Canon 1DS discontinued – 1DS Mark IV imminent

The Canon 1DS MkIII looks to have been discontinued as Canon prepare to usher in the first step-change in DSLR video, with the 1DS Mark IV.

DIGIC 5 and a major step-forward in video DSLR could be around the corner…

A 1DS update is incredibly significant for video, because it was with the 1DS Mark III that the 5D Mark II sensor first appeared, a year before it coupled up with a new Digic processor to give us HD video for the first time on a Canon DSLR.

That camera, the Mark 3, has now been discontinued judging from several key signs in recent days (as Northlight Images report):

– Removal of 1DS Mark 3 from Canon’s official online store in the US
– Complete depletion of 1DS stock from Amazon and Adorama
– 1DS Mark 3 joining Mark 2 and 1 as ‘not available’ in Canon’s website search listings

So it is clear that the product has reached the end of it’s lifecycle and that the successor is but weeks away, maybe days.

Originally expected at Photokina last year, the 1DS has been a long time coming and has been the most locked-down development project at Canon in the history. Such is the complexity of this cutting edge camera there was rumours of development troubles which is very unusual for Canon, and the camera missed the usual 3-year cycle of the professional 1DS line when it failed to show up at Photokina in September 2010.

DIGIC 5 is rumoured to be a complete overhaul of the image processor toward a video core, to better handle the demands of faster CMOS processors.

The 1DS Mark IV is rumoured to feature a 32MP new generation CMOS processor. The S designation means the camera is studio orientated and will use a full frame sensor, unlike the standard 1D line which is a APS-H crop sensor for sports professionals.

The 5D Mark III will inherit the 1DS’s sensor and image processor (possibly in cut down form) to be sold for a lower price at a later date, should Canon stay true to form – possibly with some extras for the consumer / semi-pro market it’s aimed at. So the exciting thing is, we may be days away from seeing how Canon have evolved DSLR video at the highest level – the 5D Mark III and 1DS Mark IV’s capabilities in one swoop, early in 2011 – that sends shivers down my spine frankly.

As always with rumours it’s a case of wait and see… But the signals could not be stronger.

2010 was a quiet year for Canon. I don’t expect a repeat.