If Canon Is Planning an Even Cheaper Full Frame Mirrorless Camera, What Will It Be?

If Canon Is Planning an Even Cheaper Full Frame Mirrorless Camera, What Will It Be?

During a fascinating interview given by one of the company's senior executives, Canon dropped a few bombshells, including the plan for a full frame mirrorless camera that is even cheaper than the recently launched EOS RP. When you consider how affordable (and limited) the RP is, you have to wonder what Canon has in mind.

The RP took some of us (i.e. me) by surprise: I was certain that the DIGIC 8 processor would be absent, as would any 4K functionality. Instead, we got pretty much the same camera as the 6D Mark II, albeit with the DIGIC 8 and some fairly random video limitations. 4K arrived but with a 1.74x crop and with Dual Pixel autofocus disabled. There’s no C-Log and the rolling shutter is alarming. And weirdest of all, there’s no 24 fps when shooting at 1080p. Canon’s habit of crippling its bodies to protect its other cameras had just entered the world of the full frame mirrorless.

A few days ago, we reported that EOS Magazine spoke to Michael Burnhill, European Technical Support Manager at Canon Europe and presented him with an excellent array of questions. The exchange included this little nugget:

AA: Do you see a full frame camera coming in at a price below the RP? 
MB: Yes.

Leaving this to hang tantalizingly in the air is somewhat excruciating, but it does present us with a delightful opportunity to speculate on what Canon is planning. The RP costs $1,299, so just how much cheaper can Canon go?

Given the number of shooters who have zero interest in video and with sensor prices dropping ever further, a budget-friendly full-frame offering makes a huge amount of sense: ditch the 4K completely, use up all of the DIGIC 7 processors that are sitting on the shelf wondering what the future holds, and put out a sub-$1,000 full-frame body. That would certainly be one way to shake up the market. Would it be a fully fledged MILC or a fixed lens camera and more in line with the Leica Q2 or RX1R II, but without the ludicrous price tag? 

Both have their advantages. A true MILC means another body capable of accepting the rather incredible (not to mention expensive) RF series of lenses. The range of glass at the moment doesn’t really tie in with the idea of budget format, and let’s not forget that most of these lenses are somewhat huge. All that said, there are more RF lenses to come in the near future, and giving consumers a wider choice of Canon MILCs will soon make sense.

A few years ago, Canon Rumors published an article suggesting that Canon was close to announcing a fixed lens camera. Nothing ever came of this speculation, possibly because research and development energies were becoming more focused on getting mirrorless options to market. Demand probably isn’t so huge, and a sub-$1,000 price tag seems very unlikely, especially given that its competitors ship theirs for three times as much, if not more. 

To me, a fixed lens seems a much less likely option, but I’m now starting to wonder if we will see Canon produce a refined, fixed lens camera inside the next two to three years. I’m guessing that the work they’ve done on developing the R and the RP (autofocus and flange distance) will have gone a long way to making this happen.

These are all my first impressions on hearing the news that Canon is plotting an even cheaper full-frame camera. If you’ve any thoughts or insights into what’s coming up, please leave a comment below.

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Previous comments

it would be nice if canon have mirrorless 5d original version with new pricessor or DPAF. basic video is okay. it focusing for new photographer.

They should make an apsc instead of crippling the full frame even further.

If they give me something with that lens mount for cheap I’ll be a happy camper. I want that new 50mm. But if we’re making a wishlist, how about a camera that doubles as a digital back? Give us some mounting points so we can stick it on the back of old MF cameras and telescopes :3

Great. They should name it RIP as that is what is bound to happen. While Sony continues to innovate and provide more for the buck, Canon is regressive and continues to provide stone age products in order to save their high end products

Seems like they'd make a top-level camera to go with some of the expensive lenses that they have launched. The bottom end is important too, but who is going to buy the $2300 50mm f/1.2 lens or the $3000 28-70mm f/2 without a top end camera to put it on?

Eric Salas's picture

If you think they gutted cameras before, "JUST WAIT THERE'S MORE!"

The RP will sell for $800 by Black Friday. Just like the 6D II did shortly after it came out. It's a 7-yr old sensor with poor DR and crap video. $1,300 is really expensive for an old camera.

It'll certainly have worse video than my iPhone :). That's what Canon is famous for. Bad video, bad DR, crippled functionality.