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PMA 2002 Highlights



PMA 2002 Highlights

Despite a Tough Economy, PMA 2002 Turns Out To Be One of the Most Interesting Shows in Years

by Diane Berkenfeld

The photo retail industry once again made its annual pilgrimage to PMA this year, descending on sunny Orlando, Florida—where it was held for the second year in a row—to catch up on the latest imaging products to hit the street. Though there were noticeably fewer exhibitors than last year and attendance was off, considering the post 9/11 recession, that was not all that unexpected. Yet despite all that was stacked against it, PMA 2002 turned out to be one of the most interesting shows in years, with plenty of impressive product debuts in both film-based and digital camera systems.

Most glaringly, a large number of kiosks and digital printing systems arrived on the scene at PMA from familiar companies and from some not often associated with printing at retail. In addition to the kiosks, there were a variety of new minilabs for retailers to choose from—as well as film, paper, digital media, cameras, accessories, studio equipment, et. al.

Proving that reports of the death of film are premature, almost every manufacturer with film-based point-and-shoot cameras had new product at PMA including Fuji, Nikon, Minolta, Olympus, Canon, Samsung, Jazz, Pentax, Concord, Ferrania and Vivitar. To keep track of all the new arrivals, we walked the aisles and took lots of notes. The following is our list of what caught our attention as the latest and greatest products introduced at PMA 2002.

Kodak brought everything from newly improved film to a whole new family of PictureMaker kiosks to the show. Expanding on the success of earlier EasyShare models, Kodak added two interesting cameras to the system this year. The EasyShare DX4900 is a 4.0 MP digital camera, compatible with the EasyShare Dock and featuring a 2x optical/3x digital zoom. The Kodak Advantix EasyShare is a hybrid film/digital camera using APS film with all of the benefits of the APS system. The camera also features built-in storage of up to 75 photos and email uploading of these images through the EasyShare Dock to computer for emailing. The camera, dock and Kodak Picture software will be bundled together at a price of approx. $200; and will be available at retail in Q3 of this year.

Kodak's Advantix Easy Share camera is a hybrid digicam/APS film camera. The Nixvue Vista is a portable storage device that lets you see the images you've downloaded; distributed by JOBO.

JOBO brought an extended family of Nixvue portable storage devices toPMA. Functioning as a card reader, with direct output to both television and computer, the Nixvue Vista also features a built-in color LCD. Simply download images from your camera's memory card into the Nixvue Vista and you can visually check that the image files have transferred correctly. The Vista is available in 10 Gigabyte (GB), 20 GB and 30 GB models.

Nikon introduced a variety of product from the new 2 MP Coolpix 2500 with it's inner swivel lens to the 6.1 MP D100 digital SLR for the prosumer crowd. Nikon also introduced two 35mm point and shoot cameras for film, the Lite-Touch Zoom 130 ED/QD and One-Touch Zoom 90s/QD.

SiPix, the digital image appliance company introduced the StyleCam Blink, a tiny camera aimed at the youth market. The StyleCam Blink features 8 MB of internal memory to store images and doubles as a web cam. It comes with a neck strap and swivel clip for convenient portability. At a retail price of $39.99, the camera is sure to be a hit with the younger crowd.

Fuji introduced the Nexia Q1 APS camera line at the show. The cameras are offered in four metallic colors with a handy neck strap, making this camera a true fashion statement. The camera offers users the choice of Classic or HDTV print formats. Fuji is packaging the Nexia Q1 with film and battery, available this spring.
Fuji's S2 was the highly anticipated successor to Fuji's S1 digital SLR. With 6.17 million effective pixels, the S2 Pro offers a host of features to make any pro photographer's mouth water.

When you add Leica optics with Panasonic digicam experience, the resulting camera has got to be great. The Leica Digilux 1, introduced at the show, is a 4 Mp digital camera that offers SD/MMC recording and comes with a 64 MB Secure Digital card. Features include a zoom with the 35mm equivalent of 33-100mm, recording of video with sound-the length of which is only limited by the size of the memory card. Leica's Digilux 1 received a DIMA Innovative Digital Product Award at PMA.

Vivitar introduced a fun Stereoscopic camera that can take both regular 35mm and 3D photos. Incorporating twin lenses, and the ability to switch between mono and stereo shooting, the camera also comes with a deluxe 3D viewer that will hold an entire roll of 3 1/2x5 or 4x6 prints.

Minolta added three new point and shoot cameras, the Freedom Zoom 160, 140, and 130 to their line. However, the coolest Minolta camera at the show was the DiMAGE X. The DiMAGE X's 2 MP, 3x optical/2x digital zoom camera is housed within a thin body. Using Secure Digital to record images, the camera also has the ability to take movie clips and add sound to images.

Polaroid entered the retail kiosk market with the introduction of their Opal 4x6 digital printing system. The small footprint self-service kiosk provides archival quality color prints in just minutes. The kiosk accepts CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MMC/SD, PCMCIA cards, Memory Stick and CD-Rom input. Similar to ATM machines, consumers pay at this kiosk which provides a convenient and easy alternative for retailers to begin to offer their customers an entry into digital printing.

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