CES 2003: SanDisk has today introduced a combined WiFi (802.11b) and flash memory Compact Flash and Secure Digital cards. The 'Connect' product line starts with a 128 MB & WiFi Compact Flash card and a 256 MB & WiFi Secure Digital Card. Obviously at first these products will be aimed at the PDA market but it would be interesting to see if any camera manufacturers take advantage of this technology.
CES 2003: Lexar has today announced it will be producing its own Memory Stick Pro media in 256 MB, 512 MB and 1 GB capacities. "We are delighted to be partnered with Lexar Media, which has collaborated with Sony in support of the Memory Stick format for over 3 years now," said Masaharu Yanaga, Senior General Manager of the Memory Stick Division, Sony Corporation. "Having Lexar Media support Memory Stick will further strengthen our Memory Stick platform strategy. Together with Lexar Media and other partners, we will continue to work toward making Memory Stick a standard recording media throughout the world."
CES 2003: Sony has today introduced the new Memory Stick Pro and Memory Stick with Select Function. Memory Stick Pro has the same form factor as the original Memory Stick but with twice the number of connectors as the original, available in capacities of 256 MB, 512 MB and 1 GB, good news for DSC-F717 owners is that this camera is already Memory Stick Pro compatible. The new Pro stick has funky new pearl-like transparent case. Memory Stick with Select Function provides higher capacity for other Memory Stick devices by providing two banks of 128 MB on a standard Memory Stick which can be selected with a manually operated switch.
CES 2003: Olympus has announced the first digital cameras to carry their famous Mju (Europe) and Stylus (North America) names. The 300 Digital and 400 Digital have an all metal 'weather proof' body, a three times optical zoom lens, three and four megapixel sensors respectively. Both cameras are powered by a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery and store images on the new xD-Picture Card.
CES 2003: Casio has today announced the ultra compact EX-Z3 digital camera, The EX-Z3 has a three megapixel CCD sensor and utilizes Pentax's sliding lens mechanism which we first saw yesterday in the 'Optio S'. Size wise the EX-Z3 is only a little bigger than the 'Optio S' but at the back has a much larger two inch LCD monitor. The EX-Z3 also has a cradle for the charging and transfer of images, this can also be put into 'photo stand' mode which initiates the camera to display a slideshow of images. The EX-Z3 will be available from the beginning of March (in Japan).
CES 2003: Fujifilm has announced that the 256 MB xD-Picture Card will be available to buy from 30th January 2003. This is a significant event as it marks the first major leap in storage capacity compared to SmartMedia which it in effect replaces. The xD-Picture Card format was announced in July last year as a joint venture between Fujifilm and Olympus, since then both companies have released cameras with xD-Picture Card slots.
CES 2003: 2100 EST: Minolta has today announced the new five megapixel DiMAGE F300 digital camera. Based on the slim DiMAGE F100 the F300 has a 5.3 megapixel 1/1.8" CCD sensor, the same 3x optical zoom lens, subject AF tracking and improved noise reduction systems. The DiMAGE F300 comes with supplied with four NiMH rechargeable batteries (it only requires two for operation) and a 32 MB Secure Digital card. UPDATE: Sample images online.
CES 2003: Pentax has today announced the ultra tiny Optio S digital camera. The new three megapixel, three times optical zoom 'Optio S' measures just 83 x 52 x 20 mm (3.3 x 2.0 x 0.8 in) and weighs 115 g (4.1 oz) loaded with its Lithium-Ion battery and an SD storage card. The Optio S has a tough and stylish aluminium alloy case and has a more 'designer' look than the previous Optio digital cameras. This amazing feat of miniturisation was achieved with a unique sliding lens, a design which has elements which slide out of the imaging path when powered off.
We have received several emails from concerned readers who were interested in buying an EOS-D60 have been told by their dealer that the D60 has been discontinued. This information is coming out of Canada and has apparently been (accidentally) confirmed by Canon Canada. This is indeed interesting news especially with PMA 2003 just around the corner. That said you would think that Canon could sell plenty more D60's even in the time between now and any future model hitting the streets. UPDATE: As of yet this has NOT been confirmed to us directly by Canon USA or UK. More news, this time from Australia. Also apparently confirmed by Canon France.
Konica Corp. and Minolta Co., two film photography giants struggling for
a foothold in the digital era, said today they had agreed on a merger
that could propel them into the big league. Konica, the world's third-largest
photo film maker, and Minolta, a leading maker of SLR cameras struggling
after poor financial results, already have a mutual supply deal in photocopier
machines and a toner joint venture.
have today announced a new 60GB portable hard drive to add to the original
20, 30 and 40GB versions. It is available with either USB 2.0 (backwards
compatable to USB 1.1) and Firewire configurations, so connections to
both PC's and Macs are covered. It comes bundled with Norton Ghost disaster
recovery and Iomega automatic backup software.
We have had a copy of Adobe Photoshop Album 1.0 beta for evaluation, and I have to admit it's very impressive. Photoshop Album is designed to be a total solution for the acquisition, organisation, identification and output of your images. It works around the concept of a catalog of images which can be tagged and easily re-located later (including images on removable media).
Thanks to Mike Tedesco for noting that IBM Storage Technology has merged with Hitachi Storage forming the new Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. Today HGST has announced that the Microdrive will take a four fold leap in capacity at the end of this year. "The areal density of the 4GB Microdrive is made possible by using a new five-layer version of Hitachi's patented "Pixie Dust" media technology. This data storage breakthrough is achieved by taking a three-atom-thick layer of the element ruthenium, a precious metal similar to platinum, and sandwiching it between three magnetic layers."
Adobe has today announced its new Photoshop Album software, which promises to be the ultimate 'digital Shoe Box' for digital images. Images can be imported into an Album Catalog where they can be organized by attaching multiple People, Places, Events and Other tags to them. A catalog can then be easily searched by combining tags or selecting a range of time on the timeline. The output options are also extensive with numerous local and online print options, personal web photo galleries or online sharing, calendars, slideshows, E-Mail, eCards and even slideshows on VideoCD. We will be posting our own preview of Photoshop Album later today.
Thanks to Yvan Boeres from digitalkamera.de for letting us know about this story. On 21st December 2002 there was a burgulary at Nikon Germany warehouse, 192 Nikon D100 and 100 Nikon Coolpix 2500 digital cameras were stolen. Nikon Germany is offering a €36,000 reward for any information about these stolen cameras. Buyers in Germany and the rest of Europe should beware of too-good-to-be-true offers for such cameras. A partial list of serial numbers for the stolen D100's can be found inside...
Merry Christmas to all our readers, supporters, sponsors and fellow digital camera site webmasters. I hope you've all treated yourselves with lots of digital photography related goodies. December 25th also marks our fourth anniversary. Four years on and I'm happy to report the popularity of digital photography and dpreview.com continues to grow. Once more, Merry Christmas everyone!
Sigma Japan has posted a recall notice for the 'battery case' (the cartridge which slides into the base of the camera) for cameras with a serial number between 1000251 and 1000459. This is to correct a fault where the amount of remaining power is incorrectly reported when using NiMH batteries, this problem does not occur with Lithium CR-V3 type batteries. The notice states that only the battery case need be returned and new cases will be supplied in return. It's not clear yet if this range of serial numbers affects any cameras outside of Japan.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Canon's latest and greatest digital SLR. The EOS-1Ds has an eleven megapixel full 35 mm frame CMOS sensor.The 1Ds is heavily based on the excellent EOS-1D D-SLR with that superb environmentally sealed magnesium body, 45-point AF, selectable colour space, Firewire connectivity, FAT32 support for CF cards greater than 2 GB and RAW+JPEG image output (as well as many other features). Also new to the 1Ds is control of personal functions from the camera menu. The EOS-1Ds has a continuous shooting capability of 3 frames per second for up to 10 frames. Read our review to see how the 1Ds performed in our tests.
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.