One of my readers/viewers(Scott Fautley) had a chance to attend the recent “The Photography Show” in Birmingham England and shared some thoughts and photos. Yes – it is just called “The Photography Show”

I had the pleasure of visiting the Birmingham NEC for the UK Photography show – courtesy of my Girlfriend’s stepdad who is a professional Food, Drink and Product Photographer (His work is at http://www.stevepaynephotography.co.uk/)

Scott Writes –

I had never attended this kind of show before, but knew I’d be able to land my hands on some new gear and test out some bits.

We got there about 11am, the NEC is enormous and several other conventions etc were going on at the time, since this was the opening day and usually a day for the consumers, I was expecting it to be busy and of course it was – but not too bad.

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The first thing we came into was the Canon stand – I say stand, the area was enormous and absolutely packed – we decided to come back later.

Zeiss
The next stand was the Zeiss. I have seen a 55mm 1.4 Zeiss Otus before, however that was Matt Granger’s and his is Nikon mount – the guys as Zeiss were really friendly and let me take a look at both the 55 and new 85 Otus.
The great thing about these shows is they let you try out all of their gear!
I snapped off a few shots on the Zeiss 85mm at F2.8 and F1.4 – it is so sharp, but incredibly difficult to get perfect focus at 1.4 because of the tiny depth of field and manual focus only. I took a series of shots and checked the focus peaking on magic lantern to ensure I’d got one, but it took me about 5 shots! They were doing a show special price, £3,000 down from £3,300 – probably not for me hey…

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Tamron
I moved onto the Tamron stand, which surprisingly wasn’t too large.
Their distribution manager said their demand has really stepped up since the new 24-70 and 70-200 VC lenses were released.
They had the new 15-30mm F2.8 VC. I’m not sure if this was a finished version or the pre-production model. It’s nice and sharp however when you have a lens this wide, you need to consider your metering setting as evaluative threw my exposure way off, nearly 2 stops in fact. It’s very similar in size and weight to the 24-70 VC and is very nice indeed but has a very large bulbous front element so won’t accept a lot of filters – 15mm is incredibly wide on a full frame camera.

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(sample from the TAMRON SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC)

Samyang
Not quite as wide as my next stand – Samyang. In the UK the same firm distribute Samyang and Tamron, Samyang said that film-makers are really using their lenses a lot since they are optically superb, and the newly designed Cine range has focus rings purposely made for pulling focus. I tried out the 12mm 2.8 Fisheye which has 180 degree field of view, I could see my own finger when focusing! Focus on these requires some getting used to but when you’ve got it, again they are really sharp glass. The 14mm 2.8 has a similarly wide field of view but far less distortion. You have to click your aperture on these lenses old school so you don’t actually know what your F-stop was after the event, but they meter just fine.

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(Sample from the Samyang 12mm 2.8 Fisheye)

Lytro
After a bit more of a wander I stumbled across Lytro.
Lytro were probably the best chat I had at the entire event. If you don’t know much about them – in short, they have a camera that you change the depth of field in post, it’s an odd concept but one that could prove hugely useful. Currently it’s held back by relatively low resolution and a small sensor. The ergonomics are great, although I did suggest they added an EVF or at least have the option of one to appeal to a larger market. They said they have the technology to manipulate depth of field in video – that would be quite something. Note from Toby: I have heard Lyrto is mostly abandoning the photo market and concentrating efforts on video with emphasis on virtual reality – It all still feels like a gimmick but I am sure this technology will be incorporated into cameras – just not sure how far in the future.

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Sony
Sony had a large stand, I had a chance to try out the A7R and the A7 II – both are nice in the hand and well built. The light in the hall wasn’t great and you do notice a slight lag in the EVF – it certainly wasn’t bad but something that would take getting used to if you were a DSLR shooter. The resolution is also nothing like looking through an Optical viewfinder i.e. Life…

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At these events it’s nice to see lots of different companies offering different print options – ones on plexiglass really looked amazing and contemporary.

Hasselblad
Hasselblad was great fun for those who are interested in medium format and studio shooting. They had a Marilyn Monroe style model which they were allowing visitors to shoot with an H5D (unsure which back).

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KOWA
Nearby were KOWA lenses who make a selection of high quality Micro 4/3rds lenses and Telephoto Zooms, all of which are manual focus. I must say the build quality of these were superb. Note from Toby: I only recently learned that Kowa made lenses, I have a spotting scope from Kowa and it is fantastic.

Drones
As you would expect there were plenty of drones. I saw plenty from DJI and other manufacturers.

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(GH4 on a SERIOUS drone)

Canon
The main event for me finally came – the Canon stand had died down. As there were a lot of consumers there, the areas surrounding the T6i/T6s (750D/760D) were busy, but access to the 5DS and 5DSR was relatively clear. I got my hands on the 5DSR. The sides were sealed up to ensure nobody snuck a card in.
One Canon rep made of point of telling me it’s a totally new body, since I actually own a 5D Mk3 (and had one in my hand) you’d think he’d know a bit better.
It’s IDENTICAL. The menus, the grip, the dials – all the same. Any re-design is internal.
This isn’t a bad thing, but don’t expect this to feel like a new camera. It is a 5D Mark 3 with a higher resolution sensor. In terms of operating speed, it felt about the same, I suppose that means it’s a bit quicker as it’s handling those huge 50mp files.

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Canon said to me that every Canon L lens is designed with the next 5 years of camera’s in mind, so lenses in 2010 should still get great detail out of the 5DS range.
They said they had no idea when the 5D Mark 4 was coming, they said they are not expecting it this year though and it is highly unlikely to feature 4k video because of cooling issues.
Note from Toby: Sometimes it seems Reps have no clue and sometimes they are right on – either way I still think 4K is a big question for the Mark IV, not because they can’t do it – because they won’t do it. Also – cooling issues? The LX100 can shoot 4K, the GH4 can shoot 4K – these smaller cameras are not bursting into flames . . .

I also had the chance to try the new 11-24 F4 L. It felt very nice, 11mm is crazy wide on a FF but remember as this isn’t a fisheye – it’s field of view is not as wide as the 12mm Samyang.
As you’d expect – at 11mm the distortion away from the centre is still quite evident, not as bad as a fisheye though. It’s lovely and sharp, you’d hope so for £2,800!

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(taken with the 11-24 f4 L)

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(taken with the 11-24 f4 L)

Nikon
Nikon had a nice big stand, it was laid out better than Canon’s which allowed the crowds to flow. The new 300m F4 was available to use, the compact size of that prime is brilliant and could comfortably be hand held. I got a nice look up close on the D810 and D4s. As you’d expect, 2 phenomenal cameras.

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Sigma
The final stand I spent any time of note was the Sigma.
The constant flow was for the 150-600mm, I saw a lot of people try out that lens, it looked fantastically well built. I was more interested in the 50mm Art series.
Having had the chance to use it – WOW. Beautifully built, focus was snappy and the image quality absolutely stunning on my 5D Mark 3. I’d love them to make an 85mm and the sales rep said there will be one at some stage.

Note from Toby: Scott leaves us with a little love of Pentax

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(The camera Christina is drooling over)

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(The camera Christina is drooling over)

See Scott’s full gallery on Flickr and give him some thanks for taking the time to share his thoughts and photos. Thanks Scott!

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