PMA

Samsung Announces TL500

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Here at PMA in Anaheim, Samsung has just announced the new TL500—a 10MP “high end” compact camera that looks to be edging into the “prosumer” compact market, in which the Canon G-series and Nikon P6000 have found their homes. Samsung is calling the TL500 their new flagship compact digital camera, and “a milestone in the industry.” It has a 24mm ultra‑wide angle Schneider KREUZNACH, f/1.8 lens, a 1/1.7-inch CCD sensor, a DRIMeIII imaging processor and a 3-inch, swiveling AMOLED screen. The TL500 supports RAW and offers Aperture and Shutter-Priority, and Manual shooting modes. It shoots video as well (640×480 at 30fps in H.264 format)—same as in the recently reviewed Samsung DualView TL225. The TL500 will be available in Spring 2010 for $449.99. See the press release below.

TL500_Back_Side

From Samsung:

Anaheim, CA (February 20, 2010) - Samsung Electronics America, Inc., a market leader and award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, proudly introduces the 10 mega-pixel TL500, a high-end compact digital camera designed specifically for today’s advanced and enthusiast photographers. The new flagship of the company’s compact digital camera family, the new TL500 incorporates a full-range of advanced features, including a high-performance imaging sensor and one of the brightest lenses ever featured on a compact camera – a 24mm ultra‑wide angle Schneider KREUZNACH, f/1.8. The TL500 will be on display during PMA 2010, February 21‑23, in the Samsung booth, #2227, in the Anaheim Convention Center.

“With the TL500, Samsung further differentiates its lineup from the competition and achieves yet another milestone in the industry,” said Mr. SJ Park, CEO of Samsung Digital Imaging Company. “With ultra-wide angle capability and unparalleled speed, the TL500’s lens offers a new level of versatility allowing the user to be more creative and take better pictures.”

High-Quality Optics and Images

The Samsung TL500 is sure to turn heads thanks to its ultra-wide, f/1.8 Schneider lens – one of the brightest ever featured on a compact digital camera. The impressive f/1.8 lens offers photographers a wider range of aperture steps and shallow depth-of-field, giving them the ability to blur out the background of their images while maintaining focus on their subjects. The ultra-fast, f/1.8 lens also allows users to take better photos in low-light environments as more light is passed through to the new high-performance 1/1.7” CCD sensor. Larger than the sensors typically found in compact digital cameras, the TL500’s 1/1.7” CCD offers unrivaled sensitivity (max ISO 3200/full-resolution). Together with Samsung’s re‑engineered and fast, DRIMeIII imaging processor, the TL500 captures high-quality images, regardless of the lighting environment.

The high-end Schneider lens offers a 24mm, ultra-wide focal length and 3x optical zoom. Much wider than traditional compact cameras, the TL500’s 24mm ultra-wide angle lens allows photographers to capture more of a desired scene, such as beautiful landscapes and large groups of friends or family. For blur‑free images, the TL500’s lens is also paired with Samsung’s Dual Image Stabilization technology.

Versatile Display Enhances the Viewing Experience

Composing and reviewing images on the TL500’s three-inch, swiveling AMOLED screen is a pleasure. The rotating AMOLED display will allow photographers to precisely frame their images the way they want and shoot from just about any angle, including overhead or low‑to‑the-ground shots.  Compared to the traditional TFT-LCD found on most digital cameras, the TL500’s AMOLED provides users with a higher contrast ratio, deeper blacks and more accurate, vivid colors, even when viewed from an angle or in direct sunlight. The TL500’s AMOLED display is also more efficient when it comes to power consumption, allowing photographers to maximize battery life and shoot longer on a single charge.

Multiple Shooting Options

The TL500 supports RAW and gives enthusiasts full control over their images thanks to its shutter‑priority, aperture‑priority and full Manual shooting modes. When using these settings, shooters can experiment with features such as slower shutter speeds and depth‑of‑field; however, for those who prefer ease-of-use over manual controls, the TL500 also offers Samsung’s Smart Auto 2.0 (Still & Movie) scene recognition technology. Applicable for video recording (640×480 / 30fps / H.264) and taking digital stills, this intelligent feature analyzes the scene and then automatically selects the appropriate settings for the best results possible. Using this mode requires minimal effort and does not sacrifice image quality for simple operation.

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Samsung Announces TL350

TL350_Front_Angle

Here at PMA in Anaheim, Samsung has just announced the TL350 compact camera. Compared to the simultaneously announced TL500 flagship “prosumer” camera, the TL350 boasts a 10MP CMOS image sensor and shoots full 1080p HD video.  Like the TL500, though, it also supports RAW, offers Manual control and has a 24mm ultra‑wide angle Schneider KREUZNACH lens. The TL350 will be available in Spring 2010 for $349.99. See the press release below.

TL350_Back_Side

From Samsung:

Anaheim, CA (February 20, 2010) – Samsung Electronics America, Inc., a market leader and award‑winning innovator in consumer electronics, today unveiled the TL350 – a high-speed, 10 mega‑pixel compact camera with 1080P, full-HD video recording. With a maximum video recording speed of 1,000 frames-per-second (fps) and a burst mode capable of capturing 10 full-size digital stills per second, the TL350 takes high-speed imaging to a new level for today’s consumer. Additionally, the TL350 enhances the digital imaging experience with Samsung’s Advanced Panorama Shot with Object Tracking as well as an innovative Dual Capture mode, which allows users to simultaneously take 10 mega-pixel still images while recording full-HD videos. The TL350 will be on display during PMA 2010, February 21-23, in the Samsung booth, #2227, in the Anaheim Convention Center.

“The TL350 is representative of Samsung’s strategy to lead the digital imaging industry through product innovation,” said Mr. SJ Park, CEO of Samsung Digital Imaging Company. “Consumers have expressed frustration with having to choose between shooting video or taking digital stills with their camera. With the TL350, Samsung has addressed this unmet consumer need, and now gives consumers the ability to do both simultaneously.”

High-Speed Digital Stills and Video

The TL350 allows users to capture high-quality images no matter how fast the action may be. Its advanced CMOS sensor and re-engineered DRIMeIII processor yield impressive low‑light performance and most notably, speed, giving users the ability to capture up to 10 pictures-per-second (pps) at the resolution of 10 mega-pixels. Additionally, the TL350 features a 1,000 fps (138×78), high-speed video recording mode which today’s creative consumer can use to reveal details of a fast moving event in super‑slow motion. Whether it’s used to capture an everyday moment in an astonishing new light or to analyze a golf swing, the capabilities of the TL350’s super-slow motion playback are endless.

Impressive Optics and Display

In addition to its impressive speed, the TL350 also features a high-performance 24mm ultra‑wide angle Schneider KREUZNACH lens complete with a generous 5x optical zoom. Much wider than traditional compact cameras, the TL350’s 24mm ultra-wide angle lens allows photographers to capture more of a desired scene, such as large groups of friends or family, while the 5x optical zoom will allow them to get in close when shooting from a distance. Samsung’s Advanced Panorama shot with Object Tracking will further enhance the camera’s wide-angle capabilities, ideal for the better capture of scenes such as vast landscapes. For blur‑free images, the TL350’s lens is also paired with Samsung’s Dual Image Stabilization technology.

The TL350 is equipped with a three-inch AMOLED screen providing users with a higher contrast ratio, deeper blacks and more accurate, vivid colors, even when viewed from an angle or in direct sunlight. The AMOLED display is also more efficient when it comes to power consumption, allowing photographers to maximize battery life and shoot longer on a single charge.

Features for the Advanced and Novice Shooter

The TL350 will appeal to both novice and more experienced users thanks to the combination of Smart and Manual controls. The camera’s intuitive Smart Auto 2.0 (Still & Movie) scene recognition technology will take the guess work out of taking a perfect photo or video every time; however, for those users who want to have more control over image capture, the TL350 supports RAW and offers Manual control. When set to Manual, consumers can experiment with features such as slower shutter speeds, depth-of-field and even focus.

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Samsung Announces AQ100 and SL605

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Here at PMA in Anaheim, Samsung has just announced two new 12MP point-and-shoots—the 0.78-inch thick, waterproof (up to ten feet) AQ100 and the wide-angle zoom, durable SL605. Both cameras will be available in Spring 2010, the AQ100 for $199.99 and the SL605 for $129.99. Read the full press release below.

SL605_F_S_US

From Samsung:

Anaheim, CA (February 20, 2010) - Samsung Electronics America, Inc., a market leader and award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, today added two 12 mega-pixel point‑and‑shoots to its digital camera lineup for 2010 – the durable SL605 and the waterproof AQ100. Thanks to their elements‑focused design, the AQ100 and the SL605 grant peace of mind and allow users to focus on taking the perfect shot, rather than worrying about damage to the camera. The AQ100 and the SL605 will be on display during PMA 2010, February 21-23, in the Samsung booth, #2227, in the Anaheim Convention Center.

“Memories can happen at any given moment and in any environment,” said Mr. SJ Park, CEO of Samsung Digital Imaging Company. “Further diversifying and expanding the range of digital imaging solutions available from Samsung, consumers can rely on these durable compacts to perform in the most challenging of environments as they’re both built to last and feature packed for the highest-quality results.”

AQ100

Offering extraordinary capabilities, the slim (0.78” thick) AQ100 was developed for use in up to 10 feet of water and thanks to the camera’s exceptional low-light performance, it’s capable of taking bright images at that depth. Whether taking photos of friends and family in the pool or a school of fish while snorkeling in the ocean, users will benefit from the AQ100’s dedicated Aqua mode, which will optimize camera settings for the best possible underwater photos.

A powerful camera on land or in water, the AQ100 boasts an ample, 5x optical inner‑zoom lens complete with Digital Image Stabilization to help reduce blurry images. Additionally, the AQ100 features a bright, 2.7‑inch TFT-LCD screen for framing and reviewing images.

In addition to taking beautiful still images, consumers can also record impressive 720p HD video above or below the water. The AQ100 offers image stabilization while recording video and for complete simplicity, it has Smart Auto (Still & Movie) scene recognition technology which fine tunes both video and picture settings for the best possible results. All the users have to do is point and shoot.

SL605

The new SL605 was designed with durability in mind, and offers consumers Samsung’s Anti‑scratch Mask, which safeguards the camera from any unwanted scratches during everyday use. Furthermore, key areas of the Samsung SL605, including the bottom, buttons and areas surrounding the 2.7-inch TFT-LCD (230,000 pixel), are rubberized to further protect the camera from elements such as dust, dirt or sand.

Beyond its durability, users will also benefit from the Samsung SL605’s internal 27mm wide‑angle, 5x optical zoom lens, which gives them the ability to take sharp and detailed images from any distance. With a wide-angle lens at their fingertips, users will be able to capture more of a desired scene, such as landscapes or large groups of friends and family. The SL605 offers standard definition, VGA video recording and also features Samsung’s intuitive and easy-to-use Smart Auto scene recognition technology.

Samsung has also incorporated a Smart Night Mode in the new SL605, which will allow consumers to capture sharp, properly exposed images when shooting at night. Typically, a flash can be too bright and wash out one’s subject when used in low-light or night-time settings, ruining what could have been a great image. With Samsung’s new Smart Night Mode, this is no longer an issue as consumers can now increase or decrease the power of the flash to ensure the perfect shot, the way they want, each and every time.

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The Economy: PMA Edition

It’s not surprising that because of the economic downturn PMA was smaller this year than previous years in terms of both attendance and lack of big announcements. There were no new D-SLR unveils from Nikon or Canon, though there were new hybrid, mid-range, interchangeable lens and point-and-shoot cameras announced by many. By simply walking the show floor, or even riding the nearly empty PMA shuttle over to the Las Vegas Convention Center, one could easily sense the drop in attendees, and though that isn’t to say that the show was entirely without impressive news from major players in the field, it was telling of the times. All this got me to thinking about the effect of the economy on the photo industry at large. The past few months have brought news of catastrophic worldwide job cuts at CE (Consumer Electronics) giants Sony and Panasonic, as well as the complete collapse, without warning or recovery assistance to clients, of online archiving service Digital Railroad. At PMA I began nosing my way into chats with the various camera manufacturers to get a feel for where they stand on releasing new products and the vision for the company’s future as a result of the state of the economy. There is a lot of optimism in the world of camera companies, which is good to hear, though frankly, expected from PR folks. Most companies seem to view the tough times as an opportunity for streamlining their visions for the future, and smaller companies see their larger competitors’ woes as an evening of the playing field, giving them a chance to jump into the consumer consciousness again with new products.

Pentax is one of those smaller companies who see their size and focus solely on imaging as being advantageous. According to Pentax Product Manager for Imaging Systems, Chris Pound, they are “in a better position to react” because they’re “running lean and mean” since they don’t have other CE products like televisions, such as companies like Samsung, to back them up. This forces them to maintain a clear vision for their company and keep focused momentum behind them to deliver on photographers’ needs, “not necessarily [integrating new] features because we can do it, but it’s what people want.” As far as Pentax’s Chris Pound and PR Manager Michelle Martin are concerned, there have not been any delays in developing and producing cameras in their point-and-shoot lineup. According to Martin, “Everyone’s pulling back” though in comparison still, “a lot of our competitors blow us away in the marketing area.”

Nikon is certainly one of those camera makers whose marketing dollars blow away Pentax, and they admit that their now year-old marketing campaign using Ashton Kutcher to promote the Coolpix lineup has been invaluable in changing the consumer attitude toward the company. Nikon Senior Technical Manager Lindsay Silverman brought up an interesting point in our chat—that he had initially been concerned that the Coolpix lineup would see decreased sales numbers due to the economic downturn. His logic was that he wasn’t worried about D-SLRs because professional photographers and photo enthusiasts would always buy their gear because it is their passion or even livelihood. However, if an average consumer has a point-and-shoot camera that works, even if it is not what they would ideally like to have, they might just hang onto it for the time being and spend that $250 on groceries. Silverman was glad, however, to report that his theory was disproved, as the Coolpix line is still doing strongly in the market.

Of course, Nikon’s direct competitors, such as Samsung, note that incidents like Ritz Camera filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month, and the subsequent closure of a number of its retail stores—in which Nikon and Canon were among its largest unsecured creditors—”presents a lot of opportunities to the big CE brands, who now have the ability to push out some new product, like [Samsung’s] NX Series“, according to longtime Samsung PR rep Jason Ledder. According to Ledder, Samsung is “leveraging the success they’ve had with cell phones and LCDs” and have the goal of being “a Top Three imaging company by 2010 or 2011, and the NX is a really big step towards that.” Although Ledder admitted that there will surely be “some changes to come”, probably regarding shakeout, he remains optimistic and even excited because “Samsung has made so many claims so boldly in the past year about where they are going to be as a company.”

Olympus also remains optimistic about its current position in the camera market, and affirms that they are “forging ahead with new technologies” despite it being “a challenging time for everyone in the industry”, according to Olympus Digital SLR Product Manager Richard Pelkowski. When I asked him if they had been forced to delay any product releases, Pelkowski clarified that it was “on the contrary”, adding that “You will see great things coming from this company.”

For now, the collective attitude seems to be cautiously optimistic. Though, to add to the anxiety that some of the companies voiced, PMA 2010 will not be held in Las Vegas— rather it will be at the Anaheim Convention Center, a choice that I have to assume had less to do with the PMAI’s affinity for Southern California’s warm weather and more to do with an offer from Anaheim that they couldn’t refuse.

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Pentaxian Mark Dimalanta Gives Surf Photography Demo

PentaxianMark Dimalanta has been giving a presentation on the world of surf photography all week at the Pentax booth at PMA. Mark, a Huntington Beach, CA native, a surfer, and a former doctor, has traveled to the best breaks all over the world to shoot some of the greatest surfers of our time and pay homage to the Hawaiian tradition that now spans the globe.

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