With the new year 2014 upon us, it is common for pundits of various specialties to take a look back on the previous year and try and analyze the impact of what took place. For this Examiner, this task takes the form of looking back on predictions made at the start of the new year and seeing which came true, what sort of came to fruition, and what missed the boat entirely.
To say that 2013 was an interesting year for the photo industry would be an understatement. In March, a huge tsunami hit Japan, where most of the world's camera makers are headquartered, Result: a lot of production plants got knocked out and, thanks to product shortages, prices rose almost overnight. Then, having to focus on picking up the pieces and rebuild rather than develop new products, 2011 was a bit of a non-event when it came to cutting-edge innovations.
So, let's have a look back at 2013.
Prediction: Nikon, canon kill high-end APS-C
Result: Came true (so far)
At the start of last year, I predicted that Canon and Nikon would pretty much exit the marketfor high-end APS-C cameras. So far, this is looking good as a D400 and 7D Mark II have yet to materialize as both companies focused on affordable full-frame instead. Personally, with both companies making $2100 FF models, I don't see room in the lineups (or let alone the market for) $1800 APS-C in either brand.
Prediction: FF mirrorless interchangeable lens
Result: came true
This one took awhile, but finally came to fruition with the Sony Alpha 7, a SLR-styled, but mirrorless E-mount camera. Yes, while I saw such a camera coming, I don't think anyone could have foreseen an immediate problem: Sony has no FF-capable E-mount lenses, which means that users will have to use their current APS-C E-mount lenses in crop mode until the promised FE line comes to market, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Prediction: Nikon DX mirrorless
Result: sort of came true
First the bad news: there was no DX format interchangeable lens mirrorless Nikon released in 2013. The good news: Nikon did develop the Coolpix A, a DX format fixed lens compact. Luckily for me, I didn't specify whether the camera would have interchangeable lenses or not!
Prediction: Olympus stops making dSLRs, mirrorless goes pro
Result: Both came true
Olympus make 2 different predictions come true with a single camera in 2013 when it announced the OM-D E-M1, a Micro Four Thirds SLR-styled camera that the company billed as the successor to the pro-grade E-5 dSLR, which was launched back in 2010. With this camera, Olympus took mirrorless pro and essentially announced that it was ceasing production of traditional, mirrored dSLRs.
Prediction: Pro-grade X-mount
2013 was a busy year for Fuji, with the company updating its X100 and launching 3 new X-mount interchangeable lens models. Unfortunately, none of the new cameras was a pro-grade (weather-sealed) model. However, as the X-Pro1 nears its 2nd birthday, there's a good chance that it will be updated in 2014.
Prediction: Third party nameplate, manufacturer quality optics
Result: came true
Going into 2013, all third party lens manufacturers were now offering weather sealing and sonic-drive AF on their lenses. At the conclusion of 2013, the trend was continuing with Sigma leading the way in offering manufacturer-grade optics at a very non-manufacturer price. My feeling about this: with these new third party lenses, it's time to ask a question: am I willing to pay an extra 50% for a nameplate?
Prediction: 1080p HD is not enough
I predicted that sometime in 2013 the Canon ES 1D C would be joined in the greater than 1080p HD video territory by another digital camera, probably from Sony. Going into 2014, this has yet to happen. On the dedicated video camera front, though, ultra HD is becoming more common and it is only a matter of time before it starts hitting the digital camera realm.
Prediction: the year of mobile web
Result: came true
Going into 2013, wi-fi connectivity was becoming more of a standard feature rather than an occasional gimmick tacked on by manufacturers as a selling point. Now, going into 2014, the trend is, as predicted, continuing with manufacturers now even offering wi-fi on $2000+ semi-pro dSLRs, which never had this capability before.
All in all, 7 of 9 predictions came true, which isn't a bad track record at all.