What Will Your Next Camera Be like?

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If you have a problem free camera that gets the job done what’s it going to take in order for you to part with your money and buy the next camera model?

For most folks I know there will be no new camera in the near future. Why? because the one they have does the job just fine in their eyes plus they have gotten used to using their phone or tablet which they will be upgrading but not their compact cameras or camcorders. Sales are decreasing for Compact P&S cameras. For Nikon which is mostly a camera only manufacture (no video either) this is not good news for the long term. Canon is better poised to survive the next 10yrs as sales dwindle down to a trickle for P&S cameras which was and is a big part of camera company profits. Canon / Nikon need to diverse more and get their brands into mobile devices now not later or it will be too late. Almost everyone I know is using their phones to take photos, they rarely bring their cameras with them except sometimes for a vacation or something. Camera manufactures are very worried about this trend and they should be. As Apple, Samsung and others continue to make better cameras in their phones the rift will just get bigger. Phones still have a long way to go and  they will not give us more than they have to in order to keep the upgrade path going.

If you want to keep up on things Nikon and Canon visit the rumors sites.

http://nikonrumors.com/

http://www.canonrumors.com/

Tom Hogan: reviews and commentary on Nikon related subjects. He gives a lot of insight into the company and their politics / marketing for camera equipment.

http://www.bythom.com/index.htm

Is newer better? usually in the digital world newer is better in some way but not always. Sometimes its better to wait for the next generation to get a big enough upgrade.

What features are next for marketing new camera models? You can also bet there will be some issues with any of the new tech that comes our way.

1. 4K video. It’s here but when will it be main stream? Not for a long time. I just can’t see folks selling all their HD tvs and players to get 4K. It will happen but over a period of many years.

Why area people excited about 4K video? who can use it? We are a long ways from making use of 4K (except for Hollywood). You will need a new 4K monitor, new 4K TV, probably a faster computer, new 4K HD player and even then only you will be able to view the files not your clients, friends or family unless they have upgraded also. Most high speed internet can’t handle that as well. I can just imaging the time it would take to edit 4K video and render those huge high quality files. Lets get full HD right in DSLRs before bumping up the resolution. Even at 4K we will still have the same limitations and issues in our current consumer / pro stills cameras but the files will be bigger.

I can understand that some folks will benefit from the higher FPS that some cameras will have with the 4K video and be able to extract a better quality still from the footage which would be a welcome feature at times. This is the feature that will be usable for many photographers, the ability to shoot 60-80 fps at full resolution (with the current & new Aptina 14mp  sensors) then extract the exact frame you want out of it.

2. AF built into the sensor, this will probably be slower than Phase Detect in some models but faster than Phase Detect in others and way faster than current live view focusing. This will be more accurate and consistent than phase detect and will probably be the focus of choice for scenes that don’t require super fast action 3D type of tracking ( although the new tech may just be good enough). P&S cameras already use a form of contrast detect as does live view in DSLRs. This will also increase the PFS possible. The Nikon 1 series is the first to employ this type of tech in a larger sensor.

Update: Canon just announced just such  a sensor is it’s new 70D. Sony is supposed to be working on one too which means Nikon and other Sony sensor users will also get this tech. See this blog for more info on how this will affefct the industry. http://falklumo.blogspot.de/2013/07/comment-why-new-dual-pixel-af-will.html

3. More WiFi features built-in (that actually work well) that allow tethering and viewing shots just made in your iPad etc. so clients can see the results instantly, along with the current features but improved. Remember LR can be configured to apply presets to you images as they pop up from the camera.

4. Addition of touch screen features in DSLRs in addition to the current dedicated buttons. Don’t you find yourself wanting to swipe the screen sometimes.

5. A better screen technology that allows us to see the display much better in bright light. Trying to see your results or use live view in sunlight is almost impossible now.

6. Anti theft features that prevent stolen cameras to function without the owners password or fingerprint scan. This will be important for expensive high-end bodies and lenses.

7. Full Frame DSLR and FF Compacts will continue to come down in price and give better performance just like computers have over the years.

8. Better performing lenses that are sharper across the frame the with the new generation of high MP cameras will come out to entice upgrading. Some will be reasonably priced as well, even new consumer zooms will fare better with the high mp cameras they are bundled with.

9. Sensors that are easier on wide-angle lenses and don’t show as much softness in the edges and corners. This is related to current sensor design (as well as the lenses) that has a hard time filling the light wells with incoming light from an angle. Micro lenses on the sensor attempt to overcome this limitation. Future sensor tech may not require this and therefore perform much better with current and older lens designs in the corners and edges.

10. Cameras will get more compact within any given format. Pros will still get larger models because that is what they want and the cameras will fit their hands better for all day usage.

11. Third party lens manufactures will finally get there IQ in order and produce lenses that rival or surpass the big names for much lower prices. This will require all new lenses from most of them to accommodate the higher mp cameras. Sigma  is the first to stat a new series that looks to be a big step up in quality and performance in their ART line of lenses. Their new 35mm ART lens is the highest rated of any manufactures 35mm focal length lens. DXO Mark gives it the highest resolution rating. And all reviews point to an excellent lens. A real accomplishment for Sigma and will most likely bring many new lens sales their way in the new ART series of lenses. Nikon and Canon are usually at the top but cost way more. I can’t believe its taken this long for someone to really challenge the big names. Quality control also needs to be improved with the third parties (or at least change the public perception). There are so many things that could be done to increase buyers confidence in their products but I just don’t see them doing much of anything about it.

12. More support thru firmware updates. What about making the firm / software open source so programmers can make new features available. For example Nikon’s pro cameras in the past limited bracketing to just 1 stop per shot, why not allow 2-3 stops per shot with an update for those that need it. What about being able to connect the camera to your computer and customize the menu to your needs and get rid of all the other stuff you don’t need. 90% of my cameras menu never gets accessed. I could always restore it later if I sell it or want to change it. I’m just thinking here but the possibilities are endless and people like to customize things don’t they?

13. Sorry but looks are important in marketing. It’s time to make gear look more sexy. I often can’t believe how ugly some gear is or accessories  that come out for cameras. Unimaginative square black box’s. Looking cool is important in so many other products why not camera gear. Some gear does look good but a lot of others just does not stand out at all.

14. Give us what we want not what you think we should want. The Nikon 1 series is a prime example of that. When I first heard about the camera and its new tech I though it sounded pretty good but when the camera finally was announced I just couldn’t believe Nikon did what they did. I told myself this was a huge mistake on Nikon’s part. We got two overpriced camera bodies with slow shutter syncs one didn’t even have a built-in flash and the other didn’t have  a hot shoe. The one that did have a hot shoe does not take current flash units and requires buying new flash units. The IQ of the camera’s sensor was not ahead of the game in any way except for on sensor AF which was a really nice feature. The two cameras where heavily discounted a year later due to poor sales(although it did well in Japan). Nikon lost their chance to get the 1 series taken seriously early on. You can get a great deal on refurbished J & V1 now.

Watch out camera companies, the phone manufactures just might beat you to it.

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