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Celebrating 30 Years of EOS (3): Digital EOS, Progressing Now and Beyond


Even after the shift from film to digital, the EOS series continues to evolve and progress. Canon is constantly developing sensors with even greater pixel counts and higher definition shooting performance. EOS cameras can now shoot Full HD movies and even coordinate with the smartphone, which possesses strong capabilities as an image communication tool.

The high image quality on EOS cameras was realised by constantly pushing the limits. Photographers can now take high definition photos by simply pressing the shutter button on the camera.


Taking image resolution to greater heights

Taking on the challenge of achieving high image resolution all started with the flagship model of the series. The EOS-1Ds (released 2002) came hot on the heels of the EOS-1D (released in 2001), boasting even higher image resolution. The EOS-1Ds was equipped with a full-frame 11.1 effective megapixel CMOS sensor at a time when DSLR cameras had only 3 megapixels. Thus, it became possible to use any EF lens to capture images with an angle-of-view similar to the original 35mm DSLR cameras. In addition, the image processor (which would come to be known as DIGIC) on the EOS-1Ds supported high-definition image processing, satisfying the needs of professional photographers.


EOS-1D (released in 2001)
This model was mainly aimed at professionals specialising in areas such as news and sports photography. Equipped with a high resolution CCD sensor (effective sensor size: 28.7×19.1mm, effective pixel count: 4.15 megapixels), it realised high image quality and high-speed response through its imaging processor, which performed high-speed, high-definition image processing.


EOS-1Ds (released in 2002)
Aimed at professional photographers, this model was developed with studio photography in mind. It was equipped with an 11.1 effective megapixel, 35mm full frame CMOS sensor,which meant that photographers could use any EF lens with it and be able to compose their shot without having to take the crop factor into account. It was also equiped with an image processing engine, which was capable of processing high-definition images. 


The wave of using full-frame CMOS sensors to achieve high image quality would also lead to the release of models aimed at experienced enthusiasts. Starting with the hugely popular first-generation 5D-series model, the EOS 5D (released in 2005) was succeeded by the EOS 5D Mark II (released in 2008), the EOS 5D Mark III (released in 2012), and in 2015, the EOS 5DS/EOS 5DS R. The EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R have an effective pixel count of 50.6 megapixels, thus realising a pinnacle of high resolution that would ensure it stayed ahead of the competition. Even now in 2017, Canon boasts the world's highest pixel count on a DSLR camera equipped with a full-frame CMOS sensor.


50.6MP example, shot with EOS 5DS

High resolution performance that only a full-frame CMOS sensor with an effective pixel count of 50.6 megapixels can deliver. Canon continues to release models exceeding an effective pixel count of 20 megapixels, which includes even models aimed at beginner users, such as the EOS 800D and EOS M100.


EOS Movie: The debut of Full HD recording on the DSLR camera

The EOS 5D Mark II (released in 2008) was the first DSLR camera in the world to be equipped with the Full HD movie shooting feature. The shallow depth-of-field possible on its full-frame CMOS sensor and its expressive capabilities supported by the EF lens series were highly regarded, and professional film producers, too, all started to use EOS-series cameras. Known as “EOS Movie”, the Full HD movie shooting feature on EOS cameras is available on all current models (as at 2017).

EOS movie equipment

Movie shooting equipment that use the EOS system were overwhelmingly more compact, and costed less than existing movie cameras. These qualities catered to needs that the development team had not envisaged.


EOS Movie technology played an important role in Canon's advancement into Hollywood. In 2011, Canon launched the Cinema EOS System, comprising a Full HD digital camera for movie-making, together with peripherals including a lens line-up. This marked the company’s full-fledged entry into the field of professional film production.

Cinema EOS system

Cinema EOS System (released in 2012)
The Cinema EOS System, which was designed on the assumption that it would be used to shoot high definition 4K movies with a resolution equivalent to 4 times that of Full HD, is a ground-breaking product that has the advantage of being compatible with the existing EF lens series.


The movie feature on EOS cameras started with the idea of recording the video output of the Live View. Since then, the AF speed for Live View shooting has been made faster with the use of technologies such as Hybrid CMOS AF and Dual Pixel CMOS AF, with smooth movie shooting realised through integration with lens technologies such as STM (stepping motor) and Nano USM (ultrasonic motor).


Adapting to the times—making cameras highly compatible with smartphones

With the widespread use of smartphones, taking photos by touching the screen has become the norm. However, a touch panel LCD monitor had already been employed on EOS series cameras early on in the pursuit of user convenience. Starting with the EOS 650D and EOS M released in 2012, all manner of cameras ranging from entry models through to professional models are now equipped with a touch panel LCD monitor, enabling intuitive operation, such as selection of the various shooting settings and AF points, and zooming in/out during image playback.

EOS 650D

EOS 650D (released in 2012)
Equipped with a Vari-angle LCD monitor that supports touch operations. In addition to high-speed focusing using Hybrid CMOS AF, the EOS 650D can continue focusing smoothly on moving subjects using Movie Servo AF.


EOS M (released in 2012)
The first mirrorless camera in the EOS series, combining high image quality with a compact and lightweight body. The rear LCD monitor supports touch operations. The EOS M is capable of high-speed focusing thanks to Hybrid CMOS AF.


In addition to operability, Canon has also focused on smartphone connectivity. Every model since the EOS 70D (released in 2013) has come equipped with support for Wi-Fi. The Camera Connect app was also released with user convenience in mind, as it not only allows you to transfer your photos to a smartphone, but also shoot remotely from it. In this way, the EOS series showcases Canon’s efforts in understanding and utilising the communicative capabilities of smartphones to stay ahead of the game.


The EOS system—the most trusted in the world

EF lens series group photo

A total of 90 million EOS series cameras and 130 million EF lenses have been produced as at 2017. Such volumes are an indication of the trust that the users have placed in EOS cameras and EF lenses. The numerous technologies realised through successive generations of EOS cameras and EF lenses support users and the scenes they shoot.


The EOS camera system launched in 1987 aimed to be a pioneer of DSLR cameras, and has evolved since then. Starting with the full digitization of the EF mount, in addition to camera technologies such as AI Servo AF, which is used to track moving subjects, the CMOS sensor, which can capture light as a digital signal even more finely , and DIGIC, which is used to perform digital image processing, Canon has adopted lens technologies one after another, such as the USM for fast and smooth driving of the lens, image stabilisation to minimize camera shake, and special lenses and coatings to minimize aberrations. Canon did not let itself get bound by conventional common sense, but instead proactively adopted cutting-edge technologies in the pursuit of even more accurate AF performance, better operability, and higher image quality. This design philosophy of the EOS camera system is why it is the system of choice throughout the world.

The extent of support from users is also apparent from having produced a total of 90 million EOS series cameras and 130 million EF lenses as at 2017. The EF lenses in particular have set a new world record for the total number of lenses produced. It can be said that the EOS is the world's most trusted camera system.


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