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Photokina Coverage, September 23-28, 2008
By Jason Heller, September 24, 2008 @ 08:00 AM (EST)
by Sharon Rainis, Fantasea Line


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 enthusiasts, 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.
Photokina Underwater Photography by DivePhotoGudie
Photokina 2008
Considering the fact that around 325 million digital cameras, 60 million camcorders, and 1.59 bil¬lion 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.
Photokina 2008 Show Floor
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 underwater photography enthusiasts and those interested in learning, how they can shoot good images underwater.
Underwater Imaging World at Photokina 2008
On each day of the event, professional underwater photographers will 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.
Todd Essick Photokina 2008
A special star in this show is Todd Essick, a professional underwater photographer featured in our DivePhotoGuide PRO galleries. Todd is scheduled to conduct a few presentations, explaining about his unique art and also giving tips on how to make perfect underwater images.

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.
Sealife Photokina 2008
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.
Fantasea Photokina 2008
Andi Voeltz, the German distributor of Hugyfot and Light & Motion, arrived to the exhibition’s floor no 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”.
Hugyfot Light and Motion Photokina 2008
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 when we knew our work was complete.
Fantasea Photokina 2008
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 a lot of traffic is expected at the show.
Subal Photokina 2008
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.
Subal ND700 for Nikon D700
Subal ND700 for Nikon D700
 
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.
Sealux Photokina 2008
Sealux Photokina 2008
Sealux Photokina 2008
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 ocassionaly 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?
Underwater Imaging World Photokina 2008
Day 2, Setpember 24th

As predicted by the event managers, the second day of the Photokina show was much busier than the first one. Many consumers as well as photo dealers attended the show today, and all halls on the show’s floor, no matter how distant they are from the main entrances, were all pretty crowded.
Photokina Aquarium
Someone forgot to help this poor guy out by defogging his mask!

The Underwater Imaging World was busy as well today, and many visitors attended the different underwater photography booths. The events stage, which is located at the middle of this section, hosted a few events which attracted even more traffic to this section. Many photographers and underwater photo exhibitors were interviewed on the stage, while fascinating underwater images and videos were projected on a large screen.

As promised by Dennis Wilson, visitors also got the chance to win free underwater photo equipment by diving into the aquarium that was filled with water and placed near the stage. During the afternoon, our events host officially declared that any underwater cameras that are thrown into the aquarium can be retrieved and then kept by visitors who volunteer to get a little wet. Volunteers were asked to enter the dressing room and put on a wetsuit and were then sent to the aquarium. However, after retrieving their free gift from the bottom of the aquarium, they discovered that they were still far from completing their diving career. Press photographers who documented the event made these lucky visitors dive over and over again and did not allow them to exit the aquarium till they managed to hold their breath long enough for the photographers to capture the perfect image. This way or another, the new diver eventually walked out with a new private underwater camera!
 
Visiting the Nikon Booth

Well, it’s hard to call it the "Nikon booth”, and it would be probably more proper to call it the “Nikon arena”. This Nikon section included many stands, displaying different Nikon products and also offering visitors the opportunity to test the new products themselves. Unsurprisingly, this section was so busy that you practically had to stand in line in order to put your hands on any of the new cameras.

At the entrance of this arena, Nikon established a fashion studio in which visitors were shown how Nikon professional products can be used to capture fascinating fashion shots. A sexy model was brought in for this, and the photographs taken by the professionals were displayed on a wide screen that was placed on top of this stand.
Nikon D90 Photokina
Shot taken with the new Nikon D90
 
Nikon showcased their new Nikon D90 DSLR, which seemed to draw the most attention out of all other Nikon products introduced at the show. The camera features a new CMOS sensor and according to Nikon, this new sensor produces images similar to the quality of those produced by the sensor of the D300. It is also the first DSLR camera that features a video mode and produces videos with 720p HDTV quality, which is considered to be high quality. It makes use of a 3.0 inch LCD screen and a live view with contrast-defect AF. The 12.9 megapixel new DSLR also features an improved viewfinder of 96% frame coverage. We've covered the D90 in detail here on DivePhotoGuide when it was first announced.

Another camera showcased was the Nikon D700 DSLR, the full frame little brother to the D3. It shares the 12.1 MP full frame sensor and has the same processing engine. However, the D700 camera’s shutter release is good for 150,000 exposures, while the D3 camera’s shutter release is good for 300,000 exposures. Another difference between the two cameras is the viewfinder prism and the slower burst rate on the D700 camera.

Nikon also proudly displayed it’s Coolpix P6000 camera which features a 13.5 megapixel CCD, 4x wide-angle zoom lens (28-112mm equiv.) with optical stabilization and a hot-shoe connection for an external flash. The rumor is that this is going to be Nikon’s next star  compact digital camera. Did I mention that Fantasea already has a housing for this camera?!

Some news from Fantasea Line

Fantasea Line showcased for the first time their new underwater flash, which was specially designed for compact digital housings and hasn’t been given a name yet. The flash features four different pre-flash settings, to cover the needs of all compact digital cameras in the market, including Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Fuji, Kodak, Panasonic and more. It features a guide number of 20, and therefore is compatible for both macro and wide angle shots.
 
Fantasea X Flash Photokina
Beyond the "X-Flash", Fantasea continued to showcase their new generation housings, and were especially proud to display their FP-6000 Housing for the new Nikon Coolpix P6000 camera, which hasn’t even hit the market yet.

Fantasea also added a new macro lens to their product line, which features a 55 and 46mm thread. This lens is an aspherical one, which means that super sharp images can be taken with this lens. It is also made of plastic, and is therefore considered to be more durable.

Tomorrow I plan to visit the Canon section and find out what hot-from-the-oven products they are showcasing this year. Considering the amount of visitors I had to struggle with on the Nikon arena today, perhaps I should spend my time this evening by doing something efficient like making myself an armored coat!

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