The japanese “Impressjapan” magazine had an interview with Canon Managers. You can downlaod the magazine pdf here: https://www.impressjapan.jp/pr/monitor/1112_dcm/271201_free.pdf.
UPDATE: Our reader “Fh” (thanks!) translated the interview. here is what Canon thinks about the mirrorless future:
– Will you be releasing a mirrorless camera?
Well, the C300 is mirrorless; just very big. But as for a real mirrorless, we will look at the market this coming year in order to make the best decision.
– When you say “look at the market”, are you concerned that mirrorless cameras would affect DSLR sales?
No, just that when you look at the current mirrorless systems and how they are used, there are many different approaches.
– For instance?
For mirrorless cameras, being able to change lenses is certainly a big merit. But you have to wonder, are interchangeable lenses really the only point of mirrorless cameras, considering the added size for the lens mount? When you’re taking pictures, a standard camera size is fine, but when you’re not…
– Right, they’re still quite big.
And on either side, we are challenging ourselves to make DSLRs that are smaller, and compacts that have better image quality. So you have to ask if a mirrorless product is really necessary to fill the narrowing gap. Of course, we are more than capable of making a mirrorless camera, if we decide to.
– So you think current mirrorless cameras overlap DSLR and compact markets?
– But that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t release a mirrorless that overlaps other markets, right? You mentioned you want to release a mirrorless in 2012.
Well, we want to release a mirrorless next year. But next year, the other markets will also change: there will probably be smaller DSLRs and compacts with greater image quality, which might eat into the mirrorless market.
In short, as the quotations from the interview highlight:
“Do mirrorless cameras really need interchangeable lenses?”
“DSLRs and compacts might eat into mirrorless market”
“Big improvement in image quality for consumer cameras than the past year”
The online PDF is cut short, so I can’t tell if any other information was given. But it was not strictly confirmed that Canon will release a mirrorless in 2012; just that IF they decide to release a mirrorless, they want to release it next year.”