How big is the birding/ wildlife photography base for a high end crop camera? I know that the bird/ wildlife pro photographers trend toward 1DX, but there are some very well respected pros using 7D and the Big Whites. Amateurs with this interest are grouped into "money no object (already own a Big White)", "value for money, middling budget (using a Little White 400, 100-400, or a Tammy, planning on upgrading to Big White eventually)", and "bargain basement / don't plan to invest in a Big White, will stick with Little White". I am in the middle group and am a good sales target for a high end crop camera. The last group will be reluctant to pay a premium over the 70D for a higher frame rate. The first group? I have to say that I have not seen many 1DXs in the hands of amateur bird/wildlife photographers locally, with the exception of a very few tripod/blind shooters.
You nailed it. The middle group should be willing to pay anything
for the 7D2 (I'm not kidding: $3-4k!) because it saves them from having to go all Great White, which costs much, much more. I continue to rep for these people as the 7D2 represents (for them) is the best single possible upgrade they can make for longer BIF/wildlife/sports/racing shooting in the pricey but not impoverishing $2k-ish investment. (That... or possibly the new 100-400 if it is really
of that middle group is the question. If it's big enough, I think Canon should make the 7D2 that crop-sized 1DX and pro-it-up with best in class features, and ask north of $2k for it. Let the 70D be the premium APS-C rig and the 7D2 be the exotic long-range specialists' super-tool.
But there is a legitimate point folks make that Canon needs a $1,500-$1,700 or so crop body and the 7D2 must be it. That would speak to your third
group being wooed with something clearly better than the 70D (for more than just framerate: I'd think the AF, build quality, pixel count, etc. would all be improved) and not
for twice as much.
The first group buying a 7D2 will happen if it's 'pro' enough. Not having to lug as heavy a Great White into the bush is a weight-related win, and it's like a built-in 1.6x T/C without an AF performance or sharpness hit for those who do want to lug their big lenses and net even longer shots. So I could see 1DX users picking up a 7D2 as a second or third body, sure.