Dale: Innovation, big and small
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Dale: Innovation, big and small

To me, the really interesting products at Photokina 2016 were of the large and small sensor variety. Fujifilm’s new medium-format system is particularly exciting. If you had asked me a few years ago about the future of medium-format, I would have been pessimistic. Now we have two new medium-format systems (Fujifilm’s and Hasselblad’s X1D) in just a few months, and both should be reasonably approachable for most photographers thanks to their (relatively) compact size and similarity to existing mirrorless camera systems.

At the other end of the spectrum we saw great innovation in the Micro Four Thirds space, starting with the Olympus E-M1 Mark II. It wins the ‘How much performance can you cram into a small camera and not blow it up?’ award. It’s a performance tour de force. We also got our first glimpse of the Panasonic GH5. Panasonic has long been on the cutting edge when it comes to video; the GH4 is still a class leading camera over two years into its life cycle. The GH5 looks poised to pick up where the GH4 left off, with 4K/60p capability, 4:2:2 10-bit 4K video, 6K photo mode, and an optional hot-shoe mounted I/O unit for pro-level audio.

But wait, there’s more! As if that weren’t enough, there’s also the YI M1. We know from our initial testing that the M1 has room to grow, but what’s really exciting is that we have a new manufacturer entering the market, and one that is joining a strong Micro Four Thirds ecosystem of products. Plus, the YI’s smartphone style user interface may be the best thing out there to entice mobile phone users to migrate back in the direction of a dedicated camera.

What did I miss at Photokina? While everyone was standing around the Fujifilm booth, mouths agape and drooling on the GFX 50S, I kept wishing for an updated X100 series camera with a 24MP X-trans sensor, Acros film simulation, and maybe even a new lens. #stillwaiting

Dale Baskin