As the doors opened on this
year's PMA it was immediately evident that this was going to be
a digital feast, a path photography began to travel in earnest just
a few short years ago. We saw a host of new cameras, including some
exciting new digital SLRs, new software for organizing images, a new
CCD chip from Fuji that addresses some key exposure issues, and a continued
growth of what we call the digital infrastructure with plenty of new
kiosks and digital printing solutions. We saw all sorts of printing,
sending, and enhancement solutions from companies like Applied Science
Fiction, Adobe, Kodak, Fuji, Polaroid, Sony, and more.
Another trend is just how those different megapixel digicams are breaking
out. While the 1 to 2-megapixel models are slowing down, we saw a major
thrust with small and compact 3 to 4-megapixel models with a whole new
cast of 5-megapixel models making their debut. Small but powerful digicams
from Pentax, Minolta, and Casio models show how portability and image
quality can be combined. But megapixels aren't all that determine
the success or failure of a camera--it's the feature set
and perceived value that determines how long a camera will stick around
as well. New tech to look out for this year is the coming surge of digital
SLRs and new features that appeal to the avid photographer considering
a switch to digital. On the digital SLR front we saw prototypes or "under
glass" models from Olympus and Pentax. We also saw the latest
Canon D10, a digital SLR that challenges the price barriers we all hope
will continue to be broken in this class.
All this chatter about digital should not cloud our view of what's
new in film cameras. We saw a bunch of new 35mm SLRs aimed at the avid
photographer and SLR beginner from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Minolta,
as well as some excellent point-and-shoot 35mm cameras, which are priced
more attractively than ever before. We also saw the new Velvia and Astia
chrome films from Fujifilm and a great super wide single-use camera
from Konica. There's a new Leica, some amazing lenses, including
the new optical stabilization model from Sigma, and...
But we don't want to give it all away here. Our great team of
reporters covered this show like never before, and we have reports to
share from Bob Shell, Peter Burian, Joe Farace, Jack Neubart, and Bob
Mayer, veteran industry mavens who know their beat and who will share
all in the following pages.
Any report from a show such as this with so much to cover can't
tell the whole story. Inevitably there will be some products we don't
cover or those that get coverage in a short space that might demand
fuller treatment. But you can count on us to follow up these reports
with tests, technology updates, and more in the coming issues of Shutterbug.
Our aim here is to give you a sense of where photography is going as
reflected in the gear and services that are coming in the year ahead.
All of us came back from the show with a renewed sense of excitement
about photography and imaging, and all agree that this is one of the
most exciting times ever to be involved in this art and craft.