Cardmedia Europe has announced a new addition to its portable storage range with the 30GB X'S-Drive 2 XL VP2260, which is priced £140. The device has a new long life built-in rechargeable battery for up to two hours use and the LCD shows file transfer status, battery power level and capacity left on the hard drive. It has three card slots which can transfer data from Compactflash, IBM Microdrive, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD/MMC and xD-Picture Card media without adapters. A high speed transfer rate can copy data from a 1GB card in eight minutes. The X'S-Drive 2 XL VP2260 is available in 20GB to 80GB capacities.
Kodak is to cut up to 10,000 more jobs, while the company makes the tough transition from film to digital, reports the Altus Times. The announcement coincided with reports of a second quarter loss and shares dropped by more than 2%. The new cuts are expected to affect around 7,000 manufacturing jobs, many in Kodak's home town. Eighteen months ago Kodak announced that it would cut around 15,000 jobs over the next three years. Despite the fact that Kodak will add around 8,000 employees, the workforce will eventually number under 50,000 compared to 86,000 people it employed in 1998.
Electronics manufacturer BenQ has added some credence to its cameras by attaching a Pentax Super Multi-Coated (SMC) lens to them. The first two cameras to benefit from the partnership with Pentax are the E510 and E520, both five megapixels. The SMC system, which was developed in 1971, is suppoed to effectively eliminate surface reflection and flares and deliver sharper and clearer images. Both cameras feature BenQ's proprietary Senseye Technology which is supposed to greatly enhance color performance while significantly reducing image noise.
Panasonic has added three high capacity SD cards to its Pro High Speed, High Speed and miniSD ranges. First up is the flagship 2GB card introduced to the Pro High Speed range. It offers a data transfer rate of 20MB/s and will hit the shops in August with a price tag of €249.99 (US$299). The new addition to the High Speed range is the 1GB SD card available in August for €99.99 (US$119). And for mobile phones with built-in cameras there is a 512MB miniSD memory card, which can store music and images and will be priced €49.99 (US$59) when it hits the shops next month.
Pentax has announced that its profits fell by 42% in the fiscal first quarter, compared to the previous year, reports the International Herald Tribune. Net income fell to ¥261m (US$2.32) from ¥448m (US$3.97m) the previous year. The loss is blamed on ever decreasing profit margins on compact digital cameras and the company says it plans to focus on the "more profitable single-lens reflex digital camera to offset price declines in compact types" as well as "raise the pace of new model introductions to three per year from two, starting this year," says Fumio Urano, Pentax president. Urano said that the company will also cut 300 jobs in the next two years.
Industry analysts InfoTrends/CAP Ventures has reported that unit sales of digital cameras in North America hit a high of 22.2 million in 2004, and the number is continuing to rise. Although the pace at which the market is growing has slowed to 16% from 27%, the market is expected to reach 26 million units this year. Household penetration is also set to rise above half for the first time, at 55%. One of the biggest growth sectors is DSLRs. InfoTrends/CAP Ventures expects the consumer DSLR market to grow 81% in 2005. Research also shows that the market has matured greatly since the introduction of digital cameras nearly 10 years ago, and that by the end of this decade nine out of 10 buyers will be previous owners.
Canon USA has announced that customers with the Battery Grip BG-E2 used with the EOS 20D and 20Da, and a certain serial number range can return their grip/magazine for a free repair/replacement. This is due to a cases where even with fully charged batteries (exclusive battery pack or NiMH battery) or unused AA size batteries, only a few shots can be taken or 'bc' is displayed immediately.
German manufacturer Rollei has announced its offering for the 8 megapixel market with the dp8300. The metal-bodied compact offers a 36 - 108 mm 3x zoom lens, large 2.5-inch LCD, 5cm macro function plus 640 x 480-pixel movie mode which is limited only by the size of the memory card. The Rollei dp8300 will be on sale at the end of the month for around €349 ($422).
Sales of digital SLRs continue to rise and nearly doubled in the period 2003-2004, according to industry analyst NPD Techworld. PMA Sales of DSLRs rose from 277,796 in 2003 to 578,000 in 2004 and are on track to break records this year as 200,000 units had already been sold by April 2005. The 2005 PMA US Consumer Photo Buying report also reveals that 60% of DSLR owners are male, who are slightly older than compact digital camera users at around 48 years old, but younger than 35mm SLR users at 52
In further evidence of its commitment to digital, Eastman Kodak has announced plans to accelerate moves into the CMOS image sensor market after news of a manufacturing alliance with IBM. The recently available three and five megapixel CIS devices are intended for mass market products such as camera phones and digital cameras. The KODAK KAC-3100 and KAC-5000 Image Sensors incorporate Kodak PIXELUX technology, which is designed to improve image quality and performance, and offer more features than other CMOS-based image sensors on the market.
Extensis has released a free update for Portfolio 7 that adds support for several digital SLRs and compact cameras. The Portfolio Raw Filter 2 update adds support for 14 new cameras including the Nikon D2x, D2H, Olympus E-300, Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, Digital Rebel XT, Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D and the Pentax *ist DS. Additionally, update version 7.0.6 also provides compatibility updates for Adobe CS2 and Apple Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger).
Olympus has announced the successor to the TIPA-winning C-310, which was only announced at PMA in February. The Olympus C-315 Zoom boasts a higher resolution at 5.1 megapixel but a slightly shorter 2.8x zoom. Looks-wise the C-315 is practically the same; 1.8-inch LCD and basic controls. Like its predecessor it's aimed at the 'ambitious' beginners. It will be available at the end of July.
Amateur photographers in the UK are being invited to capture digital photographs of Britain's rural, urban and human landscapes to help to build a picture of Britain. The competition is being run in conjunction with a BBC4 series 'A Digital Picture of Britiain' presented by professional photographer Tom Ang. As well as the chance to win £500 worth of photographic equipment, winning entries may be featured in a Photographic Masterclass presented by Tom Ang on BBC interactive TV. They may also be exhibited at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Yorkshire in September 2005. You can catch A Digital Picture of Britain on Sunday 3 July at 10pm.
Olympus has announced a new 8mm F 3.5 Zuiko Digital fisheye lens for its E-system digital SLRs offering a 180 degree angle of view. The lens has a special multi-layer coating designed to reduce susceptibility to ghosting and flaring and its ED element will help keep chromatic aberration to a minimum. It also offers 2 cm macro mode. The optional PPO-EO4 underwater lens port will allow you to take ultra-wideangle pictures 40 meters under the water's surface. It will be available in January 2006 at a price yet to be set.
Toshiba is set to consider a 'legal response' after the verdict from a Californian jury, which ordered the company to pay Lexar $465.4 m following theft of trade secrets and punitive damages, Reuters reports. The news was announced by the head of Toshiba, Tadashi Okamura, at the annual shareholders' meeting. Toshiba was found guilty in March of theft of trade secrets relating to NAND flash chips used in CompactFlash cards, Secure Digital and xD-Picture Cards. Okamura told Reuters, "We developed the NAND flash-related technology on our own. The ruling is totally unjust and we would like to consider a legal response."
Nikon has announced an software update to Nikon View. Version 6.2.6 adds support for RAW images captured by the D50 and the red-eye correction function can now be used on RAW and 16-bit TIFF images. Another problem that occurred was that RAW files could not be opened in Nikon Capture 2 if they were rotated in Nikon View 6.2.x.
Nikon has announced the opening of a new subsidiary in China called Nikon Imaging, which will initally employ 50 people to develop the imaging business in the country. The new enterprise, which opened June 20, endeavors to increase sales of digital cameras by directly importing and wholesaling imaging products such as digital cameras. The workforce is expected to rise to around 120 after a year and the company has a sales target of ¥10 billion for the first fiscal year and approximately ¥33 billion after three years.
Fuji has just announced an underwater housing for its '24-hour' camera, the six megapixel FinePix F10 Zoom that is waterproof up to a depth of 40 meters. The polycarbonate housing, which will be hard to lose with its bright orange coloring, offers full operational functionality underwater and the package includes a strap, spare o-ring and maintenance guide. The suggested retail price is around £149.
Nikon has announced an update to its RAW conversion and image management program. As well as adding support for the Nikon D50, Nikon Capture version 4.3 now adds color aberration control, red eye correction and improves processing for NEF files. The new color aberration tool automatically reduces the appearance of color fringing. The multi image window, which displays thumbnails and allows simultaneous editing of multiple images, is now easier to use; names of preferred folders can be changed to something the user finds easier to remember.
Microsoft has issued a beta version of a new illustration, painting and graphics application program code named Acrylic. The news was first announced by CNET, which says the software is based on graphics application Expression, which Microsoft acquired with its purchase of Hong Kong-based company Creature House. Acrylic will only be available for Windows XP, despite Expression being available for Apple Macs before the purchase.
Lexar has issued a customer advisory regarding its Professional 80x speed CompactFlash cards (512MB - 4GB) following the news that there was a problem, described as 'lost image condition', when used with certain Canon digital SLRs. Lexar is now proposing to replace the affected cards. Owners must fill out a Return Materials Authorization (RMA) form and once they have received an RMA number, they will be sent a replacement Lexar card with the firmware installed. It is not possible to install the firmware. Affected cameras include the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, 1D Mark II, 20D and Digital Rebel XT/350D/Kiss Digital N.
A new device is being marketed by UK distribution company Intro2020 that allows you to view the scene in the viewfinder on an LCD. The Zigview monitor attaches to your SLR's viewfinder where the image is captured by the CMOS sensor inside it and relayed in real time to the 1.9-inch TFT. The Zigview works with most digital and film SLRs and is supplied with an eyepiece adapter for common Nikon, Canon and Fuji cameras. Adapters for other cameras will cost £6.99. The Zigview monitor will retail for around £119.99.