RAWsumer reviews at the Compact Reviews Organizer
CANON: G11 S95 G10 G9 S90 SX1is
PANASONIC: LX5 LX3 LX2 FZ50 FZ100 FZ40/FZ45 FZ38/FZ35 FZ28
FUJI: S100fs
NIKON: P7000 P6000
CAMERA DIARIES: Panasonic LX3 Canon G10

Monday, November 05, 2007

RAWsumer Rumors and Speculations

Update November 5, 2007: Grading the rumors and speculations

  • The Ricoh GRD2 came true! Woohoo!
  • Sadly nothing from Panasonic, no new big FZ-series, LX-series or a fixed lens prosumer using the 4/3rds sensors
  • We got the new Nikon P5100 but sadly no RAW :(
  • We predicted a Canon G8 which was released as a Canon G9
  • Nothing from the Kodak P-series
  • No Ricoh GX-120
  • Nothing new with RAW from Fuji either. How sad!
  • Nothing RAW from Sony either. Wake up companies!
  • Nothing prosumer-ish from Olympus either, but they did release the Olympus SP560 that supports RAW
  • Nothing RAW from Samsung either. After all they only had one non-DSLR with RAW, the Big Daddy Monster Pro 815.

  • 8/3/07: Added entries for Ricoh, Fuji, Sony, Olympus, and Samsung!

    Rumors on new RAWsumers
  • Ricoh GRD2, dpreview Ricoh thread

    Speculation on future RAWsumers
  • This is based on my long Fauxtokina 2007 speculation posted at 1001 noisy cameras
  • Remember everything in this post is pure speculation!

  • Panasonic FZ-series: 12mp sensor in FZ50 body in a hypothetical FZ60? How about a FZ50 but with a wide lens starting at 28mm (eg FZ55 wide)? It worked well for the TZ3 after all. As far as the medium-sized FZ, how about a FZ9 with an 8mp sensor 1/2.5" replacing the FZ8 (Panasonic is currently at 7mp using 1/2.5" sensors)

  • Panasonic LX-series: 12mp sensor in the LX2 body making a hypothetical LX3 is the simplest thing to speculate. But the slotted in theory, part A of which came true with the FX100 says a second camera would be "slotted in" somewhere in the line-up. So this opens up even wilder speculation: An LX3 with a 28-200 lens, or perhaps even wider, eg starting at 24mm. Another sexy but unlikely possibility is a fixed-lens camera, similar perhaps to the Ricoh GR-D. This camera would look very sexy in a Leica "uniform" even.
  • Panasonic LC-series? A return of the LC series based on the slotted in theory could perhaps be an in-between LX-/FZ- camera, with a 28-200 lens perhaps.
  • 4/3rds sensor in a Panasonic non-DSLR? One possibility mentioned in the dpreview forums is a non-dSLR by Panasonic using the 4/3rds sensor (new 10mp nMOS or the older 8mp). Panasonic has already designed the LC-1 body which would be an interesting match for this sensor design-wise, and the in-camera tilting flash would be fitting... More on Panasonic at 1001

  • Nikon P-series: The P5000 is the closet thing to a mid-range+ camera at Nikon. The last advanced cameras were the wide-angle 8400 and the VR-superzoom 8800 at Photokina 2004, along with the 8700 (Jan 2007). These were using 2/3" sensors. I do not expect anything new here, although it would be nice if they did. Before that, the 5400 (May 2003), 4500 (May 2002) and 5000 (Sept 2001) were the advanced models from Nikon... So the most reasonable hope for a RAWsumer from Nikon is the P-series. A number of people would have liked to have seen RAW enabled in the P5000, which is using a 10mp 1/1.8" sensor. This is more of a PMA 2008 refresh, but perhaps Nikon is encouraged by the interest in the P5000 to come up with another update, perhaps jump to the 12mp sensor. While the P5000 has many pluses it also have a number of things that could make it even more appealing if they were fixed, the additional of RAW being one of them. (Read the multiple reviews on the P5000 from the major sites for details). So a P6000, with RAW added, and some of the bugs fixed would make a nice compact RAWsumer! More on Nikon at 1001

  • Canon G-series: Just like the Nikon P5000, a number of people wanted to see RAW in the G7. The G7 broke ranks with the historic Canon G-series that Canon revived after three years of no new G-models. It broke ranks because it did not have RAW, and half a dozen other G-series defining characteristics. However, on its own merits, the G7 was a very interesting proposition. Adding RAW to a follow-up could make it even more interesting, even if nothing else is changed. And the temptation of a 12mp sensor could trigger that. Let's call it G8. The news of more CMOS sensor development at Canon could also be a good sign for a G-series (or some other RAWsumer). Given that Canon does not seem to be interested in releasing a $500 DSLR anytime soon, there could be room for something above the G7. One can hope as this is quite unlikely... More on Canon at 1001

  • Kodak P-series: One of the features Kodak added to their premium P-series cameras was RAW, even to the 1/2.5" long zooms P850 and P712. Each was introduced in the summer of 2005 and 2006, so a summer/fall 2007 follow-up is reasonable to expect, perhaps using the 8mp 1/2.5" sensor that more and more makers and models are transititioning to. A P812 IS sounds reasonable... A longer shot is a P1280, a 12mp version of the P880 or perhaps a P1080, a 10mp version. The P880, starting at 24mm wide, picked up fans after its price dropped significantly off MSRP. Kodak does try new things every few years, and the P880 is now two years old. Kodak already jumped to 12mp 1/1.7x" with the Z1285 which is a mid-range camera (at best), and they are usually not shy about jumping up megapixel-wise. Given the lack of recent RAWsumers, anything new is welcome!... More on Kodak at 1001

  • Ricoh: The GR-D came out two years ago and as the post at the top mentions, chatter of a GRD2 is picking up. Ricoh showed some improvements with the GX100, so if the sequential improvements continue the GRD2 has a chance to be a big hit among the hardcore enthusiasts. Given the realities of today's market we'll probably see a 12 megapixel version, although we can hope that we can be pleasantly surprised if Ricoh choses to use the sensor with the best image quality, not the best marketability, especially since this is an enthusiast camera, not a camera for the giant electronics super stores... The GX-100 has generated a buzz among enthusiasts and even though it came out at PMA 2007, we may see a follow-up if Ricoh wants to capitalize on its success. Let's not forget the RAWsumer/prosumer field is wide open at the moment, and if Ricoh can release a follow-up mode with more sequential improvements, it can generate even more buzz. Again if there will be another model, a 12 megapixel sensor is likely. Ricoh has been introducing Rx-series models every 6-9 months after all, so since the GX-100 is a success, why not?... While the Rx-series (R5, R6, etc) does not support RAW, Ricoh may follow decide to make these cameras more attractive to enthusiasts by offering RAW. Let's not forget Panasonic just recently added RAW to their 1/2.5" FZ-series models. So why not? The Rx-series does have a practical 28-200 range as well which be attractive to enthusiasts. I wouldn't expect it to happen, but I wouldn't be surprised either... More on Ricoh at 1001

  • Fuji: Since Fuji is not planning to introduce DSLRs anywhere near $1000, they are a good candidate to continue offering RAWsumers/prosumers. Their newest releases showed a very welcome addition, sensor-shift image stabilization, but also a potentially unfortunate 12mp sensor in the F50fd. Their top of the line is the S9xxx series, with the S9000 and S9100 coming out in August of 2005 and 2006. So one could expect a follow-up in 2007, a S9200fd. And it is reasonable to assume that they will give it sensor-shift stabilization (yeah!) and probably the 12mp 1/1.6" SuperCCD sensor found in the F50fd. That seems to be the most likely scenario, although we won't complain if Fuji surprises us with something more exciting (we can all dream!)... Their mid-range and enthusiast favorite S6000fd because of its "6mp magic low noise sensor" may be the first and last of its line. The 18x superzoom S8000fd may be the new mid-range, even though it uses a Bayer 1/2.35" sensor. The entry-level S5700 was sequentially upgrated to the S5800. So sadly that's it for the S6000fd, unless Fuji surprises us and re-releases it with sensor-shift stabilization and the same (or similar) 6mp "magic sensor"! This would be great!... The other RAWsumer in Fuji's recent line-up was the E900, with a 9mp 1/1.6" sensor (two years ago), which followed the E550. A number of people wanted to see a version of the E900 released with the "6mp magic sensor" but unfortunately that never happened. Given the popularity of the Panasonic LX-series, Canon G7 and Nikon P5000, it may be reasonable for Fuji to modernize the E900, and perhaps give it a more flexible zoom (eg starting at 28mm, or for bonus points starting at 24mm even). Sensor-shift stabilization and face detection and SD of course should be added. Unfortunately given the marketing realities of our times, this would probably also feature the 12mp SuperCCD sensor mentioned above... More on Fuji at 1001

  • Sony: The R1 was the big daddy of prosumers with its 1.7x APS-Cish sensor. It had size, class and weight. A camera not for the faint of heart. But not a perfect camera. After all it was only Sony's first attempt at the R-series. The camera was announced two years ago, but given its sensor size, one should perhaps expect a DSLR lifecycle, instead of a consumer digicam annual replacement lifecycle. Given that Sony has been slow to announce their next DSLRs, it's not unreasonable not to see anything here either. Obviously now they are thinking like an SLR maker with the lenses and system and such, but don't count out an R2 just yet. Although it's more likely that we won't see an R2, don't write it off! That includes you Sony!... And now let's revisit some of the classic RAWsumers: The F828 was the last of the F-series four years ago. While the R1 was not a direct replacement, it did replace it at the top of Sony's line. Probably remains in the history book... And how about the Minolta A-series that Sony presumably bought when they bought Konica-Minolta? The last ones (A2 and A200) came out in 2004. Obviously there hasn't been a new 2/3" sensor, and perhaps that's partially why all these RAWsumers from the glory days are gone. I think an A-series revival (whether 1/1.6" or 2/3" or something else) would bode well for Sony since they don't really have anything advanced (with RAW) between the A100 and the rest of their models... Another class is the V-series, specifically the V3 of three years ago, that essentially replaced the S85 that came out three years before it. So according to the three year plan, a V3-follow up should be due this year! If so, expect a lovely 12mp sensor!... People would like to see RAW in the H-series as well, but Sony has not done that. Obviously there's only so much you can squeeze out of 1/2.5" sensors with an ant-hill of pixels, but hey, others have done it, so why not Sony as well?... More on Sony at 1001

  • Olympus: The only current Olympus model offering RAW right now is the 1/2.5" 18x super zoom SP550Uz, the first of its kind. It came out in January 2007, and given the onslaught of new superzooms, the problems pointed out by reviews and users, and the increase in megapixels of the competitors, I would not be surprised if Olympus released a follow-up this year with 8mp. Only as much you can squeeze out of the sensor, but it is certainly a welcome feature for the enthusiasts!... But this wasn't always like that for Olympus. They used to be very busy with RAWsumer models. Their most critically acclaimed model since the E10/E20 was the C8080 (see dpreview's review of it by Phil Askey). But that was three years ago. The last one of the RAWsumer C-series was the C7070 (1/1.8" sensor). But (yes but) given that Canon revived the G-series after three years, why not Olympus? Granted the G7 was more of a GINO, and it did not have RAW, but what I'm trying to say it's not completely impossible, given the popularity of the LX-series, G7, P5000 and GX-100. Again, I wouldn't expect it to happen, but it wouldn't shock me... What would shock me is if they came up with an E10/E20 follow-up :-)... But those were not the last RAWsumers from Olympus. The SP350, SP320 and SP310 supported RAW. They were a more lightweight version of the C-series. The last one of them was announced in early 2006. Given the popularity of the P5000 and LX-series, these are more likely to be revitalized than the C-series. And I'm not saying that these are likely either. But if Canon revitalized the G-series, Olympus may want to challenge them with a C-series. A flashback to the glory days of RAWsumers!... More on Olympus at 1001

  • Samsung: Samsung had exactly one RAWsumer, the Big Daddy, the Pro815 (announced two years ago). This was the last of the 2/3" sensor cameras. Samsung is also into DSLRs, although so far their models have been makeovers of Pentax models. They also rebadge/sell their own lenses, so they may be thinking along the same lines as traditional DSLR makers, meaning don't release anything that may get in the way of a DSLR sale! I doubt we'll see a Pro815 update, after all this was the last 2/3" sensor!... Samsung has not really attempted any other cameras above the mid-range. Their sleek looking NV-series does not even have PSAM. Samsung is focusing on become the #3 worldwide market share leader, and their many many releases seem to be targetting the under $300 segment. So probably nothing from Samsung, at least not this year... More on Samsung at 1001

  • No comments:

    Latest Camera Deals

    Most recent posts