Photokina 2016: Welcome to press day

Posted on by Mike Evans

My day has started early — at 4.30am in fact. For this Photokina I decided to avoid the hassles of airports and entrust myself to the railway. And, so far, a very pleasant experience it is. St. Pancras International was almost deserted when I clocked in at 5.30 (one of the big advantages of early-birdism) and I was through security and passport control in a flash, not a queue in sight. The whole experience is so much better than flying and, of course, the accommodation is more comfortable. A quick change in Brussels and an hour on the clock should see me in Cologne by noon, no doubt feeling less stressed than if I'd flown. Eurostar has much to offer, even for longer journeys in Europe. 

I will miss the Panasonic press conference, unfortunately, but I'm lined up for Olympus and Fuji later this afternoon. Tomorrow I expect a Leica event but the time hasn't yet been announced. So I'm ready for the fray, complete with sensible shoes and an enquiring nose. 

On Saturday, following the 500px Photo Walk in Guildford, I was telling you that I would probably take the Leica SL and 24-90mm lens to Photokina. But I had second thoughts as my head overruled my heart. It's mainly a question of bulk and weight. After packing the SL yesterday, MacBook and other bits into the Tom Bihn Synapse backpack I picked it up and began to envisage the long days of tramping around the extensive Kölner Messe. My enthusiasm waned. I would have preferred to have the advantages of the SL but.....

Out came the big camera and in went the Panasonic Lumix GX8 with an Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 zoom, very much the equal of the SL in scope but far less bulky, if far less competent in terms of ultimate image quality. You can't have everything. Since the rig was so light I threw in the 85mm-equivalent f/1.2 Leica DG Nocticron for good measure. Maybe I can get in some portraits along the way.

And I forgot: Before leaving home I threw in my trusty old Ricoh GR. With its APS-C sensor, 28mm lens and small size it makes a great second camera for any trip. In emergency it can stand in for a larger camera but it is also the first choice for evening jaunts because it fits easily in the front pocket of a pair of jeans. 


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