Saturday, October 22, 2016

PhotoPlus 2016 Gadget Report–Day 2

Here are my thoughts about the cool products I saw while touring the PhotoPlus Expo 2016 in New York. All mentions are unsolicited and are based on what caught my eye on this day of the show.

Canon PRO-2000 24” Printer

Canon imagePrograf PRO-2000 24" Fine Art Printer
Canon imagePrograf PRO-2000 24" Fine Art Printer

I was glad to see the new 24” Canon PRO-2000 printer in real life along with the optional 2nd roll support. While I was disappointed that the 2nd roll housing doesn’t have a cover to avoid dust build up on the paper, it still would be handy in real life scenarios where you just need to load a roll for a one-off print, and you don’t really want to have to unload your primary paper.

What’s really cool about this new printer is the ease at which you load the the roll. It doesn’t matter if you put your roll on with the paper under or over, just flip the switch to let the printer know and it will auto grab the paper –vs– roll in to feed design of my iPF6300 & iPF6450.

It’s built like a tank, which is something former Epson owners will appreciate, as the design of the previous models had enough shake to “make a martini” as one person at the show said joking. Funny, but definitely kind of true.

I have high expectations for this printer, so I was glad to hear that Canon will be sending out a PRO-1000 & PRO-2000 for me to review, so expect to hear more in the not too distant future as I finally get my hands on these all-new pro printer models.

Click here to learn more or order today from Amazon or click here for B&H.

GTI Graphiclite® Light Boxes

GTi graphiclite Personal Desktop Viewers
GTi graphiclite® Personal Desktop Viewers

I’ve been a big fan of my GTI PDV-2020EX light box for years, so it’s always cool to see these at a show especially when they are housing prints by the legendary New York fashion photographer, Douglas Dubler.

While these aren’t exactly all-new, they are still the best way for a print master to view their prints. If you do your own printing, I still encourage you to check them out.

New Sigma Lenses

Sigma seems to be doing a great job of listening to customers feedback and desires with the release of the three new lenses featured in this section. All these improvements continue to send the message to consumers that it’s a company that wants to be the proverbial Lexus of lenses where they offer quality that meets or exceeds their higher priced competitors, but still offering a value that others will find difficult to match. This puts them squarely in the value luxury segment, so I don’t doubt their great momentum created by the release of the Art and Sports series is sure to continue.

One feature common to all of these new lenses is an improved all-new focus motor that is 30% quicker than its predecessor.

What that, here are on my thoughts on the the highly anticipated trio of new lenses that I got a chance to check out at the show.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art Series

Sigma 85mm Art Series

Sigma makes no bones about the fact that they were targeting customers who want Zeiss Otus 85mm quality, without the hefty price – with the added bonus of auto-focus support. It’s a very interesting proposition, especially when you hold this lens in your hand and it definitely has high quality feel of the Zeiss Otus 85mm. They’ve also added a rubber seal that doesn’t necessarily qualify it as weather sealed, it certainly should in theory help with dust and misty weather days.

Canon and Nikon’s 85mm lens owners are very likely to have a decision to make as all signs point to this new art series lens being one that everyone will want. It only makes me wonder how long before they decide to release their own, but until then I’m very looking forward to trying out what could be one of the most exciting new lenses for 2016.

Click here to learn more on Amazon or click here for B&H.

Sigma 12-24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Series Zoom

Sigma 12-24mm f/1.4 Zoom
Sigma 12-24mm f/1.4 Art Series Zoom

As a proud owner of the Canon 11-24mm, one of the finest lenses I’ve ever tested, I’m skeptical how this lens could be better. However, with a more attractive price point the real question will be – is it good enough to save the extra money. Sigma feels confident that I’ll be impressed with this lens featuring what they claim is the largest aspherical element in the industry.

Just like the new 85mm, this lens has a hefty solid build that feels great in the hand but some will wonder if they want to carry the weight. I have high expectations, and Sigma has been very good lately, so my hopes are high.

Click here to learn more at Amazon or click here for B&H.

Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sport Series

Sigma 500mm lens switches

A 500mm lens is always going to be sought out by wildlife users primarily, so Sigma put a lot of thought into the design of this new $6000 USD lens to satisfy the needs of this market. Thoughtful features the the ability to silence lens beep sounds, turn off the click sounds of the collar when you rotate it to a different orientation, customizable buttons to switch AF points quickly, and custom modes for different focusing speeds all mean that you can easily make in the field adjustments without scaring away the wildlife.

Sigma 500mm tripod collar click switch
Sigma 500mm tripod collar click switch

While this lens is a very substantial lens, Sigma did its best to minimize unnecessary weight including creating the all-new hood made out of carbon fiber featuring an improved locking mechanism. These improvements helped to knock over 1.2 lbs off the weight of the Nikon 500mm and get it just under the weight of the Canon 500mm.

Sigma 500mm carbon fibre hood lock
Sigma 500mm carbon fiber hood lock

Click here to learn more about this lens at Amazon or click here for B&H.

Meural Fine Art Digital Frames

It was interesting to see how many people were excited about the digital frame that I think is the one to rule them all. After all, once you see this frame in real life you understand my enthusiasm for this product.

One interesting tidbit of information I learned is that the well-made wooden frames for these devices aren’t made in China like most other places, but instead by Amish people in Pennsylvania. This explains the quality that reminds me of Stickley furniture, and it is what impressed me from the moment mine first arrived. The image quality from the LCD display is good enough to impress your visitors, so you'll be surprised to see how much time they spend standing in front of it to watch your art circulate through. 

I still think this is one of the top products of 2016 and look forward to seeing more people join me in my excitement for it.

Be sure to check out my review to learn more and to get a discount on this excellent product.

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NOTE: More gadget reports to come about PhotoPlus very soon!

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