New Cameras Come Alive at PhotoPlus Expo

Craving a new camera for the holiday season? The hottest new cameras, camcorders, and accessories of the year were all on display at the 2010 PDN PhotoPlus Expo in New York.

A Big Building Full of Cameras

The 2010 PDE PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo, which took place October 28-30 at the Javits Center in New York, gave attendees a close look at exciting new cameras, camcorders, and accessories available now and in the upcoming months. Read on to see some of the more attention-grabbing products from this year's show.

Olympus Camera Shrouded in Mystery

One sneak peek offered at the show featured this concept Olympus point-and-shoot, which doesn't even have a name yet. Slated to be Olympus's flagship compact camera, it's the first Olympus fixed-lens camera to offer a Zuiko lens. The company hasn't finalized the camera's specs just yet, but it will have a fast wide-aperture lens, a pop-up flash, and an accessory port that's bound to accept the same EVF and add-ons as Olympus's PEN series of Micro Four-Thirds cameras. The premium compact camera is destined to compete against performance-oriented compact models such as the Canon PowerShot S95 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5.

A Moveable Beast From Nikon

Speaking of pocketable power, Nikon's manual-oriented Coolpix P7000 was on display at the show. Its control layout offers an incredible amount of granular fine-tuning and fast access to image controls, for a non-DSLR. Three mode dials on the top let shooters adjust exposure compensation, bracketing modes, ISO settings, and custom settings without diving into the on-screen menus. The camera has a 10-megapixel CCD sensor, a 7.1X wide-angle zoom lens (28mm to 200mm, f/2.8 to f/8.0), and a hot shoe for external flashes and microphones. It's available now for $500.

Pentax 645D Medium-Format Camera

If you think Nikon's P7000 sounds powerful, wait until you get a load of this monster. The Pentax 645D is a medium-format camera, offering a 44mm-by-33mm, 40-megapixel sensor that's about 1.5 times the size of a full-frame DSLR sensor. It also uses a different lens mount and system than Pentax's DSLR cameras do. This supersize camera has a weather-sealed body made out of magnesium alloy, and it sports dual SD/SDHC card slots to store massive, 7264-by-5440-pixel images. For JPEGs, that translates to a file size of about 25MB per image. Yikes.

Pentax 645D Side View

Here's a side view of the Pentax 645D--the "D" may very well stand for "deep." Also note the secondary tripod mount on the side of the camera, designed for vertical shots. Why would you need a camera this big and mighty? See the next slide for the answer.

Really Big Camera for Really Big Pictures

The Pentax 645D shoots absolutely stunning poster-size images. This huge sample shot displayed at the Pentax booth exhibited amazing sharpness, color, and detail. The Pentax 645D doesn't shoot video; although an internal heat sink keeps the huge CCD sensor cool, the sensor wouldn't be able to handle the type of heat that video shooting generates for an extended period of time. Want a 645D? It'll cost you $10,000--and you'll need to fork over another $1200 for its only lens option, a prime 55mm f/2.8.

Small, Customizable Cameras From Pentax

Clear on the other side of the spectrum from the 645D is Pentax's pocketable Optio RS1000, which allows you to customize its looks with detachable faceplates. A few faceplate skins are included with the camera, and it comes with a gift card that lets you design your own faceplate via SkinIt and then have it delivered to you. SkinIt also sells the sports-themed faceplates that you see in the picture here. The 14-megapixel RS1000 is on sale now for $150, and additional custom skins are available via SkinIt's site for about $15 apiece.

Leica's High-End Point-and-Shoots

When you look at the specs, Leica's compact D-Lux 5 (right) and GPS-enabled V-Lux 20 (left) are identical to Panasonic's Lumix LX5 and Lumix ZS7, respectively. That's a great foundation, as those two Lumix models are among the best cameras released in 2010. A few notable differences distinguish these Leica cameras from their Panasonic-branded cousins, however. Leica has revamped the cameras' menu systems to allow faster access to key in-camera settings, and both cameras come with high-end imaging software in the box: The Leica D-Lux 5 is bundled with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to help handle RAW image processing, and the V-Lux 20 comes with Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. Leica is also touting the cameras' two-year service warranty as a notable value booster. Both cameras are available now; the Leica D-Lux 5 is priced at $800, while the V-Lux 20 sells for $700.

Sony's Translucent Mirror

Sony's interchangeable-lens Alpha A55 is one of the more innovative cameras of the year, thanks to a translucent mirror that passes light to both the camera's imaging sensor and focusing sensor while the camera is still shooting. As such, the autofocus system continues to focus while the camera is in its 10-frames-per-second continuous shooting mode, making the A55 an excellent camera for fast-action shooting. As you can see, the mirror is truly translucent: You can view the objects behind it in the display case.

Sony Handycam NEX-VG10

Also on display was Sony's interchangeable-lens Handycam NEX-VG10, which landed on our Top 100 Products of the Year list along with Sony's Alpha NEX-5 interchangeable-lens camera. Using the same E-mount lenses and Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor as Sony's NEX still cameras, the VG10 is a versatile high-end camcorder that shoots 14-megapixel stills in addition to 1920-by-1080 AVCHD video at 60 interlaced fields per second. It's available now for $2000 with a 27mm-to-300mm kit lens.

Redrock Rig With an Olympus PEN Camera

DSLRs shoot amazing video, but they can be awkward to hold when you use them as video cameras. If you're looking to adapt your existing DSLR or interchangeable-lens camera for more-comfortable moviemaking, you can find some interesting specialized rigs. Redrock Micro, a company at the forefront of the DSLR accessories game, has a shoulder-mount rig that gives a DSLR or interchangeable-lens compact camera (such as the Olympus PEN E-PL1 pictured here) much more stability while shooting video. The Redrock Nano RunningMan rig shown here goes for $480, and the Redrock lineup also includes far more complex rigs...

Redrock Rig for 3D Video

...such as this rig, which can hold two cameras side-by-side for shooting 3D video footage. In this picture, it's carrying two of Canon's professional XF105 camcorders. The XF105 doesn't shoot 3D video by itself, but it can work in tandem with another unit--as well as some clever synchronized manual controls--to shoot footage that a video-editing program can convert into 3D.

A Head-On Look at the 3D Rig

Here's what the dual-camcorder 3D rig looks like from the front. Feels like Wall-E is staring at you.

Oh, the Irony

Wait, what? Here's one of the more interesting signs spotted at the show. No cameras, photography, or recording devices at an event dedicated to cameras, photography, and recording devices? To be fair, registration-only seminars were going on in the area surrounding the sign.

2010 PDN Photo Plus Expo

Well, seeing as using a camera is a no-no, I guess I'll have to put my camera away and cut this slideshow short. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for full reviews of some of the cameras and camcorders highlighted in this slideshow, as soon as we can get our hands on them.

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