Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Post-PMA 2008: What Did We Learn?

Well, Well, on January 23 Pentax was first out of the gate with their pre-PMA announcement of two new d-slr models. Pentax's announced K10D update, the K20D,will be a 14.6 MP APS-C sensored d-slr with body-integral anti shake and a price point aimed squarely at the Sony Alpha 700 and Canon 40D. I like the idea of a compact 200mm f/2.8 D* Pentax lens,also announced. Samsung will be making the sensor,and will have its own clone-like version of the K20D,but sold under the Samsung brand.

We also learned Nikon was rushing to iterate the D40x by calling its revision the D60, whose main claim to fame seems to be a new two-part anti-dust and self-cleaning sensor strategy that I think is an important selling point among a lot of consumers. Self-cleaning ovens were good,and sold millions of unneeded new ovens. Cameras with self-cleaning sesnors are what buyers of low-end bodies probably want. It's a feature battleground out there,and sometimes features simply must be added,and the D60 is a feature-update iteration of the D40x in my opinion.

But the BIGGEST thing we learned is that Sony has developed a new full-frame d-slr image sensor,packing oh, almost 25 megapixels worth of imaging capabilities. Oh,and how slow is it you ask? Well, Sony claims a respectable all-channel pixel write speed of 6.3 frames per second. Wow. That's pretty good,spec-wise. Sony says they plan to have this in production before the end of the year. As you will recall LAST year, in early 2007, Sony showed a mockup camera with a positively HUGE pentaprism,and this year too the large-prismed mockup was around. I smell a Sony A900 in the works sometime in the summer of 2008. Full-frame. Solid. Well-engineered. And capable of good image-making,especially when one considers the select top-quality lenses found in the Zeiss portion of the Sony lens system.

We saw no Canon 5D replacement announced. Nikon did not announce a full-frame,high megapixel companion to the 12 megapixel ISO champ, the D3, but many speculate that the Sony 24 MP chip will make its way into the Nikon D3x later this year. 2008 is an Olmpic year,and Nikon has used the Olympics as a tie-in with the introduction of numerous pieces of their cutting edge technology, going back to my favorite 400mm f/3.5 ED-IF, which was premiered at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
A high-MP D3x body at this year's Olympics would make for a lot of nice buzz for Nikon.

We learned too that the hot-selling D40 and D40x cameras have gotten Sigma and Tamron into high gear,with both lens makers scrambling to retrofit ultrasonic motors to several very popular,wide-ratio consumer zoom lenses. Sales of D40 and D40x bodies are VERY,very high worldwide,due to the great little camera at the low,low price,and the packaging with an 18-55 kit lens.

No comments: