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Monday, 05 March 2012

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Just to mention the elephant in the corner of the living room -- lots of people are talking about the DSLR itself reaching end-of-life (at least mass-market life), being replaced with EVIL cameras in anything like mass-market use.

This happened to medium-format roll film, after all -- it was the original snapshot camera format, but was eventually pared back to professional/serious hobbyist use (and then got caught up in the whole digital thing).

I'm not sure about it not being improved "enough." Canon listened to the biggest complaints running around on the internet which were "better AF" and "controls while shooting movies" and that's what they made.

True to form for Canon users, they got what they wanted (I think most people were expecting the 7D's AF not the ultrabest 1DX's) and they still complain. "Canon gave me what I asked for, but it's not good enough!"

I am convinced that if Canon had announced the 5DIII before Nikon's D800 or if the D800 didn't have 36MP there would be no (or fewer) complaints about the MPs on the 5DIII.

You are a Miata nut, in that you know it's spiritual ancestor was the lithe and wonderous Lotus Elan, not the coal cart and pedestrian MGB ...

Miata to me means a cute car
So maybe the Miata could be compared to the run of the Morris Garage MG from post-WWII
until its final demise some years ago?
Nothing exists for ever neither us nor that which we create. Same goes for cameras, they die eventually except for those embalmed in one form or another on a shelf or in a showcase.

Maybe it is time all cameras as with our own selves be created so they eventually disintegrate to piles of dust and various metallic powders.

Film too will follow the same path, over time. Maybe it is still best to write down the history of our time on materials that resist aging an disintegration?

Just a few thoughts. Getting rid of the cartoon face on Miata will boost sales by itself. It is a common source of ridicule on auto blogs. If the ND is the superlight they are talking about, like the Lotus Elan, it might be a hit. Currently the Miata is a bit underpowered and thirsty for gasoline for a car of its size and weight. And it takes a strong constitution to drive down the street looking like an old Chevron commercial cartoon.

The DSLR market is pretty well saturated, I think. Most new higher end cameras buyers are going the mirrorless route. And I think you are misreading the D800 reaction. Everyone is excited about the E version, but many, many people do not want 36 MP. They would have been much happier with the D4 sensor in it and never having to worry about noise. But you are right, even upgraders, the remaining major market for the new Canon and new Nikon has reached a point of sufficiency, especially as fewer and fewer people print, much less make huge prints. I do not need one of those to show my pix online or on my iPad. I think the test is to ask what a new camera will do to improve my photography. The answer, I think, is maybe a little, or not much.

What about looks? The EOSs were never the best looking cameras around.... Personally, I don't like those big grips, I carry most of the cameras weight in my left hand, but there they remain model after model. Ugly. Not that the wart infested Nikons are any better.

I have an NA ('97, bought in '99). The NB was OK, but they trimmed a little room from the interior, and I don't fit as well. The NC is nice, but has too many cup holders.

I'd love to have a 5D MkII, now that the price is going to come down, but I still have a perfectly fine 40D and 7D. They both take lovely photographs.

If you have one that works, you don't need the new one. Especially $3500 worth of new one.

If I may add to your ruminations: Assuming DSLR cameras are becoming "good enough", how much more expensive will they get? There are still people out there shooting with the 5D mkI, and in 6 years time there will probably still be people shooting with the 5D mkIII, and maybe even mkII. At some point, the loss in profits due to cameras lasting too long (and thus less new units being sold) will have to be passed on to the buyers by increasing the price of the camera. Canon's total profit will be provided by fewer people buying more expensive, but not necessarily much better, cameras.

When will this day come, and what will the price increase be?

My prediction is we'll soon start seeing camera lines shrink, so instead of 6-7 models spanning beginner to amateur to pro we'll have just 3-4. This will initially save on R&D and manufacturing costs and keep camera prices constant, but eventually camera makers are going to hit a wall and we'll have to pay for the bricks.

Mike, I know you are a bit of a fan of the BBC series “Top Gear”, and that due to some rules you in the USA have to wait some time before it is made available to you to watch online. You are going to want to get the popcorn in for Episode 6 of Series 18, shown here in the UK last night.

As a slight spoiler, here’s a You Tube clip of Jay Leno testing the star of the show last year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CvVr9jU4I0 . £30,000 and available in every Pantone colour you could want, with some fun add-on little graphics. I had a test drive of one last year through an old school friend who now runs a dealership, and let me tell you it is a whole lot better than procreation. As Leno wisely observes, this thing is way more fun at under the legal limit than some souped up monster at way over the legal limit.

Two leather seats, 3 wheels, big tuned Harley twinpot and an MX-5 (Miata) gearbox, and insects in your teeth. Does not get much better. And all for £30,000, which in car terms is almost affordable.

I have already decided that when I buy mine it is going to be called Moggie.

Have a play with what it could look like at http://www.morgan3wheeler.co.uk/bespokecreate.html

I do believe you have hit the proverbial nail right on the head. It's looking as though these super duper large high rez cameras are beginning to lose their lustre for the average person, as smaller, more convenient to carry cameras are getting to the point where they are perfectly acceptable image wise. Especially if, like me, most if not all of my images go onto the web.

I think another factor might be the increasing complexity and proliferation of features could have people saying "Enough, already!"
Yes, they're all wonderful but I sense that a lot of people are using these high end DSLR's with a lot of automation as fancy point and shoot cameras a lot of the time. They're very expensive to be used like that.
Not all do so, of course, but the auto features are now so well integrated and programmed that it's easier to let the camera do the work and if you're going to do that, do you really need such a camera?
But how else are designers and manufacturers going to differentiate their product and keep people wanting to buy the latest?

Or maybe Canon have produced in the Mk3 a specialist instrument that not all of us are as yet convinced about. I am a tripod sort of photographer. I manually focus on static things. I don't need lots of focus points, I don't need many frames per second. Will the Mk3 give me greater resolution and greater dynamic range being the things I want? Time will tell and until then I am happy with the Mk2. I am not alone.

Perhaps full-frame cameras have matured to point of no longer needing an update every three years. How many times did Canon update the F1 from its 1971 introduction to 1992 when the last one was made? Twice, with the first one being a minor refresh.

I think some 5DII shooters may upgrade if they need the better AF system of the new body, but other than that, it may not be worth it.

"the designers thought it should its styling should resemble a cartoon more closely than a classic roadster"
The roads are more and more occupied by vehicles that look like cartoons or child's toys - but then, when I was a boy one only saw a Tintin quiff in a book. Nowadays it's quite common to see human beings on the street looking just like cartoon characters.
Personally I don't find that latest MX5 (English for Miata) particularly offensive, especially when compared to some recent Nissan and Kia vehicles. Maybe the market for the roadster has shrunk because the traffic free open roads of the 50's/60's don't exist any more.
It could be argued that many of the last film P&S cameras looked cartoonish and that the present day trend with odd looking cameras is the retro look - very nice with the Fujis (X10, X100, XPro1) and rather messed up (cartoonish?) with the Pentax (K-01, Q)and the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

That's a nice analogy Mike but I'm not sure the tepid reaction to the mkIII can be explained entirely by the Miata's sales figures.

The Miata, was a fun car that drove and handled better than anything up to twice its price.
The 5DmkII produced files better than anything up to twice its price (1DSmkIII), handled well and video, the little bonus fun extra, took the photographic and indie film industry by storm, producing the sort of film quality that previously only big production budgets could afford.

Both the car and camera industries have caught up and created options for buyers that weren't there when they debuted.

The 5DmkII is sufficient in all areas except two; focus and sensor noise.
Especially focus. The MKII autofocus is hopelessly inaccurate. The viewfinder is dull, dark and its resolution much too low to reliably manual focus the high resolution images that the sensor can produce.

Live view works well for tripod-bound photos but is near useless for photographing life.

While the high ISO quality is great, pushing a slightly underexposed low ISO raw image, or opening up the shadows reveals sensor noise and banding that is a deal-breaker when selecting photographs for printing or publishing.

If the promotional material is anywhere near accurate then Canon has nailed the 5dmkIII upgrade. That's a big 'if' though.

The new 'Sufficient Camera' for consumer enthusiast photographers is going to be in the form of the various mirrorless half-sensor compacts that have rightfully gained recent prominence.

The 5DmkIII will do well, but as with the Miata it will not blitz the competition the way the previous version did because SLRs will no longer be at the vanguard of the camera industry; at least in the consumer's perception, if not the professional market.

I can imagine that Canon and others will eventually discard the smaller sensor SLRs from their lines and have a class-leader unabashed professional 1-series body along with a 5D enthusiast type camera.

Canon will have to figure out soon how they are going to exploit the half-sensor mirrorless market. The G 1X is not it.


I don't post often on such matters, but felt compelled to comment and don't believe my opinion is atypical about the Mark III (and I wanted to major in Transportation Design, so the Miata comparison resonated). I'm a semi-professional photographer, meaning I shoot some professionally, but it isn't my sole career. I was about to purchase a Mark II as I invested in Canon gear years ago and need an upgrade. Knowing the Mark III was so close, I decided to wait, but now won't buy because of the huge price increase. Spending $2K+ on a body should be accompanied by excitement for the new product. I was willing to pay a fair premium over the Mark II's current retail, but $3500 is way too much, especially for a product that doesn't also "wow" me from a design perspective. I'm fine with most of the specs (except GPS capabilities should be included in that price range), but the Mark III's combined price and uninspired design leave me frustrated at Canon after such a long wait. It's a solid body design, but give me new buttons/switches, move the logo, and give me some design joy to smile about beyond the improved specs. Now, it's all tainted. The Mark II doesn't excite me and the Mark III isn't "enough" to pull my credit card. And the Miata's toy look is off the mark too.

I'm on my second Miata since 1994. Currently I have a very nice second generation 2003 that will have to be pried from my cold dead hands. Brilliant car, but I blame declining sales on feature and price creep. As Mazda has added more and more features the price has risen correspondingly. As a result the car has exceeded the value perceived by the customer. It's a brilliant car but is it really worth almost $30,000? No, not really. (It doesn't help that the wages of the 99% have stalled or declined over the past 23 years...)

It reminds me of the Leica M9. The only game in town if you want a digital M, but unless cost is of no concern to you, it's ridiculously overpriced for what it is.

It will be interesting to see how the Nikon D4 fares in this regard.

Great column - I love the recent analogies between cameras and cars. However, I think there is even a better analogy and that is to golf clubs. Every now and then, golf clubs undergo a major shift.

For example, drivers with large heads, graphite shafts and utility clubs all represented a big step forward. Manufacturers made huge sales gains when these large improvements were made and, for the most part, golfers derived some benefit from the changes.

However, in the years in between the big steps forward, golfers were inundated with marketing spin. For example, Taylor Made embarked on a strategy of painting their drivers white, undoubtedly feeling that a white driver would look larger than a black one and would instill more confidence in the golfer using it. This year, Taylor Made has come up with the "Rocketballz" brand, resorting to the tactic of convincing golfers that clubs with stupid names hit the ball further.

No doubt, golf club manufacturers are looking at the same downward sales spiral as Mazda with its Miata. The only thing that trumps true innovation as a generator of sales is more innovation.

And that brings us to the 5d mark III. Ho hum. It has one more megapixel than my mark II. Yawn. It has more autofocus dots. Snooze. It has a faster processor. Another yawn. It costs over three thousand bucks. Yikes!

I'll continue to take a thousand images a month with my mark II. At this rate, the shutter will last me another 10 years.

However, if there was a Mark X with 40 megapixels on the horizon with potentially an option to ditch the anti-moire screen, then maybe, if the price is right, you might get me thinking about moving up. After all, we've all had thoughts about medium format, but have resisted because of the size of the camera and the high ISO limitations.

I don't know the sales figures for the 5D (I or II), but my gut feeling is the MkII was the better seller. Quite apart from stills photographers, I know my local camera shop sold an awful lot of them to videographers. And it was the right price, too. I get a feeling that the price has coloured people's views about the MkIII. Pros who have invested in the Canon range will certainly get it, but perhaps the real surge in sales for the MkII came from reasonably well-off enthusiasts for whome the camera seemed to offer pro-level quality for not too much extra cash. Heere in the UK the MkIII is currently just about twice the price of the MkII , and I think a lot of people who don't actually need it are deciding not to be persuaded by it. And as others have pointed out, there is a much wider range of options available to the enthusiastic amateur now then there was in 2008/2009.

I think the thing about the 5D mkIII is that the best image it can produce is not much better than what the 5D mkII can. The allegedly much improved auto focus means that the average 5D mkIII picture will more likely be in focus, which is a good thing since changing the focusing screen is likely to void the mkIII warranty.

The Nikon on the other hand *may* be a step up in theoretical maximum image quality.

If you already have a 5D mkII it basically means that you don't need as much skill to operate the new camera as you need for the one you already have, unless you are using manual focusing lenses.

The Canon is what software developers used to call a "sucks less" product. When it's good it's no better that the previous product, but when it's bad it's not quite as bad.

Canon means 'standard' or 'typical' and in music refers to a composition that repeats itself with minor variations so just maybe...

And speaking of Miatas, I like the NA the best. All the later ones have those ugly Ford door handles

Mike,
I gotta tell ya, for the first time in over a decade I am frustrated that I can't think of any camera related stuff that I can't live without! I bought a well used D700 a couple months ago that stuns me with its low light and general image quality. A Fuji x10 that does everything a carry around camera needs and a couple solid state drives and a new monitor for my PC. I guess I can pay normal household bills again and maybe take a trip or something...

I think Mike has a good theory. I'm not convinced but it's definitely plausible.
In my case I want a D800E - it's lighter than and in all probability good enough to replace medium format. I also want a V1 - I was thinking about a NEX-7 but it's still a beast to carry around so I might as well take a DSLR. I didn't think the V1 would be good enough, and I still haven't tried one but having read reviews by people like Thom Hogan and a few other people whose views I respect I think it might fight nicely between my S90 and DSLR.

I think (for me at least) that the EVIL mob may be taking over from DSLR but I also think the D800(E) might take over from medium format - it's a lot cheaper than a 645D and the reviews look good…

"and the Indy 500 seem to have declined in importance over the past couple of decades. (Can you name the current heavyweight champ or the winner of last year's 500? I can't.)"

I can't remember the last 20 years of Indy 500 winners but sure can remember that Tony George screwed the whole thing up by changing it into a spec car race.

TBannor,
One thing we've not discussed but that might well be relevant is that refreshing products spurs sales--they initiate a whole new round of publicity in the form of announcements and reviews, for one thing--so the rate of refresh can be heavily influenced simply by how well the old product is doing. If the old product is selling strong and steady, then no worries. But if it's lagging, then a new iteration might be what's required.

Mike

I think the "mega SLR" is dying because most people don't actually buy them for photography. If they did, sales figures would be in the tens of thousands of those pros who actually need some of the features and those amateurs who really do push the boundaries. For the other 90%, it's really more of a status symbol and an opportunity for Nikon and Canon to strut their stuff.

Merc vs BMW. How many toys can you add to an S Class or a 7 series? And is it really the image you want to project any more? Hasn't the boardroom battleship been a little tainted in recent years?

If one accepts that, for all their exceptional capabilities, such cameras are far more of an aspirational consumer status symbol than a tool, then I think one can say it is one that's had it's day.

I just think people are far less impressed with excess these days. They want quality and style and understatement. Walking around with a large DSLR on holiday makes you look like a dentist, tourist or candidate for a mugging, but not really a photographer.

I think Fuji have aced it. The X100 was the first Miata of the camera world. A thoroughly modern interpretation of a nostalgic concept of what photography is really about, with a fantastic sensor and lens.

I don't know if it's a long term trend, but there is a certain statement an X100 makes about the person who buys one. It's not a common choice, but it's one you can't argue with and it has a certain cachet.

Let's see how it's big brother makes out.

sufficiency. nuff said. Now, short of a major breakthrough, DSLRs will be replaced as they wearout or break beyond repair.

When first into Pro Photo, I moved up and up to 8x10 based on need. Now that the "average Pro-sumer DSLR" gives 4x5 results, why? Coupled with the economy?

I do think that the mirorless segment will flourish for a few years, my aching back is looking to the weight of mirrorless and sould soul the zen of a near manual 3 lens X-Pro or NEX-7.

Isn't not so much much about Canon or Nikon as it is full frame versus a cropped frame. I could care less if it's 12MP or 36MP. A bigger sensor gives a different look. I have been shooting C-41 with an old Rolleiflex TLR lately. It's a different look I cannot get with a smaller sensor.

Why I don't like the new 5D (and many others similar to it) without even seeing it: too big, too heavy, too many features I actively don't want (video!). I bet this iteration is similar in size to the original mk1 series.

Cars bloat like this over time, too, so we all downsize a model after a few years.

If Canon could package up all the stills features in a substantially smaller package, I might be interested.

I took your advice to George (actually, I took it before you wrote that, as I bought the D700 (on sale, for less than they're going for now) in 2008), and have been satisfied ever since. The digital F100. Eventually it will die, and I'll be happy to replace it with a D800, or D900, or 5DIV. But they're not enough better for my purposes to make me spend the money today.

For me, it's that with the D700, and 5DII, DSLRs got good enough. They'll continue to improve, but like late model Hondas and Toyotas, there's not a lot distinguishing later versions from earlier anymore. The newer versions are better, but the older ones are good enough.

I think the mirror-less cameras are about there also. In reality, probably one more generation to truly reach "good enough", but between the X-Pro 1, NEX-7, and OM-D, one is probably good enough. For me. I look forward to seeing some Real World images and reviews and making a decision in the next few months.

And for me, a used mid-80s 911 cab puts a smile on my face every time I put the top down and head down the 110 at midnight. I don't know if it qualifies as a roadster or not, but it didn't cost much, and it's a blast to drive. The soundtrack is straight out of Le Mans starring Steve McQueen.

The Miata isn’t generally bought as a daily driver but is a third car used mostly on summer weekends by people no longer financing their kids’ college educations. They (Miatas, not kids) don’t get worn out and there isn’t much that an evolutionary upgrade can do to trigger a trade. Same goes for the Canon. But upgrading to a new (or gently used) Boxter might make sense … or a $2,500 EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II.

Interesting analogy. Only drove a Miata once (don't remember what iteration)but it did put a smile on my face. I would also note that the Canon 5D and 5DII also put big smiles on my face. Yeah, a full frame DSLR is big and bulky but I've never even considered that, and all the rest of the gear I backback with, a burden.
I am getting a 5DMKIII because I fully believe the image quality will be a big step forward. Canon does a good job with pricing (IMHO) and I think the reason the price is higher than expected is that there is an awesome sensor in that body. Time will tell. I do print big a lot and I want the highest DR and IQ I can get. (This site has helped me with printing technique immensely)Maybe some day I can afford the MF behemouth but I'm not ready to get rid of the wife just yet. ;-)

I hope they don't give up before the iv, because I was figuring an every-other-model upgrade scheme would be a good thing before I found out anything about the iii. There just hasn't been much new happening that I'm excited about since the 5Dii came out; it's all form factors and styling, a few nice lenses, but very little change in the photographing bits of the body.

The first thing I've seen since I bought my 5Dii that I really lust after is live view for long exposures in the OM-D. Hopefully Canon gets around to stealing that in the next three years.

The Miata is poorly designed, won't fit anyone over 6'1"

Given it does not fit many men, it must have been designed for chicks ;-)

"The Miata is poorly designed, won't fit anyone over 6'1" Given it does not fit many men, it must have been designed for chicks ;-)"

I'm 6'2" and 230 lbs. and I fit, wanna fight? Most people who drive them are graybeards, like me. Especially used ones.

Anyway, most men are less than 6'1" tall.

Mike

Nobody has mentioned the fact that of the three 5D models, the mark II is the smallest and lightest. The evolution to the mark III reminds me less of that of the Miata or more of the Datsun Z. Barring the bizarre reasoning of "more megapixels!" and "different buttons!", I think the existence of viable alternatives now that buyers didn't have when the Mark II came out will eat into interest in such a model. If Canon had made the Mark III smaller, lighter and better ergonomically, with the same parameters, I'd wager there would be greater interest.

Perhaps the 5D3 isn't widely viewed as the Messiah because a good number of people realise that the camera features needed for most genres of photography are actually quite basic (lenses are a separate topic).

E.g., I have a pair of Canon 30Ds, and it's pertinent that I didn't choose them because my photography runs on donations. Despite not having the luxury of choosing what suited me I don't use all the features when covering genres such as high speed sports, events, and street photography - yet this is a basic camera by current standards. The cameras do hinder me so I would love to upgrade, yet when I start with a 30D and fix the hindrances I find that a pair of 7Ds would be close to ideal for me (Canon, please add a flippy screen and decent ISO50k. If you could also halve the weight without compromising durability I'd appreciate it). In summary, modern cameras have gone far beyond what those without specialist interests really need and a new camera is apparently little cause for excitement outside those circles where what you own is more important than what you produce.

Funny thinkg is that I started wondering if the 5D3 was enough in light of Nikons 36Mp body, but as I've mulled it over I sort of concluded that it actually ticks the boxes I'd want. Really good af, sealed, fast enough frame rate that it will feel fast - the 5D1 always' felt slow compared to the 1Ds3, even in single shot mode - the mirror blackout was so long. Actually, it probably does have enough resolution for anything I'll do, if I'm honest with myself!

I also have a few canon lenses and no body, so there's only the cost of the body to consider if I decide to buy one. But I still don't know if I will.

From a purely photographic perspective, the 5DMKIII is probably the "last" camera I will ever need, or want. It gives 1DsMKIII goodness (and then more) at half the cost and half the bulk and weight.

It is a really interesting camera; you can look at it as a full frame 7D, or as a mix of the 1Ds and 1DX cameras.

I understand all the buzz around the mirrorless cameras, and how they are "good enough and small" for lots of people. But, lets be honest, the 5DMKIII is not a big camera, really, and it will be fantastic using it with the two new IS primes (24 and 28).

I don't know if my feeling is right, and I haven't had the time to sit down and check my facts, so take this for what it is worth:

My feeling is that Canon had lost their way in recent years. The 5DII was an accidental hit, but look a little closer and you had a camera which, capable as it is in the right hands, had some fairly deep flaws for the price bracket. Noise in the shadows at base ISO (!), insufficient weather sealing (read Michael Reichmann's 2007 and 2009 Antarctica trip logs), AF which wasn't up to the task, and so on. Before that, the 1DIII had huge problems focusing fast, initially, and severely damaged Canon's reputation for bullet-proof pro sports cameras, and the 1DsIII was abandoned by many fairly quickly after the 5DII came out. On top of that, Nikon had managed to pass Canon on their home turf: high ISO.

What I see with the 1D-X and 5DIII is a back to basics move. Canon looks like it has finally realized that it needs to cement its reputation to stop further defections, and release a couple of cameras which do no wrong. Proper AF, better weather sealing, attention paid to pro video features, easily accessible mirror lockup, and on and on, these cameras seem to nail all the checkmarks, but properly this time. The only question mark in my mind is the fixed focusing screen in the 5DIII, which may cause some problems for people who like manual focusing, i.e. Zeiss ZE owners, and those who adapt other lenses. The 5DII is a favorite among this crowd, so this move could be troublesome.

Nonetheless, it is good to see Canon paying attention to all the flaws and complaints which have accumulated over the years. I am personally a Nikon owner, and must admit that the price point of the D4 and the too-high MP of the D800 have caused me some anguish. In the end I have decided to move forward with a D800E, but really, I don't need that many pixels. I would have preferred Nikon's version of the 5DIII. I hope at least that Nikon adds full-sensor down-sampled modes as Canon has done, so that I can choose to shoot at 24MP, 18MP, or 12MP if I choose, while still using the full sensor.

Another factor in the quiet yawn that seems to be accompanying the release of the 5D III is that each new version of a given camera (or car) not only has to compete with the other similar products on the market, but also with previous versions of itself. I don't remember this happening quite so much when the 5D II came out, but it seems like there are a lot of 5Ds on the used market these days. Given that the improvements from model to model are so incremental, used 5Ds are surely taking an increasingly bigger bite out of sales of the current 5D.

Gary
www.FilmAdvance.com


Top-est of the mind question of March, 2012:
How do down-sampled 36 mp files compare with the native 22 mp files in terms of high ISO noise?
I agree with someone above though: Its about the look you get with a full frame camera.

Will Canon let Nikon dominate in the high pixel count game? Not likely. Look for a 30+ mpix body coming down the path this year.

The 5DIII really looks like a camera I could use for five or even 10 years. I say that as a Nikon lover. The 5D2 was brilliant but flawed. The 5D3 takes those flaws away. For some people that's not important -- for someone like me, it's everything.

I think that we must look at the bigger picture when we consider what will happen with the 5D line. A digital camera is, to me, just the recording device that I attach to my lens. I prefer my digital recording device to be 'full frame.' As a poster mentioned above, it interacts with the lenses in a way that a crop sized sensor cannot. The need for such a device will not go away. The sales may slow, but as long as there is an EOS camera system, there will be a need for this sort of camera.

Canon might dabble in a mirrorless camera system, but the EOS mount lenses are rather large. I can't see the cameras getting too much smaller, unless Canon creates an entirely new line of lenses.

Mike,

Interesting post. While I agree with your life-cycle description of the Miata, I think you are premature in judging the 5D series. I believe the 5DIII will be a smash hit for Canon. Why?

With the 5D, we had FF. The 5DII was an example of a sensor/image quality combination that was far better than the camera around it. With the 5DIII, Canon has caught up and provided a pro-grade body/camera features to match image quality that is also evolved from the 5DII. This is a camera that has the best "camera goodness" combined with the best available digital image quality in a durable, compact, package. I also believe the price is fair given what it represents.

I think it is very interesting that Canon chose to keep the pixel/noise/ISO tradeoff where it did as compared to Nikon's move to up the MP count with the D800 series. It will be very interesting to see how these products fare in the market.

Another analogy I would point to is the Iphone 4. When Apple introduced the 4S last year, many consumers yawned as they were hoping for the next quantum leap. Instead, the 4S has been the best-selling Iphone ever because the extra features made the innate "goodness" of the Iphone 4 that much better.

Think of it as leverage.

This is what I believe will happen with the 5DIII. We now have a body that is worthy of the sensor at an extremely high performance level......

I bought the 70-200 f2.8 IS USM II right after it came out, on the belief that it would be the best available for ten years - so far, no disappointment. I'm looking at the 5D III the same way - get it right after it comes out, and you'll have 'the best' for a solid five years. The easy improvements have all been wrung out of DSLRs - it's all small increments from now on. There's no point to annual body upgrades (like there was in the 10D-20D-30D-40D era) because the 70D or 7D II or 5D IV will not be a quantum leap - it'll be what you have now, but better.

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