Editors Notes

Editor's Notes

This issue marks our annual foray into what's new in the photo/imaging world and contains our exclusive report on happenings at the annual Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Show. We went to PMA with a full staff of reporters who covered their respective beats and who fanned out across the booths and exhibits to bring you the latest news and technological news from the show. True, we concentrate on the gear here, but overall the show acts as a mirror on the many changes in our world and how each will affect how you make pictures, store them, and share them in the months and years ahead. Each reporter did a great job in covering their assignments. While we all did our fair share of running from one meeting and press conference to the next, we did catch each other on the fly throughout the show and all came away with a great sense of excitement about what's ahead.

The challenge in all this is discovering trends and boiling the information down into a sense of how photography is evolving. There's no doubt that the show was dominated by digital doings, but we also noticed that film and film cameras are still coming on strong. Those who every year predict the demise of film are always stymied by new films, great new film cameras, and ways for photographers to find digital solutions for utilizing their film images. Along with new scanners and printers comes a tendency to label even tripods and bags and even lenses as "digital" this and that. But film is still an essential part of what's happening, and we can't wait to check out all the new gear--digital and "conventional"--that made its debut at the show.

For this reporter some of the highlights included a new Leica manual rangefinder 35mm; a host of new lenses that are smaller, lighter, and faster than ever; two new slide films from Fujifilm; a Canon digital SLR that breaks price barriers; the coming Olympus and Pentax digital SLRs; new printers from Canon; a great new Nikon VR lens; a host of new digital imaging organizing software; a proliferation of walk-up digital kiosks; and new OLED screen technology from Kodak that makes viewing previews on digicams easier and more satisfying than ever before. There was also a quartet of new film SLRs, some very cool digicams, including Nikon's stylish SQ and the Kyocera/Contax Tvs digital, and the continuation of the ever-smaller digicam trend with models from Pentax, Canon, Casio, and Minolta.

In fact, all of us felt like the veritable kid in the candy store, and whatever our beat or interest there was more than enough to keep us happy. It seems that rather than hurt photography digital has added new lifeblood, with many new and innovative companies making their debut here at the show. In essence, what's happened is that the digital camera has changed from being a cute and handy computer peripheral to becoming the lead as the most exciting and engaging digital product available today.

But making that "digital decision" is not a heavy matter; in fact, digital is now so accessible that getting digital image files from film will be as easy as checking a box on your film photofinishing envelope. That way you can stick with film and prints and still take advantage of what digital has to offer. You can do it yourself with lower-priced scanners or simply have the lab scan your images for you. More and more finishing options are now available in labs that will just scan your negatives before printing anyway.

And, as a real kicker, digital may be the answer to a really pesky problem--redeye. You can now handle redeye in your digital images automatically with some new software in NikonView 6 and other new editing programs, or you can send your film to Kodak's Perfect Touch lab and they will get the red out for you. Now if that's not a benefit of digital technology we don't know what is.

So we hope you enjoy this issue and all the new products, gear, and services we report on from the show. While our reports cover lots of ground and in some cases pay short shrift to some amazing gear, be assured that we will be doing tests and reporting on the new gear and technology in the coming months ahead.