Camera makers gear up for Photo trade show

Photo Imaging World kicks off in Sydney on Friday with some vendors showcasing their latest digital camera wares, while others will not be showing at all.

All up, the floor space will be taken by 124 exhibitors. However, two notable omissions this year will be German photographic film maker AGFA, which went bankrupt last year and Konica Minolta.

While these two big names make way, taking a stand for the first time will be Nokia. It will showcase new 3Mp camera phones among other products.

On the camcorder front, Hitachi will showcase its sixth generation of DVD camcorders. New models include the 3.3Mp DZ-GX3300E, 2.1Mp DZ-GX3200E, 1.3Mp DZ-GX3100E and 0.8Mp DZ-BX37E.

All the Hitachi cameras support multi formats -- DVD RAM, -R, -RW and +RW; have a one second record start; true 16:9 definition; and Photo Capture Mode. The capture mode allows the user to pause any part of recorded image and capture that to an SD card for it to be digitally enhanced or printed.

Hitachi's camcorder specialist Evan Manolis said a road show for retailers would begin on May 15.

On the digital camera front, Ricoh's 6Mp Caplio R4 camera will be released at the show for general distribution. The 26mm wide camera is equipped with a 7.1x (28 - 200mm equivalent) optical zoom lens. On the back it has a bright 2.5in screen with 153,000 pixels. It sells for $599.

Ricoh also distributes Vivitar cameras and will be showing its 8.1Mp Vivicam 8600s model. The 6x optical lens equips the camera with a zoom of 37mm to 222mm. It takes approximately 150 photos on one charge of its Lithium Ion battery.

Panasonic's Lumix DMC TZ1, which sells for $659, will be released at the show. Launched earlier in the year, Panasonic says the camera is the smallest available to offer a 10X optical zoom. The compact camera packs a 6Mp image sensor, although the highest quality image available to users is 5Mp because the camera doesn't use the entire sensor to capture images. This would have increased the distance between the lens and sensor and made the camera larger, says Panasonic.

The "world traveler" camera is being promoted as perfect for holidays and its software offers some help on keeping holiday snaps in order.

A non working sample of Panasonic's first D-SLR, the Lumix DMC-L1 will also be on show. The newcomer is a 7.5Mp number with a 2.5in live view LCD. It's equipped with a Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 lens.

Meanwhile Sony will present the latest addition to the T series family. The new Cybershot DSCT30 is fitted with a 7.2 Mp sensor, 3x optical zoom and 3in screen It saves to MemoryStick, and also to its 58MB of internal memory. Retailing for $799, it will be available in June.

Samsung will sport its Digimax i6, a 6Mp camera, with a 3x optical zoom and a 2.5in LCD screen. The 'camera' is also an MP3 player and PMP, allowing users to play movies in MPEG 4 format. It runs on a Lithium Ion battery and sells for $549.

Phgoto Imaging World, running at the Sydney Exhibition Centre, is open to trade tomorrow and the general public over the weekend. More info can be found at http://www.photoimagingworld.com.au/.

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Howard Dahdah

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