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My photokina 2012 report


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#1 Sylvain

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 11:23 PM

Ladies & Gentleman,

Time has come for my humble report on Photokina 2012 ! The general feeling was that of a rather serious Photokina. I remember the 2006 edition : a loud Kina with lots of choregraphies, models, shows & extravagance. The 2008 was seriously quieter. I skipped the 2010 one but this year was all business. Still a few silly stage & set up scenes with girls looking dead bored but overall, it was more about the products than girls.
I'll write down my impressions in no definite order with absolutely no restraint nor impartiality whatsoever. Take it as it comes ! To give you a clue :
Regular readers know I have departed from heavy APS-C DSLR (Canon 30D,40D, a bunch of L & high grade EF-S lenses) to Olympus E-P1 & my current OM-D. I'm partial to mirrorless & mirrorless camera makers, not specially to Olympus, eventhough you'll read praises about them.

Sony :
A bunch of silly activities, a lot of products. Quite a popular stand with many people trying out the A99. The RX100 "formidable" had little attention but I guess it's too old already for the Kina. Still very nice. I turned around the different samples of the RX1 which, of course, was not to try, a big disappointment proportional to how amazing it looks. It's every bit as exciting as it looked on your monitor. The EVF isn't looking bad at all after all.
The NEX-6 does appear to be a well sorted out camera and the 16-50 lens was quite pleasing to use. The motor is extremely quick and is controlled by a typical control ring rather than the plain annoying W-T jog of the Pana X 14-42. I don't suppose it's going to be a particularly good lens but it's quite nicely made. The NEX cameras are looking very strong.
I never tried focus peaking and it works extremely well, I can understand the lobbying of the MFT boys although one of my personal conclusions of the kina is that I'm definitely getting too impatient for anything involving manual focusing. AF zones are small, AF is quick, AF zones are easy to move about (direct arrows or touch screen). Case sorted.
I really get the impression SONY is the big boss right now and that apart from the D4 & 1Dx, Canon & Nikon look a bit pathetic.

Samsung :
Well. I tried their telephone. I mean the telephone without the phone functionality. Its screen is fading dark on angles, is annoying to use, is too large. And I keep calling it a telephone. Confusing product but when you go on, you kinda see the point. It just feels like a good phone camera or a bad camera. The GUI wasn't terrible but needs sorting out. The rest I didn't care much about. Still not giving any love to their NX system, perhaps to my loss.

Sigma :
Let's start with the good stuff. I tried the 19 & 30mm lenses for MFT. I'm not sure about the focal length but they're nice little lenses. Hope sigma will go on with MFT.
Then, ouch. I tried the DP1M & DP2M. It's really disappointing :-/ and I really really really wanted to like them. But as I'm cooling down, I guess the DP1M has to be put back within its territory : a landscape camera, quiet, slow action. Perhaps there, anticipating beautiful files, you can get over it. I really can't see how the DP2M can work though. With its focal length, I'd expect the % of social pictures take a little more room than the DP1M and I can imagine a lot of missed pictures. They are too blocky & heavy too.

Lee (as in Lee Filter holders systems manufacturer) :
Very small presence with a nice english rep. I was interested in trying out the RF75 filter holder for range finders and got introduced to a newer model called the Seven5 re-designed for mirrorless cams that would be much cheaper. Good news as Lee don't come cheap. It should be available from next month for 50-60 if I understood correctly. It's basically build cheaper on less important parts (plastic moldings instead of metal).
It's called the seven5 micro filter system. It's good news as the price always put me off. Remains the glass price though. Of note, Cokin also introduced a system Snap-Kit but didn't get a chance to see them.

Schneider :
Lots of big cine lenses & the three new MFT in boxes. Keep moving.

Fuji :
A mixed bag. I tried in that order : X-Pro1, X-E1 & XF1. Terrible mistake to go down the foodchain. Don't do that. I swear it was unintended. The X-Pro1 is actually much nicer than I thought. The hybrid viewfinder is a joy. You use the optical viewfinder and you get the instant digital viewfinder review after each shot. Seeing the bigger lenses (like the new 18-55) stick inside the view isn't really distracting. The models on display already had the dynamic framing lines. Simple but works well. The 18-55 is nice but could be a little better build.
Solid, serious, hefty camera. I liked it very much despite it being a little too big for my habits. Then came the XE-1. Feels considerably lighter. Maybe too much but after the X-Pro1, that's not a fair judgment. The viewfinder is good but perhaps due to the lighting, was a bit weird at times. Didn't feel as quick as on sony's ? On both X's cams, the LCD screen looked rather disappointing, or sticking out too much. Something not rightly placed. The optical finder is sorely missed when you tried them next to each other. I recommend not trying them together.
The XF1 was terribly disappointing. The build quality just isn't there. The lens unfolding was a bit annoying to me. Clever but too many steps and there was just too much play. On the good side, it's quite fast & the fact that it's a compact with a manual zoom really is brilliant. In use, it was a bit jittery and it felt quite cheap Overall, every fuji I tried lacked this speed I got used to with the MFT system. I hope it's not the final model?
Amusing little "polaroid" like plastic cameras. Instax Mini.

Pentax/Ricoh :
Ricoh GXR interesting but not very attractive. Pentax Q10, too toyish.

Voigltnder :
Tried 17.5mm & 25mm. Beautiful lenses. Smooth & tight. Huge focus path on the 25mm lens, perhaps too much actually? I through trying them would win me over but it just confirmed I like AF too much. Perhaps when my interest starts shifting towards film making.

Leica :
I'm tired just thinking about their products. Trying the S camera is more like weightlifting. The balance with the battery grip & some lenses in portrait is just terrible. The staff worryingly stares at anybody trying them. Their face reads "it's gonna fall, it's gonna fall, have to catch it". Strange concept, this portable medium format camera. Beautiful prints though. Tried the X2, poor, uninteresting camera :-/. I didn't collect enough patience for the funky M.
Then you visit their huge hall gallery and you worry less about how these "primitive" tools bring so many brilliant pictures. "It's the photographer, idiot".

Hasselblad :
I really went there thinking I had to be respectful and keep in mind people have worked on that. I tried hard but no, it's bordering ridicule I'm afraid or perhaps I haven't found my matching combination. Blarg. It's visually eye catching though, just like the ferrari they squeezed just outside the "Lunar" room.

Olympus :
Tried lenses on my omd. They're really up to speed now. All very convincing !
The 12mm was very nice to use, very quick, lightweight but I now understand why it looks so weird on the pictures. Its finish is actually pearly. A thick pearly grain. It's ugly and doesn't match any PEN camera nor the OMD finish. Stupid, really.
The 75mm is exactly what it's said to be. Bitingly sharp, superbly quick & beautiful. The finish of the lens is much smoother and finely grained. A perfect match for the OMD. I really hope the 17mm isn't going to end up like the 12mm.
The 60mm macro lens is very cool. Extremely quick again. Well made. Seemed very sharp.
The body cap is very funny but very difficult to assess in an indoor event. It's an ISO 6400 little bug at its f/8 aperture. It looked like it bled a little like plastic lenses. Funny.
I tried the FT 35-100 f/2 with adapter. Super sharp wide open, corner to corner but slow and heavy. I'm not going to waste any more time on adapters I think. See my notes about AF.
Both the PEN EPL5 & EPM2 (pardon the missing -) are convincing updates thanks to their sensor & touch screen. Very nice & simple operation. Nothing super new but solid cameras. Highly recommendable.

Panasonic :
Strangely, Panasonic wasn't so crowded..
The GH3 looks like it went a bit far in its muscle growing phase. It copied a bit too much on competition too. It looks like a Canikon. The controls fall well into hands but are very stiff. In the end, I just thought it was too big. The new EVF seemed alright.
But fun came from the lenses !
The 35-100 is a gem ! Super fast, small, it focuses with no hesitation and is super sharp from corner to corner from 2.8 at every focal length I tried. Much much more convincing than the 12-35X. It's so sharp that I'm hoping it would take a tc x1.4 well. My highlight of the show.
The 12-35 is quite nice for sure. It's still quite small & feels nicely balanced too. I tried it only @f/2.8 over its range and while it was quite sharp, it was nowhere near as impressive as the 35-100mm. It's a very consistent "sharp enough considering it's wide open @f/2.8, something you could never dream of from MFT just 6 months ago"... but just not sharp enough for its price tag, right now. I liked it but I'll wait. The 35-100 I will probably have to get.
For fun I tried the 25mm f/1.4. Very quick, pleasantly sharp wide open. Cool lens.

EPSON :
The printer part interested me but I soon came across a trio of Epson peeps. They were displaying in their little corner the new EPSON micro lcd used in Olympus viewfinders. Namely their newly announced UltiMicron XGA display, that is 1027*768 pixels or in marketing slang "2.3M dots" we're used to see nowadays on OLED screens. You can peek through an OM-D, then through an eyepiece aiming at that tiny panel displaying a computer running windows to give you a known reference point then at a conventional photographer situation. It was very clean and detailed withouth the OLED super contrast style. The Epson guy liked to stress that it's using the well known and proven long lasting, colour accurate LCD+LED technology (referring to their large projectors technology) rather than the ever-diminishing performance of OLED cells. We'll see about but when asked when we'd see them in future products, hinting at their OM-D, they said they were still developing it and that it shouldn't take too long to see them.

Canson :
Elegant stand, beautiful papers. I've been trying a bunch of papers but never tried Canson infinity. The prints were stunning.

Nikon :
Skipped about everything just to press a long high speed burst on the D4. Cool.


aaaaaaaaand that's it for the show !



Canon :
aaaaaaaaaah Canon. I used to love you ! Ah 40D, how hard it was to part from you. And you, Lilly aka "Little White" (70-200 f/4 L IS), I'll never forget you. Oh and Walther aka "Wally" (EF-S 10-22mm), I still long for you... But I have moved on, I have grown up.
EOS M urgently needs some work on its AF. On the tiny 22 lens, it's horribly slow. It's SLOWER than the E-P1 with its m.Zuiko 14-42 mk I dog lens. It really is bad. It's not only slow, it tries back and forth so many times. It was not dark. The 18-55 is noticeably faster but still in the 14-42mkI league. Well, at least it's silent. That being said, the lenses & the camera body looks neat. A very clean design. Probably one of the cutest mirrorless. It's been written that Canon is still working on improving their hybrid AF system but I'd find it a little odd they'd show such slow things in a fair with so many visitors. Anyway, people will still buy them and they really should look elsewhere : Sony, Fuji, Panasonic or Olympus deserve their attention.
On the good side, the 1D & huge lenses are still as impressive as ever. Also, it always makes me feel a little nostalgic when I peek through a real viewfinder and when I remember how phase detection AF just locks right away. No dancing. It was cool.
Canon 6D. Good anecdote on that one. Canon has made a little dark gallery with a dark room lit by a light source of -3EV. Claimed to be moonlight equivalent.It is *very* dark. The guy tells you, it's the only camera in the world able to focus this slow. The camera has the 50mm f/1.4. Set on central AF point. I tried pointing at the brightest bit of the scene and it made a lock. Second brightest bit, a bit of hunting but locked. Third spot fails. A bit cheeky, I take my OM-D with the 20mm f/1.7 on, thinking I probably won't do as well as world's best. I'm cautious to block the AF assist lamp completely so that there's no obvious cheating involved. First spot : instant lock. Second spot : instant lock. Third spot : a slight hunt then lock. Easily repeatable. Perhaps the OM-D is aided by its larger AF zones, I don't really know, but it really didn't struggle at all. The picture was just grabbed no problem and is properly focused. Cool.

Thanks for hanging on,

Greetings,
S.

PS.: a 100mm @ f/2.8 shot, no PP, just resized to 1280 & low sharpening export from LR. The full size raw is sharp. Just a center example, of course. Corners are super too.

Attached Files


Edited by Sylvain, 23 September 2012 - 10:44 AM.

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#2 Sylvain

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 11:47 PM

Addendum :

Canon's project1709 looks very promising. Basically a cloud storage with social networks integration. Nothing so shiny so far? The interface is super clean, based on simple ideas.

Basically, a fashionable auto-arranged tiled view with easy to reach filters. Pretty much the ones you'll find in Lightroom. Exif, Year, month, day, camera,... but all well placed. It's also rather easy to add tags and to filter by tags.

Organized in a clean timeline. Everything happens with smooth transitions and animations and should be widely compatible from handhelds to desktops.

It's supporting every camera (as demonstrated by Pentax K-7 files) and the rep even claimed it would support RAW file formats *not only for canon cameras*. I hope he said right. Something I find rather brave.

It's in beta stage and slideshows will be arriving soon and he insisted they'll listen closely to beta testers reports and feature requests.

It's still lacking a slideshow function but they're working on it.

Access control will arrive too and will allow to protect galleries with password.

It's G+ & facebook friendly and any pictures in your canon space have mirrors from the comments posted in G+ or facebook.

Printing service integration will start with a photobook maker.

Quota & payment schemes are still undefined as of now.

At first, I thought of another flickr/smugmug/.... but the user experience was much closer to a desktop app. Very flexible and powerful. A nice surprise and another highlight of the show.

A 35-100 lens & a web software.


Greetings,
S.

#3 Rover

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 03:36 AM

Very very interesting to read! Thanks for taking your time Sylvain!

#4 Klaus

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 07:53 AM

Very very interesting to read! Thanks for taking your time Sylvain!


Yes, thanks a lot.Unfortunately I didn't make it to the Kina this year.
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#5 Sammy

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 09:38 AM

A very nice report, thanks for that! Looks like the Pana 35-100 will be hard to resist, as yet my priority for spending big money would still be on a high-quality 12-50 or 12-60 though. How do you get along with 12-50 M.Zuiko kit lens?

#6 Sylvain

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 10:33 AM

Thanks guys.

Can't really say I'm using the 12-50mm at all. I used it in heavy rain in normandy and was pleased not to have to worry. Other than that, I just like the 14-45 more. Somehow I feel it's undeserved and that I should use it more. It's really only pixel peeping I guess.

My priority would also be on a solid standard zoom from Oly but as there wasn't any serious clue from Olympus' interviews, I'll shift my interest on that 60mm macro & a little later on that 35-100mm hoping for its price to melt. I liked it a lot but it's still very difficult to swallow a MSRP 1300 label. It's too small & light for that, the build is nice but it's not a 70-200mm L lens. 900-1000 max. I'm also a little annoyed having to pay for an OIS system I don't need at all anymore.

Another thing this year : lots of OM-D & Pens hanging on visitors necks.

Nice detail in Olympus toilets mirrors :"Who needs a mirror anyway? -OM-D"

#7 you2

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 01:26 PM

Any thoughts on the 60mm vs 75mm. The 75mm is a stop faster but the early reviews are showing the 60mm is near apo (i know I know i was saying something similar about the 75; but now it really is true) also the 60mm appears to be $250 cheaper and focus a bit slower.
--

btw is that picture the 35-100 on the om-d ?

#8 Sylvain

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 02:05 PM

My thoughts are that the 60mm is probably more versatile for 400 less (the 75mm is listed at 900 in many places). Background blur seemed probably good enough too.

Yes, the pic is from my om-d.

#9 Sylvain

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 09:28 PM

ah I kinda hoped the Canon AF performance would start a flamewar!
Disappointing ;)

#10 you2

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:53 PM

You should be proud at those who resisted !

ah I kinda hoped the Canon AF performance would start a flamewar!
Disappointing ;)



#11 Klaus

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:35 PM

ah I kinda hoped the Canon AF performance would start a flamewar!
Disappointing ;)


Brightcolours isn't here today. Posted Image
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#12 Vieux loup

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 05:50 PM

He is at the Kina testing the AF :)
Kind regards, Vieux Loup

#13 nandadevieast

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 05:53 PM

Sylvain,
Very useful user report, concise and insightful.

#14 nandadevieast

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 05:56 PM

DP2M:
"I'd expect the % of social pictures"

Let me get back with a slightly better percentage than that, soon enough...:)

#15 joachim

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:41 PM

Hi Sylvain,

Just a quick thank you note for taking the effort of writing this report for us. I realy enjoyed reading it.

Best wishes
Joachim
enjoy

#16 Vieux loup

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:38 AM

Hello Sylvain, I join those who would like to thank you for taking the time and effort to write the report for all of us, but :D you sort of forgot Nikon. Anyways, wonderful report and thanks a million.
Kind regards, Vieux Loup

#17 Marco

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:50 AM

The only sad thing is that we have now so many mounts for APS-C(DX). It would be very nice, if I could attach Samsung or Fuji lenses on my Nex 5. ;-)

#18 Sylvain

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 05:15 PM

Hello Sylvain, I join those who would like to thank you for taking the time and effort to write the report for all of us, but :D you sort of forgot Nikon. Anyways, wonderful report and thanks a million.


Not really, did a long press on the d4. there's something about nikon,like canon, except that canon is easier to diss, that i find immensely boring, can t really say what... They refuse to innovate, or not in a way i find meaningful for my segment. Sorry! just to be fair, nikon is the king of the 'old' boys,imo.

#19 you2

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 06:10 PM

Did you play with the nex 6 at all; if so how was the evf relative to the nex 7 and e-m5 ?

#20 Sylvain

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:13 PM

Hey, I wrote a line on the nex6 ;). I didnt double check with the nex7 but they seem similar. pretty good but a little too punchy sometimes, but perhaps something you can adjust?.Also im not sure but the refresh rate appears slower than oly?? difficult to assess as the show lighing often causes interferences/flashing. Terrible lightning almost everywhere btw...
In the end I quite like the em5 finder and like it even more since i realized the impression of pixellation comes from the blocky font overlay rather than the imager. Overall, a more 'muted' experience than sony's.




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