Covering everything on offer in the 11 show halls at the world’s largest photography show would probably take several days and a couple of hundred cups of coffee. While in all honesty that doesn’t sound like a bad way for us to spend a week, we unfortunately only had a single day to wander round and explore the sights of Photokina 2014. Here we take a look at some of our highlights from the day and review some of the cameras we were excited to see pre-show!
Pre-show we were pretty impressed by the spec of Samsung’s new flagship camera, the NX1. This compact system camera masquerading in DSLR clothing has (on paper at least) a lot going for it; 28 megapixel sensor, 4K video and 15fps continuous shooting, all for the relatively cheap price of £1299 (yeah, we know. We did say it was relative). As we said in our Photokina preview, this is the kind of deal we approach with a sceptical eye though; surely it’s too good to be true?
Hands on at the show we found the body itself had a large grip which made it comfortable to hold, along with a button layout not dissimilar to a standard DSLR. Samsung have bucked the recent retro styling trend with this one and instead opted for a more modern take on the classic DSLR style which is aesthetically very nice. The LCD screen was nice and bright and the new 50-150mm f2.8 lens which we tried was a touch weighty for a compact system but very impressive nonetheless. Unfortunately the model we trialled was obviously suffering from a case of big show jitters and had to be reset several times by the onlooking Samsung rep, who assured us repeatedly (and with increasing agitation) that this was a pre-production sample. This kind of meant we were unable to really get a sense of what the camera was all about and so we were ultimately left feeling a little cold by the NX1, but no less intrigued to see how this one tests in the real world.
We knew this one was going to be small but we were still slightly taken aback by the tiny size of the Polaroid Cube, which is just 35mm tall (that’s pretty small, folks). For just £99 you do get quite a lot though; full 1080p HD video, 90 minutes of battery life and a durable rubber body that can stand up to a few bumps and bruises.
We tried out the strength of the magnetic attachment and found it to be fairly secure, making a variety of cool and creative videos a real possibility (although whether it shoots stable video balanced on top of the handlebars of a bike we are less sure). A GoPro it is not, but for a fun, cheap and extremely portable little action camera it seems like a winner. Oh, and did we mention it looks cute?
You’ve got to hand it to Sony, for our money they really are just about the only guys out there at the moment making genuinely innovative camera equipment. The Sony QX100 has been kicking around for a little while now, but having never actually seen one in action we were keen to check it out. For those who haven’t seen much about it, this so-called lens-style camera is literally just an interchangeable lens system, mounted onto a separate sensor and battery-only body. This system then hooks up to your smartphone or tablet and allows you take better quality pictures than your average iPhone.
This kind of camera set up really seems to be aimed at the slightly more casual end of the enthusiast market but the technology when it works is really pretty impressive. The sticking point of course is, as we’ve just hinted at, if and when it works at all. We’ve seen many reports of connectivity problems between camera and device and so it’ll be interesting to see whether Sony persist with this technology or focus their energies elsewhere.
Fuji Instax Mini 90
The increasingly vocal hipsters in us are loving this retro-styled Fuji Instax Mini 90 (yes, it’s another Fuji – we’re not paid to say we love them, honest). Lomography and other analogue forms of photography seem to be going through something of an instagram-inspired resurgence at the moment, and the Fuji Instax range has been pretty popular in the Asian market for sometime.
As hobbyist film shooters ourselves, nothing quite beats the feeling of shooting film and the instantaneous nature of the Instax (ahh, see what they did there, clever) has our creative juices flowing. Of all the cameras and equipment we saw at Photokina, this was the one that tempted us the most; pretty impressive for a film camera given all the groundbreaking technology on show.
Patches & Flash