photokina Reports:New Year’s Resolution

In this issue we bring you our photokina report, information gathered over a week spent at the worldwide photo show held every two years in Cologne, Germany. Our team of reporters covered the vast show halls to bring you reports on the latest products and technology in the photo and imaging world as photokina has always been the source for new trends in photography, and a good deal of inside information on what’s coming in the year and years ahead. Rather than bring you a laundry list of new products, which from photokina would alone fill the pages of the magazine, we have attempted to cherry pick the products and technologies that would be of most interest to you, our reader. We do not attempt or claim to cover all the products at the show and trust that those products of interest to Shutterbug readers not discovered or covered will be given due notice in future issues of the magazine or in our report on the US photo show in 2009.

Each of our veteran writers—Jack Neubart, Peter Burian, Frances Schultz, and Roger Hicks—had an area of coverage that in a show like photokina often encompasses more than one hall itself, so you can imagine the shoe leather and energy expended in compiling their reports. As photographers we became like the veritable kids in a candy store; as reporters we spent time with engineers, scientists, and designers who came from all around the world to attend the show. I also have to mention that once again the photokina organizers did a fantastic job in providing a vast amount of exhibit space for a very wide range of photography, from schools to public contests to art and commercial work from around the world.

While many products caught our eye the one issue that struck me was how the megapixel race has spread to the so-called medium format (or large sensor) pro group. Indeed, they are pushing the megapixel count with a vengeance, as much if not more than the amateur group ever did.

If megapixels are the way to win the hearts and minds of pros and enthusiasts then there will be much joy over the so-called Pro Format Leica S2 (chip by Kodak) all the way up to the incredible Phase One (54x40mm) 60-megapixel chip. Hasselblad, Sinar, and more are all in the race. There is a bit of a fly in the ointment, however, which we’ll cover in our reports. What is clear is that optics and software have a date in the future, and it seems that an optical/software algorithm alliance is next in the cards, at least when it comes to super high-res sensors.

Could this tech trickle down to enhance amateur and prosumer cameras and optics, and reach down into the digicam lot as well? When asked, the pro gang chuckle. “Any sensor with 2 micron size photo diodes has a natural low-pass filter built-in anyway.” If that’s the kind of line that gets you giggling you’d really love what happens at photokina, and increasingly at more and more photo and imaging shows these days.