Camera rumors 2016
We’re now mid-way through 2016, and already we’ve seen a host of exciting cameras launched this year, including the Nikon D500, Fuji X-Pro2, Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Pentax K-1. But with Photokina only a couple of months away the camera rumors keep on coming, with some big announcements expected in the second half of the year.
If you haven’t heard of it, Photokina comes round every two years and is the photography industry’s biggest trade fair, with manufacturers from across the globe descending on the Cologne International Expocentre in Germany to showcase their latest kit.
With this in mind, it’s time for an all-new camera rumors article, combining the latest industry gossip, emerging trends in the digital photography market and our own tech insights into what each of the major camera makers can do – and what they might do next.
Canon rumors: Now we’ve seen the EOS-1D X Mark II, the next big announcement has to be the EOS 5D Mark IV, not to mention the EOS 6D Mark II. Will we finally see Canon get serious with mirrorless?
Nikon rumors: With the 50Mp Canon EOS 5DS and 42.4Mp Sony A7R II stealing some of the thunder of the 36.3Mp D810, we expect Nikon to fight back with the D820 (or maybe D850), while a D5X shouldn’t be discounted. We could also see a replacement to the under-loved retro-inspired Df, but perhaps this time it could be mirrorless. At the other end of the range, the entry-level D3300 is now over two years old and ready for an update. That leaves the Nikon 1 mirrorless system, with one launch in the past two years.
Sony rumors: Sony’s A7-series of mirrorless cameras are all relatively new, but there is talk of a new A9 flagship model aimed at professionals, possibly with a 70Mp+ sensor. With all this attention focused on mirrorless, Sony’s DSLR-style SLT cameras have been somewhat overlooked, and with the exception of the rather forgettable A68 last year, things have been a little quiet in that area. Are we going to see another SLT this year?
Fuji rumors: Fuji’s classic X100 compact is surely due for an upgrade too, perhaps re-emerging as a brand new X200. There are also rumors that we might even seen a medium format camera from Fuji as well.
Panasonic rumors: A new Panasonic GH5 is our top tip for 2016 – Panasonic has enjoyed a lot of success in professional circles with the GH4 and its 4K video capabilities, but with Sony in particular catching up, so Panasonic will surely have to react.
Olympus rumors: The OM-D E-M1 is the oldest camera in Olympus’s line-up of OM-D cameras, and good though it still is, the others have closed the gap – the E-M5 Mark II in particular. Olympus will want to put this right with the OM-D E-M1 II.
GoPro rumors: The GoPro Hero4 Black is a hard act to follow, but growing competition from rival action cam makers will surely spur GoPro into launching the Hero5 – and we should expect another leap forward in video processing power.
There are a couple of major battles going on in the photography market at the moment – and it means that this is an exciting time for anyone interested in cameras.
This highly competitive marketplace means there’s increasing speculation about what camera manufacturers will be launching over the coming months, and while we can’t say exactly what’s on the way, we have a few ideas ourselves.
We’ve taken a look at all the main rumors doing the rounds, and while some are fairly predictable upgrades to current cameras, it can be a bit more tricky in other cases, where we’ve had to sift the genuine leaks from the wild speculation.
So let’s take a look at what we think we might see from the major manufacturers in the not-too-distant future…
Canon rumors 2016
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon’s capable all-rounder looks set to get 4K video recording and be more sport-friendly
Predicted specs: Full-frame 24-36Mp sensor | 4K video capability | 8fps continuous shooting
Following the arrival of the 50Mp Canon EOS 5DS and 5DS R, the pressure is somewhat off the 5D Mark IV in the pixel count stakes. However, we expect to see a slight jump for the next model, with a 24Mp full-frame sensor seeming probable, although Canon may decide to take things a little higher.
We expect this camera to continue to be Canon’s most video-centric full-frame stills camera, and 4K capability is a logical addition to the feature set, along with greater control over contrast in the guise of a dynamic range-expanding C-Log gamma option. The ability to shoot full HD at 120fps would also be popular with slow-mo lovers.
It would also mean that we might see dual CFast 2.0 and SDXC UHS-II card slots, especially for internal 4K capture, while we should also see the latest DIGIC 6+ processors featured.
While the 5DS and 5DS R have very capable autofocusing systems, the lower resolution of the 5D Mark IV makes it a more sensible choice for shooting sport. We expect an improved AF system, possibly with the same 61-point AF system found in the flagship EOS-1D X Mark II, along with a maximum continuous shooting rate of at least 8fps.
We’re 99% certain that the 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor with 252 zones and Intelligent Scene Analysis, and the Intelligent Viewfinder II, both of which are found in the 5DS/R, will also be in the new camera.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II
Canon needs to up its game to maintain the interest of enthusiast photographers
Predicted specs: At least 24Mp full-frame sensor | 6fps continuous shooting | Vari-angle touchscreen
We loved the EOS 6D when it first came out, but at almost four years old, it’s looking quite tired now and its specs don’t compare that well with the Nikon D750‘s. As Canon’s ‘entry-level’ full-frame camera it occupies an important position in the EOS lineup, making it a shoe-in for a refresh.
Until the 5DS and 5DS R came along Canon was quite conservative about pixel count. Jumping from 20 to 24Mp would be enough for many photographers, but some may expect closer to 36 million. A relatively high pixel count would make the 6D Mark II much more attractive to existing Mark I owners.
With just 11 points, the 6D’s AF system is rather lacklustre, and we think the new model will see a big jump in this area, perhaps up to 61 to match the 5D Mark III. Low light and continuous shooting performance also needs to improve, and a maximum sensitivity of ISO 204,800 seems likely along with 6fps shooting. Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS technology also seem likely, and we’re hoping there will be a vari-angle touchscreen as well, as on the APS-C format EOS 80D, to make the camera more user-friendly.
Canon EOS M4
Could 2016 be the year that Canon shows it’s serious about the mirrorless market?
Predicted specs: Built-in viewfinder | Improved AF system | Extended lens range
While Canon’s CSC range, dubbed EOS M, has proved capable of producing high-quality images, the cameras have been let down by under-performing autofocus systems and a lack of commitment from the manufacturer – there’s still a very limited lens lineup.
Canon makes some fantastic SLRs, but many users prefer the more modern design of a mirrorless camera and the advantages of a full-time live view. Other companies, like Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony have managed to produce fast and accurate AF systems for their CSCs, so it surely can’t be beyond Canon if it puts some effort into it. Add a few more lenses and a built-in viewfinder and the M4 could be a big success.
Will Nikon strike back in the pixel count battle?
Predicted specs: Full-frame 42Mp sensor | 4K video recording | 15fps continuous shooting
For a while the Nikon D800 (or D800E), and then the D810, was the small-format camera to buy for detail resolution. That honour has now been passed on – but while the Canon EOS 5DS and 5DS R may seem the most logical contenders for this title, a significant number of photographers have turned towards Sony and its 42Mp Alpha 7R II.
As Nikon uses Sony sensors in its cameras it seems likely that the D820 (also possible called the D850) will have a 42Mp sensor, although perhaps there will be a new, higher-resolution chip – Samsung is claimed to have developed a full-frame sensor, and if the rumors are true that Nikon has bought Samsung’s camera technology, we could be in for a surprise.
We expect to see 4K video recording capability in the D820 (it’s pretty much taken as read that this will be a feature of all new cameras), and an improved AF system, possibly the same one as in the D5 – meaning a step up to 173 points.
Nikon Df II
Perhaps Nikon will turn its retro-styled FX SLR into a retro-styled FX CSC?
Predicted specs: Mirrorless design | Class-leading electronic viewfinder | Nikon F-mount
Everyone got very excited about the Df when it was announced, but its high price and relatively low pixel count in comparison with the D810 made it something of a luxury purchase. The traditional-style controls also aren’t as well implemented as on Fuji’s X-T1, which was launched around the same time.
It’s possible that the Df II will ‘just’ correct the handling issues of the Df and have a higher resolution sensor – maybe even using the D5’s 20Mp sensor. However, it’s no secret that Nikon has lost market share to Sony and its Alpha 7-series of full-frame retro-styled compact system cameras, and the company needs to stage a comeback.
Rumors have been circulating for a while that Nikon has a full-frame mirrorless model on the way, and the Df design could provide an ideal starting point – albeit with a few significant modifications, like the removal of the mirror and the introduction of an electronic viewfinder.
Whether we’ll see it break cover in 2016 is less likely. With 2017 Nikon’s centenary year, we could see Nikon hold off until then.
Nikon’s entry-level DSLR gets some minor tweaks
Predicted specs: 24Mp APS-C sensor | Touchscreen interface | SnapBridge connectivity
Despite the mirrorless onslaught, Nikon’s entry-level DSLRs are still very popular with new users and with the D3300 now well over two years old, its ripe for a refresh.
The D3400 (or possibly the D3500) should see resolution remain the same at 24Mp, but expect to see the ISO limit extended a further stop to ISO 25,600, dropping in line with both the D5500 and D7200. Whether the rather underwhelming 11-point AF system will get an upgrade to a similar 39-point system that’s found in the D5500, it’s hard to say, but now Nikon have introduced some touchscreen functionality with the D5 and D500, expect to see this carry across to the D3400/D3500.
As we’ve seen with the D500, Nikon’s new SnapBridge technology (a low-energy Bluetooth connection is maintained between your camera and smart devices while both devices are switched on and are in range, making it easier to transfer images automatically, as well as allow remote control over camera settings and triggering the shutter) should make an appearance on the D3400/D3500.
Don’t expect to see 4K video make it down to Nikon’s entry-level offering just yet though, with Full HD remaining the optimum option for movie makers (though we could see a broader range of frame rates).
Expect an announcement before Photokina in September.
Sony Alpha 9
Could Sony launch a high-end pro-spec mirrorless flagship camera?
Predicted specs: Full-frame 70-80Mp sensor | unlimited raw buffer | Dual XQD card slots
While the full-frame 42Mp Alpha 7R II is clearly the flagship mirrorless camera in Sony line-up at the moment, there are rumors that point to an even higher spec camera on the horizon, likely to be called the Alpha 9.
Perhaps more DSLR-like in its design with a build to rival Canon’s EOS-1D X Mark II and the Nikon D5, the A9 is rumored to feature a full-frame sensor that’s crammed with upwards 80 million pixels, potentially almost doubling the resolution offered by the A7R II and pitting it against medium format cameras. Game-changer is not the word.
Combined with the rumors of the ability to shoot an unlimited burst of raw images thanks to the dual XQD card slots (the only other camera at the moment to feature XQD technology is the Nikon D5).
Other than that though, details are sketchy, but we’ll be updating them as soon as we hear more.
Sony Alpha 99 II, 77 III and 58 II
Sony’s Alpha 68 could be the last SLT camera that comes to market
Sony maintains that it’s committed to the A-mount DSLT range, and it even brought out the Alpha 68 and a couple of high-end Alpha-mount lenses during 2015. But it’s the E-mount range of compact system cameras that’s drawing photographers’ attention, especially the full-frame A7-series. The whispers are that Sony will only produce E-mount cameras and lenses in 2016, and rumors of a replacement for the full-frame Alpha 99 have dried up.
Sony now has the third-largest share of the global interchangeable lens camera market, with Nikon second and Canon in first place. According to Nikkei Asian Review this success can be attributed to the development of Sony’s Alpha 7-series of full-frame cameras kickstarting the consumer mirrorless camera market in Germany and the US, where sales have previously been sluggish to say the least.
It seems unlikely that the company will spend too much time working on its less-successful SLT range when it’s gaining ground on Nikon and Canon with its CSCs.
A new sensor and processing engine, plus an improved AF system look on the cards for Fuji’s flagship compact camera
Predicted specs: 24Mp APS-C format sensor | 23mm lens | Improved AF system
Details are pretty thin on the ground about the specification of Fuji’s potential replacement for the X100T, but we think it will increase the pixel count from 16 million to 24 million in the X200. It’s a popular pixel count for APS-C format cameras, and it’s likely to be the same sensor that the company will use for the X-Pro 2 when it comes along.
Some rumor sites are suggesting Fuji will also change the lens for the X200, but we think the company will continue with a focal length of 23mm, giving an equivalent focal length of 35mm – it’s a popular option for street and documentary photography, and lends itself to wideangle and telephoto adaptors.
It’s possible that Fuji will up the ante a little by increasing the maximum aperture from f/2 for even better low light performance and depth of field control, but it may ‘just’ use a new optical design or coatings to boost performance. Fuji has been working hard on improving the autofocus systems in its cameras, and this seems likely to continue, so we can expect the X200 to focus more quickly than the X100T, with better low-light responses.
Fuji goes medium format
Could Fujifilm be about to follow Hasselblad and launch a mirrorless medium format camera?
Predicted specs: 50Mp Medium Format-sized sensor | 3 lenses at launch | Possible rangefinder design
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we might see a Fujifilm medium format camera at some point either later this year or the early part of 2017.
The arrival of the first mirrorless medium format camera in the shape of the Hasselblad X1D has certainly spiked interest in the format, and there are rumors emanating from Japan that Fujifilm is ready to enter the market with their own offering.
This might not sound as far-fetched as it may initially seem. Fujifilm has an impressive heritage with film medium format cameras, with the likes of the GF670 Professional still available today, while their Fujinon lens division manufacturers numerous lenses for established medium format camera brands…cough…Hasselblad…cough.
The CEO of Hasselblad has stipulated that Fujifilm has had nothing to with the X1D, with the body made in Sweden and lenses assembled in Japan by Nittoh, so we’re unlikely to see a Fujifilm branded X1D (Hasselblad’s popular X-Pan rangefinder film camera was made by Fujifilm and branded Fujifilm TX1 in Japan), but that’s not to say Fujifilm haven’t got the know-how to do it themselves.
If this is the case, we could see it possibly follow a rangefinder-type design that houses a 50Mp medium format sensor, while three lenses are likely to be launched alongside it, possibly as early as Photokina this year.
Panasonic’s video-centric camera needs to fend off some stiff competition from Sony
Predicted specs: 20Mp Micro Four Thirds sensor | 6K sensor with 4K at 60fps | Improved AF
Panasonic originally intended the GH-series cameras to be combined stills and video models, but recent incarnations have proved especially popular with videographers. Initially, serious video shooters hacked the cameras to get the best from them, but Panasonic has worked with these users to make the GH4 better straight from the box.
The GH4 is 4K-enabled, and while Panasonic is keen to talk about the progress being made towards making 8K recording commonplace, it seems unlikely that the manufacturer will be able to achieve that with the GH5. In fact, even 6K recording seems unlikely and unnecessary, given that we’re all still shuffling towards 4K television ownership.
Perhaps the company will expand the range of recording options, maybe with 4K at 60fps, or even 120fps for high-quality slow-motion playback. The ability to magnify images while recording to check focus would also be welcome.
Panasonic introduced V-Log as a paid-for download for the GH4, and made it available to anyone wanting to record flat-looking footage that’s better for post-capture grading. Naturally we expect this to be built into the GH5; it should also be possible to use V-Log but see a natural-contrast image in the viewfinder or on the main screen.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II
We’re hoping Olympus’s High Res Shot mode will become a hand-held option for its next top-flight CSC
Predicted specs: 20Mp sensor from Sony | High Res Shot Mode | Improved viewfinder and AF system
Now that Olympus has brought out the OM-D E-M10 II and E-M5 II, it can’t be long before it updates its flagship model, the OM-D E-M1. It’s possible that Olympus will use a higher-resolution sensor for the E-M1 II, perhaps the 20Mp Four Thirds device from Sony that is believed to be in the Panasonic GX8.
One feature we’re certain the E-M1 II will include the High Res Shot technology debuted in the E-M5 Mk II. This uses the camera’s stabilisation system to move the sensor by a tiny amount between shots as it takes a sequence of eight images. These shots are then composited in-camera into one 40 million pixel JPEG or 64Mp raw file.
It works very well, but it’s only suitable for use with stationary subjects when the camera is absolutely still, ruling out hand-held shooting and landscapes with moving water or foliage. Hopefully Olympus will have managed to speed the process up, making hand-held shooting possible and allowing for a little movement in the scene, by the time the E-M1 Mk II comes along.
Olympus is aware of the need to improve AF performance in compact system cameras, and we expect it to continue the progress it made with the E-M1 to give better low-light response. An improved electronic viewfinder also seems likely – could Olympus stretch to a 4.4 million-dot device?
GoPro Hero 5
Rumors of 8K recording capability seem far fetched, but we think the next GoPro will make editing easier
Predicted specs: 12Mp sensor | 60fps in 4K mode | GPS technology built-in
Some people seem convinced that the camera that replaces the GoPro Hero4 Black will be able to record 8K movies. We think this is very unlikely, not least because it would require the camera’s pixel count to be increased from 12 million to around 33 million, which would have a detrimental impact on noise control and low light performance. In addition, the processing power would have to almost triple.
What seems more likely is that there will be a boost to the maximum frame rates available, perhaps 240fps in Full HD mode and 60fps in 4K mode for more slow-motion options.
Some rumor sites are also suggesting the next top-end camera will be smaller and ruggedised, like the GoPro Hero4 Session, so that a waterproof housing isn’t required. While some shrinkage isn’t out the question, we think shedding the housing is unlikely because it would have serious implications for the accessory connections which are significant to GoPro’s business.
We think there’s more chance that GoPro will give the Hero5 GPS technology to enable it to geotag footage automatically. We’d also like this to work with an in-built accelerometer, which detects changes in speed and direction to automatically tag footage, to make finding the most exciting sections easy.
It would also be good if GoPro could take this a step further and introduce automatic editing along similar lines to the TomTom Bandit, or as is made possible by the Trace Action Sports Tracker. Making footage easier to edit would result in more satisfied customers, with more dynamic movies that would help to sell the camera.