New Toys & Neat Stuff From Photokina
Some late breaking news from the world of digital photography
By Allan Weitz
Autumn, for those of us who are photographically oriented, is a time for hitting the back roads, enjoying seasonably cool temperatures, and snapping pix of the leaves. It's also the time of year camera manufacturers start teasing our senses with a blizzard of new toys guaranteed to make our lives complete. This year there's an extra buzz in the air thanks in part to the bi-annual photo Olympics also known as Photokina (Cologne, Germany, 9/26 – 10/1/06). The following is a brief overview of some of the latest photographic goodies scheduled to hit our shores over the next few months, many of which we will discuss in greater detail in upcoming issues of the B&H Newsletter.
Leica is coming on especially strong this season with an impressive string of new cameras. Perhaps the most exciting news of all is the arrival of the first digital “M' camera, the Leica M8. Based around a Kodak-designed, 10.3Mp CCD sensor (1.3x magnification factor), the new M8 should prove to be a hit among Leica-holics who have long yearned to ‘capture images' as opposed to merely taking pictures. Other features of the M8 include RAW and JPEG file formats, a 2.5” LCD screen that displays RGB histograms and ‘clipping' warnings, a flash sync speed of 1/250th, and most importantly, the ability to use all those amazing ‘M' lenses for digital imaging.
|The Leica M8
To go along with this long-rumored camera, Leica is also introducing a new Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21 mm f/4 ASPH (21-28mm equivalent), which is available with a matching Universal Wide-Angle Viewfinder M, as well as a compact Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH.
Other goodies from Leica include the Digilux 3, a 7.3Mp (4/3) LiveMos, kissing-cousin of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 that comes with Leica D Vario-Elmarit f/2.8-3.5/14-50 ASPH and features anti-shake (O.I.S.), anti-dust technology, and a 1-gig SD card.
For those seeking a compact SLR-style compact digicam Leica offers the V-Lux 1, which features the same 10Mp sensor found in the Digilux 3, a fixed 35-420mm (35 equivalent) Image stabilized ASPH lens, a 512Mb SD card, and a host of other neat features. For those seeking a pocket-sized 10Mp digicam with a Leica nameplate, checkout the stylish D-Lux 3.
Canon's PowerShot G7 is the latest in a series of top-shelf digicams. This new honey packs a 10Mp sensor, a 6x IS zoom, Canon's third-generation DIGIC III imaging processor with Face Detection, an honest-to-gosh hot shoe, and wireless printing capabilities. For the pocket-rocket crowd, Canon has introduced the PowerShot SD 900 Digital Elph, which features a 10Mp sensor, a DIGIC III processor, a 3x zoom, all wrapped in a Titanium body. The PowerShot SD800 IS features a 28-105mm (equivalent) lens, IS technology, a DIGIC III processor, and a 7.1Mp sensor. If you're looking for a digicam that makes a fashion statement, the PowerShot SD40 (7.1Mp, 2.4x zoom) comes in a choice of four colors, as well as the DIGIC III processor and wireless printing capability.
|The Canon PowerShot G7
For printing all your new photos Canon is also introducing updates of its popular Selphy inkjet printers. All of the new Selphy-series printers can print directly from memory cards, or wirelessly with the optional Bluetooth adapter.
The Selphy ES1 features an integrated Paper/Ink cartridge for 1-step printing. Images can be previewed and edited on the printers 2.5” LCD. The printer's DIGIC III image processor will also eliminate red-eye. An optional battery enables printing from anywhere you may be.
The Selphy 720 will knock out a lab-quality 4x6” print in under a minute that will last up to 100 years for about 28 cents a pop. Images can be previewed on the 720's 1.5” LCD monitor. The Selphy 730 can do all of the above tricks while powered by the optional battery pack. Both the Selphy 720 and 730 can print images up to 4x8”.
Nikon's updated stable of CoolPix digicams come with a neat list of features that include a One-Touch Portrait button that activates In-Camera Red-Eye Fix and Face-Priority AF, and D-Lighting, which optimizes shadow and highlight detail. Low-light sensitivity has also been improved on all CoolPix cameras. Among the new Nikon hotties are the CoolPix S7c (7.1Mp, 3x zoom, VR, 3” wide-angle LCD, up to ISO 1600), the CoolPix S9 (6Mp, 3x zoom, 2.5” LCD), the ‘swivel bodied' CoolPix S10 (6Mp, 10x zoom, VR, 2.5” LCD), the CoolPix L5 ( 7.2Mp, 5x zoom, 2.5” LCD, and ‘AA-type batteries), and CoolPix L6 ( 6Mp, 3x zoom, 2.5” LCD, and ‘AA-type batteries).
|Nikon CoolPix S7c
Pentax's contribution to the party is the K10D, a compact DSLR that features a 10.2Mp imaging sensor, a new image processor (Pentax Real Image Engine), shake-reduction with all Pentax lenses, 11-point AF, up to ISO 1600, auto dust-reduction, a 2.5” LCD, 16-segment multi-pattern metering, and for shooters who can't stay out of the rain, body and control panels that are heavily sealed against dust and moisture.