Tech

CP+ 2012 roundup: the latest and greatest cameras from Yokohama, Japan

We've wrapped up our coverage of the CP+ 2012 camera show from Yokohama, Japan, including reviews of the latest Nikon, Pentax, and Olympus DSLRs. Read on for our full impressions of the event and what's to come from the camera industry in 2012.

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It's not hyperbole to suggest that 2011 was one of the worst years for the camera industry in quite some time. The combination of shrinking worldwide economies, flooding in Thailand, and the earthquake in Japan wreaked havoc across the digital imaging world. When our staff hit the floor at CP+ 2012 in Yokohama, Japan, we expected to see an industry reeling.

What we found instead was that the biggest Japanese manufacturers were bullish about 2012, celebrating what we all love about photography: where it's been, where it stands technologically, and where it can go in the future. From the Olympus OM-D E-M5 to the Nikon D800 to the Pentax K-01, the cameras from CP+ 2012 were a hit with our staff and we're optimistic about what the camera industry has in store for this year.

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The headliners from the show—the aforementioned Nikon D800, Olympus OM-D E-M5, and Pentax K-01—all represent very different aspects of the photography industry. From the professional landscape and studio photographer to the retro-loving enthusiast to the style-conscious modern design lover, CP+ 2012 had a little bit of everything.

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The Nikon D800 and D800E sets a new standard in full-frame professional DSLR resolution, with its 36.3-megapixel image sensor. With the only thing in Nikon's stable even close to it being the 24.5-megapixel Nikon D3x, it's one of the most revolutionary cameras to hit the market, technologically speaking, since the Nikon D90 introduced video to the DSLR world. Our full impressions of the D800 can be read here, along with a comprehensive breakdown of the camera's design, handling, and feature set. (For our D800E first impressions review, please go here)

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While the Nikon D800 sets new technological hurdles for DSLRs, Olympus brought us back to an earlier time when their modular SLR OM camera system reignited an SLR craze that has really yet to abate. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 harkens back to the height of the compact SLR movement, based off the late-70s Olympus OM SLRs designed by Yoshihisa Maitani. In our full first impressions review we loved the design of the OM-D E-M5, though we hope its 16-megapixel sensor can do better than the aging sensor found in their current PEN lineup.

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Pentax also utilized a famous, albeit more contemporary, designer for their latest DSLR, the K-01. Pentax called upon the services of modern industrial designer Marc Newson to create the K-01's unique body style and control layout. We're all for anything that shakes up camera design, and in our full Pentax K-01 first impressions review you can read our hands-on take on the K-01. With a razor thin (roughly 9mm deep) 40mm kit lens, we expect the K-01 to turn heads for more than just its design.

It wasn't all just interchangeable lens cameras at CP+ 2012, however, with many companies introducing new fixed lens compacts, superzooms, and waterproof models, in addition to those we saw in our coverage of CES 2012.

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The superzoom optical zoom race has officially gotten ridiculous, as Nikon released their 42x optical zoom camera, the P510, which in our hands-on review we found similar to last year's P500, save for the extended zoom range. There are also some mid-range superzooms, with the affordable AA-powered Nikon L810 (26x optical) and the comfortable and sturdy Fuji S4500 (30x optical) duking it out in the sub-$300 range.

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There were also a host of new waterproof, crushproof, and shockproof cameras on display in Yokohama, with Olympus upgrading their tough series with the TG-820.

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Pentax also brought an update to their WG line with ruggedly built, GPS-toting WG-2 while Canon updated their waterproof and shockproof line with the redesigned Canon D20. Those looking for waterproof (not crushproof or shockproof) in a sleeker design will want to check out the Sony TX200V, which is as stylish as you'd expect from a Sony camera.

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We even saw some models from some of the companies which don't release a crush of models, checking out the new Sigma DP2 Merrill and the AgfaPhoto AP15 cameras.

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We found the Sigma DP2 Merrill to be very utilitarian on the outside, but it has a great control scheme and sports the same 15.3x3-megapixel Foveon X3 sensor as their $6000 SD1 DSLR. The Foveon X3 actually has three full sensors (one for each red, green, and blue channel) stacked on top of one another gathering 46-megapixels of data with each shot.

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The AgfaPhoto AP15 (review here) is a travel-zoom camera with a retro-inspired design that should certainly appeal to AgfaPhoto's fans, patiently waiting for the company to re-establish itself in the market. We'd love to see a high-end bright fixed lens compact from the company, but the AP15's targeting of the enthusiast market is certainly a good beginning.

There was certainly a lot to see in Yokohama this year, and we left excited about the possibilities of what's to come in 2012 and beyond from the camera industry. For our full coverage of CP+ 2012 including all of the models we reviewed at the show, please visit our CP+ event page.

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