So, yesterday my dad and I, along with hundreds of other people, went to The Digital Show at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. It was pretty interesting, getting to see so much photography stuff and the people who were interested in it all together.
I originally heard about it online, where they were offering free tickets to go, if you registered ahead of time. I ‘d never heard of The Digital Show before, but seeing as it was on a weekend, and it sounded interesting I thought “how can I go wrong?” The funny thing was, I registered about two months early, but you could register up to the day, and still get a free ticket. They were even giving them away at camera shops and advertising on the radio. I don’t thing there was one person that paid to get in.
When I first heard about The Digital Show, it seemed clear that it was a photography expo. But somehow, when I did a bit more research in getting ready to go, it sounded like there was going to be exhibitors for lots of different technological areas. That’s what the name implies; anything digital should be on show. However when I actually went, I found that every stall somehow related to photography. They weren’t there for any other reason, not that I cared. I was mainly going for the photography side of it, but it was just so pointlessly confusing.
All the big brands you’d expect to be there were there (Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Fujifilm, Lowepro, GoPro) as were various retailers selling their photography wares. They had products from every stage of production, from pre to post. Although, the somewhat odd thing was that the majority of these places weren’t actually selling anything. Of course the retailers were, and the smaller independent places were too, but nearly none of the bigger companies were selling their products at the show. They were just there to show it off and get you interested. I thought this was particularly odd of Wacom because I had seen them at SupaNova and they had been selling tablets there. Why not sell them here? Again, that didn’t bother me too much because they probably wouldn’t have had great prices anyway.
What did bother me, though, was the lack of freebies. There was a very cut-down version of PC User magazine you could pick up as you entered. Nikon were giving out showbags at the door, which contained a brochure that just advertised their top DSLR, a booklet with tonnes of arty photos, a flier for a few specials at retailers and a cool Nikon lanyard. Not too bad, Nikon. Olympus were giving away these giant bags which had equivalent stuff to Nikon’s, but swap the lanyard for a pen and throw in a super-awesome tiny camera key-charm. It even comes with two interchangeable lenses!! But other than that, there wasn’t much. Canon had a bag, but they weren’t giving it to hardly anyone. We spoke with a few of the guys on their large stand, discussing what camera to buy as a family camera, and what DSLR I should buy if I were to upgrade (600D).
Despite the kick I get from free stuff, that’s not why I went to The Digital Show. I went to look at and learn about all the cool cameras and accessories. I like to think I know a bit about photography and cameras by now, but going there just shows that I really don’t. There are so many intricacies to capturing the perfect photo, how the camera works, and how to bring out the elements you want in post-production. I’m slowly learning about that stuff. The thing that really puts a lot of these photographers in front of me is unbridled passion and inspiration. The most peaceful part of our wander around the expo was when we had a look at all the photos on display as part of the various competitions that had been run. Some of my favourite shots were the bright and colourful “city at night” scapes. They’re so beautiful and vibrant. It was funny at one point where a kid asked his father “how did they do that effect?” It was an image with another image ghosted over the top. Being part of the Fujifilm display, I instantly recognised it as the effect you get when you take two photos on top of each other using film, however this guy spent ages trying to work it out, and explain it through reflections in glass and the like. He eventually just gave up, and resigned it to being a post-production effect.
I also got the chance to take to a guy on the Wacom stand and ask him what the difference between the different Bamboo units they have. His answer: “The bundled software. Oh, and the colours. That’s about it, really…” So, there’s not point in paying $30 more for a cut-down version of a piece of software you have no interest in using. I’m still leaning towards getting the Bamboo Manga, because the software sound better to me. I don’t care about the colours.
So, all up, The Digital Show was, while not quite accurate to its name, a very interesting and enjoyable photography expo. I had a good time, learnt a few things and got a few freebies. Not bad…