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11-05-2017, 05:50 PM - 6 Likes   #1
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Observations from Salon de la Photo 2017, Montreal: Pentax and more

I had an opportunity to visit this year’s Salon de la Photo (The Photo Show) in Laval, a city in the Montreal metropolitan area. Featuring approximately 30 exhibitors during 3-5 November, the show is relatively small in comparison to other expositions, but large enough to allow a visitor to check out the various brands. One of the major retailers in the province of Québec – Gosselin Photo – had a retail space with a number of special promotions. An interesting display of terrific printed photographs and several learning sessions rounded out the expo.

See the Show’s website at: The Photo Show 2017 | Quebec & Laval | Salon de la Photo

My main intent was to get first-hand qualitative impressions of several cameras and lenses. I am not seriously considering new equipment, but sometimes it’s fun to play and ponder the greener grass.

In their compact booth, Ricoh Imaging displayed the K-1, K-3 II, KP, K-70, as well as a range of lenses including the current full-frame zooms, the DA Limiteds, and several DA* lenses. The booth was fairly quiet when I attended late in the afternoon, so I had a comfortable time playing with the K-1 (I have a K-3 II). As I was finishing our conversation, the representative wanted me to try the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm PLM lens, to see what I thought of its autofocus speed. He was also keen to describe his experiences with the Astrotracer function, and showed me several great images he took of the night sky (stars and aurora borealis, using 3-minute exposures). I didn’t ask any questions about future Pentax equipment or business plans.

I also tried several Fuji cameras, including the new X-E3 and others in the ‘X’ line, as well as several Olympus models. I passed over the Sony exhibit because it was crowded.

While I didn’t intend this brief report to be a complete review of the show and the gear I tried, I would offer several observations or opinions:
  • Ok, I’m a weakling. I think the combination of the K-1 and D FA* 70-200mm exceeds my comfortable hand-carry weight threshold. I wouldn’t have a problem supporting the lens for individual shots – the lens affords a sturdy grasp – but I think I would tire during an extended photo outing. I’d advise prospective buyers to try out the lens and camera, if possible, if you have any concerns about the weight.
  • But not that weak. The K-1 and battery grip combination (without lens) was not heavy for me – it’s not significantly heavier than my K-3 II and grip combo. I’d be fine with the smaller lenses.
  • Hey, this is easy. I was able to set up and use the K-1 immediately; its interface is familiar and friendly to this K-3 II user. I was able to decipher any new features quickly.
  • The KP is a ‘sweet’ little camera; it’s compact and attractive. The user interface seems well designed. However, its largest bolt-on grip seemed too shallow for me when I tried the DA* 300mm lens – I prefer the slightly deeper finger grip of my K-3 II.
  • Fast, did you say fast? The autofocus speed of the HD DA 55-300 PLM lens is almost unbelievably fast. Wow.
  • Winter operation of small mirrorless cameras. Some of the control dials and small buttons on the Fuji and Olympus cameras might challenge glove-wearing users in winter. I didn’t try with gloves on, but I left with a general impression that my Pentax camera is better suited to cold-weather operation.
I approached the two people in the PhotoLife booth to compliment them on their fine magazine. PhotoLife, which is published in Canada six times a year, features content on photographers and their works; style and technique; and social aspects of photography. Printed on high-quality paper, it’s an attractive magazine that provides hours of quality reading and re-reading. As it turned out, one of the reps is the Editor-in-Chief; he was happy to describe the challenges and hard work involved in producing the publication. I had never met a Chief Editor before, so this was a fun encounter.

Finally, KEH Camera was there to buy used gear. They seemed fairly busy, with a number of prospective sellers waiting for offers, I guess.

So, you may be wondering what goodies I picked up at the show. Not much. I bought two boxes of ‘iCloth’ cleaning wipes from Gosselin (my stock was getting low), and got two free magazines and a couple of free Nikon microfibre cloths.

Edit: I will also mention that I was alerted to this show by an email from KEH (I'm on their mailing list). Funny that I became aware of a nearby expo through an email from a firm in Georgia USA, some 2,000 km away!

Last edited by c.a.m; 11-07-2017 at 05:12 AM. Reason: Comment on KEH email
11-05-2017, 10:24 PM   #2
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Was there too!

I really enjoyed being able to try out most DA Limited lenses (15mm, 21mm, 35mm, 40mm, 70mm) on the available K-3 II or KP bodies there today, so as to better plan some urging Christmas donations to you know whom! Owning a K-3 already, the K-3 II would be somewhat reassuring as a long-term backup perhaps, with similar interface, image-processing, ergonomics, and battery systems; its embedded GPS and unique "Astrotracer" appear to be fascinating features that really make sense once you get to see their proper use exemplified by pictures as gorgeous as the ones shown to me by the rep (Dan) whom you've also met. The KP was very nice, but felt bulkier than the K-3 in my rather large hands in spite of its smaller format. And those weak batteries! I don't know... The K-1 isn't out of the equation either, since I could use a Zeiss ZK on it right away, but I'd also lose (at least in part) the benefit of my beloved HD zoom. I was particularly disgruntled albeit not entirely surprised to learn from the rep that my DA* 55mm wasn't optimized for FF resolution-wise as much as I had previously thought given the widespread public belief. Back to the HD Limited, I was all excited to discover the glorious HD 35mm Macro in person at last, and could easily understand why the lens is so famous (no flaw, producing sharp, colorful images!), but for whatever reason it was the 21mm (not the 35mm, not even the 15mm) and its terrific personality that grabbed my whole attention today! Head versus heart, again.

The Olympus booth seemed lifeless, hard to swallow for an Olympian like me. Or was it Pentax' fault, after all?

Last edited by Marathonianbull; 11-05-2017 at 10:30 PM.
11-05-2017, 10:52 PM   #3
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I just come back from Laval but did not new that there was a photo expo. I have to keep my eye on next year one if it is annually.
The only thing is that even if I knew that there was a show I do not think that I had time while I have to finish all work on house (winter prep) before I drive back to Toronto (work). Did not finish even all of the work I planned as I have unexpected guests at our house. Glad to read your experience there.
11-07-2017, 05:20 AM   #4
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Marathonianbull Quote
Was there too!
Glad that you could attend! I wonder if the show was well attended overall.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marathonianbull Quote
The Olympus booth seemed lifeless
Interesting observation. I got the impression that the Sony booth was very busy, and so was the Fuji area. The Olympus booth was quiet when I was there. I wouldn't draw any conclusions about the relative popularity of these brands, as I was there for only an hour and a half near closing time.


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