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Photokina Report 2010

Started Sep 26, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Ursinho73 Regular Member • Posts: 433
Photokina Report 2010

Almost exactly two years ago I reported my impressions about the Photokina 2008. In case of interest you’d find them here:

Bodies/Formats (1)
Bodies/Formats (2)

I promised to repeat the exercise about 730 days later. Well, here we are. Wednesday, I headed for Cologne again (sorry for the delay).

I'd like to do some comparison between now and then. If it may gets a little confused at some points bear with me. This Photokina actually left me quite confused. Last time the Photokina was a colorful event and an exciting show.

This time not only the fair posters were dull and gray in comparison.

The one thing that struck me most was the incredible number of really big prints with outstanding image quality around everywhere ... and the fact that you couldn't tell anymore which camera was used to take them. Even prints of a pocketable compacts like Panny’s LX5 are just great nowadays. That should give one some thinking...

My feeling is that this year’s Photokina is some sort of a watershed for the photography industry. For the consumer electronics companies it all looks like paradise and they are almost euphoric. New consumers and consumption habits emerge. They don't carefully produce images with high end equipment for prints anymore but employ lifestyle devices to create audio-visual content, processed on the fly, that will be instantly uploaded to Facebook or Youtube. Wireless, of course. In 3D. GPS data included. HD resolution tops. That are just two megapixels, remember? Any device delivers that in much-better-than-needed quality these days.

The old and established companies like Canon, Nikon, Pentax or Olympus on the other hand where striving for the past 10-15 years to improve the image quality of their pretty conventional digital offers on a yearly basis from very little in the beginning to film quality level and way beyond. It was all about the Megapixel-Race (and some high ISO performance). Finally, they succeeded – and don't really know what to do next. They seem to me desperately searching for a way to go from here.

(D)SLR cameras where dominant for two reasons. They offered superior image quality due to larger sensors and better lenses and they offered more versatility due to all sorts of specialized equipment and accessories. But there came digital and with it outstanding image quality even with smaller sensor formats, electronic in camera correction of lens flaws and the ability to combine multiple shots with automated post processing to achieve most astonishing results.

Today you neither need a tilt lens to expand depth of field nor fast glass to reduce it, tiny compacts can yield 14+ stops of dynamic range by internal HDRs and no shift lenses are required for perspective correction anymore. You don't carefully stitch panoramas, you just “sweep” them and a pocket camera can do dozens of frames per second with its electronic shutter. Honestly, people like us, with large and heavy cameras and a bag full of selected lenses are increasingly becoming dinosaurs. And so do the companies that supply us. Or they change.

(to be continued in the reply)

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