Canon Rumors.. 2007 Canon EOS 40D, 3D, 7D ??

Update 12/7/07: Did some more “research” and re-iterated my thoughts here

Sorry, its human nature, right? You buy a car and you dread the day the new model comes out, instantly tossing your car into the “past model” column.. But with cameras (and cell phones, in my case).. you DO like your current gear.. but after a few minutes/hours of playing with it, you quickly develop a list of shortcomings. Now factor in the power of the internet to be able to communicate with millions of people and add in the fact that unhappy customers are more prone to write about it than happy customers, and all of a sudden, you’re anxiously awaiting the next camera.. in my case, the Canon EOS 40D.

I’ve been happy with my Canon EOS 30D.. in fact, when I did own the Canon EOS 20D, I was happy with that too.. but since I was within my return period, I figured I’d upgrade to the 30D, if nothing else, for the larger 2.5″ LCD. I have about 20,000 or so pictures on my 30D since I bought it almost 1 year ago (I’ll find out exactly how many shutter actuations when I take in to Canon Irvine tomorrow). Am I still happy with my camera? Yeah.. I am.. but here’s what I’d want in a new model and why:

My Canon EOS 40D Wish List

1.6x APS-C sensor
I like the 1.6x reach. Its not as clean or noise free as a full-frame sensor.. I’m sure if I used a Canon EOS 5D (or even 1D MkIII or 1Ds MkII), I’d quickly learn to appreciate the image quality of the full-frame sensor. But I think there’s room in my bag for a FF camera later. For now, I like the 1.6x

10+ Megapixels
No big secret here.. but mainly, I’d like more megapixels for cropping. When my 200mm doesnt reach or I’m too chicken $hit to zoom in too tight on a car, it would be good to be able to crop tight on a car, but still retain good image size for printing and/or publication. And hell, if Canon DID make the Canon EOS 40D with MORE than 10 megapixels.. yeah, I would want it.. and yeah, I would be bragging about it.

Faster Frame Rate
I can’t really ask for much more than 5 frames per second. But I’d think Canon would want to improve in this area, since the Nikon D200 is at 5fps also.. so I think the Canon EOS 40D will probably be 6fps.. not a big step up, no where near the 1D MkIIN and definitely a far cry from the 10fps of the 1D MkIII. So, why not? And if it doesnt come true, oh well.. this is my wish list anyway

Better Auto Focus
This is especially true for AI Servo use. I’d like greater accuracy and tracking in the new Canon EOS 40D. The Canon EOS 30D isn’t that bad, but I’m sure there’s much better available (especially in the 1 series). As I’ve predicted in the past, I think the Canon EOS 40D will use the current Canon EOS 5D’s AF, especially since the EOS 30D’s AF is now in the EOS 400D Digital Rebel XTi.

Greater Dynamic Range
No brainer.. but it never really bothered me before.. that is, until I shot a few events in RAW and saw the slight increase in DR and what you could do with it. Since the 1D MkIII is now being touted with greater dynamic range, I doubt this would make its way into the Canon EOS 40D.

Lower Noise
With the introduction of the DiGIC III, I’m sure this will be true. I used to really like the fact the EOS 20D/30D had decent ISO 1600 or 3200 performance. But I find that I’m reluctant to use it that much nowadays because of he need to post-process and the inevitable loss of sharpness/detail. I does surprise me when I use it, but of course, if I didn’t have to use it (or if it was better!), I could bemuch happier. As you can see in my previous post, all of my lenses are now f2.8 or better. I think thats because I’m shooting mostly low light when I’m just “messing around” at home.

With that said.. here’s the latest rumor I read.. it was posted on FM and DPReview.. I read through it, thinking it was just another speculation thread.. but it makes A LOT of sense..

Its a long read.. but if you’re really interested in Canon’s 2007 line up (especially the Canon EOS 40D and potentially the Canon EOS 3D and/or 7D), then read on.. alternatively, if you’re a marketing type.. this would make a good case study.. hard to believe Canon, as big as they are, would screw something like this up.. and yes, I view it as a marketing screw up..

Posted by Sunkyung Kim

I posted on this topic in August 2007 way back in the old Photokina Rumour thread. My ‘source” has just come back from one of his regular business trips to Japan (days ago) where he again met his old colleague buddy now involved in DSLR marketing at Canon at their favourite Sushi bar…

Summarising the previous post Canon was going to replace all their DSLR range in 2007 except for the 400D. There would be:

30D Replacement (40D?) with
• Anti-dust
• 5D like AF
• 10.2mp 4 channel sensor (though they were testing a 12 mp one)
• Still 1.6 crop for those EF-S lenses

• DIGIC III and sensor changes to give better high ISO and lower noise (especially at 1600 and 3200 ISO)

• Very similar appearance to 30D

5D would be split into FF two lines to create full frame demand

• Low end – similar to current 12 Mp sensor but with a more 30D like body (could be a 7D?) and DIGIC III. This low end and xxD series were meant to provide a more cost effective choice between 1.6 and FF for the advance amateur and allow a gradual migration to more full frame over time driven by the market.

• High end with more MP (16mp but not the 1D sensor), improved AF for the full frame, DIGIC III etc. (could be a 3D?)

The 1 Series was being replaced as well
• Canon were very excited by this replacement

• A different division markets these to the normal DSLRs so details were more sketchy (DIGIC III and much better ISO and dynamic range mentioned)

• There had been some late changes which back then (August 2006) were risking the 1 series not making Photokina.

• Canon were working on two new 1 series abut would probably only release one of them for now.

History shows that the 1 series replacment was not announced at Photokina. So that leaves a lot of cameras for 2007

Anyway, according to my “source” this is all still true and Canon is ready to produce these cameras (technology finalised). Indeed 1 series samples are apparently out there (Jeff / Fred?). But the 1 series delay has meant that they need to select what to announce at the PMA – they don’t want to announce all 4 cameras as the dealer channels would complain (too much change / obsolete product at once.) Canon’s thinking (as far as my sources contact was ‘on the inside” was to announce 2 cameras at PMA and 2 later in the year.

This is where it gets interesting – the dilemma for Canon here is:

• The 1 series should be announced first for pride / reputation with the new features

• Even though the 1 series sells in very limited quantities, the professional camera division in Canon has a lot of clout – seen as creating a brand image leadership in the whole camera space.

• The 30D replacement is badly required as the 20D/30D’s combined market share has dropped radically over the last few months due to a combination of internal competition from the 400D and the market impact of the Nikon D80 and Sony A100 etc.

• The 30D series segment is seen as important to Canon because of lens on-sell. This market and upwards tends to buy extra lenses, including high value lenses (I interpret that to be “high profit”).

• The two 5D replacements make the most sense if sold together. Though they could announce the high end one first (as a 5D replacment) and then follow with the low end (entry level FF). The low end 5D repalcement is thought too similar to the 5D to be released while the 5D is in the market.

• The 5D has not sold as well as hoped in most markets except when rebates are offered. However Canon still sell lots more of them that the 1 series and they are nicely profitable. They also have excellent resell on high value lenses.

• The combination of Nikon’s aggressive D40 / D80 / D200 range, with the Sony A100 is taking more DSLR market share than Canon predicted. The 400D is selling very well but Canon know they need to regain more of the midrange DLR market quickly to maintain the lens sales and ‘own’ the system for the advanced amateur and semi-pro etc.

• Sony is known to be working on CMOS sensors at 1.6 and FF for their DSLR range and are expected to continue to complete aggressively on features. (Interesting to see what this does for Nikon who currently buy their CCD sensor from Sony) (Also interesting to see no mention of Pentax, which seems stange..).

• Hence the big dilemma – 30D replacement and 1 series replacement now or 30D and one of the 5D replacements now and leave the other 5D and 1 series for later. Or do they upset their channels (never a good idea) and issue 3 cammeras to give the market at knockout puch. In terms of revenue and immediate market share protection delaying the 1 series further makes sense. But the new high end 5D replacement to very close to the 1 series performance (16mp etc), and in terms of prestige, the 1 series should be the best… (Note, no mention of delaying the 30D replacement so I guess that is a given?)

Apparently the internal discussions at Canon have been “very vigorous”. As far as my “source’s” contact was concerned it was 99% likely to be the 1 series and 30D replacement for PMA, the 5D replacements being left to later this year and potentially even split into 2 years.

Anyway – still a grain of salt needed – these are Sushi and Saki conversations in Japan and my “source’s” colleague buddy may be boasting / trying to impress etc… But it makes some sense..

Interesting that there is no mention of a Nikon D40 competitor… Maybe too soon for Canon to react…. Regardless it would seem that the free market is working with Nikon and Sony likely to force a faster pace out of Canon than we have had over the last few years where they have dominated the DSLR market. This can only be good!

More fuel for the fire…

So if any of this is true.. which I totally believe to be mostly true.. then maybe I’ll just hang on to my Canon EOS 30D and add a Canon EOS 7D (or 3D!) to the camera bag.. I still dig the 1D MkIII though..

My Camera Equipment Update

I’ve been meaning to write a more comprehensive post about my camera gear and how I got to where I am today.. but since I dont feel like writing too much right now, I’m just going update ya’ll on recent changes..

My kit currently consists of:

Canon EOS 30D 8.2 megapixel camera
Canon BG-E2 battery grip
Tamron SP 1.4x teleconverter
Kenko Extension Tubes
Sigma EF 500 DG Super flash
Tamron SP 17-50mm f2.8 Di II lens
Canon EF 28-70mm f2.8L USM lens
Canon EF 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM lens
Canon EF 50mm f1.8 MkII lens
Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM lens
Kingston Elite Pro 2GB Compact Flash
Kingston Elite Pro 4GB Compact Flash
Kingston Ultimate 2GB Compact Flash
Kingston Ultimate 8GB Compact Flash

I just received the Kenko Extension Tubes.. good quality pieces.. unfortunately, I havent had time to play with them, other than to put them on the camera along with my Canon 50mm f1.8 MkII.. but the lighting was poor (in home, at night, under flourescent lighting).. hopefully I’ll get a chance to play with them this weekend.

But more importantly, I just received my Canon 28-70mm f2.8L USM lens I purchased used from KEH.com. Prior to visiting KEH.com, I was conflicted over whether I should buy a new Canon 24-70mm f2.8L USM (currently $1,079.99 at B&H) or if I should try to find a used Canon 28-70mm f2.8L USM or used Canon 24-70mm f2.8L USM. The Canon 28-70mm f2.8L USM was released by Canon in 1993. The Canon 24-70mm f2.8L USM replaced the Canon 28-70mm f2.8L USM in November 2002. However, the Canon 28-70mm f2.8L USM was a bit cheaper than used 24-70mm f2.8L USM lenses. I managed to find a few (at fredmiranda.com and on craigslist.org) of the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L USM priced at around $950 + shipping (or like 4 gallons of gas to drive to Hollywood). But both of them would’ve been out of warranty (although they both looked very very clean, almost brand new). On the other hand, I found a few Canon 28-70mm f2.8L USM lenses around the $750 + shipping price range. Problem was, the one I was interested in (date code UP, which is 2001 manufacture year) didn’t have pictures of the lens.. the seller (on FM) was being a prick and said he’d try to first sell it to someone who didnt need to see it first (?). Anyway, after reading various posts and threads about KEH‘s very conservative rating system, I decided to take a look at what they had to offer in the used variety. They had about 6 copies of the Canon 28-70mm f2.8L USM lens. Two of them were BGN (or “Bargain”), two of them were EX (or “Excellent”) and two of them were EX+ (or “Excellent +”). Even though I read good things about the BGN copies, I didnt want to risk it. So I decided on the EX grade. The two that were on KEH were priced at $751 and $789. For $751, you weren’t going to get the lens hood. For $789, it included the lens hood. Since I wanted the lens hood anyway, I decided to go for the $789 one. Additionally, KEH offers a 1 year extended warranty for an additional $19.99. I figured it was worth the $20 to get at least the first year’s peace of mind. So for a bit over $800, I got a Canon 28-70mm f2.8L USM lens.

Today, I received the lens. I was pretty anxious to open it, hoping I’d be one of the lucky ones who got a really really clean lens. After I ripped off the bubble wrap and massive amounts of tape, I pulled the lens out of the bag. I was very surprised. The lens was very very clean. There were a couple of tiny nicks and the “threads” where the hood locks into had some slight brassing (fixed with a Sharpie!). The hood looked practically brand new. But most importantly, the glass was flawless and I didnt find any dust at all (but hopefully, I’ll get a chance to look at it more closely tomorrow). It came with both caps. The lens cap shows some minor wear, with the edges on the “Canon” and “Supersonic” rubbing off a bit. I wanted to take pictures of the lens to show everyone, but that will probably have to wait until tomorrow (when I was looking for reviews of KEH‘s grading system, I read LOTS of stuff about how conservative they were, but never saw exactly how clean these lens actually were). So stay tuned, I’ll put up pics to show you MY Canon 28-70mm f2.8L USM EX grade I received from KEH.com. Oh, and one last thing, the date code was “UN” (which is 1999.. just remember date code “UO” is 2000). A little older than I’m comfortable with, but again, I got the 1 year warranty so I’m good. And one more thing, the USM on this lens is FAST. It is definitely faster than my Canon 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM and I’d even say its faster than my Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM (although the 70-200 focussing system is moving a lot more, I suppose). In fact the focussing was so fast and silent, when I first tried it, I wasnt even sure the focusing was working (no lie!).

So all in all, I’m very happy with my purchase.