As summer hits full swing in the northern hemisphere, the camera rumors are starting to heat up with some sizzling speculation about what's on the way from the big names in the business.
We've already seen some of the longstanding rumors bear fruit, with the likes of the Sony A1 and Fujifilm GFX 100S now available to buy – and news of the Canon EOS R3 and Nikon Z9 are also coming to fruition, as the arch rivals battle to keep pace with Sony.
Between the A1, R3 and Z9, we're looking at three cutting-edge cameras with stacked image sensors that could well represent the beginning of the end for mechanical shutters – perhaps the last vestige of the DSLR era. Still, with the likes of the released-at-last Pentax K-3 Mark III, the DSLR vs mirrorless cameras debate continues to rage.
We’ve rounded up all the reports and rumors that have been doing the rounds – take a healthy pinch of salt with each of them, but also be conscious that there is very often fire where there's smoke!
Canon rumors 2021
Canon is always the subject of more camera rumors than any other manufacturer, in large part because it has been the most prolific photographic patenter for 35 consecutive years.
Last year saw some of its most innovative products ever, including conventional camera bodies like the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 along with seriously left field products like the Canon PowerShot Zoom – a pocket-sized monocular camera with a 100-800mm focal range.
And while Canon's upcoming camera – the 30fps, stacked sensor, eye-control AF Canon EOS R3 – is an increasingly known quantity, there is plenty more to discuss at the water cooler when it comes to what else is on the drawing board…
Will there be SEVEN R-series cameras in 2021?
It may sound crazy, but reports are indicating that Canon might be preparing to release a whopping seven RF-mount mirrorless cameras in 2021. These are expected to cover a broad swathe of the market, encompassing a professional model (the EOS R3), entry-level cameras and more RF-mount cinema cameras like the recent Canon EOS C70.
Below we're going to dig into what these RF-mount releases are expected to look like, before broadening out into a look at what Canon is up to more generally…
Canon EOS R1
With the R5 and R6 now firmly established, respectively replacing the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Canon EOS 6D Mark II, it looks like the next DSLR to be succeeded by a mirrorless model will be none other than the flagship sports camera, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III.
Now, you'll need to take this with such a huge grain of salt that it's dangerous for your sodium levels, but here are some leaked Canon EOS R1 specs: it will supposedly boast an 85MP global shutter sensor, capable of continuous 20fps bursts at the full 85MP resolution 40fps when cropped to 21MP, with Quad Pixel AF, in-body image stabilization capable of up to 9 stops, along with 15.5 stops of dynamic range with a maximum ISO sensitivity of 1.6 million.
Sound too good to be true? It probably is. But then again, the specs of the R5 sounded too good to be true when they first leaked, too…
Canon EOS R7
While the scuttlebutt suggested that Canon had no intention of introducing an APS-C body that makes use of the new RF mount (since that would seem to conflict with M-series cameras, such as the Canon EOS M6 Mark II), Nikon pressed ahead with a very successful ASP-C iteration of its Z-system – the Nikon Z50.
Whether or not Nikon's success had any bearing, we're now hearing rumblings that Canon is doing likewise – and that the Canon EOS R7, effectively replacing the 7D line, might be on the way. Which, given that the manufacturer is now definitively moving away from DSLR-first development, makes perfect sense.
Recently, we've heard tell that the EOS R7 is probably going to be coming in the second half of 2021. It's expected to be the smallest member of the EOS R family, pitched at sports shooters and videographers, and while there are no current plans for dedicated RF-S lenses, there will be lenses that suit both this smaller camera and its larger brethren.
Canon EOS RS
Not to be confused with the EOS R5, Canon is rumored to be developing a high-resolution full-frame mirrorless camera to compete with the likes of the 61MP Sony A7R IV. In fact, we've even seen some reports suggesting that a medium format-rivaling 100MP EOS R is being worked on.
The latest rumblings come in the form of a list of purported specs for what has been dubbed the Canon EOS RS – a nod to the Canon EOS 5DS, which is the 50MP high-res DSLR that the mirrorless version would effectively replace.
According to these claims, we can expect an 80MP sensor, with a slightly larger body than the EOS R that comprises a bigger grip, LCD and EVF. Additionally, it is claimed that the "viewfinder" (it is unclear whether this is the EVF or the LCD) can be tilted up and down, and that the camera possesses a "new style" of joystick (potentially the Smart Controller from the 1D X Mark III that also features on the R3) along with dual SD card slots.
Canon EOS RP replacement and 'big brother'
The Canon EOS RP was one of the first EOS R cameras out of the gate, so it makes sense that it would be due a refresh. We understand that it's getting a replacement which – happily – is expected to be cheaper than the original.
The other half of this picture is that the EOS RP is expected to get a 'bigger brother' camera, to fill the sizeable gap that will occur between the entry-level replacement and its next-nearest cousin, the EOS R6. Details are scant on this camera right now, though we know it won't be an 'EOS R Mark II'.
Canon EOS C50 and C90
Also expected to join the party in 2021 are the Canon EOS C50 and C90, two more cinema cameras with RF lens mounts. While we don't know much at present, we're hoping we won't have long to wait, as these cameras are expected to make their debuts around the midpoint of the year.
Canon is killing the 5D line
The release of the mirrorless R5 coincides with reports that the 5D DSLR has been put out to pasture. The latest rumors claim that development of the Canon EOS 5D Mark V was abandoned some time ago, and that there will be no direct successor to the popular Mark IV model.
While the story is sad, if true, it doesn't come as a huge surprise – and it certainly aligns with the company's publicly stated shift away from DSLRs…
Canon DSLRs and EF lenses
Canon has done a brilliant job to revamp its DSLR line from top to bottom over the past couple of years, from the new baby EOS 250D / Rebel SL3 through to the 32MP powerhouse Canon EOS 90D to the 1D X Mark III pro sports camera.
However, as the company stated again and again, Canon will be veering away from DSLR development and doubling down on mirrorless cameras, along with compacts such as the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III and Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II.
Canon already told us that there won't be any new EF lenses unless the market demands it, and the latest reports are that 24 EF lenses have been discontinued. Between that, and development being apparently abandoned on the 5D Mark V, all indications are that a new mirrorless leaf has been turned.
Canon EOS-M vlogging camera
The future of Canon's EOS M series of mirrorless cameras remains a popular talking point, particularly with the Canon EOS M50 Mark II offering but minor upgrades to the line.
A handheld vlogging camera with a built-in gimbal, making use of the best Canon EF-M lenses, would be an ingenious implementation of Canon's APS-C system. And given that it has already been the subject of around nine patents, it certainly feels like a product that's likely to be realized…
Canon Posture Fit
Revealed at CP+ 2021, Canon's latest concept camera looks like a Pixar character straight out of WALL•E, and dances on your desk. But why, and what does it do?
The ultra-adorable Canon Posture Fit monitors your posture while sitting at your desk and will "communicate with cute movement" to alert you when you've been sitting for too long, or when your posture is poor.
Conceived in response to a Canon designer seeing his wife suffer with shoulder pain, since working from her home desk during the pandemic, the camera doesn't capture your face or background but solely monitors your spinal position. And instead of alerting you with annoying pop-ups on your screen, it dances to get your attention – the logic being that computer alerts are easily ignored, but nobody ignores a cute pet when it wants attention!
Whether it makes it past the concept stage isn't yet clear, but when Canon goes to all the trouble of producing and showcasing a public prototype, it has historically proved to be a very good sign.
Canon PowerShot Pick
This one isn't really a rumor, since the camera is already a reality in Japan, though it remains to be seen whether it will see release in the rest of the world.
The Canon PowerShot Pick is an AI-powered PTZ camera that acts like your own personal photographer, able to capture moments you would otherwise miss – whether you leave it on the table during a birthday party or mount it to your hot shoe while photographing a wedding.
A brilliant concept that was first revealed at our own The Photography Show, we certainly hope to see it hit these shores.
The Canon verdict
What we think: Canon seems to have gone all in on mirrorless, but not just in the sense of traditional camera bodies – more and more we're seeing it stretch the boundaries of photo products, with concept cameras like the PowerShot Zoom, PowerShot Pick and Posture Fit. Sony has fought fire with napalm in responding to the EOS R5 with the Sony A1, and Canon has returned a ferocious salvo of its own in the form of the 30fps, eye-controlled Canon EOS R3 – which may also spell the beginning of the end for mechanical shutters.