Photokina 2018 is coming up soon, and this year more than ever the biannual (soon to be annual) photographic trade show in Cologne, Germany, is promising to be the biggest, and most important in its history. Many of the big manufacturers are poised to launch new cameras at Photokina, some of which could be true game changers.
With a number of flagship models ripe for an update, Canon and Nikon barely containing their full-frame mirrorless ambitions and other brands looking to up their game, Photokina 2018 could be one to remember.
Below are our picks for the 10 new cameras we think we’ll see at Photokina 2018 when we fly out in the third week of September. Having tested just about every camera on the market, we’re confident in these predictions. Nothing here is too wild… apart from maybe one!
01 Full-frame Nikon mirrorless camera
What hasn’t been said about the full-frame Nikon mirrorless camera. Nikon’s executives have flat out said their next mirrorless would be full-frame. Even Sony’s imaging chief has said it’s coming. One day it’s got a curved sensor, and the next it boasts a new lens mount. Or it doesn’t. We don’t know.
But we do know that it’s coming. And we’ll probably see it at Photokina 2018. If recent patents are anything to go by, we might see two models!
02 Full-frame Canon mirrorless camera
Canon has been tighter-lipped about its mirrorless ambitions than Nikon, but that hasn’t stopped the photography press from working overtime to ascertain the company’s plans.
Musings of a full-frame Canon mirrorless camera gathered pace earlier this year when, again, Sony’s imaging chief said he expected one to be announced before the next CP+ show in February 2019. We then heard reports of prototypes in development and suggestions that professional users were already testing one.
In recent weeks, patents have been discovered with registries showing plans for not one, but two full-frame mirrorless cameras and estimated release dates of early 2019.
Based on this, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Canon announce its camera(s) as a development project at Photokina 2018, with a release date in early 2019. Panasonic followed this path with the GH5 at the last Photokina.
03 Ricoh GR-E or GR III
Ricoh is the brand that people continually underestimate. Many have wondered about its longevity, and yet it keeps ticking along. In the past 18 months it’s quietly released one of the best consumer 360 cameras on the market in the Theta V, while the Pentax brand recently updated the much-lauded K-1.
One of Ricoh’s most beloved cameras, though, is its GR range, and back in April everyone’s interest was piqued when someone from Ricoh’s product planning department said in an interview that the company was already developing the next GR camera.
This coincided with fresh rumours that a full-frame Ricoh GR-E was in the works, while Ricoh itself updated its GR Facebook page to hint at a GR III in time for Photokina 2018.
As improbable as it sounds, this is one of the safer bets on our list, in our opinion, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store.
04 YI Pixie drone
Chalk this one up as another given. Back in April a leaked manual for a YI Pixie drone was found online, which listed its specs and set-up instructions. If it was a fake, it was a damn good one!
According to the manual the YI Pixie will record 4K video, as well as 1080p and 720p. Its camera will also offer a manual mode with ISO and White Balance settings.
No release date was listed in the manual, but Photokina 2018 sounds like as good a time as any!
05 GoPro Hero7 Black
We’re unabashed GoPro fans here at Camera Jabber. The Hero Black action cameras are fantastic devices that will not only capture your adventures but are also quality options for your everyday photography.
Given the company’s recent struggles, some have wondered whether a GoPro Hero7 Black will happen. Given the company’s launch of the entry-level Hero camera earlier this year and a strict marketing plan aimed at shifting stock of its Hero5 and Hero6 cameras, we think a Hero7 Black is not only inevitable but that GoPro will be going big.
We’ve gone into detail about what we believe the GoPro Hero7 specs will be, and if only several of these come to fruition it will still make the Hero7 the dominant action camera to beat by quite a wide margin.
06 Sony A7S III
Over the past year Sony has methodically set about updating its highly regarded Alpha 7 range of cameras, introducing the A7R III last year, and then the A7 III to start off 2018. That just leaves the A7S II as the last Alpha 7 camera to be updated, and it seems a no-brainer that Sony would roll this out in time for the biggest photo trade show in Europe.
What’s more, Amazon quietly began selling pre-orders for a Sony A7S III manual on its German website a few months ago, with a release date for the end of July.
When, not if, the Sony A7S III comes we expect it will be capable of shooting Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160), if not 6K video. We also wouldn’t be surprised if Sony incorporates its stacked CMOS sensor technology, making this a formidable camera for videographers that can rival the Panasonic GH5.
We’ve gone into more detail here about what we think the Sony A7S III specs will be.
07 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
Like Sony’s Alpha 7 range, Olympus has updated all of its OM-D cameras in the past couple years, beginning with the OM-D E-M1 II at Photokina 2016. Since then we’ve seen the OM-D E-M10 III, leaving just the OM-D E-M5 II as the sole camera in need of an update.
With the OM-D E-M5 Mark III we expect Olympus to take the camera more in the direction of videography. To start, we think we’ll see 4K video recording at 30fps and 1080p at 120fps. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see dual SD card slots, a built-in ND filter and log gamma curves for flat recording. We run down the other OM-D E-M5 III specs we’re likely to see here.
Will an Olympus OM-D E-M5 III be announced in time for Photokina 2018? The camera will definitely happen at some point, but Olympus has played this one very coy. We’ve seen no rumours or patents or misstatements in interviews to suggest it’s imminent. But with all the other manufacturers due for big launches at the show, it seems likely that Olympus will want to stay in the headlines as well.
08 DJI Phantom 5
The DJI Phantom 5 with an on-board interchangeable lens camera was one of the internet’s hottest rumours a few months ago until DJI debunked the story entirely. The photos that went viral on Twitter were nothing but a Phantom 4 that was modified for an enterprise client ‘to serve specific application needs.’ Whatever that means.
This threw the Phantom 5 discussions into cold water. But we wouldn’t be surprised to see DJI make an announcement at Photokina 2018. The company is very clever with its marketing. And if Photokina 2018 is an opera of new groundbreaking technology, you can bet there will be a Phantom.
09 Fujifilm GFX 50S II and 100S
Fujifilm stunned the photographic press at Photokina 2016 in bypassing full-frame altogether and launching the mirrorless medium format GFX 50S. The press was astonished, the reviews were glowing and the images have a natural richness of quality that can hold your attention.
In the near two years since the GFX line was launched, Fujifilm has rapidly beefed up its range of lenses and made no secret of its ambitions to grow the camera line further.
We reckon lightning can strike twice in the same place, so don’t be surprised to see Fujifilm launch not one, but two new medium format cameras – the GFX 50S II and 100S – at Photokina 2018. This might not be the surest bet on this list, but we’d be willing to put some money behind it. If we were betting people.
10 Full-frame Panasonic camera
This is the wild card. This is the English World Cup squad. This is candidate Trump. Is a full-frame Panasonic camera going to happen at Photokina 2018? Prrrobably not. But we’d be super excited if it did!
And let’s not forget that Photokina 2018 will mark the 10th anniversary of Panasonic launching the Lumix G1, the World’s first mirrorless system camera. This year is also Panasonic’s 100th birthday so there are two reasons to celebrate and perhaps we’ll see something special announced.
The Panasonic GH5 is a much-loved camera for video, but the one knock against it has been its low-light capability. And this really comes down to its Micro Four Thirds sensor.
With its Lumix G series, Panasonic seems to be shifting to a priority on premium models and moving away from the budget, entry-level focus of years past. Wouldn’t a full-frame option give those Lumix G users another place to go within the Panasonic range?
Launching a full-frame camera with serious video chops and solid low-light stills capability would capture the attention of many professionals and catapult the company to the big time. And is it really so far-fetched when Panasonic has already been said to be creating a full-frame camera for Leica?
We’d put a little money on this one, but not too much. I mean, Trump could never win, could he?!