A full-frame, RF-mount camera for the price of an entry-level, crop-sensor model. Could it be done?
It sounds outlandish, but according to Canon Rumors, such a camera may not be far off. As CR reported earlier this week, while Canon’s plans aren’t yet set in stone, the company “is aiming to release a full-frame, RF-mount camera for under $800 in 2022.”
Of course, Canon Rumors is all about, well, rumors, and any official confirmation from Canon is many months out. But this $799 camera tidbit comes from “a pretty solid source with a decent track record,” and CR notes that they “do believe there is something to this just by what [they] have been shown.”
And if the rumor is true and Canon does succeed in creating a full-frame mirrorless camera for $799 USD? It would be a revolutionary move, pushing the boundaries of affordable, entry-level models beyond anything done before.
At the time of writing, a significant divide exists between full-frame cameras on the one hand and APS-C cameras on the other. With few exceptions, APS-C cameras are aimed at the beginner-to-enthusiast crowd, as reflected in their prices, lens offerings, and other specifications; most of Canon’s APS-C cameras, for instance, debut for less than $1000, including recent mirrorless models such as the M50 Mark II and M6 Mark II (body only).
Full-frame cameras, on the other hand, start where APS-C cameras leave off. Canon’s cheapest full-frame mirrorless model to date, the EOS RP, clocked in at $1299 when released. And Canon’s cheapest full-frame DSLR, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, currently goes for $1399, body only. For plenty of beginners and even many serious enthusiasts, these price points are prohibitive, especially when factoring in the cost of full-frame lenses.
Sure, the crop-sensor models of 2021 are powerful. And there are reasons to pick crop-sensor models over full-frame models, as cameras like the Canon 7D/7D Mark II show. But APS-C cameras struggle to compete with their full-frame counterparts in one key area, and it’s a big one:
Because that’s what this is all about: full-frame sensors are larger, which means (all else being equal) better high-ISO performance, improved dynamic range, and the opportunity for higher resolutions. If Canon could pack full-frame quality into an entry-level-priced body, it would open up the advantages of full-frame imaging to everyone, beginners and professionals alike.
As Canon Rumors points out, “Even launching a new full-frame camera at $999 would be quite welcomed…If Canon could get the camera and a kit lens for under $1000 USD, they’d have themselves a winner.”
2022 is a long way off, and plans can fail, but let’s hope that Canon forges ahead. Keep an eye out for more information, and in the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments below!
What do you think of a sub-$800 full-frame, RF-mount camera? Would it interest you? And if Canon is successful, would it be the beginning of the end of APS-C cameras?