New P&S Models Abound at PMA 2001!
By Jerry O'Neill
e all know 35mm and APS point-and-shoot cameras are the bread
and butter of our business. Roaming the aisles of the show, it's
clear the world of "film" photography is healthy - there are new
point-and-shoot models aplenty in both 35mm and APS formats. Some
are so new they're in the "never seen before" category, while
others are having their U.S. debut after appearing at
Here are some of the highlights we've seen so far this year - everything from far-out "concept" design APS cameras, to 35mm cameras with retro-styling and a "smart viewfinder" as modern as tomorrow.
For instance, at Canon you can see the ELPH (IXUS) Concept Summer and Concept Arancia, with the bright orange Arancia boasting an especially eye-catching and innovative "round" styling, plus solid features like an autofocus lens and red-eye reduction flash. What's more, these have "limited edition" appeal - we understand Canon will produce only 20,000 of each.
Olympus decided consumers not only want a BIG viewfinder, they also want a "smart viewfinder" - sorta like an SLR's, with lots of information displayed (flash indicator, autofocus mark, etc.), diopter correction so the display will be clear to anyone's eyes, plus an illumination feature, so framing is easy regardless of ambient light.
What's New at Kodak and Fuji
The spotlight at Kodak is on the 35mm Max HQ flash OTU camera, plus the APS format Kodak Advantix Access OTU flash camera in bright red, blue and purple, for the OTU-loving twenty-something generation. Kodak is also touting their EasyLoad 35mm cameras, especially the low-cost, new-at-Photokina, Kodak KE30 fixed-focus 35mm model, designed for the beginning photographer. It joins the KE60 and KE85, and all have EasyLoad plus In-the-Picture Indicator (IPI) for self-timer pix (everyone who can see the indicator light on the camera knows they're in the picture), Sensalite flash with red-eye reduction, and a safety lock on the camera back that locks automatically when film is loaded and can't be opened until the film is rewound.
Fuji has a big batch of reloadable 35mm cameras that they're shouting about. Among the new introductions, the top models are the feature-packed Fujifilm Discovery S600 Zoom Date and Fujifilm Discovery S1450 Zoom Date. The S600 has a 35-60mm 1.7X zoom lens, while the S1450 has a long-reach 38-145mm 3.8X zoom, and both offer consumers the convenience of Fujifilm's Sure Loading System, with easy loading plus auto pre-winding. At somewhat lower price points are the new 35mm ZOOM 60, ZOOM Date 100 and ZOOM Date 140 cameras.
The ZOOM 60 has a 35-60mm 1.7X zoom; the ZOOM Date 100, a 38-100mm 2.6X zoom; and the ZOOM Date 140 a 38-140mm 3.7X zoom. And in Fuji's blister pack camera line, the Fujifilm Date 35 and Fujifilm Auto 35 both have "the largest viewfinders found on any camera in their class" and come in new, eye-catching blister packs.
In reloadable APS models, Fuji's Nexia line has added the 4100ix Z MRC with an impressive 4X zoom, the 250ix Z MRC with 2.5X zoom, and the entry-level fixed focal length 70 AF.
Now that we've seen what the two film giants are introducing, let's go through the other manufacturers in alphabetical order.
The Price is Right
Agfa has decided to upgrade its OTU line with the new LeBox Turbo Flash, loaded with new, faster Agfacolor Vista 800 film that provides increased flash range. For outdoor use, the Agfa go! LeBox Outdoor 400 is equipped with new Agfa Vista 400 film, as is the watertight LeBox Ocean 400.
Ansco has always brought a variety of P&S cameras to market at a wide variety of price points. Their Slim Pix 35 includes a panorama mode and built-in electronic flash for less than $20. On the other end of their 35mm spectrum is the more advanced Silhouette Zoom AF which features a 2X zoom, Auto Focus System, Auto Flash/DX and red-eye reduction priced in the $150 range.
Their APSilon line of cameras features the M30, the M30AF, and the Zoom 250. Their APS line starts at about $120 and ranges up to about $250.
At Argraph, although it's not brand new, check out the nifty Goko MAC-10 Z3000, a unique 35mm point-and-shoot camera with a 3X zoom lens plus macro shooting down to four inches, close enough to provide a life-size image on a 4x6 print. And its 1/10,000 sec flash will stop just about any action, too! Argraph is the exclusive U.S. importer of the Goko MAC-10 Z3000.
Argus has brought some wonderfully creative point-and-shoot product to market in the last several years including some ultra compact 35mm and APS models. This year they introduced what they are calling "the aggressively priced" FF 250, 330 and 340 line of 35mm automatic cameras. "These cameras have features that are just not found on other cameras at this price," said William Pearson, Argus' president.