Canon EOS 70D and Canon EOS 7D MkII - will we see them?
Well, the simple answer is "yes". There's no doubt that Canon will replace the EOS 60D with a new model before too long and it's equally certain that the EOS 7D will be replaced, again probably before too long. So what might the replacements be like and when are we likely to see them.
First let me say that is is NOT a rumor site. I don't have any "inside information" about what Canon are planning to do. In fact if Canon did tell me anything, I'd be obligated not to repeat it, so anything I say here is speculation based on what I've seen in the past, what I know about Canon DSLRs and technology and what I sense the current market is looking for.
First there is sensor pixel count. Sensor size will obviously stay with the usual Canon APS-C format. As for pixel count, the new "standard" seems to be 24MP for APS-C sensors. Canon currently has 18MP sensors in the 7D, 60D, T4i, T3i and T2i. Nikon has 24 MP sensors in their D7100, D5200 and D3200 and Sony has 24 MP sensors in their a65 and a77. It makes marketing sense to match those numbers. Whether or not it makes technical sense to do so is another matter, but I suspect that marketing will win this game and that both a hypothetical 70D and 7D MkII will use something in the 20-28MP range. 24MP seems like nice number , but it could be less - or more. The only factor that might lead me to think that they won't go all the way and really boost the pixel count would be the EOS-1Dx. With that camera Canon went against the "more is better" pixel philosophy and went with an 18MP full frame sensor for their "flagship" camera when others have gone to 24MP or even 36MP (Nikon D800). I doubt we'll see such a move with APS-C bodies though, so I'd say the odds are in favor of ~ 24MP +/- a few MP.
There's a question as to whether Canon will stick with their old 0.5 micron fabrication technology for any new sensors or whether they will follow Sony and Nikon in the use of higher resolution technology (0.35, 0.25 and 0.18 microns). It's known that Canon do have 0.18 micron fabrication technology and have used it in some of their experimental sensors. 0.18 micron fabrication might allow Canon to put A/D converters on the sensor chip itself rather than using and external A/D as they do now. The integrated A/D converters on the Sony chips are often cited as a reason that their low ISO dynamic range is so good. So at some point Canon will almost certainly start using their 0.18 micron fabrication ability to make their CMOS sensors. Whether that will be now of later is probably a 50/50 bet at this point. I don't think I'd bet on it myself.
The 7D sensor has an 8-channel readout and I'd expect to see the same in a 7D MkII. This allows the data to be taken from the sensor at a higher speed than the 4 channel readout of the T4i. I'd probably expect a 70D to probably stay with 4 channel readout since it's cheaper and would give the 7D MkII a unique APS-C feature in the lineup. The EOS 1D X has 2-line 16-channel simultaneous signal readout but I doubt that Canon will put that technology in a 7D MkII and certainly not in a 70D.
UPDATE: It's worth noting that Canon designed a new sensor (still 18MP though) for the new EOS Rebel SL1. From what they have said so far it appears that they have added more phase sensitive pixels over a wider area of the sensor. The phase sensitive pixels are used for AF in conjunction with sensor contrast detection in video mode. This allows better AF tracking of moving subjects. The Hybrid II sensor also means that focus in Live View can be faster. While this new wider area Hybrid design was not used in the new Rebel T5i (I'm sure Canon would have mentioned it if it had been), I wouldn't be surprised to see the sensors used in any 70D and 7D MkII to incorporate phase sensitive pixels and therefore allow focus tracking in video mode.
Image processing engine
: Well the DIGIC VI (or DIGIC 6) has made its appearance in the new Canon Powershot SX-280, so perhaps we can hope to see it in a future 70D and 7D MkII. Canon have not released any information of the DIGIC 6, but in the past each DIGIC generation has been faster and more powerful than the last. Using the DIGIC IV (Digic 4) as the benchmark the DIGIC V (DIGIC 5) is 6x faster and the DIGIC V+ (DIGIV 5+), which is used in the flagship EOS 1D X, is 17x faster. So I can only assume that the DIGIC 6 will be even faster and will soon be used in a DSLR.
It's worthy of note that the DIGIC 5 processor also made its first appearance a Powershot camera, the Powershot S100.
Despite using the DIGIC 6 in the new Powershot SX-280, Canon didn't use it in either the recently announced EOS Rebel T5i or the EOS Rebel SL1 (both of which use the DIGIC 5). I don't know why. Perhaps they are saving it for their higher end models to further differentiate them from the Rebel line. If so then it would seem logical that a DIGIC 6 would be used in any EOS 7D MkII and probably in an EOS 70D. In fact the current EOS 7D has two DIGIC 4 processors, so a 7D MkII might well have dual DIGIC 6 processors to optimize shooting speed, buffer size and AF performance. The EOS 1D X has dual DIGIC 5+ processors, plus a DIGIC 4 dedicated to the Intelligent Subject Analysis System.
If the 7D MkII gets dual Digic VI processors (or even DIGIC 5 or 5+) and an 8 channel readout there's probably no reason why it couldn't get to a 10 fps frame rate. The existing 7D can do 8fps. 24MP would be 33% more data, but faster processors and possible new sensor design could easily take care of that. The limiting factor might be the mechanical movement of the mirror and shutter more than the electronics. I'd expect a 70D to be able to do at least 6fps.
Flash and Shutter
Any new xxD and xD bodies will almost certainly have a 30-1/8000s shutter with a 1/250s sync speed. I wouldn't be surprise if a 70D shutter had a 100,000 cycle rating and a 7D MkII shutter was rated for 150,000 cycles.
I'd expect both a 70D and a 7D MkII to have a popup flash which could act as a wireless master control for compatible Speedlites. That's pretty much the default now.
GPS and WiFi
GPS on a chip
GPS and WiFi. Well, Canon put both GPS and WiFi in the 6D and it sells for under $2000, so there's no real reason why both couldn't also be put in a 70D or 7D MkII body (other than cost). You can get a complete GPS system on a 4mm x 4mm chip for under $2 these days ,so parts cost is negligible. A WiFi chip set is under $5 so again, parts cost is minimal. Whether to include either or both is another marketing decision based on consumer wants and product differentiation. I'd be surprised if neither GPS nor WiFi was included on both a 70D and 7D MkII and obviously the 7D MkII is the more likely candidate if only one does. Maybe they'll go with WiFi and GPS for the 7D MkII and WiFi for the 70D. Again that would differentiate the cameras more.
AF and Metering
I'd presume both a 70D and 7DII would get the Canon 63 Zone iFCL metering like the 5D MkIII has. AF is another matter. I'm sure Canon will differentiate a 70D from a 7D MkII with different AF systems. It's possible the 70D could get something similar to the AF system of the current 7D, while an upgraded 7D might get something similar to the AF system on the 5D MkIII. The new Nikon D7100 has AF at f8 with the center AF zone. I'd like to see that on a 7D mkII, but I have my doubts. Canon actually removed AF at f8 on the 5D MkIII and EOS-1D X, then had to bring it back via a firmware fix. Well it's promised for the 5D MkIII by April 2013 at least! Reliable AF at f8 depends to some extent on the geometry of the AF sensor, as well as a desire to offer it as a feature. I think it's even less likely to be found on an EOS 70D than an EOS 7D MkII, though I guess I could be pleasantly surprised. My best guess here is that neither a 70D nor a 7D MkII is likely to be able to AF at f8.
I really don't know if Canon will put AF microadjust in a 70D. The EOS 50D had it, but it was dropped for the EOS 60D. I'd like to see it in a 70D but I'm nor sure there's a strong reason to either add it or leave it out. A 7D MkII would have it of course. Leaving it off a 70D would differentiate it from a 7D MkII, but adding it would be a point in its favor over any of the EOS Rebels. I'd say maybe 60:40 that the 70D will have it - but I'm not putting money on it.
Memory for a 70D would certainly be SD, and probably a single card slot. I'd say there's a decent chance a 7D MkII might get two card slots, a CF and an SD. If a 7D MkII has only one slot, I think the odds are it will stick with CF rather than switch to SD. CF is still slightly faster than SD for the fastest cards.
There's really no reason Canon would not put a 100% viewfinder in an EOS 7D MkII since the 7D has one. On the other hand there's really no reason to think that Canon would put a 100% viewfinder in a 70D. More likely they'd stick with something like the 96% coverage of the EOS 60D. Again this would differentiate a 7D MNkII from a 70D.
Any new DSLR will obviously have 1080p HD video, probably with a manual option for setting the audio level. A 7D MkII might also include the more recent 5D MkIII features such as timecodes and ALL-1 or IPB compression. It will be interesting to see if Canon offer a crop video option like they do with the T2i and T3i but dropped in the T4i. It's actually quite useful. Digital zooming for stills is close to useless since it lowers resolution, but digital zooming for digital doesn't lose resolution because standard video is downsized to 1920x1080 anyway. I'd like to see Canon bring it back as an option. Still image cropping like the 1.3x crop mode on the Nikon D7100 isn't particularly exiting and it's not something Canon are likely to emulate. If I was Canon I'd probably put a tilt and swivel LCD on the 70D, but keep a fixed LCD on the 7D MkII. A fixed LCD is more rugged and serious videographers usually want to add their own external monitor anyway.
It's pretty likely (as mentioned earlier) that both a 70D and a 7D MkII would get a Hybrid AF CMOS sensor, i.e. a sensor with phase sensitive pixels embedded in it allowing some degree of phase detection AF with the mirror up. This would allow for better tracking AF in video mode, a feature I'm sure will be included.
When? Well I'd say a 70D is likely before a 7D MkII because the new Nikon D7100 is targeting that mid-range APS-C market while there's really no strong competition for the EOS 7D right now. The Nikon D300s is getting pretty old and is only 12MP and the D7100 is aimed at a lower price range. If it's ready I'm sure Canon would like to release a 60D update (70D) within the next couple of months. A 7D update might wait until later in the year (summer?).
Price? I'd expect a 70D updated version of the 60D to sell in the ~$1200 range, maybe a little less. A MkII version of the 7D is a little more difficult to guess the price of because it depends on exactly how many bells and whistles Canon decide to add to it, but I'd be surprised if it was much less then $1600 and it could be closer to $1800 or even $2000 if they put everything but the kitchen sink in it.
Note that what you have read on this page is neither a leak nor a rumor
. It's my best guess based on knowledge of Canon's previous DSLRs, an analysis of current Canon technology and a feeling for what the market might be looking for and Canon might be looking to provide. Time will tell how correct my analysis is!