Pentax has today announced another addition to the Optio range with the five megapixel SVi. An update to the SV, it also has a 5x optical zoom, 1.8-inch LCD, impressive 3cm macro function and 320x240 movie mode. The only difference appears to the be the fact that the aluminum alloy-bodied camera has an 'enhanced' grip achieved by placing a resin element on the front right hand side. A battery stand which charges the batteries in camera, plus an additional set is also available. The Pentax Optio SVi will be available in June priced £249.
An official letter from Leica confirms that the Digital-Modul-R is to be delayed, despite expectations that the 10 megapixel digital back would be available in the next few days. Leica says it is 'working hard to resolve a few last software problems'. Although the 'problems' do not impair the basic function of the module they have to be remedied before it is fully ready for production. Many people have already placed orders for the module, which was scheduled for release this month. Leica urges customers not to overreact and says that it will be worth the wait.
After all the bad news that has beset Kodak in the last year, things appear to be on the up as the company took the number one slot for sales in US in the first quarter of this year. It shipped 900,000 point and shoot digital cameras, a 41% increase on sales this time last year, according to a market research company. Kodak is followed by second-placed Canon (850,000 units), which recorded a whopping 72% increase, and perennial front-runner Sony was ranked third with sales of 800,000 units. UPDATE: Chief executive Dan Carp will step down as president in June, although he will remain in the post until he retires in January 2006. He will be succeeded by Kodak president Antonio Perez, who joined Kodak in April 2003 after 25 years at HP.
Following the launch of the Photographer's Directory, Adobe is expanding further with the announcement of a royalty-free image library, called Adobe Stock Photos. The service provides a single destination point to access stock photography from Getty Images, Jupitermedia and Digital Vision to name a few and offers around 230,000 images. Accessed through Adobe Bridge, Adobe Stock Photos helps designers select, browse, preview, organize, label, and drag-and-drop imagery directly from within Adobe Creative Suite 2. It's currently available in Adobe's Creative Suite 2 Premium and Standard editions, including CS2 versions of Photoshop, GoLive, InDesign and Illustrator.
Despite reported fourth quarter losses of $533m(¥56.5 bn), Sony has ended the year with net profits totaling US$1.5 bn (¥163.8 bn), according to Photo Marketing Newsline. This is nearly double the profit the electronics giant recorded last year. There have been positive sales in the digital camera, flat panel TV and LCD rear projection sectors, while sales have decreased in the CRT television and portable audio markets. Sony expects net profit for the year ending March 2006 to drop to US$755m (¥80 bn) due to restructuring plans said to be costing $680m (¥72 billion).
Canon has reported first quarter consolidated net sales of 2005 are up by 5.7% due to net sales of US$7.8 bn (¥843.4 bn) compared to last year, reports Photo Marketing Newsline. Toshizo Tanaka, senior managing director and group executive for Finance and Accounting attributes the increase to strong sales of digital cameras especially the Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350D/Kiss N) and the subsequent sales of lenses plus several new compacts in the PowerShot range. Color copiers, inkjet and laser printers, and digital video camcorders have all added to the increase.
The mobile phone industry is trying its best to rival low end digital cameras and the latest Nokia might just do the trick. The Nokia N90 multimedia boasts a Carl Zeiss lens, 2 megapixel resolution, 20x digital zoom (ahem!), auto focus, flash, macro mode and video capture. The flip and twist N90, reminiscent of the Panasonic AV series, houses a RS-MMC card and its PictBridge-compatible, and Bluetooth-enabled for wireless printing. The interface looks quite advanced for a mobile phone and the N90 also provides on-phone editing capabilities. The N90 multimedia is expected to become available in the second quarter of this year.
When it comes to women and digital cameras, recent research from imaging industry market research company Lyra reveals that Kodak really pushes their buttons. The Digital Photography survey showed that more than 20% of women use Kodak cameras while only 10% of men choose to use the brand. The most popular camera manufacturer among the male of the species is Canon, with 17% of men using its products, followed by Sony. Lyra's president and director of the Digital Photography Advisory Service, Charles LeCompte, explains the findings: "The explanation is that women in general are less comfortable with technology and therefore are more attracted to trusted brands." So ladies, dump your D-SLRs and pick up an EasyShare!
Wacom Europe has announced the first pen tablet to incorporate wireless technology. The Graphire Bluetooth has an active area of 6x8 inches and is available now priced $249.99 (approx. €192). Bluetooth-enabled devices can communicate at distances of up to 30 meters. It comes bundled with a host of software including Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 and Corel Painter Essentials 2. Wacom Japan announced an A5 Bluetooth pen tablet, called FAVO, at the end of March which was not planned for launch in Europe.
Kodak has today announced the the worldwide availability of the first products compatible with its one-touch printing system, ImageLink. The Printer Dock Series 3 is currently available bundled with ImageLink-compatible cameras the EasyShare Z740 and EasyShare Z700. The Printer Dock will be on sale as a standalone product from May 2005. The ImageLink Print System is designed to simplify at-home printing and is supported by Konica Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Ricoh, and Sanyo.
Just posted! Read our review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5, the replacement for the popular FZ3. Although externally almost identical to the FZ3, the new model features several key improvements, including a 5 megapixel sensor (bringing it closer to the FZ20 in spec terms) and faster focus. And of course it sports that huge 12x image-stabilized Leica zoom lens. Click on the link to see how it got on in our tests.