the 50th anniversary of Photokina and we will spare you statistics,
but it was bigger than ever, and different, if not better. According
to our trusty Eddie Bauer electronic pedometer, we averaged
10 miles a day through the 13 sprawling halls of exhibitors
(1,663 firms from 45 countries) for the 5 1/2 days we were in
Cologne. We can also report that the wurst and beer were up
to their splendid standards.
beloved German dean of photography and founder of Photokina,
92-year-old Professor Fritz Gruber, somewhat frail of body but
still of resonant voice (assisted by his lovely wife Renata),
gave the opening remarks, and in a private conversation spoke
warmly of the departed John Durniak.
overall impressions: no longer can we talk about how digital
is growing. It has arrived and was omnipresent throughout Photokina.
It is astonishing that the digital dominance of today was almost
nonexistent at Photokina ten years ago. Nevertheless, film use
is still healthy (see The Photographic Market below). Several
years ago we reported on the coming convergence of digital imaging
and silver halide technology. The synergies from the interaction
of that dovetailing are now well underway.
Now we are
beginning the convergence of imaging technology and information
technology. Or, as Dan Carp, CEO of Eastman Kodak put it, "pundits
predict that the Internet will be the engine driving the new
economy; I would assert that the Internet is an engine that
is fueled by pictures, and it will be pictures that will be
propelling the new global economy, because, pictures remain
the only true universal language." He went on to predict that
as more of our communication devices gain the ability to capture
and send images, "picture-mail" will join voicemail and email
as part of our daily speech. We saw much to back up his prediction,
especially in the new area of wireless transmission of images,
and others agree.
photographic association predicts that for the general public:
"pictures will outgrow their functions as souvenirs and means
of artistic expression---and assume a new dimension in private
communication‚§|Photography will be much more than a hobby,
but an essential tool to capture and communicate visual information,"
and with the new technologies, "anyone who produces pictures
will be able to disseminate them worldwide at once."
traditional companies in film and camera production (Kodak,
Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Agfa, etc.) still dominated hall space,
their offerings were heavily digital. Much space was taken by
firms with names like Fomecon, Photo-Me Intl, Digital Portal,
Applied Science Fiction, Pixel Magic, etc., that didn't exist
a few years ago; electronic companies such as Sony, Panasonic,
Casio, Toshiba, and Samsung; and computer, software, and peripheral
companies such as Adobe, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Epson, Lexar,
SanDisk, and Wacom (just to mention some at random). A large
increase in exhibitors from Mainland China (consumer oriented
and nothing very original for now), and even a few from the
old Soviet Union, Africa, and the Middle East.
appeared that money was not spared in the exhibit areas, once
again promotional funds and the fancy giveaway items of yesteryear
were at a new low. Only two manufacturers discreetly passed
on just a roll or two of new film for test purposes after repeated
requests. A few pins here and there and paper shopping bags
to carry the voluminous printed promo material were it, though
almost all are now producing CD-ROM press kits. Kodak's press
area with its refreshments and traditional gourmet press dinner,
was a welcome exception, but one had to practically promise
to give up his firstborn to acquire a Kodak canvas tote bag
(very useful to certain Florida beach bums).
It was physically
impossible to cover the entire exhibition. We deliberately left
out large areas that were not of primary concern, such as Photolab
and minilab equipment (with one exception), camcorders, slide
and film projectors, video post production, studio equipment
and lighting, etc. (NOTE: Some of what was shown at Photokina
will be at Photo East at NY's Javits Center Nov. 2 through Nov.
MARKET (An Overview)
the world photographic market was valued in excess of $70 billion,
a 3.7% rate of growth over 1988. The world market for analog
(film) cameras increased some 3% to 67 million units, and more
than 3 billion rolls of film and 300 million single-use cameras
were sold (a 3% increase worldwide). Sales of digital cameras
grew by more than 45% to 5.5 million units.
Kodak's digital products and services were 17% ($2.32 billion)
of its $14 billion revenue though only 1% of earnings. They
project that by 2005 it will hit 45% of revenue and jump to
27% of earnings. It is obvious that there is tremendous room
for digital growth, but reports of the death of film are greatly
exaggerated. The amount of film processed in the U.S. increased
10.7% between June 1999 and July 2000, and also increased worldwide.
technologies complement analog (film) systems and stimulate
output. Very true in the photofinishing market where sales of
color prints are growing steadily. Currently, around the world
2,700 cameras go "click" every second, and shutter clicks will
soon pass the 3,000 per second mark. It is estimated that worldwide
a total of 70 billion color prints are made annually.
market saturation of personal computers, printers, and scanners
is also playing a central role in the fast expansion of digital
photography. Scanner and printer sales are also soaring --the
world market for printers is estimated at 60 million units and
for scanners over 20 million units.
In the U.S.,
the amateur photo market volume was about $15 billion. Ninety
percent of all households own at least one film camera, but
only 6% own a digital camera. This is the target for the coming
plethora of digital products aimed at the consumer that will
use product design, style, color, and price to fight for market
share. An interesting marketing statistic from Fuji is that
two-thirds of their consumer digital sales, as well as two-thirds
of their film sales, were to women.
come from PMA (the U.S. Photomarketing Assoc.) and PIV (The
German Photographic Industry Assoc.). They did not break out
professional market figures, but historically they are a very
small percentage of the totals.
horsepower wars of the sixties, people are asking about the
pixelpower race |where will the pixel count end? We questioned
all the manufacturers on this point. The consensus is that the
practical level of the number of pixels you can cram on a chip,
small enough for a hand-held camera, is being reached. The emphasis
now will be on improving the quality of the image, i.e. the
quality of the pixels on the chip, and the price points at which
they can be delivered. Manufacturers are experimenting with
different shaped pixels, trying to exceed present chip density
limits without affecting image quality. Some say CMOS sensors
(cheaper to produce) will not match CCD's for quality, but they
are now in serious competition for increased resolution at lower
prices. (Canon's newly released EOS D-30 is the first high-end
digital SLR with a CMOS sensor and is comparatively low priced.
Fuji's Finepix S-1 Pro is the first to use shaped pixels it
calls "super CCD." Also see the section on Philips below.) Other
major factors affecting image quality are storage and decompression,
which are also being explored and improved. May the best R&D
years ago, Kodak showed a select few, behind the scenes, a pro
digital SLR weighing several kilos with resolution of about
1 megapixel , priced at $30,000. Today's digital SLR's approach
4 megapixels, with high zoom ratios and exposure indexes, extended
burst shooting, complete automation, as well as user-adjustable
features and assorted bells and whistles, priced (body only,
depending on features) from $3,000 to over $6,000.
RF is a
buzzword you will be hearing regarding image transmission. Everyone
is working on systems to find new ways to compress image data
to solve the problem of transporting large quantities of data
(image files) through the bottleneck of today's mobile networks.
(LuraTech, we heard, has technology that should be looked into.)
In photojournalism, with the use of digital cameras standard,
image communication via mobile phone is part of everyday life,
but relatively low data transmission rates represent a restriction.
With developing standards (UTMS and/or others), it will be possible
to send higher resolution images in a shorter time by mobile
phone -- and, as the images are being captured, by devices built
right into cameras. Underscoring their belief in RF's importance,
Kodak's CEO Carp himself demonstrated their R&D version of wireless
transmission from camera to computer. We predict this will be
coming to market before next Photokina for both pros and amateurs.
Just think, guys and gals, your picture editor, anywhere in
the world, will be able to view your images almost instantly
as you capture them, and maybe offer instant critiques.
- Improved scan properties and better sharpness, grain, and
color reproduction are the claims made for the relatively few
new films being marketed. Almost all are color negative, except:
F (RHP III), the only new transparency film debuting. We cannot
give you independent evaluation (no samples), but it is claimed
to have the finest level of grain (RMS granularity of 13) of
any 400 chrome film, with sharpness and image quality approaching
that of ASA 100 films, and excellent reciprocity characteristics.
It can be push/pull processed from 1/2 stop (ei 280) up to 3
stops (ei 3200) with minimal (they say) effect on color and
contrast. They have also tested it at 3 1/2 stops (ei 4800)
with "satisfactory" results, "depending on the subject." See
the Fuji website for an explanation of the Super-fine Sigma
Crystal Technology that makes all this possible. Fuji also has
new color neg films, professional Fujicolor Press 400, 800,
& 1600 and Superia X-tra 400 and 800 (and Nexia 800 for APS)
with much finer grain, sharpness and contrast, they say, using
a new "4th color layer" combined with their "Sigma Crystal technology."
These new films are improvements on the Fuji NHG II neg films
which are current favorites among many sport, newspaper, and
wire service shooters. Also coming is a new 160 NPC.
is a new line of 100, 200, 400, and an added 800, ASA color
neg films with their patented "Eye-Vision technology" replacing
their current HDCplus films. The new emulsions more accurately
effect color perception by the human eye. This more natural
color rendition is especially effective with blue and green
tones and the green cast of fluorescents. They claim improved
color saturation, definition, finer grain and tonal separation.
The new 800 is claimed to have finer grain close to the old
added, prior to Photokina, professional PORTRA 800 to its existing
160 and 400 neg family. Made especially for high speed, long
lens, low available light situations, it can be push-processed
up to two stops "with minimal impact on grain, contrast, and
shadow detail." Looks like a shoot-out with the three new 800
neg films is in order.
A new professional
PORTRA 100T neg film is designed for tungsten (3200K) use, especially
where multiple light sources are involved. It has improved reciprocity
characteristics and "virtually eliminates the need for compensating
filters during long exposures." (FYI: I have used the film on
TV studio sets and it is excellent. SDM Jr.) Kodak also claims
"outstanding color accuracy" and "excellent skin tones."
large format fans they have new pre-loaded Ready Load/Single
Sheet packets for easy daylight handling of a wide range of
Ektachrome and negative 4x5 films. (www.kodak.com)
of new, improved film emulsions are due to the use of precise
computer simulation. The interaction of over 100 different reagents
can be exactly predetermined so that, for example, reproduction
of skin tones can be exactly preset. This is one of the reasons
for the improved 800 ASA emulsions and it is predicted that
in the future there will be further improvements in high speed
films in terms of sharpness, grain, and color reproduction --
and film with an ASA of 8000 is possible.
ON KODAK - We had a private dinner with Kodak's Chief Technology
Officer, Jim Stoffel, and Senior Technology Associate (old friend
and former SI photographer), Richard Mackson. Among technologies
beyond its traditional film business that Kodak announced it
is working on, of particular interest to photojournalists, is
digital watermarking that will make it possible to verify unauthorized
use of images. It is designed to survive all the normal processing
steps and can be cropped, compressed, and scanned without losing
any of its hidden data that creates the watermark. Also in work
is an OLED screen, a thin glass sheet that is sharper and brighter
than conventional LCD's and can be viewed from any angle. It
has applications in consumer electronics from cameras to mobile
phones and the market is estimated to reach $4 billion in five
years. (see News Flash at end.)
they are active across the board in products and processes for
consumer, commercial, and professional areas. These include
large format inkjet printers (with new pigment inks), new lamination
and adhesive materials, a visual asset management system for
image service bureaus, imaging workstation solutions for portrait
and wedding photographers, and a high-speed digital lab system
for wholesale photofinishers capable of printing 10,000 snapshots
per hour. (Other manufacturers are introducing their own improved
digital labs -- this certainly shows the industry's optimism
that the market for paper prints, from both digital sources
and conventional film, will continue to increase.)
introduced a full range of snazzily designed, popularly priced
consumer digital cameras. A really neat, new consumer product
is the ultra-compact, weatherproof, Advantix T700 Preview Camera
using APS film. A built-in preview screen on the back (like
a digital camera) lets you see an image as you capture it and
select print quantities for those you want to keep.
4720 small footprint, A6 thermal dye printer that outputs multi-format
prints in seconds, is worth a look. Also, the Personal Picture
Makers 120 and 200 (under $299), in a joint venture with Lexmark,
don't require computers. They print directly from digital camera
memory cards, easily scroll through images to select, choose,
size, and layout (the 200 has a small preview screen) the number
of prints you want. More about these types of printers from
other companies later.
strategy appears to be sound, giving top priority to positioning
itself in the digital era using its traditional businesses to
fund the change. Estimating that nearly half its revenue will
come from digital by 2005, they have allocated $500 million
a year to digital R&D, pursuing alliances with high-tech and
dot.com companies and pushing to offer more digital services
online. They need to execute better and faster. (AT&T is pursuing
a similar strategy trying to use long distance revenue to fund
its cable broadband makeover. Unfortunately for both, revenues
from traditional sources are falling faster than expected, and
they are being punished by the stock market for missing their
numbers. See Late News Flash at the end.)
after Photokina, Kodak announced the hiring of Ted Lewis, one
of Silicon Valley's best known Web gurus, with $100 million
in venture capital money to spend on start-ups with hot new
technology. More importantly, according to Jim Stoffel, they
intend to do it on a Silicon Valley timetable -- moving quickly
to identify and leverage investments in cutting edge advances.
pair of smart eyes in Silicon Valley is a must, with Ted's help
there are things we aspire to participate in "and don't even
know about," Mr. Stoffel added in a Wall Street Journal interview.
Lewis will report directly to CEO Carp, working closely with
Senior VP for Digital and Applied Imaging Willy Shih and Stoffel.
Also announced was an investment in digital website PhotoAlley.com
(to be their exclusive print processor) and a deal with Circuit
City to market a how-to CD for digital camera buyers that includes
software to organize photos into digital albums. Other Kodak
digital services include "You've Got Pictures" in partnership
with AOL, Picture CD, Kodak PhotoNet Online, and joint agreements
with Internet companies Snapfish.com, ememories.com and CVS.com.
of you who prefer "real" film, don't worry, Kodak is continuing
to work on new and improved silver halide films. (www.kodak.com)
the increase in co-op ventures between the old line manufacturers
and digital companies, Philips announced a joint venture with
Pentax to develop an advanced processor for a 6-megapixel digital
SLR, combining Pentax lenses and bodies and digital still camera
chipsets. Philips is also partnering with Hewlett-Packard, which
will use its newly developed 36-bit "True-Frame sensor technology"
in the HP PhotoSmart 912 digital camera. They are also working
on improved CMOS image sensors and just introduced their UPA1021
"SeeMos" sensor which is smaller, has higher resolution with
lower power consumption, and integrates more easily with PC's.
This will help in development of lower priced, smaller cameras.
They predict that this sensor is not just limited to camera
solutions but will help advance integration among mobile phones,
PDA's, and even toys. They are not alone in these areas so you
can see which way the wind is blowing. (www.philips.semiconductors.com)
mantra is to bridge instant photography to digital. One way
is with the C211 (see section below on Olympus and Polaroid).
Mostly, it is going to be with easy-to-use, radically restyled,
digital cameras for the consumer market with price points from
$60 to $300.
are redesigning their i-zone instant pocket cameras, the World's
bestselling consumer cameras, with a sleeker profile and translucent
color change faceplates (√† la Apple), aimed at the trendy youth
market. They will combine the i-zone with a built-in digital
camera, so that Generation Y (kids and teenagers -- their market)
can elect shooting an i-zone instant photo, or a 640 x 480 VGA
resolution instant image. It's ready to download, email and
share with friends -- or post on their new i-zone website. Their
hottest new product is the "Webster," a portable, computer-mouse-size,
battery operated mini-scanner. Designed to digitize i-zone mini
photos (or other small objects), store 20 of them in its 2MB
memory, then cable connect to a PC with Webster 30 program software
and manipulate and e-mail images, or link with the i-zone website.
reminder, in our last Photokina Report we made a fearless forecast
at the introduction of i-zone, predicting its popularity. Now,
watch the " Webster"!
statistic: Polaroid cameras of all types have a 40 percent market
share in U.S. mass merchandising outlets (Wal-Mart, K-Mart,
to professionals: for digital photographers needing instant
hard copy on site, the new DP-500, a compact, hand-held, mobile
instant photo printer that produces high resolution Polaroid
500 size prints from CompactFlash or SmartMedia digital memory
cards in about 20 seconds. It is self-powered by the batteries
in the 500 film's 10-exposure back. It's another of the new
printers that bypass the PC.
now a sixth 20 x 24-inch giant Polaroid instant camera, presently
in Europe. Newly designed with increased portability, it has
a separate film holder and processor rather than an integrated
part of the camera, with both horizontal and vertical composition.
models from Daylab, used to make instant prints from chromes,
and by artists for emulsion transfer and image transfer, include
the Daylab 35 (an improved version of Daylab Jr), Daylab 35
Plus (an upgrade to Daylab II), and Daylab 120 (for medium format).
All have many new features, improved optics, and electronic
a new 545 Pro Film Holder back for 4 x 5 "peel-apart" sheet
film with an automatic processing timer and audio-visual signals
indicating processing is complete. It has about ten new features
too numerous to mention. Worth a look if you use that format.
and Polaroid will jointly produce the $800 C211 Zoom, a digital
camera combined with an instant photo printer, to be marketed
to real estate brokers, insurance agents, and law enforcement.
It's a 2.1-megapixel camera with 1600 x 1200 resolution, a monitor
to preview the color images before printing, an 8MB SmartMedia
memory card, and USB connections. (www.polaroid.com)
several unorthodox introductions: a Dick Tracy wristwatch digital
camera. With a b&w CMOS sensor, an f 2.8 lens, and 1 MB capacity
(up to 100 pictures), it also tells time! It's just a little
bigger than the Casio data bank watch I wear and you can transfer
image data to your PC with an infrared connection.
is the Casio QV2300UX LCD 2.11-megapixel digital camera with
a lens that swivels 270 degrees without changing position of
the body. It is preprogrammed with 28 sample images (instead
of the usual icons). The camera selects the appropriate setting
to match the image (landscape, portrait, etc.).
pro market, Lexar is introducing the 10X and 12X, 256MB and
320MB USB-enabled Type 1 CompactFlash digital film cards with
higher capacity and faster write speeds to capture high-speed
subjects. This larger storage is vital for today's high-resolution
digital cameras that generate large image files. The 10X is
capable of sustained write speeds up to 1.5MB/sec, the 12X up
to 1.8MB/sec. List prices range from $849 for the 256MB 10X,
to $1299 for the 320 MB 12X.
cameras allow you to take pictures faster than ever, you cannot
view them (to confirm what you've got) until the images are
stored to the digital "film." These new film cards allow you
to view captured images 50 percent faster (verified in a test
performed for us) as well as transfer faster (850 KBps) via
USB JumpShot hot-pluggable cable connecting directly to your
Mac or PC.
also starting SAYCHEESE.Com,
an online information site for digital photographers, and PRINTROOM.Com,
an online digital photo editing and photofinishing service with
discounted pricing ($3.95 for 8 x 10 prints).
storage systems are being developed: IBM via Retec showed a
1-gigabyte mini hard drive and SONY showed a digital camera
with an integrated CD-ROM drive, and has a model with a Sanyo
storage medium called iD Photo, which we did not see. (www.digitalfilm.com)
KIOSKS & more KIOSKS
and his brother are going to put out newly designed, or upgraded,
kiosks in retail areas. They will enable you to do everything
from popping a roll of film in for processing to making all
kinds of prints quickly and easily from original film or any
image capture or storage device on the market -- or coming to
market. And then enable you to store them on the internet, email
them to friends and family and, as technology permits, do it
wirelessly. Some are upgrades of presently existing machines
while others are revolutionary.
-- SANDISK and Photo-Me Int'l, in a joint venture called Digital
Portal, Inc. will manufacture silver halide processing digital
photo kiosks (self vending digital photo labs) that will enable
you to insert digital film flash memory cards, floppies, or
CD's, edit them on a display screen, and quickly get prints
on photographic paper. With Web connectivity you will also be
able to upload personal photo files to the DPI portal where
they can be accessed remotely by anyone with a user passkey
who can select images to print immediately on the access kiosk.
Using the same silver-halide process as a 1 hour photo lab (with
their own patented technology), and a user-friendly interactive
interface, they promise "superior" photo quality. Also a price
per print matching today's cost of 1-hour prints, development
of the first 4 x 6 print in 2 minutes, and an additional 20
seconds for each one thereafter.(www.sandisk.com)
SCIENCE FICTION (that's their name, for real, they are in the
image enhancement and correction business) showed a revolutionary
digital dry film process technology (DFP) they intend to use
in a kiosk under development. DFP processes exposed, undeveloped,
35mm/APS b&w or color film, directly to RGB digital files, using
a dry (no plumbing), environmentally safe process within four
minutes. However, look Ma, no negatives, just digital files.
an old-fashioned mugwump who likes to keep your negatives lying
around in a shoebox, you can always use the files to have a
service bureau recreate negs.
will also have a scanner that will incorporate ASF's three digital
enhancement technologies: Digital ICE to remove surface scratches
-- Digital ROC for color restoration, and Digital GEM to eliminate
graininess. The combination of these patented innovations is
called DIGITAL ICE3, and they are licensing it to Minolta and
Nikon for their scanners. The kiosk will be capable of receiving
prints, negatives, slides, and all digital camera media. It
will output to a dye-sub print that will be coated for longevity
and the system will have internet connectivity.
three known suppliers in the DFP program: Noritsu, Gretag, and
Phogenix, the Kodak-HP joint venture. The kiosk will allegedly
be on the market "next year." (www.asf.com)
Imaging (PMI) will be upgrading its line of digital Photo Ditto
kiosks to feature ASF's Digital ICE and Digital ROC technologies
in a strategic alliance agreement with ASF.
introducing its Agfa e-Box. It's point of sale kiosk system,
accepting all leading digital data carriers (like DPI), is operated
by the customer with a touch screen to generate a print order
which must be sent from the e-box to a nearby minilab for printing.
The e-box wins the prize for its imaginative pedestal design.
upgrading its familiar, ubiquitous, yellow and blue Picture
Maker with two new models. In addition, it will offer the Picture
Maker GC, a smaller, low cost counter version.
showed its triple-slot PCD-47B SCSI reader/writer for use in
digital photo kiosks and minilabs for image transfer. It accepts
all types of digital film and memory cards on the market.
from Solms took a different approach this year at Photokina.
They showed nothing new in the digital area. For the film-based
photographers, they showed a new 28mm f/2 ASPH Summicron-M for
the M-cameras. It is very light, and with aspheric lens elements,
extremely sharp. Listening to their customers, they introduced
a modified version of the M6 TTL camera with a .58 viewfinder.
This allows the user to see the 28mm frame lines easier while
wearing glasses. It will be useful to some, not to others. They
now offer three different viewfinders for the M6. One will be
right for you.
motor drive for the M-camera was introduced. This 3 fps motor
adds about a half an inch to the bottom of the camera, and the
battery pack is a very convenient hand grip.
wanting an autoexposure M-camera -- well, it wasn't ready yet.
It will be coming.
and some say the most interesting thing Leica showed, was a
recreation of the "O" series cameras in response to the latest
Japanese Retro movement. If you want to know how it felt to
make pictures in 1923/24, get one of these neat little toys.
show anything in the way of a digital M- or R- camera, but they
are working on them. Remember, Leica is a very small company.
As someone pointed out, Fuji has 400 people in its digital R&D
department and Leica has a total of 60 people in R&D. Keep the
faith, and you will be rewarded. (www.leica-camera.com)
interest to Leica owners, from Voigtlander, the makers of the
inexpensive 15mm f/4.5 Super-Wide Heliar lens, was the 12mm
f/5.6 Ultra-Wide Heliar. It has an angle of view of 121 degrees
(yes, you read it correctly), the widest rectilinear lens ever
produced for a 35mm camera. It is a 39mm screw mount lens and
will mount on a Leica M camera with the standard screw-to-bayonet
adapter. With viewfinder it is expected to sell for around $1,000.
(FYI: My few test shots with the 12mm were outstanding. SDM
In the interest
of full disclosure we must report that the junior member of
this Photokina team is an unabashed Leica user and fan.
It is also
only fair to report on one of the newer and more interesting
Leica knockoffs, the Konica Hexar RF. It is an auto-exposure
camera with the Leica M bayonet mount (the patent ran out years
ago). Originally shown at PMA in February, it was shown again,
now with the promise of a 35mm f/2 lens and a 50mm f/1.2 Hexagon
lens. IF you MUST have auto-exposure NOW, then get the camera.
If not, wait for Leica to perfect its own version. (www.konica.co.jp/english/hexar_rf)
Canon showed its new D30 digital camera and a few new amateur
lenses. The most interesting thing was the prototype telephoto
lens based upon its Multi-Layer Diffractive Optical Element
Technology. Simply put, it reduces the size of big telephoto
lenses by 25% and makes them one-third lighter. Naturally, this
system will give better chromatic aberration correction than
with a fluorite element.
Dave Metz and company home, and when asked about other new products
we were referred to their website. (www.usa.canon.com)
LoPinto was there, and very thoroughly briefed us, but there
Wasn't too much new from Nikon. A bunch of consumer digital
cameras, and a low end 35mm SLR, the F-65.
Of use to
real photographers was the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED lens
with its Silent Wave Motor. This new compact 300mm lens is touted
to give superior optical performance and "swift" autofocus operation.
In response to customer requests, the 300mm f/2.8D IF-ED, the
400mm f/2.8D IF-ED, the 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED, and the 80 to
200mm f/2.8D IF-ED lenses will be available in light-grey finish.(www.nikonusa.com)
division of Tamron showed a neat new medium-format 6 x 4.5 rangefinder
camera, the RF 645MF. It comes with three manual focus lenses
each with built-in shutters (65mm f/4 normal, 45mm f/4 wide
angle, and 135mm f/4.5 telephoto). There is also a dedicated
strobe for the camera.
introduced a 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspherical lens. Except for
the speed, it seems to be a more useful range than the 28-70mm
zooms currently on the market. Available for Canon AF, Nikon
AF-D, Minolta AF, and Pentax AF cameras. (www.tamron.co.jp)
has a compact, portable digital printer, the Camedia P-200.
Battery operated, it produces a 3 x 4-inch dye sub print in
90 seconds from SmartMedia or CompactFlash cards without computer
connection and is about the size of a PDA.
A good friend
of Sal's recently spent some serious time with the Olympus E-10
and now raves about it as a very well designed professional
tool. It is definitely worth a look.
Olympus camera is the E-100RS. This 1.5 million pixel camera
can shoot up to 15 fps. So, if you want to improve your golf
swing, tennis shot, or your kid's batting or pitching stance,
this is the digital for you. (www.olympus.com)
has a digital version of its 360-degree panorama camera with
a resolution of 1000 x 2900 pixels with image viewing on a connected
notebook, along with a new camera head for 70mm film, and a
shiftable connection for Mamiya 645 lenses. (www.roundshot.ch)
up with a great new idea in its Contax N1 autofocus SLR, and
Contax N Digital, adding a fold-out LCD viewfinder (like they
have on camcorders) with a 1.5-inch screen and a 330,000 pixel
CMOS. It enables you to actually see the effect of exposure
compensation adjustments -- brightening and dimming -- and can
also switch between color and b&w to give you a better idea
of what your image will look like when using either film. It
also has a cable shutter release so you can operate the camera
remotely while monitoring the LCD viewfinder. The rest of the
camera, with its Zeiss lenses and 1/8000 sec shutter speed,
are up to usual Contax standards.
users of the older Contax SLR 35mm cameras (those introduced
from 1974 on) CANNOT use their old lenses on either N1 or the
N Digital. (www.contaxcameras.com)
Valley-based company Foveon Inc., and Victor Hasselblad AB have
combined efforts to create the Hasselbald Dfinity, an extremely
high quality digital camera. Foveon contributes it CMOS-based
imaging engine, which by the samples we saw produced in front
of us, is excellent. (None other than the charming Barbara DeMoulin,
Foveon Studio Manager, gave the demo. Her husband Ray, retired
as head of Kodak Professional, is Foveon's Vice Chairman.)
is housed in a compact camera which, at this point, takes Canon
EOS lenses, and is connected to a desktop or laptop computer
by an IEEE 1394 interface (Firewire). The camera is controlled
from the keyboard and screen, which functions as the viewfinder
computer. You can shoot every 1.5 seconds and get a 12MB file.
"imaging engine" incorporates three sensors and a color separating
prism. The prism is designed so that light entering it is split
into red, green and blue components and then focused on each
of the three 2K x 2K CMOS sensors.
will work with Windows and Macintosh support systems. Hasselblad
plans to market it, starting in January 2001. (www.foveon.net)
of functions is a further trend. There are digital cameras from
several manufacturers that can also replay MP3 files (Fuji Finepix
401), and some still models provide an option for recording
short video sequences.
of convergence, more and more digital camcorders are equipped
to make, and store, still digital images, and one is equipped
with a built-in flash unit for shooting stills. Made for Platypus
FLASH -- As we were putting this report to bed, Kodak announced
a radical restructuring. Trying to become nimbler in the digital
age, they have consolidated their seven business units into
Carp will head a consumer imaging unit, with consumer and digital
imaging reporting to him (about 60% of the company). Martin
Coyne will be president of a Commercial Business Group, which
accounted for $6 billion of Kodak√'s $14.1 billion in revenue
last year. Formerly head of the successful health imaging unit,
Coyne expanded it from $1.5 to 2.1 billion in the past 5 years
and is known for his ability to move quickly and successfully
toward new technologies.
to pros, Patrick Siewert, head of Kodak Professional, will now
report to Coyne as part of the Commercial Business Group, along
with the heads of Document Imaging, Entertainment Imaging, and
Health Imaging. The Wall Street Journal characterized this as
a move "geared at rejuvenating Kodak's professional division."
How they handle professional digital equipment and processes
between the two units remains to be seen.
they'e creating a new business unit based on its flat-panel
display technology (discussed above in the Kodak section). Les
Polgar, a new hire from the semiconductor industry, will head
it until 2002 !!!