You have to wonder, if Canon had released a 5Dmk3 in September (before the 1Dx was announced) and it basically had:
1) generally the same 21M sensor as today
2) the 7D functional feature set (AF system, metering, horizon guide, auto ISO, etc.)
3) a Digic-V processor or dual Digic-IV's like the 7D
4) a slight improvement in the high ISO noise, say 1/2 stop better due to improved sensor manufacturing
5) a 5-6fps shoot rate
6) used the same batteries and grip as the 5Dmk2
7) added a 60 fps video frame rate
8 ) additional firmware options
This for $2499......
How many people would be completely happy with that camera?
You're basically looking at off the shelf technology and mainly adaptation costs involved in the construction and integration, along with improved firmware. Yet what you'd have would kick the crap out of 80% of the market.
I know that for a lot of mid-range, general studio, and wedding shooters, that's a solid camera and offers just about all that is needed in that market segment. When you realize the image quality of a 3 year old 5Dmk2 still beats a vast majority of the competition, these tweaks remove the negatives of the current body and flesh out it's feature set nicely.
That sounds more like what the 5D2 might have been, that's too little to last until 2015.
The D800 would already, just six months later have had 50% more MP, possibly 2 stops better low ISO DR, same fps with grip, vastly better video (if it used the dual digic iv in your list instead of the digic 5), better AF.
Way too conservative.
I hear your points and I did include the D800 in my thoughts, but I will also point out that the D800 is going to sacrifice performance at ISO 1600, 3200, and 6400. The D800 images available so far (all well lit I might add) show it's no match for the 5Dmk2 at those ISO levels. Actually it looks a lot like the 7D in that regard.
Now, keep in mind what I said regarding the market....mid-range, general studio, and wedding. I didn't say video users or people looking for a MF in a DSLR. In addition, what's in the package I outlined for $500 less list is able to use the existing grip and batteries making it about $800 less than the rumored option with a similar configuration, and about $1200 less than the D800 with it's required grip and special battery to achieve it's rated performance. This option will shoot cleaner images at ISO 3200 and 6400, and give those in the target market all they will need at a significantly lower cost. Not to mention, Canon would have spent very little to make that camera, compared with a whole new body. That means rebates to further entice buyers.
I completely understand this may not be the market segment where you fit. It was an open hypothetical question and still is...we're just conjecturing here on what if's and you may still disagree after all is said and done.
Personally I do hope the new 5D3/5Dx (whatever it's called) has all the specs that have been thrown around as it would make it an awesome camera for $3k. However, I seriously doubt that the 1Dx's AF system is going to be in this camera, nor will the 5D3/5Dx match the 1Dx in ISO noise performance. These will be lower in performance for the following obvious reasons:
1) 1Dx uses 2 Digic 5+ processors and one Digic 4 (3 processors total).
2) The Digic 4 processor in the 1Dx is dedicated
to the AF and metering system.
3) The new metering system plays a huge part in the ability of the AF to detect and lock focus in low light conditions.
4) To be able to shoot 22Mpix images at 7fps, handle the full 1Dx's AF and metering system, plus the rumored improvements to video, etc. would likely require the 5D3/5Dx to have 3 processors just like the 1Dx, something Canon will likely not do in a body of this rumored price.
5) From what I've read so far (and this could be wrong), a single Digic 5 cannot handle 22Mpix at 7fps and run all the other camera functions alone
, at bare minimum the 5D3/5Dx will require a Digic-5 and a Digic-4 to even have a prayer of coming close to the processing needs.
6) Noting the 1Dx has the latest 18M FF sensor and represents the best Canon can currently do with the sensor technology ready for mass production, a 22M FF sensor used in the 5D3/5Dx will have more pixels and won't be able to produce images with less noise at the same ISO settings.
This is why, when comparing the hypothetical 5D3/5Dx to the 1Dx for features and performance, folks are not factoring in reality in terms of whats needed to run that rumored body, nor are they realizing that the ISO noise performance, based on obvious sensor technology levels deployed by Canon, isn't going to be better than the 1Dx, it's going to be slightly worse.
There is simply no way Canon's 18Mpix FF sensor in the 1Dx just released is going to under perform a Canon 22Mpix FF sensor in an about to be announced 5D3/5Dx. Expect it to be worse in noise performance.