Friday, 27 February 2009

Focus On Imaging 2009

On Tuesday this week, I made my yearly trip up to Focus On Imaging at Birmingham's NEC. For those that don't know, Focus is Europe's largest annual imaging show, where professional and enthusiast photographers alike can get up close and personal with all the latest news, equipment and trends surrounding the photographic industry.

My interest each year is very often centred around meeting up with our suppliers (for example canvas printers and picture-book makers), as well as getting a sense of what the market is doing. This occasion was no exception, and I think it is fair to say that, in spite of the economic situation currently in our country, there appears to be no let-up in the number of people ready and willing to part with their cash.

As for the way the technology is progressing, I got the impression that things have settled down a bit, following several years of hype and excitement at this thing we call 'digital'. Of course, there were new releases on show, along with the usual faces shouting about how great their products are and how they will make your photography soooo much better.

One stand that I had been very keen to visit was Mac. If you are following my gradual journey from PCs to this operating system, you will know why. If you are none-the-wiser, check out this page in order to get up to speed with things. But here's the thing - I was completely unimpressed with the Mac stand a Focus. So much so that I didn't bother approaching them. In previous years, they took up a fair amount of space at the show, with lines of computers there for everyone to try out, along with an impressive area where guest speakers would share their thoughts and valuable knowledge with the public.

I do hope this 'scaled-down' approach isn't a reflection of Mac's resting on its laurels and riding its current wave of popularity. This is what Canon did, and their absence was noted at a previous Focus; they were there this year, as were rivals Nikon (keen to build on the success of its D3/D3X cameras). Coincidence?

A couple of mentions about some people who I had the pleasure of meeting this year...

First of all, fellow photographer Drew Gardner, whose enthusiasm for our wonderful art is there for all to see in a frankly shameless and infectious way. He's also a bloody nice bloke. We listened to him talking on the Phase One stand, discussing the workflow capabilities of their Capture One software, as well as the astonishing resolving power of their current line of digital camera backs. I gladly parted with some of my hard-earned cash and bought a copy of Drew's new DVD "Location Lighting With Drew Gardner", which he very kindly signed for me. Not had the chance to check it out properly yet, but absolutely can't wait. I encourage you to take a peek at the teaser which he posted on his blog a little while ago here.

Edit: DVD has now been watched! See my thoughts about it here.

Secondly, a quick mention for Richard Vobes, whose online radio show I listen to regularly and call up via Skype whenever I feel so inclined. Richard is also a 'good egg', and he was at the show in his capacity as an entertainer, playing out one of his many guises. If you like to be entertained and enjoy good conversation, I would encourage you to check out his site here. Make sure you tell him I directed you to the show and you never know, we might even link up over the air waves.

Edit: The 'Vobes Show' online show is no longer being brodcast; however, please do still check out Richard's site to listen to his daily podcasts.

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