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Photokina: ‘One show for all’

We asked Photo Direct’s Steuart Meers to share some brief impressions of the just-concluded Photokina exhibition in Cologne.

Photokina proved rumours of the photo industry’s demise incorrect!

General ambience? 
Steuart Meers: It was pretty upbeat. It still took 15 minutes to get through the turnstiles in the morning , a few less halls in use, but still took two full days to do a fast walk of every aisle.

This industry is far from dead or dying. It’s changed a lot but there is still a great buzz and growth potential.

Stand-out products?

Paradigm shift? As well as direct internet connectivity, the Samsung Galaxy camera has a generous 4.8-inch LCD touch screen.

SM: I found the Samsung Galaxy impressive/important simply because it will be the start of a new generation, it uses an interface through Android that will be more familiar for a lot of people. (See report on Samsung Galaxy here.)

The functionality given you can access all your normal apps makes it brilliant for Instagram, Facebook etc. It’s not perfect but it may be a significant paradigm shift.

Beyond the Galaxy, lots of new cameras – retro seems to be the new black. And WiFi. Everything talks to everything and this makes connectivity, sharing, creating, etc, almost seamless. Next generations will be even more so. This is all important in eventually getting a small proportion of a massive number of images turned into output

How about the output side – dry lab equipment, etc?
SM: Wide format was strong generally, with improvements on current offers.

In the high volume area HP has Indigo, Cannon had the Dreamlab , Kodak had NexPress, etc, so there’s a lot of crossover to graphic arts.

In minilab/drylab machines there was nothing revolutionary in terms of evolution but they are still very much on show and a key part of the business. There were photo book makers of many shapes and sizes, most we’ve seen before and most need a lot of labour input, but photo books continue to grow.

Many Australians attending?
SM: I think less than usual, we ran into maybe a dozen overall in the aisles – or maybe they saw us coming!

Anything which could be applied to our local trade/consumer exhibition?

The ‘Lomomap’ of Germany outside the main Cologne railway station.

SM: Generally the suppliers you would consider to be more trade were grouped together. Consumers spent little time here although they weren’t actively discouraged. The big brands were the drawcards and mainly their camera products. These are essential for engaging the enthusiast community. Lomo did some fun stuff with people submitting prints from around Germany for a big collage in the plaza outside the station.

Inside the show they had people contribute from around the world for the ‘world’s biggest globe’ and then there were exhibitions of stunning images everywhere. As a consumer there was plenty to do and trade had plenty of space to do what they needed.. It’s one show for all.

Stunning photographic exhibitions were a feature of Photokina 2012.

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