Moving forward in 2009
As mentioned before, the xxD line of cameras has been moved to a 1 year product cycle. The release of the 50D in the fall cemented that.
The disappointing thing for Canon? The 50D hasn't been very well received. It's not moving the units Canon wants. This could partially be because of the economy, but as we've seen from the 5D2, people are willing to spend. The xxD line reached its peak with the release of the 20D. It was basically the first truly affordable prosumer camera. Then came the 30D, which was lamented pretty hard for its very conservative improvements over the 20D. The 40D saw a bit of a comeback in the line, the camera was a bargain when it launched and is a super bargain today. I can't with any honesty recommend the 50D over the 40D based on their current pricing.
I'm told Canon is completely rethinking the line and needs to create some separation from the Rebels in specs. Some points made from my conversations today. Not all will happen, but it's stuff that's being and been talked about:
– Canon is developing an AF system for the midrange cameras. They don't feel the 60D buyer really needs 1D AF, which I tend to agree with. The user does deserve a better performing AF system than the Rebel user.
– More AF points. There is a notion in a lot of circles that more AF points matter in image quality. I've heard stories from retailers that have proven to me that this is true. They won't be flooding the line with 45 AF points, but you could see 11-13.
– It's time for full weather sealing in the line. The cost to do it is minimal, but they're even playing catchup to the likes of Pentax and Olympus in the area.
– They feel there is definitely a market for the APS-C sensor and will continue to develop for it. The marketing department may not get their way in the future as far as pushing more megapixels as the sole reason for an upgrade. Expect that to slow down significantly. They're finally discovering consumers are becoming smarter than that.
– The APS-H (1.3x) sensor has no future in the xxD or 1D line.
– With the resurgence of prime lenses in the market place, there could be a chance of ef-s primes or 2nd tier primes getting upgraded. Most likely the latter. This wouldn't happen until the 2nd half of 2010 at the earliest.
– The line will definitely see movie mode.
– As always, GPS and Wifi are being talked about. There could be a grip that does both that doesn't cost $1000!
– The line will most likely get chipped batteries. Canon trying to maximize on lifetime value sales.
I've had some interesting conversations lately about the line and look forward to hearing a lot more in the near and distant future. There won't be a 60D until the fall. It may also not be called a “60D”. Nikon has taken a lot of market, Canon is going to be very aggressive in getting it back. There's no doubt in my mind they will be successful.