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Photo Kit: Cool new cameras announced at Photokina


Something from everyone: Photokina 2016 sees most of the major companies announcing new cameras.

Something from everyone: Photokina 2016 sees most of the major companies announcing new cameras.

If you’re one of those photographers who likes to keep up with the latest equipment announcements then the Photokina expo which is taking place in Cologne, Germany will likely get you all excited.

I don’t upgrade my camera gear very often, but the gadget head in me always finds events like Photokina very exciting since it scratches my itch to see some new tech.

So what is cool about this year’s Photokina? Well, I’ve got a list of the stuff I thought were particularly interesting.

Nikon’s got three KeyMissions

It looks like Nikon is seriously trying to get into the increasingly competitive action camera market with not one but three different action cameras, namely the KeyMission 360, KeyMission 170 and KeyMission 80.

Despite being in the same family, the three cameras actually have different usage scenarios.

Shoot 360° 4K videos with the KeyMission 360

The KeyMission 360, for example, is a tiny dual-lens waterproof and shockproof camera which is meant to capture 360° video at resolutions of up to 4K.

The KeyMission 170 on the other hand, is closer to a GoPro and comes with a single lens setup and a ruggedised and waterproof body which can be dunked in up to 10m of water without the need for a casing.

Interestingly, the name KeyMission 170 actually refers to the angle of view of the lens as it captures a wide 170° angle of view.

It's also capable of shooting video at resolutions of up to 4K.

The KeyMission 80 is made to be held vertically and can be clipped on to your bag or waist.

Unlike its siblings, the KeyMission 80's video recording tops out at 1080p (although at up to 120 frames per second), but it’s a camera that’s meant to be a ruggedised selfie cam which can be clipped onto a backpack.

All three cameras are a new market for Nikon and we have to say it's interesting to see the company offering 4K video recording in its first consumer-level action cameras.

Fuji gets bigger than full frame

The rumours that Fujifilm was going to announce a full-frame 35mm interchangeable lens camera were untrue – in fact, the company announced the development of the GFX 50S which features a medium format sensor which is much bigger than the 35mm film format.

The GFX 50S will feature a 51.4-megapixel CMOS image sensor that’s 1.7x larger than the 35mm full-frame format – that’s still 0.79x smaller than actual medium format film, but in line with the digital medium formats offered by Hasselblad and Pentax with its digital medium format cameras.

The Fuji GFX 50S sees company's return to making medium format cameras.

Interestingly, the GFX 50S is a mirrorless camera and comes with an electronic viewfinder and an LCD screen.

With Fuji’s long history of very high-quality medium format cameras, we’re actually looking forward to seeing the quality achievable by the GFX 50S and its upcoming lenses (which feature a new G mount).

Olympus announces new Pen and OM-D

A new announcement from the denizens of Mount Olympus is always worth a look.

We’re talking about the camera company of course, not the gods of Greek legend.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II will feature a host of new tech befitting a flagship camera.

Anyway, the Japanese camera company had two very notable announcements, namely that an OM-D E-M1 Mark II flagship is in development and a new Pen E-PL8.

While there is no specific release date as yet for the E-M1 Mark II, Olympus says it will come later this year, and will feature a host of new features befitting the company’s top-of-the-line model.

For example, it will have a new 20-megapixel sensor, shoot at up to 60fps in RAW format, feature 121 cross-type phase-detect focusing points and dual UHS-II SD card slots.

It all looks good on paper and we’re quite interested in giving it a try when it comes out.

Apart from a more attractive body design, the E-PL8 still features many of the same specifications as the E-PL7.

A bit lower down the range is the Pen E-PL8, which is the company’s mirrorless camera for the masses.

If it’s possible to make a camera look even more retro than before, then Olympus has done it with the new Pen E-PL8 with a body redesign that features extensive leather-like accents and knobs with knurled finishes.

The E-PL8 is real beauty but internally, the camera still features a 16-megapixel image sensor instead of the 20-megapixel one of the E-M1 Mark II.

In fact, apart from the body redesign, not that much has changed over the E-PL7 – the E-PL8 offers the same 8fps shooting speed, built-in WiFi, 3-axis image stabilisation and the 1.04-million dot touchscreen LCD still flips downwards to face forwards for easy selfies.

Tan Kit Hoong (tankh@thestar.com.my) is a journalist who's been an enthusiastic photographer longer than he's been reporting tech news and this monthly column allows him to ramble on about cameras and photography.

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