Magazine Article


PMA 2004

Images & Text by Andrew Darlow (unless noted otherwise)

PMA 2004 (the annual Photo Marketing Association Intl. Conference) was an incredible event. The energy of Las Vegas , combined with miles of exhibitor booths filled with new and innovative photo-related products, made for an unforgettable week. In the opening keynote address by author Kelly Mooney, she described in plain English (and with excellent imagery) how certain companies have been able to attract and retain demanding customers. At the same time, she applied those examples to make recommendations for any business. And there was plenty of business going on at PMA.....

The digital camera business certainly appeared in full bloom at PMA. Cameras of all shapes and sizes were showcased, and a few, like Fuji 's upcoming S3, were sealed like the Hope Diamond under glass. Many new prosumer models, including the Fuji S20 Pro, Canon Pro 1, Olympus C-8080, and Sony F828, were also on display, and a number of the cameras featured at PMA can be found in the 'Zooming In' section of this issue

Many camera companies, such as Olympus, had huge booths on the first floor
of the convention center

There were output devices as far as the eye could see, with pricing from two to six digits. I saw wireless picture-phone-ready kiosks from Kodak and huge UV flatbed printers from Durst and Vutek, capable of printing on virtually any surface. I was impressed by the quality of the direct-printed images on Plexiglass-one of which was over 50" tall by more than 70" long. Encad (now a Kodak company) had a number of large-format inkjet printers and a large display of media options.

HP's booth was filled with inkjet printers of all sizes, including their new 24"-wide Designjet 130, a long-lasting, dye-based, six-color printer with excellent detail and sharpness. There were also countless companies showing off their media and inks. Of particular interest to me were the new art papers and canvases from Magic Inkjet ( Their samples of digital artist Karin Schminke's work were outstanding. I was also invited to the Arches Paper booth, where I showed a few of my prints made on Arches Infinity 230gsm textured fine-art paper.

Printing wirelessly to a Kodak kiosk Vutek's 70" wide UV180 flatbed printer


I also attended a three-hour hands-on class by Julianne Kost entitled "Special Effects for Photographers with Photoshop," one of PMA's many seminars by leaders in the imaging industry. Epson had a series of special presentations during the show, highlighting their new Epson Print Academy Online Experience and second nationwide traveling Print Academy tour. The Online Experience, available at and hosted by Graham Nash, combines real-world advice and inspiring work from some of the world's most respected photographers and printmakers, including Mac Holbert, Jay Maisel, Bob Krist, Douglas Dubler, Vincent Versace, and others. The Online Experience is Mac- or PC-compatible and only requires a high-speed Internet connection. I've been viewing the series almost every day and loving it. I especially like the music, videography, and Tip of the Day segments. The included video library has a wealth of advice on color management, printer maintenance, and Photoshop CS tutorials.

Yours truly in Arches booth showing 'Dalmatian Contemplation' on Arches Infinity paper Photo by Jeff Neumann

Epson P-1000 in one of Epson's show booths

Also on display from Epson: the P-1000, sporting a 3.8" high-res color LCD screen and internal 10GB hard drive for downloading images from CF cards, playing slide shows internally or to a TV, and for direct computer-free output to a number of Epson printers. The device also supports other media with a third-party adapter. I tested the P-1000 and was surprised that it even recognized and displayed thumbnails for the Canon Raw files stored on my CF card.


This being my first PMA, I was amazed by the DIMA Shoot Outs, a collection of contests to determine which camera or printer from a group of submitted entries performs best. Just reading the individual charts, with line after line of judging criteria and scores, was quite enlightening. I was surprised by the immense size of the Shoot Outs and range of technologies represented. For another PMA review and a link to the Shoot Out winners, visit and choose 'Event Reports.'

For the first time, Microsoft had a significant presence at PMA in the form of a very large booth featuring speakers such as Denis Reggie, George Lepp, and Scott Kelby. Their focus was on how Windows XP supports many aspects of digital photography, including still imagery, video, and online print ordering. Next year's PMA is being held in Orlando; I hope Mickey & Minnie are ready for it!