Canon Reportedly Field Testing a 46MP DSLR, Possibly the 3D

The frenzy of Photokina 2012 is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean crazy camera rumors are going anywhere. A big one currently floating around is that Canon is working on a DSLR with a massive number of megapixels. Northlight Images writes that we may see a preview of the camera at PhotoPlus 2012 in New York, which starts October 24.

We’re told to expect to see a ‘preview’ of a ‘high MP EOS DSLR’ at the upcoming PhotoPlus show in New York (Oct 24-27). Although the current official line is that 20ish MP is a ‘sweet spot’ for DSLRs, D800 specs, price and performance is considered ‘worrying’ in some market areas.

Nikon’s D800 has a highly-acclaimed 36.3MP sensor. Here are the specs that Canon will reportedly respond with: 46.1 megapixels, 5fps continuous shooting, 16-bit RAW images, and an ISO range of 100 to 12800.

Canon Rumors heard something similar, and writes that prototype versions of the high resolution camera(s) are already floating around in the wild:

I’m told it’s possible we’ll see an “in development” announcement sometime in 2012 for a large megapixel DSLR from Canon. I have heard both 39mp and 46mp prototype(s) are out in the field.

One of the names being thrown around for this new camera is the “Canon EOS 3D”. While it would certainly fit in with the naming conventions of the company’s other high-end DSLRs, the fact that “3D” usually means “3-dimensional” would make things confusing for consumers. They’d probably expect to see a camera with two lenses and sensors:

There was also a random “4D” spotting recently. There’s a video on the Amazon product page for the Canon 6D that seems to show a “Canon 4D” mention in an iOS EOS Remote app (19-second mark). It could just be some random mockup that doesn’t mean anything, but the fact that this was an official Canon video has the photo world buzzing.

It’s highly unlikely that the sighting shows anything more than a random placeholder text that some designer chose to use. After all, Japanese camera companies don’t think very highly of the number 4.

Image credit: Mockup photograph by TogTech

  • Vlad Dusil

    Who needs (not wants) 40+ MP sensors for their photography?

    Several years ago, computer chip makers recognized that it was pointless to chase gigahertz and instead they focussed on optimizing efficiency. More cycles per clock, less energy consumption.

    I wish the same would happen with photography. Vast majority of people don’t need 20MP, let alone 40MP. Even pros – unless you print BIG commercially – don’t need massive MP numbers. Rather, I’d love to see cleaner images, higher DR, smaller bodies and less power consumption.

  • Vlad Dusil

    P.S. Zeiss have sent a clear message with their recent announcement that they will be offering lenses for high-MP cameras. Is it a marketing trick or are the current ZF/ZE lenses being out-resolved by modern sensors?

    I’d rather have clean 16MP files than the hassle of processing hundreds of D800 files after a day of shooting. Anyone with a D800 and a 32GB card full of raws feels my pain.

  • John Nathaniel Calvara

    If that’s the case. Time to buy a bigger hard-drive.

  • Michal Rosa

    There are people who need it but there aren’t too many of them. The point is that if Nikon has than Canon have to have it as well – it’s not about logic.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Err, you’d rather have 16MP but you own a D800?

    I don’t see myself using any of these megapixel monsters either, but, hey, if you’re a pro who has invested already in the glass and needs to do big prints, at least there are now more viable alternatives to switching to medium format cameras and another set of lenses.

    Sure, it’s overkill for sports or events, but you also have applications such as landscape and astronomy wherein there’s always more detail to be resolved.

  • jeff

    But the more important thing than the 46Mp is the 16bit raw images.. that is phase level then

  • PixelBrine

    I shoot with my D800 ad it is not as bad as people think. Firstly, If you are shooting a large number of shots for something you can always shoot at 20mp or 9mp still full frame. I have a moderately fast computer built to process image files and I have no lag usually when processing full resolution files ( a small amount when editing multiple full rez files at once.). The dynamic range of the D800 is amazing not to mention that it’s not always about large print sizes. It’s sometimes about the ability to crop. Not every shoot has a subject that you can control. Additionally when it comes to being able to control the subject like in studio work, the D800 is the best DSLR out right now.

  • Benjamin Chase

    If you’ve shot, drum-scanned and printed 4×5 film (or larger), you’d probably understand 40+ MP.

    It’s shocking to me how few people out there shooting today know what you can get from a well-shot 4×5 transparency vs our small-sensor cameras like my 5D II.

  • Michael

    I don’t feel one way or another about them doing it, since it isn’t going to matter to me, but it sure is interesting to see how far lenses designed for 35mm can be pushed!

  • Sasebastian

    16bit raw would require editing software to be completely rewritten would it not? I know that neither apple nor adobe have a raw editor that will support 16bit raw. I may be wrong but I’m not aware of any. In fact adobe ACR didn’t support 14bit uncompressed files until a couple years ago. I don’t see them writing new software just for one camera. Canon and nikon both would have to be changing their entire lineup to 16bit raw. Now raw is already 16bit and is converted to 12 or 14 to be read by software right? Someone please shed some light so I can wrap my head around this.

  • utin dewi

    how the price ?

  • Joakim

    Anytime either Canon, Nikon etc… is releasing a new camera, Adobe will (sometimes fast sometime slow) release a new version of ACR and LR to be able to handle the new camera.

    Didn’t know and I don’t think that all cameras are shooting in 16 bit RAW and then converting down to 12 or 14 so application can read it. That sounds weird.

  • Gabor Szantai

    After all, Japanese camera companies don’t think very highly of the number 4.

    How about Nikon D4? Or have I missed something and Nikon is not a Japanese company anymore?

    (I am still going for H5D-40 or 50…)

  • pete n pete

    Awesome! I’ll finally be able to blow up my shots to the size of Yankee stadium, the way they were ~meant~ to be enjoyed. /s

  • quickpick

    40+MP is okay as long as there are options for lesser resolutions especially in RAW. not a bad idea to be able to shoot extremely high MP when you really need it like for posters and billboards, but it’d be a kill in everyday use! only think how powerful processor and whopping amounts of RAM you’d need for your computer to adjust pictures that size *fluently*! not my everyday dream.. :- my ideal RAW size for everyday use would be something like 12-14MP.. :)

  • quickpick

    absolutely second your thoughts.. also lesser noise in highest ISOs are welcome in addition to what you already listed.. i could live with, say 14MP sensor (maybe full-frame for the focal length match and larger apertures, but smaller can do if sensitivity/noise ratio is fairly good and large apertures are supported in the lenses), very high ISO with low noise, extended DR, weather sealed, mirrorless, tiny bodied camera fairly well in my sparetime photography.. :)

  • Jostein Roalkvam

    Wrong. There are software that can read 16-bit RAWs fine. Just look at Hasselblad, Phase One, Mamiya etc. I’m pretty sure ACR supports these cameras as well. Most, if not all Nikon and Canon shoot 14-bit files tops, which are then “fitte into” 16-bit or 8-bit when converting from RAW in whatever software that will do so, but they will never be true 16-bit. This is where digital/scanned analog MF still has an advantage over smaller formats.

  • Shadow Girl

    You are so wrong. If anyone needs more megapixels, it’s vast majority of people you claim don’t need it, that do need it. Those people usually need some cropping done with their shots. If you crop a 10MP pic in half, you have 5 and try printing that and enjoying it poster-sized. If however you have a 40mp and you crop half of it, you are still left with greater detail. And as for professionals, when we take photos that go on billboards, we don’t use 10MP cameras. Believe me! It’s medium format. And if DSLRs can get to Medium Format quality, then we need the megapixels.

  • Mark

    Who needs it? Someone who needs to crop. It’d be like a 2X teleconverter built right into the sensor with no loss of light.

  • peter elfes

    Ahh.. I do. I shoot aerial photography and can only use DSLR’s cause of the frame rate. The photos that I select in the final edit end up as 2 to 3mtr prints in galleries so I really do want a medium format file from a DSLR and the bigger the body the easier it is to hold on to especially in aircraft with the doors off. As for power I use x3 bodies and because of the freezing conditions have a lot of batteries and really big fast cards. All of which get used in a 3hr flight.

  • teila

    Most billboard prints probably are not shot with a medium format camera, which would be a waste because (1) the print is viewed so far away that you can’t see the quality gained by the larger format. (2) people driving by a billboard couldn’t give a rats behind what the quality of the billboard looks like! I don’t, and I shoot for a living. (3) 16mp for a silly billboard is fine. Billboards aren’t about “quality” in the first place. People just want to be able to see the message is all.