Future of digital photography on show in Cologne
TWIG - The newest innovations on the digital camera market were on display as industry professionals and hobby shutterbugs alike gathered in Cologne for "photokina," the biennial photographic and imaging sector trade fair.
More than 1,600 exhibitors from 50 countries, including global players like Kodak, Microsoft and Nokia, were in Cologne to showcase their latest products to around 160,000 visitors hailing from every continent.
New products included not only latest advances in camera technology but also breakthroughs in compact home printers, new storage media, processing software, self-service image kiosk systems and plasma displays for home cinema.
As the fair opened on Tuesday, industry insiders were upbeat, with many confident of their ability to profit from the global boom in digital photography.
More than 70 million digital cameras are expected to be sold worldwide this year — not including mobile phones equipped with cameras, which may reach total sales of 100 million units.
German consumers impressed by an array of cameras that have both dropped in price and improved in quality are among those leading the digital revolution.
Last year, nearly 5 million digital cameras were sold in Germany alone, representing about 70% of the overall camera market there.
Sales are expected to continue grow at a brisk pace this year as well, powered by a veritable flood of new models, especially camera modules for cell phones and PDAs.
The next generation of so-called "camphone" models boasts larger displays and built-in zoom lenses. Capable of producing photos with resolutions upwards of 3 megapixels, camphones are fast becoming the snapshot cameras of the 21st century.
Leaders in traditional camera manufacturing have been eager to get in on the action. German-based optics group Carl Zeiss, for example, has developed a camera module for camphones that is smaller than the size of a pea but nonetheless capable of producing a very high image quality.
The camera industry also sees in the camphone boom an opportunity to make photography appealing to young target groups that may have had little contact with it before.
The hope is that the users of camera cell phones will
eventually want better image quality, leading them to buy "real" digital
cameras with better performance and higher price tags.
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