By Dragan Petric
Canon held the European version of Expo 2010 in Paris about a month after the American version of the event was held in New York.
The company usually hosts this event every five years in order to present the current palette of products, vision for the future of photography and video technology, as well as concept products which are used for sketching future guidelines within the company. The Paris Expo seemed almost identical to the New York event with a focus on prototypes of future Canon products. Europeans had the opportunity of seeing the majority of Canon's range two weeks ago at the Photokina show in Cologne.
Approximately 1800 people attended the introductory keynote by Canon CEO Fujito Mitaraia and as the company reported, 15,000 people visited the Paris Expo show, which is an outstanding number, if considered that the event was not open for the public.
While the keynote mostly addressed strategies for the economic crisis specific to the European market and announcements that Canon would join trends imposed by the credit crunch on this industry (speedy switch to 3D video, setting up a media management business, more activities regarding consultant services etc.), the most interesting novelties were presented at the exhibition portion of the show.
We had the opportunity to test the multi-purpose camera which supports both video and still image capture, along with Ultra-HD 4K resolution video (4096x3072-pixel recording format, to be precise). Although presented as a concept product, the camera was envisioned for professional use and features a 2/3-inch CMOS sensor that enables video shooting at high frame rates in excess of 60 frames per second.
It also includes a 24-480mm zoom lens (with 20x optical zoom) and a maximum aperture range of f/1.8-3.8.
This device also featured a 3.5-inch LCD screen, but did not seem the least bit compact on a tripod. Still, Canon representatives emphasized that once it reaches production, it will be one of the lightest products of its kind. The camera's exterior was crafted from bio-based plastic, a plant-derived compound that replaces certain petroleum-based plastic.
We tried out the camera briefly and it seems exceptionally fast, while photo and video quality is above average, compared to current cameras and video cameras. The colors were interpreted with precision and vivacity, even when we moved away from a makeshift studio with professional lighting to the EXPO site with evidently poorer lighting. The final impression we got is that this is a device which will not have to suffer many upgrades prior to its commercial launch.
Furthermore, we witnessed Canon's vision of interactive mixed reality, an idea based on using consumer interest for augmented reality solutions. By combining the real and virtual worlds in real-time, Canon wants to create a visual experience for its users in which they can not only see such combined space, but also create it themselves. The concept system which they have envisioned for this purpose uses a head-mounted display with built-in cameras and a video-processing computer in order to blend the real and virtual realities. It sounds complicated, but is quite fun in reality.
Finally, 8 and 4 megapixel screens were especially impressive. Canon is not famous for being a display manufacturer - it simply does not produce TV sets or mass market screens - but the company does have a good reputation when it comes to professional medical video and photo equipment.
X-ray devices, 3D ultrasound and similar diagnostic appliances acquire efficiency precisely due to exceptionally high resolution. However, Canon has also envisioned these displays for usage in the world of industrial design, engineering and professional video and photo production.