The new year opened with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and it proved rich pickings for pro photographers, with new flagship cameras from Nikon and Phase One, some welcome long-lens additions designed for CSC cameras, and the usual array of storage devices, action cams and drones. We round up the most intriguing new photography announcements.
Kodak Super 8 Revival Initiative
CES’s one genuine surprise came in an announcement from Kodak, stating it plans to revive the Super 8 format, 50 years after it first debuted. Showing a prototype that “combines the classic features of a Super 8 with digital functionality”, and with a new ‘limited edition’ camera planned for autumn, the company says it has devised a roadmap that includes a range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more, in what amounts to a new “ecosystem for film”.
It comes on the back of resurgence of interest in film within Hollywood, according to Kodak, and the new initiative has the backing of filmmakers including Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and Star Wars writer/director JJ Abrams. Kodak is the last remaining motion picture film manufacturer, a business that has been turned from an annual $100m per year loss into an expected profit-making operation in 2016. kodak.com
Less surprising (giving Nikon had offered a tease online ahead of CES opening on 4 January) was the unveiling on the D5, which now sits atop of the FX range with its newly developed 20-megapixel CMOS sensor, native ISO range of 50 to 102,400 (extended to 50 and 3.28m), 4k video capture and 12fps burst with autofocus tracking (up to 200 shots when shooting 15-bit lossless raw files), or 14fps with the mirror up.
The £5729 camera has a 153-point AF, with 99 cross-type sensors – a system it shares with the DX format D500, which was also introduced in Las Vegas alongside a raft of further announcements. The D5 can shoot 4K UHD video (30p/25p/24p), has an improved 3.2-inch, 2359k-dot touch-screen display, improved wired and wireless connectivity, dual memory card slots – one version of the camera supporting Compactflash, the other XQD.
The D500 offers similar performance, albeit in the smaller DX format and slightly reduced burst speeds, in a more compact body. The £1729 addition is effectively a replacements for the D300S, a camera that won plaudits for having a pro spec at enthusiast prices. Nikon also entered the 360° action camera market, with a waterproof (to 30m) offering that uses two fisheye lenses and camera sensors to capture UHD 4K footage that is then merged to produce a complete virtual reality image. The KeyMission 360 arrives in spring. nikon.co.uk
It’s been a long time coming (find out why in our interview with Takashi Ueno), but Fuji has finally unveiled a successor to its flagship X series camera the Pro1, which was many people’s pick of the Photokina trade show four years ago, with its rangefinder styling, optical viewfinder and accompanying range of high quality lenses. The X-Pro2’s hybrid viewfinder remains unique in its proposition of blending optical and digital views of what is to be captured, and the £1349 camera is still the only AF digital rangefinder on the market.
Appearances are deceptive, as the latest version looks near identical to its predecessor, but now it has a 24-megapixel sensor, a faster processor, and Fuji has made some much-needed improvements to the autofocus, which uses 273 AF points across the screen, including 169 phase detection points. Further refinements have been made to JPEG processing, black-and-white capture, the mechanical shutter, battery efficiency, layout and menu views, and a dual SD card slot has been duly added.
The Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR, equivalent to 52-609mm in 35mm format, was announced at the same time (10 days after CES opened), which comes complete with five- stop image stabilisation and weather sealing, priced £1499. A further three X-series cameras were also announced. fujifilm.eu/uk
Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400Mm F4.0-6.3 Asph
CES offered up a couple of telephotos that will appeal to sports and wildlife shooters who’d appreciate carrying a lighter load. This 200-800mm equivalent Leica design for Micro Four Thirds cameras weighs less than 1kg, has silent autofocus, power optical image stabilisation and a stepless aperture system, and it’s compatible with the Panasonic Lumix DMC- GX8’s dual IS system. It’s available this month, priced £1350. panasonic.co.uk
Olympus M.zuiko Digital ED 300mm 1:4.0 IS Pro
This weather-sealed 600mm equivalent lens designed for Micro Four Thirds cameras is claimed to be the world’s most compact and lightweight telephoto lens. The £2200 M.Zuiko also offers up to six-step image stabilisation and the shortest focusing distance for telemacro photography in its class – just 1.4m. olympus.co.uk
Metz 44 AF-2
The German maker’s latest flashgun, designed for DSLRs and a selection of mirrorless cameras, announced at the back end of last year and now available in the UK, has an automatic zoom head that covers angles for lenses from 24-105mm (extendable to 12mm with a wide diffuser) and a maximum guide number of 44m at ISO 100 (when used with a 105mm lens). An update of the 44 AF-1, it is now compatibility with Fuji’s X-series cameras, and comes with a built-in LED designed for video or to be used as a modelling light. metzflash.co.uk
Phase One XF 100Mp
For just shy of $50,000, you can now order a 100-megapixel version of Phase One’s modular XF camera, complete with a Schneider Kreuznach 80mm LS lens.
Using a full-frame (53.7 x 40.4mm) medium format sensor developed with Sony that offers 16 bit colour and 15 f-stops of dynamic range, it also boasts live view capture with HDMI output, ISO flexibility from 50 to 12800, and exposure times of up to 60 minutes, as well as the option of electronic first curtain shooting when using non-leaf shutter lenses. phaseone.com
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