This may explain a lot. A late-2019 screenshot acquired by Canon Rumors, purported to be of an internal Canon presentation regarding sub-pro lenses, shows that Canon didn’t intend to launch much in the way of amateur glass beyond what it actually was able to put on the market over the past two years.
The chart also shows that Canon typically has a 15-18 month uncertainty as to when a particular lens might launch; and that there are missing ranges of lenses – presumably higher quality glass – that don’t appear on the chart.
The gantt chart shown (below) indicates little red boxes with the Japanese words for “New Launch” indicating roughly when lenses would come to market. Those boxes feature red arrows pointing forward and backward in time indicating different levels of uncertainty as to precise launch.
While Canon Rumors and other sites have concentrated on the appearance that some would-be new lenses haven’t yet launched, the lenses don’t actually seem to be overly-late – at least not by camera maker standards. A rumored 100-400 RF lens, for instance, was to appear as late as June 30, yet hasn’t been launched. Being half a month behind schedule in this industry is hardly notable.
What is probably more interesting about the chart is that it appears to have been made around the end of 2019. This can be surmised based on the rows of lenses that are highlighted in blue as upcoming launches. This gives a view into Canon’s pre-pandemic plans.
It seems that at that particular moment in time, Canon didn’t have much else planned for budget lens launches through 2021. Canon fans assuming that there is a line-up of cheaper lenses working their way through temporary supply chain delays appear to be heading for disappointment.
We do know that other lenses were and are coming, such as the two supertelephoto lenses that started to appear on pre-order customer doorsteps only a week ago. These and other, higher-end lenses don’t appear on the chart. This is likely accounted for with the non-ordinal appearance of the lens numbers on the chart. There are missing lenses. Canon assigns each lens an “L number,” and these tend to be assigned later in the development process, as shown by the fact that the last lens in the chart’s RF category – a 24mm Macro – hasn’t yet been assigned an L number. But there are series of lenses between the L numbers that appear on the chart.
There are two missing ranges. The first includes six lenses presumably in development between the green-lighting of the RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro (announced September 2018) and the RF 24-240mm (announced early July 2019). The second set of missing lenses were slotted between the RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 lens (launched in February 2020, when slated for January in the chart) and the RF 18-45 (slated for launch six months ago but still missing).
The weighting of the new Canon RF lens system to the higher-end, rather expensive side of the market appears to be set to continue.