Photo Industry Reporter, the photo-imaging industry’s leading business paper, released the names of the winners of the much-anticipated Annual Rudy Awards. Named in honor of the irrepressible Rudolf Maschke, who along with Ed Wagner founded PIR, the Rudy Awards are bestowed each year to those products exhibited at the Photo Marketing Association trade show that our writers judge to be ingenious, fascinating or possessing a certain indefinable edgy quality.
“We are very proud to announce Photo Industry Reporter’s Rudy Awards for the fifth year,” said Jerry Grossman, editor in chief of PIR. “The awards reflect the incredible creativity in new product development coming from both established and smaller niche brands in the imaging category, and we’re pleased to be able to bring them to the attention of our readers.
Here are the winning products for 2010, in random order.
Minox DCC 5.1. Minox created a niche market for its jewellike digital “classic cameras” that resemble mini Leica Ms and Rolleiflexes, but its Digital Classic DCC 5.1 is more than a novelty; it boasts 5.1MP and an 8.7mm f/2 Minotar lens to turn out 8x10s and 11x14s. Combining today’s technology with the timeless elegance of 1950’s German design and engineering, the DCC 5.1 is styled in a 1:3 scale with the exquisite detailing of a Leica M 35mm rangefinder, down to the patterns on the lens and dials. Powered by a Li-Ion battery, it features a 2.0-inch LCD, an attachable viewfinder, SD slot and the ability to record AVI video. Minox offers optional accessories—a tele- and wide-angle converter, a close-focus lens, leather cases for the viewfinder and camera, a soft strap, wrist strap and a classic flash—but the 5.1 comes with a retro-looking chrome-plated brass lens cap, a leather strap, a satin-lined wooden box, a power pack and cable. The 5.1 is offered in gold, chrome and white. $249. minox.com
Your Photo On Canvas Custom Canvas Prints. YPOC debuted a line of canvas print offerings and an aggressive retail partnership program designed to add profit centers and drive customer traffic. The retail program is supported with in-store merchandising and online order processing for turnkey simplicity. When YPOC was established in 2007, founder Adam Malovani had the idea of manufacturing “a product of superior quality that was easily available to consumers, and offered exceptional value.” In 2008, YPOC joined with Harvest Productions, a provider of fine art reproductions. The merger gave Malovani access to proprietary print-on-canvas technologies and a 50,000-square-foot production facility. Now, whether for a mass-market retailer, an independent specialty retailer or pro photographer, YPOC provides a customized program with turnkey efficiencies designed to add profit while providing customers with a unique way to share photos. Most orders ship in four days. yourphotooncanvas.com
Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia Flash 70-200. A water-resistant seam-sealed rain cover for 70-200mm and smaller lenses, the Hydrophobia Flash 70-200 includes a built-in flash protector. Featuring side arm holes for focusing and accessing switches, it allows DSLRs to be turned vertically. Without exposing the camera and lens to the elements, photographers can change memory cards without taking off the rain cover. “The problem with other covers is that holes have to be cut into the top of the cover, and then using a special camera strap, the user has to unclip the camera strap from the camera, feeding it through the top of the cover,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank’s CEO/lead designer. “We eliminated this problem by creating a system that automatically transfers the weight to the rain cover, while keeping it water resistant.” Other features include: a clear window for viewing the LCD and controls; fabric cover for the end of the lens; an eyepiece storage pocket; and a mesh bag. $145. thinktankphoto.com
VistaQuest Single-Use Digital Cameras. Scheduled to ship in September 2010, this lineup of four easy-to-operate single-use digital cameras is designed to provide users with a worry-free method of capturing images for uploading to social networking sites and creating photo books and other photo products. The cameras carry retail prices beginning at $7.99. All four provide a USB cord to allow a single download directly to a PC. Models have varying features: the VQ10 has no flash and no LCD screen; the VQ20 has a flash and an LCD screen; the VQ15 has a flash and no LCD screen; and the VQ25 has an LCD but no flash. All utilize a custom-made DSP and a CMOS sensor and will capture 40 JPEG images of high enough resolution to print out as 5x7s. vistaquestcorp.com
AgfaPhoto USB Flash Drives. Photo-imaging wholesaler Gamla Enterprises launched AgfaPhoto-branded memory solutions, including cards and USB flash drives, in North America as part of a global expansion of AgfaPhoto products. The line includes 2GB, 4GB, 8GB and 16GB SD cards and microSD cards that come with a case and SD adapter. AgfaPhoto portable storage includes USB flash drives in 2GB, 4GB, 8GB and 16GB units for PC-to-PC data transfer. Each capacity has a different color band to indicate the size of the drive. Consistent with AgfaPhoto’s new worldwide identity, the products sport packaging designed to capture consumers’ attention. Custom retail displays will also carry the updated design that features the AgfaPhoto logo with its iconic red “sensor dot.” gamlaphoto.com
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2. The 14.1MP DMC-TS2 features high-def video recording in the AVCHD Lite format with Dolby Digital Stereo Creator, and it’s waterproof to 33 feet, shockproof to 10 feet, freezeproof to 14° F and dustproof. Its airtight body uses rubber padding and reinforced glass and carbon on the inside and is encased with shock-resistant material; a folded optics design protects its lens, while a damper absorbs shock impact. Other features: “sonic speed AF” that specs state locks in 0.24 sec wide-end and 0.28 sec tele; a 0.005-sec shutter release time lag; a 2.7-inch LCD; Power OIS, which doubles the repression power of Mega optical image stabilization; a 28mm Leica 4.6x optical zoom lens; high dynamic mode; intelligent scene selector, ISO control, resolution and exposure, with iA functions available in video mode. The TS2 works with SDXC cards and comes in silver, blue, orange and yellow. $399.95. panasonic.com
Pandigital Photo Mail LED Digital Photo Frame. Consumers can e-mail their digital images to this innovative digital frame that has its own e-mail address, powered by HP’s Snapfish. It connects via AT&T’s wireless network, and the Photo Mail frame features an 8-inch 800×600-resolution backlit LED with a 4:3 aspect ratio, as well as 1GB of flash memory, good for displaying 6,400 images using Pandigital’s memory optimization mode. It can also be loaded with photos via its built-in six-in-one card reader or by direct connection to a camera or computer. Images can be rotated and resized, brightness and color settings can be changed, and the frame can play back AVI video and MP3 music files. Its traditional wood frame, photo matting and glass screen cover are designed to blend with any decor. $149.99, which includes 300 e-mailed photos (additional allotments may be purchased from Pandigital). pandigital.net
HiTi P110S Portable Photo Printer. HiTi’s newest portable photo printer for mobile photofinishing, the P110S PocketStudio offers a compact size and optional carry bag to permit users to easily take the unit anywhere and free their hands to take photos. Weighing 4.85 pounds, the device is designed with mobile printing features specially proposed for on-site photographers. The stand-alone operable printer utilizes a GUI on a 2.5-inch color LCD for easy operation without a computer. With a rechargeable PB-110 battery, the HiTi P110S lets photographers bring their photo business anywhere. Other features include: a hot key design with user-definable shortcuts for ID photo printing; one-side access to replace consumables; cassette loading for ribbon/consumables; and two color styles (passport and classic). $260 with carry bag. hiti.com
Pentax Optio I-10. Resembling a classic slim-line SLR, this engaging 12.1 megapixel CCD-sensor camera sports a flash unit and speaker in the upper mid-section of its SLR-shaped body, and its front panel is embellished with leatherette texture and the classic Pentax logo placed front and center. It features: a 5x (28-140mm equivalent) zoom lens; 720p HD video capability; 2.7-inch 16:9 ratio widescreen LCD; Triple Shake Reduction (SR) technology that includes sensor shift; movie SR; face, blink and smile detection; auto picture mode selection; and ISOs to 6400. It’s compatible with an optional IR remote controller and supports Eye-Fi wireless cards. It comes in black or pearl white. $299.95. pentaximaging.com
Cool-Lux Light & Sound Video Kit SL3000LS. The SL3000 was reintroduced in a special kit targeting the DSLR market, for cameras with built-in high-def video functions. The nicely made continuous lighting kit is perfect for location shooting, and the SL3000 provides three light levels, functions as a softlight with the hood attached, and increases contrast and light output with the included reflector installed. It’s powered by a rechargeable battery giving up to 30 minutes of light at 100 watts, and it permits photographers to mount a microphone (not included) and the SL3000 light on a single camera accessory shoe mount via the handy Cool-Lux Light & Sound bracket. The SL3000LS kit also includes a DC power supply, light filters, a four-pin connector, case and strap. $399. cool-lux.com
Kodak PlaySport Videocam. The pocketable PlaySport video camera, designed for consumers with active lifestyles, captures Full HD 1080p video—even under 10 feet of water—with the touch of a button. Built-in software and USB cable output let users edit and upload videos to sites like YouTube and Facebook. Other features: a 2.0-inch color LCD with glare shield; 5MP HD still image capture (16:9); smart face tracking; low-light performance; expandable SD/SDHC card slot (up to 32GB for 10 hours of HD video recording); electronic image stabilization; Kodak Imaging Science “for sharper videos with vibrant colors”; a Li-Ion rechargeable battery with in-camera charging; and HDMI output cable. It retails in black, blue and purple. $149.95. kodak.com
Lucidiom APM 7.5 Bundle Prints. Lucidiom, now owned by Noritsu, demonstrated three software upgrades, including its APM Kiosk Version 7.5 with new profit-building features like bundle prints and premium content surcharges. APM 7.5 bundle prints permits retailers to sell a package of multiple products as a single item, “a proven marketing technique that offers customers a value package while increasing the store’s average sale at the same time,” said Lucidiom CTO Jason Pareti. And, its new premium content surcharge feature allows retailers to offer and charge for premium creative content from popular designers, while a retail branding feature can be set to automatically print a company’s logo on the back of printed merchandise. lucidiom.com
Photo Industry Reporter features many of the industry’s most respected columnists. Along with its website, direporter.com, it is the preeminent news source for the industry, providing dealers with information to grow their business. For additional information, contact Jerry Grossman, editor in chief: Photo Industry Reporter, 7600 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY 11797. Phone: 516-364-0098. E-mail: email@example.com. Editorial e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.