Canon Update: What’s New?

Quarter four has been a busy month for camera manufacturers. Sony made a big splash with the Sony A9 II and the Sony A7R IV continues to impress. Nikon released the Nikon Z50 and is hinting at a few new camera bodies on the way. Leica and Panasonic have made some moves too, but we will save those updates for a future article. 

We haven’t had a Canon update for a while, and recently, Canon has had some big releases and new announcements. Canon has worked on expanding its mirrorless line, as we have some exciting news about lenses. They are also prepping for some upgrades to some fan favorites.

Let’s recap what Canon has been up to the past month. 

An Upgrade for the Flagship Canon Camera?
Although a true announcement has not been made yet (scheduled for Q1 2020), Canon has confirmed that an EOS-1D X Mark III is on the way. The current 1D X Mark II is one of the best cameras made by Canon, and it is considered Canon’s flagship sports and wildlife camera body. The 1D X Mark III is coming though and an official release is imminent, it is already listed on B&H as coming soon. 

The camera will maintain its core features, and be marketed towards sports, action, and wildlife photographers…but Canon is hinting at some huge upgrades. The 1D X Mark II was released in 2016, so it makes sense, as the camera industry has had some dramatic innovations during that time period. 

Much is still unknown, and will remain so until Canon’s release, but here is what Canon has hinted at so far:

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

  • Release date of January 2020
  • Next-generation image sensor, rumored to be 24MP full-frame sensor
  • Significantly faster frame rates with full AF and AE, using either the optical viewfinder (up to approximately 16 fps mechanical shutter) or Live View (up to approximately 20 fps mechanical or electronic shutter)
  • The camera will utilize a new autofocus sensor, with about 28 times the resolution in the center of the old EOS-1D X Mark II
  • Users will be able to make use of 525 AF areas using the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. The system has 90×100 percent coverage of the image sensor
  • Dual CFexpress slots
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS capabilities
  • Improved video capabilities: 4K at 60 fps in 10-bit
  • Eye-AF feature plus a new trackpad that is supposedly a game-changer
  • Rumored IBIS – a first for DSLRs!

That is some of what we know right now. This camera looks exciting though and should be an absolute workhorse for wildlife photographers. The Mark II was great and the Mark III should be an upgrade in almost every category.

The new Sony A9 II and the reduced prices of the Sony A9 should entice any wildlife photographer. It is setting the bar for wildlife photography cameras. However, it looks like the 1D X Mark III will be a formidable rival. If you are wary about switching to mirrorless, and you have a full suite of Canon lenses, this camera should be the high-end professional body that fits your needs. Once Canon does the official release, we will put together a post with the official specs, in the meantime, hang tight!

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Three Impressive New Lenses for the RF Mirrorless Mount
Like Nikon, Canon continues to push forward with their mirrorless line. Canon and Nikon both engineered mirrorless mounts that many said would allow for innovative lens designs. That is exactly what we have seen from both companies, and more exciting lenses are on the way. 

Canon has announced and scheduled the release for two really impressive RF mount lenses, the RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM and RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS. The other is a release from Rokinon, a 14mm f/2.8, which is a great prime lens for landscape and astrophotography. 

Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens – $2,699
Key Features

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • One Super UD Element, One UD Element
  • Two Aspherical Elements
  • Lightweight versus DSLR model
  • An Air Sphere Coating (ASC) to reduce backlit flaring and ghosting 
  • Optical Image Stabilization for 5 stops of stabilization
  • Configurable Control Ring

The 70-200mm f2.8 is a really exciting release, it looks like Canon is going to set the mark with this one. Although mirrorless cameras are more lightweight than their DSLR counterparts, the same has not always been true of lenses. The physics of lens engineering just does not bode well for size, especially at wide apertures like f/2.8. Well, this 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is 1 pound lighter, and 2 inches shorter than its DSLR counterpart. That is substantial and extremely impressive. I have seen Nikon’s images of their soon to be released 70-200mm f/2.8 and it looks just as large as the DSLR version. I think what Canon has done with this lens in terms of size is incredible. 

With Dual Nano USM, autofocus should be superb (and silent). The lens can focus as close as 2.3′, which is great for a telephoto lens. 

This lens also completes the ‘trinity’ for the RF mount. As a Nikon user, I am a bit jealous of what Canon users can currently set up their EOS R cameras with now. If you are using a Canon mirrorless, this is the ultimate setup (all RF mounts) – 15-35mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, and this lens, 70-200mm f/2.8. That is an incredible set of 3 lenses. 

If you are a wildlife shooter, this is one of your best options for the RF mount. We are still patiently awaiting an RF 100-400mm, but Canon rumors also point towards that lens being announced and released soon, as well. All in due time. 

Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS Lens- $2,999
Key Features

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/1.2 to f/16
  • Defocus Smoothing Coating for Soft Bokeh
  • Ring-type Ultrasonic Motor (USM), along with optimized focusing algorithms
  • Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics Element
  • An Air Sphere Coating (ASC) to reduce backlit flaring and ghosting 
  • One aspherical element and one UD element
  • Optical Image Stabilization for 5 stops of stabilization
  • Configurable Control Ring

The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS is another exciting release for Canon and possible thanks to the RF mount engineering. I won’t spend too much time on this lens, as it is mainly a portrait lens, but it still is a fun lens to have in your bag. It is a pro-grade lens though in every sense so expect to pay $3,000 for all that fun. You might be asking yourself, wait, didn’t Canon already release an 85mm f1/.2 RF mount lens. The answer is yes, but this new lens is still ‘new’. The ‘DS’ makes all the difference. DS stands for ‘Defocus Smoothing’ as coined by Canon, it is designed to improve bokeh while maintaining other important lens qualities such as sharpness and color accuracy. The end result is extremely impressive, and this lens offers what is probably the best bokeh of any lens on the market. 

Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 RF Lens – $699.00
Key Features

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • Three Aspherical and Two ED Elements
  • Ultra Multi-Coating
  • The integrated autofocus motor provides quick, accurate, and precise AF control. Manual focus override is also available for refining your focus position
  • Rounded seven-blade diaphragm contributes to a smooth and pleasing bokeh quality.

Rokinon has released some solid prime lenses over the last decade and their 14mm f/2.8 prime has been a fan favorite across all systems. They just announced the model for the Canon RF mount and it is currently available for preorder. In my opinion, this is a great lens to have. It is not going to be the same high-end quality as some of the latest Canon RF releases, but it isn’t going to cost you that much either. 14mm is an ideal focal length for landscapes and the night sky, plus you get f/2.8. I know some photographers who use a 16-35mm f/4 for the majority of their landscape work, but a slap on a 14mm prime from Rokinon when they need to. That’s a great setup. 

A Mirrorless Camera Dedicated to the Night Sky
Canon EOS Ra Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only) – $2,499.00
Key Features

  • Optimized for Astrophotography
  • IR-Cut Filter Passes H-Alpha Wavelength
  • 30x Magnification for Focus in Live View
  • 30.3MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • Compatible with EF/EF-S Lenses
  • 54mm Large Diameter and Short Back Focus
  • 0.5-type OLED EVF with Approx. 3.69 Million Dots

Body Design

  • Integrated 3.69m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder has 0.71x magnification and affords a bright and clear means for eye-level viewing.
  • Rear 3.15″ 2.1m-dot LCD features a swivel design for easier use when working from high, low and front-facing angles. It is also a touchscreen for intuitive control over shooting, playback, and menu navigation controls.
  • Customizable Multi-Function Bar is located near the viewfinder on the rear of the camera and can be set to control four functions using right, left, slide, and press movements. It can be used to adjust ISO or white balance, to check focus/display focus info or AF modes, change to movie shooting modes, use flexible-priority AE, or be customized for other functions.
  • Top panel incorporates a dot-matrix LCD, which provides quick access to important camera settings.
  • One SD memory card slot featured and supports the UHS-II protocol for faster read and write speeds to better support 4K video recording and fast continuous shooting.
  • Magnesium alloy body design is lightweight, durable, and features dust- and water-resistant seals for use in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity enable wireless sharing, control, and image transfer with a compatible smart device via the Canon Camera Connect app, which also supports geotagging your files using your mobile device’s location data.
  • Included LP-E6N rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides approximately 430 shots per charge, and in-camera charging is supported via the PD-E1 USB Power Adapter. This camera is also compatible with the LP-E6 battery, however, is not supported for in-camera charging.

Listen up astrophotographers, Canon has modified the EOS R and released the EOS Ra, a mirrorless camera totally dedicated to capturing the night sky. The EOS Ra is a 30.3MP full-frame camera with a DIGIC 8 Image Processor. It includes an optical IR cut filter in front of the sensor for improved night sky photography. With this new filter, the EOS Ra provides approximately 4x improved transmission and sensitivity to H-alpha (656.28nm) wavelengths for depicting nebulae and other subjects without unwanted infrared contamination for greater color neutrality.

The EOS Ra offers great ISO range with native ISOs expandable to 40000, fast continuous shooting to 8 fps, and UHD 4K30 video recording. It has Canon’s great Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, which uses 5655 selectable points for fast and accurate focus. The focus system is good down to EV -6, which helps photographers shooting in low light situations, as the night sky. High-magnification viewing of 30x and 5x is possible using either the rear vari-angle LCD or OLED EVF for clearer, more precise focusing on small and distant subjects, such as stars as well. 

Matt Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special.  Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals. You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com