17. PMA 2004 PREVIEW (01/22/04)



1. Nikon D70 DSLR Camera - This new 6 megapixel CCD DSLR camera is our number one pick for the PMA 2004 show due to its price of just $999, its high quality build and its rich set of features. We handled the D70 on a number of occasions at the show and found it to be a very nice looking and feeling camera with fast focus, fast shutter lag, 25 custom settings, new dynamic buffering for awesome burst mode shooting, and an overall great potential value for what it can offer at a price under $1,000. We think Nikon did a great job in delivering what users will want, instead of removing features. Overall, the D70 appears to us to be a great deal and a major challenger to last years product of the year the Canon Digital Rebel!

2. Konica Minolta DiMage A2 Digital Camera - This is a new 8 megapixel, 7X optical zoom camera from Konica Minolta which offers a number of high end specifications such as an Electronic ViewFinder with a resolution of over 900,000 pixels, CCD image stabilization, New & Faster 3D Auto Focusing & Predictive Auto Focusing, high quality movie recording at 30FPS, a new mode for depth of field preview, advanced manual focusing, faster new image processing and faster camera operations, USB 2.0 connectivity, relatively small/light-weight body, RAW image capture and PictBridge connectivity.

3. Canon Powershot Pro 1 Digital Camera - This is also a new 8 megapixel 7X optical zoom camera which is the first consumer camera from Canon to feature their advance high quality L-Series Lens system with a quiet yet fast Ultra Sonic Zoom Motor and a new hybrid autofocus to assist in producing sharp, clean images. It features a nice 2 inch, 235,000 LCD Display with a 270 degree swivel capability. Like the others it has RAW image capture. We really liked the feel of the Pro 1, although you can feel a bit extra weight in the lens due to the high quality glass being used.

4. Olympus Camedia 8080 Digital Camera - Another 8 megapixel camera with a high quality f/2.4 ED glass 5X optical zoom lens designed for digital capture, and a very solid/rugged high quality body. Olympus has added a new TruePic TURBO Image Processor which greatly Speeds Up Camera Functions and provides improved image results. It has a high-resolution 240,000 pixel EVF, dual memory card slots for CF type I and II as well as xD memory cards, a multi-position 1.8 inch LCD display, 8 customizable "MyMode" settings, USB 2.0 connectivity, 13 direct control buttons, and PictBridge Connectivity. It also has RAW image capture.

5. Nikon Coolpix 8700 Digital Camera - One more addition to the 8 megapixel race by the major companies. This camera is similar to last year's Coolpix 5700 with a nice 8X (35mm to 280mm) optical zoom lens with high quality ED glass, in a very small, compact body. We have used an initial production evaluation unit and found it to be a great performer so far. The Nikon 8700 has a swivel lcd display, 12 scene modes, weight of just 17 ounces, Magnesium Alloy body, RAW image capture, VGA Movie mode with 30fps capture up to 35 seconds, Autofocus Assist light, 1.2 inch Macro Mode, 235,000 .44 inch EVF, 1.8 inch 134,000 dot LCD display, flash shoe, 3 mode Best Shot selection mode, Histogram, Manual Focus, fine tuning of White-Balance, and PictBridge technology.

6. Canon EOS-D1 Mach II DSLR - This was one of the biggest announcements of the show, however due to its price range of $4,500 it will be of interest mostly to the professional crowd including Sports Photo Journalist, Portrait and Wedding Photographers. This new DSLR camera has an 8.2 megapixel APS sized CMOS image sensor that can shoot at 8.5 frames per second up to 40 images! It features a new DIGIC II image processor that is twice as fast as the processor in the EOS 1D and which permits superior color rendering and more detail. It has an improved RAW CR2 file format, with improve software. It is the first camera to use dual 32-Bit RISC CPUs to operate the 45 point autofocus separately while another one controls the lens drive. It has a rugged magnesium alloy body with more than 70 gaskets and seals for water resistance. The E-TTL flash exposure control is also enhanced. The LCD has been improve to a 2.0 inch, 230 pixel display. The camera has firewire and USB 2.0 connectivity.

7. Fuji FinePix S3 Pro DSLR - This is an advanced new DSLR from Fuji with a new APS sized Super CCD having SR sensor technology with over 12 Megapixels (6.17 Megapixels dedicated to capture normal and highlights, and a paired set of 6.17 Megapixels dedicated to capturing shadow details. The new camera should have a higher ISO sensitivity capability and improved noise levels along with better color reproduction. It has a very nice Professional Body which was designed from the ground up using a durable polycarbonate material and it has a Nikon F-mount lens fitting. There are dual shutter buttons, and a larger 2.0 inch 235,000 pixel LCD display. The camera has both firewire and USB 2.0 interfaces along with dual xD picture card and Compact Flash type I and II memory card slots.

8. HP PhotoSmart R707 Digital Camera - We were very impressed with this new compact 5 megapixel camera from HP. It has new technology to remove red-eye right in the camera, and a new HP Adaptive Lighting technology to improve the dynamic range of images which we confirmed do work in our own testing at the show. We very much liked the new look and feel of the camera which includes a stylish and durable brushed stainless steel build, and a nice ergonomic grip for one handed shooting. There is also a new HP Image advice technology which analyses photos and gives tips on how to adjust or improve future shots and we also like the new In-Camera Panorama Preview feature which takes up to five pictures that can then be combined and reviewed. HP is using a new Texas Instruments processor for improved operational speeds and better image results. In addition, the HP PhotoSmart R707 digital camera offers, 24x total zoom, 32 megabytes of internal storage and PictBridge, all of which HP told us will help consumers achieve professional-quality photos. Finally, the HP PhotoSmart R-series camera dock will allow users to easily share, print, e- mail and store photos and video clips as well as recharge the in-camera battery, in addition to an included spare battery via the dual charging bay. The HP PhotoSmart R-series camera dock also allows users to view digital photos on a TV.

9. Sony Cybershot W1 Digital Camera - This is an all new 5 megapixel compact Range Finder style Cyber-Shot camera with a HUGE 2.5 LCD screen. It has the new Real Image Processing but using 3 color (R-G-B-G) Bayer filtering. The new W1 camera has a f/2.8 Carl Zeiss lens with 3X optical zoom but it loses the hot-shoe found on last year's V1 model. The W1 features a live histogram, 340 shot battery life, an optical viewfinder, aprox. 1 second shot to shot timing, 49 point multi-point metering, use of Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro cards, 5 area Multi-Point auto focus, manual exposure controls, auto fill flash, 6 pre-set scene modes and a removable outer ring allowing access to a conversion ring threads for use of accessory lenses. The W1 will be available in May at a price of $499 which is why we put it in our top 10.

10. Casio EXILIM Pro EX-P600 - This is a new advanced 6 megapixel camera that is really quite impressive as it features a 4X Optical Zoom lens by Canon and a large 2 inch TFT Color LCD Display. The EX-P600 also features 10MB of Built-In memory, a Hi-Speed Hybrid Auto Focus using conventional contrast detection and a phase lag detector, High Speed continuous shooting at a rate of 3 frames per second up to 6 images, 25 pre-set scene settings, 1.5 second start-up time, 0.01 shutter release time, full manual exposure setting, Hi-Speed Image Playback, Multi-Point Spot Auto Focus, USB 1.1 connectivity, built-in microphone and speaker, ability to view playback of 100 images in 10 seconds, Best Shot & Noise Reduction, QVGA Movie Mode at 15 frames per second with audio up to the limits of the card, live Histogram, Bracketing of Exposure, White Balance, Focus Point (Foreground, Center & Background), Contrast, Sharpness, Color Effect & Portrait, Auto Rotation of Images during playback, External Strobe Terminal, Long Life Lithium Battery, Wireless Remote, Digital Soft Focus & Sport Modes, 5 area Multi-Area Focus, Spot Focus with 9 user selections, Optional Wide and Tele Converter Lens, PictBridge compatibility, Image Alarm with sound and image, and it will allow you to make HTML albums. The camera has a number of other standard features and overall we have to say this is one loaded camera from Casio.The EX-P600 will ship on March 04, 2004 at a street price of 649.99.

11. Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1 - This a very nice looking new 5 megapixel camera with what appears to be a great new high quality f/2.0-2.4 Leica Lens having a zoom range from a wide 28mm to 90mm. It has the feel of a 35mm camera and was very responsive when we tested it. The Focus, Zoom and Aperture are manually controlled by ring settings on the lens and the shutter speed is controlled by a dial on the top of the camera. It has a unique new Pop-Up flash which features the ability to be also be positioned at a 45% angle towards the ceiling for a bounce flash effect. It has a RAW image capture mode, and its RAW mode is supported by the new Adobe Photoshop CS. Other high end features include a live Histogram, burst mode shooting, remote shutter control, auto bracketing, microphone and speaker for audio recording, The camera uses SD memory cards and has USB connectivity. It also features a huge 2.5 inch color LCD display screen. This camera would have been several notches higher on our list but because of the current price of $1599 it did not make our top ten.

12. Leica Digilux 2 Digital Camera - This is essentially the same camera as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LCI discussed above. It does have a traditional looking Leica body, and yet it shares the same 2/3rds inch 5 megapixel CCD and Lens. Leica told us the Firmware is different and they offer RAW conversion software. The camera has a price of $1850. While again, the camera is in deed very very high end, and looks as well as feels great, with a unique 45 degree tilting bounce flash and all the manual controls you could want, we did not put this a bit higher on the list simply due to the very high price of the camera. We do very much like the camera and we have been advised we will be getting a review unit soon, so we will keep you posted as its performance could certainly justify its price.

Stay tuned later this week for more top products from PMA 2004!



PMA 2004 ended one week ago today and we now have gone through our thousand plus set of photos from 5 cameras to put together our PMA 2004 galleries. This year we had to defer some of our PMA coverage due to calendar conflicts with other major professional responsibilities we got confirmation of on day 2 (Friday the 13th of course) which are still not quite completed but should be finished by mid-week (2/25). Most of these photos were cropped, resized and uploaded to our site last Sunday and Monday, but we had not been able to finish all of the galleries. We still have at least 2 more sets of PMA 2004 pictures to post, and then we will be posting our PMA 2004 Show report summary and Best of PMA 2004 - Top 25 products list! We also will be posting image galleries and our evaluation reports on several cameras such as the Sony F828, the Sony T1, the Minolta A1 and the Sigma SD10, as well as a number of new cameras just announced at PMA 2004. Stay tuned, we will be back to daily updates and reports in 3 days.










Casio has announced a new advanced 6 megapixel EXLIM Pro EX-P600 at a special press conference tonight at PMA in Las Vegas. The camera is really quite impressive as the features are extensive. The EX-P600 has in addition to an all new 6 megapixel CCD, a 4X Optical Zoom lens by Canon and a large 2 inch TFT Color LCD Display. The EX-P600 also features 10MB of Built-In memory, a Hi-Speed Hybrid Auto Focus using conventional contrast detection and a phase lag detector, High Speed continuous shooting at a rate of 3 frames per second up to 6 images, 25 pre-set scene settings, 1.5 second start-up time, 0.01 shutter release time, full manual exposure setting, Hi-Speed Image Playback, Multi-Point Spot Auto Focus, USB 1.1 connectivity, built-in microphone and speaker, ability to view playback of 100 images in 10 seconds, Best Shot & Noise Reduction, QVGA Movie Mode at 15 frames per second with audio up to the limits of the card, live Histogram, Bracketing of Exposure, White Balance, Focus Point (Foreground, Center & Background), Contrast, Sharpness, Color Effect & Portrait, Auto Rotation of Images during playback, External Strobe Terminal, Long Life Lithium Battery, Wireless Remote, Digital Soft Focus & Sport Modes, 5 area Multi-Area Focus, Spot Focus with 9 user selections, Optional Wide and Tele Converter Lens, PictBridge compatibility, Image Alarm with sound and image, and it will allow you to make HTML albums. The camera has a number of other standard features and overall we have to say this is one loaded camera from Casio.The EX-P600 will ship on March 04, 2004 at a street price of 649.99. Here is a link to our Casio Exlim Pro EX-P600 Preview Page with the Casio Press Release, full specifications and product photos.



We along with several others had the opportunity to see the an early version of the upcoming Konica Minolta Maxxum 7 Digital Camera which will only be showcased under glass at their booth here at PMA 2004.
Today Konica Minolta is making what is known as a Development Announcement of their first Digital SLR camera, which is based upon their film Maxxum 7/Dynax 7 SLR camera. It will have a 6 Megapixel CCD which we were advised will be "APS" sized. It will feature Minolta's Anti-Shake technology which is also found in their DiMage A1 and A2 cameras. This Anti-Shake system is a unique Konica Minolta method which is not within the lenses or optics but rather is within the camera itself and moves the CCD to counter shake at a very rapid speed. The new Maxxum 7 Digital DSLR will be compatible with all Minolta Lenses. It will be available in the Fall of 2004.
Below we have several pictures of the development model showing many of the dials and features. We note that the camera has buttons for such things as white balance, EV control, selectable AF modes, Dual command dials, ISO button, an anti-shake on/off button, a large aprox. 2.0 inch LCD and 3 user settings. We will try and obtain even more details about the specifications however at this time Konica Minolta has released very little additional details. Here are pictures we obtained at a special preview!




Sony is announcing today 5 new Cyber-Shot Digital Cameras and a new portable Photo Printer. The new line-up for 2004 will now start with a $200 4 megapixel fixed lens camera called the P41 and then includes the new 4 megapixel P73 which offers a 3X optical zoom lens and uses 2 AA batteries, the 5 megapixel P93 which has a 3X optical zoom and also operates on 2 AA batteries at a price of $350 and the new P100, which has a 5 megapixel CCD and a 3X optical zoom. The P100 has a very small compact size by using Sony's thin InfoLithium Battery. The P100 will sell at a price of $400. All 4 of the new P-Series cameras will ship in May.

The 3 new P-Series Cybershots all use the new Real Image Processor (RGBG) developed by Sony last year for improved processing of images for better speed including very fast camera start-up times, fast shutter lag times, and improved color/white balance results. All of the new P-Series cameras use the newer Sony Memory Stick Pro Cards for faster operations. Here is the Sony P-Series Press Release for futher details as well as product photos.

Sony is also announcing today a new 5 megapixel compact RangeFinder style Cyber-Shot camera with a HUGE 2.5 LCD screen. Real Image Processing (R-G-B-G), The new W1 camera has a f/2.8 Carl Zeiss lens with 3X optical zoom but it loses the hot-shoe found on last year's V1 model. The W1 features a live histogram, 340 shot battery life, an optical viewfinder, aprox. 1 second shot to shot timing, 49 point multi-point metering, use of Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro cards, 5 area Multi-Point auto focus, manual exposure controls, auto fill flash, 6 pre-set scene modes and a removable outer ring allowing access to a conversion ring threads for use of accessory lenses. The W1 will be available in May at a price of $499. Here is the new Cyber-ShotW1 Press Release and further product photos.

Sony is announcing today the new DPP-EX50 dye-sublimation photo printer. This new home printer offers PictBridge connectivity directly with PictBridge enabled cameras, it has two USB connections, and it has built-in memory slots for both Memory Stick Pro and Compact Flash type I and II. It can print really nice 4 by 6 inch prints in 80 which we saw in demonstrations with Sony several weeks ago. Sony also showed us a fairly effective built-in red-eye removal feature and other editing abilities. The new printer can also be connected up to your TV to view images and edit them. We were very impressed with this portable printer and made some really sharp, colorful glossy samples of our own in just minutes. This would be a great printer to take to a party or event and make pictures away from the home. The DPP-EX50 will ship in March at a price of $189. A set of 25 prints with the color producing ribbon is $17. Here is the full DPP-EX50 Press Release and product photo.



Epson is announcing today the new 6 color Epson Stylus Photo R200 ink-jet printer which offers CD and DVD direct printing for only $99. The new R200 has a resolution of up to 5760 by 1440 dpi using dye based inks with an ability to use ink droplets of only 3 Picoliters. The ink droplets have 8 variable sizes. Included with the printer is software and a special front loading tray for CD and DVD labelling on specially made printable media. The loading tray slides through the printer's straight paper path. The R200 has 2 USB 2.0 ports including one in the front for easy connection with a laptop. The R200 can print borderless photo prints at 4 by 6, 5 by 7 and 8 by 10 inches. Epson has increased the speed of this printer which can make 4 by 6 inch photos in just 37 seconds and 8 by 10 inch prints in 78 seconds. The R200 offers Print Image Matching compatibility and EXIF 2.2 compatibility. We will have more on this great new printer at such a low price later today. Here is the Epson Fact Sheet provided to us by Epson.



Epson is announcing today a new Scan-Print-Copy device that creates an all-in-one photo center for your digital picture files and your old film negatives/slides/prints. The new Stylus Photo RX600 features a 6 ink photo printer using individual inks at a resolution up to 5760 by 1440 and has memory slots for almost all card formats now available. It also has direct printing from your camera using PictBridge enabled cameras. The 48 bit scanner can accept film slides and negatives as well as color copy existing photos. It has a 2.5 inch LCD display panel and it can edit pictures without need of a computer. The printer can be connected to a computer via USB or it accepts an optional Blue Tooth device. We will get to see this new product at PMA and will have more coverage ASAP. The Photo RX600 sells for a suggested price of $349.99. Here is the full Epson Press Release.




Foveon has issued a Press Release regarding the use of their image sensor in the first Point and Shoot Style Camera. The NEW Polaroid X530 will use the Foveon X3 4.5 megapixel image sensor which directly captures colors in three layers in each pixel. The camera will produce X3 RAW files and will be capable of capturing VGA resolution Video at 30 frames per second. The X3 RAW Files will be able to take advantage of Foveon's recent X3 Fill Light Software that has demonstrated to us in using the Sigma SD10 camera which also uses a larger DSLR version of the Foveon X3 chip to be quite a fantastic editing tool to dramatically bring out both shadows and highlights in pictures. The Polaroid X530 will feature a 3X optical zoom lens made by Ricoh, it will have a fairly large 2.0 inch LCD screen, and it will use SD format memory cards. The new Polaroid X530 will ship in June, 2004 at a price of $399. Right now there is very little information on this very interesting development for the Polaroid name and also for Foveon although we found some of the specifications which can be seen using the link below. We will bring you as many details about this new camera just as soon as we can from PMA 2004. There is more news and further details to come regarding this camera, we promise. Here is the full Foveon/Polaroid Press Release.



Canon is announcing today 7 new PowerShot Digital Cameras and 3 new Photo Printers which they will be displaying for the first time at the upcoming PMA Tradeshow starting this Thursday in Las Vegas. Several of the new PowerShot Camera models feature a new 'Print Share' button on the back, along with more advanced features at their price levels, and more competitive pricing overall. The new Powershot and Printer models are as follows:

1. Canon PowerShot A310 - This small, compact and affordable pocket sized camera replaces the current A300 model but now ads a Print/Share button on the back of the camera. The new print button works to automatically make prints and/or transfers to a computer with one press of a button as there is no menu. This camera has a fixed lens, so there is no optical zoom, although there is an ability to use a 5.1X digital zoom. Both these new A-Series cameras use a Compact Flash Type I card and AA batteries with the A310 only needing two, and the A75 taking 4. The PowerShot A310 is due in stores in April at a price of just $199.

2. Canon PowerShot A75 - a 3 megapixel, 3X (35 to 105) optical zoom camera which replaces the current A70 by also adding the Print Share button on the back. In addition the new A75 has a more curved look and feel to the hand grip and it is going to a bigger 1.8 inch LCD flip screen on the back with increased 118,000 pixel resolution for brighter and improved display. The A75 also has new and additional scene modes such as underwater photography, foliage, and beach. There is also a new Postcard Date Imprint mode for sending out dated postcards with auto cropping for ease of printing out 4 by 6 inch postcards. Other improved features on the PowerShot A75 include the camera's new nine-point autofocus system (improved from the A70's five-point system). Canon indicates that the camera is able to evaluate a larger percentage of the picture area, and thus it improves the odds of locking on to the desired subject quickly. The A75 also features an override function that lets one choose between center-area autofocus manual focusing. Finally, the A75 has an image orientation sensor built-in to rotate pictures automatically as needed. Canon indicates in their materials that the A75 will at 3.2 megapixels will be the lowest megapixel camera now offered by Canon. The PowerShot A75 is also expected to ship in April, at a price of $299.

3. Canon PowerShot S410 - This is a 4 megapixel camera with a nice 3X optical zoom. It is an upgrade to the existing S400 by adding the 'Print/Share Button'. The new button is located on the back of the camera and when the camera is connected to the printer the Print/Share button illuminates to let the user know to press the Print/Share button and then begin the printing process. The new ELPH cameras now include Direct Print options like the interesting sounding ID Photo Print that automatically generates passport style prints on 4x6 paper with Canon CP type printers. It also makes ID prints of various sizes with in-camera image cropping using the camera's monitor. The PowerShot S410 Digital ELPH camera can records movies with sound at 15 frames per second for clips of up to three-minutes each at 320 x 240 or 160 x 120 resolution. The new PowerShot S410 will sell at a new price of $399.

4. Canon PowerShot S500 - A new 5 megapixel Digital Elph camera which includes the new 'Print/Share' button as well as the same lens and specifications of the S410. It has the same 5 megapixel CCD found in the Canon G5 and the Canon S50 cameras. It is the first model in this class to offer 640 x 480 movie recording at ten frames per second for up to 30 seconds per clip. The S500 has a fast f/2.8-4.9 3X optical zoom lens with a range of 36 to 108mm. It can focus as close as 2 inches in Macro mode. It uses Compact Flash Type I cards and weighs just 6.5 ounces. Both the S410 and S500 feature a 10x zoom capability on playback using the camera's 1.5 inch, 118,000 pixel LCD monitor and operate on a special thin rechargeable lithium ion battery pack. The S-500 Elph will be available in April at a price of $499.99.

5. Canon PowerShot SD110 - This is the smallest Digital Elph to date with a 3.2 megapixel CCD, a 2X optical zoom lens with coverage from 35 to 70mm, and weighing in at just 5.8 ounces. It has the same classic Elph shape and stainless steel body with a new "silver white" color finish. has a macro mode of just 3.9 inches and records high resolution 640 x 480 movies with sound for clips of up to 30 seconds and clips of up to three minutes at lower 320 x 240 and 160 x 120 resolutions. The PowerShot SD110 Digital Elph camera will be available April for an estimated street price of *$299. PowerShot SD110 Digital ELPH kit includes two dedicated software CDs, a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack and charger, USB and AV cables and a 16MB SD memory card, as well as, printed manuals and a Canon USA limited warranty card.

6. Canon PowerShot S1 - This is an all new camera line for Canon with the S1 being designed for all around shooting and would make a great camera to take on a vacation according to Canon. It offers very capable still imaging and video recording making this one of the first of its kind, two in one cameras. It has a huge 10X optical zoom lens (f/2.8-3.1) with a range of 38 to 380, and built-in optical Image Stabilization (users can shoot at shutter speeds two stops lower than what would normally be possible)! When the optical zoom is used with the camera's 3.2x digital zoom, the range becomes a 1,216mm lens. It further has UNLIMITED VGA 640 by 480 movies with audio at 30 frames per second up to the capacity of your memory card and/or battery. The camera can accept both Compact Flash Type I and Type II including new 2 Gigabyte Microdrives and CF cards, with movie recording lasting an hour per 1 Gigabyte. The still images and/or movies can be taken with the Image Stabilization on, and you can zoom in or out during movie shooting as the fast Ultrasonic motors are very quit and not heard on the audio! The camera uses a 1/2.7 inch 3.2 Megapixel CCD and a standard Primary color Bayer Filter with the original DIGIC processor. The new PowerShot S1 has full manual controls for advanced flexibility. It also has Canon's FlexiZone AF/AE system and manual focus override. Focus is possible down to 3.9 inches. The PowerShot S1 IS has a variable-angle 1.5 inch, 114,000 pixel LCD Monitor that can be folded in or out similar to the A80 and G5 digital cameras. The PowerShot S1 IS features an electronic, eye-level viewfinder with 114,000-pixel resolution and a built-in diopter correction. The S1 is powered by 4 AA batteries. A Tele converter lens is available extending the optical zoom to 608mm and a wide angle lens converter offers 24.5mm. According to the information we received there is also an optional underwater housing rated for use at depths as low as 130 feet. The S1 has both Canon Direct Printing and is compatible with PictBridge enabled printers. The camera will come in a silver colored body at a price of $499 arriving in April 2004.

7. Canon PowerShot Pro 1 - This is Canon's entry into the 8 Megapixel Category (3264 by 2448) using a 2/3 inch CCD and a 7X f2.4-f3.5 Optical Zoom lens which ranges from 28 to 200mm and utilizes an Ultrasonic Motor for high-speed zooming operation which Canon indicates can be activated by a twist of a ring on the lens. The Pro 1 will be the first Canon Powershot fixed lens camera to feature the high quality Canon L-Series lens ("Canon reserves the "L-series" designation for the very best quality in terms of optical as well as mechanical design") with 14 elements in 10 groups (including 1 fluorite & 2 UD glass which Canon claims will reduce aberrations). The Pro 1 will come in an all black all Metal body and is about 1/2 the size of the Sony F828 according to Canon. It is described as a light weight and compact camera and it has a 2 inch, 235,00 pixel, 270 degree swivel LCD on the back for flexible shooting and viewing. The Pro1 has a eye level electronic viewfinder that is also 235,000 pixels and features a new power-saving "Display Off" mode that turns off the viewfinder or the monitor after a user-set time. The camera also features full manual control including a manual focus ring on the lens. It has a movie mode with sound that records up to 30 seconds of 640 by 480 video with sound at 15 frames per second and 3 min. at 320 by 240 at 15fps. The S1 will have shutter speeds of 15 to 1/4000 of a second and will use the DIGIC processor and a Primary color filter.

The PowerShot Pro 1 has a Hybrid autofocus (AF) system which combines TTL and external metering. The focus even has a movable "FlexiZone" AF/AE system. The Pro 1 also has and a 3.2 Digital Zoom and a regular Macro Mode allowing focus down to 3.9 of a inch as well as a 'Super Macro Mode" with a focus down to 1.2 inches at 5 megapixel resolution.The ISO Range is Auto, ISO 50/100/200/400. It has a built-in Pop-Up flash, and a hot-shoe for optional speedlights. It even has Flash Exposure Compensation, that is something 300D fans miss. The Pro 1 has Interval Shooting Increments from 1–60 min. up to 100 shots with this depending on the Compact Flash capacity. There is a burst mode which supports shooting images at 2.5 per second, up to 6. The camera can also take approximately 1 shot per second up to 18 shots. White Balance Modes Auto/ pre-set/ daylight/ Cloudy/ Tungsten/ Fluorescent/ Fluorescent H/Flash, and custom with 2 positions). The camera uses Compact Flash Type I & II and can capture RAW images with images up to 23MB. Playback includes 9 thumbnail display, Slide Show, Movie Replay with sound, Magnify up to 10X and Intelligent Orientation Sensor, along with a still histogram display. Sound Memos up to 60 seconds can be added to images. The Pro 1 supports both Direct Printing and PictBridge. Battery is the Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery BP-511A/514 (BP-511/512 are available.) The Pro1 accepts accessory converter lenses with optional lens adapters including a Tele Converter that extends the zoom out to 300mm and a 58mm 500D close up lens. Dimensions (W x D x H) 117.5 x 72 x 90.3mm (ex. viewfinder and protrusions) Weight Approx. 545g (camera body only). The Pro1 will begin shipping in March at an estimated street price of $999.

8. Canon 9900 Photo Printer - This new top-of-the-line Canon printer uses a new set of 8 color Canon Dye Inks ("ChromaPLUS") in individual cartridges to produce up to 13 by 19 inch borderless photos at 4800 by 2400 resolution and using a smaller 2 picoliter ink droplet from 512 Nozzles per color or a total of 6144 Nozzles ejecting 122 million droplets per second. Canon is adding two new Inks, a new Orange color which has a somewhat red appearance (for better yellows and reds) and a new Green color (for richer greens) to help the printer obtain an increased color gamut. It has 3 ways to connect to it, Firewire, USB 1.1 and USB 2.0, with the Firewire and USB 2.0 offering very fast print times. Canon indicates that this printer will have quite a bit of speed as it can print text at 16 pages per minute, borderless 4 by 6 inch Photos in 32 seconds, 5 by 7 in 45 and a 8 1/2 by 11 inch in 84 seconds and a 13 by 19 inch can be printed out in 3 minutes. It supports the PictBridge printing AND Canon Direct Printing formats as well as ICC profiles! This printer looks fantastic with the use of dye inks it promises to have excellent vivid color glossy printing and Canon indicated to us that this printer will be outstanding for black and white printing! Canon is also releasing a new version of its Easy-PhotoPrint software - version 2.1 that is bundled with the new 9900 Photo Printer. The new software works directly with Canon's new Digital Photo Professional software and together the they are now capable of identifying color-space information automatically and transferring it accurately to the printer. Canon indicates in the Press Release that the new Easy-PhotoPrint v2.1 software enables image data obtained in Adobe RGB with a broad color range to be more faithfully printed on the Canon i9900 photo printer .The new Canon 9900 Photo Printer will have an MSRP of $499 and will ship in May 2004.

9. Canon I80 Printer - This highly portable & compact model with a newly designed print head replaces the current I70 model and features both 5 and 2 picoliter ink droplets at 4800 by 1200 resolution using 1088 nozzels. It can produce 4 by 6, 5 by 7 and 8.5 by 11 inch borderless photo quality prints now at faster desk top speeds. It can print 14 ppm black text and color pages at 10 ppm. Other changes include an increased size of the ink cartridge and there is an option for BlueTooth to be added for $79.00 allowing direct wireless prints from other BlueTooth units such as cell phones with cameras or PDAs. The i80 mobile printer also includes a built-in IrDA port. There is a auto power portable battery unit which will sell for $89.99 and a cradle kit with an extra battery and charger unit for $139.99. It supports both PictBridge and Canon Direct Printing without need for a computer. The I80 should be available in the next week or two and will sell for $249.99.

10. Prograf W6200 Photo Printer - This is one of the fastest 24-inch pigment ink printers, with breakthrough wide format output speeds combined with superior image and archival quality. It uses Canon's singular bi-directional head, MicroFine Droplet Technology™ and pigment ink solution. Canon's imagePROGRAF W6200 is said to quickly produces highly detailed, brilliant, photo-quality archival prints and proofs up to 24 inches wide. The printer comes with PS-level 3 compatible raster image processor (RIP) software and retails at less than $3500.

For more details including additional product photos and the official Canon Press Releases see the Canon PMA 2004 Digital Elph Preview Page, the Canon PowerShot S1 Preview Page, the Canon PowerShot Pro1 Preview Page, the Canon A-Series Preview Page or the Canon PMA 2004 Photo Printers Preview Page.



The first model aimed for the professional crowd is the highly anticipated Fuji FinePix S3 Pro DSLR digital camera. This camera will not disappoint all the professionals and others who were speculating recently just what Fuji would announce at PMA this year. The new S3 Pro will feature a new 12.2 effective Megapixel Super CCD sensor with 6.1 megapixels especially designed to better capture highlights and paired to another set of 6.1 megapixels of sensors better suited to capturing shadows. The technology used in this version of the SuperCCD was first announced last year in the consumer Fuji Finepix F700 camera and has been widely acknowledged to effectively deliver on the promise of providing a much greater dynamic range between shadows and highlights compared to the competition. The sensor has a size of 23mm by 15.5mm which would indicate the pixels are in deed generally much larger than the pixels used in the prior F700 and almost all other consumer fixed lens cameras. This should allow for much lower noise levels at all ISO settings. The near APS size of the new sensor will mean that images will have an approximate 1.5 crop of the field of view as do many of the current DSLRs (a 50mm lens will produce the equivalent of a 75 mm image). The new FinePix S3 will have both Firewire and USB 2.0 connectivity with PCs and it will have dual memory slots which will accept both xD cards and Compact Flash type I or II cards. Fuji has indicated to us in our product briefing that the body is not a re-design of an off the shelf or currently available body, but rather is being built from the ground up by Fuji and will be made of a sturdy Poly Carbonate material. The FinePix F3 will retain a Nikon Lens mount and Fuji indicates that it will be compatible with an even wider assortment of existing Nikon compatible lenses. It will also accept all Nikon Speedlights and has D-TTL capabilities. Other details we learned about this camera include the fact it will have dual shutter release buttons (for vertical and horizontal shooting) and the LCD monitor will now have a larger 2.0 inch size and will have a 235,000 pixel resolution with a new Multi-View or wider angle of view screen! The camera will be powered by 4 AA batteries, and will accept even alkaline batteries. Currently few other details are know, and FujiFilm USA has not yet established an exact shipping date, other than to indicate availability in the 2nd half of 2004, and the MSRP has not been determined yet.

The second camera also aimed at the professional and advanced photographer is the new Fuji FinePix S20 Pro digital camera. This camera shares the same SuperCCD found in last year's revolutionary F700 digital camera which features 6.2 megapixels with 3.1 megapixels designed for improved dynamic range by better capturing of highlights and paired with 3.1 megapixels that are designed to better capture the shadow areas of an image. The camera further shares many of the design and other features of last year's Fuji S7000 camera including having the same body and 6X optical zoom lens. The new FinePix S20 features include an excellent Movie mode which captures at VGA 640 by 480 resolution at 30 fps up to the capacity of the memory card, and it has dual memory card slots and like the S3 DSLR camera it accepts both xD memory cards and Compact Flash type I and II cards which includes the Microdrive. Additional features include PC Sync capabilities, both Firewire and USB 2.0 PC connectivity, and thus the camera can be operated using the new Fuji FinePix viewer while tethered to a PC. Users can control the aperture, shutter speed and shutter among other functions of the camera from a connected PC, including having live Video feed from the camera to the PC. The FinePix S20 will be available in March, 2004 at a MSRP of $999.

Fuji is also announcing the new FinePix A330 and FinePix A340 consumer digital cameras. These cameras offer faster operation times, slimmer designs, and improved power consumption allowing up to 250 shots using a set of new AA batteries (and 540 images using fresh 2300 mAh batteries, with new user-friendly menu navigation. The FinePix A330 is a 3.2 megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom, while the A340 is a 4 megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom. The cameras offer several scene modes such as portrait, night, sports and landscape settings. The specifications for these cameras indicates that they can focus up to only 4 inches away from the lens. The cameras do have an AVI movie mode which can capture at a rate of 10 frames per second. The cameras are compatible with an optional FujiFilm Picture Cradle, which also can act as the charger unit for the optional NH-10 battery and provides video playback when connected to a TV. Fuji indicates that both cameras have a fast 3.3 second start-up time and improved shot to shot times. These new cameras have PictBridge compatibility which allows direct printing of photos with PictBridge Printers.

The FinePix A330 and A340 will ship with FinePix Viewer, ImageMixer VCD2 for FinePix, a 16MB xD- Picture Card™, two AA alkaline batteries, USB cable, video out cable, wrist strap, and a Picture Cradle adapter. The FinePix A330 will be available in March 2004 at a list price of $199.99, and the FinePix A340 will ship in May 2004 at a list price of $249.99.



Pentax USA announced 3 new Optio Digital Cameras today, the 4 megapixel Optio S4i, the 4 megapixel Optio S40, and the 3 megapixel Optio30. All three cameras feature a 3X optical zoom lens, with the Optio S4i and Optio S40 sharing the same retractable high quality smc Pentax zoom lens with coverage from 35 to 105mm. The Optio30 has a zoom coverage from 38 to 108mm.

The Optio S41 (shown above) is an updated version of last year's 4 megapixel Optio S4 and features a very thin and ultra-compact aluminium alloy body that measures .81 inches in thickness, it has 10MB of memory built-in, uses SD or MMC memory, has a Lithium-Ion battery along with a 'cradle' for recharging, an optional underwater casing and can record movies with sound at 320 by 240 at 15 frames per second. It also features a 1.8 inch LCD display, has voice recording, a large variety of scene modes, has a 4X digital zoom, manual focus, offers histogram display in shooting or playback modes, there are controls for sharpness, contrast and saturation, it has a time lapse feature along with 21 shooting modes including an interesting sounding 3D mode, and a panoramic stick assist mode, ISO range from 50 to 400, has a Quick button for easy and quick access back to into shooting mode, there is a night scene mode, and it has bundled in the box ACDSee version 5.1. Like so many new cameras these days the Optio S4i has PictBridge connectivity with a PictBridge printer allowing printing directly from the camera to the printer without need of a computer. Pentax indicates in material provided to us that the S4i has a shutter lag time of just 0.01. The camera has USB mass storage compatibility and USB connectivity. There is an optional remote control unit for this camera or you can use a built-in a self-timer for self portraits. The camera will be available in April, however there is apparently no current MSRP at this time.

The Optio S40 is another 4 megapixel camera with a very compact body that is just one inch in thickness and weighs only 4.4 ounces without batteries (it uses 2 AA) and SD memory card. It comes in a nice looking aluminium design and easily will fit into a pocket or purse. Once again it has the same 4X digital zoom mentioned above, giving it a total of 12X Zoom and there is a nine mode dial positioned on top of the camera. The new Help function displays simple explanations of all of the button functions on the screen. It also has the PictBridge connectivity, which allow you to print directly with PICTBRIDGE supported photo ink jet printers. The Optio S40 has a movie mode with sound and can also record Voice recorded messages. There are 8 special scene modes, including a Surf mode, Snow mode, and Marine mode for shots underwater with optional underwater housings. Images are stored on SD or MMC cards, or on the 11MB of built in memory. The S40 can also work with a remote control unit, and it can record up to 30 second memos at a time. Advanced features include a Histogram available in both shooting and playback modes. The S40 will also be available in April at a currently unknown price.

The third model is the Optio30, a 3.2 megapixel camera with a 3X non-retractable zoom lens and a 4X digital zoom. The Optio30 features a Macro mode with focus down to just .79 inches from a subject, as well as simple menus including a split-screen option with full menus that offer helpful tutorial explanations of the most frequently used digital photo functions. There is 16 megabytes of built-in memory so the camera is ready to shoot without even installing a SD or MMC memory card. The mode dial on the Optio30 offers 12 shooting mode selections including 'Party' mode, 'Cuisine' mode and a 'Pet' mode, to assist in taking pictures of your pet, and there is a program mode for auto shutter speed, aperture and auto focus. This camera is also PictBridge compatible, allowing printing directly with PictBridge enable printers without need of a computer. Movies without sound can be recorded at 320 by 240 or 160 by 120 and special effects such as black and white and sepia are available. In regular picture mode there are 9 filter choices such as black and white, sepia, red, pink, purple, blue, green, yellow and brightness. The Optio30 also ships with ACDSee and has USB compatibility. The camera has a built-in auto flash with a red-eye reduction feature, and also has a 1.6 inch color LCD screen. Other features include interval shooting, an optical viewfinder, Nine Image/8X zoom playback, self-timer, continuous shooting, ISO range of 50, 100 or 200, sharpness, saturation and contrast settings, 4 in 1 shooting (4 shots in one frame), manual focusing and histogram display in both shooting and playback modes. The Optio30 will ship in April however once again we have no estimated pricing information.

For further details see our News Forum for posted stories featuring the press releases and fact sheets with all of the camera features as well as product photos.



Kodak has announced today 4 cameras including a somewhat unique new 6 Megapixel (files are 2856 by 2142) model called the EasyShare DX7630 which will sell for a suggested price of $499.95 starting in April. The new DX7630 has a 3X optical zoom lens (39 - 117mm) using a F2.8 - 8.0 Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens and offers manual metering controls, shutter speed range of 64 seconds to 1/1400 of a second, 16 special Scene Modes, a large 2.2 inch LCD display using 153,000 pixels, a very fast auto focus system with special low light capabilities (combines rapid phase detection with highly accurate through the lens (TTL) contrast detection) whick Kodak claims allows a 0.3 click to click capture time, 320 by 240 resolution movies with sound at 24fps up to the cards capacity, use of SD and MMC memory cards with 32 MB of built-in memory, the Kodak Print Share button for tagging images of e-mailing, or marking camera favourites for in-camera photo albums and use with the optional Camera Dock 6000 which is sold separately for $79.95 dollars. The EasyShare DX7630 will use a Kodak Lithium-Ion battery and has USB 2.0 computer connectivity. Kodak indicates that image quality in this model is stunning by using a new high quality German precision made Schneider-Kreuznauh lens and will be heightened even further with what they call the KODAK Color Science image processing chip for faster more sophisticated image processing routines in camera. There are also some nice advanced features in this new Kodak such as first and last burst modes, flash compensation, selectable sharpness, up to 8X magnification in review mode, Auto Picture Rotation, always ready to Snap feature which allows you to snap a picture immediately regardless of the mode or menu you are in, and what Kodak indicates is a highly responsive camera operation speed.

The next camera is called the EasyShare CX7430 which is a 4 Megapixel camera (2304 by 1728) using a F2.7 - 4.6, 3X optical zoom lens by Kodak. This camera has a 1.6 inch LCD display, the red jeweled Kodak "Share" button and features, movie mode with sound at 640 by 480 resolution at 13 frames per second or 320 by 240 at 20 frames a second up to the memory card's capacity, use of SD and MMC cards with 16MB of built-in memory, it uses just 2 AA batteries, and has USB connectivity along with the ability to use the optional Kodak Docking Unit 6000. The CX7430 also has the new "Camera Favorites" feature which allows storage of multiple pictures in an on-camera digital photo album. Kodak indicates that this camera will ship in March at an estimated price of $279.

Next Kodak has announced a new 3.2 Megapixel camera with a 3X digital zoom only (No Optical Zoom) called the EasyShare CX7300. This camera also uses a 1.6 inch LCD display to produce images with a resolution of 2080 by 1544 pixels. It has a movie mode which no sound that records at a resolution of 320 by 240 at 15 frames per second. The CX7300 will sell at a suggested price of $129 and will be available starting in March.

Finally, Kodak has announced a 2 Megapixel model (1632 by 1232) called the EasyShare CX7220. This camera has a 2X optical zoom lens at F3.8 to 5.0, a 1.5 inch LCD display and a movie mode with sound which records at 320 by 240 resolution and 15 frames per second. This model will not ship until May 2004 but will have a price of just $149.



Canon has announced today details of their new EOS D1 Mark II professional DSLR camera which will retail at a price of around $4500 and will be available in April here in the USA along with two new Lenses (see link below for more Camera & Lens details). The new camera features an 8.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor with RGB primary color filtering and can shoot images at rate of 8.5 frames per second, up to 40 jpeg images (20 RAW) at a time. The new 8.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor retains the same physical size (28.7 x 19.1mm), and a 1.3X field of view crop used on the prior 4 megapixel 1D camera as well as a 3:2 aspect ratio. Canon indicates that the new image sensor is using a new high-speed 8-channel reading technology to deliver a very high image quality with low noise and a high S/N ratio. Canon has used a newly developed DIGIC II imaging engine compatible with DDR-SDRAM to obtain the fast 8.5 frames per second with 8.2 megapixel 12 bit images. The new D1 Mark II has an advanced new Evaluative Through-The-Lens (E-TTL) Autoflash system for improved evaluative metering and new averaged metering using new recording alogorithms in order to obtain more consistent flash metering. The new WB Compensation system allows separate or combined adjustment of blue/amber and magenta/green biases in ±9 steps and there are a total of 10 White Balance Settings with fine tuning compensation of the color temperature. This provides the effect of using light-balancing (LB) and color-correction (CC) filters, with 360 combinations of 36 (4 colors with 9 steps each) built-in digital color filters. There are 45 AutoFocus Points. The camera has a 21-Zone TTL full aperture metering. Shutter speeds range from 1/8000 to 30 second in 1/3-stop increments with bulb and a X-sync at 1/250 sec. There are 7 Color Matrix settings for the JPEG and RAW images, which provides easy adjustment of color space, saturation and color tone. There are 5 factory presets, two customizable settings that have five-level adjustment that can be saved for use at a later time. ISO speeds range from 50 to 3200 and are adjustable in 1/3 increments. The EOS-1D Mark II features a rigid magnesium alloy and the external covers that contribute to electromagnetic shielding, and low body weight. The shutter durability is rated at 200,000 shutter cycles. The camera has dual slots and can record images on both Compact Flash Memory Cards (Type I & Type II) as well as Secure Digital Memory Cards. Playback is performed on a new 2.0 inch LCD display with 230,000 pixel resolution and a 10X magnification ability. The 1D Mark II does have audio recording capability. The camera has both Firewire and USB connectivity. Canon is also announcing a new EOS Viewer Utility Software for much faster image preview, and Digital Photo Professional for high-speed processing that provides easier operability and handling of the RAW images. Dimensions 156 (W) x 157.6 (H) x 79.9 (D) mm / 6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in. Weight 1220 g/43 oz. (Body only. battery: 335 g/11.8 oz.).

For more details see our Canon EOS 1D Mark II Preview Page with additional product photos, specifications and the Canon USA press release along with information on 2 new lenses by Canon which will be available in March.


Nikon is announcing details today of their upcoming under $1000 D70 DSLR interchangeable lens camera initially mentioned by Nikon in December for a product launch this Spring as well as their new 8 megapixel Coolpix 8700. We have full details of the Coolpix 8700 and hands on information in the story below.

Previously little was known about the new affordable Nikon D70 DSLR camera although much speculation was out there. According to the press release from Nikon the new D70 will feature a new generation 6.1 Megapixel CCD with improved dynamic range (12 bit) & signal to noise ratio, and will retain the same dimensions set for the Nikon DX lens system meaning there will still be an approximate 1.5X field of view crop (A 50mm lens will result in a 75mm equivalent area captured by the CCD). The camera will come configured in two ways. You can buy the 'Outfit' for an estimated street price of $1,299 which includes the new Nikkor AF-S DX 18 to 70 mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED lens, or you can buy the 'Set' which is just the camera body for $999. Both configurations come with the rechargeable battery and charger unit, a strap and Nikon Picture Project Software.

The new D70 has some incredible specifications, and Nikon claims it will have features beyond any other camera in its class (aka the Digital Rebel). In addition to a stated Ultra-Fast shutter lag time, it has a new advanced System LSI processor which Nikon claims ensures images with vivid color, accurate white balance and low noise. Nikon has added what they describe as a phenomenal new Dynamic Buffer technology which allows the D70 to take up to 144 continuous pictures at a rate of 3 pictures per second when using the JPEG Normal setting, Large Image Size, and a SanDisk 256 MB Ultra II CompactFlash card. Nikon claims this new burst mode is made possible by a combined new method of buffer handling, faster image processing, increased memory card access, and a greater system bus bandwidth. There are 25 Custom Settings in the Menus, and the camera has many image controls such as saturation, sharpness, color hue and contrast. The back of the camera has a 1.8-in., 130,000-dot, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment.

The additional features include what Nikon calls their 7 new 'Digital Vari-Program Modes'( accessed from a new 'Mode" dial), as well as simultaneous RAW and JPEG image writing to the memory cards, and a new i-TTL flash compatibility with a sync speed of 1/500 of a second. Shutter speeds range from 30 to 1/8000 of a second and the ISO range is from 200 to 1600 (according to the specs sensitivity can be extended by 1 or 2 steps beyond ISO 1,600). The camera has a 5 area auto-focus system which Nikon claims is extremely fast, predictive tracking focus with fast lock on, and it has an AutoFocus Assist Lamp for focus in dark lighting. The camera is ready the instant it is turned on and has what Nikon states is near-instant image review in the LCD Monitor! The D70 uses the rechargeable high-energy EN-EL3 lithium-ion battery which is also used in the D100 and delivers what Nikon has rated as the power to shoot up to 2,000 images on a single charge. And, Nikon points out in the material released today that the D70 also comes with a battery holder that will let you use disposable batteries if needed (it uses 3 CR2 batteries). The D70 has an auto pop-up built-in flash, and a hot-shoe for accessory flash units.

The camera has USB connectivity and has the PictBridge technology for Printing. Nikon is also indicating that more accurate white balance can be achieved by use of Nikon's 3D Color Matrix Meter which has 1,005-pixels for highly precise control over white balance regardless of lighting conditions. You can choose from auto TTL white balance, six different manual modes, or preset white balance. White balance bracketing is also available. Of course it uses Compact Flash cards, both Type I and Type II and supports both Fat 16 and 32 as well as Lexar's Write Acceleration Technology. The D70 has, unlike the Canon Digital Rebel Flash Exposure Compensation and its appears from the details in the Specifications that ISO can be changed while in Sports mode and/or while using Predictive Focus which however like the Digital Rebel is only automatically activated by subject movement. Wireless remote control operation is made available using an optional ML-L3 (IR) remote control.

Dimensions (W x H x D): 140 x 111 x 78 mm/5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in). Weight; Approx. 595 g (1.3 lbs) without battery.

For more details see the Joint Coolpix 8700 and D70 Press Release and Nikon Japan Press Release with Specifications, and the story below regarding the new 8 megapixel, 8X zoom Nikon Coolpix 8700. We will have more details up ASAP.



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The new Nikon Coolpix 8700 is a 2/3 inch 8 megapixel CCD digital camera featuring an 8X optical Nikkor ED glass zoom lens (retractable style f/2.8 - f/4 upto f/8 range 14 elements, 10 groups) with coverage from 35mm to 280mm, full manual exposure and focus controls, a relatively small & lightweight 17 ounce Magnesium Alloy body, 12 scene modes, RAW image recording, and new for Nikon a 640 by 480 Quicktime movie mode at 30fps with audio (upto 35 second clips)! Other features include a 1.2 inch Macro Mode, continuous shooting at 2.5 frames per second, a high resolution 235,000 dot, .44 inch Electronic Viewfinder, an advanced rotating multi-angled 1.8 inch, 134,000 dot TFT LCD Monitor, one button 'Quick Review', a very Quick Camera Operational Response, 5 area multi-focus, a pop-up built-in Speedlight, as well as a time-lapse movie mode, a hot-shoe for external speed lights, and a 5 shot buffer mode. The Coolpix 8700 will sell at a MSRP of $999.
We have the new Nikon Coolpix 8700 and have just started a brief "First Look" Review, along with some product images. We have been advised that the model we have is not cleared for posting images, however it did perform quite well! We will post samples from a final production unit soon. We do have some of the information such as full product pictures already up, our summary of features, the separate and full. ,Nikon Coolpix 8700 press release and will have much more ASAP.


SanDisk has issued a press release this morning indicating that they have started shipping the world's first 1 Gigabyte Production Secure Digital Flash Memory Card. The 1 GB cards are using a new ultra-thin "stackable" packaging technology developed by Sharp. According to the press release the new Sharp Technology allows a doubling of the capacity that the cards can hold without a need to increase the thickness, which would have prevented the cards from meeting the physical requirements of the format and fit in existing devices such as digital cameras, audio units and PDAs. The new High Capacity cards will sell at a suggested price of $499. According to recent reports the SD Memory Format has become the No. 1 format for memory cards, passing Compact Flash and we have seen companies such as Nikon and Canon move to the SD format especially in their newer small compact type digital cameras. Here is the link to the Full SanDisk Press Release for further details.

PMA 2004 PREVIEW (01/22/04)

The 2004 Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Trade Show is set to begin on Thursday February 12th in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year will mark the 80th anniversary of the PMA, dating back to a start in 1924. The PMA Trade Show is the largest and most important event held in the USA each year for the photography and digital camera industry. It is in fact the world's largest annual photo imaging show with visitors from over 100 countries. (Photokina is larger but is held in Germany every other even numbered year in September). It is a time of year when many new digital cameras and related products to be released in 2004 are announced and often shown to the world. These announcements usually start several weeks before the opening Trade Show day, a time period which is fastly approaching.

For the 4th year in a row, we will be attending the PMA show as registered press (our 5th in a row overall) with an assortment of digital cameras, laptops, computers, pens and notepads in order to provide 'live' online from Las Vegas what has been in the past some of the most detailed and comprehensive PMA coverage available. We will be posting Headline News, Breaking News, Hands on First Look reports, extensive Photo Galleries of New Products and the Trade Show Floor/Booths, Show Reports, Press Releases and other related PMA stories. We will have stories posted on this our main homepage, as well as in our News Forum and on a special PMA 2004 Special Report Page. Included in our coverage will be links to our friends at the other digital camera web sites covering the show and/or PMA news, and we will also feature our TOP 20 NEW PRODUCTS, listing our choices for the most exciting new products announced at the show! We begin our PMA 2004 with this brief preview.

This year it is anticipated that over 30,000 visitors will attend the PMA Trade Show to participate in the over 200 special educational seminars and to visit the approximate 750 companies who display their products and/or services at booths inside the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Trade Show will cover over 1 million square feet including some of the most impressive displays you will see at any trade show in the world. There will be over 300 speakers this year including many chairpersons who will be presenting expert industry insights. Approximately 73% of the show attendees last year indicated they had been in the imaging industry for over 10 years and it is expected that once again this year there will be many of the most experienced individuals in the industry in attendance. PMA is the best place to connect with others in the imaging industry and it is a show we highly recommend that you attend if you have any business involving digital imaging. We are amazed at how many of you out there do not take our friendly yearly advise to attend this show. You are absolutely missing out on the most important event in the industry if you fail to understand how important and helpful attending this show can be to anyone seriously involved in digital imaging.

This is the 2nd year in a row that the PMA Trade Show has been held in Las Vegas, after it was held in Orlando, Florida in 2001 and 2002 (where we understand it will return for 2 years in 2005 and 2006). Although the PMA 2000 show, which was our first PMA, was also held in Las Vegas, there have been a number of changes to the Las Vegas Convention Center, and thus just like last year, the PMA Trade Show will take place almost entirely in the 2 stories which make up the huge new South Hall. There will of course be events, press conferences, and other matters held all over Las Vegas, however the main seminars and Trade Show Floor displays will be at the South Hall of the Convention Center. Also taking place as a part of the PMA organization is the DIMA or Digital Imaging Marketing Association which features special educational and informational seminars specifically on digital imaging related topics. The DIMA events will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday February 10th and 11th, 2004 also in the Las Vegas Convention Center. SEPARATE REGISTRATION AND FEES ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND DIMA EVENTS. The DIMA also conducts each year a popular contest or shoot-off for best camera, imaging products and printers, with winners to be announced at a special ceremony at noon on Friday February 13, 2004. The submitted contest prints are displayed at the DIMA Booth and are often quite interesting to compare and decide on your own what looks best to your eye. We will be posting the DIMA winners as we did last year!

This year press events begin with a special product preview at what is called the "Sneak Peak Lunch" which is for registered members of the media only held on Wednesday February 11, 2004 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm. Depending on each companies preferences, we can on occasion post news of items we see at this event, however other items are restricted until a set time, often the next morning or start of the show. We will next be attending several special press events Wednesday afternoon and evening and then there is a very popular press event with further product previews by most major Digital Imaging Companies attending in one large ballroom with easy access to their small booth displays called Digital Focus. Once again we hope to have some big news stories and a number of new product photos to post following Digital Focus and these other press events.

The next morning Thursday February 12th, 2004, which is the first day the Trade Show Floor opens, there will be what we expect to be an exciting press conference by Konica Minolta at 8:00 am, followed by a press conference by Kodak at 10:30 am, a company still trying to define its future direction and its intentions regarding digital products (just this morning Kodak has announced a plan to slash up to 15,000 employees or 23% of its work force over 3 years in an effort to transition from film to digital products). Day one of the PMA Trade Show Floor Displays begins at 9:45 am and remains open to registered visitors only until 5:30 pm. We can only say that the morning of Thursday February 12, 2004 will consist of a number of MAJOR new digital camera announcements and thus will be a very interesting day for all digital camera fans to watch for. We will be attending press conferences, private meetings and going around taking pictures of new products being displayed at PMA all day Thursday, with breaking news stories and updated web posts through-out the day. We may even have a video or two to add a little extra this year! We will then continue to post news stories and information from Las Vegas with frequent daily updates each day of the show, continuing through the weekend and even into the early part of the next week, when we return home with hundreds and hundreds of trade show photos to review for additional coverage reports and photo galleries. This year we expect to post news on at least 100 new digital imaging products, so get ready for some big news days ahead!

Once again, as we await the start of another PMA show, there remains a lot of speculation out there as to just what direction the digital imaging industry will take this year. It is often only after the entire show that we can give our thoughts as to just what we feel the events at the PMA 2004 demonstrated. We expect that whatever trends there may be occurring in 2004 will emerge to some extent from the totality of announcements and displays during PMA 2004 and the immediate upcoming Pre-PMA announcement time period. However, we are also shown as members of the press cameras and products that will not be announced until much later in the year, including this year products that may not be shown to the public until Photokina in September. Thus, as we have cautioned in the past, the PMA 2004 show may give us a good idea of what the digital imaging companies are planning but it may not show publicly all that is going on. This is especially true as to recent events, where companies may have just learned some valuable lessons and may have to respond, but timing may be too soon for any real details to be announced.

There have already been published stories indicating that many companies will be announcing new & affordable DSLR cameras at PMA 2004 and others are reporting that there will be new 8 megapixel cameras being offered. We cannot really comment too much on these reports of others as we have agreed in NDAs not to comment on products we have been shown until set news embargo times expire. However, the reports of even more of the smaller CCD cameras with higher megapixel counts vs. the larger CCD or CMOS sensors found in DSLRs will continue to fuel the apparent strong feelings many prosumer camera users have out there (who are quite vocal and influential to all buyers) regarding the growing move towards interchangeable DSLR cameras vs. fixed lens high end prosumer cameras. We have seen intense feelings generated over the issues of image quality vs. practicality and value both of these types of cameras have to offer. Many are still wondering if any camera company will step up to the plate and truly offer an affordable high-end prosumer fixed lens camera that will seriously compete in image quality as well as features with the new breed of DSLR cameras! After all, such cameras do offer benefits such as smaller bodies, lighter weight and avoidance of buying into a potential money pit to get the flexibility needed in a camera. So far many have found reason to feel that expectations of such a promised camera have not and can not be met UNTIL the higher megapixel cameras can produce much cleaner images, especially at higher ISOs. We will add to that list, our desire to see such a fixed lens camera that can really work out great for soccer moms and dads, including the ability to shoot excellent shots in indoor venues with faster focus, better predictive focus, with still needed vastly improved buffers and processing speeds etc.... Digital Camera companies are going to have to either solve the noise issues currently inherent in smaller pixels or abandon the insistence of using them even if this means the zoom range is a little more limited, the camera/lens is a few ounces heavier, or for goodness sake, the camera does not have 20 billion more megapixels the size of an atom. This will mean that R& D into new designs with bigger sized Image Sensors will have to proceed at record blazing speed to bring such cameras to market by Photokina and within the calendar 2004 year. Either that, or just accept the fact that in order to get the very best for your advanced needs will require buying into the new DSLRs, and consequently all the added expenses over time such as for additional lenses etc... Is that what all the companies want, a forced choice so more money can be made off lenses? And will the DSLR cameras make the same mistake of shrinking the pixels to cram more into the same sized sensors? Will any company figure out that the masses do want to have the ability to take some images at higher ISOs without all the dang NOISE. What can be done to clean up all the noise. Surely the companies see the noise and they hear it too, very very loudly! What we think 2004 is going to boil down to is whether the digital camera industry can stop the megapixel race in favour of better featured and better image producing cameras, which means they will have to design more practical cameras that can work with bigger image sensors. One thing that is being conveyed loud and clear by the majority of early adopters, hobbyist, reviewers and even just plain masses of potential 2004 new buyers is that they are tired of the compromises on noise and image quality. While we do not condone the anger and bashing many have expressed, we do note the reality that many camera users out there are just about as mad as hell and they are not about to take too much more! Will PMA signal a move to solve these issues, or will the frustration be dragged out. Come see what PMA 2004 has to offer on these issues and many others such as home printing vs. store printing, and the latest new designs such as image stabilization methods and other sought after features. Surely there will be many positive steps, even if its only in a few categories of cameras such as faster snapping 3 and 4 megapixel point and shoot cameras. We have taken many steps forward, as cameras do shoot faster, focus better, meter more consistently, colors are more accurate, prices have come down, and batteries are lasting longer. Where will the companies put their focus next, come read about it in our PMA 2004 coverage!

The PMA Trade Show will take place between Thursday's opening day, until Sunday February 15, 2004. The show floor booth/display hours vary somewhat each day and are as follows:

Those of you wanting to visit the PMA Main Home Page can find it at this link. - PMA HOMEPAGE

The PMA 2004 Trade Show main page with link for registration can be found at this link. - PMA 2004 MAIN PAGE

The DIMA 2004 main page with a link for DIMA registration can be found at this link. - DIMA 2004 MAIN PAGE

A list of PMA 2004 Exhibitors can be found at this link - PMA 2004 EXHIBITORS LIST

A virtual Floor Plan, showing where all the Exhibitor's booths are located can be found at this link - FLOOR PLAN

Some of the best PMA 2004 News coverage can be found right here at http://www.a-digital-eye.com. Stay tuned the fun is just about to start!







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