BRIEFS: August 5

PNI continues discrete invasion

Canadian photo ordering software specialist, PNI Digital Media, continues its remote control move into the Australian market with an announcement that it will now be working with Costco in this country.

Costco Wholesale Australia members can now upload their photos and order prints from the Costco Wholesale Australia Digital Photo Centre at http://www.costcophoto.com.au.

‘To celebrate the launch of its Digital Photo Centre, Costco Australia is offering members 25 free 4×6-inch prints as part of their first order,’ noted the press release. Costco’s ‘everyday low price’ for prints is – wait for it – 9 cents, down from 12 cents when Costco launched 12 months ago. So that would be a fabulous saving of $2.25, which will no doubt have the punters driving into Costco’s Melbourne outlet from all over the country. It’s a slippery slope, this discounting business.

The PNI Digital Media platform provides transaction processing and order routing services for major retailers.

It’s interesting to note that Costco didn’t go with the Whitech Imagine platform, as have most of Fujifilm’s other ‘preferred’ clients.

It’s also interesting to note that the price per print in the US at a Costco outlet or online is US$0.13 cents. Further proof that Australia has the lowest print prices in the world. Unless we are mistaken, Costco’s paper, chemistry and equipment supplier is Fujifilm Australia.

Whew!

Kodak lost Wal-Mart on the merry-go-round but must be breathing a sigh of relief to have picked up a pretty good substitute on the swings in the form of Carrefour, the leading European and the world’s second largest retailer.

Kodak will supply Carrefour with its dye-sub-based APEX system to produce the full gamut of photo products from prints to photo books and other gifts.
The Carrefour Group has more than 15,500 stores under its banner in 32 countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America. Kodak says it has approximately 100,000 kiosk ‘touchpoints'(?) worldwide.

Sony to drop full frame fabrication?

US journalist Thom Hogan writes an interesting blog on all things Nikon (often to the irritation of Nikon!). He recently passed on a rumour about Nikon’s main sensor supplier, Sony:

‘I’ve heard from multiple sources now that Sony Semiconductor is about to drop FX (full frame) sensors from their lineup. What I’m hearing is that high management in Sony is saying that full-frame cameras and sensors aren’t bringing the payback necessary to make them long-term profitable.

He continued: ‘This is essentially forcing Sony Imaging to consider dropping future plans for full-frame cameras (A850, A900, and follow-ups), though I’m sure we’ll still see some FF products from them that were already in progress before the stream of sensors dies out. Some of the sources for the rumour appear to be Sony employees who are lobbying for keeping full-frame in the lineup. They seem to hope that news of the impending decision on the Internet will generate a wave of protest that Sony management can’t ignore.’ (Well, we’ve done our bit!)

Nikon sources a lot of its sensors, including higher resolution full frame sensors, from Sony. He goes on to say that if the rumour is true, ‘Nikon’s FX future is in their own hands creating their own FX sensors.’

Another interesting assertion he makes in the piece is that a full-frame sensor costs about 10 times as much as a APS-sized sensor, which in turn costs about 10 times as much as a camphone sensor.


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