« on: December 10, 2011, 11:58:21 AM »
My prediction for 2012 is that Canon will lose its spot as the #1 camera company. A couple of years ago, Canon would dominate the searching on websites such as dpreview, having at least half of the top 10 cameras being theirs. That's no longer the case.
Increasingly the comments I read about the NEX-7 are indicating that Sony has a winner that may well sweep through the market in the same manner as the 5D Mark II did. Nikon's "answer", if you call it that, in the guise of the V1/J1 are a joke and there aren't even any rumors yet of a Canon camera to compete - more on that later.
What this means it that the first half of the 2012 is going to be owned by the NEX-7. Even if Canon were to announce a camera in the March time frame, it would take until the middle of the year for it to be readily available and in people's hands and for reviews to start showing up. If we are to use rumors as a reliable predictor then neither does Nikon have anything up its sleeves to answer this move by Sony.
Whilst various pixel peepers are saying that the image quality for the NEX-7 isn't as good at high ISO (look at that noise!, my 7D is better by 0.05%), it is good enough for a good number of people, both amateurs and professionals. What's more, it has 24MP, more than any camera that Canon currently has to offer. The difference in IQ between the NEX-7 and a camera such as the 5D Mark II is not going to be a problem for professional photographers, nor those that know how to drive their software toolkit in order to get the most out of an image file. And whilst the 3MP difference isn't a lot, simply put, it is more, giving photographers more ability to crop a little to get the picture right without sacrificing print size.
The only weakness in the Sony offering is professional grade lenses. I cannot see Sony ignoring this. As the popularity of the NEX and Sony system increases, Sigma, Tamron and Tokina will all start offering more of their lenses in accompanying mounts, filling in the gaps for Sony. Over time, I'm confident that Sony will fill in the gaps and offer a complete lineup that may not match Canon/Nikon on a lens for lens basis, but will address all of the typical needs at one point or another in the spectrum.
In the talk around the C300, it was mentioned that the time to market for that camera was an unbelievably quick 2 years (starting from around the time of the firmware update for the 5D MarkII that provided proper manual control over video.) If Canon do not have a camera with 36MP or more kicking around in their labs as a prototype, then it will be middle to late 2013 before Canon have a camera to compete with the rumored 36MP Nikon D800 - and whatever Sony roll out later this year using the 36MP sensor. In the mean time, the continuing praise for the NEX-7/A77 is going to seriously erode the market for all Canon cameras from whatever you can buy for $1000 up to and including the 5D Mark II. The 24MP sensor simply gives people more MP and with a similar enough or high enough IQ that there's no reason for them to pay more for less (MP) unless they specifically need a piece of equipment such as the 1DX/7D for sports/wildlife.
Looking into 2012, I think Canon needs to write it off already as a lost year. Why? We don't even have rumors about rumors for cameras that will be able to complete with the likes of the NEX-7. The big question for Sony will be is how well does the A77 sell given that the NEX-7 is smaller, lighter and delivers better IQ courtesy of there being no semi-reflective glass. Is the NEX-7 to the A77 as the 5D Mark2 is to the 1Ds3?
I think 2012 will either see Sony claim #1 for cameras or at least come very close to it. Even if Nikon deliver a 36MP D800, the market for that is going to be a whole lot smaller than the NEX-7 - that is unless Nikon deliver a price shock and it debuts at under $3000. I can't see that happening. What will be interesting, in terms of price, is where Sony position the A9X. It will be interesting to see what Sony have learnt from the A850/A900 "experiments" because even though they had an extra 3MP on the 5D Mark II, they clearly failed to gain traction in the market because of that.
So... that's my prediction... smite me all you like, it won't make any difference to next year's outcome ... the people you need to smite are those that are in control at Canon's camera HQ.