DigitalCameraReview.com
Digital Camera News, 5/6/08
by David Rasnake -  5/6/2008

GE digicams get a visibility boost with Amazon deal

In an announcement this week, recent digital camera market entry GE is reporting a new arrangement with prominent online retailer Amazon.com to carry the maker's full range of devices.

 

GE X1

Amazon is the latest high-profile retailer to begin carrying the new line of compact digital cameras from GE and General Imaging. GE currently offers 15 cameras in four series, including several ultracompacts and a long-zoom model. GE has also announced development of a compact camera with an integrated GPS system, with availability slated for later this year.

A limited selection of GE-branded cameras have previously been available through Amazon. No word on when the full range of models will become available, but prices for the company's budget models on Amazon will begin under $90.

We've been openly skeptical about GE's long-term chances in the hyper-competitive compact camera market, but better placement with retailers like Amazon is the biggest and most promising step yet toward improving the brand's reputation and visibility.

Microsoft gets into geotagging with Pro Photo Tools, Expression Media suite

Software giant Microsoft has entered the geotagging arena this week with the release of two new image management solutions: Pro Photo Tools and Expression Media 2.

Microsoft

The free-to-download Pro Photo Tools application assists photographers in adding location to data to all image files (including RAW formats). Shooters can use location coordinates or place name or map-based search functions to geotag and sort photos, allowing geotagging and location sort even without an on-camera GPS unit. Tagged images can then be viewed on a map or satellite image overlay.  Pro Photo Tools also allows extensive general metadata editing, allowing users to further sort, catalog, and add keywords to image files.

Simultaneously, Microsoft has released a new version of its Expression Media digital asset management suite. Expression Media 2, which also includes integrated geotagging options, is designed as a management system for large collections of images and other digital media. Featuring cataloging as well as slideshow and web gallery creation tools, the package supports multiple file types and is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

Pro Photo Tools is currently available for download from the Microsoft Pro Photo Tools website. A trial version of Expression Media 2, which will be available for retail purchase later this month, is also available from Microsoft's website.

PMA study: "Average prices of large memory cards continue to decline"

With prices on everything from gas to groceries headed up, one thing you apparently won't be paying more for this year is high-capacity flash memory. As part of its 2008 U.S. Digital Imaging Survey, industry watchers at the trade organization PMA are reporting a significant drop in average prices for memory cards with capacities of 1GB or larger from 2006 to 2007.

According to the report, 1GB+ memory cards saw average prices drop from around $48 in 2006 to $32 the next year.

Tapping into these savings, however, appears to depend heavily on where you shop. Average memory prices fell more than 60 percent at discount stores in 2007, compared to 2006 costs. During the same period, prices declined around 35 percent at online retailers, but only saw an average decline of 9 percent in photo-specific stores. Notably, memory card prices acutally increased slightly from 2006 to 2007 at office supply stores.

The original story is available on the PMA Newsline website.