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The 2020 Olympics are postponed – now what?
Firstly, I understand the human and economic costs that we are all going through right now. Especially since I have already gone through my own COVID-19 scare. None of what I state or talk about in here diminishes the global problem of COVID-19, and the great sacrifices that many are making to contain the virus. My thoughts and prayers go out to all that are suffering, and for those on the front lines, the doctors and nurses that take care of us.
With the postponement of the Olympics, there is good news and bad news with respect to Canon. Now first the bad news for Canon.
The bad news is that the Olympics in 2020 was poised to be a Canon major event. Canon expected over 70% of the cameras and equipment used for the games to be Canon. In other words, complete domination. The new 1DX mark III combined with the R5 was going to provide Canon with a unique 1-2 punch that the other camera companies simply could not match for the 2020 Olympics.
With the Olympics postponed to possibly 2021, Canon has already told the world what they were doing, and the other manufacturers will have nearly 18 months to “catch up” to where Canon is right now. Canon lost the tactical surprise of launching an 8K camera when no one else was even close to ready to be launching one. I’m sure much of their marketing and strategy discussions were about how the R5 will be a surprise to the industry, and it would have a head start going into the games when the other competitors were unprepared to match the R5. Let's face it - it was so much of a shock that many people refused to believe it was real. The extra 18 months gives Sony, for instance, quite a bit of time to come out with a competitive next generation A7S, assuming they didn't have to go back to the drawing more in complete despair.
But there is a some good news though with the games not held in 2021, as another camera is poised to be front and center for the games; the EOS R1 – Canon’s first mirrorless 1 series camera body. We have been told since last year that this was coming in 2021, and with the games now in 2021, you can be sure Canon will accelerate its development to be coming out before the games. I would also expect the full suite of super telephotos out for the RF mount as well. In a way, having the games in 2021, helps Canon promote the RF mount as the future of EOS cameras at the games – more than they could this year, with simply an R5 and a 100-500 F4 – F7.1 super telephoto zoom. Canon will go into the games with the fantastic 1DX Mark III and have the 1 series R camera side by side, and let the users choose which platform they want. As far as the competition, Nikon may also release a mirrorless flagship for the games and Sony has already updated their A9 to a Mark II last September.
The global economies taking a dive do not help the camera companies' financial situations. Possibly making the fortunes of the smaller companies even direr. Add to that the fact that the Yen is considered a safe haven currency in times of trouble. Both can play havoc on the products being released and the initial prices that are set on a country by country basis. While the R5 and R6 may have come out close to the 5D and 6D pricing, the changing economic landscape could dramatically alter the selling price of the cameras.
As far as the announcements that were expected in the coming months. I would not be surprised to see the announcements released on schedule, but with the expected release dates pushed back weeks if not months. I'll be curious to see how September plays out; with the possibility of the PhotographyShow UK and Canon EXPO both potentially being held in September. They could end up being quite the important camera events for Canon, considering there's been basically nothing else this year.
To all our viewers, please take care, and be safe during these troubled times.
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