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Canon and thoughts about what is coming
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Canon and thoughts about what is coming

This has been a year of transition for Canon.  Starting with September 2018’s announcement of the RF mount, the announcement reverberated through the industry, and still we are feeling the aftereffects of both Canon and to a lesser extent Nikon both announcing new mounts.

Ending off this year, for the most part, will be setting up the preparation for 2020.   Next year will be one of those years where things just come together for Canon to make some serious splashes.  It’s marketing heaven for Canon, as they have upcoming in 2020;

  • CP+ in February
  • PhotoKina in May
  • Olympics in July-August (held in Japan)
  • Canon Expo in end of August-September

I would be very surprised if next year wasn’t one of the busiest years in recent Canon history simply because everything is aligning for that to happen.

I got an email in our inbox today (thanks) about another site’s thoughts about what is upcoming. I have slightly different takes on the subject, and now that we know what the 90D and the M6 Mark II have, I think that also helps us see into the future a bit with future products from Canon.

C500 Mark II

Okay let’s start with an easy one.  This one is coming on around September 5th ahead of IBC.

High Resolution EOS R

This is a hard one, and still is for Canon.

While it may seem a trivial matter to take the APS-C 32.5MP and upscale to full frame, there are still hurdles that Canon must cross before this becomes a simple straightforward process.  As far as we have been made aware of, Canon is still using 300nm on its full frame sensors, while the APS-C sensors are using 180nm technology.  Canon would have to not only scale up the sensor, but also the ability to create full frame sensors with at least 180m technology in house.  While that may be more of a process issue for Canon, it may also cause some angst.  The birth of the 1DX Mark II saw Canon move from 500nm to 300nm for full frame sensors, I’m not sure how easy and inexpensive it will be to change it for the next series of full frame sensors.  There are benefits though, the 180nm process also supports four metal process, which includes copper to assist with smaller geometries, lower power requirements and faster sensors.

With the Sony A7R IV, the days of high-resolution cameras being slow and only good for landscapes has past us.  Personally, I don’t think Canon can do anything but make this a high-performance camera as well as high resolution.

Some of the good news is that we do have a new upper limit to what DIGIC and current Canon sensor technology can do in terms of raw fps performance, since the M6 Mark II tops out at 32.5MP at 14FPS (those specifications alone may make for a nice 5D-like EOS R), however that still only achieves around 6fps at 82.5MP.  Respectable, but not exceptional.  I’m not sure how well that would be received against a 61MP at 10FPS camera as its main competition.  A dual DIGIC camera may take it up into the realms of 10fps, but that also would have its own problems such as power requirements and battery life.

So, there may not be a simple straight path to a high resolution camera quickly.  That’s not to say that Canon won’t move quickly – The 90D and the M6 Mark II shows clearly that Canon was tired of losing on the “spec sheet wars”.  32.5MP at 14fps will be very nice bullet points (of course removing 24fps video shows that Canon still hasn’t fully learned that lesson).

While I see this camera coming in 2020, it has no real importance for the Olympics, so it could come at any time. The Olympics is the 1 series show.  It may be something that Canon pushes back to the Canon Expo.  Because there is a ton of stuff that Canon needs to get done before the Olympics, and there’s only so much they can release.

1DX Mark III

Almost everyone is stating that Canon will not say much about this until next year.

I would not be surprised to see a development announcement this year, similar to the 1DX.  The 1DX was announced on October 18, 2011 but wasn’t available until the following March.  Especially because Nikon is supposed to be announcing the D6 in this coming September.  It simply doesn't seem to make much sense that Canon would be completely quiet from the D6 announcement until sometime in 2020.

We haven’t heard much about this camera, with the exception that it is in trials, and is expected for the 2020 Olympics.

Having it available for the 2020 Olympics is pretty much a no brainer.  There’s simply no possible way that Canon is not going to go into next year’s Olympics without a new 1 series camera.

Could this even be mirrorless? Until I saw the firmware update for the EOS R, I would have said no.  Now I'm not too sure.

You take a body the size of the 1 series camera, with the power capability in the 1 series battery packs, and the ability to use up to 3 DIGIC processors to do your heavy lifting and Canon could do a lot of good things in an RF mount, quickly.  The question is, has Canon had enough time to create such a camera?  It takes many years to design and develop a 1 series camera body.

Say what you want, it would be angst for the EF mount users, but an RF 1DX with a set of RF super telephotos would make a huge splash at the Olympic games.

Canon RF lenses

The RF 70-200 F2.8L IS USM and 85mm 1.2 DS was both expected to be released this year.  The 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM is expected to be formally announced in December and released then.   It’s unknown where the 85mm 1.2 DS is, but it certainly still may be formally announced this year, and delivery pushed into next year.

The rest of the RF schedule, we’ll probably hear about in January or February next year, I think Canon liked having the entire year to show off prototypes and keep the discussion active with respects to the RF mount.  I don’t expect to see them change from that. While it’s not a roadmap that everyone else is doing, it’s as far of a roadmap as I could see Canon being comfortable with.

What’s up for Canon in 2020 in terms of RF lenses? It’s hard to say at this point, we know they’ve been busy patenting a TON of new lenses.  All of which there will be business decisions made on the priorities to release the new lenses.  With the F2.8 “trinity” completed by the end of 2019, I would hope that looking over at the Nikon Z will encourage Canon to think that the F4.0 trinity would be a good one to fill out (especially when lenses like the EF 70-200 F4, 16-35 F4 have been huge successes for Canon. I mean really who doesn’t have at least one of these lenses?).  There will be primes, and I’m sure at least one lens that shows, “this is what we can do” lens as well.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to see more consumer lenses as well, since the EOS RP has to be considered an important camera for Canon leading into the future.

We also have the Olympics, and the RF mount should be in Canon's plans as well for the Olympics.  It wouldn't surprise me if Canon releases some super telephotos, or at least telephoto zooms or primes for the RF mount. Right now the longest lens will be 200mm.  Don't expect that to continue into the 2020 Olympics.

I can’t see any work done on Canon EF, and Canon EF-M lenses may not get much love either.  For the EF-M mount, it would be nice to get another more upscale kit lens, and perhaps another portrait prime (a 50mm 1.4 should be low hanging fruit there), but we haven’t heard a thing about either. 

Canon may consider doing some “Olympic” lenses such as an update on the 200-400 or some other super telephoto lenses or zooms for the EF mount, simply to go with a 1DX Mark III at the Olympics.  It’s going to be the largest Olympics for Canon, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more than a 1DX Mark III geared towards it.

Canon EOS-M M5 Mark II

Oh so much has been made about the dpreview comments.   It is now, 2 days later and it's almost considered FACT that the M5 Mark II is not coming.

I can’t see this happening.  The EOS-M is Canon’s most successful mirrorless system right now.  I’m going to go out on a limb and state, the M5 Mark II will come. (and it’s not because I want my own M5 to get an upgrade either!)

I personally feel that if the M6 Mark II was to officially replace the M5 and the M6, Canon would have named it something different than an M6 Mark II.  Occam’s razor folks.  Dpreview is the only source right now stating that M5 is replaced by the M6.  I know some are thinking because the EVF comes bundled that replaces the M5.  No, it could simply mean that Canon feels that including the EVF will help sell M6 Mark II’s.  This wouldn’t be the first mirrorless camera to have an external EVF included with the bundle.

When?

Canon’s normal releases come out in January to February before CES or CP+.  CP+ will be huge, because it’s the Japan show leading up to the Japan Olympics. It’s not going to get bigger than this.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the M5 Mark II closely follows the M6 Mark II (but in reverse order) and is released before CP+ in 2020.

Canon 7D Mark III

I’m not sure what to make about this camera.  I think the fast demise of the EF market shocked Canon, and this probably put many future plans on hold.

This may be a camera that Canon does quickly.  Simply taking what the 90D has and giving the camera a 7D set of ergonomics and AF performance.  They could, of course, go further, with multiple DIGIC to handle iTR and raw performance of the camera, consider they have to work on this technology anyways for the 1DX Mark III coming out.

From what I’ve seen of the 90D while it’s an exceptional upgrade from the 80D, there are just too many little things that could have been easily added to the 90D that would have made it more acceptable to 7D users.  The 90D ergonomically sans joystick is basically in all purposes an 80D upgrade, not some hybrid mix of 7D and 80D.

Only Canon knows how many 7D Mark II’s have sold, and if it’s worth while making a new one.

I think if we’re going to see this camera it will be between now and the 2020 Olympics. I think if Canon doesn’t release this camera before the Olympics, there’s probably a pretty good chance it’s never coming.

How about the rest?

There are some consumer models coming up, updated Rebels, and possibly a M100 EOS-M upgrade.  There should be also an upgrade to the EOS-M M50 on the horizon.

Canon will move quickly to take the new APS-C sensor and leverage that through the entire system, much like they did with the 24MP DPAF sensor.

There could be other surprises, like a high-performance RF camera. Again, it's the Olympics, anything is possible really, it just depends on how much time and capability that Canon has left after releasing the 1DX Mark III.  A high-performance RF camera would certainly fit into Canon's future plans, probably even more so than 1DX Mark III.

Summary

I'm going to be honest. It's all really speculation (sans C500 Mark II) right now.  Canon is facing problems as they have never faced before (well probably since the EF mount got established).  I'm sure many of their plans are on fast track, and they are planning to respond quicker and more nimbly to issues then they have done in the past (for instance the firmware updates to the EOS R).  Canon also has clamped down on most of the leaks (the one from Canon Australia leaking the everything about the 90D and M6 Mark II was embarrassing for Canon. I'm sure someone got into alot of trouble over that).  Expect some surprises.

While they are focused on profit, profit comes from doing many little things that amount to greater overall gains for Canon. It doesn't just come from "mirrorless full frame" as what seems to be the narrative lately.

They are also facing one of the largest marketing opportunities in the last 20 years in 2020, and the competition will certainly be gunning for top spot as well.  Sony has shown to be a remarkably nimble and technologically advanced camera company - and Canon is going to have to to start taking things seriously if they wish to continue to hold #1 spot in the industry.

I think personally it's going to be an exciting time to watch what happens in the industry.  The 2020 Olympics is a once in a lifetime event for the Japanese companies, and it's going to be fun to watch what happens.

At the end of the day, we benefit by getting better and better equipment.

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