New Canon mirror-less camera system leaked – Micro Four Thirds sized sensor!

Written by Gary on September 21st, 2010

We have all been waiting to see how Canon and Nikon are going to respond to Olympus and Panasonic enticing their clients into the Micro Four Thirds mirror-less camera system.

Nikon has been rumoured to be looking at an even smaller sensor than the Micro Four Thirds, which may be reasonable to sacrifice image quality and shallow depth of field for something which may be more pocketable.

BUT, the apparent leak of the Canon EIS mirror-less system has caught me a bit by surprise.

Firstly, it will be virtually the same size sensor as in Micro Four Thirds but a 3:2 aspect ratio version – I was expecting an APS-C sensor, but hoping it would be full frame. Nevertheless, if this is correct, it would validate Olympus and Panasonic’s decision to go with a sensor of that size which to me is the optimum compromise between compact size, image quality, and shallow depth of field.

Secondly, what seems really strange is that Canon would try to put 22 megapixels into a sensor of that size – this seems a silly  ploy to entice those who don’t know any better. Sure, the sensor will be a back illuminated design which will address some of the image noise issues with such small photosites, but it will not overcome the diffraction limitations which mean your image resolution will deteriorate at apertures smaller than about f/4 and furthermore, this would equate to a 88 megapixel full frame in terms of resolution per mm and it is unlikely any Canon lens will have the optical resolution to match that, which means wasting storage space and losing dynamic range and high ISO performance for little benefit.

Even though they indicate you can use a cropped central portion to give a 5mp image at up to 20fps burst rate which is supposedly great for sports shooters, the photosite density means a superb lens with almost zero camera shake would be needed to realise even 5mp of detail.

The pixel fusion approach to create a 5mp image with higher dynamic range and better high ISO performance sounds a better option, but I would prefer a 10mp image option as well as 5mp – and perhaps would then just leave it on 10mp.

What is not surprising is that they apparently will be introducing a pixel binning or fusion technology to provide better HD video image quality and overcome the problems with the 22mp Canon 5D mark II which skips image lines to create a HD video image.

The new Canon EIS mount will allow an EIS-EOS adapter and thus allow EF mount lenses and presumably EF-S mount lenses to be used with full aperture control, some AF functionality (may not be fast) and presumably optical image stabilisation.

The leaked EIS-mount lenses include:

  • 5mm F4 Fisheye
  • 8-25mm F4 wide-angle zoom
  • 14mm F2 pancake – which our translation of the source’s dialect hilariously termed ‘biscuit head!!’
  • 25mm F1.2 pancake
  • 45mm F1.5 standard biscuit head(!)
  • 65mm F2.0 Macro (1:1, 2:1 is equivalent to full-size)

Now this is where Panasonic and Olympus have failed – lack of fast aperture high quality prime lenses other than the superb Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 – they had better get their act in gear soon otherwise Canon will take over this market!

Personally, I don’t mind either way – I use Canon, Olympus and Panasonic – so whatever happens, it should suit me well – I just wish Canon produce a mirror-less full frame like the Leica but with Live View and HD video.


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