So I decided to have a little me time and attend one of the biggest photography shows on this planet. If you are not so interested in anything but images I would not continue. For those who can handle it ( and have a good internet speed ;)) please click and continue!
I really didn't know what to expect. I just knew I was going to be surrounded by the industries giants. This was my first year at PMA.
I stopped at the Panasonic booth first. I checked out the GH1 and GF1 cameras. I have heard great things about these little monsters but have never seen them in person. I tried the EVF (electric viewfinder) on the GF1, I had no idea what to expect since I have never looked through one before. When the EVF is turned on it powers off the live view display immediately which is nice. EVF was very bright (far brighter than the traditional SLR viewfinder) but what it gained it brightness it lacked in sharpness. I found my self just trusting the little green focus squares.
Sigma had announced a brand new 85mm f/1.4 so I was excited to get my hands on it. Couple of sad facts right off of the bat, they didn't have a Nikon mount to test and they would not let me test on a body of choice. From what I could tell it was equal to the 50mm f/1.4 that they make. I was unable to give it a good run through because all they had was a cheap canon test camera. I would have loved to see it on a FF sensor or at least get to take some images home. I at least got to play with the biggest sigma made... I also played with the Sigma DP series of point and shoots. The camera was A LOT light than I expected. The camera appeared when looking at it to have a heavy sturdy body, one equal feeling to a Canon G series point and shoot. So it was light and felt just like a point and shoot. I just wasnt impressed, if I were to spend $500-$800 on a camera that didnt shoot raw I would at least want it to be tough.
Lowepro announced at PMA the bag I had been waiting for, The model is the Passport Sling. I instantly fell in love when the rep showed me the bag. I told him exactly what I was / have been waiting for. He was..."oh follow me right over here". The bag isn't double wide like my current sling, it will hold a good few lenses and has just enough padding to protect and serve. A front zipper to expand the bag a bit more and has a little pocket on the back for a bottle of water. Plenty of room and plenty comfortable. This $50-60 dollar bag will soon replace my current Lowepro bag.
Oh Nikon, you stole the show. Nikon bags and lanyards pretty much filled PMA. They had in my honest opinion the largest presence at PMA. The spread some beautiful prints over their space ranging from shots taken from all the latest cameras and videos taken with them. The camera counter was filled both days with people getting their hands on the new 16-35mm f/4 VR lens and 24mm f/1.4 lens. I was shooting around and a man stopped me with a few questions. He wanted to record me talking and giving my opinions on Nikons latest lenses. He let me know that my audio would be used in the Nikon Press podcast which will be released after the show.
Olympus had quite a large presence as well at PMA. They were all about touting their new EP series of micro 4/3rds cameras. I checked out the EP cameras and to my surprise they were quite nice little cameras. Well built and the viewfinder was much brighter than the previous Panasonic EVF. The little pancake lenses on the cameras made the cameras near invisible when looking from the sides ;).
Accessories galore could have been the name for PMA. I looked at so many little accessories that I would never get to see in person. Some of them were quite inspiring. I checked out the Hoodman loupe and the Zacuto viewfinder. The Zacuto was far far superior to the hoodman but it should be since it is a $3-400 dollars compared to the $80 of the hoodman.
A Korean company with the name Matin brought some of the most beautiful camera bags I have ever seen. The man I spoke to could barely speak english and it took me a good 5 minutes to get the price out of him. The price of the bags are in the $200 dollar area. I feel like they should hold pretty Leicas and not my dirty Nikon D700 :).
Sony Sony Sony, You had in my opinion the greatest space set up period. lets see what you had... You had cameras around a moving car track so people can get a real world feel for what they can do. You had the normal booth with people who knew a decent amount about your cameras to answer questions and show off lenses. Last but most important you had a theater with presenters. Not just any presenters but "professional Sony Alpha shooters" who came on stage and talked about their work or actually shot a model on stage. Wait they had what? Yes, Sony had a model on stage with a pro tethered to several big screens surrounding the stage. They did what you have always wanted camera companies to do, show you images taken directly from the camera. Amazed? well they took it a big step further, they printed some monstrous images shot directly from the camera after the presentation. I can tell you in all honesty before I attended PMA I despised or even hated Sony Alpha cameras. The whole booth blew me away. I saw it in action and got to put it into action. I got comfortable with the body and sorta fell in love. I definitely left tiny bits of Nikon love somewhere in the Sony Booth. As a landscape photographer I dream of seeing my images that large and with that amount of detail. Sony also had prototypes of their new mirrorless cameras, I personally think it will be sometime before these types of cameras catch on... but they will.
Sony, bravo sir, bravo! You made me an Alpha fan. I can now safely place you as my second favorite camera (I dont have a third, sorry canon).
Kinda hard to follow up after that large Sony chunk there but here is Samsung. Samsung had recently released a mirrorless camera. This camera, the NX10, is different from the rest of the heard by packing in a full size aps sensor. The body felt great for its size and the idea never popped up in my head that it felt small. The camera itself is a very tiny package.
There were little this and thats all over PMA. The folks over at Rime Lite were very nice. The happened to be carrying the largest lighting gear in the building. They were incredibly friendly but very hard to understand. I almost walked out of there with a very nice beauty dish but I decided to do the right thing and walk away... I can still order online... ;). I will have to look at the Rime Lite website but everything seemed very well made and affordable.
Prints. Prints. Prints. They were all over each booth at PMA either promoting a certain type of paper or showing off what a companies camera can do. I fell in love with this pearlescent metallic like paper that added an unreal 3d like appearance to the print. I spent quite a bit of time looking over prints and printed books.
So here are the leftovers... I found Holga accessories, a wide and tele adapter that slid onto the existing lens. I also played with a surface for the first time... fancy spancy Kodak! I also sorta fell in love with the underwater housings by ewa-marine (which are not pictured).
Overall the whole experience was just amazing. I took home enough catalogs to fill future coffee tables for the rest of my life.