Best of Photokina 2016
There was a lot of new equipment announced at Photokina and more that has been previously announced this year. All of which in was on display at this amazing exhibition. At this point it is unlikely that any new announcements will be made and we can now examine all the cameras of 2016, not everything announced was groundbreaking or exciting but the following list contains, for me, announcements of the year:
- Fujifilm GFX 50S mirrorless medium format camera.
- Hasselblad X1D mirrorless medium format camera
- Sony A99 II 42.4mp full frame DSLR.
- Fujifilm’s flagship rangefinder X-Pro2 APSC mirrorless optical/OLED hybrid.
- Fujifilm’s flagship X-T2 mirrorless APSC camera.
- Sony A6500 their flagship APSC camera
- Olympus’s flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II micro four thirds mirrorless camera.
- Nikon D500 APSC flagship DSLR.
- Pentax K-1 full frame DSLR camera.
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV full frame DSLR
The Biggest Story of 2016 -Medium Format Mirrorless!
The biggest story of 2016 was mirrorless coming to medium format, with two amazing cameras the Hasselblad X1D and the Fujifilm GFX 50S.
The runaway jaw dropper was the Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format camera and it dominated the news coming out of Photokina, and perhaps overshadowed the earlier announcement by Hasselblad, who introduced their own mirrorless medium format cameras the X1D.
It is had to say which mirrorless medium format camera is more stunning. The Hasselblad is smaller strikingly more beautiful and ergonomically easier to handle. However, the Fujifilm GFX 50S seems to be a lot more flexible. Here a few of the key advantages of each camera.
Hasselblad X1D Advantages
- More compact
- It has a leaf shutter
- The ISO is one stop higher
Fujifilm GFX 50S Advantages
- It will be cheaper
- Three-way tilting screen
- Its focal plane shutter will allow third party lenses and leaf shutter lenses.
- Better resolution in the viewfinder
- They will make an HC Hasselblad adapter with leaf shutter, electronic aperture and Auto Focus support.
- It will have a faster shutter speed
Sony’s Amazing A99 II
Most of the reviews of this camera start with “we thought the A mount might be dead” but with this new camera, Sony has produced a DSLR camera that is well beyond the image quality and motion stopping capacity of any DSLR on the market today. The camera has jumped to 41 megapixels with a stunning frame rate of 12fps, has a copper substrate sensor and Back Illumination. So now Sony is on the leading of edge of both the full frame DSLR and mirrorless camera world!
So if you are a DSLR person and can’t get your mind around a mirrorless camera, this DSLR camera would be the one to own.
Nikon’s D500 is a very interesting entrance into the market clearly this is a big advancement in Nikon technology as some of the features of this APSC camera can not be found in Nikon’s full frame line. If you compare it with the D810 you will find it has a higher ISO ceiling; it has 153 focus points compared to 51; the viewfinder resolutions is almost double that of the 810; the camera uses UHSII cards + QRD and shoots 10fps instead of 5fps. A closer examination of the camera will reveal even more complexity that will make this camera a sports photographer’s dream.
Perhaps even more important we are likely seeing a peek at the advances that Nikon will be bringing to their full frame line when it is refreshed. After all the two-year-old D810 was really a slightly modified D800e which came out four years ago. In the last four years, immense changes have occurred in image quality, so it should be interesting to see where Nikon goes next.
Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X-T2
These two flagship cameras made by Fujifilm have built a camera that has full frame DSLR shooters, migrating to these APSC cameras. If you compare the quality as Jordan Steele has done in a comparison of the X-Pro2 and the Sony A7II, both 24-megapixel cameras, they are very close in image quality. In general, these cameras are similar in ISO performance up to 6400, a level I don’t like to go over. In terms of colour fidelity as the ISO climbs in these two cameras, the X-Pro2 maintains good colour control in the dark areas with no visible banding, whereas the A7II shows some pattern noise and slight banding. It is unusual for an APSC camera to perform this well against a full frame camera.
It is this performance against 24-megapixel full frames that has professionals, especially those who travel, moving toward Fujifilm XPro2 and X-T2 cameras, especially when you consider the Fuji lenses. Fujifilm lenses have a reputation for being very high quality, perhaps not all of them but certainly the critical ones a professional wants in their bag. This is perhaps the secret that is leading the migration to these cameras as the lenses are much more compact than a full frame lens. This makes you kit have the cost and half the weight while maintaining an image quality as good or higher than a full frame 24-megapixel equivalent. My experience with their lenses that compared to my high-end Nikon lenses are sharper to the edge over a greater range of F stops.
This is the new Sony’s flagship APSC camera, like the Fujifilm XPro2 and X-T2 it has a copper substrate sensor, making this camera and the Fujifilm cameras a top choice for a lightweight professional camera with excellent dynamic range and ISO performance. These three cameras in terms of image quality (IQ), should be almost identical sensor wise. So dynamic range and ISO performance should be identical. So what are the differences?
- The Sony camera is slightly less in price, but not enough to really be meaningful to a decerning buyer.
- The colour array in the Sony is Bayer and the Fujifilm has an X-Tran array. The X-trans colour array is designed to eliminate moire that is problematic for Bayer style filters. Having said that moire is in most cases not and issue and all but severe moire can be corrected in post-processing of RAW images.
- The colour rendition coming from the two cameras is somewhat different, so this is really a personal preference issue, I suggest you spend some time looking at samples on the DPreview site.
- The focal points on the Sony jumped to 425 compared to Fujifilm’s 321 points.
- The Sony camera also shoots 11 frames per second (fps) compared to Fujifilm’s 8fps. However, in electronic shutter mode, the Fujifilm camera shoots at 14fps.
- Perhaps Sony’s biggest upgrade is the 5 axis in camera image stabilisation. Now as a prime lens user trying to maintain maximum sharpness, this is not that significant. But if you are constantly finding yourself in low light or using telephoto lenses this is a big deal.
- The Fujifilm camera has a dual SD slot, which allows you to backup to a second disk while in the field. The Sony still retains its single SD slot. The Sony camera is only compliant to slower UHS-II cards, unlike the Fuji that is UHS-II compliant.
Now those are the differences in specifications, but there are other things that make this camera a better choice for certain people than the Fujifilm camera. If you want a light compact kit and still have high-quality lenses then the Fuji kit is for you. Also if you do not like to worry about menus or programming buttons to avoid the menu then you will want to avoid the Sony. Now if you want a compact camera capable of using full frames lenses because some day you are going to buy a full frame camera then the Sony is the camera for you. The Sony camera itself is smaller and cheaper than the Fujifilm cameras.
Then there is the buffer issue with Sony will shoot 100 frames of RAW files before the buffer is reached but the Fujifilm X-T2 can only record 25 frames of RAW at 14fps or 30 at 5fps. So clearly here there is a big difference. If you are a sports or wildlife photographer the Sony may be a much better camera for you.
The OM-D E-M1 Mark II
Many people dismiss the 4/3 cameras as consumer cameras, good for internet shoots, making videos and small prints suggesting that is is not a Prosumer camera. Although there are some merits to the argument that printing large with these cameras is problematic, many of the high-end models like this one have all the controls and sophistication of a more advanced camera. For example, this camera is now using both phase-detection and contrast focusing, which should improve its tracking performance over models that do not.
Also, the 18 fps speed of this camera is well above the speed of any professional camera on the market making it very useful in capturing high-speed movement.
Olympus and also Panasonic who share the 4/3 sensor and the same mount are both targeting their flagship cameras toward a more professional crowd, according to Setsuya Kataoka the Deputy Division Manager of Imaging Product Development of Olympus. Specifically trying to target DSLR users rather than people committed to other mirrorless systems (in other words Sony and Fujifilm).
Their advantage over the other mirrorless camera systems APSC and Full Frame is compactness of the camera and the kit. The disadvantage is their sensor is 61% the size of an APSC sensor so image quality suffers, but only if you are printing large. Also lens quality will not be as good either. So if you post most of your work to the web and you don’t work big and still want to have all the professional aspects of a camera system this might be the camera for you.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Pentax K-1
I have included the Canon camera in this article for those who are committed to this line, as this camera for them represents an improvement in image quality and camera technology. In terms of its advances in camera technology and image quality compared to other cameras, I covered this in a previous article, titled “5D Mark IV Canon Shooters Full Frame Dilemma.”
The Pentax K-1 has some merits but has largely been ignored even though it is priced well below the 5D Mark IV and other high-end full frame cameras, it is 36 megapixels with an auto ISO that goes up to 204,800! It also has 5 axis stabilisation, AA filter simulation, built-in GPS and a cross tilt LCD. So in these areas, it seems to be quite innovative. The downside perhaps is the 33 point AF autofocus system very limited and less than the Mark IV and neither is up to par with other cameras. Again, like the Canon 5D Mark IV, this is more of a camera for someone who has a large investment in Pentax lenses or someone that wants to exploit the vast collection of K-mount lenses that can be found around the world.