Not that I’ll ever own one, but I was pondering the launch of the EOS 1DIV this morning. Back when I got my EOS-3, it was the technological testbed for Canon. They put all of the exciting new bells and whistles in the 3, like 45 AF points (which again I will say is an inexcusable omission from the 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 5 bodies), eye controlled focus, and weather sealing (well, advanced by standards on those days). Then, they perfected the technology and released it in the 1v, the ultimate statement of what the professional would want from the more experimental flagship (namely, no eye controlled focus, better weather sealing).
So my gut reaction to the 1DIV announcement today was “meh, it’s half-step upgrade of the III.” The 7D had just come out with its fancy completely new autofocus system and LCD overlay system. I was expecting that we’d see some insane version of that in the new IV. That, after all of the bad press (most of it greatly exaggerated) about the old AF performance, Canon would release something completely different and revolutionary.
I thought about it a bit more, though, and I realized that professionals aren’t looking for new, crazy, revolutionary and untested. They are looking for Canon to take a camera that works, and tweaking it to make it 10% better. So, the AF hardware is improved, and the software is better, and some of the control of the AF system as a whole is better. They added video, more pixels, gapless microlenses, and six-digit ISO. These are all really nice capabilities, but there weren’t any huge surprises. And that’s the point. The pro is looking for a tool that’s 10% better than their last tool. The consumer is looking for something that makes their last toy feel obsolete.