Cameras

5 most important announcements from Photokina 2016

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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

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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.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

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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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Cameras

Sony’s new ZV-1 camera is built for vlogging

Shipping in June

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How much personalization do you want your cameras to have? Some purists prefer completely manual cameras, allowing for absolute control over every aspect of their photos. Other professionals prefer a more consumer-friendly approach to photography, balancing easy-to-use functions with stellar photo quality.

Combining both aspects, the recently launched Sony ZV-1 is an all-in-one compact camera built specifically for casual video shooters. A boon to the vlogging community, the ZV-1 maintains both uncompromising video quality with ease of use.

Featuring a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor and the latest BIONZ X image processor, the camera shoots at 4K resolution with in-body image stabilization. Inside, a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 large-aperture lens allows for dynamic bokeh control. Named the Bokeh Switch feature, the camera can increase and decrease background blur according to preference without losing its main focus.

In the same vein, the new Product Showcase feature allows for an easy transition between different focal points, such as switching between a subject’s face and a focused object. As the name suggests, the feature helps vloggers easily unbox and review products.

A Face Priority autoexposure feature automatically adjusts the device’s exposure settings depending on the brightness of the background. It will prioritize the subject’s face, ensuring correct exposure settings regardless of background. With the feature, it’s easier to shoot in bright sunlight, low-light conditions, and transitioning quickly between the two.

Besides what’s inside, the camera is also built ergonomically for a casual shooter’s hands. Instead of the traditional vertically flipping screen, it carries a horizontally flipping LCD screen, allowing users to easily see what’s being caught on camera. It comes with a 3.5mm microphone jack and a wind screen accessory to reduce wind interference.

Sony will start selling the ZV-1 at authorized Sony stores and through Lazada starting June 2020. It will retail for US$ 799.99.

SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia 1 II camera phone now available for pre-order

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Use your Canon camera as a laptop webcam

Up the quality on your video call meetings

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Video conferencing is the new normal as most of us continue to work from home. Canon hopes to make the experience better with the EOS Webcam Utility Beta.

You may have noticed though that the video quality from your laptop’s webcam is not up to par with your smartphone’s front camera. Most manufacturers tend to put sub-par cameras on laptops. The reason: your laptop’s webcams were not that highly used before the whole COVID-19 situation.

To address this, Canon recently released a tool that will level up your video quality over online conferencing apps. The idea is to transform your Canon camera into a portable webcam. Simply plug-in an EOS or a PowerShot camera to your laptop, configure the software, and you now have a powerful webcam at your disposal.

The utility is called “EOS Webcam Utility Beta”. It’s a software that automatically configures your Canon camera into a portable web camera over a USB connection.

The caveat though is that only select EOS DSLR, EOS Mirrorless, and PowerShot cameras are compatible. The software is still in beta, but if you’re really determined to level up your video calling game, you can view the full list of compatible cameras here.

Grainy and lifeless videos will be a thing of the past for Canon users with this new tool. If you own a Canon EOS or DSLR camera, make sure to give this utility a try to improve your video chats with friends, family, or your fellow co-workers.

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Cameras

These refurbished vintage Polaroid 600 cameras bring back our childhood!

Ah, take me back~

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My latest obsession with Polaroid’s latest release — Polaroid NOW — has led me to discover refurbished vintage Polaroid 600 cameras. For 90’s kids, these instant cameras relive our colorful, childhood memories dabbling in popping colors celebrated throughout the 80s until the early 2000s.

Look at this refurbished Barbie Throwback, based on the original Barbie Polaroid released in 1999.

How about this bold and loud Neon Yellow & Pink Cool Cam…

… Or this Pink Cool Cam that screams black and pink (like a revolution).

Remember this Blue ’96 Edition perfectly complementing your windbreaker and fanny packs?

Back then, we have Japanese brand Tomy collaborating with Polaroid as a merch for popular manga and anime Kodomo no Omocha, also known as Kodocha.

Remember when we’re all obsessed with MTV?

Oh, look at this fabulous, super rare, Pink Checkers Polaroid 600!

Hello Kitty fans, can you hear me??????

Ah, this Spice Cam makes us remember the times we dance and sing to Spice Girls — like it’s our anthem before Britney Spears finally took over.

In true Maroon 5 fashion, memories really do bring back you. Seeing these instant cameras made me remember who I was before the world told me who I should be. It felt like an ode to my inner child, calling for retrospection. Remember how fun and young we used to be?

Professionally refurbished by Retrospekt

These vintage Polaroid 600 cameras are refurbished by Retrospekt, a company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Founded by Adam and KoriFuerst in 2008, Retrospekt started as a project to recreate their beloved instant film products.

Retrospekt uses Polaroid’s original components, and properly clean, test, rebuild and test the products again before sending out. Just like any refurbished vintage product, these instant cameras may show some light wear. Still, Retrospekt guarantees functionality.

And when it arrives at your doorsteps, all you need is just a pack of Polaroid 600 film, and you’ll be back to shooting instant films again.

SEE ALSO: Polaroid OneStep+ reviewPolaroid OneStep 2 review: The ultimate throwback cameraPolaroid Snap Touch Review: Print photos with a digital camera

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