DIGITAL EXPERIENCE MEDIA EVENT
Pepcom: Anything You WantBy MIKE PASINI
The Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Pepcom's Digital Experience media event at Caesars Palace Sunday night promised attendees "a technology treasure chest." And they weren't disappointed. A large number of firms, not all of them exhibiting at this week's Consumer Electronics Show, filled the Event Center with everything from thumb drives to plasma TVs. We walked the plank and survived to tell the tale.
We've posted a slide show of the evening (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/CES07mrp/pepcom/index.htm) but here are a few highlights to go with it:
We were delighted to learn that Lensbabies 3.0 (http://www.lensbabies.com) is shipping. Chief Operating Officer Mike Kallas brought us up to date on this fun little accessory. After showing the prototype at photokina in October, the company went back to the drawing board, adding a little texture to the front bezel, changing to stainless steel rods to prevent wear and changing the touch on the barrel mechanism. We gave the new version a spin and really liked the control this selective focus lens now offers.
No less pleased were we to get our hands on the Pentax K10 (http://www.pentax.com) for a few minutes. John Carlson said Pentax's compact dSLR is designed for people who want to make enlargements. What makes it special? Body-based image stabilization that delivers 2.5-4 stops more exposure, all weather seals and a couple of interesting shooting modes. SV mode is a sensitivity priority option in which the camera changes the ISO (and enables noise reduction at higher ISOs). TAv mode acts like a Program mode for SV mode, restricting that change within an ISO range. John pointed out that while the camera body is sealed, the lenses aren't -- but the company is introduct a 17-50mm and 50-135mm all weather lens in a couple of months. Finally, you can opt to save Raw images in Adobe DNG format. With an 18-55mm kit lens, the SD-card based K10 is $999.
Kodak (http://www.kodak.com) showed off its new line of color coordinated digicams at very attractive prices (beads not included). The company is also introducing a line of LCD photo frames, which we'll report more on tomorrow.
HP's move (http://www.hp.com) into multimedia includes LCD and plasma HDTVs run by media center computers the use HP-developed software to grab content from the Web, networked hard drives, flash media popped into card readers and more. The key to the tower PC and the innovative HP TouchSmart standalone unit (with a touch screen and 20 watt speakers) is HP's Smart Center software running on Vista.
Fujifilm (http://www.fujifilm.com) showed us its new $299 F40, which will replace the F20 when it ships in March, with an 8.3-megapixel sensor, ISO 2000 (with two stages of post-processing noise reduction), face detection technology and digital image stabilization.
We had an interesting chat with Christian Erhardt at the Leica booth (http://www.leica.com) after a Leica fan complained to him about the touch on the Leica M8 shutter. Christian told us that it's actually adjustable. Set by the women at the factory, it can be factory adjusted if the owner isn't happy with it.
We picked up another interesting tidbit at the Phanfare booth (http://www.phanfare.com) where Andrew Erlichson was holding court. He brought his Canon SD800 IS with him and complained that he found a bug in Movie mode. It writes AVI movies with a corrupt index at the end of the file, so the movie is unplayable on Macs. He was bummed about it until he wrote a routine for Phanfare to recode the AVIs, rewriting the index and correcting the file.
Several companies showed some interesting new thumb drives, Kingston (http://www.kingston.com), Lexar (http://www.lexar.com) and SanDisk (http://www.sandisk.com) among them. They all included ingenious but different ways of closing the connector without requiring a cap (no more lost caps!), huge capacities and impressive prices. The Kensington model slides into its cover and can be had for as little as $30 with 1-GB RAM.
SanDisk also showed us a 30-GB solid state replacement for laptop hard drives, although we think that's a little cramped for today's software. At the moment, you can't install two, so you won't see more than 30-GB.
That's it for now, but we'll make our first visit to the Consumer Electronics Show Monday and report back at the end of the day. Stay tuned!