26 October 2009
Claire and I checked out the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City on Friday.
The bus packed full of the area's photographers left Lancaster at 6:30am, and we got into New York at about 9:30am. The expo floor didn't open to us until 10am, so we made the short walk to kill some time B&H Photo.
I don't really have a current shopping list, so I wasn't going to bother going to B&H on this trip, but it served to kill some time. I glanced around their lighting gear and gadgets and then wandered upstairs to the regular camera gear. I could have maybe thought about a tripod, but they're just more expensive in general than I care to spend at this point.
We returned to the conference by 10:30am, but my general disinterest in new gear continued.
Nikon had a line up of D3 bodies and long lenses right inside the doors, so I played with one of those for a moment. I think they were the 200-400mm f/4 lenses. There was surprisingly little difference between 200 and 400.
Nikon also had a huge line-up of attendees waiting to register for some give-aways and to get a little Nikon lanyard. I didn't bother with that.
I found the LensBabies stand, and played with those for a few moments. The Composer, with its focus ring, is really easy to use, and I found the old Muse would be sort of tiring to use -- I really needed to the spring-loaded lens element pretty hard to focus. If I were interested in that look, I'm pretty sure I'd pay the extra for the composer. In general, though, I don't really appreciate the LensBabies effect.
Sigma had a huge display with lots of stellar examples of photos shot with their lenses. It was cool to see the crazy-huge, bazooka 200-500(f/2.8)/400-1000(f/5.6) lens, but it wasn't mounted to play. The 300-800mm f/5.6 was mounted, though, so I played with that a moment. It seemed quite sharp, and I guess the camera was running at a pretty-high ISO, because it was performing nicely as I shot across the expo hall.
If I buy any more lenses, I should probably have a look at some of their APO glass. My really cheap 70-300 isn't great, but it's been useful, and sold me on the 300mm focal length. I'm not sure why, but I've always liked Sigma for some reason -- I guess it's the hope of actually being able to afford lenses with high-end specs, even though I've not yet bought any of those really high-end Sigma lenses, yet.
I snagged a Strobist OCF magnet at California Sun Bounce -- the first person I asked didn't know about the magnets, but one person did, and he grinned a little as he dug one out of an unmarked envelope for me. In retrospect, I should have tried to handle their gear a little bit -- I've always seen those demos and ads with photographers holding these huge reflectors one-handed over their heads while shooting with the other.
After about the 3rd album-maker booth, I started paying more attention and gathering materials -- the albums available now are *really* nice with cool papers and layouts. Claire convinced me that some of these services could be useful (since I can't design my way out of an ugly paper bag).
MPEX had lots of Strobist gadgetry for sale, so I contemplated a bunch of stuff, but in the end, I only purchased the little Rosco Strobist kit of correction gels -- my current batch of CTO gels are getting a bit worn, and these were in convenient little case. The slick Honl grid spots and gel mounts are still too pricey for me, so I passed them up.
There were lots and lots of software vendors and book publishers. I tried to glance at the books, but nothing caught my eye. The prevalence of software was *especially* disappointing, because, obviously, I'm immune to any attempts to sell me software in my full Linux workflow. No crazy filter or effect pack is going to be of any use to me, and I can only spend so much time reading about Adobe products and mentally converting the instructions to Rawstudio and Gimp.
I do sort of like magazines, but the stand that looked like it was giving away copies of Popular Photography were only giving them to people who signed up for a subscription right there. I would have preferred to check it out at my leisure, so I just put it down and walked by.
After 2 hours on the floor, Claire and I grabbed a cab, headed for lunch (at Mercury Bar), and checked out more of the city.
We searched out the NY Public Library, and we just sat around there for a bit. I mounted up my 300mm lens and shot people for a bit, especially other people with cameras, and Claire read a bit. (On the expo floor, every time I'd stop to look at something, Claire would step back and start reading her book. She was very patient.)
Claire had said, "It would be cool to go ice skating", but we figured it was too early in the season. When we stumbled upon Rockefeller Center, we indeed found ice, so we set out skating for about an hour -- Claire was very happy, and I took many breaks to take some photos (to prove that we were there, and that's what I do) and to uncramp my feet.
At about 4pm, we found it really hard to get a cab, so we ended up briskly walking the 2 miles back to the conference, grabbing a drink, and hopping back on the bus.
As I had been assuring Claire it would be, it was a great day with or without the expo.
Filed Under: Photography