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L in k:

Awe and amusement at the IFA By Amy Davies 7th Sep 2009

Last week I had the fortune to spend a couple of days at the IFA in Berlin, the biggest consumer electronics show in the world. This was my first time at the IFA and what I saw there, in what can only be described as the ultimate geek’s paradise, was an awe inspiring amount of gadgets, gizmos, massive television walls, and of course cameras to blow anyone’s socks off. As a guest of Samsung, I was lucky enough to get to the IFA a day before it opened to the public and see some of the behind the scenes prep for the event. Walking around at 4pm on the day before my initial thoughts had to be, “blimey, they’re never going to be ready in time” as I saw halls filled with half empty stands and people frantically trying to set up their goods. But by the next day, some miracle had happened and everything was shipshape and looking fantastic. To put this into some context, I feel I should quantify the scale of IFA. Imagine popping down to one of the bigger electronics shops, perhaps say in an out of town shopping centre. Now imagine that approximately 50 times bigger, and everything in the shop is the latest in cutting edge technology, and not only that but you’re free to have a play with all the items on display. Epic! Having spent a fair amount of time in the Samsung hall, playing with their new compacts – including one, the ST1000 with built in wi-fi and geotagging to allow for shots to be emailed directly from the camera – I felt it might be time to wander out into the wider world of IFA and explore the other areas. My first instinct was to head for the camera hall, naturally, whereupon I was greeted with lots of goodies to meet my eyes. I was pleased to see that most of the displays included something interesting to take a photo of – for instance Fuji had a small replica of a mountain complete with skiers and miniature trees – which makes for infinitely more interesting test shots than I’ve come to expect from camera previews.

Also on the Fujifilm stand was the 3D compact camera that everyone’s been talking about, and I’d been especially keen to get my hands on. Although it was slightly bigger than I expected it to be (not quite so compact after all) it still felt quite exciting to have a go with this piece of kit. Unfortunately I could only test out the 3D viewing on the camera itself, which although worked while holding the camera at arm’s length I’m still keen to see what the photos look like on a big screen or even printed out. Other photography highlights included all the latest cameras from most of the major manufacturers including the Lumix GF1 and the Sony A850. All in all a techie and photographer’s playground. There were plenty of non-photography related delights to be enjoyed here too, including a preview of Avatar in full HD-3D and an electronic wall which you could touch and rotate pictures on that reminded me of something out of James Bond. Perhaps the most bizarre moment of the entire event however occurred during the Samsung keynote speech headed up by Boo Keun Yoon, president of the Visual Display Division. During this speech, Eoghan Quinn, one of last year’s X Factor losers (I believe he came third if memory serves me) randomly popped up halfway through to tell us all how cool he thought Samsung televisions were after singing half a song and then toddled off again immediately after. So that was that, my first (and hopefully not my last) IFA - sehr gut!

Awe and amusement at the IFA  

As a guest of Samsung, I was lucky enough to get to the IFA a day before it opened to the public and see some of the behind the scenes prep...

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