Canon patent hints at APS-C mirrorless camera

Following in Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Nikon's footsteps

21 Feb 2012

A patent application discovered by Japanese blog Egami suggests that Canon is planning to announce a mirrorless camera based around an APS-C sized sensor.

Mirrorless cameras, such as the Sony NEX family and the Olympus PEN series, have been growing in popularity. Featuring much of the same manual control and selection of interchangeable lenses as a traditional mirror-based digital SLR, a mirrorless camera is significantly more compact, quieter, and faster to shoot with no 'release wobble' as the mirror moves.

Photography giant Canon, however, has been shying away from the concept. Famous for its high-grade digital SLR cameras, the company also produces a range of compact and bridge devices - but no mirrorless designs to match the NEX or PEN.

The patent details an 18-45mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens designed for use with a mirrorless camera featuring an APS-C sized sensor. That's not a product currently offered by Canon, and may provide a clue as to the company's first foray into the mirrorless marketplace.

Canon would be entering an established market as a newcomer, however: as well as the previously-mentioned Sony and Olympus mirrorless families, Panasonic, Pentax and Nikon all offer mirrorless cameras based around APS-C or similar-sized sensors.

With the weight of its powerful brand and professional products behind it, however, Canon could quite easily succeed in stealing some market share from its established competitors.

Sadly, the patent application is far from the announcement of a product: Canon is keeping quiet on when, or even if, it plans to formally launch a mirrorless NEX-style camera, leaving Canon fans looking for something a little more compact than a DSLR left with only the PowerShot line as an option.

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