Canon denies it's discontinuing its EF lenses for DSLRs

Canon responded to claims that it's in the process of discontinuing its EF lenses for DSLRs, telling TechRadar that the lens range is s...

Canon responded to claims that it's in the process of discontinuing its EF lenses for DSLRs, telling TechRadar that the lens range is still in its plans – for now.

The speculation started following a tweet from Japanese photographer Kimio Tanaka, picked up by Petapixel, which compared photos of Canon's EF lens lineup in Japan on Jan. 8 and Feb. 10. 

According to the comparison, the number of EF prime lenses in Japan dropped from 21 lenses to nine. In fact, the total number of EF lenses on Canon Japan's site, including those for its EOS-M cameras, is 42 lenses, with more than 70 lenses now discontinued.

That's understandable, given that new Canon DSLRs are now a rarity, with the camera giant confirming earlier this year that it has stopped making flagship DSLRs. But the EF lens reports generated some more sweeping headlines that the company is in the process of discontinuing all EF lenses, and Canon says this isn't the case.

A Canon spokesperson told us: "The reports stating that Canon has ended manufacturing of EF lenses are not true. While we are indeed expanding our lineup of RF lenses as the global market shifts toward mirrorless products, we continue to value our customers who use EF lenses."

Part of the reason for this, it seems, is because some photographers see older EF glass as a good-value partner for newer mirrorless EOS R cameras, with Canon keen to stress to us the existence of the EF-EOS R adapter.

Naturally, Canon won't keep making EF lenses indefinitely, and it did suggest that the system is winding down. Canon told us: "As the market continues to shift towards mirrorless products, it is a matter of course that there will be less user demand from customers for some EF lenses. Canon will consider its lineup of lenses according to customer needs.”

The situation varies by region and we asked Canon if the lenses that are currently listed as 'out of stock' on the Canon UK store are discontinued. We'll update this story when we hear back, but the underlying message seems to be that the system will become gradually shrink – talk of total EF lens discontinuation, though, is still a bit premature. 

Analysis: The final act for DSLRs and their lenses

The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens on a grey background

(Image credit: Canon)

It's undeniable that the total number of EF lenses that are available to buy new is declining – that's certainly the case in Japan, as Canon's website shows, and it's a pattern that's likely to continue in other regions. In the US, only 11 prime EF lenses are currently available to buy new, while in the UK that number is 13 lenses.

But Canon takes issue with the conclusion that it's rapidly discontinuing all EF lenses. It still has a large base of DSLR owners to keep happy and, as the company told us, some EF lenses can make good companions for its newer EOS R mirrorless cameras.

Still, despite this diplomatic response, the reality is that Canon's focus and investment are in its RF Mount lenses, and the effects of the pandemic certainly seem to be accelerating the trend towards a mirrorless-only world, for new products at least.

This time last year, Nikon made the surprise decision to discontinue its Nikon D3500 and D5600 DSLRs in Japan, with other regions to follow "based on the needs of the market." More recently, the Nikon D500 DSLR was given the ax in Asia, making it a good time to buy one in other regions.

DSLR cameras and their lenses are certainly in their final act, even if Canon says it's too early to pull the curtain on them just yet.

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Canon denies it's discontinuing its EF lenses for DSLRs
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