The CP+/WPPI Roundup

Note that I also consider anything released in the two weeks prior to CP+ as being CP+ related. 

While the mirrorless products were front and center at the two recent shows (WPPI and CP+), that didn't mean there weren't things happening of interest to DSLR users. 

  • Canon RAISE—Given the all upper case, RAISE obviously is an acronym for something, but we only know what the AI part refers to (hint: AI ;~). Adobe Stock has for some time now had the auto-sorting and tagging features Canon just introduced in RAISE. Canon is going to provide a Lightroom plug-in, too, so there's a huge duplication here to what's already been done. To what end? It's unclear how I share images usefully out of RAISE, or what Canon's really up to here. Some have speculated that by working on auto-tagging like this, Canon learns more about what the camera should be (or is) doing ("Canon may collect information about the images you upload, including EXIF data..."). That could inform future camera intelligence (e.g. auto tagging in camera). The problem is that I see the clear value to Canon for RAISE, but I don't see the immediate value for me. This is one of the fundamental problems with Web 3.0 thinking: it wants the masses to be free providers of work and information that a company then profits off of without compensating you. No thanks. I don't work for free. Note: RAISE is a CanonUSA initiative, not apparently a corporate one (yet). Oh, and because of the AI aspect of it, RAISE runs afoul of privacy laws in three states.
  • CFexpress—The next generation of CFexpress—2.0—standards have already been announced, and CP+ was the coming out party. That despite the fact we don't have any 1.0 cards or devices on the market yet. Ironically, the chairman of the association behind the standards is from Canon, which doesn't currently use XQD (the CFexpress predecessor). So it was kind of strange to hear a Canon executive announce the future of what Nikon has already committed to. There was interesting news in the announcement, too: current XQD is what will become CFexpress Type B. Type A will be a form of the card standard in a smaller package (look out SD). Type C will be a much larger package with new state-of-the-art hard drive type specs (up to 4GBps performance). Don't get confused by all the announcements regarding CFexpress. We're about to get CFexpress 1.0 cards, though it appears they will all be labeled as Type B, which is from the 2.0 standard. Those cards are the direct descendent of XQD, using two-lane Gen 3 PCIe as the interface. The primary difference between the cards we'll be getting soon (1.0) and the next generation (2.0) of Type B cards is that the software stack will move from NVM Express 1.2 to 1.3. Otherwise the broad specifications are the same. Put another way, Type B cards should have broad backwards compatibility if the device creators are paying attention and updating their firmware appropriately.
  • Nikon CFexpress—A firmware development announcement for the D500, D850, and D5 that they'll update these cameras so that they can use CFExpress cards as well as XQD ones. Didn't I ask that question of Nikon back in April 2018 and didn't they promise to get back to me about it? (answers: yes, and no)
  • Nikon Firmware—Nikon updated the D600, D610, and D750 firmware, but mostly for bug fixes.
  • Nikon WR-A10 and WR-10—Once again we get a temporary suspension of production on these key wireless elements. Nikon's claim is that they're rebuilding the production system for them and are having trouble procuring parts. New production won't occur until July 2019, at the earliest. Couple this with the problem that the WR system was poorly designed (the WR-A10 has a tendency to break and is needed on the DSLRs to use the WR-10) and you have the usual Nikon Can't Do Accessories complaint I've had for years. I'll say it again: if you're going to go it alone building an ecosystem, you have to build the whole ecosystem and do it well, not just build cameras. Frankly, this is incompetence. 
  • Pentax KP Custom—Well, if you aren't going to sell many, you might as well call it a Limited Edition ;~). What this is, who knows, as Pentax only presented a vague announcement and model to look at. We do know it will have a wooden grip, a different coating on the lens mount, and a new top plate, though, which suggests that there won't be much if any change inside. No price, available only in Japan initially, no other details. No interest.
  • Pentax 85mm f/1.4—Another development announcement, despite the fact that this full frame lens has been on the lens roadmap since, I believe, 2017. Time keeps of slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future...
bythom pentax 11-18mm


  • Pentax 11-18mm f/2.8—Announced in fall of 2017, this lens still hasn't seen the light of day. Well, okay, what appears to be a production lens finally saw the light of the CP+ display hall (after a press release re-announcement at the end of January). US$1400, and available "soon." But...time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future...
  • Pentax Lens Road MapThe fisheye zoom is gone, a new crop sensor standard zoom lens was added. But...time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future...
  • ProGrade CFexpressput out a press release looking for development partners who wanted to test two new lines of CFexpress cards, Cobalt (1.6GBps with 1.4MBps write burst speed) and Gold (with write burst speeds from 600MBps to 1GBps). Capacities will start at 120GB and go to 1TB. In addition, they apparently have a USB 3.1 CFexpress reader coming, as well.
bythom rokinon 10mm


  • Samyang 10mm f/3.5—a rectilinear, manual focus, wide angle lens, with a claimed level of zero linear distortion. Canon EF and Nikon F, available "spring", with Canon first, Nikon second. While a lot of you are probably thinking about a lens like this on something like a D850, what struck me was that it might be a really good choice for APS-C/DX, in other words, a D7500/D500 type user. The MTF charts published for the lens look quite good, too. Definitely a lens to keep on your watch list, and one that I intend to test. (Rokinon version shown above. Available for pre-order.)
  • Samyang 35mm f/1.2—A fast moderate wide angle lens for Canon EF. Part of Samyang's "spring collection."
  • Sony CFexpress—Sony announced development of both a 1.7MBps CFexpress 128GB card and MRW-G1 card reader. This is a "tough" design, able to withstand additional force. Includes card condition and file rescue utility software. 256GB and 512GB cards are coming in the future. Nikon has cameras that will be able to use CFexpress cards in the future (D500, D850, D5), but it's unclear if they'll be able to take advantage of the extra speed. Available summer 2019.
  • Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD—a development announcement for a future fast, mid-wide angle DSLR lens for full frame cameras. Canon EF and Nikon F, available mid-2019. Tamron already has a very good 35mm f/1.8 lens, so I'm wondering what we'll be getting here that's worth looking at.
  • Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD—a development announcement for a potentially unique all-in-one lens for full frame cameras. While it doesn't go far into the wide angle, it goes further into the telephoto range than the 24-120mm type lenses. It's reasonably fast in aperture, but uses a variable aperture to stay smaller. The interesting thing is that a lot of APS-C/DX users—particularly Americans who don't like to get close to things ;~)—were using a 24-120mm f/4 on their crop sensor bodies. What's that in FX terms? 36-180mm. Hmm. Tamron calls it a "portrait zoom," but I don't think that's really how it will be used. EF-S and DX users are going to look at this lens as the "missing 70-200mm," too, as it's 53-225mm on a Nikon DX body (more like 60-255mm on Canon EF-S bodies). Curiously, Tamron doesn't seem to be mentioning that. Canon EF and Nikon F, available mid-2019.
  • Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 Opera—Not quite the 17-35mm replacement many have been hoping for, as it doesn't have filter threads. Moreover, I'm not sure what "Opera" actually means now that they've used the term for very high quality primes and a much lower cost (US$699) zoom. This looks much like a refresh of an earlier Tokina lens to me, complete with the focus clutch arrangement. Canon EF and Nikon F, available March.

You might ask "why so many DSLR lenses if DSLRs are dead?" 

This confuses current and future camera sales with installed base. At some point in the future, DSLR body sales are mostly dead, for sure. Right now, though, the biggest installed base of users is, you guessed it DSLR users, and DSLR bodies still sell decently. Lenses extend the useful life of a DSLR. After all, we've had really competent DSLRs for quite some time now, cameras that exceed the quality requirements of the majority of photographers.

So the answer to the question is simple: late-cycle wallet sniping. It's late in the DSLR cycle, and the makers are trying to pull a few last dollars out of your wallet.

Winner:

  • Tamron—They continue to put higher-end lenses into the queue, and they don't always duplicate what's already available, so kudos. 

Losers:

  • Everyone—As I noted above, it's late cycle now for the DSLR products. We'll continue to see DSLR sales drift downward. Thus, when you compare the amount of new product activity written about in this article with how much was in the mirrorless side, you can see that we're already into the transition period from DSLR to mirrorless. We'll continue to see some new bodies and lenses, but we may be entering the last cycle of significant new offerings from all the entities. Some are simply going to move on, as Fujifilm, Olympus, and Sony already have. 
  • Pentax—Pretty lame. A vague development announcement of something that appears to just be some cosmetic changes to an existing model. And a development announcement for a lens that's been on the roadmap for two years. Time is moving very slowly at Pentax, it appears. I almost expect the Pentax team to show up some day in the not too distant future, look around the room, and wonder "where'd the DSLR guys go?" 
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