One does not simply walk into CP+, one has to experience it!
CP+ is Japan's annual Camera & Photo Imaging Show, now in its third year. Created in response to the massive consumer electronics and camera shows held in the west, CP+ showcases the best that the Japanese camera companies have to offer at the start of the year. Both gear and craft lovers will find things to like, as you can handle new cameras and attend talks by photographers at CP+, as well as browse through gorgeous photo exhibits.
The show itself has never been huge, occupying two halls in Pacifico Yokohama. If you browse leisurely without stopping too long at any booth, you can finish the length of the hall in an hour. Even though CP+ wants to shift the center of attention away from the West to the East in regards to camera launches, the event hasn't managed to succeed just yet. Language is a barrier; most talks are given in Japanese and not every assistant speaks English (although more and more seem to speak it very well). Also, announcements of new products are still made way ahead of the event, usually at CES which is held one month earlier than CP+.
Still, CP+ seems to be gaining momentum. More new digital compact camera announcements were made this year at CP+, and Nikon unveiled their big product the D800 at the event (they could have been held back by the tsunami last year which delayed production, but still). One gets the feeling that if the big Japanese companies further co-ordinate their efforts to bump up CP+, it could well become the premier camera product show of the first half of each year.
And CP+ is always a delight to visit, with lots to see. Check out our highlights from the event, as well as interesting sights and a celebration of the hardworking booth babes of CP+.
Nikon was showcasing their brand new Coolpix cameras, the new D4 and the D800 DSLR cameras, all of which you could try for yourself on the show floor . You had to queue hard for the D4 and D800 though, so luckily we already had a sneak peak hands-on session with the cameras the day before!
The spotlight at Canon was really on the G1 X, the 1D X and the C300 professional video camera. We've previously seen the 1D X and the C300 in Singapore (we even chatted with award-winning director Vincent Laforet about the C300). We managed a brief hands-on for the PowerShot G1 X during the CES 2012 show, but we still went ahead to give it yet another shot. It was lighter than we expected for its size (it's 534g) and felt quite comfortable in the hands, but previous G-series users will want to note that the G1 X is bigger than its predecessors due to the larger sensor inside.
Everyone wanted to touch the Fujifilm X-Pro1 (which we also had a hands-on at CES 2012), and another camera you had to queue hard for. Besides the X-Pro 1 which took center stage, Fujifilm also had a couple of the limited edition black X100's on hand. But what caught our attention were the GF670 Professional and the newer GF670 W Professional medium format film cameras. The two-year old GF670 Pro is a folding camera made of die-cast aluminum with magnesium alloy components, and has a f/3.5 80mm lens. The GF670 W Pro, which was released last year, has a f/4.5 55mm lens. Both are absolutely gorgeous.
Pentax drew a lot of attention with their K-01 camera, a brand-new mirrorless system camera with an APS-C sensor, which was announced just days before CP+. Sporting a unique design by British designer Marc Newson, who has designed many things, from furniture to yachts, but never a digital camera. It looks like a giant Lego block and handles like a kid's toy. We can't fathom what Pentax is thinking with the design of this camera and who the company wants to target, but let's leave the question out there for now before the camera is actually available.
At Panasonic, we kept hearing the words "mirrorless, mirrorless and mirrorless". Panasonic, of course, is one of the pioneers of the mirrorless system camera, they released the first Micro Four Thirds camera ever in 2008, the Panasonic G1. Panasonic had a very cool, see-through working version of their electronic Lumix G X 14-42mm lens on demo. Behind glass boxes were the drool-worthy constant aperture 12-35mm f/2.8 and 35-100mm f/2.8 prototype lenses. These would be the Micro Four Thirds equivalents of the classic 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses for DSLR cameras. We heard from a secret source that the lenses won't be prototypes for long and may be released as early as spring or summer of this year.
Olympus is bringing retro back (again) with the new OM-D E-M5, which we just recently previewed. With the original OM cameras on display, it's easy to see where the E-M5 gets its looks. That's it for the highlights from the major manufacturers, check out the next page for the quirky and interesting finds of CP+ 2012.