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Mark Peters : October 5th 2006 - 03:20 CET

Photokina summary

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PhotokinaPhotokina summary : This year’s Photokina was the largest ever, and one of the most fascinating since Cologne’s first photo fair took place in 1950. The action-packed six-day event, which closed on October 1, bridged the gap between the "analogue click and the digital double-click" and was extremely well received by all the participants: professional and amateur photographers, the photographic and imaging sector, consumer electronics, IT, communications technology, suppliers of consumer products and professional imaging, the specialist trade, the media, photographic art and the imaging market. The level of supply and demand was comparable to the previous Photokina in 2004.
Photokina summaryOliver Kuhrt - President Koelnmesse
This year’s fair attracted 1,579 exhibiting companies from 46 countries and over 162,000 visitors from 153 countries. According to Koelnmesse Executive Vice President Oliver P. Kuhrt, the fair reflected "the pure fascination of producing images - every day, in every hall and at every stand. Photokina is unique and has an unmistakable profile. No other trade fair offers such a comprehensive range of products and services for the photographic and imaging sector. In the world of global digital communication, Photokina is truly the leading event of its kind." The optimistic mood at the trade fair backed up Kuhrt’s comments. The exhibitors were highly satisfied with the number of visitors and their level of decision-making authority. "Photokina is firmly established as the platform for our entire range of digital imaging products," stated one leading supplier.

Harald Horn - Chairman Photographic Industry Association
Harald Horn, Chairman of the Photographic Industry Association, agrees: "Once again, Photokina proved to be the engine that drives market growth," he stated. "It helps the photographic and imaging industry to break into new segments and has certainly lived up to its slogan of ‘imaging is more’ this year. It remains an indispensable platform for global sector business."

Photokina 2006 - State of the Art Nothern halls
There were plenty of new features to discover at Photokina in Cologne, especially for regular visitors. The new, state-of-the-art Northern Halls replace the previous Rhineside Halls, and over 162,000 visitors flocked through the two new, spacious entrances. In line with changing market conditions due to digital technology, this year’s World of Imaging was restructured. Its previous division into Consumer Imaging and Professional Imaging was replaced by a route that reflected the imaging workflow, from capturing an image to storing it, processing it and presenting it with the appropriate equipment. Exhibitors and visitors unanimously agreed that these changes supported and facilitated the transition to a digital era and contributed to the unique atmosphere at Photokina. As in previous years, the synergies between the consumer and professional segments worked extremely well. The professional imaging area is benefiting from the image-promoting public presentation of the sector as a whole, while the consumer market is being boosted by the technical developments available in professional equipment. According to Thomas Knops, Director of Marketing in Europe and Multimedia for Nokia, "The atmosphere at the fair is familiar and international at the same time - an excellent mix."

Leading imaging sector brands exhibited at Photokina
As usual, all of the big names from the imaging sector exhibited at Photokina, including Canon, Fuji, Kodak, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Sony. More recent exhibitors from the area of consumer electronics, IT and communications technology, such as Casio, Epson, Hewlett Packard, Nokia and Samsung, had considerably larger stands this year. Among the major first-time exhibitors were Apple and CeWe Color, Europe’s largest photofinisher.

Photokina - Broad international scope
The exhibitors noted that the level of decision-making authority among the visitors was higher than ever, accompanied by a broad international scope. Trade visitors accounted for 65 percent of all visitors, and 40 percent of them came from outside Germany - an increase compared to the previous event in 2004. A total of 153 countries were represented, enabling Photokina to live up to its leading international role. Initial results from an independent survey reveal that 20 percent of the trade visitors were retailers, and 80 percent were professional users. The largest group among the resellers was the specialist photo trade, accounting for almost 50 percent. This group was followed by the electronic specialist trade and electronics retailers (around 15 percent), department stores (7 percent), and computer stores, IT service providers, mail-order companies and Internet retailers (5 percent each). The trade visitors were impressed by Photokina, and 95 percent would recommend it to a close business associate.

Michael Gleich - Chairman Ringfoto
Michael Gleich, Chairman of Ringfoto GmbH, said that the fair had been excellent and that it had generated important momentum for the upcoming Christmas business. He was delighted about the "new, young visitors to Cologne" and that Photokina was "fresher than ever."

Koelnmesse exhibitors - Great succes
The great majority of exhibitors from all areas of the fair reported that their results had been good or very good. All of them agreed that a high degree of expertise was apparent among the trade visitors and non-trade visitors, and that they had held constructive, fruitful talks. Photokina 2006 had a global impact; Customers and sales partners from a large number of countries within and outside Europe visited the stands of the internationally operating companies. Ordering activity was brisk. Ricky L.

Next generation of digital cameras
The fact that all the systems and technologies have a common digital basis ensures that the entire work process from the taking of the image to its presentation is made more transparent for professionals and amateurs alike and provides them with more room for creativity. This was also made clear by the various new developments presented in Cologne. In line with the integrated concept, the innovations covered the entire scope of imaging from entry-level products to high-end technology. Image taking as the first step of the imaging workflow was clearly dominated in 2006 by digital reflex photography. Thanks to increasingly higher resolutions at more and more attractive prices, reflex cameras have now conquered the general consumer market. The cameras now have a standard resolution of 10 megapixels and the products’ appeal is further enhanced by the introduction of new features. Professional photographers in particular appreciate the large number of new top-quality interchangeable lenses. Optical image stabilisation and larger displays, which can now also be found in digital compact cameras, benefit all types of users. Mobile phones are becoming increasingly better at taking pictures and can now provide a resolution of up to 8 megapixels. In digital camcorders, the storage media previously used have almost completely been replaced by DVDs and hard discs. The next generation of memory cards is now ready for launch under the designation SDHC. Initially they will have 4 GB of memory, although larger capacities can be expected soon. Mobile devices for storing large amounts of data are already attracting considerable attention.

Digital image processing - Printers
Digital image processing is meanwhile being enhanced further. Photokina featured new products specifically for professional users and others who work with raw data and process large numbers of digital images. In the area of image presentation, Photokina 2006 exhibited products for the full range of presentation possibilities, from printers and online presentations to photo kiosks and image projectors. Consumers and trade representatives were particularly attracted to kiosk solutions, and many companies saw their expectations exceeded. The new printers in the consumer sector include top-quality versions as well as handy compact printers for quick prints. In the professional segment, new ink technologies are increasing the life and improving the color reproduction of images from fine-art prints to large-format reproductions. Increasingly gaining in popularity are new forms of presentation, including individually designed photo albums and "digital slideshows" shown on high-resolution TV screens or projectors.

Photokina event - Media attention
As an event Photokina is an event like no other, which has a huge impact on media around the world. More than 5,500 journalists were accredited to cover Photokina in Cologne this year. One major reason for the event’s public impact, which can be felt in the current media and the trade press alike, is the international focus of its supporting program, which includes special shows, activity areas, professional presentations, workshops and exhibitions. The integration of the Visual Gallery at Photokina 2006 into a unique center of creativity called "From Professionals for Professionals"

Cologne exhibition center - Visual Gallery
The center’s artistic highlight was the Visual Gallery, complementing the two other areas "Meet the Professionals" and "Academy meets Photokina." During Photokina, Hall 1 of the Cologne exhibition center became the most significant international platform for communication focusing on the image. The participating photographers were delighted by the enthusiastic response of the 130,000 visitors, and so were the organisers, whose assessment of the fair was altogether positive: "The forum that was offered to the photographers here in Hall 1 was something absolutely unique: a forum for communication in a creative setting, or, to put it another way, a forum for applied photography. And that turns the spotlight once again on the image, which is ultimately the central focus of Photokina."

Visual gallery - Participating photographers
Media representatives also responded enthusiastically to the Visual Gallery. They singled out for special praise the clear layout of the exhibition and the choice of participating photographers, who ranged from star photographers such as Martin Parr from the UK, the Canadian pop musician Bryan Adams and the Italian photographer Lorenzo Castore to newcomers such as Michael Schnabel and Patric Fouad, documentary photographers such as Jürgen Escher and the up-and-coming young photographers who submitted their works to competitions sponsored by BFF, Kodak and Fujifilm.

Lifestyle media at Photokina
The "lifestyle media at Photokina" special show also attracted a great deal of interest. It featured a whole host of examples of multimedia applications and the many ways in which the latest information and entertainment technology can be networked in the home. Other high-profile sections of the fair included the "Princess for one day" photoshoots with the famous photographer Guido Karp, a lomography activity stage, a presentation on scrapbooking, the "Jugend fotografiert" show of young photographers and the "fotocommunity" area. A birds of prey show at the new Piazza ("The Wider View - Look and See") was also highly popular. The International Specialist Trade Center with the BVT business lounge served as an information and contact forum for traders from all over the world. Finally, the notable trade events included the DGPh symposium on aspects of future photography, a seminar on imaging with mobile devices and the traditional GfK market briefings.

Photokina 2006 - Figures
Photokina 2006 was attended by 1,579 companies from 46 countries, representing an increase compared to the previous fair. A total of 354 exhibitors and 196 additionally represented companies came from Germany, while 711 exhibitors and 318 additionally represented companies were from abroad. This represents slight growth compared to Photokina 2004. The number of companies from outside Germany rose by 5 percent. This year’s fair occupied 230,000 m² of gross exhibition space, up from 196,500 m² in 2004.

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