According to a 'report from Japan' on the Popular Photography website Minolta will be introducing a digital SLR next year and that it's highly possible that an operational sample will be shown at PMA 2004. In addition to the report also reveals that Olympus will have two more digital SLR's next year as will Pentax and that other manufacturers are looking at putting vibration reduction technology in the camera rather than the lens (just like Minolta did with the DiMAGE A1). For lots more gossip from Japan why not read the article in full...
Many of you asked for it and thanks to Leica UK for supplying very high resolution images of the new five megapixel Digilux 2. This camera may well have a Panasonic heart but it's instantly recognisable as a Leica and features a very interesting F2.0 - F2.4 lens. The brand certainly carries a lot of weight and this camera appears to be one of the more interesting new releases of recent months.
has announced the X'S-Drive Pro VP300 6in1 Portable Storage Device. The
X'S-Drive Pro has a USB 2.0 compatible interface, LCD panel to indicate
detailed working status. Like the previous X'S-Drive II VP2060, the X'S-Drive
Pro VP300 allows the transfer of pictures and all the other files from
any memory card (Compactflash, IBM Microdrive, SmartMedia, Memory Stick,
Memory Stick Pro, Secure Digital, and MultiMediaCard, and xD picture cards
with any adapter) to its internal 2.5 inches hard drive. It displays on
its 2.5" LCD information such as the filename, transfer progress
and battery level. The RRP is for the X'S-Drive Pro 20GB are: $335 excl
VAT / 275 Euros excl VAT / £225 incl VAT.
UPDATE: Specification corrections
Olympus has today announced an expansion to their ZUIKO lens range with the wide-angle ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 lens (35mm camera equivalent: 22-44mm). Nearly telecentric optics ensure images have perfect colour, clarity and brightness from the centre to the periphery of the frame. The lenses' high resolving power makes sure the image sensor obtains the detail it needs to achieve its full potential. Furthermore, thanks to their splash-proof construction, the ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses are also protected from the elements. The new ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm, F2.8-3.5 is scheduled to go on sale in February 2004.
In a feature we haven't done for some time here's a round up of reviews on other sites around the web. Cameras in the spotlight this last month include the Olympus C-5060 Zoom, Minolta DiMAGE A1, Pentax Optio 555, HP Photosmart 945 and the Fujifilm Finepix A310 Zoom among others. Dave Etchells at Imaging-Resource had this to say about the Pentax Optio 555, "Battery life is a good bit longer than average too, so you can bring back more images from each outing. About the only negative point is its somewhat sluggish shutter response. All in all, an excellent choice for a compact digicam with a full set of features. (Chalk up another Dave's Pick for Pentax...)"
Pentax has today announced a new companion lens for the *ist D digital SLR camera. The compact, high-performance, interchangeable smc PENTAX-DA 16 mm - 45 mm F4 ED AL lens features a 3X zoom ratio with focal lengths covering ultra-wide to moderate-telephoto ranges for the angle of view equivalent to 24.5mm-69mm in the 35mm format. Pentax U.S.A. will preview the lens at the PEPCOM Digital Focus media event on January 7 in Las Vegas during the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show. UPDATE: Samples from an *ist D with this new lens posted on the Pentax Japan website.
Our friends over at Lets Go Digital and DCViews have news about another Minox digital camera, the DC 5211. The new MINOX DC 5211 has a CCD image sensor with 5.25 megapixels as well as a fast high-performance MINOCTAR lens with multiple coating. The 3x zoom lens boasts an autofocus feature and gives the photographer freedom for creative picture composition.
Minox has today announced the DD1 Diamond. It looks exactly the same as the standard DD1, announced earlier this year, except with the addition of 8 synthetic diamonds around its edge. This is more fashion accessory than camera, so I won't bother you with the specifications. The Minox DD1 Diamond will be available from all good stockists from December 2003.
Microsoft will soon be charging manufacturers of flash memory card devices and those which use them $0.25 per unit or up to $250,000 to use the FAT filesystem. For those who are unaware the FAT file system was developed by Microsoft back in 1976 and has become the standard file system for all digital still cameras. Microsoft owns patents to the FAT File System but for many years hasn't even hinted that it may one day decide to charge for it. These new licenses appear to come into effect immediately and specifically make mention of 'compact flash memory cards' and 'portable digital still cameras'. What a great way for Microsoft to cash in on the most popular consumer products (as if they don't make enough money already).
Digital Domain has released of the 2004 edition of Qimage, the digital photo batch printing/processing software for Windows that optimizes print quality while simplifying the printing process. Qimage is based largely on user feedback and suggestions and the 2004 edition includes features such as a new print cropping tool, a new easier to use batch filter window, improved thumbnail resolution, faster processing of thumbnails and screen redraws, print size "suggestor" that automatically highlights the most compatible print size(s) for selected images, new quick access keys, sound to indicate completion of processing, some user interface improvements, and much more. Qimage 2004 is available immediately for $44.95.
Idruna Software has announced the launch of Pocket Phojo 2.5, a major update to the Pocket PC solution specifically designed to allow photojournalists to get photos back to base as rapidly and conveniently as possible. Major enhancements include an all new image processing engine, lower memory usage, extra features for Nikon D2H users, support for images from the Canon 1DS, Kodak 14N and the Kodak DCS 520. Pocket Phojo 2.5 is a free upgrade for existing customers or new customers can purchase for the software for $489 ($389 for freelancers until Jan 1st), or a preconfigured HP iPAQ Pocket PC from $897.
Nikon today announced that it is "working on" a new budget priced digital SLR, the D70 and a new complementary DX lens. From the hints given in the 'development press releases' it's fairly easy to come to the conclusion that this camera will be fully announced at PMA 2004 and should hit the stores shortly afterwards. Considering its "budget price" and considering the current competition I will make a wild guess that the D70 will be based around the D100 engine with the same six megapixel sensor. Styling hints however do appear to be taken from the D2H. Body only price of the D70 is expected to be $999 (in the US) or € 1,100 (in Europe).
Leica today announced the Digilux 2, a five megapixel compact digital camera with a 3.2x optical zoom lens. Leica are promoting this camera as the "analog" digital camera, in essence this is driven by the camera's design and control layout which is almost identical to a standard manual film camera (such as aperture ring, shutter speed dial etc.) The lens is also pretty special, a 28 - 90 mm equiv. with a maximum aperture of F2.0 at wide angle and F2.4 at telephoto. The Digilux 2 has a magnesium body, a trans-reflective 2.5" LCD monitor, Electronic viewfinder, stores images on SD card and is powered by a 1400 mAh Lithium-Ion battery.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Olympus's first lens interchangeable digital SLR, the new E-1. The E-1 marks the first digital SLR of the Olympus 'E system' and is also the first digital SLR compatible with the 4/3 imaging standard and helps to launch a whole new lens mount and sensor size. The E-1 has a five megapixel Kodak CCD sensor, a full magnesium alloy body and is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery. See how the E-1 performed in our tests and my opinion of it. UPDATED 30/Nov - Added RAW conversion comparison with Adobe Photoshop CS.
Konica Minolta Europe has recently posted a firmware update for the DiMAGE A1. This firmware upgrade, version 101e, resolves a problem when using DiMAGE Capture, the camera stops while interval recording, and when using a 2GB or larger storage media, the camera cannot record movies. As usual please read carefully the firmware installation information before installing the DiMAGE A1 firmware!
Quiksilver, the clothing and accessories brand, has launched a limited edition version of Sonys' Cyber-shot(R) DSC-U60 digital camera. The 150 limited-edition, Quiksilver-designed pieces feature original artwork on the camera, and are packaged in a specially designed custom box. "Quiksilver's lifestyle brand captures the imagination of consumers around the globe and it is exciting to bring these action sports enthusiasts to Sony's Cybershot product," said Matt Jacobson, Vice President of Quiksilver Entertainment. The camera will be available for purchase at Quiksilver Boardrider's Clubs in New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County, Honolulu and Maui at a suggested retail price of $300.
Fujifilm today announce the FinePix F610, the first compact digital camera with a six million pixel sensor. The F610 replaces the F601 Zoom and has the same upright orientation, it appears to use the same SuperCCD HR sensor used in the S7000 Zoom which has 6 million effective pixels with a maximum output image size of 12 million pixels. The F610 also has a unique 'dual screen' on the rear of the camera, at the top a normal 1.8" LCD monitor, just below this a monochrome screen displaying camera settings and menu options (a bit like the S2 Pro). The F610 also continues Fujifilm's tradition for excellent video recording performance, it allows you to record VGA (640 x 480) video clips at 30 frames per second (still no MPEG-4 though).
Nikon has today issued a warning to their customers about the use of imitation Nikon Li-Ion batteries for their digital cameras. The products are branded as Nikon products but are not genuine Nikon products and therefore are counterfeit. Some of the imitation batteries are not equipped with a safety feature required for rechargeable batteries.
Archos has today announced the AVCam 300, a digital still camera and camcorder attachment for their AV300 series portable audio and video players. The AVCam has a 3.3 megapixel CCD, plus a 3x Ricoh optical zoom. The AVCam can store up to 40,000 3.3-megapixel photos and record up to 80 hours of MPEG-4 video when used with the AV380. The AVCam is available on November 27th for $199.95.
Kyocera Japan has announced the new Finecam S3R. This is a 3 megapixel version of the S5R launched in August. As with the S5R it contains the image processor dubbed 'RTUNE' which allows the S3R to shoot at 3 frames per second until the SD card is full. This does however require a high speed SD card capable of 10 MB/sec or more. The S3R comes in 3 colours, silver, red and blue and will be available in December.
Phase One has announced that its excellent Capture One Pro workflow and RAW conversion software is now available for Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther). The new version of C1 Pro supports the full range of Canon Digital SLR's including the EOS-1Ds, 1D, 10D, D30, D60 and 300D (Digital Rebel). A fully functional 30 day trial of C1 Pro is available for download.
According to a study by the research group InfoTrends worldwide digital camera sales should reach nearly 53 million units sold in 2004. In addition to this digital camera sales are expected to continue to grow and a compound rate of 15% over the following four years reaching an incredible 82 million units sold in 2008. According to InfoTrends the market leaders in 2003 are expected to be Canon, Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm and Kodak with a combined market share of three quarters (75%).
Site contributor Vincent Bockaert has today announced the latest version of his excellent 'The 123 of digital imaging Interactive e-book'. The new e-book appears to be far more than a simple upgrade, the e-book now covers even more software including Adobe Photoshop CS and Photoshop Album 2.0 (as well as keeping content for Photoshop 7 and Album 1.0). The layout and control of the e-book has also been improved as a result of user feedback. Building on the previous version this e-book is probably the most comprehensive guide you'll ever need for the most in-depth knowledge of digital imaging and digital photography. Available as a download or packaged CD-ROM.
Sigma has today announced a new version of its 17-35 mm F2.8-F4.0. The new version of this popular lens now utilizes a new type of Hyper Sonic Motor which provides full-time manual focus from the focusing ring. "We, Sigma Corporation, are the pioneer of the wide angle zoom. In 1979, we introduced the first wide angle zoom lens, "Zoom Gamma 21-35 F3.5-4". Since then, we've been leading the development of the wide angle zoom lenses. (1994/ 18-35mm F3.5-4.5, 1999/ 17-35mm F2.8-4, 2001/ 15-30mm F3.5-4.5 2003/ 12-24mm F4.5-5.6) We hope the customers can enjoy the improved performance."
Rob Galbraith has today posted a set of test images and commentary based on a production Nikon D2H. Rob has tested the camera in a wide variety of situations and especially concentrated on the D2H's 'home ground', sports photography. There are comparisons to the D1H and D1X as well as Canon's sport shooter, the EOS-1D. Rob appears to be happy with the D2H's performance at this point, noting better detail and color than previous cameras, he also comments that "Production cameras are less noisy than preproduction cameras Okay, at least the ones we've been given an opportunity to shoot with; the experience of some other early testers we compared notes with suggests that this wasn't universal."
BenQ Europe have today announced the C50 digital camera. The C50 features a 5.0 megapixel CCD, 3X optical zoom and PASM mode (Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority, Manual), offering advanced features and options for aspiring photographers. "With the C50, we've developed a feature-packed product that is both portable and fun," expressed William Wang, BenQ Vice President and General Manager of Imaging Network Business Group.
Aska Corporation, the people who brought us the superb CF32A Compact Flash CardBus adapter (AKA. the Delkin CardBus CF adapter) have today announced high speed CardBus adapters for Memory Stick (including Memory Stick Pro and Memory Stick Duo) - the MS32A and Secure Digital - the SD32A. These new adapters should provide the highest possible throughput from Memory Stick or Secure Digital cards for your Notebook or Laptop computer. Aska claim read throughputs of almost 4,500 KB/sec for the the Memory Stick adapter and 3,000 KB/sec for the Secure Digital adapter. As per their previous adapter these will initiially only be available in Japan but we wouldn't be surprised to see Delkin snap these up and offer them as a Delkin badged product.
Sigma Japan has today made Photo Pro 2.0 available for download (for both Windows and Macintosh). This will be great news for owners of the Sigma SD9 digital SLR as Photo Pro 2.0 can be used with RAW (.X3F) files from this camera as well as the new Sigma SD10 digital SLR. Our experience of Photo Pro 2.0 was very positive, image processing is improved, especially the handling of clipped color near highlights. In addition Photo Pro 2.0 has new features including the storage of processing parameters on a per image basis as well as the new X3 Fill Light.
An article floating around several news sites including Pacific Business News is that Nikon are about to stop producion of their 35mm compact camera range and go all digital. The Tokyo-based Nihon Keizai Shimbun broke the story from company sources in its Thursday editions. Though the company said no decision has been made yet, the newspaper said production is being halted and shipments to stores will stop in a few months. UPDATE: Nikon Japan has posted a press release in English denying this rumour.
Wacom (the company behind the excellent Graphire, Intuos and Cintiq tablets) are currently running a photography contest named 'Go Pro'. The grand prize is a 40 GB Apple iPod and US$ 1,000 as payment for the commercial rights to the winning photo which will be included in the PhotoSpin professional stock photo collection. Entry is easy, simply upload your favourite image (must be 500 KB or less JPEG). The winning photograph will be chosen by a panel of professional photographers simply choose the photo that is the most compelling in all respects. Note that this contest is only open to residents of the US and Canada.
Nikon has today announced that one of the Nikkor lenses which was announced at the same time as the D2H, the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G, has been delayed until the spring of 2004. The AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G is a sophisticated 3.2 zoom ratio lens with fast f/2.8 aperture featuring a unique optical design tailored to the demands of high performance digital photography with all of Nikons DX format Digital SLR cameras, namely the Nikon D1X, D1H, D1, D100 and D2H. Nikon apologize for any inconvenience caused to customers.
There is a story today on Slashdot, the geek news site, that the Ritz single-use digital camera has been hacked. The $10.99 two megapixel (CMOS) fixed focal length camera with no LCD was announced in July and carries the 'Dakota Digital' name but is made by 'Pure Digital Technologies' of San Francisco. Software has been wirtten which allows the pictures to be downloaded to a computer using USB and printed without consent from Ritz. We said back in July that we didn't think this was a good thing for consumers and now its not good news for Ritz.
An interesting article on DigiTimes.com has said that Nikon may be planning to outsource production of its low-end digital still cameras to Taiwan. A source at Taiwanese DSC maker Primax Electronics acknowledged that Nikon is looking for OEM suppliers in Taiwan but could not identify how many firms have been contacted by the Japanese firm. If finalized, it would take about nine to 12 months for Taiwans makers to begin delivering DSCs to Nikon, the source said.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Minolta's DiMAGE A1 digital camera. The A1 is the sucessor to the popular DiMAGE 7 series, it is Minolta's new flagship prosumer digital camera and carries one of the widest range of features of any digital camera on the market. The DiMAGE A1's vital specs are a wide angle seven times optical zoom lens, a five megapixel CCD sensor, Anti-Shake image stabilization, a metal body, tilting LCD monitor, tilting EVF, Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery, a wide range of manual controls and an almost endless selection of customizable settings. See how the new DiMAGE A1 performed in our tests.
Alera Technologies has today announced the Digital Photo Copy Cruiser which enables the copying of digital photos directly from camera memory cards to CD without a computer. Photos from memory cards can be added to the CD in multi-session format so the full capacity of the CD can be used, it can also be used as a USB 2.0 36x CD recorder when connected to a computer. The Digital Photo Copy Cruiser supports the following Digital Memory Card formats: CF Type I and II, SD, MMC, SM, MS, MS Pro, and Micro Drive. The Digital Photo Copy Cruiser has an Estimated Street Price (ESP) of $229.
SimpleTech has today announced SD (Secure Digital) versions of its ProX(TM) line of high performance cards. They are available in 256MB and 512MB formats and are available for immediate delivery. "ProX SD cards provide ultra-fast data connectivity for nearly every device using SD cards on the market," said Ken Roberts, director of product marketing for SimpleTech. Manufacturer's suggested retail prices are $159 for 256MB and $299 for 512MB.
Photo Marketing Association International (PMA) has announced the launch of an industry-wide consumer and retailer education initiative designed to promote digital printing to consumers through an Internet Web site due to launch late November 2003 as well as national public relations, advertising and mass media outlets. One component of this initiative includes a Qualified Digital Processing Center program to ensure that consumers know where to go to get their prints made and retailers are prepared to handle the consumer demand for printing of their digital files.
Following the success of its popular Q1 film camera, Fujifilm has today announced an addition to the family: the Q1 Digital. This curvy, silver, compact digital camera is perfect for beginners, or for those looking for a second camera to keep in their pocket or bag at all times. Easy to operate, and very light in weight at just 108g, the Q1 Digital makes the ideal gift for anyone taking their first steps in photography ? adults and children included!. The Q1 Digital will be available in November 2003 at an expected approximate street price of £100 inc VAT.
Kodak has recently posted a firmware update for the DCS 14n. This firmware upgrade, version 4.4.3, resolves a fixed focal length being reported when using some zoom lenses, adjusted automatic lens type selection for some lenses, a minor issue with selecting Job Tracker files from memory, an SD/MMC card formatting issue and changed in camera Digital Exposure Correction range limit on JPEG images to +/ 1EV. New features also include a longer exposure feature, camera mirror Prerelease feature, Wedding and Event "Looks" and Korean language support.
SmartDisk has today introduced 40GB and 80GB models of its FlashTrax(TM) handheld portable multimedia device for offloading and storing digital images and music. FlashTrax stores images transferred from any flash memory card onto the built-in USB2.0 hard drive and displays them on a 3.5" LCD screen. "The Professional Photographers Association has just recognized FlashTrax as one of the hottest new imaging products of 2003," says Charles Klinker, Vice President-Marketing for SmartDisk.
We've just received our review Sigma SD10 (after a little mix-up with the courier) and I'm happy to report that resolution is identical to the SD9. I decided to test this immediately after we read reports elsewhere that resolution was significantly lower because of the use of microlenses. In our own shots of a standard ISO resolution chart we can measure absolutely no difference in resolution between the SD9 and SD10 using the same lens at (almost) the same aperture.
Kodak has introduced the new DIGITAL SHO Professional Plug-In, which optimizes contrast and exposure to reveal hidden details in highlight and shadow areas of digital images. It was developed and launched by KODAKs Austin Development Center, formerly Applied Science Fiction, which is a leader in automatic image correction and photo restoration applications. A free trial version is available for download now. This fully functional trial version applies digital watermarks to images. To disable the watermark, users may purchase a software key via a secure, e-commerce site for $99.95.
SanDisk has announced it has signed an agreement with Fuji Photo Film that covers the xD-Picture Card format. SanDisk will manufacture Fujifilm-branded xD-Picture Cards for Fujifilm and supply these xD-Picture Cards to Fujifilm for distribution through Fujifilms global retail distribution channels. SanDisk will also sell xD-Picture Cards under the Fujifilm brand through SanDisks global retail distribution channels. SanDisk will begin shipments of Fujifilm xD-Picture Cards in the current quarter.
Lexar has today announced two new addtions to its card reader range. These are high speed CompactFlash devices utilising USB 2.0 and Firewire for connectivety. Serious digital photographers find speed very important, which is why Lexar Media strives to provide the fastest speeds available in its digital media and readers, said Dave Klenske, Lexar Media, director of product marketing. The FireWire (IEEE 1394a) and USB 2.0 readers are immediately available with estimated retail prices of $49.99 and $24.99, respectively. Lexar has also today introduced Image Rescue 2.0, an enhanced version of its popular image recovery software. Image Rescue 2.0 is bundled free of charge on all of Lexar Medias Professional Series CompactFlash and will also be available as a stand-alone product at retail locations nationwide this November for $39.95.
Canon today posted firmware 2.0.0 for the EOS 10D. This firmware update primarily adds PictBridge support but it also makes three improvements / fixes: 1. Improves release lag when using Microdrive's, 2. Corrects AE Lock operation when using custom function 4 settings, 3. Fixes Exposure compensation display errors when using the ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter. Update is very easy, simply drop the firmware update file onto a Compact Flash card, insert it into the camera, power on and select 'OK'.
Software: ACD Systems has released FotoCanvas 3.0, the latest version of its photo editing software program. ACD FotoCanvas is an affordable and easy-to-use program with all of the essential tools needed to enable users to make edits to their digital photos and create simple web graphics. New workflow enhancement features in ACD FotoCanvas 3.0 include the Dodge and Burn tool, the ability to add Bubble Talk to images, an easy step-by-step Photo Correction Wizard and a Professional Color Management system. ACD FotoCanvas 3.0 in English is available for $39.99 (USD) or as part of ACDSee 6.0 PowerPack for $79.99 (USD).
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Pentax's first digital SLR, the *ist D. The *ist D is based around the design of the *ist film SLR, it features a six megapixel APS size CCD sensor and a Pentax lens mount. The *ist D is the smallest and lightest lens interchangeable digital SLR and is packed with manual controls and advanced features. On paper the *ist D appears impressive, see how it performed in our tests and how it compared to the Canon EOS 10D and Nikon D100.
Nikon today announced the new ultra-compact aluminium bodied Coolpix 3700. The Coolpix 3700 has a three megapixel sensor and three times optical zoom, it's also the first Coolpix to use Secure Digital for storage and is powered by a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. Nikon are clearly going for style and design with this camera, without being too 'way out'. One unique feature of the 3700 is 'sound release' which allows you to put the camera in a sort of self-timer mode and trigger the shutter release with a loud sound (such as a clap).
Sigma today announced the new SD10 digital SLR. The SD10 is a successor to the SD9, originally announced in February last year. The SD10 has an updated 10M X3 sensor from Foveon, the new sensor promises improved dynamic range, color response and sensitivity (thanks to the addition of microlenses). The primary differences between the SD9 and the SD10 are extended ISO sensitivity (up to 1600 in extended mode), longer exposures, a single battery power supply, 1/3 EV steps, wireless TTL flash support and image processing enhancements provided by Sigma Photo Pro 2.0. We have a brief preview and samples from a pre-production SD10. UPDATE: Imaging-Resource post full review.