The silly season has officially started. No, not Christmas or the New Year sales - it's the start of the show season, when literally 100s of new photography related products are announced within the space of just 2 months.

January and February are when most of the new products for 2006 are unveiled, starting with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and ending with the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) show at the end of February.

With CES now over there were no less than 25 new cameras announced in the at the show alone, not to mention all of the new printers, scanners, memory cards and numerous other accessories. Kodak, HP, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Sony and Pentax have all announced new cameras for 2006, which supersede the previous models. There are some obvious names missing from that list - the likes of Canon, Nikon and Olympus will probably wait until PMA to introduce their new products.

So what's a potential camera buyer to do? Should you buy the bargain camera that you've spotted in the January sales? Or should you wait until the silly season has ended and then choose a newer model? There are definitely some great bargains on offer right now, as retailers try to clear their shelf space for the imminent influx of new models.

If the camera meets your current needs, why wait for the next model? Especially when many cameras that are announced at CES or PMA won't actually be available until March or even later. And especially when those cameras are essentially minor updates of existing models. Remember, a camera is of no use to you if it's sitting on the shelf in your local shop, or still waiting to leave the manufacturer's factory in 3 months time.

Having said that, there are a couple of products at CES that have caught my eye and which offer something a little different to the norm. Kodak made the headlines at last year's CES with the Wi-Fi EasyShare One camera. This time around the US giant has announced a digital camera with not one, but two lenses, a normal 3x zoom lens and a 23mm wide-angle lens, which is an intriguing response to the problem of providing a good focal range. If you want a 3-inch LCD screen on your camera, then several manufacturers have the model for you - Fujifilm with the V10 Zoom, HP with the Photosmart R927 and Sony with the Cybershot N1.

And who knows what will be revealed at PMA, which is traditionally the busiest conference of the year? New digital SLRs from companies including Olympus, Panasonic, Sony and Samsung are rumoured, so if you're currently looking for a DSLR then it's probably worth waiting until February 26th.

But wait, I haven't even mentioned Photokina yet, the bi-annual show held in Germany in October, which is even bigger than CES and PMA. What do you mean, you're off to the January sales?

Mark Goldstein is the editor of PhotographyBLOG(), a popular digital camera website which supplies a daily dose of photography news, articles, reviews and debate