News from Photokina 2006


The Famous Five are back

Sony Alpha 100
Sony Alpha 100

Photokina 2006 marked the emergence of a huge news Photography company: SONY

If this electronics company was already leader in the field of the camcorders and other digital compact, it was not very present in the field of the reflex cameras which requires a particular know-how. The market of the reflex cameras is the market currently the most dynamic and that which allows the best margins. Sony, like the other electronics specialists Panasonic, Samsung wanted to be present on this market. The purchase of the Konica-Minolta photo part enables now it to be one of large photograph companies. Launched in July 2006, its Sony Alpha 100 based on Dynax 5D constitutes the new reference as regards digital reflex camera 2007. It has a sensor of 10 million pixels which makes obsolete all the reflex cameras with 6 million pixels, a anti-shake system integrated into the body camera, also coming from Dynax Minolta, a dust-protecting system, popularized by Olympus, a powerful AF etc the whole for less than 1000 $ No other camera cumulated all these functions.      

Nikon D80
Nikon D80

Canon Rebel XTi
Canon Rebel XTi

Pentax K10D
Pentax K10D

Olympus E400
Olympus E400

By doing that, SONY obliged all the other marks to react very quickly. For last thirty years, the Famous Five of reflex camera manufacturers includes: Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax and Olympus. SONY takes now the place and the technology of Minolta. At this Photokina, each of other four marks presents a new reflex camera with 10 Million pixels for 1000 $, that completes their already existing reflex range: pro cameras for Canon and Nikon, expert and general public cameras with important optical system (lenses) for each.
The obligation to have quickly many lenses and a range of two or three reflex bodies limits strongly the arrival of new actors on this market. It is necessary either to repurchase a mark like made SONY, or to be combined with one actors like SAMSUNG with Pentax or to join consortium 4/3 like Panasonic.

Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 ZF and Distagon T* 2,8/25 ZF
Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 ZF
and Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/25 ZF

Among the new cameras, the Nikon D80 replaces the D70 with a depth-of-field preview button and i-ttl flash wireless control. It has the same 2,5" TFT LCD and the same APS-C 10,2 Megapixels CCD as Nikon D200 but the SD card, body and 3D colour Matrix Metering system are coming directly from D50. It has neither anti-shake system, nor dust-protecting system.
Nikon announces also two lenses: the Nikon AF-S DX 18-135 mm and the Nikon AF-S 70-300 mm VR.

The Canon Rebel XTi replaces the Rebel XT and has a dust-protecting system and a Canon sensor CMOS,

Pentax K10D has a new design and the same SONY sensor already employed by Nikon and SONY but its own 22 bit Analog to Digital converter. It very complete with an anti-shake and dust-protecting system integrated into the body of camera. It is the only camera of this level to have 72 dust and weather resistant seals. Except a magnesium body, it can be a challenger of Canon 5D or Nikon D200 more than Rebel XTi or D80. It is sold also as Samsung GX-10. Pentax announces three new digital-only sealed DA lenses which utilize built-in Supersonic motors, like AF-S Nikon technology: the Pentax DA* 16-50 mm F2.8, Pentax DA* 50-135 mm F2.8 and Pentax DA* 60-250 mm F4 lenses all ED IF.

Olympus E400 is the most compact with its 4/3 Kodak CCD sensor and also has a dust-protecting system.

Zeiss, since the disappearance of Contax, manufactures autofocus lenses for SONY and a new range ZF with manual focus for Nikon, since Nikon has stopped the production of AI-S lenses.
Zeiss presented at Photokina fours new lenses: The Distagon T* 2/35 ZF, the Distagon T* 2,8/25 ZF and two macro lenses Makro-Planar T* 2/50 ZF and Makro-Planar T* 2/100 ZF.

The digital Leica M: M8

Leica M8 numérique

Leica M8

back with rear LCD

The Leica M8 was awaited by many professionals and it seems to be thought in depth: It has exactly the same size than M7, construction is in metal, the loading is always carried by removing the bottom, it is not a 24x36 film but a SD card and a Lithium-ion battery. On the back of M8, we find a 2.5" 230,000 pixel TFT LCD rear monitor.
Leica M8 has a USB2 plug for the transfer and the piloting of this rangefinder. The shutter is now electronic with metal blades rather than the traditional cloth shutter. The discrete noise of Leica M becomes a little more perceptible.
This rangefinder has a dedicated sensor Kodak KAF-10500 CCD of 10 million pixels on 27 X 18 mm area (rate 1,33 from 24x36), pixels of 6.8 µm and a network of micro-lenses to reduce the blooming and corruption in the border of the sensor. The Leica lenses now have a code on 6 bits, which allows the camera to do some software correction. All the lenses can receive this new coding.
Leica has also presented some new lenses like the Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21 mm F4 ASPH that is designed for the M8.
The Leica M8 is sold without lens 4200 $ (Oct. 2006).

Lens Tri Elmar 16-18-21 mm

Oscar Barnack

UR Leica

Remember :In 1913, the engineer Oscar Barnack has invented the first Leica. This mythical machine, called UR-LEICA, the Original Leica, has allowed the birth of a new format: The 24x36. In 1925, The Leica 1, first 24 x 36 camera in the world is commercialized. Since this date, the photography develops rapidly and many great reporters use Leica: Henry Cartier Bresson, Robert Capa, André Kertèsz, William Klein, Robert Doisneau or Jean Loup Sieff.
During all the XX th century, the film and Leica dominate the boom of the market of photography. In 1954, The Leica M3 was presented. It becomes a cult machine that will remain unchanged until year 2000. Leica symbolizes technical perfection, unequalled quality without concession.
But to the XXI th century, sales fall, the empire vacillates. The numerical dethrones the film very quickly. Leica has its financial save dues only to the sale of its subcontracted digital compacts al and its digital back for reflex body.
Today, the flagship of the mark: the Leica M8 replaces the film 24x36 by a Kodak CCD.
If Leica abandons 24x36, it is truly the end of the film.

Leica Digilux 3

The digital Leica D: the other Leica

In addition to some compacts, copies of model Panasonic, Leica presents also a new system: the system D.
Today, there was the rangefinder system M and the SLR 24x36 system R. Each with its own cameras and lenses. Now the system D completes them, digital SLR system based on the small FourThirds CCD. This system is the alone Leica to have AF lenses with optical stabilization. Panasonic in fact manufactures this system.
The first reflex camera, the Leica Digilux 3 is a digital reflex camera with interchangeable lenses. This model is directly derived from Panasonic DMC L1 and has the same characteristics and 7.5 megapixel LiveMOS sensor.
It comes as a kit with the Leica D 14-50 mm ASPH F2.8-F3 lens with built-in optical image stabilization already used with DMC L1 and a new lens Leica D Summilux 25mm/F1.4 ASPH.
Leica joined Panasonic and Olympus in the FourThirds Standard.
Leica has digital cameras in rangefinder M system, R reflex system (digital back) and D FourThirds reflex system.

Lenses 3/4 Leica 25 mm and 14-50mm

Other camera challengers

Fuji FinePix S5 Pro

Sigma SD14

Hasselblad H3D

Fuji announces its new DSR, the Fuji FinePix S5 Pro, based on the body of Nikon D200.
It has a SuperCCD SR of 12,34 Millions of pixels distributed in 6.17 million 'S photodiodes' (normal DR) and 6.17 million 'R photodiodes' (highlight DR) . This camera inherits of D200 characteristics including possibilities of WiFi connection and adds Face Detection Technology. The Fuji S5 Pro will be available in February 2007.

Sigma continues to be an actor of DSLR market and presents the Sigma SD14, which features a Foveon X3 sensor with '14 megapixels', those being delivered over three separate color sensitive layers, in a 2652 x 1769 x 3 configuration. It includes also improved functions as an image sensor dust protector, a brighter pentaprism viewfinder, a larger 2.5" LCD monitor, Lithium-Ion battery, improved auto focus and continuous shooting, and a built-in flash.

Hasselblad presents its new camera, The Hasselblad H3D, that has a 22 or 39 Millions of pixels CCD on a surface of 48mm on 36 mm, a record with a size doubles that the Canon "full frame" CCD.

Some new Nikon Coolpix

Nikon Coolpix 9

coolpix S9

Nikon Coolpix S7c with WiFi

coolpix S7c

Nikon Coolpix L6

coolpix L6

Nikon Coolpix L5

coolpix L5

Nikon Coolpix S10

coolpix S10

Many compact numerical, located between the portable telephones, which reach 2 to 5 million pixels, and the reflex cameras, were presented at Photokina.
The range of the bridge camera (standard Coolpix 8800) disappeared. Nikon thus brought up to date its Coolpix cameras with five updated models:
Coolpix S10 upgrades Coolpix S4, with an anti-vibration system of the CCD, Coolpix S9 and S7c replace S5 and S6 and Coolpix L6 and L5 replace L3 and L2.


pierre j.


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Created the 16 September 2006, Updated 30 September 2006
V1.1 © Pierre J.