Finally I find the time to sit down, armed with a cup of mint tea, and write about this year’s Photokina.
For those who don’t know, Photokina is the world’s most important and biggest photographic trade show, held in wonderful Köln (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany). Photokina has been taking place from the fifities, every two years, and has always featured the big names of photography (and also some smaller ones). Where the focus of the old editions was, of course, analogue photography, with the advent of digital photography most of the exhibition is dedicated to this thriving world, although a few surprises still lie here and there. Mainly, the Lomographic Society sand, which is also the main reason I went to Photokina.
Rumors are that starting from his year, the trade show will become annual.
I must admit that if you, like me, are new to this sort of things, the whole experience of a trade show can be a bit… overwhelming, to say the least. There are loads of people in every corner, everyone trying to catch a glimpse of the products from their favourite companies or play with some new cameras, lenses or accessories.
First of all, let’s take a look to a big name. This year, Leica has introduced a new film rangefinder, the Leica M-A. It’s a full metal body camera, which comes in either silver or black finish. It has interchangeable lenses (M-Bayonet) and quite interesting technical features: 1s to 1/1000s (and bulb) speeds, support for film from ISO 6 to 6400, hotshoe and a bright wievfinder. The aperture is, of course, dependant on the lens you want to use with the camera. It weighs less than half a kilo, and it’s build quality is, of course, among the best (it’s Leica, after all). The base price is £3800, but the package includes a complimentary roll of Kodak Tri-X 400. Head over to Leica’s website to find out more and shop. Good for you if you can afford it, because I certainly can’t (I’m still a nurse, after all).
Let’s continue our journey through the show with Lomography. Their stand was full of cameras, trinkets, t-shirts, bags, leaflets and posters and postcards and happy lomographers. Three the major products they featured at the show (albeit nothing breakthrough).
- LOMO’Instant Automat Glass Elbrus (baptised by yours truly LIAGE, because the name is quite long and I can’t keep typing it over and over). It’s a LOMO’Instant Automat with a brown leatherette and multi coated lenses. Being an Automat, it’s fully automatic. Aperture is either f/4.5 or f/22 (not that you can say your opinion on the matter). Shutter speed is standard 1/250 or bulb up to 30s. Film ejection is motorized and there is a built-in flash. Works on standard Fujifilm Instax Mini film. (leaflet)
- LOMO’Instant Explorer (the design is new, the camera itself… not). It’s a LOMO’Instant with a new design, basically. (leaflet)
- Sprocket Rocket SUPERPOP! Teal 2.0 (argh, another mouthful… cannot call it SRSPT either because that’s quite unpronounceable). Again, it’s a Sprocket Rocket. The SUPERPOP! version just adds a new colour and few extra aesthetic details. (leaflet)
All in all, Photokina has been an interesting event. My lack of actual interest in digital photography at the moment plus the not-so-steep price of the ticket and the amount of goodies I managed to get back home made me feel not guilty of leaving after a couple of hours of exploration. As much as I am interested in photography, I could not resist the calling of Köln waiting for me.