CP+: Photography is alive and kicking

The Japanese Camera Industry’s annual photo/imaging show, CP+, opened yesterday (Feb 13) at the Pacifico Yokohama conference and exhibition centre. It’s a much smaller show than the biennial Photokina exhibition in Cologne, which will take place in September. But its focus is more squarely on photography and imaging-related products.

Mark Allister, Ted’s Cameras, with one of the new neoprene camera cases on display on the Lowepro stand.

Mark Allister, Ted’s Cameras, with one of the new neoprene camera cases on display on the Lowepro stand. (Pic: Margaret Brown)

The relatively small size of the exhibition area means you can get all round it easily in roughly half a day, which allows some time to spend on the stands. Everything is in Japanese so you have to hope the person you approach for information speaks at least some English. Fortunately, many do. But don’t expect the printed materials to be in anything other than Japanese – regardless of which language is used on the cover!

The show is always quite crowded, despite the strict regulation of the number of people who can enter at any time. There are long queues waiting patiently just outside the entry door at certain times of day. When allowed in, there’s a rush to get to popular stands, where additional queuing awaits.

Recently-announced cameras created the highest interest levels, and it seemed most of the leading manufacturers had timed new product announcements to coincide with the show.

The queue to check out Fujifilm’s new X-T1 camera. The sign held up tells the patient attendees that waiting time is 30 minutes.

The queue to check out Fujifilm’s new X-T1 camera. The sign held up tells the patient attendees that waiting time is 30 minutes. (Pic: Margaret Brown)

The queue for hands-on time with Fujifilm’s new X-T1 camera had the longest waiting time – a consistent 30 minutes each time I passed the stand. Panasonic’s queue to see the Lumix GH4 was just as long but no waiting time was announced.

Sigma’s new DP ‘Quattro’ series cameras also attracted a long queue of visitors wanting to feel how much the new body design changed the cameras'’ handling characteristics.

Sigma’s new DP ‘Quattro’ series cameras also attracted a long queue of visitors wanting to feel how much the new body design changed the cameras’’ handling characteristics. (Pic: Margaret Brown)

Visitors also queued to get their hands on Sigma’s new trio of DP ‘Quattro’ cameras, which feature a new Foveon sensor an a radically different body design from their predecessors. (We will report on the new Quattro cameras next week.)

Olympus was a little more sensible in regards crowd management, positioning tethered OM-D E-M10 cameras around a square in the centre of their stand, in which models posed for photographers. The stand also had displays of small objects, such as flower arrangements and toys, to enable photographers to try the cameras’ close-focusing capabilities. Lenses attracted a lot of interest on the Olympus stand, particularly the new PRO-Series lenses, some of which won’t be released until 2015. These were shown as mock-ups alongside the existing lenses in this new category.

The Olympus stand was a veritable altar to the OM-D system, with visitors keen to get hand-on with the new EM-10.

The Olympus stand was a veritable altar to the OM-D system, with visitors keen to get hand-on with the new EM-10. (Pic: Margaret Brown)

Most exhibitors placed a strong emphasis on hands-on experience, either by providing tethered cameras or staff members available to answer visitors’ questions. They also arranged talks and demonstrations at pre-determined times to highlight specific aspects of the new products.

Canon’s just-announced PowerShot G1X Mark II attracted some interest, although not nearly as much as the new  interchangeable lens models from other manufacturers. (Pic: Margaret Brown)

Canon’s just-announced PowerShot G1X Mark II attracted some interest, although not nearly as much as the new interchangeable lens models from other manufacturers. (Pic: Margaret Brown)

Aside from new cameras and lenses, there was a strong emphasis on accessory products, ranging from expensive leather camera bags and straps, through to coloured regular and mini tripods, to novelty items like beanbags with camera attachments for holding smaller cameras steady.

Camera bags of various types were very popular on many stands, and the range of different products was impressive.

Some exhibitors went out of their way to provide services for visitors. Most notable was Tamron, which had a lens-cleaning booth at the back of their stand. Canon had a similar facility offering on-the-spot sensor cleaning.

Professionals were well catered for with a dedicated area set aside for video equipment and production technologies.

All lens manufacturers showcased comprehensive displays of their ranges, with Voigtlander and Carl Zeiss showing examples of their lenses cut in half to display the optical designs.

We were unable to attend any of the keynote speeches and product seminars due to a lack of time. Doubtless details of information released will emerge online at some time in the future. The general feeling of the show reflected a high interest in photography among all visitors, with ages ranging from under-20s to venerable senior citizens.

Interest in photography is very much alive and thriving if the overall ‘vibe’ of this show reflects the general scene.
– Margaret Brown, February 13
(Margaret attended the CP+ Show as one of a small group of journalists and representatives of the leading Australian retail groups who were brought to Japan by Olympus Imaging Australia.)

There were fewer photo books exhibitors this year, but the Asuka stand was well-patronised and showed some attractive designs in a wide range of sizes and styles.

There were fewer photo books exhibitors this year, but the Asuka stand was well-patronised and showed some attractive designs in a wide range of sizes and styles.

 


One thought on “CP+: Photography is alive and kicking

  1. Margaret Brown, as ever the diligent and informed reporter she is, covered the tone and important issues of CP+ admirably. I fully endorse her comments. The show, under the guiding hand of CP+ Director Toshio Terada, someone I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for 34 years in his Nikon role, had more than a few challenges with the weather, when snow dumped on Yokohama for the second weekend in a row, at a rate not seen in Japan for more than half a century.
    One thing really struck me and that was the incredibly diligent and professional skill level behind the counters of lens, camera and accessory vendors.
    Japanese industry is clearly fast realising that accessorising camera sales is the only way to survive in a flattish market, though CIPA numbers showed DSLR up a stunning 40% for 2013. One commentator locally told me that he reckoned half of that increase had gone offshore once the Yen devalued some months back. It may account for some other Grey-import prone markets like New Zealand to have been more than usually adversely affected in local sales. But grey cameras usually at least bring the opportunity for a local accessory sale, and that, in most cases is where the profit is anyway.
    One point of detail. the Lowepro camera case being kindly shown by Ted’s Mark Allister, is being sold exclusively in the Japanese market by Lowepro distributor Hakuba, one of Japan’s leading accessory distributors.
    One visit I made to that booth taught me something very valuable. I spotted no less than 5 visitors to the Lowepro booth all wearing a bag that was not a photo bag. What fascinated and excited me in this was these people had fought off atrocious weather, had come to a Photo show and were seeking out a better bag solution, custom-desgned for their digital stuff. So the next time someone comes in your store wearing a non photo backpack or shoulder bag it’s a great opportunity to suggest a quick look at some super new bags, most of which from us anyway, now have at least tablet capacity, but also in many cases, provision for a laptop and other digital bits and pieces.
    Full marks to CP+ for an engaging and enjoyable show, at least after day 2, before the major consumer attendance starts Saturday!
    -Tokyo

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