We have just received and tested Delkin's CardBus CF adapter (and OEM ASKA SpeedOver CF32A). This compact flash adapter offers laptop and notebook users (Windows only at this time) image transfer performance which actually beats a FireWire card reader on a desktop PC. Anyone who has used a standard PCMCIA adapter will know how slow these devices are, in our tests the new CardBus CF adapter from Delkin was almost four times faster than a standard PCMCIA adapter.
We are lucky enough to have both the Lexar 40x 4 GB and Pretec 6 GB Compact Flash cards on hand and have performed a variety of tests on these very high capacity cards. While the Lexar 40x 4 GB is impressive the Pretec 6 GB is even more so considering that it is similar in design to IBM's Microdrive (both a miniature hard disks) but has trumped Hitachi-IBM's new 4 GB Microdrive both in capacity and time to market. The Lexar is likely only to appeal to professionals who require total reliability and performance, the Pretec may well find its way into all sorts of devices, not just digital cameras. We have compared these two cards with SanDisk's new Ultra II 1 GB card and the industry benchmark IBM Microdrive 1 GB.
Fujifilm today announced the FinePix F420 Zoom, while it has a similar look and feel to the F410 it has a smaller case a larger, higher resolution LCD monitor, is powered by a supplied rechargeable battery or AAA batteries and a video out socket for display on a TV. The camera features a 3.1 million pixel SuperCCD HR and three times optical zoom lens. In addition movies can be recorded at a full 30 frames per second for as long as there is space on the xD-Picture Card. Jumping on the bandwagon the F420 Zoom also has PictBridge support (although just how many people will use it in any camera is yet to be seen).
Kyocera Japan has announced the three megapixel, three times optical zoom Finecam L30. At first sight this appears to be 'just another' three megapixel digital camera (indeed very similar in appearance to the L3v/L4v) however the Finecam L30 has superior video recording capability. The reason for this is that the L30 records video using the MPEG-4 video compression codec which should mean much smaller video file sizes and longer recording times. The L30 records video at 320x240 (15 fps) or 160x112 (30 fps) for as long as there is space on the storage card (SD/MMC plus 16 MB built-in). Lets hope this is the first of many digital cameras which will provide MPEG-4 as their video compression codec (almost all current digital cameras use Motion JPEG or MPEG-1).
Sigma Japan has announced a new wide angle zoom lens, the 12 - 24 mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM. This lens is clearly aimed at providing a good wide angle range for digital SLR's as well as ultra wide angle for film SLR's. On the Sigma SD9 (1.7x crop) this lens would provide the same field of view as a 20-41 mm lens, on the Canon EOS-10D/300D this would be approx. 19-38 mm. This new lens will be available in Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Pentax (non-HSM) and Minolta (non-HSM) mounts and has an estimated Japanese list price of 99,000 YEN ($901 at todays exchange rate).
Belkin has announced an adapter unit which will add digital photo storage capability to an Apple iPod portable music player. The media reader connects to the iPod via its FireWire interface and stores images from CompactFlash Type I or II (and other media via CF adapters) in 'roll' directories on the iPod, these can easily be retrieved later by simply connecting the iPod to your computer. The Belkin Media Reader requires iPod Software 2.1 or later and one of the newer iPod's with the dock mount on the bottom, Media Reader is priced at $99.99.
Konica Minolta has today announced support for PictBridge in their new DiMAGE Z1 and DiMAGE E323 digital cameras. PictBridge is the new industry standard for direct printing of images and allows a user to print directly from a PictBridge compatible digital camera connected via a cable to a PictBridge compatible printer without the use of a PC. "PictBridge support provides consumers with more options for sharing their digital photos than ever before," says Hidenori Toyoda, General Manager Photo Division, Minolta Europe.
Olympus has today announced that next year they will introduce five new interchangeable ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses for the Olympus E-System. Among the new models planned for release next year is the ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm, F2.8-3.5 lens (35mm camera equivalent: 22-44mm), plus three other zoom lenses, including an ultra-wide-angle lens, and a bright lens with a fixed focal length. They have also announced that work has started on products to be launched in 2005 and later to show their commitment to the E-System.
Minolta has today introduced the new DiMAGE G400 which looks very Konica Revio in origin. The DiMAGE G400 has a newly designed signal-processing engine with a 0.7 second startup time. You can turn the camera on, focus, set the exposure, capture an image, and turn the camera off in 1.5 seconds. It takes less than a second from turning the camera on to being ready to capture a sharp, well-exposed image. It has a 4.2 megapixel CCD and a 3x GT Hexanon zoom lens which has seven elements in six groups to provide sharp, high-contrast images. It has a dual card-slot system for flexible image storage. Both Memory Sticks and SD Memory Cards can be used singly or in combination.
We have just updated our Olympus E-1 preview with a detailed look at the Olympus Studio software, a $150 optional upgrade to the Olympus Viewer supplied with the camera. This review, prepared by Les Freed examines the Studio software in some detail. Studio provides facilities for image transfer, browsing, viewing, editting, printing, RAW conversion and tethered camera operation. Overall Les was impressed (especially with the RAW conversion speed) but would have liked to have seen Studio making up a standard part of the E-1 Kit. In other news Olympus Japan today announced a tentative timeline of new E system lenses, we should expect approximately five new E system lenses in 2004 and seven new E system lenses in 2005.
Olympus Japan has today announced updated versions of their mju and Camedia range. These are esentially the same as the previous models, except for the addition of PictBridge support. PictBridge is the new industry standard for direct printing that allows you to print images without using a computer by directly connecting digital cameras and digital camcorders to a printer, regardless of the devices' brand and model.
Back in May we reported on the Aska Corp CF32A Compact Flash CardBus PCMCIA adapter, at that time it was a Japan only product. Today Delkin has announced their own CardBus PCMCIA adapter which promises high speed transfer from Compact Flash cards for Notebook users. Delkin's own tests suggest a transfer speed of up to 5.5 MB/sec using the eFilm PRO CardBus PCMCIA adapter, almost five times faster than a standard Compact Flash PCMCIA adapter.
NEC Mitsubishi Japan has today announced a 22" CRT monitor which is calibrated to the Adobe RGB color space. The Diamondtron RDF225WG is capable of reproducing 97.6% of the color gamut available from Adobe RGB and has a specific Adobe RGB mode which will allow images in this color space to be displayed without first converting to sRGB (as would normally be carried out by your photo application). This monitor is clearly aimed at the DTP and design market but should also be of interest to high end digital photography and specific roles such as print publication picture editors. No price has yet been announced however availability is said to be 'end of December'.
According to the Japanese website PC Watch and also EE Times, GS Magicstore will release a 4.8GB version of its 1" HDD in November. It is a Type II CF format card and will be compatible with digital cameras from Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sanyo, Olympus and Minolta. Additionally the GS Magicstore product road map indicates a 7 - 8 GB unit late in 2004, 10 GB at the start of 2005 and 16 - 20 GB late in 2005. The company is also developing a 40 GB 1.8-inch drive which it will launch in April.
Adobe has today announced a major new release of its Album software. Photoshop Album 2.0 introduces a range of new features including an improved calendar view and new sharing features for sending your pictures to mobile phones, Palm OS handhelds and TiVo Series2 digital video recorders. Adobe has also introduced the 'Starter Edition' of Album 2.0 which is a free download, the full version of Album 2.0 will cost $49.99 ($15 rebate for existing Album owners) and the combination of Elements 2.0 and Album 2.0 will be $129.99. (Again Photoshop Album is a Windows only application)
We have just updated our Olympus E-1 preview with a hands-on experience report from dpreview.com contributor Les Freed. Olympus America invited several journalists and photographers - including Les - to attend the US Grand Prix races last weekend. The purpose of the trip was to give the attendees hands-on, real-world shooting experience at a major motorsport event.
Software: Ulead has today announced Ulead® PhotoImpact® XL, an enhanced version of PhotoImpact, Uleads flagship image editing software for the PC. PhotoImpact XL offers extensive learning materials, striking new filters and effects, and useful basic and high-end photo correction tools. The software is a complete image editing solution for digital photographers, graphic designers, and Web creators at home, school and the workplace. "As one of the original founders of Ulead Systems, it's exciting for me to reflect on the past 15 years of our success in developing innovative image editing software, says Lewis Liaw, president of Ulead Systems, North America. It is available immediately from the web site for $89.95 and in retail in November.
In addition to the DMC-FZ10 announced ealier today Panasonic has introduced the stylish DMC-FX5, with a 3x optical zoom and a four-megapixel CCD, and the DMC-FX1, with a 3x optical zoom and three-megapixel CCD. As with the DMC-FZ10 both additional models incorporate Panasonic's MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer (MEGA O.I.S.). They will be released in November with no suggested retail prices.
Panasonic has today introduced the first 4-megapixel consumer digital camera with 12x optical zoom. Featuring F2.8 brightness throughout the entire zoom range, the camera's powerful 12x zoom (equiv. to 35-420mm on 35mm). It has Panasonic's MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) which helps to deliver sharp, vivid images even when taking handheld telephoto shots or shooting in low light. It is targeted for retail introduction in November, and will have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $599.00.
Software: ACD Systems has released ACDSee 6.0, the newest version of its flagship digital imaging software program for consumer and corporate markets. ACDSee is known for its speed, ease-of-use and powerful image management capabilities including features for viewing, organizing, searching, printing and sharing digital image collections of any size. New features in ACDSee 6.0 include the ability to rate images, burn photos to CD/DVDs and quickly view and locate photos from different folders and categories with the Easy Select and Selective Browsing features. ACDSee 6.0 in English is available for $49.99 (USD) for the full version, or $39.99 (USD) for the upgrade from ACDSee 5.0.
Canon has today posted a firmware update for the majority of its current digital cameras (S400 Digital Elph, Digital Ixus 400, G5, S50, A70, A60, A300). This firmware upgrade, version 2.0, adds PictBridge support. PictBridge is the new industry standard for direct printing that allows you to print images without using a computer by directly connecting digital cameras and digital camcorders to a printer, regardless of the devices' brand and model.
We have just posted our review of the most important new features in the latest edition of Adobe's Photoshop line, Photoshop CS. Site contributor and author of the "123 of digital imaging Interactive e-book", Vincent Bockaert has used his extensive knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and his involvement in the Adobe Photoshop CS Beta test team to produce this article which covers the major points of Photoshop CS from a digital photographer's perspective.
Olympus Europe has today announced the CAMEDIA C-5060 WIDE ZOOM which is an update to the popular C-5050 camera. The 5.1 megapixel CAMEDIA C-5060 WIDE ZOOM has a fast startup time (3 sec.) and very short shutter release time lag of 0.4 sec. (including AF time in wide angle, focus position from 80cm to infinity) and three frames per second in HQ mode. It has 4x optical zoom (equiv. 27 -110mm, f2.8-4.8) and can use xD-Picture Card, Compact Flash and Microdrive cards. It will have a UK RRP of £599.99 [inc VAT].
Adobe has today launched its new range of design, publishing and image editing applications under the name 'CS' which stands for Creative Suite. Gone are version numbers of the past, the new applications will carry the CS suffix. So we have new Adobe Photoshop CS, ImageReady CS, etc. Of most interest to our readers will be Photoshop CS which new has a variety of new features focused on the digital photographer. These include built-in camera RAW support (including CA and Vignetting correction), an improved file browser, improved support for 16-bit editing, match color, histogram palette and shadow / highlight correction. We have been using a beta version of Photoshop CS for a while now and will have a full review of Photoshop CS available very soon. Adobe Photoshop CS is due to ship towards the end of November.
Exclusive: We have just posted a gallery of Olympus E-1 images from the second qualifying session of this weekend's USA Formula One Grand Prix in Indianapolis. These were taken by our good friend and dpreview.com contributor Les Freed. The camera Les used is the latest pre-production Olympus E-1 which appears to be delivering noticeably improved image quality, especially image sharpness. We will also have a 'hands-on experience report' from Les sometime in the next two days. UPDATE 30/Sep: Imaging-Resource also post E-1 images from USA GP.
Kodak will present to investors today a broader strategy for growth that will harness the power of digital technology to expand into a range of commercial businesses, resulting in a more diversified business portfolio with the potential to generate $16 billion in revenue by 2006and $20 billion by 2010. "We are acting with the knowledge that demand for traditional products is declining, especially in developed markets," Carp said. "Given this reality, we are moving fastas digital markets demandto transform our business portfolio, with an emphasis on digital commercial markets. The digital world is full of opportunity for Kodak, and we intend to lead it, as we have led innovation in the imaging industry for more than a century."
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.