Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Canon 70D Could be Full Frame, the Future

In a recent interview, Canon's Masaya Maeda hinted that the Canon 70D could be full-frame and, at the very least, Canon's future for its semi-pro dSLRs would eventually be full frame. So, could FF be the future of all dSLRs?

My take: quite possibly.

Back in 2002, Canon launched the first commercially successful FF digital camera: the 11Mp EOS 1Ds. Initial MSRP: $8000, pro and rich amateur territory. Come 2005, Canon, having a monopoly on the FF digital market, decided to make FF more affordable when it launched its EOS 5D, which initially sold for $3500. Now, while not cheap in itself, $3500 is a lot more affordable that $8000. In the years between 2005 and 2011, Nikon and Sony went FF, launching cameras in the same price range as the $3000 price range. Come 2009, Sony launched its A850, which sold for $2000, Canon and Nikon followed suit, albeit belatedly, in 2012.

So, here's what we have:

2002: $8000 FF digital
2005: $3500 FF digital
2009: $2000 FF digital

The pattern: there's about a 50-35% reduction in price about every 4 years on average. Now, the pattern is slowing, which, if it holds true another cycle, would probably put a $1300 (high-end amateur) full frame camera out sometime in 2014 and a $900 consumer grade FF model in 2020.

So, back to the present, could a FF 70D be on the horizon? Quite possibly, for two reasons. First: neither Canon or Nikon has launched a true pro-grade FF camera in 4 years (Canon 7D and Nikon D300s). In the age of digital, 4 years is an eternity and, with each day that goes by without a new such camera, the probability of either manufacturer making another drops a little more. Second: market for FF is there. Yes, croppers would typically bash FF with the old “I don't need that!” until they actually hot with one, at which time most probably never even pick up their sub-frame camera again.

Bottom line: FF is here, its getting cheaper, and its only a matter of time until FF is the dSLR standard.

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