One of my fall highlights is attending the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. Last year was the first time I had attended in many years and had so much fun I wanted to make it an annual event again. Last year I had a chance to chat with Derrick Story , Frederick Van Johnson, Nicole S. Young and Brian Matiash. I'm fans of all of their work and it was a great treat to chat with them in person.
This year, in addition to hoping I would run into some people I admire, I was also looking forward to checking out two new offerings from Peak Design, the new Think Tank Photo bag designed for women by women and the lens flipper by GoWing.
We were fortunate enough to catch Saturday's keynote speaker, Jimmy Chin, who discussed his award-winning documentary, MERU. He talked about how he got into photography, climbing stories and showed clips from the movie. His stories whet my appetite for seeing the movie and I look forward to its release on DVD in November.
One of our first stops was the Olympus booth as I knew they were offering free camera checks including: exterior cleaning, image stabilizer check, firmware upgrade, full function check, auto focus accuracy check, and sensor & optical check. I dropped off my camera and was told to come back in an hour. Love that they offer this service for their customer base.
Olympus also had speakers throughout the day. You can see a demonstration going on in the right corner of this photo.
Last year I stopped at the Think Tank Photo booth to check out the Perception Series, of which I own two now. This year I wanted to check out the new Lily Deanne series of bags designed by women for women. Premium quality bags in 3 sizes, the Lucido ($199.75), Mezzo ($249.75) and Tutto ($299.75). The bags ship in a cardboard box with tissue paper held together by a sticker seal. Not really sure what the deal is on the box and tissue paper. Are they trying to convey that it's a designer series and therefore needs to be presented this way? Do they think it would it appeal more to women if it were shipped this way? I personally think it's a waste of packaging.
The bag is nice overall with leather accents and magnetic closure. Inside the bag it's lined with nylon material in a robin's nest color. I like the brightly colored interior as it makes it easier to find small items that may drop to the bottom of the bag. The main compartment also zippers shut for additional security, which is nice. I don't think I'll be purchasing one, but would enjoy reviewing one if Think Tank wants to send one to me. :)
Another vendor that I look forward to visiting is PeakDesign. I'm a big fan of their products. I own the Leash, Cuff and Clutch. They had a big Kickstarter campaign this year for their Everyday Messenger bag. I didn't back it as the price held me back. I do not want to put out a lot of money for a product that I can't evaluate in person. They had the bag out on display and after inspection, I knew that my intuition was right, this is not the bag for me. I'm not a fan of the material and it just didn't "wow" me. I do like the smart dividers and the ability to use the capture plate to mount your camera on the side of the bag, but none of the features stood out enough to make me want to add this bag to my collection.
On the other hand, I do like their Field Pouch ($39.95) and since I already own some of their straps, I can see how I might find this bag useful to carry about while street shooting.
They also offer another product called the LENS Kit ($49.95) which is a neat little device that allows you to attach a lens to either end so you can carry two lenses and quickly and easily swap lenses without fumbling around with lens caps and such. I thought when I asked at the booth that they had it available for micro four-thirds lenses, but I see on their site that they only have Canon EF, Nikon F or Sony E/FE mounts. I'll be writing them to see if they will have any for my Olympus. You can also get this adapter with the capture clip with the Capture Lens product for $89.95. This kit uses their camera clip so you can securely attach it to a camera strap, backpack strap or a belt and change lenses one handed! If you purchase the LENS Kit and you already own one of their straps, you can attach the devise to the anchors and carry it by the strap.
All of the Peak Design products mentioned above are available by pre-order. I did walk away with one product that they did have in stock and that is the Slide Lite ($49.95), although on their website it's still showing that it's only available for pre-order. It's a cross between the Leash and the Slide. It's a wider strap than the Leash and it's easily adjustable with a little slider allowing you to change the length of the strap very easily.
Similar to the LENS Kit mentioned above, a company named GoWing offers the Lens Flipper. This kit comes with a strap. It's currently on sale for $74.95 down from $89.95 for the micro four-thirds mount. Click here to check it out. Canon, Sony, Fuji and Nikon mounts are also available.
After evaluating both the GoWing and Peak Design lens switching models, I have to give a slight edge to Peak Design's model as it seems better made, but the only way to know for sure is to test it thoroughly in the field. If I get one, I'll be sure to review it on this blog.
The final product I'll talk about is a wrist strap by Barber Shop Bags (see photo to the right). First of all, their booth was exquisitely designed. I felt like I was stepping into a high end store. This is an Italian company and the booth staffers were extremely helpful. I was attracted to their wrist straps, but they offer bags, straps and a few other products. I was eyeing the black leather strap, but decided to wait until later on in the day after I had toured the entire expo before making a buying decision. When I finally made my way back, they were sold out of the black. They had a camel colored strap, but at the $60 price tag, I didn't want to settle. I walked away, but kept thinking about the strap when I got home. They had told me that B&H was a distributor and sure enough I was able to order from them for $63.95 (limited time price). The price tag is slightly higher now. It arrived yesterday. Beautiful packaging for a beautifully designed product. I look forward to using it. I love my Peak Design Cuff and this one is definitely a step up, but does not detach as easily. I think I'll get over it. :)
So there you have it. Just a small glimpse of what the PhotoPlus Expo has to offer. I can't wait until next year!