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Canon EOS R7 and EOS R8 rumors hint at the end for EOS M mirrorless cameras

Canon EOS R camera
(Image credit: Canon)

Canon's RF mirrorless camera system has so far focused on high-end full-frame models like the Canon EOS R5, but that could be about to change in spectacular fashion, according to new rumors. 

The reliable Canon Rumors, which has rated its latest speculation as "plausible, but from an unconfirmed source", says that Canon could be preparing to launch as many as three RF cameras with smaller APS-C sensors.

Apparently, these three cameras could be the long-rumored Canon EOS R7, a vlogging-friendly model called the Canon EOS R8, and an entry-level option called the Canon EOS R9. If the rumors are true, it would almost certainly mark the end of Canon's existing EOS M mirrorless camera system.   

The Canon EOS M system, which arrived back in 2012, is the mirrorless equivalent of its EF-mount for DSLRs, and includes cameras like the Canon EOS M50 Mark II and Canon EOS M6 Mark II.

But the system's lens collection has remained pretty limited, with just eight native EF-M options on offer, and in recent years the camera giant has put all of its focus into its new RF mount.

While the RF mount was mainly designed for its new range of full-frame mirrorless cameras, there have been growing rumors that it could also support smaller, more affordable models with APS-C sensors.

As Canon Rumors notes, if the rumors are true "it would definitely be the end of the EOS M system". It also suggests that the Canon EOS R7, EOS R8 and EOS R9 could all feature the same sensor in order to keep manufacturing costs down, with the main difference being their designs.

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

The Canon EOS M50 Mark II (above) was a very minor update to the EOS M50, with most upgrades being software-based. (Image credit: Canon)

Analysis: will EOS M cameras become Canon fodder?   

The rumors of three APS-C RF cameras are certainly plausible and, on the face of it, make a lot of sense. After all, Canon has devoted all of its recent time and energy to developing new RF cameras and lenses, and a 'one mount' mirrorless strategy (which Sony often crows about) is certainly more cohesive and economical.

It's also been pretty clear from the lack of recent EOS M announcements that Canon's current APS-C range is running out of stream. The Canon EOS M50 Mark II, in particular, felt like the last sigh of a dying system, even if it remains a decent entry-level camera for many people.

But the launch of new APS-C RF mount cameras would also bring serious complications, not least of which would be lenses. All current RF lenses are designed for full-frame cameras – and while some of the longer focal lengths would work fine with APS-C sensors, Canon would need to release some new APS-C kit zooms and wide-angles for the EOS R7, EOS R8 and EOS R9.

The question then would be, what happens with the current EOS M system? The most likely scenario is that, like Canon's EF mount for its DSLRs, it would continue to be supported, but without any new products or major firmware updates. That would still make Canon's lineup somewhat messy, but this is unavoidable during a period of flux that's also causing similar issues for its historical DSLR rival, Nikon.

Still, the rumors of new APS-C RF mount cameras remain speculation and, according to Canon Rumors, we're not expecting the first of those releases (the Canon EOS R7) until the end of this year at the earliest, or possibly early 2022. Until then, Canon EOS M cameras remain solid, affordable options for beginners, even if their system doesn't quite promise the longevity of rivals like Fujifilm's X-series.

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is the Cameras Editor for TechRadar at Future. He writes and oversees reviews of the latest camera gear on TechRadar and looks after all the photography tutorials. Mark was previously Digital Editor (Cameras) at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine.