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unfocused

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Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« on: July 22, 2012, 06:21:13 PM »
With the rumored specifications for an entry-level full frame DSLR, coupled with the announcements of the past year, it seems to me that Canon's product road map for the near future is coming into focus.

My guess is that the rapid pace of advancements in DSLR technology during the first decade of this century made it difficult to plan new product releases with any consistency. As the market and technology matures, I think we will see a more consistent approach from both Canon and Nikon.

I'm more familiar with Canon, so I'll use their products, but I think the same will essentially apply to Nikon.

Entry-level DSLRs: Canon has consistently offered several choices in the Rebel line, from a very low cost budget model up to a fully tricked-out version. The aim was to make sure they leave no potential customers on the table due to budget constraints, while at the same time having sufficient models to allow retailers to up-sell customers. With the T4i, I don't see that changing. The only change is that the bar keeps getting raised.

Step-up/enthusiasts DSLRs: Canon and Nikon currently have only one model each in this category. For Canon it is the 60D. While many 40D users were surprised when Canon seemed to "downgrade" this model, it is quite clear from their sales that they knew what they were doing. It appears that this line will soon split in two. An APS-C version and a full-frame version. Aside from the sensor, expect that these two cameras will be essentially the same – composite body, flip-screen, touch-screen, same or similar autofocus, etc. Given the differences in sensor size, the APS-C version will have a faster frame rate, while the full-frame version will have better high ISO performance. I will be surprised if either one offers micro-focus adjustment. (I think Canon feels the hassle of dealing with customers who screw up their lens' focusing isn't worth the effort. I know people on this forum consider it an important feature, but this forum is not typical of the customer base.)

Professional/pro-sumer DSLRs: This category has been filled by the 7D and the 5D. The problem in the past though, was that the pace of change was so fast that in the year between the 5D and 7D releases, the technology and market changed enough that Canon ended up with a 5DII that lacked many of the features found in the 7D. Just as the 60D and the "entry-level" full frame will likely mirror each other, I expect the 7DII and the 5DIII to mirror each other in features as well, with the size of the sensor being the main differentiating factor. The 7D, with its APS-C sensor, will likely have a higher frame rate, while the 5DIII will have a one-to-two stop advantage in ISO performance. But, other than those differences, necessitated by the sensor sizes, expect the two to share almost all other features.

Finally, of course, both Nikon and Canon have their flagship DSLRs. We've seen their offerings there and I don't expect it to change.

The wild card, of course, is the rumored high resolution DSLR from Canon. If it materializes, I expect it to be the same body as the 5DIII, but with a slower frame rate and lower maximum ISO. I expect the pricing to be identical to the 5DIII. Buyers can pick their poison – the 5DIII with superior low-light performance or the 5D HD with up to 46mp resolution.

This all seems logical and consistent with both Canon's and Nikon's actions of the past year.
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Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« on: July 22, 2012, 06:21:13 PM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2012, 07:05:32 PM »
gotta say i agree with 95% of that except the part about the 18MP APS-C sensors being Pro
but i think we already know we agree to disagree on that one :)

I really think in the next 12 months if canon want to keep pushing the APS-C cart along they are going to have to do something radically different.

but for me the next body I buy is looking more and more likely to be a used 1Dmk4
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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2012, 07:30:44 PM »
Personally, I feel that the technology is far from mature.  There are a ton of tricks that we have yet to see, and are almost certainly under development.
There is so much money in digital photography right now, that manufacturers are doing a lot of R&D.  100 million P&S cameras, and 15 million DSLRs were sold last year, and this year, DSLR and mirrorless sales are shooting up.

marekjoz

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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2012, 06:40:19 AM »
I think there is still a place in Canon's top:

A. DSLR product line for:
1. FF - low ISO, high MP, low fps
2. APS-C/APS-H - just 1dx with the smaller sensor so greater the reach, so lower the iso, so even higher fps

B. mirrorless product line for:
1. FF, dedicated wide L lens line
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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2012, 12:01:33 PM »
I think there is still a place in Canon's top:

A. DSLR product line for:
1. FF - low ISO, high MP, low fps
2. APS-C/APS-H - just 1dx with the smaller sensor so greater the reach, so lower the iso, so even higher fps

B. mirrorless product line for:
1. FF, dedicated wide L lens line
Lots of people would like this, but I wonder if the current market will support more expensive cameras.  Canon and others are starting to slash prices, which means sales are really poor.  Summer in the northern hemisphere is usually the high season with strong sales to people buying new gear to take on vacation, for weddings, ect.  Apparently this is not the case this summer.
Poor sales creates a cash flow issue, so manufacturers have to tighten their belt and slash prices as well as profits.

Daniel Flather

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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2012, 12:07:19 PM »
Point and shot cameras are near the end, smart phones will kill them off.
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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2012, 01:44:28 PM »
I think there is still a place in Canon's top:

A. DSLR product line for:
1. FF - low ISO, high MP, low fps
2. APS-C/APS-H - just 1dx with the smaller sensor so greater the reach, so lower the iso, so even higher fps

B. mirrorless product line for:
1. FF, dedicated wide L lens line

How much advantage would a FF mirrorless camera afford?  Is your goal to make the camera smaller?  Can it really get much smaller than a Rebel form factor without coming out with another lens mount system that would reduce the flange distance?

In the future, the mirror might be replaced to enable higher frame rates, but I'd rather Canon improve the EF lenses, rather than supporting another lens line (EF, EF-S EF-M, EF-M2 for full frmae).  And if FF mirrorless system keeps the EF lens mount, how much smaller can it really get?

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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2012, 01:44:28 PM »

distant.star

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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2012, 02:59:13 PM »


.
Thanks, Mark. I was hoping you'd provide your learned assessment now that Canon has tipped its hand with the new M class. As you know we essentially agree. Your "wild card" predictions seems like it may be unrealistic. Given Canon's somewhat brutish defining of markets, I can't see them differentiating things that narrowly -- especially in what I think will be a diminishing segment.

Anyway, I'm trying to focus on forces that influence the market and will certainly define future markets. The M class, and most importantly their intimation that a more sophisticated model is imminent, clarify the assessment I've already made:

http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=7235.msg133049#msg133049

At this point, I see three pertinent indicators that will suggest future equipment iterations:

1. Video. As I've said in the past, I believe this is eventually going to leave still photography in the dust -- just as the "talkies" did with silent films. This is probably a 20-to-30 year transition, given that the world doesn't economically implode (as seems increasingly possible) and leave us all living a subsistence life during 50 or 100 years of "rebuilding." A child born today will probably see 99% video, and any "still" images he sees will be simply captures/outtakes of moving images. HD screens are proliferating and they have an enormous appetite. Leading edge photojournalists are already moving to video, and this will continue. The world of education is abandoning print, etc. and going digital, much of it video.

2. JPG world. Canon's current marketing emphasis for the M class is aimed here. These are the great mass of people using still images to enhance communications. Thirty years ago a teenage girl would call her girlfriend on a landline phone and say, "You'll never guess what I did last night!" Today, that teenager sends real time pictures to all her "friends." This is the cell phone/tablet generation and that social world demands visual communication, fast and easy and immediate. Image quality, such as a photographer understands it, has no role here.

3. RAW world. This is where I and most people, it seems, on this forum tend to live. We value the quality/beauty/art of a photograph and we're willing to work at it. These are people dependent on computer software. Shoot RAW to get as much detail as possible, then take it to Aperture/Lightroom/Photoshop, etc. to extract and manipulate to achieve a certain vision. I think this is the "diminishing segment" I mentioned earlier. Today it includes professional photographers, artists and committed amateurs. One deviation from this is sports and some pros who want an instant JPG with good enough IQ to sell realtime. I think Canon engineered that into the 5D3 as I see lots of talk about the high quality of jpg right out of the camera. Anyway, in my 20-to-30 year transition timeframe, I think there will be fewer and fewer people like us taking RAW images through software programs. I still do see people standing in front of easels applying paint to canvas along the side of the road, but no one is getting rich selling oils and brushes. A few from jpg world may migrate to RAW world, but not enough to sustain a real market segment. Sorry, they'll either be outcast artists or else just go to film school!

So, that suggests to me, pretty much what I said in my June 10 post. I'm willing to concede I may be a generation too soon on the 1DX, but that kind of camera won't last beyond one more iteration at best. The M class is Canon's acknowledgement that the future is mirrorless -- or as direct from lens to sensor as they can make it. The flappy mirror is doomed. One thing I don't know is if we old eyepiece gazers will just die out or if they will provide some kind of digital/optical display we can still see through the eyepiece. I, for one, can never see myself composing on a three-inch screen at the back of my camera.

For myself, I'm thoroughly enjoying the wonderful tools I have to create images today. While such technology is always in flux, I desperately hope the bankers and other such terrorists of our world don't ruin it for children being born today.

Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to speculate. It's always fun.
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unfocused

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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2012, 05:45:26 PM »
Great insights as usual distant.star.

Your comments fit very nicely into something I read a year or so ago about computer users. The conventional wisdom is to divide the world into persons who are comfortable with computer technology and those who are not. But this particular study found a huge variation among those who use computers. In fact, they found about five or six distinct categories of users.

I don't remember all the details, but I remember that many of us aging baby-boomers fell into a category that relied very heavily on "anchored" computers. We like our programs and like working on computers doing things like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Lightroom, Word, Excel, etc. Many younger users fell into a category that used computers a lot in their daily life, but mostly for communicating and social purposes. They like mobile phones, tablets, etc., and consider them just a tool or a means to an end. They consider it a waste of time to sit down at a desktop and spend hours working on a project and they actually have less knowledge about actual computer programs than many people older than they are.

I think that is one of the main differences between the mirrorless generation and the traditional DSLR users. (And, if you look at Canon's marketing videos for the new M camera, it's pretty clear it ain't aimed at my generation.)

So, what's my point? Hell if I know. I guess just that I agree things are changing and frankly, about all I care about is getting another generation or two of DSLR's out of Canon before they go the way of film cameras.
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distant.star

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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2012, 01:12:05 PM »

.
Interesting, Mark, and no surprise. I guess one interpretation is the old generational "young people don't know how to work," but I'd resist that. As a young journalist I could keyboard a story into a text/layout system and be done in an hour while an old managing editor banged away on a manual typewriter and made pencil edits. I was at the bar with the other young guys while he was still banging away at his desk. I guess it's just more technology transition and the usual resistance by the oldsters. I know today I've never "texted" and see no point to it.

Anyway, for me, the real highlight of what you've said is "...all I care about is getting another generation or two of DSLR's out of Canon before they go the way of film cameras." The crux of this is how you define DSLR.

The new Canon M is not by pure definition a DSLR since it has no traditional mirror for "reflex" or reflection. However, it does enable you to view through the lens so the same thing is accomplished. For me, it comes down to how you see the image coming through the lens. If I put aside my bias for looking through an eyepiece, maybe the screen really isn't much different in fact. But then, I'm the first to suggest I don't see the same clarity on a 3-inch screen that I see looking directly through that lens via mirror. And there's the influence of sunlight on that screen, limitations on angle of view, etc. Finally, my biggest issue seems to be AF speed and feedback. I'm seeing conflicting comments on how fast the new M can autofocus. If it's as fast as a traditional DSLR, that goes a long way toward suggesting the mirror really can go away. Unfortunately, I haven't found looking at focus on a screen nearly as satisfying as looking directly through the lens.

Oh, and I'll also defer to one poster who made the valid point about platform stabilization achieved by holding the camera against the head.

I'm sure the technology will soon get to a point where that mirrorless focuses as fast as any traditional DSLR. And perhaps those of us who value seeing the focus directly through the lens will have to go away. Even with that, there are constraints in the marketplace. Wedding photographers, for instance, sell their service to clients. Those clients believe the typical EOS1 form factor (or gripped 5D series) and traditional eyepieces define a pro photographer. Imagine the horror in the bridal party when the photog shows up with something like the Canon M and starts snapping away while looking at the back screen -- like something they'd do with their cell phones! Making that transition is going to take some time -- at least your "generation or two," I'd guess.

Tangentially, for those interested in understanding Japanese manufacturing and management, I'd suggest an insightful book from 25 years ago. It's "Made In Japan" by Akio Morita. He was Sony chairman and relates the rise of the company from post-WWII Japan to a worldwide technology leader. It's probably not as relevant today as it was in 1988, but the background is priceless -- especially if you want to understand things like western criticism of a company having a 76-year-old running the show as is being discussed in another thread here.




Great insights as usual distant.star.

Your comments fit very nicely into something I read a year or so ago about computer users. The conventional wisdom is to divide the world into persons who are comfortable with computer technology and those who are not. But this particular study found a huge variation among those who use computers. In fact, they found about five or six distinct categories of users.

I don't remember all the details, but I remember that many of us aging baby-boomers fell into a category that relied very heavily on "anchored" computers. We like our programs and like working on computers doing things like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Lightroom, Word, Excel, etc. Many younger users fell into a category that used computers a lot in their daily life, but mostly for communicating and social purposes. They like mobile phones, tablets, etc., and consider them just a tool or a means to an end. They consider it a waste of time to sit down at a desktop and spend hours working on a project and they actually have less knowledge about actual computer programs than many people older than they are.

I think that is one of the main differences between the mirrorless generation and the traditional DSLR users. (And, if you look at Canon's marketing videos for the new M camera, it's pretty clear it ain't aimed at my generation.)

So, what's my point? Hell if I know. I guess just that I agree things are changing and frankly, about all I care about is getting another generation or two of DSLR's out of Canon before they go the way of film cameras.
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Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2012, 01:12:05 PM »