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
RICOH: GRD III GRD II GX200
SIGMA: DP2 DP1
FUJI: S100fs
NIKON: P7000 P6000
LEICA: D-Lux4
CAMERA DIARIES: Panasonic LX3 Canon G10

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

PMA 2008 Rumors, Speculation and Predictions (RAWsumer edition)

Continuing with the XMas Blogging Marathon theme of 1001 Noisy, our XMas present to you is non-stop blogging! RAWsumer fans will receive this post, on rumors, speculation and predictions for PMA 2008 and beyond.


Please keep in mind everything in this post is either speculation, predictions or rumors or wishful thinking


Our previous RAWsumer speculation came in the Fall of 2007. Of the four cameras we predicted, only the Ricoh GRD II came to be, and the Sigma DP1 got "postponed/rebooted" by Shiguma.

So now we will present to your our PMA 2008 and Beyond...

Sigma DP1: At best we can hope for a re-announcement of the Sigma DP1 with complete specs at PMA 2008 and a promise of a delivery time at Photokina 2008. I am worried that it might be the other way round, full specs at Photokina 2008, delivery after PMA 2009. Of course I would prefer that it gets announced and delivered at PMA 2008 :)

Ricoh GX100 follow-ups It took Ricoh two years to come up with a GRD follow-up, but the GRD is a special type of a camera. The GX100 on the other hand is more of a general purpose prosumer/RAWsumer, and Ricoh could benefit for announcing a second one. Infact they could keep the new one running in a parallel with the GX100. Which would open four opportunities for Ricoh:

Ricoh GX100 follow-up Option #1: The Ricoh GX100 follow-up could perhaps arrive "under" the GX100 in terms of specs. This would allow Ricoh to offer it at a very competitive price, eg compete with the Canon G9 and the used prosumers of the past sitting on eBay. Let's call this GX80 or GX70, to be in-line model-number-wise with their Caplio R-series and RR-series.

Ricoh GX100 follow-up Option #2: The follow-up replaces the GX100, uses a similar size sensor, improves on the GX100, it is priced similarly, and create a dynamic duo, the same way Canon did when it dominated the prosumer market with G-series duos. (I am not saying Ricoh is going to dominate the market, just that it would create a dynamic duo the same way Canon did - just to be clear). Let's call this model Ricoh GX120 if it uses a 12mp sensor or Ricoh GX110 if it uses a similar 10mp sensor like the GRD II. This is probably the most likely of the three options.

Ricoh GX100 follow-up Option #3: Ricoh goes for something even more spectacular and ambitious, they go for a camera with a larger sensor. Obviously one of the issues is finding a sensor since Ricoh does not have the volume to command a sensor at a reasonable price. With 2/3" sensors gone the way of the dinosaur at the moment, the next option would be to pick up a 4/3rds sensor from Kodak or Panasonic (2x of 35mmFF) or a *gasp* Foveon sensor (1.7x of 35mmFF) - assuming Shiguma does not have a veto over this. This would obviously create a new set of trade-offs, the camera would have to become bigger if the lens was kept of the same focal length. But this segment is so underserved at the moment, I wouldn't be shocked if Ricoh took a chance here. I see this as not very likely, but it would be a welcome surprise. Given its importance, I would think it would deserve the name of Ricoh GX1 or something like that.

Ricoh GX100 follow-up Option #4: This should be easy to implement, take the GX100 as it is, and put the new 6mp 60fps 1/1.8" sensor inside. Would this become the street photographer's dream camera - megapixels aside? Let's call this GX60 for the 60fps or GX1000 with the extra zeros to indicate the speed.


Please keep in mind everything in this post is either speculation, predictions or rumors or wishful thinking


Fuji S9100 (S9600) follow-up: With the introduction of the S8000fd, a S9100 follow-up may have become a bit less likely. If there is one, the 12mp sensor seems to be the predictable (but not necessarily logical) option to follow. If they do release a S9200fd (S9700fd), sensor-shift or optical image stabilization is a must. Fuji is on the right path for a digital camera renaissance after falling in the shadows with xD-only and lack of image stabilization. Now they have managed to turn the xD disadvatange into an advantage (both xD and SD/MMC memory cards) and sensor-shift stabilization is slowly starting to find its way in their cameras (F50fd, S8000fd).

Fuji prosumer surprise? Given that Fuji is not interested in announcing entry-level or sub $1500 DSLRs any time soon, they have more to benefit from releasing advanced prosumers. Granted we would want them to sort out their sensor/optical stabilization first before attempting a more advanced camera, which is perhaps why we haven't seen a S9100 replacement yet. What exactly would a Fuji prosumer surprise be?

Fuji prosumer surprise Option #1: A camera using a larger than 1/1.6" sensor of course! Fuji makes their own sensors but they are not shy about using 3rd party sensors as well. They could use their "4/3rds in-name-only connection" and grab a *gasp* Kodak or Panasonic 4/3rd sensor, or make their own if they plan to carry this throughout their line-up.

Fuji prosumer surprise Option #2: Now this prosumer surprise doesn't have to be in the form of a S9100-type of a big-zoomer. They already have a sleek film camera body: See Amin's Photo blog which includes a picture, and 1001 noisy. The film is camera is available as an import from Japan eBay. What we are hoping for is a digital equivalent :)

Fuji Resurrection Ship: (three more options): (title is homage to the new Battlestar Galactica) Fuji has some interesting cameras that are not active right now that would make some interesting prosumers if they were reactivated (thus the title). First up, the E900. Yes, it needs to be "modernized" with some sort of image stabilization and the SD/xD combo drive, but even if they don't make any drastic changes, the camera won't have a whole lot of competition - assuming it is priced reasonably. If they were not shy about putting a 12mp in the F50d, expect this to a E1200. Yikes or Yay? Another candidate is to take the 6mp "magic" sensor, take the F50fd body, add RAW for even more "pho cred", and create the F35fd! "Pho Cred" is the equivalent of "street cred" earned among hard core photography enthusiasts ;-) Last but not least, take the S6000fd, add the xD/SD dual drive, and some sort of image stabilization, let the sensor be as it is (or improve it, but don't go for 9mp or 12mp) and reissue it as S6100fd. Come on Fuji, we have given you three options here, pick at least one :-)


Please keep in mind everything in this post is either speculation, predictions or rumors or wishful thinking


Nikon P5x00 wants RAW: This is a simple thing for Nikon to do and it will allow them to raise their prices, which I presume it's a welcome thing for among the accountants. Take the P5100, add RAW, make a few simple improvements, and without much effort, you have the P5200. This would allow it to compete more directly with the Canon G9 and Panasonic LX2.

Canon superzooms meet RAW: Once upon a time a leader in prosumer RAW (G-series, S-series, Pro 1). These days they had to be coerced into putting RAW in the Canon G9. With Panasonic and Olympus offering RAW in their 12x and 18x hyperzooms, and Sony going with a 15x lens and Fuji with 18x, the pressure is on Canon to put RAW and to make their lens longer. I don't know about making the lens longer (larger zoom ratio) but RAW is not a bad idea. It would make their long zooms RAWsumers and allow them to be featured on this blog. I'm sure that alone is incentive enough for you Canon :-)

Mythical Panasonic LX3: Whoever had the "two in-between cameras" rumor for Panasonic was dead-on. They had the FX100 which slides between the smaller FX-series and the LX-series and the FZ18 which slides between the mid-range FZ7/FZ8/etc and the big FZ30/FZ50 series. So what's next for the LX-series? Canon seems to be doing quite well with the Canon G9, and Nikon is getting some love for the P5000/P5100 despite the lack of RAW. Given that Panasonic was there after both Canon and Nikon abandoned the segment, it wouldn't make sense for them to shy away. Perhaps the delay is because they are working on something new (wishful thinking?). Maybe a new sensor or a new body, for example an LX camera with a 28-200 lens but also paying attention to the form factor. This could also allow the LX2 to be replaced by a "traditional" LX3, and also create a new line of 28-200mm (yes, wishful thinking).

Panasonic FZ50 follow-up: This could go in different directions. A simple update with a 12mp sensor could yield a FZ60. A wide-angle version of the FZ50 with the same sensor as the FZ50 could yield a FZ55. A giant version with an 18x hyperzoom would yield a FZ80 or FZ180.

Panasonic resurrection ship: More BSG references! The LC1 would look quite interesting if made with one of Panasonic's existing 4/3rds sensors. Panasonic is probably one or two years away from releasing a mass-market DSLR, so they don't just yet have to think like a traditional SLR manufacturer. They can think like an appliance maker and make the best prosumer cameras they can instead :) The aforementioned 28-200mm camera would perhaps be a revitalization of the LC-series instead, but using more of an LC5 body than an LC1. An LC1 with a 28-200mm lens would not be small at all.

Kodak-Flextronics rediscovers RAW: Kodak gave RAWsumers some hope with the P880 and P850 duo, but more specifically the P880 which found a niche following after its price was slashed to reality. It's been over two years with no follow-ups. In recent interviews Kodak mentioned they have not abandoned "advanced compacts". OF course this is the company who said they are done with entry-level compacts and then announced a low price leader C513 at $80 with a 5mp CMOS sensor and 3x optical zoom, probably undercutting price-wise some of the "generics" even. The simplest thing would be to issue a sequential update to the P880, but not necessarily go for the latest 12mp or 14mp or 10000mp sensor - instead pick the best sensor available (if such a thing exists)

Canon A660 IS: Canon annoucned a Canon A650 IS update with RAW support. This would kill two birds with one stone: Put the light leak stigma behind them and offer RAW on this camera that begs for RAW. It has after all twice the battery life of the more "advanced" GINO (Canon G9)

Olympus mid-range SP-followup: Olympus has not updated their mid-rangey SP-series that support RAW (SP350, SP320, SP310, etc). With the brief resurgence of the power compacts (G9, LX2, P5100, GRD), Olympus could find a niche with an afford SP-follow up that offers RAW to compete with the Nikon P5000/P5100 and the aging Panasonic LX2 at that price range.

Samsung forces the issue? In a recent post in the Korean press there was a mention or direct quote that 2008 will be the year that Samsung goes for more advanced cameras. Now does that mean they go for prosumer/rawsumers or simply that they improve their DSLR offerings? We hope its both, but the focus of this blog is RAWsumers. The only RAWsumer ever made by Samsung was the gigantic Pro 815. I doubt we are going to see that again, but Samsung has found something with their NV-styled design. Those cameras could turn into some interesting mid-size prosumers and perhaps street camera favorites if they are improved in every facet, from the addition of RAW, image quality, photographic features and operations, etc. Samsung has come a long way from the boxy P&S cameras of five years ago, but they still have a lot of work ahead of them. With the prosumer segment wide open, they could make a big splash - providing they take the time and energy to refine and fine-tune their prosumers. Things that can be forgiven on a $200 or $300 P&S may not be forgiven on a $500+ prosumer. A number of companies have found this the hard way.

Samsung Prosumer possibilities: So what could they do? NV-styled RAWsumers that borrow from the NV20/NV15/NV10 (3x optical) and the NV11 (5x optical). Image stabilization would almost be a must, unless they have some sort of a "magic" sensor. These would compete with the G9, P5100, LX2, and the old/used market prosumers. If they are really serious about prosumers they could also try something more advanced, perhaps a 28-200mm with a 1/1.8" or larger sensor. Samsung is expected to release new entry-level DSLR(s) since their "current" entry-level are the Pentax *istDS2 and *istDL2 equivalent. That's old in digital camera terms. In this case would Samsung start thinking like an SLR manufacturer and avoid making a top of the line prosumer for fears of eating up their DSLR sales? Samsung is not an SLR manufacturer and they don't have the lens mount to worry about (they use the K-mount). While they do have their own branded lenses, they are Pentax-equivalent with the Xenon brand, so their photographic fate is not "tied" to the mount the same way Canon, Nikon and Minolta-Sony are tied to their own mount. That and the fact that they are an "appliance maker" may save them from going into "SLR-priority" mode.

Old-school Resurrection ship: Check the long list at the bottom of our 2007 post. Of the 11 cameras mentioned there we only touched up the Panasonic LC1 here. The other ten, which are obviously some of the most popular prosumers of the pre-$1000-DSLR era are listed there for your enjoyment :)

Sony: Ooops! I forgot about Sony! Thanks to our reader for reminding us in the comments section! So what can we expect from Sony? In an ideal world we could get follow-ups to the R1, F828, V3, A2 and A200. In the real world, we'll probably be thrilled if we get even one of those five. With Sony's balance sheet looking better as of the last quarter, and the success of the likes of the G9, LX2, GX100/GRD, and even the Nikon P5100/P5000, Sony is a little bit "left out" of this segment, the closer camera to this is the W200 or the N2, and neither one are really attractive to buyers in that segment. None of their non-DSLRs offer RAW at the moment, which is another negative in terms of being competitive in the non-DSLR segment.

Most likely Sony reaction: The most likely Sony reaction is that they will probably come up with a mid-range compact with RAW (we can hope). As you may recall from the past, Sony has not been shy about trying outside the box cameras (R1, big F-series, V1, etc). A few of these were too big to fit inside the box :) So we'll probably get something along the lines of the V1 or V3, perhaps something trending in between the Nikon P5100 and the Canon G9, but with RAW. Hopefully!

Sony what we would like to see: Revitalization of the Minolta A-series, along with either another R-series or big F-series. Sony could stack these up so the R-series/F-series be the top tier (perhaps using APS-C or 1.7x sensors or 2x sensors) and the Minolta A-series being a step below in terms of camera size and sensor size, whether it's a 2/3" or 1/1.7" or something else. While it's fun to design this cameras on blog-paper, we are probably not going to see them. Sony, prove me wrong! :)


Please keep in mind everything in this post is either speculation, predictions or rumors or wishful thinking

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

no Sony Prosumer Rumours or Thoughts. I Personally own the Minolta A2 (excellent camera), but I haven't used it since I got my Minolta 7D and Sony A700 (so a few years). I'd love a smaller Prosumer / compact (with RAW) to go along side my DSLRs. The Canon G9 is almost perfect in my eyes, except I'm waiting on Sony to release a contender (so I can use my flash + batteries? on it).

1001 noisy cameras said...

Ooops! I forgot about Sony! I'm adding a Sony write-up at the bottom as we speak.

Ignas said...

You forgot Pentax K200D also..

1001 noisy cameras said...

Thanks for your comment! The RAWsumer blog focuses on non-DSLR cameras with RAW, so I am not covering any dSLRs here.

However, there's plenty of dSLR coverage at the 1001 Noisy blog. Here are the Pentax K20D and K200D rumors and here is a long long PMA 2008 rumors, speculation and predictions post.

Anonymous said...

Do you consider the canon CHDK hack enabled cams RAWSUMERS?

1001 noisy cameras said...

Thanks for the question! I consider them quasi-RAWsumers since their ability to use RAW is not "official" or "permanent". Time permitting I will create a segment for them as well.

Anonymous said...

quasi rawsumers, that sounds cool. The a570is is unbeatable bang for the bucks, and a pocketsize RAW cam!

1001 noisy cameras said...

Indeed at around $150, with IS, AA, SD, PSAM, and CHDK-RAW, it's the biggest bang for buck!

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