PMA 2009 Preview

The PMA 2009 International Convention and Trade Show is scheduled to take place March 3-5, 2009 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.  PMA is the largest photographic trade show in the world.  Surrounding PMA are a number of new product announcements from camera, lens and accessory manufacturers.  Each year, digital photography gearheads closely watch these announcements to see what the next best thing in the digital imaging realm might be.

Photokina 2008 brought some show stoppers from DSLR manufactures.  We also saw the first non-reflex interchangeable lens camera come to market – the Panasonic G1.  Leading up to PMA 2009, Photography Bay will be following some of the rumors and leaks that are sure to come from a variety of sources.  I’ll also be giving my editorial commentary on what I think we’ll be seeing the next couple of months or so.

This preview will showcase news and rumors categorized by manufacturer and will be updated as new information comes in.  Consider bookmarking this page through PMA to have access to the latest info at your fingertips.

Additionally, I would love to have your contributions of rumors, news and any other information in the Photography Bay Forum.  If you have something to contribute or would like to discuss this topic further, please join the Photography Bay Forum and post your comments there.  I’ll stay on top of the discussions and relay relevant information on this post.

Canon

Canon is in a precarious position of trailing to Nikon in many different areas.  Nikon’s consumer-level camera offers video capture, while Canon’s only video-capable DSLR costs nearly 3 times as much.  Canon’s 21 megapixel flagship is overshadowed by the new 24.5 megapixel Nikon D3x.  Additionally, Nikon’s other pro-level camera, the D3 (at 9fps full frame and 11fps cropped-frame), essentially matches the frame rate of Canon’s sports shooter 1D Mark III (10 fps 1.3x cropped-frame).  Canon is no longer the big sales leader either.  Nikon, with the help of Sony, has been chipping away at Canon’s sales and taking rank from Canon’s market position across the globe.

Canon’s glory days as the exclusive No. 1 across the board may very well be over.  At the same time, however, Canon is not going anywhere.  From a marketing standpoint, Canon has to do something to put the “Wow!” back into the consumer DSLRs.  Nikon has Ashton Kutcher flaunting the Nikon D90, along with their point & shoot cameras and hot blond models, in primetime commercials.  It seems to be working too. This is an important release cycle for both Canon and Nikon.  Along with some updated point and shoots that have too many megapixels and several bells and whistles, Canon has to step it up in the DSLR feature set to take some ground back from Nikon and Sony.

Canon Rebel XSi Replacement:  While the Canon Rebel XSi was introduced at last year’s PMA and Canon has updated the Rebel-series DSLRs on an 18-month replacement cycle, I think that the XSi is due for an update – and maybe a revolutionary one.  Like it or not, video in DSLRs is here – and it’s here to stay.  Nikon got out of the gate with video in the consumer-level D90 and I expect Canon to follow suit at PMA 2009 with a new video-capable Digital Rebel.  See Photography Bay’s Canon Rebel XRi / 500D rumors for more.

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV:  Ever since the autofocus debacle came to light on the Canon 1D Mark III, rumors have been floating around that Canon would replace the 1D Mark III sooner than the regular 3-year cycle for pro-level Canon DSLRs.  As noted above, the Nikon D3 essentially matches the 1D Mark III’s coveted frame rate specification.  These combination of these two issues leads many to believe that the Canon 1D Mark III is ripe for replacement.  In addition to updates on this page, you can see the latest news and rumors on Photography Bay’s Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Rumors.

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark IV:  Canon’s 1.5 year old EOS 1Ds Mark III is no longer king of the megapixel hill.  Both Sony and Nikon outrank the 21.1 megapixel 1Ds Mark III with the A900 and D3x, respectively.  Again, Canon has been on a 3-year replacement cycle with it pro DSLRs; however, Canon is accustomed to holding the megapixel crown among pro-DSLRs.  Few rumors have surfaced about a replacement for the Canon 1Ds Mark III; however, we’ll follow any forthcoming info on the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark IV Rumors page.

Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L: New tilt-shift lens for architectural and landscape photographers. Priced at $2499.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II:  New tilt-shift lens for architectural and landscape photographers. Priced at $2499.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon PowerShot SX1 IS:  Really the biggest news for point and shoot cameras.  The SX1 IS has previously been released in other regions of the world but is now becoming available in the US. It features 10MP, 20x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, HD video capture and a hotshoe for external flashes.  Priced at $599.99.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon PowerShot SX200 IS:  Features a 12.1 megapixel sensor, 12x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, HD 720p video and 3″ LCD screen. Priced at $349.99. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon PowerShot A2100 IS:  Features a 12.1 megapixel sensor, 6x optical zoom, optical image stabilization and 3″ LCD screen. Priced at $249.99.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon PowerShot A1100 IS:  Features a 12.1 megapixel sensor, 4x optical zoom, optical image stabilization and 2.5″ LCD screen. Priced at $199.99.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon PowerShot A480:  Features a 10 megapixel sensor, 3.3x optical zoom and 2.5″ LCD screen. Priced at $129.99.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon PowerShot SD970 IS:  Features a 12.1 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, 3″ LCD, HD 720p video, and priced at $379.99. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon PowerShot SD960 IS:  Features a 12.1 megapixel sensor, 4x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, 2.8″ LCD, HD 720p video, and priced at $329.99.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon PowerShot SD780 IS:  Features a 12.1 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, 2.5″ LCD, HD 720p video, and priced at $279.99.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS:  Features a 10 megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, 2.5″ LCD, and priced at $229.99.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Canon PowerShot D10:  The Canon PowerShot D10 is Canon’s take on the latest trend in digital cameras – rugged and waterproof bodies.  The key feature of the D10 is that it can swim with you as deep as 33 feet.  It carries a price tag of $329.99 and should be available in May just in time for the beach.  Check availability at Amazon.com.

Fuji

Fuji Finepix F200EXR:  The spec list doesn’t do the Fuji F200EXR justice.  Sure it offers 12 megapixels, a 5x optical zoom and a 3″ LCD. But, the most exciting feature of this new camera is the Super CCD EXR image sensor. The FinePix F200EXR offers 3 selectable modes in one sensor:

  • Fine Capture Mode (High Resolution), which deploys all twelve million pixels, and is designed to offer the finest detail of intricate subjects when light is full and even;
  • Pixel Fusion Mode (High Sensitivity and Low Noise), which caps two adjacent pixels together to produce six million large photodiodes, which are big enough to absorb light in the darkest of conditions, to produce low-light shots of extraordinary quality with minimal noise and grain; and
  • Dual Capture (Wide Dynamic Range), which captures different exposures with two sets of six million pixels, which, when combined, gives an excellent level of detail in highlights and low lights that would otherwise be lost.

Since the camera has just been announced, there have been no independent reviews published.  If Fuji delivers on its promises with the F200EXR, (1) I’m going to have a tough time typing F200EXR over and over, and (2) Fuji will establish a new standard for image quality in point and shoot cameras. It’s priced at $399.95.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Fuji A150: A no frills, 10 megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom and 3″ LCD. Priced at $129.95.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Fuji J20:  This point and shoot camera is for the budget minded with 10 megapixels, a 3x optical zoom and 2.7″ LCD.  Priced at $129.95.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Fuji J250:  Another low-end point and shoot camera.  The J250 features a 10 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom and 3″ LCD.  Priced at $199.95.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Fuji Z30: The Fuji FinePix Z30 is a 10 megapixel point and shoot camera that has a stylish body to appeal to the younger crowd. It also features a 2.7″ LCD and 3x optical zoom.

The Z30 is priced at $179.95. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Fuji Z33WP:  The Fuji FinePix Z33WP is a 10 megapixel point and shoot camera whose main attraction is a waterproof body – up to 10 feet though.  Other features include a 2.7″ LCD and 3x optical zoom.

The Z33WP is set to be available in March for $199.95.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Fuji S5100:  A 10 megapixel superzoom camera that features a 2.7″ LCD and a 12x optical zoom lens with sensor-based image stabilization.  The S1500 can shoot up to 15 frames at 7.5 fps at 2MP and six frames at 3.3 fps at 5MP.  It will be available in March for $249.95.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Kingston

Kingston 32GB Elite Pro CF Card: Kingston has introduced a 32GB model of its 133x Elite Pro CF cards.  It runs about $100 right now.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Leica

Leica Super-Elmar-M 18mm f/3.8 Asph:  The new Leica Super-Elmar-M 18mm lens is designed for use with Leica digital M models.

It should be available in March 2009 for a yet-undisclosed amount.

Nikon

I remember seeing a cover of Popular Photography around the release of the D3 and D300 that stated “Nikon Strikes Back”.  I think this phrase really sums up the past year and a half for Nikon.  Nikon has truly been on a roll since the release of the D3 and D300.  They have done a great job with their solid entry level cameras – the D40 and D60.  Affordable and effective VR-based lenses have helped make kit prices cheaper and very attractive in electronic store advertisement flyers.

Most recently, however, Nikon has struck a chord with the D700 and D90.  Nikon shocked everyone with the D700’s introduction back in July 2008.  The Nikon D700 is essentially a trimmed down D3 with the same 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and a sensitivity range of ISO 100 to ISO 25600.  At a price point of $3000 (now well below $2500), the D700 instantly became a wedding photographer’s dream.

The D90 was the world’s first video-enabled DSLR.  At $1299 with an 18-105mm VR lens, it’s a bargain in terms of image quality and feature set.  The D90 has been popular among consumers over the 2008 holiday season.  Expect more Nikon DSLRs to have this feature in the coming product cycles.

Nikon D40/D60 Replacements: Like Canon, Nikon introduced its current entry-level camera, the D60, at PMA 2008.  The D60 is paired with a great little 18-55mm lens and is generally well regarded as a very capable entry-level camera (Read Photography Bay’s Nikon D60 Review).  The Nikon D90’s movie mode changed the game though.  Expect this one year old camera to be replaced at PMA 2009 with an entry-level consumer DSLR that offers video capture.  I would expect the D60 to take the place of the Nikon D40 as a second tier entry-level DSLR if the D40 doesn’t get a specific replacement as well.  See Photography Bay’s Nikon D65 rumors for more.

Nikon D400:  The Nikon D300 is due for an update.  PMA will mark the end of the typical 18-month life cycle for the prosumer DSLR.  Rumors have been creeping up that a 16 megapixel Nikon D400 with video capabilities will replace the D300. Read more Nikon D400 Rumors.

Also, rumors of a Nikon D500.

Nikon D700x/D800: I’ve seen no credible rumors for a revised D700 that offers the same 24.5 megapixel sensor as that found in the Nikon D3x; however, that is on a number of forum posters’ wish lists.  If it comes (and that’s a big “if”), you might also expect a video feature set to mate more effectively as an opponent the Canon 5D Mark II.  More Nikon D800 Rumors.  There are even Nikon D900 Rumors.

Nikon Lenses: It is almost a certainty that we will see new lenses from Nikon at PMA.  With new full frame cameras and the growing trend created by the Nikon D60 and its predecessors, there are focal lengths that need to be fulfilled for each of these product categories.  Rumors of the following lenses have surfaced:

  • Nikkor AF-S VR-II 200mm f1.8D
  • Nikkor AF-S VR-II 300mm f2D
  • Nikkor AF-S VR-II 400mm f2.5D
  • Nikkor AF-S VR-II 70-200mm f2.5D

For more on this rumor, see Photography Bay’s coverage here.  Additionally, I would hope that Nikon will recognize the power of the 50mm f/1.8 lens and produce an AF-S version of it so that D40-D60 owners can take advantage of this powerful prime lens along with autofocus capabilities.

Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G: This lens is designed for use exclusively with the Nikon DX-format (1.5x crop factor). With a wide aperture of f/1.8, the AF-S 35mm lens is equivalent to 52mm on a 35mm frame, which makes it the ideal “normal” lens replacement for Nikon DX-format DSLRs. The AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8 lens should be available in March 2009 for $199.95. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Nikon Point and Shoot Cameras:  Nikon has announced a number of point and shoot cameras prior to PMA in February 2009.

Nikon Coolpix P90: 12 megapixels, huge 24x optical zoom with VR, 15fps frame rate, 3″ LCD. Priced at $399.95.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Nikon Coolpix S630: 12 megapixels, 7x optical zoom with VR (in a compact body), 2.7″ LCD. Priced at $279.95. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Nikon Coolpix S620: 12.2 megapixels, 4x optical zoom with VR, 2.7″ LCD. Priced at $269.95. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Nikon Coolpix S220: 10 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, 2.5″ LCD. Priced at $149.95. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Nikon Coolpix S230:10 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, 3″ Touch Screen LCD. Priced at $239.95. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Nikon Coolpix L100: 10 megapixels, 15x optical zoom with VR, 13fps frame rate, 3″ LCD. Priced at $279.95. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Nikon Coolpix L20: 10 megapixels, 3.6x optical zoom, 3″ LCD. Priced at $129.95. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Nikon Coolpix L19: 8 megapixels, 3.6x optical zoom, 2.7″ LCD. Priced at $109.95. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Olympus

Micro Four Thirds System: In Summer 2008, Olympus introduced a new Micro Four Thirds System, which essentially uses the same 2x crop sensor from the Four Thirds System; however, Olympus has done away with the mirror box in order to make their small cameras even smaller.  Olympus has promised new models in the Micro Four Thirds System in 2009.  To date, Panasonic is the only company to release a Micro Four Thirds camera model.  Expect something from Olympus at PMA.

Four Thirds System: Olympus’ Four Thirds EVOLT DSLRs are fairly up to date with the E-420, E-520 and E-30.  The flagship E-3 is the oldest of the current EVOLT lineup.  Olympus could use a little more buzz with an E-3 replacement; however, rumors of such are nil at present.  Additionally, I wouldn’t count out a refreshed version of the E-420 and E-520.

Panasonic

Panasonic G1 Companion:  We know that Panasonic has a video-capable G1-like camera on the way.  The G1 was the first of its kind; however, it remains over-priced and under-featured.  We’ll see if Panasonic can soften the blow to our wallets and provide a feature set that makes their “G” series Micro Four Thirds cameras worthwhile as DSLR replacements.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 and DMC-ZS1:  Both are 10.1 megapixel cameras with a 12x optical zoom.  The ZS3 features HD video recording capability and a Leica lens. Check ZS1 availability on Amazon.com. Check ZS3 availability on Amazon.com.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX580: A 12.1 megapixel point and shoot camera with 5x optical zoom, 3″ LCD screen and optical image stabilization. Check availability at Amazon.com.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS25: A 12.1 megapixel point and shoot camera with 5x optical zoom, 3″ LCD screen and optical image stabilization. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX48: A 12.1 megapixel point and shoot camera with 5x optical zoom, 2.5″ LCD screen and optical image stabilization. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1: A 12.1 megapixel point and shoot camera with 4.6x optical zoom and 2.7″ LCD screen.  Rugged, weather proof and shock proof. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Pentax

Expect some big news from Pentax at PMA.  Hoya, Pentax’s parent, issued a statement with its second quarter 2008 financial results that revealed some of the things to come from Pentax in 2009, including 3 new types of DSLR cameras.

Here’s a quote relevant portions of the statement: Next year, we are planning to launch some three types, including minor design change versions, of single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras. With a desire to offer cameras which will demonstrate our advantages, as announced in the Photokina held in Germany, we will relaunch ourselves next year as a manufacturer of all-weather cameras which are strong outdoors, highly water-resistnat, splash-proof, and dustproof, small and light, easily portable and tough (durable).

Pentax Optio P70 and Optio E70: Pentax released two new point and shoot cameras at CES 2009, which will carry over into the PMA features for Pentax. The Optio P70 features 12 megapixels, a 4x optical zoom, a 2.7″ LCD screen and a ridiculous maximum sensitivity setting of ISO 6400.  The Optio E70 features 10 megapixels, 3x optical zoom and a 2.4″ LCD screen.  The P70 will retail for $199.95 and the E70 for $139.95.  For more info, see Photography Bay’s coverage of the Pentax Optio P70 and Optio E70.

PocketWizard

PocketWizard FlexTT5 and MiniTT1: PocketWizard has introduced the FlexTT5 and the MiniTT1, which are radio-frequency remotes that allow photographers the ability to communicate TTL data to their off-camera flashes at much greater distances that previously possible and also to take line of sight limitations out the equation.  This is quite amazing technology.

Check availability on the FlexTT5 on Amazon.com.

Check availability on the MiniTT1 on Amazon.com.

Ricoh

Ricoh CX1:  The Ricoh CX1 is one of those cameras that really offers some potential – much like the Fuji FinePix Z200EXR that we looked at a couple weeks ago. The CX1 features a zoom lens that covers a range equivalent to 28-200mm on a full frame camera. The CX1 also features a CMOS sensor that can capture 4 frames per second and deliver extended dynamic range by capture 2 frames and combining them into one image.  Check availability on Amazon.com.

Samsung

Samsung has released several new point and shoot cameras for PMA 2009, but has no new DSLRs to offer.

Samsung SL820:  Features a 12.2 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, HD 720p video and 3″ LCD screen. Priced at $279.99. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Samsung SL620: Features a 12.2 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, optical image stabilization and 3″ LCD screen. Priced at $199.99. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Samsung SL202: Features a 10 megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom and 2.7″ LCD screen. Priced at $149.99. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Samsung SL30: Features a 10 megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom and 2.5″ LCD screen. Priced at $99.99. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Sony

Expect new DSLRs from Sony this year – and lots of’em.  I received an email tip from someone who provided accurate info on the A900 that the entire Sony Alpha DSLR lineup will be replaced in 2009.  I don’t know whether all the cameras will drop at PMA, but I expect to see several there.  I would say that the A300/A350 (Read Photography Bay’s Sony A350 Review) and A700 are ripe for replacement at PMA.  Additionally, don’t count out CES as a possible news outlet for Sony Alpha DSLRs.  The A200 was announced at CES 2008, which was prior to the A300/A350 announcement at PMA.

Sony A800:  Rumors are circulating of a 15.1 megapixel Sony A800, which should act as a replacement to the A700.  The the Sony A800 page for more.

UPDATE: Recent comments from Sony suggest that there will be no new Sony DSLRs at PMA 2009.  Rather, Sony’s Alpha DLSRs will be released Summer 2009.  The other rumors and speculation above have not been debunked.  More here.

Sony CyberShot H20:  Point and shoot camera featuring 10.1 megapixels, 10x optical zoom, 720p video, and Optical SteadyShot.  Priced at $280. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Sony CyberShot T900: Point and shoot camera featuring 12.1 megapixels, 4x optical zoom, 720p video 3.5″ Touchscreen LCD and Optical SteadyShot.  Priced at $380. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Sony CyberShot T90: Point and shoot camera featuring 12.1 megapixels, 4x optical zoom, 720p video, 3″ Touchscreen LCD and Optical SteadyShot.  Priced at $300. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Sony CyberShot W290: Point and shoot camera featuring 12.1 megapixels, 5x optical zoom, 720p video and Optical SteadyShot.  Priced at $250. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Sony CyberShot W230: Point and shoot camera featuring 12.1 megapixels, 5x optical zoom and Optical SteadyShot.  Priced at $200. Check availability on Amazon.com.

Sigma, Tamron & Tokina

I always look forward to what third-party lens manufacturers have to offer.  I use a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 in my personal photogrpahy and am happy with its overall performance.  I know many photographers look to these third-party manufacturers for lenses that are either more affordable or offer features and focal lengths that can’t be found in their DSLR system.  Expect new stuff from Sigma, Tamron and Tokina at PMA 2009.

Final Thoughts

As noted above, this PMA 2009 coverage is a work in progress, which will be updated on a rolling basis.  If you’ve got something to say, please share it with the rest of us in the Photography Bay Forum.  If you’re not already a member, you can join here for free.

Capture NX2 Hands-on Preview at Luminescent Photo

Capture NX2 was just announced and Luminescent Photo has put together a hands-on preview of the new software.  Detailing a number of the improvements in NX2, Jason Odell appears quite pleased with the updated software, noting:

The ease by which photographers can create incredibly complex mask effects takes the “work” out of the image editing process and allows creativity to come to the forefront. Users who enjoyed Capture NX 1.3 will definitely appreciate the enhancements in NX2.

Head on over to Luminescent Photo for the full scoop.

Canon Rebel XSi Preview at DPReview

DPReview has posted a hands on preview of the new 12.2 megapixel Canon Rebel XSi.

. . . you’ll find a detailed breakdown of all of the changes and updates compared to the EOS 400D but the headlines are; a larger 3.0″ LCD monitor, Live View with both passive and contrast detect AF, Spot metering, improved auto-focus, 3.5 fps continuous shooting a larger viewfinder and a switch SD/SDHC for storage . . . .

For more news, reviews and info on the XSi, check out Photography Bay’s Canon Rebel XSi Reviews and Resources.