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.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Nikon's flagship 12 megapixel D2X digital SLR. The D2X, the official successor of the 2001 D1X, offers more than twice the number of effective pixels, the brand new 'D2' body and a host of unique features. One feature which stands out is the unique high-speed crop mode which provides a seven megapixel image and a shooting rate of eight frames per second. See how the D2X performed and how it compared to the competition, read our 29-page review!
Pentax today announced the *ist DL. This 'new' camera is essentially the same as the *ist DS but with a few feature changes and specification reductions. We can only assume that this new model will allow Pentax to push the price of their 'most affordable' digital SLR even lower. Primary differences include Auto ISO, removal of 11-area AF, a penta-mirror viewfinder with lower magnification and a larger LCD monitor.
Following severe financial problems, Leica shareholders met yesterday to discuss the future of the company. The company aims to reorient its corporate structure to achieve a sales volume of around €100 million in the near future. It aims to simplify capital reduction, increase the share capital against contributions in cash and a creation of authorized capital. Dr. Josef Spichtig, chairman of the board of management of Leica Camera AG, described these measures as being “indispensable for the existence of the Company”. Leica Camera Group recorded a 21% sales decline from €119.1 million to €93.7 million, year ending March 31. The measures take into account operating losses of around €13 million for the next financial year (2005/2006). For the subsequent fiscal year, 2006/2007, the company aims to break even. Dr Spichtig, said he intended to continue the photo and sports optic units as well as Leica M and Leica R camera systems and compact cameras as 'co-operation products'.
HP has today announced two 5.1 megapixel, 5x zoom cameras in the shape of the Photosmart R817 and R818. From the official press release the pair seem to have identical spec including a 2" LCD, 15 shooting modes, plus the new theatre mode, and shutter and aperture priority. Both feature HP technologies such as the new in-camera panorama stitching, which can stitch together five photos, adaptive lighting and in-camera red-eye removal. The one main difference is that the R817 is available in silver, while the R818 comes with a dark midnight gray metallic finish. The R817 will ship in July and is available with (£349) or without a docking station (£299). The R818 comes bundled with the HP Photosmart R-series docking station for £399 and will ship in August. The new HP Photosmart Scuba/Underwater Camera Case can be used for either camera and is waterproof to a depth of 40m.
Microsoft has today announced native support for various RAW file formats in its next version of Windows, known as Longhorn. In addition the 'Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer' will also be available for Windows XP. "The explosion in popularity of digital photography on Windows continues to progress and evolve as consumers discover the quality benefits of digital camera RAW," said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president of Windows Digital Media at Microsoft. "By working with industry leaders to extend support for RAW in Windows, we are removing the obstacles for consumer use of RAW and enabling a seamless platform for the next era of digital imaging innovation."
Canon has today announced that its specialized EOS 20Da which was at first introduced as a Japan Only model will now be available in the rest of the world. The EOS 20Da is identical to the EOS 20D except for a modification to the low-pass filter. This camera is best suited to astrophotography
as well as InfraRed photography (not according to Canon USA). It would be possible to use it as a normal camera but would require an external IR cut filter. In addition the camera has a partially transmissive mirror which enables live focusing on the LCD monitor (this can only be done for short times and requires the mirror to be locked up). Pricing has not yet been announced. UPDATE: It is expected to be priced £1,829.99 (€2,549.99).
Kodak has today confirmed that the DCS Pro SLR/n and DCS Pro SLR/c digital SLRs have been discontinued and will no longer be manufactured. In our conversation with Kodak Pro we were assured that existing owners will continue to be supported through 2008 and that this will include firmware and Photodesk updates if required. Kodak will continue to develop CCD and CMOS image sensors and this announcement does not affect their consumer digital cameras. Kodak was keen to stress that this does not mark the end of Kodak digital SLR's but that they wished to concentrate on market segments which are more profitable.
Following several delays the Leica Digital-Modul-R is set to ship on June 15, two years after its development was first announced. An official letter was sent to Leica users over the weekend announcing the delivery date. The date was put back earlier this month due to 'software problems'. Mario Thurnherr, manager of Leica Camera's Photo Division, says, "Our customers had to wait longer than planned for the unique digital solution from Leica, but are now rewarded with an outstanding product." Lets hope it really is worth the wait.
Digital Outback Photo has announced its latest E-book, The Art of RAW Conversion, is now available to download for $39.95. The 290-page book authored by Uwe Steinmueller and Jürgen Gulbins explains how to get the best quality from Photoshop CS2 and a number of different RAW converters as well as understanding DNG, basic color management and how to remove noise, chromatic aberration and lens distortions. An upgrade from DOP2000 is available for $27.95.
Canon has today posted firmware updates for the EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT), EOS-1D Mark II and EOS-1Ds Mark II. Each update addresses slightly different issues, in the case of the EOS 350D update this firmware includes a fix for 'extreme underexposure when using some lenses', an auto power off issue and an incorrect flash WB issue. The EOS-1D Mark II and EOS-1Ds Mark II updates fix a camera hang issue which could lead to a loss of buffered images (this appears to be the problem discussed in an advisory issued two weeks ago).
After years of struggle, the writing could finally be on the wall for AgfaPhoto as it files for insolvency. The consumer imaging business announced 4,000 redundancies in 2001 to concentrate efforts on digital imaging. However, three months previously it had decided to abandon production of digital cameras. Agfa-Gevaert sold AgfaPhoto to a group of investors in a management buy out/in in November, 2004, but still provides distribution, order fulfillment, after sales and other services to the company until the end of the year.
Samsung has launched a teaser on its Korean website for the launch of an ultra-slim camera called simply #1, which is a dead ringer for the Nikon Coolpix S1. At 17.3mm the five million pixel camera is only just slightly thinner than the Nikon but has the same rounded corners, 2.5-inch screen and almost exactly the same control layout. The top plate features a safety flash (SF) button, which is said to enhance image clarity and colour (when there is insufficient light) without using flash. According to the mini trailer, it is due for launch on June 1. UPDATE: The Samsung has already been launched in some countries, including Germany, as the i5.
Just posted! The Digimax V700 is Samsung's second 7 million pixel camera, and the first to be widely available worldwide. Despite a wealth of photographic controls, MPEG movies and a compact metal body it is considerably less expensive than most of its 'big name' competitors, but is it able to hold its own in an increasingly crowded sector of the market? Check out our concise review after the link to find out...
Kodak has delayed the launch of the unique Wi-Fi-enabled EasyShare One camera until October, reports the Wall Street Journal. It was originally scheduled for launch in June. A Kodak spokesman said, "Kodak is making significant, innovative advances to create the EasyShare-One camera. We are taking the necessary time to ensure the best-possible customer experience, making certain that all of the new system components interoperate as expected." The four megapixel camera has a tilt-and-swivel, 3-inch touch-screen LCD, that is designed to change the emphasis from 'point and shoot to point and share,' says Kodak.
Scientists at Canada's Universite Laval have invented a lens that is five times thinner than a piece of paper and can zoom without using mechanical parts. The lens is created by adding a small quantity of photosensitive material to a liquid crystal cell. When a weak electrical current is applied, the crystals realign differently from those in the periphery and thus take on the shape and behavior of a lens. The researchers have been able to modify the lens’ focal distance from 1.6 to 8 meters in a few milliseconds by increasing the voltage from 1.5 to 4.5 volts.
ABSoft has announced upgrades to its noise reduction software program Neat Image for both Windows and Mac. The new versions of Neat Image are said to significantly improve quality and efficiency of noise reduction, provide stronger integration with the latest image editors and enhanced usability. V5.0 for Windows and v3.0 for Mac plug-ins are compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS2. Other new features include profile quality indicators, improved image viewers plus preset matching, new command line format and optimizations of the underlying algorithms.
Sigma has announced new addition to its digital optimized DG range of zoom lenses in the form of the APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG/HSM. This fast telephoto zoom sports a fixed F2.8 aperture throughout the range, HSM technology for high speed silent focus and four SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements. A new 'digitally optimized' coating is claimed to minimize flare and ghosting when used on a D-SLR, and the lens will be available in Sigma AF, Canon EF, Nikon D, Konica Minolta and Pentax AF mounts.
Olympus has today announced the five megapixel Camedia D-435 (C-180). Aimed at first time digital camera users, the fixed lens D-435 has a built-in Help Guide that provides a brief description of each function and shooting mode. Despite only having a 1.5-inch LCD, Olympus has decided against the inclusion of an optical viewfinder and has, rather bizarrely, positioned the on/off switch on the front of the camera. It will be available in August priced US$169.99 (approx. €135.52).
Both Canon and Lexar have issued media alerts which describe issues discovered between several Canon digital SLRs and Lexar Pro 80x CompactFlash cards. Lexar is describing the problem as 'a lost image condition', which they say occurs only in extreme circumstances and can occur with other brands' cards too. As well as highlighting the Lexar problem, the Canon alert describes a problem with the EOS-1D(s) Mark II, which can lead to the loss of images still buffered. Firmware updates to fix these issues should be avaiilable by the end of this month. Full details enclosed.
Hot on the heels of the optic launched yesterday Sigma has announced the ultra-telephoto 50-500mm F4-6.3 EX DG/HSM lens, which is also optimized for digital SLRs. It has a new lens coating which reduces flare and ghost and also creates an optimum color balance. It also features HSM （Hyper Sonic Motor）which provides a quiet high speed AF function, a zoom lock switch and has four pieces of SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass for correcting color aberration. It costs £899 and will fit SLRs with Sigma, Canon, Konica Minolta, Pentax and Nikon-D mounts.
Sigma has today announced a telephoto macro lens optimized for use with digital cameras. The Sigma 180mm f3.5 APO EX DG lens has a life-sized reproduction ratio and is an HSM model, which guarantees fast and silent auto focusing as well as full time manual focus. It is compatible with Sigma, Canon, Nikon-D, Pentax and Konica Minolta D-SLRs and will be priced £549.
Just posted! The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S90, one of a couple of new 4 megapixel 'budget' cameras announced at PMA in February, offers a fairly comprehensive spec - including a large 2.5-inch screen, lots of scene modes and a fully manual exposure option. Find out how it compares against some stiff competition in our concise review....
Minox has broken all ties with its German co-partner and ailing company Leica Camera AG. Optical and miniaturization specialists Minox was taken over by general manager Thorsten Kortemeier in 2001 when he acquired 51% of the Minox partnership capital, leaving Leica with 49%. Minox was launched four years ago and currently produces digital cameras including the famous miniature Digital Classic Camera Leica M3, binoculars, compact cameras, 35mm cameras plus windwatches.
Nikon has today announced its second ultra-slim camera, the weatherproof Coolpix S2. It is very similar to the Coolpix S1; the only differences seem to be purely cosmetic. The most obvious difference on the 5.1 megapixel camera is that it features a sliding lens. It will only be available in silver and is slightly bigger and heavier than the S1. It will also have a different docking station (supplied). Other similarities include the same control layout, a 2.5-inch LCD, SD memory slot with 12MB internal memory and 35-105 mm equiv. zoom lens. It will be available in early summer priced around US$429 (approx €448/£299).
Kodak has today announced a new series of cameras with the launch of the the EasyShare V530 and V550 Zoom (pictured right). The Canon IXUS lookalikes are smaller than a deck of cards, boast five megapixels and despite only having a 3x optical zoom, incorporate image stabilization. Aside from minor cosmetic differences and the size of the LCD, technically they are pretty similar. The V550 has a 2.5-inch screen and is available in black and silver, while the V530 has a 2-inch screen and comes in Absolute Pink, Red Shimmer, Midnight Black and Silver Essence colors. The V550 will be available in June priced US$399, and for US$50 less you can get the V530, which will be available in July. Both cameras come with the new EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2.
As promised back in April when the D70s was announced Nikon has now released firmware version 2.0 for the D70. This new firmware adds several improvements which were introduced with the D70s; improved 5-area AF performance (especially continuous tracking), updated menu design and layout, new in-camera setup page for PictBridge compatible printers.
Pentax has today announced another addition to the Optio range with the five megapixel SVi. An update to the SV, it also has a 5x optical zoom, 1.8-inch LCD, impressive 3cm macro function and 320x240 movie mode. The only difference appears to the be the fact that the aluminum alloy-bodied camera has an 'enhanced' grip achieved by placing a resin element on the front right hand side. A battery stand which charges the batteries in camera, plus an additional set is also available. The Pentax Optio SVi will be available in June priced £249.
An official letter from Leica confirms that the Digital-Modul-R is to be delayed, despite expectations that the 10 megapixel digital back would be available in the next few days. Leica says it is 'working hard to resolve a few last software problems'. Although the 'problems' do not impair the basic function of the module they have to be remedied before it is fully ready for production. Many people have already placed orders for the module, which was scheduled for release this month. Leica urges customers not to overreact and says that it will be worth the wait.
Olympus has today announced the first 8 million pixel camera in the Stylus range (mju Digital). The Stylus 800, which is available in silver or dark blue, remains weatherproof like its predecessors and now offers new Bright Capture technology, which optimises the camera's setting in certain scene modes and brightens the image in the 2.5-inch LCD in low light for easier composition. It also boasts a built-in Guide Function, which shows the recommended use of various functions on the LCD. Other features include 19 scene modes, a 3x optical zoom, 3cm macro mode and 4 fps continuous shooting. It will be available in July for an estimated street price of £350.
After all the bad news that has beset Kodak in the last year, things appear to be on the up as the company took the number one slot for sales in US in the first quarter of this year. It shipped 900,000 point and shoot digital cameras, a 41% increase on sales this time last year, according to a market research company. Kodak is followed by second-placed Canon (850,000 units), which recorded a whopping 72% increase, and perennial front-runner Sony was ranked third with sales of 800,000 units. UPDATE: Chief executive Dan Carp will step down as president in June, although he will remain in the post until he retires in January 2006. He will be succeeded by Kodak president Antonio Perez, who joined Kodak in April 2003 after 25 years at HP.
Pentax has announced three new additions to the Optio range - two five megapixel models and four million pixel camera. The five megapixel Pentax Optio S5z has an aluminum alloy exterior, a 2.5-inch LCD and employs the sliding lens system, so although it has a 3x zoom, it remains compact at 3.3x2.2x0.8 inches. The other two Optios, the S55 (pictured) and S45, are for absolute beginners and offer five and four million pixels respectively. Both have a 3x zoom and 2.5-inch LCD. All cameras will be ship in June, as will the sixth DA lens 50 - 200mm F4 - 5.6, announced at PMA.
Just posted! The FinePix F10 is the first Fujifilm camera to use a new 6 megapixel Super CCD sensor (with no interpolated output) and one of the first compacts to offer a usable ISO 1600 high sensitivity setting at full resolution. It also boasts fast operation, 500-shot battery life and a 2.5-inch LCD. But is it good enough to give the latest 7 megpixel compacts a run for their money? Find out in our concise review.
Panasonic has today announced an update to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7 with the FX8. The only difference between the identical cameras, is that the FX8 doubles the battery life of its predecessor with a new lithium ion battery, which increases the capacity by 162% thanks to the new Venus Engine PLUS. The five megapixel model also boasts quickened AF, three new scene modes, VGA movie recording plus MEGA OIS, the impressive proprietary image stabilization function. Like the FX7, the FX8 is availabe in silver, black, blue and pink.
Konica Minolta has today announced a upgrade to the X50 in the shape of the five megapixel DiMAGE X60. The newest addition to the X range appears more sturdy in comparison to the X50 and the reflective and brushed metal sliding lens lends it a more sophisticated look. This entry-level camera does away with a viewfinder in favor of a 2.5-inch LCD, which dominates the rear. It also boasts a 5 cm macro mode, 0.5-second start-up time and Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection. It wil be available at the end of May priced US$349.99 (approx €269).
Adobe has today announced version 3.1 of Camera RAW, which now supports the Canon EOS Rebel XT (EOS 350D/EOS Kiss Digital N), Nikon D2X, Olympus EVOLT E-300 and the Olympus C-7070 Wide Zoom. This new version of the Camera RAW plug-in replaces the original plug-in that was installed with Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Photoshop Elements 3.0 software. Adobe has also announced version 3.1 of its DNG Converter. DNG is a open standard that allows photographers to archive RAW files in a single format for easy cataloging and access in the future.
Kodak has slipped out another camera today, which will join the Z series. The EasyShare Z760 boasts 6.1 million pixels, 3x optical zoom and 2.2-inch LCD screen. It also has 16 scene modes plus five color modes. It appears to have a less pronounced handgrip and Kodak has chosen to market this one in black; the rest of the range is silver. It is available this month priced US$449.95 (approx €347).
Kodak has quietly introduced three new C series cameras today. The EasyShare C360, C330 and C310 will join the C340 and C300 models, launched at PMA, to be sold as a package with the Kodak EasyShare Printer Dock Series 3. The C360, which tops the range, offers five megapixels, while the C330 and C310 both have a resolution of four million pixels. The C360 and C330 also boast 3x optical zooms and will retail for US$279 and US$179 respectively. The lower end C310 is priced US$139. Packages will range from US$239 to US$379.
Following the launch of the Photographer's Directory, Adobe is expanding further with the announcement of a royalty-free image library, called Adobe Stock Photos. The service provides a single destination point to access stock photography from Getty Images, Jupitermedia and Digital Vision to name a few and offers around 230,000 images. Accessed through Adobe Bridge, Adobe Stock Photos helps designers select, browse, preview, organize, label, and drag-and-drop imagery directly from within Adobe Creative Suite 2. It's currently available in Adobe's Creative Suite 2 Premium and Standard editions, including CS2 versions of Photoshop, GoLive, InDesign and Illustrator.
Despite reported fourth quarter losses of $533m(¥56.5 bn), Sony has ended the year with net profits totaling US$1.5 bn (¥163.8 bn), according to Photo Marketing Newsline. This is nearly double the profit the electronics giant recorded last year. There have been positive sales in the digital camera, flat panel TV and LCD rear projection sectors, while sales have decreased in the CRT television and portable audio markets. Sony expects net profit for the year ending March 2006 to drop to US$755m (¥80 bn) due to restructuring plans said to be costing $680m (¥72 billion).
Canon has reported first quarter consolidated net sales of 2005 are up by 5.7% due to net sales of US$7.8 bn (¥843.4 bn) compared to last year, reports Photo Marketing Newsline. Toshizo Tanaka, senior managing director and group executive for Finance and Accounting attributes the increase to strong sales of digital cameras especially the Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350D/Kiss N) and the subsequent sales of lenses plus several new compacts in the PowerShot range. Color copiers, inkjet and laser printers, and digital video camcorders have all added to the increase.
HP has announced a new addition to the M series with the 5.2 megapixel HP Photosmart M517. It features all the usual from HP such as in-camera red-eye removal and adaptive lighting technology, which automatically brightens dark areas in high contrast shots. Other features include a 2-inch LCD, 3x optical zoom, 'fast shot' mode plus HP Instant Share, which allows you tag photos for sending via email or printing at a later date. The HP Photosmart M517 will be priced around €229 (approx. US$386).
The mobile phone industry is trying its best to rival low end digital cameras and the latest Nokia might just do the trick. The Nokia N90 multimedia boasts a Carl Zeiss lens, 2 megapixel resolution, 20x digital zoom (ahem!), auto focus, flash, macro mode and video capture. The flip and twist N90, reminiscent of the Panasonic AV series, houses a RS-MMC card and its PictBridge-compatible, and Bluetooth-enabled for wireless printing. The interface looks quite advanced for a mobile phone and the N90 also provides on-phone editing capabilities. The N90 multimedia is expected to become available in the second quarter of this year.
If anyone understands the ins and outs of RAW, it's Dave Coffin, he has reverse engineered the RAW formats of almost every digital camera on the market and provides his code (dcraw.c) freely for anyone to use. He recently posted a note on his web page pointing out that the encryption of metadata (in the current Nikon vs. Adobe situation) is nothing new and that it's fairly common for manufacturers to apply some kind of protection to their RAW formats. We decided to ask him some of the questions this information raises and also those which have been asked by our readers.