Already identified as highly significant is the lead taken by DSLR cameras, which are quoted as ‘creating the greatest interest’ at the show.

September 25, 2006: When Photokina 2006, the biennial world’s fair of imaging technology, opens tomorrow it will showcase the latest trends in imaging technology.

Already identified as highly significant is the lead taken by DSLR cameras, which are quoted as “creating the greatest interest” at the show. A pre-show press release states: “digital reflex photography has evolved from a high-end technique for professionals to a popular pastime for the masses. No other type of camera has experienced such high sales growth in recent years, which is not surprising given that they retain the good “old” reflex properties of great picture quality and application variety. And that explains why more and more cameras with higher resolution are now favourable, making them affordable to amateurs as well. New players from the electronics sector, including Panasonic, Samsung and Sony, are now competing for customers (in some cases cooperating with optics and electronics specialists) and putting pressure on established companies such as Canon, Fuji, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax. As a result, customers are benefiting from a greater selection of products and innovative technical solutions.”

Technological innovations that are seen as important in this area include optical image stabilisation, both in lenses and camera bodies. According to the release: “With the image stabilizer it is now possible to exploit the optical quality that sophisticated lens design and a high degree of sensor resolution offer for handheld photography. It also opens up new possibilities for taking pictures in poor lighting conditions.” For compact digicams. A strong trend towards larger LCD screens has been identified, along with a new generation of image processors that speed up image processing and make cameras more responsive.

Image data storage is also an area of interest, with DVDs and nard disk drives taking over as the new storage media for camcorders and the next generation of memory cards – SDHC – is now ready for launch at 4 GB capacity, with higher capacities promised in the future. Products featuring the latest developments in all these areas will be on show from tomorrow. Miniaturisation of camcorders has now “reached its physical limits, as has the focal-length range of the mega-zoom lenses”, the report says. New HDTV and 16:9-format camcorders are appearing to meet the needs of “ambitious filmmakers” and those with the latest widescreen TV sets. Analogue camcorders have virtually disappeared from the market.

Two important trends that reflect how people are using new technologies are also being seen in new product developments. Firstly, the internet is enabling photographers – and the supporting industry – to use new forms of communication to reach ever widening markets. Secondly, cameraphones are fast adopting the role of an “optical notebook”, rather than taking the place of a dedicated digital still or video camera. The inclusion of 2- and 3-megapixel cameras in mobile phones has pushed up the entry-level resolution for dedicated digicams to 4-megapixels, with the bulk of the market being 5- to 6-megapixel models. However, camera phones are quoted as having “long reaction times and limited photographic design possibilities, which is why they are still no substitute for a ‘real’ digital camera.”
Although we are not attending Photokina this year, we will report on important and interesting new products as information about them reaches us. Check this website regularly to get the latest news.