I spent last Wednesday at the ProFusion 2016 show in Toronto. Yes, it is a big advertisement for what you can buy at Vistek, but it is also a great opportunity to meet vendors and ask questions the sales people can’t answer, and it is chock full of presentations by other professional photographers. The show specials are pretty good too.
Full disclosure: I don’t work for or in any way benefit from Vistek’s largess. I just thought I’d tell you about the show.
I didn’t have as much fun as I did last year, since my budget was much larger then, but I still learned a lot and was exposed to some technologies that were pretty new to me. I’m going to touch on some of the vendors I met, basically in the order I met them, and what appealed to me about their offerings, as someone who photographs artifacts mainly on tabletop. I was mainly there to learn about LED light panels, but I will be reserving that for a future article.
Cotton Carrier produces a system for carrying your cameras either safely on your hip or attached to a harness on your chest. They have a system for either one camera or two. Their chest harness is on my wish list, but I did buy a hand strap for under $20 CAD because when I carry my camera out in the real world, I usually take the neck strap and wind it around my wrist a few times and dangle it from my hand. The wrist strap lets me do that without having to deal with the neck strap.
LaCie produces rugged portable and highly reliable hard drives for desktops. They have a nice range of RAID 1 enclosures, which mirror drives so that once the drives have mirrored themselves, you can take one of the drives out and move it offsite. You then take another spare drive and put it back in the enclosure where the offsite drive was and the enclosure will replicate the main disk to that one. You do this once a week and you’ve got your offsite backup and two onsite copies without wasting computer cycles on doing your backups.
They also have a wireless unit (LaCie FUEL) which can communicate directly with up to five devices. If you take that on location with you, you can download your cameras to an iPad and it can handle the downloading to the hard drives for you. When you get back to the office, the files can be directly read by your desktop or laptop.
Superior Seamless produces seamless backdrops in 51 different colours in four different roll sizes: 53″x36′, 82″x36′, 107″x36′, and 107″x165′. I use a roll of their white 53″x36′ on my tabletop.
Panono is a new product from Germany for the fast, easy creation of 360° photography. It is a small sphere of 36 fixed focus cameras which you can put on a tripod, monopod, or the included selfie stick. You use a tablet or smartphone to control the cameras and download the images. The images are uploaded to a cloud service which stitches them together in about 10 minutes to produce a full 360° spherical panorama. You can even toss it in the air and it will take the shot when it detects it is at the top of it’s rise. Then you have to catch it. Or else. It would be expensive.
I could see myself using one to create museum and historic site walkthroughs.
Joto is the Canadian distributor for WunderBoard HD sublimatable photo panels. They sell the entire turnkey solution to print images onto these lightweight aluminum panels — and mugs and stuff, including the specialized printer, inks, media, and press. Basically, it works by printing onto a dry transfer material (paper) and then heat-sealing the ink from that transfer material onto the sheet of metal. This produces an image that looks pretty much the closest I’ve ever seen to a transparency, on a solid medium.
This is definitely on my wish list, when I have both the space and the $10-20K to devote to it.
The show isn’t just about stuff you can buy, although the show floor is extensive for a show that’s put on by one camera shop. It’s also about the presentations.
There were nine stages for presentations, varying from booth shows at Sony, Canon, and Nikon, to the Creative Lighting Centre, the VR Experience Zone, and the UAV Flight Centre. For me, however, the Main Stage presentations were most interesting.
I watched Jeff Rojas talk about Photographing Men, including an impromptu photo shoot with a member of the audience. It was very eye-opening.
I watched Jason Lanier present Anova Pro Photo and Video Features, a presentation showcasing the Rotolight Anova LED lighting system, which is offers both continuous lighting and high speed flash in the same lightweight unit.
I finished by watching Craig Minielly’s presentation on Exotic Travels, Personal Journeys which was about travel photography, a major interest of mine. It was a fascinating and entertaining hour.
But that was all I had time for. The show goes for two days in October every year and is well worth the time. It is free to anyone who professes to be a photographer, professional or amateur.
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