Year of the Littlecam
Last year, it seemed like most of the action was in DSLRs. Granted, the NEX cameras made their debut, and that was important. But the bigger news in camera intros back in 2010 concerned things like the Sigma SD-1, Canon 60D, Olympus E-5, Pentax K-r and K-5, Nikon D7000, and Sony A33 and A55. For one reason or another, this year has been almost free of DSLR introductions.
Next year, I'm guessing that the big news is mostly going to be in full-frame cameras. The Bigs seem to be gearing up for some major pro camera replacements, warily eyeing each other along with things like floods and tidal waves. (I don't do the crystal ball thing; I'm just another reader who's disappointed that there's no Predictions article from Thom Hogan this year. That's usually one of the high points of each winter for me.)
In contrast, 2011 seems to have been the year of the "mini" camera—minis going by a variety of confusing genus names, such as STDSLRBNASSSWSKOV*. I hardly have the nomenclature all sorted out, and I'm supposed to be doing this for a living.
We got the Fuji X100 as well as the surprisingly great Fuji X10; the Nikon 1 series; the Ricoh GR Digital IV; the NEX-7 (well, we haven't "gotten" that one yet, really, but it was announced and at least started to ship, briefly, before supplies were cut off by the Thai floods); the Olympus E-P3 mirrorless (and several others) and XZ-1 compact digicam; the Panasonic GX1, long-awaited successor to the GF1 (which—the GX1, I mean—has just started to ship, beating the year's end by a matter of days); the Canon S100; and the fun little Pentax Q system (more popular in the Japanese home market than elsewhere, it seems, so far).
Yes, the Sony A77 and A65 also came out, but sank beneath the floodwaters. The Panasonic G3 both came and went—a rather odd schedule that must also have been influenced by supply irruptions.
The Fuji X100 was, of course, introduced at Photokina 2010, but I don't count it as a 2010 camera because it didn't ship until this year. Similarly, I can't see counting the upcoming Canon 1D X as a "2011" camera just because it's been announced already. It's not even in the hands of beta testers yet as far as I know.
You all know already what our Camera of the Year is going to be for 2011, don't you? From amongst these contenders? No-brainer, right? But I'll announce it anyway, somewhere between now and some day not too far into the New Year.
*Smaller Than a Digital Single-Lens-Reflex But Not a Standard Sensor Size and With Several Kinds of Viewfinders; you haven't heard of this abbreviation yet?
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.