Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ILC vs DSLR In 2012 Part 2

At the end of my last post I mentioned that it would be nice to see an end to the race to create the smallest ILC (interchangeable lens compact) camera. This drive by a number of manufactures seems to be going too far, cutting out key features in favour of making a smaller camera body.

Case and point, the Pentax Q ILC system. I'm not sure if the Q system was just a way for Pentax to test the waters with an ILC camera or a serious attempt to attack high end compact cameras like the G12, LX-5, P7100 and X10. Given that the price of the camera I suspect that the Q system is a tough sell. I noticed that a number of retailers are already offering them at around $100 off MSPR. There comes a point when you have to choose between size and the flexibility offered by interchangeable lenses. Lets put it this way, if you really want a super compact camera, use your cell phone or a point and shoot. If you want interchangeable lenses do yourself a favour and get yourself at least a Nikon 1 or M4/3s camera. I hope Fuji's recently announced X-Pro 1 is a shift towards more serious ILC cameras.

The only downside to Fuji's new camera system is entry cost, with a $1700 body and $600+ lenses. That is all well and good for advanced users who know exactly what they want, but I suspect it wont be appealing to the average person looking to move from a point and shoot like a Canon G12 or Nikon P7100. Going from a all in one sub $500 camera to a $3000 system might be a little much to many of those people! Nikon 1, M4/3s and Sony NEX cameras will likely capture that crowd, for the most part. So for the time being the only truly professional/advanced amateur oriented ILC system is out of reach for most buyers. I suspect that could change very quickly, within a few months. I strongly believe 2012 will be the year to look closely at ILC cameras, if you haven't put your foot in the door with one system or anther already.

So how will these new advanced ILC cameras compete with traditional DSLR cameras? I think the new advanced ILC cameras will knock the bottom out from under entry level DSLRs. That is a bold statement, and will be highly dependent on price. Think about this, current high end ILC cameras, like the Panasonic GX1 and Olympus E-P3 may very well drop in price. That could mean a drop in price of capable cameras like the E-PL3 and GF3, putting them in just the right price bracket to hurt the sales of entry level cameras like the Nikon D3100 and Canon T3 (1100D). So although these new cameras wont take away too many sales of higher end DSLRs (60D and D7000), they will likely take sales away from the likes of the D3100, D5100, T3, T2i and maybe even the T3i.

I'll likely revisit this topic several times this year, as new models hit the market (maybe even in a few weeks).