About that EOS R control ring

One of the new features of the EOS R is the control ring. Similarly found on the Canon PowerShot G7X, a ring that you can use to control things, at the tip of the lens. Like the G7X, the ring does click when rotated and can be heard. According to Canon you can get it disabled (YouTube):

“This clicks will make a slight audible sound as you rotate the ring. For critical video shooters concerned about the possibility of recording this sound, Canon service technicians can modify your RF lens and remove the click stops for a fee.”

That’s right. Not with a button like on the G7X MarkII but sent back to the service center.

EOS R, Canon strikes back

After all rumors, a week after Nikon, Canon has released the EOS R, that appear to be a 5D MarkIV stuffed into a mirrorless package; some people say it is more like the 6D MarkII. The EOS-R feature the new RF mount, and 4 RF lenses have been announced, as well as 3 EF to RF adapters. At US$ 2,300 body only (CAD 3,000 up North), it is a bit more expensive than its competition.

All of this is based on the specs as I haven’t had the privilege to see one, even less touch one.

  • 30 Megapixels full frame sensor
  • 4K movie mode, not using MJPEG, but crop 1.7x
  • Canon C-log
  • New RF mount 20mm flange that allow a much slimmer design
  • Control ring on the lens
  • Fast dual pixel autofocus with many focus points

Early reviews say the autofocus works fast, whether in stills or movie mode, as well as with adapted EF lenses. This is good news.

Here is the 4 lenses lineup:

  • RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro (CAD 650)
  • RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM (CAD 1,450)
  • RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM (CAD 3,000)
  • RF 28-70mm f/2 L USM (CAD 3,900), it is huge and fast.

Only the two cheapest one have IS.

Now the EF to RF adapters. Plural as there are three. There is the basic one for CAD 130 that just connect the lens, a second one that for CAD 260 provides the control ring that EF lenses are missing, and a third one that provide drop in filters (but no control ring) for much more money depending whether it is a ND filter or a circular polarizer. This is an essential part to convince Canon DSLR users that the don’t lose their heavy investment in lenses.

What is the control ring? It is an extra ring on RF lenses that can be mapped on the camera to perform a specific function. You can use it to change the aperture, the ISO, the shutter speed or other things. And this is the same ring that one of the EF adapter provides so that you have the functionality with EF lenses.

Hit

  • Flip out screen
  • Mic and headphone jack
  • EF adapter
  • Initial lenses appear to be high quality
  • Optional control ring EF adapter
  • The RF 28-70mm L f/2 lens, is that the fastest zoom lens ever?

Miss

  • 4K is x1.7 crop
  • 120 fps is 720p only (they call it HD just to confuse people, while 1080p is FullHD)
  • Battery life
  • No in body image stabilisation
  • Only the 35mm and the kit 24-105mm lenses have IS
  • Limited slow motion to 1080p60
  • One card slot
  • A bit more money than the Nikon or the Sony
  • Initial lens lineup quite pricey

While far from perfect, Canon seems to have released a compelling and capable package. It really feels that they deliberately crippled some features (like the video capabilities) to protect higher end system. With a steep starting price, there is no guarantee that this will have the success they hope given the fierce competition ; with patience it might just become in a few years, the only interchangeable lens camera system sell.

Rumour: Canon full frame mirrorless

Canon Rumors has something about a rumoured Canon full frame mirrorless:

We have now confirmed from a couple of good sources that a full frame mirrorless camera is well into its development cycle, as the camera is being used by select Canon pro photographers.

Petapixel adds:

One of the biggest unanswered questions about Canon’s upcoming camera is whether it will feature a native EF lens mount. Allowing Canon photographers to seamlessly use their entire existing arsenal of Canon lenses would be a huge boon to the camera’s ability to disrupt the market.

I wrote previously whether a SLR mount on mirrorless would make sense?

The answer is a NO.

What I see, if that camera actually exists, is an EF-M mount for full frame, possibly compatible with the actual EF-M downward (full frame on APS-C) but not the other way due to coverage, similarly to the EF-S mount cameras, that can use EF mount lenses. Like for the EOS-M, I also see an adapter available for EF lenses.

Time will tell if that gets to be beyond a rumour. At this time I have no speculation about its specs.

SLR mount for a mirrorless, does it make sense?

There is a lot of chatter lately about Canon and Nikon tardiness in the mirrorless world. On one side, Canon seeked feedback from their user about what they want in a pro mirrorless camera. On the other side, Nikon is announcing a full frame mirrorless camera with a new lens mount dubbed “Z-mount”. In both sides there is one topic that seems to come back into the discussion: the camera should be directly compatible with the SLR mount (EF for Canon, F for Nikon). While it is clearly understandable why users would want that, let’s explain on why it is not a good idea, and why the mount adapter is the best compromise — compromise that Canon made for the EOS-M.

A lens mount is defined by a certain number of attributes ; flange distance is the one that matters here.

The flange distance or register distance is the distance between the lens mount ring on the camera body and the focal plane (the surface of the sensor or the film). It is a fixed dimension for the lens mount.

On an SLR camera, you have the mirror box between the lens and the sensor, defining a minimum flange distance, while a mirrorless doesn’t have the mirror box. This is why in general a mirrorless camera has a much shorter flange distance even with a similar sensor size.

Flange Focal Length (2 types camera)
Flange on a SLR camera (top) and mirrorless camera (bottom). By Shigeru23 (Own work) licensed under GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

For example, Sony E-Mount is 18mm while Sony A-Mount (former Minolta SLR) is 44.5mm, as Canon EF-M is 18mm while Canon EF and EF-S are 44mm. In both cases the flange on SLR mount is more than twice as large as on the mirrorless.

What would a DSLR mount do on a mirrorless system? It would increase the thickness of the body in way that the camera wouldn’t be that much more compact. The real example is Pentax mirrorless Pentax K-01. With a flange distance of 45.46mm for the K-Mount, the camera is bulkier than it should with a thickness (depth) of 59mm. In comparison, the Canon EOS-M100 is 35mm thick (deep) as it uses the EF-M mount, designed for mirrorless.

That’s why using a DSLR mount for a mirrorless system, meant to be more compact, isn’t a good design choice. Offering an adapter that support all the features of their DSLR mount is, on the other hand, the best compromise that a camera maker can do, almost equivalent to the practicality of using native mount, but the advantage of the size: the extra bulk only comes if you need it.

Leica CL

Today, Leica announced their new mirrorless camera for the Leica APS-C System, the Leica CL. Not to be confused with the 1970’s era film rangefinder Leica CL that was developed with Minolta.

This new camera body comes as alternative of the TL2, with the same 24 megapixel sensor and Leica “Maestro II” imaging system. Unlike the TL2, the Leica CL has an EVF built-in, without being bigger. Body only, the camera is at roughly USD$2800, it uses the same lenses as the TL2.

Also introduced today, an 18mm f/2 “pancake” lens (27mm equivalent) that will set you back by USD$1300 ; albeit as a kit lens, the whole camera (body and lens) will be around USD$3800.

This camera plays more in the same field as Fujifilm X-series, albeit at the Leica price tag.

Kai has a hands-on preview:

Also unlike Canon, this camera do 4K video, even though it wouldn’t be my choice for this purpose.

In the mirrorless game, Leica seems to have found their product segemnt: high end quality camera, with a solid lens lineup.

Leica T

Leica just announced the Leica T. Their new mirror-less system ; and by that I mean non rangefinder but really digital mirror-less with interchangeable lenses, APS-C sensor, with their own mount, and two new lenses including a 23mm f/2 (feel like a 35). Sadly it seems that the trend persists, there is no built-in viewfinder. Also it has a Leica pricetag, even if no as high as Leica M.

On overall the Leica T seems to get somewhat positive reviews, and the design is slick, to not say outstanding on some aspects, and minimalist where all the complexity is in a touch screen. All in all it looks like Leica focused on the basics: photography, and let the gimmicks on the side. But, oh boy, why is it a $600 extra for an external electronic viewfinder?

Luminous landscape has to reviews up, where they have had the gear in hand. One my Michael Reichmann:

The camera itself has nothing like the range of features and capabilities that its prime competitors have to offer, but then it isn’t intended to. Thus any such comparison would be pointless.

The other by Nick Rains:

This is a very cool camera. The look is like nothing else on the market.

Now I wish I had a loaner to try to have a better sense of what it feels.

Leica’s website.

Mirrorless: what is the right price?

Sansmirror raise the question What’s the Right Price? when it comes to mirrorless cameras.

Most of the new higher-end mirrorless cameras are more expensive than low-end DSLRs.

Also he mention that the Olympus E-PL1 is still on sale for much less. Not sure whether it is because of stocks (ie over production) or just Olympus trying to drag new customers in with a cheaper model, as Panasonic hasn’t really done that. This lead us to believe that these cameras don’t sell as well as they might have wished.