As promised some thoughts on Focus 2011. Overall another worthwhile trip I feel.
Arriving a little earlier than in previous years was a bonus; gave a little more quiet time to review what was there and determine a plan of attack. It was noticeable I think that there were a few less exhibitors than in previous years - the noteable absence of Canon for example. It also felt a little less crowded, not so much pushing and shoving to get somewhere. Or perhaps this was just because with fewer stands everything was spaced out more. I also noted sadly there were no public address announcements when a talk was about to start; nor is they any central list of the talks. A real shame as I had hoped to pay more attention here this year.
After a coffee and bacon bap (so important to stay hydrated and feed as it's a non-stop day) first stop was as planned Nikon. So D7000 D300S and D700 comparison. My comparison here was purely ergonomic - all are good specifications and all better than a D100! The broad decision was easy to make - I picked p the D7000 and then put it down again. Ergonomically it is just felt 'wrong'. Comparing with a D300s/D700 body showed quite a lot had been taken off the left hand side. With the grip on the bottom the D7000 became a square box with a lens at the top left corner - not at all balanced.
If I had to buy a camera today - D300s; however it's coming to the end of its life. D700? well with DX lens this crops down to around the D100. A few more pixels are now required really. Upshot? Well the money is not quite yet in the account so it's a wait and see game? Can I last until the D400 or D800? D800 full frame is very tempting - lower noise and get to use the old FX lens as they should be used.
Moving to the Lee Filters, 'Big Stopper' talking to the Lee stand Speed Graphic decided not to bring any as they would sell out very quickly. (Business model fail?) So Linhof got the order (as they had some but had sold out).
PhotoBox next to talk about their calendars in loci James. Well the couldn't say what the aspect ratio was, not were overly keen to find out. But were firmly of the opinion that the templates in the calendar tool would permit the layout that is required without any needing to know the ratio. Plus that the mix of colour/b&w wouldn't compromise the image quality. In fact the example calendar on display was a mix and had good definition.
Epson's new printer is big - but not as I had imagined another replacement for the replacement of the R2400; the R2880 still stands. This new printer is filling a new need apparently. They did confirm that servicing a printer that hasn't physically failed or has demanded servicing is not reqiured. My drifting black point is most likely my colour management.
So what else?
- Spoke to Joe Cornish and Eddie Ephraums about their new book (signed copy obtained)
- Paramo have indicated to me to send back my jacket so they can remove the lint it's picked up over the years (a common problem now especially with merino wool.
- Brilliant Prints impressed me with their canvas prints, very good quality printing and physical construction. Reasonable prices, good guarentee and a passion for the business which is so important.
- Drobo always impresses me; especially this year when I got to start pulling out drives live and putting them back again.
- Last year I was smitten by a new monitor, and so this year. NEC PA-241W is simply outstanding - and one of the lower end models. Maybe if I wait for the D800 I might be tempted with a new monitor.
- Loxley Colour was also a stop; having been impressed with some prints for Alexis, I wanted to stop buy - they do calendars (yes finally I can get competent calendar!) and lots of other things.
- Sony had a very impressive stand and display, no doubt trying hard now that a certain big name was missing. Yet not many people around the stand.
- Panasonic though had a good showing for the Lumix G series. An impressive concept with a growing lens collection. It's a very tempting proposition I must say. Indeed one I would possibly recommended to anybody starting. (Although it has to be said the D3100 is also very impressive - although so very very small!)
I must give an honorable mention to the vice-president of the RPS - as I challenged him to explain why I should join. I do applaud and support the concept of the awards and have seriously been working on and off to the 'L' Panel. Yet reviewing the cost of the RPS - now at least £100 a year - I need to ask what I would get from it. To be fair the answer is really - how much can you put in.... the problem is that with the amount of time free for photography the RPS would always for me a the moment a distant club. I applaud the work they do behind the scenes... but sorry at the moment £100 is better spent on other areas of photography.
So finally to the end of the day, a quick trip to the Hahnemühle stand for their discount on paper. Also picked up a DIY Canvas kit for £20 - worth a try. Also just looking at their site I realise that I was quizzing one of their top directors about how curl a roll sheet of paper would have when mounted.
Also picked up a new Nomad print box (growing print collection) - these are simple boxes but simply brilliant. Did get a soft sided cases for taking to club print evenings.
I did finally pay another visit to Nikon - was my initial impression right from earlier in the day? Yes - no question. So the matter remains now, need to get the money into the camera fund. When it gets to the suitable level - where are we in the year.