Will the empires of Apple and Samsung be challenged? With products like the Mate 20 Pro being released by Huawei (the 2nd largest phone manufacturer in the world behind Samsung) it’s going to get tough. Why? It’s perfect for 2019 – when everyone is a content creator. This phone has triple lenses – one ultrawide that is also a macro lens, one wide, and one telephoto. the wide lens packs an astonishing 40-megapixel, f 1.8 setup, the ultrawide with a 20-megapixel f2.2 setup, and the telephoto with a respective 8-megapixel f2.4 setup. Beyond photo features, the Mate 20 Pro sports features simply unheard of by average American consumers; an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the ability to wirelessly charge other phones with your own phone, super-fast charging – up to 70% in 30 minutes, and as much RAM as some Macbooks (8GB) The biggest challenge for Huawei in the U.S. will not prove to be feature battles. That will belong to the social norm of iphones here, and the other “walled-garden” features of the Apple ecosystem such as iMessage, continuity, and AirDrop that make it hard to leave the iPhone platform if you use other Apple products. The same is true for Google’s equivalents. That aside, all in, this is a hard package to resist and a sign of Huawei going directly for the photo + video creator market in the U.S. and around the world.
We all know DJI for the $1000 drones that started the consumer aerial photography and filmmaking revolution. But what’s new? Turns out, alot going into 2019. Looking at recent product announcements and current plans, it is clear efforts have turned to products that are more and more accesible for amatuer creators looking to dabble in stabilized or aerial footage, as supposed to professional rigs that cost as much as fully-specced-out Macbook Pros. The drone market in 2019 is one of thousands of companies competing – with white-label factories pumping out hundreds of similar brands all competing in a race to the bottom for price and distribution. DJI’s gift is that it has maintained a shiny, Apple-esque brand image with high quality reliable products for the most part, good customer service and PR through Youtubers and creators generally using them over competitors. That “pro image” will be crucial to maintain market share but also puts pressure to keep prices competitive. Releases last year included Osmo Pocket, a truly pocket-sized stabilized camera that sells for $349, and Spark, an amatuer-friendly drone that can fit in your hand for $399. With these price points, and a general price-slash across the board over the past 2 years, one can only see that trend continuing into 2019. Expect more inexpensive products coming this year, with pro-level features from the upper ranges of yesteryear coming into the current and future lineup.
The company we remember for their film and now know for Instax and making retro cameras cool is back with a vengeance for 2019. Near the end of 2018, Fuji announced the GFX 50S – a 51.4MP Medium Format CMOS beast at $6500. Why does this matter? It’s different. With more photographers born every day, amateurs are looking to enter the aciton and pros are looking to step up and stand out. In an industry that was at a stalemate with Nikon and Canon duking it out for years, companies like Fuji, experimenting with different form factors and styles like this and the all-metal X100 premium compact series (which has been leading for years as a pro’s “fun” camera) is a welcome refresher. You could credit Sony leading the pro’s switch to mirrorless, but Fuji is clearly on a path of doing thing differently in other areas. Fuji is filling in gaps in the market for pros looking to move to medium format and amatuers looking to have more fun with the experience of shooting. This year it’s expected for Fuji to continue building out the kit available to these shooters, both with more primes (as Fuji shooters love) and more low-cost options for wide zooms.