With attendance hovering around 200,000, Photokina is the largest camera and imaging trade show on the planet. And since it’s held just once every two years (until 2019 when it switches over to being an annual event), cameras company often save major announcements for the show so they can all duke it out together during one week in late September.
Panasonic – Full-Frame Mirrorless Cam Debuts Come in Threes
Even though Panasonic was careful not to reveal too much info about its new full-frame mirrorless cameras, the S1R and S1 were the clear stars of the show. Sporting 47-Mp and 24-MP sensors and what Panasonic is claiming to be the first full-frame mirrorless cams that can capture full 4K/60 fps video, these shooters should only improve on to the excellent recording quality that made the Lumix GH4 and GH5 so popular.
And to help bolster the upcoming S1R and S1, Panasonic joined forces with Leica and Sigma to create the L-Mount Alliance, which will work together to create new interchangable lenses for multiple cameras. More info regarding price, specs, and release dates should available when the S1R and S1 officially launches early next year.
Fujifilm – Two Medium Format Cams and a Cute Square Format Instax
Even though Fujifilm just announced the new XT-3 just a few weeks ago, it brought three new cameras to Photokina including the wildly ambitious GFX 100, the GFX 50R, and the Instax Square SQ20.
While still only a development announcement without an official release date, the GFX 100 looks to be the world’s first 100-MP medium format and the first 100-MP mirrorless camera. In contrast, the 51.4-MP GFX 50R boasts more resolution that most people will ever need, but crams everything into into a more compact rangefinder-style body with a 3.69-million dot EVF, built-in Bluetooth, and dual card slots for $US4,500 ($6,196). However, with an ISO range of 100-12,800, continuous shooting limited to 3 fps and video capture that tops out a 1080p/30fps, the GFX 50R clearly isn’t for everyone. The GFX 50R will be available later this year in November.
Finally, with the new Instax Square SQ20, Fujifilm is adding a 4x digital zoom, the ability to capture a series of 15 shots (so you only easily pick the best one to print), and a new video mode that simulates a traditional long-exposure shot by blurring all the action into one frame. However, while image quality traditionally isn’t the strength of instant cameras, for some reason, the SQ20 sports a smaller 1/5-inch sensor than the 1/4-inch sensor found in the SQ10.
Leica – More Medium Format Plus a Handy Smartphone Companion App
Leica has earned a reputation for making super expensive cameras that are best appreciated from afar, and with the new S3 sporting a 64-MP ProFormat sensor, up from 37.5-MP on the Leica S2 (which cost $US22,000 ($30,290) at launch), that sentiment probably isn’t going away anytime soon.
That said, to help make its cameras a little friendlier to use for regular folk, Leica also announced its new Fotos app. With Fotos, you’ll be able to pair your Android or iOS device to any late model Leica camera with built-in wi-fi so you can transfer, edit, and share photos on the fly. And while smartphone connectivity has been available from pretty much every other camera brand for years, at least Fotos shows Lecia isn’t completely out of touch.
Rioch – A New GR for Simple, Compact Picture Taking
Unlike a lot of popular compact cameras, Ricoh’s new GRIII doesn’t have a powerful built-in zoom or interchangeable lenses. Instead, what you get is a f/2.8 28mm prime lens matched with a 24-MP APS-C sensor and a touchscreen in back that Ricoh hopes will bring simplicity and strong image quality to a category that has become increasingly more complex in recent years. It’s a bold look back to the roots of street-style photography, and while the idea seems nice, it might be a bit too naive for camera slated for release in early 2019.
Sony – Lenses, Lenses, Lenses
With Sony having recently taken the title of the U.S.’ A7R III, Sony’s main goal at Photokina was sharing a roadmap featuring 12 new e-mount lenses due sometime in the next 24 months. Add that to Sony’s existing portfolio of 48 lenses and the late arrival of Nikon, Canon, Panasonic to the full-frame mirrorless party, Sony is now clearly in the company everyone else is gunning for.
Aside from lenses, Sony also announced a new version of its eye-tracking autofocus tech that will soon follow animals too, which should be a real boon to wildlife photographers and people who just like taking pictures of their pets (which seems like pretty much everyone nowadays).
Canon, Nikon, and Olympus
While all three of the above had a presence of some sort at Photokina, none of them were showcasing anything truly new. As you’d expect, Nikon and Canon were content to talk more about the Z7/Z6 and EOS R respectively, while also letting photographers from around the world get a little hands-on time with each company’s new high-end mirrorless offerings.
Meanwhile, Olympus hosted its Perspective Playground, essentially a test lab filled with engaging photo sets, camera workshops and service stations to get those creative juices flowing, while also teasing something big for Olympus’ upcoming 100th birthday in 2019.