Photokina 2010 Day 3: Medium-Format's Last Stand?; Photo Odds & Ends; Live Nude Girls; Leaving Cologne
SEPTEMBER 24, 2010
Dan Havlik, PDN's Technology Specialist
When they look back at photokina 2010 will they see it as
medium-format photography's last stand or its Waterloo? A lot has
happened since photokina 2008 when Leica released its game-changing
medium-format/DSLR hybrid, the 37.5MP S2. Suprisingly though, no
medium-format camera manufacturer has stepped up to the plate to
challenge the Leica S2's innovative, tough and ergonomic design.
What we have seen are traditional medium-format digital models with
some added features, higher resolution sensors and lower prices
across the board. Take the budget-friendly 40MP Pentax 645D which was on display at
photokina 2010. This $9995 camera with its 44x33mm sensor has made
the rounds of the trade shows for several years now and only last
June officially went on sale in Japan.
But the camera, which can use all Pentax 645 legacy film lenses
and, with the help of an adapter, 67 lenses, has not shipped in the
U.S. or even Europe yet due to overwhelming demand (and a limited
supply) in Japan. We met with Ned Bunnell president of Pentax USA,
during photokina on Thursday to find out what the deal was.
"We're going to start to bring the 645D into the States in late
November or early December but that's based on availability," he
told us. "We're still fighting fairly significant back orders in
added that the camera will be on display at the PDN-sponsored
PhotoPlus Expo show in New York City next month but he couldn't
guarantee there will be more than one working model on the show
floor. (If there is only one 645D, Bunnell could be the most
popular man at the Jacob Javits Center.)
"PhotoPlus is where we'll make our splash," he said, while noting
that when the camera does come into the U.S., Pentax will be
offering one-on-one support to 645D customers.
"What we're saying is, if a photographer buys this camera, we will
provide that photographer with direct contact to one of our support
staff in Golden, Co. It's different from if you bought one of our
traditional cameras in the past when you got a support group. In
this case, you'll have a name." Pentax plans to officially announce
this new 645D support plan at PhotoPlus Expo.
Bunnell was pleased with the news this week that Hasselblad
would also release a sub-$10,000 medium format camera, the 31MP
H4D-31. "That was validation that medium-format can be made
affordable at a fairly attractive price."
To see some early images from the 645D, check out Okinawa-based
photographer Chris Willson's Travel 67 blog
Also making a stand at photokina was Olympus which was showing off
its snazzy new 12.3MP E-5 digital SLR which was announced a few weeks ago. Sally
Smith-Clemens of Olympus said image quality from the E-5 has been
improved from its predecessor, the E-3, when camera engineers
modified the low-pass filter.
lessened the moire correction the filter applies and by doing that,
the optics (of the lenses) render more detail from the sensor,"
Smith-Clemens said, while adding that the moire correction is now
being performed by the processor.
Olympus also unveiled a new concept camera at photokina, a compact
model that will use a top-of-the-line Zuiko lens. The big news
though is that unlike other recent Olympus cameras, this model
won't use a Four Thirds or Micro Four Thirds sensor, according to
details of the new compact model, which is expected to challenge
cameras such as the Canon G12, Panasonic LX5 and Samsung TL500, are
scant. By looking at the display model at photokina, it appears the
camera will have a 3-inch LCD, video recording, a pop-up flash and
an accessory port. It will be available in the first quarter of
Lenses Having Babies
Photokina also saw the debut of yet another quirky lens from
everyone's favorite quirky lens maker, Lensbaby. The company
announced its new Composer with Tilt Transformer lens which is now
shipping in mounts for Panasonic Lumix G Micro cameras and Olympus
PEN digital cameras. There will also be a version for Sony NEX
cameras in the last quarter of this year.
quirky twist -- what else do you expect from Lensbaby? -- the Tilt
Transformer lets you mount a Nikon lens onto a Panasonic or Olympus
Micro Four Thirds camera (and eventually a Sony NEX model) to
create an effect that gives you a slice of sharpness through an
image with a border of soft blur. To see the effect, check out the
image by Keri Friedman to the below right.)
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
There are lots of eye-catching performers at photokina designed to
entice crowds to check out new products. One of the
most-eye-catching displays of them all was a nude girl covered in
body paint in the design of a color checker card (See the top of
this story...in case you possibly missed it earlier.)
Photographers were invited to photograph the girl to see if their
cameras were properly calibrated. Not wishing to seem like a prude
we played along and shot a few photos with a Canon PowerShot S95 we
were testing. An interesting gimmick...too bad the naked lady made
us forget what the name of the company was.
And finally as we leave Cologne to head back to real world we leave
you with one final image of a vintage 1954 photokina poster we
photographed in a city shop window. Even back then, the photo
imaging future looked exciting.