Sunday, March 11, 2007

Focus on Imaging 2007: Where are the cameras?

Obviously industry shows change over the years reflecting the changes in the industry and of course, those who can afford a stand. However this year's Focus must have had the lowest number of camera manufacturers with their own stand - a grand total of two! For the largest annual photographic trade show in Europe this must be a record. In fact it must be a record for any photographic trade show. So who was there - Nikon and Hasselblad - no Canon, Pentax, Sony, Mamimya, Casio, Panasonic, or Ricoh of previous years. For sure there were other cameras about the show but these were on retailers' and distributors' stands. Still the camera count was higher with the attendees than in the show. Instead there was a large selection of imaging finishers (printing on to more surfaces than you can think of), wedding album makers and software & web companies. Considering how many cameras are being launched each week it is still amazing to see so few cameras at a show open to the public. Perhaps the closeness of PMA in Las Vegas prevented some manufacturers from attending a European show, perhaps it's too expensive to attend all the shows around the world, maybe the industry is changing beyond the move from film to CCDs? Certainly the photographer is back in charge of the entire workflow. No doubt there will be some smart people who will provide services to fill in the gaps. One thing is clear, photo-sharing sites and digital chips in everything has meant the democratisation of professional photography, and I do mean professional as any one can make money out of their snaps now. No need for tens of thousands of pounds of kit, a degree or paying some organisation so you can put more letters after your name than before it, to make cash from your camera no matter what it is. The opportunities for the smaller photographic manufacturers is not in the hardware but in the services for all photographers.

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