Photokina 2006

Just because we could, on Sunday me and my dad went to the Photokina Photography Trade show in Köln, Germany.

The trip

But Köln is, like, in Germany. How to get there? By train of course. The ICE was capable of taking us there in 2 hours. Quite a comfortable way to travel, unfortunately it did mean I had to get up at seven in the morning. On a Sunday. Pain.

The show

"Every two years some 160,000 visitors from 140 countries attend Photokina to fact-find the entire range of products and services in modern image communication. Dealers, professional end-users and private enthusiasts as well as opinion leaders take advantage of this unique communication platform to discover the latest products and trends."

We only visited the trade show, so I kind of missed most of that. The trade show is all about showcasing the new products. Unfortunately, there weren't many proper professional products released this year. All primary camera developers went crazy with hundreds of completely the same plastic-fantastic crappy consumer cameras.

Thus the only proper gratification could be had searching for and handling the expensive super teles on display, and the releases of the medium-format camera developers. Yes, the Hasselblad H3D was very impressive.

The people

Photo enthusiasts are nuts. Everyone was walking with their camera around their neck, using it as a status object. For instance, a canon user would be wearing his 350d with the largest lens he had attached, run to the canon stand, and get some canon paper bags. Apparently, they mark their territory like this. Crazy. I was really glad I didn't take my camera with me.

The exhibitors were in tune with the crazies: they knew how to lure them. Providing stages filled with models, They would have a black-hole effect; sucking everyone with a camera to their stands. Sometimes I wondered why some photographers came to the show: for the equipment or the models.

The conclusion

Did I find anything to my liking? Of course. The Nikon stand had all kinds of very expensive lenses and Speedlight gadgets I really *need*, but unfortunately my funds and common sense blocked that path.

The studio lighting equipment was also very impressive, but very expensive. The main sobering factor in all of this is that I don't really need any of it to earn money, so I really can't justify the expense.

Was it all that bad? No. I had been looking for a new camera bag for some time. The internets are great for comparing the bags, but are quite rubbish if you want to estimate how big a bag really is. Hurray for fully stocked stands then. After visiting the Tamrac, Lowepro and Crumpler stands, I finally decided I might buy a Lowepro D400AW, as it was more compact and roomy then I expected, fitting my needs perfectly.

The last thing of note was the Kodak stand. Kodak had built a small city in one of the halls, with huge paths and walls. But if you didn't know what Kodak makes (film? hah!), you probably would have had a hard time trying to find out. I just couldn't find any of their products.

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