The Sony NEX-6 begins shipping mid-week, according to B&H's website. I think this is going to be a killer camera, a less expensive and more modestly balanced version of the excellent and appealing NEX-7, but with the advantages of the lessons Sony's learned from its big brother—trickle-down technology at its most promising. I love the way the bigger NEX handles. Can't tell for sure until they're out, but I wouldn't be suprised at all if this one vaults to the very top of the list of recommendable small cameras—and that would be saying something, these days.
The small-sensor true-pocket-camera niche has been torrid for several years now, with the outstanding Canon series culminating in the current S110 leading the way, closely followed by the third-gen Panasonic, the LX7, with its Leica lens and addictive IQ. The Olympus XZ-1 wasn't as popular (possibly because it overlapped with Olympus's notorious corporate troubles?), but people who used it thought it was just as good. Olympus has moved the next-gen XZ-2 upscale a bit, without leaving the pocketable niche. No word as to when this is due; it was originally scheduled to begin shipping yesterday.
Another trickle-down model that might even improve on some ways (diopter correction, for one) on its older big brother, the Fuji E-X1 is another camera whose arrival is imminent (Nov. 10th) and intensely anticipated. Alas, the little brother lacks the signature switchable EVF/OVF of the wonderful X-Pro1, but it's complete as an alternative to the NEX-6. People love the good looks of the Fuji X cameras, but it's not just skin deep—the control layout is also among the best. Surely the E-X1, available in both silver and black, is even better looking than the other handsome recent Fujis.
Also due to ship imminently is Olympus's Pen Lite, the E-PL5, the higher-spec'd of the two pen cameras. Not only does it sport the sensor and processor from the OM-D E-M5, but it's rumored to be the only Micro 4/3 camera with no low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter. That's making heads turn.
Mentioned here just yesterday, the new Canon EF 35mm ƒ/2 IS USM joins its image-stabilized 24mm and 28mm brethren. Targeted mainly toward video users, there's a cadre of still shooters who will also like these options. It's true that the days of high value "mass market" basic primes are gone—these are high-priced lenses—but the counterbalancing advantage is that the lenses can now be made to a higher standard; cost cutting is no longer so important for market success.
Also newly available for pre-order is the 24–70mm ƒ/4 IS USM zoom. Although intended as the "kit lens" (if you can call such premium equipment "kits") for the new EOS 6D, the new lens will also likely be an excellent all-rounder for any of the 5D series cameras as well.
The forthcoming Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm ƒ/4G ED VR telephoto zoom is also a useful utilitarian lens for many full-frame shooters. According to assurances it will be a very high-quality lens, but with a useful balance of size, price, weight and maximum aperture for many shooters to whom the ƒ/2.8 pro version is overkill.
The Canon 6D is also available for pre-order. Although it's not due until a little more than a month from now, it should ship in time for Christmas. The sleek and elegant 6D just reeks of design that's been evolved and refined over multiple generations. A less expensive offering to replace the outgoing 5D Mark II, the 6D will counterbalance the rising price of the 5D series cameras for full-frame shooters. Another thing this implies is that, like many of the other cameras in this post, it will be a sensible "trickle-down" model incoporating many of the lessons learned from its more cutting-edge siblings.
Probably the quirkiest product here, the diminutive Sony RX1 is also the furthest off on the horizon, not being due to ship until mid-December. You can get in line now by pre-ordering, which might be wise if you want one—while we can't imagine these will sell by the bushel (the price is high), supply will probably also be severely limited at first. The full-frame Rx1 is tiny, but will have a premium captive lens and a very high pixel count. It will be unique in the marketplace when it gets here, and thus not easy to place in context. It looks suspiciously like a labor of love on the part of somebody in power at Sony.
We love "thinking different," however. The more variety in the marketplace, the more photographers who will be well served by something. And that's a good thing.
Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
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Featured Comments from:
Stephen F Faust: "I think Sony really misjudged their target audience with the RX1 by not including an integrated viewfinder—even an electronic one would have put it on my lust list and probably got me to dump my Fuji X100 just in time for Christmas. Otherwise it hits ALL the right marks for me—full frame sensor, fast, high-quality 35mm lens, compact chassis. But no viewfinder = no sale. Guess I'll stick with my well-loved X100 and save myself $2800. Maybe next time, Sony."
Mike replies: There I have to disagree with you, and pretty strongly. Surely offering the choice of the FDA-V1K optical viewfinder and the FDA-EV1MK electronic viewfinder—and the ability to either choose which one you prefer or interchange them—was an "integral" part of the design brief of the camera from the very start. I've used Zeiss optical add-on viewfinders, and they are really glorious. Also probably really pricey, because they are essentially little lenses. I wouldn't be surprised if the FDA-V1K cost $500 all by itself.
JonA: "Boy it sure is good I don't have money to spend with all these great cameras and lenses out there. On the other hand, I like things simple and there is just way too much choice out there. A glut of options but so many how would you pick one?"
Bambang Indrayoto: "The beauty of RX-1 is that I do not need to buy a single lens...."