I have always been a Canon guy ever since their F1 with the sportfinder in 1970's. The difficult choice then too was between the two, with Canon being more attractively priced in comparison to Nikon. Only Nikon products were my Nikonos III and V, because nobody else offered anything close to them and Nikon was very successful because of that monopoly in a niche market.
I take my hat off for Nikon to be willing to develop their professional underwater line back then, but understandingly them dropped it when digital came in. Fast forward 40 years and things have not changed. Canon continues to have these watershed moments when they can meet the need for value with the masses by offering hybrid options in every price range and leave the specialized niches to the 3rd party manufacturing. Let's face it, for them high end professional underwater camera gear is a low income niche market. Not worth all the expensive R&D (i'm talking SLR here not P&S).
The development of hybrids (still with HDvideo cams) will now challenge our need for new lighting options. Underwater photography is all about bringing down with you proper lighting. Now we need video and strobe lighting, hopefully in one compact package that can meet both needs on the same dive and allow easy switching between the two options. The topside features and options on the 7D scream for new underwater inclusions. How difficult would it be to include LED video lighting together with dedicated slave TTL from the camera master? I'm no engineer, but it must be possible? I think that old fashioned strobe cable systems with pins is outdated and old thinking. Fiber transmission seems more logical.
Maybe we should forget about strobes all together and just have (powerful, long burning, easy output adjusting) video lights. I have no experience trying to do this, maybe somebody here can provide any experience in this. I belief that this HD video option with Hybrids is going to change the rules for this ball game and offer new opportunities for those manufacturers that embrace it.
I'm hoping to have my hands on my 7D next week and see if there is any close housing fit, although I seriously doubt it. I may consider some DIY options if minor modifications seem possible and start saving for when housings become available in a year or so. Keep ya'll posted.
I think there've been several watershed moments in the big boy war. The 1D series kicked Nikon's D2 series as did the 5D. Much of the migration started there. Then Nikon benefitted from the 1D Mark III series debacle and the FX series took off. Then came the 5D2 which knocked everyone's socks off.
Nikon will always be behind Canon because of the Canon budget. They can simply outspend Nikon into making better value products. Most stuff is in house so it's always going to be cheaper.
For Nikon, underwater seems to have an entrenched club because of the Nikonos strobe protocol. Whereby it's popular and widely supported. Not so the 6 pin Canon system, where it's so pathetic that only 1 strobe manufacturer handles most functions.
The flash system of Nikon is still ahead of Canon, which is ok but could be a lot better.
I do think with lenses you don't really lose the farm when changing brands but the camera bodies depreciate pretty quickly.
I actually don't want too many people to switch cos with no competition, Canon will sit on its butt and not innovate.