Masaya Maeda, Canon’s head of the Image Communication Products, shared more than just sales numbers in an interview today. On the question of whether Canon was going to be attempting to compete with smaller mirrorless (so-called EVIL) cameras like those using the M4/3 system, he had this to say:
It’s not a question of whether or not you have a mirror. There is a consumer need for good-quality cameras to be made smaller. We will meet this need.
Boom, Canon’s getting into… wait, what exactly? Something smaller than a DSLR, yet more capable than a point-and-shoot. That’s really all we can take from this — but it’s something.
Canon has of course been bulking up its mirrorless technology, not with actual mirrorless cameras (other than its point-and-shoot lines, of course), but with improvements to their sensor-to-user flow and UI. The new high-resolution LCDs on the 7D and T2i are great to use and Canon is working on better solutions for focus and capture during live view mode.
As useful as a mechanical shutter and mirror-based design is, it may be (sob) approaching end of life, at least as a consumer product. I have no doubt there will be DSLRs in five years, but most people will want something more compact, and Canon will have to make the image quality and customization possible in a DSLR available at that smaller size. How? Beats me. But I’m excited to find out.