Abstract: Canon Digital Plans

Photography - Canon EOS, digital, nature



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

The CANON you participated to the development of the connection single-lens reflex camera hugely, presently you asked story to the knowledge and morality person under the rock of the CANON director and image communication business headquarters secondary business headquarters chief who lead camera business the whole digital concerning the digital camera business of CANON.

* 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

- Presently, the CANON line-up for the professional EOS-1D/1Ds Mark of the top model II, has divided into 3 layer of EOS 20D of mid range and EOS Kiss of the entry product Digital. In the future, as for this line-up how it keeps changing?

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?

Make the pyramid to the entry product "we from the top end, by the fact that it keeps enlarging that pyramid are large the paragraph, it has done the market uninformed. To enlarge the pyramid, the layer which forms the pyramid (layer) it is necessary to keep expanding. There is the clear difference in the product of each layer, segregation does securely. As a result, the new product appearing in another layer, influence effect is almost not produced to the other layer. For example, 1D as for Mark II and 20D, each one the machine quantity of according to schedule sells continued until recently to month immediately before the selling. If it becomes the environment which can do similar segregation, the pyramid furthermore becomes large, probably will be ",

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

EOS-1Ds Mark II EOS 20D EOS Digital Rebel

- With it enlarges the pyramid that you say namely in the future there are also times when the new layer is added, but the notion that where at present time you do not think?

When will you introduce a level of DSLR?

"At present time segregation has gone very well in the EOS series. At least, there is no business merit which makes the 4th layer on a current market scale probably will be. As a private opinion you think that sufficiently it is powerful line-up. In the respective layer, the respective product sells securely, it keeps making the market expand, is the strategy at present time ",

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?

"We have declared that from the time before, the as a general rule best image pickup element is used at that point in time. Because at present time the CMOS sensor of the respective company is good quality, you have adopted, but there are choices which are good to other things at development point in time if is, it chooses that, probably will be. The basis of how to think has not changed and, it is not the case that it is not the possibility the digital single-lens reflex camera of CANON using CCD ",

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

But ", in CMOS parallelism read-out is a strength such as possibility by economical electric power. On the other hand, you can call that noise is many the weak point. And, in regard to noise to solve problem rather with the progress of sensor technology, because only strength remains, there is no reason which chooses other than CMOS at present time. And the CMOS sensor is used, if is, (to consider also product development process and the like) it becomes company internal supply ",

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.

- Presently, 35mm film full size, focal length 1.3 time suitable and focal length 1.6 time suitable 3 types have coexisted in line-up in regard to the sensor. Respectively, the lens of the focal length which differs even in the same purpose becomes necessary, the case where it jointly uses simultaneously also the scene which feels impatience is many, but as for integrating this 2 types or less not thinking?

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 sensor size?

"As for being able to change sensor size with the type, one of the merits due to the digitalization of the camera, they are our basic stances. Rather than making sensor size converge, you think that the method which loads the sensor which utilizes feature every purpose the merit is larger. To utilize good quality of the EF lens group to the maximum, the full size sensor is better, probably will be. But, if from speed is seriously considered, it probably is the focal length 1.3 time suitable sensor if and, cost concern APS-C size is best ",

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.

- The needs that, or we are wanted "compact 1D", is there the preparation which answers that?

Will there be  a "compact 1D", similar to the EOS-3 in the film based SLR line?

Don't you think? "it is difficult question. "You do not think the compact conversion of the 1D series completely," that if you say, it becomes lie. But, is there schedule at present time? If with it is said, "don't you think? it becomes the answering that it is not", ",

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.

- With being also needs that in the point of size and weight, we are already wanted also a little light model. For example from EOS 20D a little dissatisfaction remains in the body, but thinking also the interoperability of the lens, the product of positioning, for lightweight compact professional which can use also EF-S for APS-C size with the ant?

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?

- There is no EOS 20D/10D of the middle class machine and the plan which raises the interoperability with EOS 1D type? For example in the aspect of the software, Digital Photo Professional corresponded to also the digital single-lens reflex camera other than 1D system at last, but in the surface other than that?

Why is there no prosumer DSLR which is has good interoperability with the 1D series, for example in terms of software.

Because "the needs which are required differ, the battery constitution and size differ. Support of interoperation in the software aspect is possible, but in case of the hardware when you are conscious of interoperation too much, it becomes vague. With the middle class machine and for the professional those which are required differ because and, when deciding various specifications, also priority differs, the choices which are optimum to the respective use are chosen the sea urchin it has done ",

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?

"Speaking honestly, it is not well understood even in us. But there is a past data. Silver salt film age, the single-lens reflex camera had occupied approximately 1 tenth of whole market. This year the digital single-lens reflex camera market has extended suddenly, but even then it becomes about only 4%. Because camera market the whole digital is called the annual 6,000 ten thousand units, the latent market about 600 ten thousand probably will be you can say that it is. Therefore, still as for the market, you think "that there is a margin which extends

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.

- Share of the digital single-lens reflex camera, what reason which does not reach camera in 10% of the whole digital as for? Furthermore the element which is necessary in order to keep extending?

Why do DSLRs have a lower market share in digital then SLRs do in film? What's needed to increase the market share?

"The various products appear in the background where the compact digital camera market has extended this much, those where personal conversion is advanced are the reason. The user which is used properly in family 1 1 person and 1 number of people unit according to the scene which is used from 1 unit increases, pushes up the whole market. If in the same way either the digital single-lens reflex camera, does not keep increasing the scene which is used, 10% the number which is said is difficult. For example EOS-1Ds by the fact that it enters into the photo studio where the medium format camera is common sense, is spreading to also the place where the 35mm camera was not used to that. To keep expanding the use range in the same way, it becomes important "when expanding the digital single-lens reflex camera market,

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.

The technique whose appraisal with pixel identical-dimensioned appreciation is correct you do not think, but you cannot ignore either the fact that it is voice of the user on the one hand in actuality.

People seem to want more and more pixels

"Camera is to obtain the print which can be appreciated purpose of the first. It is not to appreciate the image where as for final result ones being print, the whole picture on the screen is not visible and is expanded. Of course, we with pixel identical dimensions are the intention of keeping doing the correspondence which is done securely vis-a-vis aberration and focusing precision. But, if it curves, when you pay attention temporarily, relate too much you think that very it is disadvantageous in the user. Because development burden in order to make the system which withstands the pixel identical-dimensioned appraisal of the picture which exceeds 1,000 ten thousand pixels makes cost increase, it rebounds as a price of the product which reaches result in labor assistant of the user. Furthermore, paying high cost, print as a result means not to change. As for this very, it is not to be very good to the user at the manufacturer, probably will be ",

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 private it differs every type is the format. Therefore very, all information which the camera catches can be pulled out. But on the one hand, there is also a good quality of the thing which standardizes certainly, can handle commonly with various applications, there is also a defect that it obstructs individual evolution. Direction of improvement being clear, with just by your cannot do the expansion, connects the hand with everyone and at a time the single step the stairway must keep rising. On the one hand, if it is RAW of the private format, when liking with anytime, it is possible to add improvement to the format, according to the evolution of the camera. It does not care the fact that it tries that ??? probably will make standard, but for the present there is no argument that "it stops the private file, with that,

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?

"The fact that ISO50 mode first is introduced was CANON. As for question ignoring sensitivity quality, being meaning in high pixel conversion? You think that with it is the gist which is said, but when thinking, as business if the number of pixels which the user layer which is made the target calculates is not actualized, there is also an aspect which is difficult to produce value, as a commodity. As a numerical value after the catalog, being also the fact that the number of pixels is required to be fact, it does. Originally if is, rather than making the specifications which are inclined, looking around, the whole we should make the format which balance it is good, but the manufacturer directing the current flow, it is difficult to change trend, probably will be. But, in each case, trend of the market does being something which changes to balance oriented. If with time it reaches the point where the part other than the number of pixels is appraised, you think "that finally well balance it converges in the product,

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 of these days and Japan matures, it is said that also the sale is levelling off. Concerning this point, how you look at the market of the future compact digital camera?

The compact digital camera market is maturing and sales are slowing. How do you see the future market for digital cameras?

If "you look at the data certainly, you can see the deterioration in diffusion rate improvement of the digital camera. But, if there is a some break through, the margin which still the market expands sees that it is. For that a some technological innovation must be caused. With function and with size and, being to be good regardless, it does, even with efficiency, but new technological innovation is necessary for the continuous growth of the compact digital camera ",

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

- The digital camera market to here, repeated various technological innovations and progress one after another, advanced to before at tremendous speed. Quite pouring gasoline on the firewood, it seems the way as though you burn but. But, it has the impression also that gasoline may run out the bottom gradually. Furthermore throwing the new model fuel which promotes this combustion, probably is necessary for continuous growth. So CANON itself having that fuel at present time?

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?

"Regrettable, that at present time the market probably will be expanded, the element which can be declared clearly does not have. But, it is about you have searched eagerly. Whether or not even with the technology which you think that manufacturer side is progressive, those where really that matches to user needs you do not understand. For example, thinking, that it becomes the hit commodity, doing commodity development, as for 1 only hit commodity it is really born in 10. We search progressive technology must keep having that the product reflect many and ",

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


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