Photofair @ Bangkok 2013 (Days 4 & 5)

More coffee... check. The list... check. Credit card... ummm better not.

Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another bout of coverage. A sad beginning to start with though.
Due to political complications and protests I was unable to complete my full coverage of the event.
Thailand is in a bit of political turmoil again and I have done what I think any sane person should do. Don't go out.

So there are going to be gaps where I wished I would put some awesome previews for you. I did manage to have a good go at a few goodies on day 4, so I'll try my best and give you the heads up on what I found. Hope you enjoy.

The Hot

Nikon

Where to really begin with Nikon is a tough one. Nikon dominated this event. Nikon had so much of their range on show it is hard to find what they didn't have on show. So on day 4 I was practically camped out in Nikon-land and I found myself gallivanting around, gleefully trying out the mega heavy, super duty, ultra telephoto lenses up on their raised platform. That was so much fun and it give me a minute glimpse of what a sniper would experience... without the risks of course.

A couple of items in Nikon-land that I loved was of course the mighty D4. I was holding it in my hands, looking at it with extreme thought, trying to find faults with it... firstly it's incredibly expensive, secondly it's incredibly heavy. For once I feel sorry for the poor Paparazzi that lug this beast around. If I was a "Pap", I can't imagine running after the nearest N-list celebrity with this thing. Due to the sheer weight of it this must be the design they were going for. To make a camera so heavy that Paparazzi would not be able to follow anyone any more.
Ok, I am being a tad silly here. The Nikon D4 is not really designed for the poor schmo like me to just use this as a simple point and shoot. It is a more dedicated workhorse and that puts it into perspective and towards proper rationale.

Nikon has recently brought out the D610. This is the improved model from it's predecessor the D600. The D600 was marred by the sensor smudging problems so hopefully, for Nikon's sake, the D610 wont suffer that problem.
The D610, looking at the spec sheets and also looking around the camera this camera and its predecessor look practically identical. There are but small changes though which include a higher burst rate of 6 frames-per-second, a quiet burst mode and an improved white-balance system.
The camera is very easy to use and feels solid. For a FX model this is slightly lighter than any other FX model and it feels much more comfortable. The Layout is spot on, especially with the Live-view lever. You can find this lever also on the D800 and the D4.
I do bank a couple of gripes. First gripe I have is that it offers no "focus peaking". I have been at this event everyday and are seeing more and more cameras using it, it's an awesome feature and I am afraid Nikon will be playing catch-up with this feature.
Other than that the D610 is all round awesome. It sweats quality, if indeed it sweats at all. It produces magnificent detailed pictures and provides the Nikon purchaser an option to buy this instead of the D800, if they are tight on a budget.

Olympus

Big story! Everyone is talking about it! It is all over the advertising billboards here in Bangkok.  Olympus has brought out the VR-370!!
Maybe not.
I am indeed talking about the OM-D E-M1 and the Stylus 1.

As you may or not know I was introduced to photography thanks to the Olympus OM1n. A beautiful camera that will always be remembered and held close to my heart. Like a fine Bordeaux wine, once you've tasted it, you'll always remember it.
The OM1n was as intoxicating to me as the fine wine.
Olympus has introduced the OM-D E-M1 to bring photographers back to this time of classic film camera. Indeed it does initially look like one of the OM film cameras. It shares with the OM series the feeling of if you drop it down a flight of stairs it'll hit the bottom and be perfectly fine. The broken stairs are your problem instead.
The Olympus has an abundant and carefully thought out array of detailing. Some good but some which are puzzling. If I wanted to grumble about something it would have to be the grip. The grip throws the camera into a bit of an identity crisis. On one hand Olympus wants to make a classic style camera but has opted for a modern grip. Ergonomically it is fine but its "feel" is not classic.

What is super good on the other hand is the images. I was nicely surprised at the sample images I took. An olympus camera guy was kind enough to let me inspect the images on a laptop. For a four-thirds sensor, it is definitely Olympus's best modern day work. A little bit expensive when compared to other cameras here, but I would definately consider this.
I would love to get a good try at this at some point. If anyone at Olympus is reading this, please contact me, you'll make me very happy.

Olympus Stylus 1 came out the day the show opened and it was on "The List" of things for me to play with. I feel this camera is a contender with the Sony RX10 looking at specification sheets and seeing as I have a little crush on Sony stuff, I was anxious to try this out.
Overall its a great great great camera. The price in the event seemed lower than I was expecting so that pushed up my interest levels.
The camera has a lovely feel, provides a rapid and responsive touch and gives sharp pictures. The image stabilization on this is very good, I pushed it to the far end of the zoom range and it seemed to handle my caffeine shakes. The fixed f/2.8 is also a bonus here, so is the countless array of picture modes and filters. One thing I loved with this, as well as Sony cameras is the EVF.
EVFs are progressing, getting better and better each year. The purist in me will always pick optical over EVF but the way the technology is today or possibly tomorrow, you'll be a fool not to choose an EVF.
Is it as good as the RX10... well yes, but you'll have to decide which is better yourselves.


The Not So Hot

Hate, hate, hate doing this.... why did I decide to do a crummy "what's hot and what's not" segment...
If I had to choose my least favourite item over these two days, it is a tough choice but I'll have to hand it to the Panasonic FZ-70.
On the plus side the Lumix FZ-70 has a good grip that is good for people like me with huge hands and also it boasts a tremendous zoom capability.
The bad side is it feels really cheap. It feels my big hands could crumple this thing into pieces leaving the Lumix looking like a king crab after a Bilderberg conference.
The viewfinder is also rubbish. RANT ALERT. Why was the viewfinder put on this camera? Panasonic must have thought the consumer who would be in the market for buying this will not be looking for a camera with a viewfinder or will even be using it if it did have one. But they put it on there anyway. If I was praising EVFs earlier on this is the perfect example of not to choose a camera with an EVF.

 

This is actually where I wrap things up...

It is with a bit of sorrow in my heart that on one moment I am having so much enjoyment in covering this event for you, enjoying talking to the awesome representatives and generally running around the place like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone when he first realises he's king of his little world.
I was hoping to finish with a bang and get my hands on some more stuff but the country that I am growing to love is undergoing some unrest. It is sad discussing the politics here in Bangkok. The smiles on people's faces transform
to a look of hatred when current politics are uttered.
I am downcast at the current situation here, I dearly hope Thailand will get back on its feet, reform and give all the people here the change that they deserve.

The demonstrations here have halted my last few days at the Photofair. I was planning on visiting the Canon stall and testing out some tripods so I apologise for the lack of coverage on these aspects.
If you didn't manage to read my first days coverage you can read Day 1 and Day 2&3.

I do thank you for reading my coverage of the 24th Annual Photofair here in Bangkok. I hope I have at least pointed you in the right direction if you are thinking of getting one of these cameras.

This is actually where I wrap it up. It has been much fun.