One Day At PMA

2010 PMA Canon Events Featured Lenses News Nikon Olympus Panasonic Sigma Sony Studio & Lighting Uncategorized

Photographer Alan Davis at PMAThe 2010 PMA photography tradeshow was set at the always-bustling hub of the Anaheim Convention Center in Orange County, California just a stone’s throw away from Disneyland. I’ve been to the Interbike bicycle tradeshow many times before, but never to a photography tradeshow. So, as a photographer I eagerly anticipated the opportunity to ogle all the photo gear I could find, even if I only had one day to do it in. Unfortunately, Canon and Leica both bowed out of the show this year. That along with the absence of a few other important (to me) companies, including Manfrotto-Bogen-Gitzo, Speedotron and Elinchrom, put a damper on my “first time”, but it was still a lot of fun to see all the sweet new goods.

Nikon Lenses - Nikon Booth

First and foremost, Nikon was front and center at the event with mountain of gorgeous glass and beautiful bodies to play with. There were no new bodies released by Nikon at PMA so I headed straight for the biggest lens I could see – the 600mm f/4 VR. It’s not often you see one of these beauties let alone get to fire off a 9 FPS round with an equally impressive D3s body – wow, just wow. Back to reality, I tested out the new 16-35mm f/4 VR lens that was just released. It’s the only wide zoom with vibration reduction that I know of and is less expensive, smaller and lighter than the benchmark 14-24mm f/2.8. It won’t replace the 14-24mm, but for some it may be a cheaper alternative, hopefully its optics are equally impressive.

New Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4 VR FX Format Zoom Lens
Panasonic Lumix GH1 with Novaflex Leica M Adapter and Leica Lens
Samsung NX10 with Novaflex Nikon adapter

One piece missing from my kit right now is a compact camera with optics and ISO performance that can give me close to what I get out of my full size DSLR. I have been eyeing the new Micro Four Thirds standard cameras as possible candidates including the Olympus Pen models and the Panasonic GF-1. One aspect of this standard that I really like is the ability to adapt my Nikon glass to fit onto them. Novoflex makes a large selection of adaptors to fit just about any new or old lenses onto the Micro Four Thirds cameras as well as the new Samsung NX10 compact system camera. Included in the mix are Nikon, Leica, Minolta, Canon, Sony/Minolta, Pentax K, Canon FD, Contax/Yashica, M42, Olympus OM and T2 lens mounts. Some adaptors feature manual aperture adjustment for lenses that don’t have the extra ring.

Also it’s important to note that the adaptor doesn’t stop down the lens. Micro Four Thirds cameras have a shorter mount to sensor plane distance than 35mm cameras, the adaptor simply fills up this space. The effective focal distance of all 35mm lenses will get doubled however, making your 50mm f/1.4 into an effective 100mm f/1.4 – wow, that could be quite a cool lens – and so on…

New Sigma Lenses

Sigma released a couple of exciting new lenses at the show. Two are updates and one is a brand new item. The APO 50-500 f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM is an update to a lens that’s garnered quite a following in nature photography circles. The 85 f/1.4 EX DG HSM is brand new and aimed square at the professional portrait market, hopefully it is as good as their 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM. Sigma also debuted their APO 70-200 f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM, which adds image stabilization to a must-have sports lens. Both Canon and Nikon have excellent 70-200 f/2.8 lenses with stabilization, but they are so expensive; Sigma does a great service offering a less expensive alternative.

Sony Compact Alpha Concept Camera

Leaving the best for last. The only surprise of the day for me was found at Sony where they announced an interchangeable lens ultra compact body camera to go head-to-head with the Micro Four Thirds segment of the market. No specs were released yet, but the new camera will be available later in 2010, will have interchangeable lenses, an APS-C sensor and 1080p video. The APS-C sensor is of particular interest as it’s much larger than the Micro Four Third offerings and could potentially give them a run for their money in high ISO performance. I can’t wait to see some test results with this body.

Andy Katz portrait demo in the Sony PMA booth Andy Katz portrait photography demo in the Sony PMA booth

I also enjoyed the Sony booth and its inclusion of a stage/studio where several big-name pro photographers, mostly portrait and fashion specialists, held classes/demos on their methods. I sat in while portrait specialist Andy Katz talked us through a shoot with a live model while being tethered to several big screens for real time results and real life examples of what it takes to get the shot – very cool.

Those are the highlights of the day. I wish there had been more studio companies at the show with quality strobes options, radio slaves and light modifiers but you can’t win them all. I was impressed with Nikon’s display of everything that Nikon is, but it’s a shame Canon wasn’t there to also flex their muscle. I was happy to see that Sony had a surprise up its sleeve and one of the most informative booths on the floor.

Alan Davis is a professional photographer and senior photographer at Decline mountain bike magazine. You can see more of his work on his Web site,

2010 PMA Main Page >>

2010 PMA Photo Gallery >>

Related Content:
Previous Photography Tradeshow Coverage
Official PMA Web Site

Alan Davis trying out some super X-Ray specs (Fujifilm 3D glasses) at th 2010 PMA tradeshow.

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  • Rosearodoe says:

    This was a great article. Very Well written, very informative, and precise. Will look forward to more to seeing and reading more of your work.



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