New Cameras Go Retro at PMA 2010

At times, wandering through the PMA 2010 photography show in Anaheim felt like stepping into a time machine. A lot of the new imaging technology has a decidedly retro slant. Take a look.

PMA 2010 at the Anaheim Convention Center

Plenty of new imaging technology was on display at the PMA 2010 photography show (which ran from February 21 through 23) in Anaheim--and a lot of it had a retro slant. Film is still going strong, camera designs are throwbacks to the old days, and instant cameras are making a comeback. Here's a look back at the future.

Camera Body Design Goes Retro

The field of cameras that falls somewhere between inexpensive point-and-shoots and pricy DSLRs is growing. One way that manufacturers are setting these new cameras apart is by giving them stylish and classy designs inspired by older film cameras. The design of Olympus’s Micro Four-Thirds line of cameras, for example, is based on the original PEN cameras that came out in 1959. Other cameras are following suit,--such as the sleek, two-tone Pentax Optio H90 ($180) with its decidedly '70s vibe.

Pentax Optio I-10 Meets Its Maker

Pentax showcased its retro-fashionable Optio I-10, announced a few weeks ago, next to the camera's design inspiration: the tiny Pentax Auto 110 from the late 1970s. The Pentax Auto 110 accepted Kodak 110 film cartridges and offered a handful of small interchangeable lenses (the lens on the Pentax Auto 110 in this picture is a 24mm prime lens). Its offspring--the all-digital, 12-megapixel Optio I-10--has a fixed 5X optical zoom lens and is available in white or black for $300.

Fujifilm Instax Mini Offers Instant Prints

Last year, we looked at Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 7, a uniquely designed film camera that brought us back to the good old days of Polaroid instant cameras. Since then, Polaroid has revived its instant camera line, and Fujifilm has released a few more instant film cameras of its own. This is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 25, which prints photos in a minute using the company’s credit-card-size Instax Mini film. The Instax Mini 25 also offers two shutter buttons (one for vertical shots, and the other for horizontal shots), shutter-speed adjustments, a self-timer, a flash, and a monochrome LCD that shows you how many shots remain in your film cartridge.

Fujifilm Instax 210: Bigger Prints, Bigger Size

If credit-card-size instant prints aren’t big enough for you, you can upgrade to the bigger, badder Fujifilm Instax 210, which instantly prints photos on wider-format 3.9-inch-by-2.4-inch film and runs on four AA batteries.

Samsung TL350’s Battery and Memory Gauges

Like some previous Samsung point-and-shoot cameras, the high-speed Samsung TL350 has fuel-gauge-inspired battery and memory indicators that give the camera a bit of extra cool-factor. If you’re fond of anachronistic juxtaposition, direct your attention to the futuristic AMOLED screen right around the corner from the gauges. Lets You Custom-Frame Your Photo

Who needs digital photo frames? If you have trouble matching a photo to the perfect analog frame--or even printing out your digital photo at all--you may want to look into an online service called The site lets you design your own photo frame from scratch (or use the site’s preset frame templates), upload a digital photo, and have the service send you the printed-out picture in a frame of your own design. Prices vary depending on the size of the print and the amount of customization you want.

Fujifilm GF670 Medium Format Folding Camera

Polaroid instant cameras are new-fangled compared to this camera: Fujifilm’s new (yes, new) GF670 Medium Format Folding Camera. This dual-format camera is built for professional studio and landscape photographers, shooting to 120 or 220 film and creating either 6cm-by-6cm or 6cm-by-7cm exposures. The dial on the top right of the camera controls shutter and ISO settings; the dial on the top left rolls the film.

Minox DCC Minature Replica

German camera company Minox is reincarnating classic film cameras as miniature digital cameras. Its latest product is the 3-inch-high Minox DCC (left), a faithful re-creation of the 1954 Leica M3 camera, shrunk down to a third of that model's size and made digital.

The 5.1-megapixel camera is more than a pretty shell. It sports a 2-inch LCD display, can shoot video, and has a handful of quasi-contemporaneous accessories, including a mini-bulb-style flash and a leather camera case. Minox previously released a 3-megapixel Rolleiflex replica (right), complete with a top viewfinder. The DCC costs $250 and is also available in a you-can't-afford-it gold-plated design.

Minox Brings Back Intrigue With the DSC Spy Camera

For a camera that's supposed to be designed for surreptitious use, the DSC Spy Camera from Minox is certainly eye-catching. The DSC is a digital take on Minox's classic film camera, which was used by spies as far back as the 1940s. The 5-megapixel, $200 camera is 3.4 inches long and 1.2 inches high, shoots still images as well as video clips, and comes with a detachable external flash that doubles as an LCD display for previewing your images. Minox is creating an entire line of spy-inspired gear, including a pen, sunglasses, and a belt equipped with hidden cameras.

VistaQuest Disposable Digital Camera

The Digital-On-The-Go camera from VistaQuest is a single-use disposable digital camera. It has the same size and design as its disposable film predecessors, and provides a perfect blank canvas for custom labeling. The Digital-On-The-Go can hold 40 pictures and allows users to delete the most recent image they shot. Starting at $7.99, this disposable camera is available with or without an LCD display, and it comes bundled with a proprietary USB cord for uploading images. The company hopes to have the final product in stores by September 2010.

Kodak Keeps the Faith With New Ektar Film

Kodak made its big camera announcements at CES, but it still had a few smaller releases at the show, including new camera film. Kodak announced new 4-by-5-inch and 8-by-10-inch versions of its Professional Ektar 100 fine-grain, color negative film.

The film market has remained steady for the past few years, buoyed by resurgent use of film by professional photographers who are rediscovering its personality and challenges. They can set themselves apart by shooting on film, which alters the photographic process (fewer shots mean more thought and planning go into each photo) and the final product (real film grain and unpredictable colors).

TruView Digital Photo Album Hopes Bigger Is Better

Attempting to recapture the charm of analog can be tricky. TruView's digital photo albums look just like the large photo albums you have stacked on your shelves now--thick and heavy with a traditional book-style design. Inside each digital album is an 8-inch LCD screen that displays images from a memory card. Each album also has a built-in storage area for all of your memory cards, which is handy because you can't upload images from the cards to the book. The TruView album is for people who miss the weight and girth of traditional family albums and long to enjoy their digital photographs the old-fashioned way.

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