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By Allan Weitz

The Photo Marketing Association (PMA) held its annual powwow this past week in Orlando, Florida. As expected, there were more than a few new toys to set our hearts a pounding. As a teaser, we are featuring a brief overview of some of the new cameras, lenses, and printers coming our way as winter winds down and the robins find their way back north.

Canon EOS30D

Canon continues to raise the bar on imaging technology. Aside from a gaggle of new digital point-and-shoots, Canon unveiled an update of the successful EOS 20D DSLR. The new camera, known as the Canon EOS 30D, contains the same 8.3 Mp sensor as its predecessor, but with a bunch of physical and practical improvements.

Among these improvements are a slightly beefier body, a larger (2.5”) rear-mounted LCD display, 3 or 5 fps continuous shooting capability, spot metering, ISO speeds in 1/3-step intervals, direct printing to compatible printers, quicker start-up and shutter-response times, and "PictureStyles" for controlling the color and tonal qualities of your image files.

In the optics department, Canon has introduced the EF-S 17-55/2.8 IS, a faster version of its popular EF-S kit lens. The new lens boasts a constant f2.8 aperture throughout the focal-length range. Combined with IS technology, this lens offers the low-light handling of a non-IS lens with a maximum aperture of f1.4. Another benefit of the wider aperture is quicker response times for the cameras AF system. If you own a Canon 20D, 30D, or Rebel XT, this new zoom is worth a close look if you are seeking a lens you can couple to your Canon D-SLR and play with all day long.

Canon EF 85/1.2L IS Mark II            Canon EF-S 17-55/2.8 IS
For low-light shooters and those seeking razor-thin depth-of-field, Canon has performed a complete face-lift on its revered EF 85/1.2L IS Mark II . Vastly improved AF response times are the big news here. The original EF 85/1.2 L was, despite the ultra-wide maximum aperture, somewhat of a slug in the AF department. The new lens, aside from quick reflexes, is also up to spec for use with Canon’s latest generation E-TTL II speedlites and E-TTL II-compatible cameras.

For printing all of those images you’ve been shooting with your digital cameras, Canon has also announced two new Super A3 (13 x 19”) inkjet printers. The Canon PIXMA Pro9000 is a wide-gamut, 8-color dye-based inkjet printer designed to deliver bright, saturated color prints with fine 3-picoliter dot precision. For those interested in fine-art prints that, according to Canon, will last well into the 23rd Century, the Canon PIXMA

Canon PIXMA Pro9000 & Pro9500

Pro9500 is a 10-color pigment-based printer that uses canon’s new “Lucia” pigment-based inkset. To go along with these new printers, Canon is offering a wide selection of paper surfaces including several fine-art papers.

Nikon’s latest update of a proven classic is the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105/2.8G IF-ED. According to the folks at Nippon Kogaku, this is the first fixed focal-length macro lens to feature VR technology. If you ever tried hand-holding a macro lens while trying to shoot a bumble bee at 1:1 you’ll appreciate how cool this lens is. Nano Crystal Coatings, ED glass, and internal focusing round out the goody list for a lens that compliments any Nikon SLR or DSLR you may couple it to.

AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105/2.8G IF-ED
Panasonic has raised our eyebrows with the release of the Lumix DMC-L1. Featuring a 7.1Mp Live MOS sensor, the Lumix DMC-L1 offers SLR-type image viewing in a rangefinder-style body. Reminiscent of the fabled Konica Hexar film-based cameras, the Lumix DMC-L1 contains an Olympus 4/3 imaging sensor, which size-wise is midway between the APS-sized sensors found in Nikon DSLRs and the sensors found in most point-and-shoot digicams.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1

Aside from a laundry list of pro-quality features, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 can be coupled to a Leica D 14-50/2.8-3.5 lens (28 - 100 35mm equivalent). This new lens features an honest-to-gosh focusing ring, aperture ring, and zoom ring. If you yearn for a camera with the feel of the good-old-days, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 / Leica D14-50 zoom combo is a honey
HP, longing for a larger share of the printer market, has announced the HP Photosmart Pro B9180 inkjet printer. Packing a total of 8 pigment-based “Vivera” ink cartridges, HP is promoting this new Super A3 (13 x 19”) inkjet printer as an ideal machine for proofing as well as museum-quality fine-art printing. Like Canon, HP is introducing a wide range of media surfaces to go along with their new printer.

HP Photosmart Pro B9180
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