The introduction of digital photography brought a Chicken Little panic that pronounced film dead, and many imagined the mirrorless camera would flatline the DSLR. But if Photokina 2016 is any indication, camera technology has a tendency to be re-imagined, not reincarnated. From 60 frames-per-second speed to medium-format mirrorless to instant film, this year’s trade show in Cologne, Germany, put the latest photography trends in a pretty impressive display. Here’s the biggest photo tech emerging at the end of 2016.
Fujifilm confirmed multiple rumors of a medium-format camera with the official announcement of the GFX 50S. The lens uses a 51.1-megapixel medium-format sensor, jumping up from the current APS-C models and skipping full-frame entirely.
While the GFX isn’t the first mirrorless camera to feature a medium-format sensor (Hasselblad has that distinction, and also introduced a special edition at Photokina), the camera brings Fuji’s signature color in a larger format, according to the manufacturer. The camera uses a modular format, with both a viewfinder and battery grip completely removable from the camera body.
Along with the medium-format camera, Fujifilm will also develop medium-format lenses – six are expected to debut with the GFX 50S in 2017, including one zoom lens and primes ranging from 23 to 110mm.
The mirrorless format may be embraced for portability, but the lack of a mirror has given the design an edge in speed as well. While we’ve seen some pretty impressive burst speeds from the DSLR’s smaller cousin, the Olympus OM-D EM1 Mark II boasts a top burst speed at a startling 60 fps – and that’s still at full resolution. Even the camera’s 18 fps burst using continuous autofocus beats out most competing models.
The camera uses an enhanced 20.4-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor (smaller than the APS-C variants) with the anti-aliasing filter removed, and when resolution is more important than that top speed, the camera includes a high-res mode for 50-megapixel files (have that tripod handy). Olympus also says the autofocus performance has been “dramatically” improved over earlier models.
While intriguing, the camera doesn’t yet have an official release date or list price.
Canon’s mirrorless lineup has been a bit more consumer oriented, with selfie features and a simple control scheme, but that’s quickly changing with the Canon EOS M5. As Canon’s new mirrorless flagship, the M5 is lightweight, yet packs in an electronic viewfinder and dual control wheels. Canon says the M5’s 24.4-megapixel APS-C sensor will produce images in line with the quality from their EOS 80D DSLR.
With the M5, it seems Canon is finally taking a serious look at mirrorless, As a new flagship and not a replacement to the M3, the M5 includes the most controls and features in Canon’s current mirrorless line yet.
If there’s one area Panasonic excels with its cameras, it’s in video. The company was the first to bring 4K quality to a mirrorless camera, and now, it’s slated to bring the first high frame rate 4K to mirrorless. The Panasonic GH5, while still under development, will shoot 4K video at an impressive 60 fps – double the frame rate that most dedicated cameras can achieve in the higher resolution. The camera also brings a 6K resolution at 30 fps, which allows users to extract 18-megapixel stills from the footage.
Along with the tease for the upcoming GH5, Panasonic unveiled the weather-sealed mirrorless G85 and two new compacts, the Lumix LX10 and FZ2500. All three offer in-camera focus stacking, thanks to the 4K video capability and upgraded autofocus system. The LX10 bundles a large 1-inch sensor with a very wide f/1.4 lens while the FZ2500 puts a 20x zoom in front of that same sensor.
While Nikon hasn’t released as many still cameras this year as it has pushed out in the past, the company has now ventured into an entirely new category: action cameras. The Nikon KeyMission 360 was a surprise when introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but with few details at the time. At Photokina Nikon released product details and the price of $500. It also unveiled two little siblings alongside.
While the KeyMission 360, now slated for an October release, is both an action camera and a 360-degree camera, the KeyMission 170 and 80 are for single-camera capture, with their names indicating the angle the lens is capable of capturing. The 170, which resembles a traditional action cam, is waterproof without housing and 4K capable, and it includes an LCD screen at the back. The KeyMission 80, on the other hand, is more lifelogging than action, and shoots in 1080p using either a rear-facing and front-facing cameras.
Despite being Nikon’s first foray into the category, the KeyMission models – or at the very least, the flagship 360, especially with the emergence of virtual reality – look rather intriguing. All three use small 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensors, so don’t think the resolution will be equal to something like Nikon’s full-frame D5.
In related note, Kodak’s single-lens 360 camera was also upgraded to a two-lens system like the KeyMission 360, and was also introduced this week. It bears somewhat of a resemblance to the KeyMission 360.