The most interesting new
camera had to be the
Pentax Optio S, an ultra compact digital camera. Just how small is
it? Small enough to fit into an empty Altoids mint tin, at 3.3 x 2.0 x 0.8
in! This 3.2 megapixel, 3x zoom camera will be shipping at the end of
March. I was impressed with features, such as a real time histogram and
multiple shooting modes, as well as the projected price of $399.
In a slightly larger size,
Casio is currently
shipping an interesting Digital Elph like camera, the QV-R4. This four
megapixel, 3x optical zoom camera measures 3.5” x 2.3” x 1.2” and has 33
scene modes, complete with chalk outline compositional aids, that they
call Best Shot Mode (everyone is calling this feature by different
confusing names, perhaps there is a story there…) It uses SD memory cards
and ships with 11MB of internal memory. It lists for $499.
Delkin was showing its eFilm Picture Pad. This is a small ‘digital
wallet’ type device, helpful for transferring massive numbers of digital
files from your memory cards so you do not have to travel with a laptop.
It ships with a 20 to 60 gig hard drive and sports a 1.8” color active
matrix LCD so you review your images. In addition to viewing the standard
.jpg and tiff files the software supports RAW files from Canon, Fuji,
Minolta and Nikon cameras. Another handy feature was the ability to review
your images as miniature thumbnails in a 3x3 matrix on the LCD. The 20 Gig
unit is selling for about $530 on the web.
The most interesting prototype I saw was the Calypso, a
portable CDROM burner the size of a CD music player that records from a
USB input. This might give digital wallets with hard drives a real run for
their money. I saw one limitation of the initial design, that is that
photographers would be unwilling to clear the images from a data card if
they did not receive a clear and convincing acknowledgment that the files
were successfully burned to the CDR. The designers at
Data Storage agreed that this could be done with a LCD readout
that would say how many files and the total MB successfully burned was.
The product is projected to be available in July.
I saw an impressive display of tripods and light stands
from a company named MAC. It appears that they are a major
manufacturer of photo tripods, from low end to top professional quality,
as well as studio stands, light modifiers, cases and accessories. After
seeing the quality and range of their line, I was amazed that I had never
heard of them before. Kevin Freedman, director of sales, said he would be
surprised if I had, as they have been primarily a manufacturer of
equipment that other companies have labeled and marketed under their own
brands. They have decided to begin marketing their output under the MAC
brand, at a lower price than comparable quality from existing photo
makers of the MaHa Nickel Metal Hydride batteries and the POWERBank NiMH
Battery Pack is offering a line of high capacity NiMh batteries, including
AA cells with a rating of 2000ma and D cells with a rating of 7500ma, all
compatible with a 100-minute fast charger. Also of note, is their extended
line of specially configured replacement batteries, which fit digital
cameras from manufactures like Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Toshiba Minolta and
In the cheap but useful category was the Handstands
Jelly Sticky Pad. This is a 4x6 sheet of tacky plastic that will cling to
your dashboard and keep your sunglasses, filters, or cell phone from
sliding around. It is not really a sticky surface, just very grabby. You
can find a local source on their web site,
On the software front, I saw several programs to make
filing, burning and labeling your CDs easier. Fellows, the office
supply people, has new software to help you organize and burn files to
CD’s, the Promedia Organizer. It will sort and track media files, burn CDs
and do a fast, simple and graphically elegant labeling of CDs.
Roxio, the current
leader in CD burning software, announced it’s new v6.0 EZ CD and DVD
Creator, which sounds like it can do much the same, without the database.
Ease of use is key here, as everyone has tried CD labeling programs, and
found them too time consuming. I’ll be testing each of these products, and
let you know the pros and cons of each.
For those who just want to label CD’s more clearly than
with a Sharpie, but do not want to put any time or effort into it,
Dymo has a great
little dedicated label-making printer. The LabelWriter 330 Turbo feeds
label stickers from a roll, and quickly print file names of other data on
a CD label. You can quickly make standard labels by just changing the feed
My favorite find of the show was “Tell a Phone” by
Parliant, a $99
hardware and software bundle that works with your PC to track all the
incoming and outgoing phone calls, matches the callers up with a database,
and allows you to call anyone by picking up any phone in your house or
office and speaking a name. It also annunciates the name of all callers,
if you have caller ID. Great for people who speak with clients, and want
to keep track of the time and things they discussed.