It’s official, and it looks like the rumors were pretty much spot-on.
As described, a compact which is essentially a “repackaged Rebel T4i”, it’s a pretty compelling camera. Sounds fast (although most specs don’t make it sound like it’s quite as fast-handling as the Nikon 1, but that remains to be seen) and I’m sure the quality will be great. The price is right, at $800 with the 22mm f/2 lens we saw in the rumors. Now that we know the sensor is APS-C, that’s going to be a 35mm equivalent field-of-view, which is perfect in my book.
There are some new accessories too, and leading the charge is the Mount Adapter EF-EOS M, which will allow Canon’s EF and EF-S mount lenses to attach to the M. That’s pretty great, especially since the article says Canon have promised “no functionality or quality will be lost”. That’s a big plus over Nikon’s offering, which doesn’t do AF-C. They also introduced a small speedlite, the 90EX. It doesn’t look quite as cool as the little pivoting, battery-less Nikon 1 unit, but it’s still a nice addition. More importantly, the camera has a hotshoe that is compatible with other Canon speedlites, which is pretty awesome.
More awesome is the ST-E3-RT Transmitter to attach to that hotshoe. It’s a PocketWizard-like radio transmitter for Canon’s wireless flash system. The idea of that on a small camera is pretty damn sweet. There’s also a GPS receiver, which I still don’t understand why they can’t fit inside. Like the Nikon, I love the functionality, but hate the extra accessory.
Somewhat strangely, Canon is positioning this as a video camera first and foremost, which instantly leaves me cold, although it does explain the lack of a viewfinder and the touchscreen-centric controls. It also explains the Stepless Motor lenses (STM). Canon is calling this a companion for videographers the way their G1 X is for photographers. Ugh. They still don’t quite get it, in my opinion. They, like Nikon, appear to be too afraid of cannibalizing their low-end DSLRs to really go after this market. I have a feeling that both might just lose out to Olympus, Sony, and others if they don’t wake up soon.
At this point, were I in the market for a small camera, I think I’d probably head toward the Olympus OM-D. Hell, I’ve considered getting one just to have a nice new camera to hang the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 from. I’ll let the market mature a bit, though and I am curious what the next move Nikon makes is. I’m still very happy with the handling of the Nikon 1 V1, but there’s no doubt there are big gaps to fill in that line, and if they don’t hurry, they’ll be in trouble.