Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) has today announced the LUMIX line of digital cameras which make use of Leica Optics. The DMC-LC5 is a 'prosumer' four megapixel digital cameras with a 3x Leica optical zoom lens with full manual control. The DMC-F7 is a compact two megapixel digital camera with a 2x Leica optical zoom lens. Both cameras utilize MMC (SD) storage cards and are powered by proprietary Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries. Both cameras will be available in both black or silver finishes.
Europe has today posted an update to Nikon Capture 2 (for D1 / D1x / D1H).
v2.0.1 has two major fixes: (a) When multiple images are selected in the
Thumbnails section of the
Camera Image Window, if Image Adjustment is pasted, White Balance and Adranced Raw settings will not be reflected. (b) Saving JPEG(JFIF or EXIF) images at the excellent quality (the lowest compression ratio) setting does not produce the expected results. The update requires an existing full install of Nikon Capture 2 and is available for both Windows and Mac OS platforms.
Olympus Japan has today announced two new waterproof casings, the PT-011 (for the C-2) and PT-012 (for the C-40Z). The PT-011 provides a waterproof casing for the new C-2 which is capable of depths of 30 m, the PT-012 which is designed for the new C-40Z goes even deeper with a maximum depth of 40 m. Both cases weigh approximately 350 g (12 oz). The PT-011 will go on sale in October (Japan) at 12,800 YEN (~US$ 100), the PT-012 will go on sale in Novemeber (Japan) at 25,000 YEN (~US$ 200).
Olympus has today announced a new 2 megapixel version of the C-1 digital camera named the C-2 (to be known as the BRIO D-230 in North America). Just like the C-1 it has a fixed focal length lens (36 mm equiv.), automatic sensitivity (ISO 100 - 400), USB connectivity and a SmartMedia slot for storage (16 MB Supplied).
Olympus has today announced the sucessor to the Olympus E-10, the 5 megapixel E-20. The P suffix stands for PAL (video format) for the model which is sold in Europe (and SE Asia), the N suffix will be used for the NTSC model. The E-20P has the same 4x zoom 35 - 140 mm lens, the same TTL viewfinder (though now with a focusing screen), the same ISO 80, 160, 320 sensitivity, RAW mode, noise reduction, pixel mapping and official support for the 1 GB Microdrive. All of these additions should add up to a capable and improved Olympus 'E' digital SLR.
Kodak has today announced an updated version of its medium format digital back the 'Pro Back' as the new 'Pro Back Plus'. The Pro Back Plus now has a shutter release port and electronic shutter cables to enable it to work with a wider range of medium format cameras. Support - medium format: Hasselblad 553 ELD, Hasselblad 503, Mechanical Hasselblads, Bronica, Fuji 680, Kapture Group True-Wide. Large format: Sinar, Horseman, Toyo, Arca Swiss, Cambo. Other cameras: Horseman DigiFlex, Silvestri.
Words fail me at this time, I have been watching CNN (and the BBC) since the original news broke and have seen these terrible events unfold, watching the second plane strike the WTC tower live then seeing each tower collapse was something which stuns the senses. Our thoughts go out to those individuals and families caught up in this terror. We will all remember where we were and what we were doing on this day.
Fujifilm has today announced the 2 megapixel (not SuperCCD), 6x (F2.8 - F3.0) optical zoom (38 - 228 mm equiv.) FinePix 2800Z digital camera. The 2800Z (as with all other Fujifilm consumer digital cameras) has a SmartMedia slot and comes with a 16 MB card. It can record 60 second movies (with audio) as well as voice annotations which can be attached to images. Its SLR-like design and 6x optical zoom will appeal to first time (and even more advanced) buyers who are looking for an easy to use digital camera. Available October, price just $449.
Canon Europe has today announced it has acquired the UK photo-sharing service 'Fotango'. Fotango was founded in London in 1999 by a team of just five. Fotango make both traditional film photographs available as online albums as well as digital images. Alexis de Belloy, CEO of Fotango said: "The Canon deal provides both parties a strong foothold in the exploding digital imaging marketplace. Canon is a multi-national organisation that offers unrivalled expertise in digital imaging capture, while Fotango provides the means to manipulate and distribute pictures worldwide."
IBM has today cut the price of the Microdrive. The official prices are now: 1 GB - $379, 512 MB - $259, 340 MB - $199. This brings the Microdrive down to an unbelievable $0.37/MB. "As acceptance of Microdrive by both consumers and device makers grows, we're able to continue with dramatic price cuts," IBM spokesman Michael Kuptz said. IBM has lowered the cost per megabyte by 50 percent in each of the past two years, he added. Also worth noting is that with the Microdrive 1 GB really is 1048576 KB.
Canon Japan has just posted a firmware update for EOS-D30 digital SLR's with a serial number between xxx200001 and xxx799999. This firmware (v220.127.116.11) will already be loaded on EOS-D30's with a serial number greater than xxx800000 (at the factory). This update solves a problem which occurs occasionally when rotating or tagging (protect / print) an image on the LCD the playback image may be replaced by a '?' (question mark). I'll be honest and say I've never seen this problem myself. There are no other fixes listed in this update.
Imation has today announced the new FlashGO-J and FlashGO-Multi card readers. The FlashGO-J is a compact USB card reader with a Compact Flash Type II slot, it is provided with CF Type II adapters which enable it to read MMC/SD, SmartMedia or Memory Stick. The FlashGO-Multi is a desktop USB card reader with a Compact Flash Type II slot, MMC/SD slot, SmartMedia slot as well as a Memory Stick slot.
Hitachi as today announced a range of MMC (MultiMediaCard) cards. They range in capacity from 16 to 128 MB. It's worth noting that this is only the third announcement (Toshiba, SanDisk previously) of 128MB MMC (or SD) cards. The 16 and 32 MB cards have a claimed transfer speed of 1 MB/sec, the 64 and 128 MB cards have a claimed transfer speed of 2 MB/sec. (Though it's not clear what Hitachi define MB as).
We don't often put these offers up as a news article, but this one is too good to miss. State Street Direct (our official affiliate) are offering a 320 MB Compact Flash card for just $99.95 with the purchase of any in-stock Canon, Nikon, Pentax or Minolta digital camera. Or, a 128MB Smartmedia Memory Card for only $34.95 with the purchase of any Fuji, or Olympus digital camera over $250. If you've read the reviews and made a decision then now could be a very good time to pick up the camera you want. All purchases help to support this site. Limited period only - valid from 09/07/01 - 09/09/01.
A rumour bouncing around a couple of Japanese digital camera sites is that the SSFDC Forum (those companies involved in development and production of SmartMedia and SmartMedia products) will be sitting down in October to lay out a standard for 256 MB SmartMedia. The aim is that 256 MB SmartMedia should be priced between 10,000 and 20,000 YEN (US$80 - US$160) per piece. My question is (a) is it soon enough (b) can SmartMedia perform well enough for the 4, 5 and 6 megapixel digital cameras coming up and (c) will those SmartMedia cameras which are 128 MB compatible support the new 256 MB cards?
PIE (Picture Information Extractor) is a shareware application which performs two important tasks. First of all it provides an easy 'one button' method for downloading all the images from your digital camera or card reader to your local hard disk, during the transfer it can rename the images to your own defined pattern (eg. date/time etc.). Secondly it provides a useful view into the detailed exposure information stored inside your digital images (in the EXIF header). PIE has several other additional features such as lossless JPEG rotation, flipping, trimming and slideshows. We use PIE to transfer and rename almost all our digital images.
We've been contacted by Epson who've let us know that the article we ran below is slightly inaccurate (and that their own site isn't particularly helpful). Downloading and installing the PIM drivers for your printer won't on its own give you colour matching with images created by PIM cameras. You still need to use THEIR OWN proprietary application (which you have to order) before you can get PIM matched colour. Makes you wonder what ever was wrong with ICC, why do we need a new standard like PIM which just makes things more confusing, narrow and proprietary? Now everyone is relying on Epson (who themselves admit confusion).
Epson US has today opened the doors to its new Print Image Matching website, unfortunately English drivers are not available for download but can be ordered (Huh?). What's annoying is that these drivers have been available for a couple of months in Japanese. PIM printer drivers enable you to get "matched colour" between your PIM compatible digital camera and the printer's final output. UPDATE: Download PIM drivers TODAY! Thanks to Magne Nilsen for noting that ENGLISH drivers have been available on the Epson UK (and US) site for some time.
Our friends over at digitalkamera.de have 'leaked' information about two new HP digital cameras. The Photosmart 318 has a 2.1 megapixel CCD and a fixed focal length F2.8 lens (38mm equiv.) which actually has auto focus (many fixed lens cameras are 'focus free' meaning they are locked at a certain focus distance). The Photosmart 715 is HP's first 3 megapixel digital camera to be officially announced (now whatever happened to the C913?), it has a 3x F2.0 - F2.5 optical zoom lens (sound familiar?). digitalkamera.de report the 318's price as €275 (~$250) and the 715 as €550 (~$490).
SanDisk and Sony have today announced that the have signed a cooperation agreement involving Memory Stick. Under this agreement SanDisk will ship its own branded Memory Stick. "The two companies also agreed to jointly develop, separately manufacture and sell the next generation of Memory Stick that will incorporate advanced features such as significantly higher performance and storage capacities."
Minolta Europe (and Japan) has announced the compact, DiMAGE E203. This 2 megapixel is a step up from the E201 as it adds a F2.8 - F4.6, 3x optical zoom lens. What's also significant about the E203 is its storage format. Unlike the E201 which has a Compact Flash slot, the E203 has an SD/MMC slot and is provided with an 8 MB SD card. Power comes from one CR-V3 Lithium or two AA batteries. As far as we know this camera will not be available in the US.
Another DiMAGE reviewed! Minolta's S304 was announced at the same time as the DiMAGE 5 and 7. Probably overshadowed by them at the time the S304 is a more than capable camera in its own right. With a 4x optical zoom lens and 3 megapixel CCD it offers a good range of both easy-to-use auto & scene modes as well as more creative manual settings and full control over internal processing algorithms. All this at a lower price point than its major competition, the Nikon Coolpix 995. See how it faired in our tests...
Our digital camera reviews have evolved over the last two years to cover almost every detail of the camera in design, operation, performance and image quality. The Nikon Coolpix 885 review (below) and Minolta S304 review (above) mark the first of a new reorganized review style which should make finding the right information in the right place easier, and make writing the reviews a quicker process for us.
We've just posted our full in-depth review of Nikon's latest Coolpix, the 3 megapixel 885. The 885 is far more than just an udpate to the 880, although it has a similar 'look' it has had a complete ergonimic overhaul. It also now has a full 3x optical zoom lens and a wide range of manual controls and features (only just less than the 995!). Best of all? The 885 should hit the streets for around $600, that should make it a bit of a bargain...
0000 GMT: Olympus has today announced the first pocket-sized four megapixel digital camera. The C-40Z features a 4 megapixel sensor and a 2.8x F2.8 - F4.8 optical zoom lens. It looks quite square from the front on with a sliding front cover which also acts as a power switch. Two things stand out about this compact, it's got six apertures for exposure (most compacts have only two) and it has virtually all the functionality of the C-4040Z. It weighs just 270 g (9.5 oz) with batteries and measures 87 x 69 x 44 mm (3.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in). (Known as the D-40Z in US / Canada)
The monthly Canadian webzine Megapixel.Net has just released its September edition. This month they have reviewed the Sony DSC-S85, Kyocera Finecam S3, Sony MVC-CD300 and Olympus D-510Z. There's also an article on the use of optical filters in digital photogrpahy, covered are colour, close-up lenses, star filters, diffuse filters, ND filters, polarizing, UV, haze and skylight filters. "Exploring the uses of filters can help creativity, and encourages experimentation, two of the key ingredients of good photography. The digital camera is a superb tool to develop and enjoy the pleasures of photography and optical filters should be a part of the experience."
Something many digital camera owners have been crying out for has been answered by Metz in their new external flash unit. The mecablitz 34 CS-2 external flash can operate by hotshoe connection or as a 'slave flash' (firing when it detects the firing of a camera flash), it can now be programmed to ignore the pre-flash sometimes used by digital cameras to meter a scene.
2001: The IFA 2001 exhibition in Berlin falls as the only major trade
show (in Europe at least) before Christmas this year (Photokina being
biennial - every second year). Several manufacturers have announced new
products and most of those are on show at IFA. In this part of the report
we will cover Canon, Casio, Fujifilm, Grundig, Iomega and Kodak. (Part
one of two)
IFA 2001: The IFA 2001 exhibition in Berlin falls as the only major trade show (in Europe at least) before Christmas this year (Photokina being biennial - every second year). Several manufacturers have announced new products and most of those are on show at IFA. In this part of the report we will cover Nikon, SanDisk, Sanyo, Sony and Toshiba. (Part two of two)
IFA 2001: Philips and Kodak have today put out a joint press release stating that Philips will add Picture CD support to future products including DVD-video players and portable Audio CD players. Picture CD was launched by Kodak back in 1998. "Through this agreement, Kodak is bringing the benefit of digital imaging to the mass marketplace, allowing consumers to share images in the living room in addition to the computer room," said Dan Palumbo, president, Consumer Imaging, and senior vice-president of Kodak.
IFA 2001: 0800 EDT / 1300 GMT: Sony has today announced the portable DPP-MP1 dye-sub printer. Battery driven the printer can produce borderless card-size photos in less than two minutes. It can be connected to a computer via USB or print directly from Memory Stick. The printer is priced at $280, the battery pack an extra $70. Paper is sold in a pack of 24 with a print cartridge for about $20.
IFA 2001: 0800 EDT / 1300 GMT: Sony has today announced the successor to the popular DSC-F505V, the new DSC-F707. The DSC-F707 has a 5 megapixel CCD (4.92 megapixels effective) with a F2.0 - F2.4 5x optical zoom lens, the same design split lens / body as the 505V, longer life InfoLithium 'M' battery, an electronic viewfinder, jog-wheel, Multi-Segment metering, burst shooting, full manual exposure, NightShot and a new laser based 'hologram AF' low light focusing system. Unlike the misinformation leaked elsewhere on the net in the last 24 hours we can confirm that this beast of a digital camera will have a street price of $1,000. FULL REVIEW NOW AVAILABLE
IFA 2001: 0800 EDT / 1300 GMT: Sony today announces two new 'P' model digital cameras. The DSC-P5 has a 3.34 megapixel CCD (3.14 effective) and a 3x optical zoom lens, it's an evolution to last years DSC-P1 which adds manual focus, selectable ISO sensitivity an AF assist lamp, burst mode, MPEG EX and a new compact battery which makes the camera's case a third of an inch thinner. The DSC-P3, based on the DSC-P5 has a fixed focal length lens which crops the CCD producing a 2.8 megapixel image. The DSC-P5 has a street price of $600, the DSC-P3 around $500. FULL REVIEW OF DSC-P5 NOW AVAILABLE
IFA 2001: Fujifilm continue their assault on the entry level, low cost digital camera markets with the new Finepix A101, A201 and 2600Z. The A101 ($179) and A102 ($249) share the same body design, both have a fixed focal length lens and an extremely basic layout, the A101 has a 1.3 megapixel CCD and the A201 has a 2.0 megapixel CCD. The 2600Z ($299) has a 3x optical zoom lens which is shielded behind a sliding cover (which also acts as a power switch), it has a 2.0 megapixel CCD and a slightly more rectangular design than the A101 / A201.
IFA 2001: 0800 CET: Nikon today announces the Coolpix 885. A smaller, more attractive design and a full 3x optical zoom lens are just the beginning of the changes made to the 885. There are new scene modes, auto transfer, noise reduction and the exposure modes have been simplified, gone are P, A and M to be replaced by the CSM exposure mode in which you can select manual exposures. As you can see the cameras are available in silver and charcoal black, it's not yet been made clear whether this is different markets or whether both colours will be available everywhere. All this for a list price of $600!
A couple of the other digital camera sites have posted reviews in the last few days, as I've just returned from Berlin I'll fill you in on who's been doing the write-up on what. Steve Sanders has posted his 'user reviews' of the Kodak DX3900, Minolta DiMAGE S304 & 5 and Fujifilm A201. Dave Etchells (Imaging-Resource) gives us a review of the Toshiba PDR-M81 and Fujifilm FinePix 4800.
IFA 2001: The first of three digital cameras added to Kodak's "EasyShare" line today is the budget level DX3215, a 1.3 megapixel, 2x optical zoom digital camera with 8 MB of internal RAM and a SD/MMC slot for additional storage, price $199. Next comes the DX3700, a 3 megapixel, fixed optical lens digital camera with 8 MB of internal RAM and a SD/MMC slot for additional storage, price $399. Last comes the DX3900, a 3 megapixel, 2x optical zoom digital camera which comes with an 8 MB CompactFlash card, price $449.
0100 GMT: 0000 GMT: Canon has today announced
the PowerShot G2, a four megapixel sucessor to the popular PowerShot G1.
The G2 features the same 3x optical zoom lens, flip-out and swivel LCD
and Microdrive compatibility. Some new items are the four megapixel CCD,
AF area selection, evaluative metering, AE program shift, RAW mode 10-bit,
histogram and a 32 MB Compact Flash card. Best of all we've had
one for the last two weeks in order to bring you a full in-depth review
of a production camera! [FULL REVIEW ONLINE]
IFA 2001: We don't normally talk about camcorders here, but this announcement is interesting because of the technology employed. The new tiny 'Network Handycam IP' DCR-IP7 'MICROMV' digital camcorder records digital video onto new MICROMV tapes (which are 30% the volume of a DV tape). The DCR-IP7 can also shoot 640 x 480 JPEG's or MPEG-1 clips onto Memory Stick, even more interesting is that the camcorder supports Bluetooth wireless transfer as well as USB and Firewire (IEEE 1394). This neat little camcorder can also send email and browse the web. Oh yes, and it's 2 x 4 x 3 inches and weighs in at 370 g (13 oz) with battery.
IFA 2001: 0800 CET: Nikon Europe has this morning confirmed that the Coolpix 775 will be released to the European market, they have also announced the new upgraded and improved Coolpix 885. "As compact as most film cameras, the Coolpix 775 is a natural choice for families and individuals who want to make the move to digital and to enjoy sharing their images on line and on print.", "Ready for anything, the Coolpix 885 takes compact digital photography to a new level of sophistication in a remarkable combination of quality, convenience and ease of use."
IFA 2001: SanDisk has today announced that it will be expanding its retail presence in Europe and will also be opening a large distribution center in Holland. "One of the new products going into Europe for the first time this summer is the SanDisk Secure Digital memory card, a new stamp-sized, removable flash card targeted mainly for use in mobile phones, Internet music players and small-size digital cameras."
The EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association) Awards are chosen annually by a panel of Editors from 40 prominent magazines throughout Europe. This years photo awards were 35mm SLR: Minolta Dynax 7 SLR, Lens: Sigma EX 20mm F1.8 DG, Consumer digital: Sony DSC-S85, Professional digital: Nikon D1x, Film scanner: Nikon Coolscan 4000 ED, Photo Innovation: Epson PIM Technology and Photo Printer: Canon S800 Photo.
Thanks to the photographer for letting me know that the full page image (of Gary Condit and wife) on the front of this weeks People magazine was shot with a Canon EOS-D30. In his words, "People magazine cover story will come out on Gary Condit. The entire story and the COVER was all shoot on the D-30. This was shot under a extreme deadline, hence their openess to using digital.", "I have been using the D30 about 9 months . All most ALL my magazine work in this year (2001) has been digital on the D30, some of this work has been used as large as 2 pages."
Here's a useful accessory for Nikon D1 / D1x / D1H photographers. The interestingly named Ickiewarez have new waterproof covers for the Nikon D-SLR which cover the camera and lens, they have a velcro strap for the lens and a clear back so you can still keep an eye on the LCD monitor.Available for the D1 / D1x / D1H plus 28-70 F2.8, 80-200 F2.8, 300 F2.8 or 400 F2.8.
Minolta US has today confirmed that the DiMAGE E201 will be released in America at a price of $299. This entry level digital camera has a fixed focal length lens (38 mm equiv.) and 2.3 megapixel CCD features a movie clip mode and has CompactFlash storage (Type I only). The E201 was initially announced back in May this year but at that time wasn't at that time destined for the US market.
Not to be outdone by Sony and their DPP-SV88 multi-function printer Fujifilm has today announced the 'FinePix Memory Printer' NX-800M which provides the ability to archive and print. The NX-800M has both SmartMedia and PCMCIA slots for storage cards which can then be archived directly to CD-R/RW or printed on the internal 4 x 6 dye-sub printer. Prints can also then be made at a later date from the archived photos. The NX-800M also has a small LCD screen for preview / setup as well as connectivity to a TV/Monitor and/or PC/Mac via USB.
Sigma has today announced a new AF 20-40mm F2.8 EX DG lens. Again this lens appears to be aimed at owners of digital SLR's because it offers a relatively useable bottom end (wide end) to a normal mid point in a compact lens construction. For example, this lens on a Canon EOS-D30 would provide an equiv. range of 32-64 mm, on a Nikon D1x it provide an equiv. range of 30-60 mm. The lens has access at the back for filters.