My Photokina starts "officially" on Monday morning at 11am with Olympus press meeting. Then it goes on with Canon in the afternoon and Leica in the evening. Right now I can´t write about any possible product details but there will of course be new stuff coming. I have known for a few weeks what Olympus has in their pocket. Leica is taking wholly new steps but stays very much Leica, so don´t worry Leica shooters. Unlike many other companies, Leica has kept all their product images in-house and thus avoided seeing them published at internet rumor sites. Breaking NDAs seems to be one of the more popular hobbies these days.
During the next days I have several meetings, some of them just to keep in touch and exchange information. Of these I mention here one in particular. I have on Tuesday a meeting with Mr. Toshi Terada, who is Manager of SLR Product & Marketing Planning Department at Olympus. There has been so much writing about Olympus FT series future and FT-mFT merger in the internet that now is your chance: be free to send me questions to ask, preferably as comments to this blog. Of course you can ask anything regarding Olympus system cameras FT or mFT. But as you know companies do not tell about future steps and camera models too much in advance. So be realistic in your expectations and think about what to ask if you really want it answered. Also my hands are tied (by me) in what I will write because the better I keep confidentiality the more I will get to know. That´s the name of the game, for me at least.
My Photokina ends "officially" at Canson Infinity booth. I will be there presenting a swollen "combined Photokina version" of my print portfolios and telling about my photography and my experiences on printing on Canson Infinity materials. Canson Infinity is in Hall 6.1 and I will be there on Thursday afternoon and all day on Friday and Saturday. You can even have one or two of your images printed there. Please come in to say hello, if you happen to be visiting Photokina during those days.
Looking at what has been already published (and of course I´m reading rumor sites, too) I see a few trends happening:
Connectivity: More and more cameras will be connected to social media or the internet in general. Wifi is naturally an obvious method but it also is not a sure and easy way for those who are not familiar with managing wifi connections. Mobile cell phone technology is more likely the future.
Mirrorless: Reflex or mirror cameras are going out. They are not vanishing today because they still are better than mirrorless cameras for many applications but eventually they will lose. And I think it actually happens faster than we now think.
Narrowing market for APS-C DSLRs: Sort of related to above. Several and ever cheaper full frame (24x36mm) DSLRs are being introduced and on the other hand mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras are getting ever more capable and more popular.
Large sensor compacts: With Sony RX-1, a full frame 35mm focal length compact camera, we now have the camera I was asking Canon to make for a few years. They didn´t (the price would have been too high then), Sony did, and I´m tempted... Sensor prices have gone down. The size of sensor and electronics in not an issue. Human factor and ergonomics dictate the body size and then the lens size is dictated by sensor size with the aimed for image quality, lens speed and other parameters of the lens.
Dying market for low-end compacts: Cell phones are killing low end compacts. Period. We buy more than 1.8 billion cell phones with camera this year. Next year even more. We are going to use a dedicated camera only when we want a "better" picture. Seeing this companies are concentrating their efforts in high end compacts.
Large sensor video cameras: I think the era of DSLR as video camera came and went already. They showed the possibilities and also the missing ergonomics. Hybrid cameras are here to stay for us who want to mix it but for anything more ambitious video work a dedicated video body (and dedicated lenses) is better and eventually (with rigs and mics and all) not more expensive.
Higher lens prices: Lens prices are going up with more megapixels in sensors. There simply is no way to make cheap, high quality lenses. There is no way to keep lens prices the same if they must keep out resolving more megapixels. Electronics gets cheaper, lenses get more expensive. Canon´s new 24-70mm zoom is an excellent example of this trend, very high image quality, more than double the price. To counter this we will see ingenuity in software corrections. We will see variable lens structures where stepper motors move more lenses than just needed for focusing and/or zooming. And of course we will see more lenses with good lens elements but cheap mechanical construction.