It's showtime! One of the biggest imaging events on the calendar, CP+ 2021, is taking place in Japan this week from 25-28 February.
Traditionally a live mega event attended by thousands of delegates at its home base of Yokohama, Japan, CP+ 2021 this year is an online-only virtual show – but that hasn't stopped all the major players from taking part, including Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic, Sigma, Laowa, Atomos and many more.
Thanks to Canon, Sony, Leica and Pentax we've already seen a bunch of new cameras – and Olympus announced some fascinating plans for the future, not least the fact that it wants to partner with other companies going forward.
Here are some of the highlights announced during CP+ 2021 – along with a few products we've been keeping our fingers crossed for but have so far yet to see…
Canon Posture Fit
Canon's latest concept camera looks like a Pixar character straight out of WALL•E, and dances on your desk. But why, and what does it do?
The ultra-adorable Canon Posture Fit monitors your posture while sitting at your desk and will "communicate with cute movement" to alert you when you've been sitting for too long, or when your posture is poor.
Conceived in response to a Canon designer seeing his wife suffer with shoulder pain, since working from her home desk during the pandemic, the camera doesn't capture your face or background but solely monitors your spinal position. And instead of alerting you with annoying pop-ups on your screen, it dances to get your attention – the logic being that computer alerts are easily ignored, but nobody ignores a cute pet when it wants attention!
• Canon's cute new camera looks like a Pixar character – and it dances on your desk! (opens in new tab)
The Sony A7S III (opens in new tab) is so nice that Sony has released it three times, this time calling it the Sony FX3 (opens in new tab)! That may seem like a terribly cynical perspective, but internally the FX3 has a lot in common with the A7S III and the Sony FX6 (opens in new tab). It has a full frame 10.2MP back-illuminated EXMOR R CMOS sensor paired with Sony’s high-speed Bionz XR processor.
The combination offers video shooting speeds up to 4K 120p and 240p for full HD video, but the key innovation in the FX3 is active cooling – it has an internal fan to allow unlimited 4K 60p recording, and also supports USB power delivery, so that the battery capacity needn’t be a limitation either.
• Sony FX3 expands Sony’s Cinema line with its smallest, cheapest model yet (opens in new tab)
Olympus will work with other companies, considering photo tours, confirms PEN and Tough will continue
While OM Digital Solutions, new owner of the Olympus brand, didn't have any new products to reveal, it gave us some incredibly revealing insights into the future direction of the company.
Crucially, it confirmed that the PEN and Tough lines – represented recently by the Olympus PEN E-PL10 (opens in new tab) and Olympus Tough TG-6 (opens in new tab) – will continue alongside the company's principal products, the OM line of cameras (like the flagship Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III (opens in new tab)). It also confirmed that the Olympus brand name would continue to be used "until Olympus fans are satisfied".
Fascinatingly, OM Digital confirmed that "Instead of just doing things on our own, we will work with other partners when necessary", which will no doubt get tongues wagging over potential technology partnerships. The company also stated that it is looking to broaden its offering to cater to the wider culture of photography – citing photography tours as an area that it is considering!
• Olympus will work with other companies; is considering photography tours (opens in new tab)
• Olympus: PEN and Tough will continue, Olympus name will be kept "until fans are satisfied" (opens in new tab)
Leica Q2 Daniel Craig x Greg Williams
While Leica's original James Bond camera, the Leica Q2 007 (opens in new tab), has been delayed almost as often as the beleaguered No Time To Die (opens in new tab) movie it's set to release with, the manufacturer officially announced its second Bond-tastic body.
The Leica Q2 Daniel Craig x Greg Williams ditches the signature Leica red dot in favor of a black dot with gold writing, which continues a theme of gold lettering and adornments across the camera – and it even comes in a lavish presentation box lined with black silk. It's limited to 750 units and yours for just $6,995 / £5,600 / AU$9,990!
• Leica's first James Bond camera of 2021 is officially here! (opens in new tab)
Canon EOS M50 Mark II
After a limited release in select territories in October, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II (opens in new tab) (aka the Canon EOS Kiss M2 in Japan) has finally been granted a release on the global market.
Sadly it's a disappointingly light refresh of the original Canon EOS M50 (opens in new tab) (Kiss M), with the only upgrades being software related – which begs the question of why they weren't released as a firmware update, rather than charging consumers for a whole new camera.
Still, if you don't already own the original M50, here you'll find a compact and capable APS-C camera with a 24.1MP sensor, 1080p up to 60p with Dual Pixel AF, 4K 30p (albeit cropped and without Dual Pixel), 10fps shooting, and the new addition of vertical video for those TikToks and Instagram Stories.
• The disappointing Canon EOS M50 Mark II hits the global market at last (opens in new tab)
Canon PowerShot Pic
There's no shortage of new camera rumors (opens in new tab) when it comes to Canon, with rampant speculation over both a flagship Canon EOS R1 (opens in new tab) as well as a Canon EOS R7 (opens in new tab) featuring an APS-C sensor (the first RF-mount camera to do so). There's also Canon's riff on the DJI Pocket that keeps popping up (see below).
In addition, there are also plenty of new lenses rumored to be revealed – including APS-C superzoom lenses (opens in new tab), a series of f/1.4 primes (opens in new tab), a Canon RF 300mm f/2.8 (opens in new tab) and perhaps even shift lenses (opens in new tab). However, there have been reports that Canon's plans to announce a camera and two lenses at CP+ have been delayed (opens in new tab) due to industry wide production issues.
Still, we will have no doubt that the Canon PowerShot Pick (opens in new tab) – the AI-powered PTZ camera (opens in new tab) that acts like your own personal photographer, able to capture moments you would otherwise miss whether you leave it on the table during a birthday party or mount it to your hot shoe while photographing a wedding.
• The AI-powered Canon PowerShot Pick costs $391 and "picks your moments" (opens in new tab)
Pentax K-1 Mark II J Limited 01
While CP+ 2021 was supposed to see the launch of the APS-C flagship Pentax K-3 Mark III (opens in new tab), the brand delayed the product earlier this month (due to supply and production issues).
However, we instead saw the launch of the Pentax K-1 Mark II J Limited 01 (opens in new tab) – a special edition of the full-frame flagship Pentax K-1 Mark II (opens in new tab) that features a wooden grip and custom pentaprism cover… and comes in gaudy metallic red and blue options (on top of the slightly more tasteful black or silver).
It's a Japan-only product, so you'll have to hit up eBay or your favorite importer if you need a metallic monstrosity in your life!
• Pentax' latest camera is a metallic red monstrosity (opens in new tab)
Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary
While we waited with bated breath for the Sigma fp L, Sigma instead announced its latest lens: the Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary (opens in new tab).
Unlike current full-frame 24-70mm f/2.8 zooms, which are pretty big, the Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary strikes a balance between performance and portability, with an optical design based on the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Art lens, but in a significantly smaller body – achieved with a slight reduction in zoom range at the ‘wide’ end, from 24mm to 28mm.
This new lens weights 470g, which is 40% lighter than the Sigma 24-70mm, and it's also 20% shorter and slimmer. Sigma points out that fitted to a Sigma fp the combined weight is just 892g, which is less than the Sony 24-70mm G Master lens on its own! Available from 12 March, it also comes with a light price tag of $899 / £759.
• Sigma launches a new compact 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN contemporary (opens in new tab)
Stuff we're still hoping to see…
Sigma fp L
This one now seems less likely, since it was completely absent from the Sigma product showcase at which it revealed the new 28-70mm f/2.8 (below).
However, we know that the manufacturer has registered the mysterious new Sigma fp L (opens in new tab) – a new member of the Sigma fp (opens in new tab) family. While we know that it won't feature the again-delayed 61MP full-frame Foveon sensor (opens in new tab), we wonder what that "L" could stand for – though it's difficult to decode Sigma's nomenclature.
The Sigma SD Quattro H, for example (incidentally the last camera to feature a Foveon sensor) didn't seem to have an obvious meaning behind the "H". It boasted an APS-H sensor, but so did the regular Sigma SD Quattro. Since the Quattro H had a higher resolution (a 25.5MP sensor, but a "51MP-equivalent" according to Sigma), it is tempting to infer that the H stands for "high resolution".
So what of the L here? Perhaps it stands for "Lite", maybe thanks to the use of an APS-C sized image sensor in lieu of the Sigma fp's full-frame one. Perhaps it means something else entirely… hopefully we'll find out very soon!
• Sigma fp L camera reveal next week – but it WON'T have a Foveon sensor (opens in new tab)
Canon vlogging camera (a la DJI Pocket)
Every year, the naysayers proclaim that this will be the one that sees Canon kill off its EOS M series – despite the fact that cameras like the Canon EOS M50 (opens in new tab) are perennial bestsellers for the company.
However, what may be true is that the future of Canon's APS-C mirrorless system lies in this – a vlogging camera that's essentially an interchangeable lens version of the DJI Pocket 2 (opens in new tab).
Patents for the camera have popped up incessantly over the past year, so we think it's entirely possible that Canon might reveal the device in some for at CP+ – perhaps in the same way it did with its many concept cameras (opens in new tab) it has debuted at the show over the years, including the Canon Ivy Rec (opens in new tab) and Canon PowerShot Zoom (opens in new tab).
Sharp 8K Video Camera
We first saw the Sharp 8K Video Camera over two years ago, back at CES 2019, but since then there has been a stop-start release of new information… but it all came to a screeching halt last year.
Once upon a time Sharp's device was set to be the first consumer 8K camera on the market, but it has since been beaten by both the Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab) and the Sony A1 (opens in new tab). However, after being a no-show at CES 2021 (opens in new tab), we wonder whether the 33MP Micro Four Thirds camera with the 5-inch screen will ever actually materialize.
We're still pulling for you, Sharp – it's just a whole lot easier if you prove to us that there's still something to pull for!
• The Sharp 8K Video Camera is still alive – will it have 8K 60p in 2021? (opens in new tab)