Compacts take the lead
Photography isn’t going out of fashion, but the way in which we take photos is changing dramatically, writes Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson
TEN per cent of all photographs ever taken were captured in the past 12 months. It’s clear our love affair with photography continues unabated, which was demonstrated in Australia recently with more than 80 exhibitors showing off new camera and printing technology at the Digital Show in Melbourne.
But the means with which we capture these images is changing dramatically.
Film is out, digital is in, and smartphones are playing almost as big a part as dedicated cameras.
But amid the turmoil, one category of dedicated cameras is growing in popularity. Compact system cameras, also known as mirrorless or interchangeable lens cameras, are
enticing more Australians to put down their phone cameras and compose images in a more traditional way.
Olympus Imaging Australia marketing manager Kristie Galea said the challenge to traditional cameras was obvious.
Research by the firm showed 90 per cent of digital SLR camera users stopped using their cameras within six months of purchase due to their lack of convenience.
Smartphones, by contrast, are omnipresent and an easy photographic option.
“We, as a photographic industry, have to develop tools that deliver much better results than phone cameras,” Ms Galea said.
“Within the next 12 months we’ll see this [ compact system camera] market really open up.”
Compact system cameras are named for their small size, while retaining the ability to swap lenses and easily control depth of field.
The popularity of this type of camera is clearly growing in Australia, with the category claiming 14 per cent of the camera market in July, according to German research institute.
Olympus is planning to add to the market next month, introducing a new top model to its compact system line- up.
The Olympus OM- D EM- 1 is a 16.3- megapixel shooter with dual- autofocus that uses phase difference and contrast detection, a sharper built- in electronic viewfinder, and a new image processor for correcting chromatic aberration.
The EM- 1 will also capture up to 10 photos a second, change photo colours in Live View mode, and its body is built to resist water, dust and temperatures as low as - 10C. It will go on sale next month for $ 1599 ( body only).
But Olympus will be competing with a growing list of compact system rivals.
Fujifilm last week announced its fourth X- Series camera, the X- A1, with a 16.3- megapixel CMOS sensor, 330g body, and a quick processor with a half- second start time. It will go on sale for $ 849 next month.
Panasonic launched its new flagship CSC this month, the GX7, which offers built- in image stabilisation and a viewfinder, as well as a 16- megapixel sensor and 4.3- photos- per- second- shooting for $ 1249.
Nikon, meanwhile, is planning to take a different route, introducing a waterproof and shockproof camera to the burgeoning market.
The Nikon 1 AW1, due next month, can be taken up to 15m beneath the water’s surface, using two waterproof lenses, one 10mm lens and another 11- 27mm lens.
Nikon also promises the camera can be dropped from up to 2m, but whether any user will want to risk breaking the 14- megapixel shooter with a US price of $ 800 is yet to be seen.