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.)