I'll post a few snapshots when I get a chance, but here's my film-centric take on PhotoPlus--
Freestyle--was attracting attention from students, educators, and a few film shooters. I spent quite a while speaking with Patrick DelliBovi, and he was very interested in APUG and wanted the FS Distributing booth to be a place for film enthusiasts to hang out at the trade shows. He mentioned that educational customers are their bread and butter, which was a theme among the film-oriented exhibitors.
I asked about the new Adox Variotone paper, and he made some calls back to the shop and was able to determine that it's been shipped and is en route to Freestyle. Mirko had samples at Photokina, so the paper exists.
He said the Holgas were getting more attention than anything else, and he was showing the plastic "Blackbird Fly" 35mm TLR, which is surprisingly complex for a plastic camera, in that it's a real focusing TLR with a surprisingly sophisticated film transport mechanism.
The coolest thing at the show, though, was the new Holga 6x12 Pinhole camera for about $50, which they've only had for about a week. I'm not particularly a Holgaphile, but I could get into that.
Fujifilm--had a surprisingly small booth at the show, but there was film, instant and otherwise on display, as well as some minilab equipment and some small cameras. By contrast, when I saw them at PMA a couple of years ago in Las Vegas, they were a major presence, so I guess that's where they put their resources. I was really hoping to get my hands on the 667 folder, but alas, it wasn't there. If it had been, it might have been the coolest thing at the show, but that position will have to go to the Holga 6x12 from Freestyle.
Kodak was handing out free samples, and despite the paucity of film cameras in evidence among the visitors to the show, there was a steady line for film. They were mainly promoting the new Ektar 100, but they had a variety of films available in 35mm and 120, so I picked up a roll of the new TMY-2, which I haven't had a chance to test yet, along with the Ektar. I asked about Ektar in other formats and was pleased to hear that they are testing it in 120 and sheet film sizes, but the representative couldn't offer any predictions.
Ilford and Wynit had a larger booth than Fuji, and I finally had a chance to meet Simon Galley in the flesh. He also said that 60% of their market is education, and that allows them to support all their other projects. We talked a bit about their takeover of the Kentmere line, and he said they've done some things to make their products more consistent, but they don't want to lose the special qualities of those emulsions.
He said they're having to re-engineer Centennial POP to work with their equipment. The main issue is that the emulsion has to be made at a high temperature (80 C.), and that doesn't work so well with their ultrafiltration process, but he predicts they'll be able to make another coating in 2009.
I stopped by the Zeiss booth to see the new EF mount lenses. I looked through the 85mm on one of those newfangled EOS bodies, and just from the viewfinder image, it seems sharp and contrasty, as one would expect, but it also had great bokeh. It also focuses manually more smoothly than EOS lenses that I've tried to focus manually. Unfortunately, they only had a mockup of the 50/1.4 Planar, but they said they should both be out in about a month, and eventually, they would be offering the full line in EF mount.
It was a good chance to see some of the new architectural cameras up close--Cambo Wide DS, Alpa, the new Sinar ArTech, and the new Linhof Techno. I spent a little time with the Linhof and the Sinar mainly. The Sinar felt very intuitive (maybe because I use a Sinar P), but the Linhof more solid and smooth (and maybe it would be more intuitive to a Linhof 679 user), and the Linhof has about 250mm of bellows (rather than helical mount lenses like the others), so it can support lenses up to 210mm on a collapsible Technika style rail. I only had a brief glance at the Alpa. They all seem like outstanding cameras.
Camera Bellows UK was maintaining a stealthy presence in connection with Lee filters (I guess they make the bellows shades for Lee, eh?) under the "Screen-Shade" brand--a line of self supporting bellows shades for LCD screens on cameras, computers, and monitors. I remembered this product from the Camera Bellows website, so I looked a little closer and saw that they also had a Bulldog 4x5" camera kit on display, and were advertising an 8x10" (okay, 10x8") version now as well. Unfortunately, they didn't have an assembled camera to look at, or I think they would have had a lot more traffic than they did. It's a camera that would definitely appeal to the Holga crowd, so I recommended it to Patrick from Freestyle, and he said he'd take a look. The cameras can be purchased directly from www.bulldogcameras.com.
There were cheerleaders dancing and leaping in short skirts and tight shirts sporting the Casio label.
Oh, and the ubiquitous Louis (Lewis?) was there with his Speed Graphic. Here's a photo that Helen Bach posted of him a while back.