The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 couldn't stop camera rumors! Even as day-to-day life has radically changed for everyone, the wheels of production at the HQs of major manufacturers have kept on turning and kept the rumor mill churning. Throughout 2020 we've seen many prominent rumours come true, while others have stayed as pure fiction.
Take for instance some of the biggest announcements of 2020, like the Canon EOS R5 and Nikon Z5 or the leftfield Panasonic S5 and Sony A7C, all of which started as rumors. Not to mention the Canon EOS C70, which is changing the landscape when it comes to the best cinema cameras.
Of course, rumors abound around Olympus / OM Digital Solutions, after the Olympus Imaging division was sold to a Japanese carve-out specialist. The sale has now been agreed, but there are questions about which camera lines will continue and even how long the Olympus name will be kept – leaving the future of one of the pioneering mirrorless brands up in the air.
The talk isn't all mirrorless, though, as Ricoh is keen to prove that there's life left in the DSLR with the announced but still upcoming Pentax K-3 Mark III. And with rumors about the death of the Canon EOS 5D, does this all leave the door wide open for Pentax to capitalize?
We’ve rounded up all the reports and rumors that are most likely to come true this year, and also thrown in our own predictions as to what we may be seeing from the major players as 2020 rolls into 2021…
Canon rumors 2020
Canon is holding true to action points from its recent financial reports, and seems to be consolidating many of its DSLR offerings to concentrate on a more mirrorless-focused future.
Last year it amalgamated the Canon EOS 80D and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II lines into the new Canon EOS 90D, and the long-delayed Canon EOS 850D / Canon EOS Rebel T8i will replace both the Canon EOS 77D and the Canon EOS 800D / Canon EOS Rebel T7i.
However, aside from the newly released Canon EOS-1D X Mark III sports camera, Canon's future seems to be a mirrorless one – namely with the spec-tacular R5 and Canon EOS R6 full-frame cameras, but also with talk of new EOS M APS-C bodies. Not to mention its instant cameras, led by the Canon Ivy Cliq+ / Zoemini S and Canon Ivy Cliq / Zoemini C.
It also looks like a mirrorless Canon EOS R1 could be materializing in time for the 2021 Olympic Games to replace the flagship 1D X Mark III. Let's dig into some of the rumors...
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, entry-level cameras and more RF-mount cinema cameras like the 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 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 1D X Mark III.
It is being reported that the Canon EOS R1 will be unleashed at the 2021 Olympic Games in Canon's Tokyo home turf (along with a pair of pro RF super telephotos). While the 1D X Mark III is a blisteringly fast and brilliant DSLR, the R5 and R6 proved that the AF in mirrorless cameras can more than keep up with the action – so it stands to reason that we'll see the R1 at the Olympic stadium next year.
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.
Does this sound the death knell for the already somewhat ill-loved EOS M line? There's no indication of that at present, but, well, it doesn't seem impossible, does it?
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 (likely the new Smart Controller from the 1D X Mark III) 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 within the first half of next 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 in a recent (and slightly alarming) financial report, 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.
Couple that with the fact that Canon confirmed there won't be any new EF lenses unless the market demands it, and all indications are that 2020 marks the turning of a new mirrorless leaf.
Canon EOS M50 Mark II
Despite wild speculation that the manufacturer is planning to kill its APS-C line, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II (a follow-up to the monstrously popular M50 / Kiss M) has reportedly been added to retail product lists – and we've seen some leaked specs to suggest what to expect.
It will apparently feature the same 32.5MP sensor as seen in the Canon EOS M6 Mark II, along with the same EVF, single card slot and 14fps burst shooting. However, it will possess a new Digic X processor, be able to record uncropped 4K video up to 60fps, and will feature the latest Dual Pixel AF II (as seen in the R5 and R6). However, it won't feature in-body image stabilization as many had hoped.
The Canon verdict
What we think: This was the year that Canon went all-in on mirrorless and the RF-mount system, particularly since it has ceased development (but not support) of EF lenses. We now have amateur, advanced and dedicated astrophotography versions of the EOS R family, along with the first ever Cinema EOS camera using the R mount. It looks like Canon will be doubling down on the RF system in the next year, with options for professionals and novices alike. And while the EOS M50 Mark II seems to be on its way, it's hard not to wonder what the killer combo of the APS-C EOS R7 and the affordable EOS RP replacement might do to demand for this line of cameras...
Read more: The complete guide to Canon's lens terms