THE really big news in the digital camera business in 2012 is in the small print. You might have missed it, but for Australian customers it is more important than any new technical developments. It is that local prices are moving to within cooee of US prices.
During the past 12 months, the incentive for bypassing our retailers has been largely removed - not by all companies but by most. Checking local retail prices against the famous New York shops shows that slightly lower American prices are more than offset by delivery costs.
In some sectors of the digital-imaging market, however, things are as bad as ever. Even companies that have brought down their camera prices are still overcharging for accessories such as lenses, and the software business is so bad that even the lethargic federal government is demanding answers and justifications for the huge price disparity on products distributed electronically from the same source for customers everywhere in the world. As for consumable items, such as printer inks, the 100 per cent price difference is inexplicable and intolerable.
But back to the good news - there has never been a better time to buy from your local camera shop. And still the new models come at an astonishing rate, sometimes with worthwhile improvements and sometimes with added gimmickry.
Reviewing the year in reviewing, as it were, there have been some standout products.