No place quite brings the world’s latest, greatest and strangest cameras together like Photokina, the camera industry’s biggest trade show, held every two years in Germany. It’s easy to quickly become inundated with the news of the latest gear, but Photokina can offer some insight into where camera technology is headed. So what do serious enthusiasts need to know? Here are the highlights from Photokina 2014—the best, most innovative and strangest cameras headed to the market this fall.
Photokina 2014: the best
Two big DSLR announcements came out of Photokina this year, as well as an advanced compact that’s making street photographers take notice. Both DSLR announcements replace cameras that haven’t seen updates for years, and offer some pretty enticing features.
The new Nikon D750 sits somewhere in between the camera giant’s D610 and D810 full frame options. It’s the first full frame DSLR to offer both a tilting LCD screen and wi-fi, but this camera is about more than just convenience features. The 24.3 megapixel sensor isn’t quite as robust as the D810, but is a step up from the D610 for not a whole lot more cash. Using the same processor as the D4s, the D750 has a 6.5 fps burst speed, which is actually faster than the D810’s. While it still has that classic Nikon DSLR look, it’s fairly compact considering the capability, weighing about a half a pound less than the D810. Releasing for about $2,300 at the start, it isn’t too much more than Nikon’s cheapest full frame, the D610.
Canon’s latest DSLR, on the other hand, features speed as its biggest advantage. While the new Canon EOS 7D Mark II isn’t a full frame camera, it has a 10 fps burst speed. If you’re not familiar with the way a DSLR works, the mirror has to open and close for every photo—so fast burst speeds are more rare here than with mirrorless cameras, making the 10 fps speed a pretty big deal. There are two of Canon’s latest processors inside to achieve that speed, and the max shutter speed reaches a nice 1/8000, too. Constructed with a magnesium alloy body, it should be a pretty tough camera as well. The $1,800 list price is quite a bit more more than competing models from Nikon and Sony, but the speed will likely be worth the difference for some.
Photographers that favor small but capable cameras over the big, obvious DSLRs might take up an interest in the Panasonic LX100. This new retro-styled camera features a micro four thirds sensor inside, which is quite a bit bigger than a one-inch sensor like what’s inside the Sony RX 100 III, but a smidgen smaller than the 1.5 inch sensor in the Canon G1X Mark II. That sensor is paired with a bright f1.7-2.8 lens. And thanks to the lead shutter, the LX100 reaches faster shutter speeds than most compacts, hitting up to 1/16,000, plus burst speeds of 6.5 fps.
Photokina 2014: the most innovative
The most innovative camera of Photokina 2014 is rather subjective and may depend largely on where your photographic interests lie, but I think there’s one new camera that has more than one surprising feature inside—and it’s not from the most well-known of camera manufacturers. It’s the Samsung NX1.
While Samsung is typically more known for their cell phones, there are a few nice tech advances inside the mirrorless NX1. The first is the sensor. It’s a APS-C size, like in entry-level DSLRs. But what’s different here is that it is backlit. A backlit sensor moves some of the equipment behind instead of in front, which gives the it more light gathering capability and translates into better low light shots. But before the NX1 was introduced, backlit sensors were unheard of in sizes over an inch. The backlit design with the larger size will likely be a huge advantage in low light.
Besides the new sensor design, the Samsung NX1 also uses a 15 fps burst mode, which is a rare speed even for the mirrorless category. And while the NX1 isn’t the first dedicated camera to offer 4K video, it can do so without the use of other equipment, while the older 4K models require recording through an HDMI port because of the big file size. Samsung had to do some reworking with the 4K files, but they’re claiming the 4k resolution is still there, even when compressed enough to fit on a memory card.
Photokina 2014: the strange
Of course, Photokina wasn’t without its share of unusual new models as well. There’s the Panasonic CM-1, which is actually a smartphone with a one inch sensor and bright lens (if you’re intrigued, you’ll likely have to wait to see it. If you ever see one at all, that is–it’s only being released in France and Germany as a test market so far).
But the weirdest announcement has to go to Leica, who announced quite a few cameras that continue to fall under the luxury price tag, because the Leica M Edition 60 is a digital camera without an LCD screen. By leaving out the screen, Leica has developed a digital camera that forces users to shoot with extra attention to detail, as if shooting film. It’s a rangefinder style camera that only shoots RAW and doesn’t offer video. Leica is, at least, recognizing the camera’s limited audience—they’re only selling 600 of them (oh, and there’s the fact that they are nearly $20k).
Photokina, if anything, is showing that manufacturers are paying more attention to high resolution sensors and speed. Tilting LCD screens with wi-fi, a combo good for selfies in consumer cameras; and for handholding at odd angles, and quick backups in the field for enthusiast and pro models, are also becoming more common. The new Canon G7 X demonstrates this with its one-inch sensor along with a selfie-freindly design. Photokina 2014 has been an interesting year for cameras, but the technology is certainly headed in a positive direction.