Photokina has been suspended indefinitely as camera industry struggles

(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.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.