The Best New Cameras Unveiled at Photokina 2016

by | Sep 23, 2016 | News, Products

The news is slowly dying down as the annual Photokina show in Germany is wrapping up. Like always, there were many announcements, so let’s take a look at the best. (Please note that pricing and availability is not currently available on many of these products.)

Fujifilm GFX 50S

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Let’s start things off with the big one: the mirrorless, medium format, Fujifilm GFX 50S. It’s the first digital medium format camera from Fujifilm, who has now completely skipped over full frame (the X-Series mirrorless cameras are all APS-C).

With the GFX system, the emphasis is on light weight and compact size, and the camera features a modular design with removable electronic viewfinder and optional vertical grip.

Inside, it is built around a 50MP CMOS sensor that measures 32.9 x 43.8mm, or about 70-percent larger than full frame. Although technically just the second mirrorless medium format camera after Hasselblad introduced the X1D earlier this year (which uses a very similar sensor), it is the first with a focal plane shutter, rather than relying on lens-based leaf shutters.

This may make some people shudder (heh. heh.) as leaf shutters are kind of like, the thing, on medium format cameras and allow for flash sync at any shutter speed without any fancy high-speed sync mumbo jumbo. But a focal plane shutter can be faster (the 50S shoots up to 1/4000 of a second) and Fujifilm has hinted that leaf-shutter lenses will also be compatible (presumably with some sort of adapter).

As for the lenses, Fujifilm announced development of no less than six, all of which will be weather-sealed. Combined with the compact design, the 50S could be the perfect camera for outdoor and landscape photographers who want maximum image quality while being able to travel as light as possible.

Fujifilm hasn’t announced a price, but did say that the camera would be “well under $10,000.” Fingers crossed that “well under”means, like, $25 bucks. Because then I can get one.

 

Panasonic GH5

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Panasonic looks to continue the legacy of the incredible GH line with the new Lumix DMC-GH5. Little has been released about the new camera’s specs, but Panasonic did confirm that it will shoot 4K video at up to 60 FPS, the first time ever in a consumer interchangeable lens camera.

The processing power required for 4K/60p is no small matter — that’s 8.3MP images being saved 60 times per second. If you’re thinking there must be something else all that power can be used for, well you’re correct, and that’s exactly what Panasonic did, bumping its 4K Photo mode up to 6K.

In 6K Photo (which, we hope, will also be suitable for 6K video) the GH5 captures roughly 18MP images at 30 FPS. Hopefully, this will remove my primary complaint with 4K Photo, which was a loss of field of view due to the sensor cropping down to an 8MP central region.

That’s all we really know at this time, but it’s enough to get us excited.

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

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Olympus changed the game with the original E-M1 three years ago. It was the first time that many professional photographers gave mirrorless, especially the Micro Four Thirds format, a serious  consideration for their primary camera. And now, Olympus is hoping to repeat its success.

The Mark II features Olympus’ standard high-level of craftsmanship, with a metal body and fully weather-sealed design. It adds a new electronic viewfinder that refreshes at 120FPS and reacts in just six milliseconds. This may be the closest an EVF has ever come to an optical viewfinder.

Inside, the sensor is bumped up to 20.4MP and the camera also gets High Res Shot, a feature the original E-M1 lacked. HRS produces a 50MP file by shifting the sensor microscopic amounts and taking a picture at each position. (Read our OM-D E-M5 II review for more info on how it works.)

The E-M1 Mark II also boasts some impressive processing power. With the electronic shutter, it can shoot full resolution RAWs at up to 60 FPS, or 15 with the mechanical shutter. Video capabilities have also been increased, with the E-M1 Mark II becoming the first Olympus camera to shoot in 4K. It uses the slightly wider DCI frame standard and records at a bit rate of up to 237Mbps. Olympus also claims that rolling shutter is reduced thanks to the new high-speed sensor readout.

 

Sony Alpha 99 II

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Oh look, Sony still makes DSLRs! Well, it’s not technically a DSLR since the mirror doesn’t reflex, but it’s pretty dang close. The A99 II brings the 42MP sensor and 399-point AF system from Sony’s awesome A7R II mirrorless camera and adds to it a second 79-point, all cross-type, phase-detect AF sensor.

And the similarities don’t end there. Like the A7R II, it features in-body 5-axis stabilization and is weather-sealed to protect against the elements. It can also capture 4K video from a cropped, Super35mm portion of the sensor and can output a clean signal over HDMI for uncompressed 4:2:2 recording and includes both S-Log2 and S-Log3 flat gamma profiles.

But if the A7R II already exists, why do we need this camera? One word: speed.

The A7R II topped out at just 5 FPS in continuous shooting, but the A99 II more than doubles that to 12 FPS (with AF tracking). That’s a staggering speed considering how many pixels need to be processed in each frame.

The A99 II will be priced right alongside the A7R II at $3,199.

 

GoPro Hero 5 and Karma drone

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This was a very long time coming, but GoPro finally announced the Hero5 Black action camera, and basically everything about it is new. But that wasn’t the only thing. The long-promised Karma drone was also unveiled, along with the surprise announcement of the Hero5 Session, a surprisingly capable little sibling to the Hero5 Black.

For the first time in a GoPro, both the Hero5 Black and Session are waterproof down to 33 meters without a case. They also both shoot 4K video up to 30FPS, but the Black shoots slightly higher resolution stills (12MP compared to 10MP) and is the only one that can shoot RAW photos.

The Black also gets a new, two-inch touch screen that’s integrated into the body similar to the current Hero4 Silver. The Session, of course, has no screen, but both models be controlled from a smartphone or even with voice commands. The Hero5 Black will sell for $399 while the Session will be just $299.

The Karma drone was announced quite some time ago, but some features still came as a surprise. Designed for potability, the propeller shafts fold back into a compact shape and the drone comes with a carrying case.

But the most exciting feature of the Karma is the detachable stabilizer, which can be used as a handheld gimbal. And you get all of this for just $799, or $1099 with a Hero5 Black included.

So yeah, GoPro is definitely back.

 

Nikon KeyMission

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GoPro wasn’t the only company showing off new action cameras at Photokina this year. Nikon finally announced availability for the KeyMission 360, its 360-degree action camera. But that wasn’t all. The company also introduced the KeyMission 170 and KeyMission 80.

The KeyMission 170 offers a 170-degree angle of view but still shoots in 4K (like the KeyMission 360) while the KeyMission 80 features a, yup, 80-degree field of view and is limited to 1080p. Like the new GoPros, the KeyMission 170 is waterproof without a case.

All three cameras will start shipping in October, priced at $499 for the KeyMission 360, $399 for the 170, and $279 for the 80.

Canon EOS M5

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While technically unveiled before Photokina began, the M5 is still news. This is, by all indications, Canon’s first serious attempt at building a mirrorless camera for enthusiasts, after the lukewarm reception of its earlier models.

New to the M5 is a 2.36-million-dot electronic viewfinder. It also gets the 24MP sensor from the EOS 80D, including the impressive Dual Pixel AF capability. Maximum continuous shooting speed reaches 9 FPS and it can shoot Full HD 1080p video up to 60 frames per second.

Given the specs, the M5 seems to hold its own against the 80D DSLR, and yet will come in $220 cheaper at just $979, or $1099 with the 15-45mm kit lens.

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