CP+ 2012 Report

Shoichiro Takeda contributed this article from Tokyo, Japan

CP+ 2012—the Camera & Photo Imaging Show--opened on February 9 and ran through the 12th in Yokohama, Japan. There were 65,120 visitors. Following are some news highlights from the show.

No More “Mirrorless”

On 9 February 2012, Mr. Makoto Kimura, The Representative Director of CIPA, announced at the opening speech that: “We will no longer use the nomenclature (mirrorless camera). Instead, we will adopt ‘non-reflex camera’ for this category”.

CIPA used to divide digital cameras into two categories, “fixed lens camera” and “interchangeable lens camera”, the latter being further divided into two subcategories, “single lens reflex camera” and “mirrorless camera”. From now on, the latter of these two subcategories will be changed to “non-reflex camera”. Mr. Kimura added that CIPA will not force the members to use this new terminology, but will leave it to the discretion of individual member companies as to which terminology to use. He has stressed that this new terminology was coined for the use in the statistics that CIPA will publicise, and merely as an antonym of the single lens reflex camera.

It seems strange that CIPA should stick to the existence or non-existence of a mirror and its reflection to define the sub-category. “Compact System Camera”, as it is called by TIPA (Technical Image Press Association, of which Shutterbug is the sole US member—ed), is much more appropriate because it expresses lens interchangeability by “system”, and smallness in size by “compact.” Nomina sunt mutabilia, res autem immobiles. (Names are mutable, but things (are) immutable.)

Compact System Camera (CSC) Takes the Lead

CSC garnered a 51.4% share in January 2012 in the Lens Interchangeable Digital Camera (LIDC) category, exceeding Digital SLRs. It has taken only about three years for CSC to become the champion of LIDC after the Lumix G1 was introduced in October, 2008 by Panasonic. Mr. Matsumoto, the Director of Electronic Imaging Department of FujiFilm, believed since 2008 that low price compact digital cameras then flooding the market could never survive when pitted against mobile phone cameras, which were always evolving with better imaging ability. He was right—there was a drastic sales decline of 40% of low price, compact digitals in the U.S. market. CSC has taken up the challenge with much better picture quality and the ability to interchange lenses. The CSC category is now booming, quickly rebuilding the once collapsed small-size digital camera market, so that almost every booth at CP+ 2012 was demonstrating a new CSC venture.

Big Crowd Around Olympus OM-D E-M5

There was a long queue at the Olympus booth on Thursday at the CP+ 2012 site, although this was a preview day only for invited guests. It took about 70 minutes to get to the demonstration bar where six cameras were available for a hands-on tryout. This reporter was impressed by the speedy AF movement, which Olympus claims is “the fastest in the world.” Their 16MP Live CMOS sensor is now driven at 240 fps (frames per second) or 200% of the conventional speed, coupled with a much quicker subroutine that generates contrast signals from input. Sequential shooting can be made at 9.0 fps; with three-dimensional tracking technology it can chase a moving object at 4.2 fps speed.

The OM-D E-M5 is the first in the world with “5 axes stabilization” (vertical, horizontal and rotational in three axes) instead of the conventional up and down and left and right. This facility will be of a great help in macro and time exposures.

The Pentax K-01 CSC

Designed by Marc Newson, the London based pre-eminent industrial designer, the Pentax K-01 looks tiny and cute, but is in reality a robust camera with machine worked aluminium housing with the traditional K-mount. The concept is a “timeless, trusty and touchable” professional camera, according to Marc Newson, which is added to as being “cute and lovely” by Mr. Kawauchi, Manager, Product Planning Group, Pentax-Ricoh Imaging Company. The standard lens is smc Pentax DA 40/2.8 XS, which is the thinnest in the world with 9.2mm thickness and weighing only 52 grams.

Nikon D800 Focusing on the Pro

“The concept is the machine for the professionals” said Mr. Atsushi Godai, the President of Nikon Imaging Japan, responding to our question in our interview at the CP+2012 site.

In the course of the development they had to resolve the difficult problem of how to obtain both the maximum resolution and the maximum sensitivity. In the end they succeeded by conveying the incident light image to the photo-diode with unprecedented evenness and efficiency, which was made possible by examining all the elements involved in this process, such as the on-chip gapless micro-lens, the inner structure of the image sensor, and the optical low pass filter.

The CMOS sensor of the D800 has 36.3MP resolution, which is the highest in the world in the Digital SLR category. ISO is 100 to 6400 that can be expanded to 50 to 25,600, which enables still and movie shooting in dim illumination.

In other Nikon news, Nikon is showing ambition in the CSC segment, as evidenced by the comment given to the press on February 9 by Mr. Makoto Kimura, the head of Nikon (and the head of CIPA.) He has said that the CSC segment, in which Nikon made inroads with the Nikon 1 V1 and J1 in October 2011 is “ in the attractive price bracket, and will grow further, so that we want to catch up. We are confident that we will soon become the No.1 shareholder in that market”.

FujiFilm X-Pro1

The queue waiting for the hands-on demonstration bar of the new FujiFilm CSC was 90 minute long. Some of the press commented that “this is a poor man’s Leica”. Its very short flange focal distance of 17.7mm is made “shorter” by letting the lens barrel “sink” into the body by a maximum 7.5 mm, thus making the back-focus very short. This creates advantages in lens design with the three current lens on offer, including the XF18/2 (27 mm in 35 mm format), XF35/1.4 (53 mm in 35 mm format) and XF60/2.4 R Macro (91 mm in 35 mm format). The optical viewfinder is coupled with the lens to show the relevant magnification; the electronic viewfinder has the same facility. The shutter time-lag is now only 0.05 seconds, enabling catching the decisive moment, supported by 0.1 second AF system and the new EXR Processor and APSC 16MP X-Trans CMOS sensor. This new sensor is filled with new technology, highlighted by 36 pixel color filters instead of the conventional Bayer 4 pixel array. This is said to eliminate the need for a low pass filter, said by the maker to be detrimental to picture quality no matter how high the lens resolution. FujiFilm says that this development was possible only due to their knowledge and experience in the color film business. As expected, the Leica M-mount adapter was displayed and will be in the market soon.

No Trace of the Canon 5D Mark III

Much was said about this camera but the Canon people at the booth were all keeping mum. It did not make a debut at CP+ 2012, as might have been expected, but a rumour says that it will come out in March/April 2012. The delay was caused by the Japanese earthquake last March and flooding in Thailand, according to our source.

Stephen Shankland wrote in CNET, (January 23 2012) that Stephen Oachs, a famous nature photographer, wrote in his blog that he saw a prototype of this camera while he was shooting in Kenya, Africa. A Japanese cameraman did have this prototype and Oachs heard that the felllow was working for Canon. According to Oachs, the overall appearance was close to Canon 7D, while the “Q-button” was relocated to near the selection wheel on the back. There was no pop-up strobe, which the 7D had and the 5D Mark II did not. The lens that the man was using seemed to be the 200-400 mm telephoto that Canon announced sometime last year, but never started shipping.(Credit: CNET copyright 2012 CBS interactive.)

Leica News

A source said that he is confident that the Leica M10 will adopt a DALSA 24MP full-size CMOS sensor, to replace the KODAK 18MP sensor, since Kodak has sold the sensor business. Dalsa would of course be able to offer a reliable sensor that is already used by the Phase One or Mamiya Leaf Digital Camera Back.

© 2012 TIPA. All rights reserved.