Mark Peters : February 28th 2005 - 09:30 CET updated
PMA 2005 retrospection
PMA 2005 Report : PMA 2005 Show has come to an end. The PMA 2005 coverage LetsGoDigital provided you with is more comprehensive than ever and is successful in every way. At the time of writing this article more than 170 articles have been published! And when I am through writing this article, I will pack my bag, return the hired car and say goodbye to sunny Orlando. I must admit that the PMA held in the Convention Centre in Orlando is well-organized and offers sufficient space for the exhibition. Last year's PMA was held in Las Vegas, this year's PMA in Orlando, where will it be held next year, that's to say if it is held? During the many interviews and conversations I had with the representatives of the Digital Imaging industry.|
I heard different views on how valuable a show like the PMA is considered to be, plus other events like the annual CeBIT in Germany. I strongly get the impression that the PMA received fewer visitors than other years, more so because little surprising news was revealed on the show floor. We did get some sad news about a photographic top brand that got hit by the fast changes in the photographic world. Leica suffered from these changes. During the first days of the PMA already rumours were spreading and today it turned out that these rumours unfortunately were based on the truth. It so happens that the bank cut off funds because it doesn't confide in a future for this famous old brand anymore. Undoubtedly Leica will try and keep the business going, but in any case, Leica missed the connection to the digital market and is now paying a heavy price?|
PMA 2005 retrospection
Before PMA 2005 kicked off, practically every manufacturer felt the urge of announcing various introductions. Nowadays the news goes around the world in a few seconds and the consumer gets more and better information than ever before. Hardly any manufacturer uses the PMA to introduce new products but they use this event to directly deal with the retail channels. The European marketing world and European press were scarcely attending this year's PMA event, which is a rather bad sign. The next show is the CeBIT, held in Germany from 10 to 16 March 2005, and LetsGoDigital will of course be present to cover the show. The upcoming weeks will be loaded with news about the approaching CeBIT show
PMA 2005 - Nikon Booth
A few days before the PMA 2005 started, Nikon unveiled its new assortment of digital cameras. Personally I didn't find Nikon's introductions very surprising. Launching the new Nikon Coolpix digital camera range shows that the market is changing into a replacement market and that it isn't necessary at this point to launch innovative products on a lively market. More attention was given to improving the in-camera image editing, which finally resulted in applications like D-Lighting and the automatic face detection software. Both features offer ease of use to the end-user.
Many advanced photographers were anxiously waiting for an announcement that never came. Nikon didn't announce anything concerning a new digital reflex camera. However, Nikon did improve the Nikon D2H on numerous items and announced a restricted series of the new D2Hs camera. I am sure Nikon is following its very own strategy in order to be able to deal with the fast growing digital reflex camera market. How will Nikon react to the introduction of the Canon EOS 350D, Nikon's competitor and a product that is capable of conquering a market share. The Nikon D70 is still standing strong and continues to attract a lot of attention from the public. As always the Nikon booth receives large amounts of visitors and Nikon is able to look back on a successful PMA show.
PMA 2005 - Olympus Booth
The Olympus' booth is large and well-organized. Olympus has clearly become a trend-setter within the Digital Imaging industry over the past few years. Products like the E-system cameras, the new range of extremely bright Olympus ZUIKO lenses but also new entertainment products like M:Robe and the Easy Imaging System are strong products from Olympus and entered the market with great conviction. The results prove them right, the consumer can't get around Olympus and the Olympus' assortment offers a huge choice of all sorts of products for every target group.
Personally I find the new ZUIKO lenses the most remarkable and interesting item to be mentioned again. It is praiseworthy that Olympus puts so much effort in making this E-System grow to a complete system that will serve both the amateur as well as the professional end-user.
PMA 2005 - Canon Booth
No one could have missed it: Canon put itself in the spotlight again by announcing a large range of new products. The most striking appearance is made by the new Canon EOS 350D digital camera, in between all the new digital compact cameras, camcorders and printers. The successor of the extremely successful EOS 300D camera finds its way prepared by the EOS 300D. Once the EOS 350D is available it will continue its successful march to the consumer.
The consumer could not have missed the range of Canon products, and the PMA visitor cannot miss the enormous Canon booth. Canon seems to have spared neither costs nor effort to lead the visitor to the new Canon products. Various demonstrations, numerous products that can be touched and tried and a lot of information on the new Canon product range are available at the Canon booth. Canon's target was to become number 1 in the Digital Imaging world and it looks like Canon will definitely reach and maintain that position. In one word: impressive!
PMA 2005 - HP Booth
The HP booth is dominated by the large amount of printers that HP has to offer. Besides the printers, HP announced a new series of digital cameras. Personally I don't find the new serious very startling, to me they seem more or less repeating the earlier series. The attention is finally attracted by the new 9-colour printer; the HP Photosmart 8570 printer. Douglas Kirkland, the famous photographer representing HP and giving presentations, is very enthusiast about the new printer and dug into his archives thoroughly to have the most beautiful images printed again. The results are astonishing, superb!
PMA 2005 - Kodak Booth
As always we find Kodak with an impressive booth. Also here on the PMA floor. You simply can't get around them. Kodak shows that it switched over to a complete digital experience and management of images. They definitely succeeded on this matter and their series of new products also show new concepts. One of these new concepts is the new Kodak EasyShare-One digital camera. An appealing digital camera with a resolution of 4 megapixels and an extremely large LCD monitor of no less than 3 inches. The camera is equipped with a large internal memory of 256MB. Of course it can be enhanced with a Secure Digital memory card. No doubt we will here more about this model and I hope to receive a sample from Kodak soon to be able to have a closer look at it and to discuss the model. Kodak is an active player on the digital imaging market, and it's good to see a former analogue company succeed in taking the step to digital imaging.
PMA 2005 - Sony Booth
Sony announced a large series of digital cameras during PMA 2005. Amongst them we find the Cybershot DSC H1, showing a new approach from Sony. This camera is Sony's answer to the range of digital Megazoom cameras that appeared on the market lately from manufacturers like Konica Minolta, Olympus etc. The camera is equipped with a 12x optical zoom and an image stabilizer. I am curious to find out what the end results will be of this product, although for now it seems that it will take a while before the Cybershot H1 is actually available on the market.
Sony is a very active manufacturer with numerous concepts, innovations etc. that influence the market. However, even a giant as Sony notices that the digital market more and more grows towards the replacement market, with beside it the strong growing market like the Mobile Imaging market. Prices are under pressure and there seems to be less room for possibilities of growth for new products. Eight megapixels seems to be the absolute maximum for a digital compact camera, 12x optical zoom is also one of the possibilities and a compact size is no longer a problem. Which innovations will be made to keep the demand for new products alive? Wireless seems one of the trumps but a standard still seems far out of reach.
PMA 2005 - SanDisk Booth
The SanDisk booth is incredibly crowded. Many visitors are packed together to talk to a SanDisk co-worker or at least have a glance at the new SanDisk product range. One striking and in my opinion simply genius product is the SD memory card with SD Plus technology. Somebody had the clever idea of combining a Secure Digital memory card format with a USB interface connection. Putting an ultra small hinge in the housing of the Secure Digital memory card, makes it possible to open the card, revealing the USB interface. The announcement of the SanDisk Ultra II memory card with Plus technology, is the peak of the SanDisk booth for me!
PMA 2005 - Konica Minolta Booth
The busy it was at the Konica Minolta booth during my visit at the Photokina in Germany, the quiet it is on the show floor around the booth of Konica Minolta at the PMA 2005 in Orlando, Florida. Surprisingly enough Konica Minolta only introduced 1 new hardware product, a new scanner. Fair enough; the scanner is beautiful, but to be honest, I'd expect more news from a brand like Konica Minolta. The digital reflex camera, the Konica Minolta Dynax 7D attracts a great deal of attention at the moment and is the showpiece of the Konica Minolta products. One colleague of mine from the Netherlands, shared an idea with me, he wondered why Konica Minolta wouldn't remove the Anti-Shake system from the Dynax 7D, downgrade the camera as it were, in order to get a Dynax 5D as an end result and this way launch a true entry-level camera on the market. Doesn't sound like a bad idea at all...
PMA 2005 - Sigma Booth
Sigma launched an impressive series of lenses. During the PMA 2005, this large amount of lenses was showcased to the public, behind glass. During our publications, the articles on this new range of lenses, specifically adjusted to fit digital use, were getting used worldwide as a reference. The response of the readers and Sigma enthusiasts was incredibly positive and livened things up. It is good to see that digital reflex cameras are definitely in the spot lights at the moment and that lens manufacturers like Sigma gets pulled up by a growing group of enthusiastic advanced and professional photographers. It may be clear that this also benefits the photography world in itself and it also offers a chance to photo dealers to share their knowledge and offer tailored service to the customer. The digital reflex camera could be one of the anchors for the photo dealer to keep him in business and to be able to be characterized as an image specialist.
PMA 2005 - Panasonic Booth
Panasonic has a remarkably small booth but nevertheless presents an interesting wide range of digital cameras. I certainly think that these new LUMIX models will appeal to the public. The innovative approach of the many functions deserves more attention than Panasonic is getting at the moment. When I look at the Dutch market, my home base, Panasonic is badly represented at photo dealers and retailers and the retail business seems to pass this interesting assortment. The new Panasonic LUMIX FZ5 is a good example of a digital camera with potency and also a model like the LS1 with image stabilizer and an interesting price tag to it, are high-quality saleable products.
The show goes on... CeBIT 2005, IFA 2005 and PMA 2006
The PMA 2005, in Orlando, Florida, USA has really come to an end now. I just got back from another morning on the show floor, also to say goodbye to a couple of good friend, and shake hands with newly found relations hoping to meet them again soon. Back in the hotel, rushing to pack my suitcase, checking out, jumping into the car to drive to the airport to catch my plane back to the Netherlands. The Digital Imaging world keeps being interesting, and sometimes even fascinating. The year 2005 will be an important one for manufacturers; market shares have to be held on to strongly and one will have to search for innovations to call the force of the Mobile Imaging industry a halt. The next show is already waiting around the corner, the CeBIT 2005 in Germany. LetsGoDigital will also attend this show and provide you with a complete report on the special CeBIT show coverage website.