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Photokina rumour mill grinds on

Every two years at about this time the photo industry gets all speculative about what new marvels are going to be released at Photokina (Cologne, September 16-21).

Photokina-2014-620x465Camera rumour sites are a niche online publishing industry in themselves (although ‘industry’ implies someone’s actually making some money out of it).  Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony, M43, mirrorless – you name it, just about any camera brand or format has its own dedicated rumour site.
Between hot tips from ‘reliable sources’, speculation from fanboys and girls, and more strategically-placed leaks from the camera companies’ marketing communications and PR teams, there always seems to be some forthcoming product to spread rumours about.
Some rumour sites even apply a phoney kind of objectivity to their reports, allocating rumours a veracity rating from 1 to 5, with 5 being most probably a load of horse manure (which begs the question – why give it an airing?) to 1 being almost certainly correct (but don’t bet your house on it). Rumours rated a 3 apparently have a 50 percent chance of being correct. – Well excuse me, but applying a figure like 50 percent on anything tumbling around in the rumour mill sounds like overreach. It’s more than 50 percent likely to be 85 percent incorrect!
So looking at a plethora of sites and casting farther afield, here’s an overview of the probable and possible rabbits which may be pulled out of hats during or just before Photokina:
The dogs are barking this one and some people are even talking about the Non-Discolure Agreements they have signed – which doesn’t quite seem to be in the spirit of a NDA, but no matter: While it’s almost certain a Canon 7D Mk 11 will be announced – with September 5 the most nominated date – there’s a lot less certainty about its specs. ‘There’s a lot of 1Dx in it’ and ‘new sensor technology’ (maybe even Foveon type technology) are all the rumour people seem to have gleaned – which indicates this rumour is probably a ‘below-the-line’ teaser campaign from the company itself. The Canon 7D has been discontinued in the US  and is now being heavily discounted by online retailers
Other rumours about Canon products are an upgrade to the EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS with a rotating zoom instead of the push/pull design, and maybe some other new lenses. 
It’s been a while since Canon did anything particularly interesting on the technology front – you would hope it has something more than a couple of upgrades up its sleeve.
‘I have not received any information about a medium format Nikon camera and I doubt somebody got it before me,’ harrumphed the highly self-regarding insider at Nikon Rumors in scotching this particular one. Translation: ‘It can’t be true because I haven’t heard about it yet. So nothing to see here,  apparently, let’s move on…
The Nikon D9300 is predicted to be the forthcoming flagship Nikon APS-format DSLR camera to replace the Nikon D300S. No details (maybe a 24-megpixel APS sensor?) but like the five-year-old Canon 7D, the equally venerable D300S is in the process of being discontinued. There is also some babble about a D400 and/or a D7200, but they might be one and the same camera.
There’s another long-standing rumour that Nikon will replace the current AF-S NIKKOR f/4D ED-IF lens with a new AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4G VR lens.
Now this, if true, is genuinely exciting – new technology instead of yet another iteration of what went before: ‘I am very confident,’ said the scribe at Sony Rumors, ‘we will soon get a new RX camera with curved sensor and 35mm f1.8 Zeiss lens.’ We previously covered Sony’s potentially game-changing (all existing lenses will be obsolete) curved sensor technology here.
A new RX series camera may be the first to use the full frame Sony curved sensor.
A new RX series camera may be the first to use the full frame Sony curved sensor.

But wait: there’s more: There could be a second Sony full frame camera with the A7r’s 36-megapixel sensor and a 35-70mm f2.8 compact zoom lens. Other Sony rumours are two more A-mount, full-frame DSLRs, the Sony A88 and the Sony A99II. Sounds like a lot of models in roughly the same neck of the woods, but Sony has been conspicuous among the major camera manufacturers with interesting new releases this year.

Other rumours are three new Zeiss lenses for Sony full-frame cameras
The Fujifilm X Pro2 was confirmed last week, leaving the Fujifilm XT100T rumoured as a mildly-upgraded successor to the X100S; an X30 to replace the X20 (with an EVF replacing the OVF); and a new medium format camera based on the design of the X-Pro series as other possibilities.
Olympus might announce the PEN E-PL7 Micro Four Thirds camera – replacing the PL6 in the line-up – with a 16-megapixel sensor, 8fps, a 1.04 million-dot tiltable touchscreen, built-in WiFi and a smartphone app.
Samsung has already rolled out its major offerings for the year – NX Mini, NX3000, NX30 – but has saved the best till last, according to the pundits – the top-of-the-line, ‘professional’ NX1. What this camera has that others to be shown at Photokina don’t is built-in Android OS. It also has a 28-megapixel  fancy-pants sensor, ISO to 51,200, shutter speeds to 1/6000 sec, 3G/4G, WiFi and NFC connectivity, 4K video and a weather resistant body.
A 50-150mm f2.8 lens may be announced in tandem with the NX1. 
Sigma is rumored to announce one or two more of of its low-cost, superior performance Art series lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras, changing little more than the lens mount.
There is also, according to someone’s trusted source, a Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG Art lens to be announced just prior to Photokina which will be thousands of dollars cheaper than the also-rumoured Zeiss 85mm f1.4 OTUS lens.
Another lens Sigma might show at the show is a 24mm f1.4 Art lens. Tasty. Sigma is also rumoured to be working on a 24-70mm f2 lens for full-frame cameras – faster than the current offerings from Canon, Nikon or Sony.
..And speaking of Sigma, there might be a new DSLR sporting the latest Foveon sensor in the offing as well.


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