Explore Canon’s storytelling journey.
At Canon, we’ve been helping people tell stories for over 80 years. Few people have seen more innovation and evolution than Mike Burnhill, our Product Specialist with over 11 years experience. We caught up with Mike to discuss Canon’s past, present and future.
Tell us a bit more about yourself Mike – what does your role at Canon involve and how long have you held it?
I’ve been at Canon for 11 years now and I’m a Product Specialist for professional cameras. My remit involves EOS 1D series, EOS 5D series, L-Series lenses and now the new EOS R system.
I started off as a general product specialist and moved up to look after professional products for the whole of Europe. I get to travel a lot and attend big events where there’s a CPS (Canon Professional Services) presence, which is all leading sports events across the globe. I was in Korea for the Winter Olympics, the F1 in Monaco and spent several weeks in Russia for the World Cup. We offer support and services to professional photographers, like cleaning, checks and repairs. As the product specialist, I'm there to advise and teach about new ways to use their cameras and features. It means the photographers can concentrate on capturing those amazing stories without worrying about things going wrong.
You must have experienced a lot of change during your time with Canon – what would you say are the most significant times of evolution?
There are two that stick out to me. The first is when the Canon EOS 5D Mark II launched in 2008. We introduced video capabilities into a DSLR camera for the first time. It pathed the way for vlogging. Before the Canon EOS 5D Mark II you’d need a very expensive video camera to capture this kind of content. It really changed the video industry overnight. It was an exciting time, learning as we went along. Now, the Canon PowerShot G7 X series is the most popular vlogging camera in Europe.
The second is 2014 when Dual Pixel AF was introduced in the Canon EOS 70D. This technology, unique to Canon, enables the sensor to focus while taking photographs. We originally thought of it back in 1981 but couldn’t introduce it until technology had developed enough to support it.
Mike - you’re a keen photographer yourself - what camera do you use now and why?
My main camera at the moment is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. I’ve been slowly playing with the new EOS R system which has facial tracking AF, which means you don’t have to worry about where the focus point is. It’s great for me because I have a new baby, so rather than look through the viewfinder I can just frame roughly while pulling faces to capture the emotion that I want.
Thinking about the range of kit today, could you recommend a camera for a beginner and one for an advanced photographer?
For a beginner photographer I’d recommend the Canon EOS 200D. It’s small, lightweight and has a simple interface. When starting out cameras can look very technical. But the Canon EOS 200D’s been designed with a straightforward menu system to make it easy. A lot of people know what they want to achieve but don’t know how to do it. The Canon EOS 200D has an interface that explains how to capture different results and once you understand it you can flick the menu into a more advanced structure, which is similar to the rest of the EOS system.
For more advanced photographers I’d say the Canon EOS 6D Mark II – it’s a step towards a new type of photography for many people. The larger sensor can capture stories with a shallow depth of field that are popular with professional photographers.
What’s next for Canon?
We’ve just announced the new EOS R system, which is compatible with all Canon EF lenses dating back to 1987. We spent six months working with our ambassadors to capture imagery for the launch and testing the camera in all kinds of environments. For instance, Daniel Etter was able to finish a previously unattainable project in a coalmine. He’d already started this project but hadn’t captured what he wanted because it was too dark and his cameras couldn’t focus. With the new EOS R system the camera focused with just the illumination from the miners headlights. So, we’re excited for this new technology to hit the market.
I’m afraid there’s nothing else I’m allowed to tell you right now. But stay tuned, there are some exciting things coming.
Written by Sasha Newbury