A new patent application from Canon gives another big shot in the arm for the EOS M mirrorless format with the tantalising possibility that the EOS M cameras in the future could use ANY EF lens as a tilt-shift lens with a tilt-shift adaptor.
The news was reported in this article in which the author gets a bit over-excited and assumes the patent will mean the adaptor will work on EVERY EOS DSLR camera, along with a mocked-up image of what a 5DSR with this adaptor and a 16-35 lens might look like. Nice image, but sadly pointless as such an adaptor would lose infinity focus. Remember what your EF lenses work like with extension tubes – no chance of nice architectural shots and therefore a very limited system for tilt-shift.
The images in the patent application all show an EOS M style body with the sensor plane close to the front of the camera, as they are in mirrorless.
The EOS M mirrorless system has plenty of extra room between the sensor and the lens for such an adaptor, indeed similar adaptors for other brands of lenses for the EOS M already exist – the Chinese company Kipon produces a range of adaptors to convert manual lenses such as Nikon F mount or Leica M to work as tilt-shift on EOS-M, as shown below.
Kipon even do an adaptor to convert Hasselblad medium-format lenses to tilt-shift on standard EOS DSLR cameras. But they don’t currently do an adaptor for EOS EF lenses to EF M even though it is possible, because to do so and to keep autofocus requires a little more work.
And now this is what Canon have done.
The electronics in the adaptor (note there are no optics in the adaptor at all) seem to also suggest that the tilt/shift angle can be controlled programmatically by the camera as there is a CPU that controls both the shift and tilt driver. This would make sense for the camera to then control the tilt-shift via the touch screen menu options. But think of other exciting possibilities such as automatically shift tiling to produce panoramic images! But to do this right you have to keep the lens still and move the camera body, which can be a real pain. Except Canon have already thought of this!
That’s right, a tripod mount ON the adaptor so the light weight mirrorless camera can move instead of the lens.
It’s been reported that Canon are planning to go serious about mirrorless in 2016, and this may be the first hint that they really do mean business.