5 most important announcements from Photokina 2016

Cameras and a drone

Photokina happens only once every two years, so you can imagine how big it is for camera brands who want to show off their latest products. For reference, the event in 2014 introduced two DSLR cameras still widely used today: the full-frame Nikon D750 and the high-performance Canon EOS 7D Mark II. There’s a lot to cover this year, so here’s a compilation of the biggest announcements made at Photokina 2016, in no particular order.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH5


Although it’s still under development with no release date or expected price, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH5 is one of the biggest hits at the show because of its 4K video recording at 60 frames per second. That’s amazing for a camera with a relatively small Four Thirds image sensor, and it follows up on the already great GH4 that was released almost two years ago.

There’s also a “6K Photo” mode, but it’s probably not what you think it is. All it can do is extract 18-megapixel stills from burst shots or 8-megapixel photos from the aforementioned 4K footage, which is still quite impressive for such a compact interchangeable-lens camera. The GH5 should be in stores by early 2017.

Fujifilm GFX 50S


Medium format cameras are a rarity at consumer shows, so it’s nice to see Fujifilm take a crack at it with the GFX 50S. Despite its bland looks, there’s a 51.4-megapixel sensor that’s 1.7 times bigger than a full-frame DSLR’s waiting inside, as well as a brand-spanking new G lens mount system. It’s really light for its kind too, with a mirrorless body that weighs only 800g.

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The GFX 50S is going to be crazy expensive, but for early adopters, the selection of lenses is quite good for a fresh system. There’ll be six to choose from, consisting of one 32-64mm f/4 lens and prime lenses spanning 23mm f/4 to 120mm f/4. Rest assured, this is a medium format camera you’d love to have both in a studio and outside your house.

Sony A99 II


Sony has had enormous success with its full-frame mirrorless A7 series of cameras, making the A99 II announcement a bit of a surprise. If you’re not familiar with the A99 lineup, we can’t blame you; the latest is a full-frame SLT camera just like its predecessor, meaning it uses a translucent mirror instead of a slapping one like in every SLR. Sony continues to believe there’s a market for this, but it comes at a hefty price.

For $3200 (body only), you get a 42.4-megapixel full-frame sensor, continuous shooting at 12 frames per second, and 5-axis in-body image stabilization. The A99 II will be out in November, which is a long four years after the release of the original A99. Time will tell how well an SLT will be received in this day and age.

GoPro Karma


While it wasn’t technically unveiled at Photokina — GoPro made its announcement simultaneously in the US — the Karma is the most fascinating drone to come out this week. It’s designed to be foldable for easy storage during trips, and is compatible with the Hero 4 and new Hero 5 series.

The package comes with a gamepad-like Karma controller for flying the drone, a Karma grip for smooth handheld shooting on its 3-axis stabilization, and a Karma case for traveling convenience. It’s a fantastic deal when you consider the $799 price tag for the whole set. GoPro also claims that it’s beginner-friendly, so it may be a sweet investment for newbies of flying drones.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II


Just like the Panasonic Lumix GH5, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is still under development and doesn’t have a release window or price yet. What we do know is that it’ll be Olympus’ best mirrorless camera once it’s released. Fast shooting speeds at high resolutions is its strong suit.

With autofocus active, the new E-M1 can shoot 18 frames per second at full resolution; if you’re using manual focus, an amazing 60 shots per second can be achieved, as if you’re shooting a video but with high-resolution photos. Inside, there’s a 20.4-megapixel image sensor capable of 4K movie recording — a first for Olympus. Overall, this shooter is really good at pushing pixels quickly.

Honorable mentions

It’s no surprise that Photokina 2016 has been absolutely packed with big announcements. Aside from the main highlights, SanDisk also announced its 1TB SDXC card, which probably has more storage than your laptop and tablet combined. As mentioned earlier, GoPro also has a new pair of action cameras in the Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session. Lastly, there’s the Leica-lookalike Yi M1 mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera from Xiaoyi, but it won’t be available outside of China for now.

If you’re interested in any of the listed gadgets, let us know in the comments below, and we’ll work on more coverage for them in future articles.

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