There were no radically new and innovative products on display at CP+ 2011, but, instead, the exhibitors seemed to offer an increased variety of products, like more interchangeable lens varieties. It was also apparent that they were trying to make their products compatible with big international names such as Carl Zeiss or Leica. Neither Zeiss or Leica had an independent booth but were omnipresent.
Shooting, Viewing, Connecting Online
At an opening address, Mr Tsuyoshi Kikkawa, representative director of CIPA (and President of Olympus), commented that photography has added, on top of “shooting” and “viewing”, the third dimension — “connecting online.”
He went on to provide a forecast of the camera market in 2011. Some highlights:
- Shipments will reach 15,5 million units for digital cameras with interchangeable lenses, a growth of 120.2% over 2010.
- Shipments will be 115.5 million units for non-interchangeable type cameras, a 106.4% growth over 2010.
- Of the 131 million units for these two categories 10.7 million units or 8% will go to Japanese market, 120.3 million units or 92% will be for export.
Compact System Camera: Women’s Power
The Compact System Camera category remains as a trendsetter of the contemporary camera market. As of June 2010, Compact System Cameras took 32.5% of the interchangeable-lens category. One explanation is that the light weight and compactness of the Compact System Cameras appeals to females, especially young women who have surged into the camera market after growing up with mobile phone cameras, and have now starting working and are able to buy cameras with their disposable income.
Reflecting this trend, there have been many females visiting the show. The phrase “camera girl” is now a buzzword and recently the Japanese government TV network NHK featured a special report on these camera girls going out on holiday shooting traditional buildings, etc.
The Compact System Camera category includes cameras made by Panasonic and Olympus (micro four-thirds), Samsung (NX models using APS-C sensor) and Sony (NEX series using APS-C sensor).
Sony also showed a skeleton model of a middle level SLR with a translucent mirror (first introduced on the a33 and a55 models) as well as an APS HD CMOS sensor. Sony’s director of the personal imaging & sound business, Mr Imamura, upped the sales forecast by another one million units for Cyber Shot and NEX models. He said four more lenses will be coming for NEX in 2011. There was a demonstration of a NEX VG-10 equipped with Carl Zeiss Compact Prime CP2 85mm/T2.1 that will be launched in 2011 together with a Carl Zeiss 24mm wide-angle lens.
Olympus and Carl Zeiss
In early February, Carl Zeiss announced it would be supporting micro four-thirds. Olympus was demonstrating Carl Zeiss CP2 28mm/T2.1 and CP2 21mm/T2.9 lenses on its micro four-thirds bodies. Carl Zeiss lenses were also on display in the Cosina booth, including Distagon T*1.4/35 (Canon EOS mount for now, but will be available also on other mounts) and many ZF.2, ZE and Leica M mount lenses.
The Olympus booth also drew crowds to a mock-up of the i-Zuiko digital lens mounted on an XZ-1, a premium compact digital camera which is under development.
The GXR is a modular system in which the camera unit (lens, sensor and image processing engine) is inserted as an interchangeable module. Displayed in the Ricoh booth was a GXR equipped with Leica Elmarit 2.8/28 lens. This Leica-compatible unit will be available in the fall, 2011.
The Finepix X100, first introduced in Photokina 2010 was drawing crowds. It has a “hybrid” viewfinder, meaning a selectable electronic (1.44 million dots) or optical viewfinder. The image sensor was APS-C CMOS 12.3 megapixels, but the selling point was in its traditional outlook resembling the Leica M type.
CP+201 was organized by the Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA), based in Japan. Thanks to Shoichiro Takeda who contributed to this report from Tokyo. Material in this report is copyright TIPA.