Updated 6/1/21: We've updated this story with an official comment that we received from Canon.
The Canon EOS M series, its popular range of small APS-C mirrorless cameras, could be phased out by the end of 2021, according to new rumors.
The usually reliable Canon Rumors claims that two independent sources have "both suggested that 2021 will be the last year of the EOS M lineup". According to the site's sources, Canon is instead developing "a couple of future RF mount APS-C cameras" to fill the gap in its camera lineup.
This isn't the first time we've heard rumors about a possible end to the EOS M series. Similar speculation arose in August 2020, although that was accompanied by rumors about a new Canon EOS M7, which hasn't yet arrived.
So why are the rumors continuing to grow? Perhaps the clearest piece of evidence that they could be correct is the recent arrival of the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. That camera is not only a very minor refresh to the Canon EOS M50, it's not even available worldwide, with the camera currently not on sale in Europe or the Middle East.
There's also growing speculation about the arrival of a Canon EOS R7, which is expected to be an RF-mount camera with an APS-C sensor. The current Canon EOS M series all have APS-C sensors, but are fronted by an EF-M mount that's derivative of the older EF mount seen on Canon's DSLRs.
These legacy mounts all add complication and cost for Canon and camera buyers, so it's certainly possible that Canon is planning to put all its chips on the RF Mount, for both full-frame and smaller APS-C cameras.
To aid this simplicity, Canon Rumors also says that "there will not be RF-S lenses for APS-C EOS R cameras", with future RF lenses like the RF 18-45mm f/4-5.6 IS STM apparently covering the lack of dedicated APS-C lenses.
We asked Canon UK for official comment on these EOS M rumors. It told us: "We unfortunately do not comment on rumors or speculation regarding future products. However, Canon remains dedicated to providing photographers, filmmakers and content creators with industry-leading products through our overarching ambition to enable great storytelling."
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What now for EOS M owners?
The other big question these rumors raise is how existing owners of Canon EOS M cameras might be affected. While the speculation suggests Canon might soon stop launching new EOS M series bodies and EF-M lenses, that doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to buy and enjoy existing models beyond 2021.
Canon Rumors speculates that "EOS M will hang on a bit beyond 2021, as inventory will still exist", and that seems very likely considering how popular some models are, particularly in Japan. For example, the Canon EOS M50 (or EOS Kiss M, as it's known in Asia) was the third biggest-selling mirrorless camera in Japan in the first half of 2020, according to Japanese analysts BCN Retail.
Canon would also likely continue to support EOS M series cameras and EF-M lenses, even if it did halt R&D for new additions to its line-up. This time last year, Canon made similar noises about EF lenses during an interview with Digital Camera World, where Richard Shepherd (Product marketing senior manager at Canon Europe) said "our focus is on RF" and that Canon's plan was "launching more RF lenses, while still fully supporting the EF lens system".
Given these new rumors and Canon's recent launches, it's certainly not a stretch to suggest it'll soon be a similar case for the EOS M series. If you already own one of those cameras, you'll likely continue to receive support whatever the series' future direction. And given cameras like the Canon EOS M50 still offer great value, you shouldn't rule out buying existing models either. For example, if you only need to shoot 1080p video rather than 4K, the EOS M50 is one of the best vlogging cameras you can buy right now.
Canon has understandably remained tight-lipped on the future of EOS M, but right now the rumors suggest that 2021 could be a deciding year of change for Canon's mirrorless camera line-up.
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