Looking back at Photokina 2014

A great show and a promising future for Ricoh Imaging

By PF Staff in Photokina 2014 on Sep 27, 2014

Photokina 2014 Entrance

This year's Photokina show was quite exciting for us, as the state of the camera market has changed considerably since 2012.  It was interesting to see what strategies different manufacturers are adapting to remain competitive in these difficult times, such as offering cutting-edge technology, strengthening existing product lines, or shifting to new market segments.  For consumers, this is great news, as a bigger variety of  imaging products is becoming available at the same time as prices drop across the board.

While some companies may be struggling in terms of sales, this was not easily discernible at Photokina.  In fact, in many ways the show was even better than last time, as we saw nicer booths (better marketing) and some impressive advances in technology.

Below are examples of attention-grabbing exhibits by Fuji, Nikon, and Ricoh Imaging: a BMW i8 that you could use for test photos, a ceiling-mounted video screen with scrolling photographs, and a digital waterfall splashing down Pentax and Ricoh product names.  All three enjoyed a nice crowd while the show was open.

Photokina 2014Attention-grabbing exhibits by Fuji (left), Nikon (top), and Ricoh (bottom) - click to enlarge Fuji

We will only be focusing on Pentax in the remainder of this post. Other manufacturers had plenty of exciting things to showcase (don't overlook the Samsung NX1, Canon 7DII, or Nikon D750), so we hope you've had a chance to read about those products elsewhere.

Pentax 645 Film Duplicator

By PF Staff in Photokina 2014 on Sep 25, 2014

The Pentax film duplicator / slide copier was on display at photokina with an attachment for the 645 format. The slide copier is not one of the most talked about accessories but comes in handy for digitizing a limited number of negatives or slides. 

Operation is very simple: You mount a macro lens on your camera and stick it in through one end of the bellows and insert your slides or negatives in the holder at the other end. The light source is just a flash wired to the 645Z or 645D (or operated wirelessly if you have a spare flash to use as a controller).

The slide copier was presented earlier this year at CP+ with attachments for 35mm format film and slides.  It is now available for purchase, though sourcing it outside of Japan is difficult.

Action Cameras - the Next Big Thing?

By PF Staff in Photokina 2014 on Sep 24, 2014

Ricoh recently announced the WG-M1 "action camera" for the active outdors users, a market that is currently being dominated by GoPro. Plenty of WG-M1's were on display for people to play with at Photokina. We have compiled the specifications here.

Polaroid is also jumping on the bandwagon. They showed off the $99 "PolaroidCUBE" as well as a cylinder-shaped action camera, and they weren't the only ones at the show with products like these.

Is the Pentax Full Frame Just Around the Corner?

What's in store for 2015

By PF Staff in Photokina 2014 on Sep 23, 2014

The two big prototype lenses that were on display at Photokina as well as various interviews and discussions with Ricoh Imaging representatives have reignited a considerable amount of Internet buzz about the possibility of a Pentax full frame DSLR.  In fact, some discussions in our Pentax News & Rumors and Pentax Full Frame forums cite rumors claiming we might see a FF as early as CP+ 2015— in just 5 months.

To be clear, it seems that the majority of these claims are based on overzealous or erroneous interpretations of things that various official sources have stated.  History repeats itself and this is no exception; if you look back to our CP+ 2013 interview, you'll notice that Pentax/Ricoh representatives had "confirmed" the development of a full frame just as they did in our Photokina 2014 interview.  These statements say just as little about the actual state of affairs as a recent Facebook post by Ricoh Imaging France claiming that a Pentax full frame is development at this moment.

The same goes for the "wide aperture telephoto lens" prototype pictured above.  The physical size of the lens as well as the zoom range suggested by the K-mount lens roadmap (70-200mm) do hint at the fact that it's a full-frame lens.  But this is mere speculation.  The lens is just a prototype, after all, and its appearance is subject to change.  Pentax could just be using a 645 lens barrel they had lying around as a mock-up.  The large size could also be attributed to an aperture faster than F2.8 (unlikely) or built-in stabilization, but again, that's pure speculation.  We won't know until the lenses are actually announced, which could be at CP+ 2015 or later.

Back in 2012, we were all thinking that the full frame would be out by Photokina 2014, but it isn't! This rumor cycle is bound to continue until the full frame is either actually released, or officially abandoned.  In other words, trying to draw conclusions based on word of mouth and misinterpretations isn't going to get us anywhere.

With that said, there are three reasons why we think that a Pentax full frame camera is just around the corner.  None of these reasons are related to the rumors that have been circulating over the course of the past week.  Read on to learn more!

Digital Camera Sales Trends

A declining trend that's slowly stabilizing

By jgmurphy88 in Photokina 2014 on Sep 22, 2014

With Photokina wrapping up, many of you are probably considering one of the great new options announced during the event. Before making your choice, take a look at some of the data we've compiled on the camera market.

The camera market is changing, and has been for the past few years. Sales of digital cameras have shrunk globally over the past few years, with shipping numbers peaking at 11 million in March of 2012. Compare this to just over 3 million digital cameras shipped in March of this year:

Digital Camera Sales

There are multiple factors tied into this, the largest of which is that digital cameras, in some form or another, are more widely available. The chief competitor is smartphones. With nearly everyone carrying around a digital camera in their pocket everywhere they go, there's less demand for a dedicated camera.

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