ImagingUSA, Day One
I spent all day today at the ImagingUSA Expo, happening now in San Antonio thru Jan. 16. I will probably head back to the expo tomorrow as well, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
Upon entering the exhibition hall, I made a beeline for the Leica booth, which, in retrospect, is probably something I should have done last, just before leaving. Why? Because after holding and trying both the fabulous M8 and the equally desirable Digital Modul R-equipped R9, everything else at the expo was just filler.
I spent about twenty minutes speaking with Ebi Kuenne of Leica LA, a very nice guy, who let me try out the various glass they had in the display, including a Vario Elmar and the gorgeous Noctilux 50/1.0. Then he produced the R9 with Digital Modul R for me to play with. I had never held this machine before, much less out one up to my eye. The first thing I noticed was how well it fit into my hand. I have big hands, and it’s rare that I find cameras that actually fit me, without aid of an external grip. The R9 was perfect, and the shutter release button was exactly where it was most natural.
As soon as I raised the R9 up to my eye, I was astonished by the viewfinder. It is, by far, the brightest, most crisp viewfinder I’ve ever experienced. It felt like I was looking through a new eye. Even after we had left the expo, and were scarfing burgers at Fuddruckers, I was still thinking about the R9, and how I wished I’d had more time to try it out. Tomorrow, I have to remember to take an SD card with me so I can leave with some test images.
I knew before I even walked in the door that I was going to love the M8, but I was not expecting to be so taken with the R9. I may have to get both. And while I’m dreaming, I’m sure that VII will ask me to shoot for them sometime this year.
All obsessions aside, though, there was a lot of great stuff to see at the ImagingUSA expo. The folks from Photo Express have an excellent looking display, and I must say that my photos look great plastered all over it.
Canon’s was the Death Star of all booths, with enough room to comfortably display their bodies, lenses, and all their printers, including the large format Prograf iPF9000. They also had a rather large seminar area, with reps giving various interactive demonstrations to large crowds of spectators. Personally, I am really looking forward to the release of the new PiXMA Pro9500 this spring.
I also spent some time harrassing the rep from Mamiya about a digital 645 rangefinder, and why such an animal doesn’t exist yet. He said he shared my opinion, but as I already knew, the chances of actually seeing one in the near future are nil. Oh well, at least I have my future Leicas to look forward to.
In case anyone is wondering, yes, I took photos today, but they’re on film, so you’ll have to wait for them. Ha!