Well, it’s not really my first day, but it’s the first "official" day. I covered a lot of ground today and will do about the same tomorrow. I started the morning with the Sony press event, where they officially announced the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G1 and talked about upcoming digital SLRs. I also stopped by to see Samsung, Panasonic, HP, Lowepro, Crumpler, Fujifilm and Nikon. This isn’t meant to be a fully detailed spec sheet of everything that I saw, but kind of give you an overview of what I’ve done today.
Sony Press Event
The major news from this morning was the announcement of the wireless Cyber-shot DSC- G1 digital camera and the now public plans for two new digital SLRs. Sony is working on two models, a "high amateur" model and a flagship model with one of them to be released this calendar year (they wouldn’t reveal which one). The high amateur model will have higher performance than the existing Alpha A100 dSLR and will have "Super SteadyShot Inside" meaning that you’ll get image stabilization in body so you can get image stabilization with any lens you can put on it. The flagship model will have the highest performance and is supposed to be equipped enough for even professional photographers.
New Sony Alpha models under glass (view large image)
I also got hands-on with the new W models (W200, W90 and W80), the new H models (H7 and H9), the new T models (T20, T100), and the wireless-enabled G1. I’m very happy to see optical image stabilization make it into the W series (in the W200). Besides that, the W models are similar to the previous generation, but you get some more colors. The T series, as well are very nice, slim and well-equipped. I was really anxious to see the G1 and the collaboration mode in action. The 3.5 inch LCD is quite amazing, especially given it’s 921K pixels of resolution. The camera is a little larger, but still pretty compact. The collaboration mode lets you and several friends take shots and share them instantly on each other’s screens.
3 inch articulated screen on Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9 (view large image)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G1 (view large image)
Horizontal menu of G1 (view large image)
The Samsung booth had their latest cameras, including the relatively new L77 and a fun GPS device that can sync your coordinates with your images based on timestamps. This allows some pretty cool things when you start putting the coordinates into Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, etc.
At Panasonic, I had a lovely chat with Mamoru Yoshida, Director of the Digital Still Camera Business Unit of Panasonic. He ran me through the Panasonic product line and was very excited about Panasonic’s increasing market share. Panasonic has been working very hard over the past year or two to provide a full line of digital cameras and have been successful in doing so. With optical image stabilization across their entire line, it’s very easy for people to get IS at a price they can afford. Other features, like compact ultra-zooms (TZ3), Intelligent ISO Control, wide angle (28mm) lenses, and a new processing engine will keep Panasonic moving in the digital camera market.
HP announced three new Photosmart cameras (HP Photosmart R837, Photosmart M437, Photosmart M537 Digital Cameras Announced) and I got to sit down with them and check out some of the new features, like pet-eye reduction and their tagging system. The M cameras are pretty standard entry level cameras, while the R837 features a slim, pocketable design and slightly more features. Their Design Gallery is currently one of their big selling points, with which you can remove red eyes, pet eyes, skin blemishes, and so on.
Lowepro is celebrating their 40 year anniversary this year and doing some great environmentally conscious things. They showed me their pro-level backpack, the Primus AW, which is very impressive. Probably the best part about the bag is that part of the profits will go to Polar Bears International and 51% of each bag is made from recycled post-consumer waste. It will be available this summer for $280.
(view large image)
At Crumpler, I got a tour of the huge Brazillion Dollar Home camera bag. You can get two SLRs and multiple lenses is this bag. It also has an all-weather cover, durable nylon construction, and plenty of great features for someone who carries many pounds of photographic equipment and/or a laptop computer (up to 17"). It retails for $280.
(view large image)
At the Fujifilm booth, I got to see the two new A models (A820, A900) and the S700. You can find more info about these cameras in my previous coverage: Fujifilm Finepix A820, Finepix A900, Finepix S700 Digital Cameras Announced. I also got a demo of the IRSimple transfer mode on the new cameras and was quite impressed. A 3MB file was sent to another camera in just a couple seconds. The IR Simple capability is not as widespread in the US as in Asia, but we’ll start to see it in kiosks and other devices.
Finepix A820 (view large image)
Finepix A900 (view large image)
Finepix S700 (view large image)
Nikon was my last stop of the day and I got up close with the new D40x digital SLR and the 55-200mm VR lens that they just announced. Nikon has a done a good job with their latest generation (and previous generations) of cameras to really fill out a nice product line. For example, their entry level cameras (L10, L11, and L12) are tailored well to the features used by entry-level users. The 55-200mm lens, in my opinion, will be welcomed by entry-level Digital SLR users. The included (typically) 18-55mm lens will get you started, but when you’re ready for more telephoto, you can get it for just $250 – AND it has Vibration Reduction to dampen the effects of camera shake. Those two lenses will keep most entry-level SLR owners quite happy. Nikon will just have to come up with something else to get people to buy more glass.