Canon USA has today posted the first version of their standalone RAW conversion software the 'File Viewer Utility' for Mac OS X (10.1 and 10.2). File Viewer Utility has been available for some time for the Windows platform but has only just been made available for Mac OS X users. "The File Viewer Utility v1.1.1 for Mac OS X allows you to process RAW images into 16-bit TIFF files, 8-bit TIFF files or JPEGs. In addition, the File Viewer Utility can be used for a broad range of RAW file adjustments, including image processing parameters (digital exposure compensation, white balance and color matrix settings, custom tone curves, subject pattern sharpness and edge enhancement), as well as detailed IPTC captioning and even the application of up to 26 different Personal Functions to the EOS-1D and EOS-1Ds. EOS D30 and EOS D60 are also supported."
Sony US has contacted us with an official statement on the CNET story posted yesterday. It reads: "The information presented on CNET's News.com regarding new Memory Stick Pro media has several inaccuracies, which seem based on rumors and conjecture. We urge you and your readers to wait for the official Sony press release." This obviously confirms that there was something to the CNET story but that the entire truth isn't yet available. We know from several sources that there'll be some news at CES next month so my suggestion is that everyone enjoy the Christmas holidays, take lots of digital photos and look forward to new products in 2003.
CNET's News.Com is currently running an article in which they hint that a new Memory Stick standard called 'Memory Stick Pro' will be announced at CES next month. This new standard is supposed to be based on a totally new architecture which will not only increase capacity (256 MB, 512 MB and 1 GB) but also improve performance (write speed). Sony are at this stage not commenting although it's expected that the new Memory Stick Pro cards will not work in existing Sony digital cameras, this could indeed be bad news for current owners. This news seems to be confirmed by the fact that Sony has removed the Memory Stick roadmap from the memorystick.org page, replaced with the notice "Sorry, Road map is now updating..."
Olympus Japan has today posted a very short note that the 256 MB xD-Picture Card will not be available for purchase in December 2002 as previously announced and that instead it should be available at the end of January 2003. No doubt it's important for the xD-Picture Card to match the capacities now available for SD and CF and also breaking through the 128 MB barrier will also help users to realise the advantage over SmartMedia. Now all we need is for Sony to finally announced their 256 MB Memory Stick, promised oh-so-long-ago.
0700 CET: Nikon has today announced the first in a range of new 'Nikkor DX' lenses. These lenses have a reduce Image Circle which means that the lens can be made smaller and lighter but still maintain a full image for the smaller D-SLR sensor (23.7 x 15.6 mm; a 1.5x FOV crop factor). The new lens is a 12 - 24 mm zoom with a constant maximum aperture of F4.0, the lens is also a 'G' type which means aperture can only be selected electronically and it uses a SWM (silent wave motor).
Kodak Professional has posted a Q&A page on the DCS-14n. On this page they explain that they will not be shipping the DCS-14n in December as originally planned, instead the camera will be released 'mid January 2003'. The reason behind this delay is described as "...the initial user experience is critical to its success. Furthermore, we know that professional photographers rely on only the highest image quality to showcase their creativity and achieve their business goals. This brief, one-month extension will help Kodak ensure optimal customer satisfaction and "out of box" product performance for our valued customers. "
Exclusive: Today we received test samples of the largest capacity Compact Flash cards currently available. Pretec recently announced 1.5, 2.0 and 3.0 GB Type II CF cards, we have the 1.5 and 3.0 GB for testing. The 1.5 GB can be used in almost any digital camera that supports CF Type II, the 3.0 GB requires a digital camera which supports FAT32 (in our case we tested it with Canon's EOS-1Ds). Performance was up there with some of our faster cards and the 3 GB card appeared to work without any problems on Canon's latest D-SLR. UPDATE: Also works with Kodak Pro Back, Kodak DCS 14n, Canon PowerShot G2 and PowerShot G3.
Fuji Photo Film (UK) Ltd today announced that a small number of FinePix S2 Pro digital cameras recently sold in the UK may be subject to a possible power supply 'lock-up' that could render the camera inoperable. The number of affected products sold to UK customers is estimated to be roughly 20 (twenty).
Canon announced the new PowerShot G3 at Photokina this year, it builds on the PowerShot 'G' platform by increasing the optical zoom to four times, adding a built-in ND filter, a new control dial, power dial, orientation sensor, one-button RAW creation and more. The G2 was one of the most popular digital cameras here on dpreview, you'll have to dive into our review to discover if we think the G3 is capable of taking that crown.
Pentax Japan has posted updated firmware, version 1.11, for their Optio 330GS, we're currently unsure as to whether this can be loaded onto European or US cameras. It is of interest because it appears to provide direct printing over USB, and Pentax were not part of the Direct Print Standard announced at the weekend.
UPDATE: Today, 3rd December Canon USA has added the PowerShot S45 to PowerShot.com, further confirming that this model is now official in the USA. This comes after our first news article that Amazon.Com were listing the S45 and that our own affiliate, State Street Direct had been shipping S45's for around a week. Anyone interested in this camera shouldn't miss our review (as it's the only one available at the moment). Press release inside.
Ricoh Japan has announced a new waterproof digital camera, the Caplio 300G. This new model has a 3.34 megapixel CCD (2048 x 1536 max image size) and a three times optical zoom (35-105mm equiv.) F2.6-4.7 lens. The 300G is is not only waterproof but also dustproof, and impact resistant and so should appeal to sporty types. The camera isn't submersable but does carry a JIS grade of 7 which means it's rain / splash proof but not suitable for use underwater.
0900 2/Dec TOKYO: Six leading digital imaging companies have today announced a new direct printing standard for the connection of digital cameras and photo printers. With DPS you will be able to connect a compatible digital camera directly to a compatible photo printer (initially via PTP USB) and initiate prints directly from the camera - no need for a PC. This new standard was initially developed by Canon, HP, Epson and Sony. Fujifilm and Olympus joined discussions later and a collective specification has been finalized.
Phase One has today confirmed its Capture One DSLR software and also now made available a 30 day trial version for download. We evaluated Capture One DSLR a couple of weeks ago and were impressed with the results, I'll be examining it in more detail in my EOS-1Ds review. "Phase One's CEO, Henrik Håkonsson remarks: The Capture One DSLR software is a RAW converter providing the professional photographer with improved productivity and image quality. Today most DSLR cameras are controlled by software that allows you to carry out image adjustments in a rather complex way. From now on Canon DSLR camera users take advantage of workflow-oriented software enabling the creation of print-ready images with amazing quality in just a few simple steps."
Nikon Europe has posted Nikon Capture 3.5 as an upgrade which can be downloaded and used by owners of Nikon Capture 3.0 on Windows or Macintosh operating systems. This new version adds several new features including D100 capture control with Mac OS X and PTP compatibility, support for Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), 10 megapixel output mode for D1X NEF files, Large thumbnail (1600 x 1063) output option, improved noise reduction and interestingly Automatic Vignette Control which can automatically counteract the effects of fall of at lens edges experienced with certain lenses at maximum aperture. The new Auto Vignette Control feature requires the new firmware upgrades announced today (because of the additional lens information required).
Phew! A review that took quite a bit longer than I had expected. The Sigma SD9 is the first digital SLR to utilize Foveon's revolutionary X3 sensor. The X3 sensor is the first image sensor capable of capturing full color (RGB) at each pixel location. The SD9 is based around Sigma's SA9 film SLR and has all of the normal SLR functionality you would expect, the SD9 takes Sigma SA mount lenses, writes images in RAW (.X3F) format onto Compact Flash Type I or II cards. See how the SD9 did in our tests and comparisons.
DPReview and ColorVision have come together to offer our visitors a very special offer. Under a special promotion we are able to offer a 20% discount on the excellent ColorVision Monitor Spyder with PhotoCal or OptiCal software. This new Spyder can now be used on both CRT and LCD displays (Laptop or Desktop) and will ensure that your display is accurately calibrated and profiled so that you get optimum colour. There's nothing worse in the digital darkroom than a badly setup monitor, the Spyder with PhotoCal or Optical will ensure you get the most accurate colour from your display. (This article is a friendly reminder that this promotion ends September 30)
In a unique partnering agreement with DPReview and ColorVision we are able to offer DPReview visitors preferred pricing on the award winning ColorVision Monitor Spyder with PhotoCal or OptiCal software. The Spyder can be used on both CRT and LCD displays (Laptop or Desktop) and will ensure that your display is accurately calibrated and profiled so that you get optimum colour. Is there anything worse, in the digital darkroom, than a badly setup monitor? The Spyder with PhotoCal or Optical will ensure you get the most accurate colour from your display.
Canon has today posted firmware version 1.0.4 for the EOS-D60 digital SLR. This firmware fixes two bugs outstanding from version 1.0.2, these are: Thumbnails of RAW images appearing black (main image is ok), RAW data not written to CF card (sometimes the camera 'pauses' writing and doesn't release until shutter is half-pressed). This firmware can be loaded onto cameras with firmware versions 1.0.0, 1.0.1 and 1.0.2. This firmware can be loaded via Compact Flash card.
Thanks to Danny Brenner for noting a new 'USB-CF' Compact Flash card from a Chinese manufacturer called 'Netac'. Their card works in the same way as any other 128 MB Compact Flash card but additionally has a Mini-USB port on the rear left corner for direct connection to a PC / Mac. We have seen something similar to this in the past with Lexar's JumpShot cable, however it's interesting to see the solution implemented with an industry standard Mini-USB port.
The MultiMediaCard Association (MMCA) has approved a new RS-MMC (Reduced Size MultiMediaCard) standard. This new flash storage format has the same width but almost half the length of existing MMC cards, RS-MMC cards will be 24 x 18 x 1.4 mm. Hitachi are the first manufacturer to announced RS-MMC cards up to 64 MB in capacity. It's clear that this new reduced size format is aimed primarily at the mobile phone / PDA market but I'm sure it would also offer digital camera manufacturers the opportunity to build even smaller digital cameras.
COMDEX 2002: Pretec Electronics Corp. has announced three new high capacity Compact Flash cards. Previously their largest capacity had been 640 MB, these new cards widen their range considerably. The 1.5 GB and 3.0 GB are CF Type II, the 2.0 GB is CF Type I. These new cards are all larger than anything else on the market, the 3.0 GB card will no doubt be of special interest to digital SLR photographers whose cameras continue to create larger and larger files as the manufacturers increase resolution year on year.
Nikon US has today announced an additional $50 saving on the four megapixel Coolpix 4500, this in addition to the $50 mail-in rebate already available (valid until 31st December). This should bring the effective list price of the Coolpix 4500 down to an attractive $599. We reviewed the Coolpix 4500 back in August and were very impressed with this evolution on the unique Nikon split-body design.
Electronica 2002: Sandisk has today introduced a line of compact storage designed to be rugged, highly durable and long lasting. "The ability to withstand a tremendous level of G-forces, wide temperature ranges as well as shock and vibration is an important requirement for the military, which is using the SanDisk Industrial Grade CompactFlash cards in a number of applications including hand held computers, field radios and jet fighter planes. The Industrial Grade cards are reinforced with RTV silicon for protection against shock, vibration and up to 3000-G operating shock."
Fujifilm has today announced the updated FinePix S602 Pro Zoom. The "Pro" notation adds a PC Sync flash socket, Manual (threaded) cable release socket, All-black finish, 4 NiMH AA batteries and fast charger and a bundled 340 MB IBM Microdrive. This new version of the S602 improves the camera's chances against the competition, notably the also-updated Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi. All other S602 specifications stand, the same 3.1 million pixel SuperCCD which produces 6 million final image pixels.
Epson has today announced the availability of a PRINT Image Matching II plug-in for Adobe Photoshop 6.0, 7.0 and Elements 1.0, 2.0 for Windows and Macintosh. The plug-in is designed to allow you to import PIM II or ExifPrint (EXIF 2.2) JPEG's and print them accurately on a PIM II (Epson) printer. "The availability of the P.I.M. II plug-in furthers Epson's pursuit to provide the ultimate photo printing solutions for consumers looking to print the best prints possible from their photo printer."
Minolta US has today announced an underwater ("Marine") case for the DiMAGE X or DiMAGE Xi digital camera. We actually covered this new accessory when it was announced by Minolta Japan back in May and also in our Photokina 2002 show report, today Minolta made it official and announced a list price of $249. "This new durable housing allows users involved in virtually any outdoor activity to bring their DiMAGE X or DiMAGE Xi camera with them anywhere they go to document their day-to-day activities or special adventures," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing.
Dave Etchells over at Imaging Resource has today posted his review of Sigma's SD9 digital SLR which is the first digital camera to use the revolutionary Foveon X3 sensor. "The Foveon technology is impressive but not perfect, and I fully expect a holy war to erupt on the 'net over the issues of color purity and image noise with the SD9. Supporters will point to the SD9's excellent capabilities, good resolution, and affordable price, while detractors will call attention to its substantially higher than average image noise in the red portion of the spectrum and maximum shutter time limitation. Mixed into the fray will be arguments over subtle aspects of the "look" of images derived from a sensor with full-color pixels." The SD9 is currently second in our queue of cameras to review (out of six here awaiting review). UPDATE: Some comparison shots posted.
Just posted! Our exclusive review of Canon's new PowerShot S45, the update to their successful S40. The updated S45 is Canon's response to new entrants to the four megapixel subcompact market, it expands the S40's feature set and introduces several new capabilities which are based around the new DiGiC processor which is at the heart of the camera. Although not yet officially announced in the US the S45 has been launched elsewhere in the world and I'm sure it won't be long before we'll see it hitting US shores.
Toshiba Japan has today announced the new 'Sora' PDR-T15 digital camera. This ultra-compact ultra-slim digital camera has a two megapixel sensor and fixed focal length lens. The T15 also has a removable facia and so cashing in on the mobile phone craze for customizing the look there are a wide variety of clip-on facia's available, probably just for the Japanese market.
During Photokina Phase One announced that they would be producing a version of their sophisticated Capture One software for DSLR's. Named 'Capture One DSLR' this new application provides workflow management, RAW conversion and sophisticated image manipulation initially for Canon RAW files (including the EOS-1Ds). In the future this package will also support Nikon, Fujifilm and Kodak D-SLR's. We have an exclusive preview of a beta version of this new application, a more detailed look will be included in our EOS-1Ds review.
Environmental activist Ken Adelman with his Nikon D1X, Robinson R-44 Helicopter and an Apple PowerBook is taking thousands of photographs of the California coastline. His images are being used to identify illegal seawalls and for other environmental uses. So far he's taken 7,000 images, and expects this to rise to 10,000 when he's completed the entire coastline. All of the images are available on his website californiacoastline.org. "The camera is linked with a cable to the helicopter's global positioning system, and to an Apple Power Book laptop. Every three seconds, he snaps a picture, and the exact longitude, latitude and altitude are recorded."
Sony has posted a short note that some 'initial production' DSC-F717's will produce images which are out of focus when used with the Hologram AF (Laser light illumination) at certain focal lengths and certain light conditions. "Although these circumstances are limited, Sony will offer a parameter adjustment to the Hologram AF system for end users in accordance with its limited warranty, through Sony Service Centers and Sony's Authorized Service Centers." A list of serial numbers can be found within. UPDATE 31/Oct: Sony US have contacted us and have also posted update procedure.
Thanks to several of our readers who have sent emails of concern about the fact that there have been no news updates for over a week. There have been no news articles because at the moment we are in the typical quiet news period after a large show (Photokina). From a personal level I also moved house last weekend which meant that the currently active reviews had to be put on hold, I started working on them again yesterday. Please bear with me on this, the move is over but the 'moving in' isn't. Thanks again!
Thanks to forums poster 'Andreas P.' for noting that seven new Sigma SD9 samples have been posted on the German website Foto Erhardt. These samples were taken during Photokina under studio conditions (on the stand probably) and are Copyright Sigma. Several of these images show the huge potential of the X3 sensor and its ability to deliver very fine single pixel resolution. Kudos also to the Photographer who I assume is the same as was doing the demo on the Sigma stand.
Respected Professional Photographer Rob Galbraith has today posted an article titled "Canon EOS-1Ds delivers detail, and lots of it". The article is an examiniation of the image quality of a pre-production EOS-1Ds, Rob notes "Summing up EOS-1Ds image quality is difficult. On the one hand, the camera delivers crisp, detailed photos which are effectively noise-free at ISO 100, and surprisingly clean at ISO 1250. On the other hand, certain 16-35mm photos contain heaps of chromatic aberration, while portrait colour can be too vivid and contrasty."
Dave over at Imaging Resource has just posted a side-by-side comparison of the eleven megapixel EOS-1Ds and the six megapixel EOS-D60 posing the question "How much difference does it make?" (the additional five megapixels). Dave is lucky to have already received a production EOS-1Ds (we're expecting ours sometime next week). "The short answer to the "how much difference" question is "a lot" - Check out the photos below for comparison crops from each camera's images, including some in which the D60's image has been upsampled in Photoshop to match the scale of the one from the 1Ds, as well as some experiments with unsharp masking."
Pre-Photokina 2002, 0600 GMT: Canon has today announced the PowerShot S45. This new camera is essentially a refresh of the S40, it adds newly announced technologies such as the DIGIC processor, FlexiZone AF/AE, 9-point AiAF, Custom exposure mode, two manual white balance presets, focus bracketing, orientation sensor and up to 3 minute movie clips (using a high speed CF card). The PowerShot S45 has a four megapixel sensor and three times optical zoom lens.
Yesterday we noted a short article posted on the Japan Industrial Journal website (in Japanese) about a new Pentax D-SLR to be announced next 'Spring' (PMA). I've waited until now to get this news verified by our Japanese contact, and it does appear to be accurate and official as it was based on an interview with Pentax. The camera will be based around an APS sized sensor and will have a price around 200,000 YEN (US$1,600). It's not really surprising to find out Pentax have something in the works especially considering the announced and cancelled full-frame D-SLR of two years ago. Good news for increased competition in the D-SLR market, although I'm sure this won't be the only new D-SLR at PMA next year.
Jeff Keller over at DCResource has today posted his review of the four megapixel Nikon Coolpix 4300, "The Nikon Coolpix 4300 is a worthy follow up to its predecessor, the 885. It offers most of the features found on the more expensive Coolpix 4500, including the use of conversion lenses and the macro ring flash! Most importantly, the 4300 has the excellent photo quality that is found on the more expensive Coolpix". In addition Jeff has also posted a small gallery of side-by-side comparison shots from the Coolpix 4300 and Kodak's LS443.
For users of digital cameras which take AA batteries the new MH-C401FS 100 minute charger could be just what you need. The MH-C401FS charges each battery independently which makes for a better overall charge and no overcharging. This charger also has a five hour 'gentle charge' option for optimum charge capacity. The MH-C401FS fast charges at 1000 mA, for a 1800 mAh battery that's 0.6 C.
Pentax has today announced a firmware update for the recently introduced 330GS digital camera. This update improves "the compatibility of the Optio330GS with various new CF cards being introduced in the market". Current 330GS digital cameras will have firmware version 1.0 loaded, this new firmware is version 1.1. The update is carried out by copying the new firmware (.bin) file onto a Compact Flash card and inserting it into the camera. The updater is available for Windows and Mac OS.
Nikon has today announced new firmware for the Coolpix 885 digital camera. Firmware v1.2, which is slightly less radical than the new firmware announced for the Coolpix 5000, simply adds EXIF 2.2 (ExifPrint) support and PTP USB connection mode. Interestingly (and I hadn't noticed this with other similar firmware upgrades) Nikon specifically notes that Epson's PRINT Image Matching is no longer supported. Looks like PIM is dead.
Panasonic Japan has today confirmed the details of the Lumix DMC-FZ1 which was quietly introduced at Photokina (and reported in detail here), they have also announced the Lumix DMC-F1 which seems to be based on the existing DMC-F7. In addition to this there are also two new interesting SD products. The SV-PT1 is a portable storage device based around a 5 GB hard disk PCMCIA card, you can use it to store images from your SD card while out in the field and print directly to the new SV-P20 portable printer. The SV-P20 is a portable printer which can be connected to the SV-PT1 or can support an SD card directly. UPDATE: Yamada posts samples from DMC-FZ1.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Minolta's compact four megapixel, three times optical zoom, DiMAGE F100. This slim digital camera offers a wide and flexible feature set, small dimensions, SD/MMC storage and just double AA battery requirements (which also keeps weight down). The DiMAGE F100 enters the higher end of the compact market where image quality and features can sometimes win over price. See how the F100 did in our tests.
Photokina 2002: Panasonic has announced (and demonstrated) the new two megapixel DMC-FZ1 digital camera which has a unique "Leica" F2.8 12x optical zoom lens with a built-in stabilizer. The camera has selectable sensitivities of ISO 50 - 400, an electronic viewfinder, a 1.5" LCD monitor and stores images to SD / MMC cards. The DMC-FZ1 will soon be available in Silver (DMC-FZ1-S) or Black (DMC-FZ1-K) finishes.
Olympus Europe has this morning become the first Olympus website to publish information on the new C-5050 Zoom. This new prosumer level digital camera has a F1.8 - F2.6 3x optical zoom lens (35 - 105 mm equiv.), a tilting 1.8" LCD display and a 5 megapixel 1/1.8" CCD sensor. The last detail being the most interesting, with a 5 megapixel 1/1.8" CCD around we're likely to see many more new 5 megapixel cameras hitting the market utilizing the same lenses seen in previous 3 and 4 megapixel digital cameras. UPDATE: Detailed specifications.
Nikon Europe has today announced new firmware for the D100 (ver 2.00) and D1X / D1H (ver 1.10). Both firmware upgrades contain some common elements such as embedded ICC profiles for Adobe RGB images and support for Lexar Media Pro 'Write Acceleration' technology. The D100 upgrade adds support for PTP USB connections, the D1X / D1H upgrade adds EXIF 2.2 support, better battery power detection and additional lens information in EXIF headers. Firmware upgrades will be carried out free of charge although you will have to return the camera to your nearest Nikon Support Facility.
Photokina 2002: UPDATE: At last the sun is shining here in Cologne so we ran back to the Sigma booth and grabbed an SD9. These images are far more representative of what we had hoped and expected from Foveon's X3 technology and really show what an amazing step forward it is. I'm very happy with these images, and am looking forward to a full and final review of this camera sometime in October. UPDATE: Added more information about RAW converter, re-converted images.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Sony's five megapixel DSC-F717. In this review we have gone further than we have before including comparisons of the DSC-F717 to the camera it replaces, the DSC-F707 as well as a three way comparison between the DSC-F717 and Minolta's new DiMAGE 7Hi and Nikon's Coolpix 5700. The DSC-F717 brings new hardware changes, new software changes and some clear image quality tweaks. Noteworthy is the fact that our production camera doesn't have the red clipping problem we noted on the pre-production unit. See how well it performed in our tests and against the competition.