Pre-PMA 2002: Fujifilm has today announced a camera which will no doub turn quite a few heads. The S2 Pro has a 6.17 megapixel SuperCCD III which produces a huge 12 megapixel image (yes, twelve). The new camera also addresses two of the major issues with the S1 Pro; it is based on the Nikon F80/N80 body which means it's more robust, this also means it can now shoot with AF-D, AF-G and AF-S Nikkor lenses. Other new features include CCD-Raw files and ISO 100 support.
Sony has today announced price cuts to its Memory Stick storage (this actually took place last Friday). This is the second price cut in six months. This latest reduction brings the street price of Memory Stick more into line with other storage such as Compact Flash and SD/MMC cards. Sony are now showing the list price for a 128 MB Stick as $89 (down an amazing $60). Memory Sticks can already be ordered at this new price from Sony Style and Sony Imagestation.
Kudos to Dave Etchells for posting an excellent (technical and logical) comparison of different brands of high capacity AA NiMH batteries. His comparison (although done outside of a digital camera) measured precisely the amount of power these batteries are able to store and return. "First, I was rather surprised that the Rayovac battery / charger combination did as well as it did. Besides their being a newcomer to the NiMH world, I'd seen rather disappointing results from other "name brand" batteries, namely the Energizer Accu Rechargeables."
According to the JCIA (Japan Camera Industry Association) Digital Camera sales totalled no less than 14.75 million units in 2001 a rise of some 42.7% over the previous year. In more detail the local Japanese (domestic) market for digital cameras has grown 63.8% and the export market (the rest of the world) has grown 34.2%. This figure is in line with results published by JCIA in August last year which were for the first half of 2001. A pretty amazing result showing just how many digital cameras were destined for the Christmas market.
Kodak lost a total of $206 million in the last quarter of 2001. This is a net loss of 71 cents per share for that period. Sales dropped 6% dragged down by a 10% drop in film sales. "Our strategy during this difficult economic year has been to strengthen our balance sheet so that the company will be in a better financial position once the recovery begins,'' said chief executive Dan Carp.
Lexar has today announce it plans to ship its new 1 GB 16x Professional CF Type II card by January 31. This new card which has a retail price of $1,199 has a claimed write speed of 2.4 MB per second and will be demonstrated at the upcoming PMA (Photo Marketing Association) show in Orlando at the end of February. Eric Stang, president and CEO says "Our new 1GB delivers everything professional photographers want: a minimum sustained write speed of 2.4MB per second, the highest capacity available and the reliability of solid-state storage."
Over on the Finepix.Com page Fujifilm are running a teaser about an upcoming product announcement which will use an updated verison of their SuperCCD technology, this time called SuperCCD III. The second generation SuperCCD was used in the 6800Z and 6900Z. According to the teaser more information will be available on 30th January. The page just after the teaser reveals three shooting modes; "Candleshot", "Speedsnap" and "Motionphoto". The hype build-up to PMA has begun...
Phew! I've just posted our fully updated Olympus E-20 review. The review is now based on a full production E-20P (firmware 29-1102). Updates include a brand new gallery, re-shot resolution chart, colour patches, image quality, sharpening, white balance, chromatics test etc. And a new comparison including the Nikon Coolpix 5000. There's also a new section on the supplied software.
Canon has today released new firmware for the G1, G2 and Pro90IS. For the G2 it is labelled version 220.127.116.11 and for the G1 / Pro90IS it is labeled version 18.104.22.168. These firmware updates both address the same issue: "With Firmware Version nnn, BP-511 or BP-512 Battery Packs that had become over-discharged were sometimes not chargeable in the camera. With Version nnn, such Battery Packs can be charged in the camera."
The long wait is now over... It seems like an eternity since I started this review, it was indeed before Christmas. At that time the camera I had for review revealed a fault and we didn't receive a replacement camera until the New Year. Since then the British weather and a host of other commitments have done all they can to delay this review. Anyway I've worked solidly to get it out, and here it is... Nikon's latest Coolpix prosumer digital camera, the 5000 under our spotlight and run through our tests. So just how well did it do?
This is a message to the fifteen to twenty people who email me every day asking when I will be posting my Nikon Coolpix 5000 review. I received my latest (working) Coolpix 5000 on 2nd January, I'm currently about 50% through the review and it should be published mid to end of next week. There will be image quality comparisons with the Olympus E20 and Sony DSC-F707. The only potential issue at the moment is the appalling weather we've been having here in London for the last week. So please guys, stop emailing me and let me get on with it :) UPDATED 18/Jan/2002: DELAYED AGAIN.
The OM-10 was the first 35mm camera I owned, and today Olympus has announced that there will be no more OM cameras from them. "Olympus will discontinue the OM series of 35-mm cameras. The company will continue to manufacture selected lenses and accessories for the OM System and they will remain on sale with limited availability until the end of March 2003." This is not a surprise considering the huge shift of ownership from 35mm to digital.
CES 2002: SanDisk has today announced the latest step forward for the MMC/SD format, a 256 MB SD card. This new card uses a 1-Gigabit NAND flash storage chip. "The SD Card is a flash memory storage device with built-in security functions designed to facilitate the secure exchange of content between devices and the card. It is 32 millimeters (mm) long, 24mm wide and 2.1mm thick. More than 100 products with slots for the card have been introduced. " It should be available "first quarter" and will be priced at a competitive $199.
CES 2002: SanDisk has today announced a range of new ImageMate dual-slot card readers, the readers will be available in three flavors - CompactFlash & SmartMEdia, CompactFlash & Memory Stick and CompactFlash & MMC/SD. These new readers are all USB (why no Firewire?) Mass Storage Class devices and will have an approximate street price of US$40.
Light & Motion has today announced its Titan waterproof housing for the Olympus E-10 / E-20 Digital SLR's. The housing repeats all of the camera controls on the outside of the housing as well as providing access to the viewfinder and two large handles on either side of the unit. The Titan housing is waterproof down to 300 ft and has a visual moisture alarm should a fault occur. You can also attach optional dedicated lenses. The housing alone costs $2699.
CES 2002: Panasonic has confirmed its range of 2002 Lumix digital cameras as well as availability and pricing. In this press release they also confirm two new models we've not previously heard of, the DMC-LC20 and DMC-LC40. The Lumix range boasts Leica Optics in combination with Panasonic (Matsushita) digital imaging. The line starts at $349.95 with the DMC-LC20 and goes up to $899.95 for the four megapixel DMC-LC5.
CES 2002: Nexian, better known for their GPS add-ons for Visor PDA's has announced a new NexiCam "sleeve" for the Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC which adds SVGA (800 x 600) digital camera capability to the iPAQ. "The NexiCam digital camera offers exciting new options for our iPAQ customers, such as its video conferencing and digital video capturing capabilities," said Roger Frizzell, Director of Global Communications with Compaq. "With this new product, we continue to expand the exciting capabilities iPAQ Pocket PC's." List price is $199.
CES 2002: 9 PM EST: Minolta has today announced the ultra-compact DiMAGE X digital camera. The DiMAGE X features a 2.1 megapixel CCD and an innovative new 'folded optics' 3x optical zoom lens. What's so unique about the lens is that it's mounted on its side and shoots through a prism. This enables the camera to maintain its slim dimensions but also provide a 3x optical zoom. The X comes with a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery and takes SD/MMC cards. REVIEW ONLINE.
CES 2002: As part of a press release about HP CEO Carly Fiorina's keynote speech HP reveal their new Photosmart 812 digital camera. The 812 has a 4 megapixel CCD, 3x Pentax optical zoom lens will have a retail price of $599 and there's even an optional docking station which will be available for $79. The docking station can be directly connected to USB HP printers for "print direct".
CES 2002: An interesting article out of CES today from the Compact Flash Assocation has confirmed that the irradiation process the U.S. Postal Service is using to sanitize mail against anthrax can not only destroy the data on flash storage (and other semiconductors) but can leave them unusable. "Testing has confirmed that these systems, which operate in the range of 55 kGy, damage not only semiconductors, but other goods as well, including pharmaceuticals, contact lenses, biological samples, and photographic film,'' the group said.
CES 2002: 9 PM EST: Minolta has today announced an updated version of the DiMAGE S304. The S404 has a 4 megapixel CCD, 4x optical zoom lens and shifted ISO sensitivity range (ISO 64, 100, 200, 400). We've had a prototype S404 for two days now, however as Minolta don't want us to post samples from this camera we won't be reviewing this model until a production unit is available.
(Pun). CES 2002: Lexar has today announced a new Portable USB card reader for MMC/SD cards. Not to be outdone by SanDisk and just a day after they announced their Cruze product the new Lexar portable USB MMC/SD card reader is also a 'Mass Storage Class' device (which means it will work with most modern operating systems without a driver). The reader alone will cost $29.99. It's worth noting that unlike the SanDisk unit (which is self contained) the Lexar reader does have a cable.
CES 2002: Apple has today announced iPhoto, a new application for its OS X operating system which is designed to make it easier to download, organize, categorize, share and print your digital camera images. iPhoto supports a wide range of digital cameras and can automatically download images from the camera into a 'roll'. The best thing about iPhoto is the extremely simple "Import / Organize / Edit / Book / Share" sequence, this makes it easy for the complete novice to connect their camera and orgnize their photos just as they would if they had hard prints in front of them (only better).
CES 2002: SanDisk has today announced "Cruzer", a USB compatible device which is compatible with SD / MMC storage cards. It's essentially a USB "jacket" for these storage cards. Thanks to the "mass storage class" USB device standard the Cruzer can be plugged into any modern operating system without the requirement for drivers. A 128 MB Cruzer will cost you $99.99. (Phil: sounds like a pocket sized SD / MMC card reader to me...)
CES 2002: Sony has today announced two new Mavica "Dual-Media" digital cameras. The 1.2 megapixel FD100 and 2.1 megapixel FD200 can take either 3.5" Floppy disks (yes, still) or Memory Stick flash media. Both cameras have a 3x optical zoom lens and InfoLithium batteries and USB connectivity. The FD100 has an expected retail price of $400, the FD200 a price of $500.
Thanks to one of our regular readers for noting that Pantellic President (owners of Photopoint) Dale Gass has spoken to CNET by email he writes "While Pantellic has ceased operations, we are actively working on a solution for people to get copies of their photos," Pantellic President Dale Gass wrote in an e-mail. "There will be an announcement at www.photopoint.com, and members will be notified via e-mail when this is available." According to Gass, Pantellic has been unable to communicate with its customers since a "substantial amount" of its networking equipment was seized on the day the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based company ceased operations.
Uwe Steinmueller of Digital Outback Photo has just let me know that he's posted a review of Canon's EOS-1D digital SLR and the new EF 400mm f/4 DO IS lens. Of the EOS-1D Uwe says, "Even if the EOS-1D might have low noise compared to other cameras at ISO 400 and above we will try to stay with ISO 200 as often as possible. ISO 400 (and higher even more so) look clearly more grainy than ISO 200 photos (if seen at 100% pixel level)."
Olympus has today said that it is looking to bring its digital camera operations into the black after a tough time last year. Olympus are looking to shift a large amount of its domestic digital camera production to China. "Our biggest problem this business year was inventories,'' Yusuke Kojima, senior manager for sales and marketing in Olympus's imaging systems group, told a news conference. "Digital cameras have been hit by intensely competitive conditions.'' Like personal computers, he said, digital cameras now have a very short shelf-life because of the rapid emergence of new models.
Minolta US has today posted A1v121u English firmware for the DiMAGE 7 digital camera. This new firmware has been available on the Minolta Japan server for a few days and is now available on the Minolta US server. This version is for US DiMAGE 7's only. The installation documents say "Firmware version A1v121u was developed for general improvement in exposure performance (particularly for flash photography)." It's also worth noting that Minolta has also posted a new version of the DiMAGE Image Viewer Utility (required for proper colour space mapping).
Minolta yesterday announced that it will halt production and development of APS cameras in favour of attacking the ever expanding digital camera market. This comes as no surprise to dpreview as we have observed the dramatic shift in market share (and production) between 35 mm, APS and digital over the last two years. "Investors welcomed the news, sending shares in Minolta up 8.39 percent to 155 yen on Wednesday morning. The Nikkei average dipped 0.1 percent."
Nikon US has today posted firmware 1.6, this firmware solves the 'lens cap left on' problem which affected more than a few of our forums posters not long after they'd received their new cameras. Noted changes are "The Coolpix 5000 will continue to function, even if it is turned on with the lens cap still in place, no matter what focal point the lens was set to when the camera was last turned off."
As noted by some of our forums members the Epson PhotoCenter is based on Photopoint's technology and servers. When Photopoint disappeared last week the Epson PhotoCenter (photo.epson.com) was still visible. However, this morning (UK time) the Epson PhotoCenter is closed with a message that reads "As you may know, Epson has been using a third-party vendor to power the site. (Phil: Photopoint) Now, in order to serve you even better and continue delivering the features you value, Epson will be bringing the site in-house"
Nikon Europe has posted an update to Nikon Capture to bring it up to v2.0.2. Nikon Capture is the application used by D1 / D1x / D1H users to manipulate, edit and convert their RAW and JPEG files. This new version brings Windows XP compatibility, bug fixes for users with dual processor machines and various fixes and changes which are platform dependent. Note you will need a prior version of Nikon Capture 2 installed to run this update. Available for Windows and Macintosh. NikonTech USA has not yet posted an update.
Fujifilm, updating their 'Big Job' ruggedized digital cameras has today announced the DS-270HD. The 'Big Job' line is aimed specifically at the construction industry with rubber coatings and waterproof seals. The new DS-270HD has a 28 mm (equiv.) F2.8 fixed focal length lens and a 2.4 megapixel SuperCCD sensor which outputs a 4.3 megapixel image. The DS-270HD also features a flash hotshoe and a movie clip mode.
Photopoint, the photo sharing and printing site has been down for well over 24 hours. The last time this happened (back in July) the company was in trouble and shortly afterwards was sold back to its original owner Pantellic Software Inc. Neither the Photopoint or Pantellic websites (or other servers) can be contacted. It's a mystery at the moment, lets hope it's a technical problem for the sake of Photopoint's users. UPDATE: The plot thickens...
Nikon has today announced that there is a small operational problem with the Coolpix 5000. "...under certain limited circumstances, when turning on your camera with the lens cap on, it is possible for the camera to get a system error and be rendered inoperable.... A firmware upgrade to correct this issue, which can be downloaded and installed easily on your camera, will be available by December 21. Please check back here for a direct link to the firmware download and instructions on how to install it."
Nikon has today posted Nikon View Coolpix 4.3.1 now with full support for Windows XP (as well as previous Windows versions). Version 4.3.1 can be used with the D1, D1x, D1H, Coolpix 5000, 995, 885, 775, 990 and 880. It also now only supports USB or IEEE1394 interfaces. Nikon View Coolpix 4.3.1 is available for Windows and Macintosh (although not yet OS X). This new version also supports uploading to NikonNet (photo sharing).
Nikon Japan has posted the second part in a series of nine articles would make ideal reading material for digital camera beginners and novices alike. The first article covers the fundementals of what to look for in a digital camera (maybe a little Nikon bias ;), how to read specifications, box contents, getting up and running and transferring images. The second article covers more manual features, off center focusing, metering, depth of field, flash and white balance. All in all excellent stuff for those just starting out...
It turns out that Nikon has also previously posted similar warnings about using Windows XP to rotate images and format CF cards. The exact same cautions apply, that if you use Windows Explorer to rotate images you will destroy the important EXIF data held in the JPEG image header, it turns out that even a simple 'properties' view of a file can destroy the EXIF data. Secondly if you use Explorer to format CF cards the default filesystem is FAT32 which digital cameras won't understand.
Canon BeBit (Japan) has just posted a set of warnings about the use of built-in Windows XP imaging features and potential problems associated with CF cards. The first part of the warning is about using XP's built-in image rotation feature, Canon note that doing so will destroy that all important EXIF information. The second part of the warning is about formatting CF cards, when formatting a drive under XP it sets the default filesystem to FAT32. Of course digital cameras only use and understand the FAT filesystem so you must remember to change the filesystem to 'FAT' before formatting you CF cards under Windows XP.
Just posted! Probably our biggest review to date, I've just posted our full in-depth review of a production Canon EOS-1D. This landmark digital SLR is the first professional D-SLR to be produced solely by Canon from the ground up. It's solid magnesium body and environmental seals hint at its destination in life, to be a sports and current affairs photo journalists dream. Capturing an amazing eight 4.5 megapixel frames every second is no mean feat, and to my eye Canon have pulled it off. But that doesn't mean the 1D got full marks under the Askey scrutiny.
Olympus US has today announced the 3D Scantop. While this may be a new product in the US, we saw it demonstrated by Olympus Europe at Photokina at the end of last year. 3D Scantop is designed to enable 'e-businesses' get 3D representations of their products onto the web. The 3D Scantop system consists of a digital camera, stand, motor driven turntable (with background), lights and software. More interestingly the Scanware system produces a volume / wireframe model and textures separately to produce a true 3D model rather than a set of frames. 3D Scantop is priced at US$4995.
Dave Etchells over at Imaging-Resource has now updated his Canon EOS-1D review with results from a full production camera. "Commercial photographers looking for high-resolution images for double-truck catalog or fashion spreads may want more, but they're more likely to buy a high-resolution studio camera anyway. Bottom line, I think Canon's going to be able to sell every EOS-1D they can produce. All in all, a great showing from Canon in the pro digital SLR market!" We will be posting our full in-depth review of a production EOS-1D this week.
Several items of Nikon Coolpix 5000 news to report. Firstly Imaging-Resource, Steves-Digicams and DCResource have all posted sample images from a production Coolpix 5000. Secondly our affiliate State Street Direct has confirmed that they will be receiving their first batch of Coolpix 5000's next Tuesday or Wednesday, good news if you've pre-ordered, if not you can do so and show your support for this site!
Creative Technology (Creative Labs in the US) has today announced the PC-CAM 600. This digital camera has 0.75 megapixel sensor (which is interpolated to 1.3 megapixels) a fixed focal length lens, 16 MB of internal RAM, a flash and can be used as both a digital still, webcam and video clip recorder (including audio). All this for just US$149.99.
Four megapixel discounts! Olympus has today knocked a huge US$100 off its D-40Z (C-40Z) and C-4040Z digital cameras. This brings both of these cameras down into 3 megapixel prosumer territory. Best of all our official retail affiliate State Street Direct have also immediately cut their prices, for example the D-40Z is now $649 (including a $50 rebate).
David Stone from Photographic Solutions has just emailed me to let me know that they have developed a new sensor swab called 'Swab-N' designed specifically for cleaning the Nikon D-SLRs the D1 / D1H and D1x. All D-SLRs suffer from an accumulation of dust and dirt on their sensor (although some cope better than others) and sometimes using a blower just isn't enough, that's where Photosol's specially designed Swabs and Eclipse cleaner come into their own.