DigitalCameraReview.com
Day Two at PMA 2007
by Ben Stafford -  3/9/2007

Friday started off with a Panasonic press event, riding Hummer H1s through the desert to test their MEGA O.I.S image stabilization and Intelligent ISO Control, but they also stopped to give our bums a rest and take pictures of the Red Rock Canyon area. Today, I met with Zoran - the folks behind the Coach series of imaging processors, Sandisk, Kodak, GE, Canon, and Olympus.

Zoran

Many people have no idea who Zoran is, but their work is behind the scenes in many digital cameras on the market today. Zoran engineers the imaging processors that are found in the guts of your camera. This year, they announced their Coach 10 series of processors which will make their way into digital cameras that ship (possibly) by the end of the year. The demos that I saw were very impressive, with the new Coach 10 doing an excellent job of reducing digital noise, even at up to ISO 6400. The processors are also capable of improving lighting (similar to Nikon's D-Lighting) and correcting lens distortion on the fly, not after you've already captured the image. I also saw a nice demo of much improved low-light focusing ability. Looking at what a company like Zoran is doing provides a sort of crystal ball as to how digital cameras are going to improve, so it was very cool to see their technology in action.

Sandisk

Sandisk announced a few things at PMA ths year, but also stressed their leadership in the memory market. They announced 4 GB Extreme III SDHC and Memory Stick PRO Duo cards as well as 8GB Ultra II SDHC card.

Kodak

Kodak showed me their new two Easyshare Cameras (the Z712 IS and Z885), for which you can find my previous coverage here: Kodak Easyshare Z712 IS, EasyShare Z885, Easyshare C613, Easyshare C763 Digital Cameras Announced. The cameras are nice in hand, look good, and remain price competitive with cameras of similar specifications. They also showed off some new software that will let you create many photo products at home (albums, mugs, t-shirts, etc), burn the "project" to a disk and then take it into a retailer to fulfill. The software was easy to use and had tons of options to customize how something looked, but only if you wanted it to. They also showed off their collage feature that will be added to their kiosks. You can literally create a collage of images from your digital media in less than a minute. If you've never used a Kodak kiosk at a retailer, I would highly recommend it - just so you can see how easy it is to get prints.

kodak cameras at PMA
Kodak Easyshare Z712 IS (view large image)
kodak cameras at PMA
Kodak Easyshare Z885 (view large image)

GE

I stopped by the GE booth and I was wondering if it was no mistake that it looked like there were several MRI machines there (given GE's name in medical imaging). Anyway, I walked through, chatted to some people, but my best coverage of their new cameras can be found here: Hands On with GE/General Imaging Digital Cameras


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Canon

Canon was a pretty quick stop for me. The booth was hopping with plenty of people checking out the new Canon EOS-1D Mark III, new SD cameras, new A cameras, and the funky TX1. I got a quick update on things to come, but more about that when the time comes. At a media event on Wednesday night, I did get a chance to play with the TX1 - which is pretty cool with its small form factor and nice feature set. I was also impressed to see that the new SD/Digital ELPH models have slimmed down a bit. In the past, I haven't considered the SD line to be very slim - they were more like a brick - but the SD750 I got hands on with was much slimmer than previous generations.


Canon Powershot SD1000 (view large image)

Canon Powershot SD750 (view large image)

Canon Powershot TX1 (view large image)

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Olympus

Olympus was another place where I didn't have too much to accomplish other than to just check things out. I published first looks of their new digital SLRs, the EVOLT E-410 and EVOLTE E-510 and so played with them a bit more and got to chat with some folks from Japan who were responsible for the design and for the hardware in them. The IS in the E-510 works very well, from just playing around with the camera. The new Shadow Adjustment Technology that can be found in the Stylus 780 is also very impressive - especially when you can see the results of the technology before you even capture the image. They were also showing off their waterproof, crushproof, coldproof Stylus 770 SW inside an ice sculpture.


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