PMA 2008 show report preview, predictions
Pre-PMA 2008: In just over two weeks the most important photography trade show of the year will kick off. The Photo Marketing Association show begins in Las Vegas on 31st January and will open the floodgates on a raft of new digital cameras and other digital photography related products. So that you can keep up to date with his growing list of new products we have enabled our show report and new product index which will also provide direct access to our live 'from the show floor' reports as they happen. We've also added a little preview / predictions list. Bookmark our show report page or subscribe to our PMA 2008 RSS feeds.
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PMA 2008 preview / predictions / hopes
- New digital SLRs - We're likely to see several new DSLR announcements at this PMA, last PMA saw four new DSLRs, I'd expect to see at least this many and probably a couple more. I'm pretty confident that 2008 will go down as the year of the digital SLR with perhaps up to 25 new DSLRs over the course of the year.
- HD video - One of the 'buzz words' at this years PMA will likely be improved video capture capability in digital cameras, with many models achieving 720p and some 1080i/p. I'm also hopeful that some manufacturers will embrace a better video compression codec such as AVCHD which will mean more than a few seconds on a 1 GB card. We'd also like to see more adoption of digital (HDMI) output to avoid the cost (and fuss) of component video cables.
- Bigger zoom - "Bigger, better, more" will be the mantra when it comes to zoom on compact 'bridge cameras' this year, expect to see zoom ranges beyond 500 mm equiv. and starting at a wide 28 mm equiv. Again, another attempt to attach a 'big number' to sell something, we can't help wondering what optical compromises have to be made to build such lenses.
- Frames per second - Casio's EX-F1 may well be a glimpse into the next 'unique selling point', the ability to shoot continuously at very high frame rates (the F1 can do 60 fps at six megapixels; full resolution). In this model at least this tech is enabled by the Sony IMX017CQE CMOS sensor.
- CMOS in compacts - This prediction is a bit more left-field, I won't be putting any money on it in the Vegas Casino's, however it won't be "before time" if we see more compact cameras featuring CMOS sensors with some of the advantages they bring (one of the biggest issues for CMOS at small sensor sizes is fill factor, which could mean lower pixel counts on such models).
- Even bigger storage cards - In response to the increased numbers of 'solid state' camcorders which record directly to flash media such as SD cards plus the new digital cameras with HD video support it's likely that the memory companies will announce larger cards (some of which have been announced at CES).
- Fewer pixels please (we care about image quality) - It's a straightforward prediction that we'll see fourteen megapixel compacts at PMA, which in our opinion will be yet another step back for image quality. Other than subtle improvements in image processing overall image quality in compact digital cameras hasn't improved since the six megapixel era, to make things worse the marketeers have decided that high sensitivity will sell compact cameras. There's simply no worse combination than tiny photosites and high gain. So we'd be happy to pat any manufacturer on the back who delivers improvements in overall image quality without the obvious step in megapixel count (great high ISO performance will be a natural consequence of larger photosites and/or larger sensors).
- Shelf stuffing - Lastly, please, lets move away from the practice of 'shelf stuffing'. That is producing four or five product variations on the exact same model with very subtle differences (such as LCD screen size) with the intention of getting more shelf space for the brand. It's counter productive as it only leads to confuse the consumer and in these days of online purchasing the gains of such practices must surely be questionable.