Like most enthusiast photographers, I am expecting 2008 to put some new technologies into our hands. Hereâ€™s a bunch of rumors about potential new digital cameras coming out in 2008 that Iâ€™ve collected from the web. They also happen to be cameras that Iâ€™m eagerly anticipating, not because I want to own them any time soon but because this is good news for all of us; it helps push new technologies forward, brings new innovations and increases competition between brands.
Canon Digital Rebel 450D/XTi successor
First is the successor to Canonâ€™s popular entry-level DSLR, the Rebel XTi. Like everyone else, Iâ€™m expecting a bunch of technologies to trickle down from its older brother (the 40D), namely the LiveView function, the DIGIC III processor, a 3″ LCD screen and perhaps even a video function, which would be a first for digital SLR cameras. As for pixel count, I donâ€™t believe that Canon will increase it beyond 10MP.
I was skeptical at first when I heard about a video function on a DSLR (blasphemy!!) but it was about the same case with LiveView when it was first introduced. Many people – among them plenty of professional photographers – ridiculed this feature. Why, LiveView is akin to using a point-and-shoot, they said. It turned out that LiveView is a very useful function in certain situations although the viewfinder still remains the preferred mode of shooting.
Thatâ€™s why I think that video on DSLR cameras will become the norm in the future. It makes perfect sense when you combine it with LiveView. There are no reasons why a camera with LiveView shouldnâ€™t be able to shoot video as well. So there you have it. Weâ€™d better get used to it, conceptually at the very least.
Canon Eos 5D MkII
The other BIG THING from Canon will undoubtedly be the successor to the Canon 5D, letâ€™s call it the 5D MkII (this will probably turn out to be the real name after all). Personally I have high hopes for this camera. The 5D was a great breakthrough in creating an affordable full-frame digital SLR and it remains an awesome camera to this day. However, times are catching up with it and it is lacking a lot of the features that its smaller and larger siblings possess.
Hereâ€™s what seems to be almost certain that the new 5D will have. First up is a higher resolution sensor, probably inherited from the 1DsMkII, sporting 16MP. Then thereâ€™s the Digic III processor and 14-bit RAW capability, as well as the 40Dâ€™s improved auto-focus. The 3″ LCD screen is also a given, as is LiveView. What Iâ€™m also hoping for is a buffer increase coupled with a higher burst rate, perhaps as high as 5fps. One final thing that Iâ€™m hoping for is weather sealing. If the 5D MkII came out with proper weather sealing, I would be sorely tempted to buy one.
As you can see, the successor to the 5D is expected to be a buffed-up version of the 40D, with a slightly different body, no integrated flash (if the current trend is to be continued), slightly bigger and brighter viewfinder and most importantly, the 16MP full-frame sensor.
Canon PowerShot G10
This one is purely my personal speculation and I havenâ€™t found any indication that Canon is planning a successor to the impressive G9 compact any time soon. However, there are some things that the G9 is missing or could be a lot better and many people are hoping Canon will get its act together and include or improve them in the next iteration of the G series.
Here follows a wish list. I wish for a bigger sensor (perhaps even APS-C sized!?!) and cleaner images, meaning a lot less noise. I wish for a faster lens, even if it has to sacrifice the zoom ratio. I would be perfectly satisfied for a back-to-the-origins f/2-3 and 3x zoom. So would be a lot of the advanced amateur photographers who are targeted by this camera. I wish the viewfinder was larger and brighter. I also wish for quicker response times, a bigger buffer and higher burst rate. And if it isnâ€™t too much to ask for, a swiveling 3″ LCD screen, like the original G-series had, would be awesome. [Canon, I hope you are reading this.]
Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM telephoto lens
Although Canon has also announced an 800mm lens along with the 200mm, itâ€™s the 200mm that has my attention. This is not a rumor because Canon has officially announced it. The specs on this 200mm lens are absolutely mind-blowing but Iâ€™m expecting size/weight and especially price to be on par.
It seems that this camera has been in development forever. Many are viewing it as the Holy Grail of advanced compact digital cameras, akin to the affordable digital rangefinder everyone is waiting for. This is no rangefinder but it does have some very enticing features. Chief amongst them is the 14MP Foveon 20.7 x 13.8mm CMOS sensor. This sensor alone will almost certainly guarantee higher image quality than any other current compact camera. Sigma claims to have spent a lot of time researching the lens that the DP-1 will be equipped with. On paper it doesnâ€™t look very impressive: 28mm with f/4. Not very bright and not very wide either. However, the image quality will be the final judge of this combination. What I am hoping for is that higher ISO values will be very usable, negating the relatively dark maximum aperture. Other notable features of the DP-1 are the flash hot shoe, the rugged magnesium body, and the lack of an integrated viewfinder. Of course, there is an external viewfinder available, which slides on to the hot shoe. Price-wise, this camera is expected to gravitate around the sum of $1000, putting it square out of the reach of many amateur photographers.
So when is Sigma gonna actually start producing this camera? Your guess is as good as mine. I just hope itâ€™s not vaporware. I also hope for Sigmaâ€™s sake that by the time they release this camera, its features wonâ€™t be already obsolete.
Read more about this camera on the official Sigma DP-1 site.
Nikon digital rangefinder
Now hereâ€™s an interesting rumor. On the Nikon Watch blog is an article which hints that Nikon may be secretly producing an advanced digital rangefinder. The specs on this puppy are pretty impressive almost to the point of sounding bogus but it seems that the source of the rumor has also revealed accurate specs for the D3 and D300 which hadnâ€™t come out at that time so there might be a grain of truth in this story.
What does this mean for the photography community? As always, new and innovative technology is welcome. Will the (alleged) Nikon digital rangefinder be the compact camera everyone has been hoping for? Will it dethrone the Leica M8 and the Epson RD-1? If you ask me, these 2 arenâ€™t even serious contenders, having experienced their image â€œqualityâ€ first-hand, but Iâ€™m hoping Nikon will have the power to blow them right out of the water. Maybe Iâ€™m hoping too much but someone has to take the initiative and face the potential risks of researching and marketing such a camera. Letâ€™s not forget that a digital rangefinder with such advanced specs would bear a price to match and its market niche would be minuscule, probably making it a loss leader for Nikon.
Last but not least on my watch list is Radiopopper. This startup company has been working for some time now trying to produce an advanced strobe radio triggering system. They have actually come up with 3 distinct models ranging from basic to advanced. Radiopopper is claiming that they are not in direct competition with Pocket Wizards and that might be the case but they certainly look like a strong challenger in the radio trigger market. While their most advanced model allows remote TTL flash control, itâ€™s their cheapest model that interests me. This one is simply a remote wireless trigger without any extras. At $25 (hopefully) per transmitter/receiver, combined with high reliability, they should pretty much blow the cheap ebay Cactus triggers out of the water. These lower priced devices wonâ€™t be released for another half-year but if the price stays the same, Iâ€™ll be all over a bunch of them. Iâ€™m just not very sure about the â€œRadiopopperâ€ name. They could have probably picked a better one.
Read more on the Radiopopper website.
There are a lot of other photography products that will be released in 2008. The ones I listed are simply the ones that I am looking forward to. I hope that 2008 will be even more exciting that the previous year as far as photography is concerned. Good times are coming for tech geeks like myself!
Having said that, I wish all my readers a Happy and Tech-Filled New Year!