35mm Cameras, Lenses, APS, Portable Flash, And Batteries
This year's PMA trade
show was extraordinarily large, having many more diversified exhibitors
than ever before coupled with a noticeable increase in attendees making
it even more difficult to try to rapidly go from one place to another.
Probably the major surprise to me was when I stopped at the Ricoh booth and asked to see their latest 35mm cameras and was told they no longer offered 35mm cameras in the U.S.A. They will only market digital cameras here in the future. While practically all of the traditional camera firms also showed some new digital products, and many non-photographic firms showed many additional digital items, this was the first well-known photographic firm to entirely curtail marketing 35mm film cameras. Is this a portent of the future? Only time will tell.
Some of the abbreviations/ acronyms used in the text below include the following. MRC (Mid Roll Change): found on many new models of APS cameras. IF (Internal Focusing): a zoom lens feature that retains the balance of the lens, and the front of the lens barrel does not rotate so using polarizing and graduated filters are simplified. Most 35mm compact cameras are also offered in a QD (Quartz Date) model. The latest rechargeable batteries are of the Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) type.
New products in alphabetical
Bogen Photo now has the tiny
and pocketable Metz 34AF flash. It has a wide angle diffuser and telephoto
screen; AF measuring beam; very simplified controls; and is offered with
shoe mount for Canon, Minolta, and Nikon AF cameras. Pocket Wizard Plus
is a digital radio remote control for use with any type of remote flash.
This new model has four different channels, extended battery life, and
an 800' range. A new Max model has 32 different channels; a long
1600' range; and can turn a flash unit on or off remotely.
Getting ready for the next
millennium Canon introduced the smaller and lighter EOS Rebel 2000 with
7-point AF; 35-zone AE sensor metering; exclusive E-TTL autoflash system
with built-in flash; depth of field preview; faster film advance; two
autofocusing modes; 30-1/2000 sec speeds; measurements of 5.6x3.6x2.4";
weight of 11.7 oz; and a body list price of $450. The BP-200 accessory
provides an alternative power source and includes a built-in vertical
grip with shutter release control. Four new EOS lenses replace existing
models with some cosmetic changes. They are: EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 II at
$220; EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III at $310; EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 V USM at $250;
and EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 II USM at $400. Of course, the new professional
EOS 3 35mm SLR we saw at photokina was also visibly on display. It features
45-point AF; 21-zone evaluative metering and eye-controlled focus; 7 fps
with optional Power Drive Booster; and sophisticated E-TTL flash with
wireless control with optional Speedlites.
Duracell announced the Ultra
line of photo lithium batteries offered in 123, 223, 245, and CR2 sizes.
In addition they changed the packaging on improved versions of AA, AAA,
C, D, and 9v alkaline sizes introduced about a year ago.
The Goko Instant ProMacro Camera
IPC-108B delivers a 5x life-size picture or (10x with a different optional
interchangeable lens/flash unit) on Polaroid 100/600 Series films. The
lens/flash units have built-in twin flashes and a selector switch for
firing one or both flashes. Front attachments permit shooting subjects
of varied shapes and positions. The Goko MacromaX FR350 close-up camera
(sold through Aragraph here), which is available in 35mm and APS models,
now has a shoe in the finder frame for inserting filters in front of the
lens. The MacromaX Underwater Macro camera is rated at a depth of 164'
and can take pictures of underwater subjects from 5" to infinity
without having to add any external lenses. The heart of the unit is the
MacromaX FR-350 35mm camera, which can also be used on land. This model
is handled by Omega/Satter.
Goldline has a reusable basic,
point-and-shoot 35mm underwater camera for depths up to 30' with
flash, that will sell for about $10. Under the Exakta brand is a brand
new line of hot shoe flash units ranging from manual operating units to
sophisticated dedicated, zoom head, tilt and swivel units.
Kodak introduced an entire
line of new design Advantix APS cameras. The F600 zoom is their lowest-priced
2x zoom camera with a 30-60mm f/4.5 autofocusing lens; LCD panel; PQIX;
and rubberized hand grips. Other models include the tiny pocketable T550
AF with a 25mm f/3.5 lens; 1/4-1/500 sec speeds; DXIX 50-1600; autofocusing
to 1.3'; flip-up cobra flash that extends out to 18'; dimensions
3.7x2.5x1.4"; and weighs 4.2 oz. It lists for under $150. There
are four models of the C-series Advantix cameras all with flip-up cobra
flash from a basic fixed focus C300 to the C700 zoom with a 2x 30-60mm
f/5.9 zoom lens; autofocusing to 2.5'; 1/2-1/360 sec speeds; DXIX
50-1600; and programmed text display. For the Kodak Photolife battery
line there is a new line of rechargeable NiMH AA-size batteries with a
fast three-hour charger with an auto-off feature.
Brand new at Konica is the
Z-up 120 VP Zoom compact 35 featuring a fully automatic 38-120mm f/3.6-10.6
zoom lens; programmed shutter speeds of 1-1/300 sec; DX 25-3200; autofocusing
down to 3' plus infinity mode; and +1.5 EV exposure compensation
for back- lighting; measures 4.7x2.7x2.2"; and weighs 9.1 oz. The
Z-up 60 Zoom features a 35-60mm f/5.8-9.5 focus-free zoom lens; 60mm macro
mode for subjects only 20" away; DX 100-400; auto flash; LCD information
panel; measures 4.7x2.7x1.8"; and weighs 7 oz. The ultra-compact
APS Revio is now offered in a hunter green model in addition to the original
aluminum alloy finish. It features a 24-48mm f/4-7.6 zoom lens; programmed
shutter speeds of 2-1/500 sec; DX 25-3200; autofocusing to under 20";
measures just 3.8x2.3x1.1"; and weighs a mere 5.2 oz.
Leica showed their latest offering
for the Leica R SLR camera series, the 35-70mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R ASPH having
a close-focus distance of about 28" complemented by a built-in macro
setting for about 12"; rubber-armored and knurled control rings.
This lens lists for $3295.
At photokina we saw the Minolta
Maxxum 9 35mm SLR with a host of features. They include 21 custom functions;
5.5 fps frame rate without requiring an external battery pack; 1/12,000
top shutter speed and 1/300 sec flash synch speed; 14-segment honeycomb-pattern
metering; 4-segment flash metering; 100 percent visible viewfinder field.
A data memory function can record all exposure information for up to seven
rolls of 36-exposure film. A built-in flash with a GN of 39 also provides
coded signals for wireless extension flash units that retains full TTL
metering automation. Other new features are mid roll reload capability
and delayed shutter mirror lock-up for less internal vibration when making
time exposures. Minolta's Maxxum HTsi Plus combines features of
the original HTsi and XTsi including a very small SLR body; silver metallic
finish; and new remote control features. There are five upgraded lenses
for the Maxxum cameras. AF 35mm f/1.4G; AF 35mm f/2; AF 50mm f/1.4; STF
135mm; and the Minolta AF Macro 200mm f/4 APO Tele G lens that focuses
down to 19.7" for a 1:1 magnification. In the compact 35 arena is
the Freedom Action Zoom 90 with a 38-90mm f/4.8-10.8 zoom lens that focuses
from infinity to 39"; shutter range of 1-1/200 sec; DX 100-400;
measures 4.7x2.8x1.9"; and weighs 7.9 oz. For the MinoltaVectis
APS format SLR there is a new ultra-wide 17mm wide angle lens but little
data was available. Minolta will distribute the Quest Gold NiMH 1500mAh
AA and AAA-size rechargeable batteries for digital cameras and flash units
which are said to provide 20 percent performance improvement. Both eight
and 16-hour chargers are available.
Nikon showed their new F-100
professional 35mm SLR with Dynamic Autofocus operation that simultaneously
detects the subject and drives the lens. Focus Tracking and Lock-on technology
works with subjects in motion to keep them in focus. It has a 10-segment
3D Matrix meter, center-weighted metering, and a selection of five spot
meters each reading only 1 percent of the total picture area. For flash
there is a 5-segment TTL flash sensor. It has magnesium alloy on the front
top and bottom; multiple power sources; depth of field preview; and shoots
at up to 4.5 fps. In the APS format there is the tiny Nuvis S that's
about the size of a deck of playing cards. When the stainless steel shell
is closed it measures 3.7x2.5x1.3" and weighs 8.1 oz. It has a 22.5-66mm
f/5.2-7.5 3x zoom lens; autofocusing down to 1.5'; shutter speeds
of 1-1/400 sec; DXIX 50-1600; 30 titles; and will list for under $300.
A new 4x AF Nikkor Zoom 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5D lens that lists for $435 was
Olympus introduced a number
of new cameras several of which include an interesting Auto Color Balancing
Flash (ACBL) feature which senses the wavelength of fluorescent or other
artificial lights and then produces more natural pictures said to be free
of unnatural color casts. New is the L-shape design IS 30 DLX zoom lens
reflex with 28-110mm f/4.5-5.6 4x aspheric zoom lens; ACBL flash with
twin flash tubes; integrated lens cap that opens automatically; measures
4.8x3.5x4.5"; weighs 22.9 oz; and has a suggested list price of
$600. Two optional tele-converters extend the 110mm lens to 160mm or 210mm.
Their popular clamshell design Stylus series of compact 35s now includes
new Stylus Zoom 140 QD, 115 QD, and 80 QD models. The Stylus Epic Zoom
80 CF model has the world's first Confirmation Finder, a continuous
viewfinder that momentarily darkens as the picture is made to inform the
user a picture was actually taken. It has a 38-80mm f/4.5-8.9 zoom lens;
autofocusing to 2'; ACBL flash; panorama mode; measures 4.5x2.3x1.6";
weighs only 6.5 oz; and has a list price of $290. In APS format there
is the i zoom 75 an entirely new series camera featuring the clamshell
design found in the 35mm Stylus cameras. This model has a 28-75mm zoom
lens; measures 4.2x2.1x1.3"; and weighs 5.8 oz. The Newpic M10 Macro
compact is an APS camera with a 25mm f/6.7 lens and fixed focus mode for
regular subjects 3.3 to infinity plus two macro modes. The ultra macro
mode is for subjects 0.3-1' away when the exceptional depth of field
from a minimum aperture of f/44 keeps subjects sharp. It lists for $164.
Panasonic introduced the Rapid-Flash
technology lithium batteries said to have a 10 sec flash recovery time
and a 10 year shelf life. These new batteries are available for popular
camera sizes of CR2, CR123, CR-P2, and 2CR5.
Phoenix showed a 28-210mm f/4.2-6.5
AF aspheric element zoom lens with IF and two-touch zoom action in mounts
for Canon, Minolta, Nikon, and Pentax. The 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 is a two-touch
lens for all AF cameras and is offered in manual versions also. They introduced
two SLR cameras--a basic manual P1 model with a built-in meter and a P2
model with aperture priority automatic and self-timer. Both are available
with either a 50mm f/1.9 or 35-70mm f/3.5-4.8 lens. They are lightweight
and attractively styled.
Quantum Instruments was showing
their new rechargeable battery said to offer power security for digital
cameras. A LED fuel gauge visibly shows the remaining battery capacity.
Sealed lead cells don't exhibit memory effects and the power is
said to be about five times that of conventional alkaline AA batteries.
It connects to many major cameras via a coiled cord, has a belt clip or
can be worn over the shoulder.
R.T.S., now the exclusive US
distributor of Epoque 35mm motor driv-en underwater cameras, showed the
ET100 Epoque Plus underwater camera with a 45mm f/4.5 lens that can be
used at depths of up to 150' which will list for under $200. Nissin
flash now has a small AF dedicated handle mount flash with a GN of 105
that attaches via a bracket under the camera and is very simple--you only
switch it on, no other adjustments are needed. They also have a unique
macro lens ringlight flash combination consisting of a 90mm f/2.5 T-2
adapter mount lens that focuses to 1:1 and a circular flash containing
modeling lights. In their Ewa marine housings a new U-MM model has a square
glass lens which makes it suitable for use with many different digital
cameras underwater. It lists for $90.
Sigma has new models in their
EX series of arsenic and lead-free glass element lenses. Two new fisheye
lenses are offered in AF mounts for the first time and have a gel filter
slot in the rear. The 8mm f/4 is a circular fisheye that focuses from
7.9" and the 15mm f/2.8 is a full frame fisheye focusing from 5.9".
In the fourth generation is the 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom with IF and a
19.7" minimum focus at any focal length which gives a nearly 1/4
life-size image at 200mm. It is only 3.4" long and weighs 18 oz.
New Sigma long telephoto lenses all have an optical design incorporating
new ELD glass elements and have tripod collars. They are offered in Hyper-sonic
motor drive for several AF cameras and have a rotatable rear filter slot
for easier use of polarizing filters. These tele lenses are a 300mm f/2.8;
500mm f/4.5; and 800mm f/5.6.