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Items of note at Photokina

Photokina is rolling, with lots of news emerging. So far, nothing exciting from Nikon or Canon, perhaps tomorrow will bring something.

Here are the items catching my eye (besides the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4).

Pentax 645D 40-megapixel medium format DSLR — This might be the best value yet in medium format, since the body will be priced at US$9999. For 40 megapixels, that’s about 40% of the price of the Leica S2, and thus far more accessible to many more photographers. Pentax lenses have a well-deserved reputation, so this will be an exciting development for some. With a 44 X 33mm CCD sensor that is 68% larger than a 35mm DSLR, and a 921K 3" LCD, it sounds quite promising.

Leaf Aptus II 80 megapixel medium format digital — Raising the resolution bar with a huge 53.7 X 40.3mm sensor, this new back has an aggressive price of $31,999. According to Leaf, the dynamic range is 12 stops, just slightly less than the Phase One P65+ at 12.5 stops. The kicker is the price: at US$31,999 it’s a hugely expensive back at a low price in this arena. Systems including the PhaseONE camera body and an 80mm lens are likely to run about US$35,995.

Fujifilm X100 compact retro camera, with a large APS-C sensor and 35mm-equivalent lens. A hybrid viewfinder with both optical and Live View features, really a nifty new capability in a large sensor camera. This looks like a great contender in the emerging small-camera-big-sensor category, not unlike the Leica X1. The MTF graphs for the lens look very promising, and Fuji is very capable of making high performance lenses.

Schneider-Kreuznach 50mm f/2.8 HM and 90mm f/4 HM (HM means “high modulation” or high sharpness). Very appealing is the tripod collar, which if positioned appropriately means that parallax-free shift-lens stitching could be done by moving the camera instead of the lens. Also promising is the 12mm of shift and 8° of tilt together. See also the Hartblei SuperRotator lenses, which have been available for some time.

Schneider-Kreuznach PC-TS Lenses

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