I don't usually report on rumors but according to the Canonrumours site*, Canon is to release a new pro-level DSLR Tuesday, October 18, and I'm not that comfortable with some of the (obviously) unverified specifications. The rumor is that the EOS APS-H 1D and full-frame (35mm) EOS 1Ds line are to be amalgamated, with the new camera featuring a full frame 18-megapixel full-frame sensor, continuous shooting at 12fps and boast a 61-point AF system.
Full-frame (35mm) cameras are now firmly seen as pro-territory, courtesy of the Nikon D3s (and Canon's own 1Ds and 5D models) and the only real advantage to retaining the APS-H format is the framing rate. Ask any press photographer or photojournalist which they would rather have for a given fps, more megapixels on a full-frame camera or slightly less on APS-H, and, it would be the former every time. It gives them more options. You can simply crop in to achieve the same effect while also allowing the lens' original field of view.
However, Canon is very conservative when it comes to the EOS 1D models, it's not a product segment to take risks with. I don't need to tell anyone that the full-frame EOS 1Ds Mk III is overdue for replacement. And, if there's a camera that should be updated it's this model. In this instance, though, the rumored specification doesn't fit as an appropriate upgrade for either EOS 1D or the 1Ds.
If it is accurate, that means Canon are going to have to persuade current 1Ds Mk III owners to drop from 21-megapixels to 18-megapixels. And, that's just not going to happen. Without doubt certain features will appeal, but the rumored 12fps of the new model is not going to be of interest to the typical 1Ds demographic.
While the 5D Mk II damaged sales of the 1Ds, Canon will effectively be asking 1Ds shooters to switch to that model. It's a great camera, but it's not a 1Ds. Few would argue that it needs upgrading in terms in AF and build and I've not even mentioned video. Canon are going to want to expand that on the 5D MK III rather than make that model appeal to studio users and the features don't complement each other.
So what's going to be announced on Tuesday? Well let's say the amalgamation rumor is true, in which case the new camera will have to appeal to both types of user. As I've already mentioned, the rumored spec would be at odds with users expectations at this level. So could the specification be inaccurate or only part of the full spec?
I think that maybe Canon is about to launch a camera with a full-frame 36-megapixel resolution sensor shooting at 5fps with an option, perhaps, to drop to 18-megapixel resolution and 10/12fps continuous shooting rates. That would be something, but I'm only guessing. And I've not mentioned what Nikon is rumored to be launching later in the month. But it would fit, we'll just have to wait and see.
UPDATE 18 October. Canon has announced the EOS-1Dx.