Usually, By This Time...

In the last two decades, January has usually provided us with a plethora of new cameras, and because of the home field CP+ trade show in Japan being held at the end of February (or in early March sometimes), we also usually get a huge dollop of rumors by now, as well.

This year?

Canon R5 C, Leica M11, and a lot of 2020 and 2021 product that tends to be out of stock. Panasonic's GH6 seems to have had a longer gestation time than expected. CES (Consumer Electronics Show) came and went with no new cameras. Ditto Imaging USA. 

Oh, a few rumors exist. Mostly OM Digital Systems launching their new "wow" camera at CP+ in late February, and Fujifilm going stacked APS-C sensor in May at their next Fujifilm X Summit (but curiously, not in January on their X (10th) X-iversary; guess they're going to celebrate all year ;~). 

If you dig around in the rumor outlet malls, you might find hints at three Canon, two Nikon, and two Sony cameras for 2022. But that's awful meager diggings. All total 2021 produced only a bit more than a dozen new mirrorless cameras (do we count the same camera introduced with a few different parts due to supply chain issues?). Canon only had one mirrorless announcement in 2021, Nikon two, with Sony being the prolific player at five (though two of those were those different parts users). 

The strange thing is that the final 2021 numbers for interchangeable lens camera sales appear to have come in around 5.4m units (2020 was 5.3m), and that was despite the parts shortages, the supply chain, and the shipping issues that came up. The whispers in the business press in Tokyo indicate that every camera maker thought they could have sold significantly more cameras in the year had they had them to sell. Canon had originally forecast that units should hit 6m in 2021, so there was a clear shortage that impacted everyone. 

Meantime, the average selling price of the units that were sold in 2021 went up. That's clearly because the camera makers shifted to higher margin products as they started having to ration parts and shipping. Yes, it's also because the meat of the market the camera makers want you consuming is full frame mirrorless. It's not surprising that Sony shut down virtually all their APS-C production but almost none of their full frame manufacturing when the squeeze hit them. 

I've heard of things being prototyped and tinkered with from all the camera makers well beyond what it seems like we're going to see announced this year. For example, it appears that Canikony is rethinking APS-C at the moment, but not really ready to commit to anything. 

Basically, 2022 is looking more and more like the year of US$2000 and up. Nikon's good with that. They already committed to a smaller unit volume of higher end products. Sony's pretty happy with that, as they have a full line of products sitting in that range that are regularly inching upward in tech, and thus staying competitive. 

As we wait for the COVID-ravaged tech industry—other than Apple—to get back fully on their feet, it's probably a good time to just go find somewhere 6' (2m) away from others where you can practice your photography with what you've got (and what you could augment it with that's still in stock in stores today). That's what I'm trying to do, though weather and a few other bits of fate are trying their best to stop me.

So if it seems a little quiet in the sans mirror world at the moment, you're correct, it is. 

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