Will the Grinch Steal Christmas? 

Here’s the scenario the camera makers all fear this year:

Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the store

Not a camera was selling, not even an R4;

The discounts were hung by the products with care,

In hopes that motivated buyers soon would be there.

As you partake on all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers, remember this: holiday shopping is a longer-term event. Between Cyber Monday and Christmas there are 22 other shopping days this year, and everyone in the chain that sells—dealers, distributors, makers—really needs to see sustained buying, not just a couple of spurts of splurging. 

It’s been a pretty abysmal year up to this point in terms of sales for the camera makers, despite a record number of new mirrorless camera launches. Couple that with a still unsold inventory of older product, and I came up with:

  • Canon 9 mirrorless, 17 DSLR models on sale
  • Fujifilm 13 mirrorless models on sale
  • Nikon 3 mirrorless, 19 DSLR models on sale
  • Olympus 8 or 9 mirrorless (depends on area)
  • Panasonic 12 mirrorless
  • Pentax 3 DSLR models on sale
  • Sigma 3 mirrorless
  • Sony 16 mirrorless, 3 DSLR models on sale

So, just from the Japanese camera companies: 65 mirrorless models to chose from, 42 DSLRs you can still buy new.

That seems adequate, don’t you think? Over 100 choices for an interchangeable lens camera body to purchase. There must be something in that long list of available products that you’ll buy, right?

Yet so many of you are sitting on the sidelines waiting for something you’re obviously not getting. 

If the camera makers would agree to clean up their mess and start truly end-of-lifeing product, I’d make a suggestion here. 

Actually, I’ll make it anyway. 

This may be the perfect time to pick up a beater system. A brand new beater, at that:

  • Get a simple camera with a good sensor and have it converted to IR (my suggestion: Fujifilm X-A5 or similar).
  • Likewise, get a full frame sensor camera that’s good and have it converted to H-Alpha for astrophotography use (a D750 would be a good choice here).
  • Get a camera for that remote position where it might get splashed, crushed, or eaten (my suggestion: something Olympus that is small and water resistant).
  • Get something you can carry around all the time in a jacket pocket or small bag to make your photography a full time pursuit (the Z50 with the kit lens works very nicely for that, as do a lot of the smaller mirrorless models).
  • If you haven’t sampled before, now’s a good time to do so, just make sure you’re sampling something relatively current—e.g. a Sony A7R m3, not a Sony A7R m2—otherwise you’re eating stale bread.

An alternate strategy is to commit your current camera to one of the above uses, and to buy the latest and greatest to replace it (e.g. convert your D750 to IR, and buy a D850 or maybe Z7). 

Here’s the holiday season the Japanese camera makers want:

Dealers spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,

and fulfilled all the orders, and even added some perks.

Then we all heard Japan exclaim, as it avoided its plight,

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!


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