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Christmas Gift Guide

Come on, let's go

The rise of analog

On the surface

Custom cameras

Giant objects part 1

Snap me happy

Cheeky marketing

At the movies

Leica redux

Concept cameras

Giant objects part 2

Polaroid redux

iPhone movies


Giant objects, part 3

3D extravaganza

More 3D

When it comes to photographic expos, you can't get much bigger than Photokina, which is held every two years in Cologne, Germany.

CNET Australia was on the floor this year, bringing you the biggest announcements from the show. To check out our full coverage, visit our show round-up page. Here's our highlights from the show — from quirky tech to innovative solutions.

Spread over nine exhibition halls, Photokina is like our local photographic expo, PMA, except about 50 times bigger. It's so big that a free bus for visitors runs from one end to the other. This was taken on the day before the show officially opened — every other day had thousands of visitors climbing the stairs.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

While we may sometimes get caught up in the swing of all things digital, it takes people like those at the Lomography stand to make us appreciate the slower pace. In the midst of the action at Photokina was an area for everyone to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Surrounding walls and floors were covered in prints from Lomo cameras.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

Over at the Fujifilm stand there were quite a few highlights including a showcase of Microsoft Surface tables, intended for use in photo printing shops.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

One of the biggest trends we saw was customised cameras, with this version of the NX100 appearing among plenty of other takes at the Samsung stand. Olympus also had a few versions of its Pen series of cameras dressed up to the nines, and if you count a titanium body modification as a custom camera, Leica had one of those too.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

There's a tenuous link between oversized objects and photography — on second thoughts, it's more than likely to be non-existent — but manufacturers pulled out all the stops to lure viewers to their stand. This was at the Olympus stand, which also had a giant pen in one corner and an enormous office chair at the front. It's enough to put King Kong to shame.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

It wasn't just the Lomography stand that was touting the joys of analog. Fujifilm also revealed its latest instant film camera, the Instax Mini 50S. Finished in piano black, visitors could also get their photo taken in front of a fine-dining suite. Another tenuous link we can't quite explain.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

Nikon certainly made its mark with this campaign, branding its stand and surrounds with the tag "I am [insert vaguely photographic reference here]". Note the fourth step up; a cheeky take given the company didn't end up revealing its rumoured interchangeable lens camera?

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

Now that video functionality on digital SLR cameras is pretty much standard, lens and accessory manufacturers are falling over themselves to showcase new and innovative ways of making movies. Schneider and Zeiss had a few lenses and rigs on display.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

Another Fujifilm highlight was the X100, a retro-inspired take on the classic Leica design.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

All might have been quiet on the front of Canon and Nikon in regards to concept cameras, but Olympus was well and truly flying the flag for innovative design. This is the flagship compact camera, set for release in 2011.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

Not wanting to be outdone, Zeiss had an enormous lens on display, which visitors could walk through.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

The Impossible Project was on hand to show off its products, including the reborn Polaroid film the company re-engineered from scratch.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

It's a growing trend that demands accessories, and Steadicam was on hand to help. This is the Smoothie, one of the company's rigs for shooting steady footage with the iPhone or iPod Touch, which has a counterbalance at the bottom and a trigger-like handle that freely rotates to provide an optimum handheld filming position.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

Back over at Lomo, colour was the order of the day with the Diana F+ cameras, including a limited edition hot pink version. Visitors also had the chance to win one of 1000 free Lomo cameras by pitching their idea for a photographic series, with the results to be displayed at Photokina 2012.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

Panasonic's hall, shared with Canon, was heavily pushing 3D. There were stands set up for the company's 3D camcorder and the interchangeable 3D lens for the G series of cameras. This had to take home our 3D crown: a giant, 152-inch 3D plasma screen, first showed off at CES earlier this year.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

Not wanting to be outdone by the other manufacturers, Sony also had a stand set up to showcase the 3D functionality on its latest Cyber-shot cameras.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

Back over at Samsung, the company showed off its 2D to 3D conversion using a high-end camcorder hooked up to a TV.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi
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