Thursday, February 25, 2010

PMA 2010: Eleventh Hour Arrivals

Now that PMA 2010 is over, it is finally safe to say that the year's second rush of new products is finished. However, there were a lot of last-minute arrivals, some of which were announced as the show was in progress. Here is a brief look at the final products that made PMA 2010.

Pentax Optio P90 rugged compact. Designed to be tougher than the W80 it replaces, the W90 also offers a digital microscope mode for extreme close-ups, minimum focus distance: 1cm, holy cow!

Pentax X90 Super-zoom. This camera has a 26x zoom lens and an electronic viewfinder with dioptre adjustment, a trly nice touch.

Samsung NX lens adapters. Samsung caused quite a stir earlier this year with the announcement of its APS-C sized mirrorless SLR-like camera, the NX10. Unfortunately, buyers do not have a lot of lenses to choose from with Samsung. With the announcement of these mount adapters, it is now possible to use lenses from other makers on the Samsung camera. Very cool, indeed.

Ricoh launches new sensor/lens units. Ricoh created quite a stir in the photographic industry when it announced the GXR, the world's first camera to s[port interchangeable, self-contained sensor/lens units. Unfortunately, users were limited to a 50mm equivalent f2.5 macro with an APS-C sized sensor or a 25-70mm lens with a compact camera sized sensor. This limitation (plus the high price) was a big put-off to many people. Now, Ricoh has launched an all in one 28-300mm equivalent lens with the small sensor and a 28mm equivalent optic with the large sensor, thus building the start of a true photographic system.

Casio EX-S7 and EX-Z35 compacts. Nothing revolutionary, except that one has full HD movies and the other widescreen capabilities.

Sigma 70-200 f2.8 OS HSM. A redesign of Sigma's old 70-200mm f2.8, now adding stabilization. This could be a very tempting, lower-cost alternative to manufacturer options, especially for Canon and Nikon shooters.

Sigma 85mm f1.4 HSM. A fast short tele/portrait lens. Another fast f1.4 prime from Sigma. If the 30mm and 50mm models are an indication, this could sell like hotcakes.

Sigma 17-50 OS HSM. Sigma's latest standard f2.8 zoom, this lens goes 1mm wider than its predecessors and adds HSM and stabilization. An obvious competitor to Tamron's 17-50mm f2.8 VC lens, which is without the sonic drive motor.

Sigma DP2s and DP1x large sensor compacts. More evolutionary than revolutionary, these two cameras are refinements of the old DP1 and 2. Fulfilling a prediction of mine, these cameras offer digital zoom of 3x, making them potentially the best travel cams on the market. Sorry Olympus E-PL2, you have been dethroned.

Sigma 8-16mm f4.5-5.6 HSM. This lens offers a whopping 121 degree, non-fisheye field of view, something that only full frame shooters could experience in the past. Read more here.

Sigma 50-500 f4.5-6.3 OS HSM. Like the new 70-200, this is a redesign of an already popular lens that now adds stabilization.

Sigma SD15 digital SLR. Originally announced two years ago, but never coming to market, Sigma will try again in 2010. Foevon X3 sensor, now uses SD cards, 77 segment exposure sensor, improved user interface, dust protector at mount, ISO 50, and RAW+JPEG.

Samsung TL500 compact. This camera is quite ordinary in all but one respect, its f1.8-2.4 (24-72mm film equivalent) lens. Holy cow! Most P&S cams aren't even f2.4 on the wide, let alone the tele end! If sensor performance is good, this camera could be to P&S models what the Nikon D3S is to SLRs.

So there it is, PMA 2010 in a nutshell. Expect some analysts is the near future . . .

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