Day 2 is my wandering day. I will cruise up and down the aisles seeing what there is to see.
The Big Three
Canon, Nikon and Sony booths dominated the entrance of the show. As always, their booths are over the top. Sony had the spot usually held by Nikon, a sign of our changing times.
Canon didn’t have any major announcements other than Same Day Turnaround for Canon Professional Services Platinum Members (membership involves owning a really large harem of Canon gear and making most of your money from photography).
Nikon had the new D850 on display, an evolutionary step up from the D810. No word at all about pro-level mirrorless cameras from either Canon or Nikon. To date, their mirrorless offerings have been more for lip service. This is not to say that they are bad cameras, they just aren’t being marketed very heavily by either company.
I spoke to a pro sports photographer who used a Nikon J camera to cover the US Open a couple of years ago and at the end, when Serena Williams was holding the trophy and leaping into the air, his was the only camera that caught her signature leap holding the trophy in it’s entirety.
Sony is all about mirrorless and they had the newly announced A7rIII and A9 on display long with all of their video equipment and vast stable of lenses.
Olympus and Panasonic
No new cameras from either of these companies. Panasonic was promoting the Lumix GH5 heavily. A longtime favorite of videographers, Panasonic’s latest and greatest sports 4K 60p/50p 4:2:2/10-bit video recording, and all of the ports needed for professionals. Olympus introduced two new pro lenses (which I mentioned on my Day 0 report): the M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.2 PRO and the M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.2 PRO. These join their older sibling, the M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO.
I got some hands-on time with the 45mm f/1.2 and the lens is incredibly well-built (and it better be for $1299), weather sealed and sharp with beautiful bokeh. As usual at trade shows, models were present to allow you to photograph someone far better looking than the hairy dude standing next to you.
Granted, the distance between the model and myself did not allow the lens bokeh to really shine through, but I assure you the hairy dude photos had really creamy bokeh (before he made me delete them – go figure).
The One Percenters
Everything that sells ultimately develops luxury brands and cameras are no exceptions. Alpa, Arca Swiss, Cambo, Hasselblad and Phase One all made their presence felt at the show. Oddly missing for the first time in years is Leica. I guess they were too busy schmoozing Russian oligarchs to attend Not-Photokina.
Cambo is company from the Netherlands that made film view and technical cameras for many years. The digital revolution came and they wisely realized that their strengths lay in analog photographic gear. They adapted their view and technical cameras to work with other peoples cameras, adding value without having to make the massive investment of developing sensor technologies of their own. very pragmatic, very Dutch.
Alpa and Arca Swiss were represented at vendor booths that hosted Phase One as well. Phase One dominated the booth with their IQ3 100MP Trichromatic camera system. This 100MPx bad boy will set you back the cost of a BMW ($49,990), but produces color and sharpness matched by very few others (and that is more splitting hairs than anything else).
Hasselblad had a booth of their own and while no new cameras were announced, a new firmware was released for the H6D and X1D medium format cameras. Hasselblad has started to play Fuji’s game of adding new features to their cameras via firmware updates. Touch AF has been implemented in both cameras now and it works very well. Previous firmware updates added electronic shutter release which removes the X1D’s inability to support adapted non-leaf shutter lenses. Also on hand was the recently announced 120mm f/4 Macro Lens. The lens resolves an amazing amount of detail.
The Black 4116 X1D is now available body only for about $300 more than the silver body. If anyone wants help a guy out getting one of these, I humbly accept donations.
A Place For Your Stuff (I miss George Carlin)
Storage is always an issue for photographers in the digital age. We have enterprise-class needs and homeless person budgets. This often leads to poor decisions. Storage vendors are always striving to lower the cost of entry and this year’s showing is no exception. I saw Drobo, LaCie, QNAP and WD with booths at the show.
Drobo did not have any new products other than those that were announced at the beginning of the year at CES. Drobo is by far the easiest storage system to use as it does not require symmetric drive sizes and makes upsizing your storage array a trivial affair. A new feature being heavily promoted is their disaster recovery feature which allows you to synchronize two geographically disparate Drobos securely over the internet in case the worst happens. For free. Take that cloud storage!
LaCie was there as well showing off their latest Thunderbolt 3 direct attached storage devices. With Thunderbolt becoming more common on PC motherboards (they used to be only found on Macs), LaCie’s high performance drive systems are seeing quite an uptick in use.
The 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3 ranges is size from 8-20 TB (raw storage) and also includes an SD/CF card reader. Connectivity is TB 3/USB 3.1 and also includes a SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Type-A connection in front for transfers from external drives and laptops.
QNAP introduced a new 4-bay storage unit aimed squarely at photographers featuring Thunderbolt 3, 10GBe, m.2 SSD caching, among many other features. Dubbed the TS-453BT3, it is priced at $999.00
Newcomer Illuminati Instruments had introduced their Illuminati Wireless Light & Color Meter. This device uses your smartphone as its display. It is also at a price point that will make it affordable to all photographers. It should be available in the next month or so.
Benq has updated their professional line of displays with two models aimed squarely at photographers. The newly introduced SW271 is a 27″ 4K display with 100% Adobe RGB color space, 10-bit color, and HDR display modes. A wired “hockey puck” control allows users to manipulate the on screen display regardless of screen position. The monitor can be set in several modes including Adobe RGB, sRGB, Black & White, and HDR.
Well that covers it for this year’s show. Please feel free to leave comments and sharing of these articles are always encouraged.