Feb 282010

Jody enjoying the warm weather in Anaheim

My last PMA was two years ago in Las Vegas and I really didn’t enjoy it; too many people and it was Vegas. This show was very different, Anaheim is a much more ‘Richard friendly’ location with lots of neat stuff near the convention centre. We could walk everywhere and the trade show itself was quiet.

The warm weather and palm trees were certainly a nice break from winter in Canada.

Our interest in coming here was to look for neat accessories and see what is new and useful.

One of my favourites were the remote LCD screens that work with a camera’s Liveview. The idea with this is you attach a transmitter to the remote release and video output on your SLR. You can stand up to 80m away with a small LCD display (looks like a GPS) on the remote you can see what your camera can see and you activate the autofocus and shutter remotely. My favourite was one from Pixel Enterprises and I bought a sample which I’ll test….

In preparation for the Galapagos trip I was looking at binoculars. I tried models from Fuji, Nikon (of course) and Minox. I loved the Minox HG 10×43 BR but they are close to US$1,300! My next favourite were the Nikon Monarch 10×42 (US$300) but I have to say that the new Fujinon Offroad 10×42 were excellent and great value at US$165.

Richard and the Joby Gorrilapod bike

A neat but un-functional exhibit was a bicycle created from Joby’s latest Gorrilapod, the ‘Focus’. The Focus supports up to 5kg and has an optional ball head.

After recently trying out the Nikon D3S and using our own D5000, I was interested in microphones. I found Azden, who have been making microphones in Japan for over 50 years. They have the SMX-10 stereo, shotgun microphone. This is small, light, has excellent sound quality and can be mounted on the hotshoe of a DSLR. Best of all, it retails for $65 at B&H.

The DIMA photobook shootout was an interesting exhibit. I was hoping to see photobooks from different publishers such as Blurb and Apple. Instead, we saw examples of different printing systems, media and binding systems.

Jody and I found the pages of many of the books to be too thick. They were made from 2 sheets of 260 gsm paper that were back to back. They seemed to be more of a photo album than a book. We were both very impressed by the new pearl ‘layflat’ paper made by Flexbind. Currently, this paper can only be used in HP’s Indigo press. Check out White House Custom Color in the US for pricing of photo books made using this paper.

Another neat product were the range of flash units from Nissin. These have wireless TTL capabilities that work with Canon and Nikon cameras but are a fraction of the price of the Nikon and Canon units. Look for the Di866.

Jody testing the S90's macro functions.

Jody bought a Canon S90 which I personally think is a better compact than the G11. I then lost her in the palm trees as she tried it’s macro capabilities.

For two days we managed not to lose each other in the vast PMA exhibit halls. That wasn’t the case when we visited Downtown Disney. Within 10 minutes we lost each other in the huge Disney store where there was a daunting selection of Disney paraphernalia at equally daunting prices!

The PMA show proved to me that if you venture away from the big name brands you can find quality accessories at great prices. Admittedly there was some junk amongst the jewels but the jewels were surprisingly good.

Feb 252010

PMAThe PMA trade show was a great success!  I was not sure what to expect, as this was my first trade show within the photography industry, but I must admit that I had a great time!  Among the many unique experiences at PMA, the highlight for me was getting to sit in on an excellent breakfast talk about how to use social media as a marketing tool.  The speaker was quite funny and gave a variety of tips on how social media formats such as Twitter, FaceBook, Blogs, and other tools can assist in bringing the community of photography together.  He also discussed how this approach could be the ultimate marketing tool.  I look forward to putting these methods to work!

I also had a lot of fun learning about all the latest and greatest cameras, and camera accessories.  We saw some really neat accessories at PMA, but the coolest thing I saw was the Minox 5 megapixel camera. This camera literally fit in my palm!  I instantly felt like a spy holding it and couldn’t resist making “James Bond” related jokes to Richard.  Other neat accessories were these donut shaped reflectors that go over your camera lens for macro photography, a mini soft box that goes over a dedicated flash and a small bell shaped reflector with a handle; the ideal size to carry in the field.  So many new, cool toys to try out!

Other highlights from the time spent in California, were the pastimes. On our last night in California we decided to visit downtown Disneyland.  Richard wanted to get some gifts for Audrey and the kids, so we got down to business and started visiting the plethora of options for toy stores.  I think this may have been the crux of the whole trip for Richard! He certainly didn’t appear nearly as confident as I had seen him earlier that day choosing the latest and greatest camera toys.  It was quite a site to see him sift his way through all of the pink and princess related clothes and toys.  Personally, I thought the pale pink shirt with frills was most flattering on you, just kidding Richard!  After presents were thoughtfully chosen, we decided to partake in a movie experience and saw Avatar in 3D.  What a great choice, I would definitely recommend this movie!

I also bought a new point and shoot camera, the Canon S90.  I had been debating for a while as to what camera to buy, and was happy to have some advice from Richard.  He recommended the S90, as it has a similar sensor size as the G11, but with less weight.  Less weight sounds perfect for an adventure photographer, so I was instantly sold! So far I am quite happy with the camera, especially the Macro capabilities!

All in all the PMA Tradeshow was a great success and learning opportunity for me!  I am looking forward to more of the same in the future!  Cheers,

Call me Bond, James bond

Call me Bond, James bond

Richard, in all his glory, at the Nikon display

Richard, in all his glory, at the Nikon display

Richard, about to embark on the "unknown" territory of children's toys and accessories

Richard, about to embark into the "unknown" of children's toys and accessories...

Playing with macro on a flower outside the hotel

Playing with macro on a flower outside the hotel