When Canon finally announced the 5D Mk. IV with 4K video, we were all hoping that this would be the start of something. But according to Google Trends, it looks like the public thought it was too little too late. And not only that, but the entire 5D line has been trending downward since 2010. Which could explain why the company may be going all in on mirrorless later this year. But not only that, but DSLRs in general are so 2005.
If you look at the graph on the right, provided by EOSHD, search interest in the Canon 5D line peaked with the 5D Mk. III, but nearly as quickly, the interest in Canon 5D’s began to plummet. To date, search activity of the 5D Mk. IV has dropped by 75% over the Mk. III, and overall search queries for Canon DSLRs, have dropped 50% since 2010.
What is the main issue here? Though Nikon was responsible for bringing HD video to the DSLR platform, it was the Canon 5D Mk. II which really started the digital filmmaking trend. But while the 5D Mk. II certainly blazed the trail, and the Mk. III represented a solid follow up, it took a lot longer for Canon to release the next generation Mk. IV, and by then, both Smartphones and Mirrorless cameras had improved to the point that DSLR’s weren’t the only game in town.
It really all comes down to timing. While Canon zoomed past Nikon with the 5D Mk. II, it really still treated HD video on the camera as more of an afterthought. I think that Canon was unprepared by the incredible demand brought on by the success of DSLR video. But since Panasonic’s Mirrorless technology still hadn’t hit it’s stride, and Sony’s full frame camera had yet to be announced, the company seemed to take a conservative, leisurely approach to upgrading. The 5D Mk. III arrived, and by then, there was a crowded field with the Sony Alpha series and the Panasonic GH3 had also hit the market. Suddenly, a lot of shooters were selling their DSLRs and going micro four thirds.
Consequently, the GH4 upgraded with 4K video, and the low light capable Sony A7 arrived. By then, the handwriting was on the wall, and Canon still hadn’t announced the Mk. IV. They did, however, announced yet another 1080p centric camera with the dual modeled Canon 5D S/R and people simply didn’t know what to make of it. Where was the 5D Mk. IV? Panasonic had had 4K video for nearly three years and Canon users were getting impatient.
So when then 5D4 finally did arrive, people had simply moved on to mirrorless, chiefly with the Panasonic GH5. Sales and rental records for 2017 back all this up, as mirrorless cameras surpassed DSLRs for the first time. Moreover, mobile filmmaking took off thanks to the iPhone 5, and now, people don’t seem to be interested in DSLRs anymore.
And that’s probably why all the hype is over Nikon and Canon’s full frame mirrorless cameras, and why Canon executives are talking about making a major move into mirrorless. It’s a pity, because the DSLR has been the backbone of still and video for prosumers for over a decade. But times change, and at least to it’s credit, Canon has decided to make the move.
But it’s also why we may not see a 5D Mk. V. And that would be sad.
Read more about the trend here.