DP Review is reporting that Canon had submitted a clever design for patent protection back in 2014. This doesn’t mean a camera is coming soon, though. But if one does, it could be a big deal with this capability.
One of the benefits of some, current Micro 4/3 systems with eye-level viewfinders is that they are not an optical design. Instead, a small electronic display shows you a live view of what you are composing (with blackout during the shutter actuation, of course). If you are doing video, then it’s a full-time live view. You can get exposure information (and cropping aids, levels, histograms, zebra lines, etc. Of course, you can get this by using the rear image panel (usually and LCD). But having all this inside the viewfinder is awesome once you get used to it.
With DSLR’s, you can’t do this. The mirror, for any kind of shooting, has to be moved out of the way blocking the light path to the pentaprism (or mirrors) viewfinder. For video, you have to switch to rear-panel view. With the new design idea, it’s possible Canon will combine the benefits from both worlds.
Who knows, with Canon leading the way, maybe more companies will attempt this kind of thing.
So far, only Fuji, with some of their cameras, have attempted something like this using a simple rangefinder-like combined optical and electronic system.