The new year of 2013 is upon us, which means that it is time to try and make predictions for what the new year will bring to the photographic industry. So, looking back at 2012, what will 2013 offer/ Well, let's have a guess.
See also: Photo industry winners and losers for 2012
High-end APS-C is dead
It has been years since either of the big 2 in the photo industry, Canon and Nikon, have offered a new high-end APS-C pro model. For Canon, its 7D is 4 years old and Nikon's D300s is essentially celebrating its 6th birthday (the D300s is a D300 with video). Why the pessimism? Both companies brought full frame cameras priced at $2100 to market in 2013. Traditionally, the high-end APS-C models have sold at around $1800 at introduction, which means one of two things: the next offering of high-end APS-C will have to be highly pro-grade of high-end APS-C (at least for Canon and Nikon) is dead. Personally, I expect the latter as I see the chance of Canon stuffing a crop sensor into a 1Dx body and Nikon shoving a DX chip into a D4 and both companies selling their new cameras (whatever they'll be called) for $1800 s extremely unlikely. My expectation: by 2014, if you're a Canon or Nikon shooter wanting a pro-grade APS-C dSLR, you'll have to switch systems as your manufacturer will have silently exited this market segment.
In 2009, Olympus started a revolution when it brought its first Digital Pen to market. Why/ big sensor (2x crop) with no mirror. The following year, mirrorless saw 1.5x crop models, which meant that FF mirrorless seemed, at the time, all but inevitable. However, as of now, that has yet to come to fruition. However, by the end of 2013, I fully expect there to be a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with a FF sensor. Going out on a bit of a limb, expect Sony to be the company to make the breakthrough. After all, Canon and Nikon were late to the mirrorless market and Sony has already launched a FF compact, the DSC-RX1. Selling price: about $2700.
Nikon DX mirrorless
When Nikon launched a mirrorless line of cameras in 2011, it came as no surprise, hat did come as a bit of a shock was the format: an all-new 2.7x crop 'CX' chip, which mrant that Nikon, the king of backwards compatibility with its optics, had dumped both its DX and FX lenses' usability with its new Nikon 1 Series. Problem: by the start of 2103, everyone else has gotten in on the mirrorless market, but with larger sensors. So, with its 2.7x line looking rather quaint in comparison, there's a good chance that, come sometime this year, Nikon will launch a line of mirrorless DX cameras. The big question: what will Nikon choose to call it?
Olympus stops dSLR production
It has been a long time coming, but unless Olympus launches a new mirrored dSLR in 2013m you can pretty much count the company out of the traditional dSLR market. My bet: don't get too eager for a new Olympus dSLR. Last year, Olympus launched its OM-D mirrorless model, which pretty much can do anything (including AF) a dSLR can. More evidence Olympus was really serious about this camera? Full splash-proofing (a first for mirrorless), metal construction, and new lenses just tough as the camera. Implication: Olympus is building a mirrorless camera just as tough as the mirrored E-5 because there is no plan to offer dSLRs in the future. After all, it's been 4 years since Olympus has launched a new mirrored model.
Mirrorrless goes pro
In 2012, Olympus launched its OM-D, a pro-grade mirrorless camera that, on paper, offers pretty much everything the mirrored E-5 does, sans mirror (for $500 less, too).If that weren't enough, Olympus started cranking out metal, splash-proof Micro Four Thirds lenses, too. End result: a pro-grade Micro Four Thirds photographic system. Come 2013, pretty much everyone is in the mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera market, which means that, sooner or later, someone else will take their gear up to the pro-level to compete with Olympus. My bet: it will be Panasonic as the company has already has such lenses on the market, which means that a matching camera should be coming very soon.
Looming Mt. Fuji
If there was a single breakout company in 2012, it was Fujifilm, which, overnight, created a whole new camera system, its APS-C, interchangeable lens, mirrorless X-mount line, which currently has two models (X-Pro1, X-E1) and several lenses. Come 2013, expect Fuji to continue on its roll. Personally, I expect a pro-grade X-mount camera (meaning weather-sealed) with accompanying optics to come from the company this year for around $2500 top complete the lineup. Between the high image quality and undeniably cool styling, there's no doubt that Fuji has a winning formula with its 'X' line.
Third party nameplate, manufacturer quality
In 2012, Tokina announced a 70-200f4 lens with sonic-drive AF and weather-sealing. With that announcement, Tokina became the last third-party lens maker to offer what was previously a manufacturer-only option, the stabilization (the company previously launched weather-sealed models). Going into 2013, all three major third parties, Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina) all offer stabilized, weather-resistant optics. This year, expect the third parties to go after the name-brand manufacturers more than ever, offering manufacturer-spec. lenses for third party prices. All in all, this will be a great thing for the consumer not wanting to pay through the nose for top-notch gear.
1080P HD is not enough
Until last year, 1080p video was the gold standard for digital cameras. However, that changed when Canon announced its 1Dc dSLR, which offers video with 4 times the resolution of standard 'high definition.' So, with this 'ultra HD' making its first appearance in digital cameras, expect other manufactures to follow suit in 2013. Personally, I expect Sony to be the company to watch for as it already has, like Canon, quite the portfolio of video technology that could be, with a little effort, incorporated into a digital camera.
Year of mobile web
Leading up to 2012, cameras with mobile web connectivity were becoming more and more common, but 2012 finally brought current smartphone operating systems top cameras when Samsung brought its Jellybean operating system to its cameras and Nikon offering wi-fi connectivity in its D3200 dSLR.. Result: a camera that can do anything an Android phone could do, sans make calls. Well, as is often the case in the world of technology, it will be monkey-see-monkey-do as all of the other major camera makers will soon start doing whatever they have to do in order to bring the most-capable mobile web technology to their cameras in the wake of what Samsung and Nikon did in 2012. So, come 2013, expect wi-fi connectivity to become more of a standard feature rather than a gimmick in cameras.
All in all, 2013 could be a very exciting year for the photographic industry in regards to both the photo-taking experience itself as well as the add-on features, which are becoming more important (by virtue of their prevalence) by the year.
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