Canon Compact Camera Models

 

Let me preface this posting by saying two things, first that my current Canon kit meets my requirements even though the cameras are 2012 releases, and second that I appreciate the number of Canon camera and lens releases annually in a very competitive marketplace. However, my favorite camera models are those that prioritize maximum sensor and lens quality within the most compact configuration, and these camera models are have not seen as many updates, rumors, and in some cases may get quietly dropped from Canon’s product line. As a result, this posting is an attempt to see if there are others that feel the same, and if so, then to get the model line some attention before they are cut. Compact camera models that I would like to see updated, listed from small to large:

 

Canon G1X Mark II
I was an early adopter of the first version and found it to be an ideal hiking and travel camera. The Mark II update addressed nearly all of my issues with the original, including extending the wide end to 24mm, improving macro, improving operational speed, and adding wireless connectivity. Unfortunately, the update feel short in the most important feature, image quality. While the lens was good, the sensor was a major let down for landscape, architecture and travel subjects that require solid base ISO dynamic range (photo merge isn't feasible because this is a compact IS camera for a quick and light operation, so having to carry a tripod defeats the purpose).

All Canon needs to do for the G1X Mark III is to update the sensor to modern standards, along with the latest processor. The problem is that this is a custom sensor size, and I doubt the camera model sells well enough to justify the additional sensor fab costs, much less a complete camera/lens redesign for a full sized APS-C sensor. I had hoped the G5X would include quality optics but unfortunately the G7X lens was used. I see a glimmer of hope that the G5X series could get a lens upgrade at some point in the future, maybe the Mark III or IV, if the series can last that long. As a result, I have low expectations that Canon will produce a compact point & shoot camera with exceptional high-quality like they did with the original G1X.

Until recently, none of this mattered because Nikon’s DL 18-50 camera was set to deliver the dream hiking and travel compact. It was one of the most exciting announcements of the last decade for me personally, and I would have gladly paid $1,000 if such a price was required to produce such an exceptional and specialized camera. Sadly that option is no longer on the horizon with Nikon’s cancellation. Panasonic might update the LX100, otherwise, the Sony RX100 remains the best option currently available.

 

Canon M2
I love the M6 sensor and overall feature sets, but the camera is a bit larger than what I want in a compact setup. I am still happy with the very compact original M (and M2 update) at base ISO, however, RAW files from the rather lack-luster prior generation 18MP APS-C sensor are painful to process compared to modern sensors. The most likely option is a M10 update with the new M5/M6 sensor. If Canon includes a flash mount and doesn't neuter the menu system/options as they did with the M10, then I will be very pleased with a M20 update. However, my expectations are low, as the M20 update will likely be stripped bare for the entry-level market and make manual/advanced operations overly cumbersome to use. That likely means a M6 will likely be Canon’s best compact camera that offers a reasonable increase in size/weight for more physical controls.

 

Canon SL1 (100D)
If you have not held and used this camera with a 24/2.8 STM, 35/2.8 IS STM, 40/2.8 STM, 50/1.8 STM, 10-18 IS STM, 18-55 IS STM and 55-250 IS STM lens, then you don't know what you are missing because the functionality, performance and image quality delivered for the size, weight and cost is hard to beat. The SL1 has been my most recommended Canon camera of all time. Once again, Canon appears to be killing off this near perfect compact camera to maintain focus on the M5/M6 and entry level Rebel DSLR line. I could support that direct if there were EF-M lenses comparable to EF-S and EF offerings. I can't imagine the M line lasting long enough for it to ever get to 25% of the way. So that means using a EF adapter, and the M5 with EF adapter is bigger, heavier, more expensive, and has reduce lens optical/AF performance compared to the SL1. I suspect that the new T7i and 77D will the best compact native EF mount offering from Canon, and fortunately they are smaller than the previous cameras they replace.

 

Canon 6D
This is the only compact camera out of this list that I expect to be updated. My hope is for something similar to the original 6D, with a 5D Mark IV type sensor that has slightly lower resolution but better performance. I happily “downgraded” from a Canon 5D Mark II to the 6D a little over a year ago, and would like to stay with this more compact full frame body if possible. I would love to see the 6D Mark II have an smaller and lighter body with touchscreen and improve wireless connectivity. Of the four camera models, this is the only one I have high hopes for meeting my preferences for the best image quality with the smallest setup.