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Trends in the photoindustry for 2018


Trends in the photoindustry for 2018

Do you want to buy a new camera or new lenses after Christmas? Then you should enter here in a discussion and see, whether it might be worth for you to wait a little bit before wasting your money on the wrong equipment.

I want to use the time at the end of the year to reflect about what the photo industry achieved until now and what I do think will be the trends for the year 2018. Feel free to post your own ideas in this thread.

1. What happened over the last 5 years?

We had a turbulent time over the past 5 years. The sensor technology advanced so much, that even the smallest camera was able to achieve “good enough” results for the masses. I am not only talking about P&S. Even smartphones gave many people good enough results.

We reached a kind of “plateau” in sensor technology around 2012 until 2017. See also the discussions about sensor sizes:

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and whether sensor size matters:

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and how big/heavy the different systems are:

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As I reported from Photokina 2016, it was obvious, that the industry tried there new ways of differentiation, just because the image quality was so close to each other and even with the cheapest product in the product line “good enough”. So they tried to improve on usability, user experience and “look”.

These improvements were good for the users. But it has a flipside. The whole change in industry came at the price of increasing prices to compensate for the lower unit sales of each camera brand, because many old customers simply did not need any more something better than their smartphones. Sales plumbed dramatically.

At the same time, mirrorless cameras improved dramatically in areas like viewfinder resolution, battery consumption, viewfinder refresh rate and blackout time, autofocus etc.. Also available lens choice improved dramatically (Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus etc.). So the disadvantages of MLU compared to DSLRS disappeared one by one with its current peak at the new Sony A7RIII and the effort Canon put into their MLU-APS-C system.

We see Olympus and Panasonic to target more seriously the professional market, which is normally covered by Nikon and Canon in the past. Not only with bodies like the Olympus EM1MkII or Lumix G9 or Lumix GH5. Also with new “Pro lenses” with F1.2 apertures and weather sealing.

And we have Hasselblad and Fuji which offer now Medium Format at a price level, nobody would have hoped for a couple of years ago.

2. What will happen in 2018?

In 2016 we saw probably the last efforts in high-specialized DSLR products, i.e. a DSLR for sport photographers, another DSLR from the same brand for nature photographers etc.

With the new Sony A7RIII and the new Nikon D850, both products of 2017, we see now cameras, which are able to cover all areas of photography with no shortcomings at all.

I see this as a trend indicator for 2018. The different brands cannot afford anymore to split in a shrinking market their sales volume in too many products, which do not differentiate enough. So Nikon will have to stop for example the old strategy of its 3xxx and 5xxx line.

We also see that all brands try to sell more of the more expensive products. Or even easier, they simply raise the prices of new models without adding a lot new stiff to it ;)

So expect fewer models of each brand to be released each year, but often with more “all-around-capabilities” at higher prices. The exception might be 2018 as a one-time effect.

Why this exception in 2018? I do think that 2018 will be the year in which we will see a dramatic “product release wave” of Canon and Nikon to enter the MLU market more seriously. With both, APS-C and fullframe models. They will shift their efforts from DSLR to MLU and DSLR will be kept alive without investing a lot until demand dies. Like Sony did it in the past.

Photokina, the biggest photo fair worldwide, will be in September 2018 in Germany. Other fairs like the CP+ will be in March 2018. So this is the best year to announce new products. They cannot afford to wait longer. Especially Nikon lost already too much market share by doing and communication nothing regarding MLU.

So I expect from Canon and Nikon MLU announcements which may make it for you a better strategy to wait before you buy a DSLR or a DSLR-lens. If you do not absolutely need a lens or a body right now, you will only loose money in the long run, if you buy now.

What about the other brands? If you are looking for Fuji, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Hasselblad etc., which all offer already MLUs, you are on the safe side. Check any kind of promotions and the typical rumor sites to be up-to date about new models. But the lens mount will not change and this is the most important part if you invest in a system.

3. Brand specific

It is obvious that Fuji needs soon to replace its X-t2 and X-Pro2 in 2018. Rumors say that there will be even another body called H1 with IBIS.

Olympus has also some bodies that need a replacement. Basically all bodies with a 16MP sensor need to be upgraded by Olympus to at least 20MP sensors. Maybe they will have in the future less models. Or they do it the “Fuji way”: 4x the same inside, only the design of the body changes. This is good for both, brand and customer. It keeps costs down and still the user can pick the model he likes the most.

Panasonic showed that they really have plans to kick the industry in the b…. The GH5 is class leading in Video for all video camera below 10.000 USD. But it costs only a fraction of that price. The upcoming Lumix G9 is the Nikon D500 killer. I handled it already and was very impressed. A GH5s in in the rumor mill to be announced in January. Seems to be the same strategy like Sony with its A7s.

But Panasonic will also address the enthusiast market in 2018. They would be dumb not to do that. So expect a GX8 and GX80/85 successor. I do not know whether they will offer again DSLR shape cameras beside the G9/GH5. There is no need for this. This makes it only unnecessary big. They have now the G9 for that. They would differentiate more with a “rangefinder style” body.

My dream is of course a successor of the GM5. But since the total numbers of different models have to go down in a shrinking market, it will be unlikely. Except again, they make also the “Fuji strategy”.

Same as for Olympus, I expect the new 20MP MFT sensor the new standard in all Panasonic models, if not even more.

Panasonic is for me the biggest winner in 2018, except Nikon would be able to launch very competitive MLU products at VERY competitive prices. Not these dream prices of the Nikon 1 system ;)

So we are at Nikon. I do not understand Nikon. I guess nobody does. Nikon proved with its Nikon 1 system, that they are able (before Sony, Fuji et allii) to implement an excellent AF system in a tiny MLU system. Great optics in that system (but too heavy). It should be for them very easy to offer a APS-C and FF MLU system with a new lens mount, that blows Sony, Fuji et alii away. But it seems they need to loose even more market share to make their come-back appear even more dramatic :z04_head_wall:

For me it is obvious, that they have to introduce a new lens mount for all their MLU systems to maximize the benefit of an MLU system. Except for the Nikon 1 system, which has already its own lensmount. Do not worry, there will excellent adapters from Nikon available which are compatible with AF and metering. They had that already with the Adapter FT-1 for the Nikon 1 system for all Nikon DSLR-lenses.

Canon. They are in a good position. They offer already MLUs for APSC sensors. They will add FF MLUs.

Sony. They will do what they always do. Hopefully it works also for us :uhoh:. My guess is a replacement of the A7 and A7s.

Hasselblad. That is tricky. If I would be responsible, I would try to offer in the long run more products in the X1D range, but cheaper. Offer less pixel if that is possible and helps to reduce costs. Try to get the enthusiast as your customer. This is where the money can be earned in the future. The X1D is IMHO a great camera. But Hasselblad is a small company and I have no inside knowledge whether they are able to offer many different products at the same time. Bear in mind they also have the H and the V system. So 3 systems for which you always have to be up to date is not that easy.

We can expect lenses as communicated in their roadmap. But a “little brother” for the X1D? Who knows…

Pentax. This is also very difficult. The last products have been either very specialized (K1) or simply same same but different. Marketing/ communication seems to be absent. So what shall we think about this attitude? I do not expect anything exciting from them in 2018 unfortunately.

But please make at least a REAL Ricoh GR successor!

So what do you think? I would be interested in your opinion about the trends for 2018.


Active Member
I'll keep what I have and try to use more. I have lots of cameras and lenses, from compacts like the Fuji X30 and Panasonic LX100 to DSLRs like Pentax K3-II and Sigma SD1 Merril and some mirrorless ones Pana Gx7, Oly E-M10, Fuji X-E2 and Fuji X-T1. Not counting the film cameras haha...

This is of course a LOT more than I really need and to be very honest, I need to sell things instead of even think to buy another camera.

I really don't like to try to catch the rainbow's end. What I need is to get the most from what I already have and try to avoid money waste.

For my kind of photograpy I'm plenty happy with a 16 MP sensor and a good lens.

I'm completely cured from photographic equipment GAS =)


IFF (If & Only IF) I saw a Nikon @ over 50 mP and Mirror-less with the "F" mount I'd consider new. In the meantime my investment in Fuji XPro2 & Nikon D850 will do.




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Sounds familiar to me :z04_bier01:

I am torn between selling all except one small system and the other option of having one small system for travel and a medium format camera with 2 lenses for the other moments in life.

When I looked at what I want to sell this year and what I might want to buy next year, I just realized that 2018 will be probably the year of the big shift from DSLR to MLU at all brands. Without Canon and Nikon, this would be a very slow process. But as soon as they do it too in all product lines for their newest models, it will go a lot faster. I mean who still remembers a Sony A900?

This is why I put some thoughts here together.


Active Member
A bit off-topic ...

Sometimes I also carry a medium format camera, but a film one, usually a Fuji GA645 Pro. It's small and have a very impressive lens. I also like to play with my old Zeiss folder =)

"old" is relative. Today I think that if you like the results, you don't need to bother about your gear.
Two days ago I almost (by one click) boutght a Fuji X-E3 but then I turned my eyes to my dry cabinet full of stuff and I gave up instantly...


I am quite slow to change. I bought the Canon 650D in 2013 and was very pleased with it. However, when the 70D came out I only lasted 6 months before I bought one. Finding an interest in videography, I decided that two cameras were required and, rather than two different cameras, I bought another 70D and sold the 650.

This worked well for my wedding photography business as I was able to complement the 70D pair with two sigma lenses: A 17-50mm f2.8 DC OS and a 50-150mm f2.8 DC OS - both are tack sharp and give me the focal lengths I need for cropped sensors - the 24-70 and 70-200 were just wrong for me.

On the video front I invested heavily in the Canon STM lenses to assist in auto focus and pulling focus and I have shot two weddings and some promotional and product shorts. I have not been disappointed with the results.

To satisfy my 'old school' leanings I have an old 5D which I use with 24, 35 50 and 85 f1.4 sigma lenses, some of them 'Art', some of them original.
I can see nothing over the horizon in 2018 that will tempt me to change my collection. The 12.2 Mp of the old 5D is still good for portraits and landscapes and the 20Mp of the 70Ds is plenty for the time being, too. In fact, I have just bought a 100D because it was a bargain on eBay and I will use this for when I don't want to carry much. It's close enough to the 70Ds to use as a roving camera while I use the other 70D as a second static camera for doing interviews or just to provide a different angle.

One new thing I will have and that is a Sigma 100-400mm f5-6.3 DG OS 'C' so I can sell my 150-600mm 'C' lens, which is too heavy.
The compliments of the season to everyone!


Active Member
Maybe, only maybe, I'll consider a Pentax K1 just because of some very cool K-mount lenses from old times. But not before selling something.


New Member
What I see for 2018 is degradation of simple photography to appease the consumer that wants to use a camera like a cell phone.
The multi tasking camera is becoming a tool to be used as a device to coexsist with the cyber community. When the camera becomes this tool simple photography will no longer be the focus of manufactures. The desire for simple photography is evident in the resurgence of the vintage camera and use of film but the manufactures will not recognize this.
This comment is no way to detract from those who use digital photography as a form of artistic expression and communication in the cyber community, It is only how i see the direction of the manufactures and the cameras that they will be providing is directed.


I'm with Dirk, not buying anything until Nikon shows its hand. I shoot Nikon for stills and Lumix for video (professionally), because I find SLRs inconvenient for video.

I would have been happy if Nikon had released a D7200 or 750 with the optical viewfinder replaced with an electronic one, so video, review and menu can be monitored without taking my eye from the viewfinder while shooting both video and stills.

I did invest in Nikon 1, and thought it was a good idea and the way of the future, but despaired with everyone else by the idiosyncratic execution of the concept. All they had to do was use a first class sensor in a body that was fully integrated into the Nikon system with uncrippled lens adaptor, full CLS flash compatibility and sensible camera controls.

Instead, we got weird little things that only a mother could love. I'm finding the Lumix equipment excellent for video, but not tough enough for hard professional field use, and the stills are a bit grainy unless you work the raw files hard in post, which there is not always time for.

So, Aunty Nikon, bring on a body or two with electronic viewfinder that is as tough as old Nikons, fully compatible with the F-system and CLS flash, conventional in design and control, so we can switch between our existing bodies and it without fumbling, and don't gouge the price.

That's all we ask!


New Member
My Nikon D610 (older D7000 backup body) and a bevy of Nikon glass cover all my magazine shooting.
My Leica Q is perfect for street, vacation and family shooting.
My only need is a full frame fast medium zoom (28-70) that's lightweight and doesn't break the budget.
I'm using the old Tokina 28-70 AT-X that just doesn't cut it by today's standards.


Well-Known Member
I'm also holding out for Nikon's hand in a mirrorless camera. Problem is it needs to be FF; due to the number of perfectly good glass in my cabinet. So if Nikon comes out with a FF and an adapter for it's F-mount legacy I'm diving in; providing it costs 1500 to 2500 USD. If they want to go against Sony's A7R III for a mirrorless head to head, then I'll probably be priced out of the game. If they come out with a lower cost Sony A7 series competitor then maybe I'll have a chance. I'm not counting on Canon, but anything can happen in 2018.

A Fuji GFX-50s would be nice but that will only remain in my dreams. I don't think the XT-2 or X-Pro2 will be updated so soon in 2018 as they will release a stabilized model which they will need some customer feedback before proceeding to upgrade the XT or XPro series. And for those who are dreaming for a FF X just let it go, their lens ecosystem for APS-C will keep them there for some generations to come (they're not Sony you know).

Hasselblad has a lot of work cut out for them to get out of the hole they dug for themselves back in the Sony fiasco if they want to compete in the prosumer / enthusiast market or even in a niche like Leica. Being owned by DJI doesn't help any and may even hinder their rebound.

If none of my plans pan out, I'll just continue to shoot with my Contax RTSII; still waiting for Kodak to release their retro Ektachrome.


I wrote about trends in the photoindustry and what in my opinion will happen in 2018 back in December 2017 (
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). Now lets see what happened 9 months later. It seems I was right with my estimations. So how does it look like now after the announcement of the Nikon Z system, a few weeks before Photokina?

Once Nikon and Canon have disclosed all details and first real life reviews about their MLU FF AF, EVF and image quality to have it more transparent, the market will shift dramatically IMHO. All cards are then on the table from the major players. Sony, Nikon and Canon with fullframe DSLRs and fullframe mirrorless options. The MLU options will be enlarged over the time from all 3.

Sony and Canon have at the same time already APS-C mirrorless systems. I expect Nikon to release a DX mirrorless body too. Either within the Z-system mount or as an own independent mirrorless lens-mount system.

Once we have all details about the newest products of those 3 big players, the other players have to reavaluate in which way they can differentiate enough to be able to sell well against those 3 alternatives. The size and the price of the Nikon Z6 is in my view a kind of restriction for all others. Nobody wants to offer something more expensive if it only has simlar features. So expect new very competitive models (price, features and size) from Sony, Canon and all the smaller players like Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic etc.


Nikon just announced the Nikon Z series, a fullframe mirrorless system before photokina. A huge lens mount which shall make small lenses with excellent image quality easier to design. Maybe also to fit an MF sensor in it one day?

I expect simlar to the A7 variation strategy from Sony the same for Nikon and Canon. So in my opinion, the Z6 and Z7 of Nikon is only the starting point and there will come even more bodies over and under those models. Same body, different tec inside. The only restriction is the capacity at which Nikon is able to design and produce those models and the required lenses for it and how well the equivalent DSLR options are still selling (i.e. D5 etc.)


Same as always. New generation of A7 models if needed. Depending on the quality of the competitors products (Nikon and Canon)


As rumors are telling us, Canon will follow with their own fullframe mirrorless system later this year to get more attention to it in the media. I am sure Canon will also announce new M-models.

But what are the smaller players doing now?


Fuji has to be cautious with their next X-T3 model. The XT2 is as big as the Z6, the Fuji lenses are often not as small as some of you might think. As soon as you want to have telephoto or zoom, it is getting really big and Nikon was able to launch the new P telezoom which are really small, light with fast AF and very good image quality.

The XH1 is even bigger that the Z6. So Fuji needs a kind of XT3 which is smaller (at least not bigger) and definetly cheaper than the XT2 at launch price. See size comparisons with the Nikon Z6:




If I would be Fuji, I would lower the price of the XT3 dramatically at launch and offer asap a small wideangle zoom and a small telezoom i.e. a 50-150/F4 which has to be smaller than the XC50-230 zoom and the WA zoom smaller than the 10-24 zoom. Maybe by just liiting the WA range more.


As expected, Panasonic released the GX9 in 2018. A mixture between GX80/85 and and GX8. Nice, small size, but not in all dimensions the latest innovations included as in the G9, which was launched end of 2017 in a significant bigger body. Olympus was even more hesitant.

If I werePanasonic/ Olympus, I would shift my focus now completely on smaller bodies and lenses. Small and light. This is the main strenght of the MFT system with its smaller sensor. Noone else from the competition can achieve that in this way, because everyone else is limited by the size of the bigger sensors. A smaller sensor is an advantage here. Play that advantage.

At the same time it is not done yet with a smaller body. To convince someone to buy into that system with smaller bodies and lenses, the bodies also have to offer the latest technology inside. So the inside of the G9 in a bodysize of a GX9 and/or GM5. Improve the EVF. Improve the AF for video and sports. Include a Mic input. Then it will sell like hot cakes.

If you look at the size differences i.e. between a Panasonic G9 or Olympus EM1 MkII vs. a Nikon Z6 and look at the sensor sizes, you will see immediately, that you can not win that battle with bodies of these sizes. Small is beautiful. Small is the way to make profit, sell in volumes and increase market share. See the comparison in sizes:





Same goes for the lenses. Focus on small lenses. Add water resistance, improve image quality (i.e. PL25/1.4). Add an aperture ring to it (see PL 25/1.4). But do not make them bigger!


Still, I do not have a clue. No marketing message. Only silence. I still hope for a Rico GRIII though.


Same like Pentax. Communication is obviously not their strenght. I guess there will come a successor of the X1D with bigger sensor. But the roadmap announced in 2017 is not fullfilled for the planned 2018 lenses and there is no indication what is going on there.

I would have expected more in that price range and for that old and traditionall company. Times are changing. If you do not adapt to change and do not try harder you will be at some point only history. Minolta, Contax, Rollei, Mamiya etc. have shown this.

So this is my very personal view on this for the next months.

But what do you think?

Did your opinion change since last December? What will you do?


An update on my previous post:
I was delighted with the SL1 at first as it is light and compact, but soon the comparisons with my 70Ds could not be ignored. The flip out screen, the dual AF and a few others niggled me so when I saw a 200D with STM kit lens and 64Gb fast card on ebay I had to bid and got it for £360! So now I am happy with my gear and find it sufficient to feed my interest for at least a couple of years more.
I try not to worry about trends and, although I do like to buy new gear, see nothing coming up to interest me enough to spend any more money.