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What's coming up in 2021 for Canon
Richard Cox
/ Categories: Editorials
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What's coming up in 2021 for Canon

We did one of these up last year, and actually had a pretty good success rate with it, so I decided to put it all out there again this year, just to see how wrong I can possibly be.  I suspect, very wrong.  As with last year, this is my own thoughts, with some logic leaps sprinkled in.

EOS R1

This one is a no brainer. We’ve known since September 2019 that it’s coming, and with the Olympics being held (we hope!) next summer, Canon will certainly take advantage of the situation and launch their flagship before the summer games.  Expect a development announcement in late spring, and for the R1 to be showcased at the games.

The rumored “super sony'' and the Nikon sports camera all seem to suggest they are getting 8K sensors.  I personally feel this is just “me too” with respect to the R5.  I don’t expect to see large sensors in the sports cameras released next year by Canon, Sony and Nikon.  Why? It’s simply too hard to handle that much data flow wirelessly at sporting events with everyone else transmitting images as well.

There is one reason why the R1 may get 8K treatment, and that’s if they feel that the 8K in the R5 is gimped enough because of heating and they want a better 8K camera for the games.  However, since I expect an actual 8K video camera to also come out before the games, I’m not really sure how important this would be to Canon.

The rumors abound with thoughts of a global shutter R1.  It’s an interesting proposition, and there’s certainly Canon global shutter sensors that could do that.  However, all these shutters are multi-exposure HDR or a fairly low DR if it’s a single shot.  For example, one of Canon’s latest global shutter sensors as a breathtaking DR of 120db, but only 75db in single-shot (around 12EV), the 1DX Mark III has a base DR of 14.5EV.  Dynamic range is less of importance perhaps than a global shutter, but is it the optimum solution?  It will be difficult for Canon to hit Sony A9 readout speeds without some trickery or going global shutter. In the end, I think it depends if they feel this is an important target to reach.

What I do think Canon may do is advance Dual Pixel Autofocus to either allow pixels to be arranged horizontally and vertically and possibly diagonally (I have never seen this but there’s no reason they can’t) on the same sensor.  This would allow for cross-type, diagonal cross autofocus points - however, the calculations would be, well, insane.  Or they may go quad pixel autofocus, something they have explored in many patent applications that we’ve found.

The R1 will most certainly look, smell, and feel like a 1 series camera body.  There’s one simple reason for this - Canon wants the professionals to move from the 1 series EF mount to the RF mount.  They are going to make that transition to be as painless as possible.

Canon EOS R5s

This is my camera when it comes out.  The rumors have dried up a bit on this camera this year, however we’re still expecting something relatively soon.  Why? Canon right now doesn’t have the highest megapixel camera on the market.  Canon simply is not going to allow that to happen.  As the EOS R’s can approach a gigapixels per second, expect this to actually have a ton of pixels and be able to have an H+ mode at a reduced bit depth of some pretty good fps - maybe even around 10 fps.  10 fps at 100MP? Sign me up. My reasoning? Fast AEB.  If I’m shooting exposure bracketing, I don’t necessarily care if each image is only 12 bits, however, I want as quick as possible to minimize ghosting.  I would be shocked if this camera does not coming out next year.  Then again, I expected it this year.

As far as how many pixels does it go - I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this approach or be around the 100MP value.  Canon had in the past started the development on a 120MP DLSR, so a 100MP mirrorless doesn’t seem that far fetched.  Yes, doing a Dual Pixel sensor is more difficult, but it’s not that much more difficult.  100MP is a pretty good marketing number to hit as well.  I hope this is Canon’s first true “ROI” readout camera, allowing Canon to do high-speed APS-C crops.  A 100MP full-frame camera capable of doing 39MP at say, 15-20fps would be the ultimate wildlife camera.  Sure it’s expensive, but it’s vastly better than anything you’ll get at 2K too.  

Oh, and don’t expect it to take a great video.  This is a camera meant for us stills folks.

Canon R5c

I talked about the easy to guess cameras first, the R5s and the R1, but what else could be in store for the R series next year? I think they’ll refresh the cheaper lineup like the RP, but it is really hard to predict what Canon may do.

There was a huge interest in the R5 as a video camera.  Probably more than what Canon actually expected, but considering how much they hyped the video, it’s hard to see how they dropped the ball so badly.  I think because of this that Canon does create a R5c - a video orientated camera. They came out with the C70 but the C70 isn't a hybrid. Canon still does not have what the internet calls a true hybrid camera.  Outside of the 1DC, they never really tried to tackle this head on.  They may feel that the R6 and R5, but with overheating issues it’s hard to really see that.  If the A7S III sells well (and by all reports, it is selling well) then Canon may have to dust off some plans and make a camera that looks and behaves like the S1H - internal cooling, bigger body and meant to handle both stills and video with aplomb.

Canon R7

The problem I’ve had with the APS-C lineup is that outside of this 7D, what’s the point of it?   You need APS-C because of the following main reasons;

Smaller and Lighter lenses can be developed for APS-C

This is an issue, but I think Canon is looking at this and thinking we already have the EF-M.  It's complete and we don't need to do anything with it.  EF-M lenses can be made smaller, and thus lighter than their RF counterparts.  With all the APS-C rumors stating no RF-S lenses, it seems that Canon is thinking the same thing.

Pixel density assists with focal length limited use cases (the birders)

As we first talked about before the RF mount even was officially announced - the 7D is the problem child for Canon.  I personally think that what all these rumors are stating is that Canon is going to make an R7 and just toss it out there with the super telephotos and that’s it.  They may do a crazy 17-70mm full-frame lens and wrap it up with that camera as well. But also consider that Canon did actually bundle the 7D with the 28-135mm full frame lens, they just may ship it with the 24-105L and call it a day.

Potentially a cheaper camera to make

This used to the case, especially with DSLR and sensors.  Full frame DSLR's require larger optical viewfinders, mirror and shutter assemblies.  When sensors were costly to develop and manufacturer, APS-C was the sweet spot for size versus cost.  Is that still the case? Since a $1299 EOS RP came out, I don't think so. The cost of creating a full frame mirrorless inexpensive camera, versus an APS-C inexpensive camera is a minor difference. The only difference is mechanical, with the full frame cameras needing a larger shutter assembly.

So what really do we have? The only reason that Canon currently has difficulty with, is the pixel dense situations such as birders that are focal length limited and they need that pixel density that you get from APS-C.  They right now simply don't have a mirrorless solution for these people.  Which is why I think we're hearing these rumors about an APS-C camera coming, but with no RF-S lenses on the horizon.

RF Lenses

If the current rumors are true we are going to get a TON of lenses for the RF mount.  I have talked to CanonRumors about the lens rumors, even last year, and his source is 100% accurate.  While Canon may not hit these targets, I think they are certainly going to push for these lenses to come out in 2021, especially the super telephotos.  Those, I feel, will be the highest priorities next year.  As you will note, there's not a single lens in there that could be a RF-S or an APS-C specific kit lens.

Just in case you missed it, the lenses are rumored to be;

  • Canon TS-R 14mm f/4L
  • Canon TS-R 24mm f/3.5L
  • Canon RF 10-24mm f/4L USM
  • Canon RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM
  • Canon RF 24mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro
  • Canon RF 35mm f/1.2L USM
  • Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
  • Canon RF 135mm f/1.4L USM
  • Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-7.1 IS USM
  • Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM
  • Canon RF 500mm f/4L IS USM
  • Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM
  • Canon RF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM
  • Canon RF 1200mm f/8L IS USM.

EOS-M

Well, after that M50 “Mark II” release is there anything Canon is doing for this line? I personally think Canon thinks that this camera line has hit maturity.  They aren’t going to do much to it and they deem it “good enough”.  They may hit a M5 Mark II, or an M7, but that’s only if they start to lose some significant market share.  Let’s face it, Canon’s resources are 100% completely tied up with the RF mount, and it’s going to be that way for years.

It’s not as if the EOS-M isn’t important, it’s just less of a personpower priority.  I think we’ll see an M250 this coming year because Canon will refresh its lower-end models.  After that, unless the M50 Mark II is DOA and doesn’t sell at all (in other words, Canon completely loses the momentum of the M50 line), I don’t think Canon will do much at all for the EOS-M’s.  The M50 has been propping up Canon’s market share, so you can be sure they'll watch it.

I don’t expect any more EF-M primes from Canon.  Since we now have 16,23,30,33 and 56mm third-party vendor primes (and we may get an 85mm in the future as well) I’m not sure how important this is anymore.  

I’d love (as would everyone else) an EOS-M 15-45 F2.8-4.0 though.

COVID thoughts

COVID-19 is not behind us, the world is not “turning the corner”.  This winter is going to be bad.  We are already seeing cases jump in Europe and North America, and I suspect we’ll see the same in China, Vietnam, and Canon’s supply lines, and ultimately Japan.  It’s my hope that a global push for vaccines (and even more important - refrigeration) occurs and the world recovers from this quickly.  Because of this, any rumors about next year are all asterisked with a COVID may change timelines. 

As always, stay safe out there.

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