Well, there goes my weekend. I was heading home from work a while ago, expecting to be able to take some rest this weekend and spend time with my family, when all of a sudden three black SUVs appear out of nowhere at high speed and stop right in front of me. Doors fly open and a couple of guys in black suits with red ties and dark sunglasses jump out and run towards me while yelling “WESTFALL?! CHUCK WESTFALL?!” A black helicopter with a red stripe on the sides flew by over us at very low altitude making an incredible noise. I had to cover my eyes with my hands because of all the sand and dust in the air. And I’m thinking oh shit, did we deliver a batch of backfocusing lenses to the government again? Did the mirror fall out of a 5D again during an important mission in Iran? Perhaps Obama got really pissed this time when Pete Souza showed him the latest out of focus pictures taken with his 5D Mark II? Before I had a chance to say anything I got pushed into one of the SUVs and was told to keep quiet and that everything would get explained shortly.
Turns out we were heading back to my office at Canon USA where there seemed to be some kind of panic situation. I got pushed into a room with other executives where we were told that there would be a direct uplink established with Canon Inc. in Japan shortly for an emergency briefing. While waiting we learned that Maeda got hospitalized some time earlier because of spontaneously developing a serious case of diarrhea in a very short amount of time, and that it was also spreading fast to other executives. What’s more, the toilets at Canon HQ were not designed to be able to handle the incredible load that was developing and arrays of mobile toilets had to be brought in to deal with the capacity problem.
They’re still struggling to maintain enough capacity as I type this.
The cause of all this became clear during the briefing. It appears Sony has issued a press release announcing three new DSLR cameras. This might sound like a normal thing, but there’s a lot more to it. You may recall that I wrote about Sony a while ago where I mentioned the following:
We’re not very concerned about Olympus here at Canon, but Sony has been scaring the hell out of us for a while now, to be honest. More so than Nikon, and for a lot of reasons. They’ve got their hands on a lot of good technology now, and we’re very concerned about their next wave of DSLRs. If you can recall their DSC-R1 camera from a few years ago, it had a CMOS sensor and really great and reasonably fast contrast-detect autofocus functionality. You could even use the small joystick to move the focus point *anywhere* on the screen and focus *exactly* where you wanted to, even the edges. This was a few years ago. If this makes its way into their DSLRs, with today’s faster processing technology, we’re going to be fucked. We know they have the sensor technology (D3x) with IS, they have the lenses, it’s just a matter of the right software, the pro features and tuning it all to work together. Since they have the financial capabilities, it’s only a matter of time.
One of the important things you’ll find in the press release is the following:
Quick AF Live View System
Both the α380 and α330 cameras offer Sony’s Quick Autofocus (AF) Live View technology, so you can frame photos on the camera’s LCD screen as well as in the optical viewfinder. Through the use of a dedicated image sensor, Quick AF Live View maintains the rapid response of a DSLR, while avoiding the focus delay common to other live view systems.
This is a huge deal. Our current live view AF system is a piece of shit, quite frankly. Practically useless. And it looks like Sony is the first to offer a fast AF system in live view on a DSLR, just like we feared would happen. I knew it was coming, but the fact that it’s now here is still a bit shocking to us. What we really are afraid of is this technology being introduced in the coming refresh of their professional line of DSLR cameras. Imagine the next A900 being able to focus as fast in live view with the ability to focus where ever you want on the screen with pinpoint accuracy. God, we’re so fucked.
The truth is, we knew this was coming. From the moment Sony acquired Konica/Minolta, we knew shit was going to happen for us. The only thing that surprised me was that it took them a little longer than I expected to start merging their technology with the DSLR technology they got from Konica/Minolta. What we’re seeing right now is just a fraction of their full potential. People mostly seem to think Nikon is our big competitor, but Sony is our real problem right now.
In other news, I’ve made two small changes to the blog. I’ve updated the tagline above from “Canon Camera Guru – Ya better recognize!” to “I’m sorry to hear that the truth insults you.” which I think fits better with my blog at the moment. As you may know, “I’m sorry to hear that the truth insults you.” is actually a quote from an email I sent to some lunatics a while ago who were bugging me about the lack of aperture control on the 5D Mark II in video mode. Here’s the email just in case:
>>Advertising full control over depth of field…<<
Neither the 5D Mark II white paper or any other piece of Canon literature did that. To assert otherwise is misleading, in my opinion.
I’m sorry to hear that the truth insults you.
You have to appreciate my ability to nag the guy while still appearing to be polite.
I’ve also added back the Canon stylized logo to the header image on my blog. I hope Doggy doesn’t bother me about it again.