Minolta Photo Space in Tokyo closes–>Konica Minolta Plaza

Minolta Photo Space in Shinjuku, Tokyo has closed on Aug. 12, 2003 due to the merging of Minolta and Konica.

The gallery was within Minolta’s camera repair center and product showroom (Minolta Photo Plaza Tokyo). The gallery will be absorbed by nearby Konica Plaza which will be renamed “Konica Minolta Plaza.”

In mid-Sept., Minolta’s repair center and product showroom will be renamed “Konica Minolta Photo Square” and will move to the 5th floor of the same building (Kawase Bldg.) in Shinjuku.

Canon EOS Kiss Digital demo on display

On Aug. 20, Canon announced the new EOS Kiss Digital (EOS Digital Rebel in the US and EOS-300D in other areas) digital SLR camera to be available for sale from Sept. 20.

The camera is now on display for you to touch and feel at Canon Service Stations in Japan.


I went to the Ginza branch (Tokyo) and tried out the camera for the first time. It was light and compact, much more so than the EOS 10D. Very impressive. Finally, a D-SLR for the rest of us. This camera definitely ushers in a new era in digital SLR cameras. Rival makers (especially Nikon) will have to come up with entry-level models of their own because that’s where the market and money is. But technology-wise (CMOS sensor, optimized lenses for D-SLRs, USM, etc.), Canon already has a leg up on everyone else, so it’s going to be tough for Nikon, etc.

Being an entry-level, affordable digital SLR, it completes Canon’s digital SLR line-up which already includes the top-of-the-line EOS-1Ds for pros and the midrange EOS 10D for advanced amateurs.

The lightweight and compact Kiss Digital boasts a 6.30 megapixel CMOS sensor (22.7 x 15.1mm) and compatibility with all Canon EF lenses and EOS accessories. The new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM lens (equivalent to 29-88mm) developed and optimized especially for the Kiss Digital will also be available together with the camera in an optional kit. The street price in Japan for the camera and lens is expected to be around 140,000 yen. Also, complementing the EF-S lens will be the new EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6II USM lens (40,000 yen retail) to be marketed at the same time.

With the milestone Kiss Digital, Canon hopes to entice more users to buy or switch to a D-SLR to greatly expand the digital SLR market. It also aims to claim a 50% or larger market share for D-SLRs.

Mailing list for photographers in Japan

Information for photographers (or interested) in Japan, we just opened a new mailing list:

The Japan Photography Mailing List is a forum for both amateur and professional photographers as well as photography enthusiasts living in Japan or with an interest in Japanese photography to meet online, exchange ideas, learn new techniques, discuss new and emerging digital imaging technologies and camera equipment, ask questions, discuss exhibitions and other photographers’ work, offer photography tips, arrange outings and gallery visits, and promote their own work in a receptive environment.

More information can be found here:


Update: This mailing was abruptly shut down by the volunteer mailing list operator and moved to Yahoo Groups. I’m no longer an active contributor.

July 2003 photographers’ meeting report

In July 2003, I organized a few networking meetings for photographers in the Tokyo area.

See announcement here:

The first meeting was held on July 10, 2003 at 7 PM in Harajuku, Tokyo (photo above). Here’s a very brief summary of what we did:

A total of 14 people came to our humble little dinner meeting in
Harajuku. We dined at the Sizzler restaurant, and it was a good
venue. (They let us pay the bill individually.)

First, we all introduced ourselves and those who brought their photos
passed them around after dinner. Architecture, belly dancers, nudes,
Okinawan dancers, B/W, etc.

Everyone was very friendly and we had no problem striking up
conversations with one another. Lil showed off her new Canon
PowerShot G5 digital camera, Louis talked about his botched interview
with Hiromix, Juergen showed his nudes published in a German digicam
mag, and John gorged on the salad/dessert bar all evening long.

Most people did not have a Web site, and some wanted to start one.
Lil highly recommended that you hire a professional to do it. But the
drawback was the cost. It sounds like we should have a photographers’
Web site workshop.

A few people went for drinks at the Pink Cow afterward.

It was great to meet everyone. Thanks for coming. Hope you had a good
time and were able to make new contacts.
July 12, 2003 meeting report
For the July 12 meeting, we had six people after two people (one from Numazu in Shizuoka) cancelled. It was another good meeting of people and photos (no women though). Six was a good number for everyone to talk to everyone. We met at the same Sizzler restaurant in Harajuku at 6 PM, but had to leave after 2 hours because of the Sat. night crowd. So we went to a coffee shop afterward at 8 pm. Most of the people were not in tokyo photo club, they saw my message board.

I met an Iranian photographer (who came all the way from Utsunomiya) for the first time. He showed photos of heroin addicts in Tehran. We also had a sports and financial photographer who just started out a year ago and now doing jobs for major clients.

A Canadian photographer showed us his two self-published books (50,000 yen for the first 10 copies). He gave advice about printing companies that offer self-publishing.

Louis came again and he showed photos of ama women divers (even while undressing) and backstage shots of the Miss Universe Japan contest (undressing, etc.)

People who show up at these meetings tend to be very sociable and friendly, so I’m very pleased with meeting these different people pursuing different things. Needless to say, it broadens your horizons when people share their worlds with you and vice versa.

So the next meeting will be the 26th or during that week. A weekday evening is also possible. So let me know if you want to meet and when. The meeting date is still flexible.

After July, perhaps we can arrange a meeting in the fall. A friend of mine who is the vice president of the Tokyo PC Club has welcomed my proposal to have a digital photography meeting at one of their monthly PC meetings. A few of us digital photographers could give presentations of digital photo equipment and techniques. I think doing a joint activity with the PC Club is such an obvious thing to do. They have an LCD projector so showing slides would be no problem. So that might be in Oct. or Nov.

Have a good July!
July 27, 2003 meeting report

n July 27, 2003, eight people came to our meeting, including three women! (Actually only 2 of them were photographers, and one was a very nice mum).

We met at Sizzler in Harajuku 5-7 pm. Dorian, one of the original members of Tokyo Photo Club, also came. He complained about how the photography market (mainly stock) in Japan was really depressed.

In contrast, the lovely and busy Kerry Raftis talked about her booming business in shooting portfolios for models in Tokyo. So folks, it IS possible to make it as a photograper in Japan.

Federica asked about rental darkrooms in Tokyo where you can make prints 11×14″ prints. The only one she knew was in Yokohama. The ones in Tokyo was only 8×10″ maximum, so she has to continue going all the way to Yokohama.

With great regret, Alan didn’t think of bringing any photos to this photo meeting whose main purpose was to show pictures to people, so you have to see his Web page. (See his note.)

Australian, Singaporean, American, Austrian, Italian, and Japanese. The group was very cosmopolitan as usual.

I’ve met over 25 new people this month through these meetings. I got the feeling that there’s a need for specialized photography workshops. I don’t mean teaching the basics, but teaching studio lighting (with a live model), making a Web site, Photoshop lessons, and digital photography (especially scanning). I’ve noticed a lot of people have not really sat down and learned the basics of these subjects.

I know a few people who are experts in these fields and who can easily teach these things in English. We just need to set a time, place, and logistics. There aren’t any computer classrooms which we could rent for Web site or Photoshop lessons (if you know of such a place, tell me), so you would need to bring your own laptops with the required software. We could try that in a place that has a lot of power outlets.

No, I’m not interested in establishing a photo school, but occasional workshops would be helpful I believe. It’s something I have to think about after the summer. Thanks to all the people who came to the three meetings.

Hope y’all enjoy the rest of the summer.

Canon Salon S opens in Shinagawa

In May, Canon Sales, Co. moved its HQ from Makuhari (Chiba) to its new skyscraper called Canon S Tower near JR Shinagawa Station.

The Canon Wonderland photo gallery in Makuhari has closed and reopened in Shinagawa as Canon Salon S.

Address and directions here:

Canon S Tower, 1st floor
Konan 2-16-6

Phone: (03) 6719-9111

10:00-17:30, closed Sun., national holidays

Canon’s new photo gallery opened in May 2003 when Canon Sales, Co. moved its headquarters from Makuhari, Chiba to the Canon S Tower, their new sales HQ in Shinagawa. The gallery is large, with 58 movable panels 1.2 meters wide. Free admission. On the 2nd floor, there is a nice Canon product showroom.

8-min. walk from JR Shinagawa Station, south exit. Walk on the elevated “Sky Way” pedestrian overpass.
Map: http://www.canon-sales.co.jp/s-tower/access/map/images/big-map.gif

Invitation to photographers’ meetings in July in Tokyo

Hey y’all,

My networking urge has crept in again and I feel compelled to set up informal meetings of fellow photographers in the Tokyo area. So during July (mainly the weekends), let’s meet, show each other our photos, and talk about our favorite hobby (or profession).

I’m willing to set up meetings for 2 to 10 people at a time. We can meet at a family restaurant or wine bar or anywhere decent. I did this before, and it was mainly a show-and-tell thing. But this time, I want to try and focus on a specific topic such as any of the following:

– Digital photography
– Holding a photo exhibition in Tokyo
– Visiting rental darkrooms in Tokyo/Yokohama
– Visiting stock photo agencies in Tokyo
– Publishing a photo book in Japan
– Constructing a photo Web site
– Finding a job or working as a photographer in Japan
– Show & tell (your slides or photos)

The meetings will be totally free (you might have to pay for your own food or drinks) and conducted mainly in English. Anyone interested in photography can come.

The meeting may include a field trip to a gallery, etc. Or I might invite a knowledgeable friend who can talk about the respective meeting topic. Or we can just sit and talk aimlessly like the blind leading the blind. It will be very informal, and I’ll probably never see you again after the meeting. So let’s enjoy it while we can.

If you’re interested, send me e-mail with the following info:

– Your name, nationality, and current occupation
– Your location (nearest train/subway station)
– Days and hours in July when you can meet
– What topics above you’re interested in
– What kind of pictures you take and can show others
– Any field of expertise that you could share with others
– Anything that you want to promote (your book, company, etc.)

Hope to hear from a lot of people!

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