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Will Canon Scrap the EOS M Mirrorless Lineup and EF-M Mount?

The announcement has landed and it’s now official: Canon has launched an APS-C RF-mount digicam. The truth is, it hasn’t simply launched one – however two – within the type of the R7 and R10. It might sound unusual, on condition that Sony and Nikon have had APS-C fashions for a while, however it is a large deal as a result of Canon already has the EF-M mount and EOS M APS-C mirrorless vary. This begs the query, is Canon about to scrap the EOS M line?

Panasonic and Olympus ushered within the new age of mirrorless cameras with the formation of the Micro 4 Thirds consortium and the discharge of the Panasonic G1. It was a daring transfer that oddly had its origins in Olympus’s failure to transition the unique movie OM to digital. This failure led it to rethink what a contemporary digital digicam ought to be, releasing the 4 Thirds E-1 in 2003.

The Olympus E-1 DSLR launched in October 2003.

The digicam was a professional mannequin focused at journalists and sports activities shooters however, for a variety of causes, by no means took off. Quick-forward to 2008, and Micro 4 Thirds is similar system however with out the mirror field. It changed the optical viewfinder with an digital viewfinder (or rear show) and, in so doing, simplified the bodily design by permitting the elimination of the mirror field and pentaprism.

Whereas this will likely appear logical to us with the advantage of hindsight, it was technology-leading on the time and the affect can’t be overstated, as a result of each single producer launched a brand new mirrorless system (and Pentax launched two!) every with their very own spin on what mirrorless ought to be.

The Canon EOS M Line and EF-M Mount

Canon was hardly fast at becoming a member of the mirrorless social gathering, following Sony (2010), Nikon (2011), and Fuji (2012) with the discharge of the EOS M in 2012. Like Sony and Fuji, it kitted its digicam out with an APS-C sensor (1.5 crop issue) in an effort to get a lovely mixture of picture high quality and digicam measurement. That is in distinction to Nikon which used a CX sensor (2.7 crop issue) which could have appeared like a good suggestion on the time however positioned limitations on picture high quality and depth-of-field.

That mentioned, what each Nikon and Canon had in frequent was their method to mirrorless: these have been seen as shopper merchandise and there was by no means any intention {that a} mirrorless digicam could be focused at working professionals. The pondering behind this strategic choice was two-fold. Firstly, the technological underpinnings of mirrorless cameras have been sound, however their implementation was flawed. Comparatively poor contrast-based autofocus techniques and restricted battery life meant they weren’t prepared for the prime-time.

The unique Canon EOS M unveiled in 2012 was extremely anticipated however flawed.

Secondly, DSLRs have been making good cash! They peaked in cargo worth in 2012 and have become the largest digicam section in 2013. Why introduce a digicam system that may cannibalize your profitable DSLR gross sales, whereas on the identical time performing much less effectively?

Then all of it modified when Sony launched the full-frame a7 in 2013; abruptly these cumbersome DSLRs appeared like yesterday’s tech and — whereas not flawless — the longer term was clear to see.

This all brings us again to the EOS M line and the 2 principal issues in transitioning to a full-frame mirrorless system. Firstly, the mount has comparable specs to the Sony E-mount and was designed for an APS-C sensor. When you can squeeze a full-frame sensor inside — and Sony has achieved simply this — it comes with technical limitations compared to mounts which can be particularly designed for full-frame, which each the Canon RF-mount and Nikon Z-mount are.

If Canon was going to supply a full-frame mirrorless digicam system to switch its DSLRs, then it wouldn’t be following the route Sony took, however ranging from scratch to supply one thing each best-in-class and designed to be long-lived. Secondly, the prevailing lineup of lenses for EF-M was vanishingly small and nonetheless stands at solely eight. Beginning once more with a brand new mount made rather more sense.

Enter the RF-Mount

It’s controversial as to when Canon determined to develop the RF-mount, however in all probability round 2015 after having seen the success of the a7. Nikon and Canon confronted a dilemma: they each had APS-C and full-frame DSLRs, alongside separate, consumer-oriented, mirrorless techniques. What kind ought to their new skilled mirrorless techniques take?

Sony had already taken the plunge with APS-C and full-frame fashions, with lens techniques designed for every sensor measurement that have been totally interchangeable. It made for a versatile system that customers appreciated. Nikon is following swimsuit, implementing a “floor zero” answer. It has already scrapped its mirrorless 1 System and has made it clear it’s all however abandoning its DSLR choices. It’s the Z-system all the way in which, which has ASP-C and full-frame choices, once more all totally interchangeable. The truth is, the corporate made its intent clear early on, releasing its first Z-system cameras in 2018 (the Z6 and Z7), following them up in 2019 with the APS-C Z50.

In the meantime, Canon steadfastly caught to a full-frame solely mantra and it took till 2021 for the APS-C rumors to emerge, with the cameras arriving in 2022. The well-specified R7 has impressed us at PetaPixel, whereas the R10 is a budget-friendly powerhouse.

Each are capable of take full-frame lenses, though it could seem – along with the 18-150mm – that APS-C particular fashions are on their approach. Whereas Canon has considerably fleshed out the RF lens vary, they don’t essentially make an entire lot of sense for these new APS-C cameras for value, measurement/weight, or focal size causes.

Which APS-C Future?

In gentle of this historical past of Canon’s involvement in mirrorless cameras, it’s pure to surprise what the corporate now plans to do with its EOS, EOS M, and RF APS-C cameras. That’s lots of APS-C cameras and lenses to proceed promoting and creating. Coping with the second level first… it could appear probably that there shall be no growth of both the EOS or EOS M strains. Particularly, the DSLR EOS vary is at a useless finish, and whereas Canon seems comfortable to proceed producing them for keen patrons, it’s the tip of the road. Nikon’s exit from the DSLR market might put an additional spin on this section as gross sales may oddly start to extend for Canon, nevertheless that’s unlikely to result in new fashions.

That leaves the EOS M and Canon’s persistence in conserving the vary alive, even when the lineup of 4 cameras was final refreshed with the M50 Mark II in 2020. Maybe one of many causes for that is that they promote effectively in Japan and usually prime the BCN gross sales rankings. In that sense, they each generate income and are fashionable within the essential residence market. Do they make sufficient cash to proceed creating them? The discharge of two RF-mount cameras and an RF-S lens suggests not.

Canon categorically denies that both the EOS or EOS M ranges shall be discontinued and that — on face worth — appears to make financial sense. For a way for much longer this continues to be the case stays to be seen, however I might be shocked if we see many cameras in these ranges surviving past 2025. It’s an RF future.

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