Taiwanese manufacturer Apacer Technology in conjunction with SST of Sunnyvale, California have announced a CompactFlash card designed specifically to improve write performance. The new card is claimed to have a write speed of up to 4 MB/sec, it achieves this by multi-tasking the write process to four commands at a time. The card will be priced higher than normal cards and we have yet to see if its performance lives up to its billing. Remember that Compact Flash write performance is heavily dependent on the throughput of the digital camera's CPU and CF interface, this new card would probably only be useful for high-end D-SLR users.
09:00 EST: Kodak has today announced two new digital cameras, the $350 three megapixel DX4330 and the $180 two megapixel CX4200. The DX4330 features a 3x optical zoom lens, a special new 1.8" indoor/outdoor LCD for improved viewing in direct sunlight (Sony have tried similar screens before) and continuous video recording (limited only by the size of the SD/MMC storage card). The CX4200 has a 2x optical zoom lens, stores its images to SD/MMC card, has 16 MB of built-in storage and a 1.6" LCD monitor (not the new indoor/outdoor type).
Seasoned professional photographer and author Thom Hogan has today announced that his 265 page eBook on the Nikon D100 is shipping. "byThom Press today announced that it had begun shipping Thom Hogan's Complete Guide to the Nikon D100. The 265-page eBook is completely searchable, cross-referenced, indexed, and bookmarked, making it easy to hunt down specific information about the camera."
HP has recently released new firmware for the PhotoSmart 812. We certainly wouldn't normally update a review based on new firmware but this was at least partially instigated by our review findings and does have a significant effect on image quality. The new firmware improves image quality, especially sharpness and detail.
Delayed, but better late than never, I've just posted a complete update to our Sony DSC-P71 review. The original review (based on a pre-production camera) found problems with the P71's metering system and white balance when using the flash. I'm glad to report that these problems have now been solved and that the P71 performs very well for its price.
Just posted! Our full review of Fujifilm's FinePix S2 Pro digital SLR. The S2 Pro is the much awaited successor to the acclaimed if slightly understated S1 Pro. The S2 Pro is based around Nikon's F80 (N80) film SLR body and so looks very much like Nikon's D100. The S2 Pro utilizes Fujifilm's latest generation of SuperCCD sensor, with an effective resolution of 6.2 megapixels. So just how well does this camera perform in our tests? You'll have to read the review...
We don't normally cover camcorders here but this one does seem fairly significant for its still image resolution. The new Sony Network Handycam IP220K (DCR-IP220K) is the first camcorder (that we know of) which has a 2.1 megapixel CCD and can capture 1600 x 1200 still images (although we will reserve judgement on image quality until we see some samples). The IP220K records video the MicroMV, still images onto Memory Stick, has a 10x optical zoom lens, a 180,000 pixel EVF,a 2.5" LCD and is equipped with Bluetooth. More specifications inside.
Fujifilm has today announced five new digital cameras, all of these cameras use the recently announced xD Picture Card storage. Just to add more confusion to matters three of the cameras will have different names in the US than in Europe or Japan (nice move). US names: FinePix A200 (AKA. A202), FinePix 2650 (AKA. A204), FinePix A203, FinePix A303, FinePix 3800 (AKA. S304). As if consumers weren't confused enough by the announcement of so many new models...
Minolta USA has now made the Minolta DiMAGE 7 upgrade kit available for purchase directly from their online shop. The upgrade kit brings a large number of the new features available on the new DiMAGE 7i to the older DiMAGE 7. The most interesting improvements are those made to AF speed, drive speed, live view histogram and the addition of Direct Manual Focus. You can choose between the $49.95 upgrade which simply includes the firmware or $79.95 upgrade which includes the firmware and new DiMAGE Viewer software.
TOKYO 16:00: Fujifilm has today announced the new xD Picture Card flash storage media. The xD Picture Card was developed in conjunction with Olympus as the replacement for the aging SmartMedia format. The card will be produced by Toshiba. As mentioned in the Olympus news article below both companies will continue to support the SmartMedia format and will continue to produce SmartMedia cards into the future. The xD format is designed to address the need for smaller sized cameras and higher capacity storage. Note: Fujifilm's press release includes an extensive Q&A section.
TOKYO 16:00: Olympus has today announced the new xD Picture Card flash storage media. The xD Picture Card was developed in conjunction with Fujifilm as the replacement for the aging SmartMedia format. The card will be produced by Toshiba. Both companies are keen to stress that they are and will continue to support the SmartMedia format and will continue to produce SmartMedia cards into the future. The xD format is designed to address the need for smaller sized cameras and higher capacity storage, it will be available initially up to 128 MB with 256 and 512 MB just around the corner. I personally am not that keen to see yet another flash storage format.
Canon BeBit (Japan) has today posted firmware 1.4.0 for the EOS-1D. This new firmware addresses five issues: 1. Noise reduction tone curve settings are added to the EOS-1D's monitor menu. 2. Continuous shooting is supported with Remote Capture 2.5 or higher. 3. Exif 2.2 (Exif Print) is supported. 4. Windows XP is supported. (Direct connect support via WIA 4.5) 5. Camera settings metadata has been modified. Note: If you install this new firmware you must be running the latest drivers on your computer (updated EOS-D drivers noted previously in our news).
Canon has posted new drivers for the EOS-D30, EOS-D60 and EOS-1D digital SLR's. The latest version of drivers for Windows are marked Ver 4.5.3. The Canon PowerShot page has a full summary of the latest versions of RAW Image Converter and Remote Capture for Windows and Mac, so not only is it worth downloading the latest drivers for your camera but it may also be worth checking to see you have the latest versions of the full software suite.
There has been talk of a 'recall' elsewhere, we can clarify that this is simply a firmware update but it is one which can't be applied by the user. This update solves an issue with White Balance Bracketing: "When Image Review (Custom Setting 1) is set to On and Bracket Set (Custom Setting 11) is set to WB Bracketing it is possible that the White Balance bracketing feature may not perform as expected. Additionally, if Image Review is Off but the Monitor button is pressed while images are being written to the CF Card the White Balance bracket may not perform as expected." Check your camera by viewing exposure information in camera, simply display an image and press the left or right arrow until 'FIRM VER' is displayed. Nikon D100 cameras with firmware V1.0 will need updating.
It's taken a little longer than I would have liked but today I have posted our full and final Nikon D100 review. The D100 continues Nikon's strong tradition for high quality digital SLR's, and best still it does so at a price many can afford. The D100 offers a compact, light weight digital SLR with high resolution and great compatibility. See how the D100 performed in our tests. UPDATED: 29/July/2002: Added coverage of Nikon Capture Camera Control.
Thanks to our friend Peter iNova for noting that Nikon Europe has posted a new firmware for the Coolpix 995 digital camera. Firmware 1.7 is noted to "improve the issue of images captured by Coolpix 995 appearing too red when using Auto White Balance under incandescent light". It's good to see a manufacturer continuing to support its older models as well as the latest cameras.
Japanese reviewer and friend of dpreview Yamada Kumio has today posted a head to head comparison between Casio's Exlim EX-S1 and Sony's DSC-U10. The comparison includes a quick side-by-side size and features followed by a variety of sample shots taken in different conditions and with different camera settings. If you think you may be in the market for one of these tiny digital cameras (and if you can get them where you live) then be sure to check out this comparison.
Forgent Networks (formally known as VTEL) has posted a press release stating their claim to JPEG and their intention to pursue licensing revenue from companies who use it. They own United States patent 4,698,672 which covers the JPEG compression standard, this patent was created by Compression Labs who Forgent bought back in 1997. The press release specifically mentions digital cameras as well as PDA's, web browsers, phones and scanners. It looks as though Sony has already paid for the privilege...
TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) has announced the results for 'Best Photo Products in Europe' from the European Photo & Imaging Awards 2002-2003. Best Digital Prosumer camera went to the Olympus E-20, Best Design went to the Minolta DiMAGE X, Best Digital Consumer camera went to the Canon PowerShot S40, Best Digital SLR went to the Canon EOS-1D, Best Lens was the Canon 400 mm F4 DO IS, Best Innovative Technology was Foveon's X3 chip.
The ever reliable (for leaks) website of the French printed magazine Chasseur d'Images is running a news article about the death of SmartMedia to be replaced by a new card called the XD Picture Card. According to their article this new card will be considerably smaller than SmartMedia, about the same size as an SD card and stiffer. They say that the card will be available in capacities of 128, 256, 512 MB and up to 1 GB with 4 and 8 GB a possibility. The card appears to be manufacturered by Toshiba and doesn't contain a controller chip (just like SmartMedia).
Adobe has announced an new version of Elements. Version 2.0 adds a variety of new features and improvements including a Glossary of digital photography terms, Quick Fix dialog which can add immediate fixes in one pass, Frame From Video which allows you to capture frames from video files, Selection Brush, PDF Slideshows, E-mail friendly output sizes. "Digital camera unit sales in North America are expected to grow to 18.7 million by 2007. Within this period, most digital camera users will desire easy-to-use tools for image editing and photo printing," said Michelle Slaughter, digital photography analyst at InfoTrends Research Group. "Photoshop Elements 2.0 offers a powerful feature set that is easy to use."
After well over two years (first announced in April 2000) the first tiny Memory Stick Duo is about to go on sale in Japan. The first model, MSA-M16A will have a capacity of just 16 MB but is about half the size (and considerably thinner) than a normal Memory Stick, this makes the Duo about the same size as an SD/MMC card. Also available will be a Memory Stick Duo adapter to allow the Duo to be used in a normal Memory Stick slot. The Duo is aimed primarily at the Mobile Phone and PDA market. The first application for the Duo will be the new Sony Ericsson P800 mobile phone (with built in digital camera).
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.
Canon BeBit (Japan) has today posted EOS-D60 firmware version 1.0.2. This firmware addresses a couple of issues which had been raised (rather vocally) by owners, especially on our 'Canon SLR Talk' discussion forum. This firmware solves: "Underexposure may occur in low light situations when the SI (Superimpose) display is ON" and "Duplicate file numbers may occur when more than 100 images are recorded per folder". This update can be installed by the user via a Compact Flash card, just follow the clear instructions.
I-O Data has today announced the availability of 256 and 512 MB SD cards. The SD card is now beginning to establish itself in the digital camera market, the advent and availability of larger capacity cards will be very welcome to owners of SD/MMC storage cameras. Another positive aspect of the new cards is that there appear to be no known compatibility problems, so unlike the SmartMedia debacle of a few years ago existing SD/MMC digital cameras should be able to use these new cards without problems.
Last week I attended a trip to Japan organized by Fujifilm UK. This trip included an extensive tour of the Fujifilm manufacturing plant at Sendai, Japan. This is the place where the majority of Fujifilm digital cameras are made. This brief report is designed to give you an insight into what is involved in the manufacture of a Fujifilm digital camera and how Fujifilm have built an advantage over others.
Colorplaza Ltd. has today announced ColormailerPro, an online photo finishing service aimed specifically at professional photographers. The service can be used by those who shoot digital or traditional film. Print sizes range from 4 x 6 inch up to 20 x 28 inch and are printed using a Polieletronica LaserLab processing onto Agfa Digital Professional II Photo Paper. The ColormailerPro service is available in the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland.
Nikon Singapore has today announced an eleven city Asia Roadshow providing a sound advice and training in Digital Photography Workflow. Nikon Tour Manager Daren Tan emphasizes "There is certainly no lack of individual product information available... ...we wanted to get out and teach people face-to-face with solutions of a good synergistic digital workflow (a combined researched solution with the partners) in a comprehensive and solution-based approach. We're aiming an audience not just of professional photographers, but also of 'professionals who take photographs' ".
Nixvue has announced its new firmware version 1.04 (and soon 1.05) for the Vista portable storage / display unit. The new firmware adds support for the display of Nikon RAW (NEF) and Canon RAW (CRW) files on both the internal LCD and connected TV. Other new features include the viewing of EXIF and Histogram information and multiple sub-directory slideshow option.
Sanyo Japan has today posted a press release about their development of a prototype wireless network digital camera. In parallel they are also demonstrating this prototype at NETWORLD + INTEROP 2002 TOKYO. The prototype camera is based on the 1.5 megapixel DSC-SX560. This camera is designed to be used with an IEEE 802.11b (11 Mbps) wireless CompactFlash card for connection to both public wireless as well as private indoor wireless LAN. The camera includes a TCP/IP stack and can be configured to upload the image immediately to a server on the wireless network. Public 802.11b networks are starting to become a reality both in Japan and other parts of the world.
Sony has today announced their smallest and lightest digital camera the DSC-U10. This tiny 1.3 megapixel digital camera weighs in at just 118 g (4.2 oz) fully loaded, has a fixed focal length lens, one inch LCD, is powered by two AAA batteries and stores its images onto MemoryStick. This camera is expected to hit the stores in Japan on 20th July this year and should have a street price of 25,000 YEN (approx. US$200).
Delkin Devices has today announced the 'eFilm PicturePAD', the PicturePAD is a portable storage and display device for digital photography and appears to be an OEM Nixvue Vista. The PicturePAD has a 1.8 inch LCD monitor which is used to navigate menus and display images, the built-in CompactFlash slot is used to transfer images from CF (or other formats with an adapter) to the internal hard drive. The PicturePAD initially will be available in 20 and 30 GB capacities. The MSRP for the 20GB model is $549.
Olympus has announced the four megapixel C-4000Z. This camera is (yet) another re-hash of the same body design which we first saw used back on the C-2000Z. The C-4000Z appears to be based on the C-3020Z but with the addition of a four megapixel sensor, TV output and an external flash connector. Note that this camera does not have the fast F1.8 lens of its bigger brother the C-4040Z, instead it has the slightly slower F2.8 (still respectable). Expected UK price will be £449.99 inc VAT, available in August.
Nikon US has today confirmed the pricing (MSRP) of the Nikon Coolpix 5700, Coolpix 4500 and Coolpix 2000 as $1195.95, $699.95 and $249.95 respectively. This brings the price of these cameras in line with the competition and also distinguishes the 5700 from its lesser-zoom-brother the Coolpix 5000. According to the press release all of these cameras should be in the shops in July.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Fujifilm's new FinePix F601 Zoom. The F601 Zoom has the latest generation SuperCCD sensor which has 3.1 million pixels and creates a 6 megapixel output image. The F601 is Fujifilm's successor to the 6800Z, it's slightly smaller, slightly lighter better designed and faster. Indeed, the F601 Zoom may well be the fastest compact digital camera currently available.
Casio Japan has today announced the QV-R3 and QV-R4, three and four megapixel, three times optical zoom ultra-compact digital cameras in a metal case. Casio note that the lens is made by Pentax, which would probably make it the same lens unit used in the Optio 330/430. Casio are also promoting this camera has having a very short shutter release lag of 1/100th of a second. More hints about how heavily this new camera is based on Pentax's Optio 330/430 creep up in the specifications, with features such as World Time and the Alarm function.
Just posted! Our in-depth look at Minolta's new and update DiMAGE 7i. The 7i follows on from the success of last years DiMAGE 7, it adds several new features and fixes as well as some subtle design changes and build finish improvments. Since the introduction of the DiMAGE 7 the high end 5 megapixel market has seen several new cameras, Minolta's toughest test will be Nikon's new Coolpix 5700, a match which we will add to this review at a later date.
Epson, the creators of PIM (Print Image Matching) has today announced yet another standard. This time it's called PIM II (this could turn into a Rocky series) in addition to the original set of parameters PIM II now understands embeded noise reduction and custom scene flags. To me this is just another confusing standard for users who are STILL not getting reliable colour matching between their digital camera and their printer. None of the solutions put forward so far (PIM, PIM II or EXIF 2.2) are the real solution.
Nikon Europe has today posted the English installer version of firmware 1.1 for the Coolpix 2500. This firmware popped up on the Nikon Japan website last week, as far as we know the actual firmware is the same it's simply the installer which is now in the English language. This new firmware addresses issues arising from the rotation of images in Windows XP it also adds full support for EXIF 2.2 (ExifPrint). The installer requires that you have the camera connected to your PC via a USB cable.
Kodak has today announced that it has dropped the price of the Professional DCS 720x from $6,995 to $4,995. The 720x is based on the Nikon F5 body and features Kodak's unique Cyan, Magenta and Yellow CFA CCD. This provides the camera with a wide sensitivity range of ISO 400 to ISO 6400. "The DCS 720x digital camera is the ideal camera if you're shooting in low-light or action situations - such as military and law enforcement applications, or sports and news events - and now it's available at a very affordable price." To me the DCS's are now looking old, tired and outdated.
Minolta has today announced an upgrade kit for the DiMAGE 7. This kit contains new firmware for the camera and an updated version of the DiMAGE Viewer software. The firmware upgrade implements a large number of the new features available on the new DiMAGE 7i. The most interesting improvements are those made to AF speed, drive speed, live view histogram and the addition of Direct Manual Focus. The upgrade kit will be available for $79.95 (including DiMAGE Viewer) or $49.95 (just firmware) from the Minolta USA website soon.
In an interesting move Fujifilm US has now dropped the price of the S2 Pro digital SLR Kit to $2399 from its previous price of $3699. The S2 Pro has a six megapixel Super CCD sensor which produces a twelve megapixel output file. This new drop brings the price of this camera closer to that of the recently announced Nikon D100 and Canon EOS-D60. Note that there will now no longer be a non-kit version available. All pre-orders placed with our official affiliate will automatically be lowered to the new $2399 price. Place your order today and help support this site!
The Dutch website Tweakers.Net has posted a report on a tour they had of Dane-Elec's Irish memory factory. The first four pages of the tour concern themselves with standard PC RAM (SDRAM etc.), page five ownards offers an interesting peek into the production of Compact Flash cards. Anyone with even a passing interest of what the inside of these factories looks like should take a look at this report.
HP has posted new firmware (1.00.11) for its four megapixel 812. When we reviewed this camera we had more than a couple of issues with its image quality. Specifically images appeared soft and low resolution. The new firmware is supposed to address these issues by improving noise filtering and increasing image sharpening. We hope to update our 812 review sometime in the next week to reflect this new firmware. This update can be applied by the camera owner.
Maha, better known for their battery chargers has introduced a new business line called "Powerex". Powerex has introduced a range of four Lithium-Ion / Lithium-Polymer rechargeable battery packs which are directly compatible with several digital camera models which take proprietary designed packs. The four packs are the MH-BP511 (Canon G1, G2, D30, D60 etc.), MH-NP80 (Fujifilm / Toshiba / Kodak), MH-ENEL1 (Nikon Coolpix 775, 885, 995, 880, 885, 5000 etc.), MH-NB1L (Canon PowerShot S100, S110, S300 etc.). These packs are completely compatible and have either the same or higher capacity than the packs they replace.