News from Photokina 2008

version française








Phase One


Photokina 2008 notices the segmentation of cameras according to the markets and the sensors sizes: phase One P65 with 65 million pixels, Hasselblad with 50 million, new Leica S2 with 37,5 million, 24 X 36 mm “full frame” with more than 20 million, the APS-C from 15 to 10 million, system 4/3 and microsystem 4/3, miniature sensors of digital compacts.

Phase One P65.

Phase One presented its digital back P65 with a sensor of 40.4 X 54.9 mm like 645 film. It is better than Hasselblad and 50 megapixels of the H3DII-50. The Phase One P65 will be sold to 39.990 $, digital back only. It is necessary to add to this price the camera, lens and viewfinder costs.
Phase One announced also on September 20th, 2008 a strategic partnership with Leica.

Leica and a 30x45 mm new format.

Leica S2 with lenses

(C) chasseur d'images 2008

Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Asph

The Photokina is located in the country of Leica and each show is the opportunity for the company to present their new products. Two year ago, in 2006, Leica has a digital offer with digital back for R8 and R9, the new Leica M8, both with a sensor smaller than 24 x 36 mm and the Leica Digilux 3 that uses « Micro Thirds Four » format.
Two years after, the digital market is more mature and the offer of Leica company changes, during this period, profits come back for Leica.
Leica launches a new digital Leica system, which will replaces probably, in the long term, the R system that is not AF. Leica left for DSLR, the film format that it created: the 24x36mm and proposes a Leica S2 built around new sensor of 37,5 megapixels. This KAF-37500 sensor is developed by Kodak with a size of 30x45 mm.
The processor of image celled “MAESTRO” was developed in collaboration with Fujitsu. The metal body, compact and handy, is not larger than on the Canon EOS 1Ds or Nikon D3 cameras and has an integral protection against dust and water splashes. The lenses are also built in metal and are autofocus, a first for Leica.
Today, nine lenses with their own central shutter are scheduled for this system: an 2,5/70 Asph CS, an 100 mm, Apo-Macro 2,5/120, an180 CS, an 24 f/2,8 Asph, an lens with off-centring and a 350 mm f/3,5. No date of availability is indicated, nor the price which should be with the height of the performances.
By proposing a new system based on a sensor of a surface 55% higher than the 24x36, Leica hustles the market by the top or its reputation and the quality of the products should enable it to be quickly present in the professional studios.
Leica also announced a minor evolution of Leica M8.2, the availability of the world's most luminous lens : the Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 Asph, and other M lenses and two compact numerical C-LUX 3 and D-LUX 4, clones of Panasonic compacts.
The Leica D-LUX 4 doesn't allow "Four Thirds" interchangeable lens as the previous model the Leica Digilux 3

Canon, Sony and the 24 x 36 mm "full frame" sensors with more than 20 millions pixels.

Sony alpha 900

Canon 5D Mark II

The sensor Full Frame, corresponding to the 24 x 36 mm film, spreads on other historical and traditional manufacturers.
The Canon 5D Mark II replaces the 5D, launched three years ago, it has a new Cmos sensor 24x36 of 21,1Mpix. It has also a video mode Full HD 1080x1920 pixels, with AF activated, a LiveView mode with two modes AF, a dust protection system, a new processor Digic 4 but no built-in flash and it can’t pilot distant flashes without accessory. It is may be the current camera the most complete and powerful. It will be sold less than 2800 €.
Pre-announced since two years Sony Alpha 900 arrives finally with its 24 X 35,9 mm Cmos sensor - 24,4 Mpix (4.032 X 6.048), it allows 5 maximum f/s out of 100 Fine JPEG Extra views or 12 Raw views. It has also a dust protection mode and a stabilization mode coming from Sony/Minolta. Like Canon 5D, it have not built-in flash. It is also sold 2800 €.
These two cameras offer 20 megapixels for less than 3000 €. Canon IDS and other Nikon D3 now are joined and exceeded by Nikon D700, Canon 5D Mark II and Sony alpha 900.

Nikon and others DLSR.

Nikon D700

Nikon D90

Canon 1000D

Pentax KM

Nikkor AF-S 50mm 1.4 G

Flash SB900

Nikon GP-1

If Nikon D700, left in July 2008, constituted a good surprise, it obsoletes D300 and D3. The new Canon 5D Mark II will oblige Nikon to review its price, the cycle life of Nikon experts cameras: F100, D200, D300 and now D700 become shorter and shorter and is boring for expert amateurs
Nikon ended the renewal of its cameras with Nikon D90 that replaces Nikon D80 and reuses some of these accessories, it has Live View with contrast-detect AF and a the world's first DSLR movie mode with capture movie at up to 1280 x 720 (720p) 24 fps with mono sound. It is less powerful than Canon 5D Mark II but it is 2.5 times less expensive. Nikon has also presented a new Nikkor AF-S 50mm 1,4 G with silent wave motor and a new flash SB 900.
A new GPS accessory , the Nikon GP-1, allows D90 and models from the D2/D200 to record GPS metadata into pictures taken..

The smart and compact Pentax KM has a 10 megapixels stabilized sensor with antidust system, an 5 zones autofocus an 2,7 inches rear screen, and a motor that allows 3.5 f/s all that for less than 500 €.
The Canon 1000D has also a 10,1 megapixels sensor, an 2,5 inches rear screen with LiveView. This camera is the new entry point in canon DLSR and will be sold 699 € with a stabilized 18-55 lens.
Sony, Pentax, Canon and Nikon have a complete offer of DLSR: Nikon D40, D60, Canon 1000D, Pentax KM and also Sony alpha 200 and Olympus E420 that constitute the entry point on digital reflex and the largest sales.
To note a new version of the Sigma DLSR : the Sigma SD15 with its Foveon sensor of 14 million pixels. In spite of sales undoubtedly marginal, Sigma continues to believe in its reflex camera.

Many other new things on this Photokina: the Fujifilm FinePix 3D prototype, the new release of Photoshop CS4 and many lenses with HSM, USM or Silent Wave motorization as Tamrom or Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM. The trend of convergence between still camera and video and less digital compacts as previous years.

The Micro Four Thirds system

Lumix G1

prototype Lumix HD

A month before the Photokina, Olympus and Panasonic have announced a new, mirrorless format / lens mount based on (and compatible with) Four Thirds. The Micro Four Thirds system uses the same sensor size (18 x 13.5 mm) but allows slimmer cameras by removing the mirror box and optical viewfinder. The new format has key technical differences: roughly half the flange back distance (distance from mount to the sensor) and a smaller diameter lens mount (6 mm smaller). Removing the mirror mechanism allows this shorter flange back distance, meaning lenses for the new mount can be considerably smaller than current Four Thirds designs. The format will require framing to be carried out using Live View on either the LCD monitor or an EVF. Existing Four Thirds lenses can be used on Micro Four Thirds cameras using an adapter.
DPREVIEW and other websites said "This new is the most important announce of this year." The fact that all new DSLR have all Liveview indicates that the consumers are ready to use only the LCD as they do with their digital compact or camcorders. Customers are waiting lighter cameras with view on LCD panel and allow also HD video.
As Olympus and Panasonic have difficulties to follow Nikon, Canon and Sony on the race for more megapixels and full format sensor, they propose a new approach and new cameras, lighter, not SLR (because they have no mirror) but open with many accessories and existing lenses. A weeding between a mini-Leica M8 and the smallest DSLR: a product put between DSLR and bridge cameras.
To follow Olympus, other photos companies will be oblige to adopt Micro Four Thirds system or to develop new mounts (to have a smaller flange back distance, mount and lenses). Maybe we will have Micro-F, Micro-EOS or Micro-Alpha mounts? It is the condition to be able to propose also the new kind of cameras for experts and amateurs.

Panasonic presented Lumix G1, first camera "Micro Four Thirds", silent mechanism, light and compact, near to bridge cameras with a sensor CMOS of 12 million pixels, an electronic high-definition viewfinder, a Liveview mode but not video. Lumix G1 has a autofocus with AF detection, a faces detection and the follow-up dynamics mobile subjects, an electronic shutter " on the sensor" and a dust protection system. This camera is sold 800 € with 14-45 mm lens (equiv 28-90 mm in 135 format), that is more expensive than first-price DSLR of other manufacturers.
Panasonic also presented the prototype of superior camera with video mode but very near to the G1 design. It is worry that Panasonic/Olympus do use more this new format with more original fit and functions and may be products cheaper.
In the Photokina, Olympus has only showed two mockups: a prototype of luxury retro compact in micro 4/3 format with interchangeable " pancake" lenses but without electronic viewfinder and a future 4/3 DLSR, simplified version of Olympus E3.

Minox: "License to Shoot".

Minox DSC

Spys love it: small, intelligent and very reliable. MINOX cameras have been the dream tool of undercover agents for almost 75 years.
To allow this legend to continue in the digital age, miniature optics specialists from Wetzlar have designed the Minox DSC. This is a miniature camera that features the former 8x11 dimensions as the original camera, created by Walter Zapp in 1936 at Riga (Lettonie), and at the same time boasts state-of-the-art technology.
New possibilities are offered by this new License to Shoot – the slogan of the fair presentation: fast, unobtrusive, candid photography.
This Camera has a 5-megapixel sensor, a lithium battery, an 42mm equivalent lens, plus capability of saving onto 16GB memory cards in a tiny camera at just 3 and 3/8 x 1 and 3/16 x 7/8-inches and weighing in at 2.1 ounces.
It is sold for $199.

Olympics games or Quarter Million Dollars of Digital Photo Gear in a Single Photo


Some cameras which are presented at the Photokina were surely in test in Beijing. The Gizmodo site presents this photography and indicates "Here's a common scene—but still impressive—at the Beijing Olympics: dozens of photographers firing the most expensive digital photography gear available on the planet at full speed. The sound of all those shutters re-clacky-clicketing alone must give goosebumps to any photo aficionado, but the total price of all this machinery would actually make anyone faint. How much does this all cost?
In this image alone I can count 23 cameras. I can see loads of Canon L-Series EF and Nikkor AF-S 500mm super telephoto lenses—each around $5,800 a pop—, a few 400mm, 600mm, 700mm, 800mm here and there. Let's assume a conservative average of $6,000 per telephoto lense. That's $138,000 total just on lenses. Most of them are probably using the biggest and newest Canon and Nikon cameras, so we can assume an average $5,000 price tag per camera, which brings the grand total to about a quarter of a million dollars.
Now, there are 1,100 accredited photographers at the Beijing Olympics, which we can assume will have more than just one set of lenses and, at least, one secondary camera, just in case the first one breaks or they want to have two different set of lenses ready to shoot at any time. A good low-estimate per photographer would be $20,000 minimum, which brings the grand total to $22 million in professional digital photography equipment at the Olympics. [Stern via Dark Roasted Blend]".


pierre j.

To consult the preceding bulletin or the Photokina 2006 2004 2002 2000 1998 or to send us your remark or a message.
To come back to
Main Page.

Texts of this page are on the responsibility of their author only and in no case of Nikon Corporation
Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Samsung, Sony are register or trade marks
Alpha, Coolpix, EOS, Micro Four Thirds are products of these trade marks

Created the August 7th 2008, Updated December 15th 2008
V1.3 © Pierre J.