October 24, 2012 – The PhotoPlus Expo opened today with press only event called Test Drive. There, select manufacturers displayed their latest wares. As a duly recognized member of the press, I was allowed to the event. Here’s what I found interesting:
Remember the old photobooths? Cramp little boxes with curtains that young people used to cram themselves into to get four tiny little prints. Well, this product brings that old favorite into the 21st century. OpenAir Photobooth combines a DSLR, a dye-sub photo printer, and a management system all in a column shaped unit.
The system allows custom logos to be applied to the photos on-the-fly. This makes the unit perfect for corporate media events and to provide customers with a professionally produced on-site custom image.
The hook here is that the “booth” is not enclosed. It’s “OpenAir” name is quite literal. All you really have to worry about is the background which could be a curtain, a backdrop, a garden, you name it. The OpenAir Photobooth is on wheels, so you can move it to wherever you need it to be.
For more information head over to http://www.openairphotobooth.com
CamRanger Wireless Camera Control
While Sony has introduced WiFi enabled cameras, Canon and Nikon users can add that functionality with a pair of products I saw here at the Test Drive. The first of these is the CamRanger. This USB device allows you to control your Canon or Nikon camera wirelessly from your iOS device. You can also view the images captured on the camera. The device does not confer wireless transfer capabilities to the camera, but it greatly expands the control the photographer has over the image capturing process.
Full camera remote control is included and provides:
Movie Recording with focus
More information can be found at http://www.CamRanger.com
Cameramator Wireless Control
The product is similar to the aforementioned CamRanger but expands the clients to include Adroid based devices as well as Mac desktops. More information can be found at http://www.cameramator.com
Both of these devices offer wireless camera control and image viewing, but they are not true tethering solutions. Images are still stored in the camera and need to be transferred to computer prior to processing. Pro tethering solutions, like Phase One’s Capture One Pro (just updated to version 7) allow the camera to be tethered by wire to the main post-processing computer and then that can feed one or more iOS devices the images as they come into the post processing workflow.
My friends from Pentax were there in force, showing off their latest toys including the Q10, K5D-II/K5D-IIs and the 645D sporting a prototype 90mm Macro lens. While the K5D-II/IIs is a well-spec’d prosumer camera, Pentax’s current pro workhorse is the 6454D. With a newly lowered price ($8,799 USD), the 645D becomes the most affordable 40 megapixel medium format digital camera on the market. Pentax is also the only medium format system that has optically stabilized lenses, a feature that neither Phase One nor Hasselblad can claim.
One of my favorite lens brands, Carl Zeiss was present showing off their amazing line of Cine lenses as well as several prototype lenses that were announced on their lens blog.
For example, here is their prototype lens line for high megapixel DSLRs from Nikon (pictured) and Canon. These lenses will not replace the ZF.2 and ZE lens lines. Rather, they will complement those lines, providing the optical quality demanded by high-megapixel camera designs. Please note that thses lenses are manual focus only. I was shown several sample images of a test target taken with OEM lenses and their Zeiss new series lens equivalents. The diferences were stunning, espcially in the extreme corners. I will be visiting the Zeiss booth to see if I can get copies of those samples so I can poost them here for your viewing pleasure. They are that good.
Here we see samples of their new X-mount and E-mount autofocus lenses for Fuji X-Series and Sony NEX cameras respectively. Personally, I am keenly interested in the E-mount lenses for my NEX-6. Fuji X-Pro1 and X-E1 cameras will greatly benefit from these lenses as well.
Rocky Nook Press & CT Digital Photography Magazine
Rocky Nook became one of my favorite photo book publishers because they weren’t afraid to think ouside the box. Their titles, while mostly sounding rather mundane, mask the truly quirky and entertaining way they present the material. One of my personal favorites, Low Budget Shooting, provides the reader with a do-it-yourself guide to pro studio effects using stuff that is lying around the house. Head over to http://www.rockynook.com to see a complete listing of their titles.
CT Digital Photography is a quartely magazine that is chock full of tips, tricks, samples, reviews and interviews. An unwavering dedication to quality is the reason for the quarterly schedule. It takes tham that long to put an issue together the way they like it. Head over to http://www.ct-digitalphoto.com for more information and for subscriptions.
PNY was there showing off their latest memory card offerings including a 128GB SDXC UH-1 card. Retial cost of this puppy is $149. I remember paying $399 for a 4GB card only a few years ago. Crikey.
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Korean juggernaut Samsung was there with their new Android (Jellybean) powered, cellular data enabled Galaxy Camera. Sporting a 22x optical zoom, this camera will not be offered by the usual channels but rather via cell phone carriers.
Leica Bash at Milk Studios
Leica held an off-site event at Milk Studios where they were showing off their new S System. Recently promoted Leica VP Roland Wolff was there and I manage to get myself a session in the studio later this week. I will be reporting on the S and M Systems. Wow, that sounded way better in my head.
Well that wraps up Day 0. Stay tuned tomrrow for my Day 1 report.