Preview: Compact cameras, digital SLRs focus of Photokina
By Andrea Wimmer Sep 23, 2006, 4:57 GMT
Cologne, Germany - Cameras that offer the best in speed, precision and versatility are among the stars of this year's Photokina exhibition, which opens in Cologne next Tuesday.
Top of the list are digital cameras, especially single lens reflex models, which have benefitted from innovative ideas and pioneering technologies.
'Digital single lens reflex photography has gone from being a luxury tool for professionals to a toy for everyman,' says Rainer Schmidt, managing director of the German Photo Industry Association.
The association says demand remains strong for established range-finder digital models, but nevertheless expects a slight downturn in sales this year.
'Turnover will drop after being at an extremely high level,' says Schmidt. 'We expected this to happen. You cannot continue with high sales forever.'
The association estimates 7 million digital cameras will be sold in Germany this year, 6 per cent fewer than 2005. Some 47 per cent of German households already own a digital camera, industry figures show.
Sales of high quality single lens reflex digital cameras on the other hand are expected to soar by 67 per cent this year to 550,000 unikts, the association says.
Among those presenting their wares at the world's biggest exhibition of photographic equipment are Panasonic, Samsung and Sony, relative newcomers to the digital SLR market.
They'll be showing cameras of up to 10 megapixels that use optic and electronic sensors and are capable of producing razor sharp images.
Starter SLR models cost around 800 euros (1,015 dollars), but there are also more advanced models with lots of extras that cost up to several thousand euros.
This year's exhibition, which runs until October 1, also has a wide display of analogue camera, but without any exceptional innovations.
While this type of camera might be losing popularity with the general public 'it still remains very important for professional photographers,' says Schmidt.
Digital photo printers are another attraction at the exhibition, part of whose focus this year is one image communication, transmission, storage and processing.
A 28 per cent increase in sales of digital printers is anticipated for 2006. The sector 'will develop strongly in the coming years,' says Photo Industry general secretary Harald Horn.
At present only one in five photographs taken with a digital camera actually finish up as prints. Manufacturers of digital printers expect the ratio to increase as printer prices go down.
Among the seminars at the exhibition is one called Imaging with Mobile Devices, which will include topics such as automatic correction of digital images, digital photobooks, online albums and the ordering of photos over the internet.
Some 1,600 exhibitors are taking part in the exhibition, which is expected to draw around 160,000 visitors from all over the world.
The number of exhibitors is the same as at the last fair two years ago, but the display area has increased 17 per cent to 230,000 square metres.
This year also sees a big rise in the number of foreign exhibitors, with newcomers from Bangladesh, Brazil, Indonesia, Latvia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Syria.
'Photokina is not just an exhibition at which deals are made. It is also a trendsetter and cultural gathering for the entire photographic sector,' says Cologne exhibition centre director Oliver P. Kuhrt.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur