Steve's Digicams

PMA 2001 Special Report

Our daily reports from the Photo Marketing Association's
show in Orlando Florida - February 11 through 14, 2001.
Click for info about the PMA

Quick links to info on the new

Adobe PhotoShop Elements $99
ASF's ICE3 in New Nikon Scanners
Canon FS4000US High-Speed Film Scanner
Canon PowerShot A10 and A20
Canon CP-10 Card Printer
Canon PowerShot S300
Canon S800 Photo Bubble Jet
CanoScan 1230UF & 2400UF Color Flatbed Scanners
Canon ZR30MC, ZR25MC, ZR20 Camcorders
Casio QV3500EX Plus
Contax N Digital SLR
2001 DIMA Digital Camera Shoot-Out Winners
eye Q Digicam Features LightView QVGA Display
EFS Finally Demo'd by Silicon Film
EPSON Stylus Photo 780/890/1280 Printers
Epson PRINT Image Matching technology
EPSON Stylus Pro 5500
Fujifilm FinePix 2300, 4800, 6800
Kodak MC3 - Camera/MP3/Video
Kodak's New Inkjet Media
Kodak & Olympus Join Forces
Kyocera Finecam S3 3-Megapixel
Lexar Media 512MB CF Type I
Minolta Dimage S304, 5 and 7
Nikon D1H and D1X Pro SLRs
Nixvue Photo Album
Panasonic PV-DV851, PV-DV901 PV-DV951 Camcorders
Pentax EI-3000 SLR-like
SanDisk 512MB CompactFlash Type I
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P30, P50, S75
Sony Mavica MVC-FD87, FD92, FD97
Sony Cyber-shot & Mavica Press Releases
Sony TRV30 1.5-Megapixel Camcorder
Toshiba PDR-M11, M21, M61, M65


PMA 2001 - Last Day - Wednesday Feb 14

Astronaut Aldrin describes aeronautical exploits

Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, described his journey from riding a prop plane as a toddler to riding a Saturn V rocket to the Moon at today's Official Business Breakfast Session. His slide-show presentation included personal photos and anecdotes covering the lunar landing and in-flight activities.

Since landing on the "magnificent desolation" of the lunar service 31 years ago, Aldrin has worked to make space accessible to a wider array of people, including "journalists, teachers and poets." He envisions a near-future where "space tourism" will not only be feasible but affordable.

He expressed regret the U.S. space program has not continued its outward activities: "This century will be remembered as the time we went from Kitty Hawk in Moon in 60 years, then languished in low-Earth orbit for 30 years." He attributed it to a national "failure of nerve."

Overall, though, he said, in 500 years, the latter-half of the 20th century will be remembered as the beginning of man's expansion into the stars.


Unnamed Pentax Pro SLR

Photo by Michael Tomkins, Imaging-Resource
Photo by Michael Tomkins, Imaging-Resource

Here's a look at the upcoming 6-megapixel pro SLR from Pentax. It still has not been given an official name yet but we do know that it will have a sensor the same size as a piece of 35mm film so there won't be any focal length multiplier.

For lots more pictures of the camera and some specs, see the Imaging-Resource's PMA News page.


Pentax Takes The SLR Camera Into The Digital Age With The EI-3000

(June 2001 - We recently received word that Pentax will NOT be releasing the EI-3000, no reasons given why though. Not sure if this means that HP won't be releasing their version of this camera as well ... stay tuned.)

DENVER, Colorado . . . PENTAX, a pioneer and long-time leader in SLR camera technology, is proud to introduce the digital EI-3000, a camera that combines the creative freedom and control of an SLR with the convenience and versatility of a digital camera. By following the classic lines of an SLR and placing the lens at the center of the camera body, the EI-3000 provides a natural sense of balance and stability, giving the user the perfect platform for exploring its full range of functions and features.

Precise images begin with the EI-3000’s superior 3X PENTAX optical zoom lens with a range of 8.2mm - 25.8mm (equivalent to 34mm - 107mm in 35mm format). The EI-3000 offers superb, high-definition images with fine gradations, thanks to the combined power of the 3.43 megapixel, 2/3-inch frame-transfer CCD, providing a large light reception area; a PENTAX zoom lens which delivers sharp, high-contrast images; a 12-bit A/D converter and HP Imaging Technology.

This SLR-style digital camera offers the manual control to manipulate subject and light as desired, yet it gives the user the power to select from an extensive array of settings to suit every need. At the touch of a button, simple selections can be made in terms of exposure modes, metering modes, focusing and white balance. And, with USB connectivity to most PCs, the images can be every bit as versatile as they are impressive.

Major Features of the PENTAX EI-3000:

The EI-3000 employs a traditional camera design that places the lens almost at the center of the body. As a result, it offers the natural balance and familiar feel of a 35mm SLR camera. In addition, the ergonomically designed curves in the body and rubber surface on the front ensure secure handling. For framing accuracy, the EI-3000 is equipped with an SLR-type optical viewfinder that provides a more natural and clearer image than that of a digital viewfinder. The optical viewfinder has a field of view of 95% with diopter adjustment from –3 to +1. Excellent shooting freedom is assured by the 2-inch TFT color LCD monitor, which flips up through 90 degrees for a greater range of viewing angles.

Top-quality images are delivered by the high-density 3.43 megapixel, 2/3 inch frame transfer CCD with a 12 bit A/D converter. PENTAX boosts image quality further by employing excellent HP Imaging Technology, which adjusts light and shade for faithful representation of natural colors, in addition to ASIC picture treatment technology. Dark Frame Subtraction* is also incorporated in order to produce a higher quality of exposure in night scenes. Images can be recorded with a high resolution of 2000 x 1600 pixels and 1000 x 800 pixels (5:4 ratio of width to height). HP Imaging Technology was developed by Hewlett Packard Company. * Dark Frame Subtraction technology reduces the incidence of interference during long exposures.

Automatic ISO equivalent settings allow the EI-3000 to take advantage of the finer characteristics of the CCD image sensor. When necessary, four manual ISO settings (ISO 50, 100, 200, 400) are available.

The EI-3000 is compatible with JPEG (compressed) and TIFF (uncompressed) images as well as DPOF (Digital Print Order Format). The JPEG compression ratio has 3 levels to choose from (good, better, best) available in two image sizes (full size and 1/4 size).

High-resolution zoom lens with large f/2.5 – f/3.9 apertures for excellent capture of light The EI-3000’s superior 3X PENTAX zoom lens has a range of 8.2mm - 25.8mm (equivalent to a 34mm-107mm lens in 35mm format) and generous f/2.5 – f/3.9 apertures as well as one glass-mold type aspherical element. The digital zoom function offers 1.2X, 1.8X and 3.5X capability.

The EI-3000 provides excellent focusing freedom with a range of choices. With the highly precise autofocus system, the user can select wide or spot focusing areas to suit the subject matter. The EI-3000 also allows users to select either AF Lock (with the focus-lock function and audible confirmation) or Continuous AF. The manual focus function simplifies manual adjustment for distances from 0.33 ft. (10cm) to infinity. The macro shooting mode delivers impressive results at distances of just 0.07 ft.** (2cm) between the subject and the lens. This means that a shot taken of a postage stamp from 2cm will result in an image large enough to fill a TV screen or computer monitor. ** Maximum capability in macro shooting mode allows telephoto focusing as close as 0.07 ft.

The selection of three TTL metering choices expands the realm of creative photography. The freedom to choose among average, center-weighted and spot metering makes it easy to set the right exposure for each type of photograph.

The EI-3000 employs a selection of six Picture Modes to provide a dynamic choice with dial control operation for creative visual effects. The choices of Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Action and Night Scene make it easy to capture each shot as intended. PENTAX adds to this versatility with a choice of four exposure modes. Programmed AE, Shutter-Priority AE, Aperture-Priority AE and Metered Manual modes give the user complete control over exposure. An AE lock button allows the exposure settings to be locked in difficult lighting situations.

Exposure can be adjusted from –3 to +3 EV in 0.5 steps. Auto bracketing is also available, taking three consecutive shots in 0.5 or 1.0 EV steps.

The EI-3000 offers a range of Drive Modes for excellent shooting flexibility. The choice of modes includes one-shot shooting, continuous shooting, time-lapse shooting, remote control and self-timer.

When not in use, the built-in TTL auto flash retracts. When needed, it pops up at the push of a button.

The EI-3000 can be used in combination with an external flash*** with an automatic light metering function, such as the AF201SA. This provides the capability for bounce-shooting techniques as well as more options during difficult lighting conditions. *** External flash cannot be used simultaneously with the built-in auto flash.

The EI-3000’s eight different White Balance Modes provide the creative means to depict light in the desired colors. The Auto, Auto Daylight, Cloudy (6500K), Sunny (5500K), Halogen (3100K), Incandescent (2850K), Warm Fluorescent and Cool Fluorescent White Balance Modes assist the user in controlling light and colors to capture images exactly as they are perceived by the eye.

The large, easy-to-view LCD monitor shows a variety of shooting information including battery level, flash modes, exposure counter, shutter speed, aperture, drive mode information and AF frame. It is also capable of presenting information in the form of a bar graph, which is particularly useful for setting exposure compensation or Metered Manual mode. An additional LCD built into the viewfinder allows users full control of shooting features without having to look away from the viewfinder.

The EI-3000 offers the choice of recording up to 45 seconds of sound with each image. The recording of quality sounds with the images adds another dimension to digital still photography.

Review Mode functions include deleting, editing, categorizing and find to make digital photography more versatile and fun, while the Presentation Mode allows the user to see images magnified 2X and to play back a series of images just like a slide show. Photographic data such as f-number, shutter speed, exposure compensation value, ISO setting, focal length equivalent to 35mm format, etc. can also be superimposed on images.

The EI-3000 automatically recognizes images shot vertically without the aid of additional software. Images rotated via the use of a PC tend to suffer compromised image quality. The EI-3000 preserves a higher degree of image quality by rotating the image within the camera.

The USB disk drive of the EI-3000 transmits data at high speed to any PC with standard software and enables users to view images or make alterations to them. IrDA data transmission is also possible with other devices equipped with Digita™ including other EI-3000s or printers equipped with HP JetSend™. For video output the EI-3000 is equipped with a standard AV output jack. A DC input jack is also provided for use with AC adapter.

The EI-3000 is loaded with Digita, the standard software of digital imaging. This allows images to be transmitted via infrared**** to other Digita-equipped cameras. Digita simplifies the use of the camera with drop-down menus and a graphical interface, allows functional customization through Digita Script™, and can be upgraded through software downloads. A selection of additional scripts are also available for both personal and business use. **** Infrared system conforms to IrDA standards.

The EI-3000 takes standard rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. It can be also powered by AA batteries when using the optional AA battery holder. This is convenient in situations such as traveling, where recharging is not an option. An optional AC adapter is also available.


Come Ride With Me In My Beautiful Balloon - er Blimp, er Airship!

Our very own Dannee got the ride of her life on Tuesday as she boarded the big red, white and green Fujifilm Blimp.

Fuji Photo Film USA launched its first blimp in 1984 in conjunction with the company's sponsorship of the Los Angeles Olympics. In 1989, Fuji USA purchased their current Skyship 600 airship which became the first airship in the U.S. to receive FAA certification. Travelling anywhere between 15,000 and 25,000 miles anually, the Fujifilm Blimp flies 48 weeks out of every year and requires a full-time crew of 22 for its operation and maintenance.

One of the largest and most recognizable airships in the skies today, the Fujifilm Blimp criss-crosses the country from east to west, north to south and back again. Scheduling for the Fujifilm Blimp is based on a number of factors. Appearing over or providing the blimp as an aerial camera platform for broadcast coverage of major sporting, news or special events and accomodating Fujifilm dealer and customer requests for appearances are priorities. Fujifilm is committed to good corporate citizenship and as such the blimp is frequently put into service as a research platform for everything from environmental studies to tracking the migration of whales.

The Fujifilm Blimp is over 200-feet long, is about as high as a 6-story box of Fujicolor film and weighs close to 8 tons. The blimp's envelope has a gross volume of 247,500 cubic feet of helium and is constructed of Tedlar by Dupont, a new and incredibly lightweight fabric that measures a mere .043cm (or 17/1000 of an inch) thick!

From the biggest blimp to the one of the biggest convention centers anywhere in the state of Florida.   Just look at the size of that place!   Now imagine how tired you get walking around this place for four or five days straight as well as back and forth to the hotel!

Andrew LaGuardia of Fujifilm, gives us the "thumbs up" signal and off we go into the blue skies of Florida!

The gondola measures 6.3'H x 8.4'W x 38.3'L and has seating for 8 passengers but since a blimp's "lift" is affected by the overall weight carried, the usual number of passengers is 5 or 6. The Fujifilm blimp is the only airship today equipped with a full, on-board lavatory.

I wonder if those guys in the back knew that Dannee was driving this thing?

There's one of Orlando's famous tourist hangouts now, no visit is complete without a stop at SeaWorld and Disney World.

The Fujifilm Blimp is powered by two Porsche 930/67/AL/3 6-cylinder, 255HP air-cooled, turbocharged engines. The blimp features two rotatable-ducted propellers that give it the ability to hover as well as take-off and land almost vertically. Typical cruising speed is 35 to 40 MPH with a top speed of 65 MPH.

While folks get off and on, the crew outside steadies the gondola and makes sure everything is ready for the next flight.

Here's more of the ground crew including the 15-ton mast truck. Other vehicles include an engineering truck with full on-site workshop, fuel truck, 2 4-wheel drive vehicles and 2 crew/passenger vans.

Many thanks to the Fuji Photo Film USA folks for letting Dannee have a ride in their nifty airship. We'll be looking out (and up) for it this weekend over Daytona I'm sure.


It's Pretty Much Over!

Today's show hours are only 9am-1pm and it's nearly noon now. Most manufacturers are starting the tear down and pack it up procedures and the rest of us are more than ready to jump in the car or head to the airport.

It's been a hell of a show with all kinds of new cameras and printers and peripherals for the digital imaging world. Many, many strategic alliances have been put together by major and minor players and in the overall scheme of things this is a very good thing to see happening. I am especially thrilled to see most all of the major camera makers going with Epson's new color profiling -- it's about time the users didn't have to worry about color-calibrating things just to get "life-like" color prints. And to see Kodak and Olympus exchanging technology is also a good thing for the consumers.

All I know is that we had a good time, saw lots of people and products and thoroughly enjoyed the picture-perfect Florida weather which was 80 and sunny after the morning fog burned off.   I'm sure our visitors, especially the foreigners, will fondly remember their PMA 2001 trip and have good things to say about the Orlando area (except for the traffic) when they get home.   Me, I just thankful that it's only an hour's drive to get back to Clearwater -- I'm outta here!

PMA 2001 News Index

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