This has to be the biggest and most shocking news before the upcoming PMA show, Konica Minolta has today announced that it is withdrawing from the camera and photo business. They will be transferring assets related to their camera business to Sony who will continue to develop digital SLR's based around the Konica Minolta lens mount. Konica Minolta it appears will continue to work with Sony (a relationship announced last year) in the development of digital SLR's and lenses but they will not be branded as or be sold by Konica Minolta. Full announcement and details of the Sony asset transfer inside.
After a mini-teaser campaign and numerous leaks it's now official. Zeiss has announced that is to introduce a range of new 'ZF' lenses which will have a Nikon F Mount (although it's not clear at this stage how much communication will go on between the lens and body). These new lenses appear to be the result of Kyocera's decision to ditch Contax. The first lenses to be introduced will be the Planar T* 50 mm F1.4 ZF and the Planar T* 85 mm F1.4 ZF. These lenses are slated to become available in 'Spring 2006' with 'several more.. ..during 2006' (at Photokina in September).
Pre-PMA 2006: Lexar has today announced new professional series storage cards with a speed rating of 133X (20MB/sec). Available in both Compact Flash and Secure Digital formats at a range of capacities these professional cards also include Lexar's proprietary Write Acceleration technology. These cards promise to be the fastest currently available, we have had a selection of them on hand for a few days and have some test results inside.
It's been rumoured for weeks, leaked ahead of annoucement and now it's here; Samsung's first digital SLR, and the first fruit of the Samsung / Pentax tie-in announced in October. The GX-1S is a lightweight 6 megapixel camera with a 2.5-inch screen, ISO up to 3200 and a Pentax AF lens mount. Nothing we haven't seen before; the GX-1S is a rebadged Pentax *ist DS2 (there's some new Schneider lenses too, but they also appear to be straight re-badge jobs).
Nikon UK has made an interesting announcement titled 'Nikon prepares to strengthen digital line-up for 2006' that signals the beginning of the end of nearly 60 years of Nikon fllm cameras. Nikon Corp has made the decision to 'focus management resources' on digital cameras in place of film cameras, and is discontinuing most film camera bodies, manual focus lenses and accessories and all large format and enlarging lenses. In Europe only the flagship F6 film camera will remain on sale.
Pre-PMA 2006: We are proud to announce that the Photo Marketing Association have asked the Editor and Owner of dpreview, Phil Askey to be one of the judges of the 10th annual DIMA 2006 Digital Camera Shoot-Out which will take place on Saturday 25th Februrary, the day before the PMA show opens. The results of the shoot-out will be announced in a press conference the following morning. Judging will be made of prints viewed using a D50 Viewing System from GTI Graphic Technologies.
One story which slipped past us during CES was that Sony announced their MemoryStick Pro Duo storage cards will be available in 4 and 8 GB capacities some time in 2006. This will no doubt be of great interest to Sony PSP owners but perhaps less interesting to digital camera owners as the majority of Sony digital cameras which take Duo are likely to find 1 GB more than sufficient. It's timely perhaps to question the future of MemoryStick especially when Sony themselves are now putting SD (Secure Digital) card slots in their latest Vaio notebooks.
Ricoh announced today the Caplio R30, a more affordable, ultra-slim version of the Caplio R3, with a smaller zoom range. The 26mm thick, 5.3 megapixel R30 features a wide angle 28-160mm equiv. (5.7x) optical zoom, 1cm macro mode, large 2.5-inch screen and low (0.09 sec) shutter lag. As usual we have no word as to whether the R30 will ever be distributed in the US.
Macworld 2006: Adobe has today announced a new application aimed squarely at the digital photographer. Lightroom is a workflow and editting application which takes all of the useful photography related stuff from Photoshop and combines this with a sophisticated importation, browsing and organizational front-end. Lightroom is clearly aimed at taking on Apple Aperture as well as a few other high end workflow tools. At the moment Lightroom is available as a Mac OS X only Beta for anyone to try.
CES 2006: As part of a wide ranging speech at CES by Kodak Chariman and CEO Antonio Perez it was revealed that Kodak will be saying goodbye to their famous yellow-box logo in favour of a simpiler more contemporary design. The new logo also features a new typeface with more rounded letters. According to Perez,"This introduction is the latest step in the company’s broad brand transformation effort, which reflects the multi-industry, digital imaging leader Kodak has become."
In 1969 Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, while working at Bell Laboratories, designed the first Charge Coupled Device (CCD), a working version was produced just a year later. The CCD as we know has become the bedrock the digital imaging revolution including digital photography and video. They have just been honored with the Charles Stark Draper Prize which is presented by the National Academy of Engineering, this includes a $500,000 award.
CES 2006: Sony US today announced its successor to the M1, the Cyber-shot DSC-M2, which was originally revealed back in September by Sony Europe. Like the M1, the M2 is designed to combine the functionality of a digital stills camera and a digital video camera. It also shares the M1's unusual flip-out design
Updated: specifications added
Updated: specifications added
CES 2006: Sony today announced the latest addition to its budget 'S' series in the shape of the new 6 megapixel Cyber-shot S-600. It features a 3x Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens covering a 31-93 mm equiv. range, which is much wider than most other cameras in this class. Other features of note include sensitivity up to ISO 1000, 460 shot battery life and a large 2.0-inch LCD screen.
Updated: Specifications added
Updated: Specifications added
CES 2006: Panasonic has announced two new cameras to replace the budget DMC LZ1 and LZ2 models. Like their predecessors, the DMC-LZ3 (5.0 megapixels) and DMC-LZ5 (6.0 megapixels) sport image stabilized 6x optical zoom lenses. The new models have improved focus speed and power consumption, a low resolution ISO 1600 mode and large screens (LZ3: 2.0-inch, LZ5: 2.5-inch).
CES 2006: The first of today’s announcements from Panasonic is the Lumix DMC-LS2, officially a replacement for the budget DMC-LS1, but one that is a lot more compact and a lot more stylish. Like the LS1, the new model features a 3x image stabilized zoom lens and is powered by AA batteries. Aside from the re-style, the LS2 also ups the resolution to 5.0 megapixels, uses the Venus Plus engine for faster focusing and lower power consumption, and adds new scene modes.
CES 2006: HP introduces today the latest additions to the Photosmart range, the slim meta-encased R727 and R927 digital cameras. with 3x optical zoom and 6 or 8.1 megapixels respectively, both feature large LCD screens and can be used with the optional Photosmart 6222 Wireless Dock to wirelessly manage their snapshots and navigate through a TV interface.
CES 2006: HP has today announced the Photosmart M525 Digital Camera, the latest 6 megapixel offering the latest generation of HP Real Life technologies including a new feature called HP Design Gallery, which enables the user to add artistic effects and borders right in the camera and In-camera red-eye removal to remove red-eye while images are still in the camera.
CES 2006: Fujifilm has today announced the new five megapixel, 3.4x optical zoom FinePix V10. This new pocketable camera features a huge 3.0" LCD monitor and a SuperCCD HR sensor which provies shooting sensitivities of ISO 64 for the highest quality and up to ISO 1600 for low light situations. The 'unique selling point' for the V10 however will be its three built-in games, although I doubt it will be challenging the Sony PSP in this respect.
CES 2006: The last of four new cameras announced today by Fujifilm are the FinePix A400 and A500 Zoom. Two affordable cameras one which are essentially identical apart from their sensor, one four megapixel and one five megapixel SuperCCD HR. Other features include a three times optical zoom lens, 1.8" LCD monitor and power from two AA batteries.
CES 2006: Pentax today announces its flagship model and the introduction of a new range, with the Optio A10. Most noteworthy is the proprietary Shake Reduction system that Pentax is has included on this 3x zoom camera, which uses two internal gyro sensors to detect the amount of camera shake and compensates by shifting the CCD (the same as Konica Minolta). The A10 also boasts 8 megapixels, a 2.5-inch LCD, 15 scene modes and a 640x480-pixel 30fps movie function.
CES 2006: Pentax has today announced the six megapixel entry-level Optio E10 with easy to use features such as the 'Simple' mode on the mode dial, which sets everything except for the size and quality of the photograph. The Optio E10 offers six million pixels, a movie function, six scene modes and a 2.4-inch LCD for framing your shots. It takes two AA batteries and is PictBridge-compatible which means you can print to any PictBridge printer, no matter what the make or model.
CES 2006: Kodak and Lexar Media have introduced a new high performance memory card, designed to capture smooth TV-quality video with 30 fps video capability. Its fast read/write speed also means less time between shots (though it should be noted that Kodak doesn't actually say how 'fast' they are). The new card will initially be available in 512MB and 1GB SD format.
CES 2006: Kodak has announced today the latest addition to its Easyshare range of cameras, the C663. The 6.1 megapixel camera features a 2.5-inch LCD screen, 3x optical zoom and is the first to incorporate Kodak Perfect Touch Technology. This innovative feature creates better, brighter pictures by bringing out detail in shadows without affecting lighter areas.
Pre-CES 2006: Proof if it were required that the cost of compact class CCD's are now at very low levels Kodak has today announced a camera with two lenses and two CCD's. The EasySahre V570 has two 'fold optics' lens/CCD packages mounted above each other, the first providing a prime 23 mm equiv. field of view, the second a 37-117 mm three times optical zoom. Both lens systems are mated to a five megapixel CCD sensor. One selling point is a built-in 180 degree panorama feature which is achieved with just three shots from the 23 mm equiv. lens. Other features include MPEG-4 video capture and a 2.5" LCD monitor.
The excellent professional workflow and RAW conversion application Bibble has been updated to version 4.5. This new release adds support for the Nikon D200, Olympus EVOLT E-500, SP310, SP350 and SP500UZ, Pentax *ist DS2 and Sony DSC-R1. It also includes improvements to color rendition when converting Canon .CR2 RAW files, a new Fill Light feature and overall Sharper Output (by providing the option to reduce artifact reduction).
Apple has updated its professional photo application, Aperture. Version 1.0.1 includes improved white balance adjustment accuracy and performance, image export quality, book and print ordering reliability, auto-stacking performance and custom paper size handling. The update is available as a 11 MB download. Also of interest to anyone investingating Aperture will be Imaging-Resource's excellent 'Aperture Diary' which is a hands-on look at how Aperture fits into a day by day workflow.
Pre-CES 2006: The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has posted a press release summarizing digital imaging at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (5th to 8th January 2006). There will be a day long event showcasing the wide range of complementary services which can be applied to digital imaging, an Industry Insider session presented by Antonio Perez, president and CEO of Eastman Kodak as well as exhibitors such as Kodak, Fujifilm, HP, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony on the show floor.
Much to the delight of many Leica aficionados there's now more than a hint that Leica are readying a digital version of the M7 rangefinder camera. Stefan Daniel of Leica is quoted in the latest edition of LFI (Leica Fotografie International) magazine as saying "The Digital M will be introduced as a complete package that will include new wide-angle lenses." The rumour mill also carries some specifications; 10 megapixels with a 1.3x crop factor, 2.5" LCD monitor and SD storage. We expect to hear more at PMA in February.
Christmas Day always has a double meaning for me, as it was seven years today that I published the first articles and went live with the first version of dpreview. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our friends, readers, sponsors and fellow webmasters for their continued support of our site. Next year we're aiming to refine and expand our reviews, add a swathe of new features to the site (and forums) as well as continuing our daily news, detailed reviews, hands-on previews and live show reports.
Just posted! The EasyShare P850, which has an image-stabilized 12x zoom Schneider-Kreuznach, is a direct competitor to the likes of Canon's S2 IS, Sony's H1 and Panasonic's FZ20 and is the first in a new class of 'advanced digital cameras', which Kodak hopes will provide an alternative to entry-level DSLRs.. As well as the new image stabilizing feature the P850 boasts RAW file capture and a flash hot shoe, plus a real wealth of photographic controls. Find out how it fared in our concise review, after the link.
Sigma has confirmed that there is an incompatibility issue between its HSM equipped lenses and the new Nikon D200. Specifically the HSM lenses do not operate when the 'AF-ON' button is pressed on the rear of the camera. This does not affect auto-focus carried out using the shutter release button (half-press). Sigma has stated that this is due to a firmware bug in the lens itself and will soon be introducing a free of charge firmware update for affected lenses.
Sony China Ltd has suspended sales of several compact cameras after they failed quality tests carried out by China's National Camera Quality Supervision and Inspection Center, according to a report by Interfax China. Nine Sony cameras were selected for inspection and six failed. The affected cameras are the DSC-H1, DSC-L1, DSC-P200, DSC-W7, DSC-W5 and DSC-S90. Chinese consumers who purchased these cameras can return them to Sony for a refund. There were also 13 cameras from other manufacturers that failed quality tests.
Canon has today posted firmware updates for the EOS-1D Mark II N and EOS 5D. Both updates improve the brightness of the LCD monitor and fix mistakes in the language menus. Version 1.02 for the EOS-1D Mark II N also fixes a file numbering error that occurred during bulb shooting. The 5D had a problem with the creation of large files (1.7GB) and operational abnormality in AEB shooting, which has now been fixed by firmware version 1.03.
Carl Zeiss have gone all mysterious in their placement of a message on their home page, it reads "Millions of SLR Photographers Will Soon Discover a New Dimension in Photography." At the moment we have no idea what this means, speculation on our forums and elsewhere ranges from a new Zeiss digital system (Sony?) to Zeiss lenses for Canon / Nikon mounts (a leaked image shows Nikon F-Mount Zeiss lenses). UPDATE 21/12: As predicted it looks as though this will be Carl Zeiss lenses for Nikon F-Mount, the latest reveal names 'ZF'.
Microsoft has released an update to its RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer for Windows XP, which was made freely available in June this year. Version 1.0 adds support for RAW image files from selected Canon and Nikon cameras. The two Canons are the EOS 1D Mark IIn and the s EOS 5D. Supported Nikon cameras include the entry-level DSLRs, the D50 and D70s, plus the D2Hs It also fixes other bugs relating to the the TIFF file locking issue and problems with RAW files produced by the 5D.
Ricoh has announced a firmware upgrade for its 5.1 megapixel, 7.1x optical zoom Caplio R3, which was announced in September this year. Version 1.27 for Windows and Mac platforms improves the accuracy of the AF algorithm in the macro mode as well as the vibration correction function, which moves the CCD in the opposite direction to counterbalance camera shake.
Nikon's image management software, Nikon Capture version 4.4.0 (Windows) and 4.4.1 (Mac) is now available for download. The Windows update adds support for D200 RAW images. A new black and white option in Advanced RAW tool palette has been added to Color Modes. And finally, there have been improvements to the way tones are reproduced in highlight areas to prevent a loss of detail when the exposure compensation is set to less than 0. The Mac update addresses a problem that caused a type 3 error to occur and the program to unexpectedly quit when attempting to print.
Olympus has just announced the latest firmware upgrade for its 4/3 digital SLR the E-500. Version 1.1 adds three new features. The first increases the time between when the button is pressed and when the camera reverts back to the current mode to eight seconds. Once the new firmware is installed users will also be allowed to select a WB OFF option. And finally, a new security step now warns users that when erasing RAW and JPG files of the same picture both images will be deleted. To download the new firmware follow the instructions at the end of the press release.
Casio has today posted firmware version 1.02 for the Exilim Zoom EX-Z750. The minor update adds Revive Shot mode to the BEST SHOT scenes. Revive Shot was included in the list of scene modes for the last camera that Casio announced, the slim line EX-S600, and is designed to refresh faded colors of old album photos.
Two professors at the University of Rochester in New York have designed a prototype CMOS chip that uses a fraction of the energy used today, captures better images and can run for years on a single battery. Mark Bocko, professor of electrical and computer engineering and assistant professor Zeljko Ignjatovic, are also working to incorporate further technology that will compress the image with far fewer computations than current compression techniques. It's likely that the technology will be tested first in wireless security cameras, and, Bocko says, as the chips are developed further, they will look into using them in consumer cameras and cell phones.