Photokina 2020 is coming up in May, the first of its new annual format set in the spring. Traditionally, Photokina – Europe’s largest photo trade show – has been a launching ground for new cameras and lenses. But Photokina has had somewhat of a bumpy ride since it announced the move from its biannual September slot.
We know that Photokina 2020 will not see stalwarts such as Nikon, Fujifilm, Olympus or Leica taking part. And some of the lens and accessory makers remain unclear. But Canon, Sony and Panasonic have confirmed they will attend Photokina 2020.
And many of the top lens, action camera and accessor makers such as DJI, GoPro, Sigma, Tamron, 3 Legged Thing, Manfrotto and more will be there.
So what can we expect to see at Photokina 2020? Despite the smaller exhibitor list, we think a number of new cameras will be on hand. These will either be show announcements or, in the case of those companies that aren’t attending, announced shortly before. So without further ado.
New cameras we expect to see at Photokina 2020
Announced as a development project at Photokina 2016, the Panasonic GH5 is still a viable, ground-breaking camera. But in technological terms these days, it’s time to start looking for a retirement home.
Enter the GH6. Since the GH5 launched, Panasonic introduced its S-series full-frame cameras, one of which is the Netflix-approved, 6K-capable S1H. If we were betting journalists – and we’re much too risk-averse to actually part with money – we suspect a Panasonic GH6 will inherit many of the video features of the S1H.
The GH5 was a ground-breaking camera for videographers, and the GH6 will need to carry on that reputation. Expect it to record 6K at 24p at a 3:2 aspect ratio, 5.9K at 30p in 16:9, as well as 14 stops of dynamic range and Panasonic’s V-Log/V-Gamut log modes, HDR in HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output and Anamorphic 4:3 modes.
To record at the frame rates it’s capable of, the Panasonic S1H has a built-in fan to keep its components cool. Could the GH6 have such an element, or perhaps Panasonic will develop a way to dissipate the heat without it.
Sony A7S III
It’s the worst-kept secret in the imaging industry. Sony’s own executives have been telling the world it’s coming. And we wait. And we wait. But we think that wait will soon be over.
It’s possible we could see it sooner at CP+ or CES, but having a stage largely to itself at Photokina 2020 seems the perfect opportunity for Sony to introduce the A7S III.
You can read in-depth here what we think will be in the A7S III in terms of features. In short: expect a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor that’s 6K enabled and a step up to 10-bit colour. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see Sony add a Vari-angle touchscreen.
DJI Phantom 5
The DJI Phantom 5 with an on-board interchangeable lens camera was one of the internet’s hottest rumours a year 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 2020 is an opera of new groundbreaking technology, you can bet there will be a Phantom.
The Mavic Mini notwithstanding, DJI may be taking its time with new drones in light of a new classification scheme coming in for Europe. Under the new rules, drones will be categorised by weight and some will need to have a slow mode, which could just be a reworked tripod or cinematic mode. Any drones DJI introduces will have to fit around that.
Canon EOS-1DX Mark III
If we’re going to see a Canon EOS-1DX Mark III, it’s likely to be in the next few months. It needs to arrive in time for the Olympic games, and Photokina 2020 would give Canon just enough time. It doesn’t just need to be in the hands-of professional photographers, they need to be 100% familiar and happy with it.
The problem for DSLR engineers is that the camera design limits some of the functionality that we now expect – completely silent shooting when using the viewfinder for example. And can a camera with a mirror achieve a continuous shooting speed of 20fps?
These limitations mean that any update to the Canon EOS-1DX Mark II is like to fairly modest. There could be step-up in resolution and an increase in the native sensitivity range, for example, but you need to use mirrorless technology to get incredible AF functionality that many of us now want.
While Canon will undoubtedly introduce a high-end mirrorless camera, it would be a bold move to do so just before the Olympics and to expect professional photographers to shoot with a new system.
Canon EOS R L
The megapixel race could be back on. There have been a lot of rumours over the past year that Canon is developing a high-resolution EOS R body that will top the Sony A7R IV’s 61 megapixels.
It’s said that the supposed EOS R L will offer a 75-megapixel sensor, which is inching close to medium format territory.
Not much else is known, but if this is to be a high-resolution camera in the vein of the EOS 5DS and 5DS R, only mirrorless, we can expect a super high resolution mode that will use pixel shift technology to create images at up to 400 megapixels in resolution.
New cameras we might see before Photokina 2020
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
Like the Panasonic GH5, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II was announced four years ago at Photokina 2016 and, too, was a ground-breaking camera in its own right. But time moves on, and the introduction of the joint-flagship E-M1X and the revamped OM-D E-M5 Mark III have set a high standard for the E-M1 Mark III.
You can read in-depth here what specs we think we’ll see on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, but in short we think many of the updates will be based around speed. A lighter body and a new AF joystick seem like sure bets. You can also expect Olympus to include more subjects in its Intelligent Subject Detection.
We think we’ll also see a more powerful processing engine and an increase in resolution to 24 million pixels. The OM-D E-M1 III also seems likely to get 4K video capability at 60fps.
Fujifilm’s X-series has been hugely successful, and it was the X100 that started it all. The latest iteration is due an update, and though Fujifilm won’t be at Photokina 2020, the company might be shrewd and launch it just before the show kicks off.
Predicting the letter of the latest X100 is always a crapshoot, as Fujifilm doesn’t follow the alphabet chronologically, but there seems to be a consensus around the X100V being next.
What can we expect from the Fujifilm X100V? The traditional exposure controls will stay and the APS-C format 26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS sensor and X Processor 4 are a safe bet.
Fujifilm might focus on modifying the body this time, making it smaller and lighter to bolster its reputation as one of the best travel cameras on the market. This may mean that the viewfinder, which until now has been a hybrid design that combines both an electronic and an optical finder, may just retain the electronic element.
Other safe bets include the addition of 4K video at 60fps and Fujifilm’s new Eye AF capability that it introduced with the X-T3 and X-Pro3.
Already announced as a development project and with the Olympics looming in August, it seems a pretty safe bet that we will see an actual Nikon D6 in the wild before Photokina 2020. Nikon may officially unveil it as soon as CES or CP+, but if it wanted to grab headlines without actually appearing at the show, a carefully timed pre-Photokina 2020 announcement could do just that.
We’ve heard nothing on the rumour mill about this, but just looking at Nikon’s Z series, it seems like the obvious next step. Nikon has the flagship Z7 and Z6. It recently launched the enthusiast, APS-C-format Z50. What’s missing from its range is a D3500-equivalent, beginner mirrorless camera.
We’re guessing at names here, but Z500 or Z5000 would make sense. Nikon seems committed to developing mirrorless partners to its DSLR range, and with the D3500 being one of its best sellers, it seems highly likely that an entry-level Z camera is next in the pipeline.