Photokina 2012 Final Report

01st October 2012
As Dumbledore might say if he were a photo enthusiast: „Another Photokina...gone“

It was a smaller fair this year; a couple of the halls weren’t totally full, while one full hall was empty. Many booths were also noticeably smaller this year. And I also experienced a first this year: discounted tickets. The normally 45€ per day tickets were available through two of my regular photo suppliers for a heavily discounted price of 14€.

Among those I didn’t see this year: Nik Software, Naneu Pro Bags, Adobe, Bibble Labs, Topaz Labs, Jill-E Bags and Manfrotto. ACDSee was relegated from the large booth that they always had to a single non-manned work station in booth with other software suppliers.

In this year: actions cams, 24mp point and shoot cameras, 3D modeling set ups and instant cameras (move over Polaroid!)

Out: mat supplies, mat cutting machines, scrapbooking suppliers, and many photo book stands.

Hanging in there: darkroom equipment and supplies

To come: ball shaped tripod/beanbag (it held my Fuji S5pro, external battery pack and Sigma 105mm 2.8 lens) and eco-friendly lens wipes by Hoodman USA.

Always a pleasure so see: Greifvogelstation Hellenthal and their beautiful eagles and owls

My chuckle of the day: asking a salesman at a book stand if he had any books on IR photography and him asking what IR was.

There were more photo exhibitions this year, perhaps to help fill the empty space left by absent suppliers.

I have to say, though, the most moving photo exhibition that I saw was from the Japan Professional Photographers Society called "Ikiru" (We Survive) Post-Tsunami. The photos are not only documentary of what happened on March 11, 2011, but what happened after...the slow and painful process of finding out what happened to their loved ones, life in a temporary shelter and the slow recovery of their lives. The stories that the photos told were incredible and painful. I do hope that the exhibition is shown elsewhere outside of Photokina so that others can see not only what these people went through, but the way that they shared what little they had with strangers.

You can see the exhibition trailer, and read a bit about it here:

I enjoyed visiting the Awagami Inkjet Paper booth and seeing what new papers they had this year. They have a new German distributor: Rauch Papiere, Folien und Ideen ( I talked with one gentleman at the Awagami booth for a few minutes before his partner came over. Before I could say anything, she said that she remembered me from the last Photokina. She was right as I remember spending some time talking with her. Awagami has some wonderful handmade paper; definitely different than others on the market. I brought home a sample packet to try out. The gentleman at Rauch showed me several of their different papers. I picked out several favorites (among them a Silver Iridium Pearl) and am waiting on promised samples.

And, speaking of papers, Moab was there this year. They told me that they also have a German distributor: Life Foto ( I was able to bring home some paper samples of their Slickrock Metallic Pearl 260 and Lasal Dual Semigloss 330 papers.

Hahnemühle paper was also there with their usual info packed stand. They offered sample packages of their paper at 5€ each with the money being donated to a worthy wildlife cause. Kudos to them for doing it! They have several new papers which I look forward to trying out.

The usual big name camera manufacturers were there: Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad and the like. Only at Photokina can you do something that you may otherwise not be able to do: handle and try out a camera set up worth over $20,000.

There were less half-naked painted ladies there this year, although you could easily tell where they were by the hoard of men snapping away with their DSLR’s and cell phone cameras.

My personal highlight was seeing one of my photos hanging in the Epson booth as part of their Digigraphie gallery.

All in all, it was time well spent. Now comes the time of sorting through all the information and materials that I brought home and make my list to start ordering.

Mark your calendars for the next Photokina: Sept. 16-21, 2014.