to patents. Many are fundamentally based on a lack of appreciation of just what a patent application is (and is not).

Remember that a patent application does not equal a new product.

Also:

  • A design in a patent is just showing an example of using the key idea of that patent, so a patent that includes six lens designs does not mean there will be six new lenses.
  • A design appearing in a patent does not mean that some other lens/camera/feature you feel is important won’t appear.
  • Your view (mine too) of what’s important in photography and selling cameras is not as accurate as you think ;-)

Definitely on the way [Nok]

  • EOS 90D /  Body ・ 18-55mm kit ・ 18-135mm kit
  • EOS M6 Mark II / Black silver / Body ・ 15-45mm kit ・ 18-150mm kit / EVF kit available
  • RF24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • RF15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • Lens hood EW-88E
  • Lens hood EW-88F

A Canon US patent application [USPTO] discusses how lens and body IS can work together

 

combined-IScombining-IS-elements

Although shown with a DSLR body in the example it is for any camera. It’s entirely possible that we’ll see sensor IS introduced in the 1D X mk3, but this is now pretty much a shoe-in for any ‘Pro’ EOS R.

One of my minor gripes about the Panasonic S1R [review] was that it collected dust on the sensor like my old Canon 1Ds. This is partly due to the sensor being exposed more, and partly because the sensor is nearer the lens opening. Canon have a patent application [USPTO] looking at ultrasonic cleaning, including using lead free piezoelectric elements.

Whilst on the subject of ultrasonics, there’s some info about ultrasonic motors for lenses in another application [USPTO]

6th Are going to see a return of the eye controlled AF last seen in the EOS 3 (film era)

A Japanese patent shows it [CN]

eye controlled AF

Something declared superb by those it worked for, eye controlled AF selection has been an occasional feature of rumours here for the last fifteen years.

It’s something I’ve never seen, since my first autofocus DSLR was the EOS 1Ds in late 2003. All my previous film photography was manual focus, which probably partially explains why I’m still happy using manual focus today.

5th Figures from Olympus continue the trends seen elsewhere [PR]

Mirrorless cameras revenue is down 25%, compact cameras revenue is down 40%

There appears to be all sorts of cameras on their way from Canon, if you read some of the more breathless rumour sites…

At the moment we only see certification info for three cameras, one using numbers typically used by EF/RF mount cameras and two used for the EF-M ‘M’ cameras.

Whilst we’re all expecting a 80D/7D2 replacement, it could be much less… So, yes there may be just an 800D/77D update,

There’s still the High MP Pro EOS-R (and the 800D update if we get a 90D) being talked about, but there are none of the usual signs suggesting anything extra until later in 2019 at the earliest.

2nd Some certification info [90D page] suggests three SKUs for the next DSLR and a LP-E6N size battery.

It’s still not certain whether it’s a 7D3 or 90D, or some other designation. It looks as if there will be some more detailed specs before too much longer.

Brace yourselves for a lot of woe and quite a lot of uninformed comment about the state of the camera market ;-)

The latest CIPA figures show a continuing decline – hardly unexpected if you’ve read any of the recent camera company figures. For some sobering numbers [CIPA] download the PDFs

[Click to enlarge]

cipa-numbers

The drop is real and affecting everyone in the business. I’ll leave real analysis for Thom Hogan (now on his August holiday) but I expect some real consolidation in model ranges along with a real lunge for the ‘top end’ from the big three.

Of course, how this affects the real high end medium format companies is another thing to consider – just how big is the top end market?

I’ve just spent a week using the excellent (50MP) Hasselblad H6D and HTS adapter [review] and you do wonder how the commercial requirements for ‘MF quality’ will sustain that market too, when the full frame gear keeps pushing upwards.

July

31st An interview with Nikon’s President [Nikei trans. via DCI] notes that Nikon’s digital camera sales volume is less than 1/6th of what it was at its peak in 2013. The original article is behind a paywall so all we get is this translated quote:

(The mainstay digital cameras continue to face harsh environments)
“The market has decelerated rapidly. Our sales volume is less than one-sixth compared to the most recent peak in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013. There may be a further downside risk. Costs will come first, and profits from the imaging business such as digital cameras will drop to 12 billion yen, but in three years we would like to secure 20 billion yen. “

“The digital camera is considering a review of the sales network. We will restructure the sales system focusing on each region, such as North America, where internet sales are increasing, and Asia, where store sales are highly influential. Although it has been reduced, there is room for cost reductions, such as a review of procurement costs. “

I’d note that the camera volume could include compact cameras – the ones which have fallen off the cliff and headed to the ocean depths. However, it’s the same story as we’re hearing from everyone else.

So, for the US it looks like more bad news for traditional camera shops…

30th Some financial figures have emerged from Sony. There’s been a bit of corporate obfuscation, moving camera info into more obscure parts of the report. Not to worry, have a look at Thom Hogan’s comments. As he mentions, Sony is definitely not immune to the falling numbers…

“You have to go deeper in the published materials to find out what might be happening in cameras. It’s a bit different than the completely rosy picture that Sony Marketing and the Fanbois (sounds like a band name) have been trumpeting:

Dollars taken in: down 11.4% compared to last year’s same quarter.
Dollars taken in: up 21.6% from the dismal previous quarter.
Unit volume: down 20% compared to last year’s same quarter.
Unit volume: up 33% from the dismal previous quarter.”

28th Computational photography (we’ll gloss over the much used advertising term ‘AI’) is going to be an ever increasing part of photography in  coming years. Just look at the ‘big feature’ of the upcoming Luminar 4 – automatic sky replacement. Now part of me recoils at such things, but part of me knows that -some- clients will come back and demand a ‘better looking’ sky in an image, despite (as actually happened) wanting an outdoor shoot done on a specific day in Scotland in December…

Well if you’re not sure  just what all this means, I’ve just been reading an excellent long article about many different aspects of just what computational photography is and what it means to all our photography in years to come.

I only have one slight disagreement with the article, concerning panoramic photos ;-) “Panorama has always been a favorite kids toy. World’s history knows no cases when a sausage photo was interesting to anyone but its author.” – see my article about making a 14 metre long print – it’s become a significant part of our architectural photography work (although I do know what the author meant ;-) )

I’ve had quite a bit of feedback about my timeline guestimate [Mirrorless page). It’s very much meant as a talking point rater than firm prediction. Interestingly, the greatest pushback came from people saying that no way Canon would not be doing another 5 series DSLR. I can see the point, but reading Canon’s figures and statement I’m still minded to come down on the side of it being mirrorless (whether EOS R mk2 or a new model is something I’d not put money on though…)

Canon-futures timeline

27th As expected, the Canon Q2 results were not great [Canon]

Different parts of the company are shown in the figures, and the Imaging System business (incl. cameras and inkjet printers) showed a net sales decrease of 18.5%.

Just looking at Cameras, the segment showed a 24.9% decrease compared with Q2/2018. Unit sales for the second quarter also decreased by 22%. As a result, Canon has adjusted its full year projections downward.

In an accompanying speech Canon’s EVP and CFO Toshizo Tanaka noted:

 “In Imaging System, we expect sales and profit of interchangeable-lens cameras to decline, due to the continued impact of mainly entry-class DSLR market contraction,”

also:.

Specifically, we will enhance our lineup launching 5 new lenses for mirrorless cameras. Through kit sales that leverage our broad range of mirrorless camera lenses and by bundling cameras with accessories like our lens adapter that makes it possible to use our existing rich lens lineup we will promote further expansion of mirrorless camera sales.
In addition, we will further strengthen our efforts to generate user interest in our mirrorless cameras. As a large percentage of high-end models purchases involve the customer actually handling the model and trying it out before buying, in major cities in Japan and other markets, we will create even more touch points for users, proactively expanding opportunities to actually experience our products.
Additionally, for professional photographers, we will foster trust in our products, offering, among others, enhanced support at international sports events.
Through these measures, we will further raise our presence in the market for high-end models, which will also have a rippling effect on more volume oriented cameras and subsequently link this to a further boost in sales. As for compact cameras, sales were in line with our plan. As such, we maintain our full-year unit sales projection. Through the launch of new products, we will raise the proportion of sales attributable to premium G series models and link this to improved profitability.

See the speech and figures in this PDF

Expect a big push with the EOS R system – especially high end. I suspect we’ll see two ‘pro level’ EOS R cameras next year. I’ve more about this and my thoughts on the future Canon camera timeline on the EOS R/Mirrorless info page

25th Smart control of multiple flash units is addressed in a US patent application [USPTO]. The patent looks at flash units with motorised parts that can change the angles of light emitted (direct and indirect) and how they might be coordinated to optimise subject lighting.

My feeling is that it looks so complicated to use that learning some of the basics of creative multiple flash use might still be quicker than to try and set up all the auto stuff ;-)

24th There’s an interesting (but quite high level) research paper looking at how new demosaicing techniques allow for a greater variety of colour filter arrays (CFAs) beyond the basic Bayer design. [Via the ever interesting ISW]

CFA designs

One of my takes on this, is that with advances in RAW image processing, I’m once again reminded why keeping all my old RAW files was such a good idea ;-)

Apropos of that CFA stuff, Sony seem to have some new sensors listed that include one with the Quad Bayer from the paper above [ISW]

Thom Hogan confirms what I’ve known from every single time I’ve looked at lens detail and new higher resolution sensors or imaging (Such as the S1R multi-shot mode)

More Sampling is Always Better

So, yes you will need bigger cards and bigger disks on your computer – or if lower res is all you need that’s just fine too (and cheaper)

18th A suggestion [CR] that we will indeed see sensor IS appearing in ‘select’ DSLRs. The 1D X mk3 is likely and quite possibly what replaces the 80D/7D2 – 90D?

Another IBIS related patent application from Canon [USPTO] looks at how optical and sensor IS interact, including how to decide if only one is best for a particular situation. Note too that Canon are calling sensor stabilisation IIS

IIS or OIS

See also a second patent application [USPTO] for more on the subject.

stabilisation

and even more at [USPTO]

But wait, there’s more… [USPTO] which looks at lens IS during panning and other movements. Just lens IS here, but there are a lot of stabilisation patents in the works at the moment

In unwelcome news at [NAR], Canon are expecting operating profits (to Dec 2019) to drop some 40% from estimates in April. That’s from April figures that had already been downgraded [NAR]. Expect more detail when their half year earnings appear next week.

All business areas seem affected . Although the camera business is a significant part of this…

“The shrinking camera market continues to hurt Canon. Deliveries of digital cameras worldwide tumbled 24% on the year during the first five months of 2019, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association, based in Tokyo. Sales of Canon’s single-lens reflex camera, a high-margin product, have declined in China and elsewhere.”

This is not a good year for camera companies and makes you wonder how long we’ll see some of them with a significant presence in the market?

I’ve just noticed this story at DPReview, so I took to reading some of the comments. What a gushing of ill-informed spite trying to drown out the considered and thoughtful comments about the whole camera market, and technology changes.

I guess I simply don’t understand why the name on the tool is so critical to some people’s confidence in their ability to make use of it…

11th Canon Image stabilising via the sensor gets some more detail in a new patent application [USPTO]

The patent adresses image preview compositional issues and potential variable lighting drop off (vignetting) arising because of a moved sensor.

Canon-IBIS

Oh, and here’s an example in a DSLR

ibis-dslr

 

There are a lot of non obvious issues to be faced when moving a sensor – this one references several japanese patent applications that may be of interest if you’re really looking to get into the details…

9th  Not all gloom in camera land, Canon increased its market share globally by 3.9% according to a Nikei article (warning- paywall). However, this should be set against a decline in the digital camera market, which fell 22% in 2018.

These 5 camera companies occupy 85.2% of the global camera market.

  • Canon 40.5% (+ 3.9)
  • Nikon 19.1% (- 2.7)
  • Sony 17.7% (- 0.7)
  • Fujifilm: 5.1% (+ 1.3)
  • Olympus: 2.8% (+ 0.1)

I’m afraid the full report is hidden, so I can’t indulge my curiosity as to the remaining 14.8% :-(

The Jan-May CIPA graph shows the ongoing trend…

2019-cipa-jan-may

As you’d expect, with the rumours and my camera/lens testing, I spend a while looking at forums and how people are viewing new products and technology. Some of the clueless acceptance of photo technology marketing guff always surprises (and saddens) me… In particular – new feature X is great – your kit doesn’t have X so must be deficient.

Thom Hogan has just written a nice short article about Hype and Myths that I’m largely minded to agree with.

Personally, I’ve always felt people should spend more time with some ‘auto’ features turned off and enhance their basic camera skills and then appreciate exactly how and when auto modes can help (they do – I’m no fan of the “manual has to be ‘better’ ” mindset).

1st Updated firmware for the Panasonic S1R and S1. [Details at the foot of my Panasonic S1R review] Improved AF and IS performance

June

29th canon_g7x iiiSome specs and pictures appear for the G7X III [Nok]

  • 20 million pixel 1.0 type back illuminated CMOS
  • DIGIC 8
  • Even RAW files can be shot at up to 30 frames per second
  • 4K video
  • Full HD 120 fps movie
  • 3.5 mm microphone input terminal
  • Equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Size: 105.5 x 60.9 x 41.4 mm
  • Weight: 304g

 

A Canon announcement is expected for the next week or so. An RF24-40 has been widely mentioned, and now the G7X III, but no sign of an 80D replacement or new M cameras.

27th More details of the Canon IS system in a US patent application [USPTO], this time showing how electronic/sensor/lens IS systems can work together.

canon-is-patent

Looks as if Sensor IS is well on its way for Canon…

25th There are suggestions that Canon is making multiple announcements on the 9th July, or two weeks today…

No details of course, but there are a number of products in the queue, including an RF24-240 lens, two ‘G’ cameras and the long awaited 80D replacement. There are also M series camera updates possible.

The lens has been seen behind glass at shows, so is well trailed. For the others expect some serious leaks/promotion in the next week or so, if they’re coming.

22nd Some idle thoughts on that sensor…

The 120MP design is APS-H, so an EOS R full frame sensor based on it would be ~175MP  (~16,350h x  11300v)
Not far from the S1R ~187MP multishot mode I tried recently with Canon lenses, which held up just fine. Of course if the 175MP EOS R had similar sensor IS multi-shot, we’d get ~700MP in a shot which comes to an image of roughly  32700h x 22600v. That’s too big for JPEG files and would need to use a format like .PSB (300k pixel limit). I’m by no means sure it could be used with any of the current RAW formats – perhaps time to borrow FITS [WP] from the astronomers? 

I guess we’d still get the customary forum whinging about needing new cards/computers/disks ;-)

21st an APS-H 120MP and 2.7MP extreme low light sensors are covered in a new Canon announcement.

MELVILLE, NY, June 20, 2019 – As image sensors are a driving force in innovating industries, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is pleased to announce two new CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductors) sensor products, the ultra-high resolution 120MXSI and ultra-high sensitivity 35MMFHDXSMA. These sensors help expand the company’s lineup of industrial vision products, and offer integrators and end users additional capabilities when developing solutions in a variety of applications1.

“As a result of Canon’s success in developing and manufacturing advanced CMOS sensors for our own purposes, we expanded to create a business platform offering select sensor capabilities for use in industrial vision applications,” said Kazuto Ogawa, president and chief operating officer, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “These two new CMOS sensors reflect Canon’s dedication to this new business, and reinforce our commitment to developing high-quality imaging solutions.”

120MXSI The 120MXSI sensor is built with the ability to produce clear, high-quality images, making it a great fit for integrators and end users developing applications such as machine vision, security, robotics, precision agriculture and healthcare. This 120-megapixel sensor is capable of simultaneous and discrete image capture in both the visible and near-infrared spectrums 2 at a maximum frame rate of 9.4 frames per second. [More info]

35MMFHDXSMA The 35MMFHDXSMA sensor is capable of capturing monochrome imagery in extreme low-light environments where subjects would be near impossible to recognize with the naked eye. Removal of the color filter array doubles the sensitivity of the previously announced 35MMFHDXSCA sensor, providing even greater low-light capabilities. This sensor can meet a wide range of ultra-high-sensitivity needs when used as a component to support a multitude of applications developed by integrators and end users, including astrological observation, natural disaster monitoring, security and object detection, molecular and cell biology, and industrial vision.

The 120MXSI and 35MMFHDXSMA CMOS sensors will be showcased in the Canon Booth #1611 at the Sensors Expo & Conference, which, according to its organizer, is the industry’s largest event dedicated to sensors, connectivity and IoT, taking place from June 26-27, 2019 at the San Jose McEnergy Convention Center in San Jose, California.

For more information on Canon sensors, please visit canon-cmos-sensors.com

Not sensors we’re going to see in EOS R systems, but I note the specs of the 120MP one.

The Canon 120MXS is an ultra-high resolution CMOS sensor at 120 megapixels in APS-H format (29.22mm x 20.20mm) with a 2.2µm pixel size and all pixel progressive reading of 9.4 fps.

A full frame sensor is ~1.46x the area – that gives a full frame version at ~175MP

sensor-specs

20th  Another Canon patent application [USPTO] shows more about how sensor IS will work in a Canon camera. How for example do you have to change exposure, if the sensor moves whilst the shutter curtain is moving across the sensor?
no, I’d not thought of such things either…

sensor-IS

13th Looking at the sensor IS patent below, it’s pretty obvious we’re going to see sensor IS in an upcoming EOS R model. Having spent a while writing my detailed Panasonic S1R review, I’m definitely in favour of sensor IS for my TS-E lenses. I’m also hoping that Canon perfect a multishot super-res mode like the S1R, where getting 187MP images from my TS-E24 lens was an interesting experience. The experience, along with my EOS RP review definitely refined my ideas of what I’d like to see in a mirrorless replacement for my 5Ds.

There was also a US patent application from back in March [USPTO] that has a very similar sensor mount included to the one in today’s listing. There is another earlier that month [USPTO] which looked at aberrations and defocus as part of the IS controlled by two lens IS elements. It included a potentially moving sensor.

A Canon US patent application [USPTO] shows details of sensor IS unit, whilst discussing aspects of how to combine lens/sensor/electronic image stabilisation.

Here’s one of the diagrams, which I’ve annotated to show the magnets (blue) and control coils (red)

sensor IS

A sensor using photon counting pixels is described in a US patent application [USPTO]

Just for good measure, it’s also based on a stacked sensor design. The mid layer is a frame memory used in building up image data from the single photon pixel elements on the top.

stacked-sensor

Perhaps a while until we see this one?

2nd The ‘next Canon camera’ sweepstakes are running in overdrive at the moment, with something to expand the EOS M range and an update to the 80D due at the end of August (and who knows maybe as the 7D2 update as well). Expect some specs to leak out by the end of July…

Almost anything else I’ve read seems firmly in the guestimate or wishful thinking category…

If you know a bit about the basics of image sensor design, then this 11 minute presentation from Makoto Ikeda might be of interest, including stacked and BSI designs. OK, so I used to be an electronics designer, but any terms you’re not familiar with can easily be found on Wikipedia ;-)  [via ISW]

May

27th After looking at the high res mode of the S1R for our upcoming review, it’s obvious that multishot approaches can be of real use.

This paper from Google (using hand shake to shift the viewpoint) has some interesting details.

high-res

Abstract

Compared to DSLR cameras, smartphone cameras have smaller sensors, which limits their spatial resolution; smaller apertures, which limits their light gathering ability; and smaller pixels, which reduces their signal-to-noise ratio. The use of color filter arrays (CFAs) requires demosaicing, which further degrades resolution. In this paper, we supplant the use of traditional demosaicing in single-frame and burst photography pipelines with a multi-frame super-resolution algorithm that creates a complete RGB image directly from a burst of CFA raw images. We harness natural hand tremor, typical in handheld photography, to acquire a burst of raw frames with small offsets. These frames are then aligned and merged to form a single image with red, green, and blue values at every pixel site. This approach, which includes no explicit demosaicing step, serves to both increase image resolution and boost signal to noise ratio. Our algorithm is robust to challenging scene conditions: local motion, occlusion, or scene changes. It runs at 100 milliseconds per 12-megapixel RAW input burst frame on mass-produced mobile phones. Specifically, the algorithm is the basis of the Super-Res Zoom feature, as well as the default merge method in Night Sight mode (whether zooming or not) on Google’s flagship phone.

18th Whilst it’s important to remember that a patent is not the same as a product – Canon continues to cover many novel aspects of sensor design in considerable detail, so this patent application [USPTO] looks at issues in bonding multi-layer sensors.

multi-layer sensor

Just what is used to detect photons varies too, with a patent application [USPTO] on organic light sensitive compounds going into some of the chemistry.

10th Following from Canon’s results and rather too many people saying that things are not that bad, Nikon’s first quarter results hardly suggest cause for celebration.

See the figures and some interpretation I actually trust from Thom Hogan

Yesterday, I had another of my regular ‘Should I have a go with some film’ thoughts – This time after another film camera (a black Minolta X-700) was found in someone’s cupboard and given to me. Maybe, but not right now…

Then I noticed that Fujifilm have announced another price increase [PR] Likely to be ~30% in June.

“As the reason for the price revision, the company says that ‘high logistics costs and rising prices of some raw materials etc.’ made it difficult for quality and stable supply.”

BTW, wondering about film happens every so often – see What happened last time I wondered about using film again

8th A new Canon model number – DS126801 appears via regulatory filings [Nok]

It’s suggested that this has Wi-Fi, bluetooth4.1 and the larger LP-E6N battery and is the  K437 model found in the code of EOS Utility with a resolution of 6940×4640  (~32MP)

Both the 80D and 7D2 use the LP-E6N battery – are we going to see a replacement for one (or both) of them later in the year? – that’s quite a jump to 30+MP for APS-C

Maybe a ‘bit more pro’ EOS R model (the EOS R also uses the LP-E6N), although there have been suggestions that the next APS-C sensor from Canon would top 30MP. If it is seen in APS-C guise, that equates to some 80MP for a full frame camera (160M total pixels for DPAF).

April

24th Canon’s Q1 2019 financials show a bigger drop in sales and a desire to push full frame and lens sales (where the profits are). Full data and reports at [Canon]

This from the presentation notes [PDF]

q1-financials

We’re seeing an accelerated decline in low end DSLR sales, so expect any updates in that area to be aimed at reducing costs as much as giving technical advances.

All in all, an interesting read, particularly since the situation is unlikely to be much different at other manufacturers…

22nd Much more likely to appear in a camera is the Sony IMX455AQR sensor:

  • IMX455 (Low-Spec of IMX551 Prototype):
  • Effective pixels: 9600×6400
  • Recommend recording pixels: 60MP
  • 11/12/14/16Bit ADC
  • Full Pixel 9fps/14Bit ADC
  • SLVS-EC 8Lane
  • Single ADC in Video Mode
  • 12-ADC in Still Picture Mode
  • Native ISO 64/400

[via SA]

Appearing via Weibo in China and numerous other places [ehd], is a purported Canon sensor data sheet for a 63MP DPAF sensor.

Canon_1.thumb

There are a lot of things about it to question its data, origin and whether it’s a real or current product – nicely summed up at [CN]

It could be real, but with no connection whatsoever to what will appear in any new Canon camera.

As an aside: If you want to separate the clickbait ‘you saw it here first’ rumour sites from reports that look a little more seriously, just see how much they query the actual technical specs in the document. Expect this to be widely picked up and used for fuelling interminable 90% clueless forum threads ;-)

Unrelated… what do you do with all the photos you take, where are they seen and who decides?  A short article I wrote yesterday about how looking at where your photos are seen and by whom, can help give some direction to your photography.

21st Canon and Pioneer are working together on 3D LiDAR [Canon] – I regularly check Canon US patent applications and there are a lot of automotive related ones.  The Canon info is from an interesting collection of links at [ISW]

As a personal aside, I noticed the news item about Canon’s profits warning at [DPR] There’s nothing wrong in of itself (it’s the same info I mentioned here yesterday) but if ever I needed a reminder about the all to frequent futility/annoyance of reading internet comments, then a dive into the comments bemoaning Canon’s supposed ‘lack of innovation’ is both funny and sad.
So many people apparently unable to use current cameras to take decent photos…
I too look forward to the (increasingly marginal) improvements in camera capabilities, but know full well that for myself and almost any photographer I’ve ever met, the limitations are in our personal skills and abilities, not the kit.

BTW for a more informed set of observations on Canon’s sensor development, see this at [CN] and have a look back through this page for more patent observations.

20th “We need stuff that will sell well and make a good profit” could be seen as a supplementary statement to go along with Canon’s reduced profit forecast for the year [Nik via Gxlt]

‘Canon will lower its forecast for the fiscal year ending December 2019. Consolidated operating profit (US GAAP), which indicates the mainstay of the business, is likely to decrease by 20% over the previous fiscal year to just over 270 billion yen. About 50 billion yen lower than the previous forecast. The shrinking of the digital camera market and the deterioration of the semiconductor market due to the functional improvement of smartphones (smartphones) will hit hard.However, the medical equipment divisions acquired from Toshiba are performing well, and profits are expected to turn upward in the second half.’

What does that mean for upcoming cameras?

  • The 80D far outsells the 7D2, probably enough that it makes more profit than the high end APS-C camera. A single ‘better’ 80D replacement looks more likely in the current sales environment.
  • 1D X mk2 – A new 1D X mk 3 is just a given for the top end. Expect it to be supported for a long time, maybe the ‘last’ DSLR.
  • 250D – perhaps one more iteration, but maybe end of the line
  • 77D/800D – does the market today justify such fine price/performance steps as we’ve traditionally seen from Canon. If we see updates, it’s because the cameras are selling, and there’s a profit to be made. Both could get 200D->250D ‘warmovers’ to give a bit of a bump in performance, reduce manufacturing costs and reduce overall parts inventories.
  • Cheaper full frame EOS R model – likely as parts used in the RP become cheaper – expect the RP to come down in price and stay available (with a new cheaper ‘kit lens’) as an RP mk2 arrives.
  • 2000D/4000D – maybe an update in a few years that’s even cheaper to make.
  • 6D mk2 – I suspect no 6D mk3 DSLR – it will be an RP mk2 and it will have reasonable 4k video
  • 5Ds – move to mirrorless, hopefully keeping it as a high resolution photography oriented camera.
  • ‘Pro mirrorless’ – a 5D mk4 ‘successor’ – emphasis on all round performance including video.
  • 5D mk4 – 5D mk5 …maybe one last ‘5 series’ that will be maintained for several years for those that want a DSLR not the size the size/price/build of the 1 series. Also the basis for a ‘pro’ mirrorless until the technologies have advanced enough to make a true mirrorless 1 series

No APS-C mirrorless  in the list? I suspect an EOS R mirrorless design is there waiting to go, perhaps depending on how well any Nikon DX (APS-C) ‘Z’ series cameras do. If it does appear, various DSLR updates become a bit less likely.

12th There’s a suggestion [CR] that there will be a ‘mid level’ DSLR and EOS M5 mk 2 later this year.

As yet nothing in the certification and model number info that has recently been a good source of hints of upcoming kit, so probably not until later this year.  Of course, the mention of just one DSLR raises questions of whether the 80D or 7D3 (or both) will be updated.

There’s this from that Canon interview:

AA: Will Canon be introducing more DSLR cameras?
MB: Yes. Canon still sees demand for all sorts of cameras – including DSLR and mirrorless – so we will continue to produce across multiple product lines. We’ve only just phased out the EOS-1 film camera because there were still people buying it in certain markets, and we will see the same with the DSLR cameras.

A Canon interview… this time EOS Magazine with Mike Burnhill, European Technical Support Manager at Canon Europe.

It gives a few pointers to what’s coming and a bit more background on the RF lens system.

For example there’s the (pretty obvious when you think about it) observation that there won’t be a true ‘Pro’ model until Canon are convinced just how rock solid it is. Canon will only get one good chance from people expecting 1 series build and reliability – this may be why a high MP 5Ds replacement could appear before any attempt at a 1 series mirrorless.

11th A Canon patent application [USPTO] gets round the nose on screen problem with an extending EVF eyepiece…

evf extension

10th So, the 250D is announced – it’s had the M50 sensor and Digic8 added.

As someone with a 100D, I have to say this feels a bit like an opportunity missed, but I can see the market position it’s aimed at.  I’m wondering if we can read anything about whether we will see updates for the 800D/80D/7D2 and whether Canon will really make the effort to make them great, or just place holders?
Of course this 24MP DPAF sensor is now relatively mature technology – lets hope that it doesn’t get a ‘simple’ expansion to FF (~61MP) for the upcoming ‘pro’ EOS R model. I’ve got the Panasonic S1 R (and EF lens adapter) coming here next week to try which I’ll be looking at in its own right, as well as comparing to my recent review of the EOS RP and my day to day 5Ds – Yes I am looking forward to getting some ~200MP multishot images with my TS-E24 II on it, that and shift/stitch versions hitting ~300MP

9th It’s now pretty certain [Nok-TwT] that Canon will shortly be announcing a 200D update – not a 90D or a 7D mk3

Latest info (and pictures) on the 250D page

The Kiss X10 also appears in Russian wireless certification info.

It will be interesting to see just how much ‘new’ tech goes into this update.

7th It’s doom and gloom time as the February CIPA figures hit the shelves [CIPA]. Expect the usual wailing etc.

I don’t do the deep analysis of the real numbers (along with their caveats and limitations) needed for meaningful comment – I’ll leave that for Thom Hogan when he gets round to it ;-)
In the meantime watch the horrors unfold… ;-)

feb-cipa

 

March

28th Canon IBIS in a patent? A new application [USPTO] seems to show a sensor based IS system. The patent covers some specific design aspects, but clearly shows a sensor based system (it also mentions lens based IS).

Given the number of other sensor IS systems already in production, I’d expect to see a few more related patent applications both before and after we see sensor IS in a new EOS R camera. Canon have pretty much said it will be coming, but it’s not a simple addition to current camera designs – I’m not really expecting it in the 1D X mk3 ;-)

Canon-IBIS-3

Canon-IBIS-2Canon-IBIS-1

A US patent application [USPTO] from Canon looks at a stacked (BSI) sensor design, with particular attention to bonding the layers.  As with many patents this isn’t a ‘what Canon’s next sensor will be’ article, but give a bit more info about the directions they are going.

stacked-sensor

A stacked sensor lets you keep the photon capture and image data handling areas apart from each other. Suffice to say, matching the two (or more) parts together accurately and repeatably is not a trivial task…

27th Several people asked me if Canon or Fuji were right about camera numbers in coming years. My answer was that it depends on what numbers you mean and where you start…
Well, Thom Hogan has a succinct explanation with a graph that makes it much clearer ;-) [TH]

24th A Japanese patent application [CN] looks at quad pixel AF designs. Whilst quad pixel elements have appeared in quite a few sensor patents (usually as a ‘you could do it like this too’ example), this patent looks at micro lens offsets and other aspects much closer to an actual implementation.

QPAF would double the amount of info needed to be processed. The 20MP APS C example in the patent comes out at ~50MP for full frame, with 200 million photos sites…
See also the US Canon patent application [14th, below] looking at speeding up the readout of DPAF pixels for imaging [USPTO].

21st A few assorted US patent applications from Canon:

  • Far more than you wanted to know about HEVC image compression [USPTO]
  • A bit of chemistry, if you’re looking for organic photo sensitive elements for your sensor [USPTO]
  • Using DPAF for correcting focus shift caused by changing aperture [USPTO]

20th There’s been quite a bit of talk about Canon’s future predictions/plans of late. If you’ve been following this sort of stuff for a while you might just see it as part of a concerted information/PR campaign to go along with the EF->RF and DSKR->Mirrorless transition.

As such, have a read of the CP+ interview with Fuji at [IR] – obviously, this is the Fuji PR angle, but it’s interesting to see the different pitch. It starts with a disagreement (or is it?) relating to Canon’s ‘prediction’ of camera market contraction.

What’s coming next from Canon? – the 80D and 7D2 are looking old, but the model name DS126761 has been seen in wireless certification data for a while.

It will be interesting to see if this camera gets a noticeably improved sensor, which could give some indications of higher performance configurations coming in 80D/7D2 replacements (and as a FF design, any ‘pro’ EOS R for that matter). We’ve been told many times of a ‘jump’ in sensor performance – so many in fact, that I’m definitely in a wait and see mode ;-)

DS 126761

  • Digital camera (single lens reflex or RF mounting machine)
  • Made in Taiwan or Made in Japan (Oita Plant)
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth equipped (WM 600)
  • SKU: 3454C001AA, 3454C002AA, 3454C003AA, 3458C001AA, 3461C001AA
  • Battery: 7.2 V 1040 mAh (LP – E 17)

New info at [Nok] says that it’s a 200D replacement or SL3

Note for younger readers ;-) – the 300D appeared in 2004…

  Crop  00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D 90D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D T6s 77D
        750D T6i 800D T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2 250D
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
                              EOS RP
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6 M6 II
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8 dual

15th Yes, there is a Canon instant camera on the way [Nok]

  • Photo resolution: 8 million pixels
  • Focal length: 25.4 mm
  • F value: F2.2
  • Minimum shooting distance: 30 cm
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto (ISO 100-1600)
  • Wireless: Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery: Built-in (700 mAh, 7.4 V), USB charging (micro USB)
  • Media: micro SD card
  • Size: 121 mm (W) x 80.3 mm (H) x 21.5 mm (D)
  • Weight: 188g
  • Printing Technology: ZINK
  • Printing resolution: 314 x 600 dpi
  • Aspect ratio: 2 ” x 2 ” or 2 ” x 3 ”

canon instant

14th Rather technical, but a new Canon patent application looks at speeding up the readout of DPAF pixels for imaging [USPTO]. Important, because getting data off the sensor fast enough is a key issue for high MP sensors and 4k/8k video

dpaf-pixel-readout

13th Some Canon research on global shutter sensors [ISW]

Also a few thoughts on where we are with mirrorless and the missing DSLR updates (EOS R and mirrorless rumours)

7th A list of SKU codes for a range of Canon instant cameras [Nok]

“Canon’s undisclosed item list posted SKU described as instant camera of IVY (iNSPiC in Japan) brand”

  • 3879C001: IVY 2in1 Instant Camera (Gold)
  • 3879C002: IVY 2in1 Instant Camera (White)
  • 3879C003: IVY 2in1 Instant Camera (Blue)
  • 3879C004: IVY 2in1 Instant Camera (Red)
  • 3884C001: IVY instant camera (green)
  • 3884C002: IVY Instant Camera (Yellow)
  • 3884C003: IVY instant camera (blue)
  • 3884C004: IVY instant camera (red)

6th Canon have published their corporate strategy documents [Canon]

There’s a lot in it, but for the camera biz, expect to see a lot more emphasis on that mirrorless side of the chart.

Canon-future

The CP+ show has finished, and there were no new revelations – lots of lens adapters and new lens companies (see the lenses page)

The January CIPA numbers have appeared with distinct drops in all categories [PDF]

DSLR shipments -21.8%, mirrorless -14.8%, compacts are -31.6%, lenses for smaller than 35mm cameras -26.6%, lenses for 35mm cameras -4.9%

As ever, there’s far more to such numbers than some of the doom you’re going to see reported, but the continuing decline is not unexpected…

1st It’s CP+ time in Japan (for the cameras)

Canon have a selection of ‘concept cameras’ [DPR]

Canon Concept cam

Sigma say that 20MP Foveon based full frame with L mount will now be here in 2020 [PR]

Sigma-full-frame

That’s 60MP in Foveon megapixels…

February

28th An interesting patent application [USPTO] looks again at stacked sensors. It looks at ways of compressing data from higher resolution chips when compression helps and uncompressed data when needed.

stacked-sensor

Canon has lots of patents like this that go into (extreme) details of aspects of sensor design – if you want fast readout from really high megapixel cameras without overheating and dismal battery life, then stuff like this represents ways forward.

17th There’s not much hard info about upcoming cameras, but a few snippets do show up – of course the meaning is open to plenty of interpretation…

The latest version of EOS Utility has lost the unknown device ID numbers  K435/K436/K437 that were found inside the code of EOS Utility 3.9.0 (September 2018) [Nok]

K433 is the EOS RP (DS126761) [Nok] (so I’m wondering where K434 went?)

This device ID info first appeared last year [Nok]

  • K435
    • Single-lens reflex camera
    • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
    • Battery level indication is displayed in 4 stages (same as 9000 D etc.)
    • Maximum image size of test machine: 6000 × 4000
    • Probably released in 2019
  • K436
    • Single-lens reflex camera
    • APS-C
    • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
    • Battery level indication is displayed in 4 stages
    • Maximum image size of test machine: 6000 × 4000
    • Probably released in 2019
  • K437
    • Single-lens reflex camera
    • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
    • Battery level indicator is displayed in six levels (same as 5D Mark IV etc.)
    • Maximum image size of test machine: 6960 × 4640
    • Probably released in 2019 or later

So, we could yet see some DSLR updates later this year.

One minor caveat – The Nokishita info is being viewed through the lens of Google Translate, so even though they are a good reliable source, we may be missing more nuanced detail.

 It’s been suggested to us (thanks) that we’ll see an all new 24MP DPAF sensor in the upcoming APS-C DSLR update. This will incorporate a lot of advances in processing, and form the basis for a ‘next generation’ of Canon sensors, since Canon are aware of the widely discussed ‘performance gap’ even if they don’t think it actually matters as much as parts of the online world crack on about.

Whilst I tend to agree that most photographers really don’t care (or probably know) about such issues, I can’t imagine Canon marketing not wanting to have a few more of the old bragging rights crowns back to make use of ;-)

The wireless registration info suggests a new camera with an LP-E17 battery, so something to update the 77D or 800D seems more likely than an update for the 80D/7D2.

15th A technical one concerning optical low-pass (‘AA’) filters, but if you’d like more info on how they are designed, a new Canon patent application goes into a lot of detail [USPTO] Just remember that patents are not written to be clear…

PSF example

As someone who shoots stuff with a lot of fine detail, I like AA filters. Buying a 5Ds saved me money [Why] I’m glad Canon offered the choice with the 5Ds – for those of us not prone to the knee-jerk ‘AA must be bad’ response ;-)

14th As expected, the EOS RP is announced and Canon puts out a lens roadmap of sorts [lenses page]

11th I was watching the stars on the red carpet last night lining up for the big awards ceremony – no, not the BAFTAs, it’s the annual BCN (Japanese) camera shipments awards…  [via Google]

2018-BCN-awards

Yes, Canon at #1 for mirrorless, with Sony at #3 …  OK, serious caveats apply, but I’m sure it will amuse some forum dwellers ;-)

Meanwhile, I’ve been testing the latest SpyderX monitor calibrator and have a detailed SpyderX Elite review.

I’ve been looking at them for a while, here’s every model going back to the original from 2003. Whatever you use – monitor calibration is a vital part of photography these days.

spyders on monitor

9th Some interesting observations on the decline in camera sales in different categories, from Thom Hogan [TH]

Both Canon and Nikon are in contracting markets and both look to the profitability of the higher end. I’ll just point to this graph and suggest you read the article – there’s nothing in it I’d disagree with.

canon nikon sales

Looking again at the number of current models in the Canon timeline we have to be due for quite a shakeout over the next few years.

There’s been quite a bit about this subject here – scroll down to the Canon financials (30th Jan) and other Canon reports.

7th If you use the sensor for AF, then moving it or the lens IS unit about for IS can interfere with AF reliability and image quality. A Canon patent application [USPTO] looks at aspects of this.

stabilisation

Note that this is not a sensor based IS patent, but that the image shake control [107] goes to the lens and the sensor. The adjustment lens [108] can be looked at as a second IS related element in the lens.

Sensor IS is appearing as part of many Canon patent applications – it’s just when we see it in a camera…

High resolution imaging by moving the sensor for multiple shots has been around for a while, however it doesn’t respond well to any subject movement. A Canon patent application [USPTO] looks at many aspects of this.  This version uses multiple image capture for the process. This isn’t something we’ll see in a camera soon, but it’s good to see some of the work going on.

multi-shot

A variable colour temperature flash unit is discussed in a Canon patent application [USPTO] along with using it to match flash temperature to ambient lighting. It uses a mix of different colour LEDs.

mixed-flash

6th The information about the EOS RP  suggests that it’s one of the two Canon camera models we had ID code info for. Both use the LP-E17 battery, so the unknown model is unlikely to be a 7D2 or 80D replacement. If a DSLR, it’s likely an xxxD level update.

The size of the EOS RP definitely seems aimed at full frame users wanting a small camera. I’ve still got a very nifty 100D and the RP doesn’t look a lot bigger. Let’s hope it charges over USB since those LP-E17 batteries won’t last long. Here’s an approximate comparison of the front viewRP-vs-200D

 

1st 2018 rumours and info are now in the 2018 archive

Panasonic have announced two versions of their first camera in the new full frame ‘L-mount’. The S1 and S1R

Newark, NJ (February 1, 2019) – After the development announcement at Photokina 2018, Panasonic is now proud to introduce the full specifications of its long-awaited first full-frame Digital Single Lens Mirrorless cameras, the LUMIX S1R and S1, with a 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor. The new cameras are based on the L-Mount standard, which boasts a well-balanced, large inner diameter and compact dimensions for a flange focus to realize optimum size and performance as a mirrorless camera system.

The LUMIX S Series aims for unprecedented image quality with high resolution, rich gradation and superior color reproduction. A high-speed, high-precision AF system based on advanced control technology over the lens, the sensor, and the new Venus Engine enable the user to capture the target in sharp focus without fail. The LUMIX S Series also boasts industry-leading video recording performance (4K 60p/50p*1), intuitive control, a rugged design for heavy field use, durability, and expandability.

The LUMIX S1R integrates a 47.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (36mm x 24mm), which gives it the industry’s highest level of resolution in the full-frame mirrorless cameras*2, to pursue the ultimate power of expression. In addition to the precise reproduction capability in detail, this sensor achieves a high S/N ratio by taking advantage of its high light-condensing efficiency despite the large number of pixels. The LUMIX S1R features a High Resolution mode for the first time as a mirrorless full-frame camera to enable 187-megapixel ultra-high precision photo shooting.

The LUMIX S1 comes with a 24.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (35.6mm x 23.8mm) that provides a wide dynamic range and excellent performance at high sensitivity in addition to a natural yet sharp image description thanks to sufficient light condensation per pixel. The LUMIX S1 supports professional use in videography by taking advantage of the stunning expression performance that a full-frame camera can offer. It records smooth 4K 60p video and enables full-pixel readout of signals in 4K 30p/25p*1 to save truly beautiful footage. Furthermore, the LUMIX S1 will comply with 4:2:2 10-bit 4K 30p/25p*1 internal video recording and 4K 60p HDMI output as well as V-Log, with a software upgrade key (to be sold separately) following soon in 2019.

For full specs see the coverage at DPR

A Canon US patent application shows many aspects of pixel design for sensors (in DPAF) but one example might cheer up Foveon fans, with a multi level design. [USPTO]

However, look more closely and you’ll see that the bottom layer is actually two photosensitive site, so DPAF not a ‘full colour’ pixel. It’s not, but Canon have patents in the past for such stuff (see below and on previous year’s archive pages if you’re curious)

There are many different versions in the patent, but the principal aim is to create pixels that have the same optical performance whether being used for DPAF or image sensing.

stacked design

How to handle all those sensor elements?  – switches, lots of them

switching

I’d note that in this multilayer design, using the layers PC3/PC2 with different sensitivities you could get a pixel with adjustable dynamic range. The main aim of this patent though is  allowing a mix of phase AF and image pixels that behave the same when it comes to recording image data.

Another application [USPTO] includes a BSI design amongst the examples.

BSI-sensor

The patent isn’t specifically  about BSI, it’s more a ‘oh and you could do it this way too’ addition. It does show Canon’s looking at BSI processes though.

BSI is helpful, especially for smaller sensors, but it’s not quite the wonder technology that Sony fans and ‘forum wisdom’ might suggest [WP]

If you’re looking for (even) more about sensor design, another application [USPTO] looks at A/D conversion with variable gains. Yet another [USPTO] looks at creating multiple gain maps to capture a wider dynamic range, based on image content.

January

30th Canon’s financial reports are published and show the continuing slide of the last few years.

The full info is available from Canon

The overview:

key message

The figures

the figures

Figures broken down by business unit (spot the bit not doing so well)

business units

Some 2019 projections

2019 projections

And some plans for cameras. Note no sign of EOS-M

camera future

And there’s the interestingly named ‘New category cameras’

new-cameras

Here’s the notes concerning the ‘Imaging systems’ slide:

The 2018 interchangeable-lens camera market was impacted by restrained purchasing of advanced- amateur models, prior to the launch of new full-frame mirrorless cameras by each manufacturer, and the further contraction of the DSLR market, mainly due to lower sales of entry-class models. As a result, the overall interchangeable-lens camera market continued to shrink. Even under these conditions, sales of mirrorless cameras—with their lightweight, compact body designs—continued to grow. This reflects improvements in mirrorless camera performance in such areas as autofocus, which is now comparable to that of DSLRs.

Against this backdrop, we are framing this year as one in which we take measure that will stabilize this business in the future. Within this, accelerating the expansion of our mirrorless lineup is a priority.

The key to this is the EOS R, our first full-frame mirrorless model, launched in the second half of last year. Although its contribution to last year’s performance was limited, sales have been strong due to its significantly improved optical performance, which has been highly rated by users. In order to further increase our presence in the mirrorless camera market, this year we will continue to expand our entire mirrorless camera lineup, consecutively launching new R-System products, including lenses. Additionally, we will also promote change in the distribution of internal resources, from development to production as well as sales & marketing.

Additionally, we will work to improve product mix, raising the proportion attributable to full-frame models that have high profitability by enhancing our mirrorless camera lineup and also expanding sales of full-frame models, particularly the EOS R.

We expect the market for camera equipped with full-frame sensors, which offer superlative descriptive performance, to continue growing at a stable rate. The customer base of this market are particular about image expression and pair their cameras with various lenses depending on the images they intend to capture. We will strive to improve total profitability by expanding sales of the full-frame model like the EOS R which will lead to expanded sales of lenses that have high profitability.

Additionally, as part of efforts to reduce costs, we are taking active steps to increase automation. Our camera business is leading all other businesses in this initiative. We are currently expanding this activity to include mirrorless camera and lens production. Going forward, we will expand our automation initiatives not only to other products, but also other processes, adding further momentum to our cost reduction efforts.

So – make of that what you will…

In terms of camera sales by category, they had this to say:

For interchangeable-lens cameras, the market in 2018 was down 10% to 10.3 million units. Our sales, were down 9% to 5.04 million units, which is a slower rate of decline than the market and reflects sales growth of our mirrorless cameras, including the EOS M50, a strategic entry class model that was launch in the first half. In 2019, we expect the market to continue to decline, shrinking 7% to 9.6 million units. Despite facing a shrinking DSLR market, we expect our interchangeable-lens camera sales overall to be 4.7 million units as we grow unit sales through new mirrorless cameras, including the ones that were launched last year.

Next, compact cameras. In 2018, the market was down 22% to 10.5 million units. And in 2019, we expect the market to decline at a continuing rate of around 20%, reaching 8.5 million units. We expect our own unit sales to decline in line with the market. From a profitability perspective, however, we expect steady improvement thanks to a higher proportion of sales coming from our G series of premium models. Going forward, we will continue to expand sales mainly for G series cameras.

That Canon interview from a few days ago continues to generate ‘concern’ as people look for click grabbing headlines for posts about it. Many ‘discussions’/’ill informed speculations’ seem to neglect the ‘could’ from “The digital camera market is continuing to decline and could be 50% down in two years”

As an antidote, have a read of the more considered analysis from Thom Hogan [TH]

I strongly agree with most of his points, although I still don’t feel quite the same level of concern over the EOS-M/EOS-R incompatibility. I will admit though that the EF-M mount does feel a bit as if Canon has backed itself into a corner. Still, the EOS M system sells well in Japan…
RF->EF-M and EF->EF-M adapter/focal-reducers might help, but as a user of full frame DSLRs for 16 years, my appreciation of the needs and purchasing drives of potential EOS-M users is theoretical at best ;-)

29th An EOS R camera is widely expected in a few weeks (entry level according to some canon comments), but the latest update [Nok] for wireless regulatory info shows details of a second camera with quite a few SKU codes (typical of lower end cameras with multiple kit options/colours).

DS 126751

  • Digital camera (single lens reflex or RF mounting machine)
  • Made in Japan (Oita Plant)
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth equipped (WM 600)
  • SKU: 3380C003AA, 3380C013AA, 3380C023AA
  • Battery: 7.2 V 1040 mAh (LP – E 17?)

DS 126761

  • Digital camera (single lens reflex or RF mounting machine)
  • Made in Taiwan or Made in Japan (Oita Plant)
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth equipped (WM 600)
  • SKU: 3454C001AA, 3454C002AA, 3454C003AA, 3458C001AA, 3461C001AA
  • Battery: 7.2 V 1040 mAh (LP – E 17?)

So, we could get two RF mount cameras or a DSLR to go with the expected EOS R or it could be that both of these are DSLR updates, nothing to do with the expected EOS R…  Best guesses at the moment? EOS ‘RP’ and an entry (xxxD) level DSLR update.

28th You know those regular CIPA numbers? The ones which either show continuing gloom for camera companies, or according to some sites, ‘Signs of a mirrorless golden age’…

Well, a Canon interview suggests that Canon believes the numbers (Duh) and sees a continuing fall, with the overall market shrinking to half in two years. The article [nk] features Canon’s president Fujio Mitarai. [info also from DCI]

Unfortunately the full article is behind a paywall, but the key points are:

  • Canon will shift its camera business more to corporate customers
  • More reliance on industrial, surveillance and medical imaging
  • The digital camera market is continuing to decline and could be 50% down in two years.
  • Canon’s camera sales have declined at around 10% a year (sales volume) in the past few years (combined with single lens reflex and mirrorless) The world market for interchangeable lens cameras is around 10 million, but decreased
  •  The mirrorless product is growing, but it is a replacement with a single lens reflex, it is not adding to the market as a whole.
  • People usually shoot with smartphones.The digital camera market will keep falling for about 2 years, but professional and high amateur (advanced) amateurs use about 5 to 6 million units. Finally there it will hit the bottom.

So, in the longer term are we going to see a serious slimming down of the range? The Canon range of DSLRs has always been aimed at giving potential buyers easy ways of moving up/down price points. At what point is there not enough market to support all these camera models? How too does The EOS R range take over

What’s actually going to get updated here?

  Crop  00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D 90D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D T6s 77D
        750D T6i 800D T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2 250D
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
                              EOS RP
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6 M6 II
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8 dual

17th Wondering about tracking AF in upcoming cameras? Well, Canon has a patent application [USPTO] that goes into the whole subject in a lot of detail.

It also looks at modifying the tracking system during the tracking process, using a mix of AF related info, such as eye tracking (below) along with conventional AF info (from DSLR AF sensor or sensor based AF for mirrorless).

tracking autofocus

How you get user input to control the process is important

af control screen

Just remember that patents are not written for an easy read. The AF stuff in the patent could be applied to cameras at all levels, but definitely looks of relevance to a new 1D X model (or 7D mk3 anyone?) or even a higher end mirrorless…

15th With a note that these are market share numbers for the Japanese market, I see that the 2019 BCN camera ‘awards’  have been announced. [BCN] Canon will no doubt be pleased with #1 for DSLR and Mirrorless.

  • Digital camera (integrated with lens)
    1st Nikon (share 31.5%)
    2nd place Canon (share 29.8%)
    3rd place Sony (share 11.9%)
  • Digital camera (single lens reflex)
    1st Canon (share 57.4%)
    2nd Nikon (share 39.3%)
    3rd place Ricoh Imaging (share 3.1%)
  • Digital camera (mirrorless single lens)
    1st Canon (share 31.6%)
    2nd place Olympus (share 23.5%)
    3rd place Sony (share 22.7%)
  • Digital video camera
    1st Panasonic (share 45.8%)
    2nd Sony (share 35.1%)
    3rd place JVC Kenwood (share 13.1%)
  • Action Camera
    1st GoPro (share 74.3%)
    2nd Sony (share 8.5%)
    3rd place SAC (7.2% share)
  • Interchangeable lens
    1st Canon (share 20.7%)
    2nd place Sigma (share 15.7%)
    3rd place Nikon (share 13.7%)

If you’re wondering how Canon makes #1 in mirrorless, then remember that the EOS M system, especially the Kiss M (M50), is significantly more popular in Japan than many other parts of the world.

As ever, don’t take such headline numbers too seriously, just interesting to note… See more BCN figures and mirrorless info on the Mirrorless rumours page.

12th We’re told (thanks!) that Canon will break the 100MP barrier with an EOS R model with IBIS – this was included in an update pointing out how Canon stopped any MF system development several years ago.

See the Medium Format page for more and how it affects my eventual 5Ds update

Some Canon concept cameras at CES [PB – consumer end stuff before you get too excited ;-)

11th “Forget mirrorless, when are they updating the x/xx/xxx/xxxxD” is something I’m regularly asked.

At the moment, we’ve only seeing a couple of model numbers in the regulatory info [NK] and anything more seems unlikely until later in the year. There’s a lower end EOS R to come, and a 1D X mk3 for end of year/2020 but anything else is, as the psychics say, “unclear”.

When looking at the timeline,  it’s worth remembering that camera updates typically take up to 18 months work, with production related matters needing to be worked out long before a release date – firmware and some features can be set in stone a lot closer to an announcement, or even tweaked before shipping, but quite a bit is known well before any announcement.

Sorry, but this sort of stuff virtually never leaks out – much of what gets put out as rumour is speculation and based on interpolation of other camera advances (see the timeline just down the page) Rumours often only reflect real products weeks before an announcement.

It’s worth looking at the recent IR interview with Canon [Mirrorless page] where it’s noted “The future mix of M/DSLR/R is still fluid…”

So, updates for the 1D X2/5D4/5Ds/7D2/80D/800D could all be in the pipeline – which ones will we actually see?and when will we see them?

Canon definitely needs to give some form of hint – it doesn’t need to be a full roadmap, we all know their longer term future is RF mount based, but different people will move to EOS R at different times.

Sales figures for cameras show that DSLRs still make up a big chunk of the market, and will do for several years yet, so Canon won’t ditch them too soon.

There’s some more discussion of sales trends  by Thom Hogan that are worth noting [TH]. He includes why uncertainty over DSLR updates is not good and some suggestions as to how Nikon (and Canon) should also handle its DSLR uncertainty.

Whilst unlikely to appear in any Canon camera you can hold for a while, two patent applications look at different ways of capturing light.

One looks at photon counting sensors, where the pixel electronics produces output pulses related to the frequency of arrival of photons [USPTO]  It’s a stacked design.

A second application [USPTO] looks at organic photosensitive molecules for use in sensors as the light sensitive element and for charge handling (moving electrons/holes around). Amongst the options, a few fullerene based ones (C60 and above)

c60 based

7th A bit more on camera trends comes from a look at CIPA numbers [CN] – it’s important to note that this reflects shipments from Japanese manufacturers, not actual sales.

We’re too close to Canon/Nikon stepping into mirrorless in a big way to see how things are moving as a result of this and the Z/RF lens mount changes, but the general decline in camera sales broadly continues downwards.

If you’d like to browse the data, then it goes back several years at [CIPA]

5th Whilst noting that these are just Japanese figures, the BCN sales figures [CN] for December put the Kiss X9 (200D) and X9i (800D ) 1st and 2nd, with the M50 taking 3rd and 4th place. The EOS R is at 13th (Sony A7III is 10th)

I’d note that the top 4 Canon entries are all dual zoom kits.

This brings me back to a point where I still question some of the received wisdom about Canon’s ‘problem’ with EOS M not offering a clear lens upgrade path to EOS R in the way that APS-C EF-S cameras do for EF lenses.

Some training experience suggests to me that only a small portion of those dual lens kits will see the lens swapped more than a few times (if ever).   My suspicion is that Canon’s comfort with the degree of difference between EF-M and RF based systems is based on a rather better understanding of how people who buy their cameras use (and update) them than those of us at the ‘advanced’ end of the market think people act (or is that ‘should’ act? ;-)  ).

One observation yesterday showed in a small way how the  EF-M range was being aimed at a very different market, when I looked at some details of the new SDK . Up until the M50, remote shooting is simply not supported. The list of supported DSLRs goes back to the 1Ds3, 40D and 450D (~2007 era cameras – Digic3  see the timeline below).

However we’re now at a point where we have 3 (or four) different systems…  From a personal point of view, I’ve always thought the EF-M lens mount was not a great design move from a longer term system view. Will we see Canon try and bring EF-M and RF mount systems closer? An RF-> EF-M adapter may be physically feasible.

What happens if/when we get some EOS-R APS-C cameras to replace the current XXXD, XXXD and XXD range – where does EF-M fit then

So, yes, there is confusion and is there a point this actually matters from a sales POV for Canon?

For the camera girls…

Perhaps time to go back to August 2012  (from the old M/M2 page) a a Japanese article [DCW] explaining Canon’s thoughts about the EOS M…

I’ll just note a few [Google] translated bits…

Togura: As you can see from the name EOS M, it is positioned as one of the EOS family. What is required for EOS is how to expand the shooting area. Under such circumstances, the performance as a single lens reflex camera has been evaluated by everyone, but we recognise that “size” is regarded as one of the hurdles at the time of purchase. In this time, we thought that shooting range will further expand because we can always carry around by providing compact and lightweight interchangeable lens digital camera. It is the background of the project to have the role of introduction to the EOS world with EOS M.

EOS-M was being promoted as a part of the EOS system (with an arrow suggesting the next step up was the 1D X ;-)

eos m position

Togura: The target user is clear in the country, is a customer who is said to be a camera girls. I think that the female group in the 20s and 30s who began waking up to the camera and photographs will become the main target. As the user layer that we should focus first, we can use the EF lens system as it is as the character of this camera, so I will naturally expect it as a sub camera of the EOS user.

It’s also interesting to see how cameras sales were perceived in 2012 – ever upwards…

mirrorless sales

But seriously, have a read [Google translation] and see how much is relevant in 2019?

4th Canon has updated the SDK available for developers wanting to connect/control certain Canon cameras (now including the SX70 HS)  – Canon SDK info

3rd There’s life in DSLRs yet… a Canon patent application [USPTO] looks at ways of automating AF micro adjustment using the DPAF sensor AF system.

Shutters too… A patent application looks at a bi-directional shutter [USPTO] By not having to re-cock the shutter after firing, a higher speed of continuous shooting is possible (firing on downwards and upwards sweeps of the mechanism).

shutter mechanism

2019 January

2nd A good list of RF lenses for 2019 [lens page] suggests  a solid push to make the RF lens mount credible and with it, native lenses for the EOS R camera range.

What range would that be? Perhaps by the end of this year we’ll have a better idea of some direction from Canon, but at the moment there’s no sense of clarity –  that matters to people actually buying cameras, not just the likes of us ;-)

An entry level EOS R (naming convention still open…) is also suggested at [CR], but that leaves quite a few ageing DSLRs to wonder about.

The 1Dx II replacement is likely to be a DSLR, since I don’t think all the necessary mirrorless technology is quite there yet for a mirrorless version (maybe by 2021/22 at a guess?)

The 5D4 and 5Ds are more likely to be close to a level for any mirrorless replacement to be a significant jump in performance, but I’m still thinking 2020 before both are shipping. This is where I think we could also see Canon’s first IBIS appearance (can I request multishot as well for high MP static/studio use).

The 6D2 could move to a more entry full frame mirrorless (2019) although some would already put the EOS R at ~6D2 level

Oh, and then there were the crop cameras? An all guns blazing 7D mk3 might be the DSLR APS-C flag bearer for years to come, as the 80D/77D/800D/200D/2000D/4000D all drift over to mirrorless land (or are enveloped by EOS M) A few more APS-C DSLRs may yet appear, and still we wonder where EOS-M fits in all this…

  Crop  00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D 90D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D T6s 77D
        750D T6i 800D T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2 250D
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
                              EOS RP
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6 M6 II
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8 dual

For a broader (other makes as well) take on this see Thom Hogan’s notes [TH]

1st A happy New Year to our visitors!  If you’re at a loss for things to do for your photography this coming year, then I’ve a few short book reviews of ideas.

And in the spirit of looking at things anew (again) in January…

Anyway, enough of this, I’ve a New Years Day concert to watch ;-)

2018 rumours and info are now in the 2018 archive

2018 February

21st Some EOS 4000D pictures appear, and some specs [PR]

Canon EOS4000D DSLR

  • 18 million APS-C
  • DIGIC 4+
  • Full HD video
  • 2.7 type liquid crystal
  • ISO: 100-6400
  • Wi-Fi installed
  • Size: 129.0 × 101.6 × 77.1 mm
  • Weight: 436 g
  • DS 126701

20th A picture and specs for the M50 appear [mirrorless page] 24MP, EVF, 4k video and Digic 8

I note in particular, the first appearance of Digic 8. This what I’d expect to see in the 7D mk3 and 5Ds mk2, but maybe not a 90D

A quick look at the timeline makes me wonder where the M50 fits – I’m inclined to think another row between M5 and M6?

  Crop  00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D 90D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D T6s 77D
        750D T6i 800D T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2 250D
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
                              EOS RP
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6 M6 II
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8 dual

Also at [Nok] a Speedlight 470 EX-AI is shown

18th Full specs for the Pentax K1 Mk2 appear  [PxR]

36MP and ISO to 819k amongst the goodies…

15th Dual/split pixel sensor design is covered in a US patent application [USPTO], looking at the manufacturing aspects of the sensor.

dual pixel design

There are a number of interesting elements to this, such as differing sizes of the sub pixels to allow for sensor light fall off towards the edge of sensors.  One to read if you didn’t realise just how many steps are involved in making a sensor (or any modern semiconductor component for that matter).

Improving the amount of light reaching the photosensitive part of a sensor pixel is addressed in a US patent app looking at manufacturing processes [USPTO]. Not as complex as the previous example.

pixel light well

The advent of dual pixel AF using phase detection offers ways of introducing new improved AF options. A Canon US patent application discusses aspects of this. [USPTO]

af system

14th Another interesting sensor development, this time from Panasonic:
‘8K High-Resolution, High-Performance Global Shutter Technology using Organic-Photoconductive-Film CMOS Image Sensor’

panasonic 8k sensor

From Panasonic

The new technology has the following advantages.

  • 8K resolution, 60fps frame rate, 450k saturation electrons and global shutter function are realised simultaneously.
  • Switching between high sensitivity mode and high saturation mode is possible using gain switching function.
  • The ND filter function can be realised steplessly by controlling the voltage applied to the OPF.

This Development is based on the following technologies.

  • “OPF CMOS image sensor design technology”, in that, the photoelectric-conversion part and the circuit part can be designed independently.
  • “In-pixel capacitive coupled noise cancellation technique” which can suppress pixel reset noise at high speed even at high resolution
  • “In-pixel gain switching technology” that can achieve high saturation characteristics
  • “Voltage controlled sensitivity modulation technology” that can adjust the sensitivity by changing the voltage applied to the OPF.

13th An interesting Sony press release [Sony] shows an actual sample sensor with two chips bonded together, where the bottom chip does the Analogue->Digital conversion all at once, giving a true global shutter.

dual chip

Key technologies mentioned:

  • Low-current, compact pixel-parallel A/D converter
    In order to curtail power consumption, the new converter uses comparators that operate with sub-threshold currents, resulting in the industry’s best-performing, low current, compact 14-bit A/D converter. This overcomes the issue of the increased demand for current due to the inclusion of nearly 1,000 times as many A/D converters in comparison with the traditional column A/D conversion method.
  • Cu-Cu (copper-copper) connection
    To achieve the parallel A/D conversion for all pixels, Sony has developed a technology which makes it possible to include approximately three million Cu-Cu (copper-copper) connections in one sensor. The Cu-Cu connection provides electrical continuity between the pixel and logic substrate, while securing space for implementing as many as 1.46 million A/D converters, the same number as the effective megapixels, as well as the digital memory.
  • High-speed data transfer construction
    Sony has developed a new readout circuit to support the massively parallel digital signal transfer required in the A/D conversion process using 1.46 million A/D converters, making it possible to read and write all the pixel signals at high speed.

I’ve seen Canon patents looking at this too, so it’s pretty certain we’ll eventually see products featuring this.

11th 5D4 RAW files can contain dual pixel info that can be used to extend DR by a stop [FastRawViewer]

10th A lens based IS patent application [USPTO] includes stabilisation for macro. Note the movement sensors inside the camera.

Canon IS patent app

Creating rough surfaces with a random element to the roughness is covered in Canon patent application [USPTO]

So…?

Such surfaces can be used for focusing screens, and in the example below. a diffuser with very specific properties for a type of anti-aliasing (AA or OLPF) filter. Despite many criticisms (rarely informed ones IMHO) OLP filters do have a place in sensor design, but conventional ones work best at high incidence angles and fixed apertures. One potential use for the ‘random roughness’ style of diffuser could be mirrorless systems which can have a much wider range of light incidence angles.

random roughness

NB Maths warning if you decide to check the patent application ;-)

9th Multi-axis sensor stabilisation is covered in a Canon patent application [USPTO]

sensor stabilisation

5th Some patents… (remember that granted patents are older stuff than the patent applications – maybe several years)

US patent for a stacked sensor [USPTO] – covers bonding and interconnecting layers.

A split pixel sensor design that is shown taking two shots at the same time [USPTO] at different settings in a camera curiously shown with flight attachment (#162)

flying

Covers synchronising the shots and an ongoing sequence (video)

Canon drones anyone… ;-)

Stacked sensor heat control/management – Japanese patent appl. [CN]

More about curved sensors [CN]

2nd Long live the mirror box…

For those of a mechanical bent, a new Canon patent application [USPTO] for a mirror drive device for a DSLR. Faster and less bounce.

Canon mirror box

These things have to be assembled. All those parts and assembly time are the main reason companies want to go mirrorless and get rid of the shutter.  …but not just yet.

January

28th Today’s top patent application [USPTO]  Fingerprint ID for your camera body and lenses.

Lets you assign custom functions (AF/IS/lighting etc.) to different fingers and even offers multiple users and security lockout functionality.

fingerprint activation

Remember – real photographer don’t need gloves!  ;-)

26th Time for an updated Pentax K1 Mark II DSLR? [PR]

Several rumours are going round about a new shape of camera from Canon [CR] – this could be their mirrorless design or just a new camcorder.

Given the recent fake G7X III, I can see a distinct rise in plausible rumours/leaks on the way (bring it on – too many people treat this stuff too seriously! ;-)

And in our ‘serious’ stuff… I just had a look at a nice LED ringlight from Kaiser.

25th Three Canon US patent applications expand on the data transfer capabilities for Camera<->Lens communications.  This is the sort of thing we might see in a new range of cameras, and used to lock out third party manufacturers – or not ;-)

The Canon EF lens communication protocols date back quite a way, to a time a lot less went on in lenses and camera bodies. Note that these are definitely not written to be easy to read. I’ve more information about the EF mount (inc. electrical aspects) at EFLens.com

#1 | #2 | #3

A very detailed patent application (i.e. closer to being realised) in Japan [CN] shows many more details of producing a stacked sensor (see last years archived posts for many more patents).

stacked sensor

22nd Japanese patent application info for using organic photo detecting elements in sensors [CN]

Note, in the US application below there is an option for organic compounds. Canon (and others) are putting a lot of work into this aspect of sensor design – as to when we see it in a product, that’s a different matter.
In news to some photographers whinging about sensor DR, it won’t be their concerns that drive technology here, but more the need for automotive imaging to work under the same lighting conditions that our visual system does.

20th You may have seen a number of ‘leaked’ Canon G7 X III images  – I’m inclined to think they are very good fakes (see comments at CR)

More HDR pixel design info [ISW]

19th A very interesting US patent application [USPTO] for a multi level sensor pixel design the includes a photo-luminescent component.

I had to read this a few times – part of a photo sensor that emits light?

Lets look at this first example (annotations are mine – remember too that patent drawings are simplified, so no microlenses)

multi-sensor-1

Light comes in through a conventional colour filter and reaches the first conversion layer, where some of it is converted to electrons. Some light goes clean through and reaches a PL (photo-luminescent) layer where some is absorbed and re-emitted (at a different colour). This re-emitted light is detected by a second conversion layer.

OK, so I’ve got two output signals for each pixel – what advantage does this give? By careful choice of the compounds used (organic and inorganic) for photon detection and photon emission layers it is possible to significantly increase the dynamic range of the pixel as a whole.

dr improvement

In the example above, the PL layer is separate, however the PL compound can be included in the photo-conversion layer itself.

This gives this design for a high DR  multi-layer RGB sensor – six outputs per pixel

multi-sensor-2

As ever, patent applications are not products, but I like the smart design of this one.

18th It seems a long while ago now, but I reviewed a couple of Ricoh cameras (GX100, GX200) and they were rather nice.  Move forward and there are persistent rumours about Ricoh getting out of cameras and selling Pentax. [PR]

14th In yesterday’s list, I forgot about the mentions [Nok] in the wireless approvals a while ago…

  • 2000D – Possibly a CP+ follow on from the 1300D. The 1300D still uses Digic 4, a chip that first appeared in the 2008 50D. Perhaps Canon’s stocks are running low ;-)
  • M50 – also in the wireless listings

13th As  an antidote to some of the more breathless fan/rumour sites, have a good read of Thom Hogan’s views [TH] of what the camera business needs.
It’s not more of the same

Several people suggested I was a bit out in pushing the 7D3 and 5Ds mk2 back to 2019, so lets look at a model by model list

  • 1DX3 – definitely before the 2020 Olympics, so not 2018, with maybe an announcement late 2019, but early 2020 more likely.
  • 5Ds mk2 – possibly 2018 if the Nikon/Sony are seen as a big enough threat, and Canon has the technology to produce a 5Ds2 that is ‘noticeably better’. Personally the 5Ds works an absolute treat, but I guess some people use it in more diverse situations than I do (in which case get a 5D4) I’m still more inclined to expect it early 2019. An update this year is far more likely to be one I skip.
  • 7D mk3 – This reminds me of the continuous, ‘surely they must update it soon’ talk about the long lived 7D. The 7D2 price is holding steady.
  • 90D – Ok, the 80D is two years old, and prices are starting to drift down. In many ways it needs some more differentiation from the 77D. The 60D lasted three years, the 70D two. An update to Digic7 would be in order. How does this fit in with a 7D3?
  • Mirrorless – the mutterings seem to suggest that Canon’s big thing for Photokina (the last of the September biennial ones) will be mirrorless full frame. If so I’m expecting a few ‘leaks’ to appear by July, to build up interest/speculation. That said, a lot of the full frame mirrorless talk for Canon and Nikon has little to back it up, other than it seems like what they ‘ought to be doing’…

On balance, a 90D would be a relatively simple update to bring along early this year, leaving more ‘innovative’ models for later. Of course what people wish to take as ‘innovative’ in this area is another question all together ;-)

12th Time for a New Year’s look at the Canon Timeline.

Both 7D2 and 5Ds could last into 2019 before updates?

  Crop  00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D 90D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D T6s 77D
        750D T6i 800D T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2 250D
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
                              EOS RP
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6 M6 II
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8 dual

The only reason the 1Dx2/6D2 /200D are extended through the year ar that I’m pretty certain they are not for update – that and it makes the table layout work better.

A Canon US patent [USPTO] shows a design for a three layer back illuminated sensor. There have been quite a few related patents in the past. Note though that patent does not equal product…

three-layer sensor

11th Something to improve the light quality of white LEDs. A new red phosphor [Nik] means we could see much better CRI LED lighting.

9th If I’m going somewhere wet/dirty (think mines or a foundry), I’m still inclined to take my Canon 1Ds mk3 rather than my 5Ds. That said, any camera I’ve got with me is protected by my own aversion to getting wet…

What about newer cameras – well at IR they got to hose some down, and the only ‘pro’ level one to show any problems was the Sony A7RIII

DxOMark and DxO now different companies? [ISW]

I’ve always found the DxOMark figures interesting, but widely mis-interpreted. This is one of the reasons my own reviews are rarely quantitative. Lots of figures and measurements make for glib inaccurate conclusions without lengthy background explanations of what the numbers signify. Given many readers just want the quick numbers, you can see the potential conflicts. See why I never recommend the best for more on this.

6th Ah, the vagueness of the corporate interview  [Nikk via CR] – Canon announce they want to do better and be innovative. Be suitably wary if you see anything much being read into this stuff on some sites… ;-)

“…
Q: What is the biggest issue currently facing Canon?
A: Our primary management goal this year is to raise our antennas high toward cutting-edge technology. It is on this point where we lag behind other companies. We will open up a research and development center in the U.S.’s Silicon Valley, where we will actively adopt new technology.

Q: What do you believe is imperative for today’s corporation?
A: To read the trends of an era. Innovation is steadily advancing, and it has become difficult to put out products that are ahead of the competition, even if by just a little. This is now an era when latecomer manufacturers stand to gain. Compared with the past, even I feel mounting tensions.

To stay on top of and not lose against generational innovations, it is important to strengthen the financial structure. I believe that, as a manufacturer, it is essential to always maintain a strong financial house, creating conditions where you can invest in new things.

2nd Making a sensor with millions of pixels – how do they fail? [Aph] A quick guide to many of the forms of dead (or just very poorly) pixels.
[Expanded version at ISW which currently also has a lot of links to LiDAR papers, if you’re interested in that sort of stuff]

1st Happy New Year to anyone visiting!

In the spirit of New Year Resolutions, I’ve just written up a book review of “The photography exercise book” It’s something I’d happily suggest for photographers who cling a bit too tightly to the technical side of photography and find the ‘creative’ side a bit too artsy and vague ;-)

Whilst we have the consumer CES show coming up soon (CES Jan 9-12), the Japanese CP+ show isn’t until the start of March this year.

Older information, rumours and patents are on the 2017 Archive page – our archives go back to 2004.

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