BBC Blue Room at Photokina 2016

For BBC Blue Room

Photokina — Still going strong in Cologne, for over 50 years

The BBC Blue Room visited Photokina, the world’s largest Photography and Imaging Trade Fair. We were tasked with investigating the latest evolutions in imaging and photography, and to assess what the impacts that the latest in capture technology will have both on our audiences, and ourselves as a broadcaster.

The views expressed in this report are the personal views of the author, Colin Warhurst, and should not be taken as the views or policies of the BBC.

Colin Warhurst — Technologist, BBC Blue Room

Photokina

Photokina is the World’s largest Photography and Imaging Trade Fair. The first ever Photokina was held in Cologne, Germany, in 1950. Ever since 1966, the show has been held there as a bi-annual event. Approximately 185,000 visitors were expected to attend the 2016 Photokina, visiting 7 dedicated halls devoted to all things photographic.

The Blue Room sent me, as their resident camera expert, to investigate the photography trends and insights that are happening amongst all of the noise and marketing buzz.

Seven halls dedicated to Photography, and large queues every morning to get in

However, my expectations versus the reality of this event turned out to be quite different. Many trade fairs often include sponsored or curated industry discussions and conferences that go hand-in-hand with the trade show itself. Yet it turned out that Photokina was almost wholly about Products alone. As such, the event is what it says on the tin; a trade show.

As you’ll see, it was not massively obvious or easy to find anyone wanting to discuss the future of photography, publishing or image-driven social media.

Therefore, I’ve broken this report down into two main sections;

1 : Technology Insights

The deeper dive on the trends. Things that may have a bigger impact or story behind them, and my largely unsuccessful search for any formal future-gazing.

2 : Spotted at Photokina

Anything and everything I spotted at the event, that may excite your inner photo-geek.

1: TECHNOLOGY INSIGHTS

The trends and innovations uncovered, as well as those that seemed missing from the discussion…

Digital Medium Format

PRIMER: Medium Format (MF) cameras generally refer to a picture capture area somewhere between ‘small’ 35mm and Large-Format (100mm+) cameras. MF cameras capture more light, and therefore more colour tonality and detail than 35mm or smaller cameras, producing stunning images that have a distinct ‘look’ which cannot easily be replicated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium_format_(film)

Medium Format cameras capture more light, and thus have incredible tonality
Moxfyre derivative work: Autopilot (Sensor_sizes_overlaid.svg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Though 35mm (and smaller) sensors have been digital and a well established norm for years now, the computing power and speeds (and therefore cost) needed to make a larger MF digital sensor, put such cameras out of reach for most users. As such, in a world that is drowning with smaller digital cameras and smartphones, MF photography has still remained film-based for many years. This all seems to be changing though, with both Hasselblad and Fujifilm announcing digital MF cameras at Photokina.

MF has always been expensive, and no doubt these Digital MF bodies will be no different in that regard. But will digital eventually affect MF the same way it did 35mm photography? Analogue MF popularity may begin to swing in the other direction, as digital offers faster workflows and the potential for higher uptake amongst working professionals as a result.

Hasselblad’s Medium Format digital sensor, on a typically modular MF body
Fujifilm’s GFX 50S — Huge sensor!

MF cameras are usually highly modular. Various lenses, viewfinders and “back” ends can all be mixed as required. Many brands offer MF units that let you have your cake and eat it, allowing for both a film and a digital sensor back end to be fitted behind the shutter module, allowing you to swap between the two formats. However, this won’t be an option with the mirrorless MF models (such as the Fuji model here) as the mirrorless sensor “is” the camera.

Another inevitable question raises its head — will Medium Format video will be a thing? It is too early to tell yet, as it all depends on how the medium format sensor is used to record video. Is the full frame being used, therefore recreating the MF ‘look’ accurately? If so, does it suffer from line skipping? Or is it a crop of the full sensor being used? In which case, are there any advantages or distinctive images being recorded in comparison to 35mm cameras?

Hasselblad do offer 4K recording in Cinema RAW on their H6D-100c, aligning it with dedicated professional studio cameras from manufacturers such as Red, Canon Panasonic and Sony etc.

Hasselblad featuress Medium Format videography

SUMMARY:

Though these MF camera bodies show a move to reduce cost, and to make the format more accessible, the costs of lenses are still high enough to mean that these camera systems are still aimed at professionals, or maybe a pro-sumer with incredibly deep pockets. For the average consumer, true MF imagery or video that uses the full sensor to properly replicate the MF photographic ‘look’, is still slightly out of reach, short of having a small lottery win. For working professionals though, cheaper access to MF in digital formats, could be a game changer, as the quality bar goes up another notch across the entire industry - but it will be a change that takes a long time to play out if so.

360

Numerous vendors and startups are entering the 360 degree camera arena, and there was a refreshing amount of variety amongst the cameras on offer, each attempting to solve one or another of the particular ‘issues’ that currently surround 360 photo and video. For example, many vendors were keen to showcase the ‘simplicity’ aspects of any all-in-one 360 cameras in comparison to multi-camera rigs. Indeed, lots of multi-camera rigs were on show offering higher resolutions, but in return for requiring a synching process to match all the material together from the individual camera cards.

Lot’s of prototypes all offering ‘simplicity’ — but 360 remains anything but simple for now!
Nikon’s KeyMission360

Meanwhile, Nikon’s KeyMission 360 camera is going for the action market, presenting a weather-sealed, rugged unit that promises 4K renders from two lenses. The move to 4K is crucial in overcoming the generally poor resolution that is currently offered by the most common 360 formats. The KeyMission360 promo reel also showed off some nice 2D ‘whip-pans’ across a 360 image, using this as an exciting way to take 360 imagery and apply it to use on good old fashioned 2D screens

Live streaming and faster stitching processing were amongst the USPs offered by 360 vendors

Sphericam also offer a 4K unit, which uses six cameras, synchronised shutters, and higher frame rates to create ‘smooth’ 360. The Sphericam also offers live-streaming, as did prototypes from Panasonic, and Orah.

All of the live-360 cameras that I tried had a few seconds delay on them, meaning that once I put on a viewing headset, I was able to look several seconds into the past… It is a fairly surreal experience putting on a headset and looking down on yourself, stood in the same space, but back in time!

The attention on live 360 streaming is of note for both online content creators (the primary platforms for viewing 360 are, after all, YouTube and Facebook) and for events-based broadcasting, primarily Sports and Music. The combination of an exciting and unpredictable live event, in combination with 360 video, takes immersion to a much higher level of intensity and immediacy.

360 is currently dominated by 2D material — but 360 in 3D is fantastic inside a VR headset

Vuze offered an eight camera all-in-one unit that not only does 360, but also records in stereoscopic 3D. We know 3D never caught on with our 2D television sets, however, 3D truly does look great in 360. Playing back stereoscopic video in a headset means that 360 video no longer feels like being trapped in a “flat bubble.” Though some scenes worked better than others, it was refreshing to see that at least one vendor is looking to take 360 to it’s optimum potential by factoring 3D into its core design.

Ricoh’s Theta S camera has also enjoyed lots of early market share for being one of the first affordable, all-in-one, dual lens 360 cameras. All eyes were on them to see if a 4K upgrade was on the cards, but no signs yet…

360 Cinema — Collectively isolated

SUMMARY:

Still waiting on affordability, single form-factor, stereoscopic, live-streaming, 4K+, and 360 to be gathered together in one package. But if you’re happy to choose from just some of the options above, then you may find a camera to suit.

4K Photography

Most digital stills cameras (and some smartphones) are more than capable of shooting at resolutions way above ‘4K resolution’ — which equates to only about 8 megapixels. So for many photographers, the idea of shooting at ‘4K’ may actually imply a downgrade in terms of image size. So why the excitement?

Panasonic were the main drivers behind this concept of ‘4K Photography’ at Photokina, and their pitch was that 4K (8MP) is the point where video resolution is good enough to take a still frame, and still have it meet most printing quality requirements.

But really, what ‘4K Photography’ as a term means is, shoot a video, and then pinch a still frame from it.

“4K Photography” — Freeze frame video, good enough to print

It was explained to us that 4K Photography is a hybrid way of approaching a shot. Even though it is video, you still have some freedom with using a wide range of shutter speeds if you approach it ‘as a photograph.’ You also get two “takeaways” from a moment; a video and a series of stills. Also, video has stills beat when it comes to frames-per-second. A 4K Photography mode means you can reach 30 video-frames per second. For comparison, Sony’s new A99 MkII flagship model, announced at Photokina, manages 12 still-frames per second.

However, there is a flip-side in gaining this extra speed. It appeared that the stills resulting from 4K Photo modes were not in RAW format. This could be a showstopper for some photographers. However, there were many 38" prints on the walls taken with “4K Photography” that still looked stunning; professionals will still be able to manipulate the shot at the time to ensure the best results, even if still shooting JPEG.

4K Photography means shooting JPEG only, but Pro’s will adapt

RAW is the format for anyone who is serious about photographs; think of it as a digital-negative, which retains all of the information recorded by the sensor. The rest of us are used to seeing JPEGs, which look nice, but have actually thrown away a lot of the quality that was possible (and that a RAW retains) actually making a few compromises in the image in order to shrink the file size down.

I haven’t been able to find any evidence that 4K Photography on Panasonic’s models allow for RAW — but I could be wrong, or future models with higher processing power may offer Cinema DNG to achieve this…

SUMMARY: In conclusion, I wouldn’t go so far as to say 4K Photography is a gimmick, just a nice to have, albeit one with compromises. A pro-photographer would still most likely default to shooting RAW stills in order to get the full information from a scene. But it is interesting to note the growing overlap between what we think of as digital Video and Stills sciences. Perhaps more benefits to come in future?

RED Cinema Cameras, also take stills

Selfie Booths & Kiosks

It is easy to attribute the selfie as being a fairly recent invention, heralded by smart phones and selfie-sticks, but the traditional photo-booth actually had this cornered long ago. However, the term selfie has become so accepted and popular, that photo-booth manufacturers have wisely jumped on the back of the craze, and are offering booths and kiosks in various shapes and sizes to accommodate.

Make your party a memorable one; literally

The idea of a ‘takeaway’ image is great for events, and so many of these units are aimed precisely at the events industry, with units for purchase or for hire.

SUMMARY: You need a Photobooth at your next social. The idea of having a tangible image combines the best of social, with old-school photography.

Instant Photography

New cameras get old
It’s hip to be square

Polaroid themselves may not make ‘classic’ instant-print cameras any more, but they still had a hand in instant imaging, along with Fujifilm, by offering portable printers which connect to your phone. There is no reason why on-the-spot prints from a dedicated unit should not work, but emotionally, does it just feel as ‘cool’ as having a genuine instant camera? Are you ‘cheating’ if you get to edit your picture on your phone first? Or am I just showing my age, and the new generation will treat this as a perfectly logical option?

Edit and then Print on the spot. Best of both worlds?

It was great to see that instant photography was not just limited to selfie-booths. For example, the instant camera made by a company called Impossible, offered a fusion of the old and the new. The company literally stepped into the gap left by Polaroid’s closure of their last factory in 2008. They pretty much had to reinvent the whole concept from scratch; both in terms of a camera body, and in redeveloping the chemicals used in the instant prints. Eight years later they now have new film stock and an instant analogue camera, which still uses some digital tech to help with the setup of a shot and to trigger images.

Impossible — Reinventing original Polaroid
We want “Blue Room Blue” colour stock!

SUMMARY: It was actually quite refreshing to see so much on offer around instant printing. The feeling and idea of being able to not just see, but to also hold an image immediately after you take it, remains a powerful one.

It seems that Photography has a strong future, when it cherishes the past.

Lomography

It isn’t a new observation that despite the amazing quality digital sensors offer us, there is always a desire to make things look old, analogue, retro or deliberately imperfect. The Lomography movement epitomises this.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lomography

The Lomography movement all started because of the Lomo LC-A Russian camera. An entire movement sprang out of finding, re-creating and evangelising the camera and the types of image it produced. The movement soon spread to encompass other Lomo models.

Lomography — Make sure you know you find a way to develop & print!

Lomography are also pitching a lifestyle, not just a plastic camera

Forget Instagram filters — this is the real deal

As well as a plethora of plastic and lo-fi cameras, Lomography were also showcasing a series of lenses constructed to vintage specifications, but with modern day lens fittings in order to work with today’s digital cameras. The end result is digital capture of some truly beautiful (if niche) images with effects from yesteryear; all created organically within the lens, and not with software in post. This keeps the purists happy!

I can testify that Russian cameras and Russian lenses are brilliant — my favourite lens is an aged Russian Helios 50mm with some beautiful swirly bokeh. The DSLR film-making explosion drove up the price, and increased the rarity, of old manual lenses. So Lomo are onto something by re-inventing the old.

Old-school lenses with modern day mounts

SUMMARY: Lomography are also pitching a lifestyle, not just a plastic camera, and the movement has stood the test of time. If you are getting into Lomography, it maybe intimidating at first, and a challenge to find someone who will do your printing, DIY development kit and advise from the community is readily available. Therefore, you will look cool with your Lomo… Even if you don’t have a clue how to actually take pictures manually to begin with! When the past and retro is so cool, why would you bother with the future?

There was something missing at Photokina…

Software — M.I.A.

Here we arrive at the crunch point of my Photokina adventure. I was on the lookout for technology that may indicate dramatic changes in direction for the industry, but so far I had only seen gradual slow-burning evolution, or reinvention of older and proven trends. I was hoping that Software would provide the answers I was looking for; we can all benefit from assistance in editing and sorting of the 1000’s of pictures that we take and need to edit, right?

I was rather shocked to find that it was incredibly difficult to actually find any photo editing software. Going into Photokina, and seeing that the official hall description included a dedicated ‘Creative Zone’ I was looking forward to seeing some software innovations to help with the most common workflow issues in digital photography. But this was not to be. The zones dedicated to Creating and Sharing turned out not be devoted to software, but actually it really meant photobooks. Lots, and lots, of photobooks…

E-commerce software everywhere. Websites that can print your face onto pretty much anything

Batch edit and selection, matching JPEG + RAW combinations, tagging and logging, as well as good old fashioned image manipulation… All are areas ripe for improvement and exploration, but nobody at Photokina actually seemed as interested as I would have assumed. The only photo management software options I found were all cloud based. But what about batch editing, sorting and selection before you are ready to go online?

It was also hard to find any software that even attempted to do similar things to Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. A case of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it? Or an area that is ripe for disruption?

Hardly any challenges to the traditional big photo-software players

Where I was expecting to find an entire hall of software solutions, instead I found row after row of e-commerce providers. Where I was hoping to find software that could help me handle hundreds of images at once, I instead only found a million programmes that would get my mug, printed onto a mug…

So what does this mean? Photokina is just a show dedicated to hardware? That the photo-editing software market is monopolised? Perhaps nothing is actually broken, and so why try to fix it?

The general state of workflow software in photography is something that may merit looking at in a bit more detail for a future investigation, as its absence at Photokina and almost total lack of innovation, is decidedly odd.

PS — If like me, you use and assumed Flickr is the “YouTube for photographs” then you maybe surprised to hear that it was not mentioned once by anyone, anywhere, except me!

Canon were offering a Flickr-like photo service called irista. Users get 15GB free, and Canon are investing in the service having “totally reinvented the whole thing” not so long ago. One interesting product was a VR photographic fly through of your irista timeline — a nifty way to relive your photographic memories in 3D virtual space.

Some software appeared for mobile devices at least. Here, Manfrotto showcased tablet driven camera control

SUMMARY: I must stress that some software was present, it was just incredibly hard to find, not focused on the areas that I assumed it would be, and most of it was located in Photokina’s grandly titled FutureZone…

The total lack of any prominence or discussion for software of edit workflows (outside of the well known and established Adobe products) confirmed to me that Photokina is not the event at which to discuss disruption, future trends or industry-wide potential tech change or ramifications.

But this brings up a larger question; is Photokina representative of the whole photographic industry in this way? Is there someone, anyone, out there who may want to shake up the software status quo?

FutureZone

The relatively small FutureZone in Hall 9 was left to make up the shortfall in tech-insight that was sadly absent from the rest of the exhibition. The FutureZone vendors also had turns on one of the lecture stages each day, and to me, they made up the most interesting section of the entire trade show. However, despite being perhaps the most important set of stalls at the entire event, they were only a small cluster of vendors, relegated to the back of the last hall, in a very tiny area.

The Futurezone vendors themselves covered a range of topics, including 3D scanning, Copyright theft, Image Tracking, Dynamic Image Resizing, Smart Cloud personal storage, Stabilisers, Photo Communities and ‘Lighting in Post’…

Innovators and Start-Ups. Massive potential, minimal presence

A company called Isolight were showcasing something genuinely impressive; the seemingly magical ability to move a key light for an image, whilst in the edit! A combination of secret hardware and utilising RAW meant that the lighting characteristics would still track and light the subject as if you were still on set and in that physical space. Both colour stills and video are promised in their roadmap.

Isolight — lighting in post-production

With a name like Photopills, I was expecting to find some sort of smart sensor, but they had actually created an app that provides info, tips and features such as GPS, Sun and Moon tracking; all features designed to help a user to create technically complex images.

PhotoPills — Community sourced photography tips

Another area of interest a little underrepresented was that of image theft and Copyright tracking; a huge issue for freelance photographers. Some solutions in the Futurezone revolved around a combination of software and legal services. No win, no fee! A huge industry problem, but one that was only being addressed by a handful of small companies at Photokina.

Copyright & Theft: Photography’s biggest problem

SUMMARY: The Futurezone seemed to be the only place where the big questions were being asked or addressed, or where any sort of future-gazing (that wasn’t about sensor specs) was actually taking place. Some of the issues the Futurezone vendors were addressing are incredibly important to the overall industry, but Photokina as an event seemingly defines no relationship between importance of theme vs size-of-exhibit.

Tech Trends — Final Thoughts

Where was the Future?

If you love Photography, or are just getting started, Photokina is great. Everybody you meet is so passionate and willing to share info, talk and enthuse about the craft. The whole show had a great vibe.

However, unlike other trade shows with a wider remit such as CES, NAB and IBC, it seems Photokina is purely about sales. It is not an event that is overtly future facing, nor is it interested in tackling Photography’s “big issues”

The other trade shows usually have a series of conferences running in parallel, some of which will be devoted to future roadmaps or tackling issues of the day; but tellingly, there is no formal equivalent ‘Photokina Conference.’

The stuff that I really wanted to get stuck into, seemed to only be present in the tiny Futurezone, or in the talks and lectures that took place throughout the conference on the smaller stages. The subjects for the talks actually looked really interesting, but in the two days that I had, I wasn’t able to attend the talks and take in all of the trade stalls at the same time. They were not massively advertised, and they all felt a bit disjointed, but again in fairness, only in comparison to other trade shows (that cover more than one subject area).

Photokina then, is an event for announcements. For product unveiling, networking and showcasing. It is not an event that future-gazes, or one that assigns space proportionally to importance. Indeed, some areas of photography (workflow, storage) were almost entirely absent.

Shiny cameras and the latest current tech? Yes.
Industry conversation on the big issues, and where tech is going next? No.

I don’t mean the above to sound overly negative, but rather I mean it as a recognition that I went into Photokina expecting a slightly more nuanced and detailed event, when in fact it is what it says on the tin - a trade show.

So, do we need a “Photokina Conference” in 2018? No signs of it happening at the time of writing… Yet, assuming there was interest, where else could the world’s photographers gather en-masse to discuss the future of their industry, and photographic technology direction, in a co-ordinated way?

Do we need a “Photokina Conference” in 2018?

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHTS - SUMMARY

• Sensors and computers are finally powerful enough to make Digital Medium Format images a reality

• Lots of 360 on offer, but each vendor only addresses one part of the larger conundrum; we are yet to see an all-in-one unit that has detailed resolution, smooth motion, live streaming and 3D capture all at once

• 4K Photography is a term, but if it helps, just think of it as still frames from video.

• Your next party or event needs a selfie booth!

• Getting yourself an instant camera, or instant printer, and being able to hold your precious images as soon as you take them is a magical thing that we’ve largely forgotten about. Try it, as soon as you can.

• Retro is still cool; but expensive.

• Need help in post and in handling 100s of images? Tough. There’s nobody and no software innovating new ways to help you with that.

  • The size of your stall is in no relation to the size of the issue or impact you may have on the industry. The biggest issues and innovations remained with the smallest of vendors in the super-specific FutureZone.

A Trade show? Yes. An Industry forum on the future of the Industry? No.
Does the photography industry need such a forum?
And if so, where and how should it manifest?

Interlude

That was part one. Now for the fun stuff.

The previous section makes up the bulk of the Insight work gathered whilst I was at Photokina. As stated above though, this is a trade show first and foremost.

As such, the following section is purely about what I spotted at Photokina whilst walking the halls. Detailed product reviews and specifications I leave to much more qualified websites and video bloggers, but I do hope this section provides a bit of interest and/or light entertainment!

Photokina is great fun, and still provides so information for you to soak up and learn from. I hope this section highlights this.

2: SPOTTED AT PHOTOKINA

Anything and everything else that I spotted at the event, that may excite your inner photo-geek.

Storage

In the similar way that I had assumed lots of software would be found at Photokina, it was also quite difficult to find specific vendors specifically addressing storage.

SanDisk did announce a prototype 1TB SDXC card… For higher resolution images and video, all without the hassle of swapping cards. Just don’t lose it!

1TB on a single card!

One of the Futurezone vendors, Monument, offered a “Private Cloud” device that addresses the problem of multiple images, users and devices in the family home. Crucially, it lives on your own network, and so the user is not at the mercy of a cloud service, nor their storage limits or security hacks.

Momentum: Private Cloud Server

Drones

Drone companies are scrambling to innovate and differentiate themselves from one another in many different ways. What would be most useful for the drone industry is innovation in battery power and flight time. In lieu of that though, we continue to see Drones that come in all the shapes and sizes we could possibly need.

Drones of every shape and size

As such, there was very little showbiz surrounding drones, and it felt very much like business as usual. GoPro garnered a little bit more publicity than others as they were using Photokina to launch their entry into the market with The Karma.

Karma claims to be ‘more than a drone’ due to the stabilisation rig being able to detach from the drone body, and operate as a standalone had-held rig. Two in one!

The ability to fold up (slightly) also meant GoPro are thinking about portability and getting the drone into hard-to-reach locations safely.

The flight unit also looked like a games console, with un-intimidating controls, and even flight-training games built-in; a smart move, as better prepared pilots can only be a good thing.

Karma: drew lots of press attention

Stabilisers

Stabilisers have come down in cost massively in recent years, taking advantage of the fact that we can now shoot on smaller cameras (i.e. our phones). This means more and more online content creators having access to smoother shots, raising the quality bar and standards for everyone.

Also when a video is being viewed online via a smartphone or tablet, it is genuinely hard to tell discern the difference between material shot on a more traditional looking Steadicam rig, versus these smaller cheaper gimbals; both achieve visually similar results.

A traditional Steadicam rig
Stabilisers for minicams, phones and DSLRs — all at Prosumer costs

Tripods

Tripods were everywhere, and quite rightly so, they are essential kit. But it was hard to spot genuine innovation, I walked past several stalls that all appeared to be selling the same type of tripod. I was expecting a fight to break out at any moment, as you couldn’t distinguish between one vendor’s design and the next.

Tripods continue to evolve, but not innovate

One company claimed to have the fastest deploying tripod in the world — it takes just 5 seconds!

Mobile Phone Rigs

All manner of modular mobile rigs were on offer. In theory, they will improve quality for mobile broadcasters. However, for relatively simple kit, the pricing always seemed a little too high, meaning average consumers won’t make the jump. As such, these rigs still firmly in the domain of Mobile Journalists and Vloggers…

All the ‘Camera Lego’ a Vlogger could ever need.

Style

You can’t escape branding and style; ego in photography isn’t just about which camera you have and how long your lens is, but also about how you wear it.

There were so many gorgeous camera bags! My flight ticket didn’t allow for extra baggage though, and so I resisted temptation.

No matter how good you feel with your photography kit, all of these stalls just made you feel under-dressed.

Clothes maketh the Photographer. Professional pockets everywhere.

Film Scanning

A few vendors were offering either bespoke scanning services, or DIY kit that would allow you to scan in various older film types, including 8mm.

DIY scanning

Other Optics

Technically it is a Photography show, but innovations with other optics were also on display. Binoculars, Telescopes, Microscopes, Spotters and even Rifle-sights!

There was even a smartphone attachment for a Spotter. Presumably giving Spotters the ability to quickly share their images from the field; so you can still be social when bird-watching, even though you’re likely in an empty field, by yourself.

Insane optical power for your spotters, binoculars or, erm, rifles…

Digital Celebs

To jump out of Photography for just a moment, it is worth noting that in our IFA 2016 report (http://www.blrm.io/ifa2016report) we made a point about online content creators and certain specific-genres having their own sub-cultures.

Broadcasters are by definition ‘broad’ and so celebrities and personalities used to be defined solely by mainstream media. But now, with so much online content out there, certain genres or industries now have their own valid sub-cultures, complete with celebrities and fan groups.

If you are not into photography, and you don’t subscribe to regular photography content on YouTube, then names and brands such as Philip Bloom, Digital Rev, Kai “Gok Wan” Wong and Dan Chung may mean nothing to you. If you are a subscriber though, then these guys are the equivalent of your Hollywood Superstars or Sporting Heroes.

Mr Philip Bloom!

And yes, I did get a bit star struck.

The stars of Digital Rev TV!

Don’t try this at Home

And finally… This guy!

Finally found a decent photography assistant

Thank You

This was my Photokina highlight report on behalf of the BBC Blue Room; I hope you enjoyed it. I had tremendous fun attending the event and writing it up for you. It was a great responsibility to have, and I hope you come away from reading it a little more excited for the next time you pick up a camera. All eyes on Photokina 2018!

Captain Col

Twitter: @bbcblueroom

BBC Blue Room at The Mailbox, our public-facing facility: www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/information/blue_room

Colin Warhurst would like to thank the BBC Blue Room team, the Letter P and the number 125
BBC Blue Room

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