I'd like to add 2 points:
We'll know much more in a month, but it does seem that technically, the lens does:
0- about all the 100-400 does with unnoticeably different IQ
1- doesn't require knowing how to play the trombone, which I never got the hang of in almost a year of 100-400 use
2- costs 35 percent less
3- goes out 100mm further without bad IQ loss
4- goes out another 100mm with what could be unacceptable IQ loss in most situations (this is the thing we need tested; such as comparisons to 100-400+TC or cropping. I can tell you a 1.4 TC made my 100-400 unfun. I'd like to see the Tamron at 560mm versus the 100-400 with 1.4 TC)
5- Has 5x the warrantee period
6- Satisfies the little voice in even the Canon partisan's head that says, "Yeah, this'll show Canon it can't take us for granted."
This is speaking as a 100-400 owner until 12 hours ago, when a woman from Portland, OR bought mine on eBay for 120 percent the cost of the new Tamron I just ordered from B&H. But the other point...
Canon may or may not be intending to re-do the 100-400 with a Mark II. But if precedent holds, that $1700 lens would be a $2499 lens at least in 2014... UNTIL Tamron punched them in the price stratification gut. IF there was an imminent lens launch coming from Canon, I think there's a guy at Canon USA who is crapping ceramics right now. And his boss's boss is wondering what the heck else Tamron is going to launch, ruining another high-margin market for them.
This new lens is nice for those of us hoping to reach out and get a few wildlife shots we'd been missing, but it spells good old free market price inflection point competition for everyone else.
OK, bonus point:
The camera market has been throttled in the past couple of years with cell phone makers finally putting decent little cameras that meet 90 percent of everyman's needs. If you are a corporate strategist at any of the camera/lens companies in Japan, you react to this by pushing lenses. More lenses, different lenses, better lenses. You go and sell those lenses to people and you get higher margins than the undependable camera market gets. This is not a long-term strategy in terms of industrial capacity allocation, but it's a prudent one for a couple years if you can't predict what's going to happen in 18 months. Concurrent with this is a lowering of the camera body price points, as you want to get as many people as possible into your platform so you can, yes, sell more lenses.
If what I formulated above is true, and the Canon folks are seeing it too, then you would see this future in 2014:
- A low-end camera would be launched with much of the functionality of the Rebel/70D (at least the video bits) to capture marketshare for future lens sales. This camera would be small, appealing to those who would otherwise forego an SLR for a phone.
- It would be bundled with a pancake lens to make it feel like a P&S form factor. There's probably some Canon USA product manager who is still steaming because he wanted to introduce same 10 months ago, but the others feared he'd cannibalize their sales, trying to convince themselves that the market would turn around. (And now that he's been established as correct, they'll give this project to one of the minds that didn't have that vision because the company culture rewards respect of seniority). I'm guessing this camera is the one coming in February.
- The P&S is pretty much dying, but Canon will just consolidate the numerous offerings, doing less price stratification and doing more loading up of features (the ones not adding incremental production costs) into the low end.
- The arbitrary use of APS-C sensors as a market splitter between enthusiasts and pros, maintained largely through the discrimination in software/processor versions, will make even less sense now. Pros need crop sensors. Some enthusiasts would move to Canon for a full frame sensor. The entire hierarchy of camera features and names versus sensors will change.
- The naming convention will employ three dimensions of variables: level of "pro-ness"; crop factor; and special feature (like we see sometimes with the appending character on a 1D body).
- Unfortunately, we will see more regional differences, as Canon Japan attempts to exploit market differences by giving the indigenous executives more product and pricing power. Their hope will be that they can maximize margins by taking advantage of instances where, for instance, there remain pockets of high-margin P&S sales. This will largely take the form of certain products not being available in certain markets - those local executives fearing the destruction of a still-alive existing market. To end users, it will seem nonsensical, and there will be many complaints on the forums.
- Canon will launch education and marketing efforts attempting to push a specific class of knowledge: those things you can do exclusively with slr lenses. You will see emphasis on subject isolation; super telephoto tips; focus capabilities unique to larger sensors; etc. They will de-emphasize issues that are common to iPhones and Rebels both.
- A Canon lens competitor will attempt to launch an Android SLR, and it will test disastrously. They may launch it anyways. A variant of this may come to pass: one of the desperate Android tablet producers may purchase one of the lens companies. This would have already happened had the lens manufacturers not been based in Japan, where such things are quite difficult.
- Canon will fall to the temptation to make its body-to-lens interface deliberately more opaque to third party lens makers. AF will be slower on non-brand lenses and there may even be a body introduced that isn't compatible with some key existing third party lenses. Canon will explore selling to third parties access to the API, but this will run into serious antitrust interest on the part of the US Department of Justice. 9 months later the Europeans would jump on that bandwagon too.
All this from reading the entrails of a single Tamron lens launch. You heard it here first. -Tig
And you go around to the rumor sites and you tell them that 2014 is the upcoming "year of the lens." Heard it here first.