Photokina 2010 – End of show thoughts

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Sep 30, 2010

photokina-2010-logoAnother Photokina has been and gone. There was no particular theme that emerged from the show. Perhaps the statement that most vendors made was “we are still here and we are doing okay in spite of the tough times”.

Photokina was smaller than previous years. This year only 6 of the 11 halls were in use. Most notably the massive Hall 10 was empty. Photokina has yet to announce an official number for attendees, but it seemed to us to be fewer people visiting the stands. In an unofficial poll of taxi drivers the consensus was that visitors were down by 50% on 2008. That said, the big brands pulled in the crowds and there were times when it was almost impossible to move around the Canon and Nikon stands. When speaking with exhibitors they seemed generally satisfied with the show. Although Photokina is not as big as in previous years it is pulling in the right crowd of people.

Some vendors were notable with their absence. Players such as Google Picasa, Facebook and Twitter which are integral to most consumers’ photo activities were not present at the show. It would be nice to have an industry event which embraced the entire industry.

So, what was new at Photokina this year? Not a lot is the short answer. Most announcements were made prior to the show, many during the IFA show earlier in September. Panasonic was probably the only camera maker that announced a significant new advanced consumer camera: the DMC-GH2. This is the next evolution of the Micro Four Thirds GH1. Fujifilm piqued the interest of attendees with the announcement of the FinePix X100 compact camera with an APS-C sensor. With its retro styling and 23mm fixed focal length lens it looks like some of new mirrorless cameras with pancake lenses. Unlike many of the mirrorless hybrids both flash and optical/hybrid electronic viewfinder are part of the camera. The X100 will be available in 2011.

As expected 3D was a big feature on Panasonic’s and Fujifilm’s stands. Also smaller players like Aiptek showed 3D capable camcorders. 3D has certainly given the industry something to be excited about although the jury is still out on how consumers will choose to adopt the technology.

Photo books were in abundance in all halls at Photokina. You could be forgiven for thinking that photo books are the only photo merchandise item that exists. The industry is putting a heavy emphasis on photo books, to the extent of perhaps being slightly myopic. InfoTrends’ analysts are looking forward to Photokina 2012 when we hope to see solutions that can match individual photos to the most suitable photo merchandise products.

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