These are my thoughts about why Canon had to implement 8k in their rumored Canon R5 and why I think it will be real 8k, not some gimmick 8k timelapse or photo mode.
I Bet Canon Hated Making This Camera! Canon R5
Camera companies, even Apple generally hate to add new features into their cameras until they are absolutely forced too. They want to draw out their update cycle as long as they can and they prefer users to stay ignorant about certain features. Bitrate, bit depth, LCD resolution, 14-bit continuous shooting in compressed mode etc. Actually Canon is pretty good at making sure their cameras tick all those checkboxes, you know, the behind the scenes specs that actually make the images look good that NEVER get mentioned in reviews, but then they fail in some of the big trendy specs, like having the 4k crop.
Then people say, “Canon color science is so good, Canon images just look good, we can’t figure out why.” It’s because they actually put practical specs that are not glamorous in their sensors and ignore gimmicks like being able to lift shadows 6-stops.
It’s interesting, Canon makes sure their cameras can shoot 14-bit continuous with compressed RAW, but Sony doesn’t but then Canon gets criticized for having outdated tech.
At the core level, their cameras are doing things Sony cameras are not. For example, the Canon 5Ds did 14-bit when continuous shooting and had anti-flicker capabilities a good 2.5 years before Sony did. Yet the Canon 5Ds was beaten up in reviews because it did not perform as well when trying to lift the shadows 5-stops, something nobody does in the real world.
Still today, the Sony A7III won’t shoot 14-bit continuous unless you shoot Uncompressed. It drops down to 12-bit in Compressed RAW. Keep that in mind if you’re a Sony shooter. You do get better results uncompressed when continuous.
Anyway, I’ve always appreciated that about Canon even though I did, technically move to Sony for the R cameras for other reasons.
And my whole point of this rambling is that Canon didn’t get forced to make this camera because of Sony like I’m seeing people suggest. Canon’s response to Sony was the RP. Sony is killing it because they made a $2,000 full-frame camera that had everything. Canon will never do that.
The way Canon beats Sony on all other fronts is they just make a nice camera the Canon way and their expertise and R&D will come through. And I’m not just saying that, I shoot with all systems and you can see and feel the experience of engineering and R&D with Canon and Nikon cameras compared to Sony and Fujifilm. It’s like comparing Ford to B&W in the auto world. Don’t get mad at me, it’s true.
Now, every so often something happens in history that forces the big camera companies like Canon to play there had.
This time around it’s the Olympics.
The Olympics Forced Canon To Make A Cutting Edge Camera
Japan will broadcast the Olympics in 8k, yet there are very few consumer cameras or even prosumer cameras that can do this. Sharp has their little camera and that’s it.
Other than the 8k Sony broadcast cameras, there is nothing press teams can carry around to capture 8K with unless they use a RED. Not particularly a walk-around camera.
Since Canon is the #1 camera company in Japan and in the world, they are obviously not going to miss this.
Canon HAS to make 8k cameras, they have to win, they will win. They have to be THE Camera of the Olympics, which means somewhere around 40MP if they want a 16:9 8k video crop.
Not TimeLapse 8k – Not 8k Photo Mode
At first, I was thinking the 8k video in the Canon R5 was going to be some sort of timelapse mode or some sort of Panasonic photo mode. But the more I think about it the more I realize it will have to be real 8k 30p. Again, the Olympics.
Canon wants every press company, every journalist to buy this camera now for the Olympics to produce 8k on the ground footage for promos, interviews, behind the scenes, b-roll, etc.
Aside From The 8K The Camera Is Solid
45MP is pretty amazing, nothing too mind-blowing but it’s very versatile. Great for landscape, great for casual because Canon also has CRAW which keeps the files very small when run and gunning which I do use on my EOS R when just doing around town incidental shooting.
12fps mechanical continuous shooting is great. First for a high megapixel camera to do this, but we’ve seen it in the Nikon Z6.
20fps Electronic is what Sony and Fujifilm are doing, so nothing special their, although this is the first high megapixel camera to do this.
So this camera is cool. Canon has flexed its Canon muscles.
Sony’s Time To Respond
While I still believe in the conspiracy that all the Japanese camera companies work together behind the scenes to ensure Japan’s dominance over the industry, I don’t think Sony will be able to respond to this camera this year.
Sony is in a pickle with their A7sIII.
To me, the character, the personality of the A7sIII was all about being a low light monster. If they release an A7sIII that’s just a 40MP 8k camera, they lose their low light advantage.
Sony is also still terribly behind on their bitrate and they still don’t offer 10-bit or even a better high-efficiency codec with their mirrorless cameras. So if I had to guess, I would say Sony will throw all this in an actual video camera, and keep the A7sIII a low light monster for the run and gun filmmaker. You probably don’t realize this, but like Canon, Sony does keep their systems very segmented.
If Sony loses that low light feature of the A7sIII, the camera is DOA (dead on arrival) in my opinion. Especially if it only has 100Mbps 8-bit video.
Don’t expect anything fancy from the A7IV. The Sony A7III was an entry-level cheap full-frame camera. A camera that did a lot of things but nothing in particular very well. A jack of all trades, master of none. Seeing what Sony did with the A9II and the A7rIV, the A7III will likely just get a body update and a slight sensor performance bump. I would love to see a 30-37MP sensor here with no AA filter. That could get me buying the camera, well probably not, because they will put a cheap screen and a cheap EVF on it.
Hopefully, you guys know by now my bias, the on-camera features like nice screens, viewfinders, and user controls, things that actually make shooting a more enjoyable experience are what matters the most to me. Most of the sensor tech doesn’t really show in the final results anymore and are less important to me.
Nikon’s Time To Respond
I think we’ll see one more BIG camera out of Nikon this year. I also think they will do something 8k especially since their Z lenses have all been designed for video performance.
Nikon also owns the motion control company Marks Robotics that they want to implement more for sports arena shooting so it would make sense that they pair this up with some sort of 8k camera for the Olympics. They will likely not miss this opportunity to show off this tech at the Olympics.
If you’re wondering why Nikon hasn’t been very social friendly or consumer-friendly lately, it’s because Nikon doesn’t care about you buying their cameras, their evil plan is to build an army of robots to replace you. 🙂
In 10 years there will be robots on the sidelines of football games, powered by Nikon motion tech, not photographers.
I Feel Bad For The “I Switched To Sony” People
I actually genuinely feel bad for the Canon shooters that just couldn’t take it anymore and gave into the Sony hype train, selling all their gear and switching to Sony.
I tried, I kept telling people not to do that, to wait. Unless you wanted some specific lens setup. Guys don’t buy cameras or switch brands because of cameras, buy lenses instead. If you already have EF lenses, or F lenses, keep them and stay with your system until you can slowly move over to mirrorless, a year is not going to kill you. Most of the Sony lenses are still basically DSLR designs because of that small mount. You’re not losing much by using a EF to RF or F to Z adapter and you’re not gaining much by going to Sony, with most of the zoom lenses. There are other great super cheap primes that make switching to Sony worth it. Like I just bought an AF Samyang 85mm f1.4 for $600 for my A7rIII which I am super excited about.
The features these cameras offer like EYE AF, are not game-changing for most things. I rarely use Eye AF unless I’m shooting my kids. It’s just not that useful. It’s just a 10% of the time feature and very easy to live without. IBIS is the same thing, its great for maybe 10% of what I shoot. Both are things you definitely don’t need to waste money switching systems over when you knew Canon or Nikon would eventually bring it.
Focus on what lenses you need and buy into that. Seriously, these camera companies are all only one year or so apart from each other and they regularly leapfrog. You’re going to start seeing them specializing their cameras a little more from each other in the future to make sure none of these big companies go out of business and to make sure Japan maintains control.
Japan Inc will likely make these companies invest in each other to lift them up as Sony did with Olympus. The Japanese government really cares about their corporations and their technologies. It’s not like in the West where there are constant feuds between the corporate billionaires and the government. Like Trump and Bazos don’t like each other, so Microsoft wins the big defense server contract. In America, it’s all about which billionaire has the biggest dick. It’s not like that in Japan.
One Last Thing
Everyone always acts like Sony, or Canon or Nikon have some magic technology they pull from to make their gear. Internally all their cameras have pretty much the same stuff. They’re not fabricating entire processors or semiconductors, LCD screens or EVFs. The majority of the stuff going in a Camera is someone from some other company and they are all limited by this tech. There is one exception, that is the sensor, which still requires different types of memory caches and RAM that again, comes from other companies. This is why all these camera specs rise with the same tide.
You guys know this, because of the smartphone race, but when it comes to cameras all of a sudden everyone thinks Sony and Canon are making every component in the camera. No, if Sony cameras are doing something amazing, it’s likely gimping the camera in some other way to achieve that.
It’s always funny when someone says, so-and-so uses Sony sensors. Yes, and they are using Qualcomm processors, and LG screens, and Toshiba Ram, etc. You don’t say Apple is just using Foxcom smartphones?
This is why everyone makes action cameras now. You just call up Amberella up or Qualcomm, ask for their latest chips, build out a mainboard and get it all working with the software. GoPro isn’t making the stuff inside their camera.
There is no special magic Sony, Nikon and Canon have that the other cameras don’t have access to. If Canon wants to make a more powerful machine, the limitation is thermals or they have to pull specs out of something else. With Sony, they favor frame rate and full-frame data readout for video, over bitrate and bit depth. Canon and Nikon focus more on the user experience, using bigger screens, better EVFs, better bitrates, bit depths, and this taxes the processors in other ways that require them to limit other specs.
There are only a few proprietary things a camera company can do that they develop and patent themselves. Optical formulas, lens coatings, autofocus motors, optical compositions, IBIS, and camera software. Even sensors are analog at the core and have to use processors and ram to pull the data and convert it to digital which requires components that Sony, Canon, Nikon do not make themselves. Or Sony does make some memory, but it’s made by a different division and available to other companies to buy. Just like Nikon was building steppers that most companies were using. And even today Canon is opening up its sensor tech for third-party to buy now, and they’ve been pushing hard for security camera sensor technology and it’s been successful for them.
Sony might make the LCD screens, but I’m not sure. Like with Apple displays, I think most cameras companies probably pull the LCDs from different companies, and you can see this with the X-Pro3 EVF issues only effecting some model numbers that sourced a certain component.
Anyway, those are my thoughts and opinion on my blog. There is no definitive answer to this stuff or on what is the best, this is just my take. I don’t know anything other than what I can guess on and speculate on.