The Canon EOS R7 has long been tipped to be the camera giant's next big launch, with the most recent rumors suggesting a March release. But not only will it miss that date, we haven't heard a thing about the camera in the two months since those rumors first surfaced – with Canon seemingly focusing on higher-end priorities.
Rumored release dates are, of course, far from concrete, and the Canon Rumors (opens in new tab) post predicting a March release for the hobbyist camera did rightly contain the caveat that "announcement dates for products can be affected by the current manufacturing challenges".
But what's less common is the complete absence of any leaks or speculation about why such a big launch may have missed a release window that was predicted by, according to Canon Rumors, a "pretty solid source". Instead, this month Canon revealed some business strategy plans with some very telling comments about its plans for the EOS R system.
The Canon EOS R7 is expected to be a landmark launch because Canon's EOS R system, including both cameras and lenses, is currently very high-end. With the expected inclusion of an APS-C sensor, the EOS R7 will (on paper) act as the spiritual successor to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR – and also likely mark the end of its EOS-M series.
But according to Canon's 2022 strategy report (opens in new tab), this isn't where the sales are. The report concludes that "although the overall [camera] market continues to shrink, this mainly reflects lower sales of entry-class models. In contrast, demand among professionals and advanced amateurs seeking high-quality image expression remains strong."
This explains why Canon has focused on cameras like the Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6, and fleshing out its range of high-end RF lenses. Canon was keen to stress that it's planning to expand its RF lens range "at the same pace", which would mean another eight new lenses this year and, by 2025, around 58 lenses for the whole system.
On that theme, we recently saw Canon announce the world's longest lens for mirrorless cameras, the RF 1200mm f/8L IS USM, alongside the similarly pricey RF 800mm f/5.6 L IS USM. The latest Canon rumors are also lens-based, with the camera giant reportedly testing prototypes (opens in new tab) of some new 'DO' super-telephotos that provide serious reach in compact, lightweight bundles.
And the Canon EOS R7? Whether it's down to chip shortages, supply chain issues or other priorities, its launch seems to have been shunted back to later in the year. Given the six-month shipping delays to cameras like the Canon EOS R3, let's hope it's available to buy before 2023.
Analysis: Blown off track, rather than derailed
We recently argued that a perfect storm had blown away affordable mirrorless cameras – and similar forces are likely to behind the apparent delay to the Canon EOS R7.
Most camera manufacturers are in a quandary about when to release new models, given that stock is in such short supply. For Canon, the continuing success of pricier models like the Canon EOS R5 also likely lowers the urgency of releasing more affordable choices like the rumored EOS R7 – after all, some impatient photographers may bite the bullet on a higher-end camera.
The problem is that Canon's strategy of focusing on more premium EOS R cameras and lenses predates the global cost-of-living crisis – which means the demand for affordable successors to the Canon EOS R and Canon EOS RP is growing sharply among non-professionals. Alternatively, it could simply evaporate as the year progresses, as hobbyists explore second-hand bargains instead.
Either way, it does look like Canon will be fleshing out its EOS R range with some new models later this year. In its recent strategy report states that it thinks the camera market "is bottoming out" and that "going forward, we will continue to expand our lineup in response to user feedback, secure the global No. 1 market share position in mirrorless cameras, maintain the level of sales, and further increase profitability by expanding automation".
The latest speculation suggests that Canon's planning to launch three EOS R cameras in the second half of 2022, including the Canon EOS R7 and a successor to the aging Canon EOS RP. It's been a lengthy wait for anyone who's been looking for an affordable, modern entry-point into Canon's excellent mirrorless camera system. But 2022 should eventually reward that patience, despite the inevitable delays.
- Check out our guide to the world's best mirrorless cameras