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Photokina 2010 Opening Report

Photokina 2010 Opening Report

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Many exciting new products and more than a few surprises are unveiled

September 21, 2010

Welcome to Photokina, which opened this morning. We'll be talking about things like the rangefinder-like Fuji, the 48MP (*) Sigma DSLR, the new Pentax flagship, the 80MP Leaf back and much more for quite some time. Here's the highlight reel for Day One.


Fujifilm hybrid rangefinder/EVF digital compact: FinePix X100

One of the biggest surprises so far at Photokina is the Fujifilm FinePix X100, a fixed-lens, 12MP,  APS CMOS sensor-based camera with a hybrid switchable optical/EVF viewfinder and a classic rangefinder design that may give Leica conniptions. The camera, aimed at professional photographers and serious enthusiasts, sports a pancake-design 23mm f/2 Fujinon lens and a unique viewfinder. It is a “bright frame”   reverse-Gallilean optical finder that can be switched to EVF mode with a 1,440,000-dot LCD monitor—potentially, the best of old and new worlds of image capture.

Key features of the Fujifilm FinePix X100:

  • 12MP APS CMOS sensor
  • ISO range 100-6400, expandable to 12,800
  • World's first hybrid optical/EVF viewfinder
  • Built-in 23mm f/2 Fujinon pancake lens
  • 9-blade aperture diaphragm
  • Macro shooting to 10cm
  • Newly-developed EXR processor
  • Traditional manual shutter speed and aperture dials
  • Shutter speed range 30-1/4000 sec
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • Magnesium alloy body
  • 720p HD Video
  • Flash Hot Shoe

Fujifilm claims high-quality lens construction for edge-to-edge sharpness, and a new image processor that is said to offer high-performance shooting and high dynamic range. A note of caution: There's no working version of this camera yet—it's still being developed and won't be ready until early next year, according to Fujifilm. But drooling has already begin.

Pentax sails flagship DSLR, K-5

Pentax's critically acclaimed K-7 broke new ground in offering a durable, ruggedized camera with advanced video and HDR features, and now its successor has been named, the K-5, a camera which pushes the category higher into the Prosumer category.


Key features:

  • APS 16.3MP CMOS sensor
  • Up to 7fps frame capture
  • ISO range 80-12,800, expandable to ISO 51,200
  • 77-segment metering
  • Pentaprism viewfinder
  • Shake reduction
  • Shutter speed to 1/8000 second
  • Widescreen 1080p video at 25fps
  • External stereo microphone jack
  • Native support for Pentax PEF and Adobe DNG 14 bit RAW images
  • SDXC memory card capability
  • Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body and stainless steel chassis, cold weather operation
  • 3-inch LCD, 921k dot resolution
  • In-Camera HDR

Pentax claims effective noise reduction at higher ISOs and for extended exposures, and a new generation autofocus system with 11 sensors and 9 cross-type sensors in the middle. Specs include 22 consecutive shots at top burst rate, and several creative filters that will apply things like a cross process or sketch and posterize effect. The Pentax K-5 will be available in October for $1,599.95 body only, $1,749.95 with the 18-55mm kit lens.

Pentax also announced the PENTAX-DA18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR lens, a waterproof optic that sounds like it would be a good match for the K-5. The lens will be available in October for $530.

Sigma announces SD1, a  46MP (or 15.3MP)  DSLR

You do the math and decide, but the Sigma SD1 may be the world's highest-resolution APS-sensor camera. It uses a new Foveon X3 CMOS sensor which, unlike typical flat sensors has the pixels configured in 3 layers. Each layer is 4,800x3,200 pixels. Multiply that by 3 and you get 46 megapixels, although some may argue that this is, effectively,  a 15.3MP camera. Either way, it's got some impressive specs and if its predecessors are any indication, should deliver stunning color photos.

Key features of the Sigma SD1

  • 46 megapixel, 3-layer, 24x16mm APS C X3 direct image sensor
  • Magnesium alloy body with O-ring weatherproofing seals
  • 11-point twin cross sensor
  • 3-inc LCD 460K resolution monitor
  • Pentaprism SLR finder

A few more details and history of the Sigma SD DSLR line at this teaser site.

Sigma also introduced the EF-610 DG ST electronic flash with a guide number of 200 feet (ISO 100, 105mm setting), a 120-300mm f/2.8 stabilized and weather-resistant zoom lens, an optically stabilized 150mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM macro lens that replaces the older version with a faster quieter AF moter,

Panasonic debuts Lumix GH2 with hybrid touch control

Panasonic launched the Lumix DMC-GH2, featuring touch-screen operation, 1080p HD video at up to 60fps, variable movie mode, which lets you slow down or speed up the action while recording, touch AF (touch the area of the screen you want as the focus point), and 14MP still photo recording capabilities.

Other features include:

  • Still photos at 16:9 aspect ratio while simultaneously recording video
  • 3-inch 460k dot touch LCD
  • Eye-level 1.5 million dot EVF
  • Live view at 60 fps
  • 22 shooting modes
  • Ability to shoot 3D images

Along with the camera, Panasonic introduced the world's first 3D interchangeable lens, the 25mm f/12 ($249.95), along with a pair of standard lenses for the Lumix G series:

  • 14mm f/2.5 ASPH ($399.95), which Panasonic claims is the world's lightest interchangeable prime lens;
  • 100-300mm f/4-5.6 Mega OIS ($599.95), which Panasonic says will let you shoot at maximum telephoto handheld.

In addition to the GH2 and interchangeable 3D lens, Panasonic announced firmware updates for the G2, G Vario HD 14-140mm lens, and software.

Ricoh announces 28mm f/2.5 lens unit for GXR

Ricoh today announced the A12, a new camera/lens unit for its modular GXR camera system. It has a 18.3mm f/2.5 lens (28mm, 35mm equivalent) matched to an APS-C CMOS sensor. The lens has 9 elements in 6 groups with 2 aspherical lenses and one special low dispersion lens as well as several high refraction ratio lenses, and a floating lens structure to keep performance consistent through the focus range. Ricoh says focus speed has been accellerated. The 12.3MP sensor is said to reach ISO 3200, has controllable noise reduction that can be controlled by region of image, and can shoot 720p HD video at 24 fps.

Ricoh also unveiled a funky-looking. weather-resistant bluetooth point-and-shoot camera, the G700SE, which also has an optional GPS unit and an optional laser barcode reader.

Leaf's 80 megapixel (no, that's not a misprint) monster back

Leaf unleashed a megapixel tsunami with the announcement of the 80MP Aptus-II 12, the world's highest resolution medium-format camera back. The full-frame sensor, which measures 53.7x40.3mm, is designed with high-end commercial, advertising, architecture, landscape, and fashion photographers in mind. The back produces 480MB, 16-bit TIFF files and images that measure 10,320x7,752 pixels, has a dynamic range of 12 stops, and an ISO sensitivity of ISO 80-800. It is expected to cost around $32,000.


Casio compact knows where you are

Casio unveiled a pair of compact cameras, includig the EX-H20G, a GPS-enabled camera that lets you geotag images indoors, a first. It can also geotag the user's current location on a map that appears on the camera. There's even a built-in compass function that helps users determine the best way to get to their next destination. Casio says this will change how consumer take pictures while travelling. Camera? Oh yeah, it also has a camera: 10x optical zoom lens that starts at 24mm, 14MP sensor, 720p HD video, panorama mode, and a 3-inch 460K LCD monitor. It, along with a stylish entry-level compact camera, the Exilim Z-16, will be available in November for $349.99 and this month for $99.99, respectively.


Leica M9 goes bling, and other Leica goodies

Leica announced an eye-catching, solid titanium version of the M9, with an accompanying special-edition 35mm Summilux f/1.4 lens and some interesting under-the-hood changes. For instance, the brightline frame illumination is replaced with red illuminated LED projections. Only 400 of them are being made and, at an anticipated price in the mid-$20,000 range, you probably can't afford one. (You might, however, be able to afford a black version of the X1, introduced at the show.)

Somewhat more down to earth, Leica announced the D-Lux 5, a 10MP top-shelf compact that bears a more than striking resemblance to the Panasonic Lumix LX5. Key features include 1/1.63-inch sensor (a bit bigger than average for a compact), a 24-90mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens, 460K dot 3-inch LCD, 720p AVCHD Lite video capture,  RAW image capture (registered owners will be able to download Adobe Lightroom gratis to process RAW files). Should be available for just under a grand in October.

Another Leica surprise: Leica unveils a superzoom compact, the V-Lux 2. This 14MP CMOS sensor camera is decked out with a 24x zoom lens (25-600mm equivalent), 3-inch flip-out LCD monitor, and can capture full 1080i AVCHD full HD video. And again, it bears a remarkable resemblance to a Panasonic model, in this case, the DMC-FZ100. Look for it for under a grand, available next month.

Under development: Olympus flagship compact camera

Olympus announced it is developing a system compact type camera. While details are sketchy, it will have a built-in Zuiko zoom lens, and accessory port for flash or EVF (possibly the same one used on the E-P2 and E-PL1). While the Digital Pen line is closer to DSLRs because of the interchangeable lens system, this camera seems like it would be competing with cameras like the Nikon P7000 and Canon G12—or perhaps the Canon S90/95. The new camera is expected early next year. For now, all we have is a photo of a prototype.

And finally...Lensbaby unveiled the Tilt Transformer, which turns any Nikon mount lens into a tilt-shift for the Sony NEX  and Panasonic/Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras. For a full hands-on report with sample shots, read Jack Howard's blog post.


Whew! Now that's what I call an active day in the world of photography!


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