Pre-PMA 2004: Nikon has today announced the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18 - 70 mm F3.5 - F4.5 G IF-ED lens (what a mouthful!). This new lens joins the range of DX Nikkor lenses which are designed specifically for DX compatible Nikon digital SLR's. Of course the 18 - 70 mm DX is the perfect complement to the newly announced D70 digital SLR. On any Nikon DX compatible digital SLR this lens provides an equivelant field of view of 27 to 105 mm (approx. 4x zoom). This lens is also obviously aimed to 'one up' the Canon 18 - 55 mm lens which now falls short at the telephoto end.
Pre-PMA 2004: As part of a range of announcements and to complement the new D70 Nikon has today announced the Speedlight SB-600. "When used in combination with Nikon's latest digital SLRs, the D70 or D2H, the SB-600 supports Advanced Wireless Lighting as a remote Speedlight that can be positioned as one of multiple remote flashes to significantly extend creative possibilities. To assist in such situations, the Speedlight SB-600 also has two Ready Lights located on both the left and right of the front that can be easily seen from a distance. The SB-600 can also emit an audible alert for further assistance."
Pre-PMA 2004: Nikon enter the mobile storage market with the new CoolWalker product line, starting with the MSV-01. The CoolWalker MSV-01 has a 2.5" TFT LCD monitor, rubberized body finish, a Compact Flash Type I/II slot (other media supported via CF adapters), 30 GB hard disk, Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface, Audio/Video output plus supplied IR remote control, is powered by a Lithium Polymer battery and has PictBridge direct printing support. The CoolWalker MSV-01 measures 130 x 81 x 35 mm (5.1 x 3.2 x 1.4 in) and weighs just 350 g (12.3 oz). The CoolWalker supports JPEG, TIFF and NEF (Nikon RAW from digital cameras) as well as the playback of audio and video clips (Motion JPEG).
Pre-PMA 2004: Nikon today announced PictureProject a new application set to replace NikonView for new Nikon digital cameras. The new software supports automatic transfer of images from the camera as soon as it is connected, a new single window management system, quick browsing, searching and keyword attachment. "Beginning this spring, it will be included with newly released Nikon digital cameras, not merely as a complimentary offering, but as a powerful tool that adds value and enjoyment to digital photography. Signaling Nikon's intention to expand and further strengthen its software portfolio with add-on tools and higher-function products to come, PictureProject is about to change the digital photography experience."
Software: Breeze Systems has today announced DSLR Remote Pro for users of Canons Digital SLR cameras (EOS-1DS, EOS-1D, 10D, Digital REBEL, 300D). Professionals can now use DSLR Remote Pro to control the EOS-1DS and EOS-1D as well as Canons midrange DSLR cameras. DSLR Remote Pro runs on Windows and is available now at an introductory price of US$129 and also on a 15 day free trial.
PMA Data Watch has today released a report showing projected sales figures of digital cameras for 2003. The volume of cameras sold was projected to increase by 64 percent to 50 million units. Europe has led this growth, roughly doubling its sales volume each year. In fact, Europe overtook the Americas during 2003 as the world's largest market for digital cameras, accounting for 36 percent of units sold. Growth in the Americas has been strong nonetheless, rising by 48 percent in 2003, while digital camera sales increased by 34 percent in Japan.
Kodak has today said it would cut as many as 15,000 jobs and take charges of up to $1.7 billion over the next three years as it works through a painful shift toward digital products and away from the waning film market. Kodak has shed some 22,000 jobs in the last five years, cutting its work force to about 64,000 in 2003 from 86,000 in 1998. Another story from Kodak today is that that are buying the remaining 41% of Chinon Industries to take full control. Chinon Industries, established in 1948, is engaged in research, development, and manufacturing of digital cameras.
Casio today posted firmware Version 1.0.2 for the Exilim EX-Z4. This firmware fixes a problem that occurs in the Voice Recoding Mode when the memory becomes full, and also improves white balance performance. As usual please read carefully the firmware installation information before installing the Casio Exilim EX-Z4 firmware!
Pre-PMA 2004: In our first official press release timed for the run-up to PMA Fujifilm UK has confirmed its commitment to the film market. While we don't normally publish news about film cameras it does seem to be the flavour of the moment to speculate on who will be next to "dump film" after Kodak's recent announcements. Fujifilm UK has today announced four new film models initially with more to come in 2004 (including APS).
Olympus today announced that the latest version of its Olympus Viewer or Olympus Studio (1.1) can automatically check for new firmwrare updates for E System digital cameras over the Internet (starts 28th Jan). "Once they have the latest version of the software, updating the firmware is incredibly easy. After connecting the camera to a Mac or Windows computer* and logging onto the internet, the user just needs to start the Firmware Update function in the Help menu in Olympus Viewer or Olympus Studio. This initiates a check of the firmware in the camera body and any connected lens and flash. If necessary, the latest version can be automatically downloaded and installed."
Canon today posted firmware Version 2.0.1 for the EOS 10D digital SLR. This firmware fixes the display of color temperature in playback mode after pressing the INFO button, this is clearly a small step update from version 2.0.0. Updating is very easy, simply drop the firmware update file onto a Compact Flash card, insert it into the camera, power on and select 'OK'.
It's that time of year again where we've more than reached the limits of our current hardware and are ready to switch to new servers. They're already up and running and most of the 'background' transfer work has already been done, the new servers are now handling dns, mail and basic web service. At some stage in the next fourty eight hours we will need to shut down the main site to transfer the forums database to the new database server, during this time the site will not be available and this may take up to six hours (we will also be re-arranging the database files). See inside for more detail.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of the Fujifilm FinePix S7000 Zoom. When it was announced in July this year the S7000 held a claim to be the only prosumer digital camera to have a sensor with more than five million pixels, it features Fujfilm's latest six million pixel SuperCCD HR sensor. Because of the pixel layout of SuperCCD the S7000 by default outputs a twelve million pixel image, although you can select smaller image sizes, including six million pixels. See how the S7000 perfomed in our tests, read the review.
In a major announcement today Kodak has stated that it will stop selling its APS and reloadable 35 mm film cameras in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. It will continue to make disposable 'single use' film cameras for all markets and will continue to sell reloadable 35 mm film cameras into 'emerging markets' such as China, India, Eastern Europe and Latin America. This effectively means the end of all APS cameras from Kodak, worldwide. Kodak is shifting more of its efforts towards the ever more popular digital camera products.
Fujifilm UK has today announced that a number of early FinePix S7000 Zoom digital cameras may experience battery power depletion when used with some CompactFlash memory cards. Fujifilm has already made the required internal modifications to cameras manufactured after 15 December 2003, and is no longer supplying affected units. However, the company advises that a limited number of cameras produced prior to this date were released to the UK market and may encounter this problem. Fujifilm is offering a priority replacement of the part / camera on affected units. Naturally, this service is free and prioritised, and the camera will be picked up and returned by Fujifilm.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Sony's eight megapixel DSC-F828. This camera created a storm when it was first announced, the successor to the highly praised and much appreciated DSC-F717 added another three million pixels to the sensor and a big mechanical zoom 28 - 200 mm lens with an impressive F2.0 to F2.8 maximum aperture. The F828 also carries many more improvements and new features over the F717. See how the DSC-F828 perfomed in our tests.
Pentax has today released firmware version 1.10 for the *ist D digital SLR. This is the first firmware update for this camera, it adds / fixes the following: you can use the hyper manual function with the aperture ring set to a position other than A, the use of exposure compensation in Manual mode, prevent Auto Bracketing from being cancelled when the camera auto powered off and an update to EXIF 2.2 file format and the change of prefix for Adobe RGB colorspace images.This firmware update is available on both the Pentax Japan and Pentax USA websites. The update is available for Windows and Mac.
CES 2004: Panasonic has today announced two new digital cameras. The Lumix DMC-LC50 and DMC-L70 appear to have either the same or a very similar body to the DMC-LC33 and DMC-LC43. The only visual difference being that the entire case is silver. The DMC-LC50 has a three megapixel sensor, the DMC-LC70 has a four megapixel sensor. Included in the press release for these two new cameras is the compact four megapixel, three times optical zoom DMC-FX5 which we revealed in October last year.
CES 2004: SanDisk has today announced the largest capacity Memory Stick to date, the new 2 GB Memory Stick Pro. This new capacity joins SanDisk's existing line of Memory Stick Pro cards which range from 256 MB to the new 2 GB and with the addition of a new range of Memory Stick Pro DUO cards are now available in a rather fetching semi-transparent blue color. "SanDisk Memory Stick PRO cards are expected to be available in February 2004 with capacities that range from 256MB to 2GB and suggested list prices from $100 to $1,000."
CES 2004: Konica Minolta has today announced that they have developed a DiMAGE Messenger 2.0 Plug-in for ACDSee(TM) digital imaging software. The DiMAGE Messenger 2.0 Plug-in serves as a multimedia communications tool to link images, audio and text. Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing for the Camera Division of Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc. "The combination of these two software programs enables savvy digital photographers to really get creative and have fun with their digital images."
CES 2004: Kodak has today announced two additions to its EASYSHARE digital photography system, the KODAK EASYSHARE LS743 and LS753 zoom digital cameras. Both the LS743 and LS753 cameras feature a new SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH C-VARIOGON 2.8X compact optical zoom lens and the new KODAK Color Science image processing chip. The LS743 camera boasts 4 megapixel resolution and 16 megabytes of internal memory. The LS753 camera goes one step further with 5 MP resolution and 32 MB of internal memory. The LS743 camera (US$349 MSRP) will be available worldwide beginning in April 2004 and the LS753 camera (pricing to be determined) will be available beginning in June 2004.
CES 2004: Concord Camera, a leader in high-quality low-priced digital cameras, today announced at CES shipment of their new 4 Megapixel 3x optical zoom point & shoot digital camera, the Concord Eye-Q 4360z. With a suggested retail price of $199, the Concord Eye-Q 4360z delivers exceptional price/performance.
CES 2004: In a feat of miniturization Toshiba has today revealed it is working on the worlds first sub 1 inch Hard Disk Drive. The new 0.85 inch HDD will have a capacity between 2 and 4 GB. This new device is clearly aimed at the portable music / multimedia players, PDA's and pocket notebook PC's. However it's not a far stretch to imagine these HDD's in use in digital cameras and 'cross over' products which also shoot digital video.
Olympus Europe has today announced the new CAMEDIA C-760 Ultra Zoom. The 3.2 megapixel C-760 is the smallest/lightest, at just 280 grams, digital camera in the world featuring an optical 10x zoom (equiv. 42 420mm on 35mm). The new Olympus Ultra Zoom will be available from February 2004. Note that this product has not been announced in the US.
CES 2004: Casio has today announced the five megapixel, three times optical zoom QV-R51. This compact five megapixel digital camera is based on the body as the QV-R40 but this time is made from magnesium alloy. Casio claim an 'industry leading' startup time of 1 second and shutter release lag of 0.01 seconds. The QV-R51 has a large 2.0" LCD monitor (bigger than the QV-R40 but the same resolution), has 9.7 MB of internal flash memory, has an SD/MMC slot and is powered by two AA batteries. The QV-R51 should be available from March 2004.
CES 2004: Nikon has today announced the new Coolpix 3200 and 2200. These two cameras are based around the same body (which is similar to the Coolpix 3100) and have a three and two megapixel CCD sensor respectively. Both have a three times optical zoom lens. This pair of entry level Coolpix digital cameras also feature 14.5 MB of built-in flash memory for storage without the optional SD card or for instance in an emergency when the SD card is full. They are powered by two EN-MH1 NiMH batteries which are included along with the charger. Nikon has also introduced a waterproof case for these cameras (although this won't be available in the US).
CES 2004: This is definitely a first for DPReview, a TV!! Epson America has launched two new rear projection HDTV LCD televisions that allow users to print out digital photographs without the use of a PC. The Livingstation televisions enable users to view, print and store digital photos through the use of a universal remote control. Epson's LCD technology and Photo On Demand capability, along with slots for memory cards and a built-in dye sublimation printer, mean that users do not need a PC to make the most of their digital photos. Available from March 2004, the 47-inch model will retail for $3,499, and the 57-inch model for $3,999.
CES 2004: Epson has today announced the P-1000 Photo Viewer, a 10 GB storage unit with a large 3.8" VGA LCD display designed as an advanced portable digital photoframe. The P-1000 has a Compact Flash slot (other media supported via adapters) and TV out as well as connectivity to Epson Printers for direct print. But the features keep coming, the P-1000 can also be connected directly to a computer via USB for transfer or a USB CD writer for archival. This product has been available in Europe for some time.
Jeff Keller over at DCResource has today posted his final review of a production Sony DSC-F828. Overall Jeff loved much of the camera but was concerned over a few image quality related problems, "So what areas aren't so hot? While I think noise levels in images are comparable, the F828 does tend to have higher levels of purple fringing (or whatever you want to call it) than the competition... ...It's just not the 'hey, let's throw away the EOS-10D' that some were hoping for, especially in terms of image quality. It is, however, a very worthy successor to the DSC-F717 that competes with the best fixed-lens cameras out there."
I'd like to wish all of our readers, supporters, sponsors and fellow webmasters a very Merry Christmas and express my gratitude for your continued patronage of the site. I hope you had all of your digital photography needs satisfied this Christmas. I'm looking forward to seeing lots of snowy images in our forums, the weather here in the UK has been too mild for the traditional sprinkle of snow. December 25th also marks our fifth anniversary, the first version of this site was published on Christmas Day 1998. Here's looking forward to the continued growth of digital photography next year.
Just posted, our full in-depth review of Nikon's latest flagship digital SLR, the D2H. The D2H features a four megapixel in-house developed 'LBCAST' sensor, an eight frames per second shooting rate and a huge 40 JPEG frame buffer. Compared to the D1 the D2H is quite an evolution with a wide variety of control, function, feature and speed improvements. The D2H is clearly aimed at the sports and current affairs photo journalism with supreme viewfinder blackout and shutter release lag which literally takes your breath away the first time you use the camera. See how the D2H stacked up to the competition and how it fared in our other tests.
We first caught sight of Fujifilm's medium format back tucked away and behind glass at the PMA show earlier this year, but at the time there was no specific information available. Nine months later Fujifilm has now officially announced the 'DBP for GX680' medium format digital back. This digital back features a 52 x 37 mm SuperCCD sensor with 20.68 million effective pixels producing a maximum output image of 41.36 million pixels (7648 x 5408). This digital back is designed for use with Fujifilm's GX680 series of medium format cameras (up to 6 x 8 cm film). The back has selectable sensitivity of ISO 50, 100, 160 and 200, a 1.8" TFT LCD monitor, can shoot one frame every 1.5 seconds and stores images on Compact Flash (Type I or II). The back is due to go on sale at the end of January 2004 (in Japan) at a price of 2,380,000 YEN ($22,120), what a bargain! UPDATE: We have just heard that this product WILL NOT be available in the US.
Canon has announced today that it plans to roll-out nearly 20 new compact digital cameras in 2004 in an aggressive product push to grab 25 percent of the global market and it seems that this is aimed squarely at Sony. Takashi Oshiyama, head of Canon's digital imaging business group, told Reuters in an interview "Those companies out there that have no experience producing film cameras have yet to create a camera that performs like a real camera should. I won't say who that is." Oshiyama said shipments of digital cameras by Japanese manufacturers would total between 40 and 44 million units in 2003. That compares to last year's 25 million units, according to Japan's Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA).
Sharp today announced the six megapixel, 1/1.8" type RJ21T3AAPT/ST CCD. This new sensor is exactly the same size (type) as used in many current four and five megapixel digital cameras and so will be an attractive option for digital camera manufacturer as an easy way to launch 'new' models with more megapixels (it's sad but people are still buying the numbers game). Once more this raises the question of noise and lens quality, how much noisier (if it all) will this sensor be and will the current lenses (some of which were designed for three megapixel 1/1.8 CCD's) be able to deliver enough resolution to deliver any real gain (other than file size). This new sensor has a pixel pitch of just 2.5 µm, the smallest yet.
The first samples from full production Sony DSC-F828's are appearing on review sites around the web. Both A-Digital-Eye.Com and dcresource.com have posted galleries of samples images from this interesting eight megapixel, seven times optical zoom digital camera. It's fair to say that the DSC-F828 has taken longer to reach market than most had expected and indeed it appears that the camera is shipping to customers at about the same time as it's reaching reviewers. (We haven't yet received ours, it's expected anytime now).
Olympus today announced a range of new flash accessories for the Olympus E System (currently the only camera being the E-1). This range is driven primarily by two flash units, the FS-RF11 ring flash and the TF-22 twin flash. Both of these units can be attached to the 14-54 mm lens and 50-200 mm lens via their bayonet filter mounts, for attachment to the 50 mm Macro lens the additional FS-FR1 flash adapter ring is required. The FS-FC1 macro flash controller attaches to the hot shoe of the E-1 and is then used to control the FS-RF11 or TF-22.
According to a 'report from Japan' on the Popular Photography website Minolta will be introducing a digital SLR next year and that it's highly possible that an operational sample will be shown at PMA 2004. In addition to the report also reveals that Olympus will have two more digital SLR's next year as will Pentax and that other manufacturers are looking at putting vibration reduction technology in the camera rather than the lens (just like Minolta did with the DiMAGE A1). For lots more gossip from Japan why not read the article in full...
Many of you asked for it and thanks to Leica UK for supplying very high resolution images of the new five megapixel Digilux 2. This camera may well have a Panasonic heart but it's instantly recognisable as a Leica and features a very interesting F2.0 - F2.4 lens. The brand certainly carries a lot of weight and this camera appears to be one of the more interesting new releases of recent months.
has announced the X'S-Drive Pro VP300 6in1 Portable Storage Device. The
X'S-Drive Pro has a USB 2.0 compatible interface, LCD panel to indicate
detailed working status. Like the previous X'S-Drive II VP2060, the X'S-Drive
Pro VP300 allows the transfer of pictures and all the other files from
any memory card (Compactflash, IBM Microdrive, SmartMedia, Memory Stick,
Memory Stick Pro, Secure Digital, and MultiMediaCard, and xD picture cards
with any adapter) to its internal 2.5 inches hard drive. It displays on
its 2.5" LCD information such as the filename, transfer progress
and battery level. The RRP is for the X'S-Drive Pro 20GB are: $335 excl
VAT / 275 Euros excl VAT / £225 incl VAT.
UPDATE: Specification corrections
Olympus has today announced an expansion to their ZUIKO lens range with the wide-angle ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 lens (35mm camera equivalent: 22-44mm). Nearly telecentric optics ensure images have perfect colour, clarity and brightness from the centre to the periphery of the frame. The lenses' high resolving power makes sure the image sensor obtains the detail it needs to achieve its full potential. Furthermore, thanks to their splash-proof construction, the ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses are also protected from the elements. The new ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm, F2.8-3.5 is scheduled to go on sale in February 2004.
In a feature we haven't done for some time here's a round up of reviews on other sites around the web. Cameras in the spotlight this last month include the Olympus C-5060 Zoom, Minolta DiMAGE A1, Pentax Optio 555, HP Photosmart 945 and the Fujifilm Finepix A310 Zoom among others. Dave Etchells at Imaging-Resource had this to say about the Pentax Optio 555, "Battery life is a good bit longer than average too, so you can bring back more images from each outing. About the only negative point is its somewhat sluggish shutter response. All in all, an excellent choice for a compact digicam with a full set of features. (Chalk up another Dave's Pick for Pentax...)"
Pentax has today announced a new companion lens for the *ist D digital SLR camera. The compact, high-performance, interchangeable smc PENTAX-DA 16 mm - 45 mm F4 ED AL lens features a 3X zoom ratio with focal lengths covering ultra-wide to moderate-telephoto ranges for the angle of view equivalent to 24.5mm-69mm in the 35mm format. Pentax U.S.A. will preview the lens at the PEPCOM Digital Focus media event on January 7 in Las Vegas during the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show. UPDATE: Samples from an *ist D with this new lens posted on the Pentax Japan website.
Our friends over at Lets Go Digital and DCViews have news about another Minox digital camera, the DC 5211. The new MINOX DC 5211 has a CCD image sensor with 5.25 megapixels as well as a fast high-performance MINOCTAR lens with multiple coating. The 3x zoom lens boasts an autofocus feature and gives the photographer freedom for creative picture composition.
Minox has today announced the DD1 Diamond. It looks exactly the same as the standard DD1, announced earlier this year, except with the addition of 8 synthetic diamonds around its edge. This is more fashion accessory than camera, so I won't bother you with the specifications. The Minox DD1 Diamond will be available from all good stockists from December 2003.
Microsoft will soon be charging manufacturers of flash memory card devices and those which use them $0.25 per unit or up to $250,000 to use the FAT filesystem. For those who are unaware the FAT file system was developed by Microsoft back in 1976 and has become the standard file system for all digital still cameras. Microsoft owns patents to the FAT File System but for many years hasn't even hinted that it may one day decide to charge for it. These new licenses appear to come into effect immediately and specifically make mention of 'compact flash memory cards' and 'portable digital still cameras'. What a great way for Microsoft to cash in on the most popular consumer products (as if they don't make enough money already).
Digital Domain has released of the 2004 edition of Qimage, the digital photo batch printing/processing software for Windows that optimizes print quality while simplifying the printing process. Qimage is based largely on user feedback and suggestions and the 2004 edition includes features such as a new print cropping tool, a new easier to use batch filter window, improved thumbnail resolution, faster processing of thumbnails and screen redraws, print size "suggestor" that automatically highlights the most compatible print size(s) for selected images, new quick access keys, sound to indicate completion of processing, some user interface improvements, and much more. Qimage 2004 is available immediately for $44.95.
Idruna Software has announced the launch of Pocket Phojo 2.5, a major update to the Pocket PC solution specifically designed to allow photojournalists to get photos back to base as rapidly and conveniently as possible. Major enhancements include an all new image processing engine, lower memory usage, extra features for Nikon D2H users, support for images from the Canon 1DS, Kodak 14N and the Kodak DCS 520. Pocket Phojo 2.5 is a free upgrade for existing customers or new customers can purchase for the software for $489 ($389 for freelancers until Jan 1st), or a preconfigured HP iPAQ Pocket PC from $897.
Nikon today announced that it is "working on" a new budget priced digital SLR, the D70 and a new complementary DX lens. From the hints given in the 'development press releases' it's fairly easy to come to the conclusion that this camera will be fully announced at PMA 2004 and should hit the stores shortly afterwards. Considering its "budget price" and considering the current competition I will make a wild guess that the D70 will be based around the D100 engine with the same six megapixel sensor. Styling hints however do appear to be taken from the D2H. Body only price of the D70 is expected to be $999 (in the US) or € 1,100 (in Europe).
Leica today announced the Digilux 2, a five megapixel compact digital camera with a 3.2x optical zoom lens. Leica are promoting this camera as the "analog" digital camera, in essence this is driven by the camera's design and control layout which is almost identical to a standard manual film camera (such as aperture ring, shutter speed dial etc.) The lens is also pretty special, a 28 - 90 mm equiv. with a maximum aperture of F2.0 at wide angle and F2.4 at telephoto. The Digilux 2 has a magnesium body, a trans-reflective 2.5" LCD monitor, Electronic viewfinder, stores images on SD card and is powered by a 1400 mAh Lithium-Ion battery.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Olympus's first lens interchangeable digital SLR, the new E-1. The E-1 marks the first digital SLR of the Olympus 'E system' and is also the first digital SLR compatible with the 4/3 imaging standard and helps to launch a whole new lens mount and sensor size. The E-1 has a five megapixel Kodak CCD sensor, a full magnesium alloy body and is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery. See how the E-1 performed in our tests and my opinion of it. UPDATED 30/Nov - Added RAW conversion comparison with Adobe Photoshop CS.