Naughty or Nice?

I've dyed my beard white, let my tummy expand even more outward, cleared my throat with a ho-ho-ho, and am now sitting down and reviewing my Naughty or Nice list for 2020. Let's see how the camera company kids did;

  • Canon — Nice for rich, Naughty for the poor. The R5, R6, and 1DX Mark III, coupled with expansion of the RF lens lineup are the good news. But only an M50 Mark II that didn't really change and a Rebel T8i I'm not sure I can distinguish from the couple of hundred other Rebels that have been made are the bad news.
  • Fujifilm — Very Nice for the cameras—though there still are too many of them—but with a bit of a lapse towards Naughty starting in lenses. Instead of building out the lenses that aren't in the lineup (cough, telepho-ho-ho-to), Fujifilm seems to be double-dipping now, making more variants of the same thing and mildly updating older lenses. 
  • Nikon — Nice. Despite all the naysayers, 2020 brought one of their best-ever DSLRs, three "new" full frame mirrorless choices, seven new lenses, and even a Coolpix P950. All these items were squarely in the hobbyist/pro sector Nikon claims to be concentrating on. That they managed to do all this while managing serious contraction of size is to their credit. Another couple of years of this kind of "Nice" and things should settle down well for them, I think.
  • Olympus — Lump of Coal Naughty. They've been naughty for awhile, basically recycling the same bits and pieces up and down their lineup while insisting that things will be better in the future. This year, though, they've decided to just hand off their mess to someone else and be rid of the problems they didn't solve. This, of course, caused a loss of faith in many diehard m4/3 fans, which is going to make the new owners' problems worse.
  • Panasonic — Nice. Like Nikon, a reasonably solid year, just on a much smaller scale (3 new cameras, 2 new lenses). Panasonic seems to be the quiet child that plays nice. We probably ought to encourage that.
  • Sigma — If you think of them as a lens maker, then a mild Nice. But like Tamron, they appear to have backed off from volume of new entries. If you think of Sigma as a camera maker, then Naughty. Nothing new, and their lineup is much like aging Baby Boomers who've passed their prime. 
  • Sony — Mostly Nice. Much like Panasonic, a solid 3 new cameras and 3 new lenses. Some will think they've been naughty, as this is down from 7 new cameras and 6 new lenses the year before. Note to Sony: do what Nikon just did: just fix the problems in your current line that customers object to; it's a winning move, even if a Mark V doesn't seem all that different than a Mark III or IV. Not everything has to be a technology announcement. 
  • Tamron — Inconclusive. After a really Nice 2019, things seemed to slow way down at Tamron, with only one new lens launched (compared to 7 in 2019). Moreover, it's now unclear whether Tamron is just going to be a Sony Supporter in return for Sony's investments, or whether the rapidly growing volume in RF and Z is enough to get their attention. Gee, could their need to reduce factory employment be related to basically trying to live off of one lens mount?


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