Photokina 2008, the world's largest photographic and imaging tradeshow, officially kicked off yesterday, but there have been lots of new product announcements in the leadup. Here are some highlights of products being shown and announced at the show in Cologne, Germany.
The biggest pre-show blast came from Canon on September 17. Though the rest of the product announcements were overshadowed by the long-awaited release of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon also announced upgrades to five other cameras, including:
Canon PowerShot G10 This is an update to the extremely popular G9. The G9 has been the compact shooter of choice among many pro photographers (including my husband) and, happily for their wallets, the G10 isn't really a must-have update. Resolution has been bumped up from 12 to 14.7 megapixels, but probably the most significant spec change is the switch from a 6x zoom lens (35- to 210mm equivalent, f/2.8-4.8) to a wider but shorter 5x zoom lens (28- to 140mm equivalent, f/2.8-4.5). Canon also updated the processor to its new Digic 4 and switched to a higher-resolution (but still 3-inch) LCD. The G10 will ship for $499.99 in October.
Canon PowerShot SD880 IS This is an update to my favorite Canon point-and-shoot, the SD870 IS. In fact, I'd just recommended the 870 to my cousin-in-law, but was able to stop her before she pulled the trigger when I heard of the SD880's impending release. I wouldn't have recommended the upgrade just for the bump in resolution from 8.3 to 10.3 megapixels. In fact, since one of Rachel's big concerns is shutter lag, I might have recommended that she stick with a lower-resolution camera. But since the 880 sports the new Digic 4 processor (plus a slightly bigger sensor), there should be at least a slight performance increase. I also like that Canon stuck to a nice wide-angle lens, but increased focal length from 28- to 105mm to 28- to 112mm equivalent. Also slated for October release, the 880 will ship for $349.99.
Canon PowerShot SD990 IS This is an update to the SD950 IS, which bumps resolution up to a crazy 15 megapixels. I thought 12.4 in the SD950 was already overkill, to be honest, though both cameras do have bigger sensors than you typically find in such tiny cameras. The other big change is a sleek and curvy new design, which will come in a limited-edition red version to commemorate the 100 millionth PowerShot camera manufactured (available only Canon's online store www.canonestore.com). Also shipping in October for $399.99
Canon also announced two new megazooms, the PowerShot SX10 IS (10 megapixels and a whopping 20x 28- to 560mm equivalent, f/2.8-5.7 lens) and the PowerShot SX1 IS, a similar camera but the first PowerShot with a CMOS sensor that is being released to European and Asian markets, but not in the U.S.
Pentax K2000 This new entry-level SLR from Pentax targets folks that are upgrading from a point-and-shoot camera. Rather than trying to compete feature-for-feature with similarly priced favorites like the Canon Rebel XS or Nikon D60--or adding features or upping the specs of its existing entry-level offering (the Pentax K200D)--Pentax focused on making the new model easier to shoot with. In addition to a new lightweight and compact design, the K2000 sports simplified menus and user interface, with Auto Picture modes and a dedicated help button. Additionally, instead of dropping the price lower than its competitors, Pentax opted to include everything a dSLR newbie needs in the kit: The $699.95 bundle will include the camera, an 18- to 55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens from the company's new DA L series of budget lenses, as well as a Pentax AF200FG flash unit. The kit is expected to ship in November.
Sigma DP2 Following up on Sigma's much-ballyhooed DP1 (the first compact camera to use a full SLR-sized sensor), the DP2 is essentially the same camera (with the same 14-megapixel Foveon X3 sensor that's used in the DP1 as well as Sigma's SD14 dSLR) but with a different lens and Sigma's new image processor. Rather than the DP1's 28mm equivalent, f/4.0 lens the DP2 sports a 41mm equivalent, f/2.8 lens. Pricing and availability not yet released.