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).
Nixvue's Digital Album first made the headlines in December last year. Nixvue themselves had a strong presence at PMA 2001 in February, winning the DIMA award for "Innovative Digital Product". We received a prototype review model shortly after that, but weren't happy enough with it to post a review. After some work by Nixvue we now have our review of a full production Digital Album. The news is good, it does everything it's supposed to, it's easy to use and it has the bonus of being able to display images on a TV.
In a press release today Polaroid Corp. announced a "major global restructuring plan" which is designed to reduce debt. Approximately 2,000 jobs out of a global workforce of 8,000 will be "phased out" over the next one and a half years. This doesn't come as too much of a surprise after the recent appointment of a new CFO and various press releases concerning its troubled business.
IBM Japan has today posted its own Microdrive compatibility chart for both MK 1 (170 MB / 340 MB) and MK 2 (512 MB / 1 GB) Microdrive Compact Flash Type II storage cards. The chart covers all sorts of devices from digital cameras to printers and PDA's. We've extracted and translated the portion covering digital cameras as a reference to our readers.
Eric Hyman has just posted Bibble version 2.99 which can now decode .CRW (Canon RAW - EOS-D30), .NEF (D1 / D1X) and JPEG files. Bibble now features a new engine which is sharper and faster than before, it has a new demosaicing feature which produces sharper images without producing the tell-tail colour mosaic. The other big thing about version 2.99 is support for D1X RAW files including a special 10 megapixel output size (4024 x 2624).
Toshiba has just posted a firmware update for the PDR-M60, PDR-M61 or PDR-M65 digital cameras to give them support for 128 MB SmartMedia cards. The update can be downloaded from the Toshiba US website and self-installed either via the supplied USB cable or by placing the update file on a SmartMedia card. No other fixes / changes are noted for this firmware udpate.
As well as Intel and Olympus. Kodak has announced it has made an equity investment in DataPlay who has developed their tiny $10 a piece 500 MB DataPlay optical storage disc technology (also available as a single-sided 250 MB disc). In a second press release from DataPlay they confirm the Kodak investment as well as more from Intel, Olympus Optical, Imation and other key investors.
4 PM EST: 1 AM EST: Hot on the heels of the DSC-S75... Sony has today announced the camera we'd all heard of but weren't quite sure if it was real. I can confirm it's very real, indeed we've already reviewed it! The DSC-S85 is essentially a DSC-S75 with the new Sony 1/1.8" 4.1 megapixel CCD. The camera produces a 2272 x 1704 image (3.8 megapixels) which is about 10% larger horizontally and vertically than a 3.1 megapixel image. REVIEW ONLINE NOW!!! SORRY!!
Sony has today announced two new dye-sub photo printers, the DPP-SV77 and DPP-SV88. The SV77 is based on the sucessful 400dpi, 4 x 6" SV55 engine, however it adds 3.5" touch-sensitive LCD screen which allows you to select and manipulate your prints without a TV monitor. The SV88, also based on the SV55 engine is more revolutionary, it's designed to fit into a AV system rack (all controls are on the front) and adds a CD-R/RW drive which brings the capability to browse, print and archive all from one device. Plus you can view / print / archive directly from CD Mavica CD-R/RW discs (without finalizing!). UPDATED: Specs.
Displaytech's QVGA Display Module is the basis of Minolta's Digital Hyper Viewfinder (EVF). The EVF functions as an information center, showing a full array of shooting information and monitoring effects of image manipulation and control. Displaytech's microdisplay provides photographers with clear images, even under bright light, and delivers a visual resolution equivalent to almost 220,000 pixels. The variable position viewfinder can be tilted up to 90 degrees, and allows photographers to simultaneously monitor the image and camera settings.
7 AM EST: Kodak Professional has today announced the new Pro DCS 720x. Essentially an updated 620x based on the new '7 platform' it also utilizes the high sensitivity 2 megapixel (1728 x 1152 ) CMY CCD sensor (ISO 400 - 6400) we first saw in last years 620x (which is based on the Nikon F5). The differences are in the details, the 720x now has Kodak's new onboard software, the new brighter LCD and can shoot faster (4.3 fps) for longer (25 images).
Polaroid has today announced two new "revolutionary" digital printing platforms. Opal is a two sheet thermal print medium with fast print speed and long lasting characteristics is aimed at home and retail users. Onyx is a single sheet thermal print medium designed to be used in mobile applications such as PDAs, mobile phones or one-off printers. Expect to see devices based on Onyx technology by the end of this year and Opal in 2002.
Canon Japan has just posted a firmware update for EOS-D30 digital SLR's with a serial number between xxx200001 and xxx599999. This firmware will already be loaded on EOS-D30's with a serial number greater than xxx600000 (at the factory). This update DOES NOT FIX the "Auto power-off problem" (that requires you take your camera back to a service rep.), this update fixes a situation in which a combination of button presses will cause the camera to hang.
Sanyo Japan has today announced the DSC-MZ1 digital camera which has a 2.1 megapixel CCD and a 2.8x optical zoom lens with an automatic cover. The MZ1 features a metallic case, optical viewfinder, 1.8" TFT LCD and supports CompactFlash Type I or II (including Microdrive). It weighs in at 280 g (10 oz) and is priced at 68,000 YEN (approx. US$550). It's not clear at this stage whether this is a domestic market (Japan) only model. UPDATED: Samples online.
Pentax has today named and officially announced the ultra-compact stainless steel cased 3 megapixel digital camera we've seen at a few industry exhibitions. The camera is called the Optio 330 it features a 3.34 megapixel (3.14 megapixel effective) CCD and an amazing 3x optical zoom lens. It weighs in at just 205 g (7.2 oz; no batts). Priced at 95,000 YEN (approx US$800) and expected to go on sale this July in Japan.
has announced it is now shipping its new "Peerless" 10 and 20
GB hard drive system. The system consists of three components, the Interface
Module (USB/Firewire), a docking station (they call it the 'Drive') and
the disks themselves which come in 10 and 20 GB flavours. Initially aimed
at the ability to take disks to and from different places (say home to
work) but other Interface Modules are promised in the future (MP3, Car
Audio, TV etc.).
UPDATED 29/May/2001: New Images
Konica has today announced two new digital cameras, the Digital Revio KD-200Z and Digital Revio KD-300Z. The KD-200Z features a 2.1 megapixel CCD (1.92 mp effective) and a 3x optical zoom lens, the KD-300Z has a 3.34 megapixel CCD (3.14 mp effective) and 2x optical zoom lens. Both cameras have 1.5" LCD displays, optical viewfinders and use SD/MMC memory cards for storage.
Toshiba has today revealed the first consumer digital camera based around the a 1/1.8" 4 megapixel CCD (likely to be made by Sharp). 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 69,800 YEN (approx. US$600). UPDATE: Samples online.
Another excellent deal from State Street Direct and DPReview.Com! Purchase a Canon EOS-D30 this weekend from our affiliate State Street Direct and get a FREE Canon 28-105mm Autofocus zoom lens (45-168mm on the EOS-D30) or save $300 on the Canon 28-200mm Lens (45-320mm on the EOS-D30). For those on a smaller budget State Street Direct is offering special discounts and promotions on all Digital Camera models including the upcoming Nikon Coolpix 995.
Nikon has today posted new firmware for the Coolpix 880 digital camera. It's good to see digital camera manufacturers who show ongoing support to their customers. Firmware 1.1 fixes problems with operation with the USB cable, corrects some spelling errors in the menus and eliminates a system error when batteries are changed. Available for US, European and Japanese Coolpix 880's.
AM GMT 8 AM GMT: It's definetly Minolta day today, we've just
posted our first-look / preview article on Minolta's DiMAGE 5 / DiMAGE
7. These two digital cameras have an SLR look and feel, come with a 7x
optical zoom lens and feature a 5.24 megapixel (DiMAGE 7) and 3.3 megapixel
(DiMAGE 5) CCD sensor. The DiMAGE 7 enters the market as the first consumer
level 5 megapixel digital camera so no doubt there's going to be a fair
amount of interest in this flexible, high resolution digital camera. Our
preview includes a hands-on and sample images.
We first heard of the DiMAGE S304 at PMA 2001, today Minolta have officially announced it and released full specifications. The S304 features a 3.34 megapixel CCD sensor, 4x optical zoom lens and a variety of manual features. Minolta have also announced a second 'entry level' digital camera, the DiMAGE E201 which features a 2.3 megapixel sensor and fixed focal length lens.
Yamada Kumio has posted a report from the Business Show 2001 in Tokyo.. He reports that Epson are showcasing their Print Image Matching technology, Pentax's as yet unnamed ultra-compact digital camera, Kyocera's Finecam S3, the Contax N Digital, Nikon Coolpix 995, two new Casio's and a 1.1 GB Compact Flash Type II from Ritek of Taiwan (it's said a 1.6 and 2 GB version are in the wings).
Here's a little fact we didn't know previously, the Nikon Coolpix 995 will support the EPSON driven innovation of Print Image Matching. This detail has been recently added to the Japanese 'Nikon Image' website. Print Image Matching works by recording additional information about the camera and scene in the JPEG header which is used later by a PIM compatible printer (or application) to produce more accurate, reliable colour.
Rob Galbraith, respected professional photographer and webmaster has just published his review of Kodak's new DCS 760, the 6 megapixel Nikon F5 based digital SLR. And he was impressed, "The DCS 760 shows that Kodak is anything but done. If you can live with its overstuffed body and potential service hassles, the DCS 760 should reward you with crispy sharp images that print with really good colour, even when enlarged to poster size."
We've been so busy trawling through our reviews we missed the fact that Steve has posted two new user reviews over the last few days. They are the Olympus C-700UZ; "The bottom line: Excellent camera, excellent price, super-excellent zoom lens and the usual Olympus image quality that we have come to expect from their cameras." and Canon's PowerShot S110 (Digital IXUS v); "All in all I like the S110 and I am not really crazy about small cameras for the most part. This is a great camera to slip in your pocket (or purse) and take with you at all times."
Yamada Kumio has posted a set of sample images from Kodak's "revolutionary" mc3 multimedia digital camera. There are images samples as well as three short movies. Plenty of blooming, moiré and chroma errors in over exposed parts of the image. Based on these samples it's fair to say that image quality is hardly what you'd call photographic, nor is it particularly good for even entry level digital cameras.
We've just posted our full, in-depth review of Olympus's 2 megapixel, 10x optical zoom C-700UZ. This compact digital camera packs a huge array of features, photographic controls and that massive 10x zoom lens into a package only a little larger than the C-2040/3040Z. Amazingly enough you get all this for just US$700 (list / US$650 street). This camera has a lot of promise for the price but does it live up to its billing? UPDATED: 10:50 PM GMT
The BLINC digital camera, a prototype developed by the Sarnoff Corporation claims a massive 17 stops of dynamic range. This tiny digital camera uses a CMOS sensor which captures VGA images. "While Kodak and others were emphasizing image sharpness in their CMOS chips, Sarnoff's researchers were more concerned with its dynamic or exposure range". This particular digital camera isn't aimed at digital still acquisition or to produce images of that quality it is definetly noteworthy for the potential it may offer future digital still cameras.
The Japanese website 'Miscall' (who used to be associated with Dreamarts) posted a huge number of D1X samples about 3 weeks ago has just updated one of the galleries with new shots labelled 'D1X Ver 1.00'. We note that the previous samples were labelled 'D1X Ver 0.40'. At this stage it's not clear if Ver 1.00 refers to a final production camera but it'll certainly be further down the line.
Casio Japan announces updated QV-2300UX and QV-2800UX. These two new 2 megapixel digital cameras offer a swivel lens, manual exposure features, support for the IBM Microdrive and a new "Best Shot" exposure mode. The QV-2400UX has a silver case and 3x optical zoom lens, the QV-2900UX has a black case and 8x optical zoom lens.
2 AM GMT: Canon has today announced the new Digital IXUS v (S110 Digital Elph). This camera is an update to the tiny Digital IXUS (S100 Digital Elph), the update includes movie clip support, direct printing, noise reduction and new image size options. ". A new adaptive digital signal processor and RGB CCD filter, delivers faithful and vibrant colour reproduction, while noise reduction is used for shutter speeds longer than 1/6th second, ensuring clear and detailed images".
We have our FULL REVIEW ONLINE!
Olympus has today announced two new entry level digital cameras. Firstly the C-1 Zoom (pronounced c-you zoom) has 3x optical zoom, 1.3 megapixels, to be known as the BRIO D-150 in the Americas. Secondly the C-200 Zoom which is a replacement for the D-490Z/C-990Z has 3x optical zoom, 2 megapixels, this will be known as the Camedia D-510 Zoom in the Americas. Both cameras should have a street price of around US$400. Phew! Makes you wonder why on earth they can't standardize the names worldwide once and for all...
Here's an interesting new digital photography accessory from Microtech. This small metal case can carry your CompactFlash (Type I or II), SmartMedia, MemoryStick, MMC or PC Cards. Inside a rubber liner is moulded to protect your cards from the enivironment and accidental knocks. Best of all this cool little accessory is only US$15 after rebate! (Until 30/June/2001)