Canon’s Huge Splash in the Mirrorless Market

It’s hard to believe that we’re only two short years removed from Canon first announcing the EOS R, their first professional-grade mirrorless camera, set up to directly compete with Sony’s impressive offering at the time. 

Fast forward to 2020 and Canon is transforming the mirrorless market. I’m a Nikon guy and I’m perfectly happy with my mirrorless gear, it’s great, but I am super impressed with what Canon has done so I wanted to highlight some exciting rumors about what’s to come. 

I’ll be honest, the release of the EOS R was just kind of ‘meh’ to be. It lagged behind Sony’s offering and Nikon’s first release, in my opinion. There were some tacky features, the 4K video was disappointing, and there was no in-body stabilization. However, I think the release of the EOS R5 and EOS R6 represented a huge step forward for Canon. 

It’s a fact that Canon has lagged behind Sony and Nikon with respect to dynamic range and noise handling. The D850 and A7rIII excelled and outperformed Canon’s 5D Mark IV. So, seeing benchmarks from the EOS R5 and EOS R6 that showed industry-leading dynamic range and much-improved noise handling isn’t something to bat an eye at. I was extremely impressed and happy that Canon had finally done something to level the playing field. But with that, also came 8K video capabilities at 30p, 4K video at 60p and 120p(!), in-body stabilization, fully articulating screens, great ergonomics, and an autofocus and tracking system that rivaled Sony’s industry-leading AF. 

I think the EOS R6 and EOS R5 are the two best mirrorless cameras that you can buy right now. There is one downside though – price. The Canon offerings are expensive, especially when factoring in the new glass required to maximize the system. Price has actually kept me from switching to the EOS R5, but I am excited to test it out in the field soon. 

Recent rumors actually led me to write this article, and I want to focus on what might be (and should be) in store for Canon’s mirrorless line. Reputable rumor sources are predicting a host of new camera bodies and some very interesting lenses.

Camera Bodies
Here’s what’s projected for upcoming Canon mirrorless bodies. An entry-level replacement to the EOS RP – rumors say the new model will be cheaper than the RP as well. I think this is an important body for Canon, as Nikon’s Z50/Z5 and Sony’s A6XXX series cameras have proved to be extremely good, and Canon doesn’t have a good answer yet. 

A camera between the new EOS RP and EOS R6 – another great move by Canon. I said their top-end offerings, where they are making the biggest improvements, are pricey. If they can package those technological upgrades into a more affordable body, that would be fantastic. 

An APS-C mirrorless body – It will be great for Canon users to have a crop-sensor mirrorless that’s more compact, not just in terms of the camera body, but also with the DX lenses that should follow. Nikon’s DX Z50 has turned out to be a really nice camera and I’m sure Canon’s will be similar. 

A super high-resolution version of the EOS R5 – rumors have floated around about a 60MP to 90MP resolution camera from Canon. The body is said to be molded after the EOS R5, but with a resolution boost. It’s hard to imagine that the increased resolution would allow for some of the insane video features packed into the R5. In my opinion, 24-40 MP is plenty of resolution. 

A flagship camera – Canon is most likely planning a big release for the Tokyo Olympics. I’m guessing this flagship model will be similar to the Sony A9 II and be an absolute beast for wildlife photography. 

Uh, so yeah, 2021 could be a huge year for Canon.

Lenses
Canon has been maximizing its mirrorless lens potential due to the expanded mount, just as Nikon. The new lenses from Canon and Nikon get me super excited. They are unique, offer incredible image quality, and continue to surprise me. 

Here’s what’s projected from Canon for new lenses:

Tilt-Shift Lenses W/ Autofocus

  • TS-R 14mm f/4L
  • TS-R 24mm f/3.5L

Zoom Lenses

  • RF 10-24mm f/4L USM
  • RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM
  • RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
  • RF 100-400mm f/5.6-7.1 IS USM

Prime Lenses

  • RF 24mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro
  • RF 35mm f/1.2L USM
  • RF 50mm f/1.8 STM
  • RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
  • RF 135mm f/1.4L USM
  • RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM
  • RF 500mm f/4L IS USM
  • RF 600mm f/4L IS USM
  • RF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM
  • RF 1200mm f/8L IS USM

Here’s what jumps out to me. The 14-35mm f/4 should be excellent for landscapes. 14mm is the ‘money’ spot or landscapes. Before, we really only saw 14-24mms, having an expanded range of 35mm makes a huge difference. I’m using Nikon’s 14-30mm f/4 and it’s been amazing for landscapes. This new Canon lens should be ultralight and take reasonable filters as well. 

The 70-200mm f/4 is something to be excited about. Although the f/2.8 version is better for wildlife/sports, the f/4 version should pack down super small (rumors say Coke can), making it an excellent choice for landscapers. 

The iconic 100-400mm should be nothing short of incredible as well, that should excite wildlife photographers considering a switch to the EOS/RF system. 

That gives way to the super-telephoto primes, which again will make wildlife photographers happy. They are mostly standard, although I would expect a drastic size reduction compared to their DSLR counterparts. I do find the 1200mm f/8 interesting. Of course, f/8 isn’t ideal, but native 1200mm reach is pretty insane. It could be awesome for those genres where you need a ton of reach, like bird photography. 

Closing Thoughts
Overall, it’s been a pretty awesome year for Canon. The EOS R5 and EOS R6 were home runs and a ton of new camera bodies are on the way. It’s an exciting time to be a Canon user, and if I was a current Canon DSLR user, I would be getting ready to make the jump to mirrorless.

I know Nikon and Sony will have some great announcements as well, but I figured Canon deserved to have the spotlight in this piece due to all the exciting stuff on the horizon. 

What do you think? Are you thinking of switching to Canon or switching from your DSLR system to mirrorless? Do the upcoming lenses impress you? 

Matt Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin.  His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special.  Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.

Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.

As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.

You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com

 


Don’t Miss the Next Session of BCJ “Live”

Backyard Bird Photography: Simple Techniques for Wildlife Close to Home

with Russell Graves
Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 at 11 am (Mountain)

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