So, 2018 is soon to be over. What has it changed to our (photographic) worlds over the course of this year?
Are MF cameras really better (for some uses)? The answer would seem to be “yes”, as the Master of this House has declared undying love for the Hasselblad X1D. Problems with this are that, (a) though he at times came quite close, he hasn’t actually backed this up with money and bought it, and (b), he seems quite unmoved by other MF cameras (Fuji GFX 50, notably, but not only). So the power of MF is limited, it seems. A tease, perhaps?
Are oldies goldies? On the surface, again, the answer would seem to be “yes”, with delightful pictures produced with Leica M9, and even some with Sony NEX 7. Problem with this, though is that not all oldies are goldies. I looked back at my trip to Patagonia, shot mostly with twin Canon 5D II and III. Boy, does that make me love the colours of my A7R II (which Pascal loves to hate) even more!
Does printing matter? At face value, the answer would seem to be “no”, since many of you/us don’t do it. However, once Pascal did, he (a) produced incredible prints (at this stage with the help of a lab), (b) found out that many of you are involved, and (c) imagined his tremendous printswap program, which I can’t wait to be involved in.
Where to go for glorious photo opps? 2017 had beed a watershed year as world hot spots finally got so overrun with hordes of photographers/photo workshops as to be lame from saturation. Pascal and I tried to introduce the un-destination, but, in our heart of hearts, we knew those were a plan B. Well, 2018 brought good news. While the situation didn’t improve in the aforementioned hot spots (Iceland, Lofoten, Antelope Canyon, Venice, Namibia, etc.), trips to places that aren’t primarily photo destinations showed that they could yield glorious results. Think Japan, Provence, Sydney, Porto, South Africa, Glasgow, Buenos Aires. Gorgeous photos are more a state-of mind and an ability than a photo workshop, it seems.
What is the 2018 Camera-of-the-year? You think: here one that is sure to bring about a bloody fight? Sorry people, I rather think this was a consensus year. The 2018 COTY is… no, not the new Sony! No, not the new Nikon! Not the forthcoming Panasonic! Not the (remaining) Canon! It is all of the above! 2018 must go down as the Year of the Mirrorless. The year when all manufacturers agreed. Not only is mirrorless the camera of the future, it is the camera of the present! Which doesn’t mean DSLRs aren’t any good any more, either…
What is the 2018 lens-of-the-year? This one is tricky, because there are at least 2 opposing trends. One is that of very good, well-integrated, all-purpose, not overly fast/large/costly lenses, whether zooms or primes, OEM or third-party. Think Sony FE f:4.0 24-105G, Tamron FE 28-75 f:2.8, Nikon 24-70 Z f:4S, Nikon Z f:1.8 50mm and 35mm, Canon RF 35 f:1.8 macro, Zeiss Loxia 25mm f:2.4. Among others, so don’t flame me for not making that list longer. The other trend is that of ultra-fast lenses, whether zoms or primes. They are so spectacularly-specced that they earn the title of LOTY! Think Canon RF 28-70 f:2.0L (!) and 50mm f:1.2L, Nikon 58mm f:0.95 S Noct-Nikkor (!), Leica Noctilux M 75mm f:1.25 ASPH, Hasselblad 80mm f:1.9, Voigtländer FE and M 40mm f:1.2 and 50mm f1.2 as well as various not-hugely-expensive down to not-that-expensive offerings from Sigma, Laowa, 7artisans, SLR Magic. With this much fast glass avaialble, expect bokeh shots! 2019 will be the Year of the Bokeh Sluts!
What is the winning gear of 2018? The smartphone without a doubt. They keep getting better, and people keep getting better at making good pictures with them. So they keep gaining ground and eating into “real” cameras. Ugh! ’nuff said!
What does 2019 hold in store for us ? Of what is so difficult as a good forecast? And how easy it is to ridicule someone just by showing past forecasts! But here is what I see. The flurry, a wave actually, of new cameras was not the sign of a vibrant industry, as might be expected, but the last, desperate gasp of a dying one. Manufacturers felt they needed to do “something” to stop their fall in sales and profitability. That is usually the one step before the last. The last being being sell out, merge, or pull out. I expect we will see some of that next year.
Meanwhile, 2019 promises to offer us photographers more choice, better products and keener prices than ever before, as manufacturers compete for our orders. From all of us at DS, have a great 2019!
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