« OT: Congratulations, Andy Murray! | Main | It's 9/11... »

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


I like the way you closed the post like you know something, some secret piece of gear being introduced.


The world has become a very different place since this show started in 1950, Mike. Trade shows, in general, have been struggling to discover their raison d'etre in a world where mass communications has become so globally instantaneous and democratized. The large expenses associated with such show-only fairs seem rather ridiculous today. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that a Photokina still exists.

But there it is. Enjoy it (if you enjoy such carnivals) while you can. It's almost certain that its life is limited in the developmentally "slowing" camera market environment that Mike accurately portrays.

Is the constant streams of leaks intentional as the different manufacturers vie for attention before the show? Or is it a case of leaky supply lines? I'm still surprised at how well Apple (and to some degree Amazon) manage to save some wow-factor for their announcements.

I hope you're right about new product introductions slowing down. I've hated the past few years. By the time I've decided to consider buying something, it'd be impossible to find anymore. It's basically why I'm using 2nd-hand 4/3s stuff (not micro4/3).

It is very difficult to find oneself in:
"some remote corner of Luxembourg".

I wonder if the typical "tick-tock" development cycle of shipping a major update one year and a minor revision of that design the next year has had an impact on Photokina being every two years?

Mike, mark your calendar for Photokina 2014. There's a direct flight Chicago-Düsseldorf for about 1000$ return. I'll pick you up at the airport, you can stay at my house, and we'll go to the show together. I'll show you around Cologne, the Ruhr area, and maybe Münster or Maastricht, Aachen or a Rhine trip. maybe bring a camera?

"It is very difficult to find oneself in: 'some remote corner of Luxembourg'."

Ha! I originally wrote "some remote corner of Finland," but then I realized I'd be out of Germany long before I could reach Finland, so I checked a map to see where Cologne was, and realized the place I'd be more likely to wander into would be neighboring Luxembourg. Then I added "(if such a thing is possible)" to the phrase, but that seemed fussy, so I removed it again.

The alternatives to "some remote corner of" that I came up with seemed pejorative (i.e., "some godforsaken warren in"), so I just let it stand. I don't have all day to write these things, nor much time to reconsider them. That's my defense, and I'm sticking to it.

Mike, who's actually been to Luxembourg

"The large expenses associated with such show-only fairs seem rather ridiculous today. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that a Photokina still exists. But there it is. Enjoy it (if you enjoy such carnivals) while you can. It's almost certain that its life is limited..."

You could well be right, Ken, but I'll disagree anyway. There are still lots of people who need to see equipment in person, and if there are large numbers of things you need to see, there are few more efficient ways to do it than to gather everything under one roof once in a while.

Secondarily, I think it's generally accepted that at least a few personal, face-to-face contacts with business associates are considered a positive for business relationships, and, just as with the equipment, there are few more efficient ways to kill that bird with one stone than to get everybody together at once.

I've never been to Photokina, but I've been to many U.S. PhotoPlus shows and I never had any shortage of things to do, equipment to check out, people to see, or demands on my time. My guess is that Photokina will survive just fine, at least for the foreseeable future.


Remember, too, that Germany in particular has a centuries-old tradition of trade shows. CeBit, the IT show, is the largest trade show worldwide, although not as big as a few years ago. Albrecht Dürer's wife used to take his paintings and etchings to Frankfurt to sell: 16th century 'trade show'!

Mike- as to your "aversion" to travel, you might want to read Bill Bryson's Neither Here Nor There, if you haven't already. It's definitely worth the laugh, several.

In my early years Photokina was an event on another planet which I saw through the pages of Amateur Photographer. Now I live in Luxembourg and get the 6:21 to Köln which gets me there just before opening time. Surprisingly there are no signs on the platforms or around the station pointing you in the right direction. My first visit was 2010 and it didn't disappoint -'Was that Gary Fong with whom I was just talking?' 'Did I just handle an M9, RX100, big Epson printer'. It can overwhelm but it is a photographic experience that grabs you and enthuses you.
And Mike, Luxembourg, despite its small size holds some beautiful places where it is easy to get lost, especially if you have a camera.
I've got my train ticket and entrance ticket ready for next Thursday.
all the bets, Robert

I went to Photokina precisely six years ago. Damn, a lot has changed since then and in order to keep up I have wasted more money on underutilised camera gear than I care to count.

If you have a chance, go. It's a lovely city and a very well organised event with plenty of access, places to sit and places to chat.

But I really hope the pace is beginning to slow. I want the market to settle down again so I can budget properly!!!

"...It's a lovely city"

Hmm. Don't know about that. I find it a bit grim.

We usually fly into, and stay in Dusseldorf where swmbo can do some shopping for clothes on the 'Ko' and I can get a fast train to Cologne which drops me at the Show station.
Dusseldorf was once known as the Paris of Germany.

Bonn is a much nicer city and not too far from Cologne.

For me its not just about the show. The show is an excuse on which to hang a few days holidays.

I spent one day at Photokina 2010 and was amazed. Didn't have to hold any new equipment in order to have loads of fun. Each company had put up a picture exhibit of sorts, each terrific in its own right: the camera manufacturers, the printer manufacturers, the paper manufacturers, the accessories manufacturers... Leica had amazing B/W portraits 1,5 x 2,5 meters in size taken with the S2, Epson had award-winning photojournalism printed large, Panasonic had lots of "smaller nature and travel" prints, etc, etc, etc.

Needless to say, I'm going this year again. Still no interest in a new camera or lenses, but anxious to see splendid photography again.

"...I would get lost, and not make it out of Germany again for many months. And even then I would probably find myself in some remote corner of Luxembourg."

Sounds worthwhile.

As a youngster, having read about Photokina over the years in UK's Amateur Photographer magazine, I decided to take a trip there in 1972 when I was 21 to see what all the fuss was about. I found myself in photography heaven! Highlights for me were the launch of the Olympus M1 (later they had to change the name to OM1 after Leica complained about using "M") and the magical Polaroid SX70 camera. I still have a picture of myself taken with it on the Polaroid stand. Still bright, clear and fade free (thats the SX70 print, not me!!) I also remember the huge German sausages with mustard+bread roll that were being sold every where at the exhibition - mmmmm delicious.

I've only once been to Photokina, and as with Mecca every photographic believer should make the journey at some point in their lives...if only to discover that no matter how nerdy you are there are people way, way nerdier!

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007