31st Bi-Annual Photokina Draws to a Close

31st Bi-Annual Photokina Draws to a Close

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The 3ist bi-annual photokina wrapped up in Cologne, Germany earlier this week and a host of new products and services were introduced over the six-day event.  Here’s a brief sampling of a few of the headlines from the week.

HiTi’s Versatile new Printer

HiTi Digital, Inc. introduced their latest high-capacity roll-type photo printer – the HiTi P720L. The 720  features powerful software, a high media capacity of 1,000 prints (4x 6) and fast printing sped of approximate 7.9 seconds per print. The printer employs roll-type dye-sub photo printing technology and can do borderless photo printing in multiple sizes, and offers HiTi’s usual  user friendly operation.

HiTi is also offering its multi-functional software – the HiTi Picvite Minilab and HiTi Picvite Kiosk – both specifically designed for HiTi P720L. The software extends the function of the 720  to that of a dry minilab or photo kiosk system.

The company also announced that that its Mini Photo Kiosk P510K was awarded a  “TIPA 2010: Best Photo Kiosk” at TIPA Awards ceremony on the opening day of Photokina,  Every year TIPA editors vote for the best photo and imaging products with the selection criteria such as innovation, the use of leading-edge technology, design and ergonomics, ease-of-use, as well as price/performance ratio.

Kodak Unveils PYNK

Kodak officially introduced their new PYNK Smart Print System –  a new design tool “created to help consumers unleash the emotional power of their pictures.” Referred to as the marriage of photo with “photo holder,” the system automatically measures, crops, arranges and prints photos to fit a frame, creating a print to fit system that, as Kodak explains, “breaks down design barriers and makes printing and framing images easier than ever.”

The PYNK Smart Print System is essentially an enhancement feature for the Kodak Picture Kiosk using PYNK frames and collage mats. PYNK mats come in up to eight different collage options and hold anywhere from two to thirteen images. For more information check out the website.

Canon HD Camcorders

Canon announced their two new camcorders for mobile HD video capture in a compact form factor. Canon’s smallest professional camcorders, the new XF105 and XF100 utilize the same Canon XF Codec featured in the Canon XF305 and XF300, introduced earlier this year.  The Canon XF Codec is an MPEG-2 4:2:2 50Mbps codec used for, as Canon explains, “exceptional high-definition image quality, full non-linear editing (NLE) systems compatibility and efficient, robust workflow.”

Pentax Additions

Pentax introduced a new digital SLR line with color accents that allow owners to choose one that matches their personal style. The compact, lightweight Pentax K-r is also easy to use with Auto Picture, Scene, and Custom Image Processing modes that take the guesswork out of shooting images while still offering a high degree of manual and priority control. The K-r offers a variety of new and improved features including a fast framerate, high ISO sensitivity, responsive autofocus, an improved 12.4 megapixel low-noise sensor and widescreen HD video capture that take it a step above an entry-level DSLR camera.

Pentax also introduced two new point-and-shoot cameras at Photokina – the Optio RS1000, “is easy to use and may be dressed to match the personality and style of its owner.” This cosmetically customizable digital camera features a removable faceplate to hold interchangeable skins of any personal design.

The new RZ10 offers a 10X  optical zoom lens covering focal lengths from 28mm wide angle to 280mm telephoto (in the 35mm format). The camera also provides high-quality macro focusing as close as one centimeter from the subject. The Pentax-original Auto Picture mode is upgraded with new modes in the RZ10 to automatically select the most appropriate shooting mode for a given subject or scene by accurately assessing various photographic conditions on and around the subject.

Samsung’s NX100

Samsung announced the launch of the new NX100, which follows the success of the NX10, Samsung’s first mirrorless camera and the first in the world to feature an APS-C size sensor. The NX100 shares the NX10’s APS-C size sensor for quality images and a 3-inch AMOLED screen for easy and clear viewing. “However, with the NX100, Samsung takes the mirrorless camera to the next level, by incorporating the innovations of the NX10 and improving other areas of the camera’s performance and design,” Samsung claims. 

While the body of the camera is slim, the NX100 also features the intuitive i-Function lens which allows users to control their camera through the lens for the first time. The NX100 also boasts one of the fastest AF on the market today, which ensures that users never miss a moment, and an ISO that is raised to a maximum of 6400 for action shots.

Casio’s Mapping Cam
Casio America, Inc. introduced two new additions to their point-and-shoot lines. First up – the entry-level EX-Z16 which includes the Easy Mode, YouTube capture and a simplified user interface. This newest member of the EXILIM family also includes 12MP image quality, as well as 3x optical and 4x digital zoom capabilities.

Casio also unveiled the world’s first Hybrid GPS enabled digital camera, the EXILIM EX-H20G. The latest model to join Casio’s EXILIM Hi-Zoom lineup, the EX-H20G offers ultra-precise location data for the geotagging of photos and videos and is also the first camera able to geotag indoors. Additionally, the EX-H20G can display the user’s current location – as well as geotagged photos and videos – on a map which can be viewed right on the camera itself.

LensPen Cleans Up
There were plenty of cool new accessory products on the Photokina show floor as well and two new solutions were introduced by LensPen – the SensorKlear Loupe Kit for CCD/CMOS sensors and DSLR Pro Kit for lenses, filters and viewfinders.

“The secret (to our products) is in the unique chamois tip,” said Ryan Keating, Vice President of Marketing at Parkside Optical. “The cleaning tip is flexible to match surface shape and contour. Surfaces are cleaned with a special carbon compound.” Each LensPen product will provide more than 500 cleanings with no expiration date.
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Leica D-LUX 5
Photokina is always a big deal for Leica Camera and they were excited to unveil a new addition to their digital compact camera portfolio, the LEICA D-LUX 5 – which differentiates itself from its previous version by offering a faster LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON 5.1 – 19.2 mm f/2 – 3.3 ASPH. lens with an extended range of focal lengths equivalent to 24 to 90 mm in 35-mm format.

Together with its comprehensive range of features and manual settings, the new LEICA D-LUX 5 offers a broader spectrum of photographic options. Its 720-pixel HD-video function in memory-saving AVCHD-Lite format and optional accessories, open up a whole range of additional photographic opportunities.

LumiQuest Tags
Interesting introduction from LumiQuest at photokina as they unveiled the fact their new LumiQuest packaging now features Microsoft Tags that will allow photographers to scan the Tags from their smart phone to instantly view a product video, tutorial or receive other pertinent information to help them select the right LumiQuest product for their application.

In announcing the use of Microsoft Tags, Quest Couch, CEO and designer of the LumiQuest products, stated, “Smart phones are becoming essential tools enabling all of us to work more efficiently.  By adding Tags on our packaging we are empowering photographers to connect seamlessly to product videos and get instant access to understanding the benefits of the LumiQuest product they are considering purchasing.”

The free Microsoft Tag app can be downloaded here.

Wu Wows ‘Em
General Imaging introduced a new, more affordable model to its GE CREATE by Jason Wu collection, “making the designer camera more accessible for those demanding simplicity with a touch of style,” the company explains. The new CREATE by Jason Wu digital cameras will be available with the option of 2GB of built-in memory, while maintaining the same easy to use functionality and first to market, retractable USB plug as the 4GB memory model currently on sale.
 
The new 2GB CREATE cameras will be available in both fine-grain leather and distinctive metal finishes.

Sigma’s SD1

Sigma Corporation of America announced the new Sigma SD1 Digital SLR Camera, Sigma’s flagship DSLR model, along with two upgraded lenses and two new electronic flashes. The Sigma SD1 incorporates a 46-megapixel (4,800×3,200×3 layers) 24x16mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor, offering more megapixels than any other DSLR currently on the market.
 
In addition, the Sigma SD1 incorporates TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II image processing engine which, in combination with the 46-MP sensor, “ensures that high resolution images are processed quickly with high definition and a smooth and subtle graduation of color. The new magnesium alloy makes this camera lightweight and nice to handle.”

Sony’s S-Frames

The digital frame category continues its interesting evolution and  Sony announced three new S-Frame models – the DPF-XR100, DPF-VR100 and DPF-D830. The DPF-XR100 and DPF-VR100 models offer AVCHD video playback capabilities, allowing consumers to view detailed, realistic video with vivid colors and contrast directly on the units' high-resolution WSVGA LED backlight LCD screen.  The DPF-D830 model is Sony's first battery operated digital photo frame, allowing for easy portability in the home.

Tamron Software
Tamron Co. Ltd. announced the release of their latest offering, an aberration correction function for Adobe Systems Incorporated’s software. The lens profile provided by Tamron will be used to make the plug-in for digital image editing software, Adobe Photoshop CS5, Camera Raw and the function for photo management software, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.

The lens profile will include Tamron’s Di series (lenses for full size image sensors) and the Di II series (lenses for cameras with APS-C size image sensors) and will be used to create a plug-in bundled in the Camera Raw 6.2 update and the function for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.2. Tamron, utilizing design data, created this profile for image editing software that allows customers to easily correct distortion, chromatic aberration, and peripheral brightness for Di series and Di II series SLR lenses.

Think Tank Disguise

The folks at Think Tank Photo were thinking about photographers operating in urban or dangerous environments with their completely upgraded and larger Urban Disguise shoulder bags. The Urban Disguise V2.0 Series is specifically designed for professional digital SLR equipment, with some models including special laptop compartments. Each model features multiple pockets, YKK lockable zipper sliders, a comfortable, padded shoulder strap, and a seam-sealed rain cover.

Zeiss Filters

Carl Zeiss offered up some special accessories for photographers to support their work with ZEISS lenses. The new UV and POL filters are optically and mechanically tailored to the high-quality ZEISS SLR lenses and protected against light reflections with the ZEISS T* multi-coating. Because good optics can be somewhat heavy at times, Carl Zeiss now also offers a special camera strap with air cell padding for SLR cameras.

Lexar Workflow
Lexar Media spent Photokina demonstrating how photographers can spend more time taking the perfect shot and less time waiting in the studio by using high-performance Lexar and Crucial memory solutions. The results showed that with a full suite of Lexar memory cards, readers, and backup drives, as well as Crucial DRAM and solid-state drives (SSDs), a photographer can shave approximately 80 minutes off a typical one-day photo shoot by replicating Lexar Media’s testing scenario.
 
The sequence used in the demonstration included high-speed image capture, card-to-computer file transfer, batch processing of large files with a post-processing action set, and recovery and back-up of images with file versioning.

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