I spent a lot of time wandering around halls 9 and 10 of the NEC yesterday. A lot. Partly this was because there was plenty to see, but also because I managed to get myself well and truly disoriented on a couple of occasions. (My legs are doing okay this morning; thanks for asking.) But apart from my cartographical vagaries, what were highlights, and what are my tips for anyone planning on going between today and Wednesday?
I admit it, the first place that I headed to (and this one couldn’t be missed because of its massive green and white banners) was the Fuji stand where they had some X100s for us to play and fiddle with. I say ‘some’ because the queues were quite extensive so it didn’t really feel enough. Did I love it as much as I thought I would? Well, I wasn’t sobbing that I’m not on the pre-order list. The hybrid viewfinder is great; I liked the aperture ring; but I couldn’t see myself using it.
Kudos to Pentax who had knowledgeable staff manning their stand, unlike at least one other big name (I’m looking at you, Nikon). They also had a couple of 645Ds out for public delectation, in addition to a bank of K-r and K-5s. I did really like the 645, but I doubt I’ll be taking the plunge with a medium format for quite some time.
To my surprise, Sony still had the NEX-3 on display. So I called them on it. Production has ceased, but they want to get rid of what they’ve got. I’m not sure that I would still have been displaying them, it’s not as if they’re cutting edge and all shiny and new, is it? But that’s me. Ah well.
As to why they’ve called time on it, I was told that the NEX-5 came down in price significantly and people realised just what more they could get for their money with it. Let that be a lesson to you, Sony: better product differentiation. Oh, and my thoughts on the NEX-5? Far too fiddly. I’d probably get used to it in time, but far too fiddly.
The general impression
Focus is always full of people selling photobooks and albums and frames, so unless someone is selling something that is outstandingly different (or their stand looks like a circus bigtop) it very much feels as if seeing one means that you’ve seen them all.
Was Canon missed? By me, yes. By others, no. As someone pointed out: it’s not as if they’ve released anything new at the top end for a while, but that’s not necessarily the point as there are new Canon products about to hit the shops. It’s just not a 1D mkV. Still, they’ve managed to generate publicity for themselves by not attending.
It got very warm. Really warm. And I’m someone who usually complains about being too cold. Dress in layers.
Work out where you want to go and what you want to see. When you’ve done those bits, let yourself wander to soak up the atmosphere and find the stands you’d otherwise have missed.
I had one of the worst coffees ever there. Avoid. Please.