December 6
Following the news that Adobe completed the acquisition of Macromedia (3 December 2005), the company has now announced three new product bundles for design, video and web solutions. The Adobe Design Bundle includes Creative Suite 2 Premium with Flash Professional 8 software; the Adobe Web Bundle brings together CS 2 Premium and Studio 8; and the Adobe Video Bundle offers video solutions coupled with Flash Professional 8. The Adobe Design Bundle and Web Bundle are available now priced £1381 and £1656 respectively. The Adobe Video Bundle is expected to ship in early 2006.
December 1
Pentax DA Fish-Eye 10-17mm lens
Pentax has announced its first DA Fish-Eye ED IF lens. The optic has a focal length of 10-17mm and aperture of F3.5-4.5. The lens is designed exclusively for use with the Pentax *ist D series and will capture fish-eye imagery with a 180 degree angle of view. The image circle of the lens will match the image recording area (23.5mm x 15.7mm) of the *ist D series to ensure precise optical performance ideally suited to the camera's digital imaging characteristics. The lens will ship in January 2006 for around $579.95.
Pentax *istDS firmware version 2.00

Pentax has announced a firmware upgrade for the *istDS that adds a number of new features. Version 2.00 will add Continuous AF mode to the AF settings in the Record Mode menu, auto ISO has been added to the sensitivity menu and the AE-L button on M has been added to the Custom Function menu. Dutch and Swedish users can now read the menus in their native tongue as these two languages are now available. For a full list of changes see the next page.

Sony DSC-R1 firmware update
Sony has today announced a firmware update for the recently introduced DSC-R1 digital camera. This update appears to correct for hot pixel artifacts at certain exposures. This update is intended for application to a range of cameras as designated by their serial number (details inside). There is no other information about any other fixes included in this update.
November 28
Just posted! Canon PowerShot A620 review
Just posted! The seven megapixel Canon PowerShot A620 (along with the 5MP A610, launched simultaneously) replaces the popular A95, and joins the A520 as an affordable, well-specified compact for the enthusiast user on a budget. The A620 certainly looks promising on paper; newly kitted out with the fast DIGIC II processor and a 2.0-inch LCD, it has a wealth of shooting options and 4x optical zoom. Read the concise review after the link to find out what we thought.
November 23
Olympus ME-1 Eyecup Magnifier

Olympus has announced a new accessory for the Four Thirds digital SLR, the E-500, in the shape of the ME-1 Eyecup Magnifier. The device increases the performance of the camera's viewfinder by 1.2 times and is said to enable easier focusing and framing. The eyecup has two lenses and measures 40x30x12mm. It is available next month at a price yet to be confirmed and will also fit the E-300.

November 22
Focusing after the shot, the plenoptic camera
Ren Ng, graduate student at Stanford University has developed a hand-held plenoptic camera which takes a shot first and allows you to make the decision about focus point in software after the event. The prototype camera is actually a Contax 645 with a modified Megavision FB4040 back (sixteen megapixel). The back has had an array of 90,000 microlenses mounted in front of the sensor (with a gap between the array and the sensor). These microlenses create a unique image on the sensor surface which includes not only the amount of light deposited at that location, but how much light arrives along each ray. The image is then reconstructed in software and a focus point can be chosen. Note that the final resolution is the same as the number of microlenses.
Sigma 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG
Sigma has announced a new telephoto lens in the shape of the 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG. The lens features multi-layer coating, aspherical lenses, SLD glass and rear focus s
Olympus to reduce digital compact production
Olympus plans to reduce production of compact digital cameras in favor of digital SLRs in a bid to boost profitability, reports Reuters. The Tokyo-based company is simply responding to a fast-growing DSLR market which offers higher profit margins. Sales of compact cameras currently account for around 72% (2004), and the company aims to cut this to 40% in five years' time. Olympus hope that DSLRs will make up 30% of its sales in five years, up from 3% last year. Olympus response inside.
Konica Minolta updates for A1 and A2

Konica Minolta has announced firmware updates for the five megapixel Dimage A1 and the eight megapixel A2. Version 1.1.3 (A1) and 1.1.4 increases the writing speed of the memory card and USB transfer speed. The A1 was first announced in August 2003, making it over two years old and its predecessor, the A2, was launched in February the year after. Both cameras feature an Anti-Shake CCD, whereby the CCD is stabilized, rather than the lens element, which is designed to counteract camera shake.

DALSA chips power Leaf backs
Semiconductor and electronics company DALSA has announced two new 33 and 28 megapixel CCD chips that will be used to power Leaf's digital camera backs. The 33 megapixel FTF5066 will be used in the Leaf Aptus 75 back and produce files of around 200MB in size, while the FTF6146 28 megapixel DALSA chip will be used in the Aptus 65 back. The 33 megapixel chip is available now and the 28 megapixel chip will ship in early 2006.
Sigma 135 - 400mm DG lens

Sigma has announced a new telephoto lens to add to its DG range with the 135 - 400mm F4.5-5.6 optic. The multi-layered-coated lens, designed to reduce flare and ghosting, has SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements that provide correction for all types of aberration throughout the entire zoom range. Its rear focus system ensures high performance stability and ease of use. The price will be £479.99.

November 21
Just posted! Olympus SP-310 review
Just posted! At the end of August 2005 Olympus added the 7 megapixel SP-310 to its 'SP' range of 'creative compacts'. The SP-310 - on paper at least - offers a compelling mix of point-and-shoot ease of use and advanced photographic features - including RAW capture - at a very competitive price point. But is it any good? Read the concise review after the link to find out.
November 17
Iomega Screenplay - killer app (not)
Iomega has announced its portable Screenplay device, a $220 unit which features a 60 GB hard disk for storage of multimedia content and can be directly connected to a TV for playback. While primarily aimed at movie playback the Screenplay of course also supports Photo's in JPEG format and so could be used a take anywhere photo album for slideshows etc. The Screenplay connects to your computer via USB 2.0 (for file transfer) and then to your TV via composite or S-video (NTSC or PAL), it also comes with a remote control. However it's still NOT the killer app. I'm thinking of something with nearer 250 GB of storage, is designed to be a 'living room appliance', has LAN and Internet connectivity and features such as direct print ordering. For some whoever the Screenplay may be a handly little device useful for transporting albums of photos for display (and it would need to be made by a household name too).
Hands-on with the D200 next week
If you're in the UK there's an opportunity for you to get your hands on the new Nikon D200 next week at the free Solutions Expo. The expo will be held at the Olympia Conference Centre, London next Tuesday and Wednesday (22nd - 23rd November). Other highlights of the conference are sessions on Apple Aperture, Adobe Photoshop, Asset management, Stock Photography and even Color Space.
Leica weathering the storm?
Leica has announced a growth in sales of 6.7% in the first half of this financial year compared to the same period last year. This growth however is thanks mostly to its binoculars, scopes and rangefinders division. Sales of analogue and compact digital cameras actually fell by 55.6% to €4.2 million, reading between the lines Leica look as though they're pinning a lot on the D-LUX 2 (AKA. Panasonic LX-1) being a good seller this Christmas.
Qimage v2006.200
Mike Chaney has contacted us to let us know he's just released the latest version of his excellent Qimage application. For those who haven't come across it before Qimage started life as a quality photo printing tool and has since grown into a 'swiss army knife' of imaging with everything from thumbnail browsing (even in 3D) to batch conversion and e-mail. If you've not tried it before do yourself a favour, and if you have you need to download this new release as soon as possible (Windows only).
November 12
Just posted! Canon EOS 5D Review
Just posted! Our review of one of the most anticipated cameras of the year, the full frame twelve-point-eight megapixel Canon EOS 5D. This camera becomes the first compact digital SLR (not having a vertical grip) to feature a full frame sensor (same size as 35 mm negative), it also adds spot metering, Picture Style parameters and a big 2.5" LCD monitor among other improvements. Depending on your opinion the EOS 5D can be seen as a mid-priced semi-professional D-SLR or an affordable full-frame D-SLR (the first below $4,000). Our review is far more extensive and detailed than any before it, so dive in and see what we thought of Canons latest.
November 11
Adobe post Camera RAW 3.3 Beta
Adobe has today posted the Adobe Camera RAW 3.3 Beta plug-in for Photoshop CS2 (ACR). This RAW converter / importer is well respected and has become the standard for many photographers. Version 3.3 Beta adds support for several new camera models including the Canon EOS 5D, EOS-1D Mark II N, Olympus E-500, Pentax *ist DL & DS2 and the Sony CyberShot DSC-R1. There are also several improvements including newly tuned demosaic algorithms, improved redraw speed and "legacy" IPTC support. Note that the converter is still considered to be in 'Beta' form.
November 8
Just posted! Canon PowerShot S80 Review
Just posted! A little over a year after the launch of the 7 megapixel PowerShot S70, Canon revealed its replacement, the S80, which an extra million pixels and a few new features - including the latest DIGIC II processor. It's smaller and lighter than the S70 yet it packs a much larger (2.5") wide viewing angle LCD, a control wheel / 4-way controller, XGA video capture, USB 2.0 High-speed and even more external controls, though raw capture has been dropped. So is the S80 a worthy successor to the well-respected S70? To find out check out our 'concise' review after the link.
Nikon recalls some EN-EL3 batteries
Nikon USA and Europe have both issued an advisory asking owners of cameras with the model EN-EL3 Lithium-Ion battery to return them for exchange. This battery was included with the Nikon D50, D70 and D100 as well as sold as an accessory. Apparently some affected batteries can short out and overheat. Nikon has published a list of 'lot numbers' of the affected batteries, at the moment we only have information from Nikon USA and Europe, if you live in other regions you should check with your local distributor.
Nikon D2X / D2Hs firmware v1.01
Nikon has today released new firmware for the D2X and D2Hs digital SLRs. Firmware version 1.01 includes improvements to autofocus performance, resolves an issue with the AF-assist illuminator on certain Speedlights, resolves a flash sync issue with the SB-800 Speedlight, improves preset white balance and corrects errors in menus when the Dutch language is selected. UPDATE: Firmware now available with English instructions on the Nikon Asia website.
November 7
Cypress 9 megapixel APS size CMOS
Cypress Semiconductor has announced the CYIHDSC9000AA, a new 9 megapixel APS size CMOS image sensor. In 2004 Cypress acquired FillFactory, the Belgian company behind the IBIS4-14000, the 14 megapixel CMOS sensor used in the Kodak DCS 14n, SLR/c and SLR/n. Interesting features of this new sensor are its lack of microlenses and its low-cost design. Output image size is stated as 3710 x 2434 (9.0 million pixels) and the sensor has a pixel pitch of 6.4 µm. Lets hope we see this sensor in a compact camera with a large diameter high quality lens.
November 4
Wacom wide format Pen Tablet

Wacom has announced the world's first wide-format pen tablet for use with widescreen displays and dual monitors. The Intuos3 6x11 tablet is specifically designed for photographers, designers and artists who are using multiple displays. The tablet has programmable ExpressKeys and Touch Strips, and the cordless battery-free Grip Pen offers 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. Adobe Photoshop Elements 3, Corel Painter Essentials 2, nik Color Efex Pro 2 IE and Wacom Brushes 2 are bundled with the pen tablet. It is expected to retail for $389.95.

November 2
Sharp 10 megapixel 1/1.7 CCD
As if noise and detail levels weren't bad enough from the latest batch of digital cameras based around the 8 megapixel Sharp CCD they've today announced one that crams even more pixels into tiny package. The RJ21W3BA0ET is a ten megapixel 1/1.7" CCD with 3766 horizontal and 2801 vertical pixels (total) and a pixel pitch of just 2.05 µm. We always kind of hope that the next compact sensor announcement will have some real innovation like higher sensitivity and lower noise but it appears as though market forces just want 'more megapixels'.
November 1
Nikon D200, 10.2 mp, Exclusive Preview
Nikon has today announced (not to everyones surprise) the Nikon D200, a ten-point-two megapixel digital SLR with professional features and build quality in a compact body. From a features and functionality point of view the D200 is much closer to the D2X than the D100. Highlights are a magnesium-alloy body, an 11-area AF sensor, 3D Color Matrix Metering II, 5 frames per second continuous shooting, 2.5" LCD monitor, USB 2.0, 1/250 sec X-sync plus WiFi and GPS support. The D200 is about 100g heavier than the D100 but 240g lighter than the D2X. Best of all is the price, body-only, $1,849 in the US. We have a full detailed hands-on preview of the Nikon D200 available now.
Nikon DX VR 18-200 mm F3.5-5.6G Zoom
Nikon has today announced an impressive 11.1x DX format optical zoom lens with Vibration Reduction. The AF-S DX VR 18-200mm F3.5-5.6G IF-ED Zoom-Nikkor (try saying that three times quickly) provides an equivelant field of view range of 27 to 300 mm on a DX format digital SLR (such as the newly announced D200). In addition to the big zoom range you get a silent wave motor for high speed focusing and Vibration Reduction II (pretty essential at 300 mm equiv.). It is expected to be around €749 and should be available at 'the end of December 2005'.
Nikon Remote Speedlight and Commander
Nikon has today announced the new remote Speedlight SB-R200 and Command Unit SU-800. Aimed primarily at close-up and macro photography, these units combine to make a wireless flash system, the SU-800 commander unit can be combined with SB-R200 Speedlight (or other compatible Speedlights) in up to three groups. Nikon is selling these components separately but also as Macro kits, which include one command unit and two SB-R200 Speedlights.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T9
Sony has today announced the newest addition to its slimline T range in the shape of the six million pixel Cyber-shot T9. As well as offering one million more pixels than the T7, the previous incarnation, it also offers a better macro mode of 1cm. The T9 maintains the large 2.5-inch LCD in favor of a viewfinder, has the same sliding up/down lens, but all the controls have been shifted on to the right hand side of the back plate, including the zoom rocker lever which was previously found on the top of the camera. The Sony Cyber-shot T9 comes in silver or black. Apologies but we have no further information as we have not received full specifications or a press release from Sony.
October 31
Just Posted! Fujifilm FinePix S9000  Review
Just posted! The FinePix S9000 (S9500 in Europe and Asia) is the latest in a long line of Fujifilm 'prosumer' camera designed to bridge the gap between fixed lens compacts and interchangeable lens SLRs, and effectively the replacement for the popular S7000. With each generation that gap has been closed a little bit more, and with the arrival of the S9000 Fujifilm's marketeers have taken the brave step of openly positioning it as a true alternative to a digital SLR... even going as far as to say in many ways it's actually better... Find out if it lives up to the hype in our review after the link.
October 28
Canon to repair some 24-105 mm F4L lenses
Canon USA has today posted a service notice relating to the new EF 24-105 mm F4L IS USM lens. The notice describes a problem which affects some early production samples of this lens where 'unacceptable levels of flare' can occur, mostly at wide angle and maximum aperture. Those lenses with a control number (a serial number beginning with UT) of 999 or less are affected. The notice goes on to offer a free repair service (including shipping) which will commence on November 14th. We haven't seen any other such notices from any other regions.
October 27
Phil ramble: I honestly can't count the number of times I've seen a manufacturer 'accidentally' place embargoed material on a webserver. It happens before almost every major announcement, this year it has happened with such predictability that you begin to question whether it's just deliberate, designed simply to create hype. Such leaks have occurred in the last 48 hours (twice) and were located by users keen for information who simply used (a) a site based search engine (in the first instance) and (b) changed a single character in a URL (in the second instance). Please manufacturers get a grip on your webserver security, don't upload embargoed material until the minute of announcement and if you must make sure that it is in a password protected area of the site and isn't indexed by your search engine.
Pixmantec RawShooter premium 2006
Pixmantec has today announced a new version of its RawShooter application, RawShooter premium 2006. RawShooter premium is an advanced RAW workflow, conversion and manipulation application which is designed to provide a single solution for those who prefer to work in RAW. This latest version sports lots of advanced features such as 'Scene Adaptive Technology', RAW vs RAW comparison, ISO range specific settings and per-camera color profiles. This latest version of RawShooter now supports a wider range of SLR's including the Canon EOS 5D and EOS 1D Mark II n.
Canon EOS 20D/20Da firmware update v2.0.3
The second firmware update from Canon today relates to the EOS 20D and the astrophotography version of the same camera, the EOS 20Da. Firmware version 2.0.3 fixes the same two problems; one with the color temperature transmission that occurred when using the Speedlite 430EX and improves reliability when using CompactFlash cards.
Canon Rebel XT firmware update v1.0.3
Canon has today announced a firmware update for its affordable DSLR, the Rebel XT. Version 1.0.3 fixes a problem relating to the remote release cable where users were unable to take any shots. There was also a problem with the camera continuing to scroll through images in playback, this has been fixed, and reliability in communication with CompactFlash cards has been improved.
October 25
Canon PowerShot SD430 Wireless
Canon has today announced a new compact PowerShot model, the SD430, which becomes the first Canon model to feature build-in WiFi (802.11b). This model will be known simply as the Digital IXUS Wireless in Europe. This model is essentially identical as the SD450 but with the WiFi added (5 mp, 3x zoom). The camera kit also includes the 'WA-1N Wireless Print Adapter' which provides WiFi printing to PictBridge compatible printers. Options include the NB-4L battery (you may need a few of those).
October 24
PictureProject v1.6.1
Nikon has announced an update for its image management, editing and design program, PictureProject. Version 1.6.1 is two different upgrades for the Mac and Windows platforms and you must have installed all update up to v1.6.0 before installing this update. A problem that caused an error to occur when viewing images in a slideshow on the Windows platform has now been rectified. This new version now adds support for Mac OS X and changes to portions of the Color Management panel in the preferences dialog have also been made.
Casio Exilim Card EX-S600
Casio has today announced its latest slimline addition to the Exilm Card range in the form of the EX-S600, which boasts Anti-shake DSP mode to reduce blurring in moving subjects. Other novel features of this six megapixel camera include a new Best Shot mode called Revive Shot, which refreshes faded colors of old album photos. Aside from the resolution, a not-so-impressive 15cm macro mode, longer battery life and the extra scene mode, specification is pretty similar to the S500 launched in Europe in July this year. The EX-S600 is currently only available in Japan and other Asian markets. In comes in four colors: 'sparkle' silver, 'fiesta' orange, 'mistral' blue and 'luminous' gold.
October 21
Just posted! Olympus E-500 EVOLT review
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of the new Olympus E-500 EVOLT digital SLR. Announced just three weeks ago the E-500 is Olympus's latest Four Thirds system digital SLR, unlike the E-300 it has a more traditional top mounted pentaprism viewfinder and body design. The E-500 is the lightest digital SLR on the market yet has a robust feel and comfortable grip, it also offers a wide range of manual controls and custom features. The E-500's eight megapixel Kodak CCD is essentially the same as that found in the E-300 but Olympus has made some improvements to noise reduction. Come in to see how the E-500 performed and how it compares to the competition.
Extensis Portfolio 8
Extensis has announce Portfolio 8, its digital asset management system, which it say now offers 'industrial strength' workflow features. Portfolio 8 allows you to instantly view, sort and manage all your photos, including RAW files, access your files directly from Photoshop, as well as publish images to the web. Pictures can be organized using visual catalogs and embedded metadata. The new 'galleries' feature allows you to organize your images, fast cataloging adds files to a catalog and allows you to start working on while allowing you to start working with them straight away, while other cataloging tasks occur in the background. Portfolio 8 will be available for download and purchase in December priced $199.95.
Agfa near the end
Germany photographic company AgfaPhoto is likely to close down by the end of the year, making around 1700 of its workforce redundant, reports Talks with UK company Photo-Me International about a possible takeover were rejected by the creditors because the offer "contained too many points that were unacceptable". AgfaPhoto has been operating under bankruptcy protection since May, when it filed for insolvency. The company will end operations at the end of the year, after all its stock has been used.
Kodak launches high resolution CCDs
Kodak has announced the world's highest resolution sensors for medium format cameras with the KAF-39000, 39 megapixels, and the KAF-31600 (pictured), which offers 31.6 megapixels. The CCD sensors will be used in Phase One's upcoming P45 and P30 digital backs.The KAF-3900 covers an area of 36x48mm, while the KAF-31600 offers high performance in a 33x44mm imaging area. These two new sensors join three other CCDs in Kodak's line up, including the KAF-22000, which used to be the company's highest resolution CCD at 22MP.
October 20
iView MediaPro 3
iView Multimedia has announced version 3 of its professional digital asset management software MediaPro. The pro package allows you to create customized and searchable catalogs and includes new features such as pro lightbox, added support for WMV, WMA RTF and web page files, XML import and export plus an enhanced interface. iView Media Pro 3 is available from November 1 for $199 (approx. €166).
October 19
Apple Aperture for Pro Photographers
Apple has today announced Aperture, a new digital photography workflow, organization and manipulation application aimed specifically at professional photographers. Aperture includes advanced RAW workflow, a unique user interface and an interesting feature called Stacks, which groups images together based on the time differential between shots. In addition Apple has also announced new Powerbook models, a new quad processor Power Mac and lower prices on its Cinema HD displays.
Just Posted! Olympus Stylus 800 Digital Review
Just posted! The first of a new generation of affordable 8MP compacts, the Olympus µ Digital 800/Stylus 800 Digital is a well-designed 'weatherproof' model that uses 'Bright Capture' technology to boost sensitivity immensely (up to ISO 2500 in some modes), ensuring a bright screen image and blur-free non-flash photography in very low light. Find out what we thought in our concise review.
October 18
The Panorama Factory is now available in version 4 and can be downloaded as a trial version for 30 days. The panoramic stitching software guides you through the process with a few mouse clicks, it also detects the focal length automatically as well as correct rotation and tilt. The Panorama Factory version 4 accepts 24-bit and 45-bit color images, allows you to create web pages using templates or your own designs and create 360 degree virtual tours. If you like what you see after 30 days then buy it for $59.95 until November 30, after which it will be $69.95
ACDSee systems has launched a professional version of its image management software program ACDSee call Pro Photo Manager. The advanced version allows multi-step batch processing, offers DNG and RAW support, color management functionality and professional publishing options as will as the ability to customize workspace layouts, toolbars and tabs. ACDSee Pro will be showcased at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York (October 20-22) and will be available from January 2006 priced $129.99 and €119.99 (including VAT).
October 17
Bibble Labs 4.4

Bibble Labs has today announced version 4.4 of its RAW workflow software, which adds support for the Canon 5D and 1D Mark II N cameras, as well as the Konica Minolta 5D, A200 and Pentax *ist DL. Bibble's integrated Photoshop plug-in allows users to open RAW files from the latest cameras in Photoshop 7 or CS. The update provides another new feature called Full Light that brightens deep shadows and recovers detail in dark areas of high contrast photos. Bibble 4.4 is available as a free upgrade to Bibble 4 or you can download a 14-day trial version from Bibble Labs' website.

Nikon service advisory for compacts
Nikon has announced that three of its compacts are also affected by the CCDs that cause images to appear to have a strong color tint or completely black. Some Coolpix 3100, 5700 and SQ cameras are affected and Nikon will repair these cameras free of charge once it's been confirmed the problem relates to this advisory. To obtain a free repair you will need to fill in a Service Return Form, which provides detailed instructions.
October 14
Exclusive new dpreview resolution chart
Today we're proud to reveal our new and exclusive resolution chart. The old ISO standard resolution chart we have been using for the last six years has served us well but met its limit at around ten megapixels. With the advent of 10+ megapixel digital SLRs and maybe next year even consumer cameras it's clear the time is right for an updated chart. The new chart is based on the ISO chart but has double resolution bars, which provide resolution measurement up to 4000 LPH (which should be good for up to 35 megapixels).