Photokina, the grand daddy of all imaging tradeshows, has come to a close after a week-long run at the cavernous Koelnmesse in Cologne. Take a walk down memory lane with us as we look back at some of the wild, wonderful and downright weird sights and sounds at the show.
Panasonic Lumix GH2 Hands-On
The Panasonic GH2 wasn't much of a surprise when it launched on Tuesday thanks in part to its being featured on this large banner that went up on Monday.
Still, it generated plenty of buzz as one of the biggest announcements made at the show. We moseyed over to the Panasonic booth for a little one-on-one time with the GH2. Cosmetically, it's not much different from the G2. The viewfinder is a little wider, but it features the same flip-out 460k-dot, 3.0-inch LCD.
The internal upgrades are more notable. It's Panasonic's first 3D capable Micro Four Thirds camera, followed by the G2 when a firmware upgrade becomes available. You'll need a 3D lens, of course.
Take a look at the (really) quick video below of the touch shutter in action. It's a feature carried over to the GH2 from the G2, but it's surprisingly fast and accurate.
My kingdom for a bag
Everyone at the show got a free Nikon D3100... bag! That's right, Nikon probably took the award for coolest schwag bag with the mock neckstrap handles.
That's not much of a prize though, seeing as how most bags we saw were actually filled with other booths' bags. Really.
Canon's booth was colorful and imaginative, inviting show attendees to step up behind a big L series lens and photograph a flock of paper cranes flapping their wings in flight.
Nikon presented a more serious display, with its signature yellow and phrases beginning with "I am... " as a backdrop to their showing of DSLRs and Coolpix cams.
Sony takes the award for the hands-down wildest booth of all the major players. Attendees put features like 3D Sweep Panorama mode to work photographing static scenes of flora and fauna. A walk through the booth took you by a skateboard half pipe and a slice of Australian wildlife, complete with a life-size kangaroo statue.
Nobody seemed particularly alarmed by these sights, and the booth was almost always packed with people eager to lay their hands on one of the a55 or NEX-5s on display.
And on the other side of the technological spectrum, Lomography urged tired show attendees to sit back, relax, and forget about digital for a while. A couple of gentlemen were taking them up on the relaxing part, anyway.
Big and small
There was a strange abundance of theatrically oversized objects at this year's show. A giant Carl Zeiss lens housed a small collection of Zeiss gear. Olympus celebrated its Micro cameras with a giant pair of glasses among other oversized objects.
Cars were a recurring theme too. Hasselblad and Sigma flexed their muscles with a couple of a muscle cars on display, while Samsung represented its small NX cameras with a miniature racetrack.
Novoflex showed off a line of lens adapters, bringing the likes of the Olympus E-P1 together in sweet manual-focus harmony with some Leica lenses. The urge to slip this into a bag and run the other direction was fought off with some difficulty.
And for contrast, we snapped a photo of one of Sigma's big guns, an imaging tradeshow staple.
Auf Wiedersehen, Photokina.
How do you summarize a show on such a massive scale as Photokina? The big players reaffirmed their positions at the top of the heap. Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, just a concept at Photokina 2008, were presented at Photokina 2010 as a force to be reckoned with. Despite the momentum behind this emerging class of cameras, neither Nikon or Canon showed any movement toward developing their own mirrorless cameras, at least on the show floor.
As always, Photokina 2010 was a wonderful international stage for imaging companies to put their latest technology into the hands of photographers and press. Panasonic, Fujifilm and Sony continued to bang the 3D drum. Were show attendees convinced to purchase their own 3D entertainment systems now that they've had a taste of the technology? Or will it just be a tradeshow novelty?
Guess we'll find out at Photokina 2012.