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Mark Peters : September 22th 2012 - 22:00 CET

Trends at Photokina 2012

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PhotokinaPhotokina 2012 Show : At the 2012 Photokina Show, the imaging and photography industry will once again shift its focus when it comes together for its traditional meeting. At the Photokina fair, pioneering innovations will once again alter the way pictures are made and used. Photokina 2012 will present many new approaches to photography and uncover trends that reveal how these approaches will develop in the future. However, the fair will, above all, demonstrate that photography is a dynamically changing medium, which is gaining crucial importance in more and more areas of life. While it's becoming easier and easier to take, develop, process, archive and transmit pictures, the ways in which pictures can be used are becoming steadily more complex as well.
Photokina 2012 Show

Trends at Photokina 2012 Show
Smartphones are the new multimedia all-rounders and turning into versatile camera accessories. Not only do special apps allow users to employ the Wi-Fi features of mobile phones and digital cameras to pictures images within networks and upload them to Internet platforms, they also increasingly enable the wireless remote control of cameras equipped with the LiveView feature. It's therefore no longer a question of whether to use cameras or smartphones, but of the new combination of camera plus smartphone. Because many digital compact cameras of all types - and not just in the entry-level segment - used to boast only a fraction of the functions provided by smartphones, many people forecast that smartphones could negatively impact the market for these digital cameras. This didn't prove to be the case, however.

Digital cameras

Digital cameras with WiFi features to connect to smartphones
On the contrary, the smartphone and the tablet computers, which are largely based on the same platforms, became the most important allies of the imaging world and the digital camera industry. In line with the saying "If you can't beat them, join them", the competing product became an important remote control system, an external monitor with Live View function, or a relay station through which cameras can directly share pictures on the web. Almost all of the leading camera manufacturers (e.g. Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Samsung) are now offering new network enabled cameras equipped with Wi-Fi functionality and methods for connecting them to smartphones.


Smartphone camera apps
If you have a smartphone, you also need apps. At Photokina 2012, the camera industry will be presenting the first products whose functions can be expanded with the help of applications downloaded from the web. The first miniature programs are now available for expanding the image processing capabilities of digital cameras, for example, as well as for installing additional digital filters for creating special photo effects or for easily influencing the contrast and brightness of images. Most of the camera apps are still available for free, although there are only a limited number of such apps currently in existence. At the presentation of the miniature programs, suppliers such as Sony have, however, announced the introduction of additional apps.


Cameras with large image sensor
Following the race for more pixels, camera manufacturers are now comparing formats. Due to the drawbacks of high pixel densities, which are very difficult to manage in small sensors, the focus is now on the advantages that large sensors have with regard to achievable image quality, ISO sensitivity, and creative possibilities. Perhaps because APS-C sensors are now also used in many mirrorless system cameras, some of the Digital SLR camera manufacturers have promoted full-frame 35mm cameras and made them the main new products they are presenting for top-of the-line photography. Lower pixel densities on larger image areas have the advantage of less image noise, higher ISO sensitivity, expanded image possibilities through selective sharpness - Bokeh - and, last but not least, enabling faster processing options and shorter picture sequences (Canon, Leica, Nikon and Sony).


Demand for interchangeable lenses
The growing number of digital cameras with full-frame image sensors is also increasing the demand for interchangeable lenses in this market category. All of the digital camera producers and some of the lens manufacturers have announced that they will introduce important innovations in this area. With regard to fixed focal lengths, manufacturers are focusing on extremely wide aperture lenses in the wide angle and medium-range telephoto ranges. For premium products, apertures in this area begin at 1:1.4 to 1:2.0. Some of the leading digital camera manufacturers are enhancing the visual quality of their lenses by using digital systems to correct physical imaging errors. For example, the camera processor can be used to correct dark edges (vignetting) or perspective distortions. Cutting-edge nano-coated lenses are increasing the transmission and minimizing reflections.

2012 Photokina

Lenses for full-frame cameras
Special lenses for full-frame cameras also boast new features such as tilt & shift. In the classic travel zoom segments with their huge focal lengths, zoom lenses are showing a further trend toward miniaturization and wider apertures. Zoom lenses for professional requirements are now dominated by extra wide-angle zoom lenses with constant wide apertures along the entire focal length range.

Photokina 2012 Show

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