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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pixel counting joins film in obsolete bin

If you work in the camera industry, February is an exciting month.

That's when you head down to Florida for the annual Photo Marketing Association convention, where your company will unveil its latest camera models, thus making the ones everybody got for Christmas obsolete.

But this February is more exciting than most. Big changes are in the photographic air.

First, there's the astonishing collapse of the film camera market. By some tallies, 92 percent of all cameras sold are now digital. Big-name camera companies are either exiting the film business (Kodak, Nikon) or exiting the camera business altogether (Konica Minolta). Film photography is rapidly becoming a special-interest niche.

Next, there's the end of the megapixel race. "In compact cameras, I think that the megapixel race is pretty much over," says Chuck Westfall, director of media for Canon's camera marketing group. "Seven- and eight-megapixel cameras seem to be more than adequate. We can easily go up to a 13-by-19 print and see very, very clear detail."

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