Photokina: Fujifilm Announces Development of the GFX 50S Medium Format Mirrorless Camera

Fujifilm GFX 50S
Fujifilm GFX 50S

Perhaps the most exciting camera announced at Photokina is Fuji’s GFX 50S. This is a medium format, mirrorless digital camera built around a new series of “G” mount lenses that includes both primes and zooms. It  has a 51.4MP CMOS sensor similar to the ones in the Pentax 645Z and the Hasselblad X1D. The camera looks somewhat like a large X-Pro II, and with the clip-on EVF, it looks like a large X-T1/X-T2. At 43.8×32.9mm, the sensor area is 1.7X larger than full-frame 35mm sensors, and 4X greater than Fujifilm’s APS-C cameras. The large sensor and pixel count allows the camera to shoot at various different aspect ratios.

Six lenses have been announced to go with the GFX 50S. They are:-

  1. Standard prime “GF63mmF2.8 R WR” (equivalent to 50mm in the 35mm format)
  2. Wide-angle standard zoom “GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR” (equivalent to 25-51mm in 35mm format)
  3. Mid-telephoto macro 1:0.5 “GF120mmF4 Macro R LM OIS WR” (equivalent to 95mm in 35mm format)
  4. Fast aperture mid-telephoto “GF110mmF2 R LM WR” (equivalent to 87mm in 35mm format)
  5. Ultra-wide “GF23mmF4 R LM WR” (equivalent to 18mm in 35mm format)
  6. Wide “GF45mmF2.8 R WR” (equivalent to 35mm in 35mm format)

Fujifilm says the camera will be available in the first half of 2017 at “under $10K” with the 63mm lens.

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Panasonic Announces Lumix CM1 Android Smartphone Camera With 1″ Sensor

Panasonic Lumix CM1
Panasonic Lumix CM1

Photokina: Smartphone cameras always had small sensors to keep their overall size down. Even the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom and the Lumia 1020 with 41 megapixels have puny sensors. Panasonic has just announced what’s possibly the smart phone camera to end all smart phone cameras – the Lumix CM1.

This Android smartphone is equipped a 4.7″ screen and a 20 megapixel camera featuring a 1″ sensor. The lens is a Leica DC Elmarit lens offering an equivalent of 28mm f/2.8 in 35mm terms. Settings such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO are controlled via the manual lens ring and there’s a dedicated shutter button at the top of the device.

The phone side of the device has pretty standard features – a 4.7″ Full HD screen, 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 2GB of internal RAM, 16GB of internal memory and a microSD card which supports up to 128GB, as well as a 2,600mAh battery. It runs Android Kitkat out of the box.

All these does not come cheap though. The phone (or camera if you like) will be available in France and Germany only for now, at a cool €900 (US$1165). Don’t think the Leica aficionados are going to spring for this though. Leica has something more “exciting” for them.

YS: Probably US$900 then, Euro pricing and all. Not particularly enticed for some reason. Maybe it’s the price, or the fact that the battery is kinda tiny. After use the Note series I don’t want to go back to a phone with a battery with less than 3,000 mAh.

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Leica Unveils All-New, All-Mechanical M-A FILM Rangefinder

Leica M-A with Summarit 50mm f/2.4
Leica M-A with Summarit 50mm f/2.4

Photokina: Looks like Leica is on a roll. Not content with the LCD-less M Edition 60, Leica has also announced the fully mechanical film rangefinder camera in the form of the Leica M-A (Typ 127). In wanting to connect with the Leica M3 launched 60 years ago, the M-A eschews all forms of electronics and 100% mechanical. Like the M3, it also has no light meter. Even the shutter speeds take on the M3, with a top speed of only 1/1000s. This is even more “pure photography” than the Nikon Df.

The M-A has a lever to change the frame lines for 28/90mm, 35/135mm and 50/75mm. In a very fluffy marketing speak, Leica says, “It may have no monitor, no exposure meter, and no battery, but what it does have is a mechanical quality that makes Leica’s 100 years of experience instantly tangible. Photographers can read the shutter speed and aperture directly from the camera and lens and so concentrate fully on their subject. The acoustic signature of the shutter release of a Leica M-A is a delight that immediately reveals the precision-engineered excellence of its origin.”

If you can’t afford the €15,000 (US$19,500) Leica M Edition 60 and wants to get on the purer-than-pure photography bandwagon, the M-A is yours for just €3,850 (US$4,750) for the body alone. It even comes with a free roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 to get you started.

I really can’t think of why anyone would want this over say, a Leica M7. Or just buy a used M3.

YS: Or how about not buy them? Rangefinders are awful really; there’s a reason why the Japanese finally wrestled dominance from the Germans with the coming of the SLR.

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Leica Attempts to Sell You Less For More With the 60th Anniversary Leica M Edition 60

Leica M Edition 60 with Summilux 35mm f/1.4

Photokina: Leica is a luxury/boutique camera maker and is never associated with value for money, but this announcement really takes the cake. To mark the 60th anniversary since the release of the Leica M3, the German camera maker has announced the limited edition Leica M Edition 60.

This is essentially a M-P Typ 240 digital rangefinder, but in attempting to return to the roots of the legendary M3, Leica removes the LCD screen that is now ubiquitous with digital cameras. In doing so, Leica wants you to shoot it as if it’s a film camera. In a statement, the company said, “Working with the Leica M Edition 60 demands the same care and attention as when working with analogue models. The sensor and electronics represent the pinnacle of contemporary, cutting edge technology. It allows the photographer to indulge in complete concentration on the subject or scene and savour the instant of capturing a special moment. Without the distraction of superfluous technical features. This is what makes the art of photography so immortal.”

Superb copywriting there, trying to sell people less for quite a lot money. I am rather surprised that Leica has not gone a step further and made it an internal memory-only camera, with enough to hold 36-37 exposures, to be much closer to the film experience. And while they are at that, they should have based this off the Leica M Monochrom instead.

The stripped down Leica M Edition 60 sans LCD but with a Summilux 35mm f/1.4 will go on sale for a cool €15,000 (US$19,500) from October. Now, I wonder if David will be interested in getting one, but he’ll have to hurry as there are only 600 units available worldwide.

YS: This isn’t for photographers, but for collectors. Move along.

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The Dark Horse Rises: Samsung Announces NX1 with 4K and NX 50-150mm f/2.8

NX1 with 16-50MM_3

It may not be the camera system we need, but is it the one we deserve? Samsung has been slowly trying to gain traction, but it always seems that despite being second to the market with a mirrorless system, and having some really sweet lenses, its acceptance has been less than ideal. I do partly blame Samsung themselves, because for a company that can go toe-to-toe with the mind-share juggernaut that is Apple, it has taken a very low-key approach in the camera industry. The NX1 better change that, for it packs some serious specs. Continue reading The Dark Horse Rises: Samsung Announces NX1 with 4K and NX 50-150mm f/2.8

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Canon Announces the Long Awaited EOS 7D Mark II, a Slew of New Lenses to Go With It And a New PowerShot Compact Camera

Canon EOS 7D Mark II with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

The highly-rumoured and anticipated Canon EOS 7D Mark II is finally announced by Canon. Finally moving away from the overused 18 megapixel sensor found in many of Canon’s DSLRs, the 7D Mark II features a new, 20.2 megapixel sensor with Dual Pixel AF. One-upping the recently announced Nikon D750, it also features 65 cross-type AF points and a 10 fps burst shooting speed. The metering sensor is a new 150k-pixel, RGB+IR, 252-zone unit for enhanced precision in metering.

Just like the Nikon D750, the video mode is capable of 1080/60p HD recording. In addition to the optical viewfinder with a 100% coverage, the camera also has a 3″ Clear View II LCD with 1,040k-dot resolution to preview your images or provide a live view for your shooting.

The EOS 7D Mark II will be available in November for US$1,799 for the body alone or bundled with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM pictured above for US$2149.

Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM
Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM

Along with the new camera, Canon has also announced a trio of new lenses – the EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM, EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM and EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM. At just 4.6 lbs., The EF 400mm weighs half the weight of its big brother, the EF 400mm f/2.8L and offers an additional four stops of image stabilisation using Canon’s improved optical image stabilisation. It will be available for US$6,899 in November.

Canon EF 24-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
Canon EF 24-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

The EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 STM also boasts an additional 4 stops of shutter speed and is meant to be a more economical alternative to the EF 24-105mm f/4L. It will be available in December for US$699.99.

EF-S 20mm f/2.8 STM
EF-S 20mm f/2.8 STM

The EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM is what Canon claims to be the smallest and lightest EF-S lens they’ve ever produced. As you can see in the photo above, it’s quite a pancake! This would make quite a good walkabout lens for street photography for Canon users using the cropped-sensor bodies like the EOS 7D Mark II. Both the EF-S 24mm f/2.8STM and the EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 STM features stepping motors for quiet autofocus performance. The lens will be available in November for US$149.99.

Canon PowerShot G7 X
Canon PowerShot G7 X

Finally, Canon has also launched a new compact camera with a 1″ sensor in the form of the PowerShot G7 X. This is the first Canon compact camera to use a 1″ sensor, and it features a 20.2 megapixel BSI CMOS chip. A DIGIC 6 processor performs the image processing duties and the lens has a equivalent focal length of 24-100mm at f/1.8-2.8. The AF system has 31 points and the camera is capable of shooting continuously at 6.5fps.

Like many new cameras released recently, it’s equipped with a 3″ tilting touchscreen, WiFi and NFC for easy connectivity. Unlike the previous G-series compact camera, there is no built-in viewfinder on the G7 X though. It will be available in October for US$699.99.

YS: That’s going to make a lot of Nikon people unhappy – specifically those who have been waiting for the D300 replacement.

Also, that G7 X. It’s a great day for those looking for a pocket rocket. If the performance of the newer Powershots is anything to go by it should not lag behind the Sony RX100 cameras by too much. There’s always the Panasonics too. What choice!

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