Canon Patent Reveals a Smaller Optical Viewfinder with 100% Coverage

A Canon patent filed in May of last year and published last week reveals that the company has a new optical viewfinder up its sleeve that offers both a compactness and 100% coverage. While 100% coverage is a standard feature in high-end DSLRs, the new technology may help bring it to smaller and lighter cameras that have traditionally displayed less than what is actually captured.

Craig Blair Canon Rumors thinks the technology might show up in the upcoming EOS M followup that’s set to arrive in 2013. The camera reportedly packs a viewfinder, and the compact size fits what’s described in the patent. Blair writes,

I’d say [the viewfinder is] for an upcoming EOS-M body due to the physical size of the viewfinder. A lot of people would welcome an optical viewfinder, but it definitely has to be better than what we find on the G series PowerShots.

We had previously assumed that the viewfinder would be a purely electronic viewfinder. After all, that’s what most mirrorless camera makers have opted for so far. A 100% optical would be nice, but you wouldn’t be seeing the exact same scene as the photo you’re capturing, since the viewfinder will be to the side of the camera lens like on a rangefinder camera.

Fujifilm’s X-Pro1 has shown that photographers are willing to take this tradeoff, however. The hybrid optical viewfinder on that camera is highly acclaimed.

The X-Pro1 is significantly bigger than the EOS M, though, and usability issues could arise due to how small the EOS M is. Attach any bigger EF lens to the EOS M, and it might completely block an optical viewfinder unless the viewfinder position is offset by a lot (e.g. raised above the top of the camera).

If the viewfinder in the patent isn’t for an upcoming mirrorless camera, perhaps it’s for Canon’s smaller DSLR cameras. The 60D offers 96% coverage, while the 650D offers 95%.

  • Michael Tischendorf

    oh no – evf please!

  • Daire

    I’d say more likely a smaller more compact viewfinder for SLRs. Saying something has ‘100%’ coverage doesn’t really make much sense in the context of a seperate optical viewfinder.

  • Duke Shin

    Dammit Canon, just fix the AF speed.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Adding a non-TTL optical viewfinder on the EOS M is like giving a prosthetic third arm to a landmine victim who has lost both feet. It doesn’t address the most glaring issue which is the AF speed, and there’ a possibility that they’d simply waste space for a feature which only a few would bother to use.

  • felix

    the AF is already fast, just your cheapo lens is really jerk

  • go4it

    If the EOS M is held ***ROCK*** steady, the AF is fine. The slightest motion and the camera begins to “hunt” …. That’s certainly the case with my new EOS M anyway. Yeah, this isn’t the easiest thing to do for hand-held shots, granted. I’ve been shooting almost exclusively with a monopod and zero problems with speed of the AF. Lenses are both the 18-55mm and the 11-22mm zooms. And make sure you’ve upgraded the firmware to ver. 2.0.2. Helps immensely!!!!!

  • Mark Penrice

    Now if only they’d bring this (back) to their rangefinder-esque range…
    (and well, hopefully it uses less power than the full LCD display, still – which is the main advantage of the optical VF for me, as well as the enhanced stability, which is less of a boon a lot of the time when you have OIS anyway)

    I like the look of the EOS-M and the idea of having such a VF built in but it’s still too thick to fit in my pocket ;)