Samsung has launched a teaser on its Korean website for the launch of an ultra-slim camera called simply #1, which is a dead ringer for the Nikon Coolpix S1. At 17.3mm the five million pixel camera is only just slightly thinner than the Nikon but has the same rounded corners, 2.5-inch screen and almost exactly the same control layout. The top plate features a safety flash (SF) button, which is said to enhance image clarity and colour (when there is insufficient light) without using flash. According to the mini trailer, it is due for launch on June 1. UPDATE: The Samsung has already been launched in some countries, including Germany, as the i5.
Just posted! The Digimax V700 is Samsung's second 7 million pixel camera, and the first to be widely available worldwide. Despite a wealth of photographic controls, MPEG movies and a compact metal body it is considerably less expensive than most of its 'big name' competitors, but is it able to hold its own in an increasingly crowded sector of the market? Check out our concise review after the link to find out...
Kodak has delayed the launch of the unique Wi-Fi-enabled EasyShare One camera until October, reports the Wall Street Journal. It was originally scheduled for launch in June. A Kodak spokesman said, "Kodak is making significant, innovative advances to create the EasyShare-One camera. We are taking the necessary time to ensure the best-possible customer experience, making certain that all of the new system components interoperate as expected." The four megapixel camera has a tilt-and-swivel, 3-inch touch-screen LCD, that is designed to change the emphasis from 'point and shoot to point and share,' says Kodak.
Scientists at Canada's Universite Laval have invented a lens that is five times thinner than a piece of paper and can zoom without using mechanical parts. The lens is created by adding a small quantity of photosensitive material to a liquid crystal cell. When a weak electrical current is applied, the crystals realign differently from those in the periphery and thus take on the shape and behavior of a lens. The researchers have been able to modify the lens’ focal distance from 1.6 to 8 meters in a few milliseconds by increasing the voltage from 1.5 to 4.5 volts.
ABSoft has announced upgrades to its noise reduction software program Neat Image for both Windows and Mac. The new versions of Neat Image are said to significantly improve quality and efficiency of noise reduction, provide stronger integration with the latest image editors and enhanced usability. V5.0 for Windows and v3.0 for Mac plug-ins are compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS2. Other new features include profile quality indicators, improved image viewers plus preset matching, new command line format and optimizations of the underlying algorithms.
Sigma has announced new addition to its digital optimized DG range of zoom lenses in the form of the APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG/HSM. This fast telephoto zoom sports a fixed F2.8 aperture throughout the range, HSM technology for high speed silent focus and four SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements. A new 'digitally optimized' coating is claimed to minimize flare and ghosting when used on a D-SLR, and the lens will be available in Sigma AF, Canon EF, Nikon D, Konica Minolta and Pentax AF mounts.
Olympus has today announced the five megapixel Camedia D-435 (C-180). Aimed at first time digital camera users, the fixed lens D-435 has a built-in Help Guide that provides a brief description of each function and shooting mode. Despite only having a 1.5-inch LCD, Olympus has decided against the inclusion of an optical viewfinder and has, rather bizarrely, positioned the on/off switch on the front of the camera. It will be available in August priced US$169.99 (approx. €135.52).
Both Canon and Lexar have issued media alerts which describe issues discovered between several Canon digital SLRs and Lexar Pro 80x CompactFlash cards. Lexar is describing the problem as 'a lost image condition', which they say occurs only in extreme circumstances and can occur with other brands' cards too. As well as highlighting the Lexar problem, the Canon alert describes a problem with the EOS-1D(s) Mark II, which can lead to the loss of images still buffered. Firmware updates to fix these issues should be avaiilable by the end of this month. Full details enclosed.
Hot on the heels of the optic launched yesterday Sigma has announced the ultra-telephoto 50-500mm F4-6.3 EX DG/HSM lens, which is also optimized for digital SLRs. It has a new lens coating which reduces flare and ghost and also creates an optimum color balance. It also features HSM （Hyper Sonic Motor）which provides a quiet high speed AF function, a zoom lock switch and has four pieces of SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass for correcting color aberration. It costs £899 and will fit SLRs with Sigma, Canon, Konica Minolta, Pentax and Nikon-D mounts.
Sigma has today announced a telephoto macro lens optimized for use with digital cameras. The Sigma 180mm f3.5 APO EX DG lens has a life-sized reproduction ratio and is an HSM model, which guarantees fast and silent auto focusing as well as full time manual focus. It is compatible with Sigma, Canon, Nikon-D, Pentax and Konica Minolta D-SLRs and will be priced £549.
Just posted! The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S90, one of a couple of new 4 megapixel 'budget' cameras announced at PMA in February, offers a fairly comprehensive spec - including a large 2.5-inch screen, lots of scene modes and a fully manual exposure option. Find out how it compares against some stiff competition in our concise review....
Minox has broken all ties with its German co-partner and ailing company Leica Camera AG. Optical and miniaturization specialists Minox was taken over by general manager Thorsten Kortemeier in 2001 when he acquired 51% of the Minox partnership capital, leaving Leica with 49%. Minox was launched four years ago and currently produces digital cameras including the famous miniature Digital Classic Camera Leica M3, binoculars, compact cameras, 35mm cameras plus windwatches.
Nikon has today announced its second ultra-slim camera, the weatherproof Coolpix S2. It is very similar to the Coolpix S1; the only differences seem to be purely cosmetic. The most obvious difference on the 5.1 megapixel camera is that it features a sliding lens. It will only be available in silver and is slightly bigger and heavier than the S1. It will also have a different docking station (supplied). Other similarities include the same control layout, a 2.5-inch LCD, SD memory slot with 12MB internal memory and 35-105 mm equiv. zoom lens. It will be available in early summer priced around US$429 (approx €448/£299).
Kodak has today announced a new series of cameras with the launch of the the EasyShare V530 and V550 Zoom (pictured right). The Canon IXUS lookalikes are smaller than a deck of cards, boast five megapixels and despite only having a 3x optical zoom, incorporate image stabilization. Aside from minor cosmetic differences and the size of the LCD, technically they are pretty similar. The V550 has a 2.5-inch screen and is available in black and silver, while the V530 has a 2-inch screen and comes in Absolute Pink, Red Shimmer, Midnight Black and Silver Essence colors. The V550 will be available in June priced US$399, and for US$50 less you can get the V530, which will be available in July. Both cameras come with the new EasyShare Photo Frame Dock 2.
As promised back in April when the D70s was announced Nikon has now released firmware version 2.0 for the D70. This new firmware adds several improvements which were introduced with the D70s; improved 5-area AF performance (especially continuous tracking), updated menu design and layout, new in-camera setup page for PictBridge compatible printers.
Pentax has today announced another addition to the Optio range with the five megapixel SVi. An update to the SV, it also has a 5x optical zoom, 1.8-inch LCD, impressive 3cm macro function and 320x240 movie mode. The only difference appears to the be the fact that the aluminum alloy-bodied camera has an 'enhanced' grip achieved by placing a resin element on the front right hand side. A battery stand which charges the batteries in camera, plus an additional set is also available. The Pentax Optio SVi will be available in June priced £249.
An official letter from Leica confirms that the Digital-Modul-R is to be delayed, despite expectations that the 10 megapixel digital back would be available in the next few days. Leica says it is 'working hard to resolve a few last software problems'. Although the 'problems' do not impair the basic function of the module they have to be remedied before it is fully ready for production. Many people have already placed orders for the module, which was scheduled for release this month. Leica urges customers not to overreact and says that it will be worth the wait.
Olympus has today announced the first 8 million pixel camera in the Stylus range (mju Digital). The Stylus 800, which is available in silver or dark blue, remains weatherproof like its predecessors and now offers new Bright Capture technology, which optimises the camera's setting in certain scene modes and brightens the image in the 2.5-inch LCD in low light for easier composition. It also boasts a built-in Guide Function, which shows the recommended use of various functions on the LCD. Other features include 19 scene modes, a 3x optical zoom, 3cm macro mode and 4 fps continuous shooting. It will be available in July for an estimated street price of £350.
After all the bad news that has beset Kodak in the last year, things appear to be on the up as the company took the number one slot for sales in US in the first quarter of this year. It shipped 900,000 point and shoot digital cameras, a 41% increase on sales this time last year, according to a market research company. Kodak is followed by second-placed Canon (850,000 units), which recorded a whopping 72% increase, and perennial front-runner Sony was ranked third with sales of 800,000 units. UPDATE: Chief executive Dan Carp will step down as president in June, although he will remain in the post until he retires in January 2006. He will be succeeded by Kodak president Antonio Perez, who joined Kodak in April 2003 after 25 years at HP.
Pentax has announced three new additions to the Optio range - two five megapixel models and four million pixel camera. The five megapixel Pentax Optio S5z has an aluminum alloy exterior, a 2.5-inch LCD and employs the sliding lens system, so although it has a 3x zoom, it remains compact at 3.3x2.2x0.8 inches. The other two Optios, the S55 (pictured) and S45, are for absolute beginners and offer five and four million pixels respectively. Both have a 3x zoom and 2.5-inch LCD. All cameras will be ship in June, as will the sixth DA lens 50 - 200mm F4 - 5.6, announced at PMA.
Just posted! The FinePix F10 is the first Fujifilm camera to use a new 6 megapixel Super CCD sensor (with no interpolated output) and one of the first compacts to offer a usable ISO 1600 high sensitivity setting at full resolution. It also boasts fast operation, 500-shot battery life and a 2.5-inch LCD. But is it good enough to give the latest 7 megpixel compacts a run for their money? Find out in our concise review.
Panasonic has today announced an update to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7 with the FX8. The only difference between the identical cameras, is that the FX8 doubles the battery life of its predecessor with a new lithium ion battery, which increases the capacity by 162% thanks to the new Venus Engine PLUS. The five megapixel model also boasts quickened AF, three new scene modes, VGA movie recording plus MEGA OIS, the impressive proprietary image stabilization function. Like the FX7, the FX8 is availabe in silver, black, blue and pink.
Konica Minolta has today announced a upgrade to the X50 in the shape of the five megapixel DiMAGE X60. The newest addition to the X range appears more sturdy in comparison to the X50 and the reflective and brushed metal sliding lens lends it a more sophisticated look. This entry-level camera does away with a viewfinder in favor of a 2.5-inch LCD, which dominates the rear. It also boasts a 5 cm macro mode, 0.5-second start-up time and Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection. It wil be available at the end of May priced US$349.99 (approx €269).
Adobe has today announced version 3.1 of Camera RAW, which now supports the Canon EOS Rebel XT (EOS 350D/EOS Kiss Digital N), Nikon D2X, Olympus EVOLT E-300 and the Olympus C-7070 Wide Zoom. This new version of the Camera RAW plug-in replaces the original plug-in that was installed with Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Photoshop Elements 3.0 software. Adobe has also announced version 3.1 of its DNG Converter. DNG is a open standard that allows photographers to archive RAW files in a single format for easy cataloging and access in the future.
Kodak has slipped out another camera today, which will join the Z series. The EasyShare Z760 boasts 6.1 million pixels, 3x optical zoom and 2.2-inch LCD screen. It also has 16 scene modes plus five color modes. It appears to have a less pronounced handgrip and Kodak has chosen to market this one in black; the rest of the range is silver. It is available this month priced US$449.95 (approx €347).
Kodak has quietly introduced three new C series cameras today. The EasyShare C360, C330 and C310 will join the C340 and C300 models, launched at PMA, to be sold as a package with the Kodak EasyShare Printer Dock Series 3. The C360, which tops the range, offers five megapixels, while the C330 and C310 both have a resolution of four million pixels. The C360 and C330 also boast 3x optical zooms and will retail for US$279 and US$179 respectively. The lower end C310 is priced US$139. Packages will range from US$239 to US$379.
Following the launch of the Photographer's Directory, Adobe is expanding further with the announcement of a royalty-free image library, called Adobe Stock Photos. The service provides a single destination point to access stock photography from Getty Images, Jupitermedia and Digital Vision to name a few and offers around 230,000 images. Accessed through Adobe Bridge, Adobe Stock Photos helps designers select, browse, preview, organize, label, and drag-and-drop imagery directly from within Adobe Creative Suite 2. It's currently available in Adobe's Creative Suite 2 Premium and Standard editions, including CS2 versions of Photoshop, GoLive, InDesign and Illustrator.
Despite reported fourth quarter losses of $533m(¥56.5 bn), Sony has ended the year with net profits totaling US$1.5 bn (¥163.8 bn), according to Photo Marketing Newsline. This is nearly double the profit the electronics giant recorded last year. There have been positive sales in the digital camera, flat panel TV and LCD rear projection sectors, while sales have decreased in the CRT television and portable audio markets. Sony expects net profit for the year ending March 2006 to drop to US$755m (¥80 bn) due to restructuring plans said to be costing $680m (¥72 billion).
Canon has reported first quarter consolidated net sales of 2005 are up by 5.7% due to net sales of US$7.8 bn (¥843.4 bn) compared to last year, reports Photo Marketing Newsline. Toshizo Tanaka, senior managing director and group executive for Finance and Accounting attributes the increase to strong sales of digital cameras especially the Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350D/Kiss N) and the subsequent sales of lenses plus several new compacts in the PowerShot range. Color copiers, inkjet and laser printers, and digital video camcorders have all added to the increase.
HP has announced a new addition to the M series with the 5.2 megapixel HP Photosmart M517. It features all the usual from HP such as in-camera red-eye removal and adaptive lighting technology, which automatically brightens dark areas in high contrast shots. Other features include a 2-inch LCD, 3x optical zoom, 'fast shot' mode plus HP Instant Share, which allows you tag photos for sending via email or printing at a later date. The HP Photosmart M517 will be priced around €229 (approx. US$386).
The mobile phone industry is trying its best to rival low end digital cameras and the latest Nokia might just do the trick. The Nokia N90 multimedia boasts a Carl Zeiss lens, 2 megapixel resolution, 20x digital zoom (ahem!), auto focus, flash, macro mode and video capture. The flip and twist N90, reminiscent of the Panasonic AV series, houses a RS-MMC card and its PictBridge-compatible, and Bluetooth-enabled for wireless printing. The interface looks quite advanced for a mobile phone and the N90 also provides on-phone editing capabilities. The N90 multimedia is expected to become available in the second quarter of this year.
If anyone understands the ins and outs of RAW, it's Dave Coffin, he has reverse engineered the RAW formats of almost every digital camera on the market and provides his code (dcraw.c) freely for anyone to use. He recently posted a note on his web page pointing out that the encryption of metadata (in the current Nikon vs. Adobe situation) is nothing new and that it's fairly common for manufacturers to apply some kind of protection to their RAW formats. We decided to ask him some of the questions this information raises and also those which have been asked by our readers.
Canon snapped up two spots in the D-SLR categories at the annual TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) awards. The EOS 350D won best entry level SLR, while the EOS-1Ds Mark II was voted best professional SLR. Fuji's FinePix S3 Pro was awarded best mid range D-SLR. The 12x zoom lens Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 picked up the super zoom award. Other winners include the Stylus Verve S (mju mini Digital S), which scooped the innovative design award for its distinctive curved styling and the Epson R-D1, which won the best prestige camera.
Ricoh Japan has today announced the highest resolution compact camera on the market with the Caplio GX8, successor to the GX. The 8.2 megapixel camera, offers a 28mm wideangle 3x zoom lens, 1.8-inch LCD and as ever from Ricoh, super close 1cm macro mode and a fast start-up time of 1.3 seconds. The GX8 also boasts a live histogram and auto bracketing. It will be priced £299.99 and will be available next month.
The OpenRAW Working Group has launched a new website www.OpenRAW.org. The main aim of the site is to obtain complete documentation of manufacturers' RAW file formats, such as how the data is stored and the camera setting selected by the photographer. Undocumented RAW file formats can present a number of problems, such as limiting the image processing choices, an increasing risk that a RAW file will become unreadable or unable to be processed properly, and a waste of third party software development resources. The OpenRAW group wants manufacturers to publicly document past, present and future RAW image file formats.
Spotted by forums member William Chang it appears that Samsung has today revealed an SLR-like digital camera at a Photo Fair in Beijing. The Digimax Pro 815 has a 28-420 mm zoom lens (mechanical zoom, focus ring, exposure compensation ring) mated to a 2/3" CCD sensor of unknown resolution (although the '8' in the model name may hint eight megapixels). Other key specifications include a 3.5" TFT LCD monitor, a flash hot shoe, 2.5 frames per second shooting, fast startup and operation and a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. The camera also appears to have an EVF viewfinder. We will report more specifications / details as we receive them.
Nikon has today issued an advisory addressing the current concerns around the 'encryption' of white balance data in its NEF (RAW) files from the D2X and D2Hs digital SLRs. This story started three days ago when Photoshopnews.com published an interview with chief engineer and original author of Photoshop Thomas Knoll which complained that Nikon was encrypting white balance data in their NEF files and that future versions of Adobe Camera RAW would not be able to read WB data. In the new advisory Nikon states that it already makes available an SDK which "...when implemented properly, enables a wide range of NEF performance, including white balance..."
Despite a growth in the digital arena, Kodak has reported a net loss of $142 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with net income of $21 million, or 7 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2004. Sales also fell by 3% to $2.83bn from $2.92bn in the same period last year. Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Carp says, "While the first quarter's performance was disappointing, such short-term volatility is to be expected as we transform Kodak into a digital company." Kodak's outlook is more positive as it predicts that it will achieve operational earnings of $2.60 to $2.90 a share in 2005.
Canon has today announced the successor to the S1 IS, the all-new 12x optical zoom five megapixel PowerShot S2 IS. This camera is clearly aimed to compete with the other compact big-zoom club which is currently made up of the Panasonic DMC-FZ5, Konica Minolta Z5 and Sony DSC-H1. Just like the S1 IS the S2 IS utilizes a small USM (ultrasonic motor) to drive its zoom (multi-speed and quiet for shooting movies). Changes compared to the S1 include a body redesign, five megapixel CCD, a bigger zoom lens, DIGIC II, faster continuous shooting, night display function, stereo audio recording and a larger LCD monitor.
When it comes to women and digital cameras, recent research from imaging industry market research company Lyra reveals that Kodak really pushes their buttons. The Digital Photography survey showed that more than 20% of women use Kodak cameras while only 10% of men choose to use the brand. The most popular camera manufacturer among the male of the species is Canon, with 17% of men using its products, followed by Sony. Lyra's president and director of the Digital Photography Advisory Service, Charles LeCompte, explains the findings: "The explanation is that women in general are less comfortable with technology and therefore are more attracted to trusted brands." So ladies, dump your D-SLRs and pick up an EasyShare!
Nikon has today announced their new affordable and easier to use D50 digital SLR. The D50 has the appearance and control layout of the D70, the major physical differences are size, weight and control layout. Under the skin the D50 has the same six megapixel CCD sensor as the D70 (and the D70s announced today). The D50 will be available in black and silver bodies and as a kit with the new AF-S DX 18-55 mm lens. The D50 Kit (including the 18-55 mm lens) will cost around US$899 (£649.99/€971) when it's available in June. Body only price will be £549.99/€821. . We have posted our exclusive detailed hands-on preview of the Nikon D50.
Nikon has today announced an upgraded version of the D70, the new D70s. This camera has the same CCD sensor and imaging pipeline as the D70 so image quality should be identical. However several changes have been introduced including improved auto focus accuracy, slightly wider flash coverage, a higher capacity battery, a new larger 2.0" LCD monitor and re-designed menus. The D70s Kit including the 18-70 mm lens will cost around $1199 (£899.99/€1343), while the body only will be $899 (£699.99/€1045), expected to ship in early May.
Nikon has today announced that a firmware upgrade due to be issued in mid-May will bring several new D70s features to the D70. It's refreshing to see a manufacturer not leaving existing owners stranded, although clearly there are some D70s improvements which can't be introduced with firmware (such as the larger 2.0" LCD monitor). Primary improvements include new menu design and improved auto focus performance, especially in motion tracking.
As part of its announcement of the D50, Nikon is also introducing two new lightweight, affordable AF-S DX lenses aimed specifically at buyers of the camera. The AF-S DX 18-55 mm F3.5-F5.6G ED (which becomes the D50's kit lens) and the complementary AF-S DX 55-200mm F4.5-F5.6G ED. Both lenses are compact and lightweight and are designed specifically for digital SLRs with Nikon's DX size sensor (1.5x FOV crop). Used on the D50 the two lenses combined would provide an equivalent field of view coverage of 27 - 300 mm and weigh just 210g and 255 g respectively. Both lenses will cost around £199.99/€299.
Wacom Europe has announced the first pen tablet to incorporate wireless technology. The Graphire Bluetooth has an active area of 6x8 inches and is available now priced $249.99 (approx. €192). Bluetooth-enabled devices can communicate at distances of up to 30 meters. It comes bundled with a host of software including Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 and Corel Painter Essentials 2. Wacom Japan announced an A5 Bluetooth pen tablet, called FAVO, at the end of March which was not planned for launch in Europe.
Kodak has today announced the the worldwide availability of the first products compatible with its one-touch printing system, ImageLink. The Printer Dock Series 3 is currently available bundled with ImageLink-compatible cameras the EasyShare Z740 and EasyShare Z700. The Printer Dock will be on sale as a standalone product from May 2005. The ImageLink Print System is designed to simplify at-home printing and is supported by Konica Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Ricoh, and Sanyo.