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Wrapping up Photokina 2016: Camera upgrades, new lenses and a surprise announcement

Create: 09/24/2016 - 11:52
Photokina 2016

As Photokina 2016 winds down in Cologne, Germany, it was another annual show that attracted thousands to see the latest photographic products.

There were some new bodies, plenty of lenses and a surprise from Fujifilm.

Here’s a quick rundown of the major announcements.

CANON

Canon defied the critics and released the EOS M5, its latest mirrorless camera that has an integrated electronic viewfinder and a new 18-150mm kit lens.

Canon also announced the EF 70-300mm II that uses NANO USM for quieter focusing and a small LCD panel on the lens panel to display important information.

NIKON

Nikon didn’t announce any new bodies or lenses, but it did release two more KeyMission action cameras.

SONY

Sony made major changes to its full-frame A-mount A99, giving the A99 II a higher-resolution sensor and a smaller body. The body is small enough that it can use the A77 battery grip.

The A99 II also includes improvements to the autofocus system, and it can be tethered to a PC for studio work. It also can record 4K video.

OLYMPUS

Olympus released its latest flagship camera for the Micro Four Thirds format, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. The new camera ups the resolution and adds 4K video. It can shoot photos at 15 frames per second and – when certain conditions are met – at 60 fps.

At the same time, it released three lenses: a fast f/1.2 25mm lens, which is a 50mm full-frame equivalent, and also a 12-100mm zoom and 30mm macro.

For the casual photographer, Olympus has the Pen E-PL8. It has enough features and resolution for all photographers, but its marketing campaign emphasizes the stylish aspect of this new interchangeable-lens model.

FUJIFILM

The biggest surprise was from Fujifilm, which didn’t show the actual product. Fujifilm said it will bring to market a digital medium-format system in early 2017. The GFX body will have a 51.4-MP sensor and six GF lenses. Fujifilm said it decided to go ahead with the project based on demand from professional photographers.

Separately, Fujifilm announced that it is pairing with designer Michael Kors in creating a limited-edition Michael Kors x Fujfilm Instax Mini 70 camera that uses the company’s instant-print film. It es expected to be available for the Christmas shopping season.

LEICA

Leica continues to grow its stable of lenses for its full-frame mirrorless SL system, adding a f/1.4 50mm Summilux and detailing plans for the next four lenses. The Summilux is the first prime lens for the SL, and three more will be added by January 2018, as well as a wide-angle zoom.

Leica also released a well-designed battery grip for the SL.

For those interested in less-serious pursuits, there is the SOFORT, an instant-print camera using Fujifilm’s Instax film. There are few controls, several features to assist with selfies, and it will be available in three colors.

PANASONIC

The company announced three cameras: a high-end point and shoot, a bridge camera and its latest mirrorless for the Micro Four Thirds mount. The point-and-shoot LX10 now has a fast Leica Vario-Summilux, while the bridge camera Lumix FZ2500 also has a Leica lens, a Vario-Elmarit. Both cameras can record 4K video, as well, and both appear to use the same one-inch 20.1-MP MOS sensor.

The Lumix G85, a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera, has in-body image stabilization, thanks to a new gyro system, and a battery grip that should double shooting capacity.

SIGMA

Sigma covered a wide range of shooters with three new lenses. First, there is the 12-24mm ultra wide-angle zoom, and then the fast f/1.4 85mm portrait lens. Both are part of the company’s Art series. On the other end is a 500mm telephoto for sports and wildlife photographers. All three lenses are for full-frame Canon EOS and Nikon F cameras, as well as Sigma's own mount.

TOKINA

Tokina announced its first lens for the Sony E-mount. The 20mm wide-angle lens is intended for full-frame cameras and is expected to the first in Tokina’s oddly named FíRIN lineup.

This was on top of last month’s announcement of a fast f/2.0 14-20mm zoom for full-frame Canon EOS and Nikon digital SLRs.

ZEISS

Zeiss boosted its Loxia line of full-frame lenses for Sony’s E-mount by adding a f/2.4 85mm portrait lens. It’s a manual focus lens based on the time-tested Sonnar design.

Shortly before Photokina started, Zeiss announced three lenses for its full-frame Milvus lenses for the Canon EOS and Nikon F mount: 15mm and 18mm ultrawides and a 135mm telephoto, as well as the next two ExoLenses for Apple 6 iPhones.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.