Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm drop new point-and-shoots, full-frame DSLRs at Photokina 2012

canon nikon fujifilm header photokina 2012There have been so many new camera announcements recently you’d think there was a big event going on. Oh, yeah, the huge Photokina trade show is now underway in Cologne, Germany. All eyes – photographically — are turned there, just as they zeroed in on San Francisco for all things Apple last week. We’ve covered a ton of announcements so far including what many shutterbugs believe is the camera of the year, the Sony RX1. But nothing stands still, and here are the latest and greatest.

Canon announced a bunch of digicams for the show, and they covered many bases including the new 20.2-megapixel EOS 6D full-frame DSLR for $2,099. If that figure seems familiar, it is, because Nikon’s new D600 24.3-megapixel full-frame DSLR unveiled last week costs the same amount. There are differences between the two that we’ll get into shortly, but also new from Canon are the PowerShot G15, S110 and SX50 HS, eventual replacements for the G12, S100 and SX40 HS. The SX50 is pretty amazing since it’s the most powerful mega-zoom on the planet: It has a built-in 50x zoom with a focal range of 24-1200mm! Yeow! This baby clearly eclipses the current king, the $429 16-megapixel Nikon Coolpix P510 with a 42x zoom (24-1000mm).

Canon EOS 6D dslr digital cameraThe EOS 6D is the star, however, and we’re very happy seeing the price of full-frame DSLRs slowly drifting down to more affordable levels. Of course, they could still stand to lose about $500 off their price tags, and we’re pretty sure this will happen as chip manufacturers up their yields in 2013 and beyond.

As noted, the 6D has a 20.2-megapixel sensor and uses the DIGIC 5+ processor to zip things along so you can capture 4.5 frames per second. Of course it takes Full HD videos at 1080/30p. A standout spec is the 6D’s ISO. It has a native range of 100 to 25,600 with custom settings of 51,200 and 102,400. Basically if you have a bright lens and steady hands, you can practically shoot in the dark.

Wi-Fi is working its way into cameras of all types and the 6D has it along with a GPS for geo-tagging. Using the Canon EOS Remote app (iOS/Android) you can control the camera using a smartphone or tablet. Using the Canon Image Gateway you can access social-networking sites. It’s not nearly as elegant or fast as a smartphone, but at least you can try.

Canon claims this is the smallest and lightest full-frame DSLR, and the body weighs 27.2 ounces, but it’s no RX1, as it measures 5.7 x 4.3 x 2.8. The camera also features 63-zone metering, has 11 focus points, built-in HDR and a 3-inch LCD rated 1,040K dots. This one should be a winner when it arrives in December.

nikon d600 dslr digital camera

Check out our review of the Nikon D600 DSLR camera. 

As mentioned earlier, last week Nikon unveiled the D600, another full-frame DSLR, so you have far more choices if you want to buy a really, really good camera over the next few months. The 24.3-megapixel D600 cost $2,099 for the body alone, shoots a nice 5.5 frames per second and takes full HD videos.

The D600 has more sophisticated metering and focusing versus the 6D with 39-point AF with nine cross-type sensors. It also has the 3D Color Matrix II metering with a 2,016-pixel RGB sensor. We’ve used a similar setup on the D7000, and results were excellent. It has a 3.2-inch LCD rated 921K pixels, two SD card slots and a native ISO range of 100 to 6400 (25,600 custom). This too will be a hot one for the holidays (it arrives this week if you want to do some early Christmas shopping).

Canon’s new PowerShots

Check out our review of the Canon Powershot G15 digital camera. 

We were big boosters of the Canon SX40 HS, a 35x mega-zoom topped by the 42x Nikon P510. Due in October for $479, the new model now has a 50x zoom so you can capture things you can’t even see without binoculars. The range of 24 to 1200mm is ridiculous but we can’t wait to play with it. The SX50 HS has a 12MP CMOS sensor, takes 10 fps and shoots 1080p videos. It also has one of our favorite features from the older model, Zoom Framing Assist, that lets you back off an extreme telephoto shot so you can reframe if you lose sight of it in the viewfinder or LCD.

Canon G15 digital cameraThe Canon G Series is another favorite, and the company is phasing out the G12 with the 12.1-megapixel G15 ($499, due October). The big news here is an improved, brighter lens (f/1.8-f/2.8), faster response time and 10 fps shooting.

Rounding out the cameras is PowerShot S110 ($449, October). A favorite of photographers who don’t feel like carrying their DSLRs, the S series has a great feel and manual options galore. The new S110 adds Wi-Fi to the mix, quicker response and faster focusing. It has a 5x optical zoom with an f/2.0 lens (24 to 120mm) and, of course, shoots full HD video.

Beyond camera announcements, Canon introduced two high-end printers, the Pixma Pro-10 ($699) and Pro-100 ($499). Aimed for those who still take the time to make huge prints at home, they can turn out 13 x 19s if you’re so inclined. The Pixma Pro-10 uses a 10-ink cartridge system with pigment-based inks. The Pixma Pro-100 features an 8-ink dye-based system.

New FujiFilm X Series

People attending Photokina this week will be the first to get their hands on the latest addition to the FujiFilm X series, which was announced today. The $499 XF, which arrives in October, is a far cry from those dressed-in-black X cameras with its colored synthetic leather options of red and tan. Don’t worry, black is still available for purists.

Fujifilm XF1 digital camera compactSimilar in many ways to the X10, but without an optical viewfinder and $100 less, the XF1 also has a manual 4x zoom (25 to 100mm). In this case, however, the lens practically retracts into the body, making it much easier to carry. To turn the camera on, you twist and pull the lens, then it goes into standby. Twist it a bit more and you’re ready to shoot. It has a nice, large aperture (f/1.8-f/4.9 wide/tele) so grabbing images in low light should be effective. Optical Image Stabilization will help as will an ISO range of 100 to 12,800. Unlike a DSLR or Compact System Camera, resolution drops if you go beyond ISO 3,200 so be forewarned. Macro close-ups are available down to 3cm, and you can grab 10 fps at full resolution.

The X10 has a new on-screen menu dial that’s fully customizable for quickly setting adjustments and selections. The programmable E-Fn button can be assigned up to six functions, such as white balance, ISO, exposure compensation and so on. Other features include a 3-inch 460K-dot LCD, P/A/S/M shooting, a built-in pop-up flash and full HD 1080/30p video. The camera does not have built-in Wi-Fi, so you have to use Eye-Fi cards for any wireless capability.

And there’s more! Olympus is introducing some new PENs, a high-end digicam and new lenses. Pentax has a pair of DSLRs and we’re sure there will more surprises in the days ahead.

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