What’s the future of cameras and what’s coming in 2021?

Feb 1, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

What’s the future of cameras and what’s coming in 2021?

Feb 1, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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With Sony’s recent release of their new $6,499 flagship Sony A1, as well as the ridiculously low-priced $5,999 Fuji GFX 100S medium format camera, 2021 has already given us some pretty impressive camera tech. And those were just in the first month.

There’s a lot of uncertainty out there in what the competition might do for the rest of the year – and a lot of rumours – but what actually makes sense? What do other cameras have to have in order to really compete with what else is on the market now? This video from Dan Watson takes a more objective look at where each of the manufacturers stand and the most logical course of action each manufacturer might pursue.

Both Nikon and Canon have yet to update their D6 and 1DX Mark III to mirrorless versions, and Panasonic still hasn’t really given us anything on that same “full-frame flagship” level yet, either. Canon’s missing an APS-C RF mount camera while largely ignoring their EOS-M system. Nikon’s Z50 landed like a wet fart due to the cost of Z mount lenses. And if we include Micro Four Thirds, Panasonic still hasn’t given us that GH6 (which is apparently or definitely, on the way).

Even though Sony seems to be leading the way with the Sony A1 now, it’s not the ideal camera for everybody. But it has made some of their other models start to show their age now. Particularly the Sony A7 III. It was excellent when it was announced in 2018, but it’s already starting to feel a little behind the curve. Could the A7 IV be on the way soon?

Canon, at least, is expected to announce a new flagship EOS R1 at some point during 2021. But like the Sony A7 III, the original EOS R and EOS RP are also showing their age, too. An EOS RP replacement was rumoured to be on the way, but exactly when that might come (if at all) is anybody’s guess, really. I do hope they pursue that model, though. Personally, I thought the EOS RP was a great introduction to full-frame at a killer price.

Dan’s take on what Nikon should do is quite interesting, and I can’t really say that I disagree, although how well it would be received by the general photography-shooting population is another matter. He believes they should carry on in the vein of the D850 and D780 to produce “hybrid” cameras that offer some benefits of mirrorless while remaining DSLRs at heart – at least for now. This is mostly due to the cost and lack of variety with Z mount lenses vs the huge variety of less expensive F-Mount lenses available. Personally, though, with the Nikon FTZ adapter, as long as you’re using AF-S or AF-P lenses, many of those F mount options are open to Z mirrorless shooters, too. So, I am curious to see exactly what Nikon will do next.

As far as what Fuji might do… Well, Dan argues that they’re the leader in the APS-C market and that they really have an opportunity to come and show those focusing on full-frame exactly how APS-C is supposed to be done. As per usual, Olympus doesn’t really get much of a mention, although I don’t think that’s surrpising.

What do you want to see in 2021?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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2 responses to “What’s the future of cameras and what’s coming in 2021?”

  1. Justin Case Avatar
    Justin Case

    People often write blithely about using the FTZ adapter to use F-mount lenses on the Nikon Z bodies. It is fine for the occasional use with a favourite lens, but anybody who has used the FTZ for any length of time (I have) will know how it manages to render the once excellent Nikon photographic experience a fairly dismal thing.

  2. Lawrence Lee Huber Avatar
    Lawrence Lee Huber

    Interesting post.
    I just watched Northop’s review of the A1.
    What a crash and burn. The A1 failures including lame 8K and supposed 30 fps should embarrass Sony.
    When shooting action the A1 struggles to get 19 fps. Eye AF is marginal and on birds a real failure.
    Specs vs real life do not resemble each other.