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Digital Camera News: Kodak and Martha Stewart, Pentax Optio A10 Firmware Update, Ten Dollar Digital Camera, Nikon Demand
by Ben Stafford -  7/7/2006

Ok, time to clear out the digital camera news inbox.  Today, I have Martha Stewart designing photo products for Kodak, a Pentax Optio A10 firmware update, a ten dollar digital camera, and Nikon working at full tilt to keep up with digital SLR demand.

Martha Stewart-designed Photo Products for Kodak

Kodak and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced a  multi-year parternship to develop a line of Martha Stewart branded photo products.  Starting in September, the line will debut with a larger selection of holiday offerings (cards, Photo Books, and more).  More products and other categories will be rolled out later in the year and into 2007.

The Martha Stewart Living design team, under the supervision of Martha herself, will develop cards, stationery, invitations, Photo Books, calendars, stickers and hang tags.  Products will be in the categories of holidays, weddings, invitations, thank-you notes and babies.  They will also produce products for new categories, like food and gardening.

The new line of products will be sold on the www.kodakgallery.com site and the www.marthastewart.com site.

For more information, you can visit: http://www.kodakgallery.com/marthastewart

Firmware Update for Pentax Optio A10

Pentax has released a firmware update (v1.01) for their flagship Optio A10 digital camera.   The firmware update improves auto focus performance.

To perform the upgrade, you'll need a freshly formatted SD card that has a capacity of at least 16 MB.

For directions and to get the update, see: http://www.pentaximaging.com/customer_care/show_firmware?firmId=7315369

Ten Dollar Digital Camera

Seen on the Elephant Staircase wiki, a site devoted to useful and wacky DIY projects, a hack is described to let you use a "disposable" ten dollar camera again and again.  The camera can be obtained at many drug stores.  You'll also need to find a Palm 3 cradle to take apart and rewire to interface with the camera.  You basically just have to make a USB transfer cable for the camera.

For full directions and to see surpisingly good quality pictures, see: http://www.elephantstaircase.com/wiki/index.php?title=TenDollarDigitalCamera

Nikon Busy Keeping Up With Digital SLR Demand

Demand for Nikon's digital SLRs (D50, D70s, D200) has them on track to beat their estimates.  So far, from January to May, shipments of the cameras were boosted 35% over what they were last year.  Their estimated growth was 30%.  Their manufacturing facility in Thailand is running at "full tilt" to keep up with sales.

Senior Managing Director Makoto Kimura told Reuters that Nikon is expecting the market for digital SLRs to increase 25% in the fiscal year ending in March 2007.  Another interesting tidbit, mentioned by Kimura, is that he expects prices on the cheapest digital SLRs to fall to $500 within two years and then head on to being $300.

Also mentioned in the article is that demand for non-digital SLR cameras has also remained strong, increasing 22% over last year in the January to May timeframe.  Kimura attributes this to features like vibration reduction, which is available in more consumer-oriented cameras than before.  Features like vibration reduction really allow users to take better pictures and is driving demand to replace cameras.

For the full article, see the full Reuters article.