Oct 31, 2012
The annual PDN PhotoPlus Conference & Expo (PPE) was held October 24-27, 2012 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. Since, several of the leading companies in the photo industry have U.S. headquarters in the New York metropolitan area, the PhotoPlus Expo is a great “home show” for many industry insiders. PPE draws a healthy contingent from the surrounding metropolitan region and has become a “go to” event. The show drew nearly 24,000 attendees and 250+ exhibitors filled the exhibit hall floor.
Canon and Nikon were PPE show floor anchors, as they were the vendors closest to the main floor entrance, and occupied the largest exposition real estate. Canon showed off its newest cameras including the EOS 6D, a mid-level full-frame digital SLR and the EOS M, Canon’s first compact interchangeable lens camera (CILC). Priced at $2,099, the EOS 6D should be a strong product for Canon that will help them maintain their market share in the DSLR segment. The EOS M, meanwhile, has more competition, as it is priced at $799 and goes up against several established cameras in the CILC segment.
Nikon showed the 1 V2, which replaced the V1 model as Nikon’s flagship model in its 1 System CILC camera lineup, which also includes a lower-priced J2 model. The V2 is priced at $799 and has a much different design than its V1 predecessor – most notably a built-in pop-up flash and hand grip that gives the V2 more of the appearance of an SLR, and makes it easier to hold especially when a longer 1 System lens is mounted. Another interesting feature on the V2 is the Slow View mode, which plays back action in slow motion in the viewfinder and allows the user to release the shutter to get the shot they want.
Besides the V2, Nikon also showed its new 70-200mm f/4G ED VR lens, which is designed for use on Nikon’s FX full-frame SLR models. Priced at $1,399, this new lens is fairly compact and lightweight, and felt really nice from a handling perspective when mounted on the D600. It also has Nikon’s latest third generation Vibration Reduction system, which allows for up to five stops of image stabilization. This lens is a nice choice for Nikon SLR shooters that want a smaller, lighter, and less expensive alternative to Nikon’s 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens, which has a $2,400 price tag.
Sony also had a strong booth presence on the PPE show floor. Much of their emphasis was around the Alpha a99, Sony’s flagship DSLR model, featuring a full-frame sensor and the world’s first Dual AF (autofocus) system and utilizes Sony’s Translucent Mirror technology, which simultaneously directs light to both the image sensor and the autofocus sensor at all times. The a99 carries a list price of $2,799, and is priced to compete directly against the Nikon D800 ($2,999) but is priced well under Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III ($3,499). It remains to be seen whether the a99 has the performance and features to entice Canon and Nikon shooters to change brands, or if buyers will be limited primarily to enthusiast photographers that may have been shooting with a Sony product and want to move up to a full-frame SLR.
Samsung, another photo industry powerhouse, had a strong booth presence at PPE but was located more in the center of the Hall instead of close to the entrance. The highlight of the Samsung booth was the GALAXY Camera, a “smart camera” running the Android operating system. The camera features 16MB resolution, a 21x zoom lens, the latest version of Android (4.1 Jelly Bean) and wireless connectivity (3G/4G/Wi-Fi). The camera can also download and use apps available through the Android Market. We got a brief hands-on with the camera and it had the look and feel of a traditional point and shoot camera and the smart interface of the Android OS. The gallery function had a slick appearance and used a spiraling carousel for photo review and selection. Taking a photo showed no detectable shutter-lag and resulting photos looked sharp and clear on the camera’s 4.8-inch LCD. Pricing was not available at the time of the show.
Ricoh Pentax had a stronger presence this year with a nice visible booth, which was a big step-up from their very small presence last year, which was not much over a 10 x 10. This is a good sign and sends a strong message that Ricoh Pentax is here for the duration.
All in all the PhotoPlus Conference and Expo was packed with imaging powerhouses on the show floor and enjoyed healthy attendance from photo enthusiasts, pro photographers, and press alike.
More blogs from Carrie Sylvester