Photography Show 2016
Photographers in Leicestershire have a particularly hard time these days when it comes to trying out equipment. As a Loughborough based photographer I get frustrated by the fact that the nearest specialist photography shops are in Nottingham and Derby, as Leicester city no longer has the Jessop’s, Young’s or Cecil Jacob’s stores it used to boast. Photographers are now forced to order blind online when they want kit, with no real idea of how reputable some traders are. I recently had a really bad experience with an American company, and am still yet to receive an acknowledgement that I want a refund for good that have failed to be delivered. Anyway…
It was particularly good to visit the Photography Show at the NEC on March 22nd, and have a chance to get my hands on a huge range of camera gear and associated kit. And what a range there was! The sheer volume and variations of kit and technology are almost overwhelming – as are some of the prices.
It seemed the Canon and Nikon stands were crammed with people for virtually the whole day, which was probably to be expected. The Canon stalls were particularly busy and difficult to get to, though most likely due to the way the space was laid out; narrow and cramped to the point of almost feeling exclusive, compared to how open and inclusive Nikon’s exhibition space was.
I’m not wanting to be too negative, but there were a couple of other things I noted. In general I was hardly overwhelmed by the discounts and offers available at the show. In many cases the special show pricing seemed to be no lower than the online prices and many exhibitors seemed content to cart back great amounts of unsold stock and display items at the end of day – which also happened to be the last day of the show.
I went to the show with my Dad and one of his buddies from the camera club that he’s a member of. Dad was pretty unimpressed with having to spend a tenner on one of the main shows (that was held in a separate auditorium, the ‘Super Stage’) only to be stuffed into really narrow seats like sardines, and be somehow expected to sit comfortably/be able to breathe for the 90 minute presentation. The presentation was awesome, I admit, but having to sit at 45 degrees in my seat to be part of it wasn’t so great. Dad says “Come on NEC you can do better than that!” and I agree with him.
On a much more positive note, it was great to explore such a large space filled with so much kit. It was also really beneficial to be able talk to suppliers about my future plans for my business and their upcoming releases that may be of use to me. Rode’s stall was a major pit stop for me; speaking with them about their audio equipment led to my becoming aware of a new set of radio mics that will be coming out in 8 or so weeks. Not only did the microphones appeal to me, but the chance to get my hands on as many affordable steady cam rigs as possible was invaluable.
One specific piece of information stands out for me, though. I hadn’t heard of Kenro before stumbling across their stand and I have to admit I’m very impressed with the price and the build quality of their kit. I got talking to a member of the sales staff, who told me that there is a stockist of their products in Leicestershire. This news was an absolute bonus – who’d have thought that a chemists in Ashby would also stock camera gear and be a local outlet for Kenro. As a result of this breakthrough, I’ll be visiting Dean & Smedley, of Ashby, soon!
If you went to The Photography Show this year, what was the highlight for you? And also, where do you go to buy kit – either online or in store? Have you had any negative experiences with online retailers?