Say that the world’s most popular digital photography website decides to hold a photography event. And say that event is held in Seattle, where my daughter resides. Suddenly I find myself on a flight to SEA/TAC airport in the great state of Washington, huddled in a middle coach seat between two very large people. What I experienced there will be the subject of 2 articles. This one will detail the event itself. The one to follow, will feature photography from my travels in the City and the surrounding mountains.
It was called PIX 2015, organized by Dpreview.com, one of the world’s truly comprehensive digital photography review sites. The event earlier this month was apparently the first of what hopefully will be many yearly events.
It was held in the convention center near City Center in Seattle, and featured booths and displays by a variety of corporate sponsors in the industry, along with a very informative set of presentations by well-known photographers. There were also “photo walks” where rank-and-file photographers such as yours truly, could interact and shoot with what in medicine we would call “thought leaders”.
I myself have never attended a large photography event, as typically I need the time for medical meetings (necessary for my medical licence). As however I have not seen my daughter since May, this seemed like the ideal opportunity to amuse myself during the day while she worked, and then interact with her in the evening.
I arrived in Seattle about noon on the first day of the conference. My hotel was about a block away, and after a brief lunch, I wandered down to the conference hall, and into the exhibits.
This is a fairly large facility. Towards the front of the hall, there were large corporate displays, from Sony, Nikon, and Samsung along with Dpreview’s own display .
Dpreview had a desk where members of their writing and reviewing staff were available for questions. Of interest to photo-geeks such as myself, was the familiar sight of original light box containing the test scene they used for many years to compare cameras and imagers. I admit to many episodes of staring at the scene on my computer while researching new equipment.
Also fascinating was a display of vintage digital cameras, many which I have owned over the past years.
Sony probably had the largest booth, and provided equipment forced many of the interactive displays at the conference. There were opportunities to shoot the new A7 line as well as most of their current cameras and lenses. They’re clearly building a very formidable, yet compact, photographic system.
I would have to say that Samsung probably had the second most impressive display at the Expo. They had all of their current cameras up for evaluation, and I met a number of their photo loggers and sponsored speakers. Their NX-1 mirror-less body is as well-specified as anything it competes with. They also had a variety of photographic subjects for demonstration and trial images. Also offered were sessions using their immersive reality goggles which can utilize several of their current smart phones as both the imager, and for the WiFi connection. The experience was impressive.
They announced that they would give away a new interchangeable lens camera to 300 people willing to trade in an old SLR. They build a clear plastic box to display the traded cameras. I understand some people waited outside the hall overnight to take advantage of the offer.
Nikon had an interesting display, with their photographic subject being an artist creating in image in oils. They had a display of most of their digital SLRs, and current lenses, with the D810 conspicuous by its absence.
Completely absent was Canon, despite their US introduction of a number of new cameras and bodies a week later. Not sure what was going on there.
Olympus featured there ad campaign “DSLR Arm” suggesting what happens when you carry around a heavy digital SLR and lens, rather than the much lighter and compact line of Olympus “OM” line, which was on full display.
Fujifilm had a display with their current cameras, and a lighting set up for their speakers to demonstrate shooting a variety of dancers that were retained for the event. The folks at the booth were very friendly and helpful.
Sigma’s display featured their growing lens line, but not so much their cameras. They had a light box set up with subjects ranging from baby ducks, baby rabbits and lizards, all meant to be shot with macro lenses.
Given the popularity of their new “Art” line of lenses not really aimed at macro, this emphasis confused me a bit.
Among the other booths there, was one set up by the quadcopter people DJI; featuring an enclosed space in which to safely fly a variety of their photography drone offerings.
One of the “interactive” (the “I” in PIX) booths offered you the use of a 3 light studio set up, a Sony A7, the 42 megapixel R series II version, and the services of the lovely Hope, who was very engaging, expressive, and great fun to shoot.
As I mentioned earlier, there were two stages, and a variety of interesting presentations on both the business and art of photography.
I attended several of the photography walks organized by Dpreview’s own Dan Bracaglia and featuring a number of noted photographers.
First one was with photojournalist and celebrity shooter Brian Smith, where I was able to try out another Sony A7II, this time the 24 megapixel model. The camera was identical in controls to the “R” version, with its menus similar to those of my RX 100, and exposure compensation dial on the top plate, similar to my Fujifilm cameras. The raw files I shot were sharp in full detail, with good dynamic range.
I got to spend time with 2 well-known Los Angeles street photographers: Ibarionex Perello and Rinzi Ruiz, on a walk through the neighborhood near Seattle Center. Both men were fascinating with unique approach to shooting on-the-fly.
As it had been raining,(surprise) there were puddles everywhere and Rinzi had a particular fascination with capturing reflections. He even shot me (with my half grown fall/winter beard, I apparently looked like a street person). That’s Ibarionex in the background.
In short, I had a lot of fun, sampled some wonderful photography gear, and spent time with interesting, talented and accomplished photographers.
I have a feeling that I’ll be back .
As always, click on the images to see a larger version.