Canon Mirrorless 2021 Roadmap is Stacked: Canon EOS R1, R5 High Res, RF APS-C, RF entry, Cinema C50 and C90

8 new RF-based models. Canon is serious.

If you thought 2020 was a banner year for Canon just wait until… this year.

At least according to Digital Camera World and rumor sites, we will likely see 8 new mirrorless camera bodies. Expect them to arrive across a variety of price points and to be aimed at different users, from an entry level full frame camera to an advanced cinema camera there’s, as they say, something here for everyone.

One thing all these camera bodies will have in common:

The RF lens mount.

Canon has gone whole hog with RF. It’s no surprise that it’s the lens mount of choice going forward — and appears to be for at least one third party in RED Digital Cinema and its new Komodo 6K cinema camera.

Given that Canon recently shipped the flagship R5 and R6, both extremely capably full-frame cameras and the latter receiving the DP Review Camera of the Year award, it’s quite surprising — exhausting! — how many new cameras are landing this year. That is, if the rumors are true. And these days they almost always are. Sad that. What happened to surprises in tech?

In any case here’s a quick summary of that to expect from Canon in 2021:

Canon Mirrorless Camera Roadmap 2021

Canon EOS R5 - Top Plate LCD

  • Canon EOS R1 — a mirrorless update of the EOS 1D X Mark III.
  • Canon EOS R5 High Resolution — a high-res version of the R5 (think Sony a7R IV)
  • Canon APS-C RF-mount body — makes sense per DCW with the death of the EOS M
  • Canon RF Entry Models x2 — likely refreshes of the EOS R and EOS RP
  • Canon Cinema EOS C50 — slots in under C70 as new RF entry cinema camera
  • Canon Cinema EOS C90 — could this be a C500 Mark III replacement?
  • Canon Cinema EOS 8K — some sort of halo product to coincide with the summer Olympics?

For commentary you can head over to Digital Camera World.

Many Japanese companies including Canon and Sony are trying to get ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics. The opportunity to get their tech out front and center on a world stage is a juicy proposition; the ultimate marketing platform. 8K could be a big deal for broadcasting at least according to marketers. Though why I’m not sure. We only have 4K TVs mostly, and laptops and tablets and phones run at less resolution resulting in no visual difference at higher bitrate streams (except for eating away at our data caps that is).

Longer term it will be interesting to continue to monitor the impact of smartphone cameras. Computational photography is pushing camera technology into new realms. This is an area where the likes of Google and Apple and other tech giants have sizeable advantages over traditional players. A quick clue. Look to the UI design of an iPhone (even one that’s five or six years old) and compare that to the UI of any recent camera made by Canon or Sony or Nikon and you’ll quickly see how far behind they’ve fallen — or remained.

Canon RF Mount is Here to Stay

As an R5 owner I’m very (very) content for now. My wallet could use a break. Plus now that we’re still sheltering-in-place and there’s no need to run-and-gun around the San Francisco Bay Area for Stark Insider videos there’s certainly less of a reason to go overboard when it comes to new gear (and, PS, the now heavily discounted Cinema EOS C100 II is still an awesome camera for live events and doc and weddings and for so many other projects as well).

So it seems as though Canon was the mirrorless dark horse. Sony was all the talk all these years, especially when it came to mirrorless full-frame for video (Sony a7S III keeps that talking point in check).

But Canon has come on strong.

Any doubts about its commitment to this market should be put to rest.

Canon mirrorless is here. RF is here.

The creativity? That’s on us.