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Upcoming Canon EOS R1 to ONLY feature 21MP sensor?

Upcoming Canon EOS R1 to ONLY feature 21MP sensor?
(Image credit: Canon)

We've heard a few exciting rumors about the upcoming Canon EOS R1 recently – but this could be one of the most significant tidbits of information leaked so far. Apparently, Canon has developed a brand new sensor for this high-end upcoming camera. However, it will reportedly only offer 21MP.

In a world where beefy megapixel counts are increasingly commonplace, this might initially seem like a misstep. However, when you consider that the Canon EOS R1 is apparently mean to be a mirrorless equivalent of the Canon EOS-1D X line, then the diminutive megapixel count begins to make a little more sense.

• Read more: Best Canon camera (opens in new tab)

The recently released Canon EOS-1D X Mark III (opens in new tab) only features a 20.1MP sensor, so there would likely be a very slight bump in image quality from the 0.9MP increase. However, a professional sports and wildlife camera isn't about huge megapixel counts (and the accompanying massive photo files that come with them).

Instead, sports camera technology tends to focus on providing sizable image buffers, lightning-fast burst modes and responsive AF. And indeed, the rumors reported by (opens in new tab) Canon Watch certainly point to this. Apparently, the newly developed sensor has these specifications:

• 21MP full frame sensor (6.4um)
• Global shutter
• 120dB dynamic range
• 120 fps

The Canon EOS R1 is rumored to be arriving in 2021, with some rumors speculating that it'll be appearing in the latter half of the year. However, we'll have to wait to see whether any more interesting information is leaked…

Read more: 

Canon EOS R5 vs R6 (opens in new tab): What are the differences and which is best for you?
Hands on: Canon EOS R5 review (opens in new tab)
Hands on: Canon EOS R6 review (opens in new tab)

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With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab) and  Digital Photographer (opens in new tab). Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.