Journal, Photography

COBA March 2004

The Orange Room at SLAC was packed this past Wednesday to hear from the Canon and Olympus reps demonstrate their latest products. Thanks go out to Jim Rose from Canon and Joe Guzman and Dave from Olympus for coming in to talk to COBA.

Jim kicked the meeting off with a condensed presentation of new new products announced at PMA last month. He showed off the PowerShot Pro1 and the PowerShot S1 IS. I’m intrigued by the S1 IS, since it’s one of the first cameras from Canon that can record video at 640×480 and 30 frames per second with the length determined by the size of one’s memory card. Sony cameras have had this feature for quite some time, but this seems to be a first for Canon. Another feature that makes its debut on a Canon PowerShot is the ability to zoom the lens while recording video (can you do this with other digicams?).

The PowerShot Pro1 is another entry in the 8 megapixel consumer digital camera marketplace, joining the Olympus C-8080, Sony DSC-F828, and the Nikon Coolpix 8700. You can think of the S1 as a PowerShot G8 with an L-series lens. At $999, it’s the same price as the Digital Rebel (EOS 300D). I’d choose the 300D over the S1 if given the choice, but I know a lot of people who would take the S1 due to its large zoom range (28-200), small size, and convenience factor.

The highlight of Jim’s presentation was the Canon EOS-1D Mark II. The question that everyone seemed to be asking was, “What’s your number on the waiting list?” Canon is going to sell a boatload of these cameras! Jim also had the new 28-300 f/3.5-5.6L IS and the 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 DO IS.

Following Jim’s presentation, Joe gave a great presentation on the 4/3 System and the Olympus E-1. People enjoyed seeing Joe pour water over his E-1 without any adverse effects. If I were in the market for a digital SLR, I would consider Olympus’ offerings. At PMA, a number of companies joined the 4/3 System consortium, including Sigma, Fuji, Panasonic, and Sanyo. The key to success for the 4/3 System is to have a number of companies producing products for the system: lenses, camera bodies, and accessories. If they can’t do that, I’m afraid that Nikon and Canon will have the market all sewed up for years to come.

After the two presentations, COBA members were able to examine and play with all of the products from Canon and Olympus. We weren’t able to take and post any photos from the 1D Mark II, but we were able to inspect it very closely. As I said earlier, Canon is going to sell a lot of Mark II’s!

Photos from the March 2004 COBA meeting. Be sure to check out Manuel’s photos as well!

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