Is this make or break for the PMA show?
21st-23rd February, Anaheim Convention Center, Orange County, California
The annual PMA (Photo Marketing Association, or The Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations) international trade show takes place in less than two weeks, and DPNow will be there, reporting from the show floor, for the eighth year running.. The event has traditionally been used by the big name manufacturers to launch exciting new products and has been second only to the huge biennial Photokina show in Cologne, Germany. But in 2010 there are question marks over the show's future; Canon, previously the show's biggest single exhibitor, decided to invest all its efforts in last month's CES show. The PMA show has also moved from the obviously attractive venue of Las Vegas, to Anaheim in Orange County, Los Angeles, next door to Disneyland, and this has had a mixed reception from the industry.
To make matters worse for PMA, the revamped annual Japanese photo industry trade show, CP+, takes place less than a month after PMA in Yokohama. At the time of writing, there was no hard evidence of any big show-stopping launches being planned for this year's PMA show. I just hope we'll be surprised. Indeed, we thought long and hard before booking our trip to the show, but as a remarkably few UK-based publications are sending staff to PMA this year, we think there may well be a gap to be filled.
Besides Canon, some other names we can't see on the exhibitor list include Leica, Hasselblad, Bogen Imaging (Manfrotto/Gitzo tripods, Kata bags, etc.), Adobe, Apple, Kingston Technology, Sandisk, Lexar, Crumpler, and Corel. Even Epson is not on the list. But there is no need to panic entirely; apart from Canon, all the other really big camera and lens brands are exhibiting, including Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Panasonic Lumix, Samsung, Sigma, Sony, Casio, Kodak, Fujifilm, as well as GE, and other smaller names.
However, PMA is not just about the big names; it's a rich hunting ground for smaller innovative companies like LensBaby, Think Tank Photo, Bibble Labs, Nik Software, foolography, Jobo, etc.
Undoubtedly, though, the show will stand or fall by the amount of camera-generated interest and activity there. Obviously there will be nothing from Canon. Panasonic is not launching anything at the show. Olympus launched its new Pen E-PL1 hybrid model last week, so it won't be brand new by the show any more. There are optimists hoping that Olympus will its first new Four Thirds DSLR in almost a year, after concentrating on three Micro Four Thirds hybrids, but this is far from certain. Nikon is expected to join the Hybrid bandwagon at some point this year, and maybe we will get a hint of something at PMA, but once again there are no obvious signals. The same applies to Fujifilm, which is also being linked with the Micro Four Thirds system. But there simply isn't anything pointing to actual revelations at PMA 2010. Last year Samsung did surprise by showing prototype mock-ups of its NX10 hybrid camera, which was launched - at CES - at the beginning of last month. Samsung will be showing off the NX10 at PMA, and may be willing to discuss its plans to boost its NX lens system line-up. Sigma, Tamron, Hoya, and Tokina are all at the show and we should be shown a clutch of new lenses. Sigma may well reveal some camera news, either in the form of new big-sensor compacts from its DPx range, or revisions to its SD range of DSLRs featuring the unique Foveon X3 sensor technology. Fujifilm will be showing the latest developments of its 3D still camera technology - a trend that dominated CES in the video and TV categories. We simply don't know what to expect from Pentax. We were shown the, then new, Pentax K7, at last years show under a non disclosure agreement. Pentax has traditionally shown DSLR teasers at PMA. Sony's Alpha range is fairly new, but we might get some news of new lenses as Sony gradually modernises what it inherited from Konica Minolta.
So there are a lot of questions over the PMA 2010 show. The show itself could, ironically, become the biggest news topic of the event. They will announce their plans for next year and the choice of venue and the size of the exhibit allocation will all be key pointer for PMA's future.
But in the mean time, DPNow will be there, so look out for our news updates and video coverage live from Anaheim!
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