Have you been waiting for a year when a really cheap full-frame mirrorless camera will finally appear along with a set of affordable glasses? Or maybe you are a fan of the “megapixel war” who monitors the news every day in anticipation of a new 100-megapixel monster? Well, 2022 could be the perfect year for these and many more very exciting events in the photography world.
There are a lot of rumors on the net about new cameras that should be released in 2022, and some of them have already been officially confirmed. These include, for example, Panasonic GH6 and Canon EOS R5C. And we will talk about a little less obvious things that do not lie on the surface itself, and also take a look at general trends — where the industry is heading and what surprises can be expected in the new year.
100MP full frame camera
Oh yes, the pursuit of megapixels is far from over, and the cherished 100 megapixels is the new frontier that we can overcome in 2022. Ten years ago, we already saw an announcement from Canon, which talked about the development of a 120-megapixel sensor of the same size as used in the company’s full-frame professional DSLRs.
It’s time to see the finished camera — from the same Canon or, say, from Sony (which likes to surprise with unexpected camera announcements ahead of its time). 100MP seems like a logical step after the announcement a couple of weeks ago of the 45MP Canon EOS R5 C and the upgrade of the 61MP Sony a7R IVA, as well as the hype around 100MP smartphones (of course, we understand that these are not the same thing, but marketing is marketing.
If you think it’s too early to talk about a finished 100-megapixel camera, then we can definitely count on a ready-made 100-megapixel matrix. Most likely, it will not be multi-layered (such matrices provide a higher readout speed, and this, in turn, allows high-speed burst shooting and video recording with a high frame rate), but the number of megapixels alone will be enough to explode the media space.
New cameras without a mechanical shutter
Since we are talking about multilayer matrices, it is worth remembering one more of their advantages, which claims to change the rules of the game in the market. Multi-layer sensors with their high-speed readout allow the use of an electronic shutter with minimal rolling shutter effect, which almost does not distort the picture. And this, in turn, allows you to abandon the use of a mechanical shutter, which cannot compete with an electronic shutter in speed (to obtain ultra-short shutter speeds). Cameras without a mechanical shutter are the future of photography and videography.
In 2021, we have already seen such a camera: Nikon Z9. The release of Z9 was a big event — the camera has collected a lot of flattering criticism. You can read about how it competes with the flagships of other brands here.
The hype around the model was largely due to the lack of a mechanical shutter. So it’s likely that other manufacturers will follow Nikon’s lead.
Now the multi-layer sensors needed to abandon the traditional shutter are reserved for flagship models — a lot of resources are spent on the development and production of such sensors. The transition to models with only an electronic shutter will occur gradually. So we will definitely not see any radical revolution in the market in this respect in the new year.
Full frame for vloggers
There are a lot of rumors on the net that Sony is going to make a new affordable full-frame mirrorless camera like the Nikon Z5. The appearance of such a model looks very logical. But how do you like this turn: it will be a camera aimed primarily at vloggers. It will have handy streaming tools, a tilting screen, and other goodies of blogging cameras. In addition, you will get depth of field (which allows you to blur the background to highlight the subject) and image quality of a full-frame camera.
We’ve already seen the evolution of Sony’s blogging cameras from the 1‑inch sensor in the ZV‑1 to the APS‑C in the ZV-E10, so the final step towards full frame looks quite logical. In addition, in our rating of cameras for bloggers, there is clearly not enough of a truly blogging full frame! And it also seems that Sony is slowly but surely going to wind down, or at least seriously reduce its APS‑C line: last year it already announced the withdrawal of the a6100 from production, suspended orders for the ZV-E10 and a6600, and it seems that this is just the beginning of the transition to a full-frame exclusive.
Continuing the videography conversation (but now in a slightly more “pro” vein), it would be a crime not to say that an update to the flagship Panasonic DC-S1H full-frame hybrid camera is overdue, and 2022 is almost the perfect time to update. In light of the fact that the flagship Micro 4:3 camera, the GH6, is likely to be released in the near future, the release of the updated S1H at the end of the year would be very logical.
The Panasonic S1H is a real bestseller among all full-frame L‑mount cameras (combining Leica, Panasonic and Sigma). And you know what this bestseller is missing today? That’s right, a multilayer matrix. After all, all the significant shortcomings of the model (not counting, of course, weak autofocus, but if you are a hardcore videographer, this does not really concern you): restrictions on shooting at high frame rates, pronounced rolling shutter, 4K / 60p with crop — all these things could be would fix the matrix with fast reading.
And now a very pleasant forecast! Canon and Nikon simply have to release a whole line of affordable full-frame lenses (RF and Z mounts, respectively).
Both manufacturers already have a whole ecosystem of pro lenses that pair perfectly with the new Z9 and R3 flagship cameras — so here it is. Now companies need something to lure not only professional photographers, but also ordinary amateurs. Frantic inflation is also pushing for this, which makes most high-end technology inaccessible to enthusiasts / advanced amateurs.
Moreover, in 2021, companies have already launched a couple of “touchstones” — Canon RF 16mm f / 2.8 and Nikon Z 40mm f / 2 at very interesting price tags ($ 299 for each lens). Smaller aperture, lighter body, lower price tag — an excellent compromise formula for many of us.
Moreover, in light of the possible reduction in the APS‑C lines of both Canon itself (crop mirrorless cameras with an M mount) and Sony (as we talked about above), inexpensive full-frame mirrorless cameras with a good selection of inexpensive lenses will be needed by everyone.
What new items is Fujifilm preparing
Yes, the mastodons will likely cut their line of APS‑C mirrorless cameras, but there’s always Fujifilm! The X‑H2 is said to be on the way and should arrive in May this year. According to Fujirumors, the novelty will have a multilayer matrix.
If the rumors are true, it will certainly be a bomb: Fujifilm X‑H2 is expected to cost in the region of $2,500 — half the price of all current “multi-layered” offerings from competitors.
On the other hand, there is a real possibility of a Micro 4:3 camera with a multi-layered matrix (more on that below), so the X‑H2 could have an interesting rival. In any case, Fuji should support crop cameras in a world that full-frame monsters enslave.
2021 has been a great year for drones aimed at videographers of all levels, from the pro Mavic 3 to the budget DJI Mini SE. In the new year, we are sure to expect a full-fledged 8K drone from DJI (the third Mavic was limited to 5.1K) and an autonomous budget AI drone (like Skydio), sharpened for simple video blogging.
Will there be new DSLRs in 2022
And many say that 2022 will be the end of SLRs. In many ways, of course, such sentiments appeared after Canon’s announcement that the EOS-1D X Mark III was their last flagship pro DSLR. But let’s not breed myths — the Japanese say that this is the last mirror flagship, and not that they will stop making DSLRs altogether. And, yes, most likely we are still waiting for new SLR cameras.
Of course, these will not be fancy models with all sorts of innovations, but something simple, basic and cheap, such as the updated Canon EOS 850D and Nikon D3500. There are still a lot of old parts in warehouses, such models are easy to make, and the production itself is well established. Throw in supply chain issues and chip shortages.
Inexpensive DSLRs are still selling well, despite the slow approach of the “smartphone apocalypse”. So add a couple of small updates, change the number in the name (which, in fact, the main manufacturers have been doing in the last few years), and the new budget DSLR is ready.
Balancing on the brink: who will leave the photo and video market, and who will remain
And now let’s see who is at risk of leaving us in the near future, and who, despite the difficulties, will definitely stay on the market.
- Full-frame Sigma (fp L, foveon) — frankly, Sigma cameras (both on their own matrices and on third-party ones) have been in a state of stagnation lately, and given the growing competition, we are unlikely to see new products in 2022, and possibly and in general.
- Canon EOS M — we have already talked about this: most likely, Canon will concentrate on developing a really cheap full-frame model, while the crop system will go by the wayside, or even the third plan.
- Nikon Z APS‑C — but these guys are likely to stay. There’s been talk of a new superzoom, and the Nikon Z fc has been a pretty interesting entry into retro compact mirrorless territory, so we’re sure to see something new.
- Go Pro — the legendary “boxes” will definitely remain for a few more years, but the action camera market itself is gradually collapsing — new cameras appear less and less, more and more manufacturers cease to exist. So Go Pro as we know it is unlikely to be with us for long. The company needs radical innovation and a rethink of the concept of an action camera.
- Pentax are the only guys that are still trying to make cool innovative DSLRs, and even with a great fan base. We believe in them.
- Leica is another company that has been able to create a cult following around itself. Well, with such a skill of selling not the most innovative cameras for such money, it seems that Leika is immortal.
- Micro 4:3 — Given the imminent emergence of the new Micro 4:3 multi-layer sensor (developed by Sony) and the prohibitive cost of current multi-layer sensors cameras and optics, the emergence of more affordable Micro 4: 3 format models (for which there are a lot of quality cheap lenses) can breathe new life into the system. Plus, attempts to cross computational photography technologies with this format (Alice Camera, which is funded through crowdfunding) further fuel interest in Micro 4: 3.
2022 will definitely not be boring. The arms race of the main manufacturers does not even think of slowing down, smartphones are powerfully crushing the mass market, and Pentax is probably preparing a surprise for us — we are waiting for unexpected but pleasant turns in the new year.
* when preparing the article, materials from the Youtube channel DPReview TV were used.