PhotoPlus Expo 2012

PhotoPlus Expo 2012

This is officially the 3rd weekend in a row that I’ve spent at Jacob Javitz Center this month. It’s just that all the conventions that happen in NYC must happen at Javitz. It’s the only convention center in Manhattan…and who wants to go the other boroughs? PhotoPlus is the biggest photography expo in North America, where all the photography vendors you can think of set up shop. Some are just manufacturers, so you can’t buy from them directly (like Manfrotto), but you can touch and try out their equipment in person. This is pretty awesome if it’s usually an online only item, and especially cool with rigging. Body harnesses or whatever they’re called. The big metal cage you put on your torso so you can fluidly move a video camera without it seeming jerky. Trade shows, traditionally speaking, should be where you can see new products before they hit the market. It’s like those Apple Keynote things, but for all the companies there, and it all happens at the same time.

A big metal cage:

Camera men need to take P.E. class in school to graduate.

Some Exclusive Things I Saw There:

This is gonna be a small section!

You can check out tons of lenses at PhotoPlus, and I did see one 70mm-200mm f/2.8 at Tamron, which has YET to be released unto the world. No one was allowed to mount it on their camera and see how the quality of the pictures it could produce were, but the guy at the booth did let me heft it around a bit. So that’s one “exclusive” thing I saw at the show. It’s the direct competitor (or imitation?) of Canon’s L series lens with the same exact specs. There are only two differences: Tamron’s version is black instead of an ugly white, and Tamron’s version is WAY LIGHTER!!! Shockingly lighter!!! I wanted to smash the thing on the side of the counter to see if it’s missing some glass, it was crazy how light it was! The Canon L series version is nearly 3lb and is basically required gear for all serious wedding photographers. If you’re thinking in terms of dumbbells, 2.8lb does not sound like a lot. If you have to carry this damn thing around for hours and hours, sometimes while hiking, then 2.8lb can get damn heavy. I was hefting one around during the show, borrowed from a friend that I went with to the Expo, and after about 1.5 – 2 hours my shoulders ached. I had to swap with him for my lightweight 50mm prime back. The booth guy at Tamron told me that their version of the 70-200 has all the same functions – image stabilization, autofocus, constant manual focus override on the motor, VC (I don’t know what that is), and the quality is “about the same” as the L.

Okay. That last statement, I DO NOT BELIEVE.

My friend holding the Canon 70mm-200mm L series f/2.8

As cheap as I am, I will totally admit that with glass, with OPTICS, you get what you pay for. If you ever had a car window or a house window that got smashed, you’ll have an inkling of what I mean. Glass in general is just really really expensive. Now say you don’t just want crystal clear glass, a la house windows, you don’t just want durable glass, a la car windows, but you want glass that is also able to move and shift and slide around constantly and quickly without damage. You want glass that will not distort or darken at the corners when such movements happen. Maybe it’s possible that Tamron figured out a way to hit all these points with high marks, and technically it could be possible. 70-200mm is not a focal length that warps a whole lot. It should be easier than creating a high quality 24-70, which is another wedding photography staple L lens of Canon. Still, I’ve yet to find Tamron to be better than Canon’s own stuff. So we shall see. The guy at the booth said this lens would be out sometime this year, most likely next month or end of next month. “Definitely before Christmas.”

Aside from that lens….I can’t think of any brand new and exclusive releases at the show. Maybe I’m too ignorant to have noticed them, which is more possible….I felt overwhelmed at PhotoPlus, muchly because I have no idea what a lot of it is. I felt kinda ashamed to ask vendors why their product exists and what the hell does it do, but I did anyway. There were exclusive DEALS….does that count? Show prices. They give some extra rebates, or extra discounts on programs and products. $50-200 off, 20%-50% off. Keep in mind that one item can cost over $1000-3000. So a lens that costs $1600 instead of $1900 is technically the best you’re ever gonna get, but it’s not really that much of a discount.

Oh yeah, and there were some lenses there that cost $14,000. Such as…the 800mm Canon lens. I guess you use it for sports photography…it’s a telescope…saw one there that was 1200mm, but locked behind glass. Maybe that one is er, $25,000?!

These all cost tens of thousands, with 600mm being the widest in the set.

The 800mm Canon Lens.

Body-painted mascot...

More pics from the show in my Flickr set.

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