Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Mirrorless G Series

G12 CameraThis post is almost a joke but it’s time to make my annual prediction for the next PowerShot G camera even though the G1X was launched only a few months ago. This time last year, I predicted the “G14” – Wrong!

Canon has previously said that the G1X does not replace the G12. The G12 is still listed on the Canon website. The Canon statement leaves room for a “G14” to replace the G12; however, my G14 prediction is that there will be no successor to the G12 as such. The G1X will turn out to be the successor to the G12 after all – as most people believed anyway. Canon was simply hedging their bets by not taking the G12 off the market at the time of the G1X launch.

The G2X, as it almost certainly will be named, is still many months away – probably late summer next year. Like recent G series cameras, the G2X will continue as an evolutionary step from the G1X. The real news – and apparently coming soon – is the mirrorless PowerShot.

Of course, none of the G series Canon Powershots have a mirror but that is beside the point. The current craze is for “mirrorless” cameras and Canon will soon join that club.

“Mirrorless” is usually understood to mean not only a camera without the mirror of the single lens reflex (SLR) and its digital descendant but also to be a compact camera with interchangeable lenses. Sometimes this type of camera is abbreviated as “MILC” for mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Some of these mirrorless cameras more or less resemble rangefinder cameras of old (which did not have a mirror either) while others take on the look and feel of a DSLR.

Everyone expects that Canon will launch a mirrorless camera soon and “soon” is July 24 according to Canon Rumors. What will this new camera be named? It certainly could continue as a PowerShot although some seem to think it will be an entirely new series. I think the Canon mirrorless is likely to be a PowerShot Pro2.

The PowerShot Pro1 was a revolutionary product launched in 2004 and never updated. It had a different shape and a relatively large (for the time) sensor for a compact camera. Although the Pro1 had – and still has -- its devotees, reviews were somewhat subdued. I recall giving it a serious consideration but deciding to pass on the Pro1.

I don’t really think that the new Canon mirrorless will be named the PowerShot Pro2. “Pro2” makes me think of second best. I think the new Canon mirrorless will be named the PowerShot Pro1X (with future versions being named “Mark II”, etc.).

The Pro1X may not look like the older Pro1 (I hope it looks like a “rangefinder”) but will borrow and evolve enough Pro1 features to be recognized as a legitimate descendant. Evolved features will include:

  • High resolution EVF + articulated LCD
  • Hybrid autofocus
  • Intervalometer
  • Pop up flash + hotshoe

The Pro1X will be a true PowerShot with many features borrowed from the G1X including:

  • A tweaked G1X sensor
  • DIGIC 5 processor
  • Movie modes with added features
  • SCN and filter modes
  • Built-in neutral density filter
  • Variable aspect ratio image files
  • Video button (but protected from accidental activation)
  • Image Stabilization

The Pro1X will include “new” features such as

  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Initially 3 lenses: wide and telephoto zoom, fixed 40mm pancake
  • New lens mount, plus adapter for DSLR lenses
  • Wifi
  • Flash controls like 7D (oh please, please!)
  • Larger battery
  • 4 to 8 frames per second burst in RAW mode
  • eliminate 1 second shutter speed limit in Av mode
  • Touchscreen controls (in addition to G1X type physical controls)

Apparently we will know in a few weeks.

I predict that the Pro1X will be criticized for not being “pocketable”. Also, many will criticize the EVF and point out that the EVF makes the camera larger than necessary.

(Why do I do this? Just for grins! I have no affiliation with Canon and no real source of information to use as the basis of these guesses.)

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