I always just assume that everybody knows about Photokina (as I understand it, the official name is spelled with a lowercase "p"—the official title is "photokina, world of imaging [sic]"—but I'm too middlebrow to write it that way).
But maybe some people reading this don't know. And, to be honest, it took me by surprise this year—I'm either having a big success with TOP or else wasting my precious life, because it's hardly conceivable to me that a whole two years could possibly have passed since the last Photokina. Time flies when you're sitting like a lump staring at your computer every waking minute.
Anyway, Photokina is the world's largest international photography- and imaging-related trade fair, held every two years in Cologne, Germany. This year's Photokina, coming up fast now, will be held at the Cologne International Expocenter (a.k.a. Kölnmesse) from Tuesday, September 21st, to Sunday, September 26th, 2010.The public is welcome.
Traditionally, companies working in our sphere reserve at least some of their big product announcements for Photokina—even though the torrid and fiercely competitive pace of digital innovation has de-emphasized that schedule over the past decade or decade and a half. Every year, it's news within the industry as to who's got what sized booth, who's conspicuous by their absence, and so forth.
And most of the major announcements don't actually wait to appear until the trade fair starts; they're announced in the run-up to the show. Canon has already dropped its major news this year—the EOS 60D, PowerShot S95, two new teleconverters, and four new lenses: the EF 300mm ƒ/2.8L IS II USM, EF 400mm ƒ/2.8 IS II USM, EF 70–300mm ƒ/4–5.6L IS USM (an L lens for the consumer market), and the EF 8–15mm ƒ/4L Fisheye USM (because they're Canon, and they can).
Now that the Canon announcements have dropped, we're waiting to hear what Nikon is going to put on offer for this fall and Christmas season. The lenses have already been announced—there's the AF-S Nikkor 85mm ƒ/1.4G that we already wrote about ("Nikkor," by the way, is the trade name for all Nikon lenses), the AF-S Nikkor 28–300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 ED VR (another exemplar in a class of lenses that has always made me shudder with dread and horror—truly anti-Mike lenses), the AF-S Nikkor 24–120mm ƒ/4G ED VR (sure to be popular), and the AF-S Nikkor 200–400mm ƒ/4G ED VR II (shown). That last should be called "The Wildlife Lens," a descendant of the lens Art Wolfe made famous, perfect for the D300s. Also already announced is the entry-level D3100, a refresh of the nifty D3000, heir of the D40.
Also expected are one more major and one not so major camera, with a third one casting its long shadow über allen. I'll put the names in quotation marks, not to mock them but because they're not officially official yet. Expected are the "P7000," a premium small-sensor digicam that will compete with the Canon G11, and the "D7000," said to be the replacement for the D90.
The D90 is a tough act to follow. For a long time, its sensor ranked highest at DxOmark.com of all ~APS-C DSLRs, and it is a supremely well-sorted camera in terms of size, ergonomics, and performance, at least by the standards of these times. It's a bit boring—Nikon is extremely concerned both to regularize its lineup, in accordance with the current Japanese fashion, and to match Canon pretty closely step-for-step—but it's a very capable mainstream camera that sold by the gobs. The replacement is doubtless slated to improve the video performance, but it had better not mess up in any other area, either: the stakes in this segment of the market are high.
The camera that everyone is wondering about is the D700 replacement / complement. Whether what comes will be a "replacement" or a "complement" is something nobody seems to be quite sure of any more. For a while it was assumed that Nikon would continue its lower-pixel-count/faster, higher-pixel-count/not quite as fast bifurcation of models, seen for example in the D3s and D3x, and introduce a sort of "D700x," whatever it would actually be called. In his 2010 predictions, Thom Hogan, who knows more about Nikon than Nikon does, called for this camera to be announced by March. Well, March has marched past. Now the CW seems to be thinking that the "D800" that's coming (whatever it will actually be called) will be a D700 replacement.
Again, high stakes...very high. The D700, a full-frame, 12-MP camera with extremely good high-ISO performance, has been a stellar seller, very, very popular amongst the core cadre of loyal Nikonians. The "D700x/D800" is widely expected not to make its appearance at Photokina. So, then, when? For Nikon's sake, let's predict: before Christmas. Time, as ever, will tell.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.