It's that time again - Photokina 2016


This is the time every two years when all those internet sites that attempt to keep our enthusiasm going for 'proper' cameras get all hot and bothered. The rumours (leaks) have been circulating wildly, no doubt aided and abetted by the camera manufacturers publicity departments and now we get to see what's new. Well new if you consider that you'll be lucky to get your hands on most of it in the next six months. 

In a desperate attempt to keep our interest going gear is now being announced way before the real thing appears on the shelves and I suspect in many cases before the engineering is finished. So we have the Panasonic GH5, Olympus E-M1 Mk 11 (surely the worlds worst camera name) and a medium format Fuji camera. We also have some new Canon M mirrorless, a G something from Panasonic and yet another Olympus Pen lookalike, all contenders for the award of most pointless and mediocre camera update of the year. 

And all the review sites will try to convince us that this is all really quite quite exciting and the shill / troll 'fanboys' will be earning their money desperately trying to convince you of the virtues of their paymasters products while rubbishing every thing else. Nero fiddling while Rome burns springs to mind. 

The glory years of people buying digital cameras in huge amounts to document their lives are past. Smartphones have already eaten up the compact / happy snapper / social media market and have set their sights on the 'enthusiast'  sector. So everybody else moves onwards and upwards. More pixels, bigger sensors, more professional standard video. And yes next years stills and videos of cats, dogs, cups of coffee and infants having fun with food will sure look pretty good, though probably nowhere near as good as people would have you believe. It's obvious that R & D departments have pulled out all the stops to entice us with a series of seemingly impressive specs. But ultimately, as ever, this will be the usual incremental improvement that means if you really want to Improve what you have in any meaningful way, buying one in every three 'upgrades' is probably still the way to go. 

As you may gather, I'm somewhat underwhelmed by what I've seen so far and my enthusiasm for the newest tech. has been declining for some time. Because ultimately all this constant 'refreshment' of product lines doesn't make the shooting experience or the results derived from that any better than what's around already. I'm interested in a rumoured new Leica T model, but have no intention of parting with my existing pair of T's, which I still love using. I'm still enjoying the sublime handling and image quality of the SL and the quality of the bokeh from the f/1.7 lens on my Leica Q almost convinces me that shooting with minimal depth of field is a productive use of my time. My smartphones give me the opportunity to shoot anonymously and the stock sites that sell my work and the people who actually part with money for my creative output are still totally unconcerned about what I shoot with. 

As time passes I see these big trade junkets and the constant announcing of the 'Kings New Clothes' as a colossal waste of time and money. If creating decent images that show craftsmanship, commitment, creativity and dare I say it, artistic intent was apparent from all this 'innovation' then I might be convinced. However since I don't see any evidence of that, I'm not.