I think the stumbling block for that is what would a Canon body bring that we don't have already? And I'm struggling to think of something there. Olympus have body IS, and Panasonic have nailed the video AF side. What's left?
Fuji have shown one possible way forward. Check out this
comparison page. Select RAW and ISO 1600 in the options at the top left of the X-Pro1 image and then drag the selection box (which starts life near the bottom of the Martini label) around. Look at the rear of the VW Beetle and include some feathers and compare sharpness and noise with the 5D Mark III. The X-Pro1 output isn't so saturated which will reduce the appearance of chroma noise but this is the first time we've had a chance to compare the X-Pro1 and 5D3 output using the same RAW converter - the latest beta version of ACR now supports the X-Pro1.
Am I off-topic? No, I don't think so. Fuji have shown it is possible to build an APS-C sized sensor which delivers extraordinary performance. Canon could capture the high end CSC market at a stroke if they could match the performance of the X-Pro1 sensor (or buy the rights to it or even buy the company
) and pair it with the handling of the latest NEX or m4/3 models. Fuji should be doing this themselves but so far as I am concerned (personal opinion and I don't mean to start a flame war) the X-Pro1 is dead in the water unless one can live with its reported failure to AF well in all but the kindest of conditions.
You'd think Canon would easily be up to the task but maybe not.
Was there ever a resolution to Gordon's comments here
where he offered that:
The PowerShot G1 X may have a large sensor that's similar in specification to a DSLR sensor, but in my tests its RAW files proved quite different to work with. Open one in Canon's supplied Digital Photo Professional software and you may be surprised to find the default Unsharp Mask setting at its highest value of 10, compared to, say, 3 for a typical EOS DSLR. And yet with these default settings they deliver final images with a similar degree of sharpness. Reduce the G1 X sharpening on the RAW file and the image quickly becomes very soft, and conversely increasing the sharpening on the EOS RAW file introduces undesirable artefacts.
Was it the lens that required such aggressive defaults, a software glitch or the sensor? Assuming that that the sensor is in good shape that still leaves Canon's ability to produce a competitive body in question. Elsewhere
in the G1 X review we have:
The autofocusing on the PowerShot G1 X feels fairly responsive and generally locks-onto a subject in less than a second, although it's not as snappy as the quickest CSCs like the Panasonic GX1. Indeed general handling felt slower overall, ruling it out for very spontaneous or action shots.
"Less than a second".
Hardly a ringing endorsement. Then there's the burst speed of the G1 X:
The Canon G1 X may sport a big sensor akin to a DSLR, but its continuous shooting performance is closer to a standard point-and-shoot, and worse, a standard point-and-shoot from Canon, which has a reputation for unremarkable burst speeds. Continuing this poor tradition, the main continuous shooting mode on the G1 X fires at a disappointingly slow rate of 1.9fps without AF, falling to an almost offensive 0.7fps if you'd like autofocus or live view between shots. Yes, that's comfortably less than one frame per second.
Offering some consolation is the High-speed Burst HQ mode which increases the rate to 4.5fps, but only for six shots, thereby grabbing about one and a half seconds of action. It'll come as no surprise then to discover the G1 X does not exploit the additional speed of UHS-1 SD cards either.
OK, it's not very fair of me to pick out just the negative aspects of the nearest thing Canon has to a CSC at the moment (and I did actually consider purchase of a G1 X for a while as the camera does have virtues) but I think the numbers illustrate that Canon, when they do announce a CSC, will have to considerably up their game unless they want to languish at the bottom end of the market.
Canon design and produce some of the finest glass on the planet. They also produce some of the finest DSLRs on the planet but they seem to be about as fleet footed as an Argentinosaurus
whose distinguishing characteristics were enormous size
, a long neck
and a relatively small head
Unfair? Consider Canon's recent history of delays between lens and camera announcements and shipping hardware, a trend memory tells me started before the horrible natural disasters last year.
My guess, and it's only a guess, is that Canon have run scared of the CSC market because they have used their entry level DSLRs as a lever to boost sales of their EF glass. A CSC only makes sense with a new lens mount and my perception is that as each CSC brand matures and gains more native glass the sales of legacy glass to CSC owners will diminish and, with entry level DSLR sales also seriously eroded by the CSC market, sales of semi-pro DSLRs will also be squeezed as they don't fulfil an upgrade role for CSC owners in the way they do for DSLR owners. That squeeze will really hurt sales of mid to high-end DSLR lenses where, if prices are any sort of a guide, Canon make a good profit.
The ecology is changing. Sony have some great CSC bodies but their E-mount lens system is still immature, Nikon appear to be doing quite well with the "1" system but I think they've positioned the cameras, and the few native lenses that go with them, so that they won't squeeze sales of DSLRs and DSLR glass. Fuji and Samsung arguably both have issues with bodies which is a shame. Micro four-thirds didn't impress me until recently but the latest offerings from both Olympus and Panasonic have moved the goalposts and the lens system has matured nicely. Canon still have their chance. Will they choose to go the Nikon route and try to protect their DSLR and EF glass sales (a losing battle IMHO as nobody has to buy a Canon or Nikon CSC)? Will they compete head to head at the top end, on the assumption that DSLRs will increasingly become a niche product and they (Canon) need to be as dominant in the CSC market as they have been with SLRs and DSLRs? Your guess is as good as, or better than, mine! It will be interesting to see.
P.S. Sorry Leica fans. You didn't get a mention above. Consider yourself mentioned now!