Canon EOS 5D Mk II as Fool’s day joke?

Logo of Canon (digital photo cameras)Out of Canon, nobody seems to really have a clue about what will be the successor to the Canon EOS 5D. Most people assume that it will be named either Canon EOS 5D Mk II (the most probable possibility according to several sources), Canon EOS 6D or even Canon EOS 7D. However, this does not stop experts and not-so-experts to make various assumptions about what specification it will have.

Taking into account the existence of the Nikon D3 and its impressive set of features, Canon sure has to prepare a top-of-the-line DSLR with a superb Full-Frame sensor, with outstanding image quality. Of course, this is a normal (but difficult) target for the leader and the company that drove us into the Full-Frame world. There, we found: large pixel counts, exceptionally low noise levels, very high sensitivity and a normal 1-to-1 conversion factor for lenses. This last item may not always be a positive (for example, long tele-lens lovers appreciate that a smaller APS-C sensor transforms your common 300mm lens into a loveable 450mm optical gun), but the rest is a boon for photo quality. And there, as the Canon EOS 5D then the Nikon D3 proved, there is a giant step to be taken from more common DSLR.

Canon logo on cameraSo, it should be no surprise that photo-related forums are dripping with more or less reliable comments about what the Canon EOS 5D Mk II will be. Possibly, we will see specifications around the following:

  • 15 to 16 MP sensor (good but not oustanding, in order to hit hard on image quality; Enough to top the 12MP of Nikon D3) with 14-bit A/D conversion (the de facto standard of Canon image quality)
  • ISO 12800 (boost up to ISO 25600) that should give Nikon a run for their money
  • All-new 29-point TTL CMOS AF sensor (needed to compete with the impressive 51-point AF sensor of Nikon)
  • 6 fps continuous shooting (for more than 50 frames)
  • Lens fine adjustment setups for 14 lenses

The rest should be more predictable and does not request a crystal ball (sensor dust cleaning, improved 1MP 3″ LCD screen, LiveView inspired by cheaper DSLR models, weather sealing that was lacking from the EOS 5D). But there are two important elements left out of this picture:

  • The price target would be around $3500 (to be compared to the $5500 of the Nikon D3), definitely strong positive argument for Canon even if this is still targetting pros and rich amateurs;
  • The announcement would be made in April 2008 (may be, not as a Fool’s Day joke) for availability before mid-June.

These last key arguments could prove critical to offer a very good position to Canon. They had the first Full-Frame DLSR camera (the EOS 5D). Now, Nikon is trying to grab the market with the Nikon D3 since last November. Canon has to hit hard in order to keep the upper hand and they cannot wait for some pro photographers to switch (even if this category of customers cannot jump out of the train each and every year like some enthusiast consumers). Moreover, we know that Sony will be soon arriving with a new Full-Frame DSLR based on a 24MP sensor presented a few months ago (rumoured to be named Sony Alpha 900).

It’s time for Canon to shoot a star. The Canon EOS 5D history needs a sequel to become a real Full-Frame saga. The Canon EOS 5D Mk II could be this long-awaited beacon for the highest end of the Canon DSLR line.

Sources: slo-foto forums, DPreview forums.