By Robert D. Phillips
For any U.K. readers eager to get their hands on some of the new camera releases, Focus on Imaging at the NEC in Birmingham is running until 5 p.m. this Wednesday, March 7th.
Canon are* using the show to launch their brand shining new and eagerly awaited 5D Mark III, and the stand is crowded from the 10 a.m. opening till the end of each day with people playing with the five or so examples they have on show. People seem to like it. I overheard the fashion photographer Perou, who has some photographs on show at the Focus Gallery at the hub of the hall, tell the CPS** rep, "You don't need to sell it to me—I will definitely be getting one." Or at least it was something very similar to that....
Nikon are finding it hard to keep up with demand to play around with their D800 as they only have one example in the country. The queues to try it out are daunting, like being at a crowded bar trying to get the eye of the barman. They are making up for it by having what is apparently the largest LCD in Europe serving as their theatre screen.
The Olympus stand is a small catwalk which is OM-D branded, and has been showing an alternating schedule of dancers, models, and photographers talking about the new miracle camera. As was mentioned in TOP, the actual camera is a lot smaller than it appears in the product shots, but it feels good in the hand and makes a very satisfying old-school shutter noise/feel when used. There are only two OM-Ds here, but again, people seem to be liking the camera.
Similar story over on the Fuji stand, where there is only one version of the lovely new X-Pro1. This is a piece of retro art—it looks and feels in the hand like a "proper" camera of old, and Fuji seem very proud of it, rightly so in my opinion.
Sigma are being even more coy with their new 19mm and 30mm ƒ/2.8 4/3 lenses—the sole examples of each are pre-production mock ups which stay firmly in the cabinet. Certainly tempting the desire though.
It is nice to see a pretty strong presence from Ilford at the show. Pushing mainly the new InkJet papers, they also have a strong film presence which is nice to see. Any visitors to the show can have their photo taken with an 8x10 camera loaded with an Ilford paper negative, which is then contact printed into a positive and is yours to take away after 20 minutes.
The Nova Chrome stand even has an enlarger on show!
I would say that the show is a must for any serious gearheads finding themselves near Birmingham, England over the next few days. Everything you can imagine, from the awesome Phase One 80MP outfit, right down to the eyecups and LCD loupes being sold by brothers Lou and Bob over all the way from L.A. CA. "We all but sold out by the end of day one" said Lou, with a big California smile. "So now we are just taking orders."
Focus On Imaging is in Halls 9 and 10 at the NEC Birmingham until 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 7th.
TOP reader Robert Phillips, who you've encountered before in these environs, is filling in at the Focus on Imaging press office this week.
[*Company names are treated as plural in British English. A U.S. writer would say "Canon is." I've left the author's native Britishisms in place because it seems appropriate—in the way that Ailsa McWhinnie used to leave my Americanisms alone in my U.K. Black & White Photography magazine column. —MJ]
**Canon Professional Services, Canon's limited-membership support organization for Canon-using professionals.
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Mark Cotter: "I was at Focus on Imaging on Sunday and managed to get my hands on all of the new cameras that interested me—Canon's 5D Mark III and the 1Dx, the Olympus OM-D, and the new Fuji X-Pro1. Being a Canon user, the new models are very nice but didn't wow me. The OM-D was a disappointment. Yes, it's a very nice camera but it's too small for my liking: it needs the two grips to make it useable. Perhaps, being an OM-1 user for my film work, I just prefer the size of the original. The Fuji line was outstanding. I'm in love with the new Fuji X-Pro1. Possibly, the nicest camera I have handled in quite some time."