What do I want to see at PhotoKina? The wish list for my stuff.

A detail from Sandy Skoglund's installation at the
Denver Museum of Art. 

Everyone will have a different take about the stuff they want to see at Photokina. And I'm going to approach this blog post a bit differently. I'd like to know what you guys would like to see and why. What is missing from your brand of choice? What would you like to buy for the bag? And what do you think will be the successful products from this show?

I'm going to make some predictions and we'll see soon enough if I'm right. I'm not working on any insider information and no one's "suggested" anything to me yet. But I love making predictions because, if nothing else, it seems to clarify my acquisition pathway.  So let's get started and please, remember to chime in via the comment section about what you are expecting and what you want to see. 

Camera Predictions: 

Olympus: They show their first 20 megapixel OMD camera and it actually works well and has even less high ISO noise than their current OMD products. EM-1x? Of course that is accompanied by their 25mm f1.2 aspheric lens. As the photo gods always intended...

Panasonic: The only way to improve on the GH4 would be to come out with a "lite" version of the YACKLW add-on unit. It would be small and light weight and would just provide what most people wanted in the first place, a couple of XLR inputs with pots and a full sized HDMI connector for rough and tough work. Screw those SDI ports. 

Second up for Panasonic would be the replacement for the G6. For want of a better naming concept we'll just call it the G7. Smaller and lighter than the GH4 but with the same EVF specs, the same processor and a smaller selection of codecs. We could really skip the 4K on this model and make it a powerhouse, economical production camera for people on a budget. A tight budget. Keep the body style because I think it rocks. 

Canon: The faithful are finally rewarded with a 28 megapixel body that uses new sensor technology from their new sensor fab. It delivers dynamic range that will make the true believers weep openly. And it goes toe to toe with Nikon at every ISO. The added value? Beyond sensor perfection? 4K video that's sharp. Count on this one. I can see it coming a mile away.

The whipped cream on the chocolate sundae of Canon camera joy? They roll out the same kind of sensor technology into their APS-C cameras. 

The interesting adjunct to the otherwise "all positive" success story? They take yet another stab at the EOS-M series but this time they've paid attention to Olympus, Panasonic and Sony and actually deliver something that focuses within the same hour of the button actuation...

Nikon: The 1 series product manager who obviously came from accounting by way of marketing is fired and sent away. He is replaced by a product manager who gets that this 1 series one inch camera line could actually be a miniature professional line if they stopped dicking around and trying to make it appeal to everyone and their soccer mom. We bring back the integrated EVF (WTF was up with the bone head move of taking it out? Crazy! That's why we fired the guy!).   The body gets upgraded with some external buttons to make it quicker in actual use. They launch more fast zooms and faster primes. People go nuts.

The rest of Nikon's line is pretty fresh. I would guess that the D7100 is the only one up for a refresh but I think we see an incremental improvement, mostly in Live View and video parameters which make the camera a much, much better video competitor for Canon. This one becomes the D7200 and its second biggest selling point is a radically expanded file buffer. 

They spend the rest of the show apologizing for the D600 and promising it will never happen again. Then they show everyone enormous blow ups from the D810, everyone pats them on the back and then asks, "When will we get 36 megapixels in a prosumer body?" The Nikon people shake their heads and walk away. 

Sony: My cynical side says that Sony might introduce two or three different new lens mounts on two or three different lines of cameras along with one and a half lens models for each new line, brag about the cameras being able to shoot at 800,000 ISO and talk a lot about video production but my rational mind says they will introduce new lenses for the A7 line, replace the A7r with a version featuring an electronic first curtain shutter and make other small improvements to that line. They will also most likely introduce the successor to the A99 which will do away with the pellicle mirror and feature the same 36 megapixel sensors as the A7r but utilize the "A" mount and be positioned as a sports and rugged camera.  All Sonys will feature a newer codec like the XVAC S which will make the cameras more usable for professional video recording. 

The Nex line is the one that currently needs some expansion and I think there is an opportunity to come out with a "pro" body in that space that is rugged and does a good job with heat management, along with more external controls. Look for more and more hybrid body style mixes like the A3000. 

Samsung: I'll go wild here and predict that they come out with at least two new bodies. The few rumors that circulate on the web are predicting pretty much what I expect: Samsung will announce and launch a very much improved prosumer camera that will go toe to toe with Canon and Nikon's prosumer cameras in the APS-C space. I'm thinking a new sensor with 24 to 28 megapixels, weather proofing, the ability to use a battery grip, a whole new exterior finish with thick, gummy rubber that feels solid and very "pro."  I would further speculate that they've been stung by criticism of their so-so video and will be incorporating some higher end features there as well. Look for 1080p / @60 in 2K and some sort of 4K implementation in the camera. Also, look for a bigger body with double card slots (one SD and one micro SD) along with the usual connectivity cotton candy. Finally look for a faster than everyone else flash sync and a fast (maybe 1/12,000th of a second) high shutter speed. 

The first camera should be enough to scare the crap out of Canon and Nikon while the second one will be the slightly less aggressive consumer model with a lot of the features minus the "over the top" build and materials. I'll consider the camera a successful tool for shooting if they get the EVF just right. And by that I mean it has to be bright, clear and switch at the speed of light from eye level to back screen. No big lag, no hesitation. 

If they get this done and introduce two or three different high performance zooms and a couple of sought after primes (70mm f1.8 anyone?) they'll finally have the framework of a complete system offer. Oh, one last thing. How about a flash that's radio controlled and highly configurable? Oh what the hell, they should also toss in dead on accuracy. 

Medium Format: Pentax opened the "under $10,000"  gate a couple or years ago and now they've wedged a doorstop into the whole mix with a 51 megapixel back that, for pretty much the first time in MF history, actually performs well above its native ISO. There's no going back for anyone now. As soon as Pentax and third party lens makers fill the pipeline with good lenses there will be absolutely no compelling reason for anyone to spend the enormous amounts of money that used to be required to get a functional medium format camera in the past. This means that the race is on for Hasselblad, Mamiya, Leica and Phase One to get product into the mix that gets close to the Pentax pricing model as quickly as they can or risk becoming an interesting curiosity of yesteryear. 

My predictions? The long shot is that Canon steps in with their own product under $10,000 and positions the camera as the ultimate step up from their current EOS line. Look for an adapter that allows users to use their current EOS lenses in crop mode on the new camera while also offering a new line of optics that cover the full image circle. 

The obvious next step is for everyone in the medium format space to get "entry level" products on line to compete with Pentax. What will make it hard is that everyone's offerings right now (not "every" but most) are based on the use of the same Sony 51 megapixel sensor. Phase One still offers a bigger sensor but the price differential is so enormous only people who absolutely don't have to care about money will consider purchasing one. 

My overall prediction by the end of the year is an entry level model with normal lens in the price range of $6995. At least announced by the end of the year.

Lighting gear: No one really cares anymore. The focus of everyone who doesn't shoot for money is on cameras with high ISO potential and in most people's minds that means freedom from lighting and, for the people smart enough to understand that being able to control lighting in many situations really means controlling the quality of light instead of the quantity of light, most will find the battery powered options to suffice. Imagine almost ubiquitous variations with the capabilities of Nikon's CLS system. But in every brand. Profoto will continue selling to aspiring pros who know they need to light well and on a big scale in order to differentiate themselves from the legions of semi-pros and occasionally incurring amateurs. There always be instruments for those who demand the best. So the market will support a low end vendor like Alien Bees, a mid-range vendor like Profoto and a high end vendor like Broncolor. Everyone else will fall to the wayside or shift into LED lighting which broadly appeals because of its ever declining learning curve. Praise to WYSIWYG.

What will we see in the lighting arena at Photokina? Lots of low powered monolights. Lots and lots and lots of LEDs. The LEDs will be divided into two camps, the panels with hundreds or thousands of tiny bulbs and the new, more compact, surface mount LEDs which have led to more fixtures reminiscent of old tungsten fixtures. Fiilex had this market well figured out for a couple of years but now it seems as though everyone is rushing an SMD version of an LED light to market. 

The only pertinent questions at Photokina will be, "How do you want to power it?" and "How much output do you need?"

Finally, Photokina has always been a wonderful boost for blogs and sites dedicated to camera reviews and endless arguments about cameras and camera reviews. I think that's quickly coming to an end. The mania for photography as an ever growing and never capped recreational market is quickly dying and page views across all sites are diving. These sites are now pretty much the purview of older men who love gadgets. Myself included. These sites will slowly die off as they become an endless collection of echo chambers, all telling the same stories about the same limited and largely identical products. Oh, yes we could put up pretty photos and talk about our "art" but it's just like grand children and children: everyone likes to talk about theirs but no one really likes to listen to people talk about theirs. The death of gear oriented photoblogs is at hand. I guess we'll go down swinging. 

What would I like to see at Photokina? Really, just a simple but indestructible camera that only shoots raw and has three controls: ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. We'd focus with a big ring on the lens and our left hands. Every file would be a raw file. There would be no scene modes, no color profiles, no wi-fi and no NFC. You could buy it equipped with any of the popular lens mounts and the mounts themselves would be interchangeable. That's it. That's all we need to take really good images. Let everything else get taken of phones and fixed up with apps. 

And that's my set of predictions for Photokina. What are your predictions? What would you like to see?


Wyatt said...

A couple of weeks back you were going on about doing nothing. How's that working out?

Kirk Tuck said...

Well, I took a couple naps, did a couple jobs, took a few more naps, had some fun lunches which required more naps. Then I got bored meditating and got back to work. You?

JacquesFG said...

I would like a pretty good still camera that can make pretty good videos longer than 29 minutes. The OMDs, the GHs, the D6xx, the Rxxx are all plenty good enough. I want to be able to use them, with their interchangeable lenses and shallow depth of field, to capture events. Without running from one camera to another to stop/restart them every 25 minutes. Camcorders with interchangeable lenses and large sensors are much too expensive.

Anonymous said...

Kirk - I would go even further than that. Ever since we put our film away I've been pining for a digital version of the Olympus XA which to this day I believe to be the greatest snap-shooter ever designed. Gosh, now that I think about it, I may have to run a few rolls through mine. It's right where I last touched it a few years back, I'm sure the battery is good as new.

atmtx said...

Kirk, LOL love your Sony prediction.

lsumners said...

I will also vote for the no frills camera described in the last paragraph. I would sacrific some buttons for better lens- hear me Sony

ODL Designs said...

Same MP, better video codecs and options, mic and headphone port... And while I could buy the GH4, that IBIS makes shooting video insanely easy hand held.

Michael Matthews said...

All I want is a simple firmware modification. It allows the assignment of one button, lever, or switch on a small camera (Olympus, Panasonic) to serve as a "lock all settings" toggle. That way I can stop accidentally changing the ISO, white balance and other functions every other time I pick the damned thing up.

Old Gray Roy said...

Digital FM2n w/16mp APS-C sensor. Two new wide primes, 2 wide zooms. Battery grip available. No video, wi-fi, NFC, deodorant stick or toothpaste dispenser. Might be able to do away with film advance lever, or, leave an operable non-functioning placebo to allow us old phxxxts to make-believe-return to our puppy years.

Rohith Thumati said...

Fun topic. I'll play.

I'm hoping for one (or more) of the following, in descending order. If any one of these came out, I'd most certainly buy it. Except for a couple instances, I don't care which brand actually comes out with the product:

- A reasonably compact APS-C camera with a 16-35mm f2.8 fixed lens (or Micro Four Thirds camera with a 12-25mm f2 lens), built in EVF, tilt/flip touchscreen, on-sensor PDAF, built in 3 stop ND filter, and a leaf shutter that can do flash sync at 1/2000th wide open. Priced under $1,500. If it's not too much to ask, being able to handle a bit of weather without worry would be nice. That would be my ideal carry everywhere/travel camera. Could add an optional 1.4 or 2x teleconverter for a little extra reach when desired.

- A 50-200mm f/4 Micro Four Thirds lens that costs ~$600 (or $500 if it's a 50-150). The Panasonic 35-100 f2.8 is a bit too pricey for me, and the Olympus 40-150 f2.8 looks to be huge and doesn't have a price yet. F4 is good enough for my needs.

- A tough/snorkelable camera with a 1" sensor and an f2.8 fixed lens through the zoom range. I'm fine with it being large. That would be my beach camera.

- A Leica "X3" that's a Leica T with the X2's lens fixed and much faster AF, for no more than $2,000 (if it's a Leica product, it won't be less than that). I loved the images out of the X2, but hated using it - I didn't care for the ergonomics, and the AF was terrible. The T looks like it fixes most of the ergonomic issues with the X2 (it may introduce a few of its own, of course). Yes, Leica products are way too expensive for what they are, but i nonetheless still want one. It's not a rational thing.

- A Fuji "X100T," which is already been heavily rumored, that produces raw images that are easy to work with. I hated working with the X100S images when I tested one, and I really didn't think the image quality was anything special.

- A Panasonic LX8 that has a 1" sensor camera and a 24-100mm (full frame equivalent) constant f2 lens and built in EVF. If it has to be darker than f2 on the long end, not more than f2.8. It doesn't need to be pocketable, but Panasonic LX7 size would work.

- More fixed lens, large sensor cameras in general. I love the market segment (though I haven't taken the plunge myself).

- An affordable, collapsable version of the Westcott Ice Light. I think that thing is really cool, but it's not that bright, it's bulky to transport, and I can't justify $500 for one. If someone came out with something like it for $200 that had an length adjustable light tube and 2-3x the light output, that'd be great.

Rusty said...

monochrome 4/3 camera

Anonymous said...

Samsung makes cameras?!?!?!

Andrea said...

CaNikon growing a pair and finally getting rid of the old mirror thingy, using modern EVF as the top of the line Oly/Fuji/Panny/Sony mirrorless. About the target market - pros get used to things that really work, and soccer moms/trailer dads usually abide to what camera makers say it is best for them...

Patrick Dodds said...

Agree about the camera - something with ISO, aperture and shutter speed, hang the rest. Re: lighting - cheaper LED panels with temp control. Done.

Frank Grygier said...

I know constant lighting is the wave of the future but just for nostalgia sake I will like to see Olympus do a Canon like version of radio TTL.

Wally said...

I would like to see a means of compiling my speed lite radio trigger via the USB port, or via the wifi connection inside the camera. Solves the problem of smaller cameras like the a Sony RX 100 III not having a hot shoe. Nikon won't, of course, get this memo!

Mike Rosiak said...

More a wish than a prediction: A successor to the GX7, so that the price will drop, and I can buy one for maybe $500 or so, and retire my GF1.

Re "just a simple but indestructible camera" - me too!

Edward Richards said...

Another vote for the electronic XA. I am not sure why it could cover FF with a tiny (excellent) lens and the Sony RX1 has to have a huge lens. The RX1 really does not do much more as a stills camera than the XA. It would not need to be FF, APS would be fine.

Anonymous said...

More drones! Tell us more about drones!

Gato said...

I can think of only two things in camera gear that would get my wallet out of my pocket:

First is an upgrade of my Olympus 14-54 f 2.8-3.5 in native m43 mount. A 14-54, 12-60 or anything in that range with around f4 would work. The 14-54 has been my main lens since 2005 (with an upgrade to the Mk II for m43 use) and it's still a good lens, but I'm sure a new version could be better, smaller and focus a lot faster.

Second is a global electronic shutter with native high flash sync speed. In an m43 body, of course, preferably Panasonic with fully articulated LCD. I'd really like to do more mixing flash with sunlight.

Beyond that, it's all optional. We already wished for a Sigma 90mm f2.8 in the DN line. And a 12.

I'd like to see Panasonic put a 24MP sensor in a G6-style body. If it could match the current ISO performance that would be great, but there are times I'd even give up a bit of ISO for a little more resolution.

Coming back to something you wrote recently, the stuff I have now is so good and so capable it's hard to know what to wish for. I'm sure I'll buy some stuff, but mostly when I have some extra cash and see a bargain. There's not much at all I really need.

Anonymous said...

There will be more news from Fuji. I predict a new Fuji Pro X2 - APS sensor at 24MP. Fuji X200 also at 24MP with essentially same form factor as today and the same lens but improved video capability. Lens lineup will add a few lenses and they will continue to reap the harvest as a creator of great lenses equaling Zeiss on their own camera bodies.

Anonymous said...

And Pentax/Ricoh finally does two things right:
1. Bring out the FF Pentax DSLR that so many Pentax users have wished for for years (myself not included). And Canikon users get jealous because of its overall great useability and cleverness.
2. Bring out a similarly clever mirrorfree system in APS-C which merges all that they have learned, positive and negative, from GXR, GR and K-01 into a really attractive package (this I would certainly want).
All the best/Mattias

Alex said...

More wishes than predictions:

1. Samsung NX 16-70mm F2.8-4 OIS - $500

2. Mirrorless Pentax K-02: sensor from K3, PDAF, EVF and "normal" design with a usable grip - $1000.

tjobbe said...

Well, you wish on Samsung doing a radio controlled Flash is already reality with the NX30.

The build-in allows to controll the SEF580 (allow grouping), and as well Metz did update the FW for the AF 44-1 (and the Macro flash 15MS) to be compliant with the NX30.

Noons said...

Pencil me in for your camera wish! Long overdue that all that jpg and "scene" stuff stops enhancing profits...

Craig Yuill said...

What I would like to see at Photokina are sensible additions and updates to Nikon's CX and DX lines.

For CX (Nikon 1) I would like to see a 13.5mm f/1.8 (wide-ish normal), a tele-macro lens, and a fast f/2.8 tele zoom added to the 1 Nikkor line. I would also like to see a V4 with built-in EVF, slightly-bigger and more-robust controls, weather sealing, standard hot shoe, and sensor with better dynamic/tonal range.

For DX it would really be nice to finally see a replacement for the D300S. It would also be nice to see a 70mm f/2 macro/portrait lens, and a few wide primes, such as a DX 24mm f/1.8 and a DX 18mm f/2.8.

Nikon's approach to marketing and support of these camera and lens lines needs to be improved. I doubt it would put much of a strain on Nikon's resources to create the above items. But it looks like Nikon is going to introduce yet another (unnecessary IMO) FX-format camera, priced somewhere between the D610 and D810. Their best selling cameras and biggest moneymakers are supposedly their DX cameras. They should be bolstering the DX system, not ignoring it.

neopavlik said...

Canon : Full Frame camera with dynamic range as you mentioned, hopefully with a "6D" version of it. Gives us options to compose in multiple formats.

Nikon : D400 for those that have been waiting. 105mm f2 and 135mm f2 DC upgrades to AF-S and maybe VR. 70-200 F4 without VR.

Sony : A66 , a cheaper version of the A99.

Sigma : 3rd Party Art Lenses : 24mm / 1.4 , 135mm / 1.8.

Medium Format : Hasselblad (or anyone) puts out a 6 x 6 medium format camera exactly like their film version, just adding the bare minimum electronics needed. Affordable and budget Leaf shutter lenses in popular focal lengths.

Lighting Gear : Einstein upgrades its power range to a maximum of 1280 watts. Paul Buff makes a 6' and 7' version of his traveling folding octabox.

John Robison said...

Since this is dreaming it does not matter what I'd like to see....but here goes anyway.

Olympus suddenly remembers the OM folks they heartlessly abandoned over a decade ago and bring out a special digital back for them. It will clip on in the same manner as a Recordata back with a power supply and related electronics housed in a winder sized attachment on the bottom. So as not to tax current technology it will be 18X24mm (half frame) in a landscape orientation. Only 12 mp with nice fat low noise pixels. There will be two versions, a regular RGB for color and a luminance only for B&W. There will be interchangeable screens that outline the image area. Olympus also reintroduces four or five Zuiko OM mount primes to cover necessary angle of view considerations for the half frame digital format.

If you watch carefully I shall now flap my arms and fly to the moon.

Jason Hindle said...

The Canon prediction? That's an easy win :-). Canon cannot allow the current disparity, between it and Nikon, to stand. The Olymous prediction? Paint me sceptical. The sensor tech used by Olympus, Sony, Nikon and Panasonic, has hit a wall. We've seen no real improvement since the Nikon and Pentax first used the 16mp Sony sensor.

Colin B said...

I would like to see the entire Nikon 1 design team put in stocks and pelted with rotten sushi until they agree to revert to the original V1 design, fix a few of the minor flaws in an otherwise perfect concept and promise never to do what they did with the V2 (and especially the V3) ever, ever EVER again. As for the N1 marketing manager who totally missed the real potential market for a system like this, he/she should apologise to Nikon's stockholders and go and work in another profession as far away from the camera industry as possible. And they should take whoever came up with the 50 different variable aperture 18-xx DX lenses with them...

joerawr said...

I've never had a problem with guessing wrong... so:

Canon - High Iso and fast focusing will be the main "excitement" that comes with their "new" sensor for FF. I think your guess at 28MP is good, higher than 24, but less than 36. For APS-C will finally see the 7D with that new 20MP sensor, and it'll be a sports machine. But they'll still all have OVF, and be so boring.

Panasonic - Can the 16MP sensor be improved upon? I agree with others here that it's literally at the wall. GX7 gets bummped to GX8, gains 4k, but probably not with XAVC. Focuses faster, EVF improvements, selfie-flip on the LCD. I'd sell my GX7 for that.

Olympus - They figure out how to do better video in the M1, without massive over heating. Give the new M1 a limit of 5 minute video clips with that awesome IBIS, and I dump my Panasonic bodies and lenses for Oly. We know the trickle down E-PL7 is coming. If the video still sucks, it's a yawner. No built in EVF, no care.

Sony - Ah Sony.... I love you, I hate you. A99 II is coming, with 36MP, killer AF, meh high ISO, 4k video. It'll be totally soul crushing for current A99 and D8001/810 owners. I'll want it, but instead I'll regret holding onto my A99 when the huge drop in resale value means I won't be able to justify the mark 2. The RX-2 is coming (maybe not at Photokina) with the curved FF sensor, F/1.8 fixed lens and luciousness that'll make all the owners of RX-1s realize they have to upgrade, flooding ebay with used RX-1s. A few E and FE lenses coming. And every existing body lacking a Mk2 gets one. RX10 Mk2 with 4k video?

You can probably see right through my dreams influencing my predictions.

Dave said...

I predict much fanboy activity post Photokina wherein last years top of the line are relegated to useless piles of crap hardly worthy of being called cameras. Also, the Brand fanboys extolling the virtues of their brand over the clearly inferior offerings of the other brand.
I also predict very little discussion of what makes a good photograph or how to upgrade the ability to "see" and create a photo.