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Predictions for the camera industry in 2014

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It's a new year as 2014 is now a couple of days old, which means that it is time to try and make predictions about what the new year will hold for the photographic industry.

So, what's to look for in the next 12 months?

Nikon D4x, High Mp Canon 1-series
Look for both of the big 2 in digital cameras to launch new flagship models in 2014. For Nikon, the D4x is long overdue, with the D4 being 2 years old now. My bet: the D4x will be a D4 body equipped with a tweaked D800 sensor and priced at $6999. Expect a version without the anti-aliasing filter to also be announced simultaneously for $7999. Canon? It'll be a lot harder to predict, but look for Canon to pull out all the stops in terms of resolution, as in 36-42Mp to pull equal with or surpass Nikon.

Nikon to launch mirrorless, interchangeable DX model
Last year, Nikon launched the Coolpix A, a DX format fixed lens compact, which strongly hints that a mirrorless, interchangeable lens model in DX format is right around the corner. Making this even more likely is the fact that the 2.7x crop CX format 1 Series looks rather toy-ish when compared to other brands mirrorless interchangeable lens models.

Wi-fi on a “pro” camera
Back when it started around 5 years ago, wi-fi connectivity was commonly seen as a marketing gimmick by small camera manufacturers to try and steer people toward their point and shoots and away from those coming from more established companies. Come2014, expect wi-fi to make it to a camera marketed as a “professional” model. Why? Journalism is all about getting the story (and images) out ASAP, which is hard to do when a pro has the hindrance of having to pop a memory card out of a camera and into a computer before being able to send it anywhere. Built-in connectivity solves that problem, expect manufacturers to address this in 2014.

Faster than f2.8 zooms
Last year, Sigma announced a 18-35 f1.8 lens, thus shattering the f2.8 barrier for APS-C format lenses. Expect someone else (probably a smaller, less photographically-established company) to join the party in 2014 to keep up with the Jonses or, in this case, Sigma.

X-Pro2 to be truly pro
Fuji's revolutionary X-Pro1 camera is getting a bit long in the tooth in the age of digital, look for its replacement, probably to be called the X-Pro2, to be truly pro, as in weather/dust-sealed. Expect an equally tough lens to be revealed at the same time.

Olympus ceases production of Four Thirds lenses
Last year Olympus essentially announced that it was exiting the mirrored dSLR market when it billed the mirrorless OM-D EM-1 as the successor to the mirrored E-5. In 2014, this unofficial exit will become official as Olympus will announce a date that it plans to cease production of Four Thirds lenses designed for dSLRs with a mirror.

Camera makers rein in lens prices
This will be a hard one to determine, but look for camera makers to start reining in the costs of their lenses in 2014. In the past few years, all of the big 3 of third party optics (Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina) started incorporating sonic-drive AF, weather-sealing, and image stabilization into their optics, and then proceeding to sell their goods for around 30-50% less than what the camera makers sell similar products for. This, combined with the ability of many new cameras that allow users to adjust AF to compensate for front/back focus leads anyone for whom money is a concern to ask a question: is a nameplate really worth hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars? For me, the answer is a resounding “no!” Implication: camera makers will have to swallow some of their profit margins to get sales in the face of other companies offering equally good products for far less money.

Pentax goes FF
2014 will be the year that Pentax finally launches a full frame dSLR. In the past few years, the company has steadily built and bettered its image quality reputation for APS-C as well as launched medium format digital SLR. Come 2014, look for Pentax to join Canon, Nikon, and Sony in offering a FF dSLR as the company has both the technology (it launched the medium format 645D) and the lenses (many of the Limited line are designed to cover a 35mm sensor). All in all, the building blocks for a FF dSLR line are in place, all that's needed now is the camera.

So, there you have them: my predictions for 2014. So, in the next 12 months, let's see how many come to fruition . . .

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