A few of the many product introductions in advance of Photokina so far. If the product name is linked, it can be pre-ordered. The links are to B&H Photo. Note that B&H closes for Rosh Hashanah early in the afternoon of the 16th. Many items can also be pre-ordered through Amazon.com (U.S.), Amazon U.K., Amazon Germany, or Amazon Canada. (We regret that we don't have affiliations with Amazon Italy or France.)
Ordering stuff through TOP links keeps the site going (without costing you anything, n.b.), so if you order anything through our links—now or ever—many thanks!
—The Editorial One-Man Band
Shipping as soon as the 19th of this month in limited release, Nikon's new D600 has been widely anticipated yet still is exciting. It's Nikon's smallest and most compact full-frame DSLR yet, and features a high-definition 24.3-MP CMOS sensor and a 5.5 per second frame rate, with full video capabilities and autofocus capability that Nikon is bragging about. It also has a 100% finder. At well under two pounds and more or less the same size as the D7000, the D600 becomes the cheapest full-frame DSLR you can buy. (Well, that you can buy assuming you get your order in early or are willing to wait.) Introduced this morning. $2,100.
As we were saying about the new Fuji X-E1 the other day, this is another "Goldilocks" camera, in that it's going to hit the "just right" spot for an awful lot of Nikon photographers.
Also available in a kit with the Nikkor 24–85mm ƒ/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens, $2,600.
For those who like to be a little more cutting-edge, there's Sony's super-slick new flagship DSLR, the A99. Another high-resolution 24-MP full-frame camera, the A99 adds more up-to-the-minute styling, Sony's now well-established pellicle "translucent" non-reflex mirror (that is, it doesn't flip), and Sony's leading edge electronic viewfinder. Plus, the A99 has IBIS—in-body image stabilization—for IS with any and every lens you can attach to it. And you get an articulated viewing screen, which neither the D600 nor the D800 have. The price is heftier, however: $2,800; and Sony's FF lens line is much more limited than Nikon's, so check the lens offerings first if you're new to Sony and find yourself tempted by this lovely new body. Ships at the end of October.
Pentax has brought out a refresh of its top-of-the-APS-C-line K-5, the K-5 II, which mainly features autofocus that is claimed to be considerably improved. While this will extend the life of the popular K-5, which has a class-leading sensor and a particularly compact and ergonomic form we've extolled previously, the real news is the hot-rodded Pentax K-5 IIs, a version with the anti-aliasing filter removed for superior sharpness. Pentax is recommending this version for Raw shooters and cautioning JPEG shooters to stick with the K-5 II. $1,200 for the II and $1,300 for the "s" version; available for pre-order now, for delivery in mid-October.
Almost overlooked amidst the hoopla of actual products, Carl Zeiss, sphinxlike, announced that it will make and market a line of lenses for "mirrorless system cameras" in 2013, initially concentrating on prime (single focal length) wide-angle and normal lenses. Missing, so far, is any indication of which mirrorless system the lenses will be made to fit (possibly more than one?). You are therefore hereby given license to fantasize about gorgeous premium Carl Zeiss lenses made for your mirrorless camera.
Still shooting with a NEX-3 or NEX-5? Sony's got your upgrade for you. In yet another "just right" camera offering (sensing a theme to this season's new cameras?), Sony has flourished its magic wand and in a flash of light merged the best of the lower-level viewfinderless NEX's with its mirrorless flagship NEX-7, magically making the NEX-6 appear. Really, it's a little brother to the NEX-7, but with a more modest sensor and some functionality changes. (It's "only" 16 MP—although, when I was shooting with the 24-MP A900 and the 16-MP K-5, I concluded that 16 MP was all I really needed.) And a mode dial. (I need to make up some "Real Dials Are Better" bumper stickers.)
As a side note, I was completely turned off by the NEX form-factors until I actually held a NEX-7. It might look awkward, but it fits the hand wonderfully and the EVF falls in just the perfect place for anyone who's right-eyed. Really a nice camera to hold and use. Don't make the same mistake I did and dismiss the NEX-6 because it looks a bit ungainly. As it's very similar in size and shape to the NEX-7, it won't be, take my word.
Sony also announced three new E-series lenses along with the new Nex-6. There's a compact retractable 16–50mm (24–75mm-equivalent) ƒ/3.5–5.6 that will also come bundled with the camera as a kit lens (see top picture). It weighs a mere 4.1 ounces and has OSS (Optical SteadyShot) image stabilization built in. It will cost $350 by itself (it won't be available separately for a while yet), but Sony has priced the camera and lens kit aggressively at just under $1000.
Next is a 35mm (52.5mm-e) ƒ/1.8 prime lens: 5.5 oz., OSS, and $450; and finally a 10–18mm (15–27mm-e) ƒ/4 constant-aperture super wide angle premium zoom: 8 oz. and also featuring OSS, it will retail for $850 or so when it gets here.
Speaking of lenses, Pentax Ricoh has announced this beautemous beast, a 90mm (71mm-e) ƒ/2.8 Macro lens for the 645D camera. It features SR (Shake Reduction) image stabilization and quick shifting between manual and autofocus, and it's an AW (All-Weather) lens. $4,500, available in October.
Pentax Ricoh also announced a superzoom and a super-telephoto for the K-mount system. The former is a DA 18–270mm (27.5–415mm-e) ƒ/3.5–6.3, and the latter a DA 560mm (a whopping 859mm-e) ƒ/5.6 AW; $800 and $7,000 respectively.
Finally, the Sony WTF RX1, which some very smart people were convinced was nothing but Photoshop trickery as late as Tuesday, is indeed—we admit, improbably—an actual, real, coming product, that you can actually buy right now for delivery a few days before Christmas Eve, or so they're telling us—if you have the requisite quirky taste in cameras as well as a spare 279,800 pennies.
Now, on to the obvious question: why does this camera exist? I can offer nothing but a few lame guesses. For instance, maybe Sony wanted an answering jab to Fuji's X100; or maybe it wanted to flex its figurative bicep at the other cameramakers by creating the world's smallest full-frame digital camera by far. Or both. Or maybe someone very powerful at Sony said, "what I want is...." Or maybe it's just that the photo gods are smiling. I have no idea. But in any event, one of these will arrive at Chez TOP for a stay of a week or three just as soon as they start shipping to customers, so you can look forward to plenty more fun then.
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Dennis: "You missed the single most important aspect of the NEX-6. Yes, it's like a NEX-7 (with a built in EVF), only with 16 MP and a lower price ($850 versus $1200). But best of all, Sony listened and ditched the Ericsson-designed scroll-til-you-drop menu system in favor of the 'quick navi' system that it has used on Alpha bodies (and which recently made its way to the RX100 and now the RX1). It loses tri-navi, but I'd take the NEX-6 over the NEX-7 even if they were priced identically."
Featured Comment by Craig Lee: "It is a good time to be a photography hobbyist."