Focus on Imaging 2012 - My take on a Show Report

Hamish Gill

Tech Support (and Marketing)
Yesterday, Monday 5th of March a few members of RPF including my self took a day of work to go the the 2012 focus on imaging exhibition! I'm sure some of them they will share their thoughts in due course, but for now this is my personal experience of the day.


We got there almost bang on 10 am, it was already pretty busy but not heaving. We had made arrangements to meet up by the Bob Rigby stand at around 11 (Andy from Bob Rigby is a member here so it seemed as good a place as any to meet). Without any other real plan of action we (Me, Greg and Tom Brookes) decided to head straight there.
I have to admit to feeling almost instantly overwhelmed as we walked through then entrance and were greeted by what I could only really describe as a huge green wall with a load of photography lighting set up in front of it! "Banner Blindness" must have kicked in as I couldn't tell you what brand it was ...

I was probably around this time that I realised, beyond wanting to have a cursory look at the fuji x1pro and the new big Nikons I didn't really know what I was doing there ... I also had a fairly strong idea that it was quite likely that I wasn't going to find the answer to that question without just looking around! That added to the fact that there is very much such a thing as information overload... especially when a lot of that information is being shouted at you from on high made me feel distinctly, as I said overwhelmed!

Three Legged Thing

As we made a fairly hasty beeline for Bob Rigby I don't think I really took anything in all the way there until we got to the stand just before where I saw a friendly face in the form of Danny Lenihan from Three Legged Thing.
He was demonstrating "Brian" ... If I had had my wits about me I would have taken a video of this demo ... I didn't, so I didn't, so you will just have to take my word for it that this is a very impressive bit of kit.
You can, if you should wish get a little insight into what was on display by watching this video ... to get the best idea of the brand I would watch this video to the very end...


After a few moments of watching Danny dem the kit, Jess spotted us and walked over ... I have become a "man" and grown a beard since the first and last time we met 2 years ago but she still recognised me as the guy who managed to fit an unreasonably large amount of kit and three people into a mini .. this is of course the nice thing about dealing with an independent company ... You get to meet/talk to the same people on every occasion you interact with them!
Chatting to her about 3LT it sounds as though things are going very well for them, and judging by the crowd that seemed to surround their stand (at least every time I walked past) I guess she is right!
Not wanting to wax lyrical to much as I'm starting to feel like a 3LT kiss *** here but any recognition these guys get is well justified, all my dealings with them have been very positive in the past and this new line of products they have make my (fairly dear) manfrotto look like a crappy wobbly toy!
Danny, if you read this, good to see you, shame we didnt get a chance to chat ... glad everything is going so well ... catch up next time ... where is that review sample you promised me? ;)

Bob Rigby

So, then on to the Bob Rigby stand where we met Andy ... Ive spoken to him on the phone a few times, but its always nice to put a face to the name/voice etc ... Good guy, did us a favour and gave out a whole stack of RPF cards to his customers and sold me a hasselblad a12 for a good amount of money! Thanks Andy!
We popped back their throughout the day as it became the RPF meeting place. I spoke to Andy quite a few times ... I think we had originally planned to do some sort of video "interview" with him about the show ... we didn't! Are you beginning to get the feeling that this show visit/report was/is a little ramshackled?? ;)
We did chat quite a bit, about the show, products, people at the show ...
I'm a reasonable judge of character and I would say from this meeting Andy and the Bob Rigby shop have a good approach to independent photography equipment sales!
As an example we were looking for a lens for Tom at one point in the day; we asked Andy... he said quite matter of factly that even if he did have one there he wouldn't sell it to us as jacobs were cheaper!
He offered us a good deal on some wacom tablets (we decided we couldn't justify it in the end ... )
He also offered to loan me (if he could get permission off Bob) a very pretty LF pin hole camera!
We also had quite an amusing chat about what I would consider to be the odd breed of photographer who goes to a camera exhibition carrying their biggest camera with biggest longest lens on the front ... If anyone can tell me what the point of a long lens in a closed environment like an exhibition is ... I'm all ears! I think the conclusion was along the lines of "manhood enhancement" ... but look, who am I to judge? :)


Whilst still waiting for everyone else to arrive we wondered over to the Nikon stand ... It was quite easy to find


By now it was starting to get busy but I still managed to get my hands on a D4... A very warm d4 at that! It must have already passed through many hands that day!
So what was it like? well, a little like a D3 funnily enough!
Here is me holding it


and another of me listening to the man talking about it


Here you can see the little WT5 poking out the side of it


I asked a few questions, got a few answers ...
Yes it is better in low light that the D3s - the quote from Nikon "It is clean of noise up to 12800iso"
I of course checked, and yes on the screen on the back it did look pretty clean, highlights seemed a little more blown, saturation if effected was little effected ... Impressive!
Not sure what else I can say really ... they wouldn't let me put a memory card in it to take any shots home with me so I cant show you anything like that ... "BOOO Nikon" is really all I have to say on that matter...
The Official line is that these are preproduction models and not entirely indicative of the final product. The reality, if you excuse my cynicism is that they don't want random people from certain "other" forums making comment on images taken under a non controlled environment before the likes of DPR have had a chance to do their in depth reviews! Maybe that's fair enough??

I queued a few times to look at the d800... that made me feel quite sad. Here is me looking quite sad in said queue


When I did eventually get to the front of the queue I got my hands on the D800, surprise surprise its quite similar (on the out side at least) to the d700!
The main thing I wanted to ask was how it compared to the D3/D700 in low light ... I hope I don't seem to fixated on low light capability but it is a factor for me for my work!
The official response, and that was what the Nikon man refereed to it as is that low light performance is "along the same lines" as the d3 "some people seem to think it is better, some people are not so sure". He went on to say that "4 years ago people would have been screaming from the roof tops about how awesome the low light performance is, but times have moved on and this camera is more about the high resolution".
Fair enough! My problem is for my work is that I would love a higher resolution camera for studio stuff in a d800 body but d4 durability with low light performance of the d4 at d7000 price ... come on nikon, why is it exactly that you cant build a camera exactly for my needs?
I'm being facetious of course ... It seems pretty obvious to me what Nikon have done! One camera for studio/technical and landscape applications and one camera for the working photographer ... sports/pap/etc
I unfortunately being in a position where my work varies very greatly would sort of like both ... but cant afford either ... I shall be sticking to my trusty d3 for now I think! :)

Here is a photo of me peeping through a very long Nikon lens ... not even sure what it was


I wasn't overly thrilled by the Nikon stand ... to many people, not enough people to talk to from Nikon
But then I suppose Nikon are a big brand, they are popular, I cant really blame them for that!

At this point the three of us met the other four of our group ... I can tell you one thing for sure trying to be a group of seven people wondering around a camera exhibition is not easy! we split up almost instantly!
For some reason none of them were that taken with the Patterson stand!


I had a chat with this chap about this product


The Mod54 is a rather brightly coloured contraption that allows the process of 6 sheets of 5x4 film in 1 litre of chemistry in a 3 reel Patterson tank!
I didn't get the guys name but he was pretty keen to talk about actual photography which was nice!


The next stop was the fuji stand where I was greeted by a nice lady who promptly spotted my X100 and said something along the lines of "Here to see the x1pro are we? here is the queue".
I had a specific question which she informed me my best bet would be to have a chat with 'Mat' who was all of a sudden free, I was introduced to Mat who turned out to not be a member of fuji's current staff. He was once a member of fuji's team as a pro photog ... I didn't pry to much ...
One way or another he was able to answer my question about my x100 (it has a fault), he also let me have a go on what turned out to be his personal X1 Pro.

The following pictures are from a little later on with a different camera, but just in case this camera's announcement has passed you by, here it is...



yes, I do look this stupid looking through a vf


Anyway, back to Mat and his camera! A very informed guy answered all my questions ... not that I had many, I just wanted to take a photo with the camera for me to have a look at later! This time I was allowed!
You can download a zip of a 3200 iso and 400 iso shot here should you care to im not sure you will be able to do much with them but feel free to have a go!

Here is a shot I took with Mat's camera


and a crop


Sorry pal, hope you don't mind being the subject of a demo shot ;)

It seems to have been set to 4mp ... but at least you can get an impression of what it does :)
Overall, maybe I was lucky to talk to Mat, but my feeling of the fuji stand was a positive one! It felt more welcoming than Nikon ... I cant explain this, I'm not even sure it is relevant to anything, but there we go...
I passed Mat one of our RPF cards, he gave me one of his .. you can see what he does here MT Associates Mat Trim

We all met up again for lunch, I had a subway which I got all over my face as well as spilling my drink all over what ever it was I was leaning on! I then got a very hot bit of ash from my cigarette in my eye which hurt for the rest of the day and was apparently quite red ... It was not the best half hour of my life!

Ilford/Harman Technology - The highlight of the day

I spotted the Ilford stand straight after lunch. Not so long ago I had been looking at the Harman Titan 5x4 pinhole camera


I picked it up and got chatting to this guy


I didn't get his name, but he seemed a well informed chap and was very helpful in answering all my silly questions! I put it down and was flicking through some of the pictures splayed on the desk when I spotted some images behind the desk. Another of Ilfords staff, a chap called Mel Greene was stood in front of them, I caught his eye and asked if I could come round and have a closer look ... I laughed and said "of course"
We got chatting about film, large format, pin holes ... then for the first time all day I was actually asked what it was that I did...
I explained the idea of this forum/web site and he seemed interested, we chatted a little more and I got the impression that he was actually interested and not trying to sell me something ... In fact I was trying to sell him something, the idea of a forum where people don't ***** and moan at each other and enjoy each other photos instead of picking holes in them and dont spend thier entire lives worrying about pixels etc! He regaled me of tales where he has had to step in on a forum thread where people were talking absolute nonsense about ilford!
It was quite interesting hearing this sort of thing from the side of a manufacturer ... or at least employee thereof ... maybe I'm being naive, maybe its having run my own business, but I always feel a bit sorry for manufacturers, especially smaller ones, when people on forums just moan and cast aspersions! I'm not saying everyone should always be nice all the time, these companies are of course fallible but when information is touted as fact about a company when it isn't fact by know-it-all-morons on forums it can be damaging to a brand! It will almost certainly put off those among the general populous from buying things from said brand if they are not informed enough to realise it might be nonsense!
Anyway, Tom came over and I suggested he show Mel his DIY pinhole lens ... Mel was certainly interested but suggested we should come back later and show it to "the guy over there"


We did exactly that and "that guy over there" turned out to be Mike Walker of Walker Cameras. He's the guy who designed the Titan 5x4 pinhole camera, the (hopefully available later this year) titan 10x8 pinhole camera (why I didn't get a better photo of that beast I will never know... its the big thing in the middle photo above) and a few other cameras by the looks of it (;)) ...
It was very pleasant to find that he was very impressed by Toms ingenuity, talked us through how he has achieved such a sharp pin hole that can be produced repeatedly (the 5x4 will very soon have sold 1000 times).
He then talked to us very passionately about what he does and then, unprompted, just like Mel asked what we did! He to was fascinated by the idea of a "nice" forum, he too regaled us with tales of folk on forums talking complete crap about him ... he took one of our cards and said he would check us out when he got back from the show.. he even said he might send a link to some of his mates!
I then got talking to Mel again who asked for another bunch of cards as he had given the last one to a student who he had somehow got talking about RPF to ... legend! He took a stack of cards and said he would hand them out to the students on student day (today)!
Now look, i'm not for one minute saying that I would expect Fuji, Nikon et al to behave like this with me ... but in general walking around the show we were never asked about our selves by anyone else. One guy on one stand wouldn't even let me touch one of the cameras on display ... ...?
These two chaps, not only showed an interest in what we did, but offered to do at least something to help ...
Now purely in terms of marketing/advancement of a company this is the perfect way to interact with your customers ... but it was more than that, they were just nice folk, passionate about what they did, passionate about photography and interested in what we did, I think genuinely!
Now of course I did get the same feeling from Andy at Bob Rigby and the guys at 3LT ... but having this sort of response from a pair of complete strangers, who work for/are quite big names was a real pleasure. Thanks Mike and Mel, we all agreed that that last half hour made our day!

So what of the rest of the show?
Well, It was ok... I guess you have got a pretty good idea of my feelings toward it ... Much of it was spent wondering around almost aimlessly! Apparently it wasn't as busy as it was last year ... I wouldn't know, ive not been before but it seemed very busy to me! I'm not great in that large a group of people! I find it hard to concentrate or even really talk to people properly, never mind begin to take things in properly!
I had aspirations of doing some sort of proper show report ... If you have got this far reading all this I'm sure you can tell that inst going to happen in any greater extent than this... for the above reasons really!
I was surprised not to see Sony or Panasonic there disappointed not to see Leica and didn't have even the tiniest bit of the patients required to look at the 5diii on the canon stand ... you should have seen the queue!! ...
the closest thing to a Hasselblad stand ... im not sure what it actually was was a little disappointing! (no on sort of Hasselblad stand £29000 is not surprisingly cheap - that is still in the realms of ludicrous for the MASSIVE majority of us!)
I was disappointed that I was so overwhelmed I didnt get a chance to admire as much of the very nice photography that was on display ... I wasnt even in close to the right frame of mind with everything else that was going on arround me
And yes Mr.Man on the other side of the Ilford stand (I think) I would like to look through that camera please thank you


Greg, through the above camera


Tom looking through a mahoosive siggy lens


this part was also very good


and here is a shot I accidentally to with my iphone that run through LR.
I think looks pretty cool and definitely represents quite nicely for me the business of the day!


And thats your lot ... Its taken almost as long for me to write all that stuff as I was there!
Please, If anyone has any more photos, add them to this thread! with whatever commentary you see fit ... no need to go overboard like I have!

Maybe next year we can get a group of us together and go with specific tasks to get specific info?
Or maybe this ramshackle approach is more interesting??? I'm certainly not sure I could do much better ... I am after all just a chap who runs a website, i've never made any claims to be a journalist! :)

Thanks again to Andy, 3LT and Mat Trim and especially Mel and Mike for being so nice to us... it would have been a bloody horrible day out without you ;)
I really enjoyed that Hamish and I think your 'haphazard' style gave a much better impression of the day than a truly journalistic one would have. And the impressions your formed came a across well. I'm sure other things will come to mind over the coming days and if you have any other thoughts etc on the Titan I'd love to hear them. And I love the accidental shot by the way. Excellent.
OMG Hamish!!
That must of taken your HOURS to write all that!
Fair play, now that is a very in depth detail of the days event. :)

I've never been to a photography event of anything in such hooomighty scale! It was a pain in the arse getting passed loads of people and very overwhelming how many people pay an interest in photography.
With the combination of equipment for sale as well as peoples own personal equipment, there must of been MILLIONS and MILLIONS of pounds worth of kit..... Incredible!

Overall it was a great experience. Just didn't know where to look....... I was Very distracted by the atractive models that were everywhere! It didn't help that I decided to take the train with Daft Jock therefore the opportunity of not driving was taken well to a delightful advantage........a few tinnies were consumed throughout the day.... especially on route home! :)

Model in action! mmmmhhh!! lol

P3059417 by dajoolzcat, on Flickr

and a sneaky one from the side.

P3059438 by dajoolzcat, on Flickr

I was like a drunken kid surrounded by expensive equipment that I could of NEVER have been to afford to repay throughout my entire working career if I consequencially knocked anything over, due to my lack of ability to handle even a sniff of alcohol, let alone drink it!! :D:D
Luckily though, I pulled it off!! lol

So, what was I there for?
Well, Olympus of course, and was I impressed with the lenses there had to offer for my shooter................. NO!!
Extremely disappointed to be fair! Don't get me wrong, there was many people with OM-D bags, so at least the Oly brand was on show every where you look. however, I did try an 8mm Samyang fisheye which I was allowed to plonk on my Oly.
But, I wasn't impressed with the detail that it produced...... sharp in was not (due to LOADS of dust)..... nor expensive.
I think the dust did not help at all..... now, from my perspective, if your a seller, you'd make sure that a lens your potentially going to hand over and sell to a buyer, it presented well, not dirty looking, and not covered in dust. but what do I know! :p

Here's the untouched image...

I had my 50mm on the Oly 99% of the day, (so why I took all my kit I don't know)

Here are a couple of big guns

I was beginning to get tired sooner than I wanted to, so me and the Jock decided to leave after a pint with Tom and Hamish (not that I needed anymore to add on to my 4 tins of Bow on journey there and 4 more home! lol?
My wife went Techno! I was in bed by 19:30...... I'm a loser... yes, I know! :D:D
Excellent tale there Dan - easily lead astray I'd say!! Like that side shot you did and the PP you chose. My goodness those guys on the Samyang stand are a miserable bunch aren't they?!! Maybe someone had stolen their favourite duster! ;)
Hahaha!!! They were the most miserable sales folk I have ever met in any industry..... I think they were maybe... polish, could be wrong. I think the language barrier wasn't the hardest thing to overcome.... but it didn't help there sales pitch at all, nor there enthusiasm.
Hi Guys, have to agree with the original, I have attended 5 of these shows now, first couple were exciting and plenty to see and talk about, but the last 3 years really gone downhill, this year so many exhibitors missing and no-one taking their place so lots of empty stands, sign of the times, most of what was on display was a rerun of last year, I am all Canon and did manage to get my hands on the 5Dmk3 but after asking a few questions like what enviromental seals are on this, same as the 7D was the reply, why not the 1D, to expensive, have you cured the slow autofocus in HD vid mode, No it was something we were intending to look at but wanted to get the camera on the market was the reply from the Canon spokesperson, so it has a few more meg pixels, little faster few more focus points and an upgraded CPU and system, and is £1500 more expensive at the moment than the MK2 think you may have missed a trick here Canon, I can get 2 Mk2s for the price of 1 mk3 not on my watch I am afraid. I am sure some loved the show, and if you were into leather clad wedding books I think there were at least 20 stands offering them so there was a real differential, mmm. Unless the show gives up its stale image and attracts some real headline grabbing acts for next year, I for one will not be wasting the day travelling up and wandering around the rubble, what did I buy with my pocket full of cash, two packs of A3 Bamboo printing paper, well it was on offer.
I got similar feedback from Paul at Commercial Cameras and others also commented that it was good for social photographers wanting to see the latest albums etc but not so good for seeing new equipment. And the Hasselblad stand was very much a last minute thing although PhaseOne was apparently good. Still I guess it helped you decide on the Mk3.

Anyway, welcome to RPF John. I'm sure you'll enjoy it here.