A Sneak Peek At Photokina 2016

DSCF0058Whatever you do, don’t let anyone else see this post. It would cause an enormous scandal in the industry if “they” found out that I had let the cat out of the bag.

Now you have all been on the rumour sites this last year as writers tried to second-guess the camera manufacturers. Relying on a vast network of intelligence agents stationed strategically in vital centres all over the world – code named ” Mom’s Basement “- and scientific breakthroughs like ” Magic 8-Ball “- editors of the sites have been charting out the course of photography for the coming year. So far, like Columbus, and Wrong Way Corrigan, they have been completely successful in finding the Indies…

I can do better. I have a direct line to Canon, Nikon, Leica, Hasselblad, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Olympus, and Sony…not to mention Sigma and Zeiss – and everything that they plan to do is laid out in front of me like a railway timetable. It is all so transparent that I have become bored with it, and I daresay you would be too. I will not tax you with it.

The real problem comes with the Flapoflex company. While their design bureau discipline is no more secure than any of the other big players and their premises is freely open to anyone who is prepared to wander in off the street dressed like a scary clown, the main decisions have always been kept locked away behind the steely gaze of the company president. There are no shareholders to satisfy and most of the employees are pretty ticked off as well. Advertising is kept under wraps unto the products have reached the shelves, been sold, used, and run out of warranty. Many of their advertising campaigns have been centred around the theme of ” We told you so…”.

Their late entry into the digital world – based not on the on/off concept of binary digital work but rather the on/off/vague-smell-of-old-cheese model has required a lot of re-thinking by members of the photographic community. Mind you, it took on surprisingly well in Mongolia where they like old cheese.

Their lens roadmap for the year has been likened to the M1 around Stanstead in a fog and the Fujifilm concept of ” Kaizen ” has been modified to ” Krapoo “. They have appointed Flapoflex Ambassadors for many countries but so far 4 have been ejected and one has had his head chopped off. Not the sort of thing that you normally expect of the Vatican, and it has caused the Flapoflex company to suspend further diplomatic efforts.

The advent of higher standards for video has not worried the Flapoflex designers as they realised that it was combined with a corresponding lowering of the expectations as far as actual script and acting was concerned. No-one really cares whether the story is worth a damn as long as it has great definition and 45-channel sound. And aliens. Flapoflex has kept to the old standards and merely increased the saturation.

Still, it is all up for grabs at Köln this year. No-one really wants to be the first to break from the pack and produce the 4K DSLR sigmoidoscope or the disposable cardboard action cam. We will have to wait and see whether they will be able to run a charge of electricity through the remains of Ansel Adams and get another 2000 prints – until then the industry hangs breathless. If we can get them to do it for 5 minutes straight we should be in the clear.


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