Tuesday, March 13, 2007

PMA 2007 Roundup

I have been very busy the last few days but I have kept track of what has been happening at PMA 2007. Now that it is over, it is time to summarize. I have already mentioned the Pentax DA* 16-50/2.8 and DA* 50-135/2.8 lenses. The Pentax Optio A30, W30, T30, M30, and E30 compact digital cameras made their appearance. Some other new Pentax products are on the horizon but are not released yet. What else happened?

The usual list of new compact digital cameras from a number of companies came up again. Canon once again increased the complexity of their lineup and others followed suit. Digital Photography Review has a PMA 2007 Show Report that gives the exhaustive list.

On the digital SLR front, we saw the Canon EOS 1D Mark III. This 10 megapixel, 10 frames per second photojournalist shotgun is another big Canon 1-series digital body that sounds something like an automatic weapon. The Nikon D40X made its appearance as a bargain-level 10 megapixel digital SLR in the shoes of the 6 megapixel D40. Not to be left out, Olympus announced the EVOLT E-510 and EVOLT E-410 digital SLRs. Noticeably absent was the rumored Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III digital SLR. It is supposed to be a 22 megapixel flagship model to replace the 16 megapixel EOS 1Ds Mark II.

There were some lens announcements besides the Pentax offerings. These include a Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens released in the four thirds mount. This lens has an equivalent field of view to a 50mm lens on a 35mm film camera. Also of interest is a new Panasonic Leica 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Several things are interesting about this lens. First off, it has an equivalent field of view to a 28-300mm lens on 35mm film. This is interesting because it is the first time in a long time that a primary camera manufacturer has made a lens of this 10.7x range. Sigma and Tamron have made lenses like this but the big five have not. On the third party lens manufacturer front, Sigma has released a huge lens. This is the Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG lens. This will be a monster. No specifications have been released as of yet such as weight. Canon also updated their EF 16-35/2.8L lens with the EF 16-35/2.8L II lens.

On the storage front, we have both Lexar and Sandisk leading the way with high speed 4 GB SDHC cards. Lexar's flagship SDHC card is the 133x Pro 4 GB SDHC card and Sandisk also announced their Extreme III 4 GB SDHC card. Also interesting is a Sandisk Ultra II 8 GB SDHC card. A few other items were announced on the compact flash front as well but these are less interesting to me.

What camera was most interesting to me this year? Of course, you already know about the Pentax 645 Digital but that camera is not a reality just yet. At least on paper, the Sigma DP1 digital camera looks fascinating. It uses the interesting Foveon X3 CMOS sensor to give an effective 14 megapixels. The idea behind the Foveon X3 sensor is to give three layers of photoreceptors. These correspond to red, green, and blue and this three layer approach gives the 14 effective megapixels. The thing that is attractive is the large size of the Foveon sensor. It is considered an APS sized sensor although I think it is just slightly smaller than most APS-C sized sensors. It also has another interesting characteristic and that is its 16.6mm f/4.0 fixed lens. This is equivalent to a 28mm lens on 35mm film. This camera reminds me somewhat of a Leica M-series rangefinder. Also essential to my shooting is RAW support which this camera includes. All in all this could be an exciting camera. I am looking forward to more information on release date and especially price.

I guess that wraps it up. Obviously, more announcements were made but these are the ones that seemed most interesting to me. Take a look at the Digital Photography Review PMA 2007 Show Report for all the details.

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