Photokina shows camera makers' new thinking (pictures)

The camera show in Germany spotlighted camera designers suddenly open to experimentation as smartphones and other trends force the camera industry to defend its photography turf. Here are some new approaches.

Stephen Shankland
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Stephen Shankland
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Palm-size Pentax Q10

The Pentax Q10 mirrorless compact camera is small enough to fit on the palm of your hand.
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Canon's Wi-Fi-equipped 6D SLR

The Canon 6D reflects multiple trends in the evolving camera industry: It has Wi-Fi networking to connect to smartphones or other devices, a GPS receiver so photos can be geotagged with location data, and a full-frame sensor for premium image quality.
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Leica X2 Paul Smith edition

The Leica X2 Edition Paul Smith that debuted at Photokina has a Leica 24mm f2.8 lens and a pop-up flash.
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Sony RX1

The Sony RX1 is an ambitious model that combines a compact size with a full-frame sensor -- an expensive piece of silicon whose 36x24mm imaging area is the same size as a full frame of 35mm film. It's got a fixed lens, though.
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Sony RX1

The Sony RX1 comes with an optional viewfinder, shown here perched atop the camera body in the flash hot shoe. The camera comes with a Carl Zeiss lens, too.
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Samsung Galaxy Camera

Some compact cameras have had Wi-Fi connections, but the Samsung Galaxy Camera is an Android device that comes with connectivity to mobile-phone data networks, too. It's not a proper phone, though -- the only calls it can make are with VoIP -- but customers will have to pay for that data access.
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Leica S medium-format

Atop the Leica S is a digital display that shows camera settings.
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Leica M top-end rangefinder

The Leica M, a 24-megapixel, $6,950 model, brings some modern features to the storied line of rangefinder cameras. Most notably, a CMOS sensor that supports live view means people can focus as they take the picture, for example by zooming in 10X. It's still a manual focusing method, though.
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Olympus E-PL5

The Olympus Pen E-PL5 is a new arrival in the Micro Four Thirds family that Olympus and Panasonic launched to start the "mirrorless" movement for compact digital cameras with interchangeable lenses.
10 of 29 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Canon EOS M image sensor

Canon's EOS M uses a relatively large APS-C sensor like its bigger SLR brethren, but ditching the SLR mirror means the camera body is smaller.
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Nikon 1 J2

Nikon and Canon, the two powerhouses in the SLR market, were the latest arrivals in the mirrorless market. The Nikon 1 series got a new model at Photokina, the J2. It's a modest update that adds some new features to 2011's J1. With an adapter, the camera can accommodate Nikon SLR lenses, as shown here, but it's far from compact in that circumstance.
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Nikon 1 J2

Nikon's J2 has a built-in pop-up flash. The compact camera is made more compact by virtue of a sensor smaller than mirrorless models from Canon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, and Fujifilm.
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Nikon's D600 SLR

The Nikon D600, a hot camera at Photokina, pushed the price of Nikon's full-frame SLR cameras down to $2,100.
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Sony A99 full-frame SLT

Sony is angling for the full-frame market with its Alpha A99, which looks like a traditional SLR but isn't. SLRs have reflex mirrors (SLR stands for single-lens reflex) inside that flip out of the way when a photo is taken, but Sony's uses a fixed pellicle mirror that lets most of the light through straight to the image sensor. The sensor feeds an image to an electronic viewfinder. Sony's first attempts to crack the full-frame market weren't very successful, but the company is trying anew with its SLT (single lens translucent) design.
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Canon S110 touch screen

The Canon PowerShot S110 includes Wi-Fi support that lets photographers transfer its images to a smartphone, where they can be immediately shared. And drawing from the smartphone world, it's got touch-screen controls.
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Canon Project 1709

With Project 1709, named for its September 17 launch into beta testing, Canon unveiled an ambition to stay involved with people's photos after they're done taking them. The cloud-based storage service can import photos from a variety of devices and online sources, tag them and organize them accordingly, and share them to other sites like Facebook. It doesn't have face recognition or geolocation support, but Canon hopes to add more features later.
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Canon PowerShot G15

With the Canon PowerShot G15, Canon is trying to appeal to discriminating photographers who have plenty of other choices these days. The G series always were top-end compact cameras, but facing competition from mirrorless interchangeable-lens models, Canon has added a better lens with a wider f1.8-2.8 aperture for low-light shooting.
18 of 29 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Canon CameraWindow app

The Canon CameraWindow app for Android and iOS lets photographers transfer photos over a Wi-Fi link from their cameras to their smartphones so they can be shared over the Internet.
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Pentax Q10's tiny sensor

Pentax's new Q10 has the smallest sensor among the new generation of mirrorless compact cameras with interchangeable lenses. That makes the camera less expensive to manufacture and makes its lenses more compact, but it means lower image quality, too.
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Pentax Q10 on a supertelephoto

This Pentax Q10 is dwarfed by the 560mm telephoto lens attached.
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Sony sensor swarm

This display by Sony shows the comparative size of full-frame sensors, a 36x24mm size drawn from the days of 35mm film photography, an APS-C sensor used in entry-level to midrange SLRs, and a smaller sensor that still is much larger than most used in compact cameras.
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Canon's new EF-M lenses

The Canon EOS M, the first of the Canon mirrorless interchangeable-lens lineage, takes new EF-M lenses. As with rival mirrorless camera-lens ecosystems, building up a range of lens options will take time, though the EOS M cameras can take Canon SLR lenses with an adapter.
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Hasselblad's Lunar mirrorless

A side view of the Hasselblad Lunar prototype, a mirrorless camera based on a Sony NEX-7 and due to go on sale in February.
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GFAE modern view camera

The arrival of computers is rewriting the rules for high-end cameras, too. This 10,000-euro CamCam from Swiss camera maker GFAE is a view camera, a computer-controlled, motor driven version of the bellows cameras of the 19th century. With a computer, the photographer can define three points to be in focus, and the computer will move the lens to precisely the right position. By shifting the lens off the axis of the image sensor and tilting it one way or another, the plane in focus can be shifted dramatically, useful for product photography among other things. This one has a medium-format digital image sensor from Phase One mounted in the center of the back of the camera.
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Fujifilm X-E1 mirrorless compact

The Fujifilm X-E1 is a smaller sibling of the X-Pro1. The interchangeable-lens family uses a relatively large APS-C size sensor.
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Schneider Kreuznach's iPhone polarizing filter

Schneider Kreuznach's B+W Smart-Pro C-Pol filter gives mobile-phone photographers a polarizing filter for cutting down on reflections.
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Schneider Kreuznach aims for full-frame SLRs

Schneider Kreuznach, headed more toward the mainstream SLR market, added four lenses to its lineup. From left to right are a wide-angle 28mm f4.5 tilt-shift model, 35mm and 50mm f1.4 primes, and an 85mm f2.4 macro.
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Scheider Kreuznach goes m43

Schneider Kreuznach's prototype Super-Angulon 14 mm/2.0 wide-angle lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras.
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Canon's C500 for cinema

Canon, with some success entering the cinema business with its EOS 5D Mark II that arrived nearly four years ago, now has a cinema-specific camera line. This new model, the C600 with 4K resolution, is at the top of the line right now.

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