‘Photokeener’: From shameless rookie to Photokina devotee in a day

by Marie Leonard at September 23, 2016

I’ve been to plenty of trade fairs in my time. They usually involved trudging around morosely, collecting endless bits of paper and pocketing free stress squeezers while simultaneously dodging over-zealous sales people. So I’ve decided that Photokina can’t possibly be a trade show. It’s too much fun.

Every two years pro-photographers from all over the world make the pilgrimage to the cathedral city of Cologne, Germany to lust over the latest state-of-the-art technology in photography and imaging. This year, Account Director, Andrew and I – a complete rookie with an iPhone and bags of enthusiasm – flew out to join them. It was an incredible place to learn, in between making ‘OMG’ faces at cool shiny stuff and gawping at hashtag-swinging breakdancers, obvs.

Massive and diverse, industry giants – such as our beloved clients Canon Europe –sat alongside painfully cool and niche brands like Lomo, Tamron and Sigma. It was a great opportunity to see how each approached their space and prioritised their offerings for the very maximum dwell time from each visitor.


Start here!

Start here!


Nikon used the event to launch their new KeyMission action cameras with a minimalist stand and not a single brochure or business card in sight. I’m still not altogether sure what I’d use a KeyMission for, but after spending ten minutes looking at them, I’m absolutely certain one would enhance my life.

You could be forgiven for mistaking the gorgeous Hasselblad stand for a gallery – matte black cabinets, plush carpets and elegant images everywhere. It looked expensive and even our best estimates didn’t come close to the actual prices, with one model weighing in at a breathtaking £30,000. Duly, a message was sent to my husband instructing him to look at re-mortgage options.

Old school was everywhere, with trad-brands like Fujifilm and Polaroid pushing their brightly coloured instant camera models. The sheer volume of photobook offerings was overwhelming and there was a healthy smattering of paper merchants throughout. It seems there’s still nothing quite like the look of print on paper.


Canon's stand at Photokina

Canon’s stand at Photokina


But, without any bias whatsoever, the jewel in the crown of Photokina was Canon’s behemoth of a stand. Split into distinct zones, the experiences surrounded an enormous 180° screening area showing their latest campaign – the brilliant City Surfers. Other than the courtyard, (which was filled with acrobats, beer and barbecue food) it was THE place to be.

If you wanted to get anywhere near The Capture Zone and play with their coveted EOS 5D Mark IV or EOS M5, then you needed sharp elbows, steely determination and a lunch of baked garlic. I had absolutely zero chance of battling my way through a sea of love-struck burly photographers.

The Store and Manage Zone covered Canon’s digital services, including my personal favourite, Lifecake, a secure photo sharing and timeline app for families.

The Print and Share Zone speaks for itself, and the good old-fashioned print geek in me came over all unnecessary when I saw the results of the DreamLabo 5000 production photo printer. The images it produces are simply outstanding and it’s the same technology Canon use for hdbook, their own photo book offering.


Andrew looks at lenses at Photokina

Andrew looks at lenses at Photokina


The Future Zone showcased concept models, such as the 8K Concept Camera System and 120-megapixel camera. Yes, that’s ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY MEGAPIXELS. If you’re worried about how your pores look in photos now, this bad boy is so sharp it can probably capture your future wrinkles.

I thoroughly enjoyed the talks by Canon Ambassadors. Hearing from the people who shoot the images I love to write about in View Magazine was just fantastic. And seeing the Canon stand in the context of competitors gave me a real sense of just how immense the brand is. And how revered in the industry.

We met so many super people and saw some truly inspiring tech. I recharged my iPhone three times in the space of eight hours through the sheer volume of phone photos, my calf muscles hate me and my credit card has developed this weird twitch whenever I go anywhere near the Canon website. I suspect I may become a regular.