By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Pentax unveiled two digital SLR cameras late last month alongside a new naming system that harkens back to the company's 35mm heritage.
In the place of the *ist D nomenclature, Pentax will refer to its digital SLR models as its “K-series” after the company's line of 35mm film SLRs. The move completes a model naming realignment announced at International CES.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.
Canon aimed to upset the SLR applecart again with the introduction of a new Digital Rebel, which will join the existing model beneath the $1,000 mark.
The new EOS Digital Rebel XT will be offered in March with a lens for an estimated $999, and without a lens for an estimated $899. It will ship in black or silver. Canon will keep the older Rebel in the line and lower its price to $799.
TWICE:What is your impression of the digital SLR? What impact will it have on the market, particularly high-end, fixed lens models?
Peck: When the Digital Rebel was introduced, it touched off a firestorm of activity between retailers and consumers. I have to relate that back to 1976 when the AE-1 was introduced. It was a model that made photography simple and was very affordable to the consumer at that time.
Olympus rolled out several new digital cameras for its spring lineup, including the first consumer level d-SLR offering a live preview on the LCD. The company also concentrated on bolstering the low-light capabilities of its compact cameras, rolling out a new branded technology called “Bright Capture.”
Olympus announced its second consumer-level digital SLR, the Evolt E-500, which will join the company's existing E-300.
The 8-megapixel E-500 will ship in October with a 3.2x optical zoom (28-90mm/35mm equivalent) lens for an estimated $899.99 ($799.99 without lens).
Seeking to overcome the limitations of hybrid film-digital interchangeable lens digital camera systems, Olympus has introduced the first all-digital SLR system based on the Four Thirds standard.
The 5-megapixel E-1 and accessory Digital Specific Lenses are designed from the ground up specifically for digital cameras with an entirely new CCD and lens system designed to negate the limitations inherent in previous digital SLRs (which have had to rely on 35mm lenses designed for film cameras).
Canon said it would ship the new EOS Rebel XSi, the successor to its consumer-level Rebel XTi digital SLR, to dealers this April.
The 12.2-megapixel XSi camera will offer an improved autofocus sensor, 14-bit A/D conversion, a 3-inch live-view LCD and Canon's new DIGIC III processor. The XSi is Canon's first consumer-level SLR with live view and it can focus on an image without the reflex mirror coming down.
Digital-SLR sales jumped 17 percent through the first quarter of 2008, according to The NPD Group retail tracking service.
Digital SLR sell-through reached 279,000 units, while dollars grew 21 percent vs. the year-ago quarter to $278.2 million.
Nearly 1.5 million digital SLRs were sold in 2007, up 36 percent from the previous year. Dollar volume for the full year grew 21 percent to $1.3 billion, according to NPD.
Olympus will ship a pair of EVOLT digital SLRs to dealers this summer along with a new model in its Stylus line.
Both the E-510 and E-410 will be available for less than $1,000 and offer the company's 10-megapixel Live MOS image sensor, 2.5-inch Live View LCD with a 170-degree viewing angle and Olympus' supersonic wave filter dust-reduction system. They also incorporate the firm's TruePic III processor and are compatible with 4/3 standard lenses and accessories.