ECONOMIC CONFIDENCE FROM CANON

From what the blogosphere reflected from Las Vegas Photo Marketing Association show was as discouraging as what most of the news media has been about of late. Fewer people on the floor of the show and a dearth of new higher-end dSLR camera models. Many of the point-and-shoot cameras offered had already been introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show. In other words there did not seem to be much confidence expressed by either the vendors or the press on hand. But really with retail camera stores becoming fewer year after year undercut by Walmart and other box stores, and even chain giants like Circuit City closing its doors, what purpose do “closed to the public” sales shows like PMA serve any more? Other than to keep a tradition going and have an excuse to schmooze with old friends, I don’t get it.

I hope this is more realism than sour grapes from an old warrior who had his fill of trudging the aisles years ago. And when I received the March 2, news release from Canon that they are offering new Mark II versions of the Pixma top-of-the-lne 13 inch printers I wondered if the doom and gloom was just another kind of virus spread around the show floor. Canon apparently has confidence that in times of hardship photographers will spend more time in their digital darkroom and be helped along by either a new Canon Pixma Pro 9500 pigment ink or Pixma Pro 9000 dye ink printer. These new models are evolutionary improved versions of very successful printers that are now faster and better than their predecessors of course.

But what I found particularly interesting was that these new printers are accompanied by new Easy Photo Print Pro software, that has a feature that has until now only been generally available as an attribute in custom made printer profiles. An adjustment can now be made to a print in Canon’s Easy Print Pro affecting the print color balance to accommodate differences in ambient light conditions where the print will be exhibited. This Ambient Light Correction is now included with the printer and bundled with Adobe Photoshop Elements, or as a plug-in for Adobe applications like all Photoshop CS versions 2 through 4 etc., as well as Canon’s Digital Photo Pro application. This Ambient Light Correction has a color temperature range to output prints for room lighting from 6500K cool daylight to warm incandescent/CCFL at 3000K. In addition the Easy designation is earned in part by supporting printing from JPEG or TIFF files as well as Raw digital camera files directly without prior conversion.

And that’s not all, Canon added a new Oomph! model LiDE scanner too. If you’re not familiar this scanner it’s the handiest for any desktop or even laptop computer. The Canon LiDe scanners are powered only by the USB connector, are very thin (I have an older model that I keep stored in a desk drawer) and is ideal for making a quick scan of a document for a copy, or to produce a JPEG file to attach to an e-mail from a snapshot print. It’s handy convenience, but this newest Canon LiDE700F Color Image Scanner will also scan 35mm film at a resolution up to 9600dpi. Can you beat that for just $129 estimated street price.

Canon apparently has confidence things are not so bad. And maybe photo enthusiast may have a little more time to enjoy their favorite activity - making photographs. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

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