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Photokina takes a snapshot of the future

Photokina takes a snapshot of the future
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For lovers both of top tech and photography, Germany’s Photokina is an extra special event, combining the latest trends and celebrating the art of practicing and printing photos.

This year the Cologne event marked the 175th anniversary of photography. Nowadays, more and more of us are using smartphones in favour of traditional cameras to capture that special moment, which means there is also an increasing number of apps to help us enhance our pictures and videos.

One advantage, some experts say, is that they are becoming much easier to use.

Hans Hartman, president of mobile photo app research firm Suite 48 Analytics, said: “The good thing is, there are very innovative apps still coming out in very different areas. Starting with camera apps, these are apps that actually help you take photos in a good way, all the way to image editing with filters, or collage apps, you can combine elements there.”

Still, all the big manufacturers competing for the limelight themselves at Photokina are suitably armed with new or revamped high end cameras.

US firm, Lytro displayed its Illum camera which offers unprecedented possibilities with its light-field technology. You can do things like focus the picture after you have taken it, change the depth of field, and see everything in 3D.

“In a lightfield camera, we capture all the directional data about how every ray of light flows through every part of the scene. And when you have this rich data and you combine that with powerful computation algorithms, you can do all these amazing things that we are able to do,” explained Jason Rosenthal, Lytro CEO.

A host of exhibitors showed their latest state of the art action cams such as the new DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus quadcopter, that shoots images up in the air and transfers them to your smartphone.

Portability is also a watchword for Polaroid whose quirky little cube camera goes everywhere and films everything, according to the firm.

For years, those in the know have been saying our technology will be woven into what we wear and that time is now fast approaching according to Christian Müller-Rieker, the executive director of Photoindustrie-Verband, the co-organiser of Photokina.

“Wearables are products that allow a permanent communication of pictures, like you might know from smartglasses or smartwatches. It is still evolving. But the basic idea behind this is, that the consumer can communicate 24 hours a day with pictures. Whether it is still images or moving images, it is a permanent interface,” said Müller-Rieker.

And for those who want do to more than stock their images in a cloud, now some ideas about how to use those selfies and holiday pictures.

You can design your own curtains, with Epson’s digital dye sub printer, ideal if you want to produce customised textile.

Fuji’s photovideobook promises to make your album awesome while Sihl displayed a machine which allows users to print pre-pasted wallpaper.