What an interesting thread... there are some valuable gems of truth, insight and opinions shared (obviously not all opinions are compatible with fact!)
1. I have a marketing degree and background, and agree with kimvette that Canon & Nikon (& Sony) do not 'release a DLSR camera' to match what the competition has put out a month or two before. Research & Development and then prototype and production for specific significant new technology changes (and incorporating this into any new body) takes huge
lengths of time (often years).
I think 70% - 90% of what the 7DmkII will be has already been set in stone. No doubt there are parts of the camera that are known now - and might have parts being produced - which will be finalised and incorporated into a final DSLR in the future... hopefully late 2013 or early 2014.
No doubt Nikon (& others) are looking very closely at what the 70D's Dual pixel AF technology is about. Of course Nikon will get some 70D's, rip them apart - and see if they can learn from that. Of course, not copying it- that would be copyright / patent infringement, and would cost them dearly in many ways (fines, legal costs, reputation, etc). But I can imagine some Nikon managment telling a group of their developers / electrical engineers.. "Why didn't WE do this first! We need to trump this with something better!" And visa versa (eg re: the performance of Sony's sensors at low noise, Canon engineers being 'grilled' about matching / exceeding that.)
Then there are other aspects regarding 'pitching' the product, within their own lines and verses earlier models which is done via eg cost benefit analysis by 'reading the market' on how important is FPS, AF, ISO noise, etc. These improvements also take a long time - and with careful thought, (though the promotion and marketing of such are definitely more flexible, than R&D and production - though this is still time critical).
2. Regarding what has been said (and is being written) about number of megapickles... I would be happy with anything between 14 - 24 MP. I would rather lower MP with lower noise than higher MP with higher noise... I fully realise these 2 factors are not
directly cause-effect related. Technology does
exist to have very clean photos at low ISO, and good quality at higher ISOs too... but it's all about cost and returning profits.
Canon do a very good job in this regard (ie of balancing technology with being affordable and long-term sustainable for their business). That's one reason they're market leader, as well as the overall package - eg lenses, accessories, support, warrantees, etc. So I think this sets up a great future for the 7DmkII. I certainly hope though that Nikon, Sony - and even other manufacturers stay in the business... as competition is so helpful (and in the end, the consumers win!)
3. As I've said for YEARS: APS-H is dead.
Please don't keep resurrecting it.
APS-H is now an unnecessary 'half way house' between APS-C and FF. The 6D particularly demonstrates that. Leave it to RIP, please!
- APS-C for budget sensor, on camera flash, 'reach' (ie pixel density for certain applications - eg birding, some sports), and to make use of the wonderful array of EF-S lenses (many of which are L class in terms of image quality.
- FF for more depth of field (DOF) control and per pixel sharpness, lower noise, and possibly in the (near) future, an overall much higher resolution photo - already competing with Medium Format.
4. 7DmkII 'ground-breaking' possibilities. As there has been some talk that 7DmkII will be a jump up from the 7D in terms of product placement and features / functionality (it will
still be an APS-C)... here are my thoughts:
- improved implementation of the Dual Pixel AF, so much so that it will probably be very close to the optical AF, and might even be superior in some regards, eg ability to have good AF when using effective apertures like f/8 and f/11
- the first Canon APS-C to have more than 19 AF points (as I see the 70D has largely inherited the 7D's AF)
- a 'mirror up' option, to allow faster FPS... (might be connected with the Dual Pixel AF) with eg 10 - 20fps. This will also allow the 7DmkII to have a substantially longer lifespan (when using LiveView more) - as the wear & tear of mirror (& other aspects of shutter system) are reduced/ minimised.
- best Canon APS-C ISO performance (maybe matching or even exceeding the Sony sensors?)
Some other (less 'ground-breaking') features of the new 7DmkII that I forecast could include:
- improved weather sealing
- some enhancements to video
- GPS integration
- radio transmission for the latest flash units
- wireless (for file transfer / connectivity)
As I use (and love) DxO's software 'Optics Pro' - I do hope that the Canon 7DmkII will still be supported by the 'Standard' line of their product, rather than the 'Elite'. Thankfully so far, DxO have been keeping APS-C DSLRs (& any bridge / compacts) - in 'Standard' and all the FF (including the 6D) in 'Elite'- not just for Canon but for other manufacturers also.
When the 7D came out, I knew it was the camera I'd been waiting for - and I am very glad I bought it soon after it's release, a I've taken tens of thousands of quality photos. Since then, I felt Canon was a bit in a 'lag' in some lines of its product- but I realise this can be part of the calm before the storm (the R&D / Production cycle for the next batch of 'great cameras'). Just as the Canon 20D and some of the early 1D cameras were clearly on top of their market segment when they came out. I felt there have been some 'lags' (eg 30D - 60D) - with Canon keeping the xxxD series actually ticking along quite well - good set of features, etc, for the 'budget' / entry level line.
So now, I'm glad that I've been able to be particularly impressed what Canon have achieved 'recently' with these 3 cameras:
a) 5DmkIII (is what the 5DmkII should have been, eg it's build quality and AF, though to it's credit the 5DmkII did have video- a first!)
b) 6D - a true budget FF, which still includes some great features - eg central focal point, wireless, etc.
c) 70D- with it's return to AFMA, significantly improved optical AF compared to the 60D, and the LiveView / video AF a real game changer.
Looking forward to what Canon will bring in with the 7DmkII... and in the meantime I'll keep enjoying using my 7D to take thousands of photos and share with friends, clients and stakeholders
Ok, well that's my 2 cents worth! You heard it here. (PS just to confirm APS-H is still dead!)