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PDN Photo Plus Expo

02nd November 2010

Last week I spent a few days in New York City at the PDN Photo Plus Expo. This show is held each year at the Javits Convention Center and attracts not only professionals but avid photographers who are interested in seeing, touching and feeling the newest equipment, speaking to major camera, lens, lighting and accessory makers, watching the many live picture-taking demos given by industry pros and sitting in on dozens of informative “how-to” seminars.

Many thanks to the folks at Lowepro. They generously provided these convenient camera backpacks to all of the members of the press.

I was somewhat surprised at the size of the crowds. With so many attendees, it was slow-moving traffic in the aisles. Lou Desiderio of the PDN Photo Plus Expo management confirmed that more than 24,000 visitors passed through the turnstyles to attend the show. In an otherwise “down” economic environment, this is good news to the many vendors who were exhibiting.

Since I was pre-registered as part of the press, I received lots of material ahead of time that helped me zero in on some of the highlights of the show. Following are a few that stood out:

At the Pentax booth, this colorful set of cameras caught my eye. These are the company’s RS1000 cameras. They sport 14mp sensors, a 4X optical zoom lens and 720p HD video. You can customize the camera with 11 included faceplates or purchase others.
Want to do more with your photos? I ran across this interesting booth that had some unique items. moo.com offers a service to make lots of interesting printed accessories – business card, tiny albums, post cards, photo frames, more.
There were dozens of camera bags, backpacks and carrying accessories in all shapes and sizes. This photo is of items from Kata. I spent a considerable amount of time looking at the camera carrying gear from several other companies as well:

For those of you who are intrigued with panoramas, this 360 Digital Drive Panorama Base. This small motorized device automates most of the activities for positioning your camera and lens when capturing images to be stitched together to form high quality panoramas. I’m told that the cost is about $500 from e-Filming.
Don’t let the inclement weather stop you from taking those great outdoor photos. The Camera Duck not only provides a waterproof protection but has pockets for chemical heating (such as those used by hunters) to keep your equipment operating in cold weather.
This Profinder attaches to the back of Canon and Nikon DSLRs and serves two purposes: as a hood for taking eye-level stills and movies in bright light and as waist-level (or lower) viewfinder. This innovative accessory is made by Varavon and costs about $350.
The Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 also doubles as a 400-1000mm f/5.6 lens (with telextender) may not be for everyone, but it sure attracts a crowd. Get your wallets out – it costs about $28,000 from Sigma!
From Sony is the Bloggie video camera. About the same size and shape as a cell phone, its 3″ screen is also the record button and has a built-in USB connector. It takes full 1080p HD video and 12mp still photos and includes software for easy upload to YouTube, Facebook Flickr, Picasa, more. Priced about $129.
I stopped by the Sony booth to look at their NEX-series of compact, interchangeable lens cameras. This fellow was looking to upgrade his A300 and was there to see how the NEX-5 handled with a long telephoto. I was surprised how easy it was to locate a subject through the 200mm lens using only the LCD screen, probably owing to the light weight of the camera/lens combination.
This 25 foot wide backlit photograph reminds me of the huge Kodak murals that used to grace Grand Central Station. The mural was printed on Epson’s new DisplayTrans material that is designed specifically for backlit displays. Impressive from Epson.
With the addition of HD video to most of the newer DSLRs, accessories such as improved audio, precise focusing, etc are making their way to the videographers. These Redrock accessories here were attached to Canon equipment but they’re available for others as well.
Sony was again showing off the high speed frame rates of their Alpha series DLSRs by setting up this skateboarding display with high flying bikers. Tried out the new Alpha A33 and A55 that both use translucent mirrors giving high speed frame rates and continuous focus movie mode. Nice.

In the next few days, I hope to have reviews of some of the other products and services that I saw at the PDN Photo Plus Expo. And a big thanks to PDN Photo Plus Expo for making my visit to New York a productive one.

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