PhotoPlus Expo 2008 – Day One

Coolpix Oct 23, 2008

Nikon booth

The PhotoPlus Expo opened today in New York City. Hot on the heels of Photokina 2008, PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo brings new cameras, lenses and other goodies introduced in Germany a couple of weeks ago. Greeting visitors at the entrance was Nikon’s rather large booth.

Featuring a complete collection of Nikon’s camerasHalf of a Nikon D3 and lenses, visitors were allowed to mount and test any one they wanted even on their own cameras.

Nikon P6000The Coolpix section featured every model currently available including the P6000 top end point and shoot model. This model features RAW capture and built-in GPS for easy geo-tagging of images.

Also present was a display sampling a cross-section Coolpix bling blingof bling-bling add ons available for the Coolpix lines. This is a prime example of the ubiquity of point and shoot cameras as they have achieved a critical mass that is able to support this kind of secondary market.

Asking around the Nikon booth for any news on the rumored MX platform get me a lot of shifty looks and expressions of discomfort (PR people love to talk incessantly about their products. Restricting them from doing so causes them to go against their basic nature.), leading me to believe there is more than rumor working here.

Mamiya DL28 (Front)Moving over to the Mamiya booth, I got a chance to play with their recently announced DL28 camera system. This system is actually a Mamiya AFD III medium format camera body, a Mamiya 80mm prime lens, and a Leaf Aptus II-6 28 megapixel digital back. The really innovative part of this system is it’s price: $14,999 USD which is a new low for this class of photographic equipment. One of the Mamiya reps told me that at this price point, Mamiya is giving you the camera for free and the digital back at a 33% discount.

Another slick feature of the Leaf back used in the Mamiya DL28 iPhone interfaceDL28 system is the ability to display images wirelessly on an Apple iPhone. The camera has to be tethered to a computer running Leaf Capture software in order to transmit the images wirelessly.

One of the technologies being considered by Mamiya is the use of Wireless USB in the future to allow wireless tethered operation. This, of course, will require the widespread adoption of Wireless USB in order to work, so that’s still a couple of years off.

Epson 3800 printerThe Epson booth had all of their pro printers on display ranging from the highly affordable R1900 to the immense R11880. The R3800 is the only member of the family that has not been upgraded to the Extreme HDR inkset (the one with Vivid Magenta), but I have been told that you can’t really notice the difference. The R3800 is still the only printer in the Pro line that auto-switches between matte and photo blacks.

The R4880 was on display right next to the R3800 and Epson 4880 printerthe size difference is staggering. If you buy one of these beasts, make sure you buy the stand or get yourself a really large, sturdy table. As mentioned before the R4880 has to be manually switched between matte and photo black inks.

Olympus Micro 4/3 prototypeOver at the Olympus booth, the Micro Four Thirds prototype was on display under glass in all it’s retro glory. I’m guessing we’ll see more announcements at PMA 2009

Also on display are all of Olympus’ current offering Olympus E-420including the miniscule E-420. When mated with the 25mm pancake lens, the whole SLR can fit in a pocket.

Leica S2 is the center of attentionLeica had the S2 System on display. For a prototype, it was extremely well made. It is also big. Considering that this is a medium format-ish system this is to be expected. The lenses are spectacular looking to say the least. Since I was not allowed to take any test images yet, they remain a mystery. One big question It's not small...about this system that has not been answered is price. Leica has not stated the price and will not until it is closer to launch (probably in or around PMA 2009).

Adobe draws the crowdsAdobe was drawing in large crowds with the release of Creative Suite 4 (CS4). CS4 is a significant move on Adobe’s part as it migrates them to 64-bit (at least on Windows Vista). The first professional group to take advantage of the 64-bit platform was digital content creation – 3D artists, modellers and animators. The second group is digital photographers. With systems like the Mamiya DL28 (which produces 50 MB RAW files), and the Hasselblad H3DII-31 (sporting 40MB RAW files), both of which are starter systems and list for less than $18,000, digital photographers will need access to large amounts of RAM and the enhanced processing power of 64-bit systems.

Well, that about wraps it up for Day One. Stay tuned for coverage of Day Two.