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Getting Past the Hype At PMA 2004



There's no doubt things are tough out there. There's more competition. More overhead. Lower margins. To make everything even more confusing, the most talked about imaging products don't always produce the best profits. Or as Camera Land's Joel Paymer put it in our pre-PMA issue: "It's always great to see the latest and greatest of products from the major manufacturers, but it's equally important to see the stuff in the back of the room that helps pay the rent."

To that end, along with our coverage in other parts of this issue of the latest digital cameras, the newest kiosks and minilabs, and some of the recent developments in the album and frame and home printing markets, we decided to assemble a guide to some of the "less sexy" products released at the show, namely, photo accessories. Included in this guide are everything from lenses and electronic flashes to photographic papers, tripods and film. Yes, film.

We even decided to hunt down what film cameras were released at the show and were pleasantly surprised to find a smattering of new models from such industry stalwarts as Canon, Fujifilm and the recently co-joined Konica Minolta.

Hopefully there's a nugget in all this that might help you and your store "pay the rent."

SLR Film Camera Debuts

Konica Minolta introduced two new film-based SLR cameras at PMA. The cameras-the Maxxum 70 and Maxxum 50.

The Maxxum 70 features a Wide Center-Cross 9-Point autofocusing sensor for increased focusing confidence, Multi-dimensional Predictive Focus Control for moving subjects, and Direct Manual Focus for fine-tuning focusing. Other features include: diopter adjustment, depth of field preview, and Minolta's ADI flash metering.

The Maxxum 50 features a Wide 3-Point autofocusing system, Predictive Focus Control, Full-Auto Program for no-fuss shooting, and Subject Program Selection. This camera also features Minolta's ADI flash metering.

Canon introduced two new advanced amateur 35mm SLR bodies-the EOS ELAN 7n and EOS ELAN 7ne. The new cameras replace the popular EOS ELAN 7 and 7e models (the ELAN 7ne model retaining the ELAN 7e's popular Eye Controlled Focus option).

Features of the cameras include: 4 frames per second in One-Shot AF and manual focus, Canon's exclusive Whisper Drive film transport system, and the new E-TTL II flash metering system.

In addition to full compatibility with Canon's EF lenses and EX Speedlites, the new cameras are compatible with a wide range of EOS system accessories, including Battery Pack BP-300 as well as wired and wireless remote controllers, eyepiece accessories, and more. The cameras are available "body only" or in several kit configurations.

New Lenses

Nikon introduced it's latest addition to the line of DX lenses, specifically designed for the company's line of DSLRs. The AF-S DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED lens will be included as the standard zoom lens in the Nikon D70 DSLR camera outfit.

The DX Nikkor lens series includes:

  • AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 IF-ED
  • AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED
  • AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED
  • AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED lens

When used with a Nikon digital SLR camera and Nikon Capture software, images shot with the AF DX Fisheye Nikkor 10.5mm lens can be transformed into ultra-wide-angle rectilinear images with a choice of 100 degrees and 130 degrees horizontal angles of view.

Sigma introduced its 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 EX OS lens, an ultra-telephoto zoom that overcomes image blur caused by camera shake.

Sigma's OS (Optical Stabilizer) system detects camera shake by utilizing two sensors with two optical stabilizer modes compensate for image blurring. The lens features full-time manual focusing and a removable tripod collar. This lens is also equipped with a Zoom Lock Switch, which eliminates "zoom creep."

Olympus America introduced a compact, lightweight, large-aperture Zuiko Digital Specific 150mm lens for the E-1 System. The lens is scheduled to hit shelves this fall.

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