Those of you who follow any of the internets Camera Rumours websites (some of them make quite entertaining reading with liberal sprinkling of salt) will have read everything from a proposed release date of tomorrow to never for the hotly anticipated Canon 1DS MKIV. The proposed specifications are as varied as the theoretical release dates with everything from 28 mega pixels to more than 40 mega pixels being touted as the cameras resolution and everything from the inclusion of RAW video capability to the inclusion of a larger than 35mm sized sensor (AKA: Medium Format). The rumours are a liberal melting pot of wish lists. There are rumours of the 1DS and 1D being merged, rumours of the next 1D having a full frame sensor and the next 1DS being a larger sized sensor (sort of like the Leica S2 I guess) and rumours of there being no direct replacement at all. In short, if someone has thought of it there is a rumour for it. In fact, the rumour list is now so long and varied that it is likely someone somewhere must have it right – only question is who? Or, more importantly who actually knows?
I do not normally get involved in the rumour side of photography equipment. It is not that I don’t find it interesting; it is simply that there are already many people reporting on rumours across the web (and doing a good job of it) and well… the internet really does not need another. However, I find myself somewhat between a rock and a hard place. I both want and need to purchase an additional camera body as a back-up for my New Zealand trip and Antarctica later this year. I don’t really want to purchase another 1DS MKIII at this point in the cameras life cycle (although I dearly love the camera); so I started a little of my own digging into when we might actually see a replacement; which inevitably lead me to the rumour mill. I will preface this by saying that although I read pretty much all of the rumours I could find I ended up ignoring them all and instead focused on my own industry contacts and my own common sense. The net result is my gut feeling is that “there will not be a Canon 1DS MKIV this year“.
Firstly, Canon has a number of already announced products which have not yet seen the light of day. These include the new 8-15mm Fisheye and 500mm F4 lens. Both of these were announced months and months ago now and Canon really needs to get them out before it focuses (pardon the pun) on any other products.
Secondly, the earthquake that rocked Japan would have (and has) inevitably delayed everything – end of story. Canon Rumours has reported that Canon Japan is already reporting that it is close to normal operations; however, there has already been significant delay since the earthquake. Any announcement of new product (regardless of the product) is bound to have been pushed back – most likely to an unspecified date. As an obvious aside, it is far more important that the devastated people of Japan focus on their own recovery efforts rather than feeding the rest of the world with new cameras.
The real scoop on the Canon 1DS MKIV is that those who actually know when it will be released (I suspect this is a very short list) and what its final specifications will be are all under NDA (Non Disclosure Agreements). And guess what? That means they cant tell you! (or me). Are there 1DS MKIV (or whatever the new name will be) prototypes in the field? The answer is undoubtedly yes – thats simple common sense. Canon has always provided a select few with prototypes for testing long before an official product announcement. For those lucky few they will enjoy some beta field testing; but even they may not know what the final specifications will be since Canon may well have different prototypes out there.
In conclusion, I can offer no accurate information on if/when the 1DS MKIV will be released other than it is unlikely to be this year. As to what its final specifications will be I suggest throwing a dart at a board; since that is likely to be as accurate as any recent rumour you are likely to read. The same applies to the 5D MKIII.
As to the question of what to buy as a back-up body – I have decided to simply rent a 2nd 1DS MKIII for the time being from Borrow Lenses on an as needs basis.A boring solution I know – but a safe one nonetheless since any purchase I might make would simply ensure an invitation to Murphy who would no doubt spoil my party with an immediate announcement of a replacement camera. Until then the 1DS MKIV is just vapourware.