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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Photokina 2016 Quick Round Up (1 Viewer)

pete_gamby

Birds? What Birds?!
I saw Gijs brief report in the Leica thread (http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=328523&page=30) and thought some people might like to hear what we saw at the event and perhaps a little of what was discussed inside the Kamakura booth :)

For a start, sports optics is classified by the event organisers in the online exhibitor guide under "Additional assortments" with only 49 exhibitors listed i.e. not a very important product category (photofinishing includes more than 100 companies). This is no longer the best place to seek out innovations from the big guns in sports optics but it does remain a place to do business, especially for OEM, wholesaler and distributors like Opticron.

The show was down in size compared to 2012 - only a couple of the main halls (4 and 9) were in use full time with everything else packed into the smaller two storey halls. These are not as uncomfortable as the lower floors of the Sands Expo for SHOT Show but still not as nice as the bright, airy spaces of the bigger halls at the Kölnmesse. I wonder if the show really has future with the ever-growing IFA in Berlin running in September every year and CES in Vegas.

Sure signs that things were slow were that it took only a few minutes in the taxi to get to the showground - normally a twenty minute ride in traffic - and that restuarants around the Altstadt were not fully booked from 6.30pm onwards. This made it rather more pleasant as a visitor but having spoken to many exhibitors, they were not a happy bunch - six days is a long time to spend checking your Facebook feed and drinking bottled water.

My first meeting was in hall 9 where a majority of the action camera kit was. There was also a presentation stage in that hall and it was here that I got my first reminder that Photokina has always struggled to be 100% politically correct - female nude models always tend to draw good crowds to watch lighting and photography demos. There wasn't as much full body paint on show as usual so I guess they're making some progress!

For the die hard optics geek, most of the interest is in halls 2, 3 and 4. The lower floors here feel somewhat sub-terranean with the smell of coffee and pastries drifting on the air-conditioned breeze.

The reports below are in alphabetical order and from memory as I made very few written notes.

Baader Planetarium had taken a gamble of the weather being fine and were outside on the Boulevard showing a small selection of solar scopes alongside a small marquee full of astro-related stuff. They had a Celestron Hummingbird on show but it was tethered to the booth (in case it took flight I guess). By the way, their gamble had paid off as the weather was glorious - shirt sleeves only and beer on the hotel terrace at 11.30pm!

It seemed to me that Berlebach had pretty much everything in its catalogue on show. The piles of wooden tripods looked like a strange, angular wooden forest. Lovely products but difficult to sell to birders!

Bresser had a sizeable booth - longer and narrower than last time out and a bit more sparsely populated. Much of their offering is astro-related and I didn't spot anything new in the sports optics line.

Having bumped into John Riutta early on my visit I didn't have a chance to take up his invitation of a booth tour but Celestron had a good size booth in hall 2.1 so I suppose they had the full range on show.


On the Kowa booth, the new TSN-501 50mm standard and TSN-554 54mm flourite scopes were on show but sadly I didn't get a chance to handle them. There are some images of the Photokina booth on the Binomania.it site - http://www.binomania.it/immagini-dal-photokina-2016/nggallery/page/2 - including a shot of the product "timeline". The new Genesis compact was there of course and Paul Hackett was outside on the viewing platform giving digiscoping advice.

Last time round, Leica had booked the entirety of Hall 1. This year, they only had about half that space allocated to various photography exhibits. In hall 3 it had a semi-closed off area dedicated to its professional line cameras. No sports optics. Notavid in sight.

Long Perng is a scopes and accessories company that supplies a number of OEMs (including Opticron). There was nothing new in sports optics but they have a nice binoviewer for astro scopes which uses prisms rather than a beam-splitter so light transmission is excellent. There was a very blinged up refractor that was drawing much attention!

Didn't stop at the Minox booth for long but they were showing the BL 8x44 HD as new. A quick look through the MD 88 W was inconclusive as the viewing position was awful (and not helped by the use of a ball head on a very short tripod!).

Nikon had tucked the sports optics range into a low-ceiled area towards the back of its booth in hall 2.2 (of which it takes about 50% of the exhibit space!). There were no staff around but I spent some time with the HG and EDG to allow me to draw my own conclusions about their relative performance. Also on show were a couple of new very wide (9º plus) 40mm and 50mm porros but I can't remember for the life of me what line they were in! Doh! One of our Swedish retailers had pointed me to them because they were very impressed (and that's unusual for those guys).

Missed out on Olivon and UK distributor Optical Vision due to lack of time.

Ricoh/Pentax as Gijs mentioned had clearly decided that no one should look through the optics only at them. So that was a waste of several hundred dollars of display space then...

Never found Sightron (sorry Frank!).

I wanted to look through the Steiner Observer out of personal curiosity. It wasn't on show but they dug one out for me despite the fact that I told them I worked for Opticron - nice fellas. Nothing apparently new to see here but we did learn that the company dukes it out for dominance in the mainstream binocular market with Olympus, Nikon and Bresser.

The main promo for Swarovski was the APO 43mm which I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned on the scope forum yet.

One of the many Chinese suppliers, United Optics had a lot of stuff on show but nothing notable from my point of view. Same story for the rest of this type of supplier who of course tend to follow rather than lead on product design.

I did take some time to look at the Vanguard range but as with the Steiner this was to get a personal perspective.

Vixen had a lot of "concept" products on show although nothing new in binoculars. A relatively recent introduction is the SG6.5x32 ED binocular but that is by no means a sports optics model - 6 metre close focus, individual eyepiece focus - it's a very nice instrument for star gazers and apparently "flies" in the US market. We'll be adding it to the Vixen range over here.

As one of the important players in the photo market, Zeiss has a massive booth covering probably 10-15% of the floor space in hall 2.2. Sports optics gets a small-ish part of the booth but because of the general interest in this "home brand", there's always plenty of people checking the products out. No 8x32 SF and I wonder if that is a myth despite Stephen's hints otherwise. Who knows!

Binomania.it has a Photokina gallery which includes some of my (appalling quality) smartphone photos of some of the booths and some much better Kowa booth.

Enjoy!

Cheers, Pete
 
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FrankD

Well-known member
Thank you Pete for sharing your opinions and experiences at the show.

...and, no worries about Sightron. The thread on here generates enough of their sales. :)

I was hoping to see that Long Perng, or another similar company, was finally developing that MM3 80 mm. ;)
 

BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
Thanks Pete and also Dr. G for the Photokina reports. I do enjoy reading the show reports.

The one big Photokina announcement that I was looking forward to reading was a report on a replacement for the now two year old Canon Powershot SX60 HS camera. Unfortunately, that did not happen. One of the photo editors speculated that the earthquake last spring in Japan caused a major disruption in production and in new product releases. I am wondering if that may have contributed to the smaller participation at the show this year. I can see that even impacting the European manufacturers since they are becoming more entwined with the Asian companies.
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Bruce, post 4.

But Leica have introduced their Sofort instant camera, which at £200 may be the cheapest Leica yet?

Automatik-Hektor can you believe.

Leica brand film also. Maybe a first?

(Somehow Fuji I think).

Mind you, my friend bought a Leica Compur for £60. Some time ago.
 
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BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
Bruce, post 4.

But Leica have introduced their Sofort instant camera, which at £200 may be the cheapest Leica yet?

........

In the age of the Smart Phone, I am wondering who is going to buy it.

It is hard to understand why Leica did not have their newest flagship Noctivid binocular on display. Optics writers from all over the world were there. Many of those writers have blogs and facebook accounts where they could have given Leica exposure, even if not in a main article. What a missed opportunity for Leica. It appears the camera group and the sports optic group do not talk much.
 

14Goudvink

Well-known member
Also on show were a couple of new very wide (9º plus) 40mm and 50mm porros

Thanks for the report, Pete. These porros sound *very* interesting. Could you tell us a bit more about them? Were they IF or CF? Did they look budget or high end? Were they presented as prototypes or ready for production?

Thanks,


George
 

peatmoss

Well-known member
Thanks for the report, Pete. These porros sound *very* interesting. Could you tell us a bit more about them? Were they IF or CF? Did they look budget or high end? Were they presented as prototypes or ready for production?

Thanks,


George

Hello Peter. I'll echo everyone's thanks on your fine report. I'm also piqued by this new Porro. Apparently, the Swedes were impressed by it, but what were your impressions? I wonder if Nikon has a surprise in store for their 100 year anniversary.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

the new Nikon super wide angle is the rave on the german juelich forum... I posted some facts on the Nikon board - it's not a porro btw...

Joachim
 

peatmoss

Well-known member
Thanks, Joachim. I read some news about it on the CN forum. The rumored price is jaw-dropping, but my, what an interesting optic!
 

pete_gamby

Birds? What Birds?!
Sorry for the mistake guys - I didn't see the binos, only was told about them, hence no comments on performance, detailed specs etc.

Glad you found some info.

Cheers, Pete
 

fazalmajid

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
In the age of the Smart Phone, I am wondering who is going to buy it.

The Fuji Instax line (of which the Leica Sofort is just a rebrand job) is selling very well and growing, and helping Fuji's bottom line as digital camera sales keep declining.
 

jring

Well-known member
Well, whatever made Polaroids popular over regular film for many decades... you have a picture in your hands right away, has a small package and it's super easy to use, unlike a digicam plus pocket printer.

Joachim
 

Binastro

Well-known member
How many years will a Fuji/Leica instant print last?

If 50 years or 100 years, then worth having, not that I or maybe anyone else will be around then.

Polaroid used to be the speed king, maybe up to 10,000 ASA.
But now good photos at 102,000 ISO digital, although you have to print them.
 

jring

Well-known member
Lifetime is a good question, although since Fuji seems to have been in the market for instant image cameras and film for a few decades too (although mostly domestic), I'd assume that it's not abysmal...

Forget about 10k ASA - 800 is what Fuji (and their competition of the impossible project) can currently deliver.

Joachim
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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