Here's a round up of all the latest and greatest in cameras and lenses from this year's Photokina in Germany -- read on to see what FujiFilm, Olympus, Nikon and Panasonic have announced so far.
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The bi-annual Photokina show going on in Germany right now is the most important photography tech event in the world. We see some awesome gear, yes, but we also get a get a glimpse for what lies ahead. This year's show is particularly interesting because it falls just as digital imaging reaches the crossroads between the standalone camera and the camera attached to your phone. Here's the coolest stuff we saw.
Biannual photography trade show Photokina took place last week in Cologne, Germany. It was a gathering of companies, journalists and enthusiasts, all there to swoon over the latest camera gear. If you couldn't make the trip, gaze upon this symphonic ode to camera lovers everywhere.
For a lot of people, a professional DSLR like the Nikon D800 is something you dream about but can't afford. The new full-frame Nikon D600 is $US800 cheaper than the D800 and packs many of its big brother's features. Yes, you, the non-professional should be very excited.
Eye-Fi just made a series of announcements that will please existing users. By October 5, their cards, new and old, will receive a firmware update to double photo upload speeds on all models. Also, MobileMe was added to the list of supported services and those interested in advanced functions like geotagging will be able to buy the options in an a la carte subscription menu. Good stuff—read on for the full release.
Sigma's new SD15 and DP2 cameras are incremental developments of the original SD14 and DP1 cameras, but without too much in the way of change. The SD15 and DP2 share the same 3-layer 14-megapixel Foveon X3 sensor as their predecessors, but have a new True (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II image processor aboard for improved image quality and processing speed. The DP2 has a new flare-reducing 41mm-equivalent F2.8 lens, and has adjusted controls, while the SD15 has a larger 3-inch LCD...but these seem to be the main improvements. We'll have to wait for more info from Sigma to see if the changes make a big difference or not, and for pricing and release dates.
Lensbaby has just revamped its line of creative bendable "distorting" lenses at Photokina, and added a new type. This new Composer disposes with the bellows bend/focus system of earlier Lensbabies and has ball-and socket twisting with a focussing ring at the front to let you select the in-focus sweet-spot in your photos. It's also got a new Optic Swap system which lets you swap out the lenses inside for different options: these include standard lenses and a Holga-alike plastic lens. The Lensbaby original is replaced by the similar Muse, with the new swap system, the Control Freak which replaces the Lensbaby3G has it too. Both Composer and Control Freak will cost $US270, while the Muse is $US150. Check out the press release below.
100GB CF cards.... holy moly that's huge. Pretec's saying it's the world's largest capacity CF, and I'm not going to argue. It's a 233x speed card, capable of access rates at 35MB/s and it, along with its smaller sibling, is being shown at Photokina this week. Not satisfied with that though, Pretec's also extending its range of ultra-fast cards (apparently the world's fastest) with 333x speed and 50MB/s data rates in 32GB and 50GB capacities. The 333x 32GB and 233x 64GB are due to ship now, for $US630 and $US400, and the 233x 100GB and 333x 50GB by the end of the year. But Pretec's being shy about pricing those, or indeed even showing a product pic. Press release below.
Leica's been busy lately, on the fetishistic high-end as always; their ultra-fast f/0.95 Noctilux lens wowed us a few weeks back, the new M8.2 digital rangefinder and C-Lux and D-Lux compacts also hit, and now they've expanded their digital range to include the S-series ultra high-res DSLR. Aimed at studio pros who would have been medium-format shooters in the film world (advertising, fashion, etc), the S2's specs as leaked in this page from Professional Photographer magazine are characteristically audacious for Leica.
Fujifilm's "super ccd" technology's been about for quite a while, but with the new Super CCD EXR it looks like the main focus is on improved image quality. It's not going to signal an end to the stupid megapixel race, but the EXR sensor has a new mosaic colour filter arrangement, new pixel-binning method and totally new electronic charge control: these result in improved light sensitivity with lower noise as well as a wider dynamic range. These should make up for the image quality problems caused by the shrinkage of photo-diode sizes as megapixel count has gone up...but we'll have to see some test shoots to see if the sensor lives up to its promise. Press release below.
Since Olympus and Panasonic together developed the micro four thirds camera format, and Panasonic's Lumix G1 is already on the way, it shouldn't be a surprise to hear Olympus is working on one too. Olympus is currently making noises about the camera, saying it'll "bring dramatic reductions in size and weight to the Olympus E-System" and be easier and lighter to use than a conventional DSLR. But there's no word on the specs or even an image of the beast: a mock-up is due for unveiling at Photokina this week, and it'll show off the format's small size by being 11.9 x 6.4 x 3cm. Update: the camera's been revealed, and Digitalcamerareview's got pictures. Though there's still no specs, and it's still a mock-up, it's certainly a very rangefinder-looking device. galleryPost('olympusphotokina', 4, '');
There've been lots of rumours floating around about Pentax's Photokina lineup, and it looks like the German Pentax site leaked some images and details about the K-m, an entry-level DSLR. Specs are a little bit sketchy, but it's using the same 10.2MP Sony sensor as the K200D, and retains the 2.7-inch screen and the sad lack of Live View. But the iso gets a boost to 3200 and the fps to 3.5, and the pricing seems extremely competitive, at only 500 euro for the 1-lens kit and 600 for the 2-lens kit. The K line has been solid so far, so we'll be watching out for it at Photokina.