When, it was an excellent model. Now, with the Photokina camera show beginning next week, it looks like Canon may finally be ready to announce its successor that catches up with the last five years of progress in the SLR market.
The 7D Mark II has been rumored for months, but the rumors seem to be settling down, and there's no better time for an announcement than the Photokina show, which draws not just industry insiders but also photo enthusiasts from the public. The latest rumor, from Digicame-Info on Thursday, predicts a 20-megapixel image sensor with Canon's Dual Pixel focusing technology; a new 65-point autofocus system; a maximum sensitivity of ISO 16,000; dual Digic 6 image-processing chips; 1080p video at 60 frames per second; a weather-sealed metal body; built-in GPS for geotagging photos; an intervalometer for shooting time-lapse sequencies; and a maximum burst rate of 10 frames per second. Those specs match well with what Canon Rumors has been reporting.
Canon Rumors also has predicted dual memory slots for CompactFlash and SD Card; autofocus when shooting video; and autofocus that works even when lens apertures are at f8, something that helps the telephoto crowd especially when using teleconverters to extend their lenses' range.
The 7D has been a successful camera for Canon. It's in a sweet spot for Canon: a premium model that used relatively small APS-C-sized image sensors that are easier to sell profitably. It appealed both to enthusiasts and to pros who wanted a less expensive second camera body.
But things have changed a lot in the last five years when it comes to things like low-light performance, autofocus, and video, and the 7D line languished as Canon engineers worked to cover other different competitive fronts. That's made it easier for Canon loyalists to defect to Nikon or other rivals.
Still unknown is the 7D Mark II pricing, and that will be an important factor for Canon's competitive and business challenges. It's possible the company could price the camera more competitively, following in the footsteps oflast week. The current 7D costs about $1,000, well down from its $1,700 price at introduction.
Canon Rumors and Digicame-Info also predicted two new lenses for higher-end full-frame cameras, the EF 24-105mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM, a cheaper alternative to a pro-grade L-series lens of the same focal length range, and the EF 400mm F4 DO IS II USM, a supertelephoto using Canon's diffractive optics for a lighter and more compact design.
One of those efforts produced the more expensive $1,350to match Nikon and Sony in the lower-end full-frame SLR market. Another produced the designed to compete with the increasingly serious mirrorless cameras from Panasonic, Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm, and Samsung.
Those cameras have been strategically important expansions, to be sure. But perhaps next week we'll discover how well Canon will address its core SLR market, too.
Canon declined to comment.
Updated at 6:30 a.m. PT with Canon's response to a request for comment.