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Gear Rumors

Canon To Ditch Optical Viewfinders On The Next Rebel Cameras?

By Anthony Thurston on October 2nd 2014

Canon may have an interesting twist for people who purchase their Rebel line of cameras in 2015. According to a new rumor over on Canon Rumors, it is possible that the company may ditch the optical viewfinder in favor of an electronic one.


The interesting thing about this is that this would seem to be an indication that the next Rebel could be a mirrorless one. I mean, why have an EVF if the mirror is still there? That just seems unlikely, but just as unlikely as Canon making a mirrorless Rebel. So, I am not sure how much confidence I put into this rumor.

That said, how interesting would it be to have a mirrorless Rebel that was the same size as a normal Rebel (like the Canon T5i shown above), just without the mirror and OVF. Basically, a mirrorless with a built in Canon EF-S adapter. The Rebel line is already small, so the size/weight difference from a standard looking mirrorless wouldn’t be that noticeable, especially if they based it on something like the Canon SL1.

Honestly, I can see a concept like that working in the consumer market. The consumers not only get the benefits of the familiar size of their DSLR, but also the benefits of shooting mirrorless. I can also see an idea like that getting a lot of flack from established photographers.

It will be interesting to see how that all plays out. I have heard rumblings of another possible EOS-M in 2015 as well, so maybe this is related in some way.


What are your thoughts on a Rebel camera minus the OVF/Mirror, in favor of an EVF and Mirrorless technology? Leave a comment below!

[via Canon Rumors]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dayna Lee

    Whenever I read about the lack of a Canon mirrorless that would be comparable to those offered by Lumix, Sony or other second tier camera makers, I can’t help but say that Canon doesn’t need to make one because it already has something that fits nicely in that category, the SL1. The SL1 is comparable in size to the Lumix GH4 and the Sony A7R. It has the advantage of a true optical viewfinder and the ability to use EF and EFS lenses without an adapter. It also costs hundreds of dollars less.

    At the time I am writing this, the new 24 mpx Rebel T6i cameras have been announced. No word if there’s going to be a SL2 with the 24 mpx sensor, but I would not be surprised to see one. In terms of cost, compared to the Lumix and Sony, the SL 1 has lots of room for upgrades in its features and function to become comparable with the others in terms of price and capability. And for those who like the distinctive characteristics of a mirrorless, like an EVF, high FPS and quiet operation, a mirrorless variant would be easily achievable. This would satisfy both the mirrorless and traditional optical finder market.

    Another option would be an EVF attachment like the DC1 that would be compatible with all EOS DSLRs, enabling live view through the viewfinder during video operations and a WYSIWYG view while shooting in low light.

    There is another alternative to convert an optical viewfinder DSLR into a fake mirrorless, that is the Hoodman or the XIT Elite viewscreen magnifiers which allow to camera to be handled as if you were looking through a viewfinder. The Hoodman Cinema Kit-approx $149, the XIT Elite is only $28 at B&H

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  2. Peter Nord

    All the problems mentioned are just hardware. In ten years we’ll have junked all our current great stuff. Wish I could live another fifty/hundred years to see what’ll come out.

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  3. Scottie Nguyen

    I am telling you, both Canon and Nikon either go mirrorless and be left behind by Sony and maybe Samsung. We are at the beginning stage of tje transition from mirrors to mirroless DSLR. NX1 shook it all up.

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  4. Jason Switzer

    Worst. Idea. Ever! Why would you put an EVF in a small DSLR body? You lose the benefit of a small mirrorless body size and you also get the crappy battery life that results from an EVF. Makes about zero sense. If you want to make a mirrorless camera, commit to a new mount so you can properly go after Fuji. Otherwise, stick with the same script.

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    • Scottie Nguyen

      Makes perfect sense to me. Take the mirror out and you have room for a bigger battery or two batteries in the same size body. And you can immediated double your frame rate!!! Entry level rebel with 10 fps!!! Thats where its going. Do it or get left behind.

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    • Dayna Lee

      If they have the capability to fit an optical finder into a compact DSLR, then the optical would be preferable. Consider the Canon SL1, which is similar in size and weight to the Lunix GH4 and the Sony A7R….AND you get an APS-C sensor, not a tiny four thirds like the GH4, and you can use Canon EF and EF-S lenses without an adapter.

      All Canon needs to do is build up the features to match the Rebels and quiet down the mirror/shutter and Canon would have a real winner on its hands!

      And for those who want the mirrorless, they could make an even more compact version of the SL1 with an EVF for them. They don’t have to reinvent the whell, just resize it.

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  5. Matthew Saville

    Anybody have any data on how successful (or not) the Sony “hybrid mirror” DSLRs were? This would be a good indicator as to what Canon may do.

    Personally I’d love to see both Canon and Nikon start with the base model DSLRs in their global transition to mirrorless. Because for every pro who whines about not having a CaNikon competitor to the Sony A7R, there are probably 5-10 beginners who are actually choosing a beginner mirrorless camera instead of an APS-C DSLR. So it just makes financial sense for Canon and Nikon to start at the bottom and work their way up I bet.


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  6. Hannes Nitzsche

    EVF’s are the one thing I like least about mirrorless camera’s… I like the visual reassurance that what I see is what I get…

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    • Greg Silver

      I think you get a better idea visually with EVFs. You immediately can see changes in exposure or white balance through an EVF that you can’t see on a mirrored camera. However I’m not crazy about the response time on EVFs especially in low light. There’s pros and con’s for both.

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    • Dayna Lee

      Not all EVFs are created equal, though none are equal to an optical viewfinder. But I checked out what was supposed to be the best EVF so far and I was pretty disappointed in it. No matter how well they may display the view, they do not look natural. Perhaps one day EVFs will be indistinguishable from optical, but in order to accomplish that the finder will need to have the dynamic range , contrast , and color saturation of the human eye. But at this time, even the best looks like I’m watching something on a little tiny TV. This makes me feel disconnected from my subject.

      There are some advantages to EVFs that make them useful but I’m not sold on them yet.

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  7. Nate Woods

    I would be stoked if it was a hybrid viewfinder. The ability to change between optical and digital would be extremely useful. I don’t see Canon actually doing that though.

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  8. Ben Perrin

    They probably mean electric like how the new 7d2 has a digital overlay. Going with an EVF in a mirrored camera makes no sense to me.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Thats possible, but I agree, if there is a mirror still it seems really odd to use an EVF. Unless there is some sort of additional sensor that reads into the EVF from the mirror.

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  9. Paul Monaghan

    Sounds like the Pentax k-01, except Pentax skipped out the EVF which I think would have made a big difference.

    Interestingly though Pentax was also going to release a new line of lens called XS lens that would resess into the body since the mirror was gone, they even showed some prototypes but It seems the k-01 line has been put on hold.

    I see nothing wrong with keeping the normal mount and removing the mirror and ovf, as the lens can still be designed to take advantage of the space made available and we could have things like built in ND filters and more.

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