I think there are a number of interesting points raised in this thread, and a lot of passion
The fact is, in the higher ends of the dSLR market the manufacturers do not make much money at all - margins are perhaps higher, volumes are a lot lower. Economics dictate that you focus on the markets which generate you the most money. The same is true of Photographers. Do you want to make money, or make an occasional shot which people admire but sells very little?
The development cycle for the higher end cameras is constrained by a number of things
- They won't release another camera until they recoup from the previous.
- I'm not sure how many Pro's upgrade that quick. Given the variety of photographers and therefore requirements, I'm not sure why Canon would focus on one sector who may want great video, super high iso etc.
- They won't want mega video capabilities overnight in their dSLR as this would just kill their Pro video camera market - it's a case of evolve products and maintain the status quo across your lines. Nikon does not sell video cameras so they're fine. Startups have no legacy nor breadth of products so they're ok as well
- Significant jumps in technology are not a 1 year development cycle. 2 at a push. And for what? For the small high end market?
Look at the tech in smartphones or indeed in PCs. Think they have changed much in the past 3 years? A faster processor, bit more memory, better screen. Revolution? Nope, not since Apple defined that market. Where there is benefit, and where all the Camera makers should take cue is from the software. iOS and Android continue to develop SW features as they're a lot easier to do. Canon et al should develop the same ecosystem. Either in the camera (touch screen, BT, wifi) or through SDKs available on smartphones.
Do I want better DR, better focusing, better ISO (higher & lower), perhaps even a few more MP - sure do.
But I also want
- Bring back tech into the camera such as the Depth mode that we had on Film cameras, or provide this in a nice I/F on the back of the screen
- Introduce tech such as voice control so I can focus on my subject and just tell it ISO 1600 or high burst. Not convinced about eye focus, but VC I think would be good for sports & nature and perhaps even paparazzi/wedding
- Consider square sensors - no rotation problems, higher quality MP
- Simple HDR to extend the DR
- Focus stacking tech - the camera provides focus bracketing, and SW stacks it all together
- Proper Auto-ISO where I can define what parameters I want to vary, what my min and max are for each parameter.
- Allow me to assign any button any function I want.
- Better quality screens - always articulated, and preferably touch sensitive.
So who does Canon listen to ?
I do like the idea of incremental upgrades to an existing model - nothing massive, but gives a mid-life kick to ensure the high end cameras are never over-shadowed by the entry level models. Even better, I would like replaceable backs (dealer only fitting is fine) so I don't have to replace the whole kit.
I personally think Canon and others need to simplify all their lines. Keeping all the models they have is just bewildering and must have a high overhead. Standardising on the underlying OS would be good for them across all models - again, to reduce the effort to maintain all the models. Plus if you open up the ecosystem to 3rd parties then they will not want to deal with such diversity - witness Google's attempts now to harmonise their OS across all phones.
The HW tech will continue to advance, never as quick as we would like it to, but I think the factors which affect this are a lot more complex and varied then we would like to think it is.
My hope is that when Nikon kicked Canon's butt 3 years ago (and I reckon that took Nikon 5+ years to develop), then Canon stepped back, looked at not only what they would need to do to match Nikon, but take into account that Nikon would not stand still. So the new Canon's need to develop 2 gens of technology to match what Nikon will release with the D4 series, or 3 to leapfrog them. I doubt they will leapfrog - technology takes longer than that to develop, but I hope they will match the D4 and come up with some innovations of their own.
FF will not die - the tech is no different from APS. In fact APS is more difficult, so the FF sensors will always benefit. Manufacturing & yeilds are the only challenges for FF. If I was Canon, I would drop APS, make the capabilities present in the Sensor / Digic V or VI, then have 1 sensor type across all their dSLR and 2nd for all their compact ranges. Simplify your development, drop 1 range of lenses in a single action and help you focus on maintaining a smaller, but quicker evolving range of cameras. They won't of course. Their mantra is to offer a wide range in the hope that someone will want *that* particular model and not from a rival. And until the profits falter significantly then the strategy will not change. Nikon's changed in the early 00's as they had no choice.
August / September will be an interesting month.
Ps. I don't subscribe to the view about tied to Canon because of the glass investment. There is a booming 2nd hand market and if you really believe after the new releases that Canon has lost it's way, then selling up and moving is the thing to do. Sticking with Canon if you feel Nikon has the better strategy is a bad idea IMHO. And yes, I have > Â£10K of Canon lenses.