Having just returned from The Photography Show (TPS) it was interesting to compare and contrast it with the video equivalent, BVE, and to see the cross-over in products and services offerings. It was my first visit back to the UK’s leading photo show in nearly 20 years, when it was called Focus, having spent the very early years of my career with Polaroid. Anyone remember their passport photo system? That kept me busy for a few years.
It was noticeable that whereas BVE was very light on kit resellers with only WTS exhibiting, at TPS they actually limited the number of resellers. The likes of CVP, Park Cameras and WEX Photographic, who I’m sure would all love to attend, cannot get a spot. Calumet, LCE and Cameraworld were all present and busy. Top-Teks, the only recognised Broadcastvideo reseller exhibiting at TPS, were only promoting video technology.
It was interesting to see the huge volume of kit being sold on the floor from the three resellers. This however may mostly by driven by the visitor profile. The first two days of the show are generally the hobbyist and enthusiast days and as a keen photographer myself, I’d consider myself part of that gang, but my arrival on the Monday morning with my Azule hat on happened to coincide with a switch to more business-oriented conversations I’m told.
Kit-wise, the Canon 1DX Mk2 was getting a huge amount of attention. I’m told it’s great – the specs certainly look impressive – but such was its popularity, the closest I could get to it in two days was a poster of it.
Canon 1DX Mk2 (poster of. Closest I could get!)
Black Magic were very prominent with their characteristic open-plan stand. Their new Ursa Mini 4.6K PL mount camera seemed to be getting a lot of attention, and has certainly learnt some lessons from its predecessor. They claim an impressive 15 stops of dynamic range, with a smaller 5” fold-out viewfinder now rather than the enormous screen on its previous incarnation. It uses CFast cards, as does the Canon C300Mk2 and Arri cameras. A list price just over £4,000 makes it a bargain.
Atomos had a really eye-catching development with the Shogun Flame, which allows the cameraman to shoot in Log but shows the full HDR image on screen. Switching between SDR and HDR emphasised the quality of the screen, and at under £1,300 it’s a great option. With a brightness rating of 1500 nits, it makes a great stand-alone viewfinder as it’s easily bright enough to be seen in daylight, on a steadicam rig or similar.
Both Black Magic and Atomos really impressed me with the passion and enthusiasm shown by their representatives on the stand, particularly as it was the last day of a four day show, and they were still beating the drum loudly, evangelising about the benefits of their wares. Good job guys.
Both Panasonic and Sony had large, high profile stands. It was interesting that Sony were there in force, given that they decided to give BVE a miss last month. The PMW-FS5 was a popular attraction, as were the A7S Mk2 and A7R Mk2. I always struggled to remember the difference in these models until it was put in simple terms. S = Sensitivity. Fewer pixels (only 14M!! ) but fabulous in low light. R = resolution, with 44M pixels gives amazing detail when blown up. So now I know my S’s and R’s from my elbow.
DJI Ronin had their new drone system on display which was impressive, and they seem to have a real hold on this market. For gadget freaks, I did see a tiny, and appropriately named Micro-drone which, ‘for under £100’ gave you a 720P video. No good for TV but perfect for estate agents/surveyors/ peeping-toms.
Speaking of Toms, Tom Tom may have lost their way in the Sat Nav market as more and more cars have this feature fitted as standard, so they’ve come up with a pretty cool Action-Cam which links really well to iphone and Android with an app, and makes cutting video clips into a story line really easy. I love the design too.
It was also great to see Polaroid making a resurgence with their Impossible project. Swains have the distribution in the UK and demand seems to be growing for one of the most iconic, if a little dated brands in photography.
TPS had a nice vibe to it. Friendly people and lots of gadgets to play with, unlike BVE where everything seemed bolted to a desk to prevent it being “lost”.
Next stop NAB. Hope it’s warmer than the NEC.