Canon and Nikon Full Frame Mirrorless Cameras Coming Soon?

After years of sleeping at the wheel, both Canon and Nikon are expected to release full frame mirrorless cameras sometime this year. What does it all mean?

Of course, any talk about these soon to be released cameras is pure speculation at this point, but it's fun to speculate, right? Let's speculate. For me, a few questions come to mind with these upcoming releases:

Does it Matter?

Both Canon and Nikon are dominant when it comes to DSLR cameras. Although Canon has a much larger market, they both have this DSLR thing down and they have had models that appeal to photographers of all levels for ages. Clearly they've both been hesitant to plunge into the mirrorless market with any level of commitment for far too long allowing Sony to own the mirrorless market. And we know that's about to change. You can read up on the Nikon rumors and the Canon rumors.

Now that they've both shown willingness to get into the mirrorless market, will it really matter much? I think so. Both of these brands have a large following of loyalists. People love their brands and we all know a Canon or Nikon fan boy. Camera enthusiasts and pros will likely eat these new models up and we can expect to see tons of reviews in the months that follow their releases.

If done well, I think this move by Canon and Nikon will cause a large shift to mirrorless, but it will be gradual. If they find success with these mid-range full frame cameras, they'll eventually create consumer and pro level offerings as well, which will shift the overall market away from the DSLR. I don't think the DSLR will die, but I think it's place will be greatly diminished in the years to come.

Will They Get it Right?

The success of this move to mirrorless has one big caveat: Canon and Nikon have to get it right. Sony has about a five year lead on them and everyone is going to expect these new cameras to be on par with Sony's current offerings. That might be hard to do because both brands are relatively new to mirrorless and the mirrorless cameras they have produced have done poorly. Nikon 1 is being shut down and when's the last time you saw a YouTube video about some pro photographer switching to Canon APS-C mirrorless?

These new cameras have to be impressive from the get go. You have the two largest camera brands releasing something new into a market that already has a taste for what's possible (Sony and Fuji) so it can't be a half-baked offering. These cameras need to be irresistible. If they're not, many photographers who have been waiting for a full frame Canon or Nikon may just give up and switch to Sony. I hope they do get it right because that will mean more innovation and more competition which are good for the consumer.

What Does it Mean for Sony?

This question really depends on the one above. If Canon and Nikon do get it right, creating something that can rival the Sony a7 III, the playing field could be leveled and Sony might end up in some trouble. They would at least become less special. If the market becomes rife with cameras on par with theirs from the bigger brands, they loose the edge they've had for the past few years. But Sony is good at innovating so they might stay one step ahead, maintaining that edge.

On the other hand, if Canon and Nikon release some lack-luster full frame mirrorless cameras as an attempt to stay afloat in a changing market, Sony would benefit greatly. Again, there are a lot of people who are holding out on switching systems, hoping their brand, be it Canon or Nikon, release something that can compete with Sony. If something great doesn't happen, I think this segment will take plunge and switch to Sony. It could go either way.

What Effects Will it Have in the Long Run?

Even if these new full frame mirrorless cameras aren't the greatest, I think Canon and Nikon will eventually get it right and mirrorless will eventually become the mainstream. The advantages of high-quality EVF's, smaller size and better technology will eventually supplant the trusty DSLR. It may take years, but I think it's inevitable.

I do believe that once these new cameras are released and become mainstream, a slew of used DSLR cameras will come on to the used market and many a great deal will be had by those who just don't care about mirrorless and love the DSLR form factor.

Again, this is all speculation. Only time will tell, but hey, it's a great time to be a camera nerd. Lot's of fun things are happening.

What do you think? What effects will these rumored full frame Canon and Nikon cameras have?

Author: Don Fitzsimmons
Co-Founder of Gear Offer, software developer and photographer.

Subscribe For Updates