0700 CET: Olympus has today officially announced the Olympus E-1 digital SLR. The E-1 is the first Olympus removable lens digital SLR, it's also the first digital SLR with an entirely new lens mount. The E-1 conforms to the '4/3 System' standard with a standard 4/3" type CCD (18 x 13.5 mm) from Kodak (five megapixel) and the 4/3 System lens mount. Olympus has also confirmed five ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses and three flash units. UPDATE: While we weren't given any pricing it looks like other sites were, see inside...
0700 CET: As part of their announcement of the new E-1 digital SLR Olympus has also issued a press release covering the available lenses and accessories, this includes a couple of new flash units, a teleconverter, extension tube and one new ultra-wide angle zoom lens which should be available towards the end of the year. Olympus has also now branded the lenses, "ZUIKO DIGITAL", the name 'ZUIKO' synonymous with quality OM lenses of the past. The new zoom lens provides a 35 mm equivalent field of view of 21 to 44 mm with a maximum aperture of F2.8 to F3.5 (sounds very interesting). Other items of interest include a different focusing screen and an eyecup. Kudos to Olympus for ensuring a relatively wide range of accessories and lenses at the time of announcement of the new E-1 digital SLR.
According to a report published today by In-Stat/MDR the results of recent survey reveals that 37 percent of respondents planned to buy a digital camera in the next twelve months. The report goes on, "Digital cameras in general, are currently among the hottest consumer items on the market. Whether digital still cameras, digital camcorders, or PC cameras, consumers have taken advantage of falling prices and increasing quality to make digital imaging a marketplace phenomenon over the past three to five years."
Toshiba Imaging Systems has recently announced the new PDR-3340. It offers a 3.2 megapixel resolution, 3X optical zoom lens (34mm - 102mm) and 16Mb of internal memory, expandable with SD cards. "The PDR-3340 is perfect for entry-level consumers making the transition from traditional film cameras to digital cameras," said Doug Freck, Vice President and General Manager, Toshiba Imaging Systems. The PDR-3340 is expected to ship in August with an MSRP of $249.
Toshiba Imaging Systems has recently announced its new M Series range of digital camera, the PDR-M700 and PDR-M500. The PDR-M700 offers a 3.2 megapixel resolution, while the PDR-M500 offers 2.0 megapixels. Both have with 10x Canon optical zoom lenses (35mm equiv. to 35mm - 350mm) and 16Mb SD cards. The PDR-M700 is priced at around US $449 and the PDR-M500 at around US $349.
ColorVision Inc. has today announced the latest in their line of color calibration products. The PrintFIX hardware and software combination offer a very affordable method for profiling your printer (at first Epson inkjets) allowing you to produce far more accurate print color. This product is also especially useful for users of high end Epson Stylus Photo printers using third party papers. We have managed to arrange for a special deal price of $299 for PrintFIX ($352 SRP) and $499 for a Spyder and PrintFIX suite pack ($587 SRP, $704 total if bought individually).
Sigma Japan has today announced a new lens. The 24 - 135 mm F2.8 - F4.5 will be available for Sigma, Canon , Nikon, Minolta and Pentax lens mounts, it has a 77 mm filter size, 50 cm (19.7 in) minimum focus distance and weighs 530 g (17 oz). This lens will no doubt be interesting to digital SLR owners because of its relatively wide angle 24 mm, on the Sigma SD9 this lens would provide an equivelant field of view of approx. 41 - 230 mm, on the Canon EOS-10D approx. 38 - 216 mm and on the Nikon D100 approx. 36 - 203 mm.
Thanks to forums contributor 'Andreas P' for spotting this, a Taiwanese technology website is currently running an article about the difference between CCD and CMOS sensors. On this page they have a copy of a Sony sensor road map, on it is the ICX 456 sensor, it's 2/3" in size (8.8 x 6.6 mm) and has eight megapixels (a pixel pitch of 2.7 µm). The box on the roadmap is marked '1H03' (first half '03) which would make it available for manufacturers looking to release some prosumer cameras before Christmas this year (a new Sony DSC-F717 or Canon Pro 90 perhaps?).
Sony Japan has today announced a range of new 'high quality' products under the 'QUALIA' name, each product is identified simply by the QUALIA name and a three digit product number. Inlcuded as part of this range is the 'Qualia 016' an ultra-compact two megapixel digital camera which stores images on Memory Stick Duo and has a 0.55" LCD monitor installed. The camera measures just 69 x 24 x 17 mm (2.7 x 0.9 x 0.7 in) and weighs just 50 g (1.8 oz) ready to use - significantly smaller than the 'U' series. The body is made almost completely from aluminium and is supplied in a very neat looking black box with a range of accessories including a flash unit, viewer unit, wide conversion lens and tele conversion lens. Yours for just 380,000 YEN ($3,200). With no word from Sony companies elsewhere in the world it does look as though this may be another exciting product only available in Japan, we will try to get confirmation on this later in the day.
Creo has today announced the Leaf Valeo 22 digital camera back for in studio and portable shooting. It utilizes a newly developed 22 megapixel CCD giving 4,056 x 5,356 resolution in a sensor size of 48 x 36 mm. Raw data files reach 126 MB in 16 bit and are stored on a removable 5 GB or 10 GB Leaf Digital Magazine. A detachable 6 x 7 cm display, based on the HP iPAQ pocket PC, and removable Digital Magazine provides Leaf Portable Power. Demonstration units are available from July 2003 and commercial shipments begin September 1, 2003.
Samsung UK has recently announced two new additions to their Digimax range, the 420 and 360. The Digimax 420 offers a 4 megapixel resolution, while the 360 offers 3.2 megapixels. Both have with 3x optical zoom lenses (35mm equiv. to 38mm - 114mm) and 16Mb internal memories, which can be upgraded using SD cards. The Digimax 420 is priced at around £300 and the Digimax 360 at around £250.
Site contributor Vincent Bockaert has today announced an updated version of his excellent 'The 123 of digital imaging Interactive e-book'. This new version has been reedited, has updated content, new technology information as well as improved internal search engine and other more subtle improvements such as cover design and shipping media. Upgrade to version 1.1 is free for owners of version 1.0, an all new 2.4 MB downloadable demo is also now available. I can thoroughly recommend this e-book to anyone, whether you consider yourself an expert or are a complete beginner, there's something here for everyone. (Apologies to Mac users, this product is Windows only).
Konica has revealed the KD-510Z, for quite a while today I think they probably underestimated the amount of traffic their server would have to deal with (especially after tempting everyone with that teaser last week). After all that the KD-510Z seems to be a fairly unremarkable five megapixel three times optical zoom digital camera virtually identical to the black bodied KD-500Z they announced at Photokina last year. Just like the previous camera the KD-510Z can store images on both SD/MMC and MemoryStick, making Konica the only manufacturer other than Sony to use the format.
0700 GMT: Canon has today (officially) announced the five megapixel PowerShot G5. While we are often happy to respect embargo's (to get what we are told is exclusive info) it's getting repeatedly more frustrating when you see so called embargo information published sometimes weeks ahead of the real announcement (it does make you wonder if such leaks aren't planned by the manufacturers). The PowerShot G5 is a camera I feel Canon should have announced at Photokina last year instead of the G3, it's a essentially a black bodied, five megapixel version of that camera. Five megapixel 1/1.8" sensor and a four times optical zoom lens, the competition will be Sony's DSC-V1 and the recently announced Nikon Coolpix 5400. List price €899 in Europe, $899 in the US.
Konica has recently put up a flash teaser on their Japanese web site, very much in the vien of Nikon with their Coolpix SQ earlier this year. It shows a number of Konica cameras through the years and ends with a sillouette of the new model with the promise of more information coming on the 6th of June. There are two very good samples linked from the page though, so I think again its a case of wait and see.
Nikon has today announced the new five megapixel four times optical zoom Coolpix 5400 (the Coolpix 5000's sucessor). The Coolpix 5400 is especially interesting because it offers a wide angle 28 mm equiv. four times zoom compared to the typical 35 or 38 mm equiv. Other noteworthy specifications include 1/1.8" sensor (the Coolpix 5000 used a 2/3"), ISO 50 - 400 sensitivity, up to 10 minute Bulb exposures and front or rear flash sync.. Available "Summer 2003" with a list price of $799. UPDATE: 5400 will get RAW "in Spring 2004" via a firmware update.
Sony has today announce two new U-series ultra-compact digital cameras. The DSC-U30 (available in three colors) is essentially an update to the DSC-U20, it has a two megapixel CCD sensor and fixed lens. The 'new feature' for the DSC-U30 is a convex mirror on the front of the camera so that you (or your friends) can see yourselves before taking a shot. The DSC-U60 is Sony's first ruggedized and waterproofed model, it has a rubber body and is waterproof in up to 1.5 m (5 ft) of water. Both cameras should be available in July at $200 and $250 respectively.
Media and SanDisk have today both announced support for the xD-Picture
Card format, which was developed by Olympus, FujiFilm and Toshiba. Lexar
Media will now be offering xD-Picture Cards
in Lexar packaging through many of its worldwide retail outlets and SanDisk have signed a 5 year agreement with Olympus to manufacture as well as sell xD-Picture Cards under the Olympus brand.
An interesting story on EE Times today about a new image processor for digital cameras from NuCore Technologies called CleanCapture. CleanCapture chips lower noise in the analog stage, thefore improving compression using standard algorithms. If an image file contains noise, the noise is treated as data and deteriorates compression efficiency. "A JPEG file created by NuCore's processor is on average a half or one third the size of conventionally processed JPEG files" said Seiichiro Watanabe.
In their second announcement of the day Fujfilm has revealed the new FinePix A210 Zoom, a three megapixel, three times optical zoom entry-level digital camera. The camera has a 1.5" LCD monitor, is powered by two AA batteries and stores images on xD Picture Card (16 MB included). The A210 is designed to appeal to first time digital camera users with an easy to use interface which includes larger buttons and clear labelling.
To coincide with the Olympus announcement (which just pipped them to the post) Fujifilm has also today announced their 512 MB xD Picture Card. The xD Picture Card format was jointly developed by Fujifilm, Olympus and Toshiba (who produce the cards). Adrian Clarke, Director of Consumer Products at Fujifilm, said: "The new capacity for the xD-Picture Card takes it into a commanding competitive position compared to other storage formats, whilst the tiny physical dimensions are of considerable benefit with regard to camera design and size."
Olympus Japan has today announced another step in capacity for the relatively new xD Picture Card flash storage format, according to the press release they expect the 512 MB xD Picture Card (M-XD512P) to go on sale in Japan this June (next month). This new, higher capacity card, is already compatible with several recently released Olympus digital cameras; C-5050 Zoom, C-50 Zoom, C-730 Ultra Zoom, C-740 Ultra Zoom, C-750 Ultra Zoom, Stylus 400 (mju 400) Digital, Stylus 300 (mju 300) Digital. Although not confirmed in the Japanese release we assume this new card would be compatible with the US models D-560 Zoom and D-390.
Lexar has recently identified a rare compatibility issue between some of their 32x and 40x Professional Series CompactFlash cards and Nikon D1x & D1h cameras. Under certain conditions, the cards can become corrupted resulting in a standard "CHA" error message on the camera's LCD display. The affected cards can be identified by the card's serial number located at the bottom edge of the card opposite the connector. Cards with a serial number ending with the last 4 characters of 4D8D or 6DB4 should be updated with the latest firmware.
Pentax has today issued an English (the previous was only in Japanese) press release about the delay of the *ist D digital SLR. "Due to a delay in the delivery of some components, the product launch has been pushed back to late August of this year. In the sales memorandum of February 27, 2003, the original date was announced to be sometime in June or July. Final specifications will be announced later." For their sake I hope they can hit this new target and not delay any further, having a flagship digital product is important and Pentax really need to prove that they can actually produce a digital SLR.
Displaytech has announced the LightView 311k Display Module, the highest resolution display produced for digital still camera and camcorder viewfinders. The 311k is a 0.26-inch diagonal FLC on reflective CMOS microdisplay with 432 by 240 pixel display resolution. Each pixel has 24-bit color depth, and it operates at 120 Hz (360 Hz RGB field rate) to provide flicker free, full color video imaging.
Phew! Perhaps one of the most exhaustive (and exhausting) reviews I've ever produced, our review of the fourteen megapixel DCS-14n spans no less than 24 pages, five of which are dedicated to comparing this camera to Canon's eleven megapixel EOS-1Ds. We've had our DCS-14n for some time now so I've had a good chance to evaluate the camera, and the various firmware versions which have flowed our way. And that's part of the problem, is the 14n actual finished yet? Dive into our review and see how Kodak's latest digital SLR stacks up.
Nikkei recently ran a story about the success of digital camera manufacturers. They were initially burdended with heavy investment costs, but now have a cash cow as production increased. The top five manufacturers operating profits in their digital-camera-related divisions skyrocketed 130% in fiscal 2002. Global digital camera shipments soared 70% on the year to 24.55 million units in 2002, surging 50% in value terms to about 800 billion yen.
Creative Technology Ltd. has today announced the Graphics Blaster Picture Perfect graphics accelerator, it is based on a 64MB VP500SE Visual Processing Unit (VPU) from 3Dlabs and is bundled with full versions of ArcSoft's PhotoImpression, Panorama Maker, and ArcSoft PhotoPrinter. The Graphics Blaster Picture Perfect has an ESP of US$179.99.
Pentax Japan has today published a press release informing their customers of a delay to the availability of their new '*ist D' digital SLR which was announced at PMA this year. The *ist D was originally scheduled for sale in June 2003, this has now been moved to 'the end of August 2003' due to 'a delay in the procurement of material required'. While delays in the delivery of materials is something out of Pentax's hands it must be slightly embarassing after the fiasco of the previous Pentax digital SLR which was forever delayed and eventually cancelled.
Kodak may have to write off "tens of millions'' of dollars invested in a failed venture with Hewlett Packard, called Phogenix, that was making picture-developing kiosks. Kodak was counting on the mini-labs to catch up to Fuji Photo's five-year head start, instead it will now focus on a development agreement with Noritsu Koki Co. of Japan as its "core'' mini-lab.
Sigma has today posted (as promised) firmware v184.108.40.2062 and Photo Pro v1.1 (1302). The firmware has three major features; support for Lexar WA (write acceleration) technology, a bug fix for occasional hangs in long exposures, compressed preview images resulting in smaller X3F files. The new version of Photo Pro has a wide variety of fixes, the most important of which is improved JPEG output quality by using 4:4:4 downsampling (fully sampled chroma). UPDATE: Image quality comparison included.
has today posted firmware v1.1 for the Coopix 2100 digital camera. This
firmware appears to address the same issue as the recently released firmware
update for the Coolpix 3100. This new firmware fixes an issue with the
reporting of battery level on the LCD monitor, the camera may have under-reported
the available power when using the EN-MH1 rechargeable battery, although
this didn't affect the actual life of the battery. The download is available
in English for Windows and Macintosh operating systems.
Kodak has today announced an agreement to acquire Applied Science Fiction's film processing technology, Digital PIC. Digital PIC is a non-chemical process for developing standard color negative film. It produces a digital image file that can be used to print photographs and be written to a CD. As a result, Kodak's will have the only kiosks capable of taking any input, including film, and giving the consumer the prints they want, in minutes.
Sigma has announced new SD9 firmware and a new version of Sigma Photo Pro will be made available for download next Wednesday, 14th May. The new firmware and Photo Pro combination deliver improved noise reduction, improved processing speed and the primary concern of SD9 owners higher quality JPEG images from Photo Pro. JPEG files from Photo Pro are now saved with the 4:4:4 down sampling when the quality is set to 7 or higher, the previous version of Photo Pro used 4:2:0 down sampling which could lead to loss of color resolution and odd color artifacts.
Fujifilm UK has today announced a £300 price reduction for their S2 Pro Digital SLR. To this day the S2 Pro remains one of my favourite digital SLRs with superb resolution and 'only Fujifilm do it this well' color. Will Rolls, Marketing Manager, Fujifilm UK said, "For consumers, two things have improved on the FinePix S2 Pro - firstly, it is now available more widely than before, and secondly, at a very accessible price. It is not the newest digital SLR on the market, but we are confident that it will easily outgun recent additions to this important category."
Aska Corporation, Japan has today announced the new CF32A 'Speed Over' PCMCIA CardBus CF adapter. Because this new adapter uses the high speed 32-bit CardBus interface it can deliver transfer speeds of 5 MB/sec (compared to the 1.2 MB/sec of the normal PCMCIA interface). This would no doubt provide welcome relief to Notebook users and photographers 'in the field' who often have to put up with slow image transfer performance. The CF32A is a PCMCIA Type II CardBus card and supports Compact Flash Type I or II including the IBM Microdrive. UPDATE: Japan only product.
Olympus America announced that it will reunite with photo visionaries Rick Smolan and David Elliot Cohen, original creators of the highly acclaimed Day in the Life series of photography books, for America 24-7, the largest collaborative photography event in history. A huge corps of digital photographers will shoot images for a digital time capsule representing life in America over the course of one week, May 12th-18th.
Kodak has recently posted a firmware update for the DCS 14n. This firmware upgrade, version 4.2.2, fixes a problem with the display of the card capacity under the Japanese and Chinese languages plus the focus area can now be changed whenever soft pressing the shutter button. New features also include a card write speed measurement feature, support for SD/MMC cards, faster startup and shutdown, plus much more.
Lenmar Enterprises has today announced a new high performance nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) AA battery. The NoMEM PRO(R) series now features AA batteries with an industry-leading capacity rating of 2300mAh. "This new power level for AA batteries gives digital camera users the improved rechargeable battery performance they desire to make digital photography more enjoyable and economical," stated Marty Goldberg, Lenmar CEO.
Maha Energy Corp., the maker of the PowerEx brand batteries and chargers has today announced their latest hike in AA NiMH battery capacity, now up to 2200 mAh. Just four months after announcing 2000 mAh AA NiMH batteries they have managed to squeeze an extra 10% (200 mAh) capacity into the batteries. 'As part of its global marketing program highlighting that Not All Batteries are Created Equal, indeed due to variation in design, quality control and rating, even identically rated batteries could have significant variation in performance as much as 30%.'
08:00 CET: Canon has today announced two new Canon 'Card Photo Printers', the CP-200 and CP-300. Both printers are based on dye-sublimation technology and both can be connected directly to any Canon digital camera which supports Canon's own 'Direct Print' system. Both cameras have 300 dpi engines for printing and can print at the standard 10 x 15 cm (4 x 6 in) sizes as well as other smaller sizes. A full 10 x 15 cm (4 x 6 in) print takes approximately 85 seconds. The CP-200 is powered by an AC adapter, the CP-300 by a dedicated Lithium-Ion battery or AC adapter. There is also an optional car battery adapter for either.
08:00 CET: Canon has today announced the new three megapixel, two times optical zoom PowerShot SD100 (US name) / Digital IXUS II (EU/SE Asia name). This camera is the smallest and lightest Digital IXUS (Digital ELPH) to date, it has a stainless steel body an updated lens system, orientation sensor and DiGiC processing. The most significant detail about the SD100 however is that it is the first Canon digital camera to use SD for storage, Canon's first departure from Compact Flash. Exclusive: We have a full review of the Canon PowerShot SD100 available.
Today we have posted not one, not two but three full in-depth reviews of three ultra-compact three megapixel digital cameras. Reviews posted today are of the Pentax Optio S (3 mp, 3x), the Casio EXILIM EX-Z3 (3 mp, 3x) and the new Canon PowerShot SD100 (3 mp, 2x). All of these cameras are aimed as pocketable 'carry anywhere' cameras with a basic easy to use capability as well as a few advanced features you can grow into. Each has their merits but which offers the best combination of image quality, feature set and value for money?
Kyodo News have posted an interesting story about Fujifilm planing to reduce its digital camera shipment outlook for fiscal year 2003 by 500,000, fearing it will become difficult to procure components manufactured in China due to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Company officials said Wednesday "Digital cameras are strategic products, for which demand has been rapidly expanding on a global basis, creating procurement difficulties for some components."
I/OMagic the manufacturer of data storage devices, recently introduced the Digital Photo Library. It is a portable, stand alone device that is equipped with a 6 in 1 memory card reader supporting CF Type I/II including MicroDrive, Smart Media, Memory Stick, SD/MMC and a 20 GB 2.5" HDD. The Digital Photo Library is available now for an MSRP of $229.99.
Just posted! Our full, in-depth review of Canon's four megapixel ultra-compact PowerShot S400. This camera is also known as the Digital IXUS 400 in Europe. The PowerShot S400 was announced just before PMA this year as part of Canon's new line of digital cameras. It differs from previous PowerShot ultra-compacts in the use of a new 'Cerabrite' material which is a ceramic / metal alloy, it's lighter in color and doesn't mark as easily. The S400 is also remarkable as it packs a three times optical zoom lens into the same size body as the S230 which has only a two times lens. Come in and see how the S400 performed in our tests.
Canon has recently launched their 2003 Digital Creators Contest. The contest started in 2000, targeting professionals, students and amateurs who can present innovative digital media in four categories - digital photography, graphics and illustration, movie, and the Web. Entries can be made in New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam, or Hong Kong. Top creative professionals will serve as judges, searching for new talent and rewarding those whose work displays originality, novelty, expressiveness, and the ability to convey a message to viewers.
Just posted! Our full review of the five megapixel Olympus C-50 Zoom. The C-50 Zoom was announced at Photokina last year and was noteworthy at the time for being the first Olympus digital camera to be supplied with a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery and charger. The stylish metal bodied design was also a pointer for future Olympus digital cameras. See how the C-50 Zoom did in our tests, read the review in full.
Just posted! Another compact five megapixel digital camera review, the Pentax Optio 550. The Optio 550 was introduced at PMA this year, it's an attractive offering because it packs five megapixels and a five times optical zoom lens into a compact body. It's powered by a supplied Lithium-Ion battery (which lasts forever) and stores images on Secure Digital cards. See how the Optio 550 did in our tests, read the review in full.