6Sight 2010: Camera Developments – Part 1

6SIGHT’s Paul Worthington, reports each year on the photo industry conference in San Jose which is centered around camera development. He starts with a general overview on concrete new developments. In 2008-2009 camera sales fell by 11.6%, so the question arose, how will the development of cameras be in the coming years – and how will other areas of the photo industry develop?

2010 is not yet over and the important selling dates in the U.S. like the Christmas season are just around the corner but the area of Interchangeable Lens Cameras (ILC) among others are talking about an sales increase of 2.3%.

Overall, the industry association PMA assumes sales of 22.7 million and 2.1 million compact SLR cameras for 2010.

But compared to 2009 there will be probably be a decline of 2.5%. Hopes are that in the year 2011 camera sales should be going up again.

Trends

The trends in the camera area going in the following directions:

  • Resolutions of 14 Megapixels and more
  • Improvement of the sensor technology so that more light reaches the sensor.
  • Wide-angle lenses with an average of 28mm
  • Capacity for 720p HD videos
  • Touch screens

At the same time the industry is experiencing a marketing problem, which follows the issue that PC manufacturers had in the past by specifying the CPU Mhz. Customers are getting accustomed to judging the quality of cameras based only on the resolution.

The differences in quality are judged today by other factors. The customer sees two cameras with the core specification of 14 megapixels and a price difference of several hundred euros. This doesn’t stop the manufacturers by placing the megapixel specification at the beginning of the description.

The quality of the cameras has undergone an unprecedented development. As an example, the TV series House MD was filmed since September 2008 with a 22MP Canon EOS 5D Mark II SLR Camera.

DSLR Cameras

Paul Worthington then gave an overview over cameras that came out in the last 12 months or are on the way. He presented some of the Canon DSLR cameras. These include

  • the Canon Rebel T2i 18 MP resolution, at 3.7 frames per second shooting. 1080 HD with free choice of frame rate. The price including a 15-55m lens is about $ 900
  • Canon EOS 60D 18 MP, 5.3 frames per second, built-in RAW image processing, 1080 HD with free choice of refresh rate, built-in video editing and cropping function. The price for the housing is $ 1100.
  • Canon Wonder Camera. The release date is around 2030, so it is probably more so a design study for marketing reasons. It remains to be seen, how great the need is for a 120 MP camera with 0.3 lux, 140 × zoom and other functions.

Nikon presented the following DSLR cameras

  • the Nikon D3S with 12MP and an ISO range of 200 to 12,800, with a „Boost“ to ISO 102400.
  • the Nikon D7000 comes with 1080P HD video function.

Olympus presented the PEN E-PL1 in Micro 4/3 format; it has a resolution of 12 Megapixel and should cost about $ 600.00. The camera is advertised with the indication that the sensor is about 8 times larger than in most other cameras. In the series of E-System cameras, the E-5 comes with 12 MP for $ 1,700 and is promoted as „the highest image quality of any Olympus camera“.

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