From the monthly archives: "January 2012"

Olympus PEN Mini

If you’re not making a “mirrorless” / “compact system camera” (CSC) (or ILC*) then you’re not making / growing profit, and you’re not going to get very far in the digital camera market… particularly in Japanese or UK style markets (Europe for example).* see notes on Canon.

Lets look at some of the digital camera companies, and some of the things that have been happening over the last 12+ months:

Olympus: Ignoring all the bad stuff, they have grown to be the biggest selling Mirrorless camera company in Japan for 2012 (and possibly Europe / Germany – or at least Micro Four Thirds combined). Strengths in waterproof compacts. Extremely good range of mirrorless cameras this year – catching up with Panasonic for focusing speeds.

Panasonic: Growing Mirrorless market, particularly strong in the UK. The combined forces of Panasonic and Olympus on Micro Four Thirds (M43) makes M43 the most compelling mirrorless system, with sales in Japan for 2011 for Mirrorless 1. Pana, 2. Oly, and 2012 for Mirrorless 1. Oly, 2. Pana.

Nikon: Growing market share thanks to competitive DSLR products, and entry into Mirrorless market. Entry level mirrorless said to be selling increasingly well. Increasingly popular Coolpix range of compacts (year on year growth).

Sony: Bought Konica Minolta’s DSLR business, then launched the Sony A100, they said they were going to challenge Nikon and Canon for the top spot, and considering they came from nowhere, they’re now No. 3 in DSLR sales, it’s pretty impressive and something I didn’t expect if I’m honest. Extremely innovative with traditional DSLR, then the ultra fast “Translucent Mirror” SLT / SLRs with electronic viewfinders. Also No. 3 in Mirrorless after Olympus / Panasonic / Micro Four Thirds. Some would say leaders in the image sensor business (selling sensors to Apple for the iPhone, APS-C to Nikon/Pentax, Backlit CMOS sensors to everyone etc)

Pentax / Ricoh: Profitable DSLR business, fresh investment from Ricoh should inject new life into this area, and additional mirrorless APS-C camera should improve business further (with the potentially game changing camera). Ricoh are more of a niche market with premium GR Digital series (with cult following in Japan), and Leica M mount GXR (with APS-C sensor). Ricoh are profitable with a very successful print/copier business that is used in corporate and government environments for things like sending out mailings to 40,000+ people etc Serious stuff. Pentax / Ricoh combined could be a very interesting company to watch over the next 12 months. I expect growth. Pentax Q has some success in Japan as the smallest mirrorless camera.

Kodak: Ouch (recently filed for bankrupcy protection). Here is the perfect example that backs up the following statement: You don’t make profit from cheap “and cheerful” me too style point and shoot cameras. Sold sensor business (doh!).

Minox: Recently announced they aren’t going to make “cheap and cheerful” point and shoot cameras. Instead they’ll keep making those interested “Spy cameras” and “retro classics“.

Agfa/Vivitar/HP: See Kodak.

CASIO: Recently decided to close the Casio Exilim division in the UK (still available to buy through European distributers). Some innovation in High Speed cameras, but it’s very difficult to make profit from point and shoot cameras. Strong in Japan though. A mirrorless camera would really help you grow! (Why not bring high speed sensors and image processing to Micro Four Thirds?)

*Canon: Recently the CEO stepped down as profits aren’t growing as quickly as expected. Canon are being challenged by Nikon on all DSLR fronts, and then also challenged by Mirrorless cameras. So whilst DSLRs was (and is) a profitable area, Mirrorless is challenging both compact cameras, and entry level DSLR. And at the bottom end of point and shoot, this is being challenged by smartphones with decent(ish) cameras. A mirrorless camera would really help your profits!

Fujifilm: Making a market for itself by selling premium compact cameras, X100 (selling like hotcakes, in the 100k region!), X10, X-S1 (Premium Ultra Zoom Bridge camera), X-Pro1 Mirrorless, and strong in Bridge / Ultra Zoom cameras that look like mini-DSLRs. Strong in waterproof market as they can undercut competitors on price, and presumably still make profit from it?

Samsung: Sells the NX mirrorless system, with a decent range of lenses and good image quality. Not sure how well it is doing worldwide, but a good system, that can often undercut competitors on price. Compact cameras seem to be leading the way for features: WiFi, App / Phone style GUI. Samsung don’t seem to be rated in Japan though, rest of world, yes. Compact cameras can undercut competitors, making them a popular buy.

Leica: Premium ILC / Mirrorless cameras, with a premium price – growing and profitable (as far as I’m aware). “Me Too” Panasonic cameras. Really they should get back into “bed” with Fuji and make “Me Too” (premium compacts) products from the Fujifilm X series (X10, X100, X-S1,X-Pro1) or join Micro Four Thirds 😉

Others? BenQ / Aigo / GE / Polaroid / Rollei / Praktica : – see Kodak, see Casio, unless you have an extreme niche (Ricoh) and are popular in your home market (Casio/Japan), or make a mirrorless camera then how will you grow?

Fujifilm FinePix XS-1NeoCamera has reviewed the new Fujifilm X-S1, the new “bridge” / “Ultra Zoom” camera from Fujifilm, it sits at the premium end of the range with a larger than normal 12 megapixel EXR CMOS sensor, 7fps shooting at full resolution, Full HD video at 30fps, 3inch screen, 1.44million pixel electronic viewfinder, weather sealed construction, 26x optical zoom lens with metal cam, manual controls, RAW, flash hot-shoe, as well as Low noise, High dynamic range modes. The Fujifilm X-S1 should be available shortly from Amazon UK

Read more Fujifilm X-S1 Reviews / Previews: ePHOTOzine Preview

Panasonic Lumix GX1 Silver LargeePHOTOzine has reviewed the new Panasonic Lumix GX1, and compared it to the Panasonic Lumix G3 – both cameras feature a 16 megapixel sensor, Micro Four Thirds lens mount, 3 inch screen, 4/4.2 fps shooting, with the G3 featuring an electronic viewfinder, and tilting screen, the GX1 features a smaller body and electronic level as well as customisable buttons.

The Panasonic Lumix GX1 is available for £469 body only. The Panasonic Lumix G3 is available for £449 with 14-42mm kit lens.

Minox Class DCC 5.1
ePHOTOzine has reviewed the Minox DCC 5.1 (Digital Classic Camera) – it’s a mini replica of the Leica M3, but with a 5.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, 2inch screen, lithium ion battery, optical viewfinder, and no optical zoom. It takes SD cards, and there are a number of accessories available for it, including a classic press flash, a wide angle converter, a telephoto converter and even a tripod adapter, as well as a metal lens cap, leather strap, leather case, and the camera even comes in a wooden presentation box! The Minox DCC 5.1 is available for around £139.

Yellow Ferrari
We’ve just uploaded sample photos from the Canon Powershot S95, from Las Vegas. The Canon Powershot S95 is a compact camera with an f/2.0 3.8x optical zoom lens with image stabilisation, 10 megapixel sensor and 3 inch screen – it’s available for £229 from Amazon UK.

Pentax Optio VS20 BlackPentax has announced the new Pentax Optio VS20, an ultra zoom camera with a 20x optical zoom lens, and two shutter buttons, one for normal shooting, the other for portrait shooting. The camera also has a second tripod socket for portrait shots as well. Shake Reduction, 16 megapixels, a 3 inch screen, 720p video, and a digital level are other features of the new camera. It will be available in silver or black from February/March for £199.

“On top of its 20x wide-angle zoom (from 28 to 560mm), the Optio VS20 offer a second release shutter button on the side. This is a real help when taking portrait pictures.

The Optio VS20 is filled with the latest technologies, like one of the lastest generation 16MP sensor for exceptionnal sharpness, a 20X optical zoom and a large 3″ coloured LCD screen. It also benefits from a new mode for low light conditions, offering less noise and better sharpness.

Thanks to its high end performance, the Optio VS20 is the ideal compact camera for everyday pictures as well as for travelling and sports images.”

If you have an interest in photography, technology and digital cameras, and have a spare 15-20 minutes every day, then you might be just what we’re looking for. We are looking for someone to post daily news and updates to this site. WordPress experience would be ideal but is not necessary but would be nice. If you are interested get in touch (with subject: DigiCamReview).

GE G100 Black White Red
GE (General Imaging) has announced it’s 2012 line up of digital cameras, including a new 25x optical zoom lens ultra zoom, and a 15x optical zoom lens compact with a backlit CMOS sensor:

GE G100, 14mp, 15x, 3inch, Pocket Zoom, Full HD
GE X600, 14mp, 25x, 2.7inch, Ultra Zoom, Full HD
GE X550, 16mp, 15x, 3inch, Ultra Zoom
GE E1410SW, 10x, 2.7inch, Pocket Zoom, Full HD
GE J1458SW, 5x, 2.7inch, 14mp
GE C1440W, 5x, 2.7inch, 14mp

Hands-On preview at ePHOTOzine.

Casio Exilim ZR200
Casio has announced six new compact cameras available in a number of different colours, these cameras should be available in April, with the two top of the range models offering high speed shooting at up to 40fps. There’s a hands on preview of the new Casio cameras here from CES.

ZR200, 16mp, 12.5x, 3inch, High Speed Shooting (40fps)
ZR15, 16mp, 7x, 3inch, High Speed Shooting (30fps)
ZS150, 16mp, 12.5x, 2.7inch
ZS20, 16mp, 6x, 2.7inch
ZS12, 16mp, 5x, 2.7inch
ZS6, 16mp, 5x, 2.7inch

Kodak Z5120
Kodak has announced a whole bunch of new cameras, seven if you count the dual camcorder / camera, the Playfull Zi12.

EASYSHARE SPORT Camera / C135, 14mp, 2.4inch screen, 16feet waterproof
EASYSHARE C1550, 16mp, 5x, 3inch screen
EASYSHARE Camera / M215, 14mp, 5x, 2.5inch screen
EASYSHARE Camera / M565, 14mp, 5x, 2.7inch screen
EASYSHARE Wireless Camera / M750, 16mp, 5x, 3inch screen, WiFi
EASYSHARE Camera / Z5120, 16mp, 26x, 3inch screen
Zi12 Playfull Camera/Camcorder, 12mp, Full HD