2012 Predictions

Its that time again!

So lets see how I did last year and what I see in my crystal ball for 2012.

NIKON

Last year - "For what seems like years there's been speculation about a D700 upgrade. Basically people want the D3X sensor in a D700 type body. There's rumours of a D800 or D900 doing this and I can see it happening. The D3X is 2 yrs + old and Nikon probably feel that they can "allow" that sensor, or something like it, into a more enthusiast level (cheaper) camera. It will of cause get bought by professionals, who are as reluctant to pay high prices as anybody else.

The D300 is also getting somewhat old. It seems obvious that the D7000 sensor will get added to a higher end body & we'll get an upgrade. D400?

A D4 is due also. I would imagine slightly more pixels - 16MP? - with better video and the same high ISO performance as the D3, maybe not as good as the D3S. 

The rumour about Nikon and mirrorless, is for a small, interchangeable camera with a sensor somewhere between a compact camera and m4/3. They will introduce it, probably because they feel they should, but their heart won't be in it. Despite rumours to the contrary DSLR's aren't going anywhere for a while. With companies like Samsung and Olympus dropping out out of that field, Nikon have even less competition than before. Systems like m4/3 are very popular in the far east but the huge US and European markets are much more DSLR orientated and likely to remain so for some time. The DSLR isn't dead and likely to remain the dominant camera in these markets for years to come.

On lenses I'm no Nikon expert so I'm not going to attempt any predictions other than a new 24-70mm f/2.8 with VR."

Next year - The D800 (36MP?) is still due, as is the D4 and something like a D400. I think the 16MP Sony sensor has more mileage for Nikon yet. Unfortunately I see more lenses and bodies for the dreadful Nikon 1 system. 



CANON

Last year - "A 1Ds Mk IV is due. Canon are currently behind Nikon in the MP race, so expect a pixel hike. The rumours are for a 32MP full frame sensor. Expect upgraded video also. I Imagine they will keep the same body shape.

At some point in the year a 600D is due, if Canon follow their usual timetable. However the 550D was such a well-specified camera its difficult to see where they can go. Would they add more MP's and make their low-end enthusiast camera have more than the 7D or 60D? I can't see that happening. So if no more MP's, there's not much point in upgrading. 

I can't see Canon only releasing one camera in the year, so will we see a 5D Mk III earlier than expected? If they follow the timetable it should be appearing at the end of the year, but maybe it will be announced late summer. I see this as a camera concentrating on video. My guess is that it will be the best specified video DSLR they can come up with. Slightly more MP's, maybe 25MP, to equal the D3X, articulated screen, raw output for video etc. 5D Mk II's are getting used to make movies and TV programmes so its logical to go in that direction.

My off the wall prediction is for some designed for video lenses for the continuous AF they will introduce in both the 1ds Mk III and 5D Mk III. How many and what type, I don't know, but I think Canon see themselves as the "inventors" of DSLR video and I think they are probably ticked off at people saying the Panasonic GH2 is a better camera for video. 2011 is the year they show the world that Canon is the leader in that field.

A mirrorless Canon? Everything I read and see tells me not. I don't think they believe in it and they are so far behind, they will have to get a lot of lenses on the market very quickly. The EIS system? Sounds total fantasy land me. A 22MP m4/3 size sensor, with ultra-fast small primes? Sounds great, and who wouldn't want it, but apart from the first rumour back in September everything has gone quiet. This obviously means it will announced next week!! "

Next year - Canon seem to be swithching things around. The 1DX is obviously their 1D MkIII etc. upgrade and also a competitor for the Nikon D3s. It seems they are going with a 5DMkII upgrade, probably renamed, for the high MP customer, so expect some megapixel monster. We should get a 650D and some kind of upgrade for the 7D / 60D APS-C type camera.

Their answer to mirrorless seems to be a "super-compact". Whoopee!



SONY

Last year - "OK, here's a real stick your neck prediction. Sony are a company that are big enough to try something daring and just shrug it off if it fails. They have a large range of DSLR's and will probably upgrade a few of them. They will also expand the NEX system and add more lenses, probably smaller than what they have. 

However I believe that the big news will come at the high end. I think they still want to be a player in the full-frame pro market. The A900 and A850 weren't the cameras to achieve this, so what do they do? I think they will go in another direction. My prediction is that they will go for a monster! A full-frame 32MP pellicle-mirror, EVF, full HD video with continous AF, raw output, hybrid stills / video camera. This will be an attempt to take out Nikon and Canon in one go, as they will price it at something like £3000. It will be their attempt to grab the pro / high end enthusiast market. It may also be a radical design, Sony have no qualms about that, and may look like the offspring of a DSLR and a video camera. They will also introduce a range of high-end video friendly lenses, designed with Zeiss, which will be phenomenally expensive."

Next year - Its already been well trailed that there are two FF cameras coming out, 24MP and 36MP. more NEX lenses, possibly pancakes, and an interesting mirrorless a-mount version of the NEX-7 has been suggested. As ever with Sony these days, there will be some kind of surprise.



PANASONIC

Last year - The GH2 and GF1 are recently announced, so what will Panasonic announce? Well I see a 25mm f/1.4 and a "pro" zoom. Maybe the 12-75mm F/2.8 thats been talked about, which could explain the lack of a wide-angle prime so far. 

However, I see the big news as a collaboration with Leica on a GF1 follow-up. Despite both companies talking down their association, I see it as in both their interests to continue this. This camera will be primarily made by Panasonic, with design input from Leica. I believe it will have retro aspects but be modern. However in Leica tradition it will look uncluttered and simple. It will take the Panasonic EVF and have an optional optical viewfinder. To go with it there will a small number of Leica MF primes with a m4/3 mount. These will of course be very expensive and be outside of the current Panasonic range. 

So the second outrageous prediction, though I will admit this is bordering very closely on personal wish fulfillment!!

Next Year - So much for my Leica collaboration! Instead we got the GX1. My prediction (more wishful thinking again) is that the GX1 will be so successful, they will abandon completely their GF3, compact lookalikes and continue down the retro - rangefinder look road.

We should see the "pro" zooms this year


LEICA

Last year - "See above. More S2 lenses - possibly an X2 announcement - dealing with all the criticisms of the X1. Some M-lens revamps."

Next year - They have announced some kind of mirrorless interchangeable system. But don't hold your breath. A Plutonium M9 special edition? (Looks good in the dark)



OLYMPUS

Last year - "My initial thoughts on Olympus were "I haven't got a clue" On thinking about it more I came up with "I still haven't got a clue!" E-PL2, and E-P3 are obvious, with minor improvements. More lenses, including a 12mm prime. Apart from that I really can't see where they can go. They need something radical. A mirrorless vehicle for the 4/3 lens range is possible, but they don't want to hurt E-5 sales. Maybe a quiet year for Olympus."

Next year - Did I really write "Maybe a quiet year for Olympus" So much for my predictive powers. As to what they might produce - I haven't got a clue (again). And I suspect they don't either.



PENTAX / RICOH

Last year - "I think they will build on the success of the K-5 and the 645D. A new mid-range camera is probably on the cards.

There are very strong rumours about a mirrorless camera. I think this may happen, and may be a vehicle for their existing range of small and pancake lenses. I don't think they will join m4/3 but will go their own way like Samsung and Sony. If they do announce something, and do remember Pentax aren't the fastest in this regard, then I think it will be an APS-C camera. I don't think it will be super small in order to accommodate their existing lenses, and may be designed to resemble their heritage cameras. Spotmatic or MZ series possibly?


I assume we'll see more modules for the GXR."

Next Year - The new partnership might produce some exciting stuff. Hopefully the Pentax Q will disappear from sight and never be seen again, but I fear not. I really don't have much sense of what might come from this, but I just get the feeling that they are ones to watch for next year. Ricoh don't seem to have Pentax's conservatism and slow reaction time to everything, so I'm hopeful.


SAMSUNG

Last year - "We already know that its NX all the way. I see more cameras and lenses next year, with a Sony like strategy to include a camera at every conceivable price point. Maybe a new sensor with more MP's. A high-end compact could also appear."

Nexr year - Did they hold back (and re-design) the NX20 after seeing the NEX-7? Unfortunately Samsung seem to be followers rather than innovators. The NX200 certainly showed they can make a great sensor. Lets hope we get a great camera to put in in.



FUJI

Last year - "Fuji obviously have everything tied up with the X100. I see no more DSLR's from them. Everything depends on how good the X100 actually is and whether there is an appetite for this kind of retro styled compact in the mass market. If it remains a niche market then it may be heading for collectable status in a few years time. At its price point it has to be really good, otherwise it will sink without trace."

Next year - The X100 WAS a success, and they seem ready to build on that. Another one to watch. The X100 type interchangeable lens system is already announced and Fuji seem like favourites to buy up Olympus should it become available. That amalgamation could be really exciting. Provided Fuiji don't inherit Olympus's accounting practices!


SIGMA

Last year - "Is the SD1 with its 15MP (In real terms) Foveon sensor too late or is it going to blow everything else away. We will see. Probably neither. Always destined to be a niche product I think, though they do have an amazing lens range for it!!

I think 2011 will be the year that Sigma start producing lenses for the mirrorless / e.v.i.l systems. With the growth in this market, can they afford to ignore it? Maybe a few lenses to start with for m4/3 and Sony NEX."

Next year - I did think that they would hide away after the SD1 debacle, and go back to making lenses. However I have a funny feeling they have one more attempt at international superstardom in them, in the guise of a super compact with the SD1 sensor, at a far more reasonable price and with interchangeable lenses. I'm seriously guessing here, but they need to recover their reputation, and I'm not sure they are prepared to leave it in the tatters it is at the present. 

We should also see some of these lenses for NEX and m4/3, they have been promising.


 So there it is, my predictions for 2012. Probably about as reliable as my predictions for 2011!