Today, in a press release issued by Epson three more companies have announced that they will be incorporating Epson's Print Image Matching (PIM) colour technology into their upcoming camera models. They are Nikon Corp., Pentax Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. This now brings the total number of manufacturers supporting this colour matching technology (source to print) to twelve. Others already signed up include Sony, Olympus, Casio and Minolta.

PIM is a colour matching and correction technology announced by Epson (and partners) at PMA this year. It enables the digital camera to record further colour detail in the header of the image file (JPEG file) which is then used to produce more 'life like' colours when the image is printed. This assumes (a) the image hasn't been modified in a photo application which doesn't understand PIM (and so far I know of no photo apps which do) and (b) the image will be printed on a PIM compliant printer (erm.. that'd be an Epson printer then). Good for consumer choice? Not really.

Personally I don't know what was wrong with simply getting everyone (the camera manufacturers) to agree to one standard 'wide gamut' colourspace (such as Adobe 1998) and offer that as an in-camera option (along with sRGB) as Nikon have with their professional D1X and D1H. The ICC standard has been around for a whole lot longer, colourspace tags in JPEG and TIFF headers are understood by lots of photo applications (PIM, so far, is not).

Companies now supporting PIM technology for their upcoming digital cameras:

  • Casio *
  • Epson *
  • Konica
  • Kyocera *
  • Minolta *
  • Nikon *
  • Olympus
  • Pentax *
  • Ricoh
  • Sanyo
  • Sony *
  • Toshiba

* Manufacturers with cameras announced / released which support PIM

Epson press release:

Epson Announces Three Additional Leading Camera Manufacturers That Will Include Print Image Matching Technology in New Camera Models

Nikon Corp., PENTAX Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., Join Epson to Deliver Unsurpassed Image Quality with New Technology Linking Digital Cameras and Photo Printers

LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 25, 2001-- Epson America Inc. today announced that three new partners -- Nikon Corp., PENTAX Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. -- will incorporate PRINT Image Matching(TM) technology in their upcoming digital camera models.

These new partners join Casio Computer Co. Ltd., Konica Corp., Kyocera Corp., Minolta Co. Ltd., Olympus Optical Co. Ltd., Ricoh Co. Ltd., Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp., all of which announced this breakthrough technology with Epson earlier this year. Epson also recently introduced its first PRINT Image Matching enabled digital camera, the PhotoPC® 3100Z.

"With the addition of these new partners, PRINT Image Matching will now be incorporated into digital cameras from 12 of the best names in the industry,'' said Keith Kratzberg, director of photo imaging, Epson. "This technology makes it easier to get consistent digital photographic prints of incredible quality. By putting more control of the photographic process in the camera than ever before, PRINT Image Matching creates new opportunities for both digital camera developers and photographers.''

About PRINT Image Matching

This new technology ensures that digital cameras and PRINT Image Matching-enabled printers work perfectly together to create the best possible prints. With PRINT Image Matching technology, digital camera manufacturers can set critical image specific parameters for printing, such as gamma level, color space, contrast, sharpness, brightness, saturation, shadow point, highlight point and color balance, to ensure optimum results for each digital camera model.

The photographer's original intentions are automatically reflected in the printed image. Photographers can now easily create stunning, frame-ready photos with their favorite digital camera model and PRINT Image Matching-enabled printer without any complicated procedures.

Utilizing a PRINT Image Matching-enabled digital camera, the photographer simply points and shoots in automatic mode or selects an image type like portrait, landscape, macro, scenery or sport and snaps a picture. The print commands for photos taken in macro mode may emphasize sharpness and clarity, for example, while those taken in portrait mode could highlight soft focusing and subtle flesh tones.

Additionally, the gamma setting data will reflect the original brightness of the image, while the wider color space setting of the digital camera will provide access to previously unavailable color data resulting in truer colors overall. The camera saves this ideal print information in each image data file.

PRINT Image Matching-compatible printers then use this information automatically when printing to ensure that they most accurately reproduce the image captured by the camera.

Availability

Several PRINT Image Matching-enabled digital cameras have been announced including the Casio QV-3500EX and QV-2900UX; the Epson PhotoPC 3100Z; the Kyocera Finecam S3; the Minolta Dimage 7, Dimage 5, and Dimage S304; the Nikon Coolpix 995; the PENTAX Optio 330; the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P20, DSC-P30, DSC-P50, DSC-S75, DSC-S85, which are all Memory Stick compatible; and the Sony CD Mavica MVC-CD 200 and MVC-CD 300.

Other partnering manufacturers are expected to announce additional models throughout the next year. Epson also recently announced its first PRINT Image Matching photo printer, the EPSON Stylus® Photo 785EPX, and plans to roll out updated drivers for the EPSON Stylus Photo 780, 890 and 1280 printers in summer 2001. Epson will include PRINT Image Matching in all future photo printers.