I had some great conversations here on the CES 2016 show floor, and it’s obvious that the photo model is changing.
The mood is upbeat, but all the talk is about change. Nikon certainly changed the game once again with the introduction of the D5 full-frame DSLR, but their more interesting product might be their foray into 360º imaging.
Nikon’s KeyMission 360 action cam joins the Ricoh Theta and other models that are combining what you see in front of you with the world all around you. Throw in GoPro Heroes, Sony Action Cams and DJI drones, and we’re seeing a concerted effort to appeal to the next generation of image makers—those who want small, versatile imaging products that give photography a whole new dimension. Long lenses are still as awesome as ever, but spherical lenses are stepping up and changing the game a bit.
Speaking of new dimensions, I had great chats with a few key dealers (you know them, but I won’t tell…) who were bullish but see the shift to printing as vital to the survival of the industry. The cameraphone is certainly not a foe anymore; it’s part of the new ecosystem of photography. Those who are figuring out the new online printing model are seeing their consumers responding.
And smaller, more versatile products that capture the imagination of up-and-coming photographers yearning for new approaches may be taking up some of the slack from the point-and-shoot category that seems to have pretty much disappeared from view.
CES is certainly losing its draw for photo-centric companies, but those that are exhibiting here are seeing huge crowds lining up to see the future. Sony, Canon, Nikon and Panasonic still continue to excite the crowds, with the Sony 7R II winning Pop Photo’s Camera of the Year honors last night.
Winners in the imaging world today? Sony Alpha cameras, the Nikon D5 and KeyMission 360, and the new consumer, who has more options to see the world all around them—literally.