What Would Canon’s $800 Full-Frame Camera Mean for Sony and Nikon?

Last week, rumors surfaced that Canon is plotting an entry-level, full frame mirrorless camera that will go on sale for just $799. Will there be the glass to go with it, and will Nikon and Sony choose to compete?

In this detailed reflection on what Canon’s budget offering could bring, Tony Northrup points out that the closest competitors would be Sony’s a7 II and Nikon’s Z 5 at $999 and $1,299, respectively. Of course, both of these manufacturers have APS-C models that undercut even this proposed “EOS RC,” demonstrating very different strategies.

The news comes at a time when there’s a fresh bout of speculation that Canon is still pondering whether to introduce an RF-mount APS-C camera, and a budget full frame R would suggest that splitting the lineup in the same fashion as Nikon is increasingly unlikely. Northrup makes some good points regarding lenses and buyer confusion when it comes to trying to figure out crop factors, and for me, there’s a hint that Sony might be pondering a similar approach, though perhaps not for at least a couple of years. The a7 C shows that Sony is keen to go smaller and more compact in its full frame lineup, though at $1,798, it’s definitely not an entry-level option. Will the rumored Sony a5 take on Canon for the cheapest full frame camera?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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The RP was questionable at best. Going cheaper isn't going to help. Even the Z5 isn't that great, but passable. That's what more money gets you.

It means Sony will come out with a new similarly equipped FF model for $799 or less. Competition is good.

As is, a Sony a7ii is 300 cheaper than the newer 6600.
The only advantage to the apc 6600 is some greater video

A cheaper version of the a7c would relegate the apc line to replacement for those with it's lenses

The 6600 actually blows it away in terms of AF too. I'm a full frame snob and would still prefer the A6600 over the A7II any day.

In ten years latest this TN will be a clown. How can you (FS) bother us with that kind of crap? Why don't you add a feature to your website so the readers can flag off this kind of content? Jirsa and Barnell would be on my list too.

There is such a feature, it's called the "back button". On your browser, it would be the button that has this symbol on it: "<--" (or similar) Look towards the upper left part of your browser, you'll find it I'm sure.

Alternatively, if your mouse is so equipped, there might be a back button on it also. There's usually a forward button and a back button. The back button would be behind the forward button. Do let me know if I lost you.

If you're the "keyboard is king" type, it would be ALT + left arrow; or on a Mac, Command + left arrow.

Happy to help,

Uncle Ed

Jealousy isn't pretty...

As I stated under Tony's video " C stands for cinematic" so RC is definitely not the name this camera is going to be called.

Stay tuned, next week: What would a $599 Full Frame camera mean for Canon and Nikon?

No IBIS No sale

Because you're the only potential customer the camera makers have left?

Because I'm not a smartass who tells other people what they want or need.

Coming up through the film era of photography, I read some of the comments here and can't help think about how spoiled many photographers have become in the digital age. Sometimes I think that the current generation of photographers have lost their way when it comes to the true essence of photography.

Agreed. Imagine writing off an $800 camera because it doesn't have IBIS. Just hold the camera still lol

Nah, you're just on a site that caters primarily to gear heads. I like talking about gear as much as the next guy, but most of the cameras I shoot on a regular basis are glorified boxes with a lens and film plane.

The only thing that the Sony a7II competes on is price.... The AF and usability of that camera is far far behind what would be acceptable by many today. Sony has had plenty of time to leverage its existing tech to make a better budget camera but they so far have been hesitant. Canon has plenty it can leverage here too and is no stranger to breaking into a lower priced market with a solid product. Nikon and the Z5 is in a good position already with its overall great price/performance and feature set, but Nikon will need to figure out how to compete at an even lower price if Canon goes through with it. A Z5 sans IBIS, dual card slots, and some other toned down features may get them to the mark with a Z3.

I do not want a 800 usd full frame camera. That will be crap anyway, like the cheaper Rebel DSLR? Nor do I want cheep lenses.

I want an affordable camera system. Sorry to say I don’t think it will be from Canon, anytime fast. Today with lenses from Tameon and others Sony don’t need a 800 usd camera to keep up. Or maybe they do but not if you consider the investment of the whole system.

Then you're obviously not the buyer Canon is aiming for with this model.

All of the gearheads that want an a7r IV or R5 at the price point of a 2000D just popped their heads up. It's the same as their take on the EOS M system that they say is garbage, all while Canon has made EOS M the best selling mirrorless system on the planet. Just because it isn't for you doesn't have to mean no one else would want it.

Totally agree, dump APSC once and for all.
Do not dumb down the sensor too much and must keep IBIS and EVF.
The TX Canon made as good of photos as the F-1. Why? The film (Sensor) was the same.
Metering pattern, interchangeable everything and motor drive, rugged build and other pro features.
But please allow beginners to make high quality photos on and inexpensive camera and IBIS is critical for getting those shots sharp and impressive to the beginner.
Start it at $599 body or $699 with a kit zoom.
I know with proper manufacturing economies it would make money and be a great seller

And I still wouldn’t swap my APS-C kit for it.

If Canon wants to release an affordable RF mount camera, they also need to release affordable lenses.

While I'm certainly not opposed to affordable RF lenses, there are plenty of us who have built up a solid collection of good EF-mount glass and would be happy just adapting that onto an RF body if the right body came along.

I've been stubbornly holding onto and shooting my 5D Mk II this whole time. If and when I ever decided to upgrade to a newer mirrorless camera, having one available at a low price point would be extremely compelling to me personally. Of course it all depends on specs. If $799 buys me 14 megapixels, 3 frames per second, good ISO performance up to 1600, and 1080p30 video, I'm probably not all that interested. If it lands closer to 30 megapixels, has solid performance at 6400 ISO, and can shoot 4k30, I'd be all over it. And TBH since I'm primarily a still photographer, I'd consider it if they ignored video altogether and focused on making a really good bang-for-buck still camera.

What I don't care about is bells and whistles like wifi/bluetooth, built-in HDR modes, 10 million autofocus points, mem-levels of resolution, etc. Leave them out.

Competition is generally good for the consumer as long as it does not turn into a race to be the cheapest which is a race to the bottom. I personally would like to see cameras with fewer features offered with the best sensors at a lower price. I don't want video, I don't want AF, I don't want auto exposure. I don't want to pay for those items. Making a cheaper camera with all those items certainly means that quality of materials and manufacturing has to suffer.