PMA 2008 Announcements Begin

PMA 2008 Announcements Begin

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Even though the opening of the show is still over a week away, new product announcements are beginning to slip out on the eve of PMA 2008.

Despite the fact the point-and-shoot digicam market would appear to be in a tough spot with regard to stealing many headlines these days, we continues to see some interesting innovation in this market.

Among several new point-and-shoot digicam announcements from Olympus comes news of a new 20X wide-angle optical zoom model (26-520mm equivalent), the SP-570 Ultra Zoom, that features 10MP resolution along with a beautifully designed outer shell. The company is also announcing a new model in the Stylus line – the 1030SW (10MP), a shockproof, waterproof, freezeproof, crushproof and dustproof model that clearly builds on the Olympus Stylus SW series that speaks to the outdoor adventurer. Add the Stylus 850 SW at 8MP and the company’s “take-anywhere” Stylus line has taken center stage.

Olympus also announced a new high-speed Type M+ (plus) Series xD-Picture Card, that they tell us will offer approximately 1.5 times faster data-transfer speeds than its predecessor (Type M Series xD-Picture Card).

FotoNation will be showing some really cool new technologies that center around the faces within the pictures we all take. “FaceTime,” is a new shutter trigger technology that is invoked when the photographer’s face is detected in a scene. After the photographer puts the camera in FaceTime mode and presses the shutter button, the camera waits to fire the shutter until it recognizes the addition of the face of the photographer to the scene. Once detected, a count-down timer is initiated giving photographers time to relax and compose themselves in the scene.

FotoNation’s SmileCheck enables a new type of picture taking mode called “Smile Shutter” in digital cameras. Once the camera’s trigger button is depressed, the shutter is not engaged until smiles are detected on all faces within the frame, ensuring photos with all smiles. Markets for this new technology include high volume portrait studios, school and event photographers, and identity photography, such as passports and badge ID cards for simplifying workflow.

Speaking of smiles, some of Sony’s new models include a feature dubbed “Smile Shutter”, which automatically captures an image when the subject smiles – without having to press the shutter. This function even lets you prioritize adult or child faces to capture photos only when the intended subjects smile.

The 10.1-megapixel DSC-W170 and 8.1-megapixel DSC-W150 models also feature Carl Zeiss 5x optical zoom lenses with wide angles of view, 28 mm – 140 mm and 30 mm – 150 mm, respectively, and 2.7-inch LCD screens along with eye-level viewfinders. Rounding out the W series are the 8.1-megapixel DSC-W130 models and 7.2-megapixel DSC-W120 units with 4x optical zoom and 2.5 inch LCD screens.

GE continues to add to their digital camera portfolio, growing the number of cameras in the line to 15 and adding some fairly unique features into the mix as well, including smile detection, blink detection, upgraded lenses, and LCD screens that adjust to changes in ambient light. One new model, the E1050, adds HDTV, touch-screen and GPS capability.

The 1050 offers high-definition movie recording; HDTV playback capability for both movies and stills; touch-screen controls to access more features with fewer buttons and a GPS receiver that allows the user to keep track of exactly where they were when they shot a particular picture.

Fuji is making a play for today’s sense of CE style among younger consumers with their latest FinePix model – the Z100fd, an 8MP digicam that is offered up in Shell Pink, Satin Silver, Cappuccino Brown and Tuxedo Black. An illuminated front logo adds to the appeal as does the camera’s sleek, compact outer shell.

With regard to the red-hot DSLR market, there will be plenty to talk about in this category as well. For now, we can provide a bit of info on a couple of Pentax announcements as the company just released two new DSLRSs – the K200D and the K20D, two new models that strengthen the company’s standing in both the entry-level end of the market as well as the higher end.

The budget-conscious K200D features a 10.2 MP CCD along with a 2.7-inch wide view LCD, a weather and dust-resistant body that allows for some flexibility in harsher conditions – a feature that should be most appealing to the intended audience. Add an advanced 16-segment meter and 11-point AF, with 9 cross sensors, along with Auto picture and Scene modes that provide ease operation for the novice with several more advanced modes so shooters can grow with this camera – and important part of the mix with the budget DSLR crowd.

On the higher end comes the K20D that features a 14.6 MP CMOS sensor along with Shake Reduction, enhanced Dynamic Range and what Pentax refers to as PRIME image processing engine that, they tell us, “maximizes image properties and allows custom adjustment of image parameters.”

That is but a peek at what should be an interesting PMA…Super Bowl and all. Look for more on PMA 2008 in the next several editions of Clique as well as a full show recap (CES too) in the March issue of Picture Business.

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