Canon might finally enter the retro camera space with a premium fixed-lens compact to rival the Fujifilm X100VI

 Canonet QL17 GIII Rangefinder .
Canonet QL17 GIII Rangefinder .

Canon has delivered some of the best compact cameras, and cameras for beginners, but the camera giant is yet to reap the benefits of the retro camera craze, led by 2024’s standout Fujifilm X100VI. According to rumors, that could change.

We wrote in 2023 that Canon was hinting at a retro mirrorless camera after Canon Rumors speculated a camera with a body inspired by one of it’s own classic SLRs could be in the works. These plans have been kept on the down-low, but Canon has recognized the growing consumer base for retro-style cameras.

Now there's a sense of déjà vu as another story on Canon Rumors claims a source has said that there is an “active, even if just exploratory” development of a retro-style APS-C compact camera happening at the moment. There's speculation that Canon could finally be releasing a retro compact camera, though no official announcement.

Though Canon hasn’t disclosed concrete information about it’s next steps, Canon Rumors shared that this development involves a new fixed lens APS-C camera with a classic retro look, perhaps in the mold of the Canonet QL17 GIII Rangefinder (pictured above).

Fujifilm is the clear market leader in this space, and the popularity of its X100V and new sixth-gen version the X100VI is pushing this market from niche to the mainstream, which could tempt Canon to try its hand, too.

Fujifilm X100VI camera held up to photographer's eye on the streets of Tokyo
Fujifilm X100VI camera held up to photographer's eye on the streets of Tokyo

In the past year, retro camera popularity has been on a seemingly never-ending rise, striking a chord with younger demographics who want digital cameras with the appearance of a classic film camera. We have the Fujifilm to thank for that, while Nikon has jumped in with its own retro mirrorless models the Zf and Z fc, though it doesn’t have a retro-styled premium compact.

When Canon initially hinted at a retro mirrorless camera, it commented on its existing EOS models, “you can see that our EOS body, whether in appearance or operability, has been improved by listening to customer feedback and requests”, as quoted by Canon Rumors. This is what first led to talks that Canon could give its EOS R mirrorless camera a vintage-style model.

It would take a lot for Canon to pour resources into a niche premium compact model, but given the sky-rocketing sales of the Fujifilm X100VI thanks to a frenzy on TikTok, it could just be tempted. And the X100VI is only one example of not just retro but fixed lens compact camera popularity – models like the Leica Q3 and the Ricoh GR III have shown that there’s a market for compact cameras that offer more than a smartphone.

Even if it’s just an exploratory venture, it could be the first time that Canon enters this vintage camera space with a digital incarnation of an iconic model. It did bring back the Powershot name (nomenclature for its compact cameras) after years of inactivity with the recent V10 camera for vlogging, so maybe it’s not done with it’s compact cameras just yet, and a model to compete with the Fujifilm X100VI would make the most sense.

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