Posts Tagged ‘pma2010’

PMA 2010: Underwater Point-and-Shoot Cameras a Trend this Year

Underwater housing units for DSLR bodies can cost upwards of $1499 at most distributors. Waterproof cases for point-and-shoots already average $150. But this year, a major trend in most camera companies is the point-and-shoot designed for underwater use and toss-around durability at a competitive cost.

Around the show at PMA 2010, almost every major point-and-shoot manufacturer had a new array of cameras ready for surf, sand, snow and hard falls.

Here’s a sampling:

Olympus

8010_front

Scott Hennessey and the crew at Olympus let me shoot around the booth with a prototype of the Olympus Stylus Tough 8010, which is due for release this March for about $399.

This camera was particularly noteworthy because as far as I could tell, it’s got the ability to remain watertight up to 33 feet underwater, while most other brands ranged between 10-16 feet.

It is also shockproof for a drop up to 6.6. feet, freezeproof at 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and crushproof (LCD and all), able to withstand up to 220 pounds of pressure; it will take a lot to kill this camera.

And standard for a lot of point-and-shoots, this camera shoots 14 megapixel stills and  720p movies.

I took a few images with the Tough 8010 in the water at the Olympus booth. The first one is of the other Olympus waterproof camera, the Stylus Tough 3000 which is a bit more standard, waterproof up to 10 feet and shockproof to 5 feet and a price tag of $229:

Samsung

Samsung’s AQ100 waterproof camera looks pretty fresh, available in black, aqua blue, and red. It’s slim with a 0.78 inch thickness, and will sell for about $199 this spring.

Sony

Sony’s stylish Cybershot TX5 has one of the cleanest designs for a shockproof (5 ft), waterproof (10ft) and freezeproof (14 F) camera. It’s also dust-resistant and has a touchscreen.

Casio

The Casio Exilim EX-G1 is also pretty heavy duty, surviving falls of up to seven feet. It’s also waterproof to 10 ft, dustproof, and freeze proof to 14 F. It’s also got software built in for easy uploads to YouTube.

Other Waterproof and Durability Gear

Also at the show, several companies, such as Delkin Devices, showed off their new accessories to compliment waterproof, durable cameras.

The Delkin Devices Jellyfish is basically a pouch for a small point and shoot, coupled with a floating ball. It’s simple, with a little fun: the flotation device includes a little bottle opener.

For more practical use, Delkin has also released a super durable CF card called the Combat Flash:

The Combat Flash capacity ranges from 4GB to 32 GB, and boasts a fast transfer speed at 91 mb/s, 625 x. It has sealed components to protect from moisture or submersion, can last at an altitude of 80,000 feet, and can withstand temperatures from -58 degrees F to 212 degrees F. It can also handle most shock and gunfire vibration.

Prices range from $84 – $329.

No word yet on whether they’re developing an SD version (obviously, durability works much better with CF cards), but they do have a shock and weatherproof tote for 8 SD cards:

PMA 2010: Fujifilm Showcases Diverse Camera Line, from 3D to Medium Format

The vast range of the new Fujifilm camera lines might explain how Fujifilm, the imaging-specific company placed 19th on the list of top US patents filed in 2009.

In addition to its existing line of point-and-shoots and digital hybrid bodies, Fujifilm has also been developing a 3D camera paired with special 3D photo and video digital viewers, an improved instant photo line, and a new medium format camera. A booth rep said that Fujifilm’s major selling point is their “commitment to photography in all forms,” which resulted in their wide spectrum of cameras this year.

3D Imaging

Fujifilm’s FinePix REAL 3D W1 camera had a limited release on the Fujifilm store site in 2009, and carries a hefty price of $599.

I spoke to the 3D imaging product manager Jim Calverley at PMA, who said the reasoning behind the price was because Fujifilm wanted the product to be available for serious 3D photographers who would appreciate the functionality of the camera, and would be less likely to return the equipment. At the same time, Calverley said, “Don’t expect to film the next Avatar on this handheld camera.”

Nevertheless, this point-and-shoot sized camera can produce some pretty fascinating images and video — that is, if you’ve got an eye for what would work well with the 3D style. Calverley said that the 3D technique works best with images that have many layers of depth — not necessarily depth of field in photo terms, which is entirely different. Depth of field for traditional camerasrefers to the distance and section of a photograph that is in focus (like a single flower, sharp against a blurred field in the background), whereas 3D photographers shoot images that have multiple layers or depth in a compositional sense, layering  a flower in front, a person behind, and the field in the background.

The camera takes two images at a time, much like how the human eyes see images: with two separate lenses.

Images taken with the camera can be viewed in several different ways — and top of the price of the original camera:

  • The photos can be sent to Fujifilm’s print site, seehere.com, to be turned into lenticular prints for $6.99 each.
  • The camera comes with PC software so the images can be viewed on a computer, BUT they will only be in 2D. To enjoy the 3D, the photographer has to have 3D applications such as NVIDIA 3D Vision system, or software like Stereo Photo Maker. You’ll also need glasses. There is also a display that can be used with polarized glasses, much like the ones provided for 3D showings for Avatar and current 3D movies, but it’s pretty pricey for the average consumer as well.
  • Fujifilm has a special digital viewer, the FinePix REAL 3D V1, which allows the images to be viewed with the naked eye, but this gadget is almost as expensive as the camera, at $499.

The prices are pretty high since the use of the technology on a consumer level is new, but Calverley said,” We’re casting a wider net this year,” and that the products will be more widely available to see and test at local camera dealers.

New Instax Cameras

Back to a more practical and affordable consumer level, Fujifilm is also releasing new models of Instax, their instant camera line, which now includes the Instax mini 7s for around $99 and the smaller Instax mini 25 for about $119. There is also a new wide-format Instax 210.

The Instax mini 25 (pictured on the left) is especially geared for the youthful consumer; it comes equipped with a small self-portrait mirror next to the lens opening.

The Fujifilm reps said that the cameras, especially the wide image format, are popular in fashion photography, when quick images and headshots are demanded. Interestingly, another industry, so to speak, that the cameras are in demand  for is the law enforcement and crime scene investigators; these instant shots cannot be digitally manipulated and have a higher integrity and faster tangibility than digital or film.

Medium Format

fuji_mediumformat

For film fanatics, Fujifilm also boasts a new GF670 medium format camera for pros. The camera is projected to be released in April 2010 for an MSRP of $1995.

The camera features a folding 80mm Fujinon lens, which gives the camera a lightweight, compact feel and a nostalgic look. (Mouse-over the image to see the side view.)

It also has an electronic metering system and rangefinder, PC flash cord port, and up to 3200 ISO.  It can shoot in 6×6 format or 6×7.

Another breath of relief for film fans: the booth rep also said that any whispers or rumors about Fujifilm discontinuing any type of their film are rumors; they’re doing better than most film companies, he added.

In any case, it looks like a big year for Fujifilm.

PMA 2010: Sony Showcases New Alpha Concept Models

PMA is off to a hot start down in Anaheim, Calif., with Sony announcing a new line of bodies and lenses, aiming to assert itself in the DSLR + video market thus far dominated by Nikon and Canon.

In a brief press conference this morning before the doors to PMA’s massive exhibit floors opened to the public, Sony announced prototype DSLR bodies and lenses that they aim to release this year.

Emphasizing the user-friendly presets on Sony cameras such as its auto HDR mode, Sony showed off a concept model of the compact α (alpha) Micro Four Thirds-DSLR hybrid that they hope will make the DSLR more accessible to a larger audience.  Additionally, the new compact  camera bodies (pictured below) are about the size of point-and-shoots, but have interchangeable lenses.

Additionally, a new Alpha A700 replacement body employs their Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor, which provides full AVCHD video capability:

Sony also showed off a few prototype lens models, including the Super Telephoto Superzoom 500mm f4 and the Distagon T 24mm f2 ZA SSM, new Carl Zeiss wide angle lens.

PMA 2010: Sigma Announces New Lenses

Today at PMA, Sigma announced a wide range of new lenses, including a prime 85mm f1.4.

The rep at the Sigma booth who said that the prices and release dates are not solid, but these lenses should be hitting the market by the end of this year, possibly in the second quarter (after March).

They are made to fit most major DSLR brands, including not only Nikon and Canon but Sony and Pentax.

Here’s a list of the lenses with a summary of specs, pictured left to right:

  • 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSM
    Medium telephoto lens for full-frame cameras. On a crop sensor, it will look like a 127.5mm lens. HSM stands for Hyper Sonic Motor, a quieter and fast autofocus mode.
  • 17-50mm f2.8 DC OS HSM
    A standard zoom lens for crop sensor cameras with Optical Stabilizer function with special coating to reduce flare and ghosting.
  • 8-16mm f4.5-5.6 DC HSM
    A super wide lens for crop sensor cameras, but will look like 12-24mm. Distortion is corrected by a hybrid aspherical lens and two glass mold elements.
  • APO 70-200mm f2.8 EX DG OS HSM
    Telephoto zoom with Optical Stabilizer, made for full-frame cameras, compatible with Sony and Pentax with image sensor shift anti-shake system.
  • APO 50-500mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM
    10x high zoom ratio ultra telephoto zoom lens with OS, for full-frame. Not as wide of an aperture, but it’s got a huge range.

PMA 2010: Think Tank’s New Products are ‘Retrospective’ and more

There’s no school like old school, Think Tank Photo’s newest line of bags says. Today, Think Tank announced and showed off two new soft-sided camera and lens shoulder bags in the Retrospective line have a touch of class and color.

As usual, these three new Think Tank bags are inconspicuous shoulder bags, much like the Urban Disguise, but are much more flexible and conform to the wearer’s side. Previously, Think Tank bags only come in flat black, but these new bags come in both black and Pinestone cotton canvas pictured here:

The Retrospective line comes in two styles: shoulder bags (Retrospective 10, 20, and 30) and lens changer bags (Lens Changer 2 and 3).

These bags have a great look and feel; they might rival Domke’s classic satchel line, though they are a bit more pricey. The material on the Pinestone has a really rich, durable fabric texture.

The smallest, the Retrospective 10, will run for about $149, and the largest Retrospective 30 will be about $179. The lens changers range from $99-$119.

On top of the standard Think Tank features, one notable new feature on these bags is the “Sound Silencer,” which is essentially flaps that are placed over the velcro fasteners leaving the option to either use loud velcro or switch to a hook and loop fastener for quieter situations.

Also, the bottom padding of the bags have a slit which allows the bag to be very flexible when hanging on the shoulder and it conforms quite nicely to the wearer’s side.

Think Tank has not announced an official release date for these bags, but they say they should be available sometime this year.

Some of the other Think Tank Photo products are pretty exciting for pro photographers who need to lug heavy gear or shoot in extreme weather:

The Hydrophobia 70-200 rain cover provides elemental protection for cameras coupled with 70-200mm lenses and smaller. Unlike a lot of rain covers, this one has its own camera strap, while the camera’s regular strap can be tucked inside the cover. Also, the rain cover has arm holes on the sides, so photogs can reach inside to access the camera body without getting anything wet.

Think Tank also showcased the Logistics Manager, which is a massive rolling case for travelling pros with a lot of lighting and camera gear:

PMA 2010: Sneak Peek Impressions

I’m down in sunny Anaheim, California at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) 2010 Sneak Peek.

PMA is an international photo trade association, encompassing companies from all aspects of the photo industry, from camera manufacturers, printers, photo processors, papers, software and displays.

The PMA trade show officially kicks off tonight at 5pm, and the exhibition doors open tomorrow morning at 10:30 here at the Anaheim Convention Center, but already, there is a ton of awesome new products worth a look.

Just to give a taste of some products and news we’ll feature over the next few days, here are some highlights:

  • The trend in this years point-and-shoot cameras: waterproof, durable, touch-screen, and retro styles.
  • A vast new line from Fujifilm including a 3D handheld point-and-shoot and a medium format camera.
  • A preview of Sigma’s 2010 line of lenses for full frame cameras.
  • ThinkTank Photo showcased some exciting new products, including the Hydrophobia 70-200 rain cover (pictured below) and the Retrospective soft-sided camera and lens shoulder bags.

Keep an eye out for those stories and more on our site.