by Sean Setters
I decided to attend the opening day of Imaging USA 2015 this past Sunday. I had never been to the event promoted as "...the largest annual convention and expo organized by pro photographers, for pro photographers" so I was eager to see what it had to offer.
This year's event was held in the beautiful and usually spacious Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. I say "usually spacious" because just about any event venue will become a bit crowded with approximately 15,000 people moving about.
I originally intended on shooting a few video interviews while I was at the event. I packed my EOS 7D Mark II, EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM, EF 40mm f/2.8 STM and a couple of external audio recorders into a small Tamrac bag. I also brought my tripod to complete the single-operator interview setup.
Unfortunately, the event proved to be too crowded, too cramped and too noisy for me to capture the interviews I wanted to get (I tried a couple but was unsatisfied with the results). Therefore, you'll simply find some images I took using the 7D II + EF-S 24mm throughout this post. The image found above illustrates just how crowded the event was. Keep in mind, everything's relative – if attending something like a PhotoPlus Expo, you may have little more than elbow room.
My first stop was the Canon booth, positioned right in front of the entrance leading into the exposition hall. Canon had one of the largest booths and they had a lot of great gear and presenters on hand to keep you entertained and informed. In addition to the super telephotos they had available to test out, they also had the hard-to-find EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM
on hand so that visitors could get a first glimpse of Canon's newest big white lens offering (under close supervision, of course).
My first impressions? It's very well built and AF locks on very quickly. If this lens's MTF charts are any indication of the IQ that's possible, this is going to be a very popular lens for those who don't want to carry the DO lens's f/2.8 (non-DO) big brother (a difference of almost 4 lbs).
Along with the various gear Canon had brought to the show, they were also hosting various pro photographer presentations and conducting a Live Learning session in the back of the booth.
One part of the booth I found particularly interesting was the Canon Professional Services section. As a service to (Gold and Platinum) CPS members, pros could have their Canon DSLRs cleaned for free at the show. And not only that, you could actually watch the CPS techs clean the bodies right in front of you.
Another stop high on my list was the Tamron booth. Their new SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD
had just started shipping a couple of days before the show and I wanted to get my hands on the lens.
Upon picking up the lens to mount it to my gripped 7D II, I was actually surprised by the beefiness of the lens. It's actually quite heavy. I had seen the specs, but actually holding the lens in your hand puts those specs into perspective. That said, I don't think it's inconveniently large and heavy and it balances fairly well on a gripped DSLR body. But if you're looking for small, light and inconspicuous wide-angle lens....this won't be it. Also, the zoom ring was a little stiffer than most of my other lenses. It wasn't a bad thing, just noticeably different.
I did take a few images with it, but I didn't shoot enough with it to get a good sense of how it would perform in the real world. I think Bryan's full-review will be the best reference when it comes to this lens's performance (when the review becomes available, of course).
Another stop that was on the top of my priority list was the LensRentals
booth. There, they had a Freefly Movi M5
set up and available for testing (and that was lots of fun). I was also fortunate enough to meet and talk with Roger Cicala, a friend of the site and a guy I admire greatly. His LensRentals blog
is always an informative and entertaining read – I highly suggest checking it out if you aren't in the habit of doing so already. One of his latest posts featuring eccentric Sidney Cotton
was especially interesting.
After walking the exposition floor for several hours, I was exhausted but I'd had great time. If you ever get a chance to attend an Imaging USA event, don't hesitate to do so. Even if all you do is walk around the exposition floor, it'll be well worth your time. This years event runs through this evening (with the Exhibition Hall opening at 11:30am Central Time).
Sydney, Australia, 4 February 2015
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