Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Photo Plus Expo NYC 2011–New Products Report–Part I of II

Jay Maisel and Greg Gorman - Copyright Ron Martinsen - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jay Maisel and Greg Gorman enjoy talking about photography
at the Epson booth at PPE NYC 2011

Nearly everybody who is anybody in photography was at the Photo Plus Expo in New York City this year. It seemed like every time you turned your head there was another legend of photography. As one of my pro mentors told me “this is the show where you make your deals that carry you for the year”, so I hopped on a plane and made my first trip out to the big city to take it all in.

After speaking before a packed house at B&H, I enjoyed two action packed days on a press tour meeting the who’s who of photography and learning about a ton of great products. What follows is a partial list of new products that I saw that were worth mentioning. My apologize for all of the products not mentioned as this is just a tiny fraction of what I was able to enjoy at the show.

Canon PIXMA PRO 1 Printer

Canon PIXMA PRO-1 - 4 of 5 Black Ink Cartridges
4 of 5 Monochrome Ink Cartridges
Canon PIXMA PRO-1 - 12 Total Ink Cartridges
12 Total Ink Cartridges
Canon PIXMA PRO-1 - Ink Cartridges are small
Ink Cartridges are small
Canon PIXMA PRO-1 - CD Print Tray is nice
CD Print Tray is nice

As you probably know, I’ve spent a lot of time last year on my printing series which was capped off with the recent release of my Printing 101 eBook. I feel I have a pretty good handle on printing and what’s going on in the market right now, and as much as I love my Canon iPF6300, the Epson 3880 is still the best cut sheet printer on the market. This is why I was super excited when I heard about the PIXMA PRO 1 printer with “pro” inks. Unfortunately I was crushed to find out at the show that it only uses Lucia (not the revolutionary Lucia EX) inks in tiny 36 ml capacities. This means this will be a very expensive printer to maintain from a ink cost perspective, but I was very impressed with the image quality coming out of this printer.

While Canon may have let us down with the ink set, they delivered with the print head technology that seems to be closer to a Epson 4900 than that of a 3880 and its black and white performance (with 5 black ink cartridges) shows. The black and white prints have an insane range and jaw dropping DMax for a printer at this price point. The Chroma Optimizer seems to help to create super rich blacks and vivid colors.

If Canon sends one my way, I’ll be sure to tell you more about it. For now I’d say that for those who are looking for a Canon equivalent to the mighty Epson 3880 that this is a reasonable choice.

Click here to order one today, or click here to visit the dedicated mini-web site for this printer.

Canon s100

I was a bit puzzled when this camera was announced without a replacement for the G12, so I suspected this was just an s95 with some new features like built-in GPS support. However, when I used it at the Expo it seemed to have some impressive improvements in high ISO performance at ISO 1600 & 3200. It’s definitely an improvement over the G12 at those ISO levels, so those debating on the merits of a G12 vs s95 may find that the s100 is the better choice now. I still think the features of the G12 make it the better camera, but better image performance, GPS, and usability improvements in such a compact package make it a very compelling choice as a pocket camera.

To learn more, see my hands on preview here or click here to order a s100 at B&H today.

Canon LV-8325 Projector

I still miss the amazing Canon SX-80 Pro Photography Projector that I reviewed last year, so when I read the press release for the 1280x800, 2500 lumens LV-8325 I was pretty jazzed. Unfortunately this projector was in a Plexiglas case and not on hand for a demo. However, its unique design makes one wonder if it can keep up with the jaw dropping performance of the other great projectors currently sold by Canon. I’m pretty certain this was the 3D projector Canon demo’d last year at its Expo in New York, so if it is then the quality is sure to please.

Visit Canon's web site to learn more.

Nikon 1

The big news at the show for Nikon was the Nikon 1 mirrorless digital camera with interchangeable lenses. With all of the hype Nikon created I was expecting to be blown away. I’ll straight up say right now that this is not a Canon s100 or FujiFilm x10/x100 killer in terms of features or image quality from what I saw. While the colors offered are very cool and the high ISO performance seems to be pretty good, I was very unimpressed with the cheap build quality and limited features. With that on the table, it did offer some nice features like motion capture (the ability to grab a series of frames where it will automatically keeps the best 5 frames). I think mom’s will find this handy with trying to get shots of the toddler. It was certainly fast focusing and performs better than your typical point and shoot, so my opinion might change once I have a chance to use in the real world.

The ability to use interchangeable lenses – including a rumor that Nikon DSLR lenses with an adapter (which seems nuts given the cheap nature of this case) – is certain to make it a popular camera with Nikon faithful. However, everything I’ve seen so far makes me think those who own a G9+, s90+, Lumix series, Sigma DP2+ or X100 camera will probably be underwhelmed by this one. In fact, it reminds me of the Sigma DP1 where on paper it sounded awesome, but in reality it was underwhelming.

I’ll be getting one to review soon so stay tuned for a more in depth review.

Click here order one now, and see some more shots from the show below (including future concept add-ons):

Click here to visit Nikon’s web site for more info on this new camera.

Fujifilm X10

I loved the image quality of the X100, but I hated the usability and performance of the camera. While the X10 doesn’t have the same DSLR-like sensor and build quality found in the X100, it seems to be a legitimate competitor to the Canon G12 and s100 cameras.

Here’s a snapshot of 36x40” print made from a photo taken with the x10. While I wouldn’t say it is x100 quality from my hands on experience, it’s pretty freakin amazing for a point and shoot at this price point:

To learn more, see my hands on preview here or click here to order a x10 at B&H today.

onOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite

If I had to pick a best in show product for the Expo, this would be a close runner-up to the Canon EOS-1 X. When I read the press release I read some things that made it sound pretty good, but I didn’t really expect to be blown away.

This is a game changing product that I think will cause some people to give up Photoshop Elements in favor of the stand-alone user interface of Perfect Suite. I’ll be doing a video demonstration soon, but I was blown away at the seamless integration of all of the onOne products in one user-interface with layers, masking, blending, and opacity support. In fact, even a healing brush has been added to make this a must own product for those who are using Lightroom or Aperture as their primary photo editing software, but are wanting the power of great add-ins.

Integration was just the tip of the iceberg. Not only has performance improved drastically, I was thrilled to see real-time previews of what all of the filters will do (versus meaningless previews found in PhotoTools).

I haven’t been this impressed with a demo of a photo-editing product since I saw Nik Software’s U-Point controls the first time or Content Aware Fill for the first time. This product is what I have been urging onOne and Nik Software to do for a long time – unify all of their products in one user interface and allow them to integrate with each other. onOne is the first to answer the call (years later), but better late than never.

I’ll be doing a full review soon, but you can jump ahead of me and download the free demo version now. You can also get a 10% discount using the coupon code RMART20. Visit the discount coupon code page for the latest offers.

More To Come…

Check back tomorrow for part II of this article where I talk about more hands on experiences with the cool products at the expo.

Disclaimer

This article features links which may result in a commission if you make a purchase. These commissions come at no additional cost to you and help to support this blog, so please return here and use my links when making your purchase.

Most of the information provided here are my own subjective opinions formed after getting demonstrations and discussing the products with the press contacts of the the companies listed above.

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The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

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