Digital Camera News, 3/8/08

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Rumor: Pentax canceling 645 Digital project

The technology blog Engadget is reporting this morning that Pentax is allegedly closing down shop on its previously announced medium-format digital camera project.

Pentax 645

Built around the company’s 645 medium-format film camera, the digital project was reported to use a Kodak-produced 18 megapixel CCD when first announced way back at PMA 2006. Pentax was actually showing off prototypes of the 645 Digital under glass at PMA just a few weeks ago, but if reports are to be believed, the company has since decided to focus on its more mainstream K-series DSLRs.

With 20+ megapixel small-format digitals now available from other manufacturers and the 14.6 megapixel K20D coming to Pentax’s own stable this year, it’s also worth noting that the 645’s initially promised 18 megapixels of resolution are hardly as impressive these days as they seemed a few years ago. Hence, the move, while disappointing for medium-format aficionados, seems logical enough to be true.

Continued production of film versions of the 645, which has been in the company’s line-up since the mid-1980s, will apparently remain unaffected by the decision.

Check out the full story for more information on this rumor.

Kodak negotiating deal for a new film SLR

Kodak has been, until relatively recently, synonymous with "film," producing many of the classic films and film cameras from the last century. In spite of a shifting emphasis to digital over the past few years, however, it would seem that Kodak is going to continue investing in the hardware side of 35mm shooting for the foreseeable future.


PMA Newsline sourced a report from Amateur Photographer magazine this week stating that Kodak has entered into an agreement with Vivitar to produce a Vivitar-manufactured, Kodak-branded 35mm SLR. Though it’s not clear how quickly the project will move forward or what form it might take, one Vivitar exec interviewed by the magazine suggested that the new Kodak camera would be built on a platform similar to Vivitar’s V3000 full-manual film SLR.

While full-manual 35mm cameras are perfectly competent tools in the right hands and one of the best ways to learn photography basics, we’ll be interested to see what the market for such consumer (rather than pro) focused film products is. We’re not sure what geographic markets Kodak is potentially targeting with this camera, but it is interesting to note that Vivitar doesn’t even list the V3000 on its US site.

In response to continued suggestions that consumer-focused film products are on there way out, Kodak’s Joel Proegler was quoted as saying that film products remain "a very profitable part of the business."

See PMA Newsline’s summary for further details.

Lexmark announces new budget photo printer with Wi-Fi

This week, Lexmark announced a new consumer-level general purpose and photo printer with Wi-Fi connectivity.

Lexmark Z2420

The Lexmark Z2420 supports color photo printing up to 4800×1200 dpi on a variety of media types and sizes. Borderless printing in several common sizes, including 4×6 and 5×7, is also supported.

As noted, the Z2420 has built-in 802.11g/b wireless printing, and is also 802.11n compatible.

With a retail price of $79.99, the Z2420 is a potentially interesting new low-cost option for users looking for the flexibility offered by wireless printing. For complete specs, see Lexmark’s product information page

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