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Photokina is always full of excitement and anticipation as manufacturers reveal the future to us consumers. Every year, a theme begins to emerge. A centralized focus that most of the manufacturers are trying to aim towards.
This year, the focus was connectivity. You would be blind to not realize that we are living in an Instagram world. Consumers want to take a picture now, add in an artsy filter, and share it with the world. And we want to do it now. Not later. The smartphones of today are chipping away at camera manufactures like a virus attacking the human body. And the camera manufacturers know this.
This year many of the camera manufacturers answered back. Each in their own way. Each showing how to connect their gear to the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and the world.
Nikon's solution was modules with WiFi support. Olympus showed themselves using Toshiba SD cards that act like WiFi routers.
But the one that got the most tongues wagging and bloggers blogging, was Canon. Canon installed WiFi chips in all of their new models from point and shoot cameras, to their newest DSLR. And it is easy to predict that with Canon willing to risk pulling the trigger and installing it in a DSLR, that Nikon will soon be right behind, and trying to do it even better. (It is great for consumers when those two go at each other in a tit for tat fashion.)
Canon even revealed their answer to a cloud sharing solution as well. Though it is difficult to see how that endeavor will play out considering well established services are already competing for that market. The biggest being Adobe's Reveal service that is included with their Adobe Creative Cloud Package.
The second trend to emerge, was full frame sensors. Both Nikon and Canon revealed entry level cameras into the full frame world with the Canon 6D and the Nikon D600. The Nikon is essentially a full frame D7000. And I am sure it will sell well, but the pulse of consumers that I interact with at PhotoTips all seem a bit let down, and suggest that the $900 extra for the D800 would be a better choice. I agree on that conclusion. The D800 is amazing.
The clear winner in this regard is the Canon 6D with the addition of built in WiFi, built in GPS, and a free app for your smartphone for wireless triggering.
But let's not overlook Sony with their A99 full frame answer. Although, as excited as I want to be over this camera, I have to confess that I am a bit let down. At the price point it sits at, and considering that Sony makes the sensor that is sitting in the Nikon D800, I was expecting some good High ISO performance. But judging from the samples that we have seen so far, it simply does not perform well in this arena. It is not even in the same ball park as the D800. In fact it is not even sitting in the parking lot of the ball park. Sorry Sony fans, but I really wish I could say different considering everything else that Sony brings to the table.
Sony did drop a new full frame mirrorless on the world with the release of the RX-1. At $2800, it is a bit too far to reach for some, but if you were already considering a Leica, then this may make you pause. What a great camera. At least on paper. And I want one.
But the mirrorless than turned the most heads, was the 2 new Olympus PEN models. Why? They both use the sensors and processors found in their flagship OM-D line. I nice pair of cameras to say the least. And while they do not have WiFi connectivity, they were shown off using Toshiba's FlashAir SD cards that create WiFi connections for smartphones.
Which brings us full circle to my opening remarks. The focus this year at Photokina, was connectivity.