As I previously announced, yesterday I spent the day visiting photokina 2010 in Cologne, and I brought back with me a huge load of impressions, pictures of latest models, of prototypes, and other stuff. So without much ado, here’s my report on the fair — by manufacturer, in alphabetic order.
General impressions from the fair will be posted in a seperate gallery soon.
CAUTION! Massive amount of pictures ahead! Make sure your connection is fast enough, and that you have enough time!
The biggest players — Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony — also had the biggest stands, obviously. Canon made no exception. Much was to see, but not much that would have been of interest to me, personally, as I am — you might be aware of that — not a great fan of SLRs, and not really interested in compacts. The S95 has already been reported on, and I found nothing new or special at Canon’s stand. (No mirrorless camera so far!)
The greatest announcement at Photokina this year was surely the Fujifilm X100 — a rangefinder-like hybrid camera, featuring a fast f/2 35mm-equivalent lens, all manual controls, a metal body and an optical viewfinder into which information from a semi-translucent, high-resolving LCD can be projected.
Look: it’s even got the “photokina STAR” award! I honestly believe this was one of the biggest announcements, stirring up the whole photographic community. And isn’t it looking just great! The lever top-left of the lens is not for the self-timer, but to switch between optical viewfinder with projected info and electronic-only image, for which the OVF is darkened. The lens has a dedicated aperture ring with an additional ‘A’ position for shutter-priority and automatic modes.
Top-left: The large and bright viewfinder, with a diopter adjustment wheel to the left and a sensor detecting your approach to the right. Top-right, from left to right: adjustment wheel for shutter speed, also with an ‘A’ position, traditional shutter button and adjustment wheel for exposure correction.
Not much was working yet, as the prototype didn’t have a sensor installed. But you could have a look through the viewfinder, which was alrady fully working:
The X100’s viewfinder is really large, bright and clear, and the semi-transparent LCD used for projection information into the OVF is fabulous! Can’t wait for this camera to be available! (The X100’s sensor is already fully developed, as the Fujifilm representative at the X100 stand explained, but had not been installed in the prototype model yet.)
Fujifilm also had a disected W3 on display:
The chinese manufacturer best known for their camera accessories and Tokina branded lenses had a prototype of their upcoming C-mount ILC on display (so it did not get lost, in fact). As reported earlier, it’s going to feature a 1/2.33″, 14 megapixel sensor, and will come with a 6mm f/1.4 lens in February 2011. I think I’ll get one if funds allow so.
There we are, Leica. As you know, I’m a big fan of anything featuring the famous red dot, so I was of course excited to visit the Leica stand. I knew there wasn’t much to be expected, as the M9 Ti, the black X1 and the new re-badged Panasonic compacts had already been anounced last monday. But nonetheless, I did of course have a look at everything!
This gentleman was so nice as to let me try the 50/0.95 Noctilux-M on my M8, and to my surprise focusing was spot on!
What a beast of a lens! While I’ve seen many stunning pictures taken with it, I wouldn’t want to lug one around with me. It is truly massive! And I’d reckon the huge front element would be a real pain in the ass to keep clean …
I could also put my hands on an M9, and boy, what a joy! So much nicer than the M8. Looks more solid, feels more solid. The framelines look right. The shutter is much quieter. I can really understand the fuss about it now.
The X1’s focusing is still as sluggish. Terrible! But the gentleman at the X1 showcase told me that Leica were currently working on a new firmware which could possibly contain routines for faster AF. But as we know from Olympus, in the end it’s the AF mechanism in the lens that is the ultimate bottleneck … (And judging by the noise the X1’s lens makes during focusing, I guess this is in fact the bottleneck.) Also no word on a possible X2.
Copy the text from Canon above, exchange ‘Canon’ with ‘Nikon’, and you’ll get an accurate description.
Not much to report about, really, as there were no exciting new announcements. The whole PEN lineup was being exhibited, and I had the opportunity to try out the VF-2 (which is a blast), as well as the new 14-150mm and the 9-18mm. The 14-150 is really a nice superzoom, small and light and with decent IQ. The same holds true for the 9-18, with which I took this quick test shot:
Now that’s perspective! I’m contemplating adding this lens to my setup.
They also had some fancy pimped-up PENs in their showcases:
Also, they had this in one of their showcases (which I also was able to try out later at the stand of its respective manufacturer):
The new 40-150 tele zoom, by the way, is exactly the size and shape of the 14-150 superzoom!
At the Panasonic stand, the latest addition to their G system lineup were presented, as well as the latest compacts, such as the LX5 and the FZ100. They also had the new 14/2.5 pancake and the 100-300mm super tele zoom. Another huge feature were their latest 3D products, in TVs as well as in camcorders and digital cameras – yes, they had the new 3D lens, and you could even try it out on a GH2! But let’s have a look at their stand one item at a time.
A Panasonic spokesman told me that for the 3D lens to be used on your MFT camera, you will need a firmware update to support it (except for the GH2, which already has the new firmware). For the GF1, though, there probably will be no such firmware, as it has a slower processor than the other G models. On my inquiry if a possible solution to this problem would be a GF1 successor, his answer was “probably” …
To be honest, I found the fuss Panasonic made about their 3D products to be highly over the top. Personally, I wasn’t convinced by the 3D effect even on that huge 152″ screen. But maybe it’s just not my thing.
Did you know these 6×6 TLR’s were actually still made? I didn’t! And there are actually three models: a 50mm f/4 wide-angle, an 80mm f/2.8 normal and a 135mm f/4 tele. Nice!
They run on 120 medium-format film, btw.
Samsung’s highlight at the Photokina was of course the NX series, and chief among it the NX100. All has been announced already, so not much to report on.
The biggest announcement from Sigma was probably the SD1, their new flagship DSLR, featuring a completely new, high-resolving, APS-C sized Foveon sensor.
Sony, now also a big player in the DSLR segment, naturally had their focus there, showcasing each and every SLR model and lens they currently have in their lineup. I didn’t find my way to any of the new pellicle mirror SLTs (the a33 and a55), sadly, as I would’ve loved to try one out. But I found this:
They had even more pimped-up NEXs in that showcase, including one with an Olympus OM lens attached!
And here’s what’s to be expected lens-wise for the NEX system:
The “Wide-Angle, Fixed Focal Length and “High Performance Standard Zoom” sound especially interesting!
Sony also had a bunch of camcorders on display, both with A- and E-mount:
Voigtländer’s was the other stand I couldn’t wait to visit, as I was keen on trying out both the new 25/0.95 MFT lens, as well as the new 75/2.8 Heliar Classic for M-mount. Apart from those two highlights, the complete Bessa camera and lens lineup was showcased.
… what a piece of glass! When I took it off my camera, I told her I’d rather not give it back again. She replied: “Many said that already.” And you know what the freakiest thing about this lens is? You can focus it far beyond the .2 meter distance marking on the barrel, making it virtually a macro lens! Of course @ f/0.95 and closest focusing distance, depth-of-field is virtually nonexistent …
I now sooo want this lens …!
I also put my hands on the new 75mm f/1.8 Heliar Classic, Cosina’s new Voigtländer branded portrait lens for M-mount. Its body design is very similar to that of the 25/0.95 shown above, and the lady at the stand told me this design was also to be expected for future Voigtländer lenses.
The picture isn’t tack-sharp, but focus was spot on, and I think you can already see it’s got a nice rendering and is a viable alternative to Leica’s 75mm lenses.
On my inquiry if the 50/1.5 Nokton was eventually going to be reintroduced in M-mount, the lady at the Voigtländer stand replied that this was not currently planned.
Not much to see here, as Zeiss didn’t announce anything new for Leica. But of course their complete Ikon camera and lens lineup was showcased, as well as their DSLR and cinema lenses.
‘Compact Primes’? Really only in comparison with even larger cinema lenses … I’d love to see one in Micro Four Thirds mount on a GH1/2
I could also try out a Zeiss Ikon rangefinder camera, and I have to say those are really nice! The viewfinder is much larger as Leica’s, so you can actually use a 28mm lens on the Ikon without compromise. My impression was, though, that Leica’s framelines are brighter and easier to see.
This concludes my brand-specific report on this year’s Photokina in Cologne, Germany. There was of course much much more to see, but I only had one day, and to see the whole fair you need at least two days — and that’s only visiting each stand for a few minutes! To have a closer look at everything, you would’ve needed the whole week, probably. It was that huge. And it set a new record: more than 180,000 visitors! It was an exciting experience, and I hope to be able to visit it again next time.