Archives for January 9, 2013

Official Business Sessions take center stage at PMA@CES

I will be writing an extensive article on the two 2013 PMA@CES Official Business Sessions for the next issue of PMA magazine — and be sure to keep an eye out for another post in PMA Newsline, which will be coming just as soon as I can get it done, about a few very interesting comments made by some of the speakers on our Visionaries panel this morning. But for now, below is a quick glimpse at what happened.

Yesterday, PMA President Allen Showalter presented five remarkable PMA members with the 2013 PMA Distinguished Service Award for their many contributions to the photo imaging industry: Bob Friend, Rob Markoff, CPF, Brian Mundy, Margaret Remy, and Peter Rose. Allen also presented PMA’s highest honor, the 2013 PMA Hall of Fame Award, to Don Spring Jr. (Click on their names to read more.)

Following the awards presentation, emcee Mark Comon welcomed members of the “Young Guns” panel — Michael Rak of Artona Group, Mat Inkley of Imaging Depot, Ryan Millman of Nations Photo Lab, and Jennifer Waicukauski of Looking Glass Photo — who were interviewed by moderator Antonio Neves of ThinqAction. Neves queried the group on lessons learned in the past year, how they connect with their customers, and what they will be doing differently in 2013.

The second 2013 PMA@CES Official Business Session followed this morning, beginning with the election of the 2013-2014 PMA Board of Directors. In an unprecedented vote, PMA President Allen Showalter was reelected to serve a second consecutive term. Having also served as president in 2008-2009, Allen is also now the Association’s only three-time President.

After the election, Neves interviewed our Visionaries panelists: Mike Kahn of Sony, Ron Gazzola of Samsung, Steve Tiffen of Tiffen and Jirair Christianian of Mike’s Camera. In this lively discussion, the group talked about a variety of topics, including the abiding love of photography on the part of the consumer, the great need for more education and where the camera market is going. As interesting as the discussion was, it got more interesting by far when the audience started asking questions… be sure to look for my next PMA Newsline post to find out what was said. I promise, it will be worth waiting for.

PMA re-elects Allen Showalter as President for 2013-2014

Allen Showalter

Allen Showalter

At a 2013 PMA Official Business Session held Jan. 9, 2013 during 2013 PMA@CES, PMA – The Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations, re-elected President Allen Showalter of King Photo/Showalter Imaging Group, Harrisonburg, Va., for 2013-2014. Showalter, who also served as President of PMA in 2008-2009, is now the Association’s only three-time President, and the only President to serve two consecutive terms.

“It has been an unprecedented 14 months for PMA: moved the headquarters, hired a new Executive Director, re-elected the President, hosted two PMA tradeshows back-to-back in the same city but in different venues — all things that have never happened before, or least not at the same time. These steps have set things up for our second act. Like a team with great draft picks, the pieces are in place for PMA to fulfill its role in the new digital photo world: a world without many of the old players, but with new players like Google and Facebook,” Showalter said.

“I want to encourage the membership to, of course, be successful in this new world with these new players — but more than that, I want to encourage them to share their success with their brothers and sisters in the photo industry. There is much to learn, and no one can learn it all by themselves,” he added. “Thanks to the recent work of the staff and the Executive Committee, I can safely say that PMA will there to help members succeed in this new world.”

Also elected for the 2013-2014 term are President Elect Gabrielle Mullinax of Fullerton Photo, Fullerton, Calif.; Vice President Robert L. Hanson, Harold’s Photo Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Treasurer Bill Eklund, Sharp One Hour Photo, Eau Claire, Wis.; and Executive Director Jim Esp, PMA.

Serving three-year terms as Trustees-at-Large are Ryan Millman, Nations Photo Lab; Lisa Otto, Banff Photography; and Martin Wagner, Ringfoto.

National Chairpersons newly elected to one-year terms are Harry Mac, Downtown Camera (Canada) and Mark Klostermeyer, MCPF, Design Frames LLC (United States).

Analyzing Changes in Consumer Buying Habits


Preliminary sales data from the holiday season shows sales were relatively flat in the overall Consumer Electronics business, reported NPD analyst Liz Cutting — but those product lines that have been all but replaced by phones were hit particularly hard, she added: compact camera sales may have dropped more than 30 percent.
On the other hand, interchangeable lens models rose 9 percent in sales.

Cutting was one of the four top imaging industry analysts who joined PMA communications director Jennifer Kruger as she moderated the panel discussion of macro trends in consumer behavior in capture and output, part of PMA’s Trends and Technology conference track, “Changes in Consumer Buying Habits.”

Marion Knoche of GfK added that today most consumers have a camera phone, and so most have “additional motivation” for buying a new standalone camera, such as longer telephoto lenses.

Also, while the mirror-free interchangeable lens camera segment is heating up, that varies by region: they’ve taken 60 percent of the ILC field from SLRs in Japan, but only about 15 percent elsewhere.

Ed Lee of InfoTrends noted his latest survey shows 3/4 of new ILC owners in the US already own an SLR. When the panel discussed why these discrepancies have arisen, Cutting commented US consumers think “bigger is better,” and often do not appreciate small and elegant electronics.

When it comes to output, IDC’s Christopher Chute believes “over time, younger users will start to look at print as a high value choice” even if they are not as of yet paying to output their phone pics.

Cutting countered that a problem in the output business is “We don’t have enough training and enthusiasm on the floor to inspire them.” This will be both a responsibility and opportunity for photo specialty shops, she added.


Panasonic wears small camcorder


It’s getting crowded in here — here being the field of outdoors-oriented wearable/mountable “action” video cameras.

Camcorder giant Panasonic is the latest to enter this popular market, with its new HX-A100, which has “a bright F2.5 lens, BSI sensor, and advanced image processing LSI,” the company says, to capture “clear, low-noise images in both bright and dim lighting situations.”

And while most wearable camcorders have to mount to a helmet, this one can hook over your ear for hands-free capture of 1080 video at 60 fps. The field of view is about 160-degrees.

The camera, priced at about $300, is of course waterproof as well, down to five feet.

Like most players here, it has WiFi connectivity to work you’re your smartphone or tablet.

More information is here.

Nikon expands mirrorless line


The company is citing the speed of the cameras, but we have to note the speed of their release: it seems like only yesterday Nikon entered the mirror-free market with its very-compact system cameras —and in those 15 months it’s debuted a half dozen models, and now has three distinct lines in its eponymous “Nikon 1” family of interchangeable lens cameras.

The 14-megapixel J3 has a smaller body than competing cameras with similar sized sensors, the company says. It’s also speedy, with short release time lag and fast continuous shooting at 15 frames per second. It’s $600 with a 3x lens.

The 10-megapixel S1 is first in a new series designed and named for small size, speed, and simplicity. It’ll be about $500 with a lens.

Both cameras of course capture HD vide at various rates, and can also simultaneously snap a still. They can capture extreme slow motion, recording at 1200 fps.

Nikon adds that it previous J1 became “the best-selling compact camera system across Europe.”