Pentax UK has today announced the Optio33LF. It has a 3.2 megapixel CCD, 3X optical zoom lens and advanced PENTAX image processing technologies. It also offers the advantage of a handy swivelling LCD monitor an innovation enabling shooting possibilities through accurate composition from above or below eye level! It is due out in late October, and is planned to retail for £229.99.
Delkin is now shipping a FireWire Reader/Writer for CompactFlash digital memory cards. Delkins new external tabletop eFilm FireWire Reader/Writer (Reader-24) is designed for high-end digital photography enthusiasts and professionals who want to dramatically speed workflow. The contents from CompactFlash Type I, Type II and Microdrives can be downloaded to a computer in seconds, and you can write back to the card as well. The Reader-24 is powered via the FireWire cable, so it doesn't require any external power connections, is plug-and-play and works with any PC or Mac with a FireWire port.
I have just posted a gallery of 27 sample images from a production Minolta DiMAGE A1. This is in advance of completing our full review which should be up within the next three weeks. I have to say that I was surprised at how well the DiMAGE A1 performed, it's clearly a step ahead of the DiMAGE 7Hi in terms of image quality and is most certainly in the running to be labelled the best five megapixel prosumer digital camera. Resolution, sharpness, tonal balance (with good dynamic range) and color response are all improved. Add to this the A1's unique image stabilzation which allows you to shoot at much slower shutter speeds and the A1 is a very impressive 'all in one' package.
Software: MAGIX has today announced PhotoStory on CD & DVD 2004, which creates CD and DVD slideshows that can be watched on any TV. PhotoStory works with photos from digital cameras and scanners and a wide variety of image, video and sound files. Consumers can simply select photos, drag and drop to arrange; then click to burn CDs and DVDs, create streaming videos for the Internet, or save as an AVI movie for use in other projects. The package also includes MAGIX Photo Clinic 2.0, a 24-bit image editor, which adjusts brightness, sharpness, color, focus, red-eye, and adds effects, such as fish-eye, mosaic, painting and cartoon-style.
Pretec has today announced that they will be shipping sample 6GB rugged compact flash cards from next month and mass delivery by end of this year. They will have sustained read speeds of 8MB/sec and write speed of 7MB/sec. A 12GB CF Card is also planned in the 2nd half of next year. They have also announced the Platinum CF Card which has an all metal construction. A number of SD/IO cards, including the SD Camera(SmartCam) with VGA CMOS sensor, the SD Presenter which allows a PocketPC to output VGA, composite, and s-video to a monitor or projector. And lastly the CF Barcode Reader, which can turn a PocketPC into an instant productivity tool for use in inventory control, POS etc.
Exclusive: I have just posted a gallery of 25 sample images from a production Pentax *ist D. This is in advance of completing our full review which should be up within the next two weeks. So far the *ist D is looking quite good, there are two sides to the *ist D's image quality story. Firstly tonal balance and color response are both good, a natural color response and lifted shadow detail with highlight clipping at about the same point as most other digital SLR's. Noise is also quite low, about the same as the Nikon D100 (which is what we'd expect as they both share the same sensor). The other side is that Pentax has clearly chosen a low sharpening approach, at 100% view most images have a soft look but do sharpen well and can be delivered sharper out of the camera by pushing up in-camera sharpening. The lenses available to me meant I was most likely to be shooting 'wide open' and thus have less sharp images as a consequence. Overall the *ist D is looking 'so far so good'.
Dave Etchells over at Imaging-Resource has posted an updated samples gallery from the Olympus E-1. He notes, "...based on a late-model prototype camera. While image quality is now good enough for me to provide a set of "gallery" photos, I haven't shot my standardized test images yet, nor do I have any detailed analysis of test images available at this time. (In particular, I've refrained from conducting noise or resolution measurements because Olympus has told me that the E1's anti-noise and image-sharpening processing are not yet in their final states, even in this most recent update of the firmware.)" Which is nice to know, as information was not made available to us when we posted samples from what we were told was a production camera (and then later 'initial production') over a month ago.
Software: Imaging Technologies Corporation has today announced the release of ColorBlind Matchbox v.5.0 for Microsoft Windows. ColorBlind Matchbox v5.0 is an all-in-one ICC compatible color matching solution for the PC. The software is a tool for creating profiles for color consistence for any color device using International Color Consortium (ICC) standards. A colorimeter is provided for creating printer profiles, profile editing, spot color calibration, and image proofing. Users are provided all the tools needed for creating and maintaining ICC profiles in one package. It is available now for $645 or an upgrade price of $299.95.
Software: Auto FX Software has announced version 6.0 of its Photo/Graphic Edges software. This new version of includes dozens of new features and effects. PGE 6 includes SmartLayers (tm), Visual Layer Presets, Brush Effects, Unlimited Undo and lots of new creative content. Photo/Graphic Edges 6.0 includes a stand-alone imaging application as well as a plug-in that works with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro and Corel Draw. Photo/Graphic Edges 6.0 retails for $179 but purchase before October 31st and get it for $149.
Olympus Japan has today announced the ultimate accessory for you Ferrari owners out there, the first Ferrari digital camera the "Ferrari DIGITAL MODEL 2003". This is to commemorate their sponsorship of the Ferrari F1 grand prix team. It will only be available in a limited edition of 10,000 worldwide and will be available to be reserved from October 10th for approx 80,000 Yen.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Fujifilm's first digital camera to utilize their high dynamic range SuperCCD SR sensor. The F700 is a compact metal bodied three times zoom digital camera. It has a three megapixel SuperCCD SR sensor which has two photodiodes at each photosite, one captures a standard light range, the second has lower sensitivity and captures more highlight detail. Fujifilm's image processor then combines data from these two photodiodes to produce an extended dynamic range image. That's the theory. See how the F700 performed in our tests.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Fujifilm's ten times optical zoom 'SLR like' S5000 digital camera. The S5000 features a three megapixel SuperCCD HR sensor, a fast F2.8 - F3.2 10x optical zoom lens, manual control and an electronic viewfinder. The camera design is compact but SLR like with a deep hand grip and well designed control layout. It's a camera which appeals to film SLR owners who want a lightweight 'all in one' digital camera. See how the S5000 performed in our tests.
Toshiba has today announced an addition to its PDR line of digital still cameras - the PDR-5300. It has a 5.0 megapixel CCD, 3X optical zoom lens with a wide aperture range, noise reduction technology, user-selectable shutter speeds, plus full manual control. "The PDR-5300 accommodates different types of users and levels of skill, from the discerning photographer requiring total manual control over shooting functions to the weekend digicam enthusiast who wants a high-performing, easy-to-use camera to capture special moments," said Doug Freck, Vice President/General Manager, Toshiba Imaging Systems. It is expected to ship later this month with a MSRP of $399.
Dave Etchells over at Imaging-Resource has just posted a gallery of sample images from a prototype Nikon D2H. The D2H is the sucessor to the D1H and features Nikon's new four megapixel JFET LBCAST sensor technology. Dave has produced a wide range of shots including action shots and moderate ISO sensitvities (up to ISO 640 for the action shots). One thing Dave notes is strong noise in shadow areas of the images. "In their presentations about the D2H, Nikon has made a big deal about how much their LBCAST sensor technology should improve image noise. Given that, I was very surprised by how high the image noise was in some of these photos, even at very modest ISO ratings." UPDATE 16/Sep/03: Dave has been asked by Nikon to take down this samples gallery.
Kyocera Japan has today announced a twisting lens compact digital camera the Finecam SL300R. Looking very much like a Nikon Coolpix it has a 3.1 megapixel CCD and 3x optical zoom lens, a 1.5" TFT LCD, is powered by a lithium ion battery and uses SD cards for storage. It will be available in later this month and the price is expected to be approximately 45,000 Yen.
Canon has today announced the ultra-compact four megapixel PowerShot SD10 Digital Elph / (Digital IXUS i. The SD10 has a four megapixel CCD and a fixed focal length lens. It has an ultra-compact metal body which will be available in four colors; White, Bronze, Silver and Black. The SD10 is only the second Canon digital camera to use SD card for storage. Also available will be the AW-DC10 weatherproof case. "This is the camera everybody wants to play with - and nobody wants to put down," says Hiroshi Komatsuzaki, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. "It comes packed with all the technology needed to look after the photography - so Digital IXUS i owners can concentrate on looking after the fun". We have some exclusive hands-on pictures with the IXUS i.
Samsung UK has recently announced the U-CA 3. As much of a fashion accessory as a digital camera, the silver U-CA 3 has a 3.2 mega pixel resolution, 3x optical zoom, uses Memory Stick Duo (32MB included) for storage and is more akin to the size of a mobile at 102 x 52.8 x 31mm and weighing just 145g. It has an AVATAR loading screen which can be personalised by downloading your own pictures and favourite MP3 tunes. The new U-CA3 is priced at approx. £280 and will be available from the end of September.
Kodak has today introduced an updated version of the DCS Pro 14n Digital Camera in a 512MB RAM version that delivers a greater burst depth (approx. 20 RAW files compared to approx. 7). Also in late September they will post firmware v4.4 for the Pro 14n camera, which includes improved long exposure mode, in-camera selection of "Looks", improved lens settings, automatic image review and LCD brightness slider, as well as the updated Kodak Professional DCS Photo Desk v3.2 software for all Kodak Professional DCS digital cameras which allows for finer image control and also an undo feature.
The Camera & Imaging Product Association (CIPA) has launched the official site for PictBridge, the industry standard for direct printing of images from a digital camera using a cable without the use of a PC. The standard was established as one of the CIPA specifications in February 2003 and is already been supported by a number of manufacturers. The site is available in both English and Japanese.
Lexar has today announced that Olympus is now supporting its Write Acceleration (WA) technology. The E-1 is the first Olympus camera to incorporate Lexar Medias WA technology. Write Acceleration technology works to reduce the overhead required to store images to memory cards and results in faster write speed performance.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of a pre-production Canon EOS 300D / Digital Rebel. We've had the camera for just over ten days and in that time I've managed to produce a review of about the same detail as our normal D-SLR review. That said you must remember that the camera used for tests / samples was a pre-production unit and thus results may differ from the final production camera. We will update this review after we receive a production camera (not yet received). Dive in!
The UK Energy Saving Trust has teamed up with the Independent newspaper for the second year to run a photography competition. Capture in a photograph the impact of our everyday actions on the environment and you could see your picture exhibited at the National Science Museum and in the Independent. The deadline for the competition is 12th September.
Pentax has today announced the launch of the Optio S4 an upgrade to the Optio S. Sporting the same tiny dimensions and light weight of its predecessor, the Optio S4 has a 4.23 effective megapixel CCD, a 3X zoom lens, and a variety of features including a large, easy-to-use manual control playback button. The Optio S4 will ship to major camera retailers around the end of October.
Pentax has today announced the Optio555 digital camera which is an upgrade to the 550. It is a 5 megapixel, 5X zoom camera which Pentax has maximized the responsiveness of, by reducing lag time so the camera is instantly ready when the power is turned on. The Optio 555 will ship to major camera retailers around the end of October.
Pentax has today announced the Optio 33WR digital camera. It is a 3.2 megapixel, 2.8X zoom that has a JIS Class 7 water resistance rating, the Optio 33WR remains watertight even when the camera is rinsed, splashed or immersed in water. The Optio 33WR will ship to major camera retailers around the end of October.
Software: Lasersoft has announced SilverFast DCPro. The application combines SilverFastAi with Virtual Light Table. The VLT is an image management tool that also has image correction tools, such as red-eye removal, colour correction, white balance, and exposure adjustment. Advanced SilverFast features, including ACR, USM, GANE, selective colour correction, and JobManager. SilverFast DCPro supports the Raw Data Format of many professional Digital Cameras from Canon, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Kodak, Fuji and Sigma.
Up until now auto focus has been carried out either by DC motor or Ultra Sonic / Silent Wave Motors, however a new innovation noted by Monty Solomon and reported in todays New Scientist may offer another option, especially for ultra-compact lens systems. A company called '1 Limited' of Cambridge, UK has developed a sheet of piezoelectric ceramic material which can move whatever is placed on it (by using a grip and shift type movement), roll it into a cylinder and you could move a small camera lens up or down the cylinder (zoom or focus). At the moment this technology is aimed at camera phones however I have no doubt that it could be important for lens systems in ultra-compact cameras.
Pentax UK has announced pricing for the *ist D digital SLR and Kits. The *ist D camera body is is priced at £1,400 (inc VAT), the *ist D with the SMC 18 - 35 mm F4.0 - F5.6 lens £1,529.99 (other lens kits will also be available). This places the *ist D along side the Olympus E-1 at the £1,400 point, we will have to hope that these prices will drop slightly to bring the *ist D more in line with the price of the EOS-10D (around £1,250 inc VAT). Of course it will be interesting to see what effect the arrival of the EOS-300D in shops will have on all of these recently announced digital SLR's.
Olympus UK has today announced the official pricing for the E-1., lenses and accessories (the 'E-System') for the UK, as ever prices are quoted without VAT (value added tax) however we prefer to stick to prices including VAT. The Olympus E-1 MRSP is £1,408.83 (inc VAT), the Olympus E-1 Kit (which includes the 14-54 mm lens) is £1,820.08 (inc VAT). Full details inside.
have today announced the C-5000 Zoom. We don't have much information,
except the press release from Olympus Europe, but it seems that its a
5 megapixel, 3x zoom model with a fair degree of manual control and appears
to be a similar transition as was made from the C-4040 Zoom to the C-4000
Zoom, the new C-5000 Zoom looks like a cut-down C-5050 Zoom. Sales of
the camera are expected to commence in autumn 2003.
Updated to add specifications.
SanDisk has today also announced updated versions of its SanDisk Ultra(TM) II line of high-performance CompactFlash and SD cards. The cards now deliver a minimum write speed of 9 megabytes per second (MB/sec.) and a minimum read speed of 10MB/sec. The new Ultra II CF card will initially be available in 256MB, 512MB and 1GB. The 256 and 512MB cards started shipping this month while the 1GB cards will be released in the next thirty days. The Ultra II SD cards will be available in 256MB and 512MB capacities in October and November, respectively.
SanDisk has today announced updated versions of its SanDisk Extreme(TM) line of high-performance CompactFlash and SD cards. The cards now deliver a minimum write speed of 9 megabytes per second (MB/sec.) and a minimum read speed of 10MB/sec. They have also been improved for use in extreme conditions, they will operate from well below freezing (minus 13 degrees F/minus 25 degrees C) to near boiling (185 degrees F/85 degrees C), and each card is ruggedized with a layer of heavy duty RTV silicone to withstand 3000 G-forces.
Gateway has today announced it is entering the digital camera market. It has launched four cameras, the DC-T50 and M-50 which are 5 megapixel and 3x zoom, the M-40 which is 4 megapixel and the DC-T20 which is 2 megapixel. The cameras are priced at $399, $299, $199 and $129.99 respectively. They are available through Gateway's retail stores, phone and Web site.
Casio has today announced the successors to the EX-S2 and M2, the EX-S20 and M20. These two models are based on the same camera, a two megapixel fixed lens ultra-slim, ultra-compact digital camera. The obvious difference between the two models is that the M20 supports MP3 playback and is supplied with a set of headphones and wired remote control. Both are just 11 mm (0.4 in) thin both have a 1.6" LCD monitor, built-in 10 MB of flash storage (as well as support for SD/MMC cards) and are powered by a dedicated Lithium-Ion battery.
Casio has today announced a 'megapixel upgrade' to its EXILIM EX-Z3 model, the new EX-Z4 is essentially the same camera but now features a four megapixel 1/2.5" type CCD sensor. The EX-Z4 is powered by a dedicated Lithium-Ion battery which it charges on the supplied cradle stand. Storage is provided by the built-in 10 MB of flash RAM and an optional SD/MMC card. The EX-Z4 just like the EX-Z3 and S3 has a huge 2.0" LCD monitor (although it's resolution isn't fantastic).
Mission3-D has announced the launch of their Photo3-D product, the world's first affordable device that enables anyone to easily take 3-D photographs. Photo3-D works with any digital camera, and the full product package - Photo3-D 303 Kit - includes everything needed to easily take, see and share 3-D photographs. The manufacturers suggested retail price for the Photo3-D 303 Kit is US$129.
Konica (Japan) has today announced the DG-3Z digital camera, aimed at industrial use this rugged digital camera with its rubberised case and dustproofing can be used almost anywhere, it follows in the footsteps of the DG-2 of 2001 and the DG-1 of 1998. The DG-3Z has a 3.2 megapixel CCD and a 3x zoom (35-105 mm 35mm equiv.). It will cost approx. 99,800 YEN and should be available in September. At this stage we are not sure if this is a domestic only (Japan) product or will be available worldwide.
Fuji Photo Film has today announced the the Fujifilm FinePix S3000. This model replaces the existing FinePix 3800, and will be available to consumers in October. It has a 3.2 megapixel CCD, 6x optical and 3.2x digital zooms, movie recording without sound and several scene positioning modes. The FinePix S3000 comes bundled with a 16MB xD-Picture Card, four AA alkaline batteries, shoulder strap, USB cable, lens adapter ring, FinePix Viewer 4.1, and ImageMixer VCD 2 for FinePix. The camera will be available for purchase in October 2003 at the suggested list price of $399.99.
Olympus USA has sent us pricing for the entire E-1 D-SLR system, the new pricing includes approximate street prices. Olympus expect the E-1 body to have a street price of $1799, the 14-54 mm lens a street price of $499. That's a total starter price of $2298 before Kit discounts and Taxes which is more in line with the Kit pricing we recently announced for the UK. On average street prices appear to be approximately 20% lower than the MSRP.
Hitachi has today confirmed their 2 and 4 GB Microdrive (Compact Flash Type II). IBM Storage Technology and Hitachi Storage merged at the beginning of the year. At that time Hitachi Glboal Storage Technologies (HGST) announced that they would have a 4 GB Microdrive by the end of the year, today they have officially confirmed that they will be producing a 2 and 4 GB Microdrive. These higher capacities are made possible using Hitachi's patented "Pixie Dust" surface layer technology. Note that the 4 GB card will only work with a digital camera which supports the FAT32 filesystem. The 4 GB card will hit the shelves this November at a price of $499 (just $0.12/MB), a third of the price of Lexar's 4 GB 40x.
Software: Minolta has today announced Minolta DiMAGE Messenger 2.0. Minoltas new DiMAGE Messenger 2.0 software program allows users to automatically link written text, additional images or an audio track to specific portions of digital images, share the combination with others via e-mail or printed copy, and invite related comments to be added from the receiver all in just a few, simple steps. In addition, a new search feature allows specific comments to be located quickly. Searches can be made by word, date of entry, or user name.
Software: Cerious Software has released its ThumbsPlus 6.0 for Windows. ThumbsPlus locates, views, edits, prints and organizes images, metafiles, fonts and multimedia files. The software contains easy to use wizards for optimized image and catalog printing, as well as to create web pages, slide shows and contact sheets. A versatile batch converter allows complex image manipulations with more than 300 editing functions.
Software: LumaPix has announce the latest version of its FotoFusion image managment and printing software. Formerlly called CollageFactory, the new version 2.0 adds one-click autocollage, drop shadows and frame borders, color correction, final resolution preview, photo swapping, improved printing and a revamped UI.
Thanks to Mark Allen for noticing that Jessops, one of the largest photographic retailers in the UK has dropped the price of the Olympus E-1 Kit (which includes the E-1 body and a 14-54 mm lens) to £1,819 (including VAT at 17.5%), this is down approximately £680 compared to the previously advertised price. That works out at approximately US$2,440 without tax for a kit including the E-1 body and a 14-54 mm lens, about $358 less than US list. Additionally the official Olympus UK list price for the E-1 body alone is £1699 (including VAT at 17.5%), Olympus UK haven't released individual pricing for 4/3 lenses.
Sanyo Japan have today announced their new Xacti DSC-S1. This 3.2 megapixel camera has a 3x optical zoom lens and excellent battery life. It has a startup time of approx 1.9s, shutter lag of approx 0.05s and a shot to shot time of approx 2.0s. It will be available on 19 September for approximately 40,000 Yen.
The European Imaging & Sound Association (EISA) has named the EXILIM EX-Z3 from Casio as Digital Mini Camera of the year 2003 / 2004 at the IFA fair in Berlin. "To receive an award from such a well respected organisation as EISA is not only an honour, but an endorsement of EXILIM's prime design criteria of the latest in digital technology and style married to ease of use," commented David Hodgkinson, Manager Channel Marketing, Casio Electronics Co. Ltd.
Canon has today announced the four megapixel PowerShot A80. As with all Canon's 'A' series digital cameras this one is aimed at the beginner, having said that it's far more feature rich than most entry level digital cameras with a flip-out and twist LCD monitor and a wide range of manual controls. Unlike the A60 and A70 which use the 1/2.7" type CCD (5.3 x 4.0 mm) the A80 has a 1/1.8" type CCD (7.2 x 5.3 mm) which actually gives it larger pixel size than its predecessors. The A80 maintains a three times optical zoom lens, AA battery power and Compact Flash storage.