Photography and Art

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Photokina 2008

Q: Photokina 2008 just wound up and quite a few exciting products were announced. What did you think of all the goings on?
A: Well, I was waiting for someone to ask me that. Here's my take on the situation:

  • First and foremost, the best full summary of the show is here at Dpreview.
  • I may be biased as a Canon shooter, but I think Canon took back the lead in the DSLR game with the announcement of the 5dmkII and the 50d. I was starting to wonder whether Canon was going to permanently fall behind Nikon, but these two products are significant jumps over the 5d and 40d.
  • I don't give a crap about video, so all the excitement about the Nikon D90 and Canon 5dmkII video capabilities fell a bit flat for me.. For some reason, Michael Reichmann is heralding the coming of video to DSLR's as the "next big thing", but I just don't get it. With the exception of wedding photographers, I just don't see still photographers branching out into video. It's bad enough having to learn Photoshop and Lightroom, not to mention buying 1 terabyte hard drives like they're going out of style just to keep up with new 20+ megapixel camera megafiles, but video? I can't even bear to think about the learning curve for video and sound editing software, let alone the skillset required to produce good video stories. It's as much as I can do to focus my energy on producing a still photograph that pleases me, so I'm not about to branch into making movies. Maybe the lure of 35mm video-making will draw people away from traditional video cameras, but if there was a cheaper 5d mkII without video capability, I'd buy it.
  • The micro four-thirds standard and the Panasonic G1 are very exciting announcements. I'm convinced that we're only at the beginning of the evolution of cameras from chemical-mechanical contraptions to full electronic and the G1 is another step along the path. This camera eliminates the prism/mirror assembly completely and goes with either live view on the rear screen or through the electronic viewfinder. The result is a very small camera indeed that promises to deliver decent picture quality with a fairly large sensor.
  • Sony is making its move to capture a share of the pro-sumer market with the A900. This is a very serious camera, with 24 megapixels, full-frame sensor and anti-shake in the body. If I was starting out and didn't already have an investment in Canon lenses, I'd have to give Sony a good look.
  • Adobe is making another annoying grab for my wallet. It irks me that I have to shell out $200 every time another release of Photoshop comes out. There's always this one feature that seems to speak to me and CS4 has this wonderful ability to scale photos without distorting the main features in the composition. I returned my purchase of CS3 and will shell out for CS4 begrudgingly.
  • One of the quieter announcements, overshadowed by the 5dmkII and the 50d, was the Canon EF-S 18-200 lens. I look forward to reading reviews of this lens because it would make a good all-purpose lens for my back-up body (20d). I was a bit shocked to read that it didn't have a silent focusing motor - nearly every Canon lens in the last few years has used USM for focusing. The review will be coming soon to this site.
  • Finally, I was pleased to here that Zeiss manual focus lenses were going to be available in a Canon mount. I'm not sure I'll ever buy one, but it would be fun to try one out. As sensors get larger and larger, good optics become paramount and Zeiss has a great reputation for optical resolution.

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