20 for 2013 Photography Predictions

I like to let the other guys get their predictions out of the way first, so by the time you get to mine you're either a) completely cynical or b) looking for some honest non-vendor serving opinion. Whatever works for you :)

In no particular order...

  1. Instagram will continue to be very popular despite its complete flaunting of privacy and intellectual property because a) lots of people only take pictures to share and get compliments and b) lots of people like to take okay pictures and make them look old and crappy and call it art.
  2. The Point and Shoot camera market is dead.  The manufacturers know this and are hoping that you don't.  Mobile devices are now well beyond "good enough" for snapshots and the point and shoots have such tiny sensors that they can never achieve the image quality that a DSLM or DSLR can deliver.  P&S will continue to sell in vertical markets such as for those who don't have / want a smart mobile device, those who want a pocket camera solely for snapshots to share electronically or as 4x6 prints, for element protection, and for serious photographers looking to capture ideas for serious photographs.  But overall volume will plummet.
  3. Crossover cameras will continue to drag.  Nikon's Android experiment failed to launch.  The coming not really Polaroid, Polaroid won't be a huge success.  Android is a very powerful OS, perhaps overkill for a camera, and creates a lot of security risks because it is so hackable.
  4. DSLM cameras will be successful when they focus faster and more accurately particularly in low light.  Manufacturers will be working on improving power efficiency because right now, none of these devices are particularly battery friendly, certainly insufficient for a busy photo day.
  5. There will be more super high megapixel cameras this year.  Not because photographers actually NEED more megapixels but because manufacturers liked the success that they had in the last megapixel race.
  6. Printing will continue to be a small part of the photographic experience as tablet and web delivered portfolios replace prints more frequently.  The contrast to this will be those who pursue photography for personal joy who discover how wonderful a physical print is.
  7. Despite drops in wireless costs, and the increasing availability of very low cost WiFi interfaces, manufacturers will not drop the astronomical prices of their WiFi adapters for their high end cameras, preferring to rip off those customers who must have WiFi connectivity.
  8. WiFi will become a de-facto standard on all cameras, much like video.  And, much like video, while many will ask for it, complexity and inconsistency will make adoption very low.
  9. We will see an influx of next generation prime lenses to take advantage of the high quality, high megapixel density sensors appearing in mid to high end cameras.  Many of the primes in the market have been around for over ten years and won't deliver on the capabilities of the sensors.
  10. Medium and large format digital sensors will continue to act as a synonym for Highway Robbery.
  11. While most all cameras will have video, adoption of video will continue to be slow, albeit not as slow as in the past few years as accessory vendors stop dropping acid before setting ludicrous prices on milled aluminum gewgaws.
  12. As cool lighting continues to evolve, expect more powerful CFL bulbs to fit the existing enclosures to push more light and reduce issues with slow shutter speeds.
  13. Google+ will continue its march to become the de-facto social media outlet for photographers.  Despite changes at Yahoo, Flickr will not gain it's prior position and serious photographers will be jumping off Facebook and its properties through the year.  Twitter is already over.
  14. Manufacturers other than Sony will embrace the concept of "in app purchase" to add services at a surcharge to their camera.  Sony already have a slew of features for the NEX-6 that are not included with the camera but can be purchased as electronic downloads.  It's a practice that works and it is direct incremental revenue that completely bypasses the reseller channel.
  15. Individual photography stores will become more dependent on manufacturer funded rebate programs in lieu of internal "specials" as margins on gear erode and the last margins from photofinishing dry up.
  16. Photofinishing (the developing and printing of traditional film) will continue to disappear with the service becoming hard to find anywhere by the end of the year.  Even micro labs cost a lot money to run so prices will increase and turnaround times will also increase.
  17. Manufacturers will go with smaller production runs of models, shortening product lifecycles so they can get new gear out sooner, without having a glut of outdated gear on shelves.  An example of this problem held up the North American release of the Nikon D5200.  Expect lifecycle maximums of 24 months for DSLRs, sub 12 months for Point and Shoots.
  18. Memory card manufacturers will continue to release higher performance read/write capabilities on their cards, resulting in customer issues when their older cameras cannot use the newer cards.  This has already happened with Lexar's 800x and 1000x cards.
  19. Shorter lifecycles in products and rush to market will create an increase in electronic related failures in new products, particularly in the lower end making extended warranties on bodies a bit more viable, but falling prices will discourage buyers who come to see the devices as "disposable"
  20. Demographic differences will continue to fracture the feature delivery resulting in devices that only appeal to a certain demographic, creating model glut and customer confusion over too many models that are "almost" identical.

Ok that's it for now.  Speak soon.