What I thought of Photokina
Big topics for 2010
As you will be aware Photokina is the biggest photographic show in Europe – held every two years in Cologne. Like many German shows it was big – ten halls – and finding ones way round was a nightmare. Direction and location signs were poor. I was there for three days last week. I guess I have been going there regularly for ten years.
What was at Photokina
Things have changed. The message ten years ago was “Everything is going digital”. Now one would wonder whether film had ever existed. As one pointed out there are many young photographers who have never used film. One big exhibit outside of a main hall was for Lumography – Analogue for the post digital age. But I never figured what this was all about.
The players have changed. The first Photokina I went to Kodak had a complete hall: now they had a modest stand one third the size of Samsung’s next door. Canon and Panasonic shared a hall; Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji, HP, Epson all had a big presence. Apple was a notable absentee.
Nobody was saying ‘you must see this!’ Of course I am not turned on by the latest and best DSLR or even compact. What is clear is that the smaller things are getting better – larger lenses with a good zoom range. Who needs ever to change a lens (We don’t – the wide angle and telephoto zooms lie unused!). On cameras the talk was mirror-less – which will compact things more.
Two halls – 4.1 and 6 were for my area – photo editing and other software, paper, binding, photo books, frames, minilabs, mounts down to ceramics. In 3 days I didn’t see everything!
I always like the Fuji stand: I don’t use one of their products but they show what the in trends are in a vivid way. The clear messages were 3D and Photobooks.
Cameras and Lenses
Not of course my speciality, but think - why do I have a DSLR? It's bulky and eh, I never change the lens. The wide angle and telephoto stay in the bag unsued and that 18-300 does everything. Now you see big diameter quality lenses on compacts and they have all the features too. Impressed by the Olympus Pen and Pentax ranges (Why did I get a Canon G11 after my G9 was stolen?). Anyhow the magazines will give you all you want on gear.
3D Cameras, 3D Video, 3D Displays and 3D Printers
The sceptics would say “3D has been around since we were kids and earlier – all the time you need glasses it will never catch on. Remember the old 3D green/red glasses – and Viewmaster.” Time will show; you still really need glasses. 3D monitors were very much on show. Fuji were pushing a 3D compact camera, Sony a 3D video camera.
What about 3D printing There were some good ideas at the do it yourself level here. Watch this space.
Photo Books Design Printing and Production
I think the message has sunk in. Unless a picture is printed and accessible in an easy way it is lost. That is why, whilst the number of 6x4 type prints is decreasing, the photo book business is exploding! Of course, I admit any are produced at service centres and minilabs. But there is scope for you to do your own. OPUSalbums.com started this way and will continue to offer covers, paper software and binding systems for casual users, professional and even production users.
Our partners were there too. PXLSoft was pushing its Enterprise software suite (Dg Foto Art Organizer, Krafter, Express) heavily – ideal for anybody wanting to offer a photobook service. We are now equipped to handle this product as well as Dg Foto Art Essentia and Gold. Unibind was sowing new higher end binding systems with crimping devices. For the consumer end there was the ‘talking photobook’ (not yet on the market along with themed versions of the 6x4 My book (Pics Book Jr). We also found some more cover sets for the Pics Book Jr range.
An endorsement from a World Leading Market Research Organisation!
Incidentally this featured in a presentation given by the leading market research company GfK. The left hand page shows an exponential growth in the production of photobooks. Look carefully at the graphic. It’s been lifted directly from our website (You can even see OPUS). I’m not sure whether you call that a breech of copyright from one of the world’s most prestigious market research companies. At least it is an endorsement – thank you GfK