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Live from Photokina 2016 – #1

Photokina is the world’s leading trade fair for photo and video and it is held every other year in Cologne, Germany. I am here to cover the event for Photofiocus and share some of the interesting news and products for our readers who can not attend it.

Fujifilm’s trade fair stand was again the most crowded throughout the day. And while it felt that 70% of the stand was presenting Fujifilm’s financial most successful photo product, the Instax film and cameras, the other 30% had some interesting news regarding digital imaging.

fuji-gfx-crowd

Let’s start with the pink elephant in the room:

Fujifilm has a long and successful history in medium format film cameras. And now they just announced their first digital medium format camera. It is called the GFX and will have 51.4 MPix on their own developed 44mm x 33mm sized sensor. The sensor is not an X-Trans sensor that Fuji has been using on their latest APS-C size camera sensors, but rather sports a regular Bayer pattern.

I was able to meet with Fujifilm’s Marketing Manager for electronic imaging and have a first hands-on with a prototype of this camera. According to him, Fuji decided not to use an X-Trans sensor as that sensor technology is aimed at giving the smaller APS-C sensors a resolution advantage and bring it up into equivalent full frame territory. Putting an X-Trans pattern on a larger medium format sensor will yield diminishing returns and did not make sense, according to a Fuji manager. But just as the smaller X-Trans sensor, the GFX will not have a low pass filter.

As this camera is still in the final stages of development, and won’t ship until early 2017, there are only a few specs that can be shared right now. But from the prototype that I was able to test, the camera will have a new settings display on top (similar to the one found on the Leica SL), a 3-way tilting rear LCD screen, a detachable electronic viewfinder, 2 SD-card slots, USB 3 and micro HDMI connectors and it will shoot 1080P video. The AF in the prototype that I used was quite fast for a medium format camera. And as there are still a few month of developing time before this camera ships, there is still a good chance that the AF will improve in the final shipping version.

fuji-gfx-tilt-screen

Fuji will have three  GF lenses available at the time when the camera ships – GF 63mm f2.8 R WR, GE 32-64mm F4 R LM WR and GF 120mm f4 Macro R LM OIS WR. Three more lenses are planned to be ready by mid/end of 2017 (GF 23mm f4 R LM WR, GF 45mm f2.8 R WR and GF 110mm f2 R LM WR).

fuji-gfx-line-up

Fuji is aiming the GFX at pro photographers who may already have a Fuji X-camera for some of their work, but need a higher resolution camera for commercial, landscape or portrait work. And what is really great about this camera is, that it is smaller than some of the Pro DSLR with a full frame sensor.

fuji-gfx-back

Fuji has not yet announced the price of this camera, but I was told that the price will be substantially less than $10.000 US for the body plus one lens. And in order to really attract working pros to this camera, Fuji will offer a Pro service program once the GFX ships. You can find out more about the Fujifilm GFX 50S on the Fuji website here.

And many current APS-C Fuji X-camera users will be happy to see that the very popular XF 35mm f2 WR lens will soon have a 23mm f2 lens (shipping in a few days/weeks) and a 50mm f2 (shipping March 2017) to go along with it.

fuji-xf-23-f2-xf-35-xf-f2-50-f2

 

Another interesting announcement from the popular mirrorless camera world came from Olympus. I met with the product manager for the PEN & OM-D business unit and was introduced to the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II camera.

olympus-e-m1-mk-ii-1

Some noteworthy specs for this new flagship camera are:

20 MPix Live MOS Sensor

15 fps sequential shooting with mechanical shutter

60fps sequential shooting (even in RAW!) with electronic shutter.

1/8000s mechanical shutter

121 point dual AF points (cross type phase detection and contrast detection)

5-Axis image sensor stabilization (stabilization improves with the use of Olympus 12-100 f4 IS & 300mm IS lenses)

50 MPix High-Res shot mode and focus bracketing and stacking

4K ultra HD video in 24, 25 and 30 fps and Cinema 4K in 24 frames

Weatherproof

Dully-articulating 3″ touch screen LCD

Built-in Wi-Fi

olympus-e-m1-mk-ii-2

The team at Olympus is especially proud of the speed improvements on their new flagship camera. Shooting at 60 frames of full 20 MPix raw files opens quite some interesting opportunities. And AF-tracking uses a dedicated moving- subject algorithm to deliver reliable focus for sequential shooting at 18fps! The is slightly faster than on the new Canon 1DX MK II.

Along with this camera, Olympus will start a 3 step pro service for their E-M1 MK II customers, once the camera ships in late 2016. There will also be a unique one on one video support service available.

Due to its compact size and weather resistance, this camera is aimed at wildlife, documentary and photographers in the journalism field. You can find out more about the E-M1 MK II on the Olympus website here.

olympus-e-m1-mk-ii-3

Olympus also announced a new M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4 IS lens that gives m4/3 users an equivalent 24-200mm field of view in full frame terms.

 

For photographers who use studio strobes, the advancements in technology make the use of strobes easier and more flexible. I came across a new strobe system from Broncolor – the Siros 400L and 800L.

siros-400-l

 

These wireless strobes use an internal battery pack that is good for 440 full power strobes on the 400 watts (J) version. The strobe can be reduced down in power up to 2 watts (J). The strobes can be triggered wirelessly (receiver is inside the strobe) by a Broncolor trigger that is compatible with Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras. You can find out more about these strobes on the Broncolor website here.

Another great feature is the Broncolor App to control the Sirios strobes via App. You can control multiple strobes at the same time in an easy to use graphical interface.

siros-l-app

 

To finish today’s coverage from Photokina 2016, I came across a camera bag that impressed me by its small size but variable capacity. The new Peak Design everyday SLING bag looks pretty small all zipped up.

peak-design-everyday-sling

But once you open it you have much of the versatility of its large cousin, the everyday MESSENGER bag, with room for a camera with lens, two extra lenses and a 13″ MacBook Pro! I had to test it to believe it.

peak-design-everyday-sling-inside

The bag is currently starting to ship to the Kickstarter supporters, but should be available to the rest of us at the in the first quarter of 2017 and can be pre-ordered here for $135 US.

 

More impressions from Photokina 2016 to follow in the next post.

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