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Focus 2006: A day in the life (28.02.06) - Our two intrepid newshounds attempt to tackle over two hundred stands in eight hours: sit back and enjoy the highlights.
Our two intrepid newshounds attempt to tackle over two hundred stands in eight hours. Sit back and enjoy the highlights...
The Pentax stand was our first port of call, and we were ably assisted by Steve whose enthusiasm was infectious enough to get us excited even after two exhausting days of PR spiel. He gave us an exclusive look at a pre-production model of the new AF540 FGZ flash. “It's a more powerful, high speed digital SLR flash” he explained, “and there's only two in the world at the moment.” If that wasn't enough, we also caught a glimpse of the brand new Optio W10, a 6 Megapixel compact digital. The 'W' stands for waterproof as this baby can go 1.5 metres under and still produce the goods. Next up was the T10, a touch screen digital compact currently in pre-production – look out for this one on QVC in April. He also tantalised us with talk (and some pictures) of their new 10 Megapixel digital SLR offering but details of this one are still a little sketchy. He did, however, assure us that there would be some sexy new 645 lenses to complement the release, scheduled for late 2006.
Tamron gave us a selection of their new lenses to play with and Gary tested them all with his trusty Fuji S2. The 55-200mm was a particular favourite.
On our way to see Fuji we happened across two friendly Olympus PR people. By their own admission they didn't know much about cameras but those smiles are worth a thousand Nikon vs Canon discussions. “Would you like to win a Bentley?” Of course we would, but we're not holding our breath.
Arriving at Fuji's impressive stand we were greeted by Will who was keen to tell us about their new “Real Photo Technology” cameras. “Because we're the only manufacturer that uses our own sensors we can optimise the image processing in a unique way,” he gushed, “This new technology produces higher quality images in low light at higher ISOs than ever before.” Cameras featuring this technology include the V10, F10, F11 and 9500. Their S3 Pro digital SLR was also on offer at £899 and seemed to be drumming up substantial interest.
We travelled to Sandisk and Chris introduced us to their latest memory card offerings. The most exciting was the Ultra II SD Plus, a memory card that cuts out the middle man and plugs straight into the USB port via an integrated adapter. Available in 512MB and now 1 or 2GB flavours, this innovative device should make clunky memory card readers a thing of the past. We liked it a lot.
Headed back to the ePHOTOzine stand for a quick rest and struggled get past the crowds lining up to meet the legendary Peter Bargh. Got his autograph and helped man the stand for the next couple of hours – it was bedlam to say the least. Met old members, recruited a few new ones and sold lots of copies of FPME. Ate copious amounts of love hearts, then tackled the generous buffet laid on by Jas (wife of Andytvcams). Headed out for the afternoon with renewed vigour and a dangerously full stomach.
Everyone's been talking about the D200 so we decided it was high time to get our hands on one. After just five minutes at the Nikon stand handling this sleek black number Gary was forced to change his underwear. Believe the hype, it's an absolute cracker: super fast focusing, total control at your finger tips and unbelievable image quality make this one a winner in our eyes.
Next up on our hit-list was Johnsons Photopia and our host for this one was the overworked Paul who managed to juggle showing us around his giant stand with fielding numerous phone calls and sorting out staffing arrangements; an admirable feat. Impressive, too, was the array of products on display across the five manufacturers whose products they distribute. From “indestructible” Peli cases and a customised photography vest (available in five sizes from Billingham) to brand new Giottos tripods and Lastolite lighting kits, JP had it all. And that's without mentioning the world's first 22 Megapixel digital camera. Retailing at £7000 (body only) the Mamiya ZD was making its debut at Focus, and despite the impressive spec the conditions were inappropriate for testing out a camera of this calibre so we're going to reserve judgement until release. Discussed music photography with Mamiya man Martin. He and Gary swapped email addresses and marriage could be on the cards.
Olympus had a plethora of new cameras for Andy to show us, the most exciting of which was the 700 – a stylish metallic compact digital and the E330 digital SLR featuring an LCD viewfinder. When word reached us via another Olympus team member that models were draping themselves over the aforementioned Bentley we were invited to test them out at the other stand. Of course, it would have been rude not to. From the gaggle of drooling photographers huddled around the car when we got there, it's safe to say that sex still sells.
Headed back to ePz headquarters, pausing on our way to inspect one of the cheesiest ads we've ever seen: a cut-out of Pierce “James Bond” Brosnan advertising Hasselblad. The slogan? Licenced to shoot... It's lucky they don't need an original marketing strategy to sell their products. Back at the stand things had died down a bit and we were able to enjoy a well earned rest and a cup of wine.
Retired to our hotel, went to bed dreaming of D200s and Bentleys...
Words: Rob Webb
Pictures: Gary Wolstenholme