Polaroid Corp. has today filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection (according to Fox News). This has been on the cards for several days, it now seems to have finally happened. Polaroid's last recorded share value was 28 cents compared to a 10 year high of $60.31 back in July 1997. According to Reuters Polaroid owes almost $1 billion in total ($600 million to bond holders, $350 million to two groups of banks).
We've just posted our review of Pentax's pocket-sized 3 megapixel digital camera, the Optio 330. This small metal cased digital camera has a big 3x optical zoom and a wide range of manual controls. It's a camera which offers ultra-compact proportions and still enough controls to keep a shutterbug happy on a long trek. So, just how does it stack up in our review?
Casio has today announced the 'G.BROS GV-10' digital camera. Available in this highly attractive rubberized red / black case or a similar purple / silver the GV-10 has a 1.3 megapixel CCD sensor and a fixed focal length lens (35 mm equiv.). It is said to be waterproof and dustproof to JIS protection grade six, this essentially means it could be used in the rain, skiing or on the beach without any worries. Storage comes via a Compact Flash slot and the GV-10 takes four AA batteries. It's not clear at this stage if this is solely a domestic (Japan only) model or whether it will be available in the rest of the world.
We don't post much printer news, but this is significant, especially for digital photographers trying to match colour between what they see on their computer screen and what comes out of the printer. Epson recently released new ColorLife paper, the new "Custom 1440" ICC profiles for the Epson Stylus Photo 870 / 875DC / 1270 printers with the ColorLife Paper. Interstingly the release notes that "These ICC profiles were developed by EPSON America, Inc. using GretagMacbeth ProfileMaker 3.1 Professional software, along with a GretagMacbeth SpectroScan Spectrophotometer."
The online digital photography retailer Advandig has posted a sad message on their front page, "IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to unfavorable business conditions, Advandig.com has suspended operations effective 10/8." This does, unfortunately seem to be the way of the Internet at the moment, there's a big shake up under way and only the strongest will survive. In other news it looks as though Polaroid are on the brink, trading in their shares has today been suspended.
Just last week we learned of Canon's new additions to the 'S series', the PowerShot S30 and S40. Today we're proud to bring our review of a full production PowerShot S40. This (almost) pocketable, metal cased, 'carry anywhere', four megapixel digital camera is packed with manual controls and exposure features as well as a three times optical zoom lens. The camera comes with its own Lithium-Ion battery pack and is IBM Microdrive compatible. So just how well did it do in our tests? (14:40 GMT)
Lexar Media has today announced new 16x professional Compact Flash cards. Lexar claim a throughput of 2.4 MB per second (although they don't specify which camera this was tested on) where 1x is 150 KB/sec. In our own tests a standard OEM card is capable of approximately 4x, more recent large capacity cards from SimpleTech, Kingston, Pretec, Ridata etc. are at least capable of 8 - 12x speeds. "Improvements in camera resolution and image quality have increased the importance of our speed-rated CompactFlash cards,'' said Eric Stang, president and CEO, Lexar Media. "Lexar Media has long been the performance leader in memory cards and the only company to individually speed-rate its products..." (13:20 GMT)
Gatherround.com, the photo sharing / photo finishing site has announced that it will be "discontinuing service" on 1st November. Gatherround joins Zing and several other photo finishing sites in the "great internet shake-up". Just like Zing, Gatherround users are being offered an account with Ofoto as well as 15 free prints for making the move. From their FAQ page: "Why is GatherRound.com going away? We feel our customers will be better served by a service such as Ofoto, whose primary business focus is online photo sharing and printing"
The PhotoPlus Expo 2001 will be held between November 1st and 3rd at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. New digital camera products which will be shown at the exhibition will include Olympus's E-20N, Nikon D1x, Nikon Coolpix 5000, Canon PowerShot S30 / S40 and Canon EOS-1D (as well as others). We will update this article as soon as the organisers of PhotoPlus Expo confirm other products which may be on show.
Well, nearly. Thanks to reader Sven Bernert for pointing out a set of articles on the Carl Zeiss website which confirm that the lenses used in both the DSC-S70 (and we therefore assume S75 and CD300) and DSC-F505/F505V were designed by Carl Zeiss. "...multicoating guarantees vibrant pictures with superior definition and natural color rendition. With these features, the camera is sure to meet the demands of professionals and will even be used with enthusiasm by particularly ambitious photographers..."
Hagiwara Sys-Com, Japanese manufacturer, has today announced a Compact Flash Type II SmartMedia adapter, this adapter allows you to read / write SmartMedia cards in a Compact Flash Type II slot. This could be useful for those who have high speed CF card readers. It could also be used to bring SmartMedia storage to PDA type devices, it's worth noting that the SmartMedia card will protrude from the CF adapter so it couldn't be used in devices with closing CF compartment doors. (10:00 GMT)
Buffalo (Japanese Manufacturer) has today announced the "AirStation WLI-CF-S11G" 802.11b (also known as Wi-Fi) wireless Compact Flash Type II card. To me at least this type of wireless card is far more interesting than Bluetooth because of the additional range, bandwidth (11 mbit/s) and acceptance of this standard. With a much higher bandwidth the idea of carrying a large capacity storage device in a back-pack and having this wireless CF card in a digital camera may still become a reality (assuming digital camera manufacturers decided to support it). PDA owners will also be very interested in this card.
Having only received a PowerShot S40 in the last two days I've only just started the review proper. As a taster to those who are interested in this four megapixel compact digital camera, and for those who may already have been considering the PowerShot G2 I've prepared a very brief preview article which consists of product shots, major features, a feature comparison to the G2 and our standard ISO 12233 resolution chart. A full review will follow in the next seven days. (04:00 GMT)
13:00 JST / 04:00 GMT: Canon has today announced two new 'S' series digital cameras. The PowerShot S30 and S40 are based on a new body design with a sliding front lens cover, thin narrow body, new battery pack and shooting priority play mode. The S30 has a 3 megapixel sensor, the S40 has a 4 megapixel sensor. Both cameras have a full range of manual controls (they appear to be based on and almost identical to the G2). PowerShot S30 has an expected street price of $599, S40 has an expected street price of $799. (04:00 GMT)
13:00 JST / 04:00 GMT: In conjunction with their announcement of the PowerShot S30 and S40 (above) Canon has today also announced the Bubble Jet S820D direct photo printer. This printer can be connected directly to the PowerShot S30 or S40 (no computer required) via USB, connection enables new menu options on the cameras which can then send prints directly to the printer. The S820D is based on Canon's flagship S800 and can also print directly from Compact Flash Type I or II, SmartMedia and Memory Stick (all via PCMCIA adapters). Exclusive: screen captures from PowerShot S40 connected to S820D. (04:00 GMT)
Dave at Imaging-Resource has posted a range of samples shot with Canon's new professional D-SLR the EOS-1D. These samples are from a later camera than I had for my preview. Dave says, "We just received our test unit of Canon's new SLR speed demon the EOS-1D today. (Man it's fast!) I know how many of our readers have been eagerly awaiting the first test images from the new camera, so I'm happy to provide this first glimpse at it's images. All the shots here were shot more or less with the camera's default settings,but there's a few shot with other "Color Matrix" settings." (19:15 GMT)
Yes, definitely discount day... Epson has today announced it is today cutting the price of its Stylus Photo 785EPX printer to $199 and its PhotoPC 3100Z digital camera to $599. "Epson has built a solid reputation with photographers of all levels by providing digital photography products that offer superior technology, convenience and ease of use,'' said Lisa Graham, product manager, photo imaging, Epson. "With these price reductions, we are able to offer an even greater value without compromising the level of quality our customers have come to expect.'' (19:00 GMT)
Today must be discount day... Nikon has today announced it is cutting the price of the Coolpix 775 to a new low MSRP of $399.95 in addition it is also offering a $100 rebate on purchases of the Coolpix 995. "Nikon today announced a price reduction and a rebate on two of its most popular digital cameras. The Nikon Coolpix 775 will now have a reduced manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $399.95 and the Nikon Coolpix 995 will be offered with a $100 manufacturer's rebate." (16:30 GMT)
Fujifilm US has today announced a $200 price reduction for the FinePix 4800Z, 6800Z and 6900Z digital cameras. This brings them down to $499, $699 and $799 respectively. "In anticipation of this holiday season,'' Pepple continued, "shoppers will find that with Fujifilm's FinePix digital cameras, giving the gift of great pictures will be easier than ever before. With a choice of digital cameras that meet the needs of just about every digital photographer, Fujifilm's quality, high-performance FinePix line is now accessible to a wider range of consumers.'' (13:20 GMT)
Here's some interesting news from Matsushita (Panasonic), today they have announced that a 256 MB SD Memory Card will be released in Japan on December 21st and a 512 MB SD Memory Card on January 21st. This will be good news for this particular format and for the owners of digital cameras which use SD/MMC cards. "The SD Memory Card is a digital storage medium that was jointly developed by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., SanDisk Corporation, and Toshiba Corporation." (10:20 GMT)
Eric Hyman, author of the RAW conversion tools Bibble and MacBibble has just sent me a note that MacBibble 1.99 is now available. Major new features include support for D1x / D1H RAW files, new demosaicing filter and raw routines, new 2001 colour profile for the D1, faster RAW processing and firwire support for the D1x / D1H. MacBibble is also carbonized to run native under OSX. (08:50 GMT)
Approximately three hours ago the results from our current poll "Which D-SLR for you?" had received some 2600 votes and indicated interesting results, a three-way split between the Nikon D1x, Canon EOS-D30 and Canon EOS-1D (each with almost 30%). However, thanks to the childish behaviour of two users we have had to pull the poll. Scanning our log files it turns out that two users decided to 'fix' the results of the poll by registering 700 votes for the D1H and 400 votes for the EOS-1D. Very clever. Read more...
Pentax has today announced a four megapixel version of its pocket sized Optio 330. This camera is essentially identical to the 330 appart from its 4 megapixel CCD sensor (and, lets hope improved AF ability). "The Optio 430 measures just 3.6" (92mm) wide, 2.3'' (59mm) high, and 1.2" (31mm) deep and weighs only 7.2 ounces (205g). Precise imaging is achieved with the powerful 4.13 megapixel (total pixels) primary color filter CCD and a superior PENTAX 3X zoom lens (equivalent to 37.5-112.5mm in 35mm format) which provides high-resolution images and low image distortion."
Agfa (Agfa-Gevaert NV) has today announced it plans to lay off 4,000 employees (20% of its global work force) to concentrate on digital imaging. This is kind of interesting after they were quoted back in July as saying "No more digital cameras". Agfa-Gevaert Chief Executive Ludo Verhoeven said the company, best known for its photographic films, needed to invest more in new technologies, such as digital imaging. "We can only grow if we are profitable,'' Verhoeven told the VRT television network.
Sanyo Japan has today announced the DSC-AZ1 digital camera which has a 4.1 megapixel CCD and a 2.8x (Canon) optical zoom lens with an automatic cover. The AZ1 features a metallic case, optical viewfinder, 1.8" TFT LCD and supports CompactFlash Type I or II (including Microdrive). It weighs in at 280 g (10 oz) and is priced at 99,800 YEN (approx. US$840). It's not clear at this stage whether this is a domestic market (Japan) only model.
13:00 JST / 04:00 GMT: Canon has today announced its EOS-1V based digital SLR, the EOS-1D. It features a 1.3x focal length multiplier, 4.48 megapixel CCD producing a 4.06 megapixel (2464 x 1648) image. The EOS-1D is capable of shooting continuously at an amazing 8 frames per second for up to 21 JPEG images (or 16 RAW images). Other features include a fully environmentally sealed magnesium body, Canon's excellent 45-point AF, 1/16,000 max shutter speed, 1/500 sec flash X-sync, Firewire (IEEE 1394) connectivity, JPEG, RAW and RAW+JPEG saving modes, 21 custom and 25 personal functions, selectable colour matrixes (sRGB, Adobe RGB) and a super-fast 87 ms viewfinder blackout. The EOS-1D is expected to go on sale in at the end of December at a an expected street price of US$ 7000. We have an exclusive, detailed eight page hands-on preview with the EOS-1D available now.
ACDSystems the authors of the excellent image browsing / viewing application have today announced ACDSee 4.0 (Windows). ACDSee has been the browser of choice here at dpreview for some time, and it just keeps getting better. New features include a new interface, a full screen file-browsing mode, 10 new multimedia formats, enhanced slide shows, zoom level by pixels or percentages, catalog photos from CD (for offline browsing), browse thumbnails and file details in a column view and 'first frame thumbnail' for video files. Download a free trial, buy ($49.95) or upgrade ($34.95) today. This version also supports Canon RAW files (CRW) - although VERY SLOWLY.
Canon has also today announced two new lenses. The EF 16 - 35 mm F2.8L USM is a new wider version of the 17 - 35 mm, matched up to the new EOS-1D SLR it can provide a field of view equivelant to a 21 mm lens on a 35 mm film camera. The 400 mm F4 DO IS USM is a lens we first saw at Photokina last year. It features a unique multi-layer diffractive optical element which has allowed the designers to make the new 400 mm DO 1 KG lighter and 84 mm (3.3 in) shorter than the old 400 mm F4.
Mike Chaney, author of QImage Pro has just launched the first version of Profile Prism. This unique product allows you to generate your own ICC profiles for digital cameras or scanners. "Profile Prism is software that allows the digital photographer to quickly and easily create ICC profiles for their digital cameras and scanners using the included 753 patch color target. Since digital cameras can often be more difficult to profile due to lens distortions, lighting, exposure, and other factors, Profile Prism offers several industry firsts that assist in developing digital camera profiles that work under both general lighting and specific lighting conditions."
In a surprise move the nationwide (UK) high street pharmacist Boots Plc. has decided to pull the plug on its online photo finishing business bootsphoto.com. Boots are blaminig low demand for the service which was launched just 12 months ago. Bootsphoto are currently sending emails out to previous users warning them of a gradual decrease in service availability.
We've just posted our full in-depth review of a production Minolta DiMAGE 5. The DiMAGE 5 is the three megapixel 'cousin' to the five megapixel DiMAGE 7. It features the same 7x optical zoom lens which, because of the slightly smaller sensor size produce an equiv. focal length range of 35 - 250 mm. The camera weighs in with a list price of $999, although can be found around the web at approximately $900. Come in and see how it did in our tests.
Rob Galbraith has just posted an excellent head-to-head of the Nikon D1H and Kodak DCS 720x in use at high sensitivities. Titled "ISO 1600 and beyond with the Nikon D1H and Kodak DCS 720X" the article covers the basic functionality of both cameras, a description and examination of noise and some excellent head-to-head sports photography shots from both cameras at ISO 1600, 3200 and 6400. To quote Rob, "...it's clear to me that either the DCS 720X or D1H is suitable for sports photography up to ISO 1600.", "ISO 3200 is another story. A properly-exposed DCS 720X image like the one at left, once filtered with Quantum Mechanic Pro, is unbeatable."
A week after the announcement of the E-20P in Europe, Olympus US has announced the E-20N. Identical to the E-20P other than its NTSC video output and name. There's no official word on why Olympus has decided to release the same camera with only a very slightly different name, however we could guess that it could be an attempt to discourage grey imports. US list price for the E-20N will be $1999 (which is too high IMHO). UPDATE: High resolution product images available.
EST: 0600 UTC: Nikon has today announced the Coolpix 5000. This
all new five megapixel, three times optical zoom (28 - 85 mm equiv.) digital
camera marks the new prestige in the Nikon line. There are many noticeable
specifications: all metal case, flash hotshoe, new flip-out and twist
LCD, record/play instant switch, rear status LCD, AE-L / AF-L button and
dual speed continuous shooting plus all of the major features of the Coolpix
995. This article (part one of two) we'll examine the cameras specifications
in detail as well as the full press release. Price: $1099. 0600
EST: 0600 UTC: Nikon has today announced the Coolpix 5000. This
all new five megapixel, three times optical zoom digital camera marks
the new prestige in the Nikon line. It's all metal (magnesium alloy) body
and stylish lines make it extremely distinctive and professional looking.
Don't be deceived by the looks this camera is smaller than you would think!
In this article (part two of two) we have press photos of the image as
well as some exclusive shots of a pre-production unit we have in-house.
Here's a date for the diary of our readers in the UK, on Saturday September 29th the UK magazine What Digital Camera will be hosting the first dedicated "digital photography show". There event will be attended by various major manufacturers including Fujifilm, HP, Kyocera, Lexar, Minds@Work, Minolta, Nikon, Nixvue, Olympus, Pentax, Ricoh, Simple Technology and Sony. There are also talks on digital camera basics and Photoshop techniques. It will be held at the Westminster Central Halls, entry is just £5 (two for one vouchers in October issue of What Digital Camera and Amateur Photographer).
We've just posted our full review of Nikon's fast shooting D1H digital SLR. The D1H is based on the sucessful D1 but adds the features and user interface seen on the D1x as well as a faster 5 fps shooting rate, 40 image continuous shooting buffer and improved high ISO performance. As a part of the review I took the D1H to the Silverstone race track for rounds 21 and 22 of the British Touring Car Championship. Catch some of the action and see how the D1H stands in our extensive review.
Sanyo Japan has today announced its IDS-M1 portable storage device. This unit is capable of transferring the contents of Compact Flash (Type I or II) or SmartMedia cards onto 730 MB iD PHOTO Magneto-Optical storage discs (or visa versa). It has both USB (1.1) and Firewire (IEEE 1394) connectivity for computer transfer of data. Expected price is 55,000 YEN (approx. $500) and it should be available on October 19th (Japan).
Irvine Sensors, a 51% share holder of Silicon Film, has today announced that it is suspending operations at Silicon Film. What started as a rumour, grew into vapour ware, became a product which was demonstrated at PMA 2001 but was simply never attractive and always crippled by storage, battery, environment and sensor size limitations has now turned into vaporized-ware. "The Silicon Film Board has retained special counsel in contemplation of liquidation through bankruptcy proceedings, if immediate financing alternatives are not secured."
Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) has today announced the LUMIX line of digital cameras which make use of Leica Optics. The DMC-LC5 is a 'prosumer' four megapixel digital cameras with a 3x Leica optical zoom lens with full manual control. The DMC-F7 is a compact two megapixel digital camera with a 2x Leica optical zoom lens. Both cameras utilize MMC (SD) storage cards and are powered by proprietary Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries. Both cameras will be available in both black or silver finishes.
Europe has today posted an update to Nikon Capture 2 (for D1 / D1x / D1H).
v2.0.1 has two major fixes: (a) When multiple images are selected in the
Thumbnails section of the
Camera Image Window, if Image Adjustment is pasted, White Balance and Adranced Raw settings will not be reflected. (b) Saving JPEG(JFIF or EXIF) images at the excellent quality (the lowest compression ratio) setting does not produce the expected results. The update requires an existing full install of Nikon Capture 2 and is available for both Windows and Mac OS platforms.
Olympus Japan has today announced two new waterproof casings, the PT-011 (for the C-2) and PT-012 (for the C-40Z). The PT-011 provides a waterproof casing for the new C-2 which is capable of depths of 30 m, the PT-012 which is designed for the new C-40Z goes even deeper with a maximum depth of 40 m. Both cases weigh approximately 350 g (12 oz). The PT-011 will go on sale in October (Japan) at 12,800 YEN (~US$ 100), the PT-012 will go on sale in Novemeber (Japan) at 25,000 YEN (~US$ 200).
Olympus has today announced a new 2 megapixel version of the C-1 digital camera named the C-2 (to be known as the BRIO D-230 in North America). Just like the C-1 it has a fixed focal length lens (36 mm equiv.), automatic sensitivity (ISO 100 - 400), USB connectivity and a SmartMedia slot for storage (16 MB Supplied).
Olympus has today announced the sucessor to the Olympus E-10, the 5 megapixel E-20. The P suffix stands for PAL (video format) for the model which is sold in Europe (and SE Asia), the N suffix will be used for the NTSC model. The E-20P has the same 4x zoom 35 - 140 mm lens, the same TTL viewfinder (though now with a focusing screen), the same ISO 80, 160, 320 sensitivity, RAW mode, noise reduction, pixel mapping and official support for the 1 GB Microdrive. All of these additions should add up to a capable and improved Olympus 'E' digital SLR.
Kodak has today announced an updated version of its medium format digital back the 'Pro Back' as the new 'Pro Back Plus'. The Pro Back Plus now has a shutter release port and electronic shutter cables to enable it to work with a wider range of medium format cameras. Support - medium format: Hasselblad 553 ELD, Hasselblad 503, Mechanical Hasselblads, Bronica, Fuji 680, Kapture Group True-Wide. Large format: Sinar, Horseman, Toyo, Arca Swiss, Cambo. Other cameras: Horseman DigiFlex, Silvestri.
Words fail me at this time, I have been watching CNN (and the BBC) since the original news broke and have seen these terrible events unfold, watching the second plane strike the WTC tower live then seeing each tower collapse was something which stuns the senses. Our thoughts go out to those individuals and families caught up in this terror. We will all remember where we were and what we were doing on this day.
Fujifilm has today announced the 2 megapixel (not SuperCCD), 6x (F2.8 - F3.0) optical zoom (38 - 228 mm equiv.) FinePix 2800Z digital camera. The 2800Z (as with all other Fujifilm consumer digital cameras) has a SmartMedia slot and comes with a 16 MB card. It can record 60 second movies (with audio) as well as voice annotations which can be attached to images. Its SLR-like design and 6x optical zoom will appeal to first time (and even more advanced) buyers who are looking for an easy to use digital camera. Available October, price just $449.
Canon Europe has today announced it has acquired the UK photo-sharing service 'Fotango'. Fotango was founded in London in 1999 by a team of just five. Fotango make both traditional film photographs available as online albums as well as digital images. Alexis de Belloy, CEO of Fotango said: "The Canon deal provides both parties a strong foothold in the exploding digital imaging marketplace. Canon is a multi-national organisation that offers unrivalled expertise in digital imaging capture, while Fotango provides the means to manipulate and distribute pictures worldwide."
IBM has today cut the price of the Microdrive. The official prices are now: 1 GB - $379, 512 MB - $259, 340 MB - $199. This brings the Microdrive down to an unbelievable $0.37/MB. "As acceptance of Microdrive by both consumers and device makers grows, we're able to continue with dramatic price cuts," IBM spokesman Michael Kuptz said. IBM has lowered the cost per megabyte by 50 percent in each of the past two years, he added. Also worth noting is that with the Microdrive 1 GB really is 1048576 KB.