Press Release No. 19 / Cologne, September 2014

photokina – world of imaging 2014

Discover the future, today

Every other year, anyone wanting to get an idea of the future of photography joins with industry experts from around the world in a pilgrimage to Cologne. This year as well, from 16-21 September 2014, the World of Imaging flagship trade fair will again be offering its visitors a comprehensive perspective on tomorrow's worlds of imaging.

There is scarcely another medium that is developing at such breakneck speed and so revolutionising human communication as photography, 175 years young this year. From the Daguerreotype to video glasses with automatic dioptre adjustment based on light field technology, photography has constantly reinvented itself, expanded its boundaries and developed its social significance. Whether still image or video, recording devices have become more multifunctional, handling ever more tasks with only one device. Imaging products for the consumer market deliver professional quality. Buzzwords such as 4K, WiFi, GPS, Curved Sensor, CGI etc. are now part and parcel of consumers' daily lives. There is scarcely any area of human endeavour where imaging processes don't play a role in some way or other. That is why photokina, the industry's leading trade fair held in Cologne every two years, encounters such keen visitor and media interest, not just from a technical perspective but from a social one as well. This year once again it will exert an influence that will critically shape our view of the future.

The focus is not just on innovative image capture processes but also on image editing, archiving, presentation, use and forwarding. Whereas the early years of photography were first and foremost about realistic representation, today it is also about processes for creating artificial image worlds such as “Computer Generated Imaging” for conjuring realistic looking fantasy worlds.

A trend topic that promises to trigger a paradigm shift similar to the introduction of digital technology into the “World of Imaging” is light field photography. It no longer just depicts subjects in two dimensions but the entire space captured by the lens because of the additional capture of the direction of the light rays falling on the sensor. Recorded images can thus become experienced interactively. Subsequent changes of perspective, extended acuity or 3D presentations are only a small selection of the numerous possibilities afforded by this technology, which has finally made it out of scientific research laboratories into cameras that are affordable for the many. The ability to focus images after the fact now also provides the technical prerequisites for using light field technology to achieve dioptre adjustment in the case of video glasses or display 3D photos or Living Pictures on the smartphone.

Image processing software is becoming ever more complex and ever more closely intertwined with the image optimisation of the recording systems, which as a result can make devices that are easier to operate or lower cost components, thus making photography more convenient and the high tech devices this requires more feature-rich and thus more attractive. The more computing processes are required for image capture and for optimising photos and video recordings, the faster also the growth in the requirements on image processing processors. Even more powerful chips and even more sophisticated algorithms will accelerate processing processes. They will enable even more complex recording processes and conjure perfect photography with brilliant colours, finely graduated contrasts and optimal sharpness out of a multitude of individual shots. And all this even in unfavourable light conditions in which previously everyone put their camera to one side.

Multi-functionality has long since become the standard with recording devices. But the quality of sound, video or photo recordings has now attained a professional level, even with devices for private applications. Where specialist devices were formerly required to record photos, videos or sound, nowadays only one single recording device is needed. Even location information is embedded in the recordings.

Image capture devices are used to document one's every step as robust miniaturised action cams or as so-called wearables or photo and video glasses. At the same time the recordings can be shared with any desired individuals, groups or with everyone via WiFi, NFC, smartphone and WLAN connections. The new WiFi-enabled image capture devices enable everyone to participate in their own personal experiences and those of others. Personal recordings are of a quality that not even some commercial media companies can consistently offer. The talk is of high resolution 4K video images from which perfect snapshots can be grabbed as single frames. Similar quality is exhibited by the fascinating HD action videos in which everyone nowadays can record his adventures and experiences in 3D and breathtaking picture quality.

In addition to requiring the recording devices to have greater computing power and faster processors, the increased multifunctionality also requires the storage media to have greater capacity and faster transfer rates. What was considered just a few years ago to be pushing the envelope of hard disk capacities and reading and writing speeds has now been increased many times over. This year's photokina will be showcasing current memory card generations for new camera generations that open up whole new dimensions in processing speed. These result in faster consecutive frame rates and improved video characteristics, even with extremely large image files.

Drones have become indispensable tools in aerial photography, enabling high-quality bird's-eye view pictures. A novel use for them is also lighting, spawning important applications both in artistic photography but also for the fire brigade and police.

The primary photo and video image presentation is on the recording devices' displays, also used as the viewfinder for selecting the image area. Higher resolutions, better contrasts and more brilliant colours on brighter monitors expand their use. High resolution large screen monitors make home projection superfluous. Large-scale projection is reserved for large rooms that scarcely need to be darkened any longer for an optimal image experience.

The physical picture is experiencing a renaissance, in numerous variants from cheap postcard printing via poster printing to photo wallpaper and the photobook. New on the scene are photobooks with built-in memory chips that can be used not just as a photo album for leafing through but also as a digital photo and video archive at the same time.

Anticipated advances in sensor technology also promise picture experiences previously considered unachievable. In addition to light field sensors for capturing 3D photos with only one lens, they also include innovative structural elements with a curved surface, enabling lens rendering artifacts to be more easily compensated for.

Without question there is scarcely another medium that is changing as rapidly as photography. In the process it is expanding its possible uses while at the same time influencing the way we live. This is also the only constant of this medium, whose concentrated innovative firepower finds its forum every two years at photokina in Cologne.

Images can be downloaded here:

Current information on the trade fair can be found in the press section of our homepage at

Koelnmesse GmbH
For 90 years, Koelnmesse has been bringing people and markets together. The success story of Cologne trade fairs began in 1924 with the opening of the first event on the exhibition grounds in Cologne-Deutz. During the "economic miracle" of the post-World War II era, the "Rheinische Messe" became a global trading center. Today Koelnmesse has the world's fifth-largest exhibition complex and organizes approximately 75 trade fairs in Cologne and all over the world. In the jubilee year 2014, the Koelnmesse is attracting the attention of the public eye with numerous campaigns, publications and exhibitions.