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5 Days Ago   #1
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Canon mirrorless with optical viewfinder adapter

Sounds like we're going in technology circles here. Canon appears to have an optical adapter in the works for their flagship EOS R.

New Canon EOS R mirrorless flagship can convert to an SLR (report) | Digital Camera World

Beyond the aspect of it being an interesting technology, find the author's last comment about non-mirrorless adopters being Luddites pretty myopic, but typical..

5 Days Ago   #2
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I actually rather like the idea. Use the camera as mirrorless or DSLR depending on the use case, with the advantages of each when you need them. It'll all depend on the implementation, of course.

The only immediate downside I can think of is that the camera might look and feel a little ungainly with the adapter-viewfinder in places... but I'll reserve judgement until I see it...
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I actually rather like the idea.
I agree. I think it has appeal, and low light situations immediately jump to mind. I also find it interesting that Canon feels there is a market for this. Despite the author's view, there are obviously those of us who see advantages to the different technologies, and this opens the door up to let you pick what's right at the time, as you see it.

It also makes me think of some of the threads here at PF about a possible Ricoh hybrid viewfinder technology. Fingers crossed for some new releases in our world too.
5 Days Ago   #4
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Nice touch.... clearly they are looking for an edge up on Sony mirrorless designs, something to make theirs more appealing, and also more appealing to current DSLR users, as ridiculous as it might seem to me personally.

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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
also more appealing to current DSLR users, as ridiculous as it might seem to me personally.
Their [Canon] marketing probably figured a problem of adoption of mirrorless, hence they are trying to find a way to get DSLR users into mirrorless.
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Presumably this would only work with EF lenses on the new body, right?

I donít see any optics to correct for registration distance, otherwise...

I canít really see this being a big seller...

-Eric
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QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
Presumably this would only work with EF lenses on the new body, right?

I don’t see any optics to correct for registration distance, otherwise...
Correct.

QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
I can’t really see this being a big seller...
Well...

With the EF mount having been around for so long, a lot of folks will be quite heavily invested in good EF glass that they don't want to replace with R mount models (indeed, a lot of lenses aren't yet available in R mount - it's going to take some time for that range to mature). The existing EF to R-mount adapter means they can use their existing glass on the new mirrorless cameras. But, a lot of folks enjoy and/or - for many use cases - prefer shooting with an optical viewfinder. This new adapter provides the option to shoot EF glass with an OVF.

So... the Canon user who is looking to buy a new, high end body can buy the mirrorless camera, the standard EF to R mount adapter and this new EF OVF adapter and have a complete kit based around one body that allows them to use the camera with adapted EF glass with the benefits of either an EVF or OVF based on their preference for any given use case. Or, they can shoot native R-mount glass, or even vintage rangefinder and SLR lenses using relevant adapters. It's a very versatile arrangement... Though not inexpensive, I suspect

EDIT: I have a small but much-loved collection of Sony A-mount glass that I built up for use with my Hasselblad HV. Some time later, I bought a Sony A7 MkII, and by adding the LA-EA4 adapter I was able to use all of that A-mount glass with it. In fact, I don't own a single native E-mount lens... I use the A7 MkII either with adapted vintage glass (the primary use case for which I bought it), or with the LA-EA4 and my A-mount lenses. I can imagine a good number of Canon users will be in a similar situation...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 5 Days Ago at 12:44 PM.
5 Days Ago   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
he author's last comment about non-mirrorless adopters being Luddites pretty myopic, but typical..
Yeah, the put-down from MILC fundamentalists is to be expected, but the tail of that final paragraph, "It sounds crazy Ė so crazy that there's probably truth to itÖ" is lazy weaksauce and just plain wrong. Canon themselves are predicting an almost catastrophic 50% drop in ILC business before 2021 (when the report from the Japanese website referenced by Canon News which is in turn referenced by Digital Camera World says Canon is planning to release "the highest model of mirrorless camera using a 35mm full-size image sensor"). This is shaky even for a trial balloon.

The obvious question is why bother making an OVF adapter for a mirrorless camera, when Canon already has several DSLR models that can be operated mirrorlessly. The only benefit is being able to use R mount lenses in the same way as EF lenses on DSLRs. This might make some sense, if and only if, there were R mount lenses without EF equivalents that diehard DSLR users wanted to use so badly they were willing to pay for an expensive flagship mirrorless camera, just so they could continue to use an OVF (instead of biting the bullet and learning to live with an EVF). The pool of potential buyers for such a camera shrinks with every qualification.

Finally, Canon News throws in a reference to a patent application in January 2018 for a split mirror device. A patent application for technology that isn't ready for production for at least 3 years is intended to protect existing R&D in case a competitor is thinking of bringing similar technology to market, not a realistic harbinger of things to come. To be fair to Canon News, their original article on the patent does say "This patent is loose on actual hard assembly and manufacturing details, which strikes me as being an exploritory or defensive patent and not something Canon is actively looking at," but for some reason the author negates this sensible content by ending with "However, it could be the start of what they are planning on doing with a full frame mirrorless camera body."

5 Days Ago   #9
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Mostly for theatre photographs, I have for years used a 35mm (equiv.) optical finder on one of my Pentax DSLRs, usually a K-x with a 20mm lens. Zone focused it is very fast, bright, and lets me see what is entering/about to enter the FOV.

For a mirrorless camera even makes more sense, as there is no battery drain to use this viewfinder.
5 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #10
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So what Leica did from the mid '30s to the '80s...

Leica M Visoflex System
5 Days Ago - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
This new adapter provides the option to shoot EF glass with an OVF.
In that case the best (and least expensive) option is shoot EF glass with DSLRs that have a fulltime OVF built in. I don't think you can separate viewfinder preferences from camera preferences, so I would rate the utility of such versatility as only slightly higher than equipping cameras with towel racks.

Last edited by RGlasel; 5 Days Ago at 01:00 PM.
5 Days Ago - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
In that case the best (and least expensive) option is shoot EF glass with DSLRs that have a fulltime OVF built in. I don't think you can separate viewfinder preferences from camera preferences, so I would rate the utility of such versatility as only slightly higher than equipping cameras with towel racks.
You can see from my signature (and you probably know from my posts) that I shoot DSLR (Pentax APS-C), Sony A-mount SLT, and Sony E-mount. Mostly, I shoot with my DSLRs, as I prefer the OVF for general shooting. BUT... there can be significant advantages to the EVFs in my SLT and mirrorless cameras in certain use cases... specifically, optional amplified view in lower light (darker conditions, same brightness), DOF preview with no loss of brightness, live histogram, the ability to use either focus peaking or magnification to support perfectly accurate manual focusing, stabilised view (because the EVF image is taken from the stabilised sensor), shooting crop with the cropped area expanded to fill the viewfinder, amongst others (for instance, how about shooting B&W with the viewfinder rendering in monochrome?). So, whilst I genuinely prefer a good OVF, there are plenty of occasions when - for me - an EVF can be very useful indeed. And, respectfully, I don't agree with folks who claim Live View on the rear LCD screen, with or without a loupe, offers a comparable experience. It's not bad at all, but it's really not as good.

If it releases the new OVF adapter, with just one camera Canon will be able to offer:
  • Shooting native R-mount lenses via the EVF
  • Shooting adapted manual rangefinder and SLR lenses via the EVF (using inexpensive dumb adapters)
  • Shooting adapted, electronically connected EF SLR / DSLR lenses via the EVF (using the existing "straight through" EF to R-mount adapter)
  • Shooting adapted, electronically connected EF SLR / DSLR lenses via an OVF with full DSLR-like experience (using the new EF to R-mount OVF adapter)
I can see a market for this. And it's a clever move by Canon, IMHO, as it allows them to concentrate on mirrorless development - even at some point, perhaps, to cease DSLR development, because with the new adapter fitted, the camera will actually be a full DSLR. Plus, it eases the transition for Canon's DSLR customers into the R-mount mirrorless platform - folks who, currently, might be staunchly opposed to mirrorless.

If it's not for you, if you see no value proposition, I respect that. But that's not how I see it...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 5 Days Ago at 01:42 PM.
5 Days Ago   #13
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obviously they understand the superiority of the OVF
5 Days Ago   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
Presumably this would only work with EF lenses on the new body, right?

I donít see any optics to correct for registration distance, otherwise...

I canít really see this being a big seller...

-Eric
The problem is that a moving mirror will not fit between R and EF mount (24mm difference) so I believe this will only be possible with a fixed mirror, or the adapter may be limited to APS-C coverage.

To be able to fit a moving moving mirror without any limitation (full FF support) the adapter would need to be 35-40 mm thick, ending up with a register distance of 55-60 mm. Which is much longer than Canon EF.

So I really doubt something like this will ever be released. There is just to many limitations on a design like this.

Back in the days when Leica designed Visoflex they did not have a problem with a register distance of 68 mm, as they had to design new lenses for the adapter. And it was mainly for solving the RF limitations on long lenses, and for macro.
5 Days Ago   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by beachgardener Quote
obviously they understand the superiority of the OVF
Exactly!

This move is a clear admission that MILCs are not the be-all end-all of photographer's interfaces for composition and shooting. It just confirms that DSLRs do have some advantage. It's probably positioned for photographers that buy the hype, switch to MILC, and then discover that the eyestrain and the poor battery life of an EVF makes them want to switch back.

Overall, an add-on mirror+OVF seems like a clunky solution relative to a regular DSLR (that can be used in MILC mode) and it is deeply inferior to a hybrid OVF/EVF that would provide one eye-piece that can operate in both modes.
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