Numerology

With all the recent announcements, we're now going to have a Sony A1, a Canon R3, and a Nikon Z9 as top models. Apparently the Canon is three-times better than the Sony, the Nikon three times better than the Canon ;~). 

This, of course, introduces a real issue for Panasonic. They now need to call their eventual top end model the S27. Or will OM Digital Solutions beat them to the punch with an E-M27? 

Yes, camera naming is absurd. It's always been fraught with inconsistencies, skipped numbers, and unusual progressions. Sony now has "top" models at both ends of their numbering system in the A1 and A9, a plethora of A7's, and no logical place to put an entry full frame camera (A5? since when is the middle the bottom?). 

Canon's in worse shape, with an R, RP, R5 (current top), and R6. Nikon placed their bottom at 5, leaving themselves only five numbers to work with. OM Digital Solutions boxed themselves in a corner by not having a number lower than 1 to use for their highest end camera; enter the X factor. 

Every one of these companies had a chance to "start again" with their numbering—they all seem averse to naming—and then got the math wrong. 

Frankly, if you can't get the model numbering logical and ordered, it seems unlikely that you can get the camera capabilities logical and ordered. Moreover, not getting model numbers logically arranged appears to also indicate that the camera companies didn't see very far into their future when they started their current numbering schemes. Almost every camera maker is sending terrible signals to its customer base at the moment just in their numbering schemes (and don't get me started about Fujifilm's letters ;~). My take? None of them correctly anticipated exactly what their immediate model future might look like. Either that or they've been drinking too much sake in the naming meetings. 

The funny thing is this: there really are only two variables the camera companies are dealing with: (1) sensor size, and (2) model level. Nikon probably comes the closest to an understandable mirrorless naming structure at the moment (which in itself is a surprise): (a) two numbers are crop sensor, one is full frame; (b) higher number is better model. But again, they put their bottom model at a middle number for some reason, leaving themselves very little naming room. Moreover, where would a medium format or larger sensor camera go in such a system (0 numbers? ;~). 

I'll stick with my thesis here: the confused numbering systems show that the camera companies can't see into their future. At all. The Sony A1 (better than previously top A9) was just an opening salvo in the "dumb numbering" wars. We'll see worse. 


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