At Photokina 2018, full-frame mirrorless take center stage. This year has seen Sony, the early pioneer in this category, introduce its critically acclaimed A7 III, which was swiftly followed by Nikon and Canon announcing their long-awaited offerings as well. All of a sudden, there’s a large and thriving market for full-frame mirrorless cameras. Fujifilm, Leica, Panasonic, and Olympus will all be out to show they also have attractive alternatives during Photokina as well. One thing’s for sure, having been severely threatened by smartphones at the entry level, camera companies are moving up in quality and price in order to secure a unique proposition for photography enthusiasts.
Sep 29, 2018
The irresistible theme of Photokina 2018 has been mirrorless cameras with huge sensors inside. Leica unveiled the medium format S3, Fujifilm showed off the GFX 50R in the same medium format class, and Nikon and Canon brought their recently announced full-frame mirrorless models: the Z7 and EOS R, respectively. With Sony already having a full portfolio of excellent full-frame mirrorless cameras to sell, Panasonic was one of the last remaining major names to not offer such a high-end model, which was corrected at Photokina with the reveal of the Lumix S1 and S1R. The only difference between these two cameras, set to launch early next year, is that the S1 will have a 24-megapixel sensor whereas the S1R will go all the way to 47 megapixels.Read Article >
The new Lumix S series is Panasonic’s most sincere effort yet to appeal to professional photographers. The company already enjoys a sterling reputation among videographers and amateur enthusiasts with its Micro Four Thirds cameras, but Photokina 2018 is the place where it’s decided to make its strongest pitch to stills shooters. That means total weather sealing and dual image stabilization, both in the camera body and in the lenses that Panasonic provides for this new system. At the outset, there’ll be three lenses from Panasonic itself — a 50mm f/1.4, a 24-105mm zoom, and a 70-200mm telephoto zoom — and a choice of eight compatible Leica lenses. This is because Panasonic, Leica, and Sigma also announced a new L-Mount Alliance at Photokina, which will see the two Japanese companies adopting Leica’s existing lens-mounting mechanism.
Sep 28, 2018
Point-and-shoot cameras, it should be uncontroversial to say, are an endangered gadget species. Coming to a camera exhibition like Photokina, I still see a few scattered examples of them, but most companies are now focused on making beefier, vastly more powerful full-frame shooters. Except for Ricoh. One of the smaller contenders in the photography market, Ricoh’s most iconic product is the GR series of decidedly high-end point-and-shoot cameras — and at Photokina 2018, the company showed off its next generation in the form of the Ricoh GRIII, slated for release early next year.Read Article >
The GR series stretches all the way back to 1996, I found out upon visiting Ricoh’s Photokina booth, when the Ricoh GR 1 film camera was introduced. There have been 10 iterations on the design since then, with the new GRIII being the eleventh. What sets the modern digital GRs apart from most of the competition is their combination of a serious APS-C-sized sensor with the dimensions of a casual point-and-shoot. The current Ricoh GRII is one of the most beloved street photography cameras because, like the Google Pixel 2 that I keep praising, it consistently outperforms its size.
Sep 27, 2018
We’ve seen a lot of incredible cameras this week, but Zeiss has unveiled a surprise entry that’s easily among the most interesting: a full-frame, fixed-lens camera with Adobe Lightroom built in.Read Article >
The camera is in the vein of Sony’s RX1 and Leica’s Q — essentially really fancy point-and-shoots. You can’t change the lens from the attached 35mm f/2.0, but in exchange, you get a full-frame sensor in a relatively (but not entirely) small body.
Sep 27, 2018
I made a mistake coming to Leica’s booth at Photokina this year. Every other camera now feels a little diminished by comparison to Leica’s upcoming flagship S3 medium format DSLR. You read that correctly, there are still camera makers that proudly tout their DSLRs instead of hiding them away in a corner while showing off the shiny new mirrorless stuff. The 64-megapixel S3 is thus quite a unique launch for Photokina, but it’s also an unparalleled camera even outside the constraints of current fashions and trends. The design, performance, and engineering of this camera have swept me off my feet and up into some fluffy daydreaming clouds. And daydreaming is all I’ll ever be able to do about the S3, since this is going to be Leica’s most expensive standard camera (think $20,000 and up) when it’s released in the spring.Read Article >
The exterior look of the S3 makes it seem almost like an unfinished prototype. A magnesium alloy frame is surrounded by a matching black natural rubber that’s easy to grip (even when the camera gets wet, Leica tells me) and is understated in appearance. Labels are almost entirely missing from this camera, which isn’t an oversight, as Leica just decided to make the majority of buttons and dials customizable and multifunctional. The four large keypads surrounding the rear display each respond to a long press as well as a regular one, and the control dial under your thumb can also be long-pressed to switch between shooting modes. Another programmable button resides on the front of the camera, just next to the lens mount.
Sep 26, 2018
I just had my first hands-on experience with Fujifilm’s new mirrorless medium format camera, the GFX 50R, which has the innards of a large studio camera but is styled to look like a small, portable shooter. My first impression is that it’s both. By the enlarged standards of medium format cameras, the 50R can be described as slim and compact — it’s a full inch thinner than its GFX 50S sibling — and yet it’s still in a distinct and separate category from the cameras that typically adopt the rangefinder styling, such as Fujifilm’s own X-E3 or X-Pro2. So this is both huge for a rangefinder and tiny for a medium format shooter. Fujifilm says it designed the 50R for more mobile purposes, meaning street, wedding, and documentary photography — and even though it’s still a large camera, the 50R might be up to those jobs.Read Article >
The best analogy I can offer for the 50R is that it’s similar to Fujifilm’s X-Pro2. The body and controls of the camera immediately reminded me of the Pro2, albeit at a larger scale and a heavier weight. And yet — this is the constant contradiction about the 50R — it feels lighter than its size would suggest. So I suppose photos do justice to its weight more than its bulk.
As the mirrorless camera battle reaches a turning point, three entrants are teaming up to help their cameras stand out. Leica, Panasonic, and Sigma announced today that they’ll all use the same lens mount format for full-frame and APS-C cameras, allowing lenses purchased for one company’s cameras to work on each other’s cameras.Read Article >
That’s a huge benefit for two reasons: it makes their cameras more appealing to photographers who won’t find themselves locked into a single company’s lens ecosystem and it’ll help to expand the lens selections that are available for their cameras, rather than each company trying to build out their own exclusive lens lineup. Junichiro Kitagawa, Panasonic’s international marketing chief, called it a “win, win, and win situation.”
Sep 25, 2018
Fujifilm has just taken the wraps off of the new GFX-50R medium format camera, but that’s not the only thing it has coming for fans of big digital sensors. The company has also announced that next year it will release another GFX model with a whopping 100-megapixel sensor. In addition, this yet-to-be-named camera will have in-body image stabilization (IBIS), a notable achievement for a medium format camera.Read Article >
Fujifilm hasn’t provided many details on the camera, though it is expected to cost around $10,000 when it’s released sometime next year. In addition to the IBIS feature, which provides image stabilization to any lens mounted to the camera, this new model will be able to shoot 4K video.
Fujifilm is introducing its second hybrid instant camera, and it comes with a feature that might sound very out of place on its Instax line: video recording. The new model, the Instax Square SQ20, is able to capture video clips of up to 15 seconds. While you’re able to store those on an SD card, that isn’t really the point. Instead, the SQ20 uses those video clips to create new photo effects, which you can then edit and print out directly from the camera.Read Article >
The SQ20’s “motion mode” will let you scrub through a video to find the frame you think is best, and then print that exact moment. Another option will create a fake long exposure, blurring the motion captured in the video. There’s also, uh, a fake 35mm film strip border that can be applied to pictures captured in this mode.
At a Photokina that’s set to be dominated by mirrorless full-frame cameras that cost thousands of dollars, Fujifilm has announced something even more advanced, opulent, and headline-grabbing: the 51.4-megapixel GFX 50R, which combines a medium format sensor with a rangefinder-style body.Read Article >
We rightly think of full-frame cameras as the high-end, professional tier of photography gear, but there’s yet another step above them, and that’s medium format. Fujifilm’s mirrorless GFX camera system — which made its debut at Photokina 2016 with the GFX 50S — is built around a sensor that’s 70 percent larger than a full-frame / 35mm format. As of today, you can buy a GFX 50S for $5,850, body only, but Fujifilm’s freshly unveiled and streamlined GFX 50R will be substantially cheaper, costing $4,500 when it launches in late November.
At its Photokina 2018 presentation, Fujifilm took a moment to tease an extreme addition to its X-Mount series of lenses: the XF33mm F1 R. As its name suggests, this is a 33mm prime lens (equivalent to 50mm on a full-frame camera) with a maximum aperture of f/1 and autofocus capabilities, which makes it a first among lenses for mirrorless cameras. The only previous example of a lens with such a wide aperture and AF has been Canon’s 50mm f/1 lens, released in 1989 and now discontinued. Fujifilm isn’t putting a price or release date on its new lens, but it says it’s working on bringing it to market. The company’s roadmap documents from this summer point to this lens’s release coming in 2020.Read Article >
Fujifilm has a wide selection of really good lenses for its X family of cameras, and that portfolio includes a number of f/1.4 wide-angle lenses already. In my experience with those, the bokeh is so diffuse and undefined that it stops to even look like bokeh anymore. Opening the aperture even further to f/1 will make it possible to soak up a lot more light, while also pushing the background defocus up a few notches. That will make the new X-Mount lens quite a niche, creative tool. But with so many months to wait for its release, we should all be able to think up uses for it.
Introduced by Panasonic’s imaging boss Yosuke Yamane at Photokina 2018, the Panasonic Lumix S series is the latest contender in the rapidly crowding full-frame mirrorless camera race. Yamane says the Lumix S is “dedicated to the professionals” and backs that claim with a number of major promises.Read Article >
The Lumix S cameras will offer image stabilization in both the camera body and the lenses, and will have the highest shutter speeds and highest flash-synchronisation speeds. The electronic viewfinder will be the highest resolution and highest precision in the industry, we’re told, coming “close to human vision.” Now, you’ll have noticed that none of these claims are backed by specific numbers yet, but that’s the nature of an announcement as early as this. Photokina is taking place in the fall of 2018 whereas the first examples of these cameras, the 47-megapixel Lumix S1R and the 24-megapixel S1, won’t be out until the spring of 2019.
One of the early Photokina 2018 announcements has been Leica’s sly unveiling of its upcoming S3 medium format shooter. The German company isn’t disclosing a huge amount of the specs of this new camera, though it will show off prototypes of it here at Photokina, ahead of a release in the spring of next year. To whet appetites, Leica has said it will retain the optical viewfinder on the S3, bucking the trend of putting electronic viewfinders on everything, and the S3 will be capable of shooting at a speed of up to three frames per second. You’ll also be able to use the full sensor size when shooting 4K video, which is an undeniably attractive feature. As to the price, expect it to be eye-wateringly expensive.Read Article >
The S3 succeeds the S2, which had a 37-megapixel CCD sensor, and debuted way back in 2008, when Leica’s current digital M was the M8. Since then, Leica’s S system has expanded to include the Leica S with a 3.7.5-megapixel CMOS sensor and a wide range of prime and zoom lenses. Leica also offers adapters for Hasselblad and Pentax medium-format lenses to use on the S line of cameras.
Photokina 2018 is going to be a busy show for new full-frame cameras, however Ricoh is getting the event off to a smaller, humbler start with its announcement of the development of the Ricoh GRIII APS-C camera. The predecessor Ricoh GRII is a classic street photography camera, combining a fast f/2.8 prime lens with an excellent 16-megapixel image sensor, however it’s a few years old at this point. Ricoh promises to overhaul the entire proposition with a new image sensor, new lens, and new image processing chip.Read Article >
Slated for a release in early 2019, the Ricoh GRIII will be on show here at Photokina, which will provide an early preview of Ricoh’s progress between generations. As far as specs go, Ricoh has revealed that the new camera will step up to a higher 24-megapixel resolution, while offering 1080/60p video recording, hybrid autofocus, and a 1 million-dot 3-inch LCD on the back. The design looks every bit as austere and retro-minimalist as the company’s previous entrants in the GR series. Stay tuned for more on the GRIII and the rest of the new cameras making their debut at Photokina as the show ramps up this week and I get a chance to lay my hands on them.