Photokina roundup

The world’s biggest trade fair for the photographic and imaging industry has just finished in Cologne. So what’s some of the big news to come out of it?

Samsung-NX100

One of the surprises was Fujifilm’s concept high-quality compact camera – the X100. No news about it had been leaked beforehand, so there was a lot of interest – despite the fact it was still missing many of its vital parts! A retro design, analogue controls and a hybrid opto-electronic viewfinder (translation: it offers the best of both worlds by allowing users to instantly switch between a bright, high-quality optical viewfinder and an electronic viewfinder with full shooting data) were tempting, even considering the fact that it has a fixed mount, fixed focal length lens (the 23mm f/2 lens has been optimised with the 12.3MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor for high-quality images) and comes with a hefty price tag of £900.
More over here.

Compact interchangeable-lens cameras only came onto the scene two years ago with the Panasonic G1, but are making great strides. Witness the Panasonic GH2, which has taken AF performance up a gear to compete with the best SLRs. This Micro Four Thirds camera shoots at 16 megapixels with a wider sensitivity range of ISO 160 to 12,800 and a faster, 23-point autofocusing system. You’ll also get 5FPS burst shooting and 1080i video at 60 frames per second instead of 30.
Read more here.

Samsung, meanwhile, showed off its Samsung NX100 with its intuitive i-Function kit lens. What’s that, you ask? Well so did I. Apparently, the i-Function button on the lens allows you to control the lens; scrolling through manual settings, such as shutter speed, aperture, EV, WB, and ISO. You can then use the focus ring to change parameters for each setting. The NX100 also boasts the same 14.6 megapixel sensor and 3-inch AMOLED screen as the NX10. The Samsung NX100 will come in black, white and brown and will cost £449.99 with the 20-50mm kit lens. You will also be able to buy a compact zoom 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 lens and an Electronic Viewfinder Flash and GPS tracker, while a 20mm f/2.8 wide angle Pancake lens, Macro lens and 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Super Zoom lens will be available next year.

The camera companies also recognise that photographers want tougher, more weather-resistant cameras for their shots. Step forward the Pentax K-5, the Nikon D7000 and the Olympus E-5, all magnesium-alloy cameras that have environmental seals that allow their owners to use them in bad weather (so that means August in the UK).

Casio chose a different tack, meanwhile, with its Casio EX-H20G, which offers a geo-photography facility. This means that as well as offering 14-megapixel images, the Casio compact is able to geo-tag your images – even if you’re underground or indoors. The locations of your pictures are captured on the Casio’s mapping software and shown on its 3inch LED screen. It also has a database of 10,000 tourist attractions, which the camera can recognise and tag – it will even alert you when you’re near one of them. You can then share your picture with family and friends on Picasa.

Okay, that’s the fun stuff for holiday snappers, but your more serious, medium-format fans have not been left out. Hasselblad’s 60-megapixel H4D-60 camera not good enough for you? Never fear, a 20-megapixel model is due out in the early part of next year. Mind you, it’s not all good news – each image will take 30 seconds to capture, so is hardly going to be any good for anything that moves (or breathes). But professional photographers who take glossy shots of watches, cars and the like will no doubt be intrigued.

Speaking of pricey cameras, Pentax debuted its interchangeable lens, medium-format digital SLR camera, the 645D. With its huge image sensor (44x33mm), the 645D takes shots at up to 40 megapixels, but it’s also pretty hefty, as its price tag – a whopping £9,999.99 with a 55mm SDM 645 lens.

Of course. It’s not just all about cameras. People who take great pictures, need great printers too, which is why Epson chose Photokina to launch its Stylus Pro 4900. Designed for the small office or studio producing photographic and fine art prints, the compact, 17inch production printer can produce 98 per cent of all PANTONE colours on a wide range of media up to 1.5mm thick. It can switch automatically between photo and matte black inks
Available from November at £2,295

More details here

Sony takes aim at the novice snapper with A390 and A290 DSLRs

Hot on the heels of Sony’s NEX range of interchangeable lens compact cameras comes a more traditional pair of DSLRs aimed at the novice snapper.

These 14mp entry-level DSLRs are pretty much the same, although the A390 features an LCD screen that tilts and folds, while the A290’s screen is fixed to the body. The A390 also features Quick AF Live View, which avoids squinting through the viewfinder – a boon for first-time DSLR users who are used to the screens on compact cameras.

Sony-DSLR-A390-290

While rumours have been abounding on the net about the new releases for a while, they have failed to excite camera buffs. That’s because the cameras are essentially just a step up from Sony’s A230 and A380 models, with the greatest difference being a new grip designed to make handling more comfortable and of course the image-stabilised 14.2mp CCD sensor.

Newbies, however, will be helped out by the intuitive graphic display that has been designed to enable the user to understand the relation between shutter speed and aperture, and the effects of your chosen settings on the final image. An onscreen help guide explains the camera functions and gives image samples to illustrate how the settings work.

Interchangeable lenses feature the Sony A-mount, which is compatible with Minolta and Konica AF lenses. One battery charge should get you 500 images, though be aware that using live view mode on the A390 will more than halve that.

Both cameras also include a mini-HDMI terminal for connection to an HD-Ready TV and support for PhotoTV HD has been designed to get even better image reproduction on Sony’s BRAVIA TVs. BRAVIA owners can also let you control slideshow and playback function using your TV remote.

The UK is still waiting for prices to be announced (the cameras will be released in the summer) although in the states the A390 will be hitting the shelves at around $600, the A290 at $500.