By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Close to 200 exhibitors used the PhotoPlus Expo, held here Oct. 30-Nov. 1, to make the last of their 2003 introductions while rubbing elbows with professional photographers and advanced amateur shutterbugs in search of the latest in high-end gear.
The show attracted approximately 21,000 attendees, a 15 percent leap from 2002 making it the best attended PhotoPlus Expo since 2000 show organizers said.
Epson introduced its higher-end Stylus Photo R800, a photo printer featuring new Epson UltraChrome Hi-Gloss pigment inks for archival photo prints on matte and glossy media.
With an estimated street price of $399, the R800 produces photo prints up to 8.5 inches by 11 inches on cut-sheet paper and up to 8.3 inches by 44 inches on roll paper.
The new ink set includes eight individual cartridges and features the new Gloss Optimizer as well as Photo Black and Matte Black ink cartridges. With an eight channel print head, the R800 allows the user to keep the Photo Black and Matte Black ink cartridges in the printer at all times and the printer driver determines which black ink to use based on the paper type selected.
This printer model also features direct CD printing capabilities, allowing customers to print directly onto inkjet printable CDs or DVDs by placing them in a tray that slides through the printer's front-loading, straight-through paper path. Lexar Media introduced a retail box version of its Image Rescue software, previously available only to (and compatible with) customers who bought Lexar's high-end CompactFlash cards. Image Rescue 2.0 can now recover lost or deleted digital images from any format of flash memory card, regardless of manufacturer. The software can be used with all mass storage compliant card readers, including FireWire and USB 2.0.
Image Rescue 2.0 is included in all of Lexar Media's Professional Series CompactFlash cards and will be available this month as a stand-alone product for $39.95.
The company also announced two new portable, high-speed CompactFlash card readers. The next-generation FireWire and new USB 2.0 CompactFlash readers offer data transfer speeds up to 400MB/s and 480MB/s, respectively. Both readers feature a protective cap that houses the CompactFlash card and doubles as a stand when the reader is in use. The FireWire and USB 2.0 readers are shipping now with suggested retail prices of $49.99 and $24.99, respectively.
Kyocera introduced two digital cameras built off its new Rapid Tuning Technology (RTUNE) platform. The new camera platform "has been built from the ground-up" in an attempt to overcome some performance "irritants" that hamper the operation of current digital cameras, said Kyocera president Ben LaMarca, who cited slow start-up times and long click-to-click times as two of the worst offenders.
Both of Kyocera's new cameras, the 5-megapixel Finecam S5R, and 3-megapixel SL300R, feature a lag time of .07 of a second, allowing the user to press the shutter and take rapid-fire still images in full resolution to the length of the memory card without having to lift their finger off the shutter. To get the maximum performance from this uninterrupted continuous capture mode, users must have a 256MB or above SD card with a write speed of 10MB/s.
Another new feature enabled by RTUNE is digital "noise" reduction, achieved by correcting an image's RGB color in the analog state versus the common practice of correcting it after the light signals have been digitized.
Both the S5R and SL300R can capture video at 30 frames per second (fps) to the capacity of the memory card and ship with a copy of Adobe's Photoshop Album. The S5R features 3 fps continuous capture and a 3x optical zoom for a street price of $499. The SL300R is .6 inches thin with a rotating 3x optical zoom lens and is now shipping for an estimated street price of $399.
Nikon quietly introduced the CoolPix 3700, a slim design 3-megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom Nikkor lens. It features 15 scene modes, eight movie modes, and is the first CoolPix digital camera to capture 640 by 480 movies at 30 fps with sound. It is also the company's first digital camera to accept SD memory (all previous Nikon's supported the CompactFlash memory format).
The camera is shipping now to select dealers for a suggested retail of $399.95.
SanDisk announced that it has reached an agreement with Fujifilm to manufacture and sell co-branded xD Picture Card flash memory. The company has a similar deal in place with xD co-developer Olympus. The xD cards themselves will wear the Fujifilm brand while the packaging will be SanDisk's. The cards are set to ship next month in capacities from 64MB to the current maximum of 512MB and will be priced from $44.99 to $269.99.
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