The first day of Photokina, Press Day is chaotic, with most exhibitors still setting up their stands. There s packaging materials and debris everywhere and staff are rushing about with brooms and bins.


24 September: The first day of Photokina, Press Day is chaotic, with most exhibitors still setting up their stands. There s packaging materials and debris everywhere and staff are rushing about with brooms and bins.
Nevertheless, some notable trends are evident:
1. Compact digital cameras are big time this show, with a proliferation of brands and models in different shapes and sizes and with different resolutions. The 2-3 megapixel sector is still the sweet spot in the market but all the excitement appears to be with higher-resolution models.
2. Digital SLRs are very strong and the system-base approach offers great potential for professionals and enthusiasts. New models, such as the Canon EOS-1Ds mentioned in this report, are providing some exciting technological developments. Prices appear to be stabilising but we have yet to see an entry-level model.
3. Camcorders with decent stills capabilities are now making an impact. Sony has been the market leader with its 2-megapixel model but others are sure to follow.
4. Inkjet printing is developing rapidly and diversifying in two directions. Large format printers are offering new business opportunities for photolabs, while desktop models are providing true digital darkroom facilities for home-based digital imagers.
5. Digital photos are becoming easier to print on true photographic paper, thanks to online print services, terminal, kiosks and picture pockets . Many roads are now leading to digital output on silver halide media. Ubiquitous printing of digital photographs is fast becoming a reality!
6. Multimedia communication is now big time, with an increasing emphasis on image-based applications for portable devices, such as mobile phones, notebook PCs and PDAs.
7. A rash of card readers has hit the market, with at least 10 different manufacturers having products on show. However, so far, few are available for the newest memory card formats, xD and Memory Stick Duo.
8. Analogue photography is still alive and well, thanks to new equipment releases from major manufacturers and supporting products from film and chemistry suppliers. It is likely to remain strong for the foreseeable future.
9. Large-scale projectors are big news, with a number of manufacturers offering models that will project slides, TV broadcasts and digital still and video images. It s the size that counts in this show!
10. International communications standards, notably Bluetooth and USB 2.0, are now being established and leading manufacturers are offering them in their latest products.

We ll soon provide more specific details on the most exciting products. In the interim, some cudos should go to Samsung for having a complete press kit available when the day opened. New models on show include:
Digimax 101, a 1.3 megapixel (effective) models with a 1/2 inch CMOS sensor and fixed focus lens (46mm equivalent focal length). Digimax 201, a similar model with a 1/3.2 inch CCD sensor and 2.0 megapixle (effective) resolution. The fixed focus lens has an equivalent focal length to 43mm on a 35mm camera. Digimax 240, a model with the same sized CCD sensor but a 39-117mm equivalent zoom lens.
All three models come with 8 MB of internal storage plus a SD/MMC card slot and all use AA size batteries.
Samsung has also announced a portable Li-ion battery pack that can be added to a digital camera or PDA to provide a longer working life.

Other day 1 features include…

New Digital SLR Standard Announced
Kodak and Olympus have today announced a new standard for digital SLR cameras that aims to overcome the difficulties film SLR users have faced for the past 40 years or so: the incompatibility of different manufacturers systems.

The new standard will be known as The Four Thirds System and will be based around a sensor size of 18 x 13.5 mm (with a 22.5 mm diagonal). Already, Fujifilm has agreed to support the system and it is hoped other manufacturers will follow.
Unlike film SLRs, the Four Thirds System will be totally open, which will mean that future digital SLR buyers will be able to mix and match between different manufacturers camera bodies and lenses. It is planned that the type and size of sensors and the lens mount for all cameras using the system will be standardised.
Certain optical parameters will also be standardised, to optimise imaging performance. The image circle and the distance between the primary optic and the sensor among them. This standardisation will ensure the light rays entering the lens hit the sensor as near to parallel as possible, a requirement for digital imaging which is not met by lenses designed for imaging on film.
There will also bee full information exchange between the lens and the camera body, another factor that will optimise image quality. It is believed that the Four Thirds System will deliver digital SLR cameras that are smaller and cheaper to manufacture than the current generations of digital SLRs but perform at least as well – if not better.
The first cameras using the new system are expected to be displayed at the PMA International Trade Show in Las Vegas next February. We will provide details when they become available.

Hasselblad Launches AF SLR System
Hasselblad today announced a brand new medium format SLR camera system that will use the 6 x 4.5 cm format. Over five years in development and costing in excess of 35 million Euros, the new H system has received input from Fujifilm, Minolta and Metz.
Hasselblad has been quite up-front about which company has been responsible for what components: Hasselblad itself developed the body, software, autofocus and metering systems; Fujifilm has been responsible for developing the lenses, finders and backs, while Metz has had input into the pop-up flash – a first on a Blad.
The H system will be sold as a completely modular configuration, which includes backs, finders and lenses. None will be compatible with existing Hasselblad cameras and Hasselblad sees this as a platform for a new generation of cameras. Two digital backs will be launched with the new H1 body: the DCS Pro back 645H, which offers 16 megapixel resolution and a Phase1-developed H101 back with 11 megapixel resolution and has been developed for the Hasselblad chassis.
Australisn distributor, C.R. Kennedy, expects to have units available for sale in November. Pricing for the camera body will be in the vicinity of $A10,000 to $A12,000.
New Kodak Professional DCS Pro Back 645H
Eastman Kodak Company today announced its latest medium format digital back – the Kodak Professional DCS Pro Back 645H – that is compatible with the new Hasselblad H1 camera system, and delivers the superior resolution, portability and functionality found in the award-winning 645M and 645C digital backs.
The back features 16-megapixel resolution, integral battery and a fully featured LCD display. The H1 camera body’s design is specially designed for digital backs and film magazines. It features an all-electronic user interface that communicates with lenses, film magazines and the viewfinder. The H1 camera’s LCD displays information from the digital back, providing photographers with quick access to histograms, format and white balance status.
The Kodak Professional 645H will be available in November, to coincide with availability of the Hasselbald H1 camera system through dealers of Kodak Professional digital photography products. The suggested U.S. list price of the Kodak Professional DCS ProBack 645H digital camera is $11,995.00.
Konica Claims World s Smallest 5-Megapixel Camera
Konica has added a new Digital Revio model to its line-up. The KD-500Z features a 5.36 megapixel sensor (5.0 megapixels effective) and 3x optical zoom lens (focal length equivalent to 39-117mm). Weighing only 198 g (without battery and cards), the new model sports dual SD/Memory Stick slots and comes with 2 MB of internal memory.
Three AF modes are available (centre-weighted, CCD image and spot), along with Program AE. Shutter speeds range from 1-1/2000 second and movie capture (with sound) is available across shutter speeds from 1/30 to 1/5000 second. A true-image zoom viewfinder is partnered with a 1.5-inch TFT colour LCD monitor. The camera is supplied with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and charger.
Konica is also claiming a record for its Revio C2 digital camera, this time for its small size and light weight. Measuring just 85.8 x 55.8 x 13.5 mm and weighing only 70 grams, the C2 is roughly the size of a credit card and features a 1.3 megapixel CMOS sensor. Images are stored in the internal flash memory, which has a capacity of approximately 14 MB. Files can be downloaded via a USB cable or viewed on the camera s 1.6-inch LCD monitor. An optical viewfinder is also provided.
The Revio C2 is powered by two AAA batteries and has a fixed focus lens with an equivalent focal length to 37mm in 35mm format.

Kodak Unveils 4.0 Megapixel Digital Camera with New Schneider Lens
Kodak has teamed up with Schneider-Kreuznach, the German producer of high-quality professional lenses, to launch the LS443 Zoom Digital Camera with 4.0 megapixel resolution, 1.8″ indoor/outdoor LCD screen, MultiScene modes (close-up, landscape, sport, night and movie) and a choice of colour modes for differing photo situations and the ability to film continuous video with audio capture and built in speaker.
The Kodak LS443 Zoom Digital Camera will be available in late September and has an expected street price of $Aust1199.