Wednesday, July 3, 2019

What I want for my next cameras - Canon are you listening?

Today there are two cameras that I use every time I am on a job. Those are the Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 5D Mark IV. Both are excellent cameras which have served me really well, but that does not mean that I don't want even more from my cameras.

It has been more than 3 years since Canon announced the top of the line 1D X Mark II (Feb 1, 2016) and almost 3 years since they announced the popular workhorse 5D Mark IV (Aug 25, 2016). As I mentioned, both are great cameras, but with the release of the R Series cameras and lenses Canon has whet my appetite.

As I wrote when the first R Series mirrorless camera came out, there were certain features which looked incredible, but that camera and the subsequent model were not designed for photographers like me. What I saw in those cameras was Canon innovating and designing a camera line for the future. But now comes the big question...when do I get the cameras I want?

Notice that I did not say one camera, I said cameras with an "s". That is because I really want two new models that can replace both the current 1D and the 5D models.


For the high-end pro model, I want to see Canon design a camera body with the following features:

Two high speed memory card slots

I would LOVE to see two slots for the new CFexpress cards. This would allow us photographers and videographers the ability to write to both cards at blazing speeds. For those of you not familiar with CFexpress, these are very fast memory cards that can read and write around 1500 MBs. That is 3 times faster than today's CFast cards and 15 times faster than CF cards. With these cards, I would be able to download almost 100GB per minute to my computer! I really expect this to be the high speed card format of the near future.

In the past, Canon has been reluctant to introduce a camera with two new card slots since this requires us photographers to purchase all new memory cards, but I hope they get aggressive this time around. If Canon does not put two of these slots in the camera, my second choice would be to have one of the CFexpress slots and one high speed SD card slot.

CFexpress cards from Pro Grade Digital

More focusing points 

The current 1D X Mark II does have a lot of focusing points, but I would LOVE to have focusing points from edge to edge. Or at very least, a lot closer to the edge than we have today. Due to the limitation of today's cameras, I do a lot of focus and recomposing (achieving focus on a point close to where I want my focus to be, and then moving the camera to get the composition I want).

Even cleaner images at high ISO  

When people ask me why I upgrade my camera bodies so often, my answer usually revolves around the high ISO capabilities. I shoot a lot of events in dark temples and churches (where flash is not allowed) and am always craving even cleaner images at ISO 3200 and above. Even though I have never had a client complain about digital noise in my photos, Until camera companies can get high ISO images at low ISO qualities, this will always be on my wish list.

Lighter weight

With the advent of mirrorless cameras, we have seen smaller and lighter cameras entering the marketplace. But my camera of choice is still the big and heavy Canon 1D X Mark II. This beast can achieve focus really fast, burst images out at 14 frames per second (if needed), write to two fast card slots, and take a beating. If I could get all this in a smaller and lighter camera body, my back would really appreciate it.

Quieter shutter

The Canon 1D is designed for photo journalists, sports and wildlife photographers and other professionals who require a frame rate of 14 fps. The shutter was designed for speed, not designed to be a silent. But there are times when I use this camera during a religious service and the silent mode isn't silent enough.

Built in WiFi (and Bluetooth)

I know it is hard to believe, but even though the Canon 1D X Mark II is the top of the line DSLR for Canon, it does not have built-in WiFi. Yes, the 5D Mark IV and many of the other Canon cameras have it, but not the 1D. So this should be a given, but I want this feature for sure. And adding Bluetooth for image transfer to a phone would be nice too.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, Canon teased me with the original announcement of the R Series camera. I love the new lens mount, the new lenses, the clarity of the viewfinder and the customization of the camera. But as great as it sounded, there were a couple of features which kept this camera out of my camera bag. It is these areas that I want to see improved so that I can take advantage of all the positives of the R series.

Two memory card slots

The first two R Series cameras from Canon only had one memory card slot, and this is a deal breaker for me. When I shoot images for clients, I ALWAYS shoot images to both card slots. This protects me from a memory card corruption and potential data loss. In order for me to use the new mirrorless cameras from Canon I NEED two memory card slots. Unlike the top-end camera, the next R series camera does not need to have a CFexpress slot (although that would be pretty cool). My guess is that Canon would include two SD card slots (and darn it - they better be UHS-II for the fastest transfer rates this time!)  I think they would use SD cards since CompactFlash cards are pretty much dead now and the CFexpress cards might be overkill for this camera. Either way, just give me two slots!

Fast I/O Servo focusing

While the current R Series mirrorless camera from Canon does have edge to edge focus points, I found that the I/O Servo (follow) focus was not very responsive, rendering the camera less than ideal for sports and wildlife photography. I am hoping that Canon can take advantage of the extra connecting points between the camera body and lens to provide a very fast and accurate follow focus on the next model.

Better battery life

I love that with both of my current cameras. I can shoot almost all day without changing a battery. The first two R Series cameras show an expected battery life between 350-450 photos. Yikes! I suspect that with all the electronics inside the mirrorless camera and the electronic viewfinder, that this takes a lot of battery power. I love that Canon used the same LP-E6 battery that we all own and love, but I would like to have more images per battery than what today's model provides.


Both the 1D and the 5D have a joystick for moving focal points, and I have come to rely on this little interface. One of the first things I noticed about the R Series camera is that this was missing. I understand that typical camera consumers may not care about this, but myself and other professional photographers sure do.

I know that Canon is going to be doing a lot more with mirrorless cameras because their executives talked publicly about this very subject in this Imaging Resource interview.


I have no inside knowledge of what Canon is doing in Japan, or when they will release their next cameras. But if history is any indicator of the future, the next 6-10 months will likely be very interesting. Why is that? Because the Summer Olympics are in one year and all the big camera companies announce their flagship products for this big event. Not only is this the typical 4 year cycle for the pro cameras, but this next Olympics is in Tokyo - right in the backyard of Canon, Nikon and Sony!

I already have my credentials approved for the 2020 Summer Olympics. All I can do now is cross my fingers and hope that Canon delivers most of the things that I dream for. If all goes well, I will be shooting with both of these dream cameras this time next year or sooner.


As I finished writing this, it occurred to me that at some point I can see both of these "wish list" features being integrated into one camera. How great would it be for Canon to have a high-end mirrorless camera with these features?

* Small and light body (but with a professional build)
* Two CFexpress card slots
* Silent
* Super fast frame rate
* Edge to edge focal points
* Fast auto focus in all modes
* High capacity batteries
* Weather sealed
* 4K Video


Feel free to comment and let me know what you would add to the list.

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Anonymous said...

Love This wishlist. Hopefully they listen & start working on it!!

Unknown said...

I am a Nikon shooter and just heard the D500 I have will not be replaced with another D-SLR. So I would love for Nikon to make a mirror-less version of the D500 for those of us heavily invested in crop sensor top of the line glass and that need the extra reach for what we shoot vs full frame. 2 cards slots are a must (those express cards Jeff mentioned 2 of those would be perfect); 10fps, a grip with a vertical shutter(as an option not just an extra battery holder as the Z6/Z7) and a silent shooting mode.

Unknown said...

Hi, Jeff At past Olympic arenas, did the lights flicker? I bought the 80D because the ceiling lights some of the college sports arenas flicker Also, did the 1DX Mark II have a touchscreen LCD monitor with Adobe star-rating system so that you can pre-sort your pics before downloading to your computer This rating system, using Adobe Bridge (companion to Photoshop), allows transfer of only pics with high ratings (thus, a subset of pics taken) I found use of 80D in-camera cropping, which is a 5D Mark IV feature, to be very useful as I was able to retire my 13+ year old EF 300 mm f/2.8L IS Type I & my 10 yr old EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS Type I to upgrade to 70-200 f/2.8L IS Type II (L lenses are so much expensive these days) My rolling backpack is now lighter (but, still heavy) without the 300 mm lens