Pre-PMA 2005: Olympus has today announced the development of three new Zuiko Digital Four Thirds lenses compatible with the E-system. The first two are the wideangle Zuiko Digital ED 14 - 35 mm and telephoto zoom Zuiko Digital ED 35 - 100 mm lens, which are said to be the only interchangeable lenses to offer the world's first fixed aperture of F2.0 across the entire zoom range. The third new lens designed to appeal to sports and nature photographers is the Zuiko Digital ED 90 - 250 mm. All lenses are dust and splash proof and use Super ED or ED glass elements to minimize chromatic aberration.
Pre-PMA 2005: Olympus has announced a new addition to the sleek Stylus Verve range with the addition of the Stylus Verve S, available in four colours; black, blue, champagne gold and pink. The main differences, aside from a more limited choice of colours, is the 5.0 megapixel resolution, the addition of night scene with portrait mode and a new metal strip on the front of the camera bearing the Olympus name. Like its little brother, the Verve S has no viewfinder but a 1.8-inch LCD, a movie mode limited only by the memory card and an 8cm macro function. The Stylus Verve S will be available in April priced £259.99 ($349.99).
Pre-PMA 2005: The third five million pixel camera announced by Olympus today is the D-595 Zoom. Design-wise the D-595 Zoom sports a blocky handgrip, thumb indent and, unusually for the current crop of Olympus compacts, an optical viewfinder, despite the 1.8-inch LCD. The D-595 Zoom has a 38 - 114mm 3x zoom lens and offers full manual control. For close-ups the camera boasts an impressive super macro mode of 2 cm and for the complete beginner there are 15 scene modes available to choose from. It will be available next month priced $279.99.
Pre-PMA 2005: Heralding a new design for Olympus, it has today announced the D-630 Zoom. The slim (24mm) five million pixel camera has a unique 'twisting lens' offering a 3x optical zoom (35 - 105 mm), movie function with sound and a 2.0-inch LCD. Other features include a 14MB internal memory, PictBridge compatibility and a panorama function. The D-630 Zoom will be in the shops by May, priced around £230 ($299.99).
Pre-PMA 2005: After previewing the Total Imaging System (TIS) last October, Olympus has announced a second compatible camera, the five million pixel IR-300, and a DVD recorder. The Total Imaging System is designed to be a portable 'digital photography lab', which allows users to share, shoot, print and archive digital images without using a PC. The IR-300 is quite different from the first TIS camera (IR-500), with long sleek lines and a non movable 2.0-inch LCD. Integral to the TIS, the IR-300 comes supplied with a dock, which when connected to the S-DVD-100 DVD recorder allows the user to burn images to DVD or CD. Both products will be available in May priced £299.99 ($349) (IR-300) and £289.99 ($399) (S-DVD-100).
Pre-PMA 2005: Olympus has announced a new entry level camera with the four million pixel D-545 Zoom, which seems like a cut-price version of the D-595, also announced today. It sports a 3x zoom lens (38 - 114 mm), 2 cm super macro mode, has 15 scene modes and a 1.8-inch LCD, all features found on the D-595 Zoom. Images can be stored on xD-Picture Cards or the 14MB internal memory. The D-545 Zoom will be available in March priced £159.99 ($199).
Pre-PMA 2005: Canon has today announced the sucessor to the EOS 300D / Digital Rebel, the new smaller, lighter, eight megapixel EOS 350D / Digital Rebel XT. This new camera incorporates many new features introduced with the EOS 20D and also enables control of settings as requested by EOS 300D owners. The default body color is now black, although a silver body will be available. Key points: 8mp CMOS, 3fps 14 frames, DIGIC II, smaller, lighter, custom functions, selectable metering & AF mode, USB 2.0 Hi-speed, lower introductory list price (US: $899 body only, Europe: €899 body only).
Pre-PMA 2005: Canon has today announced a very interesting EF-S lens to complement its announcement of the EOS 350D. The EF-S 60 mm F2.8 Macro is designed specifically for Digital SLR's with its EF-S lens mount and provides and equivelant field of view of approximately 96 mm and a true 1:1 macro magnification ratio. The lens also features a ring-type Ultra Sonic Motor and has a maximum aperture of F2.8.
Pre-PMA 2005: The second Canon announcement of the day is the curvier, range-topping seven megapixel PowerShot SD500 (IXUS 700). The 'perpertual curve' is apparently designed to push compact camera design into new territories, Canon says. The SD500 is 8% lighter than its predecessor and features a new mode dial on the back of the camera rather than a switch. While the size of the viewfinder has been decreased there's a 2-inch LCD with QuickBright function, which maximises the brightness of the LCD for improved visibility outdoors. Other new features include the ability to zoom during movie capture and a new 'hold' function, which allows you to view images for longer immediately after they have been shot (also seen on the SD400). The SD500 is expected to be realeased next month, priced around 499 Euros ($650).
Pre-PMA 2005: Canon has today announced its smallest 5 megapixel camera yet in the shape of the PowerShot SD400 (IXUS 50). It features the DIGIC II processeor found in Canon's pro digital SLRs and sports a large 2.0-inch LCD which has a QuickBright function that temoporarily brightens the LCD so it should be easier to view in bright conditions. The PowerShot SD400 also has a 'hold' function which displays newly capture images for longer and then allows them to be deleted without switching to playback mode. Other features inlcude a 640 x 480 at 30 fps and a 3cm macro mode.
Pre-PMA 2005: Nikon has today announced an upgraded version of their high speed shooting D2H professional digital SLR. The new D2Hs features a range of improvements which have come out of the development of the D2X as well as specific improvements to the D2H design. Highlights; 8 frames per second shooting for up to 50 JPEG or 40 RAW images, 12 bit ASIC processing, WT-2 wireless support (802.11b/g, PTP/IP), improved AWB, 3D Matrix Metering II, higher resolution 'flicker free' LCD monitor, modified vertical shooting buttons, sYCC color space support and more. The D2Hs will be available in March with an MSRP of $3499. We have a five page preview article available.
Pre-PMA 2005: Nikon has today announced a unique new feature which is available in their new Coolpix 7900, 5900 and 7600 compact digital cameras. Face-Priority AF is available in Portrait Mode and when active can identify facial features in the live view and activate auto-focus on these areas. This new feature was developed in conjunction with Identix and their FaceIt technology.
Pre-PMA 2005: Nikon has today announced its second seven million pixel camera the Coolpix 7900 and an almost identical 5.1 million pixel twin, the Coolpix 5900. Both cameras have a large 2.0-inch LCD and feature a Help button for explanation of menu functions, plus a 3x optical zoom offering a focal length equivalent of 38 - 114 mm. The pair also feature Face AF, like the Coolpix 7600, for focusing when using portrait mode. The 7900 is available in black and silver while the 5900 is available in silver. The Coolpix 5900 is due for release this month, and the Coolpix 7900 is scheduled for release in March. An underwater housing, WP-CP 4, is also available in Europe.
Pre-PMA 2005: In the first of two 7 million pixel camera announcements from Nikon today comes the Coolpix 7600. Nikon has included D-Lighting technology which corrects exposure problems in playback and in-camera red-eye removal. Face-priority AF is a new features which finds and focuses on people's faces in Portrait mode. The Coolpix 7600 also boasts a 3x optical zoom (38-114mm), 1.8-inch LCD, five movie modes and take SD storage. It will be available in Europe in Springtime in black and silver. The Coolpix 7600 will only be available in black in the US.
Pre-PMA 2005: Nikon is hoping to woo consumers who have never considered buying a digital camera before with two new entry level cameras, the Coolpix 4600 and Coolpix 5600 (4.0 and 5.1 million pixels respectively). Both have enhanced in-camera features such as Nikon's D-Lighting function, which, when selected in playback mode, can compensate for insufficient flash or excessive backlighting as well as In-Camera Red-Eye Fix and Blur Warning. They also have a newly designed GUI and help buttons that explain menu functions. Menus can be displayed in 11 different languages too. Spec-wise the pair have 1.8-inch color LCDs, 4cm macro function and a 3x zoom. Both cameras will be available this month. An underwater housing, WP-CP 3, is also available in Europe.
Pre-PMA 2005: Casio has today announced to new additions to its Exilim range with the 7.2 megapixel Exilim EX-Z750 and the 5 megapixel Exilim EX-Z57, which boasts Casio's biggest LCD yet at 2.7 inches. The Z750 offers a wide shutter speed range of 60 - 1/6000 sec and MPEG-4 movie capture, which has a Past Movie function enabling video recording to begin from five seconds before the shutter is pressed. The Z57 does away with a viewfinder altogether as it's replaced by that large LCD, and a proprietary Super Life battery is said to give 400 shots per charge. Both cameras come with an AC adapter cradle for recharging batteries and viewing stills and movie footage on a television via AV out. The Exilim EX-Z750 and Exilim EX-Z57 will be available in April.
Olympus has today posted firmware updates for its D-SLRs the E-300 (v1.1) and the E-1 (v1.4). The E-300 upgrade addresses problems with auto white balance as well as battery consumption issues during sleep mode. The version 1.4 update for the E-1 improves S-AF speed in low light, AF accuracy under fluorescent lighting and it now supports high speed CompactFlash cards.
Konica Minolta has today posted firmware version 1.10 for the 7D digital SLR. This update addresses several issues, some of which we raised in our recent review of the camera. Primary improvements appear to be Compact Flash interface speed improvements (up to 3x faster) and USB transfer rates. In addition the new firmware also enables blinking highlights in instant playback mode. This update is now available for download from Konica Minolta USA.
Canon Japan has this morning sprung a surprise on everyone with the announcement (in Japan only so far) of the EOS 20Da. This specialized version of the EOS 20D appears to be identical except for the removal of the 'hot mirror', the filter in most digital cameras which removes the InfraRed part of the spectrum. This camera would be especially suited to astrophotography as well as InfraRed photography, in use as a 'normal camera' it would probably require an external IR cut filter on the lens. 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).
Pre-PMA 2005: The last of three DC (digital SLR only) lenses announced by Sigma today is the 30 mm F1.4 EX DC HSM, a lens which sounds extremely interesting on paper and will offer photographers an almost 'normal' 45 mm equiv. (on a 1.5x FOV crop digital SLR) with a super-fast F1.4 maximum aperture (great low-light focusing, lots of depth-of-field control). This lens also features Sigma's HSM (HyperSonic Motor) and will be available with Canon, Sigma and Nikon lens mounts.
Pre-PMA 2005: The second of three DC (digital SLR only) lenses announced by Sigma today is the 10 - 20 mm F4.0 - F5.6 EX DC HSM, an interesting super wide-angle lens which would provide 15 - 30 mm equiv. on a 1.5 FOV crop camera (such as the Nikon D70). This lens also features Sigma's HSM (HyperSonic Motor) for high speed silent focusing with manual focus override.
Pre-PMA 2005: Sigma has today announced the new 18 - 200 mm F3.5 - F6.3 DC lens, this lens along with the two other new lenses announced today is designed specifically for digital SLR's with APS-C sized sensors (1.5x FOV crop or more), these are smaller and lighter than the equivalent 35 mm lens as they don't need to produce such as large an imaging circle. This new eleven times zoom lens although a little slow at telephoto (F6.3) would offer an impressive 27 - 300 mm equiv. on a 1.5x FOV crop camera (such as the Nikon D70).
Pre-PMA 2005: Sigma today announced that they will be releasing DG ('digitally optimized') versions of ten of their telephoto lenses (six zooms, four primes). DG lenses provide full compatibility with film and digital SLR's but have been 'optimized' (there's no detail on exactly what this means) for use with digital SLR's.
Pre-PMA 2005: Pentax has announced a silver-colored version of its second generation D-SLR, the 6.1 megapixel *istDS, although the majority of the body is still black. It features the same specification as the black-colored version ncluding a 2.0-inch LCD, top shutter speed of 1/4000th sec and RAW image capture. Pricing and availability is to be confirmed.
Pre-PMA 2005: Pentax has utilised its proprietary Sliding Lens System to create the 3x zoom lens Optio S5n, which is just 20.5 mm wide. The addition to the S-series has been designed to fit in with Pentax's concept of 'being stylish and ultra-compact enough to be worn like an accessory'. Spec wise it can capture VGA-quality movie clips which can be played back on the 2.0-inch LCD. The Optio S5n comes with a stand which charges spare batteries and those in the camera. The Optio S5n will be in the shops in March and will set you back £249.99 (approx $386).
Pre-PMA 2005: Pentax has announced a 5.0 million pixel camera for £149.99 (approx $229). The Optio 50 has a 3x optical zoom (32 - 96 mm) and offers a 320 x 240-pixel movie mode. Clearly aimed at beginners, or digital ditherers who haven't yet taken the plunge, the Optio 50 has seven subject modes including a 'simple' function which selects the best settings for the scene at hand. The Pentax Optio 50 will be available in April priced £149.99.
Nikon has posted an update to Nikon Capture with version 4.2, which adds support for the D2X. Other improvements include replacing the Digital DEE function with the D-Lighting function, which corrects exposure problems and additions to the menu options with a new find tool and straighten tool. Color Noise Reduction has also been improved.
Pentax has launched version 2.1 of Pentax Photo Browser and Photo Laboratory Updater software which improves usability for *istD and *istDS owners. New and improved points in the Photo Browser software for the *istD include changes to print function, the ability to view next and previous images in the main image window as well as a search function. Photo Laboratory 2.1 allows you to change the size of the preview window, something which was criticized in our review of the *istD software. For *istDS users the software allows thumbnails to be displayed quicker and improves the image quality of RAW-processed files, amongst other changes.
Pre-PMA 2005: Panasonic has today added two new cameras to its 12x zoom compact FZ line, the silver-bodied four megapixel DMC-FZ4 and the black-bodied five megapixel DMC-FZ5. Other improvements include a subtly redesigned body, a new version of Panasonic's Venus image processing engine and a larger 1.8-inch LCD monitor (FZ5 only).
Pre-PMA 2005: The new LZ series from Panasonic offer a compact body, four or five megapixels connected to an all-new 6x optical stabilized zoom lens. The LZ's new lens provides 37 - 222 mm equivalent with a maximum aperture of F2.8 to F4.5. The LZ1 has a four megapixel CCD and a silver body, the LZ2 a five megapixel CCD and black body. If these two cameras can live up to their spec then they should offer a killer combination of compactness, resolution, zoom and stabilization.
Pre-PMA 2005: Panasonic has today announced the new Lumix DMC-LS1 digital camera which features an optically stabilized three times optical zoom lens and four megapixel CCD. This camera is a follow-up to the budget-priced DMC-LC70, the biggest change being the introduction of Panasonic's OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), a first for a low- priced compact digital camera. Other improvements include a new version of Panasonic's Venus image processing engine, a 2.0-inch transmissive and reflective LCD monitor and 14 MB of built-in memory.
Pre-PMA 2005: Fujifilm has today announced the 5.1 million pixel FinePix Z1, their first camera to use folded optical lens technology first used by Pentax and Konica Minolta. The super slim aluminum-cased Z1 is powered up by a sliding lens cover that is the size of the camera. It also boasts a 2.5-inch LCD with toughened glass, ISO up to 800 and VGA-quality movies. The FinePix Z1 will be available worldwide in June.
Pre-PMA 2005: Fujifilm has today announced a camera that is designed to last longer than you do during a day's shooting with the 6.3 megapixel FinePix F10. With the supplied NP-120 lithium ion battery, the F10 is supposed to allow you to take 500 shots. The F10 has no viewfinder but does have an impressive 2.5-inch LCD as well as a high sensitivity of ISO 1600. It also boasts 3:2 image format option, VGA movie capture at 30 fps and PictBridge compatibility. It will be available worldwide around April at a price yet to be set.
Pre-PMA 2005: Fujifilm has today announced replacements for the A330 and A340 Zoom with the four and five megapixel FinePix A345 Zoom and FinePix A350 Zoom. The cameras are identical in almost everyway except for image sizes, resolution and digital zoom; they boast a 1.7-inch LCD and a 3x optical zoom (35 - 105 mm). The entry-level pair store images on an xD-Picture Card and are powered by two AA-type batteries. They will be available in the UK in March.
Just posted! Our review of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-L1. The ultra-compact camera could be described as a zoom version of the Cyber-shot U series, though it sports a larger 1.5-inch LCD. It also boasts 4.1 megapixels and VGA quality movie mode at 30 fps. Its new 3x optical zoom is considerably more compact than any Sony lens before it and provide a wide-ish angle lens at 32mm. See what we made of the Cyber-shot DSC-L1 in our review.
Pre-PMA 2005: The annual PMA trade show is looming large on the horizon and as ever will paint the landscape for the digital photography market for the next twelve months. We have already activated our PMA 2005 show report which will enable you to stay informed of all the latest product announcements as well as live reports from the show floor. We are expecting several important announcements in the next few weeks which will be posted both on the front page of the site as well as the 'New Product Index' in the show report. I recommend bookmarking our show report so that you can keep up to date with all the news.
Adobe has posted a minor update to Photoshop Elements for Windows (the Mac version does not need updating). Version 3.0.1 includes two changes; easier to download new creation templates for PhotoBooks, Calendars etc. and the ability to change the format of dates in the Photo Well from U.S. to European.
Adobe has posted the final version of Camera Raw 2.4 for Photoshop CS available on both Windows and Mac platforms. The free download now adds support for raw files from Canon EOS 20D, PowerShot S70, PowerShot G6, EOS-1Ds Mark II and Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D / Dynax 7D and DiMAGE A200.
Just posted! our review of the latest Konica Minolta 'prosumer' digital camera, the DiMAGE A200. Based on the DiMAGE A2, the A200 features a new, smaller and more rounded body design, simplified control layout and a new flip-out and twist LCD monitor. Looking a little more closely the specifications reveal a slightly cut-back unit which loses some A2 features but improves on others, a mechanically operated 28-200mm equivalent zoom lens and Konica Minolta's proprietary Anti-Shake technology that employs a unique CCD-shift mechanism (also seen in the recent Maxxum 7D digital SLR). Check out our concise review to find out how it fared, and how it compares with the DiMAGE A2.
Pre-PMA 2005: The five megapixel, three times zoom DSC-W5 is a follow-up to the popular DSC-W1, main differences are some subtle design changes, a lower resolution LCD monitor and 32 MB of onboard flash storage. The DSC-W5 was priced at $350 on SonyStyle. (This news was posted last week but we took it down at Sony's request because it had been accidentally posted on SonyStyle).
Pre-PMA 2005: Hot on the heels of the A75's replacement, the A510 is the A85's replacement announced today, the new A520. The changes are essentially identical; its size and weight (it's 13% smaller and 20% lighter), the inclusion of a new four times optical zoom lens (the A75 had a three times), zoom linked flash, a shift from CompactFlash to SD card for storage and a drop to two AA batteries from four.
Pre-PMA 2005: Casio has today announced the new five megapixel, five times optical zoom EXILIM Pro EX-P505. The P505 is quite a departure for Casio with its SLR-Like appearance, large lens barrel and five times optical zoom. The EX-P505 is also the first Casio digital camera to use the MPEG-4 codec for encoding video, it can record full VGA (640x480) video at 30 fps with stereo audio at 4.2 or 2.2 MBit/sec (approx. 30 / 60 mins on a 1 GB card).
UK-based magazine What Digital Camera has joined forces with some of the top digital camera and equipment manufactures to run an online auction in support of the tsunami appeal. Simply visit www.whatdigitalcamera.com/auction before midnight on February 11th to place your bid for some great kit, at some great prices. Bid items include the award-winning Nikon D70, which has a starting bid of just £450 (approx $700) and the Pentax *ist D which has a starting bid of £500 (approx $778). Other items include a selection of software, printers and scanners all with a starting bid of half the RRP. *NB: Non-UK bidders may be subject to local taxes.
Pre-PMA 2005: The second addition to Konica Minolta's Z series of digital cameras is the five megapixel, twelve times zoom DiMAGE Z5. Just like the Z3 this camera also features Konica Minolta's unique Anti-Shake stabilization system and has a flash hot-shoe. The Z5 features a larger LCD monitor and a few other subtle specification changes but otherwise appears to be fairly similar to the Z3.
Pre-PMA 2005: The first of two new Z cameras announced today by Konica Minolta is the Z20, a follow-on to the Z10 this five megapixel, eight times optical zoom digital camera is aimed at a lower price point than its bigger brother the new Z5. The main differences to the more expensive Z5 are the zoom range, a fixed rather than pop-up flash, no flash hot-shoe, hybrid AF, a smaller LCD, the 'switch finder' viewfinder, built-in storage and no Anti-Shake.
Pre-PMA 2005: Canon has today announced the successor to the just under one year old PowerShot A75, the new PowerShot A510. This four times optical zoom three megapixel digital camera is aimed at the entry level user with a basic range of features. The biggest difference compared to the A75 are its size and weight (it's 13% smaller and 20% ligher), the inclusion of a new four times optical zoom lens (the A75 had a three times), zoom linked flash, a shift from Compact Flash to SD card for storage and a drop two two AA batteries from four. In addition Canon has also introduced a new optional slave flash.
Pre-PMA 2005: Sigma has today announced that four of its DC ('designed for digital') lenses will soon be available with a Konica Minolta lens mount. The four lenses; the 18-50 mm F2.8 EX DC, 18-50 mm F3.5 - F5.6 DC, 18-125 mm F3.5-F5.6 DC and 55-200 mm F4.0 - F5.6 DC are all designed to be smaller and lighter than equivelant 35 mm lenses as they only need to produce an image circle large enough for a digital SLR sensor.
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D (Dynax 7D) digital SLR. This Konica Minolta's first digital SLR for five years, it is based around the Maxxum 7 (Dynax 7) film SLR with a six megapixel CCD and Konica Minolta's unique Anti-Shake technology (which stabilizes the CCD rather than the lens). See how the 7D works, how it performed and how it compares to the competition.
Konica Minolta has announced a new series of cameras today with the launch of the Dimage E50. The slim 5 million pixel model has a large 2.5-inch LCD and is a simple point and shoot device aimed at the beginner. It boasts a 640 x 480-pixel movie mode, limited only by the capacity of the card, a 3x optical zoom and macro down to 6cm. The Dimage E50 is available now for £199 in Europe only.