Photokina 2018 – An enthusiast’s view

Weeks leading up to Photokin 2018, a slew of new products have been announced. After years of denial that mirrorless is the future, Canon and Nikon both announced their first Full Frame Mirrorless. The Canon EOS R and Nikon Z product lines. Canon is taking the same old approach, slightly crippling the camera body but with killer lenses that are oversized and overweighted for the body. But no doubt, lenses like the new Canon RF 50/1.2 will be a killer lens. I loved the Canon EF 50/1.2L. Not a very ‘modern’ lens, but definitely has a ‘look’ to the images.

  1. EOS R.jpg

Nikon remains conservatibe. 1.8 primes, and a f4 zoom. Yawn. It is following Sony’s footstep, except those footsteps have been there for many years already.

pic_180823_01_02.jpg

The internet went crazy over the fact that both the Canon EOS R and Nikon Z bodies only feature one card slot. Soon people will demand dual lens and dual sensors.

So Nikon and Canon… both pretty boring.

Fujifilm came out with the X-T3. Youtubers rave about the camera. I gave up on my Fujifilm system a while back… the reason was rather ironic. Most people like Fujfilm for their film color simulation profiles. I don’t like Fujifilm colors. Personal preference. I find the color profiles not to be a good starting color palette. It’s too far removed from reality. Even when shooting RAW, the RAW files seem to be ‘cooked’ to reflect the Fujifilm’s approach towards color. Yes, sometimes, the result are excellent, but more often then not, I find the grays to be crushed into blacks, and and there’s no definition in the dark grays. Skin tone looks pleasing when WB is right, but surreal to my eyes. But X-T3 looks like a killer camera on paper.

So nothing interesting happened at Photokina 2018?

Two announcements interest me.

  1. Leica-Panasonic-Sigma Alliance. Panasonic announcing two Full Frame Mirrorless cameras, the S1 and S1R that feature Leica’s L-mount. If my guess is correct, Panasonic is going to use the same strategy with the very well-received GH series. I suspect both cameras will be marketed to be the best of both (photos and video) worlds. Screenshot 2018-09-29 at 16.20.49.pngTo me, that is not what is exciting. What has me intrigued is whether the future camera bodies using the L-mount will become the best bodies for the Leica M lenses! I use Leica M lenses on my Sony bodies regularly, often with the Techart adapter. However, using Leica M lenses that are 35mm or wider, have issues with Sony, apparently due to the thicker glass stack used on other cameras. If these L-mount cameras have to conform to L-mount specs, then they may behave like the Leica SL, which is an excellent body for Leica M lenses! If all L-mount cameras imply they will have a thin glass stack on top of the sensor, then they may just be the best bodies for adapting Leica M lenses. Time will tell if this speculation is true or not, but Panasonic FF cameras certainly has its appeal.
  2. Zeiss ZX1. The looks of the camera seems to be rather polarizing. I am somewhat indifferent. What interest me is the quality of the lens as they claim zero distortion in RAW, meaning the lens has very low distortion optically and require no software correction. It has 512GB built-in memory with USB-C connectivity. What surprised me most is that it includes Lightroom CC (assumingly Mobile) for editing.

    What that means is that the ZX1 is running on Android. I have (had) two cameras that run on Android – Light L16 and Hasselblad X1D. The L16 is glimpse to the future of computational imaging. While the X1D is the first ever mirrorless Medium Format camera. The common problem with these cameras? Slow boot up time. It would be smart if the ZX1 runs a different OS as a camera, and only runs Android for editing and sharing. I have read no reports of such an implementation though.

There are other interesting products, e.g., the Zeiss Batis 40mm f2. Some new Voitglander lenses too… but it’s the L-Mount alliance and the Zeiss ZX1 that stand out in my opinion.

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