PMA 2010: Wrap-Up

by Reads (81)

By Allison Johnson and Jamison Cush

Having enough of the palm tress, sunshine, and mellow dispositions of the west coast, the DCR team packed up and headed out of Anaheim last week. We’ve got some final videos from our meeting with Sigma, a look at some accessories and odds-and-ends, and a few parting thoughts from PMA 2010.

There was no shortage of new, hot-off-the-production-line compact cameras this year. Pocket high-zoom cameras like Sony’s Cyber-shot HX5 and H55, Nikon’s Coolpix S8000, and Panasonic’s ZR and ZS cameras got plenty of attention leading up to the show. Manufacturers also put their bigger guns, ultrazooms like the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 on display for show attendees.

With the exception of Olympus’s EPL-1 and the concept cameras from Sony, we didn’t see any new interchangeable lens systems from the big players. Samsung marked their commitment to the NX series by announcing five new lenses, and we got a first look at a working K mount adapter on the NX10. The biggest announcement prior to PMA may just have been the Canon Rebel T2i. With Canon out of the show this year, we have yet to get any hands-on time with the new DSLR.

We did, however, spend some time at the Sigma both taking a look at the new DP1x, DP2s, and their new lineup of lenses. Sigma’s Dave Metz talks us through some of Sigma’s offerings both big and small. First, we took a look at their massive 200-500mm lens, a fixture at the Sigma booth.

Next we stepped down to the considerably smaller re-designed 17-50mm standard zoom lens.

Finally, we took a look at the compact wide angle 8-16mm lens.

Cameras and lenses grab all of the headlines, but that’s not all you’ll find at the show. Shutterbugs may flock to PMA to test out the latest cameras from Nikon, Fujifilm, Sigma, and others, but the Photo Marketing Association understands that a camera is only part of the photographer’s equipment checklist. That’s why PMA dedicates much of its show floor space to the gear and vendors that enable great photographers to snap, store, and display magnificent images. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of the interesting non-camera items we saw at the show.

It’s in the bag
Take a look at the shoulder of any traveling photographer and chances are you’ll see a Lowepro camera bag. As such, the “Trusted Original” had a very prominent and active booth at the center of the show floor. Enthusiastic Lowepro reps walked DCR and others through their latest product line, including the new SlingShot AW, an update to Lowepro’s popular SlingShot series.

Changes to the single-strap camera bag were minor, but did include additional personal space for accessories, a tripod mount, and a repositioned lens-cleaning cloth. In demonstration, the bag retained the quick access and convenient storage of its predecessor, though with a bit more bulk owing to the increased personal space atop the camera compartment. The Lowepro reps assured DCR that these slight changes came from intense user feedback. However, considering the popularity of the SlingShot series amongst photographers, minor adjustments are probably the only necessary ones.

Photography as art
While the digital format was clearly dominant at PMA, many attendees were still looking for print solutions. One vendor looking to appeal to every shutterbug’s inner artist was Your Photo on Canvas.

As their name implies, Your Photo on Canvas prints digital images on canvas for show, essentially turning images into “works of art,” in the words of founder John Doe. The booth proudly displayed the vendor’s wares, including an image of a friend’s cat shot by DCR Site Editor Allison Johnson, each showing a surprisingly vibrant image with a pleasant glossy sheen. A note we found interesting: the sheen is liquefied plastic wrap, coating and protecting the image, according to Doe.

The canvas sizes range from 12×16 inch to 30×40 inches, and because of the nature of canvas, even lower resolution pictures still looked good on larger displays. As explained to us, the cotton fiber absorbs the ink, slightly blurring the image and reducing pixilation. This was exemplified by an impressively rendered low-res iPhone shot of tree buds, blown up and printed on a sizable canvas.

What’s on your hard drive
Western Digital was also at PMA, touting their latest external hard drives and storage solutions. Of note, Western Digital’s new My Book 3.0 external hard drive, which Western Digital released last month and touted as “the first certified SuperSpeed USB 3.0 storage device available on the market.”

DCR did not get a first-hand look at the “SuperSpeed,” but according to Western Digital reps, users can expect much faster transfer times. How much faster? While it took the My Book USB 2.0 one minute and 12 seconds to access 500 photos, it would take the My Book 3.0 a scant 23 seconds, according to press materials.

We did get a chance to see great product feature released last year that had us slapping our heads wondering, “why didn’t we think of that?” Many My Books now sport an e-ink-like display for users to monitor storage levels and label hard drives. All labeling is controlled through WD SmartWare software that ships with the product, and because the display is similar to e-ink, it requires no power; meaning users can see the label even when the device is sitting unused on the shelf. It’s an extremely innovative feature that is particularly effective for photographers quickly filling up hard drives with sizeable RAW image files.

Back at home base
Now that we’re back at home, the real work starts. We’re lining up reviews of the new-for-2010 cameras, and with more than a few new compact cameras announced already, we’ve got our work cut out for us. Keep watching for more news and reviews until the next tradeshow rolls around. Sprechen sie Deutsch?

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