Photokina: World of Imaging live coverage report

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[September 22-23 ] [September 24] [September 25] [September 27] [September 28]

A few words about Photokina
Every two years some 160,000 visitors from 140 countries attend Photokina to fact-find the entire range of products and services in modern image communication. Dealers, professional end-users and private enthusiast, as well as opinion leaders, take advantage of this unique communication platform to discover the latest products and trends.


This year is the 13th Photokina show, while the first one was held in 1950. With its approximately 1,600 exhibitors from all over the world and clear focus, Photokina is the world’s only trade fair where the entire spectrum of the photo and imaging market is presented - for consumers, specialist users, and professionals, and from image capturing to image output.


Considering the fact that around 325 million digital cameras, 60 million camcorders, and 1.59 billion camera phones are supposedly in use by consumers around the world, the extraordinary size of this show is not surprising. The presence of 6,000 accredited journalists from 68 countries also documents how important Photokina is as the international pilot fair for imaging.


Underwater Imaging World
This year’s show is a special one for all underwater photographers and underwater photography manufacturers. Visitors to the 2008 Photokina Show will be treated to the first-ever “Underwater Imaging World at Photokina”. Covering more than 250 sq. meters, the experience-oriented event in Hall 5.1 showcases the fascinating world of underwater photography. In cooperation with the partner organizations ColorFoto and Taucher.Net, first-time exhibitors from the underwater photography sector and established companies from the photography and imaging industry are showing enthusiasts of this trend how they can shoot good images underwater so that they can impress friends and families with the photos made during diving excursions.


On each day of the event, the sector’s “stars” appear on stage to talk about their experiences and give valuable tips on underwater photography. Visitors can test cameras in a pool under real-life conditions. Professional scuba divers are on hand to provide visitors with information regarding the right equipment and valuable tips on using digital cameras in underwater sports.

A special star in this show is Todd Essick, who has been one of the top underwater photographers for many years. Todd is planned to conduct a few presentations, explaining about his unique art and also giving tips on how to make perfect underwater photographs.

September 22nd, Day Zero
Like all other exhibitors on the Photokina Show, underwater imaging exhibitors arrived a day before the show began to establish and design their booths. This was also a great opportunity for all key players in this domain who haven’t met each other since the last diving or photography exhibition, to get together again, to mingle and to catch up. For some of us it was the first time to reveal the face behind the name of well known colleagues.

A very well designed booth was established by Sealife, who prepared ahead a poster as large as the wall behind the booth. Electronic frames were placed around the display, as well as Sealife’s housings and accessory products.


Fantasea, Subal and Sealux established colorful and attractive booths as well, showcasing their new and most popular products, such as housings, arm systems, lights and more.


Andi Voeltz, the German distributor of Hugyfot and Light & Motion, arrived to the exhibition’s floor not earlier than 10 pm. It was hard to believe that in such a short time he will succeed, together with his colleagues, to put together an impressive structure as the one we found the morning after. This structure consists of two housings hung on both sides of it, balancing each other and enabling visitors to elevate and lower the housings conveniently. “Using this structure”, explains Andi with great enthusiasm, “we try to illustrate the feeling of completely neutrally buoyant housings. Visitors can hold the housing without using any strength as it is weightless, exactly as it is designed to be underwater”.

While we were all so busy with our booths, Dennis Wilson, the event manager of the underwater photography section, took great care of the logistics and significantly added to the scene by installing colorful projectors on the ceiling, pointed at the different booths. Upon finishing up on designing and constructing the Fantasea Line booth, we were quite certain that we were still missing something. It was not until the blue light dramatically lit our roll-up poster till we knew our work was complete.


A lot was happening outside of the underwater imaging world as well. A great number of exhibitors wandered around, busy with their booths as well as establishing their attractions and perhaps taking advantage of their last chance to pick some ideas from their neighbors.

September 23rd, Day One
They say that the first day of the show is always the slowest one, and so it was. Some of us expected some hectic traffic, and instead, we found ourselves in quite a relaxed day, which eventually turned out to be a good thing, as we were given the opportunity to invest more time and energies in those visitors that approached our booths. Some of the visitors were photo dealers and some were consumers, all of them driven by a tremendous thirst for new products and technologies. Following the advice of a Taucher.net representative, which was an inevitable part of planning the underwater imaging world, exhibitors should not get used to this phase, as tomorrow things will look a little differently, as great traffic is expected at the show.


I went to visit Rolf Sempert and Peter Stangl at the Subal booth and could not ignore the large poster which displays an image of the Subal ND-700 Housing for the new Nikon D700 DSLR and reads “We are the first!”. Considering the fact that this camera was announced by Nikon at the beginning of July, this is quite a remarkable achievement, based on a quick responsiveness strategy.  In addition, Subal also showcased the new C40 Housing, which was designed for the Canon EOS 40D DSLR camera.


Both housings are made from aluminum, machined from block, extreme surface hardening and feature corrosion resistance through HardCoating. All parts are manufactured from anodized and hard coated aluminium, acid proof stainless steel or high quality plastics. Rolf and Peter also revealed that they are planning to manufacture a housing for the Canon 50D DSLR camera and it will be called the US-50D Housing.


I then went to visit Jurgen at the Sealux booth, which was a bit difficult to find at first as he was well hidden behind a huge video camera housing, called the HDEX1 and specially designed for the Sony PWM-EX1 camcorder. This housing is accompanied by a 120 degrees wide angle lens port and a zoom control that enables using the full zoom extension of the lens. According to Jurgen, although it weighs 9 kilos, the housing is the most lighweight solution for the EX1 camcorder as it was specially designed to accommodate it.


The Sealux booth also proudly displays the CD-3 Housing for the Nikon D3 camera and I was told that they are now in the process of designing a flash housing for the new Nikon SB-900 Digital Flash. Doing my best to trigger an interesting competition, I asked about plans regarding a housing for the new Nikon D700 DSLR. Jurgen smiled satisfactorily and left me with no doubt regarding Sealux’s progress in this matter.


Tomorrow Dennis Wilson promised us a big party on the world of imaging floor. A huge aquarium was prepared for this event, as underwater photography products will occasionally be thrown inside and extremely ambitious visitors who really, but really, want to win the product, will be permitted to dive into the aquarium and pull out their prize. Did I already mention it was raining cats and dogs today?

Stay tuned with us as tomorrow we will come back with further information regarding new underwater photography trends as well as general photography news brought to you straight from the booths of the largest photo manufacturers in the world.

-Sharon Rainis, Fantasea Line

(Continue for additional coverage from the show)