PhotoPlus Expo 2008

Repost from my previous blog:

I went to Photoplus Expo on Saturday and, as usual, I had a great time.  I started at the Canon booth, but I am still annoyed at them.  I purchased both the G9 and the 40D in June.  But, by July, Canon announce new models in both lines.  The rumors are now flying that Canon has cut the product life cycle from 18-months to 12-months.  That may be great for Canon, but lousy for Canon buyers.  Digital cameras have just become disposable!  Only Canon lenses can still be viewed as an investment which will retain their value over time.

One thing I did like at the Canon booth was the Pixma Pro9500 & Pro9000.  The Pro9500 printed STUNNING B&W images.  These jaded New Yorkers were stopped dead in their tracks by these prints.  I was even impress with their inexpensive all-in-one MP980 which produces both “true” B&W prints with a dedicate gray cartridge as well as full color prints in a small desktop footprint for under $200.  [NOTE — I eventually bought this printer and love it!]

In the Adobe booth, all of the BIG demos were for Lightroom.  Annoyance #1.  I had to walk around to one of the small kiosks to see Photoshop CS4.  My timing was perfect, I had one instructor all to myself.  He went through all of the new features in Bridge & Photoshop.  Bridge picks up some cool features from Lightroom.  (Still don’t understand why Adobe doesn’t just merge these two products and bundle it into the CS Suite — Annoyance #2.)  The BEST feature — adding a density and feather controls to Masks.  This feature will add a new level of control for anyone who uses masks.  There are many other cool features — the new gradient tool, the Photomerge photo stack composition, and improved photo panarama stitching tool.  Of course the BIG bell involved the new capabilities from Adobe’s use of GPU to generate smooth zooming and scaling, as well as image mapping in 3D.  Very cool, but is it really worth upgrading for it?  And, at $200 OVER the upgrade for CS3 Suite?  Not really.  Annoyance #3.

Annoyance #4 — no bargains on 50D!  Best price for body-only at the show was at Calmut $1299-no tax.

Annoyance #5 — G10, not worth trading in my G9.  The G10’s wide is only 28mm (G9 is 32mm), but the zoom is only 140mm (G9 goes to 210mm optical – big difference)

Annoyance #6 — ACDSee was not at the show, so no discount 🙁

Annoyance #7 — Sandisk was not at the show, even though Lexar was. No discounts 🙁

Annoyance #8 — NAPP did not have a wide selection of DVDs for a bonus when renewing.  The “better” DVDs were available only if you signed-up for Kelby’s online training service.  They did not even have the Best of Photoshop User!

I actually did have fun at the show.  My favorite Photoshop plug company – On One Software was there.  I always learn something new sitting through those demos!

Now for some of the cool things at the show:

  • On1 Software has added FocalPoint to its Plugin Suite.  This cool program simulates the LensBaby effects as a plugin within Photoshop!  New version of Genuine Fractals is also on the way.  Mask Pro is still my favorite masking tool.  Be warned – the new suite 4 allows for only two installs.  (Suite 3 did not limit the installs.)
  • The Velocity 8 is my favorite camera bag, but it’s getting a little cramped.  Tamarac released the Velocity 10 which is so big, it fits two full sized dSLRs plus accessories, but remains a sling!
  • Gorillapod released the Focus, a sturdy galvanized aluminum version which can support up to 11 pounds, but is light enough to remain very portable.
  • Trek-Tech has “self-standing” monopods in various sizes.  Cool, great price, but not as sturdy as a true tripod.  The T-pod breaks down into a very portable unit, but not as sturdy as the metal Gorillapod.  Trek-Tech is working on their version of the Gorillapod which has long leg which bends up to support the body of a big lens.  This should be out in a month or two.
  • Magiclee offers specialty papers for most ink jets in real canvas, cotton rags, and others.  The effect is very similar to Mpix prints, but now available at your desktop.
  • Anyone using studio backdrops should look at Eclipse Backgrounds.  They make illuminated backgrounds that look very real and lifelike.  They will even make custom drops from your photos.
  • Litepanels produce bright continuos light from LEDs.  They have two models – a camera mount version and a BIG studio bank.  Not cheap but great battery life.
  • Big Lenses — tried both Canon’s 800MM L and Sigma’s 300-800mm.  Wow!
  • Great discounts on Peachpit & Focal Press, as well as every photo mag.

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