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Digital Camera News: EISA Awards, Canon EOS 20D Firmware Update, More Camera Phone Studies
by Ben Stafford -  8/15/2005

EISA Awards Announced

Each June, 50 Audio, Mobile Electronics, Video and Photo magazines from 20 European countries meet to vote on the best products released in the previous 12 months.  They've announced the winners in several different classes:

CAMERA - Canon EOS 350D

PROFESSIONAL CAMERA - Nikon D2x

COMPACT CAMERA - Olympus Camedia C-7070


ZOOM CAMERA - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5


POCKET CAMERA - Fujifilm Finepix F10

Canon EOS20D Firmware Update

Canon has released a firmware update that corrects the following:

 This firmware update (version 2.0.2) incorporates the following additions and improvements:

1. Fixes bugs that occurred when using the EOS Capture application.

This firmware update applies to cameras with firmware versions up to 2.0.0 installed. If your camera's firmware is already version 2.0.2, it is not necessary to perform this update.

http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=DownloadDetailAct&fcategoryid=314&modelid=10464#firmware

Are Camera Phone Studies Just Good News?

It seems like every organization has completed a study about the effect of camera phones on the digital camera market.  Maybe it's just to provide an excuse for a slowing digital camera market.  In the past week or so, there have been two partially conflicting studies.  One, from ABI Research is saying that the quality of camera phones will increase so much that people won't need low-end standalone digital cameras.  Another, from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) says that camera phones are not likely to replace digital cameras as consumers' primary picture taking device.  While not completely conflicting, there are definitely some differences of opinion.

According to ABI Research. the sale of 1.3 megapixel camera phones will overtake camera phones that only take VGA images early next year.  Then, subsequent years will show 2, 3, and 4 megapixel camera phoones overtaking the older models by late 2007 and 2008.

At that point, according to ABI, digital cameras under 3.5 megapixels will take a hit.  Now, I'm not sure if ABI has been watching the digital still camera market, but I certainly don't expect any 3.2 megapixel cameras to be sold, with or without good camera phones around, in 2 years.  Regardless, it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

The study by CEA reports that 91% of digital camera owners consider their digital camera to be their primary photo-taking device.  Their study reportedly shows that users will continue to use the digital still camera as a primary, even with a plethora of "convergence" devices that combine still images/video images/phone, etc.

Bottom line is that I just don't get a lot out of all these studies.  As a consumer, it just doesn't matter.  All I care about is a good product at a good price.  It will be interesting to watch the market to see if the wireless service providers can get it together enough to provide nice image services for all these great camera phones.  However, there will always be the privacy issue (some wireless providers store your images on their servers).  Also, I expect that digital cameras will outpace the technology that can be crammed into a phone.