The chill collective: Winter product recap 2019

The clocks are changed, birds are starting to migrate, and the traditional late blizzard has come to Colorado. All signs point to the fact that winter is drawing to an end! With the equinox rapidly approaching and a variety of trade events in the books, let’s take this opportunity to look back on the exciting products that have been announced and/or released this season—a snapshot of the industry, if you will, and a good way to make sure you stay abreast of developments in our fast-moving field!

Of course, you are always welcome to stop by your local Mike’s Camera store and catch up with the photo fanatics. Enjoy one of the few places you can still get your hands on the latest gear before you buy it!

Winter trade-in bonuses

First, the time sensitive information: only about two weeks remain to get a huge bonus—up to $500!—towards the purchase of select Sony and Nikon mirrorless full-frame cameras and lenses. Don’t forget that these bonuses are in addition to the trade-in value of the working camera or lens you bring in and any current rebates. If you’ve got your eye on any of these cameras, you won’t want to miss out!

Click here to read more about Sony trade-in bonuses.
Click here to read more about Nikon trade-in bonuses.

24mm × 36mm continues to grow

We had an explosion of growth in mirrorless full-frame options last fall, and the field continued to grow over the winter. Canon expanded their RF-mount system with an ultra-compact model, the EOS RP.

EOS RP Quick Facts

  • 26.2 MP full-frame sensor
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 4K/30p video
  • Almost 1/2 pound lighter and 15% smaller than the EOS R
  • No top LCD, but entering at a significantly lower price point

Rumor has it that Canon will be announcing a third RF-mount camera soon, too, featuring pro-oriented features like dual memory card slots and IBIS, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

Panasonic made major waves last month when they announced their first two full-frame cameras, the S1 and S1R, which promise a strong showing for the still-freshly-born L-Mount Alliance. You can read all about these rugged beasts by clicking here, and you’d do even better by visiting one of our touch & try events next week! We’ll have the cameras, lenses, and Panasonic reps on-hand for an exciting, hands-on demonstration. Click below to register for these free events!

Panasonic S1/S1R Touch & Try

Mike’s Camera, Sacramento • Wednesday, March 20th • 6:30–8:30 PM PDT
Mike’s Camera, Denver • Saturday, March 23rd • 10:00 AM–12:00 PM MDT

Actual shot by our Colorado sales manager on the Panasonic S1

APS-C & Micro Four Thirds

While “full-frame” has been a hot buzzword the last few months, our manufacturers are not slacking in development of technology for APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Perhaps the most surprising new development of the season was the release of the Olympus OM-D E-M1X, the most boldly pro-oriented camera yet for the Micro Four Thirds system. Its integrated vertical grip makes a clear statement about its purpose, and its speed and stability back it up with substance.

Click here for samples highlighting the camera’s ultra-high-res modes, including a new handheld option.

A much-anticipated update came with the Sony α6400. You can read more in-depth information and see sample images here, but aside from the processor’s blazing speed, I think the coolest improvements are the inclusion of built-in interval recording for time-lapse photography and expanding the already-good Eye-AF feature to work on pets, as well.

Another rockin’ refresh of a much-loved series is the Fujifilm X-T30. Fuji didn’t hold back on this one, bringing a surprisingly large number of innovations pioneered in the X-T3 to its little brother. Fuji’s focus? Better video, better AF. Read all about it here.

Finally, Canon has finally released the EOS Rebel T7 to retailers. For a fine entry-level DSLR with decades of optical acclaim, you need look no further. Click here for the standard kit, or here to order the deluxe two-lens package.

Lenses abound

What would all these bodies be without glass eyes through which to see? A host of interesting new lenses are on the slate. To wit:

The Sony 135mm GM offers incredibly sharp, incredibly clear imaging with a long portrait lens. Click here for sample images and to read more.

With a 16.6x zoom ratio, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 all-in-one provides the widest range of any Olympus lens, with the same weather-resistant specifications as the M.Zuiko PRO range. Click here to preorder now!

The Olympus 12-200mm f/3.5–6.3, with sample image

Fujifilm‘s new XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR lens is small, lightweight, and promises quick and quiet autofocus. The lens is weathersealed at nine different points, and is designed to operate normally in temperatures as low as 14°F.

Nikon has announced a classic professional’s standard zoom, redesigned for the mirrorless Z series. The NIKKOR Z 24–70 f/2.8 features a customizable control ring and L-Fn button, as well as a clever OLED readout for aperture, focal length, and other pertinent information.

Canon, too, is fleshing out their full-frame mirrorless line this year, with an emphasis on professional-quality releases. The six new RF lenses under development (tentatively) include:

  • RF 85mm F1.2 L USM
  • RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS
  • RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM

Prices, specifications, and release dates are all subject to change, but it’s nice to see a hint as to where Canon will be taking the RF mount in the near future!

It’s not just Panasonic working hard to make a splash with the L-mount. Sigma will be releasing L-mount versions of 11 prime lenses from their Art line—the cream of their crop. They will also be performing mount conversions for any of their Global Vision lenses, should you be interested in switching systems. The complete list includes the 14mm f/1.8, 20mm f/1.4, 24mm f/1.4, 28m f/1.4, 35mm f/1,4, 40mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, 70mm f/2,8 Macro, 85mm f/1,4, 105mm f/1.4, and 135mm f/1.8 Art lenses. Release dates are to be determined. What are you most excited to use on your new S1R?

Last but certainly not least, we are looking forward to three new lenses from Tamron, including a compact wide zoom (17-28mm f/2.8) for the E-mount to complement the 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD. In F- and EF-mounts, compatible with full-frame sensors, they will be producing a low-aperture travel zoom (35-150mm f/2.8-4) and an SP ultra-fast prime (35mm f/1.4). Watch for preorder availability!

Bigger zooms, slimmer bodies

Before we get into the new point & shoots…

Deal alert!

While the camera is not new to Mike’s, the price on the Olympus TG-4—a worthy member of the venerable Tough line—is worth pointing out. The TG-4 is rugged, compact, handsome, and shoots a nice pic above or below the water, and it’s on sale now! Our stock won’t last forever at this price, so order as soon as you know that its right for you.

As for the rest of the latest news in compact camera developments, we’ve got five of the freshest around coming soon to Mike’s Camera. The Fuji XP140 is a cute, capable, durable camera, strong enough to handle a day on the water and small enough to make it easy to carry every day (plus, it comes in a few different colors so you can tailor your EDC to your own aesthetic).

For Nikon and Panasonic, the name of the game is packing the most zoom in the smallest, most capable body. The Nikon B600 sports a 60x optical zoom, but never loses focus thanks to its minimum focus distance of a mere 1 cm (!!!) in macro mode. The price, of course, is a “bridge camera” body style, which allows for better tech but isn’t exactly pocketable. For the shooter who needs something in a truly compact body, the Nikon A1000 is just the thing: while its zoom only magnifies 35x, it uses the same back-illuminated sensor as the B600 and adds RAW support as well as an option to shoot 4K/15p video.

Panasonic, meanwhile, has refreshed two of the most popular lines in the Lumix stable. Like Nikon, Panasonic has announced one bridge camera and one truly pocketable point & shoot. The bigger brother, the Lumix FZ1000M2, holds a 25–400mm equivalent lens in front of its relatively large 20.1 MP 1″ sensor. In addition to a new and improved sensor, the M2 has a control system completely redesigned from the FZ1000‘s, allowing for much-improved manual control via buttons and dials. Replacing the ZS70 is the ZS80, improving the lens and the viewfinder significantly and adding Bluetooth functionality for improved image transfer.

And… a surprise!

Remember the GNARBOX, the crowd-funding success story so nice I had to review it twice? In case you missed it, it’s a self-contained photo/video mobile storage unit and pocket processor, enabling you to edit RAW photos and 4K video on the go. Word is that there’s a 2.0 version featuring an improved processor, replaceable battery, and checksum data confirmation (among other improvements), and it’s coming to a Mike’s Camera near you! Watch for more information on this very blog.

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