This is the first part of my article about the Photokina fair. First I would like to start with a few general comments :
First this was a somewhat frustrating fair this year because a lot of products have been delayed , due mostly to the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan earlier this year. As a result some new models here are only shown under glass as non-functioning prototypes or just pre-announced.
Obviously, this Photokina edition was not a great one for the BIG guys : Both Nikon and Canon seem “off the tracks”. Both brands dominate the declining market of professional digital DSLRs, no doubt, but I think they are losing precious ground in the other segments of the camera market.
Let me explain what I mean :
Canon just introduced a new model in its APS mirrorless “M” line and everyone will agree that the M5 (which follows the M1,M2,M3 & M10) is the best M model so far : Nice ergonomics, current sensor and MUCH improved AF over its predecessors. From the specs sheet alone, the model has enough appeal for traveling photographers and professional Canon photogs looking for a small camera as a backup. Unfortunately, Canon seems to think that the target audience for its M line is a different one and, as a result, has as a very limited choice of lenses for this system: Seven lenses in the M line including five entry-level zooms. In my opinion, only the 2/22mm can be looked at as a serious lens. This is very little when compared with the competition. Think about this : during this fair while Canon penibly introduced one more kit zoom to get to that 7 number, the m4/3 rd duo made by Panasonic & Olympus will launch SEVEN new lenses for the M4/3 lens line up, including four which are really pro lenses.
Unless you are a Canon afficionado , investing in the system today is a long shot and probably not the best decision if you are looking to get into mirorrless system quickly and with several lenses. In my opinion the fact that Canon chose to release only a consumer kit zoom along this new model clearly shows that for Canon the M system is first and foremost aimed at current Canon users.
On the DSLR front Canon introduced a few weeks ago its 4th iteration of its highest-selling 35mm model (5D mark IV) and, suffice to say, that some of the choices made seem to have upset a lot of current Canon DSLR users, especially those shooting video regularly.
For Nikon, I honestly think things are even worse.The “big” news this year was the introduction of three action cams.Without going into specific details about these products, it is also not always clear where they bring something better than the competition (Go pro mostly). Of course, one can argue that Nikon had some new products introduced this year prior to Photokina. Yes, the D500 was a long-awaited model (and a very good one at that) but Nikon continue to ignore its pro DX customers when it comes to new lenses.
Not to mention that virtually any DSLR launched over the last 2 years had some flaws or quality control issues.
On the mirrorless front, the Nikon 1 system seems dead in the water, despite some vague assertions to the contrary and even if the line has not been officially discontinued (Nikon may be waiting until stock runs out). Again, Nikon seemed to have decided that this system target was the “soccer mom crowd”.
But worst of all, Nikon had created some enthusiasm early this year by announcing three new seemingly attractive models with a fixed lens and a 1″ sensor. The models were first delayed because of the earthquake in Japan that disrupt Sony sensors facilities as well as other part suppliers but now Nikon is facing other problems on this. As a result, the DL models are nowhere in sight at the fair and no dates of availability are being given on these three new models.
This was relatively a quiet edition for Leica this year. Traditionally Leica introduces a lot of new products during Photokina because of the “home field” advantage. First thing to notice is that this year Leica separared its gallery space from its products booth. Most noteworthy here, Leica introduced some fancy expensive and heavy new lenses ( along with a grip for the gigantic SL camera body for its SL camera (1.4/50mm, 2/75mm, a 2/90mm and a vario 18-35mm).
Of less significance , Leica also introduced “SOFORT” which is only a rebadge of a Fuji Instamax instant film camera (visible on the Fuji booth). Both models will be able to use 2 new films one in color and one in B&W. [Read more…]