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Technology Used in Canon's Mirrorless Cameras

Canon uses the innovative technologies cultivated through the development of single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras--including lenses, CMOS sensors and image processors and 80 years of camera manufacturing know-how--in the development of mirrorless cameras as well, constantly striving to increase the range of photographic possibilities and achieve new innovations.
In 2018, Canon announced the EOS R System*, a new imaging system that both increases freedom in lens design and opens up new optical possibilities. This marked the birth of the EOS R mirrorless camera, equipped with a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor.

  • * The EOS R System:
    Products compatible with this system include full-frame mirrorless cameras, RF lenses, and mount adapters.

2018/12/27Featured Technology

EOS R System Introductory Video (2 minutes, 17 seconds)

RF Mount that Offers Enhanced Image Expression and an Expanded Field of View

#Imaging technologies#Mechanical engineering#Electrical engineering

For the EOS R System, designed to pursue higher image quality suitable for a new era, Canon revamped the lens mount that connects the lens and camera, resulting in the introduction of the new RF mount. The RF mount is designed to support the future evolution of cameras, sporting such features as a large mount diameter of 54 millimeters, short back focus, and new mount transmission system.

Large 54 mm Diameter

The larger the diameter of a mount, the greater the freedom of optical design. Instead of merely trying to re-create the conventional, the EOS R System was designed as a new image input system that makes possible greater visual expression and expanded photographic possibilities. The large 54 mm diameter is the result of significant efforts to strike a balance between such factors as optical performance, compactness and durability. This has made possible the development of high-spec lenses for a new era, including bright, high image quality lenses that realize a small f-number while maintaining a compact size.

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Short Back Focus

In addition to the large mount diameter, the EOS R System realizes a short back focus, which refers to the shortened distance from a lens' rear element to the image plane (the sensor). This allows for greater freedom in optical design and makes possible the development of new types of lenses, including being able to position a large-diameter lens nearer to the image plane. In addition, because the space that was occupied by a mirror in SLR cameras can be utilized for optical design, the short back focus contributes to making the overall camera and lens system more compact.

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New Mount Communication System

One reason that Canon's autofocus single-lens reflex EOS camera system, which launched in 1987, has continued to evolve for more than 30 years is the introduction of the EF mount. This mount made it possible to communicate information between the camera and lens via full digitization. Because the amount of information communicated between the camera and lens is expected to increase in order to achieve more precise autofocus and aperture control, Canon introduced a new mount communication system for the EOS R System, which is designed to meet anticipated needs for the next 30 years. Canon improved the protocol that serves as the foundation of communication and increased the number of contact pins from eight (for the EF mount) to 12 (for the RF mount) to dramatically improve the communication speed. The optical information and optical correction data specific to each lens are stored in the lens instead of the camera, and this lens information, which includes information on focusing, aperture control, camera vibration reduction (image stabilization) and various aberrations, can be instantaneously transmitted to the camera.

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Optical Design that Opens Up Unexplored Field

#Imaging technologies#Physics

The large diameter of the RF mount and short back focus system have made new kinds of optical design possible. The smaller the mount diameter, the more difficult it becomes to correct for the minor image shift aberrations that occur when light is bent by the lens because more light bending is required. RF lenses, with their larger diameter mount that reduces the amount of light bending, is an effective solution to this issue. In addition, because the large diameter lens can occupy the space where a mirror would be in an SLR camera, it becomes possible to simultaneously pursue both compact lens designs and higher image quality.

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Enhanced Image Stabilization (IS) Performance

#Imaging technologies#Mechanical engineering#Electrical engineering#Physics

When shooting still photos, in addition to the conventional in-lens gyro sensor, camera vibration information is obtained from image information captured by the CMOS sensor. This makes possible highly precise detection and correction of low-frequency (slow) shaking, which could not be achieved by a gyro sensor alone, resulting up to five stops of powerful image stabilization. In addition, Movie Digital IS corrects for shaking via image processing when capturing video to realize five-axis image stabilization for all lenses. What's more, high-speed communication between the camera and lens makes possible combination IS, which combines electronic IS and optical lens IS to achieve even more powerful image stabilization*.

  • *
    When using a lens that supports combination IS

How Combination IS Works (14 seconds)

Speedy and Comfortable Usability Born from Innovation and Tradition

#Imaging technologies#Mechanical engineering

True User-oriented Design Based on Years of Experience and Know-how

As a longtime manufacturer of interchangeable-lens cameras, one thing that Canon refuses to compromise on is its desire that users are able to freely use the lenses they want to without concern.
For the RF mount, the distance between the mount and image sensor, known as the "flange focal distance," is 20 mm. This distance enables sufficient durability, even when a large lens is attached, and was chosen based on such factors as how the system is expected to evolve in the future. In addition, the RF mount's 12 electronic contact pins utilize a two-level design to reduce sliding and help protect against the frictional wear and foreign particle entry that can occur when detaching and attaching a lens.

A Multi-Function Bar that Enables Custom Operations While Looking Through the Viewfinder

To ensure that the camera is still comfortable to use even while being compact, Canon has developed the multi-function bar (M-Fn bar), a new type of control element. Until now, only one customization operation could be assigned to each control element, but the M-Fn bar enables three different operations: sliding, a left tap and a right tap. Since various settings can be configured using simple finger movements, the camera can be easily operated even while looking through the viewfinder.
Based on data that Canon compiled independently on the hand sizes of people around the world, it designed with average hand sizes in mind and conducted repeated tests of the bar. Instead of the right side of the bar, which is prone to accidental touching, initial settings are configured on the left side to help prevent accidental touches and setting changes. This small, simple bar represents the fruit of human ingenuity in the pursuit of ergonomic design.

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Sliding, left taps and right taps are possible. Different operations can also be assigned for shooting and playback.

A Built-in EVF that Offers Performance Rivaling Optical Viewfinders

The EOS R features a 0.5 inch full-color OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with approximately 3.69 million dots and viewfinder coverage of approximately 100%. This EVF uses an aspherical lens developed by Canon that is designed to replicate the same realistic view as that provided by an optical viewfinder. The EVF also has an eyepoint of approximately 23 mm--making it easy to use, even while wearing glasses-a magnification of approximately 0.76x and numerous other features that realize greater ease-of-use so that users can concentrate on shooting. The EVF can also be used to perform such actions as exposure simulation or display the menu screen.

  • *OLED:
    Organic Light-Emitting Diode

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CMOS Sensor

#Imaging technologies#Automation#Mechanical engineering#Electrical engineering#Physics

Building on proprietary technologies, Canon develops and manufactures CMOS in-house. Sensors are available in 35 mm full-frame and APS-C sizes.
Features of Canon's CMOS sensors include a large size and high resolution (a maximum of approximately 50.6 megapixels in the case of the 35 mm full-frame CMOS), exceptionally high sensitivity (minimal noise) and wide dynamic range. In addition, High-speed continuous shooting at a rate of approximately 14 frames per second*, 4K video recording, and other functions to achieve a range of expression for both still images and video.

  • *
    Available on the EOS-1DX MarkⅡ only

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35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor

DIGIC 8 Image Processor

#Imaging technologies#Electrical engineering#Semiconductors

When light enters a camera lens, it is converted to an electrical signal by an image sensor (CCD/CMOS). An image processor*1 then generates image data from the signal, reproducing natural colors, rich gradations and minimal noise. Canon's DIGIC image processors are high-performance system LSI*2 featuring a proprietary architecture that makes possible extremely fast data processing.

  • *1
    A microcomputer for which a CPU core, memory for storing programs, timer function and I/O unit connected to an external source are incorporated into one integrated circuit.
  • *2
    A Large-Scale Integrated circuit for which functions achieved using CPUs, memory, special-purpose LSIs, etc. are integrated on one chip. System LSIs speed up operations by making it unnecessary to set up the complicated wiring required when using multiple chips. In addition, less board space is required for one chip, resulting in a more compact board device.

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DIGIC 8

DIGIC use proprietary algorithms for such functions as reducing false colors and moiré fringes (interference fringes), rapid reduction noise during long-exposure or high-sensitivity shooting and high-definition signal output to LCD monitors. In addition, the processor and memory use a stacked structure to save space and make the camera itself more compact.
Thanks to the DIGIC 8 image processor's state-of-the-art image processing functionality, the EOS R realizes a standard ISO sensitivity of 40000. This makes possible the creation of clear images, even when shooting in low-light environments. Other functions of the DIGIC 8 processor include high-speed continuous shooting at a maximum rate of approximately 8.0 frames per second, enhanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF and 4K30P EOS movie capabilities.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF

#Imaging technologies#Automation#Mechanical engineering#Electrical engineering#Physics

Dual Pixel CMOS AF is revolutionary sensor-based phase detection AF technology in which each pixel of the newly designed CMOS sensor is equipped with both imaging and phase detection AF capabilities.
With a Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor, each pixel comprises two separate photodiodes which are read separately for phase-detection autofocus and together for imaging. Each photodiode captures light independently. Signals from the photodiodes are each detected during phase detection AF, and during image capture, are combined as one pixel to output an image signal.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF (13 seconds)

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