Fantastic Photokina: 2018’s announcements (updated)

As I write this, it’s only the first official day of Photokina 2018, but already it’s shaping up to be one of the best ever. (This is especially amazing considering all of the great announcements that have happened over the last few weeks.) Here’s a summary of the biggest news coming out of Köln this week. As more announcements happen, this article will continue to be updated, so check back again to stay abreast! And, please: be sure to let me know in the comments what you’re most excited about seeing at your local Mike’s Camera.

Away we go, alphabetically…


Click here for our coverage from the R-series announcement.

Naturally, Canon showed off their new mirrorless R system in a snazzy booth.


Click here for a closer look, including drool-worthy images.

As full-frame mirrorless systems proliferate, so too do medium-format cameras continue to become more available in the prosumer market. In November, Fujifilm’s highly-acclaimed SLR-style GFX 50S will be joined by the more-compact, rangefinder-style GFX 50R (click to preorder now). Key specs:

  • 51.4 MP 43.8×32.9 sensor (same as GFX 50S)
  • 1080p30 36Mbps video
  • Bluetooth low-energy connectivity
  • Dual SD slots
  • Weather-sealed
  • 400 shot battery life
  • 145g lighter and 25mm thinner than GFX 50S
  • Starting price of $4499.99

Additionally, Fujifilm announced the development underway on a currently nameless 102 MP medium format (43.8×32.9) camera.

  • All Fujinon GF lenses are designed to resolve over 100 MP, so lens compatibility should not be an issue
  • Phase-detection AF across 100% of sensor
  • IBIS—a first in medium-format cameras
  • 4K/30p 10 bit video
  • Built-in vertical grip
  • Slated for 2019, around the $10,000 price point

Fuji didn’t forget the “film” in their name, either, with a lifestyle-oriented booth focusing on the fun of shooting Instax and the newest camera in the line, coming late October: the Instax SQ-20. The SQ-20 introduces the ability to shoot 15-second video clips and a variety of processing modes using that functionality (pseudo-long-exposure, printing specific frames, etc.).


Although not strictly a Photokina announcement, the timing is right to mention the triumphant return of Ektachrome slide film, heralded yesterday on Kodak’s Instagram page. 35mm is ready to rock, with Super8 available in October and 16mm later this year. We’ll get rolls in-store as fast as we can!

L-Mount Alliance

Leica has entered into a partnership of major importance with Panasonic and Sigma, dubbed the L-Mount Alliance. All three manufacturers will be releasing cameras using the mirrorless L-mount, first used in 2014. The full frame SL series and APS-C CL/TL series from Leica are currently available along with eight lenses, but both Panasonic and Sigma intend to release compatible cameras as well as L-mount lenses of their own manufacture within the next 1-2 years. The three manufacturers continued the current line of mount-spec discussion, touting their relatively wide/short dimensions of 51.6mm diameter/20mm flange distance (click here to read about why that matters).


Aside from their membership in the L-Mount Alliance, Leica announced the latest in their S series of medium format cameras, the S3. Coming Spring 2019, the S3 will feature a 64 MP sensor (increased over the S2’s 37.5), 4K video, and 3 FPS continuous shooting.


Click here for our coverage from the Z-series announcement.

The Z-series cameras were out in full force, and we’re still pretty excited about them. The infamous NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct even made an appearance!


Hot dog, more full-frame mirrorless innovation! Although full specifications, pricing, and availability have not yet been released, what we know now about the full-frame S1 and S1R is very exciting. One, with a lower megapixel count and probably a lower price, is aimed at hybrid photo-/videographers. The other is designed as a top-of-class still photography solution. Here are the specs they revealed!

  • 24 MP (S1) / 47 MP (S1R) full-frame CMOS sensor
  • L-mount
  • 4K/60p video, a first in full-frame
  • Dual card slots (1 XQD, 1 SD UHS-II)
  • Dual image stabilization (IBIS and in-lens)
  • 3-axis articulated touchscreen
  • Depth-from-defocus AF system
  • Hopefully out early 2019

The first three Panasonic-produced L-mount lenses will be a 50mm f/1.4, 28-70mm, and 24-105mm (no aperture data announced). They plan to release at least 10 different lenses by 2020.

A Micro Four Thirds lens made it into the presentation as well. The 10-25mm f/1.7 will be the world’s fastest wide-angle zoom!

In a nice show of attention to detail, Panasonic also announced the launch of Lumix PRO Services, a worldwide repair service support network for professional photographers. Previously, similar services had only been available in Japan.


2015’s GR II will be replaced with the GR III, the company’s newest entry into the APS-C-fixed lens-compact-street-photography-camera market. Updates include a new 24 MP sensor, sensor-shift stabilization, and a redesigned 28mm-equivalent f/2.8 lens, while retaining the pretty neat built-in 2-stop ND filter. Slated to ship in early 2019.


Click here for more information on the new additions.

As part of their entry into the L-Mount Alliance, Sigma will be releasing a full-frame Foveon-sensor L-mount camera in 2019. Sigma-made lenses will accompany this release, as well as an SA to L adapter. No further SA-mount lenses are likely to be released (aside from those listed below), but Sigma also announced a (paid) service to convert a select group of their lenses into native L-mount lenses.

Also announced were five new lenses. Pricing and availability will be announced at a later date, except for the 60-600mm.

  • Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art in SA-, F-, EF-, and E-mounts.
  • Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art in SA-, F-, EF-, and E-mounts.
  • Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports in SA-, F-, and EF-mounts.
  • Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports in SA-, F-, and EF-mounts. Available late October 2018.
  • Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary in MFT and E-mount.


Although we didn’t get any specific product announcements this time—understandable, given that they just announced the 24mm f/1.4 GM—Sony did reveal some of their current strategy.

  • 12 more E-mount lenses in the near future, rounding out further the 42 they have released previously.
  • Heavy development of Eye-AF, including the ability to recognize animals’ eyes.


Another “not Photokina, but at the same time” announcement group:

  • Zeiss ZX1. A 37.4 MP full-frame camera with a fixed Distagon 35mm f/2 T* lens, the ZX1 is quite unusual in that it integrates 512 GB of built-in memory as well as Adobe Lightroom CC (yes, you read that right), operated via the roomy 4.3″ touchscreen. Coming early 2019!
  • The Batis 40mm F2 Close Focus fills in a focal length gap in the Batis lineup for E-mount.


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