CeBIT 2006: Not to be outdone by MemoryStick Panasonic has today ensured that its chosen storage format, Secure Digital card, can at least match the capacity offered in other fomats. There is a catch though, Secure Digital was never designed for capacities over 1 GB, that was solved but then addressing anything over 2 GB became the next problem. To solve this the SD Association have proposed SDHC, essentially the same physical format as SD but only compatible with SDHC devices (such as the new Panasonic DMC-L1). So it's good news and bad news.
CeBIT 2006: While this story may be of more interest to Sony PSP owners it should also be noted that the majority of new Sony digital cameras announced this year feature MemoryStick Duo slots (rather than the full size MemoryStick) which hints at the general future of MemoryStick. SanDisk has today revealed its highest capacity MemoryStick Pro Duo card to date, now a hefty 4 GB in a package which measures just 20 x 31 x 1.6 mm (0.8 x 1.2 x 0.1 in). To think that back in 2000 we were getting excited about 1 GB Microdrives.
As a result of numerous enquiries from dpreview visitors we have become aware that there is increasing confusion about what constitutes a 'review' and the differences between reviews and previews on this site and the Internet as a whole. This confusion doesn't help visitors looking for qualified information when choosing a camera, and the misuse of the word 'review' is beginning to tarnish the hard work put into reviews here and on other sites. After discussion with Dave at Imaging-Resource and Jeff at Digital Camera Resource Page we have jointly developed some standard 'editorial definitions' which clearly lay out what readers should expect from articles titled 'preview' or 'review'. This standard will be adhered to across all three sites (although in actual fact we three have been following these standards since the beginning).
It's been announced today that Micron Technology Inc. are to acquire Lexar Media Inc. in a stock-for-stock merger. The acquisition will combine Micron's Technology and manufacturing leadership in NAND flash memory with Lexar's leadership in NAND controller and system design technology, brand recognition and retail strength.
PMA 2006: We've just posted the final version of our PMA 2006 Show Report. The show report covers 19 stands with over 230 images and 2,880 words (all produced and posted live from the show floor). In the five days of the show we received over 3.8 million visitors who read 14.6 million pages. We've also compiled our top ten new products (a few of which will probably come as no surprise). Overall we found this PMA to be a busy show with plenty of interesting news and a much more positive vibe in 'backroom' meetings. It was a noticeable step up from last year and bodes well for the year ahead and Photokina in September.
PMA 2006: Yesterday we got our hands on the Lumix DMC-L1 and had a detailed discussion with Panasonic executives and product planners about their exciting new digital SLR. The DMC-L1 is Panasonic's first digital SLR, its design ethos is clearly clean, simple, functional and very 'Leica like'. There are lots of touches in the design of this camera which make it more appealing that most other digital SLRs, these include the shutter speed dial and aperture ring (on the lens) which give very quick access to manual exposure creativity and encourage the photographer to experiment more. We also got the low down on just how much of this camera is shared with the Olympus E-330.
PMA 2006: Today HP announced its new A3+ Photo Printer, the Photosmart Pro B9180. With eight individual high capacity pigment ink cartridges that can print up to 80 A3+ prints, or 840 10x15cm photos. The B9180 is said to produce instantly dry, waterproof prints that resist fading for up to 200 years.
PMA 2006: Sigma has introduced its new APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM lens. The lens offers a minimum focusing distance of 100cm and HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) for fast, quiet AF. It also contains two ELD (Extraordinary Low Dispersion) glasses and two SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glasses for better correction against chromatic aberrations. The multi layer lens coating also reduces flare and ghost.
PMA 2006: Panasonic has today announced the fruits of its new relationship with Olympus, the DMC-L1 Four Thirds System Digital SLR. Todays news is really just a 'development announcement' so doesn't have any detailed specifications, however reading through what has been revealed so far this camera does appear to share quite a bit with the Olympus E-330 EVOLT. Another interesting revelation in this release is the confirmation that Panasonic developed the 7.5 MP Live MOS sensor (the same we assume as in the E-330). Other features include a shutter speed dial on the top of the camera, full-time live view (same as E-330), Secure Digital storage and a 2.5" LCD monitor.
PMA 2006: Leica and Panasonic have today announced the first Leica Four Thirds System lens, which also becomes the first Leica Interchangeable Lens with Optical Image Stabilization. The Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50 mm F2.8-F3.5 ASPH lens provides an equivelant field of view of 28-100 mm on a 35 mm camera with a maximum aperture of F2.8 at wide angle and F3.5 at telephoto. It also features Optical Image Stabilization (a first on a Four Thirds System lens) and a mechanical aperture ring (another first). Overall this looks to be a very impressive high quality lens which will match the newly announced Panasonic DMC-L1 digital SLR very nicely.
PMA 2006: Olympus and Panasonic have been working together on the development of cameras utilising the Four Thirds System standard for interchangeable-lens DSLRs, and are showcasing the first fruits of the joint venture today at PMA. Olympus will show the recently announced E-330 camera which incorporates the jointly developed technology and Panasonic will show a prototype of the DMC-L1, its first DSLR camera. UPDATED: Press conference images added.
Pre-PMA 2006: Sony announce today not one, but two new H-series cameras to replace the popular Cyber-shot H1. Like the H1, both feature an image stabilized 12x optical zoom, manual, aperture and shutter priority modes and electronic viewfinders. New for the 7.2MP H5 and 6.0MP H2 are boosted sensitivity up to ISO 1000 (with Sony’s Clear RAW™ noise reduction technology) and - for the H5 - a large 3-inch screen.
Pre-PMA 2006: Sony is also adding a couple more models to the top of its W-series line with the Cyber-shot DSC-W100 and DSC-W70 featuring 8.1 and 7.2 million pixels, respectively. Both offer a 3x zoom, eye-level viewfinder and a 2.5-inch screen and the DSC-W100 also has a sensitivity up to ISO 1250. Both will be available in black or silver finishes.
Fresh (or rather not) off a flight from London the dpreview team are here in Orlando for the 2006 Photo Marketing Association Show. Tomorrow is 'Press Day', although the majority of the product news has already been revealed, and the show proper will open on Sunday morning. We're now ready to bring you our live 'from the show floor' reporting as we do for all shows. Live updates will appear both on the front page and the Show Report page. So stay tuned for all that's new from PMA 2006.
Pre-PMA 2006: Canon has announced a new series of A3+ professional-quality inkjet printers, comprising the PIXMA Pro9500 and Pro9000, aimed at professional photographers. The Pro 9000 features an 8-colour ink system and has a max colour print speed up to 15ppm. The Pro 9500 uses a 10-colour pigment ink system and a colour print speed of up to 8ppm. Both printers have a 4800x2400 dpi resolution.
Pre-PMA 2006: Pentax today have said that they will be exhibiting three upcoming digital SLR products at PMA 2006. Although currently under development there will be a 10 megapixel interchangeable lens DSLR, an interchangeable lens medium-format DSLR and a 21mm wide angle lens. All three will be showcased at PMA, but it is not expected to be a final product. Updated: images added
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the new Nikon D200 digital SLR. The D200 officially replaces the four year old D100 however it's a completely different animal, far more professional orientated with a significant range of new features, a very impressive and robust body and superb performance. See how the D200 did in our raft of in-depth tests and how it compares to those cameras around it in the marketplace.
Nikon has announced Capture NX, a significantly enhanced and redesigned version of its digital image editing software. Designed to offer a powerful and easy to use alternative to established image editing applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Capture NX has been developed in association with partners Nik Software, and offers non-destructive editing of NEF raw files.
Panasonic has introduced the world's smallest and, weighing in at 2.9lbs, lightest LCD projector with a built-in SD memory card slot. Aimed at enthusiast photographers, the PT-P1SD projects both still and moving (Panasonic DSC movie clips only) images directly from an SD card, and features built-in slide show functions making it perfect for viewing your digital photos.
Pre-PMA 2006: We have to admit we were a little surprised to see a new announcement appearing on the Konica Minolta Photo website, however here it is. Today Konica Minolta, Fujifilm and Kodak have jointly announced the 'EVERPLAY' standard for the compatibility of images and video across numerous product platforms. This new standard replaces the previously announced PASS (Picture Archiving and Sharing Standard) system. EVERPLAY defines the format and specification of media files and is held together with an open XML file format.
Pre-PMA 2006: Canon has today announced the EOS 30D, a mild evolution of the EOS 20D. Headline changes are a subtly redesigned body, spot metering, selectable continuous shooting speed, 100,000 shutter cycle life, a larger LCD monitor and the expected switch from simple image parameters to Canon's preferred PictureStyles. From an imaging pipeline point of view this camera has the same sensor and image processor and the default PictureStyle matches the EOS 20D's default image parameters (hence expect exactly the same imaging performance). Good news also comes in the form of a slightly lower price than the EOS 20D. We're just waiting for the name confusion to begin, it's not the six year old Canon EOS D30.
Pre-PMA 2006: Canon has today announced an interesting new constant aperture 'digital' (EF-S) lens. The new EF-S 17 - 55 mm F2.8 IS is designed specifically for the dimensions of a 'cropped sensor' (1.6x crop) and hence can be made smaller than a 35 mm equivelant lens. It features a maximum aperture of F2.8 throughout the zoom range which means it's a faster alternative to other EF-S lenses. On an EOS 30D this lens would provide a 27.2 - 88 mm equivelant field of view. This lens should be available in May for approx. $1150.
Pre-PMA 2006: Canon has today announced the 'Mark II' version of its (monster) professional EF 85 mm F1.2 L II lens. This new version includes improvements to auto focus speed and communication of distance information for use with the E-TTL II flash metering algorithm. This lens should be available in March for approx. $2100.
Pre-PMA 2006: Canon today announce the third generation of its 'super zoom' compact with the release of the PowerShot S3 IS, the successor to the popular S2 IS. The 6-megapixel camera features the same 12x optical zoom but boosts the sensitivity range up to ISO 800, has a larger 2.0-inch vari-angle screen and boasts several new features. It's also a serious looking gunmetal gray.
Pre-PMA 2006: The first of today's announced Digital ELPH / Digital IXUS cameras is the new flagship of the range, the 6 million pixel Canon PowerShot SD700 IS. Featuring Canon's optical Image Stabilizer, a 4x optical zoom, an ISO of up to 800 and a large 2.5-inch LCD. This is the first ever ultra-compact from Canon with built-in image stabilization (but probably not the last).
Pre-PMA 2006: Canon has also announced a further two additions to its Digital ELPH / Digital IXUS range in the shape of the PowerShot SD600 and SD630 cameras. These 6-megapixel cameras feature a 3x optical zoom and High ISO Auto and ISO 800 settings. The only difference between them we can find is the LCD screens; 2.5-inch on the SD600 and 3.0-inch on the SD630 (which is also the first IXUS without an optical viewfinder).
Pre-PMA 2006: Canon has announced a significant enlargement of the 'A' series range of compacts, with five new models. Of most interest to serious photographers are the PowerShot A700 and A540. The range-topping 6 million pixel A700 offers a 6x optical zoom, real-image optical viewfinder and ISO sensitivity up to ISO 800. The A540 features 6 million pixels, a 4x optical zoom, viewfinder and up to ISO 800. Both feature full photographic control, 2.5-inch screens and the option to add conversion lenses.
Pre-PMA 2006: Last up are three entry-level priced A-series cameras, the PowerShot A420, A430 and A530. The 4-megapixel A420 has a 3.2 zoom and 5-point AiAF auto focus. The 4-megapixel A430 features a 4x optical zoom and 9-point AiAF auto focus while the A530 has a 5 million pixel CCD, a 4x zoom and ISO 800. All cameras have a 1.8-inch screen and viewfinder.
Pre-PMA 2006: Nikon has also announced today two new 'P' series cameras, the Coolpix P3 and P4. Offering 8.1 million pixels, Nikon’s VR (Vibration Reduction) capability (originally developed for Nikon SLRs), 3.5x Zoom-Nikkor lens and a large 2.5-inch screen. The P3 also features built-in Wi-Fi capability.
Pre-PMA 2006: Casio announce today two additions to its Exilim range of cameras, starting here with the Exilim Zoom EX-Z850, which replaces the well-respected EX-Z750 at the top of the range. The 8.1 megapixel Z850 offers both manual aperture and shutter speed priority AE, an optical viewfinder, 3x zoom, a large 2.5-inch screen and 'Anti Shake' DSP.
Pre-PMA 2006: Today sees the announcement from Nikon of seven new digital compacts. We start here with the ultra-slim Coolpix S5 and S6 cameras, both offering 6 million pixels, large LCD screens (2.5" and 3.0" respectively) and a new PictMotion function that allows users to select favourite images, movie files and music files to create slideshows with a difference. The COOLPIX S6 also features built-in Wi-Fi capability.
Pre-PMA 2006: Amongst the flood of new digicams Nikon has announced this, the world’s first macro lens (offering reproduction ratios of up to 1:1) equipped with Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM) and Vibration Reduction (VR) systems. The AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens offers advanced optical features and technologies such as Nano Crystal Coat, Extra Low Dispersion (ED) glass and Internal Focusing. For use with both Nikon DX format digital and 35mm film SLR cameras.
Just posted! Almost a year to the day after the introduction of the hugely popular FZ5 Panasonic announced its successor, the 6 megapixel DMC-FZ7. As well as a design facelift and an extra megapixel, the FZ7 introduces several handling and performance improvements over the FZ5, not least of which is the inclusion of manual focusing and significantly easier control over exposure settings via a new joystick. So is the FZ7 a worthy successor to the FZ5? Find out after the link...
Pre-PMA 2006: Bibble Labs has today announced it has reached an agreement with PictureCode to integrate Noise Ninja noise reduction technology into Bibble Pro. "As pioneers of DSLR RAW software we have led the way in speed, feature set, and cross platform support. With the inclusion of PictureCode’s Noise Ninja technology, we are again raising the bar for integrated, fast workflow," says Eric Hyman, President & CEO of Bibble Labs.
Pre-PMA 2006: News arrived earlier than we had expected of the new Kodak EasyShare cameras. First up is the EasyShare Z612 which features a 12x optical zoom lens with image stabilization technology. The 6-megapixel camera also has a large 2.5-inch screen, aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual modes.