Canon and Nikon are the Titans of the camera world at present and they are at photokina to show their smaller and newer competition that they are far from a spent force.
Nikon recently released the D600, a smaller version of the D800 with a full frame sensor and a lot of very attractive features. You can tell because it’s very difficult to get through the press of middle aged men in camera jackets huddling around it. For all its impressive specifications it is still a relatively bulky camera and designed for the enthusiast.
In a similar vein, the Canon EOS 6D is impressive on a spec sheet, almost impossible to get near at the Canon booth and I suspect one for the buffs.
Canon also have the smaller PowerShot SX50HS which has a very long zoom which gets to 1200mm optically, then can just about double it using a digital crop. It feels reasonably comfortable in the hand, but even with image stabilisation you’ll need to be concentrating to get exactly the shot you want.
At the other end of the scale the Nikon Coolpix SO1 is really small and light. It comes with around 7MB of internal memory and in lots of bright colours. It’s hard to see it taking off though, given the irresistible march of camera phones that have a similar appeal to some segments of the market.
The Canon PowerShot D20 has an odd shape, but can work under water to a depth of 10 meters and with a protective case to 40 meters. Nikon have a protective case for the Nikon 1 series as well which looks a bit like something from the movie Star Wars.
Casio have been a bit off and on in Australia, with changing distributors, but they have produced some very functional and good value compact cameras in the past. The Casio EX-ZR1000 looks interesting as it has all the usual speedy Casio start-up and shooting times, with a HDR and a macro function that uses a number of frames shot at different focus points to build a composite picture with lots of depth of field. Let’s hope it makes it to Australia.
Almost all the major manufacturers have one or two professional photographers showing some of their work and telling us what a joy it is to use the camera they were supplied with for the shoot. There are hundreds, if not thousands of images throughout the eleven exhibition halls and many are worthy winners of competitions sponsored by camera manufacturers.
But the ultimate purpose of this exhibition is the business of selling photographic gear. As a consumer it has all the fun of the fair, but ultimately you have to decide whether you really need all the bells and whistles.
For more information about digital cameras, see Electronics.