According to the sites Canon Rumors and Nikon Rumors, either Canon or Nikon or both will introduce either one or two serious new mirrorless system cameras either before or after Photokina in September.
In other words, the two industry leaders will now validate the business strategies and technical innovations of their more enterprising but less powerful competitors by horning in on those guys' markets. Sorry, is that too cynical a slant on the news? I guess so.
Anyway, the expectation has created a certain amount of furor as various interested parties hither and yon speculate on what, exactly, is coming.
Predictions. Great fun for some. Thom H. is one of the few who does it well, although he mainly succeeds because his discussions are interesting and enlightening whether the prediction is correct or not. Anyway, as they say about academe, the arguments are cutthroat because the stakes for the participants are so low.
I've personally never had much enthusiasm for the prediction pastime, although I know it's popular. One thing that drives me bonkers about American pool matches on YouTube is that the commentators are forever going on about what the player is just about to do. Why not just wait quietly until they do it? And then make whatever sensible comments it might be germane to make. It's such a mannerism that it comes off as slightly nutty, to this viewer at least. I never mention the sport of pool here, though.
But I don't see the point of nattering too much over rumors of future photo products, either. I do like to ruminate about what should be, but that's my "idealist" personality type coming to the fore—it's Utopianism rather than the gypsy fortune-teller urge. As to what people will do, well, I don't see much point in that crystal ball stuff. Just wait till it happens and then we'll talk about it.
All that aside, let's get back on track. If people like predictions, here are mine:
First, Canon and Nikon will follow each other, not necessarily Sony or Fuji or Leica or the Micro 4/3 consortium in all particulars. My theory about Leica in recent years is that it's been following the lead of Sony (it already has its A7[x] product in the form of the SL), but, culturally, Japanese companies tend to take their cues from their major Japanese competition. So whatever Canikon do, they'll both do it, and they won't do it just because Leica or Pentax etc. are doing it.
On the other hand, I think one of the new products from each company (if not right away, then following on) will be at a deluxe, high priced, carriage-trade price tier. As you know, the postwar fashion of Western countries aiming to be mostly middle class is over, and world economies are splitting into dual markets—not so much the haves and have-nots but the have-way-too-muches and the hoi-polloi, AKA the rest of us. Because we apparently all want to be like, say, Egypt. Accordingly, companies need to chase the discretionary dollars of the have-too-muches in order to maximize profits. So for example there were ten SUVs that cost over $100,000 in 2017, led by the 6-liter, 12-cylinder Bentley Bentayga for $230,000—that's a "have-too-muches" product right there. Whether Canon and Nikon choose to do this at the $6k level like Fuji or the $20k level like Leica remains to be seen, but one of their mirrorless products will probably leave ordinary working-stiff enthusiasts shaking their heads about excessive, out-of-reach cost.
And whatever they do at that level will mainly follow Chinese tastes. Which I don't really know anything about. Over the years it's been interesting to watch the reception in products made for specific places in the world and/or specific markets, and note how people outside of the target markets tend to evaluate those products as if they were made to appeal to them. For example, sometimes Japanese companies target mainly their home market, or women, or Japanese teens, and beardy grumpy white-male American and British enthusiasts argue over these products just like the development teams for those products gave a flip about their opinions. No no, Grampa.
Anyway given that both Leica and Fuji (and even Pentax) are making it rain from China with oversize-sensor cameras, it's possible we'll see medium-format mirrorless options from Canikon. My weakness as a prognosticator is that I don't know the size of those markets, or their profits, and Canikon will ignore any market it thinks is too small to bother with even if it's profitable.
Oh, and the new cameras will be ugly, because it's been a long, long time since we've seen a handsomely designed new Canon or Nikon.
That's, let's see, four predictions: Canikon will mirror each others' strategies, they'll be after the slice of the market that aren't price sensitive at least with some of their options, Chinese tastes will play a big part, and the cameras won't be pretty.
Techy questions remain. What formats? Dual formats? (In which case I predict the Fuji strategy, APS-C and medium format.) Or just one? (In which case I predict the Sony strategy, full frame.) Which lensmount? My guess there is that there will be new lensmounts from both makers with shorter flange distances than SLRs but with AF-enabled adapters allowing the use of the company's SLR lenses. They're unlikely to hobble themselves technically by sticking with currently lensmount specs—takes away too much of the edge.
I'm outta here now for my regular weekly date playing pool at the Moose Lodge with my buddies. (Sorry, did I just mention pool again?) After that I have a meeting. But when I get back I look forward to being soundly schooled by those of you who are much more up on the state of the rumors than I've bothered to be. Maybe some of the things I'm wondering about are already known. (All I know is that whenever we're talking about things nobody actually knows about, a lot of people always know much more than me. Then again, I predicted on the Miata Forum that they're wouldn't be a fourth-gen MX-5, so I'm clearly no good at predictions.)
I still say the best idea is wait and see. But insofar as gypsy predictions are fun, let us have at it, my friends. :-)
UPDATE Monday evening: My buddy Loyle Egger, age 89, about to attempt a four-ball combination this morning at the Moose Lodge. He made this shot, but unfortunately scratched in the side pocket. (He was not the oldest guy playing with us this morning.)
Original contents copyright 2018 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
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Featured Comments from:
San Warzoné: Seems like everyone is raving about the Sony mirrorless cameras and the great image quality, fast focusing, 4K Video and the EVF (electronic viewfinder). What is missing for me are the intangibles: ergonomics, ease of use, buttons and controls, the way the menus work, and the actual touch/feel handling. Nikon cameras have always had that hands on feeling of the way a camera should work. I have tried to 'like' my Sony A6300, but the tiny buttons, awkward menus and especially the EVF make me go back to my Nikon DSLRs. To my view the EVF is artificial looking and even harder to enjoy because of the non-circular eyepiece. I get that you can 'see' the image that will be captured in real time, but even after trying to modify and adjust the EVF settings to match my reality, it is not the same as a 'mirror image' on my Nikon DSLRs. Yes, it is smaller, lighter and produces quality raw files...but it's still not my cup of tea."
John Camp (partial comment): "A ~50-MP FF sensor in a small body with smaller lenses (but perhaps also taking F-mount lenses with an adapter) would be really interesting. Even more interesting would be a 4/3 aspect-ratio FF sensor with multiple aspect ratio options, but that ain't gonna happen. What I really fear (think) is going to happen is we'll get routine, boxy ~24mp cameras that'll be functionally no better than my Micro 4/3 Panasonics and that will be more or less blown off by the picture-taking world.
"I gotta say, though, this is the first time in perhaps six or eight years that I've really been curious about upcoming cameras."
PaulW: "This was a well thought out and fun read. I'm much less interested in what Canikon will announce than I am in how it will affect the rest of the camera industry. With two 800-pound gorillas jumping into the ring, things are gonna change. Interesting times ahead I think."
Thom Hogan: "In terms of 'mimicking strategies,' it sort of depends upon definitions. But I'd say that Nikon is likely to mimic Sony's strategy, while Canon will continue on the strategy path they are on. Canon appears to be doubling down on EOS M (APS-C), while about to offer a 5D Mark IV type of camera in mirrorless. Nikon appears to be about to duplicate the Sony A7/A7R strategy, with APS-C (DX) now relegated to a later date and a lesser role. But it's been difficult to pick out the details as both Canon and Nikon have prototyped/muled so many variations. We'll see soon enough. Both Canon and Nikon have Photokina press conferences scheduled (back to back), so you'd have to guess that the mirrors will be off come October."