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Our thoughts on what is coming from Canon
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Our thoughts on what is coming from Canon

Is 2022 the year of the Canon Camera?

I wrote this article a while ago, then I got ill a few times and it has sat on the back burner. I saw CanonRumors's article on the year of the camera coming next year and thought this article has some relevance to the discussion.

We've had a pretty good track record in the past, so here are our thoughts on what is coming "soonish" from Canon.

Originally, this article was about the R1, and then it turned out to be a small book covering in some detail the future cameras that we think are coming in the next 1-2 years.  The names and the numbers of each camera can and most likely will change, but the names were decided on them because they are identifiable by current norms. Of course, Canon, a lot of the time goes all over the place with naming conventions. 

In a nutshell, this is what I expect to see from Canon;

  • R5C – Video Centric R5
  • R100 – Low Cost Full frame camera without EVF
  • R5s – High Resolution R5
  • R7 – APS-C Birder Camera
  • R10 – Low Cost Camera replacing the RP
  • R1 – 1 series RF camera

R5c

This camera has been rumored to be coming in mid January and it makes sense that it's the next model out the door.  However, the january announcement I think is a bit odd, but it could be that Canon has given up on trade shows for now and is just releasing when it's done.  Canon at least on the R3 had solved some heating issues and even has done something I have wanted to see on the R5 since its release; a means to turn off thermal throttling in the camera by setting the auto power off temperature to high.

I expect this camera to have active cooling with a fan, but hopefully, still, maintain its weather sealing.  This should allow the camera, like the R3, to record video essentially indefinitely.  The rumored specifications are now as follows

  • 45mp full-frame sensor (Same as the EOS R5)
  • DIGIC X
  • IBIS
  • Canon Log 3
  • Canon Log 2 is still being discussed
  • No Internal NDs
  • Unlimited 8K30P recording in Cinema RAW Light. XF-AVC and MP4
  • Timecode in/out
  • The same multipurpose hot shoe as the EOS R3. Which will work with accessories such as the Tascam XLR module.
  • Active cooling
  • 3/8″ or 1/4″ mounting point on the EVF for a top handle that won’t interfere with the hot shoe.
  • Full-size HDMI Port
  • The LCD has been moved further back to accommodate the cooling fan. So this likely means that it won’t recess into the body like the Canon EOS R5.

What I’m not sure – while this is supposed to be an R5 video centric version, will it have a stacked sensor around 45MP for 8K, or will Canon keep the older R5 sensor?  The rumors right now state it's the R5 sensor. I think that's a misstep. For video reasons, it would make sense for Canon to place in it an 8K full frame stacked sensor. 

R100

This is a very unofficial name, but we are using this name because it’s relatable.  Canon usually uses 3 digits for its low-end models so would certainly be possible.  CanonRumors in a rumor stated that Canon is coming out next year with a camera that the fanboys won’t like.  A camera without a viewfinder would certainly fit that description:  “no viewfinder, no buy”.

I expect this camera to be tiny, most likely reuse the same sensor that is in the RP because it’s probably the cheapest sensor Canon can make. I expect the video to be poor, performance would be similar to the RP (aka poor), and battery life via the LP-E17 or LP-E12’s most likely used for this camera would be equally as poor. 

A poor man’s full-frame camera.  Did I use “poor” too often? Perhaps.  But it will be cheap, and also the smallest full-frame camera in the market.

Yes, I'm expecting it to be full-frame, as I do firmly believe APS-C as a system platform is dead to Canon.  More on that later.

R5s

I personally can’t believe this camera does not exist yet, and I’m not using one.  I think that this camera will come out next year, and it’s an assumption at this time that supply shortages and the unexpected number of R5 orders shoved this camera onto the back burner.

As I’ve stated many times, I really don’t think Canon enjoys seeing Sony with the high megapixel crown with the 61MP A7R IV.  For that reason alone, an R5s simply makes sense.  Canon is never satisfied with second place.

While we’ve never been able to nail down a resolution for this camera, I’m still thinking it’s going to be slightly north of 100MP.  Why? Because then Canon will have completely taken over the crown from Fuji, and Sony.  I also expect this to be at least a BSI sensor, and quite possibly stacked – but not stacked for performance, stacked for dynamic range, and the ability to move that massive amount of pixels off the sensor without generating significant heat and timing issues.

I expect this to be for all appearances an R5 – without the 8K video and without the 4K HQ video.  There may be line skipped 6K down to 4K, but really I doubt Canon will spend too much effort on the video in this camera.

There are two methods of “pixel shift” in cameras and both of them are subtly different.

The first shifts the image sensor very accurately so it takes 3-4 images with the Bayer array shifted so that each pixel contains RGB color information without needing demosaicing.  This gives a similar result to Foveon sensors.

The other is uses what is called super-resolution or sub-pixel resolution which uses almost random shifts of the sensor, or if the camera is handheld the image sensor doesn’t even have to move, as you would naturally have minute shifts in multiple images.  In this case, the camera takes a series of images (usually more than 6, preferably 8) and combines them to expand the resolution of the image, usually by 4 times.

I’m not sure which technique Canon would implement – but if it was me, I’d want both methods at my disposal.  However, the first method – Bayer pixel shift, cannot be done manually, whereas super-resolution can be done with any camera – you just must rattle off 6 to 8 images and merge them manually. 

R7

I’m still not sure about this camera.  I’m saying R7 because that’s the more common name given to this camera in rumor circles – but I don’t think it will be a 7D camera replacement. 

Let’s face facts first. If Canon was “serious” about RF and APS-C they could have easily moved the EOS-M entire ecosystem over to the RF mount and been done with it by now. If we use Occam's razor, Canon isn't interested in APS-C. 

Canon will however make one APS-C camera of that I have no doubt, and since we’ve heard all along there will be no APS-C lenses for it, we can assume it will be kitted with the 24-105L, 24-105 STM, and 24-240 STM.  When the 7D first came out Canon kitted it with the 28-135mm full-frame lens – a decision that still baffles me to this day.

I can’t say this often enough – all our assumptions are based upon the fact that all rumors have stated, no APS-C lenses will be created with this camera, and no lens roadmap we have been privy to has shown any indication of RF APS-C lenses.

I suspect this camera will be a “one off” camera just to get people over from the DSLR EF-S system that refuse to upgrade to the full frame options.  I would expect 90D level of functionality, so I’m expecting it to have the APS-C 32MP sensor that is in the EOS-M M6 Mark II and the 90D and 90D level of performance.  4K video and perhaps with DIGIC X, it’s actually a have decent 4K with oversampling, but at it’s worst, it’s a 90D in an RF camera body.

This camera will come if Canon feels that APS-C EF system users are not adopting the RF mount, and the lack of an APS-C camera is the most significant reason why they are still on the EF mount.

Is Canon right? Considering that Canon's overall market share is 50% of the camera market, I would say they know what they are doing.

R1

This camera will most likely not be coming out for a while, I expect this to come out more likely in 2023 or early 2024.

Canon has already stated if you read in between the lines that this camera is coming.  They state that the R3 is most certainly not the flagship and right now, the 1DX Mark III is the flagship.  If this is the case, the writing is on the wall that the next 1 series camera will be the R1.  Canon is attempting to get professionals to move over the RF mount using the R3, and the R1 will seal the deal and officially close out the EF mount.

We expect the sensor in the camera to be the most complicated and also the most expensive sensor that Canon has ever developed and used in a stills camera – and that includes the original 1Ds sensor when Canon was still learning on how to create full-frame sensors.

I expect this camera to be completely silent (I actually wrote this before we all knew the Z 9 was without a mechanical shutter).  All the time. I think this camera will usher in the next generation of camera technology for Canon.  High performance, high dynamic range global shutter sensors.  These sensors are possible with stacked technology, but not possible without stacking unless you use technics such as image combining such as in sensor “HDR” involving multi-images. While Canon has done a lot of work in this area primarily for video, it does not translate well to stills.  The way around this is to create extremely complicated stacked sensors that can efficiently get the analog data from the sensor substrate down to the storage and processing substrate.  Canon, as well as Sony, have done extensive research in this area, and have patents for various techniques to do this.  The complexity involves the interconnects and having the pixel storage on another substrate.

I expect this camera to have improved performance including battery performance.  Canon specifically mentioned that the battery performance in the R3 was not up to 1 series standards.

I expect this camera to be around 45MP, similar to the R5 for 8K DCI output.  It should support all the 8K functionality of the R5, plus have the performance of a top end professional camera.

With a stacked sensor, Canon can also process data from the entire image – faster, and quite possibly perform AF operations even faster than what we are seeing with the R3, leading to better AF (if that is even imaginable right now), and also more AI and deep learning algorithms.

There's been talk that Canon won't do a global shutter sensor and will simply use a fast scanning sensor.  There are benefits to a stacked sensor that we don't get from a fast scan rate sensor - the ability to process the entire scene at once for autofocus, the ability to use flash at any sync speed is another.  The ability to tweak the camera with any refresh cycle rates of lights and so on - and it's absolutely guaranteed that there is no rolling shutter effect no matter how fast you whip the camera or how fast your object is moving.

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