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What to Look out for at Focus Show

The UK's major show of the year for photographers, Focus on Imaging, takes place from 22nd to 25th February 2009 at the NEC Birmingham. Doors open 10am each day. 

Entry is free for those who pre-register or costs 6 at the door. The Focus on Imaging website is at  Focus on Imaging. You can see the floor plan by Clicking here. You can see who is attending by viewing the exhibitor list. A a number of companies have been failing this year, there is the possibility that some of these will not be present. In this article we take a look at what we expect to see.

This year there are over 200 exhibitors, and many have discount offers. A number have seminars, many with a new seminar starting every 30 minutes, so that there is only about 15-20 minutes of presentation in each.

The main suppliers and manufacturers will be showing their full range, although it can take some time to get to the front of the crowd to get your hands on everything that you would like to see. Many of the items we will have seen announced, but perhaps not had the chance to look at close up, while some other items will be new to us.

While the major manufacturers get the coverage on new developments many of the secondary producers, providing lights, backgrounds, and all the accessories are often not covered, so the annual show is the best time to see what they have brought out, plus take another look at some of the items we have seen before. Some of the interesting items are perhaps not completely new developments but enhancements to existing ones, like new heads for tripods, new add-ons to background systems, or additional filters to go in particular systems.

There will also be new suppliers who have not exhibited before, and may be unknown to us, some of these will be new and around only a few months, while others will perhaps become useful suppliers. Many will have useful information, and people who can answer all your questions, while many use exhibition staff to handle these events and can sell you items but not help a lot with information. Of course some will also tell you wrong information and its often difficult at such events to tell one from the other.

In our case we also go with several lists, items we want to get now and are looking to confirm the models and get the best deals, having worked out before what price we could get these same items elsewhere. Items that are on our wish list, perhaps we are not going to get yet, but want to check them out and confirm it will do what we want, and items to see as we want to be able to write about, tell others about them, or to be able to answer questions from others. We also want to know what else is verifiable in case the need arises at some point, its surprising how often information we have collected and just stored away has been able to be used to assist one of the training or consultancy clients.

Next week or the week after we will give you on Photographers Resource the highlight of what we found interesting.


More Specialist Interest

A lot of what is new will be only applicable to a sub set of those visiting, but probably of interest to many of us. A few of these items are:-

  • Innova Art, will have on show some 8ft wide panoramas taken on a Seitz 6x17cm digital panorama camera, producing a 160mp image. The camera is operated by a touch screen on a linked laptop computer. This is the first time that the images of this system have been on public display.

  • 56MP medium format camera, the Leaf AFi II 10, the digital back costs 21,900 plus VAT and will be on show for the first time.

  • Spheron has a camera on show that takes 360 degree, HDR images, covering from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights, an all round view. Uses are film and effects, games development, automotive/product visualisation, architectural planning and surveying, as well as scene documentation in forensic, security and tactical training.

  • Corel are demonstrating Corel Paint Shop Pro, which allows pictures to be converted to works of art, and they suggest it offers photographers a new income stream.

  • Canon Infinity are launching a new type of printing paper, a 100% rag paper, similar to that used in other art applications. They say is has texture, incomparable shades and exceptional natural resistance to ageing. There are 17 papers in the range. It will be interesting to see if this is as interesting as some of their enouncements suggest.

  • Longbridge are launching a new mail order supplier of mountboard, www.mountboarddirect.co.uk, they say "couriered to your door to arrive promptly and in pristine condition no dings, no creases, no grubby finger marks, no excuses....... conservation library grade, acid free mountboard, suitable for all artwork including museum requirements, especially wrapped in moisture barrier paper, and comes complete with complementary crystal clear, self-sealing protective display bags, inside strong transit boxes for the delivery journey."  Traditionally you had to go and collect it, or order a lot that ended up damaged in transit.

  • Ashgate have a new binding system that allows you to make photo books out of just about any photo paper. At 1,495 + VAT, its really for those interested in print on demand and perhaps some other specialist markets.

  • If you print on a larger printer where images are added together into roll fed images, then you may find the Parachute RIP Software of interest, this is said to make it easier to maintain colour when printing composite images.

  • Johnsons Photopia will have a number of useful gadgets on show including, MagBags a stabilisation tool, Cammocks a tripod shelf designed to work with any tripod, as well as the TrekPod XL which serves as a monopod, tripod and hiking staff all-in-one.



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