CES 2002: SanDisk has today announced "Cruzer", a USB compatible device which is compatible with SD / MMC storage cards. It's essentially a USB "jacket" for these storage cards. Thanks to the "mass storage class" USB device standard the Cruzer can be plugged into any modern operating system without the requirement for drivers. A 128 MB Cruzer will cost you $99.99. (Phil: sounds like a pocket sized SD / MMC card reader to me...)
CES 2002: Sony has today announced two new Mavica "Dual-Media" digital cameras. The 1.2 megapixel FD100 and 2.1 megapixel FD200 can take either 3.5" Floppy disks (yes, still) or Memory Stick flash media. Both cameras have a 3x optical zoom lens and InfoLithium batteries and USB connectivity. The FD100 has an expected retail price of $400, the FD200 a price of $500.
Thanks to one of our regular readers for noting that Pantellic President (owners of Photopoint) Dale Gass has spoken to CNET by email he writes "While Pantellic has ceased operations, we are actively working on a solution for people to get copies of their photos," Pantellic President Dale Gass wrote in an e-mail. "There will be an announcement at www.photopoint.com, and members will be notified via e-mail when this is available." According to Gass, Pantellic has been unable to communicate with its customers since a "substantial amount" of its networking equipment was seized on the day the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based company ceased operations.
Uwe Steinmueller of Digital Outback Photo has just let me know that he's posted a review of Canon's EOS-1D digital SLR and the new EF 400mm f/4 DO IS lens. Of the EOS-1D Uwe says, "Even if the EOS-1D might have low noise compared to other cameras at ISO 400 and above we will try to stay with ISO 200 as often as possible. ISO 400 (and higher even more so) look clearly more grainy than ISO 200 photos (if seen at 100% pixel level)."
Olympus has today said that it is looking to bring its digital camera operations into the black after a tough time last year. Olympus are looking to shift a large amount of its domestic digital camera production to China. "Our biggest problem this business year was inventories,'' Yusuke Kojima, senior manager for sales and marketing in Olympus's imaging systems group, told a news conference. "Digital cameras have been hit by intensely competitive conditions.'' Like personal computers, he said, digital cameras now have a very short shelf-life because of the rapid emergence of new models.
Minolta US has today posted A1v121u English firmware for the DiMAGE 7 digital camera. This new firmware has been available on the Minolta Japan server for a few days and is now available on the Minolta US server. This version is for US DiMAGE 7's only. The installation documents say "Firmware version A1v121u was developed for general improvement in exposure performance (particularly for flash photography)." It's also worth noting that Minolta has also posted a new version of the DiMAGE Image Viewer Utility (required for proper colour space mapping).
Minolta yesterday announced that it will halt production and development of APS cameras in favour of attacking the ever expanding digital camera market. This comes as no surprise to dpreview as we have observed the dramatic shift in market share (and production) between 35 mm, APS and digital over the last two years. "Investors welcomed the news, sending shares in Minolta up 8.39 percent to 155 yen on Wednesday morning. The Nikkei average dipped 0.1 percent."
Nikon US has today posted firmware 1.6, this firmware solves the 'lens cap left on' problem which affected more than a few of our forums posters not long after they'd received their new cameras. Noted changes are "The Coolpix 5000 will continue to function, even if it is turned on with the lens cap still in place, no matter what focal point the lens was set to when the camera was last turned off."
As noted by some of our forums members the Epson PhotoCenter is based on Photopoint's technology and servers. When Photopoint disappeared last week the Epson PhotoCenter (photo.epson.com) was still visible. However, this morning (UK time) the Epson PhotoCenter is closed with a message that reads "As you may know, Epson has been using a third-party vendor to power the site. (Phil: Photopoint) Now, in order to serve you even better and continue delivering the features you value, Epson will be bringing the site in-house"
Nikon Europe has posted an update to Nikon Capture to bring it up to v2.0.2. Nikon Capture is the application used by D1 / D1x / D1H users to manipulate, edit and convert their RAW and JPEG files. This new version brings Windows XP compatibility, bug fixes for users with dual processor machines and various fixes and changes which are platform dependent. Note you will need a prior version of Nikon Capture 2 installed to run this update. Available for Windows and Macintosh. NikonTech USA has not yet posted an update.
Fujifilm, updating their 'Big Job' ruggedized digital cameras has today announced the DS-270HD. The 'Big Job' line is aimed specifically at the construction industry with rubber coatings and waterproof seals. The new DS-270HD has a 28 mm (equiv.) F2.8 fixed focal length lens and a 2.4 megapixel SuperCCD sensor which outputs a 4.3 megapixel image. The DS-270HD also features a flash hotshoe and a movie clip mode.
Photopoint, the photo sharing and printing site has been down for well over 24 hours. The last time this happened (back in July) the company was in trouble and shortly afterwards was sold back to its original owner Pantellic Software Inc. Neither the Photopoint or Pantellic websites (or other servers) can be contacted. It's a mystery at the moment, lets hope it's a technical problem for the sake of Photopoint's users. UPDATE: The plot thickens...
Nikon has today announced that there is a small operational problem with the Coolpix 5000. "...under certain limited circumstances, when turning on your camera with the lens cap on, it is possible for the camera to get a system error and be rendered inoperable.... A firmware upgrade to correct this issue, which can be downloaded and installed easily on your camera, will be available by December 21. Please check back here for a direct link to the firmware download and instructions on how to install it."
Nikon has today posted Nikon View Coolpix 4.3.1 now with full support for Windows XP (as well as previous Windows versions). Version 4.3.1 can be used with the D1, D1x, D1H, Coolpix 5000, 995, 885, 775, 990 and 880. It also now only supports USB or IEEE1394 interfaces. Nikon View Coolpix 4.3.1 is available for Windows and Macintosh (although not yet OS X). This new version also supports uploading to NikonNet (photo sharing).
Nikon Japan has posted the second part in a series of nine articles would make ideal reading material for digital camera beginners and novices alike. The first article covers the fundementals of what to look for in a digital camera (maybe a little Nikon bias ;), how to read specifications, box contents, getting up and running and transferring images. The second article covers more manual features, off center focusing, metering, depth of field, flash and white balance. All in all excellent stuff for those just starting out...
It turns out that Nikon has also previously posted similar warnings about using Windows XP to rotate images and format CF cards. The exact same cautions apply, that if you use Windows Explorer to rotate images you will destroy the important EXIF data held in the JPEG image header, it turns out that even a simple 'properties' view of a file can destroy the EXIF data. Secondly if you use Explorer to format CF cards the default filesystem is FAT32 which digital cameras won't understand.
Canon BeBit (Japan) has just posted a set of warnings about the use of built-in Windows XP imaging features and potential problems associated with CF cards. The first part of the warning is about using XP's built-in image rotation feature, Canon note that doing so will destroy that all important EXIF information. The second part of the warning is about formatting CF cards, when formatting a drive under XP it sets the default filesystem to FAT32. Of course digital cameras only use and understand the FAT filesystem so you must remember to change the filesystem to 'FAT' before formatting you CF cards under Windows XP.
Just posted! Probably our biggest review to date, I've just posted our full in-depth review of a production Canon EOS-1D. This landmark digital SLR is the first professional D-SLR to be produced solely by Canon from the ground up. It's solid magnesium body and environmental seals hint at its destination in life, to be a sports and current affairs photo journalists dream. Capturing an amazing eight 4.5 megapixel frames every second is no mean feat, and to my eye Canon have pulled it off. But that doesn't mean the 1D got full marks under the Askey scrutiny.
Olympus US has today announced the 3D Scantop. While this may be a new product in the US, we saw it demonstrated by Olympus Europe at Photokina at the end of last year. 3D Scantop is designed to enable 'e-businesses' get 3D representations of their products onto the web. The 3D Scantop system consists of a digital camera, stand, motor driven turntable (with background), lights and software. More interestingly the Scanware system produces a volume / wireframe model and textures separately to produce a true 3D model rather than a set of frames. 3D Scantop is priced at US$4995.
Dave Etchells over at Imaging-Resource has now updated his Canon EOS-1D review with results from a full production camera. "Commercial photographers looking for high-resolution images for double-truck catalog or fashion spreads may want more, but they're more likely to buy a high-resolution studio camera anyway. Bottom line, I think Canon's going to be able to sell every EOS-1D they can produce. All in all, a great showing from Canon in the pro digital SLR market!" We will be posting our full in-depth review of a production EOS-1D this week.
Several items of Nikon Coolpix 5000 news to report. Firstly Imaging-Resource, Steves-Digicams and DCResource have all posted sample images from a production Coolpix 5000. Secondly our affiliate State Street Direct has confirmed that they will be receiving their first batch of Coolpix 5000's next Tuesday or Wednesday, good news if you've pre-ordered, if not you can do so and show your support for this site!
Creative Technology (Creative Labs in the US) has today announced the PC-CAM 600. This digital camera has 0.75 megapixel sensor (which is interpolated to 1.3 megapixels) a fixed focal length lens, 16 MB of internal RAM, a flash and can be used as both a digital still, webcam and video clip recorder (including audio). All this for just US$149.99.
Four megapixel discounts! Olympus has today knocked a huge US$100 off its D-40Z (C-40Z) and C-4040Z digital cameras. This brings both of these cameras down into 3 megapixel prosumer territory. Best of all our official retail affiliate State Street Direct have also immediately cut their prices, for example the D-40Z is now $649 (including a $50 rebate).
David Stone from Photographic Solutions has just emailed me to let me know that they have developed a new sensor swab called 'Swab-N' designed specifically for cleaning the Nikon D-SLRs the D1 / D1H and D1x. All D-SLRs suffer from an accumulation of dust and dirt on their sensor (although some cope better than others) and sometimes using a blower just isn't enough, that's where Photosol's specially designed Swabs and Eclipse cleaner come into their own.
I'm glad to report that we appear to be even more popular than ever. Last month showed one of our largest increases in page views. In November we served 36.7 million pages to 2.5 million visitors. This was no doubt thanks to our rather large mention in The Wall Street Journal and the improvements made to the overall performance and response of the site. Many thanks to all our visitors, keep coming back and keep recommending us! Advertisers take note, if you're not advertising on dpreview then you're missing the largest digital photography community on the Internet. UPDATE: 1,000,000 messages now in the forums!
Nikon Japan (Nikon Imaging) has today announced that the Nikon Coolpix 5000 'sale schedule date' is Thursday, December 13th (In Japan). The announcement goes on to confirm that several accessories should also be available on the same day: Wide angle converter WC-E68, Battery pack MB-E5000, Lens hood HN-E5000, Adapter rings UR-E5, E6 & E7, LCD Hood HL-E5000 and Soft case CS-E5000.
What's an album organizer, photo sharer, photo screen saver, photo finishing interface and basic image editor all in one? Ofoto's new and impressive OfotoNow 3.0 (Windows). In its third iteration OfotoNow has matured, has a clean and easy to understand interface and best of all works well. It can certainly give much of Windows XP's built-in digital photo functionality a run for its money, of course though you're tied to Ofoto for sharing and prints...
The NikonTech USA website that Nikon has announced its software updates to make NikonScan, NikonCapture, NikonView fully compatible with Windows XP. According to the NikonTech website these updates will now be available on December 20th. Several products won't be supported on a Serial interface under Windows XP.
And the news trickles in... Thanks to Michele Rossi for noting that iView MediaPro 1.3 for Macintosh now supports Canon RAW (CRW) files from the EOS-D30. iView MediaPro takes advantage of the 1440 x 960 pixel JPEG written into the CRW file to produce large thumbnails and the ability to preview the image up to 1440 x 960. It's also possible to view shooting and IPTC text information.
Konica (Japan) has today announced the DG-2 digital camera, aim squarely at the construction industry this rugged digital camera with its rubber case and oversized controls can be used almost anywhere. The DG-2 has a 2 megapixel CCD and a fixed focal length (38 mm) F2.8 lens. Additionally there's also a wide angle conversion lens. The DG-2 weighs in at 79,800 YEN (approx. $650) and should be available (in Japan) in March 2002.
Just a short note to the fifty or so people who've emailed me (and the dozen or so who have posted the same question on the forums) asking why I haven't done any updates in the last few days. Well, it's fairly simple. There has been no news. When there's nothing going on there's nothing to tell, and rather than post irrelevant 'filler' articles I'd rather keep our news accurate and to the point. There are often lulls in news like this at different times of the year.
Just posted! I've just put up our second review of the day. Another four megapixel digital camera, the Casio QV-4000 enters the market as direct competition to Canon's PowerShot G2 and Olympus's C-4040Z. The big difference? $200. The Casio brings us a fully featured four megapixel digital camera with a 3x Canon optical zoom lens, CF Type II support, full manual control and a vast number of features for just $700. But what about image quality?
Just posted! I've just posted our review of Olympus's ultra-compact four megapixel digital camera the C-40Z (Europe / Asia name) or D-40Z (US / Canada name). The C-40Z has a 2.8x optical zoom lens, 4 megapixel sensor, SmartMedia storage and takes two AA batteries for power. It's compact and designed to be 'taken anywhere', the sliding lens cover ensures that the camera and lens system is protected while powered off. See how the C-40Z compared in our tests.
Minolta has today announced a new accessory for the DiMAGE 5 / 7 digital cameras. The Minolta PC Flash Adapter PCT-100 enables the 5 or 7 to be attached directly professional studio and location flash systems. The small unit slots onto the DiMAGE 5 / 7 flash hotshoe, weighs in at just 30 g (1.1 oz) and the small internal CR2032 battery should last for 10,000+ releases.
The Japanese website 'Miscall' (who used to be associated with Dreamarts) has today posted sample images from a production EOS-1D. The gallery (labelled 'Vol 12') covers a variety of subject matter and lenses as well as a good shot of an ISO resolution chart (the results of which are impressive). As far as we know these are the first samples from a production EOS-1D. EXIF headers show this camera has a body number of '000002089'. We are hoping to receive a production EOS-1D within the next few days.
Kyocera Optics, Inc. (US) has today confirmed the Contax N Digital announcement we saw from Kyocera Japan yesterday. The US press release contains more information and more detailed specifications which now reveal that this six megapixel digital camera is capable of 3 frames per second for 5 images at JPEG 1/4, 8 images at JPEG 1/8, 13 images at JPEG 1/16 and 3 images in RAW or TIFF mode. The N Digital becomes the first digital SLR with a full frame six megapixel sensor. There's one thing the press release doesn't discuss - price, the Japanese press release said 800,000 YEN, my sources tell me that this camera is likely to cost more than that in Europe and the US.
Canon Germany has launched the first of (we hope) a range of virtual tours available on the PowerShot.de website. The new virtual tour is a Macromedia Flash development and can provide you with a tour of the camera, a 360 degree view, menu displays and technical specifications. Also included is a tour and information of the CP-10 direct-print card printer.
The Japanese digital camera website 'digitalcamera.gr.jp' run by Yamada Kumio has today broken the news of Contax's long awaited N Digital. This digital SLR is based on the N1 film SLR and is fitted with a full frame (36 x 24 mm) 6 megapixel (3040 x 2016) Philips CCD. The latest specifications now also include ISO sensitivity of 50 to 1600, 3 frames per second continuous shooting speed, N series lens mount, 2" 200,000 pixel LCD, Compact Flash Type I/II, JPEG / TIFF / RAW image format. Price (in Japan) is expected to be 800,000 YEN (US$ 6,550) and the camera is said to be available February 1st 2002. UPDATED: Official Contax Specifications.
In a Reuters news article this morning Sanyo has revealed that it will be starting production of digital cameras in China as early as next spring. Sanyo currently makes digital cameras in Japan, South Korea and Indonesia. Sanyo supplies its products to digital camera makers on an OEM basis and did not identify which firms products would be manufacturered in China.
In our regular catch-up with the other digital camera websites we note that new reviews are available of: Ricoh Caplio RR1, Fujifilm Finepix 2600, Kodak DX3500 / DX3600 / DX3700, Kodak DCS 760, Toshiba PDR-M71, Canon PowerShot S30 & S40, Canon EOS-1D, Olympus C-40Z / D-40Z, Olympus E-20, Pentax Optio 330 & 430, Nikon D1H, Fujifilm Finepix A101 & A201, Fujifilm Finepix 2600.
Mike Chaney, author of the image manipulation / RAW converison / print management application Qimage Pro has today announced his latest 'build'. Version four brings new printing options including 'Floating Text' - an ability to place text over prints or in blank areas and with shadows. Other features include a new gamma filter, support for Photoshop PSD format and the comparator lock. As always this latest build also fixes minor bugs found in earlier versions of Qimage Pro.
Lexar has today extended its new 16x professional Compact Flash card range to 640 MB. As of December 1st the full line up will be available in capacities of 192, 256, 320, 512 and 640MB. The new 640 MB card will have a suggested retail price of $900 ($1.41/MB). "Lexar Medias 640MB capacity cards enable photographers to store more images to a single card. Offered as the latest Professional Series product, the 16X speed 640MB cards are capable of a minimum sustained write speed of 2.4MB per second, reducing the time it takes for digital cameras to read and write high-resolution image files."
Kodak has today announced it is restructuring its business in an attempt to boost profits. Kodak will be creating three new groups: Photography (traditional and digital), Commercial Imaging (scanning, processing etc.) and Components (display and image sensor products). Kodak have not said if the new restructuring will involve further job cuts. "This is not about (job cuts),'' a Kodak spokesman said of the restructuring. "This is stepping aside from anything to do with job cuts. This is strictly about how Kodak does business. It is about making this organization simpler by eliminating layers of shared responsibility that now exist.''
Polaroid, yes the company that we all thought had already left the market, has today announce a new digital camera. But not only that, Polaroid make the bold statement that the PDC 1320 "Delivers 35mm Image Quality at an Affordable Price". I'm thinking that just a few digital imaging experts may argue that a 1.3 megapixel digital camera would struggle to do that. Indeed I can't remember a single digital camera manufacturer who has made that statement, let alone with a 1.3 megapixel $199 unit.
Nikon USA has today announce the availablility of online 'LiveManuals' tutorials for the Coolpix 775 and 995 digital cameras, with more such manuals to come. Each LiveManual is available from the cameras webpage on the Nikon USA website. "LiveManuals make learning to use a digital camera a hands-on experience -- it's like having an expert right there in your living room, walking you through everything you need to know about your camera. This is a great tool for consumers to learn about their new camera and for those who want to see a demonstration of a camera's features before they go out to make the purchase."
Comdex 2001: Epson has today announced new partners for its PRINT Image Matching system. This time around it's largely software developers and one digital camera manufacturer - JVC. "Epson is excited to be working with these companies to support new P.I.M.-enabled products, further strengthening our commitment to the customer to provide a simple and flexible way to get the best prints possible,'' said Lisa Graham, product manager, photo imaging, Epson.
Comdex 2001: Ricoh USA has today announced the 4 megapixel Caplio RR1. The Caplio (which is very similar in design to the RDC-5/7xx series) carries a unique 'flat' design with a fold-up LCD screen, 3x optical zoom lens and is supplied with a total of 72 MB of storage (8 MB internal, 64 MB flash). Reviews are available at Imaging-Resource and Steves Digicams.