Photokina 2018 Makes history
The last of the biennial format Photokinas was historic in a number of ways, particularly as it moves from its traditional autumn date to late spring (in the northern hemisphere). Given the slow diminishing of the show’s size over the last decade (this year down to five halls and four days), there has to be a bit of a question mark over whether everybody will be prepared to turn up again in just eight months’ time for the planned 2019 event.
Regardless, Photokina 2018 was definitely more about quality than quantity, and indeed it will be remembered as another turning point in the history of photography. The die was already cast a few weeks before the show opened, as both Nikon and Canon launched their full-35mm mirrorless camera systems in quick succession, but the joint announcement by Panasonic, Leica and Sigma means the coming changes are likely to be even more far-reaching. Add Sony to this list of brands, and there’s now a very powerful (and persuasive) group of manufacturers promoting this camera configuration and sensor format. Sony, of course, has a significant head start and is now on its third generation of camera bodies, supported by an ever-expanding FE mount lens system to which will be added a further 12 over the next year or so, bringing the total to 60! Throw in Fujifilm’s announcements regarding the expansion of its GFX digital medium format system – cheekily dubbed “Super Full Frame” – and there’s going to be a lot of jostling to attract your attention if you’re planning to upgrade your camera over the next 12 months or so.
And, of course, there are now some compelling reasons to consider making the move… either to mirrorless and/or to a bigger sensor. Significantly, you are also more likely to be convinced to increase your investments in new camera bodies and lenses, giving a much-needed boost to the value of the market. As smartphones continue to eat into the low end of the camera business, it’s clear that the camera-makers are not just moving further upmarket, but also making these higher-end products more appealing, primarily through the adoption of the mirrorless configuration and what it enables, including in lens design.