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PhotoPlus Expo Report

A sampling of new products introduced at PhotoPlus.

Big Picture

PhotoPlus Expo Report

More than 22,000 professional photographers and creatives attended the 2004 PhotoPlus Expo in NY Oct. 21-23. With more than 230 exhibitors offering the latest in digital camera equipment, scanners, imaging software, lighting equipment, and more, visitors learned about all of the new products and technology.

In addition, there were numerous educational opportunities "?from the 100+ seminars (from workflow and color management to techniques and opportunities) to the Digital Learning Center (with a focus on digital workflow and the business of photography). Here is a sampling of the new products introduced to the US market at PhotoPlus:

Nikon's 12.4-Mpxl D2X Professional Digital Camera

Nikon's latest digital SLR camera is the 12.4-Mpxl D2X, which offers a 23.7 x 15.7 mm CMOS sensor, and a maximum resolution of 4288 x 2848 dpi.

The D2X offers users two options on shooting, depending on the image size and speed required for the job. At full 12.4-Mpxl resolution, the D2X shoots 5 frames/sec (up to 21 consecutive), or users can choose to shoot 6.8-Mpxl 'high-speed cropped' images (up to 3216 x 2136 dpi) at the rate of 8 frames/sec (up to 35 consecutive images). The high-speed-cropped option decreases the number of pixels used to record the image on the sensor.

The wireless Nikon Creative Lighting System allows photographers the portability of setting up creative lighting schemes anywhere they can carry a set of compact speedlights. The D2X also features a 2.5-in. LCD monitor, and the new DX Format CMOS sensor is optimized for use with the full line of Nikkor lenses. The Next Generation Color Reproduction Engine offers finer gradations and smoother color transitions for color accuracy over a wider exposure range.

Images are stored onto CompactFlash cards and Microdrives. And the optional WT-2A Wi-Fi transmitter allows full wireless remote camera control and data transmission; the D2X also offers USB or FTP transfer. The magnesium-alloy body is built to stand up to professional use and is sealed to protect against water and dust.

The D2X is scheduled to be available in January 2005. The price has yet to be set. (Nikon: www.nikondigitalusa.com)

Epson R-D1 Rangefinder Digital Camera

Epson's new R-D1 camera combines a classic feel and look of a traditional Rangefinder camera with the latest digital technology. The 6.1-Mpxl camera sports an aluminum die-cast body, a magnesium alloy exterior, and L/M-mount lenses (with more than 200 lenses available).

The 23.7 x 15.6-mm CCD allows for resolutions up to 3008 x 2000 pxl that will produce output up to 16 x 20 in. The RD1 supports RAW (3008 x 2000 pxl) and two JPEG modes (normal, 2240 x 1488 pxl; and high, 3008 x 2000 pxl); both JPEG modes incorporate Epson's PRINT Image Matching II technology.

Aimed at photojournalists, the R-D1 has modified the Rangefinder 's film knobs and buttons, using them in a digital way: the film rewind knob allows photographers to scroll through images on the LCD and the film advance lever recocks the mechanical shutter after a digital image has been taken.

The R-D1 features a 1.x viewfinder, a 2- in. color LCD, and a Secure Digital memory card (up to 1 GB). It also includes an Epson RAW Plug-in, Epson RAW, and a tutorial DVD.

The street price is $2999, which includes a 1-year warranty. (Epson: www.epson.com)

Cambo Wide DS-350 4x5 Camera

Designed for architectural and landscape digital photographers who demand high-res images, the Cambo Wide DS-350 4x5 camera from Calumet offers a wide-angle digital solution that is portable and can be used untethered with a digital back. It provides the equivalent focal length of a 65mm lens on a 4x5 format or a 24mm lens on a 35mm format.

The Wide DS system offers a "double shift"?rise-and-fall and lateral"?for combined vertical (front) and horizontal (rear) movements for perspective control. The DS-350 also features: a new Schneider Digitar 5.6/35mm lens; a rotating back, allow- ing for a switch from horizontal to vertical formats; an optical viewfinder with a 120"? viewing angle; and an aluminum-alloy body. The DS-350 accepts digital backs such as Leaf, PhaseOne, Imacon, Eyelike, or Sinar with mounts for the Hasselblad V series, Hasselblad H1, Mimiya 645AFD, or Contax 645-compatible backs.

The retail price of the Cambo Wide DS 350 is $4999 or $5499, depending on mount. (Calumut Professional Imaging: www.calumetphoto.com)

DxO Labs Unveils DxO RAW Engine and DxO Optics Pro 2

DxO Optics Pro 2 is a software application that automatically improves the quality of images produced by digital SLR cameras, correcting distortions, vignetting, and image softness (blur). DxO RAW Engine is an optional module that works seamlessly with DxO Optics Pro to perform RAW image conversion and enabling Optics Pro's image-enhancement features to be applied on RAW files in full 16-bit mode. DxO Optics Pro 2 is fully batchable and automatically adjusts for shooting parameters (focal length, aperture, ISA, focus distance, etc.). The new features in version 2 include user-controllable correction (0 to 100%) for distortion and vignetting, adjustable sharpening, and reduced image cropping when correcting distortion. The program also offers interfaces and documentation in five languages, and is compatible with Windows and Mac platforms. Supported cameras include Canon EOS models, and several Nikon, Sony, and Konica-Minolta digital cameras. Price: DxO Optics Pro: $59-$119 depending on camera model; DxO RAW Engine: $119. (DxO Labs: www.dxo.com)

Creo Announces Leaf Aptus Camera Back

The Leaf Aptus is the latest in portable digital camera backs from Creo. The new 22- or 17-Mpxl backs offer many new features, including: a full-frame CCD dual sensor readout for a capture speed of 1.2 sec/frame, 50 frames/min (both tethered and untethered); 16-bit color; and resolutions up to 4056 x 5356 (Aptus 22), and 3576 x 4716 (Aptus 17).

Creo claims this is the first camera back with a touch screen and graphic user interface, making it easier to operate and set up custom jobs. With it, files can be prenamed, job folders created, and files flagged/edited on location for a faster workflow.

The Leaf Aptus also integrates a new compressed RAW HDR (CHDR) file format. This format decreases the size of RAW HDR files with lossless compression that retains 100% of the original data. This speeds up shooting, doubles effective storage, and makes archiving and file transmission twice as efficient, reports Creo. For example, file size for the Leaf HDR is 126 M, Leaf RAW HDR is 42 M, and compressed cHDR is 21 M (lossless) or 11 M (nearly lossless).

In addition, the Aptus also features a 6 x 7-cm LCD for image evaluation, focus confirmation, and editing; an integrated compact flash with power for more than 1000 frames; a 20-GB Leaf Digital Magazine with storage space for up to 2000 frames; and Bluetooth wireless display technology to preview shots away from the camera using the Leaf DP-67 portable display.

The Leaf Aptus supports the Hasselblad H1 and V series; Mimaki 645AFD, RZ67, and RB67; Contax 645AFD; Fuji GX680; Bronica SQA/ETRS; and view cameras from Sinar, Toyo, Cambo, Linhof, Horseman, and Rollei X-Act.

Commercial shipping begins in February 2005; price TBA. (Creo: www.creo.com/leaf)

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