Canon Has No Plans to Ever Release Lens Roadmaps

Canon Lenses as of 2021

Canon executives have definitively stated that the company has no intention of releasing lens roadmaps, stating that it instead prefers to surprise customers.

During a panel with journalists at the Photo and Imaging 2023 show in Shanghai, China this week — the same event where Canon said it was evaluating third-party lenses on a case-by-case basis — executives from the Japan-based camera and imaging company stated quite decisively that it has no intention of releasing a lens roadmap.

“Canon currently has no plans to announce future lens roadmaps. The reason is that we always want to be able to surprise our consumers,” the executives said, Asobinet reports.

While the company’s executives admit that a lens roadmap is a very useful way for customers to know what to expect and helps inform their buying decisions, Canon thinks that the element of surprise is more valuable.

“Being able to announce the roadmap in advance gives customers a predictable way of knowing that some of these lenses will come in the future. However, Canon wants to surprise customers,” the executives explained.

“There is also room for flexibility by not announcing a roadmap. This is because Canon’s philosophy is to listen to what our customers have to say, develop products that meet their needs, and satisfy them. Therefore, Canon’s lens development roadmap is a virtual roadmap that can be adjusted at any time according to customer needs, and I hope that you will look forward to it.”

This interview was machine translated, so it is possible that what the executives mean is that internally Canon has a lens roadmap but it has no intention of sharing it publicly.

Canon and Sony are the only mainstream camera manufacturers that do not release lens roadmaps, as Fujifilm, Panasonic, Nikon, and OM System all do. Leica also does not, and neither do Tamron or Sigma, for what it is worth. However, what separates Canon from its contemporaries is that its RF lens mount is closed, meaning photographers who choose to shoot Canon have no indication of what lenses might be available to them other than what is already listed by Canon.

In a related discussion, Canon was asked about the future of APS-C RF-S lenses, of which the company declined to answer, stating that all of its lenses are available to use on the crop-sensor format, even if the optics were designed for full-frame.

“As you know, the RF mount can be used with both full-frame and APS-C cameras, and all lenses are suitable. Some of these full-frame lenses can be attached on top of APS-C cameras, so you can attach an existing full-frame lens to your APS-C camera and enjoy shooting scenes to your heart’s content,” the Canon executives said.

“As a side note, some RF lenses are very compact and lightweight, making them ideal for use with APS-C cameras.”

While true, full-frame lenses are generally larger and more expensive than dedicated crop-sensor lenses and many who shoot with smaller format sensors prefer using lenses designed for those systems because of these important factors.

Image credits: Canon