2012 was an amazing year for the photo industry, driven by technological changes that were long anticipated and welcome. What does 2013 hold?
Based on nothing more than 26+ years of experience covering the photo industry, here are my bold, reckless predictions for the world of photography in 2013. No inside knowledge here...all of my predictions are based on public knowledge, trends and a bit of common sense...and a fairly good track record.
With most major photo product announcements for the year expected at PMA/CES, which takes place during the second week in January, some of these predictions might come true sooner rather than later. (Bookmark the Adorama News Desk or subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up with the latest new photo and video product news to come out of Las Vegas next month.)
Predicting the year ahead has become a popular annual Adorama Learning Center tradition. And as you'll see at the end of the article, most of my predictions for 2012 have come to pass.
Without any further ado, let's open the fortune cookie...
1. Full-Frame MILCs Will Arrive. Canon, Nikon, and Sony have done it all have full-frame DSLRs such as the Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon D800, and Sony A99, all of which are available at Adorama; should they build smaller, mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras with the same or similar sensors? Right now there's only one company making mirrorless compact full-frame cameras: Leica. I think they're going to get competition...just a few premium models, and they will cost less. However...
2. APS will Dominate MILCs. While Olympus and Panasonic will continue to have success with their Micro Four Thirds mirrorless interchangeable-lens compact cameras and Nikon and Pentax will continue to refine their smaller sensor models, the majority of MILC makers will continue to embrace and expand APS-based camera systems. Look especially for Sony, Pentax, Canon, and Fujifilm to keep growing in this area. Because these models offer superior image quality, I believe they will dominate sales.
3. Full-frame DSLRs for between $1,000 and $1,500. Canon and Nikon almost simultaneously broadcast their intentions to make full-frame DSLRs affordable to serious hobbyists when they announced the Canon 6D and Nikon D600, respectively, in 2012, both available at Adorama for around $2,000. In 2013, I predict we'll see a new, less expensive category of full-frame DSLRs. And I predict that one of these lower-cost full-frame DSLRs will come from a company that has yet to introduce a full-frame DSLR: Pentax (Again, I have no inside info here, just a wild, crazy guess). And this will lead to...
4. APS will become an amateur-only format for DSLRs. With full-frame cameras priced within reach of more enthusiasts, I predict that by the end of 2013 sales of full-frame DSLRs will outpace sales of APS-sensor DSLRs in all but the "step-up DSLR" category. And this will lead to...
5. More interchangeable lenses designed to work with full-frame cameras. If 2012 was the year of the comeback of 35mm photography, 2013 will be the year of the 35mm-compatible lens. There will still be plenty of lenses optimized for smaller sensor DSLRs, but manufacturers will shift their focus (pun intended) back to 35mm photography after more than a decade of thinking small.
6. The iCamera. Armed with a truckload of Kodak patents, Apple is going to reinvent the camera for the second time in just a few short years. It will go farther, as a camera, than the Apple iPhone 4S or iPhone 5. I predict it will have WiFi (of course), optional 4G, a larger sensor, tighter integration with social and picture-sharing networks, and a new, proprietary system of interchangeable lenses. And this will lead to...
7. More Android-Compatible Compact Digital Cameras. The sales success of the Nikon S800c is inevitably going to lead to more Android-based cameras from a wider number of camera makers. I don't think Canon will be the first to jump into the competition, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see Android cameras from Pentax, Panasonic, Sony and/or Olympus—as well as more Nikon/Droid mashups—this year. In fact, don't be surprised if at least some next-generation MILCs go 'Droid.
8. ISO 2000 will be the new ISO 400. Remember when Tri-X and other ISO 400 films were at the outer limits of good image quality? Now with new sensor technologies—and the aforementioned larger sensors—the push is on to boost not just sensor light sensitivity, but the quality of images captured at higher ISOs. 2012's Some APS sensors impressed us at higher speeds, especially when it came to cameras such as the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and Sony NEX-7, which were both reviewed at the Adorama Learning Center. So much so that ISO 400 nowadays looks just as good as ISO 100 and 200, and ISO 800 is looking better than ever. The image quality obtainable at ISO 2000 in typical APS sensor cameras today is comparable to what one used to get at ISO 800-1000 just a few years ago. The next generation of sensors, which I expect to be unleashed in the first half of 2013, produce do even better results!
How did I do with last year's predictions?
In the article Seven Photo Industry Predicitons for 2012, which was published on January 2, 2012 on the Adorama Learning Center, I correctly predicted that Smart Phones would "kill" point-and-shoot cameras; over the past year, sales of compact stand-alone cameras fell off a fiscal cliff, which led to my second correct prediction, that camera companies would put Android and internet connectivity in new cameras. Nikon, Samsung and Polaroid have already introduced Android models, and a host of Wi-Fi equipped compact cameras have come out. Some of them are e also Bluetooth devices—yet another prediction that came true. Canon, as predicted, introduced the Canon EOS M, an APS sensor-based MILC.
I was partially correct about the following: I predicted two well-known camera companies would merge. That didn't quite happen...but Sony has invested heavily in Olympus and the two companies have agreed to share some technologies. I said Kodak would survive but not as a photo company, and with the sale of most of its patents to a conglomerate that includes Google and Apple, that process is almost, but not quite, complete. I predicted that the QXD memory card format would be widely adapted. It is being adapted, but more slowly than predicted. Still, I do think it will eventually replace Compact Flash.
So, that's 4 out of 7 correct, and the rest of the predictions were at least partly fulfilled. I feel good about that.
What are your predictions for the world of photography in 2013? Leave a comment, below!