by Mike McNamee Published 01/04/2010
Sigma Imaging had the usual array of lenses to suit every job and occasion. The new 50-500mm stabilised lens was there on the stand (as a mock-up) and we look forward to testing the real thing which should be available any time soon. It looks to be an interesting proposition.
Both Paul Gallagher and I spent time with the Páramo Clothing specialist, Rob Cook. The gear comes well recommended by photographers from Light and Land (who also shared the stand with Páramo). Talking to Bob Cook (who has an ex-military background) it was obvious that a lot of thought had gone into the detail of the designs, including how you take things off and put them on, with a minimum of fuss - people who have spent long periods in stake-out situations have usually had a long time to think about the niceties of garment function, use and warmth!
The Torres Sleeves are an interesting concept for keeping the arms (and hence hands) warm, as well as having a most suitable name for a couple of Merseysiders! For photographers with a social conscience, the clothing is made in Colombia, via the charitable Miquela Foundation. Set up by a nun, it trains, feeds and houses hundreds of at-risk women and children, giving them the skills to earn money from clothing manufacture. Our intention is to dress Gallagher in Páramo gear, launch him into the Highland mists and see how he fares. If he survives we will get a full report. The Canon stand was very large and very busy. The key items under discussion are a test of the new Pixma 9500 MkII printer and its 17" cousin, the iPF5000. Also a field trial of the 24mm shift and tilt lens for landscape (if Gallagher fails to return from the Highlands we are going to have to go look for him).
Innova were demonstrating their new 'canvas onto a box frame' concept of print presentation, 'Jetmaster'. If a quick and easy wrap-around canvas is needed this is a solution worth considering, it makes for a lightweight and reasonably sophisticated method. The advertising line 'Print it - Wrap it - Hang it' is very appropriate. Innova were using their new lightweight canvas Decor Canvas Matt 280gsm which combines well with the Jetmaster.
Digital Photo Solutions shared space with Hewlett Packard and were taking HP prints for mounting into their Float Frame Packs. Premier Art varnish was also being demonstrated and is used to create a heavy impasto finish to an art print - very attractive on the right sort of subject (think Corel Painter). More on this is a later issue.
Epson were show-casing all their printing products right up to the massive Stylus Pro 11,880. The stand was busy almost all of each day with only a couple of well-earned lulls, when the hard-pressed staff could grab a coffee and a handful of Haribos (where would we have been without our sugar rush?).
The questions posed by visitors to the stand were typical of previous years, although the question and answer sessions often brought up the issue of prints being darker than the screen views - they were obviously not our members as we cover the topic regularly! We sent most of them along to spend money on the Colour Confidence stand although some obviously had the gear but were not using it correctly.
We intend to follow this up with a round robin review of Colour Confidence monitors, to coincide with a visit to their swanky new showrooms in the Midlands - watch this space. So that is about it for another year. The reported statistics show that the attendance numbers up again from 34,254 to 37,352. "A belter of a show" is how Darren Walker of wide format printer specialists DCP Systems described Focus 2010. "All four days were busy. Sales were doubled compared with last year with new quality printers selling at less than £1000 going very well - we actually sold 50 off the stand.
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