Digital Accessories
Memory Cards, Download Devices, Portable Digital Solutions, And More

Everywhere you turned throughout the big PMA halls you'd find more and more accessories for digital photography. Perhaps the biggest category was new memory cards and drives, storage devices, and portable memory download solutions. And then there were the increasing numbers of devices for both displaying and storing images. Beyond that were a host of products to keep LCDs and CCDs clean. And you couldn't avoid bumping into the seemingly ubiquitous conversion lenses, this time with an added--magnetic--twist (we've included only those from third-party sources). And talk about ubiquitous--batteries were everywhere!

Digital Storage & Display
In one form or another, for one reason or another, we're constantly moving files. Sometimes it's to save moving moments for all to see; other times just for convenience, to free up a memory card or our computer's hard drive. Alera Technologies displayed the DVD/CD Digital Photo Copy Station ($599 street), a memory card to DVD/CD copier. It reads from CompactFlash, Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, SmartMedia, and Memory Stick PRO (USB 2 compatible). If portability is important and card-to-CD copying alone (sans DVD) is adequate, then opt for the less expensive Digital Photo Copy Cruiser ($229).

As an ultra-compact alternative, you might consider Sony's PhotoVault, a mini CD-R station that lets you burn photos directly from camera to disc. Another compact option comes from mediaGear, now distributed by JOBO Fototechnic: the portable Flash-HD to Go is a portable hard drive with slots for all formats of flash media, with the 40GB model ($299 MSRP) being battery-powered. EZPnP Technologies adds the EZDigiMagic DM320-04P ($300 MSRP) to the mix, letting you back-up memory cards to DVD/CD, while the $275 Magic Port provides CD-RW storage.

In card readers, Lexar Media introduced a 32-bit CompactFlash CardBus Reader for transferring images to notebook computers 4-6 times faster than 16-bit PCMCIA card adapters. Delkin was quick to come aboard with the eFilm Pro CardBus 32 for various cards (starting at $59). Sakar showed their new 9-in-1 card reader ($59 MSRP). Transcend showed multi-card readers, along with flash memory adapters and 2.5" portable hard drives to 40GB.
In ultra-compact storage and display, Nikon came in with the Coolwalker MSV-01, which stores 30GB and plays back on a 2.5" color LCD, with USB 2 connectivity. SmartDisk's FlashTrax now comes in more choices, capacities to 80GB, playing MP3, as well as video on its color LCD. Memory Depot (Advanced Video) also stores and displays flash memory card content.
If you're in a different frame of mind, then you'll appreciate these products: Pacific Digital showed the MemoryFrame, this time in a USB to wireless Ethernet Wi-Fi model, MF-810SW (U-30211), at $499 MSRP in 8x10 size. It features an interchangeable frame, and stereo sound for engaging slide shows. PhotoVu launched the PV1900 ($1549), a 19" wireless digital picture frame (with USB connectivity as well). PQI showed the digital picture frame that reads numerous memory cards, displaying images in 4x6 size. The Ceiva 2 (from Ceiva Logic) features interchangeable frames and mattes, and requires subscription to the Ceiva Network and connection to an analog phone jack, letting you download pictures from anyone who wants to send them.

Digital Conversion Lenses
After-market conversion lenses can fill the void left by camera manufacturers or offer alternatives at more modest prices, letting you expand and widen your horizons or reach out for tighter portraits or more intimate scenic views. The big push this year seems to be toward "magnetic" lenses. These are designed for the cameras that have no other means for adding accessory attachments.

A self-adhesive adapter disc adheres to the front of the lens, with a metallic ring on the front, to which the lens attaches. The adapter is said not to interfere with mechanical or automatic lens barriers. Suppliers include Phoenix Corporation of America, ProQuest/Cokin USA, S. Bower, and ToCAD America/Sunpak.

In more conventional conversion lenses, Phoenix showed a 4x lens, which is supplied with various adapters; Sakar introduced a complete line-up under the Tokina brand name, screw-in or clip-on, while under Digital Concepts, they introduced the Digital Universal Clip-on Design; THK presented the Standard and Pro series of wide and tele optics. We round out this selection with Cokin's Digital Conversion Lenses, which include a fisheye converter.

Digital Batteries
While many round cells can obviously be used in any device that will take them, other batteries were specifically designed for the demanding needs of digital cameras. And they're coming at you from everywhere. In non-rechargeables, Duracell displayed the new Duracell CP1 lithium primary prismatic battery. This flat, disposable battery fits in select cameras. And we move quickly to rechargeables. Energizer boosted capacity of its rechargeable Ni-MH AA cells to 2300 mAh. Fujitsu Batteries (FDK America) came on-board with a 2300 mAh Ni-MH battery and charger ($24 for the kit).

Not to be outdone, Lenmar showcased the Mach 1 SpeedCharger, which comes standard with adapter plates for li ion batteries for Sony and Canon, and a set of four 2300 mAh Ni-MH AA batteries for general use; also charges AAA cells. And Uniross came along with their own signature 2300 mAh Ni-MH series, including the Sprint 1 Hour ($31), Sprint 30 half-hour system ($43), and if you're really in a rush, the Sprint 15 ($54) to get you going in 15 minutes; and for globetrotters there is, well, the Uniross Globetrotter ($34) universal system with 2300 mAh cells.

Delkin just introduced a line of CR-V3 replacement li ion rechargeable batteries targeted at specific-model digicams, and NABC debuted the PRB3 Polaroid Rechargeable Battery (under Polaroid brand license), at $29 MSRP. Also in li ion rechargeables, Monster Rechargeable Lithium-Ion PowerCells fit digital cameras from Canon, Casio, Fuji, Pentax, and Sony and range is price from $49-$59, while in Ni-MH, the ProCharger Digital Camera Power Pack 2100 comes with digital charger and eight 2100 mAh rechargeable cells ($99)--from Monster Cable Products.

OmegaSatter now distributes Emerging Power-brand chargers/batteries, offering rechargeable replacement batteries for various digicams
($19-$99 MSRP). Also available are 2300mAh AA Ni-MH (four pack/$24) and Quick Charger with batteries ($49), along with rechargeable CR-V3 li ion batteries with charger ($52). The attractively packaged Juice Batteries are also now distributed by OmegaSatter. They include Refresh rechargeable alkaline batteries ($32 for starter kit) and Rush li ion rechargeables ($39-$44 for starter kit).

In higher-capacity power, DigiPower showed off the IQ Max, an external battery pack that runs on li ion batteries--8000 mAh, and which they say is "the first intelligent battery pack on the market," constantly monitoring numerous functions while the battery is attached to the camera, for most digital SLRs and advanced digicams ($199 MSRP); can also be used for electronic flash; comes with multiple plugs for international use. Brandess-Kalt-Aetna announced higher-capacity additions to the Digital Pursuits Digital Camera Battery line of Ni-MH packs, with enough power to run a digital camera and flash, featuring dual regulated outputs. And Monster Cable Products debuted the Monster Power AVS 2000 PRO ($1699 MSRP), designed to stabilize voltage in the studio or on location, especially with portable gas generators.

Moving from batteries to testers, we have the Mini-MBT ($29), a microprocessor-controlled multi-battery tester from ZTS--basically a scaled-down version of the MBT-1.

Digital Maintenance
This year we appear to be especially concerned with keeping CCDs and LCDs clean and protected. Toward this end, we have a variety of products that may include swabs, pens, protective films, or liquids.

These products include the following: Digital Pursuits Digital Camera Screen Protectors (Brandess-Kalt-Aetna); Kaiser Cleaning Pen (HP Marketing); SpeckGrabber and Digital Screen Protectors (Kinetronics); DigiKlear (LensPen); CCD Cleaning Kit (Norazza); DK 008 Digital Accessory Kit (OSN); and Sensor Swab from Photographic Solutions (for CCDs). Configurations may include some extras.