PMA/Cliq 2011 Canned. New Camera Announcements Delayed

There seems to be a great deal of talk today about 2011 being the year in which PMA (which was rebranded as Cliq) wont happen. Word out today is that the annual event which usually happens in January or February each year – and which was scheduled for September following the Cliq rebranding – will now be tied in to the much bigger CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in 2012. This is a very interesting development. From an attention point of view, I have wondered over the last few years why they did not combine CES and PMA before. They were always a few weeks apart and camera manufactures were kind of expected to be at both and have something different to announce at each as well. But is there more to this story than meets the eye?

Well, the photographic world is also blazing with rumours and stories of delays in new models that are due to be announced by Canon and Nikon at or just before the big show in September. We have heard locally in South Africa that cameras Sony were due to announce in the last few weeks have been put on hold till further notice due to impact on component manufacture etc following the disaster in Japan. This is also not unique to the photographic industry. Car manufactures – even those which are not Japanese – are impacted by components which would normally come from Japan and companies like Toyota are expected to only reach pre-quake production levels by year end.

Such stories make me wonder if perhaps the camera brands have not been able to commit to launches or even decent attendance at PMA / Cliq this year. In a time where some manufactures are struggling to supply existing models you can understand that launching and retooling for new cameras may not be as high on their agendas. At the same time some cameras like the Canon EOS 5D mkII and Nikon D700 are considered by many to be past their replacement announcements since Photokina which was in September last year already. Sony have an even greater problem, they canned the Alpha A700 roughly 2 years ago and never announced its replacement. The lack of a semi pro model has severely impacted their brand equity with existing customers despite growth in their share thanks to the NEX and Translucent Mirror A55 and A33.

Only time will tell what the real impact of all these issues will be.