Photo Plus Expo 2019 just wrapped up yesterday in New York City. This annual convention of photography companies gathers huge crowds looking to discover the latest cameras, lenses, papers, lights and everything else related to the art. In the weeks leading to the convention, manufacturers announce new products being showcased or demoed at the event.
As the photography market collapses, Photo Plus Expo has been thinning in content. Many well-established companies decided not to appear this year and Pentax, Ricoh, Lowepro, Think Tank Photo, Acratech, Arcaswiss and many more were missing. The surprise was Sony who had no both at Photo Plus Expo 2019 only to create their own miniature version just two blocks away! This caused a huge buzz from people wondering where Sony went and finding out a marked path and bycicles leading from the Javits Convention Center to the Sony Alpha event.
Sony focused its event around the creator concept with photographers and panelists discussing their process. A number of stations and sponsors laid out around the venue showcased different sides of Sony Imaging, from ultra-compact cameras to professional cinematography gear. All their latest digital cameras, including the just-announced Sony Alpha A9 II were on display. This is an improved version of the original A9 that broke boundaries of mirrorless by offering ultra-fast blackout free shooting. Externally, these versions look identical. Compared to the A7-series, it offers an extra dial on the left shoulder yet remains extremely similar in ergonomics. The A9-series though is designed for action photography.
The largest tenants of the expo were Nikon and Canon both having made a few announcements just prior. Canon recently joined the Full-Frame Mirrorless market and continued to demonstrate their commitment with the announcement of the RF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS USM and the RF 85mm F/1.2L [SPECS TO COME]. The zoom is actually quite short for a 70-200mm lens but is also exceptionally wide. The prime is a heavy lens designed for optical excellence. This shows that Canon is boasting their RF-platform as a high-end system to maximize the potential of mirrorless instead of trying make smaller cameras. This is balanced out by their EF-M-mount system which uses 1.6X-crop sensors in very compact mirrorless digital cameras.
A slightly less polished announcement was the development of the Canon EOS 1D X Mark III. This new flagship action camera is described as having a vastly improved autofocus system with more speed, more sensitivity and wider coverage. It will also feature a Dual-Pixel CMOS sensor that uses Phase-Detection at every pixel to create a virtual 525-Point AF system with 90% horizontal and 100% vertical coverage. A newly development mechanical shutter is expected to handle 20 FPS and even around 16 FPS with continuous AF and AE. The throughput of this professional DSLR with be supported by Dual CF-Express memory cards.
This is the first announced digital camera to record 10-bit (per-component) images which will be stored in HEIF format. Its a surprise it is took so long to reach this point, considering that JPEGs use only 8-bit and most high-end digital cameras can record 14+ stops of dynamic-range! Ultra-HD video at 60 FPS will also be recordable in 10-bit 4:2:2. No dates or pricing information were released yet.
Nikon showcased a huge lineup of digital cameras and lenses. Their new product of the show was the Nikon Z50 which is a APS-C sensor mirrorless digital cameras built around their new Z-mount. Looking a lot like the Z7 and Z6 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Cameras, the Z50 is a little smaller and lighter. The huge Z-mount looks oversize compared to its 1.5X-crop sensor and its lack of built-in image-stabilization is surprising, as it forces Nikon to start producing VR-lenses for their mirrorless platform. Along with the Z50 though, Nikon introduces two extremely compact zoom with a collapsible design that make the whole package exceptionally light. It will be interesting to see how this plays out between Nikon that is sharing a mount for their Full-Frame and APS-C and Canon which is going to support two entirely disjoint systems.
Fujifilm announced their X-Pro3 shortly before Photo Plus Expo 2019 and they had two pre-production units on display. This unusual rangefinder shows that Fujifilm has no fear of trying out radical designs. This mirrorless follows their X-Pro2 with a similarly unique hybrid viewfinder that instantly switches between EVF and OVF modes. The major change this time is a rear LCD screen that must be tilting down to be seen as it normally rests against the back of the camera. An additional square Color E-Ink display shows status in retro fashion by looking like a film box.