Last week I went to the Focus On Imaging show in Birmingham. I have been visiting this show for the last few years and always found it more exciting than I probably should, considering that it is a huge trade show in giant halls filled with neon strip lighting. What can I say, it makes me feel like a kid in a candy store.

I run around like a headless chicken for half a day, feverishly noticing all the stands I have to re-visit later. Then I queue for half an hour to have an espresso in a paper cup sitting down on the floor because all the chairs are taken and slowly come to my senses. All these things I “really need” cost money, and – this being photography related – lots of it. And I actually don’t “really need” all of it. Or any of it. The rest of the day is spent scoffing at so-called special offers, refusing brochures for more things I don’t want and making the sole purchase of the day, a new lens cloth or a handful of black and white film. Then I return home with aching feet and a full wallet.

This year was different. I had plans. I researched ahead of time. I had appointments. I returned with an empty wallet. But my feet still ached.

This year I actually thought about what I wanted to see or buy at the show and then looked up prices online, looked at schedules for seminars and talks and made notes about which stands I wanted to visit in order to get more information. As a result I went for two days instead of one and came back with a lot more than I thought I would. Here’s my quick Focus 2011 review, in no particular order:

– Finally arranged to talk to the lovely people at Queensberry. I adore the albums and desperately wanted to get a better idea of what product would work for me and my clients. They were very helpful and I am excited to see my first sample album arrive soon!

– Met the wonderful Jo Hastings for coffee and chatting. I first met her last year at the National Wedding Show and liked her immediately. Looks like we will be working together quite a bit this year and I’m really looking forward to that.

– Saw Joe Buissink talk for an hour. I went from being somewhat overwhelmed with “too much” and “too intense” to being completely blown away and impressed. This guy is very good at what he does. And even better at talking about it. If you have a chance to meet him I’d highly recommend it.

– Hung out at the Nikon stand trying to coax their sales people into admitting that a new camera will come out really soon and that it will be bigger, better and cheaper than anything else. But nothing. I drooled over looked at some very, very nice lenses instead.

– Bothered the good people at Snapperstuff for quite a bit about the Think Tank Airport International roller bag. I was so convinced that I “really needed” this bag that I wanted to buy it immediately but other more important purchases prevented me from doing so. A week later however I am still impressed by this bag and still “really need” it. I will buy it as soon as my wallet talks to me again.

– And then. Then I bought a new camera. Oh yes. I bought the Nikon D700 and obviously, I am in love. Very much in love. I also managed to talk the guy at the stand into throwing two lenspens in for free which made me feel ridiculously in charge and like a super slick business deal genius. Which I am not and it becomes painfully obvious if you look at the grand scheme of things, like a Nikon D700 compared to a lenspen. But that doesn’t matter because I bought a new camera!

– On our way out we passed the stand of the Blackrapid people. Since I was on a money-splurging-spending high I decided to try it on. Turns out I “really need” one. But it was £59! Oh well. Maybe next year. The Blackrapid girl looked at the Blackrapid guy, he looked back at her, she turned to me and asked if I’d rather want the model with the flowers on it or plain black? Plain black, I say, while my brain shouts: But I’m not buying! I am not buying! She hands me a strap and smiles. “It’s free.” Ummm. “Free?” “Yeah, we are not selling them at the show and I don’t want to drag them all back with me. Enjoy it!”

Wow. And I thought I made a great deal on the lenspens! So I am now a proud owner of a Blackrapid strap as well and can definitely recommend it. You know what it works well with? That’s right. My new camera.


Now please excuse me while I go and cook dinner for my wallet. I bought some flowers and opened a bottle of wine as well, hoping we’ll be on speaking terms again soon. In the meantime here are some photos I took WITH MY NEW CAMERA.


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8 Comments. Leave new

Loved meeting up with you too, really looking forward to working together this year. Btw, very jealous about your free Blackrapid strap!


Nenn mich eine elende Schleimerin, aber ich würde immer wieder Dich als meine Fotografin wählen, selbst wenn Joe Buissink es mir schenken würde. Seine Fotos sind fantastisch, aber “zu viel”. Ich empfinde das als Kunstfotografie, aber nicht als Reportage eines sehr intimen Tages. Glückwunsch zur neuen Kamera und dem strap (äh… Halteband?)Du bist eine eiskalte Geschäftsfrau, wie man sieht :D


Jo – I may let you try it next weekend! :)

Susanne – das nennt sich ganz einfach “Mensch mit Geschmack”. :) Und vielen Dank, ich stimme dir da durchaus zu.


Now you’ve had a chance to play a little, what have you found to be the main differences of the D700 over the D300?


Oh, herzlichen Glückwunsch zur neuen Kamera. Ich hatte vor zwei Wochen dasselbe Vergnügen, mir eine neue Kamera (D7000)zu leisten und ich halte sie noch immer sehr ehrfürchtig in den Händen. Was für ein tolles Gefühl. Deine Fotos mit der neuen Kamera jedenfalls sind super.


Good choice! I have a d700, its lovely. I missed out on focus this year but my friend went and bought me back a fancy reflector/diffuser/black bit/silvery thing! Its massive and looks fab


DF – for me the main difference is clearly the full format chip. It performs amazing in low light which is vital for me.
It also means that lenses now work as they are supposed to, ie. my favourite 50mm lens is now an even better all-around lens and the 24-70mm is a great wide-angle.
Plus the bigger viewfinder is nice. It makes focussing that much easier which I have to admit was already pretty good with the D300.
My favourite thing about it however is one that is the same as the D300 – the size. It’s almost the same size and weight. I like that!

Kristin – danke schön! Über die D7000 höre ich nur GUtes. Ich hoffe sie gefällt dir.

Caroline – I also got a massive reflector/silvery thingie with black bits! I forgot to mention that. Another freebie, actually! (It’s a Lastolite tri-grip – nice!)
We should meet up at next years Focus show. :)



you are totally a slick wheeling and dealing business genius.


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