Thursday, November 7, 2013

Will There Ever be a Nikon D400, Canon 7D Mark II?

What will the Nikon D400 and/or Canon 7D Mark II look like? Will there even be such cameras in the first place? Well, to be honest, many in the photographic community (myself included) are thinking that, if 2013 doesn't bring these cameras, they may never show up at all. 

Honestly, I'm not holding my breath on either camera, and I don't think you should, either (especially with November having just arrived).

Introduced way back in 2009 as an answer to the Nikon D300 (in light of Canon getting caught with its pants down with both the EOS 40 and 50D models) the Canon 7D was in many ways, the pro-grade APS-C camera that Canon shooters had been demanding for years. With a feature set clearly comparable to the Nikon D300, the 7D sent a clear message: Canon was serious about its APS-C line, after all. Selling for $1,800 new, the 7D has come down quite a it in price in the intervening 4 years since release and is looking rather antiquated by 2013 standards. Unfortunately, there's a big problem for people looking for a 'II' version: the $2100, full-frame EOS 6D which, despite being a 5D Mark II reheated in the technological microwave, is still a full-frame dSLR for just over $2000. Additionally, the trend toward increasingly affordable FF (what all APS-C shooters lusted for a decade ago) is undeniable, which begs the question: is there any point (and enough of a customer base) of offering a $1800 sub-frame camera when a FF model can be had for just $300 more? My bet: probably not.

Even older than the Canon 7D is the Nikon D300s, which is technically the same age as the Canon 7D (both 2009 releases) but in reality 2 years older as the D300s is merely a D300 (2007 release) with video. Throughout the digital era, Nikon has had a habit of adding various letter designations to established nameplates in order to create a new, stop-gap replacement model until a major overhaul of the old camera can be perfected. Typically, these letter models have production lives of less than 2 years. Well, the Nikon D300s is rapidly approaching its 4th (or is it its 6th?) birthday, which begs the question: is the D300/D300s the end of its branch on Nikon's evolutionary tree? My bet: yep. Unlike the 7D, which faces a single-front attack, the D300s is fighting a 2-front war against the D7100 on the lower side and the D600 on the higher side. Initially priced at $1800, the D300s sits smack in the middle of the $1200 D7100 and the $2100 D600, which both share a lot of features with the D300s. Result: Nikonians have 2 options here: pay a little more than the D300s and get a FX sensor, or save some money and get an in many ways (save user interface) superior D7100.

The bottom line here: both cameras are being kept afloat solely by their rung on their respective manufacturers' product lineups. Yes, the 7D and D300s may be slotted higher than the 70D and D7100, but one must remember that the 70D and D7100 are both less than a year old while the 7D and D300s are 4 (or 6?) years old meaning that one is paying all that extra money for the snob appeal of having a higher-tiered model, never mind the fact that these higher-level cameras are obsolete when compared to today's cameras.

Bottom line: its now or never for a Nikon D400 or Canon 7D Mark II and personally, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for either to show up in the first place.

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