The PhotoPlus Expo 2011 was held once again at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. With the absorption of PMA into the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), PPE has become the last major standalone photography exposition in the U.S. I once again took up my annual pilgrimage to the Big Apple to see what the camera makers had to offer.
The Big Three were present with major displays as always, but the show was populated with about a hundred other vendors showing off their new toys. Here are some highlights:
Canon’s booth was populated with every existing copy of the newly announced EOS-1DX professional DSLR. I had an opportunity to handle the camera, but as it was a pre-release unit, I was not permitted to use my own memory cards to take sample pictures.
The camera felt good in the hand and all of the controls fell naturally into place. The two joystick arrangement works in either the portrait or landscape orientations. Canon’s claim to shot speed, tracking focus, and lowlight capabilities seem to be well founded but I cannot render final judgement until I get to personally test the camera fully. That is going to be a long time in coming due to the length of the waiting list and the difficulty I am experiencing in contacting Canon marketing. I did manage to take some shots at ISO 25,600 and it looked pretty good at 100% on the large 3 inch display.
Also on display was the Pixma Pro-1 13 inch photo printer. Sporting 12 inks, this printer is ready to take on the likes of the Epson R3000. Output from the printer looked extremely nice and the speed was reasonable.
The Nikon booth was as large as ever with an added counter for their new 1 Series mirrorless compact system cameras. The floods in Thailand have destroyed Nikon’s only factory in the area. The factory was responsible for the manufacture of their low-end DSLRs and consumer grade lenses. They probably have enough stock already made to carry them through the holiday season. The 1-Series is manufactured in China, so the Thai floods have no effect on them.
The 1-Series comes in several fashionista friendly colors including matching lenses. Judging by the crowds around that counter, they may have a credible hit on their hands. Or maybe it was the booth babes…
The Sony booth featured four new products: the SLT-A77, the SLT-A65, NEX-7, and the NEX-5n. I got a bit of hands-on time with the A77 and was even allowed to shoot some RAW files to my own SD card. I set it up in my usual configuration for shooting ballet (70-200 G lens, manual mode, 1/320s, f/4, ISO 5000) so once I get home and run them through Aperture and Capture One, I will post the results.
I used the add on battery grip and the camera was very well balanced in my hands. The 70-200 lens was smooth and the AF was very fast. I can’t wait to try it out for real. The shutter was very quiet and in hi speed shooting mode I could not fire less than three shots at a pop. If the images from the RAW files are as good as I think they are going to be, I may switch.
I also got to handle (fondle?) the now delayed NEX-7. Sony reps confirmed that the camera will ship in January. The pre-release version I used was very solidly built and the Zeiss 24 mm f/1.8 was very very nice. This combo will be a badass street camera. Sadly, as this was a pre-release camera, I was not allowed to take any test shots with me. The NEX-7 sports the same sensor as the A77 (24 megapixels), however it lacks the translucent mirror of its bigger sibling and has the potential for sharper images and slightly better low-light capabilities. Time will tell. Due to the flooding in Thailand, the NEX-7 will be delayed until January 2012. At least that was the party line at the Sony booth.