I went to Photokina 2016 as a visitor and these are my impressions. I have good news and bad news. I’ll start with the good, I’ll probably finish with the good also, but be sure I’ll mix some bad news inbetween.
The big winner of Photokina 2016 is Canon. They had the largest and most interesting booth around. Agree, they had a lot of products to show off, but each section was organized just like a trade fair booth should.
They had their full range of products displayed and a lot of guys around to help you with info. They even created a MyCanon system with cards, where you could register, tap the card next to a product you want to know about, and have the information stored on your own personalized Canon Photokina website, so you can check out later at home.
Nikon had a fairly large booth, but it didn’t look so impressive compared to Canon. That’s probably why there was less people around. Still, a decent presence at Photokina.
Fujifilm, Sony and Sigma also had large booths, with lots of products available, but a bit less action, at least during my visit.
I didn’t understand why smaller producers, mainly from China, wanted to be around the big brands’ booths. You may argue they would get increased visibility this way, but in reality almost no one was interested in their products. I think they would have had bigger success with a larger booth in their dedicated sections than with a tiny presence around the big brands. Wrong strategy, in my opinion.
Epson and HP booths, a total chaos. Which is a good thing, people seemed very interested, especially in large format printing. I think Epson had a better prepared presence than HP. You could print your own photos to test some of the printers, but it would’ve been nice for both of them to have printed sample kits ready. Just for those who are somewhat interested, but don’t have an hour or so to wait for their turn.
Some people, even exhibitors, were turning their back on you if you pointed the camera at them. Great attitude at a photo trade fair. LOL.
The booths that impressed me most were White Wall and Cewe. I was so eager to discover their products that I even forgot to take pictures of their booths (to my defence, I didn’t plan to write a blog about it, I’ve only decided to do so a day after my visit). Still, no sample kits to take home, but it would have been real difficult for them to offer such kits.
The big absence was Blurb. I don’t know why they chose to skip the biggest photo trade fair in the World. It would’ve been nice to see them there. If they were there, I didn’t see them. Actually, I couldn’t find a clear, detailed plan of the building and exhibitors. For a first-time visitor, it was pretty hard to find my way around. I don’t know if it was on purpose, just to make you explore all the halls, but I clearly didn’t like it.
Sandisk displayed the prototype of the World’s first 1TB SD card. I don’t see it as such a big accomplishment, in fact it’s just a card with a larger storage capacity, but that was their star product. Still, a World’s first, so kudos to them.
From all the inkjet paper suppliers, Hahnemuhle was clearly the star of Photokina. Canson, Ilford, Perma Jet and Sihl had decent booths too, but Hahnemuhle’s presence was impecable. I’ve used their papers before for my prints, but being able to see ALL their products and feel the printed papers with my hands was priceless. I got me a printed sample kit, for just 5 euro. Simple and effective.
And what I wanted to say: Canson, Ilford, Sihl and
Perma Jet* didn’t have sample kits available. Not even for sale. Which seems unbelievable to me. How come a paper producer exhibitor, at the largest photo trade fair in the World, doesn’t have sample kits? How are you gonna miss so many thousands of possible clients because you didn’t think of that? After 6 hours of driving just to check out the printers, paper producers, large printing services and on-demand book suppliers, I got home with only one printed sample kit from Hahnemuhle. Ok, the other producers’ papers were looking good too, but guess what paper I’ll use from now on? Exactly.
*Update: actually, it seems that Perma Jet had sample test packs for sale at their booth, and some give-away samplers of specific products. I don’t know how I couldn’t buy one. Probably my communication skills were poor after a long day, or perhaps I didn’t ask the right person.
Some more pics I took:
Some events were poorly communicated. I’ve seen a photographer presenting his photos only to an audience of Canon’s employees, even if that was the most animated booth of the fair. I have no idea who he was and when the presentation started. Probably nobody else did. I know it’s hard to organize a trade fair like that, but some things simply need to be taken care of. A clear, detailed exhibitors’ plan and an events’ schedule are too important to be overlooked.
To end in a good note, there was a lot of action, a lot of interaction and I’ve seen a lot of interest from visitors. You get the feeling that photo industry is booming. Maybe that’s not actually the case, but the overall feeling is good.