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Gear Rumors

Canon Testing Third Party FF Sensors & News on the 16-35mm F/2.8L Replacement {Daily Roundup}

By Anthony Thurston on October 26th 2015

Welcome to our roundup series where we will hit on several gear news and rumor topics each day. This gives you a chance to get caught up on all of the day’s news and rumors in one place. Make sure to check back daily for the latest gear news, rumors, and announcements.

Canon Actively Testing Third Party Sensor Options?


This hardly comes as a surprise to me, but in a post over on Canon Rumors today, it was revealed that Canon could be currently testing a third part full frame sensor. The 1D and 5D series are both due for an upgrade in the next year, so this sensor testing could be part of that development process.

According to the CR post, Canon is testing two variations of this upcoming camera. One with a third-party full frame sensor and one with a Canon made full frame sensor. It would seem likely that the non-Canon sensor is a Sony sensor, but I suppose it could also be Toshiba or Samsung, or if you want to get way out there, Sigma/Foveon.

It would also seem likely that Canon will test the two sensors and whichever performs best in the new camera, while meeting Canon’s quality and cost metrics, will be the sensor chosen to feature in the new camera.

The chances are that Canon sticks with their own sensor, they have spent a lot of time and money building their sensor production capabilities, and they would have to be pretty enamored with the third party sensor to choose it over their in-house options.

16-35mm F/2.8L Replacement To Feature BR Technolgy?


The Canon rumors are strong this morning, with another rumor indicating that an upcoming lens announcement will feature Canon’s BR (Blue Spectrum Refractive) technology.

According to the CR post, the only lens currently rumored to be coming soon that fits the bill is the upcoming 16-35mm F/2.8L IS II. The lens is extremely popular with event photographers and given the 1D and 5D upgrades coming in 2016, it makes sense that this lens could be the next BR lens for Canon to release.

But who knows, it is also entirely possible that Canon could be coming out with something completely new, or some other lens that we are as of yet unaware of will feature the BR  technology.

PocketWizard Takes a Page from Chinese Trigger with New PlusIV’s


PocketWizard announced their new Plus IV triggers last week, and the new design takes a page from their Chinese competition, featuring their first real horizontally mounted trigger in the PW system (miniTT triggers notwithstanding).

The biggest reason for the horizontal mounting, rather than vertical as all other PW triggers, is the new inclusion of a hot shoe, allowing for an on-camera flash to still be mounted. This is something that other trigger makers have been doing for some time, but that PW has resisted in their standard trigger lineup.

These new triggers will also be TTL compatible with Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, and (probably) Fuji and Olympus. That is impressive in its own right, though curious that Sony is not on that list. You would think that Sony, given all the buzz and people switching to that system, would be higher on the list than Fuji or Olympus. But regardless, the TTL compatibility of this unit is a huge selling point for the Plus IV.


According to PW, the new Plus IV units will be available in January 2016 and will retail around $150. Still quite a bit more than most other third party options, but given the quality and features of this unit, I think it is a price that many pros will be ok with.

We will keep you update on availability and pre-orders once they are made available.

What are your thoughts on today’s roundup? What news/rumors did we miss? What would you like to see covered in future roundups? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

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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. Julien Massie

    New 16-35 2.8 L hype is ……….. with new sensor performance who wants a huge heavy piece of glass when the ”new” 16-35 f4 is out there outperforming the 2.8 on every aspect.

    I think wide angle zoom at f4, with new sensor technologies will be the new standart even for night shot. Example, traveling and hiking with the nikon legendary heavy 2.8 wide angle is not really funny. I prefer a more lightweight L f4 for landscape and wide shot over a heavy 2.8 everyday.

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    • adam sanford

      Agree with you for landscapes, but you are missing three major camps of photographers with an f/4 UWA zoom — sports, events and astro.

      Events could get reasonably get by with f/4 + IS, but astro and sports need f/2.8 at the minimum. This new 16-35 f/2.8L III is undoubtedly for them.

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  2. Brian Stricker

    I would think testing a sensor now to put in a camera due out next year is cutting it kinda close. Could be that they are testing to see where they can improve their own sensor tech. Seems like they have been coming out a few new sensors lately (whether they are improving is not the real point) so to me it would seem odd to walk away from that money and time invested.

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  3. Justin Haugen

    Canon must have heard I am selling off all my gear for Nikon so I can get that Sony sensor :D

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  4. Ben Perrin

    I personally would like to see Canon up their game in terms of their image sensors. I don’t think that letting Sony have a monopoly on the market is necessarily the best thing for the consumer. Sony is just too unpredictable in terms of their plans. That might be ok in the short term but I’d prefer the entire industry wasn’t hinging on their sensor designs alone.

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    • Matthew Saville

      IMO yes, the best thing for consumers overall would be if Canon didn’t “fold” and just start buying Sony sensors. Although Sony sensors are currently superior, and although I strongly doubt Sony would do any sort of “slacking off” if they gained such a huge chunk of the market, diversity always keeps a market healthier than a monopoly.

      What Canon ought to do is, swallow their pride and buy a patent or two from whoever they need to, in order to get their own CMOS technology back on track.

      Unless, of course, they have a whole new generation of sensor technology up their sleeve, say their own version of BSI, that not only improves light-gathering at high ISOs, or color reproduction, (many speak of finally departing from Bayer) …but also eliminates their problems with shadow noise / banding.

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    • Dave Haynie

      It sure looked like Samsung was also gearing up to be a major sensor power. After all, they did introduce the world’s first APS-BSI sensor (NX1 and NX500), until Sony’s latest, the largest BSI around… and by some accounts, the best APS sensor, even at a largish 28Mpixels. And they are the second largest IC company, after Intel… so they’re used to selling parts, not just whole systems.

      I definitely agree that with Sony perhaps buying Toshiba’s sensor business, Sony spinning off their chip business as a separate subsidiary, etc. that Sony’s dead serious about being the Intel of sensors. The problem, of course, is that one company controlling a vast segment of the market gives that one company a significant advantage against all others if, like Sony, they’re in the retail business as well. And competition does make things far more interesting, forcing the leading suppliers to keep up or perish, etc.

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  5. Ben Young

    A 50mm f/1.2 version of that newly released 35mm f/1.4 is what I want to see with that blue stuff. :-)

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  6. Jimmy Schaefer

    So does this mean Sony will soon have a monopoly on the sensor industry soon. Whats the point of owing a Canon Nikon or Sony they all the same shit now!

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    • adam sanford

      If you could take pictures with just a sensor, I would agree with you.

      As that’s not the case, things like the size/breadth/quality of the lens portfolio, whether it’s mirrorless vs. an SLR, the effectiveness of the AF system, the breadth of available accessories, etc. still kind of matter.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Sony knows that if they sit on their asses after monopolizing the sensor industry, another competitor will eventually surface and do them in. They’re not stupid.

      Kodak invended digital sensors, and they died a slow, agonizing death.

      Canon was champion of the CMOS sensor for quite a while, but they went on autopilot, and in the past 10 years their dynamic range has barely gone from ~11 stops to ~12 stops.

      A Canon comeback would be good for healthy competition, if they could just figure out what voodoo is going on in the shadows of Nikon / Sony cameras. However to throw up your arms in disgust over the possibility of, well, more of what is already the best technology on the market, …I dunno what to say.

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    • Colin Woods

      Successful companies resting on their laurels are good for no-one. Sooner or later Canon will discover the fairy dust and start producing knockout sensors that will have Nikon trembling. Then Nikon will invent something new and be on top again for a while. ‘Twas ever thus, and we benefit by having phenomenal cameras like the D750 very inexpensively. The best cure for sensor envy is to stop pixel peeping, to stop looking at banding in five stops underexposed pictures, to turn the computer off and go out taking pictures. Whatever camera you have, its great. Get out there.

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    • adam sanford

      All the sensor nerds I know did backflips of joy when Canon’s mgmt finally said that they were looking into on-chip ADC.

      Apparently, Canon has avoided that approach for some time, and it’s the biggest thing holding back our DR performance. So everyone’s convinced that the 5D4 or some other future rig will close the gap considerably with Sony. Here’s hoping.

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    • Dave Haynie

      They have at least 40% of the sensor market — and that’s probably old information. Some years ago, it seemed to be that Sony has decided to become, essentially, the Intel of Sensors. Think about that… I’m suggesting this as a hardware engineer who’s been in the business for decades. Lots of companies make CPUs. But long ago, Intel got into such a catbird seat, they had the volume and demand to drive pretty much every competitor into finding some space in the margins — if they didn’t quit entirely.

      An effective monopoly doesn’t require 100%… maybe 60-70%, maybe less if they bag a very high profit market. Who’s really left making big sensors? Other than Sony, there’s Canon, Toshiba, and Samsung… anyone else? And Sony’s apparently looking to buy Toshiba’s sensor works. Samsung had corporate-wide problems.. not deadly ones, but even as the second-largest IC company, they don’t necessarily get to play in new markets forever. Sure, there are other big sensor makers, but they’re all tiny niches… just like the RISC companies who were challenging Intel. They may stake out a market, but not likely enough to dethrone Sony.

      As far as the “same shit”… was there any reason to choose Canon over Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, Konica, Olympus, etc. in the days of film? If Sony made 100% of the big camera sensors, at the worst, we’d be back to the “same imager” days of film. Not really a problem. And a better option than a company like Canon choosing a non-competitive sensor.

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    • Dave Haynie

      Far as I could tell, Canon needed a technology upgrade to do ADC-on-chip, and with typical Canon hubris, they figured they could so without. That is a huge thing.. on-chip noise versus off-chip noise, analog vs. digital leaving the chip, etc.

      And sure, Canon was an early mover in CMOS. But even back then, the whole big idea of CMOS wasn’t any notion that the sensor array could turn out so much lower noise than CCD (it did, for most uses), but the fact you could put more “stuff” on the same chip — starting with ADCs. And since they’re on-chip, lots of ADCs, for a faster chip.

      And if you look at Sony, they did ADC on chip, then BSI, then stacked, then stacked with DRAM… at least in one view, they’re currently three whole generations ahead of Canon. No company can last forever with that kind of competitor.

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  7. adam sanford

    That 16-35 f/2.8L III is overdue. It simply has to be the next L zoom that Canon releases, but I am not so certain that blue refractive stuff will be in it. I don’t believe that BR stuff is technology you slap into everything you make, but I could be mistaken.

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    • Ben Young

      16-35 f/2.8 III? Nah!
      A f/2.0 wide angle zoom from Canon would be the ticket.

      Sigma has done it twice already. Though, one of those lenses was for crop only cameras ( @ f/1.8 ) . And the focal length range isn’t the greatest. But still.

      I may be dreaming but Canon should show everyone how’s it’s done and drop a real wide angle zoom that’s a full stop faster than the “standard” f/2.8.

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    • Matthew Saville

      It would be a real blow to all of “us” who have been gloating over Canon’s lack of decent astro-landscape lenses, if they delivered any sort of 16-35 variant that hit f/2, and didn’t cost / weigh more than the beastly and pricey 11-24 f/4.

      For quite a while now I’ve said that I’d much rather have a 16-24 f/2 than a 16-35 f/2.8, or an 18-30 f/2, or a 17-28, …or whatever optical formula they can come up with that doesn’t break banks or backs in the process.

      So far, unfortunately, Sigma’s efforts have stopped at 24mm on full-frame, or the equivalent of 28mm. In fact they used basically the same optical formula, and simply modified it a bit to fit both sensor formats. So as far as f/2 zooms wider than 24mm are concerned, there’s actually not much we can grasp at, for now.

      I think a 16-35 2.8 L mk3 with incredible sharpness is more likely, either way. It is an unfortunate truth that the bigger manufacturers are usually forced to do what the masses want, whatever will sell more, and leave “obscure” specialty glass to the outliers. Then again, Canon has indeed been on a bit of a “trophy lens” kick in recent years, especially in the wider angles, with crazy lenses like the 11-24 and 17 TSE.

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