The future where major new technologies, such as JPEG-2000 and other advanced image manipulation techniques not yet available, are able to be added to exisitng digital cameras may be getting closer. A company called Quicksilver has a technology solution called ACM. ACM is the only software-programmable, realtime adaptive IC that offers high performance, low power consumption, low cost, and architecture flexibility in a single chip. Olympus signed a deal with Quciksilver over a year ago to develop digital imaging IC's with a view to the OEM market.
An interesting story on DigiTimes suggests that Panasonic will be releasing an OEM'd 6-megapixel digital camera with MPEG4 support later this year. This camera is being sourced from Ability Enterprise, a leading digital camera manufacturer in Taiwan, who already has Casio is its main Japanese client. Expect lots of 6 megapixel camera releases by the end of the year from Panasonic and others.
Sigma today announced an all new 'DC' (Digital Camera) lens designed to be used only on digital SLR's with an APS (or smaller) sized sensor. The new 18 - 125 mm F3.5 - F5.6 DC lens has a non-rotating front element as well as a zoom lock button, it will initially be available for Sigma AF, Canon AF and Nikon AF-D lens mounts. Expected retail price in Japan will be 45,000 YEN (approx. $400), in the UK £229.99.
Canon today announced that it has made Digital Photo Professional (DPP) Version 1.0.0 available for download for all EOS-1D and EOS-1Ds owners. DPP can now be downloaded from Canon's website but requires validation with the camera body serial number. At this time DPP doesn't support the EOS-10D. Digital Photo Professional is a new image management and RAW conversion application which was introduced with the EOS-1D Mark II, compared to the File Viewer Utility DPP provides far more control, a considerably better user interface and faster performance.
SMaL Camera Technologies has today announced its new Ultra-Pocket® 5 rapid development kit for 3-megapixel credit card cameras with color TFT display. The Ultra-Pocket 5 kit enables manufacturers and brands to rapidly enter the heart of the mass consumer market 3-megapixel with unparalleled thinness, style, wide dynamic range, and worry-free battery life, in the sub-$129 retail price range. The kit is available now to qualified OEMs looking to ship products into the marketplace in the second half of 2004.
Sanyo Japan today announced two new 'Xacti' digital cameras, the four megapixel DSC-S4 and the three megapixel DSC-S3. These two entry level compact digital cameras have an identical body design and appear to utilize the same lens but because of the different size of the CCD in each the DSC-S4 only achieves 2.8x optical zoom compared to the DSC-S3's 3.0x optical zoom. The DSC-S3's price works out at around US$300, the DSC-S4 at around $380.
Olympus UK today announced the new 'Ferrari Digital Model 2004', this ultra-compact digital camera has a three megapixel CCD sensor and three times optical zoom lens (which appears to be of the folded optics variety). This camera appears to be based on the AZ-1 which was announced last month in Japan. The Ferrari Digital Model 2004 is colored in 'Ferrari Red' (Rosso Corsa), has flashes of (fake) carbon fibre and plays the sound of a Ferrari engine when powered up (nice...). The camera will be produced in a limited run of 10,000, half of which will make their way to Europe. It will be available in the UK in July 2004 at a price of £499.99 (inc VAT). UPDATE 20/May/2004: Pictures of Schumacher, Barrichello and Jean Todt using the new camera.
Sony today announced a new five megapixel three times optical zoom digital camera, the DSC-F88. Those of you who are aware of some of Sony's older digital cameras will recognize the F88's design as being very similar to the DSC-F77 (Sep 2002) and the original DSC-F55 (Feb 1999). Just like those previous models the F88 has a rotating lens / flash portion along the top of the camera body, however it now implements the 'folded lens' system of the DSC-T1 / DSC-T11 mounted horizontally within this rotating portion giving you a full three times optical zoom (the F77 / F55 had no zoom). Note that the F88 also has a viewfinder, unlike the previous cameras. We have some of our own hands-on pictures with this camera.
Software: Jasc has recently announced the release of Paint Shop Photo Album 5 - Deluxe Edition, the newest version of its digital camera software. Sporting a completely redesigned interface that follows the digital photographer's workflow, Photo Album 5 puts the tools users need to organize, enhance, share and protect photos at their fingertips. "By listening to consumers, we will continue focusing on providing smarter software that integrates the way people create, enhance, organize and share their photos and images." said Kris Tufto, president and CEO of Jasc Software.
Sigma has today announced a new constant aperture wide angle zoom lens, the 24-60 mm F2.8 EX DG. This lens is designed to be compact but also 'fast' (large, constant maximum aperture) and to provide a usable zoom range for digital SLR users, on a Nikon digital SLR this lens would have an equivalent field of view of a 36 - 90 mm, on a Canon 1.6x digital SLR (10D, 300D / Digital Rebel, etc.) of 38 - 96 mm.
DO Labs has announced that their DxO Optics Pro software will be available to buy online from May 24th. This software is designed to enable digital SLR owners to correct images which suffer from distortion, vignetting, blur and CA. The software works by using modules created by DO Labs based on detailed analysis of the camera bodies and lenses. In a new press release DO Labs reveal the camera bodies and lenses which will be initially supported and also their pricing structure; the DxO Optics Pro software + the camera body module + the lens module.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Leica's latest digital camera. The Digilux 2 has a 3.2x optical zoom lens and a five megapixel CCD sensor. It has a retro design and metal case, it feels robust and has a high finish level, control layout is logical and has the most straightforward and natural method for switching between automatic and manual operation. See how the Digilux 2 performed in our tests and how it compares to other cameras.
Canon today revealed the replacement for their fifteen month old PowerShot S50, the new PowerShot S60. Despite the name this camera doesn't have a six megapixel CCD, instead it sticks with the tried and tested 1/1.8" five megapixel CCD. The biggest external differences with this camera are its new compact 3.6x wide zoom lens which provides an impressive 28 - 100 mm equiv. and the slick new body design which is thinner than the S50. Thankfully Canon has also done away with the annoying combined zoom / 4-way controller, the S60 now has a normal 4-way direction pad, separate SET button and zoom lever.
Nikon Europe has today posted firmware Version 1.2 for the Coolpix 3700. This firmware update offers following improvements and additions; certain brands of Secure Digital memory cards can cause image visibility problems, brightness levels of movies vary under certain lighting conditions and corrections to city names in setup menu. As usual please read carefully the firmware installation information before installing the firmware update!
Kodak has today announced three new cameras in its Easyshare line, plus a new printer dock. They are the DX7440 with 4-megapixel resolution, a SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH VARIOGON 4X optical zoom lens (33 - 132 mm equivalent), and 0.2-second click-to-capture rating. The CX7530 and CX7330 have 5 and 3 megapixel resolution CCD's plus 3x optical zoom. The DX7440, CX7530 and CX7330 camera will be available in the summer at a suggested retail prices of just £299.99, £249.99 and £149.99 respectively.
Olympus today announced a series of price reductions and new rebates on the E-1 digital SLR and lenses. In the US the base E-1 body has been reduced by $300 to $1499, in the UK the E-1's body price is down £300 to £999 inc VAT (the kit including 14-54mm lens now £1399 inc VAT). This new price change brings the E-1 into line with the Canon EOS 10D (excluding lenses). In addition Olympus America are also offering a range of rebates up to $100 off Zuiko Digital lenses.
Iomega has today announced the availability of the new Iomega® Floppy Plus 7-in-1 Card Reader. Iomegas new host-powered drive is ideal for photographers and mobile users, bundling a convenient 1.44 MB floppy drive with the seamless capability to read and write all of the most common flash media formats. The Iomega Floppy Plus 7-in-1 Card Reader is available now for $59.95 (U.S. suggested retail price).
Forgent Networks has today made good their 2002 claim to JPEG and their intention to pursue licensing revenue from companies who use it. They own United States patent 4,698,672 which covers the JPEG compression standard, this patent was created by Compression Labs who Forgent bought back in 1997. Over the last two years, Forgent's has generated $90 million from licensing the patent to 30 different companies. The camera companies include Canon, Kodak, Fuji, Kyocera, HP, Panasonic, Ricoh, Toshiba, Concord and software suppliers Adobe, Macromedia, JASC.
Adobe has today released version 2.2 of its Camera Raw plugin for Adobe Photoshop CS. New cameras from Canon (PowerShot Pro1, EOS-1D MARK II), Kodak (DCS Pro 14nx, DCS Pro SLR/n), Konica Minolta (DiMAGE A2), Nikon (D70, Coolpix 8700), Olympus (C-8080 Wide Zoom) and Sigma (SD9, SD10) are now supported.
There is an interesting story today in the UK newspaper, The Independent, about the claims manufacturers make about the lifespan of their CD-R's. They are the easiest means of archiving digital photographs today, but if disc is useless after 2 years, perhaps another archival medium is required. If CD-R is still your chosen media, then purchase the best, record at the recommened speed for your drive, and store in a cool dry environment.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of the eight megapixel Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom. This camera combines a brand new five times optical wide zoom (28 - 140 mm) lens with a 2/3" type eight megapixel CCD. The C-8080 also sports a new body design and comprehensive control system. See how the C-8080 Wide Zoom performed in our tests and how it compares to the other four eight megapixel digital cameras currently on the market.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of the all new eight megapixel Canon PowerShot Pro1. This camera features a 2/3" type eight megapixel CCD sensor combined with a Canon "L-type" 7x optical zoom lens which provides a wide zoom of 28 mm to 200 mm. See how the Pro1 performed in our tests and how it compares to the other four eight megapixel digital cameras currently on the market.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of the eight megapixel Nikon Coolpix 8700. This camera is visually identical to the Coolpix 5700 as it shares that camera's body and lens, however there have been quite a few changes inside the camera. This is Nikon's offering to the eight megapixel prosumer market which is now made up of five cameras. See how the Coolpix 8700 performed in our tests and how it compares to the other four eight megapixel digital cameras currently on the market.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of the eight megapixel Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2. The A2 shares its body design, lens and control layout with the five megapixel DiMAGE A1 but pushes the megapixel count up to eight and includes several 'under the hood' improvements. See how the DiMAGE A2 performed in our tests and how it compares to the other four eight megapixel digital cameras currently on the market.
Olympus Japan today announced the three megapixel three times optical zoom AZ-1. This new ultra-compact camera appears to utilize a 'folded optics' lens design similar to the Minolta DiMAGE X series and the Sony DSC-T1, T11. The AZ-1 measures just 94 x 67 mm (3.7 x 2.6 in) and is 22 mm thick (0.8 in), making it approximately the same size as the Sony DSC-T1. The AZ-1 also comes with a cradle used for charging the camera's internal Lithium-Ion battery as well as providing USB and video out connectivity. This camera has not yet been announced outside of Japan and it's not clear at this stage whether this will become a domestic market only camera.
Eamon Hickey has posted a fascinating article on Rob Galbraith's website about the digital workflow employed by Sports Illustrated's team of photo editors and photographers shooting Superbowl XXXVIII. While amazing it also shows how far the workflow side of the process has yet to come, there's still a lot of disjointed work going on, even at the biggest names in the industry. Some fascinating quotes from this story, "Steve Fine is looking at two pictures every second. He's been keeping up that pace, with frequent short interruptions, for over four hours, and he'll keep it up for three more.", "In 2003, Sports Illustrated's photo department processed 1,028,000 digital photographs shot by staffers or freelancers under assignment. In 2004, an Olympic year, they estimate they will process closer to 3 million."
Dave Etchells over at Imaging-Resource has just posted his full reivew of the Nikon D70 digital SLR, "I'll save you the suspense though, and say right up front that I *really* liked this camera. Nikon really got just about everything right, offering a lot more features and capability than the Digital Rebel, at only a slight premium in price. And the lens that ships as part of the kit is a bargain too, at an incremental cost of $300 for a very nice piece of optics."
Sony Japan today announced the all new DSC-T11 ultra-compact digital camera. Clearly based around the DSC-T1 the DSC-T11 appears to be even slimmer still and does away with the T1's sliding front cover to give the camera a completely flat front profile. The DSC-T11 also gets a larger, more prominent chromed neck strap attachment bar which runs down its left side. The DSC-T11 has a five megapixel CCD and three times folded optical zoom lens. Also announced today were the DSC-W1, DSC-P100 and DSC-P73 (which were all announced at PMA), new however is the DSC-P43 which appears to be based on the DSC-P73. It's unclear at this stage if the DSC-T11 or DSC-P43 will make it to the European and US markets.
Kingston Technology has today announced the availability of a 1 GB CF Elite Pro card featuring the latest in high-density flash components. Kingston.s newest 1 GB CompactFlash Elite Pro provides a low price per megabyte solution of reliable, high-speed media. The Elite Pro provides a write speed of up to 5.2 MB per second and a read speed of up to 6.1 MB per second. Kingstons 1 GB Type I CompactFlash Elite Pro card has a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $349.00
Canon Japan has today announced a new black bodied version of the 'Kiss Digital' as it is known in Japan (EOS 300D / Digital Rebel). At this stage it's unclear whether Canon will make the new black body available in Europe (as the EOS 300D) or North America (as the Digital Rebel). Remember also that the Japanese market get the USM version of the EF-S 18-55 mm lens which is powered by a normal DC motor in the rest of the world. Personally I think the camera looks much better in black, the color Canon should have chosen right from the start.
Software: Roxio began shipping its new PhotoSuite 7 Platinum software today. Building on its predecessor, the latest release of adds multimedia slide show capabilities, professional level editing tools, and advanced Video CD authoring. PhotoSuite 7 Platinum offers tremendous value by including all the tools needed to capture, edit, create, organize, share, and preserve digital photos on CD or DVD in one package. PhotoSuite 7 Platinum will be available shortly in North American for a suggested retail price of $49.95 (US) or $59.95 (CND), and for download today.
Canon BeBit has today posted firmware Version 1.0.3 for the EOS-1Ds. This firmware update offers following improvements and additions; when formatting a media card with a capacity of greater than 2GB the camera may not recognise the full capacity. As usual please read carefully the firmware installation information before installing the firmware update!
Fujifilm's has today announced an underwater housing for their FinePix F420 Zoom. The housing is made from hard-wearing, transparent polycarbonate, offering sub-aqua shooting at depths of up to 40 metres and its dedicated design retains full camera functionality. With an attractive ergonomic design, and bright orange detail, it's highly visible when under water.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of a full production Nikon D70. The D70 is Nikon's first sub-$1000 digital SLR and now offers digital SLR buyers a new option other than Canon's EOS 300D (Digital Rebel). The D70 features a new six megapixel 'DX' size CCD sensor, Nikkor lens mount, quality black body and a wide range of manual features and controls. See how the D70 performed in our tests and how it compared to the EOS 300D (Digital Rebel).
ColorVision and Pantone have today announced ColorPlus, the newest addition to the PANTONE(R) COLORVISION(R) product line. ColorPlus is an affordable monitor calibration tool for consumers and photo hobbyists that calibrates a monitor to produce stunning photos in a few easy steps. ColorPlus by PANTONE COLORVISION comes bundled with Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition and is available immediately in the U.S. for an estimated street price of $99.
There has today been an escalation of the patent war between Kodak and Sony, in what looks like a tit for tat response, Sony has filed a suit against Kodak alleging that they infringed 10 of Sony's patents related to digital cameras. "It's a very important technology resource for Sony and we feel that if any company is in infringement of them, we will take action," said Sony spokesman Gerald Cavanagh in Tokyo. Sony's latest suit involves patents related to electronic shutters for CCD's. Sony said its action was not a counter-suit and involved different patents than the suit filed by Kodak.
Peter iNova, author of the 'Sony Advanced Cyber Shot' eBook has recently released version 2.0, the new eBook adds detail for Sony's new V1 and F828 digital cameras. "I'm excited about the interactivity," said author Peter iNova, "Now direct image-to-image comparisons are just a mouse rollover or click away. And wait till you see what can be done with the Sony 828's RAW mode using NightShot!". Also included are custom iNovaFX Photoshop Actions created exclusively to the needs of the V1 and 828 cameras. eBook price is $49.95US.
Nikon Europe has today posted firmware Version 1.8 for the Coolpix 5000. This firmware update offers following improvements and additions, when the camera is turned on and off after selecting ON in the Fixed Aperture from Zoom Options in SET-UP 1 menu. When the camera is used in Manual exposure mode, the incorrect aperture information is displayed. This has now been corrected. As usual please read carefully the firmware installation information before installing the firmware update!
Sony has posted firmware Version 2.0 for the DSC-F828 and DSC-T1. This firmware update resolves the same issues for both cameras, they are, a picture deleting issue using quick review function and pictures getting damaged when transferred from a PC to a camera via USB. For the T1 this update also adds PictBridge support. As usual please read carefully the firmware installation information before installing the firmware updates!
Software: The GIMP developers are proud to release version 2.0 of the GIMP, the leading freely distributable program for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. This release is a major event, marking the end of a three year development cycle by a group of volunteers and enthusiasts who have made this the most professional release of the GIMP ever. It is the first stable release that is officially supported not only on Unix-based operating systems, but also on Microsoft Windows and Macintosh OS X.
Software: Fookes Software has released Easy Imager 2.0, a powerful Windows application that makes it easy to display, manage, and batch-process images in all popular formats, and produce photo albums to suit every browser. New features in version 2.0 include integrated support for the innovative Zoomify image format, easy creation of full screen slide-shows and slide-show screensavers with professional transition effects, the ability to view image histograms, and support for stereoscopic 3D JPEG images and wireless bitmap images. Easy Imager 2.0 runs under Windows and costs $34.95, a free trial version is available.
Software: Photodex has today announced the release of the newest version of its slide show presentation product ProShow Gold. With version 2.0, ProShow Gold continues to be the only slide show presentation product that combines all output formats into a single application. This Create once, Play anywhere approach provides the user unmatched flexibility. ProShow Gold 2.0 is priced at $69.95 and standard edition for $29.95, both for electronic delivery. Both versions provide a fully functional 15-day trial.
Software: Jasc has today announced the release of the public beta version of Jasc Paint Shop Photo Album 5. It has a completely redesigned interface that follows the digital camera user's workflows, with more options to view and organize photos, users can choose to view by file tree, favorite folders, calendar view, or keywords. Photo Album gives users the ability to switch quickly and easily between views. The public beta of Paint Shop Photo Album 5 is available for download on the Jasc Web site.
Creo has today announced that their digital camera back system - the Leaf Valeo - is now wireless. This next generation Leaf Valeo is being introduced with a wireless display on two models: the Leaf Valeo 22Wi and the new Leaf Valeo 17Wi, with resolutions of 22 and 17 million pixels respectively. The new Leaf Valeo Wi family uses Bluetooth to accomplish two-way communication between the camera and the Leaf DP-67 (based on an HP iPAQ). Special offers are available for the purchase of the Leaf Valeo 22Wi and Leaf Valeo 17Wi systems.
Sanyo has recently announced its Xacti VPC-J4. The Xacti J4 has a 4 megapixel CCD that outputs 8 megapixel interpolated images, and a bright, 2.8x inner optical zoom lens (F2.7) achieves high-speed zooming in around 1.5 seconds. The Xacti J4 records VGA-size (640 x 480) video clips at 30 fps with simultaneous audio, for viewing quality equivalent to that of DVD. Another Xacti J4 advantage is the ability to use the zoom while shooting video clips.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Sigma's new SD10 digital SLR. The SD10 is the successor to the SD9, it features a new and updated 10M X3 Foveon sensor which achieves higher sensitivity thanks to the addition of microlenses. There are also numerous other improvements to both the camera and Photo Pro RAW conversion software. See how the SD10 performed and how it stacks up to the current six megapixel digital SLR's.
CeBIT 2004: The latest camera on the compact six megapixel band wagon is Konica Minolta's G600, a resolution upgrade from from the G500 (which itself was based on the Konica KD-510 Zoom before the K-M merger). That out of the way the G600 does appear to have a new Signal Processing Engine and algorithm coined 'A*IPS'. "The new compact and fully-featured DiMAGE G600 is a value-packed, high performance digital camera at an affordable price," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Konica Minolta's Camera Division. "This new compact camera is ideal for every day snapshots as well as a second camera for serious amateur or professional photographers."
CeBIT 2004: Olympus today announced two new digital cameras which will be available all around the world and one which will be only available in the UK. These three cameras will be known as the C-60 Zoom, C-460 Zoom del Sol (UK only) and C-160 (D-395 in the US). Probably the most interesting camera here is the C-60 Zoom which again is another six megapixel compact camera which started life as a five megapixel, a relatively simple 'drop in a new chip' upgrade for Olympus.
CeBIT 2004: Kodak today announced the all new DSC Pro SLR/c, a Canon mount version of the SLR/n which utilizes a new body made by Sigma (this isn't stated but is obvious). This announcement now brings Kodak back full circle to the 'good old' Kodak DCS days when they would have both a Nikon and Canon mount of each camera. Other than the obvious differences between a Nikon and Canon body there are also a few other subtle differences, the SLR/c is slightly smaller, has a 1/180 sec flash sync speed, a new AF system and a smaller LCD monitor. The SLR/c becomes the highest resolution Canon mount digital SLR, and a full 35 mm sensor to boot!
Following on from Olympus USA's move at the end of January Olympus UK has announced a £200 trade-in promotion on their digital SLR E-System. You can take any SLR camera, film or digital for a £200 rebate against the E-1 digital SLR body and 14-54 mm lens bundle. You can also choose if you wish not to take the £200 cash back but instead opt for an FL-50 flash, 50 mm macro lens, P-440 printer or 2 GB 40X Lexar Pro card. This offer is available at certified Olympus E-System dealers until April 30th 2004.