Mid stroll through the exhibition hall at WPPI, I wondered aloud about the mood. I haven’t walked a Vegas tradeshow floor and felt such positive energy since the height of the dot com bubble. Overhearing my conversation with another journalist about the positive vibe of the show, an exhibitor interjected, ”this show is about enthusiastic photographers trying to figure out how to increase their business and skills.”
The infectious mood was contagious to the vendors too, and we met many who had great new products and updates to show us. Favorites include the Gifyyy animated gif photo booth, Spider Holster, and Lume Cube. An honorable mention goes to Solidify for the trip to the Uncanny Valley we took looking at their 3D scanner and color printer system that creates super-realistic full-color figurines from scans of people (or objects). A more practical application than making toys of your relatives is studio objects and portraits and cake toppers? Considering Solidiphy’s system uses one of the two color 3D printers of this type in the world, it was certainly intriguing.
The list of our favorite WPPI products is presented in no particular order and includes the new FujiFilm X-Pro2, which I used for many of these images. That camera, in the WPPI setting, was a social lubricant. Photographers noticed I had one, and asked to try it, or at least (and I’m not making this up) touch it.
Of course I let them shoot a few stills, and shared my initial response that I better understood why FujiFilm shooters are so devoted to their cameras. You can develop a certain film look with the extensive settings, and get emotionally attached because the camera engages your creativity, and enables an expression of your world view. We had several bodies to choose from during the trip (Editor David Schloss used the Pentax K-1 and a Leica Monochrom, for example), but I kept wanting to see what the X-Pro2 could and would do, like the motion blur from this random attendee in the food court or a portrait of a puppy who plopped herself down at my feet while shooting on the Strip.
Most of the shots from the show are B/W because of the terrible halogens overhead and so many people were pale and red-eyed from travel, the perfumed and smokey casino air, and late-night partying. That friendly puppy punctuated the week, as much as any other moment, because I’ve never had a sweet experience like that in 20 odd years I’ve been on the tech beat in Vegas. Finding a world-weary and too-many-tradeshows fatigued journalist isn’t unusual in Vegas, but a moment that innocent certainly is.
Spider Black Widow Holster—The idea of hanging cameras from hips like a gunslinger doesn’t appeal to us as much as their belt attachment that has the same hips to hands in a second function, without the wide waistband. Attach the Black Widow pin to the tripod mount, the holster to your neck, and get that camera off your neck. Shooting primarily with lightweight mirrorless systems, the Spider belt holster works very well. $49.99 spiderholster.com/black-widow
Barber Shop Bags—In the never-ending search for the perfect bag, consider the Barber Shop as your “dress bag” for special occasions or when you want something with more patina than black cordura. Barber Shop also offers complimentary personalization. 499.00 € for the Doctor Bag Quiff. www.barbershopbags.com
Leica Monochrome–Spent at least an hour talking to the Leica reps in their booth and trying the Leica M-Monochrom and very interested in how Type 240 captures more light per pixel. Also, how it was a mirrorless camera before the rest of the industry called it that. $5,499.00 us.leica-camera.com/Photography/Leica-M/LEICA-M-MONOCHROM2
G Technology Portable—The popular G|Drive updated to USB-C with a transfer rate of 136MB/s. Pricing wasn’t available during the show. www.g-technology.com/products/g-drive-mobile-usb-c
Cecilia—A camera strap in Alpaca wool to match the styling of Barber Shop Bags and from a family-owned business since 1898. Cecilia offers a wide variety of straps and the one that caught our eye costs $104.00. http://ceciliagallery.com/collections/camera-straps
Lowel GL-1—LED with photo-quality tungsten color in a pistol-grip style for locations shoots with barn door and filter accessories. $699.95 lowel.tiffen.com/GL/
DreamLabo 5000—Having seen this behemoth fill the length of Canon’s booth, we can say the 3000 and 4000 series before it were crap; that’s a joke, of course, but this is the world’s first-ever inkjet production photo printer and it’s a sight to behold. The price wasn’t listed and we didn’t ask. www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/explore/product-showcases/printer-technology/dreamlabo-5000/
Fotodiox—In just a few product cycles, Sony has changed the camera market, and an ecosystem of accessories sellers have followed, including Fotodiox who makes well-manufactured vented hood for the RX1 and LED lights. $69.95. www.fotodioxpro.com/fotodiox-dedicated-bayonet-lens-hood-for-sony-cyber-shot-rx1-dsc-rx1-digital-camera-replaces-sony-lhp1.html
Gifyyy—An even more fun iPad-based Photo Booth that outputs animated GIFS. $3995.00 with an optional network function for sending the GIFS by text. www.gifyyy.com/
Solidiphy—A 3D scanning and color printing system that uses 130 Canon Rebel S1 DSLRs and software to output figurines, cake toppers, Lego heads, and more. $130,000.00 www.facebook.com/Solidiphy
Lume Cube—This portable, “action light,” wasn’t on our radar, but we couldn’t help but notice the amount of attendees at their booth. Hardened and wat
erproof, the cube displays 1,500 fully-adjustable lumens. Mounting kits include rigging for a GoPro, tripod, or smartphones. $79.99 www.lumecube.com