During last year’s Visa pour l’image international festival of photojournalism, we held a live Twitter Q&A with Canon’s European Technical Support Manager, Mike Burnhill. The questions came pouring in from Canon users keen to pick his brains about features on our existing products and our plans for new ones. Here is a roundup of the best of last year’s questions…
First off was a question from @Photo_Mouse: “Why does Canon continue to apply an AA filter in its cameras that it markets as action and sports cameras? Get rid of it for sharper images!” Because Canon wants its cameras working in all conditions, “preventing moiré [the appearance of a false repetitive pattern] is key,” responded Mike. “Retouching moiré is difficult but enhancing sharpness is easier with software such as DPP’s DLO function.”
@karl_louis_ was next. “When will the M5 Mk II come, with sideways flippable touch screen and 4K?” But Mike wasn’t giving anything away: “Sorry, I can’t comment on plans for future products. I’d probably get fired, and I like my job too much...”
A more general question came from @DCamMag: “Is it true that a camera only takes X amount of photos and then won't work?” As with any device, a camera’s mechanical parts “have a limited life-cycle before they wear out,” Mike replied. “So after heavy use a part may fail and need replacing, but the camera can go on after the repair. The shutter's the most used part so has a shorter lifespan before it needs replacing – like car tyres.”
@Chimera_Graphic, a EOS 6D Mark I owner, was looking to change camera: “Should I go 6D Mk II or 5D Mk III?” Mike’s advice was: “As a single camera, I'd go for a 6D Mark II. If working with 1D X/5D series, an EOS 5D Mk III, for the interface.”
“I would like to have a function that changes Tv and Av simultaneously, while maintaining constant EV,” said @SandyTambone. Mike wasn’t sure he’d understood the question. “Do you mean like Program with safety shift?” He asked. “Being able to set a shutter speed and aperture combination in manual mode and then with one control changing both in sync to maintain EV,” @SandyTambone clarified. “Sorry can’t do it, but thanks for the idea,” responded Mike. “I'll pass it to engineers for possible future product updates.”
“From your perspective, Mike, what's the next big technical frontier for digital cameras? What's left to achieve?” asked @Richard_J_Hill. Mike’s hunch is that “computational imaging [digital image capture and processing as opposed to optical processes] will have a major impact, but it’s many years from reaching its potential.”
@VivaLaZoomUK has been waiting to upgrade from her C100 but was “a bit disappointed with C200 HD bitrate” and wondered, “will future firmware change bitrate?” Mike couldn’t comment on updates for the C200 “beyond the already announced XF-AVC”, but promised an update “in the near future.”
“What about lighter 1D cameras? Different material (carbon, aluminium alloys…)?” asked @bibalukas. Mike explained that the choice of materials used is down to “the balance of durability, heat distribution and tactile feel.”
In an additional question, @Chimera_Graphic asked: “Why isn't 'click count' available in EXIF data to see how many shots have been taken?” Although the cameras do keep track of activation, “they don't always accurately indicate shots taken. Functions such as movies, long exposure, noise reduction, sensor cleans also impact on the number. There is third party software that can provide an indication, but it's not 100% accurate,” said Mike.
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Come to find us at Visa pour l'image 2018 in the Palais des Congres venue, Perpignan from 1-8 September.