News archive for January 2000
Received an interesting news release (early) from an anonymous poster which describes a little better how the SuperCCD technology differs from standard CCD's. "The number of sensors in conventional half-inch CCDs has increased dramatically in recent years, but it is generally believed the apex has been reached at around three million sensors. "
Today in one of several announcements Fuji announced the MX-4700, based on the design of the rest of the 700 series but radically updated with a new LCD display built-into the command wheel, larger LCD display and a whopping 4.3 megapixel SuperCCD. This is now the highest resolution consumer digital camera on the market.
Here's the official FujiFilm USA press release for the new FinePix 4700 and S1 Pro. "Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. set new standards in digital photography with the introductions of the FinePix 4700 ZOOM and FinePix S1 Pro digital cameras -- the first consumer and professional models to incorporate the companys new Super CCD image sensor technology. "
Received an email from a Kodak owner noting that Kodak have now released a Serial Connectivity Kit for the Kodak DC290. This will enable the connection of the DC290 to a computer which doesn't support USB (using a serial port connection instead). Generally we recommend either USB or a dedicated card reader (serial is very slow).
Lucky Steve has manged to get his hands on a Beta Coolpix 990 and posted a "first look", he says "I've only had it for a day and the weather went to crap today but I still got a pretty good First Look of the Coolpix 990 posted along with a very small assortment of sample photos. Please remember that this is a pre-production camera with beta firmware."
Digital Photography may be getting it's own dedicated exhibition, this being the first held from May 19-20 at the Rosemont Convention Center, Ill. So far the Expo has a fairly limited Exhibitors List but may be interesting all the same.
Kodak "Faced with continued losses in its digital photographic business, Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE:EK - news) on Thursday cut the suggested retail price of five popular digital cameras by as much as $100."... ...Effective immediately, the company lowered prices on five models, including the top-of-the-line Kodak DC290 zoom digital camera, cut to $899 from $999, and the low-end Kodak DVC325 digital video camera, reduced to $99 from $149.
The Fuji "BigJob" DS-260HD (1.5 megapixels) was originally announced back on 28th October (we had it in our specs database since January last year), it's a rugged, dust, water and impact proof and really aimed at the construction industry. Steve's reviewed it and he says "If you're looking for a digital camera capable of surviving the worst of what Mother Nature can throw at you -- it's the Fujifilm DS-260HD. The "HD" stands for Heavy Duty and they're not kidding. This camera is built like an M1-A1 battle tank and even though the case is plastic, it's very thick, impact resistant plastic. Quite a bit of the case is covered with a rubberized material which makes it easy to handle even while wearing gloves."
27/Jan/2000, 8AM Tokyo Time: Today Nikon announce the Nikon Coolpix 990. They've built on the strength of the 950, fixed some of the problems with the 950 and added a new 3.34 megapixel CCD, some new features, case is the same design but button layout is different with the addition of the new command dial and some professional features taken from their SLR range such as focus area selectors. Expected availability? April.
Just read this interesting post on our Nikon Talk forum by Jefferson W. "I bought one of the original Millennium editions back in November... ...they said that the original charitable donation will be made, and that the fair marketable value of the camera alone should be around $1300.00. They sent me a check to refund the difference! Wow! What a surprise! "
Dave over at Imaging Resource has posted a review of the Sony DSC-D770, the slightly upgraded version of the D700. I was impressed by the D700 when I reviewed it, and even though the Sony is looking a little long-in-the-tooth resolution wise (1.5 megapixels) it still has a feature set like no other, here's what Dave says: "What a camera! We really liked the exceptional manual control provided by the DSC-D770 and found the overall interface very user friendly. The 'real camera' styling quickly puts film based camera lovers at ease with its familiar shape and heft. "
Jeff had the good fortune to review Epson's flagship 2.1 megapixel 3x zoom digicam with that SLR-like design it's turned a few heads and generated quite a bit of interest, here's what Jeff says: "The 850Z is a camera that I'd recommend. It's photos aren't the sharpest or brightest out there, but the all-around feature set is strong, and you'll be pleased with its output. The only other camera in this price range with a hot shoe and manual controls is the Fuji MX-2900."
UPDATED Scanning over the NikonTech Japan website I noticed they've just posted a firmware update for the Coolpix 800 (Firmware v1.1), now obviously I don't condone downloading this unless you own a Japan Coolpix 800. Fixes include (translated from the Japanese): Improved white balance in AE-Lock mode, maintains white balance setting after power-off, performance improvement. Now Nikon Europe have posted PAL update too.
Here's an interesting technology press release which may well effect digital cameras: Scientists at Motorola Labs and Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a new, miniature fuel cell that may one day replace the traditional batteries that now power everything from cellular phones and laptop computers to portable cameras and electronic games.
The excellent Japanese Impress PC Watch webzine have posted the first samples from the 1.3 megapixel 3x zoom Panasonic PV-SD4090 (LK-RQ132S in Japan) SuperDisk digital camera, this camera supports both traditional 1.44MB Floppies and the 120MB SuperDisk's.. Oh and it's huge (and heavy), but then it has to be to take that big storage device.. doesn't it.
Some good news for one of our sponsors: Ofoto, Inc. Raises $16 Million In Funding Led By The Barksdale Group and Benchmark Capital E-Commerce Start-Up Brings Together Top Tier Venture Capital Firms To Lead Online Photo Finishing Market.
Fuji just popped out this interesting press release which talks about their presence at PMA 2000, amongst all the other products Fuji will be offering they do make special mention of "Fujifilms leadership in digital camera technology is once again demonstrated with the introduction of Fujifilm�s proprietary Super CCD image sensor technology, in which the unique placement of sensors results in images rich in detail and alive with vibrant colors. The company plans to make several product announcements regarding the Super CCD technology during the PMA show."
Just read this interesting post on Steves-Digicams about a credit card scammer trying to "sell" discounted factory sealed digicams on eBay (can you hear the warning bells?) turns out it's not only a scam but it could potentially put you in a lot of trouble.. and Steve has first hand experience.
Thanks to Danny Brenner for pointing me to this company press release about a 6.6 megapixel CMOS sensor which is the same size as a 35mm negative frame yet thin enough to be placed in (one would assume) the back of a normal 35mm camera... No products yet but it's interesting stuff.
"Kodak sees silver demand unhurt by digital cameras" which is kinda funny.. still, you just can't tell with Kodak these days... "Proliferation of affordable digital cameras will hardly affect silver demand from the photo industry, and in fact, the new technolgy complements and is helping grow conventional film use, according to Eastman Kodak."
In an announcement today Nikon cut $100 off the list price of their Coolpix 950 and Coolpix 800 digital cameras, Coolscan 2000 and Coolscan III film scanners which will undoubtedly have a knock on effect on the street price. Good news for buyers, looks like the 3+ megapixel digicams have put their pressure on the market.
After the interest and much discussion triggered by my coverage of the JPEG 2000 specification news article and my pointers to the LuraWave plugin I decided to publish a full gallery in LuraWave format. A new gallery, the second samples gallery for the Sony DSC-F505 has just been put up in LuraWave format.
Sony, good to their word supplied me with a production DSC-F505 to update my earlier review which was based on a pre-production camera. Not much to update however, test results matched the pre-production model, I've reshot the F505 vs. CP950 comparison and produced a new gallery of images (published in LuraWave wavelet format).
Thanks to Yamada's Digital Camera News for this news from CES 2000, Toshiba will be releasing the PDR-M70, a 3.3 megapixel ,3X zoom, SmartMedia digicam priced initially at US$899. Toshiba were also showing a rather interesting digital video camera with a 2 megapixel CCD and PCMCIA Type 2 storage... funky.
Professional Photographer Rob Galbraith has been busy contacting representitives of Kodak and Canon to lay to rest some rumours around Canon's answer to Nikon's D1 and the supply of EOS1n and F5 bodies to Kodak for their DCS520/560 & DCS620/660. 'The rumour mill has been in full swing over the holiday season. A number of you have written in requesting additional information about Canon's answer to the Nikon D1 as well as the discontinuation of the DCS 620, DCS 520 and EOS D2000.'
A piece of technology which has taunted traditional 35mm SLR owners for a long time was the promise of a "digital film" insert for their camera. After a name change and over 18 months Silicon Film have announced that their CMOS digital film with 64MB of RAM will become a reality in this first half of this year. Priced at less than $800 but with a 2.8 focal length multiplier and only compatible with certain cameras...
Impress PC Watch's digital camera reporter Yamada reports from the Macworld Expo 2000 in San Francisco. There's the oh-so-cute-and-cuddly iMac coloured SDC-80 digicam from Samsung (0.8 megapixel). Two reference Zip storage 2.1 megapixel digital cameras from Iomega, one 3x zoom, one 4x zoom. Creative technology were showing their Mac compatible Webcam Go and IPIX were showing their 360 degree lens on the Nikon D1.
Say hello to the Canon Powershot S20, a 3.34 Megapixel version of the S10, it's almost identical (except for its new golden skin) in specification to the S10, the big difference is the 40% increase in image area (2048 x 1536 vs. 1600 x 1200) due to the new big CCD. The Canon BeBit site have just posted specifications and four sample images.
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. has announced that its MX-1700 ZOOM digital camera will be honored today with an Innovations 2000 award for design and engineering excellence from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) at the 2000 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A panel of industry experts comprised of industrial designers, engineers and industry trade media, selected Innovations 2000 winners.
Press Release: Q-Research Inc., maker of digital image enhancement programs, has announced an agreement to package its PhotoGenetics software with Casio's newest digital cameras. In addition, Q-Research has announced marketing alliances with Ariston Technologies and d-store.com.
Just browsing over at the Kodak website I noticed they've just release a firmware update for the DC280, features are listed as: "Improved USB communication, Eliminates lens retraction delay on power down while camera is still processing an image, Improved battery level sensing to more accurately report the battery level for NIMH batteries, Firmware bug fixes". There's also a maintenance release for Mac connectivity to DC240 / DC280.
Casio, late comer to the digicam market stir things up by being the first to announce a 3+ megapixel digital camera. In an older article back in September I noted Sony's announcement of a new 3.34 megapixel CCD's (ICX252 series). Now the 3+ megapixel race is on beginning with the Casio QV-3000EX, a 3 megapixel (2048 x 1536), 3X optical zoom digital camera with a fast F2.0 lens, USB and CF Type II support. On sale? March. Retail price? $999
And here's to 2000 and the coming of age of Digital Photography (hopefully we'll have buckets full of 3+ megapixel digital SLR's). The last year has been a blast, and I'm extremely happy that this site has grown from the little single review page (Canon Pro 70) to the (hopefully useful) popular site it is today. I've big plans for this site next year, many thanks to all my visitors, sponsors, manufacturers and:
No rest for the wicked... We've just posted our long awaited (and long drawn out thanks to Christmas and New Year commitments), the DC290 is certainly an interesting camera with very good image quality, I did have my share of "however's" though... '...I suspect many D260/DC265 owners were hoping for much more than the DC290, something to compete with the best 2+ megapixel digicams on the market...'