And finally we get to the bottom of the reasons for PhotoPoint's outage over the weekend. Pantellic Software Inc., the original creator of PhotoPoint.Com have bought the site back from Sherwood Partners, Inc., the Assignee for PhotoPoint Corp (USA) - whose offices in San Francisco are now closed. ...PhotoPoint Corp. (USA) acquired the PhotoPoint.com web site in 1999. Since that time, Pantellic has performed the development and hosting of PhotoPoint.com, while PhotoPoint Corp was responsible for business development, sales and marketing. These functions will now be handled exclusively by Pantellic, who will be retaining the services of some of the former PhotoPoint Corp employees and maintaining many of its partners...
Kodak today published their second quarter sales & earnings report. This shows profits are down from $513 million second quarter last year to $325 million second quarter this year. "The (second) quarter's results are consistent with the economic slowdown, and we have yet to see signs of economic recovery,'' Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel Carp said. "We will continue to manage Kodak in recognition of this reality.''
Good news for all Photopoint users is that they are now back online! Still no official news available on their website but they're definitely back in business. We will of course endeavour to find out why they were down. Over the last 48 hours I've been sent all sorts of rumours about the company and have bitten my tongue not to publish them. Lets hope we can get some official explanation out of Photopoint soon. Inquiring minds want to know.
Nikon today announce the new D1X and D1H digital SLR's. These two progressions from the successful D1 are an attempt to satisfy two sides of the professional market, first, the D1X aimed squarely at the commercial market, sporting a new 5.4 megapixel CCD but limited to 3 fps, second, the D1H featuring the same 2.74 megapixel CCD found in the original D1 but now with boosted buffer space and faster ASIC the D1H can shoot up to 40 frames at 5 fps.
We've just posted our full in-depth review of Kodak Profesional's DCS 760. This six megapixel, Nikon F5 based digital SLR offers amazing image quality, superb build and features and it weighs in at an all new low price of US$8,000 (amazing considering the price of the DCS 660 just last year). Of course its biggest competition is Nikon's new D1x.. And so for those who've been begging for it we've also included a four page head to head between the DCS 760 and D1x.
TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) have just announced the results for 'Best Photo Products in Europe' from the European Photo & Imaging Awards 2001-2002. Best Digital Prosumer camera went to the Minolta Dimage 7, Best Digital Consumer camera went to the Canon Digital IXUS v, Best Digital SLR went to the Nikon D1x, Best Professional Studio product went to the Kodak Pro Back, Best Imaging Software went to Adobe Photoshop Elements.
Nikon Japan has today announced that the D1H, the updated high-speed, large buffered version of the D1 will retail at 470,000 YEN (excluding taxes) and will go on sale (in Japan) on 25th July 2001. The D1H was first announced back in February as a high speed, lower resolution (2.74 mp) alternative to the D1x, the D1H can shoot 5 frames per second for up to 40 frames. This newly announced price appears to be considerably lower than the originally mentioned price (US$ 4,500) as it works out at approximately US$ 3,800 (excluding taxes). UPDATE: Nikon EU set price at 9,999 DM (£3199.99). (We await pricing from Nikon US).
Today I received an email from fellow webmaster Yvan Boeres of digitalkamera.de. The website, published primarily in German also regularly publishes articles translated into English. They are currently facing hard times since the withdrawal of the sponsor of their English pages and so are now facing closure of this section of their site. This message is my way of supporting them in the hope that a sponsor can be found for the small amount required to keep the English pages going.
abound! The photo sharing / photo finishing site Photopoint has been down
since some time yesterday. When I visited the site early yesterday I got
a very strange 'PhotoPoint.Com is currently offline' message, sometime
afterwards the site came back online but today it's down completely. Lets
hope this isn't yet another photo sharing site who are dropping into the
.com black hole. Anyone with further information
please contact me!
UPDATE: Unconfirmed reports are that they're having technical problems and hope to be back up soon... Lets hope so.
Here's an interesting snippet of news courtesy of our friend Yamada Kumio. Sigma will soon introduce a new AF 15-30mm F3.5-4.5 EX DG lens, this lens is of most interest to those users of digital SLR's because it will offer them zoom lens with a decent wide angle bottom and usable 'normal' telephoto. For example, this lens on a Canon EOS-D30 would provide an equiv. range of 24-48mm, on a Nikon D1x it provide an equiv. range of 22.5-45mm. The lens comes with the hood attached and access at the back of the lens for filters.
Canon has today released version 3.7.1 (3.7.0 for Mac) of their TWAIN drivers, these are compatible with the S10, S20, S100, S110, S300, EOS-D30, G1, Pro 90 IS, A10 and A20. No details are yet available as to the improvements / fixes included in the update. Drivers are available for Windows 95/98/98 SE/Me/2000 and Mac OS 8.1+.
Just because I thought it wasn't big enough! (Sarcasm) I've now updated our Nikon D1x review to include a brief exploration of Nikon View 4 including image transfer via Firewire as well as updating the section on Nikon Capture 2 and remote camera control and capture (ideal for a studio situation) via Firewire. A few people also asked about Firewire transfer performance and so we've now tested that as well (turns out to be approximately 1.6 MB/sec).
A year and two months since they announced the 2 GB MK2001MPL PCMCIA Type II HD Toshiba has today announced an all new 5 GB unit. The PAMHD005 offers huge capacity to professional digital photographers using the Kodak DCS series of digital SLR's (which have two PCMCIA Type II slots). With one of these units you could store an amazing 585 RAW shots from the new 6 megapixel Kodak DCS 760 (and you could, indeed have TWO).
Just posted! The first full, in-depth review of a production Minolta DiMAGE 7. The D7 hit the headlines this year at PMA, I got to write a hands-on first look back on 23rd May. Now I've finished a complete review of this interesting, 5 megapixel, 7x optical zoom digital camera. The specifications (RAW mode, decent electronic viewfinder, mechanically linked zoom, external flash support, Microdrive support) are certainly impressive, and we've already had a quick look at an early pre-production camera, but how will it bear up in our detailed tests? Two full samples galleries online!
Anyone who has been following Polaroid's fortunes over the last six months won't be surprised by the events of the last week or so. There's been plenty of talk of bankruptcy, sales and mergers. They've simply not moved quickly enough to embrace digital photography or digital photo finishing. "Pending the announcement, Polaroid shares were suspended near the end of trading Wednesday after falling 30 percent to $1.92 on the New York Stock Exchange (news - web sites) amid reports it was considering filing for bankruptcy."
David and Michael over at the Imaging Resource have posted full reviews of the Kyocera Finecam S3, and the Fuji FinePix 2300, here's what they concluded, firstly the Kyocera "the Finecam S3 packs a lot of power into its small size... Kudos to Kyocera, the S3 is a huge step forward in capability, style, and features from anything that's gone before. Good job, guys!" the Fuji "a great option for novice photographers who want point-and-shoot simplicity in a digital camera... perfect for teens and families on the go"
Yamada Kumio has today posted a side-by-side image quality comparison between some of the top 2 megapixel compact digital cameras: Canon PowerShot A20, Canon Digital IXUS v (S110 ELPH), Sanyo DSC-MZ1, Sony DSC-P50, Fujifilm Finepix 50i. He has several shots of this cute Japanese boy with different white balance and flash modes, as well as landscape and full-zoom examples in daylight.
Yamada Kumio, Japanese digital camera journalist, has posted several sample images from Pentax's new pocket sized Optio 330 on the PC Watch website. Note, the camera he used for these samples is a Beta (pre-production) unit. The Optio is the smallest 3 megapixel, 3x optical zoom digital camera. It weighs in at just 205 g (7.2 oz; no batts). Priced at 95,000 YEN (approx US$800).
In my recent article about the new photo technologies in Windows XP I wrote that I was concerned that Microsoft would hold the reins to who gets to appear on its list of photofinishing sites and what software automatically 'pops-up' when the digital camera is connected. ZDNet have an article on Kodak's take on this and how they're not too happy with Microsoft, "We were being frozen out," says Mr. Gerskovich, a 44-year-old Kodak vice president. "Consumers were effectively being denied a choice of which photo software they could use. More important, they should be able to send photos to any Internet printing service they choose--without paying a tax to Microsoft."
Back in February Rob published a report titled "Selecting a CF card for a photojournalist's digital SLR camera". Today he's updated / re-written this report specifically with Nikon's D1x in mind. These new generation high megapixel digital SLR's create BIG files, require more storage and higher transfer rates. "Selecting a Compactflash card for the Nikon D1x" covers a range of CF cards from the OEM through to the Lexar Pro series, IBM Microdrive and SanDisk devices. There are plenty of performance tests and as we'd expect form Rob a good deal of detail on how this affects day to day shooting.
Pentax US has today announced the Optio 330, their ultra-compact 3x optical zoom, 3 megapixel digital camera. We first heard about this camera back in March when there were the first sightings of it in Japan. Pentax Japan then officially announced it on 29 May, and almost exactly a month later so now have Pentax US. The Optio 330 uses Compact Flash storage and weighs in at just 205 g (7.2 oz; no batts). No official pricing has been announced by Pentax US, in Japan it's priced at 95,000 YEN (approx US$800).
Fujifilm was recently presented with the 2001 Walter Kosonocky Award for outstanding achievement in image sensor technology at the IEEE Workshop on CCDs and Advanced Image Sensors in Crystal Bay, Nevada. They won the award in recognition of a white paper "A Progressive Scan CCD Image Sensor for DSC Applications" which was developed as part of the R&D for the SuperCCD sensor. The award was authored by Tetsuo Yamada, Katsumi Ikeda, Yong-Gwan Kim, Hideki Wakoh, Tetsuo Toma, Tomohiro Sakamoto, Kazuaki Ogawa, Eiichi Okamoto, Kazuyuki Masukane, Kazuya Oda and Masafumi Inuiya, and was published in IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, in IEEE, vol 35.
Our good friend (and contributor) Peter iNova has just posted his own personal user review of Nikon's new Coolpix 995. Written in a way only Peter could he's attacked the camera from a day-to-day usage point of view. He also controversially (at least to me ;) counters some of the complaints other reviewers have made. Peter certainly likes the 995... "...there is virtually no difference in the sharpness of the 995's lens"
We've just posted our full review of Nikon's six megapixel digital SLR, the D1x. This is a mammoth review for a mammoth camera, by far our largest review yet. The D1x is the first of two new digital SLR's from Nikon based on the original D1. The review is based on a full production D1x with the latest v1.01 firmware. When Nikon announced it the D1x broke the mould by introducing a CCD with twice the horizontal resolution than vertical. The camera then downsamples horizontally and upsamples vertically to produce the final image. This obviously stirred up debate and discussion, so how does the final output measure up?
The monthly bilingual webzine Megapixel.Net have released their July edition (in French and English), this month they've reviewed the Canon S110 Elph/Ixus, Kodak DX3500, Canon PowerShot A20 and the Sony MVC-FD87. They also have a look at the relationship between megapixels and the final printed image size.
Google, probably the best search engine on the Internet has launched a new (still in beta) search engine for images. Just type in a few words and it will scan its indexed database of 150 million images from all over the web. It's really rather good, it's fast and accurate. For parents there's even a mature content filter.
David and Michael over at the Imaging Resource have just posted their full review of the Olympus D-510Zoom, and what they call "short form" reviews of the Ricoh RDC-i700 and the Polaroid PDC-2300 posted here's what they concluded, firstly the Olympus "an excellent camera for consumers accustomed to the point-and-shoot style... a great solution for those who want a good digicam that'll go just about anywhere" the Ricoh "There's literally nothing else like it. Buy it." and the Polaroid "At $399, there are some genuinely excellent products on the market that will offer much better image quality, smoother operation, and just a better overall picture-taking experience"
PC Expo: Pretec has announced what is now the largest flash memory Compact Flash card (clearly the 1 GB Microdrive is larger, but it is a hard drive device). There's also an "industrial and military grade" version, "Industrial and Military grade 640MB CF card is also available from Pretec. Designed with precision mechanics, and full metal protection, the breakthrough product sustains a wide range ( -40°C~125°C) working temperature and offers ultimate level of new data protection and security features to prevent user's image files, software, crucial data and products from being damaged."
SanDisk has today announced the largest capacity SD (Secure Digital) flash card yet available, the new 128 MB piece is expected to be priced at around $200 (some 50-80% more expensive than the equivalent Compact Flash, SmartMedia or Memory Stick). This new card will be shipping by 'third quarter this year'. "The strong consumer electronics market continues to demand higher capacity storage cards. The availability of higher capacity cards makes them much more feasible for applications such as digital video camcorders which require considerable storage. This high capacity also allows consumers to buy fewer cards..."
Today, in a press release issued by Epson three more companies have announced that they will be incorporating Epson's Print Image Matching (PIM) colour technology into their upcoming camera models. They are Nikon Corp., Pentax Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. This now brings the total number of manufacturers supporting this colour matching technology (source to print) to twelve. Others already signed up include Sony, Olympus, Casio and Minolta.
Japan has today announced the new 4 megapixel QV-4000. This camera, obviously
the 'next in line' from the QV-3000, QV-3500 series, features a 4.1 megapixel
CCD sensor outputing a 2240 x 1680 image (3.7 megapixels). It has a 3x
optical zoom lens which is labelled "Canon Lens", interestingly
this lens looks identical to that used on most of last year 3 megapixel
digital cameras. (something some of us suspected for a long time). Design
wise it's much better looking than the older Casio's, definetly some echo's
of the DSC-S75 there though...
UPDATE: Samples available.
In a fascinating story posted on Rob Galbraith's website, photographer David Bergman writes about how his D1x shot while on assignment at the US Open not only made it into the magazine but was printed as a two page spread in the 'Leading Off' section. "The photo was shot from a helicopter with a Nikon D1X as Bergman took in the US Open from acircling helicopter. Shooting info: 400mm f/2.8, ISO 200, 1/750 at f/5.6, JPEG Fine (16.9MB when opened into Photoshop), Cloudy WB, Normal Contrast and Sharpness".
We've just posted our review of Fujifilm's 6x optical zoom, 3.3 megapixel 6900Z. Design and operation based heavily on the 4900Z of last year, the new model now has a 3.3 (instead of 2.4) megapixel SuperCCD which outputs a 6 megapixel image. There are also a few changes 'under the hood' as well as the cool looking black body. Anyone who read my 4900Z review will recall I wasn't overly keen, so what of the 6900Z?
Mike Chaney just dropped me a line to let me know he's just posted QImage Pro 2001, v2.0. This new version has several new improvements not least of which it's support for Nikon D1x NEF RAW images (uncompressed) including a 10 megapixel (4020 x 2638) output format as well as faster RAW file decoding, better colour rendition for Olympus ORF RAW files and a couple of bug fixes.
Hands up everyone who thought the "40" meant 4 megapixels? Nope. Olympus today announced the C-3040Z and C-2040Z, new releases of existing cameras (C-3030Z and C-2020Z) with a new fast F1.8 - F2.6 lens (dubbed "Super Bright Zoom Lens"). This move addresses some of the initial criticism of the C-3030Z which was based around the move from a fast F2.0 to slower F2.8 lens.. There are a few other subtle difference between the new cameras and the (now) old models.
12 PM GMT: Olympus has today announced the new C-4040Z. Based on the popular and successful C-3040Z / C-3030Z body and design the new C-4040Z increases the pixel count with the new 1/1.8" 4.1 megapixel CCD we've seen on Sony's DSC-S85. It has the same F1.8 - F2.6, 3x optical zoom lens as used on the C-3040Z (though now with a rubber barrel grip). There's also now the addition of a 7.7 megapixel interpolated mode (in-camera) and a noise reduction system. Burst shooting speed is 2 frames per second for up to 8 images. Street price $1099.
You've visited the site, you've read the reviews, you're a regular in the forums... Now you can wear the T-Shirt, drink from the Mug or glide over the Mousepad! You can now get official dpreview.com merchandise right here. We've got simple, high quality T-Shirts with the dpreview.com logo on the front and a small 'dpreview.com' on the back, there are also mugs and mousepads... Every purchase contributes to the upkeep of this site!
Kudos to Dave Etchells for getting his hands on a production D1X before any of us (I should receive mine today) and posting up a full review. Here's what he thinks of Nikon's flagship digital SLR "They've managed to simultaneously improve nearly every operating parameter, from color quality, to resolution, to image noise, while at the same time incorporating numerous user-interface improvements and ergonomic niceties... ...Outstanding in every respect!"
Canon BeBit has just posted firmware version 126.96.36.199 for the PowerShot G1 and PowerShot Pro90 IS. This new firmware fixes : "...eliminates the occasional occurrence of unusual brightness or darkness in the LCD panel display when the shutter button is pressed halfway in the Tv mode..." This update can be carried out either via USB or by placing the update files on a Compact Flash card.
Before the cameras have hit the shelves (at least outside Japan) Nikon Japan has announced that the Coolpix 995 problem (strange exposures when the swivel is twisted to the self portrait angle) is solved in firmware version 1.6 and that the D1X / IBM Microdrive incompatibility problem will be solved with its firmware version 1.01. The releases go on to state that these updates can be carried out at Nikon Service Centers (Japan). Although we haven't yet received confirmation from Nikon it's likely that shipping 995 / D1X's outside Japan will have the new firmware.
In an email letter sent to all its members Zing.com has confirmed that it will be shutting down permenently as of July 2, 2001. However, what's new in this letter is that Zing are encouraging users to transfer their images to Ofoto (who are of course now owned by Kodak, oh, the irony). Zing users will soon have a 'Transfer to Ofoto' option which will transfer images directly to Ofoto. The question now of course is whether Ofoto can cope with the thousands of users transferring all their images... These are interesting times. NOTE: FotoTime also supports import from other photo sharing sites.
Seems to be a good day to talk about IBM's Microdrive. Today Microtech announced a $50 mail-in rebate off the 340MB Microdrive (only Microtech brand). "The Microtech kits combine the 340MB IBM Microdrive with the award winning Microtech CameraMate and ZiO! lines of digital card readers, as well as with the new MediaVault digital media storage accessory. The rebate is also applicable to the IBM retail packaged drive and Travel Kit." The offer is available until August 10, 2001.
We have now received the official statement from Nikon Europe on the incompatibility problem between newer 512 MB or 1 GB IBM Microdrive's and the D1x digital SLR. We first picked up on this problem when it was published on a Nikon Japan site and then later on an IBM compatibilty chart. Nikon Europe say, "The incompatibility has arisen as a consequence of a manufacturing change to a key component within the MicroDrive...". There's also a note that the D1x can be upgraded to firmware v1.01 which will solve this problem.
Sony should be pretty happy with recently announced market share results. According to a story in c|net, from just 7% of the flash storage market in Spring 2000 the little purple (or white) stick now (Spring 2001) commands some 25% of sales. Both Compact Flash and SmartMedia have suffered from the competition losing 9% market share each. SmartMedia now represents just 32% of the flash storage market, it looks to me at least as though it won't be long before Memory Stick overtakes SmartMedia. Sony also expect a 256 MB version next year followed by 1 and 2 GB versions by 2003.
It's two weeks since we caught news of the 4 megapixel PDR-M81 from Toshiba Japan. Toshiba US will present the PDR-M81 on Monday at Digital Focus and PC Expo. We've just received the official press release. Labelled as 4.2 megapixels the camera outputs a 2400 x 1600 image (3:2 ratio) which works out at 3.84 megapixels. It has an (unusual) 2.8x optical zoom lens (made by Canon) supports Print Image Matching, weighs in at 240 g (no batts) with an expected retail price of approx. US$600.
Last week I attended the Canon Europe Digital Camera Journalists tour to Japan. There were a total of 29 journalists from various European countries. Despite some initial guesses this visit didn't turn up any new products but was rather an opportunity for Canon Inc. (Japan) to meet us and for us to learn a little more about Canon's digital imaging strategy. During the tour we also visited the Canon factory at Oita, which is essentially the birthplace for all of Canon's digital cameras.
Thanks to an observant poster for noting that Zing Network CEO David Ezequelle has written a letter on the 'dev.zing.com' website. "We regret to inform you that as of June 30, 2001, Zing.com will no longer be available. We know that you have trusted us with many of your most personal and valuable digital images and memories, and so we have done our very best to ensure that these images and memories will not be lost." UPDATE: this is now official.
Sony has today announced the DSC-P20, a budget entry-level 1,3 megapixel digital camera based on the DSC-P30. The primary differences are that the DSC-P20 has a fixed focal length lens, no video out, a stepless digital zoom and a new livery. Just like the P30 and P50 the P20 is powered by two AA batteries. The DSC-P20 has a list price of US$299 (expected street price of US$249).