Canon’s 2024 Strategy – Interesting Hints and Speculation

Canon's 2024 Strategy - Interesting Hints and Speculation

Canon celebrates their 21st year as the world’s leading interchangeable camera systems manufacturer. Their 2024 imaging group strategy seems to point to some interesting trends and shifts, which include an attempt to establish an absolute position in the mirrorless market. Canon also notes a shift toward the experience of the audio-visual content consumer. The company will tackle these challenges, as well as efficiency and profitability challenges, with various methods and practices.

Canon boasts an established reputation, as they are no stranger to innovation and technological progress. The Company has maintained their place among the leading patent applicants in the USA for over a decade. Several important innovations gained Canon prominence in the photo-video industry, and the venerable EF mount is fundamental for many of them. The mount, launched in 1987, completely replaced its FD predecessor. Offering fully electronic camera-lens communication, it launched Canon’s system to their top position and they’ve maintained it ever since.

Canon EF & RF Lenses - Overview
Canon current EF & RF Lenses. Image credit: Canon

The inclusion of fully electronic communication and a focus motor in every lens made EF lenses relatively easy to fully adapt to other systems. Almost every modern mirrorless mount has an EF adapter, and most include autofocus and other advanced features. However, as long and interesting as Canon’s history may be, this article is about their future. So, what does Canon have in store for us?

Absolute position in the mirrorless market

While objective stats are hard to come by (and there is more than one way to measure them) Canon’s grip on the interchangeable lens camera market is firm, with about half of total sales attributed to it. Oceans rise, empires fall, but it seems Canon manages to remain on top of things. Still – the mirrorless segment poses a challenge, and Canon is opting to reinforce their control over it. According to their recent strategy document, the company will try to broaden the video-oriented crowd in both the social media content creator segment, as well as with “traditional” video professionals. As the company mentions “experience” as one of their top goals, and notes some of their more unique designs like the PowerShot V10, we may expect some interesting designs in the future.

Canon professional support

Canon’s 2024 strategy acknowledges the importance of continuous professional support. Canon is a strong performer in the professional segment. Some indication of that claim emerges from rental figures regularly published by Lensrentals. Though these figures are far from representing the entire market, they provide some quantitive indication. The professional market may not be as vast as the consumer market, but it holds secondary advantages regarding brand-based marketing. This will go hand in hand with the company’s continuous professional service and support.

Canon’s take on “experience”

Canon may not be the first manufacturer to offer a 3D-enabled interchangeable lens option. They do, however, offer the RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye 3D VR Lens, which is probably the most solid option for an interchangeable 360 VR kit around. This lens is rather niche in terms of mainstream interchangeable systems, but it’s far from being the company’s only entry into the world of viewing experience, and definitely not the most extreme.

Mixed reality

Canon mentioned the viewing experience as one of the major future shifts in the industry. As such, they made some strides in this regard. Canon’s MREAL X1 is a mixed-reality set. Mixed reality seems to be very similar to augmented reality (AR) as it combines the input coming from an internal camera array and virtual input to instill a sense of presence in virtual objects.

Canon MREAL X1 Mixed Reality headset. Image credit: Canon

The MREAL X1 is aimed mostly at industrial applications and currently lacks the finesse of other AR/VR sets. The view, as seen in the sample video, isn’t as smooth and can’t provide the same experience that recent competitors can. This is due to its different target audience that will probably value efficiency over seamlessness. As Canon’s officials recently claimed, current entries like the Apple Vision Pro require more resolution than any camera can provide. The MREAL X1 is a more “down to earth” solution.

Volumetric Video

Perhaps the most interesting prospect of Canon’s journey lies in their Volumetric Video. Volumetric Video is a method of motion capture incorporating a large number of synchronized cameras to both film and 3D map the scenario in real time. The outcome is a video-game-esque 3D environment depicting actual events.

Volumetric Video is extremely demanding in terms of hardware, software, and infrastructure. Such a system requires many cameras, a synchronized control, and exorbitant data throughput. Yet, the prospect of watching your next soccer, basketball, or football match with the ability to wander around, following your favorite player’s field of view, taking a bird’s-eye view, and then diving deep into the fray, is quite exciting.

Canon Volumetric Video infrastructure scheme. Image credit: Canon

Tradition of innovation

For most current creators, Canon is a “constant”. It was always there – a brand synonymous with image-making. This was achieved by continuous innovation. Canon was there during (and leading) the autofocus revolution. They brought market-leading cameras into the digital revolution and merged victorious. The company launched a mirrorless system on June 2012 but was still a bit late to the professional mirrorless turn of events. Once they did enter the market, they quickly harnessed their innovative prowess to churn out various lenses and cameras, now covering most niches and genres. Like it or not, Canon is among the most influential players in this game, and their strategy will probably affect us all in some way.

What do you think the future holds for motion capture and content consumption? Is Canon on the right track here, or is it a “Kodak moment”, when a major manufacturer strays from the needs of its audience? Let us know in the comments.


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