B&H Photo News Roundup: Week of May 19, 2024

B&H Photo News Roundup: Week of May 19th, 2024

A busy week in an already busy spring. Panasonic is growing its full-frame mirrorless lineup with an even smaller model, the Lumix S9, which pairs nicely with the new manual Lumix S 26mm f/8 pancake lens. At a special event, Microsoft introduced the next generation of Surface devices, which are powered by Snapdragon X ARM processors and feature Copilot+ AI technology. Last but not least, Leica is reentering the compact camera world with the D-Lux 8.

Panasonic shrinks full frame with compact Lumix S9 and 26mm lens

Compact cameras are having a moment and now we have Panasonic's entry into the mix: the full-frame Lumix S9 mirrorless camera. Panasonic also came out with a tiny Lumix S 26mm f/8 pancake lens to go with it and announced that an 18-40mm is on the way.

The S9 is an ultra-compact camera that is designed for content creators looking for a quick and easy photo and video experience. The 24MP full-frame sensor is also quite good and something we have seen before in the S5 II series. This sensor does come with phase-detect AF, so no worries there. The S9 also excels in connectivity and usability as it aims to create sharing-ready imagery at the press of a button.

The button we want to focus on here is the LUT button. The S9 gives Panasonic's Real-Time LUT function a serious boost. You can select and apply cinematic looks at the press of a button. Using the Lumix Lab app you can easily create new looks and have the S9 automatically transfer images to your smartphone so you won't have to worry about manually transferring each image over.

Interestingly, the S9 has some top-tier video specs, including 6K Open Gate recording. The best reason to work in open gate—besides the extra resolution—is that you can more easily crop it to various aspect ratios, including the more popular 9:16 and 1:1 ratios. You can capture one shot and use it across multiple platforms with ease.

It's designed to make content creation easy.

Let's talk about the new lenses. That 26mm f/8 is a pancake lens, meaning it is incredibly slim. Paired with the S9 you have a super-compact full-frame system. The one thing to note is that this lens is manual focus and has a fixed aperture. Basically, it is aiming to be a simple "f/8 and be there" lens that you don't have to worry too much about if you're looking to snap a quick photo on the street.

For something a bit more conventional, Panasonic did reveal the upcoming Lumix S 18-40mm f/4.5-6.3 Lens. This is another compact offering that will match the S9 but offers a bit more versatility along with standard features like autofocus.

Microsoft equips latest Surface lineup with ARM and AI technology

The next generation of Windows computing has arrived and it is all about ARM and AI. Microsoft hosted an event earlier this week where it was all about how Windows and computers were evolving and a lot of that had to do with the use of Qualcomm's Snapdragon X processors in the latest Surface devices. This ARM-based chip is similar to Apple's M-series in operation and results in greater efficiency, more power, and dedicated hardware for things like AI processing.

Copilot+ is the biggest change to the operating system as it brings AI to everyday life. Taking advantage of the Snapdragon X's impressive NPU with performance rated at 45 TOPS, Copilot+ allows for the use of AI tech to assist in nearly every application just by having it watch your screen as you work or play. It seems powerful and like it will help give a boost to many workflows. We will still have to see how this plays out in real life once users get it in their hands.

Which, one way to get it in your hands is to pick up the new Surface Pro or Surface Laptop—both of which got a boost in their respective editions. The Surface Pro is their 2-in-1 tablet/laptop option and besides getting a speed bump from the use of Snapdragon X Elite and Plus processors it will also have some options be available with an OLED display.

Microsoft is also taking their shot at Apple's MacBook Air with the Surface Laptop. Again, powered by Snapdragon X Plus or Elite processors, the new Surface Laptop promises excellent performance—up to 80% faster than the last generation. The design got an update as well with thinner bezels and a new haptic trackpad.

You'll have to go check out the product pages for details on all these devices and their various configurations but this is a bit leap for the Surface lineup. Plenty of developers are already on board with the ARM transition, too, so you'll see Adobe, Blackmagic, and other creative software natively running on the new processors very, very soon.

Leica revives compact camera offering with D-Lux 8

Premium compacts have proven to be incredibly popular in today's market and in response to that Leica is reviving its compact camera line with the launch of the D-Lux 8.

This premium compact is quite familiar to fans of the D-Lux 7 (or the Panasonic LX100 series) with a similar 24-75mm equivalent f/1.7-2.8 lens and 17MP effective Four Thirds sensor. That is a respectable and versatile arrangement for imaging. However, where the D-Lux 8 is hoping to distinguish itself is in its design. Leica has taken inspiration from the Q series and brought it to this more-affordable compact. As a Q3 owner, I am excited to see a streamlined interface coming to a more-portable option.

This is an early announcement from Leica as the D-Lux 8 will not be available until early July. We are expecting to receive full specs and details a little before the full launch, so check back if you are curious to learn more.

In other news...

  • Sonos debuted its Ace Headphones, their first entry into the Bluetooth headphone category.

  • Hollyland is already expanding its latest 4K video transmission series with the Pyro S, which is equipped with both SDI and HDMI.

  • Profoto is introducing the Zoom Rod S to its line of light shaping tools for creating a focusable light source.

  • Thypoch, a relative newcomer to the photo lens world, unveiled its newest lens: the Eureka 50mm f/2 for Leica M.

If this keeps up, we will not only have an incredible spring but an outstanding summer! See you next week.