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Subjective review of Salon de la Photo Paris 2016

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For once I was in Paris (more or less my home town) for the Salon de la Photo so Idecided to take advantage of the Nikon invitation and go there for a visit. I had very little on my agenda except for viewing (and hopefully manipulating) the new PC-19 E in the flesh, so to speak. Turned out completely different, but still interesting.

Nikon: I arrived in the morning at the opening, they were the first ones I visited. Lens desk was already crowded, found a rep who was apparently doing nothing, and not engaged in a conversation anyway, started to ask if I could view the PC-E 19mm. Even before I could finish my question, I was told, politely but certainly not courteously, that said rep was engaged with another visitor and I would have to wait for my turn. It was a bit early for me to start a fight and I cowardly left. Each time I 've been in contact with official Nikon services for one reason or another the answer was always no so not so surprised here.

Panasonic: I explained I was looking for a second body and was tempted by a mirrorless. Coudl handle several models, nice rep who during the discussion suggested a compact with fixed lens. Anyone who doesn't try to point me to more expensive gear wins a lot of respect in my book. These are nice cameras to handle, I still have an issue (purely personal) with EVFs.

Sigma: I could have a look (and feel) of the new mirrorless APS-C. On paper, I have a very positive judgment for anyone who tries to innovate and use something else that the Bayer sensor everyone else (or almost) uses. In practice, the camera is big, and I mean really big, and heavy,, for a mirrorless. EVF is disappointing, but they have nice tech, like indicating all areas that are in focus when you do not use AF. Looks like a prototype that went straight to market, which can have an appeal.

Fujifilm: Told a rep that they have very nice gear but I found them on the expensive side compared to FF DSLRs. Was met with a barrage of sales pitch about how sensor format doesn't matter anymore. Nothing you haven't heard before and which may even be true, but the problem was i couldn't stop the guy as I realized I was going to antagonize him. So I patiently waited and when he was finished I asked why, if sensor size doesn't matter, is Fuji about to release a medium-format? The answer was that yes eventually sensor size matters (!) but anyway the point for Fujifilm is to occupy market segments where there is less competition. Which all makes sense from a marketing point of view but left me a bit cold technically speaking. The X-Pro 2 hybrid viewfinder is nothing short of superb.

Pentax: I spent a few minutes with the FF K-1 and this was the true discovery of the visit. On paper and on the web, I'd found the K-1 a very ugly beast. In real life, it will surely not win any design award, at least if I am in the jury (chances are nil), but the handling is excellent. The viewfinder is bright and clear, info is perfectly legible. I asked the rep extensively about lenses, and based on my questions, he understood at once what i like to photograph, gave me honest answers, i.e. the line of lenses is not complete and they have no Pentax tilt-shifts for instance. All in all, very tempting for the future.

Samyang: I could briefly try their 24mm tilt-shift (which comes also in Pentax K-mount by the way). Build quality obviously much lower that Nikon's, which the rep readily admitted. Not the same price though, as everyone knows, and optical quality seems ok, though it's difficult to assess in such a show.

Overall an interesting visit.

Nice stories, telling a lot in a nutshell. I regret the Nikon attitude. I find the Df so kind to the user :) , why are their sales reps so nasty ?

Bjørn Rørslett:
Must be a local speciality, as my general experience is the opposite of what is described.

Yeah, French snobism maybe ?

Bjørn Rørslett:
Not my words nor intention, just an observation.


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