Awesome descendant of my A900, Sony has at long last updated its DSLR flagship. Well, sort of a DSLR: like some other Sonys, the new A99II has what Canon used to call a pellicle mirror, i.e. a beam splitter. The image-forming light goes through the mirror, eliminating the need for the mirror to flip out of the way—as well as eliminating the "reflex" part of the term "digital single lens reflex." The EOS RT, a vivid story in the annals of camera marketing, put Canon off the idea for the long haul. But I really like pellicle mirrors, or "SLTs" as Sony styles theirs. They work a treat. And the less vibration, the better.
I can't wait to read more about this baby—this 42-MP, $3,200 baby—which will doubtless be all kinds of awesome. It will probably reign for the foreseeable as the very best camera that nobody will be buying. Which is cool as long as Sony's selling A7-series and A6000-series cameras by the boatload.
I have to add that when this came out, I looked through all 82 A-mount lenses listed on B&H Photo's website. Collectively, that is just the sorriest ragtag salmagundi of this 'n' that and one thing 'n' another that ever passed for a lens line. I've seen more lens lineups that make more sense in cardboard trays on tables at swap meets.
Pentaxiana: Legions of longtime Pentaxians, having patiently waited for years, are saving up their pennies, rubles and farthings for the bargain-priced but deluxe K-1 and loving what they buy. I know, not relevant to Photokina announcements, except you can no doubt see this at the Ricoh booth. I just wanted to stick in a plug for Pentax, which shouldn't be forgotten just because it intro'd the K-1 a distant seven months ago. Hey, it's almost new, and the love flows between Pentax and its fans in a heartwarming way. (The people who are loving this camera includes reviewers.) And note that Sharkey James at the PetaPixel Podcast said the K-1 "smokes" the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. (Canon fans are incapable of grokking such an absurd statement, so they will pass right on by without comment.) For only $1,796.95!
Panasonic DSLR-style: Okay, back to Cologne. Also not a DSLR—rather, a Micro 4/3 mirrorless, but "DSLR style" as opposed to "rangefinder style" in body shape (I know, categories are almost terminally confusing these days)—we have the Panasonic G85. Although I've given up keeping this company's nomenclature straight—the G85 is in a different segment than the GX85—I kinda like what Panasonic is doing, splitting its line into cameras tilted towards videography (GH4 and the pre-announced GH5, this G7 replacement), and those that are tilted toward still photography (GX85, and the GX8 which I recently tried and really liked). It makes sense because I just don't think photography and videography are very closely related, and it's unlikely that a lot of customers will be equally enthusiastic about both. Anyway, the G85 is aimed at videographers who also shoot stills, but who can't afford a GH4 or -5.
They're just not that into it: I never thought I'd feel sorry for Canon, but that's the feeling its tepid, me-too mirrorless offerings elicit. Said offerings practically radiate a lack of enthusiasm for the concept. What's a poor industry-dominating juggernaut to do? Canon has one of the strongest images of all cameramakers, but that image is of a DSLR-maker par excellence, with a full range of offerings and a broad and deep system. So a few upstarts come along with a disruptive idea and start doing pretty well with it, and Big Corp. then says, sure, we might as well snarf a little of that profit. But their hearts aren't in it. It's just not where they live. The EOS M5 looks to be a nice little camera, but what kind of shopper puts the formidable mirrorless ecosystems of Fuji, Sony, and the Micro 4/3 consortium on one side of a balance and this M5 on the other, and says, "I think I'll go with the Canon"? Only diehard Canon fans (whose hearts probably aren't in mirrorless either), or (strange thought) nonconformists. The most telling reaction to this one runs along the lines of, "I'll wait till it's on closeout 18 months from now and then I might pick one up."
That's it for now. More soon.
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