[Rumor] Canon Working On A DSLR With A Sensor Bigger Than Full-Frame

I was a little bit uncertain if I should post this. The rumor comes from a new source, and it is the first time I hear this very rumor. After having had some emails with the source, I had the feeling that I could trust it. However, this is a rumor, and as all rumors it has to be taken with a grain of salt. Ok, here it is: I have been told that Canon is working on a new DSLR, a camera that will be a complete game changer and that will be announced in September (Photokina). Aimed at the super-pro photo-crowd, this DSLR will sport a entirely new sensor, a sensor that is said to be bigger than a full-frame sensor. No word, unfortunately, about resolution or other core specs, nor if it will be medium format or not. Just “bigger than full-frame” (see the pic below to get an idea about sensor sizes). If the rumor turns out to be true, it would mean that Canon is expanding its territory, not only jumping (hopefully soon) on the mirror-less bandwagon, but also invading a domain where others are the main players.

This is a hot summer regarding Canon announcements, and we can expect more rumors to leak in the next weeks and months. We should see a mirror-less camera announced in the next weeks (if all the rumors I and others reported are true). Then there is Photokina in September, where most of us expect the EOS 70D and the EOS 7D Mark II to be announced. And the new, mysterious DSLR with a sensor bigger than full-frame. Stay tuned!

  • Keith

    Hmm, this isn’t such a new rumor. A square or Multi-aspect FF sensor has been rumored for a while, which would be EOS mount and just use more of the image circle…

  • janH

    bigger sensor would mean new lenses.
    and there are already bigger sensor camera maker who struggle.

    a “medium format” will not make enough profit for canon to justifie R&D.

    this is a lie. a fake.. a joke.

  • Frank

    :-), it’s a rumor.

  • FMJ

    well, this might be the big megapixel, EOS-1D style body rumor from Canon Rumor.

    but is a square/multi-aspect FF consider bigger than FF?

    • Sina

      If Canon is to go with a sensor bigger than 36mm X 24mm, the maximum they can push it before crossing the EOS EF mount image circle is 36mm X 36 mm.

      If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say it will not be that, but rather slightly smaller square sensor, at 35mm X 35mm with multi-aspect ratio modes.

      • janH

        and why 35mmx35mm and not 36mmx36mm…. where is the sense in that?

        why would they do that?
        they could not even promote it as square FF sensore that way.

        im not sure if a normal wafer could even hold more sensors that way.
        will 1mm less per sensor make enough room for more sensors on a typical wafer?

        • Pei

          The largest size sensor that can fit inside an EF mount is at least 43.2mm by 43.2mm.

          • Sina

            Unfortunately, you are mistaken. The radius of the EF lens circles are maximum 44mm. However, an inscribed square inside a circle of that radius can only have a maximum of about 36mm on each side.

  • Epson

    That would mean a new mount, Canon is not going into MF.. Nikon has proven you don’t need to with the D800 for most purposes, and things will still get better in the near future.

    You can’t just go square at 36mm either, then a lot of lens hoods wouldn’t work properly anymore.

    • Nawaf

      You really think that a lens hood would hold them back?

    • vautrin

      35×35 would help possible lens corner issues–makes more sense than 36×36. The people who would actually buy such a camera would understand this. As for “not all of which would ever be used at once,” in a following comment–of course it would be used at once; think modern-day version of Hasselblad 6×6 cm 500-series cameras.

  • Dan

    As people have pointed out, the lens mount restricts you to a multi-aspect sensor up to 36×36 mm (not all of which would ever be used at once, but it could have a ton of cropping flexibility), unless you require new lenses.
    I think the D800/D800E eliminated any chance of a new medium format SLR (new lenses) player by equaling or beating the image quality of all sub-40 MP MF systems in a reasonably sized $3000 camera. If Canon is going 80 mp or so to stay comfortably out of Nikon’s reach, they would have a $25,000 plus body with a unique lens line (that is just taunting Nikon to reach the same quality level in a smaller, cheaper body with 35mm lenses).
    The two options I see if this is true are a multi-aspect sensor (50ish MP total, maximum output around 40?) or a mirrorless camera (which means new lenses anyway) with a big sensor – along the lines of a Mamiya 7.

  • Bob B.

    yeah….this sounds questionable…All new lens set for pros. I just got a 5DIII and I cannot imagine needing bigger, better files for my needs. I have my 5DII on eBay right now…the III is a nice step up in changes where it matters, not more megapixels. I do not even need a Nikon D800E…the improvement is just to small to justify switching out my whole system of L glass to go to another manufacturer. I also do not need to crunch those big files from the Nikon.. I think a lot of people feel the same way.
    This rumor sounds bogus…Mirrorless makes sense, large growing market …but not a camera with a bigger-tha-full-frame sensor???? Right?
    I can see Canon coming out with a high MP FF camera to compete with the D800 though. That would make sense, too.

  • Nope.
    Existing Canon EF EOS lenses CANNOT cover a 36mm (or 35mm) square sensor with their image circle.

    Draw it out on a piece of paper if you have to.
    Existing EF lenses are designed to cover a 36x24mm rectangle centered in their 43.3mm-diameter image circle (remember your high school geometry: A^2 + B^2 = C^2). The 36mm horizontal dimension only works because of the shortness of the 24mm vertical dimension. If the vertical dimension were increased to 35-36mm, all four corners would be completely black.

    In order for Canon to have a sensor larger than 36x24mm, they’d have to design entirely new lenses, and EF lenses would NOT work with the new camera. Not completely out of the realm of possibility (Canon already makes PL-mount cinema lenses, for example, which are also incompatible with their EF-mount cameras), but it seems very unlikely… especially given the fact that, as others have pointed out, the D800 has largely obviated the need for medium format for all but the most demanding applications.

  • Don

    The image circle is 43.2mm across.

    36×24 just fits in.

    If you want square, you are limited to 30.5mm

    You could also use a sensor as big as the circle and process later for desired cropping and to partially compensate for vignetting in the corners…..

  • Don

    and for those megapixel fans out there, a 30.5mm square sensor would have 1.067 times the area of the full frame sensor, in other words, at the same pixel density a 22Mpixel full frame sensor would become a 23.6 megapixel square sensor….. not exactly a huge leap forward….