Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Situation Room Recap: The Unanswered Questions

What are we waiting for? No this is not a philosophical or metaphysical question. What new digital cameras are we (anxiously and impatiently) waiting for? Our Situation Room editor Volf KameraBlitzor is here to ask the questions, but not provide the answers.

Please note that the following is based on rumors and speculation, I do not have any inside knowledge - although I wish I did :) Below is a summary, more long-winded and elaborate speculations, broken down by manufacturer, at the Fauxtokina 2007 table of contents

DSLRs

  • Canon 40D for sure, how about a new 1Ds flagship or a 5D follow-up? More EF-S lenses? Another Digital Rebel is unlikely since there are two of them out already (XTi, XT aka 400D, 350D) and the 30D is already under $1000. I doubt Canon will attempt a sub-$500 DSLR. It does not seem to fit their dollars-and-sense style.
  • Nikon is also a mystery, will we see the new Nikon D3 flagship? If yes, would it make sense to also release a D200 follow-up at the same time? Perhaps yes, if there is a big difference between them (eg different sensor size). But if that does not happen, we'll probably see only one of the two. The D200 follow-up could be an incremental update, like a D200s or D200x, or perhaps something entirely new like the D300. A D3 and a D300 at the same time? Again, only if the sensors are of different size. Rumors also talk about a new wave of lenses.
  • The Olympus flagship is coming. That is known. The codename E-P1 will be revealed sometime before Xmas. Unless it has already been revealed in the famous PDF file leak of a European powerpoint presentation.
  • We are also expecting a DSLR announcement from Panasonic. From what was said a few months ago, it would something along the lines of the E410/E510. How about new Leica lenses?
  • Also expecting Sony's next move. It's been a while since the A100 came out, and Sony has been cooking up something. The expectation is for a mid-range and a high-end to follow. Rumors also talk about a new wave of lenses.
  • Two are also expected from Pentax. With the K100D Super the entry-level is set, will the K10D get Super'ed as well? A 10mp version of the K100D Super? Is a new source of sensors going to be a factor in any other releases? Will Pentax try for something above the K10D? Also, the future of the 645D is yet to be determined.
  • What about Samsung? The K100D Super looked like it was destined for placement in the Samsung line-up, assuming they continue to pick up Pentax bodies. The obvious question is whether they will make DSLR sensors, and will they continue with the Pentax bodies or additionally try their hand at them? They did produce the Pro 815 monster after all.


    Non-DSLRs
  • The question now changes from "who will use the 12mp sensor", to "will anyone not use a 12mp sensor?"
  • Will the highly anticipated Sigma DP1 come out? Everyone hopes it won't take as long as the Polaroid X1. (Ouch!)
  • Will Panasonic provide FZ60 or LX3 updates this year? How about a more high-end TZ5 with full PSAM? Remember the FZ-series started from the very humble Panasonic FZ1 with a 1/3.2" sensor. And look how it has grown now!
  • Will anyone go crazy with a 14 or 16mp 1/1.6" sensor? (I hope not!)
  • Will Fuji update the S9100 (S9600), S6000fd (S6500fd) and E900?
  • Will the Canon G7 and Nikon P5000 get updates that include RAW and other user-requested updates/fixes/improvements?
  • Will Kodak and Canon feel pressure to quickly release a 15x or 18x super zoom?
  • Rumors of a Ricoh GRD2 are out there. Judging from the improvement Ricoh made with the GX100, it could become a hot item. And a 12mp version of the GX100 to go with the megapixel flow? Ricoh has a big opportunity here with the traditional DSLR makers not particularly interested in making prosumer cameras.
  • The Kodak P880 found a following after its price fell. Two years later, will Kodak attempt a follow-up? And what plans do they have for the future with regards to their new CMOS sensor (the first one found its way in the lowly Kodak C513)
  • Samsung is expected to release its top of the line cameras this summer/fall. Will they try something above their current line-up or just sequential updates of the NV-line up? They did come up with the monster Pro815 after all... But they are concentrating on the sub-$300 level, which will bring them the market share they need for their ambitious goal of becoming #3 in global market share for 2007. Kodak's $80 C513 certainly does not help Samsung's chances.
  • Thanks Richard Alan Fox for the reminder of the possibility of a follow-up to the Sony R1. Will Sony try its hand at the R-series again? Or will it go DSLR-priority and stay under $500 for their non-DSLRs. Check Richard Alan Fox's comment in the comment section for a bit more on the R1... Another thing that I thought would be a nice idea would be if Sony resurrected the Minolta A-series of cameras. They would fit right in, below the R-series and above what they currently have. Perhaps even they could have a more expensive version (eg A2 EVF) and a more affordable model.
  • Which brings me back to this: The prosumer (and RAWsumer market is wide open. There is plenty of opportunity for the manufacturer who is brave enough to give it a try. Ricoh is a candidate, if they are able to continue to improve with their GRD and GX100 follow-ups, they could make a big splash!

    More detailed speculations, broken down by manufacturer, at the Fauxtokina 2007

  • 2 comments:

    Richard Alan Fox said...

    Such interesting cameras to think about, but you left one out.
    One of my favorite cameras is the Sony R1, nice big chip, wonderful lens, perfect placement of the LCD, two items I need to see to make me buy the upgrade.
    1. Image stabilization.
    2. Faster raw write, a raw burst mode.
    These two updates would push me to buy an R2, and move the R1 to the back shelf.

    1001 noisy cameras said...

    Thanks for the reminder! I will add the "R2" to the post! Indeed some sort of a stabilization is almost a must.