Photokina Report _ 2006.09.27 16:51 EST

Things are picking up for the second day of Photokina 2006. There are a lot more people and there seems to be a lot more interest in what's being shown. Even vendors in some of the less visited halls felt better about today.

Apple's major upgrade to its Aperture image editing program has gotten a lot of attention. Version 1.5 is a major upgrade. Someone had suggested that Apple keep the revisions in sync with actual aperture numbers, which would have made this 1.4 (which is the aperture that's on the box).

Several new digital SLRs were rolled out, including Fujifilm's new FinePix S5 Pro. It has a maximum resolution of 12.3 megapixels (if you count both the S and R pixels), an expanded dynamic range, less noise, a larger buffer and Wi-Fi image transfer. There was a lot of interest in Canon's EOS 400D (the European version of the Digital Rebel XTi) and Nikon's D80, both of which had been pre-released. But this was the first show where they were available. Panasonic has the Lumix L1 that has the look and feel of a rangefinder. It's paired with the Leica D 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 aspherical lens, the first Leica lens with optical image stabilization. Targeted at pros, it should be interesting to play with.

Sigma's new SD14 digital SLR utilizes the Foveon 14.1 megapixel X3 chip. The company is going to be using the same chip in its soon-to-be-released DP1 consumer digital. That should make it the highest resolution consumer digital on the market.

Several companies have introduced the new 4GB SDHC memory cards, including SanDisk and Kingston. It's important to remember that, while these cards offer higher speeds and higher capacities, they're not compatible with older devices that take SD cards. SanDisk also introduced 12- and 16GB capacity Extreme III CompactFlash cards to their line of professional products.

—Ron Eggers

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