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PhotoPlus Expo: Nikon's Wireless Digital Cameras, Canon's Lineup, LowePro Bags
by Ben Stafford -  10/23/2005

After a quick whirlwind across the exhibit floor of the PhotoPlus Expo in NYC, I thought I would fill you in on what I've learned. I got a chance to get some of the newer models in hand and we plan to bring you reviews of as many as we can. Below, I'll touch on some of the highlights from Nikon, Canon, and Konica Minolta. I also enjoyed checking out Fujifilm's S5200, E-900, and S9000 and some of the newer Pentax and Olympus models.

Nikon
My first stop was to see the implementation of WiFi in the new Nikon Coolpix P1 and P2. Since I've started reviewing the Kodak Easyshare One, I was curious to see how Nikon decided to do things.

Nikon is definitely taking a different approach than Kodak. While the Kodak scans for Wifi networks and lets you set up profiles on the camera, the Nikons require you to connect the USB cable to your Mac or PC and use a utility to set up the profiles that get transferred to your camera. This approach makes it seem like Nikon is "testing the waters" of WiFi since they didn't go to the effort of building the interface for wireless setup on the cameras, but it may make sense as time goes one as there are mixed success stories about connecting to WiFi networks with the Kodak.

Once your profile is set up and you have the Nikon PictureProject software running, you can choose several different wireless options. The one that they were demoing at PhotoPlus was the "Shoot and Transfer" mode. People wearing wireless enabled tablet PCs were walking around taking pictures of show attendees and showing off the image that was transferred immediately after capture to the display.

Nikon is/will also be selling an optional wireless adapter that plugs into the USB port of any PictBridge compatible printer. This adapter allows you to print directly from the camera.

I also got a chance to check out the most compact 10x optical zoom that I have seen -- the Nikon Coolpix S4. It was a very solid camera and very comfortable to hold. I think this camera will be a pretty popular buy this holiday season.

Canon
I was able to sit down and chat with a Canon representative about their most recent round of products. Back in August, they announced 7 new Powershot cameras. They were a couple updates to previous models and additions to existing lines (the A620 and A610 replace the A95, the SD550, SD450 and SD30 are added to the SD line, the A410 replaces the A400, and the S80 succeeds the S70).

I would also imagine that we'll start seeing some wireless integration into Canon cameras soon. They've demonstrated a prototype recently and its just a matter of polishing things up for the mass market.

Konica Minolta
I stopped by to see the latest offerings from Konica Minolta. I recently reviewed the Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z6, and they were also showing off the Maxxum 5D and the X1. The Maxxum 5D is the more entry-level digital SLR when compared with their Maxxum 7D. The DiMAGE X1 is a very sleek and sexy ultra-compact with a mirror finish that is a fingerprint magnet. However, Konica Minolta has managed to fit their CCD-shift Anti-Shake into this very small camera which is very impressive. It also features a non-extending 3x optical zoom. This camera may be a good choice for those low-light club-going picture takers that end up with blurry shots.

LowePro
I got a quick demo of a couple of their more recent offerings. First was the DryZone Rover, a beast of a backpack, but one in which you get a hydration pack and a waterproof bag built into it. As with many of their products, I was impressed with the quality of the bags as well as the thought put into zipper placement and placement of all the little pockets that are necessary when lugging around memory cards, lenses, batteries, and backup cameras.

Another very popular item that they showed me was one of the two bags from their Slingshot series. It was impressive to see this bag that, when not in use stays securely on your back, but swings around for extremely easy access by releasing one buckle.

Check out www.lowepro.com for the full product line.