2017 TECH IN REVIEW: Cameras

Mirrorless models reverse falling demand

Visitors trying products at the CP+ Camera and Imaging Show in Yokohama in February.
Visitors trying products at the CP+ Camera and Imaging Show in Yokohama in February.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

What went down in 2017:

It has been a great year for mirrorless cameras, particularly with the launch of the superb Sony a9 and a7R III.The surge of mirrorless cameras has helped reverse the longstanding downward spiral of the camera industry this year, based on the latest figures from camera maker association CIPA.

In the first nine months of this year, global camera shipments grew by 13.6 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to CIPA. This is the first time since 2011 that a growth figure has been registered. Mirrorless cameras were the prime reason for the spike, growing by 46.9 per cent in the first three quarters of this year, compared with the same period last year.

Even the fixed-lens (or compact) camera category, which was hit the hardest by smartphone cameras, saw its shipments increase by 18.1 per cent.

What to look out for in 2018:

For next year, I predict that mirrorless cameras will continue to take centre stage. Already, we know that the Panasonic flagship G5 will be launched early next year. Other rumoured mirrorless camera releases include the Olympus E-PL9, Fuji X-H1 and Canon EOS M50.

Furthermore, Photokina, the world's biggest trade show for photographic and imaging equipment that is held biennially, will take place next year. Camera-makers usually reserve their best products for showcasing at Photokina.

But from next year onwards, Photokina will be held annually. In fact, it will no longer be about cameras or lenses, but will expand to include other imaging technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and computer-generated imaging. It is about time the camera industry starts to make inroads into these technologies, to strike back at smartphones.

Trevor Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2017, with the headline 'Mirrorless models reverse falling demand '. Print Edition | Subscribe