The onslaught of compact system cameras from major tech giants has raised a serious question about the viability of heavy DSLR cameras. The advantage ofcompact system cameras is that they offer almost the same quality of a DSLR but in a compact body. Unlike a DLSR, where there is a mirror used to reflect light into the focusing sensors, a compact system camera does not have any mirror in it. This makes it much compact and suppresses any shuttering sound while pictures are taken.
Most of the major camera manufactures, with the sole exception of Canon, have already released their versions of compact system cameras in the market. A remarkable fact about these cameras is that, other than using interchangeable lenses like DSLRs, they also use DSLR CMOS sensors. The mirrorless technology, that makes sure that noise is absent when photographs are taken, is present since much older days. From the perspective of a professional photographer, the main advantage of a compact system camera is that the true image is not reflected into the eye piece of the camera but is rendered to the LCD screen. This also means that the true colors and saturation of the scene would not be seen through the lens of the camera, which of course, can be a problem when the weather is too sunny.
Canon has not released its compact system camera so far but the company has pretty much revealed its mirrorless technology. The latest technology that Canon has used in its lenses is called Stepping Motor Technology (SMT). Using this system, the mirrorless sensor can focus continuously without any need to pop the mirror down. This technology has been introduced in the Canon T4i, also known as Canon 650D. In this camera, when the mirror is folded up in the video mode, focus of the lens is smoothly adjusted by the sensor, allowing the user to take photos at any time. So the Canon 650D is pretty much a cross between a DSLR and a compact system camera, which also means that Canon is all set to release a dedicated compact system camera. What photographers are relieved to know is that this camera can use all the traditional Canon EOS lenses, in addition to the new lenses that Canon has just started introducing.
If Canon starts developing cameras with compact design, which seems inevitable, the conventional EOS lenses would not work. A compact design would mean a compressed distance from rear element of the lens to the camera sensor. This could be the precise reason why Canon recently released its 40mm pancake lens. Considering the hybrid structure of the Canon 660D, it seems that DSLR cameras would undergo some changes in future, but their use would not be entirely eliminated. We might have compact system cameras and a hybrid of DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Besides, a larger size is generally an area of concern for a common consumer and does not bother the professionals. So while we expect a compact system camera from Canon in the near future, we can also expect that the production of DSLR cameras would continue in future with, however, some possible change of its internal structure.