PMA is the big photo event of the year, similar to COMDEX for computing products. This year’s PMA is being held in Las Vegas and it is attended by nearly all the major camera manufacturers. It’s a place for announcing new products, most of which are the latest digital wonders from digicams to high-end digital backs. Tucked away in corners, here and there, are a few items related to film photography.
This year’s sleeper is a prototype medium-format film camera on display in the Fujifilm booth. It’s a modern folder: a folding camera that takes 6x7cm images on 120 film. It has an 80mm Fujinon f/3.5 lens, rangefinder, hot shoe, and what looks to be aperture-priority electronic shutter. There is no red ruby window on the back in the pictures that have been shown so presumably it has a frame counter as well.
Fuji has said very little about this camera in its press release, other than that it’s a prototype and if it gets built may only be sold in Japan.
I took one look at this camera and wanted it. When the information was posted on Rangefinder Forum and Nelsonfoto, the response was similar: gimme! To a film photographer, this is retro done modern, like an Ikonta built to modern specs with a modern lens and built-in metering.
Should Fujifilm manufacture this camera, and offer it in Europe and the Americas, I suspect it would fly off the shelves. Depending on price, of course. So far price has not been mentioned.
On a major note, Sony made a surprise announcement that it had developed a 24 megapixel full-frame (35mm) CMOS sensor and expected to be in production with it by mid-2008. They also pre-announced a Sony Alpha model that would be using this chip.
What I find most interesting in this development is that Sony is a major OEM supplier of sensors to other camera manufacturers, such as Pentax. So far Canon and Nikon have been the only players in the FF market, each developing its own proprietary sensors. The Sony sensor could level the playing field.
I wouldn’t be surprised if, within three years, full-frame DSLRs become the norm, at the prices of today’s APS-sized DSLRs. It’ll be 35mm all over again!