Its still 2 - 3 years until Canon even dares to think about competing with Sony or Fuji on the mirrorless market.
Canon could do it right now, but they are terrified that a high end mirrorless (let's say a compact high resolution FF), will seriously hurt their DSLR sales. That's the only explanation I can think of when it comes to their piss poor EOS M. They are not even trying! .. But if Canon won't do it, others will eat their lunch. Mirrorless cameras are on the uprise, and Canon can't hide from it.
Copying / following other companies is not always a bad thing. This time Canon really should follow Sony's example. Its either that, or they can watch thousands of their EF lenses being adapted to the A7 and A7R.
It's a great example of the innovator's dilemma
. For a huge company like Canon, a new type of products like mirrorless cameras isn't profitable enough. Even though their R&D department probably has everything it needs to create a kick-ass product in that category, they don't want to invest too much because it would cost a lot of money and all of the (comparatively small) profit they would make would be at the expense of their profitable SLR division.
So they wait until the market for mirrorless has matured more. Except, of course, that by the time this happens, their competitors (Olympus, Sony, Fuji, etc.) will be well established with mature products that customers trust. By that time, it may well be too late for Canon to keep its leadership position.
Canon could take the lead in this new market, but to do so they would have to cannibalize their own products, which they won't do. Ironically, by avoiding to sacrifice their own products, they may doom their whole company. The same process has happened to many different industries, for many different types of products.
For extra controversy, here's what I would do if I were CEO of Canon:
I would embrace change rather than try to stop it by developing a kick-ass line of mirrorless cameras, with 3 models:
- An entry-model that's as cheap and light as possible
- A middle-end that's good enough for amateurs
- A top-end model that's as good as possible. The goal of the team making this would be to make a camera good enough to replace professional SLR cameras.
I would also greatly simplify Canon's line of SLR cameras by removing every APS-C camera. In the future, I expect SLRs will only be used for pro-level photo (kinda like medium format cameras now), so Canon might as well lead the charge. Full-frame cameras would support a "crop mode" that only uses the pixels in the middle of the frame, so photographers who want the additional reach and speed of APS-C can still have it. I would keep only four SLR models:
- An entry-model that's comparable to a 6D, perhaps cheaper. The idea is to provide an easy step to "graduate" to full-frame.
- A top of the line action camera that makes no compromises for focusing speed and FPS.
- A top of the line studio/landscape camera that has super high resolution, awesome dynamic range and amazing low-light sensitivity.
- A great video-SLR with every tool needed to make awesome movies straight out of the box.
Fewer products that are better differentiated would allow Canon to focus more resources on each, resulting in better R&D and marketing. It would also makes choices a lot clearer for customers and it would position Canon for future changes in the market. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, the first thing he did was simplify the products Apple made greatly, and it was a huge success. I believe Canon should do the same.
Oh, and I would change the name of the cameras. Seriously, "5D mark III" sounds like a codename for military hardware, not the brand of a desirable product