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Canon's thorny problem keeps getting worse
BCN for November showed a complete Canon dominance, with the top 2 positions held by Canon and 6 out of the top 10. Now granted as we have said many times in here, BCN is just a reflection of the Japanese camera market. But per capita, Japan spends more on cameras than any other region that CIPA tracks. Nearly twice as much as the Americas and Europe CIPA regions. On top of that, Japan is the headquarters and manufacturing center for most of the camera manufacturers – so there are also cultural reasons why they would place high importance on the Japanese market.
From the high level, everything is looking good, Canon leads in sales and that’s excellent for Canon overall.
But the problem is that the Canon Rebel SL3 is in the #1 spot, and the M50 Mark II is in the #2 spot. Overall the EOS-M and EF-S Rebels took 6 out of the top 10 sales positions in Japan. So the real problem is that the Rebel EF-S lineup is still selling well, and the EOS-M’s M50 and M50 Mark II are still the darling mirrorless cameras in Japan. None of the cameras were the new RF mount cameras. As a matter of fact, the R6 was the best-selling RF mount camera in Japan at position 22.
The Rebels still selling well are a transition problem for Canon. It makes it so that they have to do a "race to the bottom" sell Rebel cameras on the RF mount. However, Canon doesn't seem to want to do any APS-C lenses, so herein lies the problem. It's impossible to replace the APS-C lineup that exists in the EF-S system without creating lenses specifically for the smaller sensor size. Canon certainly wants to kill off the EF mount system, as they want everyone that is on the EF mount to purchase a new RF mount camera. There is are a lot of EF-mount cameras out there. It's a huge market for Canon. Of course, Canon already has a mirrorless system that competes against the EF Rebels, but the problem there is that it's not the RF mount, it's the EOS-M mount.
Some people suggest that EOS-M for instance is dead and Canon is going to move to the RF mount, however, for each EOS-M camera they sell in Japan the more difficult it will be for them to make that decision.
Frankly, I’ve said it a few times, Canon should have just taken all the EF-M lenses (the good, bad and ugly) and moved them to the RF mount. This should have been done years ago. They could even have left the lenses EF protocol; I don’t think anyone would care that much. Transition the EOS-M system over with a small RF-M 100, RF-M6, and an RF-M50 essentially the same as the EOS-M camera bodies and change the mount to RF. However, for each EOS-M camera or lens that gets sold in Japan, this becomes more fanciful dreaming than reality.
I honestly don’t know what Canon will do here, besides what people may want to believe the EOS-M lineup has been a huge success for Canon and has greatly helped keep Canon’s market share sitting at around 50% for the past 4-5 years. The problem with the EOS-M system is that because it’s so inexpensive, there simply isn’t the profit. The profit is getting people to buy into the RF system and the halo lenses and camera bodies that will exist in that mount.
Keep in mind that any of our rumors about an RF mount camera has been that it is around a 90D or a 7D style of camera, this too will not be a mass-market camera, but a specific camera to appease the wildlife photographers that need pixel density. It will not, for instance, help Canon transition all these EOS-M and EF-S users that continue to purchase those cameras.
It will be interesting to see what Canon does, but the longer they wait the more painful this will be; to consumers and also to their corporate pride.
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