What Did 2020 Bring Us?

It's time to look back at 2020. What did we get? Let's start with the mirrorless cameras (order listed for a maker is latest introduced camera first, earliest last):

  • Canon M50 Mark II, R5, R6 (3)
  • Fujifilm X-S10, X-T4, X-T200 (3)
  • Leica SL2-S, Q2 Monochrom, M10-R, M10 Monochrom (4)
  • Nikon Z7 II, Z6 II, Z5 (3)
  • Olympus E-M10 IIIs, E-M10 Mark IV, E-M1 Mark III (3)
  • Panasonic BGH1, S5, G100 (3)
  • Sony A7C, A7S Mark III (2)

That's a total of 21 cameras. Who would have guessed that Leica would have led the camera introductions? ;~) In terms of clearly "new" models, we got 10. The other 11 are what I would call generational updates of existing models, and many of those were very tame updates.

The most impressive of the new cameras for me are probably the two Canon full frame models (R5, R6). These are completely new models with completely new technology, and they immediately put Canon back into the full frame mirrorless customer hunt big time. 

Nikon put most of their effort into entry-to-mainstream full frame. Olympus continued their "just roll what we got into more models" strategy, while Fujifilm, Panasonic, and Sony were the companies that stuck their toes into new waters, not necessarily successfully. 

I expect Canon to be slightly more active with camera introductions in 2021, Olympus and Leica to be less active, and the rest to be about as active as they were in 2020.

Now for mirrorless lenses:

  • Canon 50mm f/1.8 (RF), 70-200mm f/4L (RF), 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L (RF), 85mm f/2 macro (RF), 600mm f/11 (RF), 800mm f/11 (RF), 24-105mm f/4-7.1 (RF) (7)
  • Fujifilm 10-24mm f/4 (XF), 50mm f/1 (XF), Fujifilm 30mm f/3.5 (GFX), 45-100mm f/4 (GFX), 35mm f/2 (XF) (5)
  • Laowa 15mm f/4.5 shift (RF, Z, FE), 14mm f/4 (M, L, Z, FE), 50mm f/2.8 macro (m4/3), 9mm f/5.6 (M, L, Z, FE), Laowa 65mm f/2.8 macro (M, XF, TL, E) (5)
  • Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 S (Z), 50mm f/1.2 S (Z), 24-50mm f/4-6.3 (Z), 20mm f/1.8 S (Z), 24-200mm f/4-6.3 (Z) (5)
  • Olympus 100-400mm f/5-6.3 (m4/3), 12-45mm f/4 (m4/3) (2)
  • Panasonic 85mm f/1.8 (L), 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 (L) (2)
  • Samyang 35mm f/1.8 (FE), 85mm f/1.4 (RF), 14mm f/2.8 (M, XF, m4/3, FE), 85mm f/1.4 (M, XF, m4/3, FE), 75mm f/1.8 (FE) (5)
  • Sigma 24mm f/3.5 (FE, L), 35mm f/2 (FE, L), 65mm f/2 (FE, L), 105mm f/2.8 (FE), 85mm f/1.4 (L, FE), 100-400mm f/5-6.3 (L, FE), 16mm f/1.4 (TL), 56mm f/1.4 (M, TL, m4/3, E) (8)
  • Sony 28-60mm f/4-5.6 (FE), 12-24mm f/2.8GM (FE), 20mm f/1.8G (FE) (3)
  • Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 (E), 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 (FE), 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 (FE) (3)
  • Tokina 400mm f/8 (m4/3, FE), 85mm f/1.8 (FE) (2)

In terms of mounts:

  • Canon M: 6
  • Canon RF: 8
  • Fujifilm XF: 6
  • Fujifilm GFX: 2
  • Leica L: 9
  • Leica TL: 3
  • Nikon Z: 8
  • m4/3: 7
  • Sony E: 3
  • Sony FE: 20
  • Total: 72

Look at all that Sony FE activity. Sony has the fullest full frame lineup, and one that's the oldest and most mature, and lens choice is the reward. I don't expect that to hold up. Canon and Nikon have clearly shown that they have substantive body volume now, so the third parties will find a way to bring their FE lenses to RF and Z in 2021, I'm pretty sure. 

With lenses, I expect Canon RF and Nikon Z to be much more active lens mounts in 2021, Fujifilm XR/GFX, Leica L, and Sony FE to be about the same, while the rest are unpredictable. 

It's impossible yet to determine exactly how many mirrorless cameras were physically made and sold in 2020, but we can start to take an educated guess: 2.8m cameras. At a 1.7x attachment rate, that would also imply about 3.8m lenses.

We're at a critical point, partly due to the pandemic: for the camera business to stay active and healthy those volume numbers will need to grow significantly in 2021 and onward, and the average sale cost will have to go up, as well. That's a tall order, but possible if the world starts to return to some level of normalcy and becomes more travel-friendly by mid-2021. 

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