The registration process was extremely slow and inefficient, the people manning the desk sloppy and indifferent. Once inside, it was different though. There were rows and rows of stalls displaying everything from camera spare parts to developing chemicals. The crowds seemed to prefer the stalls selling photo albums and photo frames. We were here for specific items:
- black and white film roll: yes, even in this digital day and age, not only will you find arcane people who shoot pictures on film, you will occasionally run into eccentric bums like me who want to shoot on vintage silver nitride film and have it developed on paper of the same family, in a traditional dark room (oh, the joy that hearing the clickety-clack of the shutter and the satisfaction derived from manually advancing the film after each shot on an SLR is undescribable. But thats another post in itself)
- carry case for my 24" tripod
- zoom and focus lenses for my SLR
Looking for these was easier said than done. There were very few stalls that stocked carry cases and none stocked a tripod carry case; some were even bewildered that such a thing existed. Hope came in the form of a Case Logic stall, but that was not to be. They did indeed have a range of tripod carry cases - of all sizes. However, these were not yet launched and were only on display. The kind hearted guy manning the stall let me inspect the case, which was as is the case with Case Logic products, quite good. The pricing was not steep either. The only hitch being that it would hit the stores a couple of months hence. He refused to be convinced with my arguments that since there was hardly an hour left for the exhibition to come to end, he could part with it. With a heavy heart,I handed the case back to him. On that front, we come away empty handed.
We were not very lucky in the analog lens department either. The shops that stocked lenses could be counted on the fingertips of one hand. Among these, all except one stocked only DSLR compatible lenses. Finally, we found the shop that stocked Tamaron lenses. Though they had a good range, the lenses were all both DSLR and SLR compatible. Not a bad bargain, but untile I graduate to a DSLR, thats of no value to me. And if I am going to pay through my nose, might as well go in for a Canon lens. I think I will hit Chor Bazaar for second hand lenses.
It was tougher going on the black and white film department. There were hardly any stalls that seemed to stock film at all. After much looking around, spotted a Kodak stall. Hope soared as I knew that Kodak still manufactured those vintage rolls, though only the high end range. On approaching the stall, it turned out that it belonged to a wholesaler who, fortunately, had what I wanted! Though from a local manufacturer, a name i had never heard before, I picked up a dozen of those - time will tell how good they are! The wholesaler also gave me several photo labs where I could get black and white film developed the traditional way! This was good!
Ha, now to the exhibition. The most crowded corner was the one where a fashion show was in progress. The next most crowded area was the snacks counter. There were hardly any takers for the photographs on exhibit - some of which were simply breathtaking. There was one picture of Ladakh and a few of the Taj that were astounding: brilliant shot composition, technically excellent and flawless execution. The camera manufacturers stalls were overly stocked with the regular point and shoots and were disappointing. Found a few interesting stalls though. There was one that displayed a digital camera that could shoot on film as well! Now that is interesting. However, it was quite steeply priced. Storage media was also available at throwaway prices: a couple of thousands for a 16 GB pen drive! Wow!
Came back wishing I had carried my trusty SLR - at least, could have checked out a few lenses. All in all, an evening well spent.