photokina 2010 Report: Trends And Products At The Worldwide Photo Show

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Every two years the photo industry and sundry crews from the art, printing, and Internet world gather in Cologne, Germany for what is indisputably the largest gathering of its sort in the world. While the halls are filled with various products and innovations, and probably the best minds in the photo world, the town gives itself over to photography with exhibits both sublime and ridiculous in many of its museums, offices, train stations, and plazas. Cologne is a fairly strong art market as is, and photography has long been accepted, indeed encouraged there as an art form. I and reporters for this magazine have been attending photokina for many moons, and we go there to pick up on new trends, learn what we can about the latest technical innovations, see new and coming products, and, in all, take a look at what’s coming down the pike, photographically speaking.
© 2010, Grace Schaub, All Rights Reserved

Some products were previewed a week or so prior to the show opening, taking away some of the usual wow factor, but at least the real thing was at the stands and not some virtual illustration. There were a few items “under glass,” the term for prototypes that may or may not be made, and there sat mockups of cameras and other items literally under glass for all to see.

In essence, the main items were: the possible and more than likely end of the 35mm form factor in many digital interchangeable lens camera systems; the further encroachment of software on hardware, and perhaps the triumph of same over higher manufacturing costs and standards; the continuing price drops on image stabilized optics; the dizzying increase of options in viewfinder (or lack of same) displays; the ascendancy of “mirrorless” camera systems; the convergence of still and video functions in still cameras; 3D camcorders and still cameras in various guises; and last but not least the clamor about self-styled “analog freaks” (their phrase, not mine). While we do have a degree of coverage on individual items that typify these trends, our main focus in this issue is on an overview. We have already scheduled reviews of many of the items mentioned, and some yet unspoken of, and they will appear over the course of the next few months in these pages.

The show is also attended by the worldwide photo press, which is now half composed of armies of youth madly cutting and pasting press releases on their ubiquitous laptops during the show for immediate posting on the web, to old hands whose observations are perhaps more sage because like wine they are allowed to age somewhat (given similar tight deadlines) before pouring. But everyone is there to study up on what’s happening today to and in photography, which is a lot. We hope you enjoy our reports and we’ll look forward to sharing more info and reviews with you in the months ahead.

 

Correction
In our recent review of the HiTi P110S Pocket Studio (November, 2010, issue) the reviewer stated that in order to keep shooting while printing the user needed to disconnect the cable between the camera and the printer. In fact, the unit has a dedicated USB switch that can be turned off and that allows you to continue shooting while the unit is printing.

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