I am reporting this since it is making the rounds, but there is more than a high amount of salt needed here.
Rumor has it that there is a “certain company [...] getting ready to announce a hardware hack for Canon EOS cameras”. The EOS 5D Mark III (price & specs) is named, but other EOS DSLRs could also be part of the game. In other words, the rumored hardware hack is presented to be the next step beyond Magic Lantern‘s amazing firmware hacks.
I don’t believe this will ever happen. The rumor suggests that you may soon be able to replace the integrated main-board of your 5D Mark III with a custom board. If you follow the intrinsic logic of this rumor, you realise it means disassembling your Canon DSLR, removing the main-board (with integrated CPU), and replacing it with another, third-party made integrated circuitry that is supposed to deliver “greatly improve dynamic range, video sharpness and performance” compared to the EOS 5D Mark III. The hack is said to cost $1000.
Tinkering with camera hardware is not new, people modified their Canon DSLRs to remove anti-aliasing filters. But it is another thing to swap the logic circuitry.
The rumor is wishful thinking, in my opinion. With Magic Lantern already delivering all sort of improvements, who would ever want to let someone disassemble a 5D Mark III to get the main circuitry replaced with custom made electronics? Not to mention the easiness of the straightforward installation of Magic Lantern. Not to mention all the precision and the engineering skills required to make a high tech sensor work smoothly with all the involved electronics and firmware snippets. Consider that Canon is very secretive about their technologies, and that to replace a DSLR’s main-board you need to have a very deep understanding of the whole design (from all points of view).
Finally, the EOS 5D Mark III is not the new kid on the block. It was announced March 2nd 2012. That’s two years ago. Would you start a company just to mess around with the internals of a $3000 DSLR that’s 2 years old?
Canon press release:
TOKYO, February 28, 2014—Canon Inc. announced today that nine Canon designs were recognized by iF International Forum Design GmbH with prestigious 2014 iF Design Awards in the product design and communication design categories.
iF Product Design Awards went to the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 100D (EOS Rebel SL1 or EOS Kiss X7 in other regions) digital SLR cameras, the PowerShot N compact digital camera, the LEGRIA mini (VIXIA mini or IVIS mini) camcorder, the PIXMA MG7150 / MG6450 / MG5550 (PIXUS MG7130 / N/A / MG5530 in Japan) inkjet printers, the i-SENSYS LBP7680Cx / 7110Cw (N/A / imageCLASS LBP7001Cw or N/A / Satera LBP7110C) color laser beam printers, the WUX450 multimedia projector, and the LE-5W LED projector. The iF Communication Design Award went to the user interface for the EOS M compact-system camera.
Update: After having published the interview, Imaging Resource was told by Canon USA that there are no plans to bring the EOS M2 to the US.
[Editor's note: We received an update after we went to press that Canon USA does not have plans to sell the EOS M2 at this time. We'll let you guys know if this changes!]
Imaging Resource’s Dave Etchells met Mr. Go Tokura, Group Executive, ICP Group 2, Image Communications Products Operations at Canon, and his colleague Mr Naoya Kaneda, Senior General Manager, ICP Development Center 1, Image Communications Products Operations at Canon. The interview was conducted with the help of a translator. Among other topics, in the interview they talked about Canon’s EOS mirrorless plans, the innovative and groundbreaking Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, and the future of video shooting with mirrorless system cameras.
When asked about Canon’s mirrorless plans, more precisely about the EOS M2, Mr Tokura said that there “are plans for the M2 to arrive in the U.S.”, and then adds that this is a “decision that is led by the sales groups in each division, so they are the ones who are holding the decision-making responsibility on that.”. At least there are plans to bring the EOS M2 to the States (and hopefully also to Europe).
And the lens roadmap for the EOS M system? Mr Tokura says he “can assure [us] that [Canon] do have plans to roll out some lenses in the future” but he can’t say anything more precise about the roadmap (because of company policy).
When asked about the reason’s of the EOS M initial AF slowness, Mr. Tokura said that is was due to a very conservative approach to AF implementation, an approach that put more emphasis on precision than on speed.
There are more gems in the interview, as Dave Etchells’ investigation about the inner working of Dual Pixel CMOS Auto-Focus. Every pixel on the sensor “has two full readouts, so every pixel on the sensor can be read as two halves”. Next question was “whether the signals from the two halves of each pixel are combined on the sensor chip for data image readout, or if they’re read out separately and then later combined in the processor?” – unfortunately Mr. Tokura couldn’t answer here since this information is kept under embargo by Canon. And what is the major drawback of the Dual Pixel AF technology? It is very expensive to manufacture because of the high precision required to tie the AF technology into the sensor.
There is more in the interview.
Another rumor surfaced on the web, and suggests that the replacement for the Canon EOS 7D (price & specs) could soon be announced. Before the end of Q2 2014, say the latest murmurings.
That Canon may announce the successor of the EOS 7D before Summer 2014 is truly possible. The EOS 7D replacement is long overdue. However, there have been a lot of contradicting rumors about the EOS 7D replacement. It is not even sure this DSLR will be named “EOS 7D Mark II”.
Truth is that no one really knows what is going to happen. There will be a new APS-C flagship, sure thing, but so far no really reliable specs or features have leaked. Rumor has it that it could be a high-end DSLR with a hybrid viewfinder. The successor of the EOS 7D is a well kept secret.
So far there have been two leaks with possible specs for the EOS 7D replacement. One (apparently) spec list leaked during Panasonic’s presentation of the GH4. This spec list is nothing I would take seriously, since it definitely appears the list was put together by Panasonic’s marketing department with the clear aim to make the GH4 shine when compared to the competition. The other, not confirmed but more plausible spec list is the one below:
- ~24MP sensor with Dual Pixel CMOS AF
- Auto-Focus system similar to the EOS 5D Mark III (61 points), possibly the same as 5D3
- High frame rate, 10-12 fps
- “high grade” weather sealing, like Canon’s professional DSLRs
- Dual Digic V+ processor
- Single card slot
- WiFi & GPS
- Innovative video features
- Price around $2000
- Very good ISO performance
This is all we know so far about the EOS 7D replacement. Stay tuned!