A somewhat smaller show than last year.
With a whole hall closed off, no presence from Sony or Panasonic after their large stands last year.
Sunday was a little subdued but Monday was busy.
I had a somewhat hectic schedule on the Manfrotto and Phase One stands so I did not get a chance to look round a great deal, so consider this a snapshot.
I popped along to the Fuji stand to see the X1 pro.
Once again for sheer feel and build Fuji have hit the target, but then again they needed to at the price point, which is quite high.
I'm pleased to report that the autofocus is better than the X100 but by how much it is difficult to gauge just messing about on a show stand.
I am somewhat concerned but the time it seemed to take to write a RAW image to card though.
Perhaps I had it on some obscure setting, but it seemed to take an age.
Because of its interchangeable lenses Fuji has opted for a focal plane and not a leaf
shutter which gives the X100 it's stealthy abilities.
I did consider this to be a deal breaker but it was actually pretty quiet.
I can't see myself buying one of these but that is what I said about the X100 and then I went out and bought one.........
Speaking of quiet Camera's I did get a short amount of hands on time with the Canon 5d MKIII.
And my impression is WHAT A CAMERA!
Ok, followers of this blog will know I haved used Canon forever and know it is my DSLR of choice but from my very brief hands on time with it I did get the idea that this camera is a cut above.
Firstly build quality is in my opinion better than the MKII and that was never bad anyway, it felt a little 'tighter' with no flex whatsover around the memeory card door.
I tried out the AF in both oneshot and AI focusing mode and it was a revelation compared to the MKII or any other AF system I have used. It did not struggle focusing on low contrast and solid black objects, tracked moving objects with great precision. Not that this should come as a surprise at all as it utilises the AF system from the 1D X, but good to see all the same.
I tried the 'silent' setting too and it was really very impressive, not silent my any means but some people will buy it for this feature alone.
Overall one can only be impressed by the sheer responsive nature of this camera, somewhat reminiscent of a 1 series, dubtlessly down to the big fat Digic V processor.
One small demerit point,in some people's books at least, will be the weather sealing which though improved is still not the same extreme spec as the 1DX.
To be clear I have used both versions of 5d's extensively and have never encountered any water ingress issues at all, but I do know people who use the 5D in extreme situations and they would welcome 1 series weather sealing for peace of mind more than anything.
Canon have relaxed a little and finally let 1 series features to be used on the 5D (such as AF, Metering and a decent frame rate.
I just wish they had the confidence to let full weather sealing make it to the MKIII.
Doubtless they were concerned that it could steal sales from the 1dx, but I think they need not have worried, the 1Dx will never be used for the same type of photography.
But Canon should consider that due to its great form factor and sheer versatility the MKIII will see more extreme action in harsh conditions than the 1dx ever will in my opinion.
Drifting by the Olympus stand I saw the OM-D and it looked a tidy little package, though I'm not sure if the styling is quite as sweet as the original.
Finally another product which I have been eagerly awaiting is the Gitzo Systematic GT5562LTS tripod.
Why is that?
It is a Carbon fiber light weight but substantial tripod which will take all the really big lenses so beloved by bird watchers and wildlife shooters with ease.
Nothing special about that I hear you say, but the really clever part is just how small it is thanks to the 5 section legs which means it is a full sized heavy duty tripod which will fit in my small backpack, meaning amongst other things that when you fly you will not have to check it into the hold.
Film makers take note, as it is from the systematic range it will take the Gitzo fuild head (probably others too I suppose) and you will be able use a substantial full sized tripod in places you never have done before.
A game changing tripod like this does not come cheap but it well worth looking at as it could pay for itself in a few flights where you do not pay excess baggage for that tripod bag.
I have had to leave the show a day early due to a family emergency and my very good friend Justin Sutcliffe will be standing in for me on the Manfrotto stand, if you are interested in World Class photojournalism look no further. I'm sure his presentations will be riveting.