CP+ 2013: Interview with Canon's Masaya Maeda

There will be a Canon EOS 70D, but the future of semi-pro DSLRs is probably full-frame, says Masaya Maeda, Managing Director and Chief Executive, Image Communication Products Operations at Canon. However, while he says new concepts are needed to save the compact camera, he doesn't see larger sensors as being the answer for the mass market.

Masaya Maeda - Managing Director and Chief Executive, Image Communication Products Operations at Canon

No room for large sensor compacts

'Some say the digicam market is mature and that smartphones are eating into it. I would say this is true. In terms of the compact camera segment, new concepts are needed,' Maeda says: 'The PowerShot N is part of our response. Of course we have other things in the works but I can't talk about it yet'.

However, he ruled out the idea of a larger sensor camera along the lines of the Sony RX100 to offer more of an image quality distinction between smartphones and compact cameras. 'I think the market does exist but it wouldn't be very large. We think we have a good balancing point in terms of price, image quality and size. Lots of other combinations are possible, but, once you go below APS-C the next logical size is 1/2.3 inch', he says.

'Silicon conductor technology is still advancing. The answer may change, but 1/2.3" is the answer at the moment. Users want to shoot at greater distances and want to get better photos in low light - these are the needs. There will always be a gap between smartphones and compact cameras in those respects.'

APS-C - the step-up architecture

'My idea is that, if you increase the size, you go with APS-C - that's the architecture that allows low light performance. That was the reason I put an APS-C sensor in the PowerShot G1 X and the EOS M - for the time being, that's the standard.'

And, he believes, customers do understand that there's better image quality to be had. 'If you look at sites like Instagram and other sharing sites, the ones that are getting the most likes and the most comments about the photography are the ones taken with a DSLR or dedicated compact camera, and there's discussion about "how did you get that?" and the answer is that it's with a dedicated camera.'

Despite this understanding, he concedes that the EOS M hasn't yet been fully able to exploit this market. 'Looking at worldwide results we've seen users are limited to certain regions - we're seeing very positive sales in Japan and South East Asia, looking beyond that we haven't established market share yet.'

'The concept of the EOS M is to make an interchangeable lens camera as small as possible while retaining the quality we would expect from an EOS product. It must be able to support a wide range of lenses - without that support, there's no point making it. Looking at the data, we're not seeing the EOS-M users making use of a variety of lenses. So one of the challenges is to roll-out a lineup of attractive lenses - that is our response to encourage people to use them.'

The future for semi-pro

Now that full frame is appearing in cameras the size and price of the 6D, the future of APS-C at the semi-pro level is in doubt, he says: 'That's something we're considering at the moment. From our semi-pro users there's still demand for APS-C but in the future, I think we will see an increase in the number of full-frame models.' Either way, that doesn't close the door on an EOS 70D though - when asked when we can expect one, Maeda promises: 'some day in the future. Without fail.'

Comments

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mosswings
By mosswings (Feb 1, 2013)

Well, at least he was honest enough to state the obvious...we're at the end of the line for crop-sensor semipro and pro class DSLR bodies; and nearing the end of the line for enthusiast level crop-sensor DSLR bodies. I would guess within 2 generations, maybe less, it'll all be mirrorless. Haven't heard Nikon say it this clearly yet.

3 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (Feb 1, 2013)

APS-C will get squeezed at the bottom end by mirrorless and the top end by FF. The Global shutter will be the nail in the coffin for the low end DSLR. I would not want to invest in any APS-C lenses today.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
JamesVo
By JamesVo (Feb 1, 2013)

Nikon isn't saying it but they are doing it.....
3 full ranges of FX Zoom lenses from 16/18mm to 300mm - the variable aperture series, f4 series and f2.8 trinity recently completed. FX primes too. all these lenses updated to G type - every G lens can be used on every single DX and FX body. No new high-end DX lenses for a while. No obvious replacement for D300s and D7000 getting long in the tooth - I think we will see these two lines condensed into one and no more semi-pro DX cameras. I reckon we will see 4 lines of DX body condensed into two in future with the D5x00 line and D7x00 lines retained. Nikon's 1 series, if it survives, will replace the D3x00 entry level AND compete with mFT

3 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Feb 1, 2013)

@SHood: it's not "APS-C", it's mirror based cameras. Nikon, like Canon already, will move their APS-C line into ML systems. All or most under-1,000USD cameras will be ML in about 3-4 years. The OVF will be reserved for the 1,000-to-1,500 bracket, like the D7000 and 60D lines.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Feb 1, 2013)

@JamesVo: Nikon 1 is not competition to m43 in general, but to high-end compacts. Many people get a Jn with the kit lens and use that as a compact (and it works wonderfully like one). Observe that they have introduced the S line, which is even lower than the J line. What will happen in the 600-1,000USD price range is the migration of the D3n00 to ML first, then possibly of the D5n00 line. Only the D7n00 line will remain with mirror box, but possibly including a hybrid VF that can be used also with mirror up.

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
rob_Il
By rob_Il (Feb 1, 2013)

I still do not understand why FF is being compared to crop when between a 60d and 6d there is a 3x price difference. If they say full frame is the future for semi-pro, why was the 6d not released @ a sub $1,500 price point? Because the cost of the sensor are suppose to be 2-3x as much to produce (which I still do not believe since technology and production has to have improved in the last 5 years). People have become accustomed to APS-C sensor and the crop closer view for less money as well as lighter glass.

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (Feb 1, 2013)

It's not because of lens selection that I haven't bought an M, it's because it's AF speed is sub-standard! For those of us who do a lot of sports photography, the APS DSLR will always be popular because of it's built-in focal length multiplier

2 upvotes
Rick Knepper
By Rick Knepper (Feb 1, 2013)

I like the future of FF.

3 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Feb 1, 2013)

I wonder if the D300 and 7D will just die a natural death. Their replacement will probably be similar to Nikon D7000, if the latter is not already considered the successor to D300. :)

IMO, a 50 MP FF image when cropped down to APS-C size should be a sufficient replacement for those who like the reach of APS-C

3 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (Feb 1, 2013)

Except that there is no 50mp FF and even the 36mp D800 files are quite large which limits buffer length and FPS. Canon still needs a 7D replacement for birders as the entry level FF bodies are limited for this purpose.

3 upvotes
botw
By botw (Feb 1, 2013)

But that's just a matter of time, bandwidth and storage, all of which can be solved.

3 upvotes
x-vision
By x-vision (Feb 1, 2013)

Before the 6D was announced, I was sure that the 7D would not get a successor.

The 6D specs are so basic, though, that it is now certain that we’ll see a 7DII - likely in the fall.

But by Canon's own admission, the 7DII will be the last crop camera in this price range ($1600-1800).

Five years from now, only sub-$1000 cameras will have crop sensors.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Feb 1, 2013)

The 24MP sensors upsized to FF gives 54MP. Think of a 54MP with a crop option like the D800 running at 24MP, with a good hybrid EVF that makes it fill the VF, and the current Nikon 1 AF system working also in low light. That could reach 10fps easily, even at present processing speeds.

2 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (Feb 1, 2013)

LOL. So nothing between APS-C and 1/2.3". I guess this means the S120 sensor could be even smaller.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
1 upvote
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Feb 1, 2013)

The question on my mind is: how well is Sony doing with their RX100? Are they selling those by the boatloads? Is Sony the #1 market share holder for compact cameras? If not, the RX100 may well follow the fate of Sony R1 (2003).

0 upvotes
Tower
By Tower (Feb 1, 2013)

No matter which way they are going, the most important thing is images quality and market. I believe NO one will use smartphone to shoot fashion. Other way back 50mp camera for web user is an IDIOT.

3 upvotes
hippo84
By hippo84 (Feb 1, 2013)

photo nuts RX100 in the 1st page of most sold P&S cameras in Amazon. Canon G1X (and other competitors) is nowhere near ))

2 upvotes
Total comments: 490
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