Well, Photographica was pretty busy but overall I was somewhat neutral about what was on offer. I picked up a couple of items, one was a very small stereoview which is of good local interest to me, but most gear was what I would describe as 'standard fayre', priced appropriately but not of vast interest. Some very expensive gear for collectors (Leicas and Reids up to £50k!) but little larger format and few older lenses of any real intrinsic interest, in all honesty. Fun day out though and good to meet up with people.
I was there too. Very hot inside that hall. Bumped into a couple of people I know. Never seen so many Leicas in my life. As Paul says, not much LF. A few mahogany cameras and a few LF lenses, mostly scruffy brass ones. There was a very beautiful wet-plate copy camera, about 12" square, that I admired.
Didn't buy anything.
I would fully agree with your comments. The 'early' entry system favours dealers and simply drives up prices and shouldn't really be what the event is about IMO. Interesting but could do better if its really about buy, sell and swap.