Lincoln Photo & Optics Show

From the image above you can see that this event took place last Thursday. I thought that I would write a post about what I saw there. I have been to previous events at the Lawn in Lincoln held by LCE including one I attended back in 2008; this show was much better and had much more exhibitors. Unfortunately I only had an hour to go to the show. I was there with a good friend and work colleague Richard – see the links section for Richard’s web site.

I went into the main entrance and both of Lincoln’s camera clubs were here:

RB Camera Club Click here for their website
Lincoln Camera club Click here for their website

I have known the chairman of the RB camera Club (John Taylor) on and off for nearly 10 years, I used to look after the IT at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue HQ on South Park. John is mostly retired now but hasn’t changed much over the years.

Most of the big companies (and LCE) were in the main hall as follows:

Nikon
Nikon had a good selection of lenses on show including their new fast AFS primes – 24mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.4 – these lenses show how to do design right. Whilst they aren’t quite as fast as the Canon variants, they offer full-time focusing and just seem better built. I have played with the Canon variants and they seem more fragile.

Nikon also had the new D7000 camera (as well as the nearly new D3100, D3, D700 and D300s bodies). This camera is very interesting and in many ways is now superior to the D300s. I think that the D300s is now in desperate need of a major update; I wouldn’t be surprised if the D400 (most likely name) inherits the better body of the D700 and then suped-up variants of the D7000’s chip and support electronics – this needs to equal or better the Canon 7D – which is a tall order as this camera is quite excellent.

Finally, they also had the new Coolpix P7000 on show, whilst this is an interesting compact camera for Nikon shooters, it has a few problems. It is now behind the Canon Powershot G12 as Canon have regularly updated this camera and it has lost the GPS functionality form the previous version – I don’t understand why they did this? Also why do they insist on not using their standard RAW format like other manufacturers do?

Richard spent most of his time at Nikon as this is what he shoots with.

Canon
Canon had a good selection of gear on show too, unfortunately it was very hard to get to any of their stuff as they were very busy. They had a selection of their bodies (including the 1D MkIV and 1Ds MkIII) to try and a good selection of lenses. The Canon G12 (which I have yet to have a go with) was also on show. I have recently made a substantial investment in some new Canon gear including a second EOS 7D so I have already tried out many of the lenses and bodies so there wasn’t much for me to see here.

Sony
Sony were showing off the NEX cameras which I must admit like and find interesting – I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up with a NEX-5 at some point. It would be even better if the release a more pro version (NEX-7 ?) to help flesh out the range. The NEX-5 and the lenses feel well built and with the new firmware I like the controls.

Sony also had their Sony Alpha A55-SLT and Sony Alpha A33-SLT cameras on show. These show new innovative thinking on Sony’s part and are very small. I am looking forard to more pro versions of these bodies. I especially like the fact that the A55-SLT as built-in GPS too.

LCE
The Lincoln branch of London Camera Exchange seemed to be making many sales and had a few show specials on for the day. The even has some of their second hand stock present at special prices too.

Panasonic
I was really looking forward to seeing the Panasonic at the show as I wanted to have a go with the GH2 camera. Unfortunately they didn’t have much of the Lumix G Series range with them; they gave the impression that they had to beg, borrow and steal what the could from Panasonic UK. The did have the new 12.5mm 3D lens with them but this wouldn’t work on the G series cameras they had as they needed firmware updates. Ironically the GH2 does not need a firmware update.

They also had a 3D TV with them. The 3D images look good but I think that this is passing phase and either 3D TV’s will eventually disappear or will be a feature of the top end sets and it will therefore just be included.

Hoodman
It was nice to see that there is someone around that supplies the full Hoodman range in the UK including some items that I had heard of but not seen in the UK. I was interested in and eyecup for my EOS 7D’s as I used to have one when I had a Nikon D3 and I miss it. Unfortunately whilst the Nikon one allows the anti-fog glass to be inserted, the Hoodman ones do not they replace whatever is fitted. I have anti-fog eyecups fitted to both my 7D’s.

OnOne
OneONe were present doing demoes of the OnOne Plug-in Suite 5.1 which has recently been renamed “Perfect Photo Suite”. There cannot be many OnOne guys in the UK as they guy doing the demoes was exactly the same one who was at the 2 previous NAPP conferences I attended.

X-Rite
I currently have a Gretag Macbeth i1 Display2 device that works OK but the software (at least on a Mac) is still a PowerPC application. I asked if new software was coming out for what is now an x-rite device (that had one of these on demo too)? The software still hadn’t been updated.

They were showing how to use the X-Rite ColorMunki Photo device for screen calibration and printer profile creation and I found this very useful, I have been contemplating getting one of these to replace my existing device and this will allow me to created printer profiles if needed.

Manfrotto
Manfrotto make some really nice tripods – I have one of their monopods and find it really useful when a full tripod is not an option. What I cannot fathom though is that a pro-maker of tripods doesn’t make many Arca-Swiss mount ball-heads. This is the standard mounting system in use by pro’s and semi-pro’s, I always purchase a Kirk bracket (from Warehouse Express) whenever I get a new camera or tripod-mount-lens. Although my ball-head is made by “Really Right Stuff” (I paid the import charge and VAT for this lens), the Kirk brackets fit fine – because it is a standard – and I have no swivelling lenses or cameras as they are custom designed to fit each different camera and lens.

There were some other companies there that I din’t really have a time to look at such as Lowepro, Sigma, Tamron, Olympus and others. An hour at one of thse shows is simply not enough.

This is a gallery of some of the items I have talked about.

Updated 11-Nov-2010: some typo’s found now amended

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