Interview With Canon Engineers About the Canon EOS R

Canon Eos R Firmware Update

Dave Etchells of Imaging Resource had the chance to talk to Canon engineers about the brand new Canon EOS R.

Some excerpts:

Does the Canon EOS R really have 5,655 AF points?

[…]what’s being referred to are the number of AF point positions you can choose from, when in single-point mode and using the rear-panel arrow keys. When you press one of the arrow keys, the box showing the single AF “point” moves a small step in the chosen direction. Adding up the number of steps in each direction, you’d likely come up with the claimed 5,655 points.

Does AF coverage change with EF-mount lenses?

Since EF-mount lenses used via the adapter are so much further from the sensor surface, it seems likely that they wouldn’t be able to support as large an AF area as native RF-mount ones. I asked, and it turns out this is true. It will vary some based on the specific lens design, but some EF-mount lenses won’t have quite as wide AF coverage as the native ones. Native RF-mount coverage is 100% vertically and 88% horizontally, but some EF-mount lenses will only have 80% horizontal coverage (again, depending on the specific lens design).

How does EOS R autofocus compare to cameras like the 5D Mark IV?

[…]relative AF performance depended on the subject; that the EOS R would win sometimes and the 5D IV or 1D X II other times. They didn’t elaborate on what subjects they thought each would be best at, but I thought it was significant that it wasn’t all one way, and that the EOS R in fact would win some AF matchups, even against some of Canon’s top SLRs.

The entire interview can be read at Imaging Resource.

Pre-orders for the Canon EOS R are live. Shipping is expected to start in October 2018.

Pre-order in the USA, Canon EOS R: B&H Photo | Adorama | Canon USA | Amazon

Pre-order in the USA, Canon RF mount lenses: B&H Photo | Adorama | Canon USA | Amazon

Canon EOS R world-wide pre-order links:

Asia & Australia: AliExpress, Amazon JAPAN, Amazon USA, Adorama, B&H Photo
Europe & UK: Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon IT, Wex Photo Video, Park Cameras, Canon DE, Canon UK, Canon IT, Canon FR
USA/Canada: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon CA, KEH Camera, BestBuy, Canon CA, Canon USA

Canon RF mount lenses world-wide pre-order links:

Asia & Australia: AliExpress, Amazon JAPAN, Amazon USA, Adorama, B&H Photo
Europe & UK: Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon IT, Wex Photo Video, Park Cameras, Canon DE, Canon UK, Canon IT, Canon FR
USA/Canada: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon CA, KEH Camera, BestBuy, Canon CA, Canon USA

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II teardown (Lens Rentals)

Canon EF 70-200mm F/4L IS II

All images © and used with permission

Roger Cicala of Lens Rentals posted a teardown of the new Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II lens. Impressive images, and interesting findings too.

Excerpts from Roger’s conclusion:

[…] this is, as we would expect, a very well built lens with robust roller bearings, large brass collars, heavy metal keys, and good weather sealing.

[Lens Rentals has] some hints, and a lot of Roger speculation, about how Canon is getting lenses with such low variance. Here’s what we know: Canon has more optical adjustments than most lenses, not less. So while they may have tighter tolerances (I have no clue), the key seems to be more in a careful optical adjustment of compensating elements than anything else.

It is clear that Canon is going with more, and more straightforward, adjustment of optics than the other manufacturers.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II
Image ©

Be sure to head over to Lens Rentals to see the many pictures of the teardown, and to get the findings.

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II is getting one positive review after the other. Canon clearly has another winner here. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II is in stock at major retailers in the US, price is $1,299: B&H Photo | Adorama | Amazon.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II world-wide:

Asia & Australia: AliExpress, Amazon JAPAN, Amazon USA, Adorama, B&H Photo
Europe & UK: Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon IT, Wex Photo Video, Park Cameras, Canon DE, Canon UK, Canon IT, Canon FR
USA/Canada: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon CA, KEH Camera, BestBuy, Canon CA, Canon USA

Did You Know Nikon Designs its own Sensors?


I didn’t.

Imaging Resource’s Dave Etchells had the rare chance to visit Nikon’s super-secret sensor design laboratory. But, wait, didn’t Sony manufacture the sensors in Nikon cameras?

So what is Nikon exactly doing? Say’s Etchells:

Companies designing chips of whatever sort generally rely on standard processes established by the “foundry” company that does the actual manufacturing. In these cases, the design process is “just” a matter of defining the layout of the devices on the chip. I say “just” though, because it’s far from a routine process to do this. The size and shape of transistors, photodiodes, resistors and capacitors determines their electrical characteristics, and there are loads of tradeoffs involved in balancing light-gathering efficiency, noise levels, readout speeds, on and on. A big trick is designing the pixels and readout circuitry so there’s as little “dead” (non-light-sensitive) area as possible, while maintaining readout speeds and minimizing power consumption.

Nikon designs its sensors and Sony manufactures them. The surprising thing here is how deep into details Nikon’s sensor design goes, let alone all the simulations and the testing. The reason Nikon is doing this, has to do

with being able to optimize the camera system as a whole, in ways that you can’t if you’re just using off-the shelf parts

In other words: Nikon wants their sensors to be optimised for their lenses and to work at best with Nikon’s also in-house designed EXPEED image processing engine. The sensors featured in the Nikon D850 and Nikon D5 are an example of Nikon’s testing, simulation and overall sensor design.

To learn more about imaging sensors in general and about Nikon’s super-secret sensor design laboratory head over to Imaging Resource.

Canon Patent to reduce image noise generated by the magnetic field of image stabilisation unit

Canon Patent

Well, this is an interesting Canon patent application we spotted (20180164603), and it shows how much care Canon applies to details.

Some background information first. Simplifying it very much, the image stabilisation system of a lens is build on top of a vibration gyroscope sensor. The process of stabilising an image in the lens occurs through a image (shake) correcting unit. The correcting unit uses electromagnetic fields, generated by applying current to a coil.

The generated electromagnetic fields can influence the electronic circuitry and hence may degrade the image quality by generating noise in the image. Turns out that shielding the coil isn’t that easy.

If I got the patent right, it tries to reduce the magnetic field by clever use of non-magnetically conductive materials and shielding. From the patent literature:

According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided an imaging lens including: a lens; an image shake correcting action unit provided movably in a direction perpendicular to an optical axis of the lens; a stationary unit for supporting the image shake correcting action unit; a permanent magnet provided on one of the image shake correcting action unit and the stationary unit and a coil provided on an other; a drive circuit for moving the image shake correcting action unit relative to the stationary unit; a mount section for being connected to an imaging unit having an imaging element; and a conductive member which is nonmagnetically conductive and disposed between the coil and the mount section so as to include a facing surface facing a surface formed by a binding wire of the coil and having a larger area than a surface formed by an inner periphery of the coil.

This patent application might go into production one day.

Other Canon patent applications we think might get into production in the next few years are these:

Canon explores large image sensors for academic and industrial application


Canon posted a technical article about the company’s efforts in researching large size image sensors. The sensor in the article below is 40 times the size of a 35mm CMOS sensor. Nothing you will see on Canon’s next mirrorless camera.

Canon press text:

The Potential to Open New Frontiers in Academic and Industrial FieldsCMOS Image Sensors

In addition to the image sensors used in its consumer-model digital cameras, Canon is exploring new potential in academic fields and industrial fields through the development of ultrahigh-sensitivity CMOS image sensors and ultrahigh-resolution CMOS image sensors.

The World’s Largest Ultrahigh-Sensitivity CMOS Image Sensor

A certain level of light is required when shooting with a digital camera or camcorder, and without it, images cannot be captured due to insufficient sensitivity.

In the pursuit of further improving the sensitivity of imaging elements, Canon has embraced the challenge of achieving higher levels of sensitivity and larger element sizes while maintaining high-speed readout performance, and has succeeded in developing the world’s largest class of CMOS image sensor measuring approximately 20 cm square. At present, the standard diameter of the silicon wafers on which CMOS sensors are fabricated is 12 inches (approx. 30 cm). As such, a 20-cm-square sensor is the largest size that can be manufactured based on these dimensions, and is equivalent to nearly 40 times the size of a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor.

Increasing the size of CMOS sensors entails overcoming such problems as distortion and transmission delays for the electrical signals converted from light. To resolve these issues, Canon not only made use of a parallel processing circuit, but also exercised ingenuity with the transfer method itself. As a result, the sensor makes possible the shooting of video at 60 frames per second with only 0.3 lux of illumination (approximately the same level of brightness as that generated by a full moon).

120-Megapixel Ultrahigh-Resolution CMOS Image Sensor

Canon has spent many years working to reduce the pixel size for CMOS image sensors. These efforts have led to astounding results, making possible a pixel size of 2.2 µm for a total of approximately 120 million pixels on a single sensor. The APS-H size (approx. 29 x 20 mm) CMOS sensor boasts approximately 7.5 times the number of pixels and 2.6 times the resolution of sensors of the same size featured in existing products.

This CMOS sensor performs parallel processing to support the high-speed readout of large volumes of pixels, and by modifying the method employed to control the readout circuit timing, Canon successfully achieved the high-speed readout of sensor signals. As a result, the sensor makes possible a maximum output speed of approximately 9.5 frames per second, supporting the continuous shooting of ultrahigh-resolution images.

Images captured with the ultrahigh-resolution CMOS sensor maintain high levels of definition and clarity even when cropped or digitally magnified. Accordingly, this sensor offers potential for a range of industrial applications, including cameras for shooting images for large-format poster prints, cameras for the image inspection of precision parts, aerospace cameras, and omnidirectional vision cameras.

The 120-megapixel ultrahigh-resolution performance of the Canon CMOS sensor may lead to unprecedented industrial applications that could only be imagined in the past.

[via Image Sensors World]