What the Canon EOS-M means for m4/3
10 months ago
Looks like I'm late to the party again.
I actually had a brief twinge of hope, looking at this thing. I use an E-PL1 for 98% of my photography, and love it to death, but I'm looking for a non-DSLR replacement for my TLR.
Why? I need a non-intimidating looking camera with a flip up screen, and APS-C or larger sensor. This EOS-M camera doesn't quite fit the bill (no flip screen), and the 1.6 crop factor, while negligibly tinier than 1.5, still trims a little from the field of view, and I 'need' the background blur (at infinity) that comes with a 35mm lens. A 56mm-equivalent field of view is pretty restrictive. (52mm-equivalent made me unhappy enough).
Access to Canon's complete lens line (maybe?) is really attractive point, and I think represents a true threat to Sony. There have to be a lot of people with one or two really specific lens requirements that Canon now offers a solution to, likely cheaper than Sony. For instance, for a 35mm-equivalent field of view, the kit 22mm Canon lens has got to be cheaper than the (admittedly really nice) Sony/Zeiss 24mm 1.4 at $1000+. I don't think Sony even has a fast 35mm, and Canon has, what three? Most for less than 500$?
I don't perceive a threat to micro 4/3, but perhaps I'm biased. For most of my photography, I don't need the extra mass (particularly in lenses!), and even the kit 14-42 does just fine. Certainly, when my neighbors ask me for camera recommendations, they are going to ask "but why not Canon, instead of these brands we've never heard of?" So, Canon is definitely going to get the largest share of the mirrorless market, just by default. Assuming they don't screw up - any company can, of course.
In the long term, the market killer is going to be a full-frame, compact, mirrorless camera. People who care about background blur, studio shooters, and landscape shooters are going to want one, and are going to skip APS-C, precisely because it gives them more of what they want (either blur or "better pixels") and less of what they don't (wonky DX prime choices and sketchy backfocus problems.) If micro 4/3 can get PDAF on the chip, they could easily eat somebody's lunch in the long reach/focus tracking competition. (E.g. the sports, birds in flight, safari crew.)
If I had to guess who is going to release the market-killer first, I'd think it would be Sony. They have no problem disrupting their DSLR camera sales with SLT's and the NEX, and they make their own sensors, so if they want to be first, nothing would stop them. It's just a question of whether they'd make any money at it. The answer is likely "no", or they would have done it by now
Thanks for listening,