For many years I have visited Focus on imaging in the UK at the NEC in Birmingham and in fact back to the days when it was known as Photography at Work and was held in the Wembley Conference Centre. However I have always had a wish to go to the world’s two biggest photo exhibitions being PMA in Las vegas and Photokina in Cologne which is held every other year on the even numbered year.
This year with the help and persuasion of some friends I made it to Photokina and below are my impressions of this event.
As you would probably expect getting to the event with the German public transport system was quick, efficient and a pleasurable experience.
The weather was wet all day which wouldn’t normally matter if you are inside all day but Nikon had organised a system where they were photographing visitors on the way in and projecting the image on a giant screen by the entrance, quite cool have your picture taken then take a picture of yourself on the big screen, a nice little fun touch to start the day off.
Once inside the Messe (the exhibition halls) you could see why this is a big exhibition, Focus on Imaging has two halls, Photokina has eleven of similar size to the NEC and we were going to try and get round in one day. One thing where Focus could learn is the size of the aisles, no crush here and with the absence of retailers there there was no car boot sale effect as happens in Birmingham. The other first impression was the sheer size of the stands reminding me of a motor show rather than a camera show. Language wasn’t a problem as most people were people could speak English with name badges carrying the flags of the languages spoken.
So what about the gear ?
For me, two items would/could appear on a wish list both announced shortly before the event.
On the Canon stand was the new 8-15mm L series zoom lens. Sadly there was one but locked away in a glass cabinet and another fitted to a camera but out of reach to visitors, rather bizzare I thought. Why didn’t Canon want visitors to try the lens ? I’m sure they weren’t trying to hide anything but I don’t have any ideas why….
This lens is reputed to cover a full 180 degrees field of view so does sound very interesting and on a full frame DSLR would be pretty unique.
The other object of desire was the Leica M9 Titan, the titanium bodied M9.
I will need my lottery numbers to come up for that one though !!
Talking to a couple of exhibitors who have shown over the years, they seem to have the impression that this years show was slightly smaller than previously and visitor numbers possibly down, this of course applies to Focus as well but it is obviously a sign of the current economic climate.
This year a hall was devoted to exhibiting some cutting edge fine art photography, it was the last hall on our day so time was running short but it looked as though it was worth more time spent there.
Overall it was an interesting experience and well worth the effort in going and would recommend it to anybody with an interest in the latest photographic scene.
Thanks are due to Ian, Dave and Claude Donne for making this happen.