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Friday, January 1, 2016

Canon EOS-M System and Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

Canon is expected to announce the EOS-M4 mirrorless camera and at least two EF-M prime lens some time in the first half of 2016 to beef up their mirrorless product line. This will not be enough to make them a leading player in this space.

When the EOS-M mirrorless camera was introduced in 2012, it was the 'laughing stock' of the mirrorless world. The AF was slow and the camera, 'rudimentary', because Canon was simply not ready for this new technology and was trying to play catch up, in a hurry.

Although Canon's mirrorless cameras are selling quite well in Asia and Japan, they are mostly lower end models and bring in little profits. They need to go upmarket and take a leaf from Sony and most recently, LeicaCanon is a big conservative conglomerate and operates at a glacial speed. They rarely aim to be first to bring 'revolutionary' technology to market but try to be best in their space, albeit coming from behind.

Canon is also working on a full frame mirrorless camera. Since they are already 'behind' in this segment, their next full frame mirrorless camera needs to be bold and different. I am a wildlife photographer using Canon equipment for over 25 years and have followed the company since my first EOS-1 purchase in 1989. My advice to them is bring out a top-of-the-line, full frame mirrorless camera with the EF mount as soon as possible. The new camera must come with a brand new sensor, advanced AF performance, an electronic viewfinder, best in class video performance with pro build quality and ergonomics. It will be a tall order but something well within Canon's capability and technology to manufacture. I think many serious photographers are willing to pay thousands of dollars to see such a camera built. You can see my equipment bag and works on

The fear that a full frame mirrorless camera may 'cannabilize' on Canon's existing full frame DSLR models is overblown. For example, all major luxury car brands have both expensive gasoline and alternative fuel powered models in their lineup. Many professional photographers, including myself, will buy a high end mirrorless camera in addition to their current DSLR equipment, provided it meets the requirements.

In the next few months, Canon is expected to announce more EF lens, the long awaited EOS-1D X Mark II and EOS-5D Mark IV cameras. Although Canon reported less than stellar third quarter financial results recently, they are hardly unique and the company is still profitable and healthy. Management needs to make bolder decisions faster and lead their competitors for a change.   

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