It’s Another photokina Year

As this issue goes to press we’re off to photokina in Cologne, Germany, for the one show that always rocks the photo world. Held every two years, photokina is where just about every manufacturer in the industry from around the world gathers to show their wares, and their future tech, so that’s where we’ll be. Shutterbug is sending a team of reporters to cover every aspect of the show, from ball heads to backpacks and especially the new crop of cameras and lenses that will be on display. From what we have seen so far it should be a worthwhile journey, and we’ll bring you all the reports in a series of web bulletins with a full report slated for our January issue (in subscribers’ hands in early December and on the newsstands soon after that).

As has been their habit lately, many manufacturers just don’t wait for a show to begin to leak information about their coming products, though it often takes walking the show floor to get a full hands-on treatment. By now we’ve gotten you the news of the Sony Alpha 900, which our Sony expert Peter Burian is now putting to the test. You also might have gotten news on the new Nikon, Canon, and Pentax D-SLRs, which cover the range from modest but all-inclusive amateur offerings to full-frame D-SLRs that bring the latest advances in camera technology into play. There are also a host of new lenses, including the amazing Tamron 18-270mm zoom, which brings a 15x zoom ratio and their own “Vibration Compensation” into play.

But beyond the headliners are a host of new innovations and accessories that are always a highlight of the show for us. We’ve requested that our reporters spend equal time in the “back booths” where the quirky, curious, and downright inventive items are to be found. Every photographer loves a gadget and we’ll be sure to offer you some amazing examples in our coming coverage.

But what always catches my eye at photokina is the emphasis on the image; the town fairly bristles with gallery shows, bank wall exhibits, and entire halls at the show itself dedicated to the most pertinent, and unusual, images being made today. I must admit that I am always disappointed in how US photo shows fail to come to bat for the photographer. Yes, their photos are always impressive, and there has been some expanded efforts in this area on the part of show organizers here in the States, but sadly the US trade shows always have missed the boat in this regard.

In addition, as we go to press we are beginning our editorial planning for the year ahead. While we certainly can see a road map of tests for the coming months, our emphasis will continue to be on applications of technique, covering new technology and how it affects us all, and on the creative work of photographers and image-makers from around the country and the world. While we admit to getting excited about new gear, we always will place that excitement in the context of how it might change your ability to express yourself with your images. Yes, photokina is for us being a kid in a candy store, but we understand that the gear we see is a means to an end and not an end in itself. With change comes opportunity, and we’ve certainly seen lots of change in photography these past few years. What we also see is the opportunity to make images in ways never before possible, and to explore just how the image is used. That’s really what it’s all about.