We were able to get a "Sneak Peek" at some of the latest and greatest photographic technology products and services before the PMA 2003 show opened. This event had the tone of excitement and enthusiasm in this expanding world of possibilities -- Better images at lower costs.Next generation lenses will be introduced
|Unique Products @ Sneak Peek|
Over 100 unique products and services were shown -- here's is our take on several of the standouts:
Delkin Devices showcased their eFilm PicturePad. This personal storage device features a top quality, ruggedized, 20 to 60 gigabyte Toshiba hard drive that can rapidly and reliably download images off digital media. This is far simpler than using a laptop and mobile CD cutter to download images and then off-load images. (Both Jim Bennett and Rick Smith have had problems with mobile USB cutters and are searching for much higher reliable.) The eFilm PicturePad not only downloads images but its image management capability offers value beyond simple large external storage -- you can confirm the JPEG numbers or even review the individual pictures and thumbnails. PicturePad has a suggested retail price between 450 and 800 dollars and this wallet sized device can clip on your belt.
KTI Networks, one of the USB 2 pioneers, offered compact flash (CF) media up to 2 Gigabytes in size. They also demonstrated their multimedia external readers that are compliant with both the faster USB 2.0 standard, as well as the slower USB 1.1 standard. According to third party testing, this reader may be the fastest way to download images off your media on the market.
PhotoTags 2.0 has been released from Phototags. ACD Systems, of Vancouver, British Columbia, has released their Version 5.0 that features several significant enhancements including improved thumbnail printing, greater image control and better image cataloguing and searching.
Advances and cost reductions in paper coatings will provide consumers improved and lower cost options for digital photo printing. Lexjet sees shift in the marketplace where consumers want to create high quality, professional-looking prints of their digital images. The industry is responding with R&D in both paper and print products.
Neighborhood photo processors have suffered since customers have shifted from film to digital. This year, they should be happier with the new in-store service options from GraphX that could start to rebuild an eroding customer relationship. Graphx President and CEO, Joe Kowalik said, "There has been a gap in a solution for the neighborhood photo processor who wishes to continue to serve those clients who have shifted from film to digital". Graphx reintegrates the photo finisher into the print production supply chain with an e-commerce customer capture and referral approach. He added, this is great news for the small and medium sized photofinishers because it offers a "one stop, local shopping experience at volume pricing" and consumers will be the ultimate winners.
Motion Graphix offers the specialized tools for photo processors that will help create lenticular (holographic-like) laminated images that assure a unique photographic experience.
Kodak has a more mobile 14 megapixel professional digital camera, while Argus has created a superstealth, self-powered "spy camera". The unveiling of this Argus "micro-camera" at the PMA Sneak Previews event would have made "Q" (of James Bond fame) quite envious.
Zoran Corporation unveiled its sixth generation "COACH" (Camera On A CHip) 6 processor. Zoran is a premier provider of photographic integrated circuits. The anticipated compound annual growth of the digital camera market will be 20% as the digicam population is expected to increase from its current level to over 23 million units during the next 3 years.
This high level of growth bodes well for another product line demonstrated at PMA this year. Rayovac has been a major player in the rechargeable battery market for years. Building on their base of fast one hour recharge capability, Rayovac is changing the rules by announcing the availability of a new recharging technology in Q4 of 2003. By shifting the recharge modulation away from the charging base and into the battery cell itself, the recharge time can be reduced to just 15 minutes. This high-speed charging will be available for both AA and AAA sizes and promises to be affordable to the mass market. Meeting high-energy power demands of photography will help lead the way to assist with similar challenges of mobile computing and communications devices. This is one reason that Sr. Editor Rick Smith has alway preferred digital cameras that use AA batteries because even older cameras can become "higher tech" due to improved battery technology.
Kowa Company of Tokyo, Japan demonstrated a prototype super telephoto Zoom digital camera -- the TD.1. It is "spotting scope" that features an SD (secure digital) memory card. What makes the TD.1 so unique is that it can capture extreme telephoto images -- it has the 35mm film equivalent of a 450 mm to a whopping 1350 mm lens. It also features instant playback through its built-in LCD monitor. In our opinion, this is a natural choice for sporting events, nature photography, surveillance and other extreme applications.
|Sneak Peek 2003 background|
In advance of the exhibit floor opening of PMA 2003 (Photo Marketing Association), 100 exhibitors showed off their unique and innovative products to over 500 media, industry analysts and conference presenters. Having all the products at a single location, before the show start is a welcome change from other technology trade shows -- one that is heartily endorsed by Reviews OnLine.
According to Gary Peagau, Associate Publisher of PMA Magazine, this "Sneak Peek" event was designed to provide a no-muss / no-fuss opportunity for both the show's exhibitors and the attending press and analysts to have their first look at the latest and greatest photographic products and services. This is the second year that PMS held this "Sneak Peak" event. It provides a welcoming, open ambiance that encourages both "hands-on" interaction and an opportunity for industry pundits to discuss new product announcements.
Update from Rick Smith: Jim Bennett tells me that his first impression of ViewSonic's ultra-high resolution monitor is "STUNNING"! Will have to wait for his in-depth impressions as he reports about more innovative products from both industry leaders and new start-up companies.
© 2003 Jim Bennett and Lyle Bunn All rights reserved.