Top new camera rumours for 2012

30th Aug 2011 | 15:33

Top new camera rumours for 2012

New cameras in 2012: Canon 6D? Nikon D800? Canon G13? Canon 5D Mark III?

Canon camera rumours

Let's take a closer look at some of the more interesting (and realistic) new camera rumours making the rounds.

What does 2012 hold in the way of new camera releases?

These are our predictions...

Canon eos 5d mark ii

Canon EOS 6D / Canon EOS 5D Mark III release date rumours

Could a Canon EOS 5D Mark III release date be just around the corner? We think so. Launched in 2008, the Canon 5D Mark II is due a refresh. Essentially just the innards of an Canon 5D inside a slightly spruced-up body shell, plus a 21-million-pixel sensor and a very cool (for 2008) video shooting function, the 5D MKII always looked like something of a compromise.

At this point in time, the 5D MK II lacks both the speed and enhanced functionality of the newer APS-C format EOS 7D, and the rugged construction and almost infinite customisation of Canon's professional EOS 1D series.

Expect an updated body shell, greatly improved AF (probably borrowed from the Canon 7D) and a tweaked video shooting capability. We'd also stick our necks out and suggest that whatever replaces the Canon EOS 5D MK2 will have the Canon 60D's (read our Canon 60D review) articulated LCD screen - but possibly with the addition of touch-sensitivity. If this turns out to be true, it would be the first full-frame camera to feature this technology.

2012 Canon EOS 6D / Canon EOS 5D Mark III release date probability: 75% - in fact, we expect a Canon 5D Mark III release date by early 2012.

Update June 2011: The EOS 5D MKII video capability has proved a major draw for professional photographers, especially photo journalists. It's therefore very likely that Canon will enhance the video feature for the EOS 5D MK III or EOS 6D.

A key change is likely to be an extension in the range of frames rates that are available at full resolution. Full 1080p at 60fps seems a safe bet.

Video Snapshot: We'd also like to see the inclusion and enhancement of Canon's Video Snapshot mode. In it's current incarnation in Canon's EOS 600D, Video Snapshot mode allows users to shoot snippets of video at predetermined lengths (2, 4 or 8sec), which are then stitched together automatically.

Canon may allow clips of different lengths to be combined and extend the level of in-camera editing of the clips to enable their order rearranged etc.

UPDATE - January 2011: The photography portfolio head of testing, Angela Nicholson, compiles her list of features she'd like to see on a Canon 6D release.

Canon PowerShot G13 release date rumours

We're not expecting a Canon G13 release date in the immediate future, but if history is any guide, the next update to Canon's PowerShot G-series shouldn't be far off.

The Powershot G11 and recently released Canon G12 (read our Canon G12 review) broke the mould a little by offering a relatively low resolution of 10 megapixels, compared to the 14MP of the Powershot G10 - released in 2008.

The decision to move backwards in resolution was taken (according to Canon) for the sake of image quality. Fewer, larger pixels give better pictures, especially in low light. With the Canon PowerShot G13 release, we'd be surprised if Canon stuck with a 10MP sensor. We suspect the Canon G13 specs will include a 12MP+ sensor and possibly an improved video mode at the very least.

Something that we'd love to see changed in a Canon G13 is the Canon G12's most pointless optical viewfinder. It is small, blurry and inaccurate. We'd like a decent electronic viewfinder - preferably built-in, or as an optional accessory.

Having the finder as an optional extra would also allow the camera itself to be smaller. Right now the G12 stretches the definition of 'compact' - hopefully the Canon PowerShot G13 will see Canon's G-series move closer in size to the excellent (and pocketable) PowerShot S95.

2011 Canon G13 release date probability: 5%chance within the next 6-9 months of a Canon G13 release, but this time next year? Almost 100%.

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark IV release date rumours

2011 Canon EOS 1Ds Mark IV release date probability: 90%. But we probably won't see a Canon 1Ds Mark 4 release date until spring 2011.

UPDATE - January 2011: someone told us they couldn't find a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III anywhere. So we searched ourselves, and sure enough they were right.

Most camera shops in the US and UK are out of stock in the Canon 1Ds Mark III. But perhaps the strongest signal that Canon 1Ds Mark IV release date is coming soon is that those retailers that do still have the 1Ds Mark III are selling it at heavy discounts. Watch this space.

Nikon camera rumours

Nikon d700

Nikon D800 release date rumours

A replacement to the popular 12MP Nikon D700 is overdue, and we've already begun to hear rumours of a Nikon D800 release date. Although the full-frame Nikon D700 remains the camera of choice for Nikon's legion of prosumer photographers, since its launch in 2008 it has been progressively overshadowed by its competitors.

Cameras like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Sony's Alpha A850 offer higher resolution sensors and (in the case of the Canon 5D II) significantly more advanced feature sets. Expect Nikon to respond to the threat of the as-yet-unreleased Canon 5D II successor, which means higher resolution, enhanced live view and - of course - the addition of a versatile movie mode.

Our money is on the Nikon D800 having a 24MP sensor, adapted from the CMOS sensor of the professional Nikon D3X, and 1080p video.

2011 Nikon D800 release date probability: 75% - either just before or soon after Canon releases its 5D II successor. What's more, last month we reported on a new Amazon guide book listing that suggests a Nikon D800 release date for Feb or March 2011, and a major French bookseller speculates that the Nikon D800 price will fall between 2000 and 2500 euros.

UPDATE - January 2011: Amazon has delayed publication of the two NikonD800 manuals referenced above - one until May 2011, and the other until Sepember. Also, our head of testing, Angela Nicholson, lists the features she'd like to see on a NikonD800 release.

UPDATE – May 2011: New reports suggest that the Nikon D800 release date has been pushed back to autumn 2011 as a result of disruption to production in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami in March. Sources have told the Spanish website Quesabesde that Nikon's Sendai plant has fallen behind a previous summer deadline for the Nikon D700 replacement as it struggles to cope with the effects of the 11 March earthquake.

Nikon D4 rumours

UPDATE September 2011: August's launch by Nikon featured only compacts and the premium P7100. It looks like we'll be waiting a little longer yet.

UPDATE August 2011: A report by Sony Alpha Rumors suggests that the D4 will use a tweaked Sony 36 megapixel sensor.

Speculation that a Nikon D4 would be announced in August 2007 was rife, as previous launches of the D3 and D3s had both occurred in the summer.

Any impending D4 would find itself at the top of Nikon's range, aimed at professional photographers looking for a full-frame sensor. As the current top-end models, the D3 and D3s feature a relatively low pixel count of 12.1 million, it's likely that we could see a huge leap in those numbers.

Nikon D400 rumours

With Nikon using Sony sensors, and Sony having just unveiled the 24.3Mp Alpha 77, surely it can only be a matter of days before the D300S is upgraded and we see a D400.

A resolution of 24.3Mp is a dead cert for the D400, but what else does Nikon have up its sleeve?

Perhaps the D400 will feature an articulated screen similar to the one in the D5100? Metering on the other hand could fall into line with the D7000 and use a 2,016 pixel sensor – the D300S uses a 1,005 pixel device.

We also expect the maximum continuous shooting rate to be at least 8fps without a battery pack. Perhaps Nikon will push the number of AF points over 51 to cover more of the frame.

Full HD (1080p) video recording is a definite for the D400, as is full-time AF in live view and video mode.

Hopefully, we won't have to wait too much longer to find out.

Nikon Coolpix P8000 release date rumours

The Nikon P7000 has been on the market for less than six months so we're not expecting it to be replaced in 2010, but already, we're anxious to see what will come next.

Externally, the Nikon P7000 is a near-clone of the Canon G12 (it even shares the same sensor) but that's where the similarity ends. Image quality is excellent, but Nikon's flagship compact is let down by its poor operational speed and rather feeble continuous shooting performance.

If Nikon wants to be taken seriously in the tough high-end compact market it's going to have to do better than this with the Nikon P8000. Expect the Nikon P8000 specs to boast a higher resolution sensor, an articulated screen and a beefed-up processor.

We'd love an electronic viewfinder too, rather than the useless and bulky optical finder of the P7000, but we'd settle for a camera that doesn't... take... ages... to... do... anything....

2011 Nikon P8000 release date probability: 100%, if Nikon doesn't want to get laughed out of the playground.

UPDATE August 2011: The Nikon Coolpix P7100 is announced! An update, rather than a brand new model, the P7100 features a tilting, but not fully articulated, screen.

Sony camera rumours

Sony alpha 77

Sony A77 release date rumours

Sony Alpha users have been eagerly awaiting a replacement for the Sony A700 for at least a year. Announced in 2007, the A700 was - and still is - Sony's most convincing prosumer APS-C DSLR, and the closest thing to the fondly remembered Konica-Minolta semi-pro film SLRs of yesteryear.

Three years on and the Sony faithful are feeling neglected. Three years, and two full-frame DSLRs (the Sony A900 and its near-clone, the Sony A850) plus a flurry of somewhat uninspiring entry-level and midrange Alpha-series models later, and the A700 is looking decidedly isolated. So will they or won't they?

Our guess is that Sony will replace it, but whether the Sony A77 features a semi-translucent mirror (like the A33 and A55) remains to be seen. Our money is on the Sony Alpha 77 specs including 18MP, HD video and SLT-A55-inspired ergonomics. But don't hold your breath.

2011 Sony A77 release date probability: 90% - but Sony might still surprise us.

UPDATE- January 2011: Sony reveals a prototype of an Alpha 700 replacement at CES 2011 and suggests a Sony Alpha 77 release date will come this year. Early reports also suggest the Sony A77 release will feature the translucent mirror technology introduced in its A33 and A55 cameras last year, as well as a 25MP sensor.

UPDATE - February 2011: we have a (sort of) official Sony A77 release date. Sony has announced that its Alpha 700 replacement will be released in mid-2011 and will feature translucent mirror technology, Full HD video capability and a few other interesting specs, which have been revealed.

UPDATE – May 2011: Photo Rumors has spotted the Sony A77 listed in Sony's latest consumer repair guide. While we've already known that a Sony A700 replacement is due for release this summer (see the post at the top of this page), what's significant about this is that until now there was still speculation as to whether the Sony A700 replacement would be called the Sony A800 or the Sony A77. This would appear to confirm we will see a Sony A77 release date before too long.

UPDATE - August 2011: The a77 has officially been unveiled! Using translucent mirror technology and boasting 24.3 megapixels, it was also joined by an a65 beginner level camera.

Sony A950 release date rumours

This is a tough one. When Sony introduced the 24-million-pixel, full-frame A900 in 2008, it took everyone by surprise. At the time, the Sony Alpha 900 offered the highest resolution on the market, but for significantly less cash than the next-nearest competitor - the Canon EOS 1DS Mark III.

At a third of the price of the Canon, there were some compromises - a significantly less advanced AF system and no live view mode being the most obvious. All things considered, though, the A900 was a hell of a bargain for the resolution-hungry snapper.

However, apart from its pixel count, the Sony A900's specification looked fairly dated from the day of its release, and if Sony wants to stay competitive in the full-frame DSLR market, it will have to replace - or at least update - its long-serving flagship.

The question is whether or not Sony considers full-frame to be a market worth competing in. If it does, we expect the Sony Alpha 950 specs to feature a 30MP+ sensor, better AF, improved high ISO performance, decent live view and a similar video mode to the more recent SLT-A55.

2011 Sony A950 release date probability: 50%. Whether a Sony A950 release ever happens depends on whether Sony finally makes its mind up whether or not to target the pro studio/landscape photographer market. Keep everything crossed.

Panasonic camera rumours

Panasonic gf3

Panasonic Lumix GF7/GF8/GFPro

We don't know exactly what it will be called just yet, but we do know an advanced GF series camera is coming – and it could even be this year.

Panasonic recognises that many GF1 users were disappointed by the 'dumming down' of the interface for the GF2 and it aims to correct. The company plans to split the GF series into two, with the simple to use GF3 being for novice users and the new GF7/GF8/GFPro targeting enthusiast users.

We don't know much about the likely specification of the GF7/GF8/GFPro yet, but perhaps Panasonic will use the same 16Mp micro four thirds sensor that is in GH2?

Panasonic LX6 release date rumours

Panasonic lx5 and gf3

Above: Panasonic's LX5 (left) and GF3 (right)

If the longevity of the Panasonic LX5's well-respected predecessors is anything to go by, we're not expecting a Panasonic LX6 release date in the next few months. However, like the Canon G12 and the Nikon P7000, the Panasonic LX5's resolution of 10 megapixels is starting to look a little dated.

The other major limitation of the Panasonic LX5 is its relatively restricted zoom range, which covers a useful - but not spectacular - 24-90mm (equivalent). Panasonic won't change anything unless its designers are sure that image quality won't be compromised, but if and when a Panasonic LX6 replaces the LX5, we'd expect modest improvements in both areas.

Perhaps the Panasonic LX6 specs will feature a 12MP sensor and a 24-105mm (equivalent) zoom range, and almost certainly touch-screen controls, like the Micro Four Thirds Panasonic GF3, G2 and GH2.

2011 Panasonic LX6 release date probability: 5% this year - but we'd put our money on a Panasonic LX6 release by early 2012 at the latest.

Pentax camera rumours

Pentax k-5

Pentax full frame camera - Pentax K1 rumours?

Believe it or not, Pentax was all geared up to release a full-frame professional DSLR way back in 2001 (Google it, Granddad), but it never saw the light of day.

Since then, the Pentax faithful have been hoping against hope that maybe, someday, the Japanese camera giant will give full-frame another go. If you'd asked us a year ago we'd have said it will never happen, but following the launch of the excellent Pentax K5, we're cautiously optimistic that they just might.

Could it be just a coincidence that Tokina, which is known to make Pentax lenses, is launching its first full-frame format lenses in a few years? The Pentax K-5 is a solid, well-specified camera with an impressive feature set, and Pentax's backwards lens compatibility is second to none.

We'd love to see Pentax create a full-frame DSLR, possibly in collaboration with Samsung (although that relationship seems to have cooled) if only so the Pentax K-1 could give Canon and Nikon some genuine competition.

For the moment, a Pentax K1 release date is strictly in 'wouldn't it be great if' territory but we'd love Pentax to go down the Nikon D700 route and offer relatively low resolution, perhaps 14MP, but in a genuinely compact bodyshell - something that Pentax has always been very good at.

2011 Pentax K1 release date probability: 12%. Honestly, we doubt it will happen. But next time you see a shooting star...

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