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Photokina 2016 thoughts...


I have been at Photokina this year for 2 days only. Just too much other stuff to do. But two days are enough, if you are selective in what you want to look at.

In contrast to other news and test sites, is only looking at things we find interesting ourselves for our own hobby, not what makes money through advertising or clickrates.

This makes everything more relaxed and fun and you get better straightforward information and unbiased advice.

So this Photokina was a kind of a mixed bag. Some (few) exciting news, but apart of that the mirror of the photoindustry at the moment: Looking for new business ideas to generate income in a declining market with mature products.

Because of the internet and especially rumors sites, the trade shows like Photokina seldom have big surprises to offer. This year this is no exception. Even the more exciting announcements (i.e. Fujifilm GFX) have been "circulating" as rumors a long time earlier already on the net.

We put some impressions, photos and videos for you in the different section of the forum, whereever they fit the best. Again, we do not cover everything. Just what is interesing for ourselves.

We have also to differentiate, what is only announced and will take some time until we can see real production units (i.e. Fujifilm GFX Medium Format, Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII etc.) and what will be availabale in a few weeks or is already available (i.e. Hasselbald X1D Medium Format, Nikon D5/D500 etc.)

So let me sumarize, what kind of trends I saw (or believe to see) at Photokina 2016:

1. Cheaper Medium Format becomes "the new fullframe" in the long run

2. Image quality even from small sensor cameras (1" and m4/3) is for most people already now above the "good enough level". You can see many prints, 1.50m and more on the long side which clearly show this.

3. The trend goes away from cameras as a "tool" more towards photography and cameras as "lifestyle & fun". This is obviously influenced by the rise of smartphones and action cams. But you see more and more camera companies, who offer basically the same products in different "clothes", just to address new target groups.

Sometimes they change slightly the specifications. But at the end of the day, the image quality is always good enough for the mainstream photographer. People decide then only on "look", usability and fun factor.​

This is good for us. Products become better thanks to competition. Competition will increase, if the market and the products are mature enough. Any marginal gain in image quality becomes less relevant. This is similar to drinking bear. After bottle #15, the marginal gain of bottle #16 is decreasing :)

Except for few photographers and those will soon have even more choice in Medium Format at cheaper prices to get the best image quality - if they want to have that. I do not think that fullframe will be enough for them.

With the lifestyle it is like in every other industry. If content does not differ a lot, you need to sell more over emotions. Look at all the coloured tripods. So I expect over the next few years a dramatic shift towards design, usability and easier connectivity for mainstream and additional the jump to Medium Format in a niche of very demanding customers. But that niche is by far not as big as DSLRs and MLUs are sold nowadays.

It will be interesting to see then, if APS-C sized sensor cameras and fullframe cameras (MLU & DSLRs) will survive, if smartphones and 1" sensor sized cameras dominate more and more the market from the left and Medium Format prices come down and add pressure on APS-C & fullframe from the other side.

This is why I monitor closely what Nikon is doing with its 1" sensor size MLU system "Nikon 1" and Sony, Canon, you name it also push with 1" sensor cameras.

At the moment Nikon is the only one on the market with an ILC systen with that sensor size. If you see how small body and lenses of that Nikon 1 system are and what kind of image quality you can get with i.E. a Nikon J5, you wonder why you need to carry bigger equipment with you. There are differences of course. But is it worth it to you with all the downsides?

On the other side is Medium Format, which I find very promising. You have there both, lifestyle and image quality in one hand. At least with the Hasselblad X1D. This is a market niche you have to watch closely.

I do think that investing in education, post processing skills, training "the eyes" will benefit more your photography than the difference in 1" sensors and APS-C sensors. So good is the "good enough" level already with those tiny 1" sensors.

I would love to hear your view on this. A friendly and open discussion without brand wars would be nice.

Best wishes


New Member
The advent of Fuji GFX is exciting. Especially the prospect of full function adapter for it, to mount Contax 645 lenses.


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Hi Mistral,

we have not yet the finalized specs and prices. Fuji showed early stage products only. They want to ship the GFX to the dealers in spring/early summer 2017. So still a lot of time to change some features. In our Fuji Forum you find some images and video reports:

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New Member
Were you able or interested to spend anytime with Alpa to understand what they are offering as far as the electronic shutter and how it works with the Hasselblad back fitting there new or previous equipment? Wouldn't it be savvy marketing for Alpa to produce a diagram of brochure answering many questions about their new products that was available on line. Photokina attendance is a small portion of the worlds people interested in Alpa products. Even a few write ups Ive seen about Alpa the writers were not able to explain the complicatons.

Also it seems the new trend is to announce a product with limited specifications ex. Fuji the camera has had very little exposure in hands of people willing to talk about it now. And from what I understand Fuji didn't allow many to play with the new toys.

Timing of the Photokina show cant always agree with manufactures new product releases.
Nikon only interesting item a new lens
Canon a strip-down mirrorless
Olympus again DONT TOUCH THAT
Leica sigh
Sony I guess the new A is off the charts
Hasselblad the toy box and?

If you found anything interesting let us know even an accessory that was cool.



Hi Cash,

unfortunately I was not at the Alpa booth. If I would have had more time, I would have looked at it. I am not an Alpa expert, can not answer your question.

But the more brands are going for larger sizes than fullframe and more options appear than the usual mainstream, the more I get interested in alternative brands. I am sure in 2 years, we will see a lot more in that direction. Margins are getting lower with fullframe therefore the "next level" with higher margins will become more attractive for all current und future participants.

You are right, it is the new way of doing business. Make a lot of noise, feed the rumor and review sites and show something half ready. Nikon is there an exception. Sometimes I wish they would talk a little bit more...

This year I was focused at Photokina in a broader sense. I wanted to get a better feeling where the market is headinng - from both perspectives, producer and customer. Also for the development of my forums.

Without getting infuenced by others. Reading between the lines of press conferences. Looking at how each company is presenting its products, which space for what etc.

I tried to avoid this time interviews and one-on-one meetings, to keep my head clear and not getting influenced. You know what happens, if you put 5 journalist in a room with a new product....

In general, meetings at Photokina are a waste of time. Nobody has really time to listen carefully, everybody is in a hurry, heading for the next meeting. 2 hours later everything is forgotten. Sometimes it is funny to watch this circus:


the bright "something" on the left side is a box with Fuji GFX bodies and lenses in it. At the end of the Fuji press conference. Everybody wants to make "the photo", although press photos are available in high resolution for everyone :)

Sony Alpha A99 MkII presentation:

Smartphones are used, to make images and videos of new fullframe camera announcements. Like at the Canon press conference. What does this say to us?

Zeiss is a good exception. You could use all their lenses on your own camera. This shot was made on Monday, when Photokina was not yet opened. thats why it is still protected.


More about that booth another time...

And then you see positive examples about what is photography about:


Also shot on Monday. They have not yet finished to hang all images on the wall :) (Epson booth)

And of course as always the Leica exhibition hall. Really nice images from many different artists (not only Leica shots):




All shots taken with a P&S. Canon G9X with 1 inch sensor. Fits in my trousers. I did not want to be regarded as a press photographer with big guns.


New Member
I appreciate the fact that you've spent personal time (and money) to go to the big show. I'm still wrestling with giving up my 6x7 transparencies for a full digital plunge. I do use a small sensor digital Canon, and I am impressed by it's overall quality. But really I'm absolutely addicted to a well exposed transparency on a light box, then scanned and printed. 'There's magic in them-there transparencies!' It's an art form that I've perfected through the years both casually and professionally.
But, I really enjoy the 'fineries' of quality, well thought out new gear, that brings new capabilities. There are companies that resist change, or hang on to old designs. Leica to me, years back, completely dropped the ball and even today, I find it fascinating to watch the directions they've chosen to take. Then there is Hasselblad - look how they've stumbled, lost direction, and now are back with innovative products with progressive design re-direction that is setting new challenges for other brands - even if the costs are still high - they have made really good decisions that a speak well of management. Nikon and Canon hang on and are moving at a really slow pace when compared to Sony, Fuji, etc.... But that is understandable; they've built cameras around a user base with very specific needs, though I have high expectations of any new products they bring. So there is plenty of room to speculate about expectations and new equipment - it never seems like enough - but being satisfied is sometimes just opening up the gear, cleaning it, getting it in order, and then going out camera in hand and recording some images.


Transparencies are something on their own. Thats true. Fuji Velvia and Provia 100F..... that was really magic. Unfortunately Nikon does not produce its scanners anymore. Is there still any company which offers high end scanners like the 4000 or 8000 ED?




Now you can guess why I'm no longer married! Spending £2000 on a new dress for her was OK apparently but not acceptable on a new lens for me! :z04_head_wall: I suddenly realised that there are a lot more women out there than Zeiss 1.2 Planars...:)