Canon's Mirrorless Transition Continues as Some DSLR Lenses Are Discontinued

Canon's Mirrorless Transition Continues as Some DSLR Lenses Are Discontinued

There is no doubt that mirrorless is where the majority of the industry is headed, and we have just seen another sign that Canon is pushing their resources toward mirrorless, as prominent EF lenses are showing up as discontinued or backordered with no expected in-stock date.

The EF 200mm f/2L IS USM is one of Canon's top-level professional lenses. And while it is spectacular, the company is now focused on its RF mirrorless mount. Perhaps unsurprising then is the fact the 200mm f/2L is now listed as discontinued on B&H and unavailable on Canon's main site. Alongside the 200mm f/2L, other prominent EF lenses are now listed as backordered with no ETA. This is not unexpected, as Canon will certainly cease EF lens production at some point in the future, and it seems reasonable that more esoteric professional lenses would be first to go. Fortunately, we have seen Canon's lens roadmap, which outlines a wide variety of replacements for the EF lenses alongside some exciting new options. Alongside that, a patent for an RF version of the 200mm f/2L recently emerged. While patents don't guarantee a product will come to market, I would be surprised if Canon didn't update this specific lens. Certainly, though, the availability of new DSLR lenses will likely begin to dwindle soon. 

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9 Comments

Spy Black's picture

The Nikon camp is crying even louder about the end of the F line. There's also talk the the 500mm PF Nikkor may be discontinued, which makes sense because they're going to need their raw PF glass supplies to make a similar lens for their Z9 for the Olympics. PF glass is hard to come by.

Daniel Craig's picture

I guess that's for better. The RF platform has a strong record for quality lenses so I'm quite excited to see what comes next.

Ed Sanford's picture

I chuckle reading this. It wasn’t that long ago when commenters on this and other forums constantly complained about Canon’s lack of innovation.

Robert McCaslan's picture

Well, Canon did experience a long dry spell. Their DSLR sensors since the 5D Miii (some would argue, Mii) were ho-hum providing very little to cheer about. DPAF was a nice advance, I guess, for video shooters, but for those shooting stills, there wasn't much to cheer about. Lenses were a bright spot but mostly because Canon already had an incredibly strong lineup. There were incremental improvements to the 16-35, 35mm 1.4, and exotic primes (okay, shaving a pound or two off the weight of a 600mm lens was a big deal), and the introduction of the 11-24 lens. But compared to what both Sony and Nikon were doing, Canon clearly lagged in innovation.

Perhaps, Canon was saving its energy for its big push into mirrorless? It sure looks like it, because right now Canon is neck and neck with Sony with Nikon an unfortunate distant 3rd (even with the Z9 pre-announcement, Nikon is still in danger of getting lapped), and the breadth of innovative lens released and anticipated has my head spinning. It remains me of God Father Part I when everyone thought the Corleone family was doomed until they came back with a vengeance and took complete control.

Thus, there was much to complain about. But I suspect few outside Canon's inner-workings knew that Canon had decided that investing in DSLR technology was a waste of resources with the inevitable move to mirrorless rapidly approaching. In hindsight, it was clearly a brilliant move.

Ed Sanford's picture

I cannot argue with what you’ve said. However, the comments were down right vitriolic bordering on pure hate. Canon just quietly and methodically developed their products in a logical and cogent manner thereby quieting the crowd like Brady throwing a TD. Having said that, I have no plans of changing out my DSLR and EF lenses anytime soon.

Lawrence Huber's picture

I agree.
Canon saw mirrorless as the future and behind the scenes was preparing for it.
Look at DPAF and how long they have been developing it.
Now we see why and what a huge leap ahead it has been over all other competitors.
Canon was perfecting it just for the mirrorless.
Smart move where Nikon was caught flat footed in the future of mirrorless and Sony became complacent.

Michael Clark's picture

The difference between the EF 16-35/2.8 L II and III was significantly more than "incremental". Ditto for the EF 35mm f/1.4 L and II. The difference between the sensors in the 5D Mark II and 5D Mark III was negligible. The 5D Mark IV sensor was a good step forward in DR while also increasing resolution from 22 to 30 MP. Have you actually ever used any of these cameras/lenses?

Robert McCaslan's picture

Lol, if you think that going from 22 to 30MP is anything but incremental--it takes at least a doubling of resolution to get a noticeable improvement--then you are truly living in a dream world. Compare what Canon did over this period to what Sony and Nikon were doing at the time and only true Canon homers would dispute that Canon was dramatically outpaced by the competition.

But, alas, I don't have time to debate obsolete technology. I'll leave that to the old-timers sitting on the porch waxing poetically about how much better film and range-finder cameras are.

The good thing is that the R5--and probably R1--are such vast improvements over their predecessors that anyone with the resources and desire/need for the dramatic advances in both performance and IQ won't have to ponder long about making the move to mirrorless. With Nikon, I'm still trying to determine whether it is even a step sideways, much less a step up, to switch from their high-end DSLRs to Nikon mirrorless.

Michael Clark's picture

The increase in resolution was incremental, but it was an increase. The increase in dynamic range at base ISO was far from incremental, which is exactly what I said in the comment you demonstrated you failed to comprehend.