Canon is said to be working on a new smaller DSLR called the EOS-b (or Kiss X7 in Asia), according to a series of recent reports, including one today from Japanese blog Digicame-info (via Canon Rumors). The new much smaller entry-level body will also come with a new kit lens, a version of the EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 complete with STM, Canon’s new AF motor that’s designed to reduce or eliminate AF noise when shooting video, as well as produce smoother incremental zoom.
The camera will have an 18 million pixel APS-C sensor with a Digic 5 processor, as well as a fixed 1.04 million dot 3-inch LCD display. The camera overall seems to borrow a lot from the recently released Canon T4i, but it has a much smaller physical footprint, as you can see from the side-by-side comparison pic below.
Some advantages the camera will have include what looks like a new hybrid CMOS AF system with a wider range than the one introduced on the T4i, and it also looks to use the LP-E12 battery pack Canon introduced for the EOS-M mirrorless interchangeable lens camera system it introduced last year.
The big advantages are the extremely small body size, which also weighs around 30 percent less than the T4i in addition to taking up less space. At only 370g body-only, the so-called EOS-b would be a small carry-anywhere camera without the compromises of a mirrorless compact (slower AF, manual focus-by-wire, lack of a true optical viewfinder, etc.).
Canon Rumors says this new DSLR will retail for around $799 for the kit when it debuts in the U.S., which could happen sometime in May. If true, it might be a very attractive option for anyone looking for a cheap and portable entry point into DSLR photography, though Canon’s decision to keep introducing new products into its lineup without really removing any does seem a bit perplexing. Lackluster performance of the too-compromised EOS M might be behind the development of the EOS-b, but it’ll be interesting to see if a super-small DSLR entices them more than a strong ILC competitor.