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Thoughts and musings about 2019
There seems to be a lot of rumors floating around about Canon’s plans over the next year. Personally, I think it’s too early and many things can change between now and the end of the year. But I have my own thoughts about this and decided it was time to write down them down.
Canon has just released two cameras for the RF mount and has pre-announced 6 new lenses for the RF mount to boot. Unmentioned by Canon is a few things that we know, some small tidbits that Canon has told us, and more we can surmise generally.
Canon isn’t going to do much with the EF mount this year. A proverbial camera, the combination of the 80D and 7D Mark II may come out to sit on top of the Canon’s EF mount APS-C family tree, but other than that, there’s not much in the way of resources available to work on EF mount cameras or lenses. This would most likely have to be a new generation of image sensor to have any benefit over what people are already getting for the last three years with the 80D. It would not be too surprising that the holdup for this camera, was indeed the sensor. As we have discovered, Canon has been doing a ton of work on new sensor designs, some of which may be certainly implemented in a new camera body. I feel that Canon will indeed release a 7D Mark III camera perhaps starting off a new generation of sensor updates to the entire lineup of Canon cameras – much as the 80D did in the past. Canon has quite happily put the 80D sensor in just about every ILC APS-C camera, and even a compact camera, the G1X Mark III. Leveraging the sensor across so many cameras is a great cost saving to Canon and streamlines the engineering.
With 4K now available with DIGIC 8, new cameras must sweep across the APS-C lineup for Canon to remain competitive. We have been saying this since the M50 was released last year, however, Canon’s energies have been laser-focused on the RF mount. The Rebel lineup is still important to Canon as in different markets, it vastly outsells the EOS M camera line. Specifically, the Americas where mirrorless adaptation remains very low. The next wave of EF APS-C updates may end up being their last, as RF full frame prices will lower, and EOS M will take up more of the market, leaving little for the EF APS-C lineup outside of perhaps the 7D Mark III.
Speaking of the EOS M what’s going to happen with the EF-M mount? This is an ongoing question that Canon needs to answer. Canon’s goals over the last two years were to be #1 domestically for mirrorless and DSLR’s. They accomplished that last year. That was not because of the RF mount and the EOS R, but the success of the much smaller system; the EF-M system and the EOS M50 camera. Understandably, Canon sees much more profit in the EOS R system with L lenses and more expensive cameras such as the EOS R, and even the EOS RP is more expensive than any EOS M camera created so far. However, Canon cares deeply about market share. The M5 is going on 3 years old this September. I would expect at least one new camera, and perhaps Canon will continue to release one new lens a year (mostly true) in the EF-M by surprising us with another this year. There were rumors that there was going to be more than 6 lenses, perhaps with EOS M being the dominant player in Japan, Canon will focus more energy into that system.
Some have suggested that the EOS RP has killed off the EOS M. For domestic reasons already mentioned, and economic – the EOS M system sits below even the EOS RP in terms of price. This seems very unlikely at least in the short term. As we were the first to recognize and mention, Canon has created all sorts of problems long term with the EF-M mount and the RF mount, but those problems, and the answer to them are perhaps years in the future.
We now know that sometime soon the EOS R will get at least one major firmware upgrade, and on the horizon appears to be an EOS R high-resolution PRO model. In past rumors, it was suggested that the replacement of the DSLR the 5Ds was canceled and going to happen on the RF system. If I had to guess the 120MP DSLR that Canon promised back in September 2015 was this same DSLR. Creating this camera on the RF mount would pose it’s own particular problems such as the need for Dual Pixel autofocus to be on the sensor. The 120MP sensor was not DPAF. I could see Canon creating (easily I might add) a 60-70MP sensor using today’s technology to get the camera out the door as quickly as possible. Canon could do this with the current generation of sensors because the 80D DPAF sensor scaled up to full frame is a 62MP sensor. That would have the highest resolution of any full frame camera to date, and sport excellent noise and dynamic range, more than the current 50MP 5Ds and 5DsR. The bigger challenge probably for Canon is how do you do 4K video on such a camera? You can't just take a center crop of such a high MP camera, as it would be an insanely large crop factor to shoot 4K video, which means that Canon will have to implement possibly for the first time, full frame line skipping 4K.
Canon has many challenges over the next two or three years, and technological problems where they are clearly behind their competitors. I think we are in for an exciting period of time as Canon addresses these challenges with new products featuring new technology.
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