2017 Review: A look back at everything that mattered for photography

Photobucket upsets everyone

Venerable image-hosting website Photobucket made the interesting business decision of demanding its long-standing users fork over $400 for continued hosting of their photos on its blogs and forums. OK, the reality was a little more complicated than that, but it was still a monumentally unpopular decision that led to users abandoning the service in droves.

Leica updates TL line with the 4K-enabled TL2

Leica brought out the TL2, a mirrorless APS-C model made to Leica’s exacting standards, capable of burst shooting at up to 20fps and 4K video recording to 30p. 

The company also added a 24MP sensor to this new TL model, as well as a few new features such as USB 3.0 connectivity and HDMI output.

Read more: Leica TL2 review

Monkey business

In an interview with the Guardian, David Slater, the man behind the infamous monkey selfie, revealed that the epic saga had left him broke and considering taking up dog-walking, and that he couldn’t even afford the air fare to his own trial. The lawsuit was eventually settled in September.

Light L16 finally sees the light

The Light L16, a computational, 16-module camera, finally shipped in July after a four-year journey from concept to production. 

The L16 used up to ten camera modules at once to produce images with a minimum 52MP. Better make room on that hard drive.

Bowens bows out... and Wex Photographic and Calumet join forces

In sadder news, UK-based lighting company Bowens announced an end to its 94 years of business, with owner Calumet citing ‘the far-reaching changes affecting its market’ as the reason for the closure (translation: cheap knock-offs). 

Later in September, Calumet and Wex Photographic were merged by parent company Aurelius to become Wex Photo Video.

Read more: Wex Photographic and Calumet complete merger

Nikon teases the D850

‘Hercules rising’. A ‘universe of endless detail’. You can accuse Nikon of many things, but understatement is not one of them. Happily, however, the announcement of the D850 was heralding a camera that deserved its hype. Read our full review here

This was just a development announcement – concrete details on the D850 were scant at this stage. In July, Nikon also announced a full-frame AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR zoom for its full-frame DSLRs.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year winners announced

National Geographic announced the winners of its Travel Photographer of the Year competition on the first day of August – and the images were truly spectacular.

Nikon finally reveals all

After the previous month’s development announcement, the Nikon D850 arrived in all its glory, sporting a 45.7MP BSI FX-format sensor with no optical low-pass filter, full-res burst shooting at 7fps with AF/AE, the 153-point AF system from the D5 and a native ISO range of 64-25,600. The camera went on to be a deserved success, revitalising Nikon’s fortunes after a challenging year.

Canon updates mirrorless line and lenses

A raft of announcements from Canon – the EOS M100 introduced a 24.2MP sensor with Dual Pixel autofocus to the mirrorless series; the EF 85mm F1.4L IS USM brought sophisticated stabilisation and a fastest-ever aperture to the firm’s 85mm primes; and Canon’s tilt-shift portfolio was considerably expanded, with 50mm f/2.8, 90mm f/2.8 and 135mm f/4 macro offerings.

Read more: Canon announces new TS-E lenses

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III announced

Olympus updated its entry-level OM-D E-M10 body once again with the Mark III, adding a TruePic VIII processor to bring in 4K video capture and reworking the body to add larger dials and a curved handgrip. Read our full review here

Ricoh Theta V

Ricoh boosted its 360-degree camera with the introduction of the Theta V, allowing 4K video capture and 14MP stills via its two 12MP cameras.

Read more: Ricoh announces Theta V

Rotolight NEO 2

September saw Rotolight update its popular NEO unit in a big way. While it was still intended for video and portrait photographers, the NEO 2 now boasted high-speed-sync capabilities and provided up to 85,000 flashes per charge of its battery, together with zero recycling times. Try getting all that out of your regular flashgun!

Read more: Rotolight unveils industry-first NEO 2

Sony pairs a 1in sensor with an action body for the RX0

The action camera market may be increasingly crowded, but that didn’t stop Sony dipping a toe in with the RX0. 

This new GoPro-style action camera paired a 1in sensor with a rugged body, while the ZEISS Tessar T* 24mm f/4 lens ensured crystal-clear image quality.

The camera also had the ability to capture stills in Raw format and maximum shutter speeds of 1/32,000sec, but with an eye-watering £800/€850 RRP it certainly wasn't cheap.

Read more: 10 tips for getting the best out of your Sony camera

DJI magics up a new Mavic

DJI revamped its Mavic Pro with the Mavic Pro Platinum, an improved and stylish update with better battery life and quieter flight – a whole four decibels quieter.

Earlier in September, the firm had also introduced the Phantom 3 SE, designed as an entry point into the Phantom series.

Social-media photo star found to be fake news 

In a bizarre, stranger-than-fiction story, a war photographer who had amassed more than 100,000 Instagram followers – including the official account of United Nations – was revealed to have never existed. 

An investigation by BBC Brasil revealed Eduardo Martins’ to be little more than someone using and editing images stolen from other photographers.

Fujifilm updates much-loved X-E line

Fujifilm brought out a long-awaited update to the X-2S in the form of the X-E3, sporting a 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor and a new 3in touchscreen LCD. 

The X-E3 imported the 325-point AF system from the X-T20, and also came with the ability to shoot 4K video. Read our full review here

Fujifilm also used the opportunity to add the Fujinon GF 45mm F2.8 R WR lens to its medium-format G-series line-up, while the X mount got the Fujinon XF 80mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, a true macro prime.

Read more: Fujifilm unveils GF45mm F2.8 R WR and XF80mm F2.8 LM OIS WR Macro

Sony's speedy RX10 IV arrives

Sony updated its premium bridge camera range with the RX10 Mark IV, bringing in the BIONZ X processor from the A9 in order to shoot at up to 24fps – with AF and AE – and a buffer of 249 JPEGs or 112 Raw files. 

Not only was it the first in the RX10 series to include a touchscreen, but it also claimed the world’s fastest AF acquisition speed of 0.03sec.

Read more: Sony RX10 Mark IV confirmed

Apple unveils iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X

With its customary taste for the theatrical, Apple unveiled the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X

The latter came with a 12MP dual-camera setup, with f/1.8 and f/2.4 apertures and optical image stabilisation on both lenses, together with a 5.8in HDR OLED display, Face ID and a distinct absence of a home button.

Read more: Apple iPhone 8 and 8 Plus camera review

Polaroid returns

After a few teasers throughout the month, it became official: Polaroid was back!

The new brand was dubbed Polaroid Originals, and the new camera was the Polaroid OneStep 2 – an easy-to-use instant film camera just like the original OneStep, with a high-quality lens, a high-powered flash and a long-lasting rechargeable battery. 

It was compatible with both the old 600 series film and a new film called i-Type, which was optimised for the OneStep 2.

GoPro HERO6 Black and Fusion models confirmed

After more than just a few leaks, the GoPro HERO6 Black was officially confirmed, adding 4K video recording at 60p and improving dynamic range over previous HERO cameras. 

It also came with 240fps slow-motion video in Full HD, and full compatibility with GoPro’s new QuikStories app. The firm also officially launched the GoPro Fusion, a 5.2K 360-degree action camera.

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Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  

An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.