Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photokina--My Picks... Part 1

With Photokina underway (follow the photography news at www.dpreview.com), I thought I'd list the stuff that has most piqued my interest. And some of my take-aways as I look at the various new products out there. These are listed in order of interest to me.

1. Lumix LX3--this is a revolutionary camera (yes, I preorded one). First, they didn't add more pixels and they did improve and enlarge (slightly) the sensor. Second, they made the lens wider and faster. Third, they added a hotshoe. Leica's branded version is being marketed at a "compact system camera." This is not a totally new market, but I appreciate Panasonic's leadership in breaking away from the more pixel-more zoom, crazyness of current models (Nikon 5100, 6000, and Canon G7-10). Is is possible that people who want to carry a compact system camera sometimes might be satisfied with 11x14's? Is is possible that they might want to have a decent 8x10 shot at ISO 400 on the street in low light? Panasonic listened to photographers and has given us a step in the right direction, and handy little tool, judging by intial feedback from owners.
2. The Canon 50D and 5D MarkII--yes I want to consider these together. The 50D with 15 megapixels and apparent noise parity with the 40D while improving feature and adding other (especially AF microadjust) is a very interesting camera. That being said, I took a little time to do a little pixel peeping on the "comparometer" at imaging resource and the more I look the clearer it is to me that the Full Frame sensors are something special--something no amount of sensor improvement, software improvement, or added megapixels is going to match. So, the trade-up from 40D-50D... the one feature that tempts me is the AF microadjust. The 5D MarkII, on the other hand... someday... wow, what a camera.
3. Tamron 18-270 VC and Canon 18-200 IS--I really look forward to seeing these lenses. I own a Sigma 18-200 OS and it is a really great walk around lense. It allows me to travel lighter and get more in situations where flexibility is necessary. If you are going to have an APS sized sensor, you had better take advantage of that smaller sensor with smaller lenses. The one gripe I have about Sigma, is that the AF on some lenses is inconsistent, or in some cases just off (not on my 18-200). My Tamron 28-75 is spot on and sharp as a tack, and the reports about the Tamron non VC lenses are very encouraging as well. I have high hopes for this lens. The Canon lense will be interesting, I just wonder how bad the brand-name premium will be-- is that a $600, $700, $800 lens?
4. Leica S2--back on the topic of larger sensors, the medium format/large sensor world just got more interesting with the Leica S2. There are a lot of things to like about this system, but one that really caught my attention was the dual shutter system. High-sync speeds open so many more options when you are lighting. The LX3 should allow me to high-speed sync, which is one of the things I'm very excited to try with it. Back to the Leica S2, however, the system is clearly a medium format challenger, but because of its size and AF capability it will also tempt some photographers who currently own both a medium format system and a pro-series Nikon or Canon System. The Leica camera might convince some of the pros in this market to drop their medium format and their pro series body and just get a Canon 5d Mark II or a Nikon D700 to replace the pro-series bodies and a Leica S2 system to cover their high end portraiture and comercial jobs that used to require Medium Format. Whatever the case, it is new, and will allow those who can afford it to do new things which could change the industry in ways that might even effect us mere humans. And just let me say that this is clearly the Ferrari of the photography world. If money were no object...

There's a lot of other ineresting stuff like the new Lensbabies, the Olympus and Panasonic micro 4/3 format cameras, new Sigma lenses, Fuji's 3D camera and new Super CCD, and Adobe CS4. Imaging Resource and Digital Photography Review both offer full coverage of the event, along with many other sites, I'm sure.

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