This is Photokina season, a bi-annual event based in Germany that is centered on photography gear. Virtually every camera and lens maker has announced new products, that is, except for Ricoh, the brand which I like the best. As you may have noticed most of my pictures are taken with the Ricoh GRD (now the GRD4) or the GXR system. The GRD4 is not due for a refresh (that happens about every 18 months), but the GXR is an aging system first announced in 2009. There are only a few “units/lensors” available for it and only one new one was released last year and so far this year nothing new has been announced. Ricoh is a very small camera maker but with a very loyal following that deeply appreciates what the cameras can do. Without any news coming out of Photokina Ricoh shooters are left to wonder if they are being left behind; the mood on the Ricoh photography forums is dim. (Ricoh bought Pentax last year and they have been merging since then, Pentax announced new products at Photokina). I love my Ricohs and of course I can continue to use them, but there are some things I wish they could do better or different. The only hope we have is that historically Ricoh has not announced anything new at the standard times of the year (Photokina, CES, etc).
In other mood-killing news Google bought software maker Nik and that has both amateur and professional photographers feeling very nervous. Google bought Nik for its Snapseed iOS photo app in order to compete with Facebook/Instagram. However, Nik’s focus has primarily been on a suite of desktop applications and plug-ins aimed at the serious photographer. They are powerful, very useful and loved by many. The fear is that all Google wanted was the mobile app and that they will simply throw out the rest. That’s sort of like someone buy Microsoft Office, keeping Visio and throwing away Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Also, I get really tired by the insistence of all tech blogs and tech companies that everything has to be mobile or social. Why not just let things be great photography products???
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