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Photokina has been suspended indefinitely as camera industry struggles

Photokina
(Image credit: Future)

The organizers of Photokina have announced that the world's biggest photography and imaging trade fair has been indefinitely suspended.  

According to a public statement, Photokina organizers have cited "the continuing steep decline" of the camera and imaging market as the main cause of the cancellation of the trade show, which has been held in Cologne, Germany, since 1950.

For 70 years, Photokina has been the main setting for manufacturers to show off their new photography gear – from camera bodies, lenses, sensors and pretty much everything else in between – and a primary business hub for the imaging industry.

Ongoing saga

Photokina's woes aren't new: in 2017, the organizers announced that the biennial trade fair would become an annual event from 2018. It also went from being a six-day event to just four days.

After Photokina 2018 went ahead as per schedule in September, the trade fair was moved to a May schedule for 2019, but that didn't happen as seven months between the two events was considered too short a time for participants to develop new concepts and products to put on show. The 2019 edition of Photokina then got postponed to May 2020.

And then the coronavirus pandemic hit. It was decided that Photokina 2020 would be canceled and moved to May 2022. That, it seems, will not happen either.

Outside the photo calendar

There was a time when camera manufacturers used to wait for Photokina to announce new products. That trend has long since been bucked, with major brands like Sony, Nikon, Canon and Fujifilm hosting their own launch events outside of the trade fair.

Moreover, other technology trade fairs like CES in Las Vegas and IFA in Berlin have become popular staging grounds for all things tech, including the photography industry. 

Between the struggling camera market, the competitive trade fairs and the global pandemic, Photokina organizers have decided to "suspend the implementation" of the photography show. This indicates there might be a small chance of Photokina being revived some time in the future, although those chances look really slim.