Every year I post a list of predictions relating to the photography industry. Lately, Ive been doing pretty well, but I still have room for improvement. This year, Im swinging for the fences. Ill either fail or succeed spectacularly. Some people will no doubt be angry at some of my predictions (what else is new?) and others may even agree with me. In any event, this is what I think will happen in 2012. Its not what I WANT to happen, just what I THINK will happen. Please note the difference. I might as well start with a big one.
1. A major camera maker in Japan will either fail as a company, face reorganization, bankruptcy, or be acquired by a larger company. While all the Japanese camera companies are having problems, Nikon and Olympus are least able to sustain long-term trouble but it may be some other company as well. As for Nikon and Olympus, each is a fraction of the size of Canon, not nearly as well diversified, and rely on fast turn on inventory for survival. Olympus is more diversified than Nikon. Only 16 percent of its revenue comes from cameras. With all the trials and tribulations in Japan and Thailand, all camera makers in Japan have had a rough go. Olympus is also facing a scandal related to fraud committed by executives over write downs. I really hope I am wrong about this prediction, but I am afraid I am right. (By the way, I am NOT predicting you won’t be able to buy a Nikon or Olympus camera next year. A change in business structure or even outright failure wouldn’t mean you couldn’t access cameras or parts for some time to come.)
2. Technology like that found in the Red Scarlet will become significantly less expensive and at the same time, more powerful.
3. Camera manufacturers will continue to create, market and sell cameras that are small in size, but yet produce images similar in quality to larger DSLRs.
4. Field cameras (like the Lytro) will get more buzz next year as more and more companies introduce the technology.
5. One of the major photo associations will fold in 2012.
6. Video and still photography will continue to grow closer to merging as programs like Photoshop start to support both.
7. We will see an announcement by a major camera manufacturer of the intent to ship cameras that contain micro SSD drives.
8. Apple will announce the end of life date for the MacPro. Laptops will be the new desktops and tablets will be the new laptops.
9. Professional photographers will need to find business models that better support electronic delivery or face disintermediation.
10. There will be a major failure in the cloud computing space that causes photographers (and other digital data users) to rethink storing valuable images/data in the cloud.
I am on record. Next year you can check my success/failure rate.