March 2006

Film collapses in the UK as well
Market research firm GfK reports a 13% increase in digital camera sales between 2005 and 2006, whereas film camera sales decreased by over half. In terms of numbers, film cameras slowed to a 600,000 unit trickle compared to 6 million digicams. Digital SLRs also saw a huge increase. However, GfK warned of price erosion, lower profits, and the need for more balanced product lineups to appeal to increasingly demanding customers. -- Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 by chb

Canon's WiFi SD430 -- wave of the future?
When Canon introduced the US$499 SD430 Digital ELPH Wireless a few months ago, it looked like just another nice, attractive 5-mp compact. But it is also Canon's first digital camera with built-in WiFi. This means you can wirelessly transfer pics and movie clips to a PC, PictBridge printer and use a computer to control the camera. Security prevents third-party interception, and the SD430 can work with up to eight wireless devices. Will wireless cameras catch on? Will prices have to come down? -- Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006 by chb

Taiwan's share of digital cameras on the rise
When you buy your next digital camera, chances are it will be made in Taiwan. Taiwan's cites estimates that the percentage of global digital camera shipments from Taiwanese manufacturers will rise from 36% in 2005 to 54% in 2008. -- Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006 by chb

InfoTrends predicts digital camera market dynamics
According to a new study from InfoTrends, the worldwide digital camera market continues to demonstrate a strong year-over-year unit growth rate. 2006 sales are expected to reach nearly 89 million units, representing a 15% increase over 2005. However, even though worldwide unit and revenue figures are on the rise, shipments are expected to peak soon in North America and Western Europe. This will likely set off a chain reaction of other trends, such as an industry vendor shakeout, an increased number of repeat buyers, and the practice of designing and marketing digital cameras for late adopters. Lower camera profit margins will prompt many digital camera vendors to seek monetary opportunities after the point of capture, sparking additional interest in viewing, editing, sharing, preservation, and printing. -- Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 by chb

Nikon expects digital SLRs to take off
Nikon, globally the sixth-largest digital camera maker, expects shipments of interchangeable lens digital SLRs to rise 30% next year on lower-priced models. The company expects shipments of dSLRs to rise to over 1.8 million units in the year ending March 2007, up from 1.4 million this year. Nikon hopes that demand for SLRs will make up for the rapid consumer camera price drops in the $13 billion digital camera industry that drove out Konica Minolta and Kyocera. Smaller and lighter entry-level digital SLRs costing $1000 and less will be key in attracting new users. Nikon, which gets 55% of its sales from cameras and lenses, competes with Canon in the professional market, where the two companies have an 80 percent market share. -- Posted Monday, March 20, 2006 by chb

Now for something different....
Ricoh is one of those names that has sort of dropped off the radar with consumer digital cameras. However, the company continues to make them, and also some really interesting specialty cameras, such as the Ricoh Pro G3 "GPSD-Ready" digital camera. The specs are particularly up-to-date (we're talking 3.2MP); what makes this camera special is that it has a CD Card slot especially for either a GPS receiver, Bluetooth, WiFi, or even barcode reading! That means professionals (or geocachers!) can take pictures with GPS coordinates. Users can even add other GPS information via a special menu system. That way, pictures can be searched from within a ESRI GIS system. In vertical/industrial markets, a barcode reader-equipped Ricoh G3 can embed scanned barcode information into images. Use a WiFi card and you can even ftp images to a server, and the G3 becomes a fully IP-addressable network device. [see Ricoh G3 Geo-Imaging site] -- Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006 by chb

Samsung reveals 10mp cameraphone and 8GB HD phone
This is interesting: for years now serious photographers have laughed at cameraphones and viewed the ability to snap low-res, fuzzy "photos" as nothing more than a marketing gag and way to syphon more money off consumers' pockets. However, Samsung has now developed a 10-megapixel camera phone with an autofocus 3x optical zoom, 5x digital zoom and shutter speed up to 1/2000th of a second. The SCH-B600 has a 2-inch color TFT, support for Korea's satellite digital multimedia broadcasting services, dual-speakers, TV-out and an MP3 player, as well as Bluetooth and PictBridge direct printing. While the SCH-B600 uses internal storage and MMCmicro cards, another new Samsung phone, the Windows Mobile 5.0-based SGH-i310, is the first smartphone with an 8-GB hard disk drive. It combines a GSM/GPRS/EDGE phone, a 2MP digital camera and an MP3 player that can store about 2,000 songs. Our take: What we're seeing here are products designed to test what degree of convergence consumers want. Do we want/need a "real" camera in our phones, or are we happy to carry both a phone a camera? Do we want huge data storage in a phone, or do we leave that to notebooks and are happy with adequate storage in a phone? The seek for the Holy Grail of convergent devices continues. -- Posted Monday, March 13, 2006 by chb

Almost 30 million digital cameras expected to be sold in 06
According to the NPD Group, the US digital camera market will generate close to $6.8 billion in revenue and end up selling a best-ever 29.5 million units in 2006. Point & shoot cameras represented 73% of 2005 digital camera revenue and 95% of unit sales. The average selling price for point & shoots will drop down to about $182 in 2006. Digital SLR sales are growing and are expected to make up a third of the revenue and 11% of unit volume by 2010. In 2006, 1.8 million digital SLRs could be sold in the US, a 54% increase over 2005. [see full NPD release] -- Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006 by chb

Mustek MDC832Z -- 8megapixel for $249.99
Digital lifestyle electronics specialist Mustek launched the MDC832Z, an 8.0 megapixel camera with 3X optical zoom, USB 2.0, 2-inch 882 x 228 pixel LCD, 32MB internal memory, a 3.6” x 2.4” x 1.1” size. The handsome, trust-inspiring camera, reminiscent of some of Pentax's Optio products, uses SD cards, two AA batteries for power, and also comes with Ulead Photo Express 5.0 and Explorer 8.0. We've reviewed the MDC832 and found it an exceptional value with a MSRP of $249.99. -- Posted Friday, March 3, 2006 by chb

Pentax unveils three new compacts
Pentax announced three new compact digital cameras at the 2006 PMA show in Orlando. The Optio T10 has a large 3.0 inch LCD touch-display, 6.0 megapixels and a 3X optical zoom. It is a slim and stylish camera that offers finger and stylus touch control, and allows users to decorate images with drawings, stamps, and picture frames ($349.95). The Optio W10 (shown to the right) sets the latest Pentax standard for waterproof digital with 6.0 megapixels and a reflection-free LCD that offers optimal viewing in outdoor settings (under $300.00). Third in the PENTAX waterproof digital line-up, the Optio W10 features JIS Class 8 Waterproof and JIS Class 5 dustproof ratings. Note that Pentax has a special site for for “W” (waterproof) series buyers to learn more about the camera’s capabilities, purchase accessories and provide product feedback about the camera’s performance. Finally, Pentax introduced the affordable M10 with a 2.5 inch monitor, 6.0 megapixels and a 3X optical zoom ($229.95).
-- Posted Thursday, March 2, 2006 by chb

Canon launches a flurry of new digicams
At PMA 2006, Canon introduced a wealth of new products: the PowerShot SD700 IS Digital ELPH [see pic] is a 6-megapixel camera with a 4X optical zoom and Optical Image Stabilization. It has an optical viewfinder and a 2.5-inch wide viewing angle LCD. Available in April, the SD700 IS will retail for $499.99. The PowerShot SD630 Digital ELPH [see pic] is a 6-megapixel camera with a huge 3-inch LCD and a new intuitive touch sensitive control dial for smooth operation. It will be available in March at $399.99 retail. The PowerShot SD600 Digital ELPH [see pic] is another six-megapixel model with a 3X optical zoom lens and a 2.5-inch LCD screen and an optical viewfinder. Available in April, it'll retail for $349.99. There will be four new cameras in the value-priced A-Series (named for their use of AA batteries). The PowerShot A700 [see pic] has a 6X optical zoom, 6-megapixel, 22 shooting modes and a 2.5-inch LCD, all for $349.99. The6-megapixel mid-range A540 [see pic] has a 2.5-inch screen and a 4X optical zoom ($299.99). The 5-megapixel A530 [see pic] replaces last year’s A520 model. It retains the A520’s 4X optical zoom and 1.8-inch LCD screen ($229.99). Finally, the A430 [see pic] has 4-megapixel resolution, 4X optical zoom and a 1.8-inch LCD, all for $179.99. The 6-megapixel PowerShot S3 IS [see front pic] [see back pic] replaces the S2 IS model. It has an image stabilized 12x optical zoom that can even be used in the camera’s movie mode. There is stereo sound recording, a 2.0-inch Vari-Angle LCD and a unique MovieSnap function ($499.99). -- Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2006 by chb

Nikon introduces new L Series snapshot cameras
Nikon added three new cameras to its L, or Life, series of COOLPIX digital cameras. The L2, L3 and L4 all have a 3x optical Zoom-Nikkor lens, a 2.0-inch LCD, use AA-type batteries, and offer resolution of 6.0, 5.1 and 4.0 effective megapixels, respectively. The snapshot-oriented L Series includes Nikon's Exclusive Feature System that improves recorded images in-camera by fixing dark, blurry, out-of-focus shots and red eye. There are also a Face-Priority mode that finds and focuses on a persons face, D-Lighting that adds light and detail where necessary, and a high quality movie mode that records at up to 30fps with sound. The L-Series uses SD cards and come with 32 MB of internal memory for the L2 and L3 and 16MB for the L4. Pricing is US$249 for the L2, $199 for the L3, and the $149 for the L4. -- Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2006 by chb

Sony's new Walkman and Cyber-shot camera phones
Sony Ericsson has added the quad band EDGE clamshell W300 to its growing line-up of phones carrying the prestigious Walkman name. The lower cost W300 plays high quality music (MP3 and AAC support) from an included 256MB Memory Stick (expandable to 1GB), has an integrated VGA camera, measures just 3.6 x 1.9 x 1 inches and weighs only 3.3 ounces. Talk time is up to almost 10 hours. Get yours in Shimmering White or Shadow Black.
For those who need more serious photographic capabilities, Sony added the Cyber-shot K790 and K800 phones with integrated autofocus 3.2 megapixel cameras. There's a 2-inch TFT, 64MB of memory, Bluetooth, a Memory Stick slot, music and video players, a browser, RSS reader and, oh, UMTS/GPRS (K800) or Tri Band EDGE (K790) phone functionality.
-- Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2006 by chb

dotPhoto launches professional services website
dotPhoto has launched their new professional photography services website,, which provides ecommerce services that help photographers rapidly establish an online store to sell more photos and better serve customers. The site offers professional users the easiest, most flexible, and most profitable services, including customizable product lists, standard pricing and ‘mark-up’ tools, expanded album sharing tools, increased secure storage capacity, a new user interface, group sets of photos for sale, and more. -- Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2006 by chb

Panasonic announces LUMIX DMC-L1 digital SLR
Panasonic announced their first interchangeable-lens digital SLR camera, the LUMIX DMC-L1. The DMC-L1 has a classic design that will remind users of traditional film cameras. It features the new LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 lens, live view on a large 2.5" 207k pixel LCD, a 7.5 megapixel "Live MOS" sensor that is said to combine CCD quality with low CMOS energy consumption. Storage is on standard SD cards. To enhance the sense of camera control, the DMC-L1 features a shutter speed dial on top of the camera body and the LEICA has an aperture ring, in addition to a focus ring and zoom ring, for easy, direct aperture setting. -- Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2006 by chb

Leica's first interchangeable Four Thirds digital SLR lens
Leica Camera AG and Panasonic announced a new interchangeable lens based on the Four Thirds standard. Featuring a focal length from 14mm to 50mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm to 100mm), the new LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT 14-50mm/F2.8- 3.5 ASPH lens is the first interchangeable lens from Leica developed exclusively for digital SLR cameras. The "D" signifies that it is designed for the new digital system. -- Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2006 by chb

Sony releases 4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo
Sony's tiny new 4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo media card has the largest storage capacity of any Memory Stick flash media card on the market. At one-third the size and half the weight of the standard-size Memory Stick card, the 4GB PRO Duo media is designed to store large amounts of rich, multi-media content, including movies, music and high-resolution digital photos. It will be available in July for about $250 direct at and across the country at authorized dealers. -- Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2006 by chb