One of the interesting side-shows was a digital camera shootout, designed to let us know the best digital camera in each of four categories: Consumer Point-and-Shoot, Professional Portrait and Commercial Studio. Many manufacturers took part, though not all. Dicomed, for one, were conspicuous by their absence, believing PMA not to be a show for them. They were in evidence with the Big Shot on the Hewlett-Packard booth, however, outputting superb large format ink-jet prints.

Each manufacturer had a time slot in which to make photographs. The Consumer Point-and-Shoot cameras and the Professional Portrait Cameras captured images of a live model, while the Commercial Studio cameras captured a commercial product shot.

All the images were output to specific printers, based on the categories they were in: Consumer Point-and-Shoot to an Epson PhotoStylus, Professional Portrait to a Fuji Pictrography in RGB, and Commercial to a Sony UP-D9500 in CMYK.

The prints were then displayed for viewing and voting by attendees at the show. Alongside each print was a sheet showing company, price, resolution, chip information, exposure type and so on. There were over thirty entries from around twenty manufacturers. Every entry received some votes, which may indicate that quality, price and configurations were taken into consideration - though an impartial observer might suggest that some manufacturers organized tactical voting. Forgive us for even suggesting the possibility but we know from experience with our own awards that such practices are far from unknown. A much fairer method would have been to have displayed the prints anonymously.

The entrants included:

Consumer - Agfa ePhoto 1280; Ansco Photo DZ-400; Epson PhotoPC 550 and PhotoPC 600; Fuji DX-5, DX-7, DX-9 and MX-700; Konica QM100; Minolta Dimâge V; Olympus D-220L, D-320L , D-500L and D-600L; Polaroid PDC-3000; Ricoh RDC-3002; Vivitar ViviCam 3100 and Yashica KC 600.

Portrait - Fuji DS300, DS 505A and D515A; Kodak DCS 520; Megavision S2; Minolta RD-175; Polaroid PDC-3000; ScanView Carnival 2020; and Sony DKC-ST5.

Commercial - Phase One Power Phase; Scanview Carnival 2020; Sinar Bron Leaf and SinarCam; and Kodak DCS 460.



Consumer Point-and-Shoot category:

Below $300:

Epson PhotoPC 550

$300 to $599:

Kodak DC 200

$600 to $899:

Agfa ePhoto 1280

$900 and above:

Olympus D-600L

Professional Portrait category:

$5,000 and below:

Polaroid PDC-3000 and Olympus D-600L

$5,000 and above:

Sony DKC-ST5


Commercial Studio Quality category:



A similar competition for printers brought the following results:

Wide Format (more than 52 inches):

Display Maker 6000 (ColorSpan Corporation).

Wide Format (35 to 44 inches):

PosterShop 4.0, Onyx Graphics, Design Winder Printer, Glossy PhotoBase Paper, Dye-based Wide Gamut ink (ColorSpan Corporation), PosterShop 4.0.

Medium Format (20 to 30 inches):

Cymbolic Sciences LJ5000 Printer, Ilfochrome Classic DX photographic paper.

Small Format (11 x 17 inches and below):

Fuji Pictrography 4000 printer, Graphx RasterPlus 95, Fuji Autocalibrator CMS, Fuji Double Letter media

Consumer Printer segment:

Small Format ($500 and above):

Epson 3000 printer, Epson Ink, Mitsubishi Dual Sided Matte media.

Small Format (below $500):

Epson Photo Stylus printer.

Small Format. (Photo Print Format):

Panasonic PV-PD 2000 Printer.

This article first appeared as a Report for Seybold Publications, February 1998.
This document is Copyright © 1998 John Henshall. All rights reserved.
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