DCR at Photokina: Panasonic Imaging, Samsung User Interface

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The second day of my Photokina blitz involved one meeting, with Panasonic, and some more walking through the halls that I missed yesterday.  I also got hands on with the Samsung NV7 and its new user interface.

Panasonic is really working hard to become known as an imaging company.  The two areas in which they’re really working to build are digital cameras and plasma screen TVs.  When talking to some representatives from Panasonic, I learned quite a bit on how they’re growing in the US, including the fact that they have quadrupled their retail partners over the past year.  I would guess that if you bought your first digital camera two or more years ago that Panasonic wasn’t even an option then.  Now, you can see their cameras in just about all of the major electronics stores.

Another part of their strategy to grow their camera market share is to expand their SLR line.  Currently, the L1 is certainly generating quite a bit of buzz, but it’s not in the price range that puts it anywhere the entry level Digital SLR range.

Panasonic L1 rental desk staying busy (view large image)

Panasonic is also very proud that they have a full product line now and their image stabilization system (MEGA O.I.S) in every one of the models.  They didn’t have anything new to announce at the show, but promised some neat things with the TZ line (the TZ1 is their 10x optical zoom compact).  I expect that we’ll hear things between CES in January and PMA at the beginning of March.

As I was walking around, I headed over to the Samsung display.  I’ve wanted to get my hands on an NV7 or NV10 to check out the new user interface that they have on the back of the cameras.  I played with an NV7 OPS (7.2 megapixels, 7x optical zoom with image stabilization).  I have to say that I’m really impressed with the user interface, which consists of rows of touch sensitive buttons along the bottom edge and right edge of the LCD.  There are icons on the screen that line up with each button.  For example, to change the flash, you see a little flash icon in the bottom left.  When you touch (but don’t press) the button, you get a little tip — in this case, the word: “flash”.  Depress the button and a menu appears with the flash modes.  The menu items line up with the buttons along the right side of the LCD.  When you touch the buttons on the right side, it shows you which selection you’re about to make.  When you’ve decided, just depress the button and the menu disappears and your selection has been made.  I hope to be getting a review unit of this camera, so keep an eye out.

Samsung NV7 (view large image)

Samsung NV7 (view large image)

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