Sunday, July 22, 2012

Canon EOS-M Mirrorless Camera Fully Leaked

As I said, I'm here to taunt Canon a second time!

Canon will officially announce the EOS-M sometime tomorrow (the 23rd) in an event in the UK. I have complete confidence that it will totally fail to set the world on fire. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what an arrogant company, artificially segmenting and differentiating its product lines, looks like! Give them a round of applause.

Seriously. I am at the point where I have nothing but contempt for Canon. They seem to have very little interest in actually innovating and pushing boundaries. Everything they have put out is either a "me-too" product, or an overpriced monstrosity aimed at a niche market. They apparently think that the non-professional market is simply stupid enough to not notice that Canon's cameras stopped competing years ago. At this point, they're just squeezing blood from the faithful.

So what are the deets, then, what's the 411, what are the specs that are sure to set aflutter the hearts of hard-core Canon fanatics and no one else come release day?

  • 18MP APS-C
  • DIGIC V Image Processor
  • 3″ 1MP Touchscreen
  • Phase & Contrast AF
  • 1920×1080 Video 30p/25p/24p
  • 1280×720 Video 60p/50p
  • MPEG-4, AVC/H.264
  • SD Card
First, we have the exact same sensor as is in Canon's current entry-level cameras, the tried and true 18MP soldier. A good sensor, to be sure, but one or two generations behind other cameras. The sensor will be paired with a single DIGIC V processor. Not bad. Not good either, but not bad.

The touchscreen is good. They are at least not skimping on that (*COUGH*Olympus!*COUGH*). At over 1MP that makes it competitive with essentially everything on the market. As far as I know, it's only bested by the (much) more expensive Fuji X Pro 1.

Yes, you read that right, phase and contrast detection autofocus. There's a reason for that, and some great commentary from EOSHD on the subject.

Everything else is competitive for what will likely be a low price. The various film modes are nice, especially the 24p at 1080 resolution. That said, Canon's video has been surpassed many times over by other cameras, and this video will likely suffer all of the same problems that current Canon cameras suffer.

Finally, the EOS-M will come with the usual assortment of consumer features like "fun" filters and a full touch screen interface that will suck. It will not come with almost anything that an enthusiast or professional may want, like physical controls, a fast shooting speed, CF cards, and large buffer.

Canon is so positively, absolutely desperate to avoid any possible cannibalization of their traditional SLR market that they are paralyzed. They cannot innovate. This is a wan response to Micro 4/3 and NEX, taking the same trajectory that Micro 4/3 failed at. What makes Canon think they can succeed? Who cares! As long as they don't eat up any sales of SLR's!

This conflict between wanting to make something good and make something that "fits" into Canon's family is best evinced in the lenses and autofocus. As I mentioned, this camera has both contrast and phase detection AF, which makes perfect sense when you see that Canon is releasing an EF lens adapter right from the get-go. This is both in response to Sony's adapter, but also yet another desperate attempt to keep people involved in the EF line of lenses whether they fucking like it or not. Too big, you say? Not enough primes, you say? Too bad!

EOSHD has an excellent point about the strategic failure of this new camera and it's lenses, and instead of paraphrasing, I'll just post it.
Focus groups keep telling camera manufacturers they want DSLR quality in a small camera.

Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic took this to mean a small DSLR with interchangeable lenses.

This pleased their accountants – there is much margin in cheap glass. Rather than sell only a body like they were doing with compacts, Sony, Panasonic and Olympus could now sell multiple lenses to the mass market for the first time not just to enthusiasts and pros.


What they needed was to listen to a visionary like Steve Jobs instead, because a focus group doesn’t actually know they really want.

Sure enough it turns out that what these people really wanted was a compact camera with a massive zoom lens built in...

The 7D’s sensor went into six more cameras [after the 7D] – important ones at that. The 550D, 600D, 60D. Then the G1X which cut the size down but used the same sensor, and the 650D which used the same sensor but with a few pixels turfed off for AF sensels. Now the EOS M looks likely to use that sensor AGAIN. Effectively for the 6th time Canon is serving up the same camera in a different shape aimed at a different focus group.
I couldn't have said it better myself. It appears that Canon is so God-like as to succeed where everyone else has failed. Or perhaps they just want to succeed in Japan, where the tiny Micro 4/3 cameras have indeed found success. Or maybe Canon is just stupid. Both options seem equally likely.

As I pointed out in my posts on the Sony RX100, Sony is the one breaking new ground. And while it sometimes takes awhile to become successful, especially when entrenched players control so much ground, it eventually happens. It happened with the massive success of the NEX-7 and 5n (the latter of which is the most popular Flickr camera that Sony has) and the now world-beating success of the RX100. Let me reiterate that last point: the RX100, the most expensive P&S currently on the market, is the #1 camera on Amazon and has been for weeks.

That is huge. It beats out insanely cheap Micro 4/3 cameras, a Panasonic GX1 that's been discounted all to hell, dozens of Canon and Nikon SLR's that cost the same or much less; it confirms what I and many others have been saying for years: people do not want tiny, cheap, SLR's. They want a camera that you turn on and then press a button.

Cell phones took over that market, and instead of fighting back, companies either did nothing like Canon, released crap years late like Nikon, or they thrashed around in some blind alley for three years like Panasonic and Olympus. Don't even get me started on the still-born Pentax-Q. Only Sony stepped up the plate.

There are two markets: those who want simplicity and those who want control. Both markets want better image quality. Neither market wants these quasimodo halfway cameras. I don't understand how these camera companies don't get that.

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