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September 20th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Hands-on with the 37.5MP Leica S Medium-Format DSLR-style Camera

We were on hand earlier in the week in Cologne, Germany for the Leica event where the company unveiled the new Leica S but only got a few minutes to check out this DSLR-style medium format camera amidst the hordes of excited onlookers.

So we paid a visit to the Leica booth at photokina the next day and got some in-depth hands-on time with this camera, which is the follow up to the well-received Leica S2 from 2008.

While the new Leica S uses the same Kodak-built, 37.5MP, 45 x 30mm-size CCD sensor as the S2 and looks very similar to its predecessor, there are many internal and external tweaks to this latest top-of-the-line pro model from Leica.

What’s in a Name?
But first, a bit about the name. As with its latest full-frame digital rangefinder — the Leica M — the company is now going for a general nomenclature for its highest end models, with the idea that similarly named iterations will follow. The approach has been compared to Porsche with its 911 sports car series, which maintain the general 911 name through the years while being upgraded. (Leica, Porsche…you see where this camera is being marketed, right?)

It’s an interesting approach which, I suppose, is more classy than just adding numbers at the end of a model name but I wonder if it will be confusing to prospective Leica buyers. (If it works for the new iPad though, perhaps it will also work for Leica’s products.)

Leica says it’s made over 80 improvements to the Leica S based on “consumer feedback from the market.” One thing they did not improve on, however, is the price: the Leica S will go on sale, body only, for $21,950 in December 2012. If anyone’s keeping score, that’s approximately the same price as the previous model, though the Leica S adds a new protection plan that increases the warranty to three years total.

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September 19th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Hands on with the New Phase One/Mamiya 645DF+ Medium-Format Camera and Lenses

Though new digital SLRs seemed to “steal the show” at photokina, with early announcements of full-frame models from Canon, Nikon, and Sony, there was plenty going on in the world of medium format. We stopped by the Mamiya booth and got try out the new 645DF+, a medium-format camera platform being sold under both the Mamiya and Phase One brands.

While it looks nearly identical to the previous 645DF model — aside from the added “+” designation — the new 645DF+ camera body has some several key upgrades.

For one, while the 645DF+ has the same phase detection-based three-point autofocus system with dual focal plane and leaf shutter switching as the previous model, the AF’s electronic algorithm has been completely rewritten and feels a notch faster and more precise.

While it can’t keep pace with, say, the blazing speed of Canon or Nikon DSLR’s AF, the 645DF+’s autofocus was brisk and had no trouble locking in on an array of subjects at the booth. (And, as is usual in these booth settings, lighting conditions were a mix of shadows, black backgrounds and dim convention hall and studio lighting, i.e. not ideal.)

To read more of this story and see more photos, click here.

September 18th, 2012

Hasselblad Partners with Sony to Launch Luxury “Lunar” Mirrorless Camera; Plans Full-Frame DSLR in Next Year

If you thought Hasselblad only designed medium-format cameras for professionals, you are mistaken. At a standing room only press conference at photokina in Germany today, the company announced it had formed a partnership with Sony and would begin producing an “ultimate luxury” mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera called Lunar.

The Italian-designed camera will ship in the first quarter of 2013 and sell for 5000 Euros, or approximately US $6527. (An image of the Hasselblad Lunar taken at the press conference is shown at the right.)

But Hasselblad doesn’t intend to stop with just a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera. More cameras in other segments will follow.

In addition to the Lunar model, Hasselblad will launch a full frame digital SLR in the next year and a digital compact camera, a line of tripods and luxury accessories in the years that follow, said Larry Hansen, Hasselblad’s Chairman and CEO.

“As I said before, for Hasselblad this is ‘the new dawn,’” Hansen said. “The plan is to move very quickly. Our plan is to show cameras and launch cameras in every sector of the market.”

Read more of this story and see more photos of the new Hasselblad Lunar here.

 

September 18th, 2012

Hands-On Preview of Canon’s Svelte Full-Frame 6D DSLR for Prosumers (NEW PHOTOS)

We got some hands-on time with the new 20.2-megapixel Canon EOS 6D at a press event on the eve of the photokina show in Germany last night and came away impressed. Priced at $2,099, the slimmed-down 6D is Canon’s attempt to entice photo enthusiasts to buy a full-frame digital SLR.

It seems a compelling argument, at least based on our brief time shooting with the 6D at the press event.

Like the 24.3-megapixel Nikon D600, which was announced last Thursday and was slated to go on sale this week also for $2,099, the Canon 6D feels like a slightly smaller version of the step-up model. So, if you’re in the market for a full-frame DSLR and can’t afford the Canon 5D Mark III — or simply want something slimmer and lighter — Canon is offering the 6D as an alternative.

But, as one commenter pointed out in our original story about the 6D yesterday, the new camera is not designed for serious professionals working in a studio environment. The 6D has a maximum flash sync speed of just 1/180th of a second, which doesn’t make it ideal for freezing motion using ambient lighting in the studio and/or strobes.

And while the 6D is 20 percent lighter than the 5D Mark III and weighs just over 24 ounces (body only), it has a more plastic build and feels slightly less sturdy. (In an effort to make the camera smaller and lighter, Canon has also eliminated the pop-up flash on the new camera.) The 6D is built with an aluminum chassis inside but the outer body is made of polycarbonate.

Read more of this story and see more photos here.

 

September 17th, 2012

Leica Launches 24.3MP Full-Frame Leica M Digital Rangefinder with Full HD Video (NEW PHOTOS)

Along with the new Leica S professional DSLR-style medium format camera, Leica also introduced the 24MP, full-frame Leica M digital rangefinder tonight. The Leica M uses a CMOSIS image sensor and can shoot full 1080p HD video.

This is a breaking story. News of the new Leica M digital rangefinder is currently be announced at Leica’s Das Wesentliche event tonight in Cologne, Germany before photokina begins tomorrow. We’re attending this event — and the photokina show — and will post more info and images when they become available.

For now, here are two photos of the new Leica M we captured at Das Wesentliche event in Cologne.

What do you think of the camera so far?

Check out the official press release on the 24MP Leica M rangefinder after the jump.
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September 17th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Leica Announces New Leica S DSLR Medium Format Hybrid Camera (NEW PHOTOS)

Leica unveiled its newest S-System professional camera in Cologne, Germany at its Das Wesentliche event tonight, the day before the photokina imaging show here begins. Called, simply, the Leica S, the camera is the follow up to the 37-megapixel Leica S2 from 2008.

Along with the new Leica S camera body, three lenses will be announced to join the S-System cameras: the Leica Super-Elmar-S 24 mm f/3.5 ASPH. super-wide, the Leica Vario-Elmar-S 30-90 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. and the Leica TS-APO-Elmar-S 120 mm f/5.6 ASPH. tilt/shift lens.

Details of the new Leica S camera remained sketchy but should become more clear in the next day when the Leica S makes its official appearance at the photokina show. In the meantime, we have received the following press release, which also mentions a new Leica M rangefinder.

We are currently attending the Das Wesentliche event in Cologne and snapped these photos of the Leica S on this page and after the jump.

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September 17th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Fuji Unveils Small and Snazzy XF1 Compact Camera with Fast Lens

If you like your cameras small, stylish, and retro-looking — but still powerful — you may want to take a look at the snazzy Fujifilm XF1.

The XF1, which along with seemingly a bazillion other photo products, was introduced the day before the photokina imaging show in Germany.  The camera features a 4x “manual” zoom lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 and a 2/3-inch 12 Megapixel EXR CMOS sensor.

The pocket-friendly XF1 has three different exterior looks: “a dimpled synthetic black leather, a smooth synthetic tan leather and an elegant synthetic red leather,” according to the Fuji press release.

It will start selling in October for $499.

More info in the press release after the jump.
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September 17th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Phase One/Mamiya Intro New 645DF+ Medium-Format Camera & Schneider Kreuznach 28mm Aspherical Lens

Phase One introduced the new 645DF+ medium-format camera today, saying the revamped platform supports 50 different medium format digital backs and 80 different lenses from a variety of brands.

The new 645DF+ platform also has a new, more powerful, Li-ion rechargeable battery that will let you shoot up to 10,000 images on a single charge.

The Phase One 645DF+ will sell for $5990. It is also available with the Mamiya Leaf brand name — if that’s your pleasure — but is essentially the same camera system at the same price.

Phase One also announced the Schneider Kreuznach 28mm LS f/4.5 Aspherical lens for medium-format  cameras today. It is also priced at $5990 and is shown on the 645DF+ camera to the upper right.

More info in the press release after the jump.

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September 17th, 2012

Canon Announces New High-End Compact PowerShot Cameras Including G15 and S110

Canon showed that it’s not done building up its line of small but powerful compact cameras this morning by announcing the portable PowerShot G15 and slim S110 models, both of which use a newly designed 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor.

The Canon G15, which is the follow-up to the Canon G12 from 2010, uses a faster f/1.8-2.8 5x optical zoom lens than the previous model. It also had intelligent IS image stabilization for steadying shaky shots. The G15′s 1/1.7-inch sensor is capable of shooing at up to ISO 12,800 and can record full 1080p HD video at 24fps.

(It should be noted that the latest flagship PowerShot model, the Canon 14.3 G1 X uses a 1.5-inch CMOS sensor that’s significantly bigger than the one in the G15.)

The G15 had a dedicated movie record button and, reportedly, faster autofocus.

Unlike its predecessor, the Canon G15′s 3.0-inch 922,000-dot LCD display does not flip out, and articulate to help when compose low-angle or high-angle shots. (The G12′s vari-angle screen was one of its more popular features.)

The Canon G15 will sell for $499 when it ships in October.

The slim Canon PowerShot S110 features built-in WiFi and uses the same 1/1.7-inch 12.1-megapixel “High-Sensitivity” CMOS image sensor as the G15 and also has a maximum ISO speed of 12800. It has a 5x optical zoom that can go as wide as 24mm-equivalent and has a maximum aperture of f/2.0

Canon says it’s improved the AF system for the S100, reducing the shutter lag and ramping up its high-speed burst mode to 10 frames per second continuous shooting at the full 12.1MP.

The Canon S100 can also shoot full 1080p HD video and features a built-in stereo microphone, optical zoom while shooting, and HDMI output. It will sell for $449 in October.

More info on those two cameras and on the new superzooming PowerShot SX50, which features a 50x zoom (!) in the press release after the jump.

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September 17th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Canon Launches Slimmed-Down 20.2MP 6D Full-Frame DSLR for Prosumers

The nascent full-frame prosumer digital DSLR market got a little more crowded this morning when Canon introduced its own small-size full-framer: the 20.2-megapixel Canon EOS 6D digital SLR. The announcement of the Canon 6D, which comes the day before the photokina imaging show in Cologne, Germany is set to kick off, follows closely on the heels of Nikon debuting its 24.3MP, D600 FX-format (aka full-frame) DSLR for photo enthusiasts last week.

The Canon EOS 6D will be priced nearly identically to the Nikon D600 at $2,099. However, while the Nikon camera is expected to go on sale this week, the Canon 6D will not ship until December.

We just arrived in Cologne for photokina and hope to take a look at the Canon 6D (shown in the upper right with an optional battery grip) later this afternoon. For now, here’s a rundown and official press release, on Canon’s new full-frame prosumer model.

Canon EOS 6D Preview
If the Canon 5D Mark III is too big or too expensive for your tastes, Canon has launched a smaller full-frame alternative: the 20.2-megapixel EOS 6D ($2,099, body only). The 6D is 20 percent lighter than the 5D III, weighing in a just over 24 ounces (body only).

While it looks very similar to its stablemate, the 6D’s about 7mm shorter in height and a few millimeters thinner. To help create this slimmer profile, the 6D has no built-in flash.

Along with being a full-frame DSLR, the 6D offers built-in WiFi and GPS functionality. It also features a brand new autofocus system with 11 focusing points and one cross-type point in the center; and Canon’s tried-and-true iFCL 63-Zone dual layer metering system. The camera is powered by a Digic 5+ image processor and can fire off 4.5 frames per second in continuous mode.

The individual pixels on the 6D’s newly developed CMOS sensor are slightly bigger than the 5D Mark II at 6.55 microns, which should help this camera perform well in low light. ISO range is expandable to 50-102,400.

According to Canon, the 6D’s sensor is a full stop more sensitive in low light than any previous EOS model. The camera has a 3-inch Clear View 1,040,000-dot resolution flat (aka non-articulating) LCD screen on back with 100% coverage and an optical viewfinder with 97% coverage.

The 6D’s video skills are on par to the 5D Mark II, with 1080p HD shooting at 24, 25 and 30fps; a choice between ALL-I or inter frame (IPB) compression; time code; and manual audio and exposure controls. The 6D’s built-in WiFi is 802.11 B/G/N capable with a range of 100 feet.

For its built-in GPS, the 6D records longitude, latitude, elevation and universal time code and has GPS logging function. The 6D is built with an aluminum chassis inside but the outer body is made of polycarbonate, making it touch less sturdy than the magnesium alloy-bodied 5D III

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