How Will 2013 Pan Out

1/24/2013 4:21:22 PM

The imaging industry witnessed some interesting innovations in technology last year, which we have listed in the article “The year gone by” in this issue. At the same time, we're looking ahead as well. So what is it that you should expect in the year to come? How will 2013 pan out for the photographic industry? With 2012 having witnessed numerous introductions in technologies and trends, from mirrorless becoming the major focus of every manufacturing brand to user-friendly interface, these trends are an indicator of what might be the next big thing(s) in 2013.

1.    Smaller cameras, bigger sensors

From their inception as compact or point and shoot cameras, the cameras in the same category have gone through constant change and technological improvisation. For instance the cameras today are ultra-thin and compact; less than three-fourth of an inch in thickness, making them easy to fit in a pocket or a purse. One of the biggest change we see happening this year is the emergence of compact cameras with relatively bigger sensors. For example, Sony's RX1 is one of the first digital compact cameras to have a full frame (35mm) sensor which is generally available on most pro-level DSLR cameras. Although not all camera manufacturers may follow suit but they are likely to be inclined to introduce bigger and better sensors on digital compact cameras.

Description: 1. Smaller cameras, bigger sensors

2.    The rise of mirrorless cameras (MILC)

The mirrorless category doesn't need an introduction. It is safe to say that it has fast become one of the most popular segments of cameras amongst consumers and is surely here to stay. While 2012 saw the MILC category gather momentum, we feel that 2013 will witness the same category reaching newer heights. The right lenses combined with the lightweight and compact nature of mirrorless cameras makes them perfect for most photographers as a second body. Just like the more popular and versatile DSLRs seem to have replaced the large format cameras, the MILC might just become the sole camera in a photographers' kits.

Description: 2. The rise of mirrorless cameras (milc)

3.    Sound quality on DSLR and compact cameras

Earlier most digital compact cameras had a built-in mono mic which supported video recording. But over the years, most digital cameras (DSLRs/Compact Cameras/MILCs) adopted the stereo audio recording. With the availability of 5.1 audio channel technology, sound recording has reached a new level. Adopting a 5.1 channel sound recording using the built-in mic could just be the next big thing to complement the HD video recording.

Description: 3. Sound quality on DSLR and compact cameras

4.    Going the ‘app’ way

Technology has made it possible for phones and tablets to execute tasks nowadays that one could only do using a desktop computer or a laptop. With Android and ¡OS operating platforms for phones, photography has taken a new dimension. Other than the various apps which enable a user to click a picture with their phone, edit it (in the phone or tablet) and share it, there are a few that can be directly used with professional cameras and lighting equipment.

DSLR Controller - This app enables the user to control their Canon EOS DSLR from a phone or tablet through USB. The user can control functions of the camera like metering, AF mode, white balance and exposure compensation using a Live View mode.

Trigger trap Mobile - This app is an alternative to traditional triggers and offers more features at a fraction of the cost. Available on both Android and iOS platforms, a DSLR is connected with a specialized dongle cable via the phone's 3.5mm earphone jack to the camera's shutter release slot. This app has various modes such as time lapse mode, time warp mode, sound sensor mode, shock and vibration sensor mode, metal and magnetism sensor mode, face recognition mode, LE HDR Mode, distance lapse mode, motion detection mode, cable release mode, star trail mode, bulb ramping time lapse and many others.

Elinchrom Skyport Wi-Fi - One of the well-known names in camera lighting, Elinchrom isn't far behind in the app game. This app enables the remote control of Elinchrom FIX flash units from Apple mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It has features like adjustable frequency and group settings, up to 50m outdoor in Wi-Fi mode and up to a 100m in Skyport mode. Indoor it goes up to 20m in Wi-Fi mode and up to 40m in Skyport mode.

Adobe Photoshop Touch and Light room Photo editing is an imperative part in photography. Adobe's decision of launching their most used software, Photoshop and Light room, in the Android and ¡OS platform based tablets is definitely a start of a new trend. With tablets entering the market with better and faster processors, it's only a matter of time when most professional photographers will be using these touch based apps to edit their photographs.

Description: 4. Going the ‘app’ way

5.    A buttons free, intuitive interface

As awkward as it may sound, there is a high possibility that in the years to come, a camera is manufactured with limited or no interface buttons. With many new cameras loaded with the touchscreen feature, it is possible that it may just be the next trend in camera technology. Cameras may no longer require a shutter button, just tap the screen at the back and the photograph is recorded. It is expected to give the manufacturers an edge in design. With motion detection, voice control, gesture control etc., photographers can use a voice command, or simply wink or snap their fingers to tell the camera to click a photo.

Types of some of the newer and more user-friendly interfaces are already being witnessed in cameras like the Nikon S800c and the Samsung Galaxy camera. The future will probably see introduction of a lot more such devices.

Description: 5. A buttons free, intuitive interface

6.    Camera connectivity

The launch of Samsung and Nikon smart compact cameras in 2012 which feature 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity options have created a new benchmark in the camera industry. Similarly in the DSLR segment, Canon's EOS 6D with built-in Wi-Fi feature is the first of this kind. Now Wi-Fi enabled SD cards are available but you must be within a certain distance of an established network for the transfer of files to a computer to work. Having 3G built into cameras, DSLRs and point and shoots would allow for instant uploads to blogs, photo sharing sites and social media networks.

7.    Home printing

In the last few years, home printing has grown into a substantial segment. Initially, when home printing solutions were launched there was a serious concern over their use by most consumers eventually causing the slowdown of traditional lab printing. However, the cost of both consumables such as the ink and the print media was quite high, which didn't attract the expected volumes, in recent times, the print quality of home printers has drastically improved and there has also been a decrease in printer and consumable costs, leading to an increase in the popularity of this segment in the market.

In addition, new technologies, which enable printers to print metallic colors like gold and silver in 3D, are coming out. It might just happen that home printing becomes the next big thing in printing in 2013.


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