Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What should a Canon Mirrorless be like?

I can't help but keep wondering what has mirrorless cameras brought to the table for photography apart from the promised miniaturization. Sure, there is faster CDAF and peaking but these are actually technology created to solve the issues brought about by being mirrorless in the first place (being no PDAF and optical manual viewfinder).

Many analysts would see this as another disruptive shift in the market almost equivalent to the shift from Film to Digital. I beg to differ. Unlike Film vs Digital which involved very key technological and fundamental changes in photo taking, a DSLR can do everything that a mirrorless camera can do, and more. That leaves us with miniaturization.

In the miniaturization department, I used the word 'promised' because many mirrorless vendors succeeded in miniaturizing the body but not the (zoom) lenses - resulting in a very unbalanced design in many cases. As mentioned the mirrorless vendors often deem it a must to create a new lens mount with only two or three lenses on offer, thus creating more issues for customers. A lens mount system is an investment, I would not want to invest in a system with only a few lenses and very uncertain future - I wonder how many of these new mirrorless lens mounts will last.

But miniaturization itself is a very attractive notion. I certainly hope, Canon's mirrorless strategy focuses on that  alone. That means:

  1. Use the PDAF capabilities of the 650D sensor and maintain complete compatibility with EF, EF-S lenses. If flange distance need to be reduced, then provide an adapter but maintain all electronic contacts and functional compatibility.
  2. If new lenses with STM motors are introduced for the mirrorless system, make sure they can work on DLSRs as well. The whole EOS interoperability need to be maintained.
  3. Achieve complete miniaturization of the body AND zoom lenses as well. Do not cheat with prime pancake lenses. The G1X lens range and size would be great (or the Panasonic X lens type). Ofcourse, some key improvements need to be made.
  4. Speed of operation should be comparable with the competitors. Many cameras with great picture qualities but disappointing operation speed have seen disappointing sales figures as well.