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Gear Rumors

Canon Questionnaire Seems To Add To Medium Format Rumors

By Anthony Thurston on August 6th 2014

It has been no secret – if you believe the rumors anyways – that Canon has been toying with the idea of getting into the medium format market. We have covered several related rumors in the past on the subject, but none really had much meat on the bones – and to be honest, it all seemed more like wishful thinking than legit rumors.


Now, we are hearing some rumors of a Canon questionnaire, via Northlight Images, sent out to “key users” which amongst other things, asks specific questions regarding medium format image quality, usage, and lens requirements.

Obviously, this hardly says Canon is for sure getting into medium format, but if they are looking into it enough that they are asking “key users” – aka their top sponsored photographers – about medium format, then I would say Canon is seriously looking into it. That said, this questionnaire itself is just a rumor, I have not seen it, so for all we really know, it is a hoax to get people riled up about a Canon MF system.

[REWIND: When is Canon Entering the MF Market? Canon MF System Update]

Regardless, if the questionnaire rumors is true, it is at least notable that Canon is asking key users about MF.


What are your thoughts on this rumor? Do you think that this confirms that Canon is looking seriously at MF? Leave a comment below!

[via Northlight Images]

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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. Dave Lyons

    maybe they are thinking of acquiring a certain MF company who is having serious financial issues…

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  2. Austin Swenson

    I think they would like to compete in this market, but starting from scratch and charging at a price point to get people to commit to the brand right out the gate and still be able to recuperate costs is going to be a huge undertaking.

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  3. Stan Rogers

    It’s likely that Canon is looking seriously at MF. But “looking seriously at MF” means determining both the price of the lottery ticket (how much they’d have to have to hit the ground running) and the odds of winning. The questions they’ve been asking would be behind NDAs that probably carry a pretty substantial penalty (quite apart from simply losing the Canon endorsement, which goes a long way on the workshop/seminar circuit, and the equipment/service benefits that come with it). And the information they glean just might be the signal telling them to stay out of that market segment — even as a prestige piece that’s never really intended to turn a profit, they’d need substantial enough sales to ensure that at least a few notable photographers make a few notable photographs with the system in order to leverage that for marketing, and that would mean a body with a feature set and a lens stable that would persuade people to try the new guy instead of the existing names. I’d suspect that the Leica S would be a more likely target than the exchangeable-back systems (PhaseOne/Leaf and Hasselblad) or the Pentax (traditional 645 SLR form factor) if they do go there; it would be hard to create a new “Texas 5D” that couldn’t slide well under the S on price while remaining relatively small and nimble. But the body’s almost easy compared to getting the right lenses out there from the get-go; get them wrong and you’ve got a lot of very expensive inventory that nobody wants to buy. And getting them right for a market segment that doesn’t feel particularly compelled to move away from their existing products isn’t going to do it either. I’m glad I don’t have to make the decisions.

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    • adam sanford

      You are correct. They could just be rangefinding on exactly what is needed (offering-wise and, therefore, dollar-wise) to compete in the MF market.

      And they need lenses. A lot of them. At a very high quality.

      Canon getting into this market seems little more than a pride-driven passion play, which is to say, anyone who knows Canon understands that they don’t operate that way at all. All of this smells of fishyness and unbelievability.

      My guess remains: If they do this (and that’s a whopping if), they need buy an MF company, or they need to license an entire mount design (to allow the immediate use of that mount’s lenses) to hit the market with anything greater than a whimper. I just don’t see it happening.

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