These predictions are based around the type of photography and video that I do and the equipment and information that I either use or believe to be accurate. The top photo was taken last march with my Sony A7iii and 24-105 f4 lens hand held. Edited in Lightroom Classic.
- Camera companies in general make a rebound from the last few years of steep decline as smartphone camera users try and improve their results.
- Fast advances in smartphone picture and video quality slow down as phone makers refocus development towards demand for smaller phones like the Samsung fold out and Motorola new flip phone. In addition Apple is planning a 5.4″ smaller phone this year.
- Film photography keeps rolling along due to the simplicity of getting good results without complex menus you get with new cameras.
- Nikon rebounds from recent decline with introduction of crop sensor mirrorless Z 50, replacement for long popular D750, upgrade of D850 to 60+ megapixels, new high end professional camera for the Olympics, and likely pro body mirrorless full frame.
- Canon also rebounds due to new high end pro camera body for the Olympics, pro mirrorless full frame body, and likely introduction of crop sensor body that uses R lenses.
Besides those specifics here are some general predictions. Olympus camera division needs to either step up their adoption of AI similar to Apple and Samsung or embrace larger sensors. If they go the AI route I have to think they are able to buy some of the software from an outside source. Lacking those changes I do not think Olympus can expect increases in sales.
Sony will likely finally run into a wall getting higher sales due to ignoring almost universal demands for better ergonomics, better menus, and camera bodies with more ease of use built in. So far they are doing very well by just introducing more models. An example of this is in crop sensor mirrorless where you have the 6000, 6100, 6300, 6400, 6500, and 6600. They all use some variant of the old but faithful 24 mega pixel sensor, no touch screen, left side viewfinder which does not work for left eye dominant people, complex menus, and no grip to speak of. Then Sony introduces the A7RIV to cheers from all their YouTube and reviewer yes men/women who then give this new camera “camera of the year” awards. Ignoring that almost no one was asking for more mega pixels in the A7Riii but almost everyone was asking for better ergonomics, controls, handling (grip that fits), menus, and a fully functional touch screen. So Sony made a higher mega pixel sensor but mostly or entirely ignored the other needed changes.
Ease of use has to be the new mantra for camera makers. After months of walking in the desert of living with a hard to use camera system and finally getting an easy to use new one, the Nikon Z 50, I fell head over heels for the new system like a man dying of thirst who comes upon a desert oasis. Ease of use is why I love the old film bodies like the Olympus OM2n and Minolta 600si. It is why I fondly remember my old Nikon D5500 even though it had a small viewfinder and poor video ability. All of these cameras are fun to use and easy to use. And they produce better than average results because people love using them. If nothing else, the camera makers need to embrace fun to use systems or the phone cameras are going to steel away most of their business. I prefer using the new Nikon Z 50 to my iPhone. If more cameras were like the Z 50 camera makers would get their business back from the smartphones.
Happy new year.