Photokina, the largest dedicated biannual photo show in Europe, has opened its doors and shown off its various camera goodies this year.
However, it's been a tumultuous time in the world of cameras, with the Kumamoto earthquakes in Japan having a devastating affect not only on its communities, but production lines. Which has meant a quieter show for some manufacturers than previous years.
Here we round-up the best camera announcements from Photokina 2016.
Panasonic at Photokina 2016
The top dog of the G-series gets its much rumoured update. The GH5 goes one better than the GH4 by including "6K Photo" which can extract a still image from the file. There's also 4K video capture at up to 60fps.
Other than the video focus the camera remains a similar top-end mirrorless model: delivering super-fast autofocus in a body that houses heaps of customisable buttons and controls, along with built-in viewfinder and vari-angle rear touchscreen.
The camera will be out in early 2017, but there's no official price just yet (our £1,300 body-only guestimate puts it on level with the GH4 at launch). Here cometh the 6K.
(Note: Panasonic has contacted us to clarify that the company has not stated the GH5 comes with 6K video recording, only to confirm that 6K Photo will be a feature).
The mid-range sees the latest innovation, with the brand new DSLR-style Lumix G80 joining the older, slimmer Lumix GX80.
The Lumix G80 brings in-body image stabilisation and a variety of 4K video and stills options to the table, rendering the Lumix G7 old hat in the process.
We tested a pre-production G80 at London Zoo some months ahead of its official announcement. Its speedy autofocus, comprehensive controls and bevy of options mean there’s lots to like - especially at this £699 (body only) price point.
Lumix LX15 / LX10
An LX7 replacement finally arrives. The Lumix LX15 (as it’ll be known in the UK; it’s got the better LX10 name in some other territories) hits lots of high points in the high-end compact market.
Finally there's a high-end compact to take on the Sony RX100 line-up. The LX15 offers an easy-to-use touchscreen (take that Sony), great autofocus abilities, a 24-72mm f/1.4-2.8 lens that's best-in-class, along with a stack of other top-end features like 4K video and close-up macro.
From our initial time handling the Lumix LX15 ahead of its announcement, it seems this may just well be the best viewfinder-free compact camera out there.
Putting the "super" in "superzoom", the Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 - which complements the FZ1000 in the company’s line-up - is largely about 4K video capture. Indeed, its video focus positions it well to take on the camcorder market.
With a 24-480mm f/2.8-4.5 equivalent optic, there’s a lot more reach than the FZ1000 offers. But in the FZ2000 this is achieved internally, so once the camera is switched on and the lens in position it doesn’t move, irrelevant of focal length selection.
From what we’ve seen of the FZ2000 at our pre-announcement preview, we think it paints a red cross on the door of the enthusiast camcorder market.
Canon at Photokina 2016
One of "the big two", Canon typically hosts a half day press showcase straight after its press conference. Not so this year: there’s no conference, while product will be reserved for the company’s public-facing stand throughout the show days from 20-25 September.
And that’s because the company has already let loose all its biggest announcements, from the EOS M5 mirrorless camera, to the 5D Mark IV announcement earlier in the year.
It's fair to say we've been highly critical of Canon's compact system camera EOS M line. For a simple reason, though: the Japanese company's mirrorless cameras just haven't been able to stand up against the competition.
The EOS M5 - which sits above the entry-level M10 and middling M3 (yep, it's an odd numbering convention that makes no sense) - has the power to change that. It’s like a “mini 80D” DSLR and, finally, offers a focus system that's worth using.
But as much as we're pleased to see Canon pushing forward in the compact system camera market, it still just seems kind of shy to let loose and throw everything at the category to create a truly best-in-class model. We like the M5, but we'd rather save £50 and buy the excellent EOS 80D DSLR instead.
EOS 5D Mark IV
It’s not a specific Photokina announcement, but as it’s the camera we’ve had in hand to shoot the show floor, it gets an honorary mention here. That, plus it’s a really big deal in the world of DSLRs.
Sony at Photokina 2016
Sony A99 Mark II
After more than three years on the market, the Alpha 99 gets its replacement: the aptly named A99 Mark II.
This full-frame SLT (that's single lens translucent, if you're wondering) brings together a 42.2-megapixel full-frame sensor, with a new hybrid face detection autofocus - which combines 399 phase detection points on the sensor, paired with 79 phase detection points on a separate sensor that work continuously together.
Add 5-axis image stabilisation, 12fps continuous shooting, 4K video capture with no pixel binning, and Sony has got one mighty fine stills or video capture device on its hands.
It's not cheap though: the A99 II will cost €3,600 body-only when it launches in November.
Nikon at Photokina 2016
New KeyMission action cameras
Nikon has gone full action camera: with its already-announced KeyMission 360 (£420) being joined by the KeyMission 170 (£330) and KeyMission 80 (£250). That's the option to choose 360-degree all-around VR capture, an ultra-wide angle 170-degree angle of view, or a less wide 80-degree angle of view.
That's three different products rather than three different options within the one camera, though. Which seems like an odd choice, given the plethora of action cameras already on the market. And with the GoPro Hero 5 also just announced, it seems as though Nikon is more than a bit late to the party.
The clip-on wearable KeyMission cameras are all tough and waterproof, with easy-to-use touchscreen and SnapBridge sharing built-in. The touchscreen, we admit, looks like one of the more prominent usability features.
At the company's press conference there was no sign of the rumoured new mirrorless system, though, so we expect the knock-on effect of the Kumamoto earthquake has really impacted Nikon's productivity. There was no mention of anticipated 2017 kit either.
Fujifilm at Photokina 2016
Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format camera
Say hello to the Fujifilm GFX: a brand new mirrorless medium format camera, complete with brand new GF mount lens system.
With a whopping 51.4-megapixels across the sensor's 43.8 x 32.9mm surface (that's 1.7x larger than a full-frame DSLR), one of Fujifilm's goals is to offer high-resolution capture in any number of ratios, from 1:1 through to 3:4 and even 16:9.
The camera is small scale, thanks to being mirrorless by design, with a body-only weight of around 800g. It's not the world's highest-resolution or first mirrorless camera (Hasselblad beat Fujifilm to the punch in both counts there).
In addition to a vari-angle LCD screen for waist-level work, including vertical tilt like on the X-T2, the GFX 50S comes complete with a viewfinder included in the box. But it's not just any old viewfinder: it can rotate through vertical and horizontal angles - ideal if a still life is setup at an obscure angle, for example.
Available from early 2017, the Fujifilm GFX doesn't have an official price just yet, but the company's target with the 63mm lens in the box is sub-$10,000 (around £7,600).
At launch there will be three lenses - 63mm f/2.8, 32-64mm f/4.0 and 120mm f/4.0 - with an additional three set to join the line-up in the year following availability.
GoPro at Photokina 2016
GoPro's event that coincides with Photokina is actually being held in Tahoe in the US and has lead to the reveal of new devices.
GoPro Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session
The new GoPro Hero 5 brings some key changes to the ubiquitous action camera, bringing a display to the rear and waterproofing down to 10m without the need for an additional case. Stereo audio is offered, 4k/30fps footage is captured and there's built-in GPS and voice control. It can also automatically upload content to the cloud while charging. The new GoPro Hero 5 is compatible with all the existing GoPro mounts.
Taking a step down is the Hero 5 Session. This is GoPro's cube camera, updated with voice control and now offering 4k/30fps capture like the bigger device.
The GoPro Hero 5 costs £349 and the Session is £249.
Perhaps more exciting than a new set of cameras is GoPro's own drone. This will provide a flying platform for GoPro cameras, featuring a controller like a gamepad and a 3-axis stabilised arm onto which you can mount the camera. This mount is removable and when connected to the Karma handgrip will let you capture smooth handheld video too.
The controller is more like a gamepad with a display and there will be a companion smartphone app so you can let someone else view at the same time. The whole lot packs up into a supplied backpack and is designed to be taken with you on the move.
The GoPro Karma drone will cost £700 and is compatible with the Hero 5, Hero 4 and Session 5.
Olympus at Photokina 2016
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
Rather than holding a daytime press conference like its competition, Olympus showed off the Mark II version of the top-end OM-D E-M1. And it looks rather lovely indeed.
With a new 121-point autofocus system, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II is all about speed. Its 20.4-megapixel sensor can capture images at up to a whopping 18 frames per second (fps), while its the first Olympus mirrorless camera to add 4K video capture too.
The E-M1 II is splshproof, dustproof and freezeproof, comes with 5-axis image stabilisation, dual SD card slots. Talk about spec-tastic; this looks like Olympus's best camera to date, which is perfectly timed to take on the likes of the Fujifilm X-T2.
Kodak at Photokina 2016
Kodak, now owned by JK Imaging, isn’t about traditional stills products any more. Instead its looking to the future with its 360-degree capture devices, useful for VR playback.
And this time it’s the turn of the “4KVR360” - an ultra-high resolution device that can capture 360-degree stitched images thanks to dual sensors and dual lenses.
Its predecessor, the SP360, required two product purchases to acquire the two lenses needed for the full 360-degrees, which is an issue the latest 4KVR360 all-in-one product eradicates.
At the heart of the 360 4K VR Camera is a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor, used to capture the necessary 4K (that’s 8-million pixels at a 1:1 ratio for the full 360-degrees) onto an inserted microSD card (up to 128GB compatible).
With Wi-Fi and NFC, plus Bluetooth for remote control, the Kodak 4KVR360 looks to be one of the more interesting capture devices for that virtual reality future.
Release date isn't final just yet, as it's a work in progress, but the anticipated price point is £500.