Photokina 2000: Fourth report: Pentax, Ricoh, SanDisk, Samsung and Sony.


Oh boy, are you going to like this... We managed to get an EXCLUSIVE (you won't find pictures like this anywhere else) hands-on with the new Pentax Digital SLR. What struck me about this camera was how far advanced it was. Despite being displayed only in a glass case all the design features of the camera appeared operational, finish quality was just like a final camera (not like some prototypes I've seen), although there were no batteries in the camera I had so I couldn't do a powered-on test. The camera is smaller, thinner and lighter than the D1 or EOS-D30 (with the optional portrait grip) with very distinctive styling I'm sure it'll appeal to many prospective digital SLR purchasers.

Pentax Digital SLR Specifications (so far):

Body Pentax design magnesium alloy case
Type SLR (body only)
Imager Philips 6 megapixel CCD
35mm full frame
12-bit progressive scan
12 µm pixel pitch
Image resolution 3072 x 2048
Image types JPEG, TIFF, RAW
Shutter speed Up to 1/6000 sec
Metering TTL six-segment metering
Lens mount Pentax KAF2 mount (645N & 67II lenses can be used)
Focus 6-point AF
Viewfinder TTL optical (true TTL)
LCD 2 inch TFT
Flash Built-in retractable flash unit (TTL)
Storage Dual slots:
Compact Flash Type II
Connectivity IEEE1394 (Firewire)
Sale date Undecided
Sale price Expected ~$7,000

They obviously also had the EI-200 and EI-2000 on show, both being the combined creation of themselves (lens & body design) and HP (electronics).

One side of the large Pentax stand Pentax EI-2000 Compact SLR
Pentax Digital SLR Pentax Digital SLR
Pentax Digital SLR, note the exposure adjustment wheel and control over bracketing features Pentax Digital SLR
Pentax Digital SLR, Top LCD with second command wheel and metering / drive mode controls Pentax Digital SLR with attached remote control (in glass case)
Pentax Digital SLR (in glass case) Pentax Digital SLR (in glass case)

The Pentax Digital SLR looks very interesting indeed.. However, if the current rumoured price is correct I'd say it's a little overpriced for the market, it really needs to come in at the $3500 - $4500 price range.

Site links: Pentax Digital SLR sneak preview


Ricoh were of course making a big noise about their RDC-i700 multi-function digital camera.. demonstrating email and web browsing including taking a sample image and emailing it to a test PC on the other side of the stand. This is certainly interesting technology, but it begs the question "what gives?", for a product like this becomes a Jack of all trades and a master of none.

Ricoh Stand Ricoh RDC-i700 (case)
Ricoh RDC-i700 in use  

Site links: Ricoh RDC-i700 announcement, Ricoh Digital Cameras (specs)


SanDisk had a presence displaying their current range of storage including a 300 MB CF Type II flash card and varous SD Multimedia cards. They were also showing (in use) their new collaboration with Photo-Me to provide high street printing stations which would allow digital camera users to just insert their memory card and run off prints. Pricing was $3 for the first 4x6 print and $0.30 for each subsequent print.

SanDisk Photo-Me station SanDisk 64 MB "SD" Multimediacard and mock-up digital camera
SanDisk 300 MB CF Type II card  


Samsung were displaying their new digital cameras the Digimax 210SE (2.1 megapixels, 3x optical zoom) and the Digimax 35 multi-function camera which can play MP3, act as a web camera and take stills (640 x 480).

Samsung Digimax 210SE Samsung Digimax 35 MP3 + Still + Webcam


Sony's stand was dominated by the DSC-P1, their advertising campaign based on the comparison of the size of the P1 to a fictional matchstick tripod. There was certainly a lot of interested in the P1 (remember, we reviewed the P1 just a week ago). Also on display and getting a lot of interest was the DSC-F505V which is still a relatively new product here in Europe. They were also showing their new DP-SV55 dye sub printer and the MemoryStick Picture Frame. Considering Sony's lack of a photographic background their stand was considerably well populated.

Sony making a BIG impression for the little P1 Sony DSC-F505V in hand...
"Then, you press this button" Sony DP-SV55 dye sub printer
Sony MemoryStick Picture Frame  

Site links: Sony Digital Cameras (specs)

(Note: this is page four of a four page report)

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