Mirrorless had a big year in 2018, with many full frame entrants (4, or 10% of all cameras introduced), plus some good energy on either side of that size from Fujifilm. Lenses came in droves for mirrorless this year. I count 27 significant mirrorless-only lenses introduced this year (plus things like the Sigma Art series in FE mount adds quite a few more). 2019 is likely to be more of the same: lots of new lenses now that Canon and Nikon have to get their mirrorless foundries up-to-speed to match Sony.
Clearly, all the camera makers—other than Pentax, who’s still wandering around in the woods somewhere seeing if trees make noises when they fall—are going to be executing significantly in the mirrorless realm in the future. We’re now clearly into the DSLR-to-mirrorless transition period. How long that transition will take depends upon how fast the camera makers move.
My predictions are:
The whole camera market is moving up-market — just like the iPhone X line. We’ll see more capable, but expensive mirrorless camera bodies and better quality lenses. We’ll pay more but we’ll get a better product.
The low-end consumer cameras are dead. Advancement in smartphone cameras with AI will put a nail in that coffin. The market will refocus on the advanced amateur — amateur is defined as one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession — and professional market.
We have cheap bicycles for people who like to ride on cool spring/autumn days and we have more expensive (and capable) bicycles for cycling enthusiasts who ride 50–60km (one way) on the weekend (just because they can).
I agree with Thom’s analysis. I am in the market for a new ILC and feel that a 24MP sensor is what I want. But the current price tags of offerings from Fuji, Sony and Nikon have me feeling “cautious” and I don’t feel I need full-frame. APS-C is suitable for this hobby. Thom thinks $1000 is the right entry-point for a 24MP APS-C camera. I think I would spend close to $1600, especially if a 24-70mm (35 mm equivalent FOV) lens was included within the basic kit.
One final comment for the professional crowd: one of the on-going problems professional photographers have had in the digital age is that competent amateurs often are in the right place at the right time with entry bar cameras (i.e. ones that produce usable images for the media). If the bar is at 24mp full frame, that really means that the pros have to up their game considerably, as 24mp full frame is enough for a two-page magazine spread, even at high ISO values.
I'm normally very good at seeing both sides of issues, but I have to confess, I'm completely mystified that some people don't accept the idea that the camera you have with you can easily be the wrong camera. I don't get it. It seems so utterly self-evident to me. I'm not seeing the other side of the argument, this time.
I mean, I suppose you could say that I got something. But what's the use in that? So I have a souvenir of the picture I wanted but that I wasn't able to take? Something to take home as a reminder of my failure? I don't get that people don't get this.
I don’t normally give a hoot when someone says their smartphone camera takes great photos. Photography can be subjective and if the person is happy with the results, then I’m not one to suggest otherwise. But I’ve had more than a few moments where some at a public event or outing asks me why I have my “big” camera? Why not use a smartphone.
It’s hard to explain to them that while the smartphones have improved that quite often they can’t capture the photo I want. They are really snap shot cameras. They capture the moment, but I know I could do better. So yeah, sometimes I walk around with a more capable camera.