12.20.2013

Second prediction for 2014's camera world...Canonization.

Unknown Canon Shooter. Austin, Texas

It's always fun to make predictions about the future but it's always harder than predicting the past....

So, Canon has had a pretty crappy year when it comes to the ritual measurement of sensors. The folks at DXO seem hellbent on making Canon cry by showing again and again, with their unfathomable black magic numbers, that every new camera with a Sony chip inside has ten times the dynamic range of the best Canon cameras and shiveringly good high ISO noise performance. When you add to the thrashing the Visual Science Lab gave them earlier this year when they introduced their tragic attempt at a mirror less camera (the EOS M) you'd be forgiven for thinking that all their engineers gave up and headed out the door to try their luck at Pentax or Holga. The Canon faithful are torn and many of them (especially those who adore the Canon specialty lenses....17mm Tilt/Shift???) have rushed to try out the new Sony hot flash of the moment, the A7r. The rationale being that they can finally get the resolution they've wanted since the arrival of the Nikon D800e, along with the useful application of their more or less meritorious Canon lenses.

I know average consumers don't care about any of the magic DXO incantations or the Devil's work of the forum chatter but I'll admit that if I were still a professional Canon shooter I'd wonder if the wonder years were gone and it was time to wander....

But wait!!!! I've heard through the ozone that Canon has been waiting on something big. They've been building a chip (sensor) fab (fabrication plant) that will be able to make chips with a much smaller geometry than ever before. Something like .(point)18 microns. Extrapolate that tidbit and you get the impression, the sense--- that Canon is just about to leapfrog their competitors and turn it into few more years of white lens mania again. Smaller chip geometries mean faster and more powerful processors and, if they use bigger wafers, it may mean better yields which would translate into lower prices.

Here's my prediction: Announced in Spring 2014 and delivered in the late Fall of 2014 Canon roll out a 48 megapixel, full frame camera that becomes the first production camera to take DXO over the 100 mark. While the improvement at 100 over 95 would be tiny....maybe a sixth of a stop difference, the vastly under educated public will lunge to embrace the numbers with their usual binary focus and it will drive satisfying camera sales among the Canon-escenti. 

Why wait? Why not just embrace the Sony A7r Kool-Aid and be done with it? Well, I think the wide angle folks are going to find out that the weakness of the short register cameras might be magenta fringing and weird edge artifacts with the very lenses that most people would like to press into service. If their own mark (Canon) makes a better solution it may stem the tide of the Sony invasion---at least among Canon pro users.

Maybe Sony has engineered out the magenta issues (but I saw it regularly with legacy lenses on the Nex7) but I'm not sure. I'll be watching from the side lines.

It's a sweeping prediction based on fabrication rumors. Let's see if it comes true. At least it will make the Canon shooters happy.

(Factoid: The Canon 5D3 actually has more dynamic range at higher ISOs that some of the vaunted Sony chipped heroes. Just look at the actual graphs.)





9 comments:

Michel Vos said...

Sensor technology seems very mature to me and I wonder if it is possible to buy a bad camera if you spend more than say 300 bucks. Maybe during pixel peeping you can find something you don't like but probably not on a print. So what's all the fuzz about?

Jeff said...

There's always been some measurement of the day taken as absolute, while in reality just splitting hairs. DXO even says that X difference between scores is barely noticeable.

Racecar said...

Although mostly tongue-in-cheek, this blog contains many truths. And presented here in a fun and whimsical manner. Love it!

theaterculture said...

I'm sure that the industry boffins will jump in and tell me how stupid I am for even imagining this, but I'm a bit confused as to why Canon don't just join the (open) m4/3 standard. The EOS-M camera really did feel like an afterthought...surely with their marketing and vendor network Canon could take advantage of the market that PanOly have already developed while creating some distinct body and lens offerings and growing the pie for everybody?

phil said...

Very interesting Kirk. Love your comment that you will be watching from the sidelines! Here is my prediction...... This time next year you will have bought some super duper wizzo Canon outfit! You will never watch from the sidelines you will be jumping in feet first. Keep up the great work pal. I always enjoy your comments and photographs. Phil

Jeff said...

http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=57479

Jeff said...

A 7.5 x 8.2 feet picture from E-M5 sold to a company for their lobby entrance.
http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=57479

Dave Vargo said...

Some of the recent Sony chips are pretty amazing for dynamic range at base iso. I bought the K-01 with the 40mm 2.8 pancake for under $400 back in February. I love it for shooting sunset stuff because the files are so malleable. You can push them hard before you see much noise or banding.

It'll be good to see Canon giving Sony some extra motivation.

Anonymous said...

I admit, lacking the gray matter to fully comprehend the artistic liberation new sensor technology affords me, I am prey to the sway of various web based camera oracles. Never have I sensed that they would be pleased if I were to sacrifice family treasure at the Canon temple. Canon is obviously out of favor with the oracles.

I hope your prediction is true. I understand the A7R has been determined to be imperfect due to shutter vibration at certain shutter speeds and with certain lenses. Perfection has yet to be achieved.

Happy Holidays

Wayne