I really think this is a good move. I've said it before http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php/topic,2969.msg62520.html#msg62520
, and I'll say it again - Canon should never have made the 7D as good as it is functionally with a crop sensor. It's like putting a lawn-mower engine into a BMW convertible.
I should know as I own two 5DMarkII's and a 7D. I bought the 7D thinking it would be close to the 5D in image quality, or at least in the same ballpark. I was excited by its features and thought I could live with a small drop in IQ for the sake of all those other goodies. Unfortunately it's not even close. Makes sense though - the 5D Mark II has 2.56 times the surface area for the sensor, and sensor technology improves, but rarely by that amount in a year. The crop factor at 1.6x really does make a big difference.
So the current lineup is just freaking bizarre. In fact it's horrible. Here's why:
1. You have a fantastically featured awesome little camera with great autofocus, button layout, flash trigger capabilities, weather sealing, responsiveness...yadda yadda yadda.... but with a horrible sensor (by pro standards OK - compared to 5D Mark II) that make shots look very point-n-click like in the noise department, and even in the low light color rendition. That's the current 7D.
2. You have a camera with with pretty ordinary controls and features, poor environmental sealing, and one hell of an image sensor that carries it through sales time and time again (and pretty good video too I'm told). That's the 5D Mark II. It's so good in the IQ dept I bought two
That lineup is just whack and they should really do a sensor swap. Canon will address this by putting crop sensors solely back into the XXD line with the 70D, and boosting the features of the 5DmarkIII so they meet or surpass the 7D - guaranteed. Well shots per second *might* be down a bit, and there will be no onboard flash but these are the only exceptions I can think of). If they did kill the 7D line and put most of it's great features into the next 5D, then look out for a 5Dx moniker.
This is not a "hater's gonna hate". This is just telling it brutally as it is. I really wanted to love the 7D. I actually feel pretty cheated as I read the DPReview review on the 7D before buying and nothing gave me the indication that it was as bad as it is compared to the 5D2 image quality. Still I've learned my lesson and will never go back to any crop sensor - it's full frame or medium format from here on in. A Lightroom crop and sharpen will probably get me just as good a results as the sensor "crop factor" of the 7D, if I don't have a lens long enough for what I'm shooting. If your 7D ego has just been bruised then I suggest you get yourself a full frame camera and start pixel peeping and see the "full frame light" my friend - especially at ISO 400 and above, but it's still readily apparent at ISO100.
I welcome this news. Bravo Canon. Now just get the 5Dx right! (edit:fixed typos)