Shutterbugs Exclusive Report

Shutterbug's Exclusive Report

In the pages that follow we are proud to share our thoughts and reactions to events at this year's photokina. If you've never heard of photokina it's held every two years in Germany and has established a tradition as the gathering point of the world's photo industry. Over 160,000 people attend and crowd massive halls filled with exhibitors from over 65 countries. Although the show has gotten somewhat of a Euro-centric flavor it's still the best place to be to discover the state of the art in the photo and imaging marketplace and to see what's coming in the years ahead. The show this year did not disappoint in its international flavor or its revelation of prototypes, new technology, and great photo exhibits throughout the halls and the town of Cologne itself. Photokina does not forget that it's really all about the power of the image, and although new products dominate our point of view you can rest assured that there were more exhibits of great images than in any other show we've ever attended. American industry events could certainly draw a lesson from the appreciation and, yes, gratitude exhibited toward photographers and their work at this show.

Our staff was there in strength to bring you the highlights, the new products, and the often odd and wonderful ideas that make photography such a fun and exciting field. In the pages that follow you'll learn about what's going to be in stores in the coming months, and even in the years ahead. We asked our reporters to bring you their take on what caught their eye in various fields, from digital to film to optics and even the wild and wacky. They all did yeoman duty in their tasks. Anyone who thinks this is a glamorous way to make a living is partly right, but there's also the shoe leather factor that really makes it work. In that way our staff all deserve some new kicks.

To get you started you might want to consider some of the highlights: mighty megapixel digital SLRs, a new breed of Hasselblad with a plug-and-play digital back (or two), many 5-megapixel point-and-shoots, a raft of compact and wide focal length range lenses, some new films with brilliant color and wide exposure latitude, and even some rather odd photo accessories that prove that you can invent something new under the photographic sun. But rather than spoil the fun we'll allow each writer to speak for him or herself. Most of the products we report on here will be available soon--some will arrive later or perhaps not at all. Or at least they'll show up in some other guise. That's the charm of photokina--it always keeps us guessing and on our toes. Many of the major products here will also be the subjects of Shutterbug tests in a future issue. As we get these exciting new products we'll get them to you in our reviews. So stay tuned, and read on for the state of the art in our ever expanding and always exciting field.

--George Schaub