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25 February 2008

Yesterday at 'Focus-on-Imaging' trade show

Hi everyone,

I've been at the Focus-on-Imaging trade show yesterday. For those that don't know what it is, it's a commercial event where manufacturers and resellers of just about anything related to photography show what they have to offer to the public. This is the biggest event of its kind in the UK. Similarly important trade shows are:

  • PMA
  • PhotoKina
  • WPPI
  • CES
Some brands display their newest products for the first time at trade shows like these, right before releasing them to the public. However, no remarkable premiers are supposed to happen at focus-on-imaging, sadly.

Some very well known brands were represented either by an exclusive stand or by a reseler's one (in alphabetic order):
  • Adobe
  • Alpa
  • Bowens (studio lighting)
  • Canon
  • Datacolor (the Spyder guys)
  • Epson
  • Fujifilm
  • Hasselblad (medium format & digital back gurus)
  • HP
  • Lastolite
  • Leaf (digital back gurus)
  • Lexar (wicked ice statue for a stand advertising compact flash memory cards)
  • Kodak
  • Mamyia (medium format gurus)
  • Manfrotto (tripods)
  • Nikon
  • Olympus
  • Phase One (digital back gurus)
  • Sigma
Some of the bits that impressed me the most were (in no particular order):
  1. A wicked automated camera that takes 360 degree shots with very high definition and capable of handling a whopping 26 f-stops of dynamic range. The SpheroCam HDR seems a pretty complex setup, with a hefty tripod a special camera and a computer for processing a proprietary format VR image. Costs about £9000.;
  2. The medium format kits with their digital backs and film magazines. The recent Hasselblads look very cool. I wasn't able to play with one, probably because I didn't ask;
  3. The small studio at the leaf stand with fixed lighting (at least 2 continuous flashes), a black background, a set of (at least) three cameras (medium format, leaf digital backs) and a pair of high-heel glossy red shoes (the object);
  4. The enormous Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 lens;
  5. Playing with one Canon EOS 1Ds mkIII with IS 400mm L lens;
  6. Playing with one Canon EOS 5D with a fisheye lens;
  7. Alpa cameras, which I don't understand, to be honest;
  8. The Canon stand was miles better than the Nikon one, unlike what I expected;
  9. The Canon cashback deals 24th to 27th February only;
I must say that the £6 for attending the show are worth so much more if you bring your wallet packed - show discounts were really good.
As an example, Canon has enabled the rebate system again just for the trade show. The cashback rebate for the EOS 40D body was £100, which was already being sold a a very good price. So I could have bought a new 40D body with a new BG-E2 battery grip for £749 - £100 (rebate). That's over £130 cheaper that the best price I can find outside the trade show today.

I really enjoyed it - it was a great experience and a great way to see the pros and their equipment - most of which I'll never lay my hands on :)

For those that might still be going, it's open until the 27th of February. Tickets cost £6 for non professional visitors and the parking fee is £8.

Cheers, PJ.