For the photographic industry, mid July through mid October is the start of the Christmas season. It is during these months that camera makers start announcing new products in order to drum up excitement about their latest offerings and give themselves time to produce adequate stock (and possibly work out the bugs) of their latest cameras, which are generally in the "pre-production" stage at this time, which means that while the camera has been announced, it is not ready to ship to retailers just yet.
This year is no exception.
Last week saw a flood of new cameras from Panasonic, Fujifilm, and Samsung. Then there were lenses from Panasonic and Sony, too. In total, more cameras were announced last week than since February and the lead-up to the PMA show. Of all the cameras, none really stand out except two of the Fujifilm offerings (F300 and Z800), which promise fast autofocus speed because they incorporate a hybrid focus system that uses the traditional point and shoot contrast detection and the faster phase detection used in digital SLRs, which is an industry first. The hope: an end to the snail's pace P&S autofocus.
On the lens front, it was pretty much good and bad. Panasonic just announced a 3D interchangeable lens for its Micro Four Thirds cameras. Go here to learn more. For Sony, three new lenses were launched, a 24mm f1.4, 35mm f1.8, and 85mm f2.8. Of all the lenses, the 24 1.4 looks the best, due in part to its $1400 MSRP. Unfortunately, this lens still lacks a weather seal (boo!), which to me is insanity as Sony offers two weather sealed cameras, the A850 and A900. Get on the ball, Sony or the outdoor pros will never come to you! On the other hand, the 35 and 85 look cheap, right down to the plastic (they look it) lens mounts. Hopefully they'll take after the "night fifty" Canon 50 1.8 which, despite being probably one of the cheapest built manufacturer lenses in history, boasts great optics.
This should be just the beginning of the 2010 Christmas war. To sweeten the deal this year, there is also the Photokina show, set for September 21-26 in Cologne, Germany. So, with this major, biannual show, expect the heavy hitters out by the end of September.
So, opening shots fired, let the war for Christmas 2010 begin!
New Panasonic cameras
DMC Lumix FZ1000
New Samsung cameras
New Fujifilm cameras
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