Photo Treasures, Toys, and Trinkets at PMA 2005 in Orlando
by Derrick Story
The Photo Marketing Association is throwing its annual bash, PMA 2005 in Orlando, Florida. Within the confines of the spacious West Concourse of the Orange Convention Center, hundreds of photography-related manufacturers and suppliers are displaying their wares.
This is not a tradefloor that I can comprehend in a single day. It's too big and designed too much like a labyrinth for me to digest on first pass. But in my daze, a few exhibitors still managed to turn my head. Here's what stuck.
The Kodak EasyShare-one brings true WiFi connectivity to a quality consumer digicam. I haven't written much about Kodak cameras, but there's plenty to say about this beautiful 4-megapixel compact that sports a Schneider C-Variogon 3X Optical Lens, 3" rotating touch screen LCD monitor, stylish aluminum body, and 802.11 wireless connectivity. The networking isn't only for image transfer to your computer, but also for connecting to online to photo services, most notably Kodak's own EasyShare (the photo service formerly known as Ofoto). After holding this camera, taking pictures with it, viewing the images on the gorgeous screen, and transferring them wirelessly to a computer, I can tell you this is one of Kodak's best efforts. It debuts in the U.S. this June in the $500 range.
Tamrac's new line of digital camera straps aren't on their website yet, but will be soon. Go over there and check out the N-5055 Neoprene Shock Absorber model with two neoprene memory card holders at each end of the strap. Why didn't someone think of this before? No more fumbling around for media cards in coat pockets or at the bottom of camera bags. Plus the neoprene provides excellent padding so you don't have to worry about your cards getting banged up. Nice strap overall, great idea with the card holders. Available soon for about $30.
I held the Epson R-D1 and immediately wished I had a few Leica M lenses lying around the house. (OK, well to be honest, I lusted for the Leica lenses long before the Epson body, but now I really want them.) Epson has put a 6.1 megapixel sensor in a beautiful rangefinder body reminiscent of the classic Leica M6. If you have Leica glass, you can now mount it on this handsome body and shoot digital. You do have to contend with a 1.5 magnification factor, but you might not care because the R-D1 feels so good in the hands. Available for less than $3,000 (body only).
If today's high tech digicams leave you yearning for the twin lens reflex cameras of yesteryear, and if you have $350 burning a hole in your camera vest with nothing better to spend it on, then take a look at the RolleiFlex MiniDigi. This palm-sized replica of the magnificent Rolleiflex TLR captures 2-megapixel images and operates much like the traditional twin lens. You can check out images captured with the Rollei here and judge for yourself. Would I like one hanging around my neck at the next party I go to? You bet! Would I pay $350 for one? No way.
I'm saving my pennies for the Kodak EasyShare-one...