Let this sink in: Since 2010, digital camera sales have fallen from around 120 million to 40 million units. The main reason, obviously, is that consumers can fulfill most of their photography needs with a smartphone. That leaves manufacturers a small but profitable high-end market. Judging by what I saw at Photokina, however, Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Sony and Panasonic are all targeting that niche in different ways. Canon is still popular, judging by the throngs clamoring to try the new 5D Mark VI (and our Twitter poll).
This year has been the the busiest for cameras in a long while, with Nikon and Canon unveiling their much-anticipated Z6/Z7 and EOS R full-frame mirrorless cameras. That doesn't mean there won't be surprises and big launches, though. We might see some more full-frame mirrorless cameras, a new medium-format model and a lot more. Panasonic has never strayed from its Micro Four Thirds roots, but that could be about to change. It will reportedly be a prototype with non-final specs, and pack a new, high-resolution sensor.
If you're a photographer who fears change, 2018 might've shook you up. First Sony launched the A7 III, arguably the world's best full-frame camera, then Fujifilm released the X-T3, the top APS-C model you can buy right now. Right after that, Canon and Nikon launched all-new full-frame mirrorless systems with three new cameras, the EOS R, Z6 and Z7. To top it off, mirrorless video champ Panasonic announced it was diving into full-frame mirrorless as well with two new models, the S1 and S1R. This is the biggest upheaval in the camera industry for years and could have a big impact on your buying decisions.
Nikon first got into the interchangeable-lens, mirrorless camera game back in 2011. The J1 and the V1 stood out from the already-established competition with its smaller 1-inch sensor (compared to Sony's APS-C offerings and the Micro Four-Thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus available at that time). That small chip allowed Nikon's mirrorless cameras to look like larger compacts. That small size, however, meant that the bodies weren't really suited to accommodate Nikon's massive line of legacy lenses from decades of film cameras and DSLRs--at least not without an adapter. And even if you got an F-mount lens attached, the 1-inch sensor applied a 2.7x crop factor, which meant wide angle lenses didn't look nearly as wide.