Photokina, the world’s biggest photographic exhibition, opens in Cologne tomorrow. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen several leaked or announced products from the major manufacturers, including the new Nikon D600. But my interest lies in high-end compact cameras, including mirrorless models such as the APS-C sensored Sony NEX-6 and Fuji X-E1, and the amazing full-frame Sony RX1.
The RX1, in particular, is significant because it is the world’s smallest camera with a full-frame sensor. Once the preserve of high-end and expensive DSLRs from Nikon and Canon (and of the even more costly Leica M), full-frame sensors are now set to become more commonplace and more in demand by professionals and experienced amateurs.
The middle ground is moving inexorably towards the 1.5-crop APS-C sensor as seen in the Fuji X series and the NEX-6 and 7. Micro Four Thirds, the smaller-sensor 2-crop standard popularised by Olympus and Panasonic, is looking increasingly out on a limb. And I believe Nikon made a serious blunder in adopting an even smaller one-inch or 2.7-crop standard for the Nikon 1. This was done in an effort to avoid cannibalising sales of the company’s DSLRs. With the move to larger sensors in ever smaller cameras, both Nikon 1 and M4T will come under increasing pressure.
This evening, however, we have Leica’s new offerings. Das Wesentliche (The Essential) press event in Colgne will be used to launch several new digital cameras, including the Panasonic LX7 lookalike.
New M-system camera
Main interest will centre on a replacement for the M9, the M10 and, possibly, the introduction of new “cheap” M-system camera. If you want a blueprint for such a beast, look no further than Fuji’s X-Pro 1 or, even, the new X-E1. However, I have a feeling that this camera could come later.
With increasing discounts on the current M9 range over the past two months, I think an M10 is now a foregone conclusion. It will have a CMOS sensor and will look very much like the M9 but with the ability to mount an electronic viewfinder in the hotshoe. We have only a few hours to wait for the full details.
by Mike Evans, 17 September 2012