PhotoPlus Expo Kicks Off In New York

PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) kicks off today in New York's Javits Center. An extravaganza of products, seminars and talks, PPE this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. I've been going most years that I lived in or near New York, but this is the first time I attend with more than an amateur interest. I hope to be able to write up first impressions, I'm interviewing a Leica rep tomorrow morning and plan to cover the panel discussion about the future of photography this afternoon. So, follow this space please.

There will also be some product announcements, but many will be aimed at professionals in the wedding and portrait business. Most new gear has been introduced in the past few weeks. Then again, Leica plans to roll out a new consumer camera, most likely tomorrow. Zeiss will show off a prototype of its new Touit 2.8/50M macro lens, the next lens in its Touit series for Fuji X and Sony E mounts.

As I'm preparing to attend PPE, it dawned on me how narrowly focused my gear attention actually is. I wonder if it's the same for most enthusiast photographers.

For example, I overlook point-and-shoots, with the exception of the rugged, waterproof ones. These can be fun and their unique advantages make up for the quirks of point-and-shoots.

I also overlook APS-C sensored DSLRs. If I'm not shooting full-frame, I don't see a need for a DSLR with its large lenses. There's an exception again: Pentax, now Ricoh Pentax. Its line of 'limited' lenses and the gutsy and intuitive DSLRs the brand rolls out continue to attract me.

Likewise, I ignore cameras without a viewfinder. That's partly because I took up this hobby long before digital, when cameras had viewfinders (or groundglass) and partly because I need reading glasses to see the LCD. Too much hassle.

I'm also biased against the electronics makers, I must admit. When at B&H, I try many cameras, but I've never touched a Samsung or Panasonic. Their heritage just seems wrong to me. The same would be true for Sony if it hadn't bought Minolta. This is one bias I will drop because there is no rational or practical reason not to see what those cameras can do.

Still, that actually leaves just a few full-frame cameras and the batch of Micro-Four Thirds and mirrorless APS-C cameras within the realm of my active interest.

A Feast

But what a feast it is this year! So many interesting new cameras are hopefully on display, The new Fuji's (especially the X-E2) , the new Sony's (A7 and A7r, the new Pentax K-3, the new Olympus OM-D EM-1 and the just-a-little-bit new Nikon D610. I'm sure  Canon and Nikon booths will trump all the others in booth size and attendance, as is traditionally the case, but the big two are actually laggards this year when it comes to cool new stuff.

For those who are close enough to New York and have never attended PPE, they should consider it. It's a great way to get a feel for many new products. The talks on the floor, sponsored by the exhibitors, are often of high caliber. The seminar series feature some interesting topics and experienced speakers. PPE ends October 26.

By John van Rosendaal