Photokina 2016 Wrap Up
Photokina is the Monaco Grand Prix of the photo industry, but instead of racing the streets of Monte Carlo, patrons squeeze through hundreds of booths in dozens of rooms around the truly enormous Koelenmesse Exhibition Hall, everyone wanting to get their first touch of new products from the worlds leading photo & video brands. In back rooms in every hall, deals are negotiated and VIPs taken care of, although unfortunately not on luxury boats in the Monaco harbour…
The biggest players spare no expense on their impressive booths, with household names Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, Sigma, Tamron and Zeiss creating huge installations to show their products, concepts, images and workshops to a huge number of professionals, hobbyists and industry workers from all around the globe.
Each had areas for hands on testing of products, and I especially enjoyed Fujifilm’s colourful plant display housing a model, and Panasonic’s cool water feature that dropped water droplets into shapes and words touting the features of their new ranges, however my favourite booth feature was found at f-stop, where they had a team of seamstresses making custom bags on the spot with visitors able to win by dropping off a business card. Super clever idea.
This was my first visit to Photokina, I was fortunate enough to be cycling around Europe and Jesse kindly invited me along to help scout new toys for our wonderful CameraPro customers.
So what did we find? Let’s recap the announcements from the big dogs.
Canon cemented their commitment to growing their mirrorless user-base with the announcement of the EOS M5. Continuing with their APS-C EF-M mount, the EOS M5 is a big improvement over the previous M bodies, and sports an EVF now which is a very welcome addition. Whether it’s enough to fight off the ever increasingly impressive mirrorless products from the likes of Fujifilm, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic remains to be seen, but I enjoyed my brief time with the camera, feeling that the ergonomics especially were quite good, and it was immediately obvious to anyone who has ever used a camera before how to change the important parameters.
The Canon M5 is available for pre-order online now, final pricing is TBA.
There were several other new mirrorless products on display, but Fujifilm dropped their massive trump card with the announcement of their GFX 50s sporting a medium format sensor (43.8mm x 32.9mm) similar to that found in the not yet available Hasseblad X1D mirrorless, and in the very available Pentax 645z, and Hasselblad, Phase etc 50MP CMOS models.
Although only announced as ‘in development’, an impressive lineup of accessories was also shown along side the body, including 6 lenses, which is hugely impressive considering how few lenses some other systems have launched with. Let’s hope their development period isn’t as long as the Pentax 645D which took years to eventually turn up for sale! Unfortunately the new toys were safely tucked away in a glass cabinet, and only selected press got their hands on one.
Olympus also announced development of the long awaited E-M1 Mark II. Taking advantage of their smaller m4/3 sensor format, the E-M1 can process a huge amount of data promising more FPS and faster AF. We’ve got lots of Olympus customers at CameraPro who we’re sure can’t wait to get their hands on one.
Alongside the E-M1 Mark II, Olympus announced three new lenses -
Panasonic also announced a new flagship, the GH5 but details were thin at the booth with several other new products to check out. I was very impressed with the Post Focus feature which takes several focus stacked images and allows you to choose what’s in focus afterwards. The feature worked surprisingly fast on the new LX10 / LX15 I played with. It’s available for pre-order online now.
Panasonic are very dedicated to the video features, with the new shooters all offering 4K video, and Panasonic showed off their ideas for future models, where 6K and 8K video will still allow you to pull stills from video.
Sigma, who completely turned their brand around at Photokina 4 years ago with the launch of the famous 35mm f/1.4 Art lens, had 3 more additions to their Global Vision range, with the long awaited 85mm f/1.4 Art being announced alongside the 12-24mm f/4.0 ART and 500mm f/4.0 Sport. I had some hands on with all 3 and not much needs to be said, they’re all superb in terms of build and handling, and whilst the 85mm is rather large, I was impressed at the reasonably compact size of the 12-24mm.
Sigma asked me not to put my own card in the test bodies as they’re still pre-production models, but I expect we’ll see real world samples soon enough.
I know the CameraPro team will welcome the announcement as we get asked on a near daily basis when the 85mm Art is coming!
Zeiss expanded the Sony E Loxia line with a 4th addition, an 85mm f/2.4. Like all the Loxia lenses, the 85mm f/2.4 is nice and compact, hitting the balance between image quality and size rather than outright speed.
Zeiss also had a neat display of two lenses showing how important high quality coatings are, with the uncoated lens showing enormous amounts of reflection. It’s no surprise that Zeiss invest so much R&D on their ever improving T* coatings.
Finally on lenses, newcomer IRIX had their 15mm f/2.4, 11mm f/4.0 and 45mm f/1.4 lenses on display. The 45mm is still in prototype phase and was in a cabinet, however I had a play with the 15mm and 11mm and was very impressed. Manual focus only, however filled with clever features such as a focus ring lock and hyperfocal markings, these ultrawide angle lenses offered low distortion, low vignetting and from my quick testing were extremely sharp.
We also spent much of our time scouting out new products including tripods, lighting, bags and accessories, so we should have some exciting new products in the coming months.
So that’s it for Photokina 2016, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of exciting new products available in the lead up to summer, so get out there and happy shooting!
Checkout our website for the newly announced items that we have for pre-order here.
Register your interest for any of the above products by emailing us at: email@example.com
We’ll let you know as soon as we have more product information available!