Canon EOS FAQ
Canon's Digital Plans
October 2004: This is an interpretation of a machine translation from Japanese to English of an interview with Mr. Iwashita of Canon, a mamber of the Canon board of directors. The original Japanese text can be found HERE. I'm sure much has been lost in translation, and perhaps more in my interpretation, but I think some useful information still remains.
I think the major points of interest are those concerning future DSLR plans.
It seems that Canon are currently happy with the 3 tier system of DSLRs, the consumer level Digital Rebel, the "prosumer" level EOS 20D and the pro level EOS 1D mark II and 1Ds mark II. There are no current plans to introduce a digital version of the EOS 3. The current 3 tiers don't really compete with each other and sales are good. There's no reason to add a 4th level between the 20D and 1D models.
Right now Canon are sticking with CMOS sensors which provide maximum performance, however Canon do not rule out the use of other sensors (CCD) in the future if the technology changes.
For the foreseeable future Canon is happy with the 3 different sensor sizes, the 1x for maximum quality, the 1.3x for maximum speed and the 1.6x for lowest cost.
Below is the text of the interview. The smaller format text is the machine translation from the original Japanese webpage into "English". The larger, bold, text is my interpretation of that "English" text. There may be errors, some of it is pretty tricky to understand and there's no guarantee the machine translation was accurate either!
EOS Kiss Digital which is sold in the September last year carries out the mission, single-lens reflex digital camera market expansion, EOS-1D Mark II sweeping over the actual place of sport reporting. The middle class machine EOS 20D where some days ago sale is started is favorable. It announces also EOS-1Ds Mark of 1,600 ten thousand pixels II immediately before the Photokina 2004. Furthermore also field of compact digital camera has kept, the top always.
The Digital Rebel has been very successful in expending
the digital market, the EOS-1D Mark II is very popular with sports photographers and the
mid-range EOS 20D is selling very well. The EOS 1Ds with a 16MP sensor was announced just
before Photokina and Canon is a leader in the compact digicam market
* Digital one eye is market enlargement period, but there is no line-up addition
The Digital SLR market is growing, but there are no plans for for an intermediate DSLR between the 1D and 20D
Immediately before the interviewing story was asked to also Nikon Tomino. The person under the rock is relations of old knowledge, but you spoke that CANON and Nikon are not the quarrel companion, are the companion who is worked hard mutually. But as for both corporations to be conscious mutually, extreme competition is played in the market.
Nikon and Canon are not enemies, but they do aggressively compete for market share.
"Perhaps," somewhere won "once upon a time, it becomes the story that," well it is the victory inside ", probably will be. If the market matures, once upon a time it means to divide into the winner and the loser. But, to win, because those where being defeated it is decided directly are story ahead, now Nikon and CANON becoming simultaneous, you think that it is the stage which keeps expanding the market, digital single-lens reflex camera. Because it has expanded the market steadily, rather than doing the share dispute, you selling your own product, how it keeps extending? In such sense, like latest Photokina, as for each company many digital single-lens reflex cameras appearing you think "that it is very good thing, for industry
Maybe in the future things will divide into
"winners" and "losers", but for now both Canon and Nikon are
developing the market rather than fighting for a fixed market share. Both Nikon and Canon
are developing new cameras and that's good for the whole industry
There are currently three levels of DSLRs, the consumer
based Digital Rebel, the prosumer based EOS 20D and the pro based 1D/1Ds. Will this change
in the future?
At the present time these products are well differentiated, each one serving it's own market share with sales of one not directly competing with the other. If there comes a time when a new product can be introduced which won't compete with existing products, then the system may be expanded to include a new level
When will you introduce a level of DSLR?
Currently things are going well and there's really no business reason to introduce and new level of DSLR. Canon does well in each market segment, and expanding the market by selling more of the existing models is the current strategy.
* The fact that sensor size can be changed classified by purpose is digital good quality
-At the respective company developing and in order producing the sensor of excellent quality, to be connected to raising the competitiveness of the CANON make digital single-lens reflex camera, it is visible, but concerning this point as for CANON itself how thinking?
The camera depends on the quality of the sensor. What are
Canon's plans regarding sensors?
Canon use the best possible sensor which is available at
the time the camera is made. Right now CMOS sensors have the lead, but it's not impossible
that at some point that may change and it's possible a future camera may use a CCD sensor
CMOS has an advantage in terms of power consumption, but
it also can have higher noise. However we have solved the noise issue and there's
currently no reason not to use CMOS sensors. We also make our own CMOS sensors, which is
an advantage from the viewpoint of sensor development and supply.
Right now there are 1x, 1.3 and 1.6x sensors. This can be
a inconvenient for those who switch between cameras. Is there a plan to standardize on one
Our basic position is that each sensor size is matched to the customers needs. The 1x sensor yields the highest quality, the 1.3x sensor yields the highest speed and the 1.6x sensor provides the lowest cost
* For the present there is no "compact 1D"
If they were silver salt film age, for the top ended model
and the amateur between middle class period, the essence of operativity and function etc.
of the flagship low the model which was collected to price and the lightweight compact
existed in the EOS series. EOS the model such as 5 and EOS 3 corresponds to that. In
addition, as for time of the silver salt film, if also the EOS-1 series was the standard
model, mobility was sufficiently high with the compact.
Will there be a "compact 1D", similar to
the EOS-3 in the film based SLR line?
That's hard to answer. The future is hard to predict.
Right now there are no current plans for an intermediate semi-pro DSLR, though we are
considering the possibility.
Since people want a smaller lighter pro DSLR is there any likelihood of such a model that can use EF-S lenses?
"For the professional high sensitivity quality probably is important. The user which uses ISO800 and ISO1600 standard was the majority even with the Athenian Olympics of the other day. If, it is high sensitivity in addition to sport, it can correspond to various conditions. At present time with the sensor of APS-C size, to ISO1600 is not that it is difficult to actualize the high sensitivity which can be used with work, probably will be?",
For professionals, high sensitivity is important. Most
photographers at the Athens Olympics used ISO 800 and ISO 1600. Right now the APS-C sensor
isn't quite good enough at ISO 1600, but perhaps it will be?
Why is there no prosumer DSLR which is has good
interoperability with the 1D series, for example in terms of software.
The needs of the users differ, for example battery type and size. Support for the same software is certainly possible, but not so much in the case of hardware. Consumers and professionals have different priorities and it's difficult to meet those different priorities and still have fully interoperable systems.
* The digital single-lens reflex camera market still extends- Demand forecasting of the digital single-lens reflex camera as for CANON how estimating?
How do Canon see the future of DSLRs?
It's hard to say. With film, SLRs had about 10% of the
market. This year the DLSR market has rapidly expanded but even now it's only 4% of
digital camera sales. The digital camera market is around 60 million units, so you might
say the potential is for 6 million DSLRs. So it looks like there is room for further growth.
Why do DSLRs have a lower market share in digital then
SLRs do in film? What's needed to increase the market share?
Selling multiple cameras to each family is one way. Another might be making inroads into new markets, for example by the 1Ds replacing some medium format cameras in studio use.
* "It relates to pixel identical dimensions too much," that, the cost rebounds by all means in the user
There's too much emphasis on pixel count, and that's not always good for the user
The precision which is higher than 35mm film age and the
voice which is demanded in the lens has appeared in the camera e.g., disk of least
confusion compared to pixel pitch becomes small with high pixel conversion in addition to
the user which is appreciated with pixel identical dimensions being many.
People seem to want more and more pixels
The purpose of the camera is to produce an acceptable print, not to produce a digital file which can be closely examined on a computer monitor. While increasing the number of pixels is good up to a point, too many pixels in a small sensor doesn't improve the image and giving too much weight to the pixel count isn't a good thing for the user. Because development costs are high, making sensors with more than 10 MP is very expensive and users may not see much difference in prints
- Some days ago, ??? the digital negative (DNG) proposed the format, but does CANON have some kind of thought vis-a-vis DNG?
Recently Adobe announce a new "RAW" image
format, the Digital Negative (DNG). What are Canon's thoughts on this?
The RAW file format is proprietary and is designed to extract the maximum information form the image. On the other hand there is value in standardization, which makes it easier for software to deal with the files. However standardization makes it more difficult to change and improve the format. With a proprietary RAW file we can make changes and improvements quickly to deal with advances in camera technology. We have no problems with the Adobe proposal for standardization, but for now we will stick with our own proprietary RAW format.
* Sensitivity of the compact camera converges in the value which in each case it is easy to use- The person under the rock has generalized compact camera business. Presently, as for the compact camera ISO50 has become normal sensitivity, while the picture quality with ISO50 keeping, high pixel conversion advancing, the ?. If of user layer of the compact camera is thought, it should it reach the point where sufficient quality can be guaranteed with ISO100 - 400?
Right now Canon compact digital cameras use ISO 50 for
their "normal" sensitivity and high quality images. Will this change to a point
where high quality can be guaranteed at ISO 100-400?
ISO 50 was first introduced by Canon. We try to balance
image quality with cost and high pixel count sensors are expensive. Eventually we may see
a point where overall image quality will be more important to consumers than just the
maximum pixel count
The compact digital camera market is maturing and sales
are slowing. How do you see the future market for digital cameras?
Technical improvements in digital cameras are slowing
down which means sales aren't growing as fast as they once did. To really boost sales new
technological innovations are needed
Up to now there has been tremendous and rapid
advancements in the field of digital camera technology and the whole field has expanded
like a fire expand when you throw gasoline on it! However it seems as though the supply of
gasoline is slowly running out. It seems that something new is required to keep the fire
burning. Does Canon currently have that new fuel?
Right now we don't have that new technology, but we are looking. Even without new technology there are ways to increase sales with "hit" products which really match users needs. Maybe only 1 in 10 development projects is really a "hits". While we do research and development on new technology, we also must keep the user in mind and develop better products which address the desires of consumers
© All original material is Copyright Bob Atkins All Rights Reserved