The Canon EOS M series has almost been in semi-retirement since the camera giant started pouring all of its attention into its full-frame EOS R series. But a series of patents suggest it could soon be given a new lease of life with a radical new vlogging-focused reinvention.
The APS-C camera series, led by models like the Canon EOS M6 Mark II, is Canon's range of small, travel-friendly cameras. But with the EOS M6 Mark II having launched back in 2019, and the more recent Canon EOS M50 Mark II being only a very minor refresh of its predecessor, it's felt like the series has been running out of steam.
Some new patents unearthed by Canon News, though, suggest Canon might be planning to take the EOS M range in a new direction. The latest patents, which follow eight others on the same theme, show a handheld vlogging camera – like a DJI OM 4, only without the gimbal and phone mount – that's fronted by an EF-M mount and has a lock mechanism to stop it moving around when you're changing lenses.
Previous patents for the same camera show it to have a panning and tilting head that's attached to the grip, with an LCD or OLED display on the back to help you frame shots. Just like the DJI OM 4, a control system on the rear would let you tilt or rotate the lens, although Canon's patent suggests this could be built around a touchpad rather than a joystick.
It's a pretty compelling concept, particularly for handheld vlogging or filmmaking. If it made it into production, the camera would already be compatible with a wide range of existing EF-M lenses like the EF-M 22mm f/2 out of the gate, not to mention EF or EF-S lenses via an adaptor. But its arrival would no doubt spark the creation of a few more dedicated lenses, too.
- These are the best vlogging cameras you can buy right now
- Or check out our guide to the best YouTube cameras in the world
- Read our in-depth Canon EOS R5 review
Proof of concept?
Of course, the publication of patents is never a sure sign that a product is in development, particularly when they're from a company that's as prolific at filing concepts as Canon.
But for those who like the idea of the concept, there are a few good reasons to believe this EOS M idea has a chance of making the jump into reality. For a start, this is the ninth patent we've seen on the same idea, and all of them go into pretty granular detail about how the system would work, as well as providing a huge number of illustrations.
A camera like this would also make a huge amount of sense for Canon and its EOS M series. Right now, Canon is pushing photography fans towards its full-frame EOS R series, fronted by cameras like the Canon EOS R6, which are powerful cameras that really benefit from the growing range of new RF lenses.
Smaller cameras like the EF-M series have become less popular among amateur photographers due to the huge advances made by the best camera phones, but vloggers and YouTubers still prize their small size for making run-and-gun videos. Shifting the EF-M series towards video with a camera like this concept could spark some fresh demand for Canon's legacy lens systems, while maintaining the photographic focus on its EOS R cameras.
We could yet see an RF camera with an APS-C sensor, like the rumored Canon EOS R7, but this would be a compelling new direction for the EF-M series. Let's hope the number of patents suggests there's enough momentum behind the concept to turn it into reality.
- These are the best Canon cameras you can buy right now
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.