There is a story that came out this week about Canon that could have repercussions for other camera companies as well. A story broke a few days ago that third-party lens manufacturer, Viltrox was sent a cease and desist letter informing them they had infringed on Canon’s copyrights.
Initially, Canon did not respond to the request for more information, but then later did make a statement that clarified that RF auto-focus lenses manufactured by third-party companies were doing so by reverse engineering Canon’s RF auto-focus technology, which is a copyright infringement.
So, what does this mean?
Will there be no third-party lenses available for the Canon “R” series cameras?
This would be a way for Canon to potentially increase its revenue by making itself the only supplier of RF lenses.
If they do, I would expect to see the other major camera brands follow suit as a way of increasing their revenue as well.
But what if this is something else?
Canon’s remarks reference their “auto-focus”. And, look at the company they contacted first, Viltrox. If you aren’t familiar with Viltrox, they are, what’s a nice way to say “low quality” lenses?
I could understand Canon not wanting someone to take their fantastic R5 and strap a cheap piece of glass on it. It could make the overall quality of the camera come into question.
If they don’t want to have a monopoly on the RF lens market, they could go to higher-quality third-party lens manufacturers like Tamron and give them some sort of licensing right to make RF lenses.
And what about lens manufacturers with manual focus art lenses, like Lensbaby? They have had RF mount lenses for a while now.
So, could this be the end of third-party lenses?
Maybe, but I don’t think so.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
I have an 85mm Viltrox lens (Nikon) and would not call it a cheaply made lens as you state in your post. It is actually optically and mechanically quite well made… maybe not as good as the Nikon Z equivalent but a very good value. Much better than my old Nikon F mount on an adapter.
Let’s hope Nikon does not follow suit.
Fred LePiere says
Here’s the flip side: Some buyers may want to check out Canon’s R cameras but do it budget minded – by purchasing 3rd party lenses before they commit to Canon proprietary glass. If Canon limits the production of third party lenses, maybe some photographers will dig in their heels and not buy Canon R cameras. I’m one of these. Canon’s strategy is a double edge sword.