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26th February 2009
PMA 2009 Show preview
by Ian Burley
5727: PMA 2009 Show preview

PMA 2009 Show preview

Next Tuesday, 3rd March 2009, the doors to the annual trade show of PMA The Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations, open once again at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The PMA (formerly known as the Photo Marketing Association International) Show is the largest and most prestigious annual trade show in the worldwide photo imaging industry. It's only eclipsed by the huge biennial Photokina show in Germany.

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DPNow has been covering PMA every year since 2003, and we will be at the show once again this year, reporting every day, starting from Monday, the day before the show actually opens. This year, we will be adding video to some of our reports. Do bear in mind that Las Vegas is eight hours behind the UK time zone, so a report from PMA on 'Monday' may well appear on Tuesday where you are!

With the continuing global financial turmoil, a lot of uncertainty hangs over PMA this year. However, I am expecting much the same size of show exhibits from the big players because most of them booked their booths last year. The UK's own major show, Focus on Imaging, which took place earlier this week, did not show any particular symptoms of the credit crunch, probably for similar reasons, and there was a good turnout by visitors. Unlike Focus, PMA is a trade-only show, with no retail selling allowed on the show floor. So it will be interesting to see if the trade-only visitor numbers hold up this year. I'm expecting less international press and marketing people at the show, and there will be a lot less after show entertaining than last year (he says glancing at his PMA calendar...)

Many manufacturers have, as usual, already made their big product announcements prior to PMA. The most recent was the Olympus E-620 DSLR, which was announced last Tuesday. Our sibling site, Four Thirds User, has an in-depth hands-on preview of the little E-620. Last week, Canon unveiled its Spring Collection. No new DSLRs were announced but several new lenses, bridge and compact cameras were launched. Nikon's latest flagship DSLR, the D3X, is still new, but it's a while since the cheaper end of the DSLR range has had a refresh, but I'm not expecting anything at PMA, if I'm honest.

Panasonic Lumix, too, has announced a bevy of new compact cameras already this year. At Photokina in Cologne, Germany, five months ago, we were given a look at a prototype mock up of a HD video enabled version of the Lumix DMC-G1 Micro Four Thirds system camera. We already know that Panasonic is developing new lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, so we very much hope there will be more news on these and the promised second Lumix Micro Four Thirds camera.

Sticking with Micro Four Thirds, the other partner in this system venture is Olympus. It would be nice if we could see something more solid concerning Micro Four Thirds from Olympus during PMA, although there will undoubtedly be a lot of focus on the new E-620 Four Thirds DSLR. There have been rumours that other well known brands may well show their hand and join up to the Micro Four Thirds fold. We'll see.

I have meetings with both Pentax and Samsung, and I'm certainly going to be trying to find out how their partnership in DSLR system terms is developing. Some say it isn't. Samsung hasn't launched a new DSLR since the GX-20, at PMA last year. Rumours still persist that Samsung is actively developing a Micro Four Thirds style compact system camera with interchangeable lenses and an electronic viewfinder. If this is the case, I expect to see a mock-up at the very least. Pentax, meanwhile, has been busier in terms of new K-Series DSLRs over the last year, but the GX-20's twin, the K-20D, is looking rather long in the tooth now, so let's hope both Pentax and Samsung have some positive news for us.

Sony has been very busy during 2008, and has a good line up of DSLR bodies. Where Sony needs to deliver is in modernising the lens range that it inherited from Konica Minolta. Sony has surprised us at PMA in the past, so let's see if they can maintain their record.

We will also be seeing what companies like Fujifilm, Casio, Sigma, Tamron, and many more have to show us at PMA. But we will also be paying special attention to the many smaller exhibitors that PMA accommodates.

If you have any sharp questions that we can ask VIPs at PMA, why not send them in? Email your questions to pma2009@dpnow.com and, no promises, you could be reading a response to your musings next week!

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