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For this year, the amazing Sony A1, also known as the Sony Alpha 1, has really laid down the pro camera gauntlet, but rumors say that Canon and Nikon may soon respond with their own strong rivals.

Canon Rumours have recently reported that “sometime in the second half of 2021” the Canon EOS R1, an even higher-end companion to the Canon EOS R5, is expected to be revealed.

This seems curious timing considering that the Tokyo Olympics are set to begin on 23 July, but with the possibility of that occurrence appearing to recede, there is obviously less of a “marketing rush to get the camera to market”

And now it seems like, according to Nikon insider Thom Hogan, we might see Nikon’s unidentified Sony A1 competitor come before then, in either “late spring” or “perhaps early summer” For global camera enthusiasts, in the May-July timeframe, that means everywhere.

Though there was no speculation about the name of the model, Hogan does say some interesting specifications for “based upon what I hear out of Tokyo” this higher-end Nikon Z camera. This includes 8K recording, most likely from the same Nikon Z7 II 45.7MP sensor, quicker burst shooting than the maximum 10fps of the Z7 II, and a new body style.

“Of course, this “new high-end of the Nikon Z lineup” would still cost “completely” more than the Nikon Z7 II, but it will definitely not be in the $6,500 / £6,500 / AU$10,500 price ballpark of the Sony A1. This is because, according to Hogan, matching the Sony A1 would not be targeted, but “in one way, it might be seen as better”

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A response to Canon and Nikon’s Sony A1 is, of course, fully expected-both camera giants are likely to have established pro mirrorless flagships well before last week’s launch of the A1.

The pandemic and concerns about the staging of the Tokyo Olympics are the two reasons that seem to have tossed out the scheduling of these launches. Traditionally, in the first few months of an Olympic year, the major camera brands launch new flagship pro sports cameras, which is what Sony has done with the Alpha 1.

But it seems like both Canon and Nikon are probably holding back on their counterparts of the new superpower, according to this current speculation, at least until spring, which is March-May, in the case of Nikon, and likely Canon’s season.

Another aspect is that the conventional camera segmentation lines have been very blurred by the Sony A1, which is not only a 30fps sports camera, but a 50MP landscape shooter and an 8K video camera.

In this way, in this modern era of all-rounder hybrids, a rapid-fire sporting flagship will be more of an anachronism. What Canon and Nikon have up their sleeves remains to be seen, but it is likely that they too will be preparing their take on the ‘one camera to rule them all’ idea presented by the Sony A1 so vehemently.

We also hope that the price tag of the A1 remains the high-water mark of this revolutionary new age of mirrorless cameras, for the sake of our bank accounts.

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