Photokina 2012: Around the Show

As we come to the end of another Photokina, there's a lot to reflect on. Most of the press have already departed (laaaaazzzy...), dealers have left, taking their hangovers with them, and the lines for bratwurst and low-alcohol Kolsch are much smaller than they were a couple of days ago. During the course of the show we've been around all of the major camera and lens manufacturers' stands, had several interviews with key executives (some of which are yet to be published) and eaten... well, we've eaten some terrible things. On the way, Lars got to speak some German (a biennial treat), Barney only slipped up on the highly polished floor once, and no-one locked themselves out of their hotel room. Not bad going. 

But it's not all high-pressure meetings, floor-scating and lukewarm schnitzel, we've also taken some time to check out the smaller exhibitors' stands. Along the way, we've learned a lot, met some great people, and seen some very weird things. Here are some pictures - enjoy, and thanks for reading! 

Barney, Lars, and Richard. 

The Koelnmesse is the venue for Photokina A well-known name in the imaging world...
Swiss precision optics at the Sinar stand. And Japanese ones in the Olympus XZ-2.
Vanguard is only one... ...of many tripod and camera support manufacturers at the show.
Polaroid, another well-known name from the past, displays its... ...instant cameras...
...and its range of action cameras. There is equipment for star gazers...
...and wildlife photographers. You can see bags in all shapes and colors...
...or test a camouflage hide. Staff are busy at the Novoflex expert desk...
...and on the Phase One presentation stage. Richter studio lighting
The 1. FC Cologne mascot abused as a lighting subject Espon large format printers
Performance at the Panasonic booth Endless selection of lighting and accessories... the Bowens stand Even more flash heads
PocketWizard Benro tripods
Booms and... ...bags
The Hensel demonstration in hall 6 is very busy. The innovative ballpod camera support
Carbon fibre rotor blades... ...are helping Mirrorless cameras take off.
A robotic photo table Elinchrome shows off its lighting equipment...
...and Sekonic its light meters. There's a chopper at the Mamiya stand...
...and a London bus in hall 6. Get your picture taken on a jetski...
...or browse the paper selection from Canson. Artists...
...and art... ...are on display throughout the show.
The Panasonic stand had it's very own jungle set, complete with improbably-attired explorer (exploress?)
Scale models are all the rage at this year's show. This model of Chartres Cathedral appears to be made out of matchsticks... ...and whittled-down matchsticks, for the finer details.
Cologne's Gothic architectural influence extends even to the Lego buildings. Exploded views were another theme of the show - with makers wanting to show off what they"d crammed in.
Samsung wants you to use its latest 'Note' mini-tablet as a sketchbook.  And here's a rare species - the Gorillapod Tree. Forrested nearly to extinction across the globe, it flourishes at tradeshows. 
Speaking of wildlife, there were plenty of attractive specimens on show, around Photokina. We don't know what he's doing either. Best not to ask. 
Not all of the models were human. Some, like this one, were terrifying.  We can't remember where this display was, but we stared at it for hours....
Hasselblad wants you to believe that it's new Lunar ILC channels the spirit of the Apollo space program. We're not so sure, but here's the real thing - NASA converted 500-series cameras, with signed photos of the astronauts that used them. We're not sure, but could this be a prototype of the rumored Sony/Hasselblad DSLR? We didn't spot a price-tag but let's make one up for fun. One MEEEEEEEELION dollars. Sound fair?
There are plenty of chances to learn some photography tips, or just get some practice. Not quite the final result, but it looks like '3' has it. Here's a reminder of the choices.
They take security very seriously at Photokina, but we'd be more scared if the guards weren't texting... Can't we all just be friends


Total comments: 26
By mosc (Sep 25, 2012)

Really enjoyed the coverage this year. I know you guys must have been busy preparing all the camera previews but it made coming to dpreview even more fun than usual. Thanks for the interviews too, good stuff.

Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (Sep 25, 2012)

Nice reports and interviews DPR Team, thanks. But did I miss something or did you? Wasn't Samyang going to present their 10mm f/2.8 prime?

By NancyP (Sep 26, 2012)

Yes, I am very anxious to see this and the 24mm TS lens.

Ad B
By Ad B (Sep 24, 2012)


thanks for this very nice picture story.
Like the other reports, previews and interviews. I enjoyed them.
Barney, Lars, and Richard. You did very well, thank you.

Next time I have to go myself... it's only 150 km for me...

By DanielFjall (Sep 23, 2012)

'3' certainly has is, my guess is that number '6' is pink.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By krb2002 (Sep 23, 2012)

Mamiya Chopper. Just noticed the name on the air filter for the chopper is the same place that used to do work on my bike. Their chopper shop has been out of business for a few years. Seems they may be back as an auto shop now.

By Lea5 (Sep 23, 2012)

If you go to an english or french photo show, you'll find cute girls in cars or on motorbikes. Why am I not surprised to find in a german photo show cute girls in a tank?

1 upvote
By photopoet55 (Sep 23, 2012)

Thanks dpreview good photo walk thru. One of these days I'll make it to photokina .May have to add it to my bucket list.P.S Video would be nice.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 24, 2012)

We'll think about that next time, perhaps. The limited bandwidth available for data (we're often having to run back to the press room and type with German keyboards), makes video a little hard to work with. We would like to, though.

1 upvote
By LFLee (Sep 23, 2012)

spotted an alien on the Panasonic Panorama picture - I am pretty sure with a head of that shape, the guy in blue hoodie is an alien visiting photokina...

By iudex (Sep 23, 2012)

Haha... I noticed it too, ultra-wide lenses are sometimes tricky. ;-)

By Grafoto (Sep 23, 2012)

It has been interesting to watch how his show has changed over the past 30 years. The myriad of stalls dedicated to the darkroom are gone. But in spite of this and our changing world, photography remains a vital part of our lives. A wonderful way to help us understand each other, and to keep connected to those we love. Long may Photokina continue and thank you DP Review for keeping us photo buffs informed.

1 upvote
By Ale1210 (Sep 23, 2012)

thank you, guys, great job!

By OneGuy (Sep 23, 2012)


Anirban Banerjee
By Anirban Banerjee (Sep 23, 2012)


By qwertyasdf (Sep 23, 2012)

Just to say thanks, dpreview

Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Sep 23, 2012)

You're welcome, glad you enjoyed the coverage (there's a little more to come, by the way)...

By Cryosphere (Sep 23, 2012) interview with Canon ?

By Cryosphere (Sep 30, 2012)

Hmmm...I guess there is no Dpreview's version of interview with Canon then....was hoping to hear more from them that possibly can end some of the speculations floating around.

But anyway, thanks for the coverage. I wish I could be there myself :)

By luigibozi (Sep 23, 2012)

I wonder if voigtlander had a booth...
And thank you, guys.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
Andreas Stuebs
By Andreas Stuebs (Sep 23, 2012)

Yes they did. I looked at the 25mm 1/.95 Nokton for µ4/3 lens - nice but pricey. To saad they discontinued their Pentax range

By luigibozi (Sep 25, 2012)

Thank you, Andreas. About the Pentax mount, maybe Cosina had a hint about their non-FF trend, because both Voigtlander and Carl Zeiss brands have their K mount lenses discontinued...

By Gesture (Sep 22, 2012)

Thanks. Wish you had reported on printers and papers and the Alpa booth? Must be a fun event to attend.

By jon404 (Sep 22, 2012)

Will check out the Ballpod... interesting!

By DrewE (Sep 23, 2012)

I'd also like to check it out. A quick Google search didn't seem too productive; the Giottos BallPod was about the only related thing that came up and is obviously not the same thing at all. Maybe some DPR staff member will be kind enough to point us in the right direction...

By schaki (Sep 22, 2012)

Lol @ how the red highligts in the red Kodak-signs have been badly blown to a lighter form of red. Not a very good shot imo. But it somehow comically just mirrors the fading away of Kodak.

1 upvote
Total comments: 26