Photokina First Impressions

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Sep 17, 2012

The 2012 Photokina trade show opened its doors to the press on Monday, September 17, and although the finishing touches are still being put on the booths we were able to take a look around. There were a number of press conference and other press events taking place, as well.

Samsung started things off. The key message was about communication and the focus was on the Galaxy Camera. Myoung Sup Han, Senior Vice President and Head of Digital Imaging, Samsung Electronics said that we are now living in a new era of visual communications.  Samsung’s booth had several table tops with just Galaxy Cameras. Today was the first time I picked up the Galaxy Camera and my immediate first impression was that it was much bigger than I had thought it would be. A 4.8” LCD is much bigger than on other cameras, but it is not much bigger than a smartphone. The Galaxy Camera looks and feels much like a slightly bulky smartphone. For teenagers who are growing up with smartphones the Galaxy Camera will probably seem to be something that is familiar to them. Samsung also announced two new lenses for the NX series of cameras; the 12-24mm F4-5.6 ultra-wide zoom lens and the 45mm F1.8 mid-telephoto prime lens.

Hot on the heels of the Samsung event followed the Panasonic press event. Here the Lumix GH3 compact interchangeable lens camera was announced. It is targeted at pro photographers and is the flagship model in Panasonic’s camera lineup. This camera has built in Wi-Fi, making it the third camera that Panasonic has launched with Wi-Fi. The focus during the press conference was on the video capability of the GH3. We were shown a professional film that was shot on the GH3, which was impressive.

Other General Observations

A quick look around the show floor confirmed that the two themes of connectivity and professional video which were highlighted in the press conferences are key themes this year.

The overriding theme at Photokina 2010 was 3D. On my quick tour around a few of the halls today I did not spot a single reference to 3D.

In 2010 Kodak had, as in previous years, a major presence on the show floor. This year it is different. It is good to see Kodak here, even if the booth is smaller. On the booth we saw the NexPress, kiosks, one home printer, scanners and a display of photo books.

A sign of the growing ILC market is the large booth that Tamron has this year.  The many new DSLR and CILC product launches is good news for lens manufacturers.

Tonight the technicians and booth builders will be putting the last frantic finishing touches on the booths. Tomorrow morning at 10am the booths will be ready for the large number of visitors who will want to see what is next in the imaging market.

My first impressions of Photokina 2012 is that connectivity in digital cameras is here, at last. It seems that the words “connected” or “connectivity” are everywhere you look. It will be interesting to see if the excitement about connectivity at Photokina will translate into increased consumer uptake and usage of connected digital cameras.

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