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Canon coming out with a lower priced EOS R model - Maybe?
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Canon coming out with a lower priced EOS R model - Maybe?

An interview with Canon is circulating the web with many people focusing on one question and answer where Canon was asked if they could foresee an EOS RF mirrorless camera coming out, cheaper than the EOS RP is now currently.  Canon answered Yes.

Many people are taking this to mean there’s one eminent, or Canon will release a model under the EOS RP.  I honestly don’t think so. I think they are missing the point.  Consider that the EOS RP was released at $1299.  An RP Mark II could be released with incremental upgrades at a lower price, and Canon knowing their camera timelines, market positioning, could see a day where they make an RP Mark (insert roman numerals here) cheaper than the RP was released at.

To illustrate this, all we must do is look at the rebel cameras in the Canon EF lineup.  This is especially relevant when you consider that the rebel APS-C cameras closely mirror the EOS RP except for mirrorless and a full frame sensor.

  • 600D(T3i)             $899
  • 650D(T4i)             $849
  • 700D(T5i)             $849
  • 750D(T6i)             $749
  • 800D(T7i)             $749

Do you see a trend? Canon’s lower end sophisticated Rebels have been slowly creeping lower in price based upon improved automation of assembly, economies of scale and competition.

Also, to mention that Sony seems to be content to simply put A7 II’s on sale for $1000 as a kit price as they have basically had this sale on since December of 2018.  This makes Canon’s EOS RP seem expensive when compared to a Sony kit that includes a lens, and the Canon EOS RP is $1299 with no kit lens.  Further complicating this is the Nikon Z5 that is apparently coming out which is a low-cost Nikon Z mount mirrorless full frame camera.  This is also going to force Canon to lower the price of the EOS RP, and possibly any future RP as well.  Canon has put the EOS RP out there to compete based upon price, right now anyway it’s not winning that competition.

Canon has also stated that more and more of these cameras are going to be built by automated factories and not by employees.  This would also make the RP’s future generations cheaper than the RP.  This is especially true with mirrorless, because of the lack of critical mechanical components such as what is found inside a DSLR. Also, economies of scale come into play.  As more mirrorless R cameras are manufactured and sold, the less expensive the common components are. 

So yes, Canon can confidently answer the question “Do you see a full-frame camera coming in at a price below the RP?” confidentially knowing the rough evolution of the EOS RP line without bringing any new camera into the fold.  It certainly doesn’t mean that Canon will launch another camera below the EOS RP soon.

Now to play devil’s advocate – could Canon release a mirrorless camera lower than the EOS RP?

Yes. Easily. Tomorrow even. We only need to look at the EOS M5 and EOS M6 to see what Canon could do if they wanted to.  Create an RP without the EVF and a more streamlined smaller body and offer an external EVF.  Not many changes would have to occur.  Suffice to say, without smaller R lenses an EOS RP without a viewfinder would be problematic.

As we mentioned in the The pros and cons of merging the 80D series and the 7D series article, Canon in the past has certainly created multiple camera bodies with the only difference being ergonomics.  An EVF and EVF-less model of EOS RP would certainly fit into the thought that they are creating camera bodies that appeal to specific user groups.  Even though this is possible, and only Canon knows the sales of the M5 and M6 to use as a baseline, I can’t honestly see Canon doing this in the short term.  As the line expands and more consumer lenses become available, and kits can be made with smaller and lighter kit lenses, then anything is certainly possible.  But releasing it now would be extremely strange.

I personally feel that people are taking Canon's answer the wrong way and that it certainly doesn't necessarily mean another model is coming in under the EOS RP. Simply, the normal evolution of the EOS RP lineup over time, will ultimately see lower and lower MSRP prices of full frame camera bodies.


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