Panasonic has added three high capacity SD cards to its Pro High Speed, High Speed and miniSD ranges. First up is the flagship 2GB card introduced to the Pro High Speed range. It offers a data transfer rate of 20MB/s and will hit the shops in August with a price tag of €249.99 (US$299). The new addition to the High Speed range is the 1GB SD card available in August for €99.99 (US$119). And for mobile phones with built-in cameras there is a 512MB miniSD memory card, which can store music and images and will be priced €49.99 (US$59) when it hits the shops next month.
Pentax has announced that its profits fell by 42% in the fiscal first quarter, compared to the previous year, reports the International Herald Tribune. Net income fell to ¥261m (US$2.32) from ¥448m (US$3.97m) the previous year. The loss is blamed on ever decreasing profit margins on compact digital cameras and the company says it plans to focus on the "more profitable single-lens reflex digital camera to offset price declines in compact types" as well as "raise the pace of new model introductions to three per year from two, starting this year," says Fumio Urano, Pentax president. Urano said that the company will also cut 300 jobs in the next two years.
Konica Minolta and Sony have today announced an agreement to jointly develop digital SLR cameras. This agreement appears to mean that both Konica Minolta and Sony will develop D-SLR cameras with Konica Minolta lens mounts. It also covers technology sharing between the two, including Sony's CMOS sensors and Info-Lithium batteries and Konica Minolta's AF, metering and Anti-Shake system. The release doesn't state whether each company will be able to use any of these techologies in products other than DSLRs. I suppose this means Sony aren't going the Four Thirds route...
Adobe has today posted a software update for its file browsing program in Photoshop CS2. Adobe Bridge version 1.02 update delivers overall improved stability and performance and is recommended for all Adobe Bridge customers. Adobe Bridge was based on the file browser introduced in Photoshop 7.0 and allows you to organize, browse, locate and view the assets you need with visual previews and scalable thumbnails.
Industry analysts InfoTrends/CAP Ventures has reported that unit sales of digital cameras in North America hit a high of 22.2 million in 2004, and the number is continuing to rise. Although the pace at which the market is growing has slowed to 16% from 27%, the market is expected to reach 26 million units this year. Household penetration is also set to rise above half for the first time, at 55%. One of the biggest growth sectors is DSLRs. InfoTrends/CAP Ventures expects the consumer DSLR market to grow 81% in 2005. Research also shows that the market has matured greatly since the introduction of digital cameras nearly 10 years ago, and that by the end of this decade nine out of 10 buyers will be previous owners.
HP is expecting to announce a huge restructuring that could mean between 5,000 - 25,000 redundancies, reports the Wall Street Journal. HP's new Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd, who was appointed in late March, plans to make significant cost cuts at the technology company which he said "has a cost structure that is off benchmark in many areas". The restructure is likely to be announced at the end of the fiscal third quarter on July 29. The layoffs could bring around $100 million in headcount-related savings in the period.
Canon USA has announced that customers with the Battery Grip BG-E2 used with the EOS 20D and 20Da, and a certain serial number range can return their grip/magazine for a free repair/replacement. This is due to a cases where even with fully charged batteries (exclusive battery pack or NiMH battery) or unused AA size batteries, only a few shots can be taken or 'bc' is displayed immediately.
Konica Minolta has today announced the Dynax / Maxxum 5D digital SLR. This new digital SLR is Konica Minolta's answer to the Nikon D50 and Canon EOS 350D (Rebel XT), a more affordable digital SLR aimed more at the beginner market. It's both smaller and lighter than the Maxxum 7D and has fewer external controls (although those which are left are the most useful; WB, ISO, etc.). The 5D of course still features Konica Minolta's unique in-camera Anti-Shake system which stabilizes the sensor rather than a lens element.
Konica Minolta has today announced the development of a new lens. The AF 35 mm F1.4G D is designed for the Dynax/Maxxum series of SLRs and features distance encoding which enables the more advanced ADI flash metering, it is also claimed to have a rounder aperture for an improved bokeh (defocused area) appearance. This lens is due to be launched in 'Spring 2006' (read PMA).
Konica Minolta has today announced the ultra-slim DiMAGE X1, an eight megapixel three times optical zoom ultra-compact digital camera with Anti-Shake and a large 2.5-inch LCD monitor. From a design point of view the X1 is much more rounded in appearance compared to its siblings, indeed it looks more like a rounded-off Sony DSC-T3. At the time of publication the X1 appears to be the ultra-compact that pack the most: eight megapixels, Anti Shake as well as an internal zoom lens.
German manufacturer Rollei has announced its offering for the 8 megapixel market with the dp8300. The metal-bodied compact offers a 36 - 108 mm 3x zoom lens, large 2.5-inch LCD, 5cm macro function plus 640 x 480-pixel movie mode which is limited only by the size of the memory card. The Rollei dp8300 will be on sale at the end of the month for around €349 ($422).
Sales of digital SLRs continue to rise and nearly doubled in the period 2003-2004, according to industry analyst NPD Techworld. PMA Sales of DSLRs rose from 277,796 in 2003 to 578,000 in 2004 and are on track to break records this year as 200,000 units had already been sold by April 2005. The 2005 PMA US Consumer Photo Buying report also reveals that 60% of DSLR owners are male, who are slightly older than compact digital camera users at around 48 years old, but younger than 35mm SLR users at 52
In further evidence of its commitment to digital, Eastman Kodak has announced plans to accelerate moves into the CMOS image sensor market after news of a manufacturing alliance with IBM. The recently available three and five megapixel CIS devices are intended for mass market products such as camera phones and digital cameras. The KODAK KAC-3100 and KAC-5000 Image Sensors incorporate Kodak PIXELUX technology, which is designed to improve image quality and performance, and offer more features than other CMOS-based image sensors on the market.
Extensis has released a free update for Portfolio 7 that adds support for several digital SLRs and compact cameras. The Portfolio Raw Filter 2 update adds support for 14 new cameras including the Nikon D2x, D2H, Olympus E-300, Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, Digital Rebel XT, Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D and the Pentax *ist DS. Additionally, update version 7.0.6 also provides compatibility updates for Adobe CS2 and Apple Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger).
Just posted! The Cyber-shot DSC-H1 is Sony's attempt to win a share of one of the fastest growing digital camera market sectors, the 5 megapixel 'super zoom'. As well as a huge 12x optical zoom the H1 is a real treasure chest of photographic control, offering a wealth of automatic, semi automatic and manual exposure modes, a big 2.5" screen and VGA/30fps movies in space-efficient MPEG format. But is it enough to see off stiff competition from the likes of Canon and Panasonic? Read the review after the link to find out....
Canon has today launched a new educational website called 'Enjoy! Digital SLR Cameras'. Split into five sections it contains a large range of tutorials covering everything from the familiarising yourself with the camera to selecting the right exposure, how to frame subjects more creatively and even printing. While the site is clearly aimed at users of Canon digital SLRs much of the material applies equally to all SLR users.
Olympus has announced the successor to the TIPA-winning C-310, which was only announced at PMA in February. The Olympus C-315 Zoom boasts a higher resolution at 5.1 megapixel but a slightly shorter 2.8x zoom. Looks-wise the C-315 is practically the same; 1.8-inch LCD and basic controls. Like its predecessor it's aimed at the 'ambitious' beginners. It will be available at the end of July.
Amateur photographers in the UK are being invited to capture digital photographs of Britain's rural, urban and human landscapes to help to build a picture of Britain. The competition is being run in conjunction with a BBC4 series 'A Digital Picture of Britiain' presented by professional photographer Tom Ang. As well as the chance to win £500 worth of photographic equipment, winning entries may be featured in a Photographic Masterclass presented by Tom Ang on BBC interactive TV. They may also be exhibited at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Yorkshire in September 2005. You can catch A Digital Picture of Britain on Sunday 3 July at 10pm.
Olympus has announced a new 8mm F 3.5 Zuiko Digital fisheye lens for its E-system digital SLRs offering a 180 degree angle of view. The lens has a special multi-layer coating designed to reduce susceptibility to ghosting and flaring and its ED element will help keep chromatic aberration to a minimum. It also offers 2 cm macro mode. The optional PPO-EO4 underwater lens port will allow you to take ultra-wideangle pictures 40 meters under the water's surface. It will be available in January 2006 at a price yet to be set.
Nikon has updated the firmware for its portable image viewing and storage device the Coolwalker MSV-01. Version 1.3 for Windows and Mac users corrects a problem that occurred with images taken by the Nikon D2X, D2Hs (TIFF files) and the Coolpix 8800 and Coolpix 8400 (JPEG files); the images would not fill the whole screen in full-screen playback. Another problem that prevented the display of JPEGs taken with the D50 at an image size setting of 'S' has also been corrected. There was also a problem for Mac users - the Coolwalker was not correctly recognized by computers running Mac OS X.
Samsung Electronics is to develop a 5MP QSXGA CMOS image sensor (CIS) by the end of the year, according to the EE Times. The company says the image sensor measures light sensitivity 50% better than previous designs and is 30% smaller than other models with a similar resolution. The CIS will perform as well as a CCD, but will use less power and be more competitively priced. Samsung has already developed a 3.2 megapixel chip for use in camera phones, which will be launched early next year.
Nikon has today posted an update for its image management, edit and design software program PictureProject. Version 1.5.2 corrects a problem that prevented proper display of layouts as well as several problems that occurred with CD and DVD burning. It also corrects a problem when NEF+JPEG Basic Images capture with the D50 were opened in PictureProject, which caused differences in brightness between the RAW image and the corresponding JPEG image.
Toshiba is set to consider a 'legal response' after the verdict from a Californian jury, which ordered the company to pay Lexar $465.4 m following theft of trade secrets and punitive damages, Reuters reports. The news was announced by the head of Toshiba, Tadashi Okamura, at the annual shareholders' meeting. Toshiba was found guilty in March of theft of trade secrets relating to NAND flash chips used in CompactFlash cards, Secure Digital and xD-Picture Cards. Okamura told Reuters, "We developed the NAND flash-related technology on our own. The ruling is totally unjust and we would like to consider a legal response."
Just posted! Our 'In a Nutshell' review of Adobe Photoshop CS2. The latest version of the most popular digital imaging application features numerous improvements aimed squarely at the digital photographer, in our review we have focused primarily on these improvements and new features. This review was written by site contributor and author of the 123 of digital imaging, Vincent Bockaert.
Nikon has announced an software update to Nikon View. Version 6.2.6 adds support for RAW images captured by the D50 and the red-eye correction function can now be used on RAW and 16-bit TIFF images. Another problem that occurred was that RAW files could not be opened in Nikon Capture 2 if they were rotated in Nikon View 6.2.x.
Canon has today posted two firmware updates for two of its digital SLRs. Firmware version 1.2.3 for the EOS-1D Mark II and version 1.1.3 for the EOS-1Ds Mark II fixes the previous firmware problem which meant that when the display button was pressed right after shooting images the camera would freeze and would result in an abnormal display.
Nikon has announced the opening of a new subsidiary in China called Nikon Imaging, which will initally employ 50 people to develop the imaging business in the country. The new enterprise, which opened June 20, endeavors to increase sales of digital cameras by directly importing and wholesaling imaging products such as digital cameras. The workforce is expected to rise to around 120 after a year and the company has a sales target of ¥10 billion for the first fiscal year and approximately ¥33 billion after three years.
Just posted! (A little later than we'd hoped - this one took a long time!) The PowerShot S2 IS is Canon's much-anticipated successor to the hugely popular S1 IS, bringing it in line with the rest of the increasingly competitive 5 megapixel big zoom market. The good news is that the S2 is no 'minor upgrade' - almost every aspect of the S1's specification and performance has been improved or refined, the body is entirely new and some of the most serious problems found on the original model have been addressed. But is it enough? Find out what we thought after the link...
Nikon has today posted firmware version 1.7 for the 8 megapixel Coolpix 8800 and version 1.5 for the Coolpix 8400. The firmware addresses a number of issues; the shutter releases immediately when using the self-timer and remote control together and the self-timer can now be used with certain scene modes including fireworks, museum and sports. Both cameras can now use 6GB Microdrives. Problems caused by selecting Quick response for the Release speed option have also been rectified.
As a direct result of the popularity of digital and further evidence that Kodak is dedicating its future to the digital market, it will soon end its century-old tradition of producing black and white photographic paper, according to Associated Press. The demand for the paper, specially designed for black and white film and used by fine-art photographers, has declined by 25% annually. The decision to end black and white paper production will mean the closure of its plant in Brazil and takes the company closer to its target of cutting around 15,000 of its workforce 2007.
Microsoft has today made their RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer PowerToy available for download. This utility provides for viewing of Canon (CRW & CR2) RAW and Nikon (NEF) RAW files as well as TIFF images and other standard image formats (BMP, GIF, PNG, JPEG etc.). The utility is split into a Windows XP shell extension which provides preview / edit / print commands for RAW files as well as a RAW viewer application. It weighs in as a 47 MB download!
Fuji has just announced an underwater housing for its '24-hour' camera, the six megapixel FinePix F10 Zoom that is waterproof up to a depth of 40 meters. The polycarbonate housing, which will be hard to lose with its bright orange coloring, offers full operational functionality underwater and the package includes a strap, spare o-ring and maintenance guide. The suggested retail price is around £149.
Nikon has announced an update to its RAW conversion and image management program. As well as adding support for the Nikon D50, Nikon Capture version 4.3 now adds color aberration control, red eye correction and improves processing for NEF files. The new color aberration tool automatically reduces the appearance of color fringing. The multi image window, which displays thumbnails and allows simultaneous editing of multiple images, is now easier to use; names of preferred folders can be changed to something the user finds easier to remember.
Microsoft has issued a beta version of a new illustration, painting and graphics application program code named Acrylic. The news was first announced by CNET, which says the software is based on graphics application Expression, which Microsoft acquired with its purchase of Hong Kong-based company Creature House. Acrylic will only be available for Windows XP, despite Expression being available for Apple Macs before the purchase.
Fujifilm has today posted firmware version 1.02 for the FinePix F10 Zoom. The new firmware corrects English displayed on the LCD and updates the compatibility of the PictBridge function with some printers. It has also rectified the error that would not allow some computers to start up when the F10 was connected and powered up.
Just posted! The Casio EX-Z750 models joins such as the Canon SD500 and Sony DSC-P200 in one of the most fiercely competitive sectors of the market and offers by far the largest feature set in its class. It has a plethora of 'Best Shot' scene modes (30 in total), full photographic control, MPEG-4 movies, in-camera special effects and basic image editing and long battery life. So is this the 7 megapixel, 3x zoom compact by which others will be judged or an over-specified novelty piece? Read our concise review after the link to find out..
Lexar has issued a customer advisory regarding its Professional 80x speed CompactFlash cards (512MB - 4GB) following the news that there was a problem, described as 'lost image condition', when used with certain Canon digital SLRs. Lexar is now proposing to replace the affected cards. Owners must fill out a Return Materials Authorization (RMA) form and once they have received an RMA number, they will be sent a replacement Lexar card with the firmware installed. It is not possible to install the firmware. Affected cameras include the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, 1D Mark II, 20D and Digital Rebel XT/350D/Kiss Digital N.
Casio has added to its Exilim Card range with the super slim EX-S500. The 5 megapixel camera is 13.7mm at its thinnest point (excluding protrusions). Despite only having a 3x optical zoom, the S500 features Anti-Shake DSP and also has a 2.2-inch LCD. Movie capture is 640x480 at 30fps and there's also a Past Movie funtion, which enables recording five seconds before the shutter button is pressed. The stainless steel-bodied camera is available in meister gray, fiesta orange and nordic white in July (Europe) priced £299.99.
A new device is being marketed by UK distribution company Intro2020 that allows you to view the scene in the viewfinder on an LCD. The Zigview monitor attaches to your SLR's viewfinder where the image is captured by the CMOS sensor inside it and relayed in real time to the 1.9-inch TFT. The Zigview works with most digital and film SLRs and is supplied with an eyepiece adapter for common Nikon, Canon and Fuji cameras. Adapters for other cameras will cost £6.99. The Zigview monitor will retail for around £119.99.
Lexar announced their LockTight technology back in February. LockTight is essentially an encryption and access control system which ensures that 'locked' CompactFlash cards can not be used in unauthorized cameras or read by unauthorized users on any computer but your own (and with the correct username and password). We've had an opportunity to test a Beta version of the LockTight software, card and card reader with our review Nikon D2X. UPDATE: We have received a clarification about how exactly the encryption is carried out. (2nd update)
Olympus is to cut production for digital camera costs by 30% due to fierce competition, reports Bloomberg. The news follows earlier announcements that Olympus, the world's fourth largest camera manufacturer, is to cut 4,000 jobs, 13% of its global workforce. The long term aim is to recover some profit after Olympus reported its first ever annual loss last month. The job cuts will save the company around ¥3 bn. Bloomberg says Olympus expects shipments of digital cameras to rise from 8.9m to 9.5m this year with the release of two SLRs aimed at pros and serious amateurs.
Just as soon as we review a camera, it's 'evolutionized' and a new one is launched. The new camera is the Samsung Digimax V800, successor to the recently reviewed Digimax V700. As suggested by its name it boasts one million more pixels than the V700 taking it to 8 megapixels, and, as seems popular with Samsung's recent launches, the V800 sports a large 2.5-inch LCD. The Digimax V800 can record high quality movies (VGA @ 30 fps) with stabilization and a pause function. It also boasts manual control, Schneider-Kreuznach lens and a 32MB built-in memory.
The final three 5 megapixel cameras to be launched by Samsung are in the A series. First up is the beginner-friendly fixed-lens Digimax A502, which has four scene modes and a 1.8-inch LCD. The Digimax A55W and Digimax A50 (pictured) sport almost identical spec, although the former has a 5x zoom and the latter has a 3x zoom. Features include in-camera video editing, 2.5-inch LCD, 32MB built-in memory, MPEG 4 movie mode and auto macro function (2cm A55W / 5cm A50). The also offer PictBridge compatibility and an Album feature for categorizing and saving your images.
Samsung has announced five 5 megapixel cameras today in a bid to 'drive penetration of this important sector'. The first two introduce a new L series in the shape of the L50 and the wideangle Digimax L55W. The metal-bodied L55W sports the biggest LCD on a compact Samsung camera at 2.8 inches. It has a 28 - 135 mm lens(4.8x zoom), 2cm macro function and MPEG 4 movie mode. The L50 is pocket-sized and has a 3x optical zoom, and MPEG 4 movie mode which you can pause. You can also use the zoom during recording but if you do so you will lose the sound..
Samsung has officially announced its first SLR-styled digital camera, the Pro815, an 8 megapixel 15x zoom model. It's targeted at enthusiasts and boasts a lot of 'world firsts' including the largest LCD on a digital camera at 3.5 inches, world's longest zoom on a high end camera and world's largest capacity lithium ion battery. The fully manual Pro815 sports a Schneider-Kreuznach lens and boasts a color data LCD screen for waist-level shooting, 2.5fps continuous mode and ISO 800. High speed mode allows steady shooting at the long end of the zoom. It's due to ship in August and will cost approximately £600 ($849).
Nikon has announced a collaboration with Microsoft which will allow easy access to its raw NEF files in current and future versions of Windows. The project is intended to make NEF more widely accessible through current and future versions of Windows, which is ironic considering that just a few weeks ago it emerged that Nikon had encrypted white balance data in its NEF files which meant it could not be read by Adobe Camera RAW. The next version of Windows, Longhorn, will offer enhanced native support. Microsoft and Nikon have previously worked together producing Microsoft's RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer for Windows XP.