Group Q A CP Canons fan mirrorless yearnings the eventual fate of K and additionally imaging asset

“Canon Q&A @ CP+ 2017: Canonu2019s enthusiast mirrorless aspirations, the future of 4K and more

Photography giant Canon is always big news at the a
ual CP+ tradeshow in its native Japan. Our founder and publisher Dave Etchells is at the show, and had the opportunity to discuss a number of topics with Canon executives at CP+ 2017. Representing Canon were Go Tokura, Executive Officer and Chief Executive of the company’s Image Communication Business Operations; Yoshiyuki Mizoguchi, group executive within the ICB Products Group, Image Communication Business Operations; and Goshi Nakamura, Manager; Marketing, Camera and Video Business Pla
ing Div., Imaging Technology & Communication Group, Canon U.S.A. Inc. And while they couldn’t discuss the company’s future products — something that’s par for the course in executive interviews like these — both gentlemen nevertheless had plenty of insights to share, especially regarding Canon’s view of the mirrorless camera market and its place within it.
The recent Canon EOS M5 and newly-a
ounced EOS M6 both include Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus systems, and Canon enlightened us as to the challenges associated with bringing this technology to new cameras while still maintaining the desired price point. And there are similar challenges regarding the implementation of 4K video, particularly in more affordable cameras, an area in which the company again provided some very interesting insights.
Additional topics of discussion included the dedicated video camera market and the future of the PowerShot line. We even learned which advanced PowerShot cameras are number one and number two in sales in the United States! Will the answer surprise you? Read on to find out…
Dave Etchells/Imaging Resource: Some analysts have noted Canon’s relatively slow entry into the mirrorless market and felt that it was over a concern about ca
ibalizing or reducing existing DSLR sales, but on the other hand there are many competitors moving very strongly in that space. How do you see mirrorless fitting into Canon’s overall strategy generally? And are we likely to see more emphasis going forward, or do you view mirrorless as continuing to be more of a niche market rather than DSLR sales?
Yoshiyuki Mizoguchi
Group Executive
ICB Products Group
Image Communication Business Operations
Canon Inc.
Yoshiyuki Mizoguchi/Canon Inc.: So in terms of how we look at the mirrorless market, I think there’s a regional variance that we can actually point out at the moment. Different regions have different penetrations in mirrorless market share. For example, if you look at Japan, it’s a 50/50 [share between DSLR and mirrorless]. And we actually saw the penetration growing, but having said that, in the last couple of years that has sort of settled down into just a 50/50 [split]. So we’re looking [at] this as rather than mirrorless taking over or maybe there’s a great shift back to SLR, we see that there’s a nice sort of a coexistence of the markets, and that’s how we see it. And the different markets will have a different breakdown in ratios.
DE: Ah, yes.
YM: As you know, Canon offers both mirrorless and SLR products, and we will continue to do this. We will position those categories in that regard, and we would like to look at the ILC market as a whole to respond to the wide range of demands that are coming in with these two prongs.
But having said that, out of all of our lineup at the moment, I think that the EOS [Kiss] X-series [aka the EOS Rebel series in US markets), it’s about really offering a light, small camera, and we’re answering that demand. I think that was a broad play for for a number of years, but in the last couple of years with the introduction of the M5 and M6, we are seeing that the EOS series will have more of a role to play, in addition to being small [and] lightweight. There’s a greater demand for the mirrorless market, as you can see that Japan is 50/50 at the moment. Other regions are seeing more demand as well. So it’s [up to] us to respond to this diversifying demand for the mirrorless market.
DE: As you mentioned the mirrorless market is broadening, and with the EOS M5 Canon is now finally offering a true enthusiast-level mirrorless camera with many features those users demand. But looking at the EF-M lens lineup, there are a wide range of focal lengths available, but they feel much more consumer-focused. We’re wondering whether you see higher-end — if not professional — more enthusiast-level lenses on the roadmap for the EOS M family?
YM: I won’t be able to disclose any sort of future products, so there’s not much details that I can provide at the moment, but obviously there’s a growing demand for the enthusiast-level cameras. That’s why we’re seeing this progression of our camera series, and in a similar way we will start to see the strong demand for the lenses as well, for the enthusiast. We are looking at the market demand and seeing what sort of levels that we’re seeing, and we will probably be introducing products along with that.
The Canon EOS M6 mirrorless camera, shown here in its silver variant.
DE: Moving to Dual Pixel autofocus, we were very excited to see that Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology has been implemented in the EOS M5. (And we say that with an exclamation point!)

DE: It’s taken a while for this feature to make its way to the EOS M system. Were there any technical challenges or limitations that prevented you from including Dual Pixel on earlier EOS M cameras like the M2 and M3, or was it more a matter of the technology needing to mature to bring costs down?
YM: Dual Pixel CMOS AF was introduced [in the] 70D, but at the time we did have both the points that you mentioned. We had a technical challenge that we had to overcome, as well as the cost implications that it would incur as well. So it was two things that forbade us from introducing the EOS, but luckily we were able to evolve and we were able to advance, and so that’s why we were able to introduce it in the M5.”

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Panasonic LX Conclusion imaging asset

“Panasonic LX10 Conclusio
nThe Panasonic LX10 joined a crowded premium compact camera market this past fall. Equipped with a 20.1-megapixel 1-inch-type sensor, like many premium compact cameras, the LX10 also offers a quick 24-72mm equivalent f/1.4-2.8 lens. What helps set it apart from the competition is its 4K video and 4K Photo features along with a sub-$700 price tag. How does the camera’s image quality, performance and overall usability fare?
15.4mm (42mm equivalent), f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 125
Click for full-size image.
LX10’s 20MP sensor impresses and so does the fast built-in lens
The LX10 is a follow-up to the LX7 and employs a larger 1-inch-type sensor this time around. The 20.1-megapixel sensor proved to be quite good and comparable to its competition, including the Sony RX100 V, Canon G7X II and Canon G9X.
When comparing the LX10 to the LX7, the LX10 represents a considerable upgrade in every way, from detail to high ISO performance. The LX10 bests its 1-inch Canon competition overall, although the LX10 does display slightly more sharpening halos at low ISOs. Compared to the Sony RX100 V, the LX10 comes up a bit short at base ISO, but the gap is small and decreases as ISO increases. Ultimately, the LX10 is a very solid competitor in its class and offers good image quality. You can make good 13 x 19 inch prints up to ISO 800, for example, which is impressive for a 1-inch-type sensor camera.
100% crop from an image taken at 26.4mm (72mm equivalent), f/2.8, 1/2000s, ISO 125
Click for full-size image.
The good 20.1-megapixel sensor is paired with a built-in 24-72mm equivalent lens, which offers an aperture range of f/1.4 to f/2.8. It is worth noting that the lens is f/1.4 only at 24mm equivalent as it drops to f/1.5 and f/2.0 at 25mm and 26mm, respectively. The camera’s max aperture decreases to f/2.8 by 32mm and maintains that f-stop through the end of its focal length range. At the wide end, the LX10 is still nearly a full stop faster than the Sony RX100 V.
Center crop from an image taken at 8.8mm (24mm equivalent), f/1.4, 1/200s, ISO 125
Click for full-size image.
Offering very good sharpness across its range, the LX10’s lens proves very nice for its speed, size and the LX10’s price point. When looking at uncorrected RAW images, there is a lot of distortion at the wide end, as well as a lot of chromatic aberration, but that is typical of the class and the camera does a good job correcting it in-camera. Corner sharpness leaves something to be desired across the focal length range when wide open, but that isn’t unusual given the lens’ speed and small physical size, and corners sharpen up nicely when stopped down except at wide angle. (The in-camera distortion correction likely plays a role in the lack of corner sharpness at wide angle.) The Panasonic LX10’s lens also focuses closer than rivals, which is a nice bonus for macro fans.
Overall, both the 1-inch-type sensor and the built-in lens offer a lot to like. The sensor performs well across much of the ISO range, comparing favorably to competing cameras and performing much better than its aging predecessor’s, the Panasonic LX7. On the optical side of the equation, the LX10 provides a very fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 and offers very good optical performance for its type.
AF & Performance: Speedy and solid with the exception of raw buffer depth
Autofocus performance with the LX10 is solid, thanks to Panasonic’s Depth From Defocus (DFD) technology. The contrast detect autofocus system offers 49 AF points and numerous autofocus modes. Autofocus performance is quick and accurate in good light and only slows down slightly in low light conditions.
24.6mm (72mm equivalent), f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 125.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image.
As an enthusiast compact camera, it should come as no surprise that the LX10 offers pretty good performance across the board, with a few shortcomings here and there. Startup times are slow, taking around 3.2 seconds from powering on to capturing the first shot, but other performance areas were much better. Autofocus speeds proved excellent despite relying on a contrast detection system, and full-autofocus shutter lag was a speedy 0.125 seconds.
When considering continuous shooting speeds, the LX10 very nearly matches Panasonic’s impressive 10 frames per second speed specification, coming up short in our tests by a mere 0.1 fps when recording JPEG images. Shooting RAW photos reduces speeds slightly to 9.3 fps. If you want full continuous autofocus, burst speeds drop further to 6 fps, which is still good for its class. Buffer depths are not as impressive, however. The RAW buffer is only 14 frames in the 9.3 fps Continuous H shooting mode, and it takes nearly 10 seconds to clear. The JPEG buffer in Continuous H mode at 9.9 fps is much better, filling after 80 frames and with a 6-second clearing time.
24.6mm (72mm equivalent), f/4.0, 1/125s, ISO 125.
This image has been cropped. Click for full-size image.
The camera offers numerous additional shooting modes which sacrifice image quality for speed. You can record up to 60 5-megapixel JPEG frames at 50 fps in the Super HS mode, for example. You can also record 8-megapixel JPEG images in the 4K burst mode at 30 fps. Additional 4K Photo modes include 4K Post Focus and a neat focus stacking mode, both of which work very well.”

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