New cameras come alive at PhotoPlus Expo

Craving a new camera for the holiday season? The hottest new cameras, camcorders, and accessories of the year were all on display at the 2010 PDN PhotoPlus Expo in New York City.

  • A Big Building Full of Cameras

    The [[xref:|2010 PDE PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo|2010 PDE PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo]], which took place October 28-30 at the Javits Center in New York, gave attendees a close look at some exciting new cameras, camcorders, and accessories available now and in the upcoming months. Come see some of the more attention-grabbing items from this year's show.
  • Olympus Camera Shrouded in Mystery

    One sneak peek offered at the show was this concept Olympus point-and-shoot, which doesn't even have an name yet. It will be Olympus’s flagship compact camera, and it’s the first Olympus fixed-lens camera to offer a Zuiko lens. The camera’s specs haven’t been finalized just yet, but it will have a fast, wide-aperture lens, a pop-up flash, and an accessory port that’s bound to accept the same EVF and add-ons as [[xref:|Olympus’s PEN series|Olympus Pen E-PL1 Hands-On: Micro Four-Thirds for the Whole Family]] of Micro Four-Thirds cameras. The premium compact camera is destined to compete against performance-minded compact cams such as the [[xref:|Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5|Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5]] and [[xref:|Canon PowerShot S95|Canon PowerShot S95]].
  • A Moveable Beast From Nikon

    Speaking of pocketable power, Nikon’s manual-minded [[xref:|Coolpix P7000|Coolpix P7000]]] was on display at the show, and its control layout offers an incredible amount of granular fine-tuning and fast access to image controls for a non-DSLR. Three mode dials on the top of the camera let shooters adjust exposure compensation, bracketing modes, ISO settings, and custom settings without diving into the on-screen menus. The camera has a 10-megapixel CCD sensor, a 7.1x wide-angle zoom lens (28mm to 200mm, F2.8 to F8.0), and a hot shoe for external flashes and microphones. It’s available now for US$500.
  • Pentax 645D Medium-Format Camera

    If you think Nikon’s P7000 sounds powerful, wait till you get a load of this monster. The Pentax 645D is a medium-format camera, offering a 44mm-by-33mm, 40-megapixel sensor that’s about 1.5 times the size of a full-frame DSLR sensor. It also uses a different lens mount and system than Pentax’s DSLR cameras. This super-sized camera offers a weather-sealed body made out of magnesium alloy, and it offers dual SD/SDHC card slots to store massive, 7264-by-5440-pixel images. For JPEGs, that translates to a file size of about 25MB per image. Yikes.
  • Pentax 645D Side View

    Here’s a side view of the Pentax 645D; the “D” may very well stand for “deep.” Also note the secondary tripod mount on the side of the camera, designed for vertical shots. Why would you need a camera this big and mighty? See the next slide for the answer.
  • Really Big Camera for Really Big Pictures

    The Pentax 645D shoots absolutely stunning poster-sized images. This huge sample shot displayed at the Pentax booth exhibited amazing sharpness, color, and detail. The Pentax 645D doesn’t shoot video; although its huge CCD sensor is kept cool via an internal heat sink, the sensor wouldn’t be able to handle the type of heat generated by shooting video for any extended period of time. Want one? It’ll cost you US$10,000... and you’ll need to fork over another US$1200 for its only lens option, a prime 55mm F2.8.
  • Small, Customizable Cameras From Pentax

    Clear on the other side of the spectrum is [[xref:|Pentax’s very pocketable Optio RS1000|Pentax Lets You Design Your Own Camera (to an Extent)]], which allows you to customize its looks with detachable faceplates. A few faceplate skins are included with the camera, and it also comes with a gift card that lets you design your own faceplate via [[xref:|SkinIt|SkinIt]], then have it delivered to you. SkinIt also sells the sports-themed faceplates that you see in the picture here. The 14-megapixel RS1000 is available now for US$150, and additional custom skins are available via SkinIt’s site for about $15 apiece.
  • Leica’s High-End Point-and-Shoots

    When you look at the specs, Leica’s compact D-Lux 5 (right) and GPS-enabled V-Lux 20 (left) are identical to [[xref:|Panasonic’s Lumix LX5|Panasonic Lumix LX5]] and [[xref:|Lumix ZS7|Panasonic Lumix ZS7]], respectively. That’s a great foundation, as those two Lumixes are among the best cameras released in 2010. However, there are a few notable differences between these Leica cameras and their Panasonic-branded cousins. Leica has revamped the cameras’ menu systems to allow faster access to key in-camera settings, and both cameras come with high-end imaging software in the box. The Leica D-Lux 5 is bundled with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to help handle RAW image processing, and the V-Lux 20 comes with Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. Leica is also touting the cameras’ two-year service warranty as a notable value-booster. Both cameras are available now: the Leica D-Lux 5 is priced at US$800, while the V-Lux 20 sells for $700.
  • Sony’s Translucent Mirror

    Sony’s interchangeable-lens Alpha A55 is one of the more innovative cameras of the year, thanks to a [[xref:|translucent mirror|Sony Introduces New Cameras With Translucent Mirrors]] that passes light to both the camera’s imaging sensor and focusing sensor while the camera is still shooting. As such, the camera’s autofocus system continues to focus while the camera is in its 10-frame-per-second continuous shooting mode, making it an excellent camera for fast-action shooting. As you can see, the mirror is truly translucent: you can view the objects behind it in the display case.
  • Sony Handycam NEX-VG10

    Also on display was [[xref:|Sony’s interchangeable-lens Handycam NEX-VG10|Sony Handycam NEX-VG10]], which landed on our [[xref:|Top 100 Products of the Year|Top 100 Products of the Year]] list along with [[xref:|Sony’s Alpha NEX-5 interchangeable-lens camera|Sony Alpha NEX-5 interchangeable-lens camera]]. Using the same E-mount lenses and Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor as Sony’s NEX still cameras, the VG10 is a versatile high-end camcorder that shoots 14-megapixel stills in addition to 1920-by-1080 AVCHD video at 60 interlaced fields per second. It’s available now for US$2000 with a 27mm to 300mm kit lens.
  • Redrock Rig With an Olympus PEN Camera

    DSLRs shoot amazing video, but they can be awkward to hold when using them as a video camera. If you’re looking to adapt your existing DSLR or [[xref:|interchangeable-lens camera|Top 5 Compact Interchangeable-Lens Cameras]] for more-comfortable moviemaking, there are some interesting specialized rigs available. Redrock Micro, a company at the forefront of the DSLR accessories game, has a shoulder-mount rig that gives a DSLR or interchangeable-lens compact camera (such as the [[xref:|Olympus PEN E-PL1|Olympus PEN E-PL1]] pictured here) much more stability while shooting video. The [[xref:|Redrock Nano RunningMan rig|Redrock Nano RunningMan rig]] pictured here goes for US$480, and there are far more complex rigs in the Redrock lineup...
  • Redrock Rig for 3D Video

    ...such as this rig, which can be used to mount two cameras side-by-side in order to shoot 3D video footage. In this picture, it’s being used with two of [[xref:|Canon’s professional- XF105 camcorders|Canon XF105]]. The XF105 doesn’t shoot 3D video by itself, but it can be used in tandem with another unit--and some clever synchronized manual controls--to shoot footage that can be converted into 3D by a video-editing program.
  • A Head-On Look at the 3D Rig

    Here’s what the dual-camcorder 3D rig looks like from the front. Feels like you’re being stared at by Wall-E.
  • Oh, the Irony

    Wait, what? Here’s one of the more interesting signs spotted at the show. No cameras, photography, or recording devices at an event dedicated to cameras, photography, and recording devices? To be fair, there were registration-only seminars going on in the area surrounding the sign.
  • 2010 PDN Photo Plus Expo

    Well, seeing as using a camera is a no-no, I guess I’ll have to put my camera away and cut this slideshow short. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for full reviews of some of the cameras and camcorders highlighted in this slideshow as soon as we can get our hands on them.
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