Photokina Monday madness over - My personal take on the announcements

Yesterday was a crazy day as far as camera / lens / gear announcements go. I really can't remember quite so many major announcements on one day. Now comes the process of actually trying to find out more about the various items.

Add in the previous releases and there is some interesting stuff, but speaking personally there is surprisingly nothing that I'm planning to buy. What we have seen strikes me as big on technology and new features but nothing that seems to take things forward in terms of producing substantially improved image quality.

The new Leica M is a photojournalists camera for photojournalists who want to use a Leica. I think its clear from the specs. and the way Leica describe it that this is a camera that will work much better at high ISO's, be much more flexible, faster, etc. but for many of us will loose what we like so much about the digital M cameras, that unique image quality. As I wrote yesterday I have lots of cameras that do what the Leica M does. To be honest they probably do it better and they certainly do it cheaper, though in Leica terms I'm surprised that the camera wasn't more expensive. I may be proved wrong on the new sensor but everything seems to be pointing towards a different look from the files it will create. More useful for some certainly, but from what I've seen so far, not for me.

The M-E is yet another M9 spin-off. Its slightly cheaper price is welcome, but I don't see much advantage to buying this over the currently discounted M9 (though this discount hasn't reached the UK) And as for the TOYS R US X2, is this some kind of joke?

Lots of 35mm sized sensors and useful I guess if thats what you want, however all the manufacturers seem to have missed one important point here. What is probably the best all-round digital camera ever made, the D800, is currently selling in the UK at around £2300. To then price the Nikon D600 at £2000, the Sony A99 at £2500 and the Sony RX1 at £2800 strikes me as slightly removed from reality. I checked on what the Canon 6D is priced at this morning here in the UK and its £1800, which is a bit more like it, particularly when street prices on Canons do fall soon after they go on sale. Considering that people who are contemplating changing from APS-C may have to buy new lenses for the larger sensor, this notion of "Cheap Full-Frame" may be somewhat difficult to justify.

There are a couple of decent Sony upgrades and the new lenses are welcome. Olympus have produced a couple of 16MP Pens and again that is a useful upgrade. The GH3 is probably a great camera but again its too expensive. The UK websites have the body + grip at around £1700 this morning and thats just too much. Considering that the G5 will probably give the same IQ at around 1/3 of the price then that looks the better choice to me unless you want the (admittedly very impressive) video options the GH3 offers. And I must say (and I never expected to write this about a m4/3 camera) it strikes me that the GH3 is too heavy. 550g with battery, add in the grip + extra battery and a lens like the 12-35mm and you have a pretty chunky package. Personally I think the G5 looks a bargain. Its lightning fast and totally silent to use.

So a lot of competition for our pounds, dollars and euros, but now the dust has settled I'm actually pretty happy. I'm pretty much going with what I have and will be trimming it down in the near future, now I know whats coming. I really do like the GH3, but not at that price and it seems that I won't be selling everything to buy the new Leica.

I've alluded to it before and finally I'll come back to it. What strikes me about all of this, and in fact what has happened over the last 6 months or so is just how the Nikon D800 and 800E cameras stand head and shoulders over everything else. I just can't see anything else that gives better value in terms of what you get for the price that you pay. All those pixels, and seriously good quality ones at that, the versatility, the speed, the handling, the lens range available, all contrive to make these the best camera(s) released this year for me, and yes, I would argue the best bargains. My personal opinion I know, but I'm happy to carry around a camera that is much larger and heavier than I really want just because of the files it creates. I just can't see what there is available, or will be available when all this Photokina stuff hits the shops, that comes close to it. Maybe the Foveon sensor Sigmas have better IQ, but then I'll post a D800E file soon downsized to the size that the Sigma produces and I think you will be amazed at just how sharp that is. I will admit I spent a day last week in Sussex walking up and down sand dunes and along shingle beaches with the 800E plus the 28-300mm and I did think to myself, why on earth am I doing this? but then I looked at the images and I knew exactly why I was doing it. Plus there is the added bonus that since I bought it, I'm definitely fitter than I was!! So a win win situation then.

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