How to Sensitively Replace a Flagship Line (Don’t Call It a Flagship)

May 24, 2021 | Bodies, Canon, Discussion, Editorial

A realtor friend of mine isn’t the most masculinely secure fellow I know, but he bought a very, very large pickup truck. It is perfectly, shinily, black, and shaped like one might imagine reproductive organs might look like if Transformers were to have them. When I had him follow me up a 45 degree slope to visit a property I wanted him to see, he was huffy when we parked and spoke. Briars had touched the sides of his truck. Worse, my Kia had made it up the slope handily, and then I made the mistake of mentioning that my wife’s Prius did it all the time.

Chevrolet now has about $60,000 of this guy’s money, and in return he has a perfectly good truck and perhaps some self-perceived image improvement. Chevy’s been doing this for enough years that it knows better than to try to brand a different line of vehicles in a way that would infringe on the superlative masculinity of its Silverado line. You wouldn’t see the Chevy Volt as the star of a gritty commercial set at a rodeo.

Likewise, Canon is unlikely to emasculate its 1DX III users by implying that the upcoming R3 is its new flagship. Sure, the new mirrorless top camera will shoot faster, at higher resolution, autofocus better, and also have an integrated grip so as to appear tough. But to price it above the 1DX series and to call it a flagship could only serve to earn the defensive scorn of those personalities who previously opted for the 20-something megapixel big-&-loud DSLR.

Canon Rumors reported on a feeling it is getting from talking to people in the industry indicating that Canon will price the R3 lower than the 1DX III. But only by about the amount that it is normally discounted anyway.

The new mirrorless offerings by Canon have already segmented their market in two. Of those with the need or simply the cash to upgrade, the rational among them went mirrorless after the R5 came out. Those more concerned about appearing overly metrosexual were more tempted by the overtly brutish 1DX III.

There is a plug of photographers who aren’t yet convinced that mirrorless has surpassed DSLRs in capabilities. Canon knows that the R3 will come out prior to them having traveled adequately along their emotional journeys to that acceptance. So the R1 will come some time after. That will be the vehicle that is anointed both the new flagship line and the tactic by which Canon will allow 1DX slingers to prove that they were right to have waited, all for the cost of $6,500.

Of course there are some obscure use cases where the 1DX III will remain a rational choice. But by the time the R1 comes out, Canon will not have made an EF mount lens for it in a number of years. That clock started ticking last year.

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