Sunday, December 22, 2013

2006 Vistek Christmas Catalogue

It's time for another edition of Retroscans, and this time it's for the Vistek 2006 end of year flyer. Looking back on how far technology has come in only 7 years makes you wonder what kind of gear we'll be using in another 7.

By that point, DSLRs had become affordable to the masses though the Canadian dollar was a year away from hitting parity with the greenback, so it's refreshing to see just how much prices have come down since then.

Click on the images below to see them full-size. Some pages were omitted since they contained stuff that hasn't changed much, like tripods, bags, and studio supplies.

So what's changed over the past 7 years? A whole heck of a lot, and looking back at how 'primitive' technology was back then can make you realize we're taking a lot for granted. Today we have people who complain that ISO 6400 isn't as clean as they like, yet back in late 2006 ISO 1600 was as high as sensors natively went.

Keen observers will note that photo and video cameras existed separately back then, as this was 2 years before the 5D II came out and changed the industry by combining the two mediums. Of course photo and video gear still exist in separate categories, but consumer camcorders have been all but wiped out. The compact section of the flyer was huge, as the market for them was thriving back then since cell phone cameras had the picture quality of a potato.

Also of note is the DSLR market was a little fragmented back then. Pentax and Sony were much bigger players on the market than they are now, releasing products frequently and trying to go toe-to-toe with Canon and Nikon. Later on Sony would try to differentiate itself by ditching SLRs completely in favour of their new SLT lineup as well as their NEX mirrorless line. Pentax, meanwhile, has nearly disappeared from North America, with infrequent product launched and virtually no marketing.

And speaking of (digital) mirrorless ILC cameras - there was only one in existence in late 2006 and that came in the form of the Leica M8. Panasonic and Olympus, progenitors of the modern mirrorless ILC, were still knee-deep in the ill-fated Four Thirds system. It's interesting how the Four Thirds system gets its name from its 4:3 aspect ratio, which was the standard for monitors at the time of its inception. Yet just three years later in 2006, we're seeing in the flyer here that 16:10 and 16:9 displays are already taking over. Kinda make you wonder why they stayed with the 4:3 ratio when the Micro Four Thirds system was launched in 2009, doesn't it?

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