Despite smartphones, digital cameras are still in demand
Yes, digital cameras are still a thing, despite the impressive imaging capabilities of today’s high-end cell phones.
When I began my annual camera survey in mid-November, I expected to once again see a sharp decline in the variety and number of models for sale, driven in part by changing technology, but also by the continuing throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, now approaching its third anniversary. .
However, as I write, I already have just over two hundred camera models and packages listed on the survey website, with more likely to be added. At this point, I’m still ahead of the hoopla of Black Friday sales, I’m just under last year’s number and will likely match or even surpass it by the end of the year.
Again, then, here’s a rundown of my annual survey of digital cameras for sale in the Vancouver area, something we’ve been doing in this space since 2002, and in a slightly simpler form, way back in 1996, when a sub-megapixel camera cost about $1,000.
As in the past two years, I was surprised by the number of camera models left over from the previous year’s list, certainly more than 80 percent. Some of the new models appear to be little more than modifications and rebrands of last year’s models. As was the case a year ago, prices seem to be rising from the previous year’s, sometimes even significantly higher. Buyers need to be careful though, as some stores seem to be once again showing discontinued models as recent.
Those who develop an interest in photography through their experience with today’s high-end smartphones tend to move on to advanced digital cameras, bypassing mostly the point-and-shoot or compact models that once dominated the market.
Although the camera market has long been dominated by the two big companies, Canon and Nikon, there is an argument that the new two big companies are Sony and Fuji. They both have a wide variety of products, and it wasn’t until recently that Johnny came into the field.
The title of a recent article emphasizes Fuji’s successes. The parent company indicated that it was temporarily cutting orders for the hugely popular X100V camera, which is the fifth generation of that model. According to the company, it simply could not keep up with demand. And that’s for a camera with real dials and grips that retail in the $1,700 range here in Canada. Video blogging and video blogging on platforms like TikTok are driving demand.
Here are some of the cameras that are a hit with vloggers: Sony ZV-1 and ZV-1F, Nikon Z30, GH5 / GH6 units from Panasonic and ZV-E10 from Sony. Vloggers demand high-quality video at 4K/30fps or better, a bright lens, and a sensor that makes background defocus easy.
For those considering taking a step up from still photography or mobile vlogging, check out our dedicated one-page website, https://vandigicams.ca. Updates are made every day until January 6th. Links to surveys from previous years are also provided to enable price comparisons.
The cameras on the site are primarily those advertised on retailers’ websites and from print advertisements in major Vancouver daily newspapers, and in flyers accompanying regional community newspapers.
Prices on the site, rounded to the nearest $5 increment, are the lowest found in the November-December survey period, which often occurs in mid-November. If you decide to buy a unit on the listing, you may be able to convince the salesperson to return the price to the previous low point if it has gone up in the meantime.
One line is dedicated to the individual cameras and camera packages in the survey at https://vandigicams.ca. Each listing links to the corresponding manufacturer’s website for full specifications for that camera. Along with the camera sensor’s megapixel rating, there’s an optical zoom value, an overview of about a half-dozen features, and “street” pricing for up to three local retailers.
This year’s survey is again dominated by the 24MP sensor category, most with units from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony accounting for just under 40 percent of the cameras, followed by 20MP units with slightly lower resolution. a fourth. Together, these two categories account for two-thirds of all cameras in the survey. The once-dominant ’16 class has fallen to fifth place. The remaining 20 percent or so of the survey is broken down across categories that stretch from 12 all the way up to an impressive 100+ MP.
As in years past, the survey identified several cameras as the best money can buy, an ideal combination of features and price within a given category. When considering buying a camera, check the manufacturer’s website (they’re all listed at the bottom of the survey site) to make sure the model is still up-to-date.
Do you want to get a cheap and fast shooting digital camera? The cost of the Canon ELPH 360 with a 3-inch screen is about $ 300. A digital single lens reflex (DSLR) prime camera such as the Canon T7 with basic kit lenses can be had for around $600. At the other extreme, you’ll find a 102MP unit from Fuji, stock from last year, for about $13,000, and a 50MP Hasselblad for $21,000. If you really want to get away, there’s a $30,000 Leica unit dedicated to music photographer Lenny Kravitz.
Are you looking for a durable camera? The Olympus TG-6 (shockproof, antifreeze, waterproof, dustproof and shatterproof) is still popular. Sony and Ricoh also offer rugged units. Prices range from $400 to nearly $1,000, the latter for a unit designed for harsh environments.
For a solid general-purpose camera, how about something like the Nikon P950 with an incredible 83x zoom lens. Priced in the $1,000 range, this unit takes good outdoor shots and quite acceptable indoor ones as well, something lower-cost units often lack. Its successor, the P1000, is the first unit to pass on 100× magnification, offering an astounding 125×, for about $1,300.
Some other manufacturers still offer higher magnification models in their lineups. Examples include Panasonic’s FZ80 (60×, $400), and Canon’s SX70 (50×, $800). However, Panasonic may be nearing the end of the road as a camera supplier, at least for its line of point-and-shoot units. It looks like the company may instead turn its attention towards mirrorless camcorders like the GH lineup.
Want to pack a DSLR with two lenses, say a 3x primary zoom and a telephoto? Canon and Nikon used to have many of these bundles around the $600 mark, but those are mostly gone for 2022. This year you might consider, for example, a Canon T7 bundle with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses at $720 dollars, the same price as last year.
MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras) units have now far surpassed DSLRs in popularity. Canon’s EOS M and R lines are good examples, as are Sony’s Alpha lineup and Nikon’s Z lineup.
There are even indications that new DSLRs may not appear anymore. Canon and Nikon were late to join the MILC party, which was dominated first by Fuji and, to a lesser extent, Olympus and Sony. MILC units account for nearly 65 percent of the listings in this year’s survey (up from 40 percent two years ago). DSLRs, by contrast, are down to just 15 percent.
Do check out this year’s survey list. https://vandigicams.ca. You’ll find cameras at every price point, from a few hundred dollars to $10,000 and more. Among them, you’ll find cameras equipped with Wi-Fi, GPS, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch screens, and many other features and technologies. Digital cameras are still a real thing.
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