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High-end Wares Debut At Photokina Trade Show

Cologne, Germany — The world’s largest photographic trade show closed it doors here last week after a flurry of new product introductions and hints at what’s in store for the digital SLR category in 2007.

The show played host to 1,579 suppliers from 46 countries and roughly 162,000 attendees, according Koelnmesse, the show’s organizer.

Fujifilm announced the F31fd, bringing its recently introduced Face Detection technology to its point-and-shoot line. The new 6-megapixel F31fd, which replaces the F30, can identify up to 10 faces in a frame and optimize the focus accordingly. It features a 3x optical zoom lens, 15 scene modes, a 580 shots-per-charge battery, a 2.5-inch LCD with glare-resistant coating, and the ability to capture images at ISO 3,200 at full resolution.

The camera will also incorporate Fujifilm’s Picture Stabilization mode, which bumps up light sensitivity and shutter speed to reduce image blur, and i-Flash, which measures surrounding light and adjusts flash intensity accordingly. It will ship in December for a suggested $399.

Fujifilm also promised a replacement for its FinePix S3 Pro digital SLR in 2007. The forthcoming S5 will incorporate the company’s Super CCD SR Pro sensor and Real Photo Processor Pro technology, which Fujifilm said reduces noise when shooting in light sensitivities up to ISO 3,200 and gives images a more “film-like” appearance. The camera will also offer face detection, an 11-point AF system, a 2.5-inch 235,000 pixel LCD screen with a 30-second live preview feature and compatibility with Nikon F-mount lenses.

SLR accessories company Lensbabies introduced its third-generation selective focus SLR Lens, the 3G. The Lensbaby 3G attaches to the lens mount of many of the leading digital SLR brands, including Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, Pentax and Samsung. It can bend and be locked into unique angles. Previous versions could bend but not be locked into position.

Objects in the center of the Lensbaby 3G lens are in sharp focus surrounded by a graduated blur. Bending the flexible lens tubing adjusts where the sharp focus point appears in the photo. It offers a barrel focusing ring and three focusing rails to adjust the focus area.

The device is available now for a suggested retail price of $270.

Hewlett-Packard broadened its lineup of retail photofinishing equipment with the new Photosmart pm1000 Microlab. It is designed for high volume retail establishments and is capable of producing 700 4 by 6-inch prints per hour. The inkjet-based unit was designed for both back and front counter operation. It is available now, list price was not announced.

The company also announced that its online subsidiary Snapfish would be integrated with Nokia’s N-series of high-end multimedia cellular phones. Nokia owners will be able to order prints from Snapfish directly from their mobile phone’s photo gallery. Initially consumers will be able to choose from 4 by 6-inch, 5 by 7-inch and wallet-sized photos, but HP said other photo merchandize will come online in the future.

The first Nokia phone to offer Snapfish service in the United States will be the N80 Internet Edition.

Olympus announced it would introduce a successor to its E1 pro-level digital SLR in 2007. The company displayed a mock-up of the forthcoming model at the show. It also demonstrated the E-400, an addition to its consumer level series of digital SLRs with its live view technology. The unit is currently shipping to European dealers initially; Olympus would not confirm U.S. availability.