Step Aside Sony, Canon’s First Full-Frame Mirrorless May Go on Sale This Year

Step Aside Sony, Canon’s First Full-Frame Mirrorless May Go on Sale This Year

You’ve probably involuntarily drooled over Sony’s a7 III and dreamed of the day you too can enjoy the compact mirrorless format with your own lenses. Well, the wait may be over for faithful Canon shooters.

Fresh rumors of an announcement (and sale) of Canon’s first mirrorless full frame camera just got bumped from 2019 to 2018.

I too long for a mirrorless system. As a one-bag digital nomad, the compact format and lighter weight would be a welcome replacement for my faithful, but heavy, 5D Mark III. I’m not keen on dealing with lens adapters or Sony’s infamous camera menu, so I could be persuaded to hold off on switching to Sony for my next camera. A switch wouldn’t be a big issue for me since I’m pretty minimalist and shoot with one lens, but folks who’ve invested thousands in Canon glass may well have a travel-friendly upgrade on their Christmas wishlist.

Per the latest mumblings from Canon Rumors, Canon’s full-frame mirrorless should be announced and go on sale before the end of the year. With Photokina coming up in a couple months, we may see an announcement sooner than that.

Are you considering a switch to Sony? Would you stick with Canon if their mirrorless debuts this year?

Jonathan Lee Martin's picture

Jonathan Lee Martin is a fine art landscape photographer, educator and globetrotting digital nomad. He’s traveling the world for a year to discover unique landscapes and help fellow landscape photographers lighten their load to go further.

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Sony isn't going to step aside for Canon,Nikon or anyone. Let Canon bring their best and we will see how it does. Remember Sony has been at this fullframe mirrorless game for longer, and Sony is STILL the world's leader in camera sensor tech, so whatever Canon comes up with you can be sure Sony will be able to top it with no sweat. I was an award-winning Canon pro shooter for 40 years, yes 40 ,and switched to Sony for the better product and also because Canon has disrespected its loyal followers with its drip, drip, of half-baked updates and releases. We will see if Canon can match ALL the performance of the best Sonys at an equal price. If Canon doesn't equal or surpass Sony in EVERY spec. and in EVERY way, then the only folks their new mirrorless camera will be for will be those clinging to their extensive Canon glass collections. Talk and rumor is just that. Come back again when you have real cameras to talk about. In the meantime Sony will have some new releases of their own to push the fulframe mirrorless envelope even further. Cheers

You could say that about plenty of companies throughout history. Remember, Nikon, Leica has been in this game for 67 years longer. Remember, Canon, Nikon has been in this game for 20 years longer. Blah blah blah. History has proven time and time again that the winner is not necessarily the one that is first to market. Sony's primary advantage at the moment comes from their strong sensor production, but as other companies gear up their own sensor divisions, they'll likely catch up pretty quickly as usually happens with companies that get the benefit of not pouring their money into R&D dead ends and reverse engineering what actually works.

Sony is undoubtedly successful, but neither have they had any legitimate competition in the mirrorless market either so there's no way to really know how they'll respond to a situation where their market share starts to be threatened. I wouldn't at all be surprised to see the innovations actually slow down if they start to lose any mirrorless market share because they will have to squeeze more value out of the tech that they've already invested in to keep up the profit margins.

The big question is whether they will actually lose mirrorless market share or whether Canon and Nikon's share will simply come from their current DSLR users who haven't already jumped ship. All I know is I'm going to grab my popcorn and watch a very interesting show unfold for the next year or two.

Michael Jin, the proof is in the pudding. Until Canon has proven they can truly compete with every feature and at the same price point, Sony will still be ahead in fullframe mirrorless tech and systems. I think Nikon will do a better job than Canon with their fullframe mirrorless, they are a smaller company and HAVE to succeed here to survive. Canon has gotten too big for themselves and their corporate philosophy makes them believe the public will buy any mediocre release JUST because it says Canon on it. They are spending tons of money promoting their lackluster M50 cameras as a "miracle" camera, and blind Canon fans are buying it, but NOT the rest of us who don't have Canon blinders over our eyes. I chose not to be blind anymore and went with a company that has the tech and the will to lead in innovation. Canon has to do a lot here to try and get any tech leadership back. Are they up to the task? We will see soon enough. If they stumble out of the blocks with ANYTHING LESS than a complete equal or better product, they will suffer further losses in the mirrorless market. Cheers

Considering the fact that Canon is still the top selling brand despite everything you just said, it seems to me that they'll be just fine even if they else a mediocre product. The fact of the master is that professionals who are really critical of every aspect of their kit are a very vocal minority and still remain that way.

The VAST majority of the market consists of people that think that Canon is a camera company despite the fact that they sell numerous other things and that Sony is a company that makes TV's despite the fact that they are a very competent camera company. That's a very difficult perception to erase and I think that you are underestimating how much of a challenge it actually is.

I am in agreement with you otherwise. Until we have the cameras in our hands, everything is just conjecture.

>Canon has disrespected its loyal followers with its drip, drip, of half-baked updates and releases

That's really what it felt like. Had the 5d2 for a long time, but wanted better AF, video, stabilization and ergonomics. Both 5d3 and 5d4 felt way too expensive for minor upgrades. 6D was interesting, but not strictly better. Neither was 6d2 for that matter. I actually saved money by switching to Panasonic. Sony might've been good too, but Panasonic had better video at the time.

Re: Sony menus...
1) when your camera has a f***load more capabilities, there will necessarily be more menu options and complexity
2) when your camera is extensively customizable, there will necessarily be more menu options and complexity
3) the language to describe certain functions is different than Canon's language. If you have trouble comprehending this, then yes, the menus will seem horrible. However, if you CAN comprehend this AND have the ability to learn new things, then you'll be just fine.
4) My Menu basically ends any and all potential complaints about menus.
5) You also get a "Fn" button with access to other often used functions. Say " thank you, Sony".
6) The "menu complain" is tired. So... so... SO tired.

Next topic...
For those who just can't wait for Canon to release a FF mirrorless but who don't plan to buy mirrorless lenses to go with it... you're an idiot. If you're okay with adapting lenses, why not go for what will easily be the more capable body and sensor and just buy a Sony body now? Why would you do that to yourself? Stockholm syndrome is the only thing I can come up with. Adapted DSLR lenses aren't likely to be any better on a FF Canon mirrorless body than they are a Sony body. You can throw the "but it'll be a Canon lens, Canon adapter, and Canon body" spaghetti against the wall but in reality, it ain't gonna stick. The Metabones and Sigma have it pretty much figured out at this point.
For those who just can't wait for Canon to release a FF mirrorless and plan to buy mirrorless lenses, just how many do you think Canon is going to launch? PLEASE tell me you're not the same people who ragged on Sony (and probably still do, naively) about a lack of native lenses and then plan to jump onto the Canon mirrorless ship immediately and pretend you're fine with the lack of lenses. If the lack of native lenses for Sony was bothersome and they were releasing them at breakneck speed, waiting for Canon and Nikon to release a full suite of lenses is going to drive you clinically insane.

Finally - you're either ready to switch to mirrorless, or you're not. Regardless of what Canon and/or Nikon bring to market, Sony will have the most advanced and comprehensive FF mirrorless system for at least the next 5 years, and probably more like 7-10 (because every time Canon and Nikon come out with something new, Sony will have come out with something else new so Canon and Nikon will be playing catch up for a VERY long time). Don't be a self-sacrificing brand loyalist.

NOTE: I COMPLETELY understand those who are in no hurry and are waiting to see what Canon and Nikon will bring to the table, will evaluate ALL of the options objectively and THEN make a choice which has NOTHING to do with brand loyalty. If I were still shooting DSLR and I was considering switching to mirrorless, I might consider that if I could put up with shooting a DSLR for another year. Especially if third-party companies (ie, Zeiss, Sigma, Tamron, Samyang, Tokina, and the manual focus lens manufacturers) announce that they'll produce Canon and Nikon compatible versions of their FF mirrorless lenses (I do like the Batis line). This could lead one to believe that Canon FF mirrorless will be flush with great lens options right away. But, third party lenses work well for Sony because Sony will actually work with those companies. Canon? Probably not...

Love the Fn button!

Native adapters will always be better than third party adapters due to the lack of a need for reverse engineering. Canon and Nikon should be able to get better performance out of their native adapters than what's available right now. And Sony's ergonomics are garbage as is their weather sealing. I'm going to guess that whatever Canon and Nikon come out with will be better in this regard even if they are still behind in sensor technology.

Personally, I've thought about switching to Sony because I do think that mirrorless is where the market is going to go, but at the same time I'm really in no hurry to switch since my current camera does just fine. By the time it's finally breaking down, it'll be interesting to see what the landscape looks like at that point.

Native adapter better than 3rd party?
Ergonomics are garbage? Nope.
Weather sealing is garbage? Nope.

Sounds like FUD regarding your opinion on the adapters. It sounds believable in theory but theory and reality aren't always aligned. Let's wait and see if there's any practical difference, shall we?

I actually prefer the ergonomics of the Sony bodies with a RRS base plate over the ergonomics of every Canon camera I ever owned. Like the menus, they're DIFFERENT. Not worse.

I've taken both my A9 and A7RIII out in the rain with no issues. But, I don't set my cameras in pooled water, either. Here's a real-world, side-by-side tale of weather sealing failure and survival...

The moral of the story, IMO, is that any camera can fail in the rain.

My cameras often fail (to get good photos) in the best weather! ;-)

It is a paid footage. Well, I do not complain about my canon cam body. It survives under pressure of -25 of Celsius, it survives +30, it survives snow and rain, sandy wind. I am not sure sony would give me a product with that kind of survival abilities. I will not risk it.

Michael, are you speaking from experience? Do EF lenses work better with mirrorless Canons (EF-M) than they do with Sonys (E/FE)?

Nah, the Sony menus are just bad, and I'm saying this as a Sony shooter and software developer who has studied UX design at uni. While the Fn menu is good, anything that you change less frequently and need to go into the main menu to find is a PITA because they're grouped into either "Camera" or "Cog" menus, one one of 8 pages each, in no particular order, with apparently just as many items as they can fit onto each page. It could be vastly improved if instead of the numbered subpages there were meaningful categories - a focus subpage, exposure subpage, display subpage, etc. But no, they're all just in there, and often what you'd assume would be related (say focus mode and focus assist) are in completely different sections of the menu!

the menu does have a favorites section that you can customize... it's pretty simple

I explicitly mention that this is for items you can't fit into the my menu, like electronic first curtain shutter for example.

I was on Canon for about 10 years before I switched to Sony a couple months ago. I really don't get all the hate for their menu system. I rarely go into the menu anyway.

Sony's approach to menus is antiquated. They need to forget about what their current users know and redesign the menus to be more current. Panasonic has to deal with comparable complexity, but their menus are easy to navigate and make sense.

Also, come on - A touchscreen that can only be used to change focus points? The A7 III is an amazing camera, but Sony really need to enable touchscreen navigation of the menu across their entire range.

"Step aside Sony"

Is this satire?

They love clickbait titles on this site anymore.

They love them because they work. You do know their goal is to get people to read articles, right? ;-)

Meh I'm just less inclined to click on that persons articles in the future. Along with the habitual "Here is this paragraph intro, but really I'm snaking this other guys content, go watch his video!"

I can never remember who wrote what. I come here because I'm bored so I don't really have anything invested in it. :-)

I think there is a good chance you'll still need an adaptor to use EF lenses. I just can't see them not making a new mount. If they do, they should just market it as something they are expanding on. It won't really dip into their other sales until they have more native lenses. By that time, which took Sony about 5 years, they should have a decent lineup and the transition should be linear. Right now I don't think Canon is going to try to convince photogs to switch. I think for this camera they are just trying to keep photogs from going. In the end, I'm curious what it will be.

I don't understand why you guys (above commenters) seem to care so much. Buy and shoot whatever you like and let others do the same. I know this isn't the case but, you sound a bit insecure. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

My thoughts exactly. Every Canon article brings the Sony fans out in force. I shoot Canon and can't be bothered to read Sony articles.

Sergio I shot Canon for 40 years and then switched to a better pro system, Sony fullframe mirrorless. I miss NOTHING about my Canon and Nikon DSLRs. We will ALL see if Canon is up o the task, or will hold back features like they always seem to do in their mediocre releases. Cheers.

Yup, I read your biography up there in the comments somewhere. Cheers.

Sergio - the way I read your post was "I shoot Canon and can't be bothered to leave my echo chamber".
"Ignorance is bliss" is a saying for a reason.

I think it's more like "It's the injun, not the arrow." The art is created by the man, not the tool. It doesn't matter what you shoot, as long as it helps you achieve your vision. He's happy with Canon. That's why he won't be bothered with Sony. If you're not happy with Canon, go switch to Sony then. But trolling Canon articles? How does that help you achieve your vision? How does getting others to switch to your preferred brand help your photography?

Don't be surprised if Canon EF lenses perform better on Sony than Canon's new mirrorless.

I would actually be pretty surprised if this was the case.

If Canon doesn't have Eye AF, that would be at least one way Canon lenses would perform better on Sony bodies.

This would be true assuming that Eye AF is really accurate enough. My limited experience with it has been rather hit or miss. I'll add the disclaimer that I've not tried the a73 or a7r3 yet but perhaps it's gotten better.

As a Nikon shooter I can tell you that Canon's DPAF is more drool worthy for me than Sony's Eye AF. But that's just personal preference, I suppose.

I initially purchased an A7RII about a year ago when I still had my full Canon setup. The Eye AF using adapted Canon lenses with that camera was pretty good as long as the subject was somewhat still. Eye AF with native lenses was better. Then, user experiences started rolling in regarding the A9 and I decided to buy one and see if I could switch from Canon. The Eye AF with adapted lenses was substantially better, and better still with native lenses (practically flawless). The A7RIII was then released and I didn't see enough reason to sell the A7RII and buy the A7RIII at the time, but again, as user experiences started rolling in, I realized that for me, there WERE enough reasons to upgrade from the A7RII. By this time, I no longer had Canon glass but my experience with Eye AF from the A7RII to the A7RIII was vastly different. There was a huge improvement. It wasn't quite as good as the A9, especially for fast-moving subjects (I had my daughter run as fast as she could directly at me and used Eye AF with the same lens on both cameras and the hit rate with the A9 was 100% while the hit rate with the A7RIII was much lower but still respectable given the nature of this test), but again the improvement over the A7RII was dramatic. I would assume (though I can't say definitively) that Eye AF with adapted lenses has been improved quite substantially as well.
As for DPAF - it's a FANTASTIC technology but I don't feel like Canon has put enough processing power behind it yet. It is, IMO, the very best AF system for VIDEO, but for stills, I believe it's on down the line for fast moving subjects. I feel like if they put more horsepower and better algorithms behind it and find a way to implement Eye AF, it might be able to rival Sony's AF.

Canon M50 Have eye AF

True. But my premise remains. It needs more horsepower. Here's the summary from DPR...

"The M50 is Canon's first camera to sport Eye AF, though its functionality is quite limited. When in Face Detect + Track mode the camera will focus on the eye closest to the camera. If you want to 'switch eyes' just press the AF point selection button twice.

Unfortunately, there are many modes in which Eye AF cannot be used, including Servo AF and while shooting video. It's nice to see Canon finally embrace this feature, but the company still has a lot of catching up to do. Most mirrorless brands have had some form of Eye AF for over 4 years, and Sony's evolved it to a point where it can reliably track eyes continuously even at high burst rates."

In summary, they're 4 years behind at this point.

Using Canon 400/2.8 with Sigma MC-11, love the pics, much better than the 5D4 & 1DX can ever produce.

Sony's menu is not that bad... Period, end of story. This needs to stop being as big a deal as some reviews make it out. You set the camera up for how you want it, and you rarely ever need to go back in after that. I've shot most all brands and all full frame brands but Leica and they're all different, if you are only accustomed to one then everything else is going to be a learning curve, that's it. It's not a big deal at all. Definitely not a real reason to not choose a system. System choice should be best tools(s) for what you do... I shoot full frame with a 24/25mm, 50mm and 85mm... I've shot Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Fuji, Sony and ultimately stuck with Sony for best features for what I currently shoot. The lenses I needed werw readily available for all systems so it came down to what worked best, for the time being that is Sony. Canon may come out with something but if the photo and video features don't meet or exceed (highly doubtful) then no switching will be needed. Pretty sure others are likely in a similar mindset, regardless of what these articles are telling us lol

Agree regarding the menu system. I switched from over 10 years with Canon to 2x Sony A7RIIIs about 5 months ago, was expecting the menu system to be horrendous as it seems to be such a big issue when you read about it online. Was pleasantly surprised - the menus are great, and with all the custom buttons I rarely need to use them anyway.

I did, however, use a Sony A7R II recently which has the older Sony menu system and it is absolutely terrible - just a long list of items in no discernible order whatsoever, absolute nightmare to use.

I find it strange that every Canon article brings the Sony trolls out in force.

Sergio, and every good review of another groundbreaking Sony release brings out all the Sony haters and Canon and Nikon fanboys. Nikon and Canon are the ones playing catch up, not Sony anymore. Cheers

Catch up is relative to individual needs. Sony clearly has everything you need and that's great. For others, Canon suits them best and still others, Nikon. Shoot and let shoot.

I would agree to the principal in that - yet when it comes to Image Quality - RAW File Quality neither CANON or NIKON come close ! Whatever the BEST Nikon Body can do - SONY does it better - sorry to say !

Really? You think so? Having a Nikon D810, I'm going to have to call BS. That's not to say Sony's IQ isn't good but, "neither...come close!"? :-/

I find it strange that any article written could possibly assert that Canon can launch a system that would be competitive with Sony to the point that Sony would need to "step aside". No, not strange. Laughable. Pathetic. Ridiculous. Idiotic.
Hyperbole has no place in journalism meaning this wasn't journalism. You want to talk about trolls? This was hyperbole based on RUMORS. It doesn't get more brand-loyal/troll-like than that.
Look, I love all systems and think there are advantages, disadvantages, and similarities between them all. I think some companies have a better ______ (same lens, flash, camera) than others that could be labeled best in class. But this article is straight up ridiculous and needs to be called out. There was ZERO objectivity here and I'd guess a definite lack of real-world experience with Sony's latest cameras to boot.

No kidding... It's completely laughable to announce imaginary cameras as knocking out products that not only are on the marketplace, but are proven amazing products. This is some of the worst writing I've ever read. fstoppers should pull such a ridiculous piece. Even if the products were announced a writer should proceed with some caution until actually product reviews were done.

If these were Apple products, people would lambaste the piece to high heaven.

" Trolls " ... that is interesting - I do understand that it is very frustrating to work with an inferior Camera/Lens system Mr Tello - trust me I've been there 😂😂😂

Another mirror-less ("mirrorless" isn't a word) yawn. This nonsensical hype reminds me of the Toyota Prius love-fest. It's simply a different means of getting from point A to point B. Sure, it's interesting, until it isn't anymore. Funny how non-hybrids are still dominating.

A word that is adopted into common usage (such as 'mirrorless') is "a word".

Any true scholar of English recognises that English is an extraordinarily rapidly evolving language.

But, as you say, "yawn". Linguistic pedantry is never particularly clever or interesting.

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