Common question: Do I buy a Canon EOS 5D Mark II now or wait?

by planetMitch9 Comments

Time and time again I get the question… Do I buy a Canon EOS 5D Mark II (or a Canon EOS 7D etc.) now or wait for the 5D3? Many rumors (consolidated list below) point to a new set of Canon HDSLRs coming – but when?

This is a typical tech dilemma which happens with all kinds of products – which is also one of the reasons Apple has become so secretive (and Canon is really much like Apple in that regard)… first, if they were to announce new products that won't be out for a couple of months, sales of their existing product drop thru the floor. Second, they want to build up some anticipation and excitement (and fodder for blog posts like this one HA!), and lastly, they don't want to tip their hand to the competition.

As you can see from the varied theories and rumors and thoughts below, just about anything is possible and it is likely impossible at this point to predict what is coming. We've been told that there are bodies of some kind out being tested by some pros (which is normal part of doing camera development) but we don't know what they are!

What to do!?


My first advice is this – if you need a camera now (pick a reason), then buy one now! Please have a look at our planet5D buyer's guide first of course (buying thru the links there and on the ads for amazon, B&H, adorama below support planet5D).

Think of it as a rental for the time being. If you're interested in what ever the next camera that is going to be announced by Canon, then you can use the camera you buy today to do what you need and then sell it when you can get your hands on the next one. Canon and Nikon cameras retain much of their original value – especially if they have low shutter actuations… so you can think of the difference in price from what you buy and sell the camera for as the rental price for the next xx months. I suspect that you'll be surprised at how inexpensive it is to ‘rent' this way as compared to real rentals.

If you don't “need” a new camera now, then you might want to wait. The only question here is how long do you have to wait? Right now, your guess is as good as mine. I don't have any inside information to share.

Here's what I expect to happen before the next major announcement from Canon – they'll put out a teaser ad. I don't know how many of you remember, but about a month before the 5D2 was announced, there was a series of teaser ads that showed just a little bit of a silhouette of a camera body (which was part of the idea for our logo actually). If they're smart, they'll build up they hype on the next major release again.

Canon Evolution ad Screenshot - FongMin Su

Canon Evolution ad Screenshot - FongMin Su

What is really next?

There's a lot of questioning about what order cameras are coming from Canon (and Nikon too for that matter) – there's plenty of speculation going around. So we asked your opinion and got a varied answer as well…

Common question Do I buy a Canon EOS 5D Mark II now or wait

Common question Do I buy a Canon EOS 5D Mark II now or wait

As you can see, there's a slight majority of you who think that the anniversary of the announcement of the 5D2 would be a perfect time for the 5D3. Makes a lot of sense to me too.

On the other hand, as I've heard from planet5D fans who've been talking to Canon, the feeling is that the 5D2 is still selling too well to bring out the next version. They point to next summer as the most likely date for the 5D3. Here's a sample of one item I've been sent lately:

the person I spoke to is privy to all research and development ideas re the 5D. While he did say Canon, Japan, kept a few things to themselves, he said I was right not to expect a new camera 5d for a year. They are selling well, so why a mk III now? Also don't expect more than 12 minutes video if your local importations laws say anything more is classified as a camcorder and subject to higher tarriff.

And don't forget this Northlight-images chart of the Canon product releases… the 1Ds Mk III is the oldest and most likely for a refresh if Canon were to keep that line open (there are some thoughts they might merge that with the 1D Mk IV). Canon DSLR Release Chart

However, have a gander at the rumor roundup below… could Canon announce another camera before the 5D3?

Welcome canonrumors readers! Bookmark our planet5D HDSLR news page to read CR and a bunch of other blogs

Rumor Roundup latest thoughts:

July 12

No 1Ds, however……
I’m told a mid September announcement for a 1D Mark V. It will be a full frame high fps camera that will lead to the amalgamation of the 1Ds/1D line. Availability for the camera will be at the end of October.

June 22

August 2011 7D Mark II

  • 24 Mega pixel Full Frame
  • Dual Digic V
  • Will be a partial replacement for the discontinued 1D Mark IV

September 2011 1D Mark V

  • 32 Mega pixel Full Frame
  • Dual Digic V
  • Will be a partial replacement for the discontinued 1D Mark IV and complete the merging of the 1D line

March 2012 5D Mark III

  • 32 Mega pixel Full Frame
  • Digic V
  • New 11 point AF system
  • Will have the best video features of the EOS line

NorthlightImage rumors

Latest July 12

Thanks to all the reports about its appearance. It seems that there are a lot of people wishing for a 5D3 really soon.

Without a 1Ds3 replacement actually shipping, I don't see a 5D3 announcement this year, if it's going to follow form and offer similar MP to the top of the range model. I'd also suggest that with the Nikon D700 unlikely to be replaced this year, Canon is happy selling the 5D2 as fast as they can make them.

Also check northlight-image's threads on the 3D, 7D2, and 1Ds Mk IV

other opinions

example post of someone waiting for the 5D3: 5 Big Reasons I'm still holding off for the 5D Mark iii

This is a bit old as we're hearing that for Canon, most of the supply chain has freed up, but we also heard that they had delayed some of their scheduled product releases due to the earthquakes.
Is it disruption to production or is a Canon 5D Mark III on the way? Canon EOS 5D Mark II listed as out of stock at all major UK camera shops”


Yikes! The rumors are all over the place. Again, if you need to buy a camera, buy it now – waiting for the next great thing will only frustrate you as I suspect we're a long way off.

I feel we're more likely to see a Canon EOS 7D refresh before we get the granddaddy 5D3, but that's just what my gut tells me. The rumors have all sorts of variations!

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(cover photo credit: snap from the fake 5D3 commercial earlier this week)


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  2. I think better advice would be that every should NOT buy the 5dmkII and get Canon a bit more motivated. Digital SLR’s are still far from perfect and tech developers need to keep pushing the limits rather than playing the wait-and-see/let’s squeeze every last penny out of the mk II.

  3. Pingback: Common question: Do I buy a Canon EOS 5D Mark II now or wait? « DSLR Photography and Videography

  4. I remember those teaser ads.. Was a good few months before they started shipping. Torture when you’re trying to hold off upgrading but your old camera is dying a slow death. I agree with Mitch’s advice: if you need one, buy it. Cheaper than renting and you can always sell it or keep as backup when the 5d III comes out.

  5. I can imagine people, like they do with Apple kit, keeping an eye on what tech parts Canon orders from suppliers. Additionally watching for a sudden suspension on the production lines of the current models. Keep an eye on those tech blogs for hints that parts required to make new models, newer chips, bigger sensors, etc!

  6. Once a 5DMarkIII is released, what kind of market will there be for used Mark IIs, say, in condition E or E+?

    1. Author

      This was a fake ad done by some students for a school project. We reported on it a few weeks ago, search for “fake” I think and you’ll find it – but thanks for sending it in!

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