Photokina 2016 is over now. Yesterday was the last day of Photokina in Cologne. Although it’s the biggest fair related to photography, there were less exhibition halls occupied this year. And fewer visitors, too. At least this was it my feeling while being there. You were able to touch and test some gear, talk to sales representatives or some technical staff. Not only camera and lens produces exhibit their produces. You can also find the companies producing the big studio lights, filters, albums, photo-books, canvas prints and lots more. Unfortunately, the booths were distributed over the exhibition halls very badly. Instead of organising the halls by grouping the companies according their kind of business, as they were over the last years, they were distributed following the chaos principle this year. Very annoying. You really have to visit each hall to find all the booths you’re interested in – and have a very good chance to miss some booths you’d be interested in. I.e. I missed visiting Thinktank 😦 This year it was essential, to plan your visit in advance and work strictly with the fair plan or the smartphone app. But, even with these tools it was hard work to visit all booths of interest. 😦 very sad!
I guess, photokina has a problem, as the whole photography business has. Common people don’t use cameras anymore, but their cell or mobile phones instead. So, we produce more images than ever a year. But the market shrinks. The attackers are from the movie making gear such as copters from VR and certainly from the cell phone segments.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still need for good cameras and lenses, but there is not much ‘new’ gear. Even the big players did not have new ideas to present. The only new products they have are enhancements of already available products.
I won’t complain. I don’t need crowded exhibition halls with long queues at the booths before me and hindering me testing something. So, for me it was OK.
The most interesting product were, in my opinion, the lenses by Laowa. I tested the f2.8 12mm lens. It’s a complete manual lens for full frame cameras and has a fantastic outcome.
I also was at the Samyang boot for testing their f2.8 14mm full-frame manual lens. It didn’t convinced me. It was extremely hard, to find a sharp spot, although my camera supports me to focus, even when using manual focus.
I also tested the lenses from Lensbaby: Lensbaby Composer PRO II with Edge 50 and Edge 80 as well as Lensbaby Composer PRO II inkl. Sweet 35. The composter is similar to a filter holder, where you can plug in the optic. They are very interesting from a creative point of view. I guess, I won’t need one.
Another interesting lens, I tested, was the Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2. In my opinion, the AF is a bit too slow to be used for photographing birds. At least inside the exhibition halls and the available light inside of them. The stabiliser works fine. But, when looking at the EXIF data, you can see, how dark exhibition halls are, even our own eye does not feel the darkness. Here you can see, how much better the dynamic range of our eyes compared to camera sensors is. A free-standing hand-held test image taken at ISO 1600, f6.3 (open aperture) with 600mm (full-frame) resulted in a quite good image.
I also tested the Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD. I was impressed by the results. Most remarkable was the ability to zoom inside the lens. So, the length of the lens does not change. Neither while zooming nor while focussing.
I also collected some paper samples for printing images at home. I tried an on-camera GPS devices, that might replace my Garmin devices next year.
Beside impressions from different booths and a few of my test shots with the tested lenses.
On each photokina, there are also several photo exhibitions. I included some images taken at the different exhibitions, to give you an impression.