Sony's new Alpha 7R is flying off the shelves at B&H. From what I've gathered, they're selling pre-orders at a ridiculously rapid pace for a camera body that has not yet been reviewed. Based on that, and generally the hankering by photographers for more full frame bodies, it is only a matter of time before it's joined by other camera makers.
I've spoken to manufactures from across this industry, and though they are all quite tight-lipped about what's coming down the pipe, some have given me coy responses when asked about producing full frame compacts.
Something else to consider is that the lenses Sony released out of the gate are slow as all get out, which can be interpreted to mean that Sony either misread their market (doubt it, their attack strategy was pretty clear) or they rushed production to beat out a competitor that they felt was close to making a full frame compact first.
So before you run out and grab the Sony, consider this preliminary timeline of other brands who might not be too far off from their own Alpha 7R competitor:
About a year, depending on when Sony refreshes the A7R Within 3 to 6 months
Hasselblad has been buying Sony bodies and retrofitting them with gaudy grips and unnecessary leather accents in a somewhat predictable manner. If the A7R sells well, which it looks to, Hasselblad will buy the rights to the body around the time it becomes outdated.
Expect to see Hasselblad, barring a change of heart that I'm desperately praying for, repeat on the A7R in about a year to a year and a half.
Reports are in that Hasselblad is already working on their retrofitted Alpha 7R, which is surprisingly fast considering the speed of past retrofits. An image is already leaked:
The price is expected to be around $10,000.
Expectation: Within 6 to 8 months
Samsung has been pushing hard into the camera division and do a considerable amount of listening. They know image quality is what the market wants and a full frame would deliver. This is the one company my gut is giving me the best feeling about. If you like Samsung, they will not be far behind Sony.
Expectation: Within a year
If there has been one brand that was able to completely reestablish themselves in this industry, it's Fuji. Their compact cameras are beloved by many and they pour quite a few resources into making top quality stuff. With all the money they have riding on their compact division, it's safe to say they won't be caught without a Sony competitor for too long.
UPDATED: Our estimation seems on point, as Fuji is reportedly working on a full frame fixed lens camera due out next year.
Expectation: No sooner than a year
Look, Nikon has a good thing going with the D800. It's clear that's their flagship camera and they are satisfied with that. They aren't putting the resources into image quality in smaller cameras, rather focusing on consumer features. They'll have to witness viability from other companies before taking the leap to full frame compact.
Expectation: No sooner than 2 years
With the unpleasant situation involving the launch of the original EOS M and the anticipation of the second iteration any day now, it's pretty safe to say Canon is behind in this area. Sure, the autofocus was dramatically sped up in the EOS M firmware redo, but the problem isn't software, it's hardware. Their sensor simply doesn't have enough AF points on it to really compete with Samsung, Sony and Olympus. They're still testing where they fit in the compact space, and with the success and money they are putting into the 5D series and the new 70D, we can't see them producing a compact full frame for quite some time.
Expectation: Probably never.
Olympus has a good thing going with their micro 4/3 space. They finally got themselves together and produced a set of really nice, highly reviewed and great cameras. But that's only in micro 4/3. They haven't invested in anything larger than that in years, and they probably won't for the foreseeable future. It's not their market, and with their recent history of company disasters, we are confident they'll want to stick to what they know for a while.
What are your thoughts? Who did we miss? Who would you like to see a compact full frame from? Let us know in the comments below.