Posted by achimrunnebaum on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 (Japan Standard Time)

Lights! Cameras! Action!

Report from the CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2014

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Cameras have undergone an amazing transformation in recent times. From the huge, bulky boxes of yore to sleeker, sexier Rangefinders a la Leica’s offerings, back to the bulkier, but intensely feature-packed (D)SLRs of today, they are constantly evolving pieces of sophisticated technology. Recently there’s another transformation happening in the camera world – that of going back to slimmer, lighter designs while keeping all the modern features in the form of mirrorless cameras.

The whole evolution of cameras, along with uncountable lens, bag, tripod, and imaging technology offerings from everyone who’s anyone in the world of photography could be seen this past weekend at the CP+ Camera and imaging show in Yokohama, Japan.

This is one of the biggest imaging shows in the world and boasts impressive visitor numbers year after year (42,203 this year).
Held annually at the beautiful Pacifico Yokohama convention centre, this event is a true Mecca for camera lovers the world over. Some come for the cameras, some come for workshops taught by famous photographers, and others come just for the atmosphere.

Access to the event is easy and straight forward. A short train ride from Yokohama Station to Minato Mirai station and then a short 5min. walk to the Convention Centre is all it takes to immerse yourself in true camera technology heaven.

Once inside the venue, you are immediately immersed in all the lights, sounds, displays, and the huge crowd. Some of the displays were truly impressive visually, and functionally, as you could test out most models, lenses, and related products relatively effortlessly.

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The most anticipated camera model this year came from Fujifilm, who have, in recent years, rekindled the joy of old camera design with modern technology. Their newest offering, the X-T1 is a lovingly created nod to the rangefinder days of yore, blended with new technology; such as a tilty-flippy screen, 16 Megapixel Sensor, Film Simulation Modes, manual dials for every important exposure setting, and impressive low-light capabilities. This, along with a whole array of new lenses will definitely get camera enthusiasts’ attention in the coming months.

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Nikon also debuted their newest flagship model, the much anticipated D4S, although there were no specs listed next to the display model. Even though there’s no official release date yet, I’m sure there will be a formal announcement in the coming weeks.

All Major Camera and Lense Makers were in attendance, showcasing their newest and best offerings to the public and industry partners. There were far too many companies present to list all of them, but believe me when I say that the CP+ is a true Lollapalooza of camera and related technology.

Speaking of Lense Makers; one of the largest crowds gathered in front of Sigma Corporation’s booth, who, with their line of new Art lenses, have shaken things up recently. The most anticipated lense in that lineup, the 50mm f/1.4 had people waiting for 10-15min. just to see it up close and personal. There’s no official release date yet, but you can get it sometime later this year (I know I will).


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Another highlight from the show and a hotly anticipated lense for wealthy enthusiasts is the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4, which can be had for the small sum of ($4,000).
I was able to try it out on my camera without having to sell my kidney though, and here’s a quick picture to help you decide if you should put this lense on your Christmas wish-list for this year.

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Even though cameras are the highlight of the show, I got the feeling certain people came just for the very attractive booth babes, who posed with some of the newest cameras on stage. _DSC1706_resize.jpg

The crowd, happily snapping away picture after picture of these models were made up almost entirely of mostly middle-aged men, which was a very interesting site to behold. The observation could be made that these men missed the entire point of the show, but as long as they enjoyed themselves, its all part for the course.
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Whether you come for the cameras, the atmosphere, or the beautiful surrounding harbour views, a trip to Yokohama should not be missing in your itinerary for Japan.

Yokohama isn’t just famous for camera shows, but also for its picturesque port area, its famous Chinatown district, and its quieter, more relaxing pace of life compared to Tokyo.

So, if you like cameras, breathtaking harbour views, great food, and have an adventurous spirit, start planning your trip now for next year’s CP+ show, because Japan and cameras go hand in hand like (Japan and Sushi, or Japan and Sumo, or Japan and Anime, or…. Oh, you get the point, heheh). Hope to see you there next year!

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Achim Runnebaum
Freelance Photographer, Writer, and Journalist. Achim was born in Germany, raised in the States, and is currently living in Japan.
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