Before we celebrate the big ball drop tonight, I wanted to take a look back at what 2019 was like for photographers. While the year as a whole showed a downturn in camera sales — with a report by LensVid showing the market has collapsed by 84% since 2010 — camera manufacturers pressed on. And going into 2020, I’m pretty happy with the direction the industry is going, even though lower sales will surely continue in today’s smartphone era.
With every new year comes excitement about what’s next for the photography industry. Olympus took the first jump, announcing the OM-D E-M1X camera body. While it was received with mixed reviews from users due to its large size, the camera filled a hole in Olympus’ lineup and put itself up against the major camera brands. Offering a pro-level feature set, the E-M1X has since become my camera of choice.
Sony also announced the a6400, with Real-time Eye autofocus, while ON1 released Photo RAW 2019.2, which added an AI Quick Mask tool. We also got our hands on the new Lume Cube Air, a small, portable LED light that could be used virtually anywhere.
Top article: The advantage of Auto ISO, by Mike Hagen
Also in February, Adobe released a Lightroom update that brought the Enhance Details feature to the software, which let users increase the resolution of photos by up to 30 percent. LUMIX also gave a sneak peek of its upcoming full-frame S series cameras. Finally, Canon released the EOS RP, one of our top cameras for 2019.
Top article: How to use the whites & blacks sliders in Lightroom, by Kevin Ames
Fuji kicked off March with the X-T30, an update to its bestselling X-T20 camera for enthusiasts. Offering a 26.1MP APS-C format, the X-T30 got positive reviews thanks to its quick and precise autofocus system. LUMIX also released its first array into the full-frame mirrorless world, with the S1 and S1R.
Also in March, Skylum introduced its AirMagic software for drone and aerial photographers, and Vanelli finished up his WPPI coverage with interviews with Olympus and Fuji. I also got a first look at the Alter Rapid Filter System, one of my favorite accessories for photo and video shooters. Finally, Michael Muraz finished up his series on Facebook advertising.
Top article: My move to mirrorless, by Scott Wyden Kivowitz
While there were no big camera releases in April, there was a ton of great content on Photofocus. Michele Grenier told us about her journey to mirrorless, ultimately deciding on the Sony a9.
On the software side, Skylum released an update to Luminar 3 that brought a revamped Accent AI tool to the software, while ON1 introduced Photo RAW 2019.5 with some organizational and editing enhancements. EyeQ also announced it had acquired Athentech, maker of Perfectly Clear.
Finally, Skylum announced Luminar Flex, a plugin that brought the powerful editing features from Luminar 3 to users who wanted to retain their current workflow of Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Aperture and Photos for Mac.
Top article: Getting Samsung’s 860 QVO solid state hard drive is a no brainer, by Mykii Liu
On May 2, a lot of photographers were caught off-guard when Adobe removed the $9.99 Photography plan from its website. According to the company, the changes was due to testing on Adobe.com that limited plan items from being shown. Eventually, the plan was re-added to the website.
Wacom also introduced a small version of its popular Wacom Intuos Pro tablet, while Olympus celebrated 100 years in business. Adobe also released an update to the Lightroom ecosystem, bringing the Texture slider, contextual help and tutorials to the platform.
On Photofocus, Julie Powell wrote a series of articles about summer photography fun with kids, including everything from Popsicles to water balloons. You can see the entire series here. Bob Coates also walked us through hiking gear while photographing wildflowers.
Top article: Did Adobe actually add multicore support for Lightroom Classic?, by Mykii Liu
Drones were a highlight in June, with Chris Anson reviewing the Autel Evo drone. Lume Cube also released its STROBE anti-collision drone lights, which can be easily attached to a drone with 3M Dual Lock technology.
The Photofocus team also had a ton of fun in June, trying out different creative lenses and techniques. Levi Sim reviewed the Lensbaby Edge 35, a lens that alters the plane of focus you see. I had a ton of fun in North Carolina with the Olympus 8mm f/1.8 fisheye lens, as I went back to Duke University to photograph some of my favorite sights from my first visit in 2017. Finally, Bob Coates gave us some customization advice for our cameras.
Top article: Save money; buy cheap hard drives for your backup solution, by Vanelli
We kicked off July with a bang, quite literally. Michael Muraz showed us how to combine fireworks with architecture in photography, while Mike Hagen gave us some out-of-the-box, creative techniques for capturing the big light show.
We kept the excitement going, with a brand-new Photofocus website, too! Erin Holmstead also told a compelling story about how her dream client quickly became her nightmare.
In terms of camera releases, Fuji’s GFX 100 certainly hit the medium format world by storm. With 100MP and uncropped 4K video, Fuji definitely upped the ante for medium format manufacturers.
Finally, Sony’s new a7R IV was announced, featuring a whopping 61-megapixel sensor, making it the highest resolution full-frame camera presently on the market.
Top article: Make your own extremely fast and portable SSD hard drive, by Mykii Liu
With new drone regulation laws in effect, Chris Anson walked us through what that meant for recreational drone flyers. Bob Coates kept the creativity going by showing us the benefits of infrared photography, while Levi Sim talked about using window light for portraits.
Skylum also announced Luminar 3.1.3, giving you quick access to a Lost Edits album as well as some performance boosts. ON1 Photo RAW 2020 was also announced. Lume Cube also released its Panel bi-color LED light.
Top article: Six portrait photography tips for beginners, by Nate Torres
September was chalk full of camera releases, starting with two traditional DSLR cameras — the Nikon D6 (to be released in 2020) and the Canon EOS 90D. We don’t know anything about the D6 yet in terms of specs, but the EOS 90D features a new 32.5MP APS-C sensor.
LUMIX came out with a third full-frame mirrorless camera, the S1H. Geared toward videographers, this 6K-capable camera brings professional video features to a mirrorless world. LUMIX cameras have always been great at video, and this is no different! Plus, the S1H is the first mirrorless camera ever to be certified by Netflix as a primary camera.
On the software front, Alien Skin rebranded as Exposure Software, while Imagely launched its automated print fulfillment for WordPress websites. Other notable articles were Bob Coates’ showcase of Nashville and Vanelli’s discussion about the benefits of a mentor. Finally, Photofocus launched its 21st birthday contest!
Top article: 10 Lightroom tips you MUST know — desktop and mobile, part two, by Giulio Sciorio
A few members of the Photofocus team made the trek to New York City for PhotoPlus, and in the process got to experience some hands-on time with some of the latest and greatest cameras. The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III was also announced, set to be released in 2020. Featuring up to 20fps shooting, Canon clearly is targeting bringing its A-game just in time for the Olympics.
Not to be outdone, the Sigma fp full-frame mirrorless camera also hit the market. While the camera is geared more toward video than stills, its modular design certainly had me giving it second takes. With the smallest full-frame mirrorless camera body to date, Sigma definitely pushed the limits of what could be done in terms of design and technology with this release.
Outside of PhotoPlus, Kevin Ames found where Sony was hiding, Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements received its 2020 updates and ACDSee came out with Photo Studio Ultimate 2020. Mike Hagen checked out the new Sony Xperia 1 and Nate Torres gave us some great ideas on how to be more creative when it comes to photography.
Top article: Photographing fall leaves with your macro lens indoors, by Lauri Novak
November was pretty big on the news front. Adobe kicked off the month with its Adobe MAX Conference, highlighting updates to Photoshop, Lightroom and the rest of its Creative Cloud suite of apps. The company also released Photoshop on the iPad, which is the first time a fully-featured version of Photoshop is available for a tablet. As a part of the Adobe MAX Conference, I was able to sit down with several members of the Adobe team, including Photoshop and Lightroom.
Luminar 4 was also released by Skylum, introducing its revolutionary machine-learning tools to the world, including the new AI Sky Replacement tool.
Fuji’s X-Pro3 was released, a breath of fresh air with the uber-megapixel cameras hitting the market the past few months. The X-Pro3 adds a bit of retro design and pretty cool features, including a hybrid viewfinder. Look for our review on the X-Pro3 in the new year.
And despite several rumors of selling its camera division, Olympus came out with the OM-D E-M5 Mark III, which included several professional features packed into a small, lightweight body.
Top article: Olympus addresses rumors of sale, by Bryan Esler
The last month of 2019 was chalk full of gift ideas, deals and more! Michele Grenier showcased the new Illuminati IM-150 light meter, while Chris Anson taught us how to sculpt light and color using Capture One Pro.
Capture One Pro 20 was released, while Adobe brought Direct Import to Lightroom for iOS devices. The company also brought its first feature release to Photoshop on the iPad. Finally, Excire Search introduced Excire Search 2 Pro, which adds a Search for People feature in the plugin that can intelligently search your Lightroom Classic catalog.
To get us ready for the holidays, Lauri Novak gave us ideas on how to go beyond the typical Santa photo and Julie Powell taught us how to create bokeh to add a Christmas feel to your photographs. If you received a new camera for Christmas, I wrote part one of my series getting you started!
Top article: Facebook just deleted my business account … for the second time!, by Michele Grenier
It was a great year at Photofocus, and we can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store!