The slogan for photokina 2004— "A World of Imaging"—said it all as more photo products and services were on display in Cologne, Germany this year than perhaps ever before. As evidenced by this year's show, not only are cameras, film, paper, processing equipment, studio lighting and accessories the mainstay of photography today—but also media cards, considered today's "digital film," and other storage media; software for image management, manipulation and enjoyment; online sharing and printing; mobile printing via kiosks at retail or home printers featuring Bluetooth and Infrared connectivity.The cameraphone has become just one of the many types of image capture devices available around the globe. Vying for visitors' attention, Panasonic's booth was one of many to hold mini-photo shoots for the gathered attendees. Also on display at the booth, a sleek racing vehicle. On the show floor: After shooting with a camera phone, images were printed using an Epson PictureMate, showing speed and ease of use. The Sanyo booth was one of many throughout the halls at photokina with interactive presentations that required audience participation.
Photokina Press Officer, Ulrike Hoberg Retires
Ulrike Hoberg, photokina's press officer for the past 20 years, was honored at a ceremony during photokina for her service, as she retires this year. Hoberg was presented with the photokina Obelisk by Oliver Kurt, VP, Koelnmesse, for her years of service. We here at PTN, who also produce the Cygnus photokina News, will miss the kindness Ms. Hoberg has shown us through the years.
Also on display at photokina last month were wide-format printers; binoculars, spotting scopes and telescopes; and all types of devices featuring a camera to capture images, such as those incorporated into cell phones, PDAs, and multifunctional video/still capture devices. A "World of Imaging" indeed. More like a whole galaxy actually.
"The photo and imaging sector is all about generating images, processing images, storing images, outputting and printing images and communicating with images," according to the Photoindustrie-Verband e.V., co-organizers of photokina.
There were 1,589 companies from 50 different countries around the world exhibiting their wares at photokina 2004, three percent more exhibitors than the last time it was held in 2002. Exhibitors from the U.S., numbering 123, made up the largest contingent of exhibitors from any country outside of Germany, with 616 companies exhibiting. Great Britain was third with 104 participating exhibitors. Other countries with sizable numbers of exhibitors in attendance included Italy with 82; China, 79; Hong Kong, 72; Taiwan, 75; Japan, 56; France 54; and the Netherlands, 45. According to photokina's organizers, the segment of large-format printing exhibitors has put photokina on the map as Europe's biggest trade fair for large-format printing.
Peering Into the Future
A variety of new products, to be marketed worldwide, were introduced during the show. There was also a range of products with availability in specific markets only—as well as some interesting concept ideas displayed under glass.
One of the interesting products was at Fujifilm's booth, the Digital Mobile printer, MP-100, designed for printing images directly from camera phones via infrared. The MP-100 is slated for distribution only in the Japanese market. The Japanese camera phone market is leading the rest of the world and megapixel camera phones are the norm there.
At the Olympus booth was a display of a number of sleek and sexy imaging products under glass, designed to coordinate nicely with Apple's iPods. The "Easy Imaging System," as it was dubbed, features a digital camera and dock, portable hard disk drive, DVD recorder and printer.
Fujifilm also displayed a concept exhibit—the Natural Photo System—which combines ISO 1600 film, a newly developed compact camera with a bright f/1.9 lens and a unique exposure program to automatically control exposure. The system maximizes the advantages of high-speed film, making it possible to shoot in available light, without the need for flash, to produce images that appear natural. Initially, Fujifilm plans to bring the Natural Photo System to the Japanese market only.
At times, attendees seemed unsure whether they were walking the aisles of an international photo show or the pit area of a race track. A number of companies incorporated race cars and motorcycles in their booths, including those that allowed attendees to hop inside for a quick photo to take home as a keepsake. Agfa girls were on hand at the stand to take photos of attendees in front a shiny silver motorcycle; the Kodak pavilion boasted an entire stage set, complete with Kodak sports car and uniformed pit crew; HP incorporated a race car into its display; Adobe had both a sporty car and wandering mimes to entertain visitors; and Nikon and Panasonic also had racing vehicles on display. Many booths encouraged audience participation during their presentations, while others hoped to catch show-goers' attention with professional photography shoots of scantily clad models.