After four full days spent at the UK Photography Show 2016, I am finally rested, and wanted to share a little of what I thought about it.
The Photography Show 2016, held at NEC Birmingham, had over 30000 visitors over four days, with hard hitting stands from all the big names in the industry, including Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony. What was great, however, was the representation of the lesser established brands over here in the UK, and thus giving us a great opportunity to see and try their gear.
For me, there are two reasons to visit the Photography Show. The first, as mentioned above, is to see the latest gear from all brands. You can go to your favourite stand and spend literally hours (if you want) talking the ear off of the representatives about what’s in front of you…and yes, I did do that at one particular stand, which I’ll get to in a bit. The second is the number of seminars and talks held by various photographers and industry experts. There were loads to visit, from the Adobe theatre, Live Stage, Master class sessions and specially for this year, the Wedding and Portrait Stage. Having already planned to do a bit of both this year, I decided to spend the full four days absorbing what I can, and I have to say, it was totally worth it.
Now let me begin with the gear. My, oh my, the gear! I could feel the nudging of my G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome – and yes, it is real), but I knew I had to keep it in check. There were some things I knew I’d be looking at, and others I would completely walk away from. However, this is THE place to be, if you really want the chance to play with any conceivable piece of photographic equipment you can dream of. Cameras, lenses, bags, lighting, software, tripods, and a whole host of accessories. Here are a few stands which stood out for me for different reasons.
As a Canon shooter, I naturally walked to their stand, where the latest 1DX MkII and 80D were on show. And to be honest, neither of these really interested me because they don’t fit in with what I shoot. There were rumours (very sketchy ones) that Canon may have used this event to announce the forthcoming 5D MkIV, but nothing. The 1DX MkII, whilst being Canon’s newest speed demon and offering 4K video recording, is priced similarly to the also newly announced Nikon D5, at around £5199. The 80D, I thought, was an incremental improvement upon the 70D, which I had previously owned and used. Don’t get me wrong, the 80D is a great camera, especially for video (at 1080p) with it having a tilting, fold out touch screen. And the autofocus system has also been improved. But would I consider an upgrade to the 80D if I still had my 70D? To be honest, no.
When I look at advancements in technology in the camera world (and yes, I am a bit of a techie), I’m looking for more than just minor step ups. I want leaps and bounds! As it stands, working as a wedding and portrait photographer, I left disappointed with Canon this year. So, perhaps I shall stick with my 6D for now, I thought.
My next visit took me to Sony, and in case you were wondering, it was here where I talked the ears off of the staff! Thankfully, the staff at the Sony stand were indeed very friendly and helpful. It’s nothing new to say that Sony has been making strides with it’s A7 series of mirrorless cameras since it’s inception back in 2013. Three years later, and it’s these recent releases which have captivated my attention, the A7RII, A7SII and the A6300. Now, here we have cameras which were making those leaps and bounds I was talking about! There are plenty of online reviews about these products so I won’t go into them, but I will go into what I felt. So what did I feel when I picked up the A7RII and A6300 for the first time? Less weight! I mean, I do love my Canon gear, but boy oh boy do you feel them after a long day at a wedding. So here I was, staring at what were essentially lighter, better feeling (for me anyway), high-tech cameras whose image quality were on par, if not better, than my existing setup! After wiping the drool from down my chin, it was at this point that I felt like “this is the future.”
One of three pro lighting companies I’ve been looking at this year, the other two being Elinchrom, and Phottix. Profoto had on display their B1 and B2 on-location lighting kits, as well as their new Air TTL remotes for Canon and Nikon. When asked about TTL compatibility with Sony A7 series, Profoto don’t have anything right now, but, because they are able to build and release newer Air remotes, the possibility is that they may make one for the Sony line of cameras in the future.
Elinchrom on the other hand, when asked, have told me that they currently have no desire to incorporate TTL into their battery powered flash head kits. They have the ELB 400 flash head kits, which to me is a direct competitor to the Profoto B1/B2 systems albeit, without TTL. As such, what this means is that the Elinchrom on-location kits are compatible with most, if not all, makes of camera.
Here is a brand I have personally not used before, but seem to have some interesting products, namely the Indra360 and Indra500 TTL battery powered flash head kits. These are by no means, as streamlined or elegant looking as the Profotos, but are another alternative to a battery powered flash head system. Phottix did tell me that Sony is “next on their list.” They fully support Canon and Nikon and can see Sony as their next target to introduce TTL to those cameras.
I am a huge admirer of Sigma’s Art Lenses, but what was intriguing for me at their stand was their new MC-11 Canon EF to Sony E mount adaptor. Now officially, this adaptor will allow you to use your Sigma lenses that you own for your Canon body, onto a Sony E mount camera. What may or may not be published in the brochures is that, in theory, you should also be able to use your Canon lenses, or indeed, third party lenses in the EF mount onto the Sony cameras too! Retail price is approximately £200, so could this be a cheaper and reliable alternative to the Metabones, but from a reputable lens manufacturer?
As mentioned, I used this year’s visit to the Photography Show to also see and hear some of the industry’s experts talk about their specialty and endow the audience with their knowledge and advice. The highlights for me were listening to inspirational wedding photographers such as Kate Hopewell-Smith, Kevin Mullins and Robert Pugh. Each have their own style and preferred camera system, (I think we have Nikon, Fujifilm, and Olympus, in that order), but all of their talks resonated with me, and helped me no end! If you are reading this, and have any interest in photography, from casual to student to pro, you must go! The Photography Show is a great place to mingle, make acquaintances with other photographers, learn new things, grab fantastic deals and discounts, and inject your mind full of information! Did anyone else visit? What did you think? Leave any comments below, and remember to like and share! I for one am looking forward to next year already.