art, culture, leisure, photo-of-the-day, photography, review, urbex, work

Throwback Thursday: RIP Photokina ?!?

One week ago, I got an email from the Photokina team, the team behind the (former) world-leading fair for photography. Since 1950, every second year in September all eyes worldwide were directed to Colone in Germany to see the latest products and services for photographers: cameras, lenses, tools, gear, paper, printing machines, and so on.

Over the last couple of years, there was already a change visible. In my 2016 Photokina review, I already talked about it. 2018 was the last year the fair was held in the traditional way. Starting from 2019, they changed the frequency and the time of the year to face the changes in the photography business: Starting from 2019 the fair should run each year in May. (I wasn’t at Photokina in 2019, because I was in Wales at the same time). In my opinion, changing the time to May was a bad idea. It’s already vacation time. New consumer electronic products are already introduced at CES in January and for the shops, it’s too early to order products for Christmas. So, I really wonder which audience they want to address.

The other problem is, although we’re taking more photos than ever, only the tiniest part of them is ever printed and put in an album. In my opinion, more than 99% of the photos are taken with a cell phone and will never leave the device (expect from being put on FB or Instagram or being forwarded by a messaging service like WhatsApp, signal, or telegram to only name a few of them). And instead of printshops and laboratory, we only need a computer, software and maybe a desktop printer. And, we have an enormous diversity spreading from the pro wedding or product photographers to the ordinary snappers.

Over the last couple of years, we can notice an increase in camera and lens prices, while, on the other hand, the revenues of the manufacturers are decreasing. In 2015 I was asked by a fellow blogger about my opinion on the future of cameras and wrote a post on it (sorry, it’s written in German, but hopefully, this link works for you to translate it into English). When looking into it today, I see, many things I prophecized are already a reality.

Back to Photokina. In 2020 Photokina was canceled because of the Covid19 pandemic. 2021 now is also canceled because of the still ongoing pandemic and no-one is able to predict if we’re able to run a fair for several hundred-thousand visitors safely. So, this cancelation was already overdue. Now, the email is titled by “Photokina bis auf weiteres ausgesetzt” (suspended until further notice).

Now, the Photokina team has to use the time very carefully to re-invent themself and come back with a (new) concept attracting the manufacturers as well as the audience. CeBIT is an example, where the management did the wrong decisions. CeBIT is history (1986-2018). Is Photokina also already history? When looking at Gamescom (2009-), you can see, a renewed concept can make a fair successful. In the beginning, in the early 1990s, one of the fair halls at CeBIT was dedicated to gaming. Over time, gaming became more and more room. But, at some point, someone came up with the idea to dedicate a complete fair to only gaming, and it became a huge success. Even changing the location from Leipzig to Colone wasn’t able to stop the success.

As I stated above, the audience is extremely diverse in their needs and interests. Photokina could stay relevant when concentrating on pro-level photographers, and leaving out the consumer part. But, the fair needs to refinance itself by getting the entrance fees. During the last years, the entrance fee was already quite high and raised each time. So, I was wondering about many of the visitors. I had the impression their only purpose was filling the room. Many, many visitors seemed to be completely uninterested in the exhibitions. When planning with fewer ordinary visitors (this would probably re-attract more pros), the entrance fees would need to be increased even further. Although pros might be able to deduct the entrance fees from their taxes, I’m not sure if that’s enough.

CeBIT has had similar problems. Once, computer and IT were a small part of the Hannover Messe Industrie (industrial fair). Spinning the computer sector off, was a great and successful idea. But, with the upcoming success of computers, more and more ordinary people interested in computers became attracted by the fair the halls became extremely crowded. Gamescom was able to absorb many of the people interested in gaming, but still, too many people were visiting the fair making it more and more uninteresting for the businesses because they were unable to talk to their business customers. House fairs, organized by either the manufacturers or by big distributors, were taking over and the importance of CeBIT decreased.  In 1995 about 755000 visitors and 7500 exhibitors were visiting the fair. In 2018 only 200000 visitors and 2800 exhibitors found their way to Hannover. That was less than during the first CeBIT in 1986.

visitors exhibitors
2014 124.731 752
2016 125.995 694
2018 116.218 529

source: https://www.auma.de/de/ausstellen/messen-finden/messedaten?tfd=koln_photokina_150229

photography, review

Photokina 2018

In Cologne was Photokina time this week. From Wednesday to Saturday many companies around photographing were showing their new products: cameras, lenses, printers, imaging trends and so on. In the past, this fair opened the doors every second year at the end of September.

Starting with next year, they are changing their schedule to an annual event in May.

This upcoming change might already had an effect on this years event. It was the smallest Photokina I’ve ever visited and the shortest time I ever spent on a fair. Also, the opening duration was shortened. It was open from Wednesday to Saturday instead of Monday to Sunday in the past.

Less exhibitions, smaller booths (expect Sony, Nikon, Canon and Panasonic). No major announcement (expect the new DSLMs by Nikon and Canon or the new lens mount alignment of Leica, Panasonic and Sigma called L-Mount). Many well known brands were missing on the fair. Even some major brands didn’t come to Photokina this year. Over all, I was very disappointed about this years Photokina.

Some of the exhibitions were even pushed to the borders, kind of hidden. Although, there were many interesting images shown. In my opinion the best exhibition is located right in front of the railway station Köln Messe/Deutz set up by the Singst Foto Fest and open 24 hour a day for the public: amazing images of the sea.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

photography, review

Photokina 2016 – a review

610_7383-s_wPhotokina 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.

Have fun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

photography, technic

Photokina 2014

foto_wEvery other year, the whole photo industry looks to Europe. Come a little closer and see, they are looking to Germany. Over there, in the west-north-western part of Germany is a big city called Cologne. Here, in the Cologne fairground is the Photokina held every other year for a week. This year they are also celebrating 175 years of photography.

This was my  third visit in a row.  After 2010 and 2012 I’m here again, walking through the huge fair halls looking at the new products. Cameras, lenses, tripods, bags, software, monitors and other gear is presented to the public. It’s always very interesting, although it was very crowded as usual.

As always the big companies i.e. Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, Hasselblad, have huge stands filling nearly half of a hall each.

Many companies offered presentations. Some presented their software, other have had invited famous photographers telling where and how they shot the photographs used in the companies advertising using that certain gear. Other have had organized show shooting, when a photographer demonstrated the gear in a commented live shooting on the stage where the results were instantly displayed on a huge screen to the audience. And again, many stands were equipped with beautiful female models to be a subject to be photographed for the people.

In my opinion, this years fair is quite lame.  None of the big companies has something really new to show. No really new products, no new trends. Even some stands of the big companies were empty and you were able to touch and test some of their products. I guess, the fair was also a bit smaller than the last times.

The only new trend I was able to recognise was the lack of printed brochures at the stands of nearly all major companies. Instead, there  were QR codes printed beside the products to direct the interested people directly to the corresponding material available online. A good choice for the environment and a good choice for the carrying shoulder.

As usual on an outside area they had birds of prey and let them fly free.

I put a few impressions in my gallery below.

The fair lasts until Sunday. So, you still have a chance to have a look on your own.

Stay tuned!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

landscape, photo-of-the-day, photography, technic, world

What a surprise

oppressed landscape / geschundene LandschaftToday I got a registered mail containing a 64 GB SanDisk USB-Stroage. But why? The letter said, I’m one of the winners at SanDisk’s photo competition during Photokina, back in September.

I wasn’t able to remember to that competition, because it’s about 3 month  ago. Good luck, I have a wonderful email archive. so I was able not only to find the competitions subject, but also my contribution.

The subject was: extreme landscape

My contibutions title: oppressed landscape

This photo was taken in Grevenbroich, Germany by using my fish eye lens. It shows the enormous hole remaining after digging for brown coal in daylight mining.