Thursday, 15 May 2008

Speculation over new Canon DSLR models

I have a pair of Canon DSLRs – a 10D and a 30D. I have hankered after a 5D since it was launched and would generally like to upgrade. Like most people I do not want to buy a camera and find a newer, better and cheaper one launched the next week, so I have been looking into what the speculation is.


The table below lists the announcement dates (and the sensor’s megapixels) for the non-Pro Canon DSLRs launched since the 10D. I have broken them into the two families of double and triple digit ranges, and included the 5D. I have also put in the time in months between the intra-family launch dates.

Model / Megapixels
Model / Megapixels
Date announced
10D / 6.3

27/2/03
+ 18 months
300D / 6.3
20/8/03
20D / 8.2
+ 21 months
19/8/04
+ 18 months
350D / 8.0
17/5/05
30D / 8.2
+ 15 months
21/2/06
+ 18 months
400D / 10.1
24/8/06
40D / 10.1
+ 19 months
20/8/07
+ ?
450D / 12.2
24/1/08

+ ?

5D / 12.7 - full frame

22/8/05
+ 32 months and counting




Firstly the 5D is getting on a bit in terms of the digital world product life cycle; there has been a lot of speculation about its possible replacements – 3D & 7D, 5D mkII etc, whichever rumour you believe. Northlight Images have a useful rumours page here. There were strong rumours that Canon would be announcing something on the 22nd or April this year, but nothing materialised. There are rumours again for the 22nd May, but my bet would be on Canon announcing something in August 2008 - around the end of the month, somewhere between the 20th and the 26th, as they seem to stick with mostly February or August announcements towards the end of the month, unless they want to see even more defections to Nikon.

The 5D price has come down considerably since its launch and there are plenty of near mint used ones around so I could buy one now, but I would really like to have a newer version with all the advances such as weather sealing (partial or otherwise), Digic III / IV processor, 14 bit processing, the dust reduction and removal systems, improved focusing etc etc. I also anticipate Canon having to respond to Nikon’s recent resurgence with its fantastically well received D3 and D300 DSLRs, so I expect the 5D replacement to be a considerable step up.

I’ll wait…

I would ideally like a full frame and cropped frame camera in my arsenal as they meet different needs. The 30D is OK for the time being, but the 40D is tempting. Looking at the table above Canon have stuck with an 18 month replacement cycle for the double digit range, but the 40D is under severe attack from Nikon along with Sony, Pentax/Samsung and Olympus so the 50D (presumably based on the 12.2 megapixel 450D) may not wait until the 18 months is up (February 2009).

Canon do not seem to be so fixed on their triple digit family replacements cycle – varying from 15 to 21 months – probably responding to market challenges more promptly.

All in all I think I’ll wait – Canon have to respond to Nikon in these market segments and soon. I have even thought of moving to Nikon myself, but for the time being my investment in Canon lenses it too great, but I’ll not wait for ever… (actually probably not past the end of the year) and with eBay to help sell old gear the cost of switching is not as great as it used to be.
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