News archive for April 2000
I've had my eye on Bibble for a while, now it's gone version 1 I thought I'd bring it to the attention of any D1 owners out there. Eric Hyman wrote Bibble to explore the 16-bit .NEF RAW image format from the Nikon D1 (and to save money on having to buy Nikon's Capture software), he's progressed it to an amazing level, it'll now browse and import .NEF files straight into Photoshop, it'll also do conversions, magenta fix, batch conversions and extract EXIF exposure information. (It's even claimed to give better colour reproduction than Nikon Capture!)
The latest digicam in house for our review treatment is the Olympus C-3030Z. It's a production model (NTSC). Having only had the camera for a day it's a little early to draw any major conclusions suffice to say I really like it, feels more solid and complete than the C-2020Z and produces image quality which puts it right up there with the 990.
We tracked Mike Rubin down to a small deserted island somewhere in the Caribbean (testing the next Coolpix no doubt) to bring these answers communicated over an old Morse network.. Instead of asking Mike to dig up the old messages and answer them directly on the newsgroup we've pulled them togther as a whole.. So here they are, answers to the questions you've asked!
Following similar action in Europe, FujiFilm Japan are now shipping the 4700Z without the 4.3M label on the front of the camera, they've also backed down in their catalogues and sales material clearly stating 2.4 megapixels. Perhaps they'll do the same for the 3.2 megapixel S1 Pro. This is clearly a victory for the consumer. Remember, don't believe the sales hype!
Another piece of news we've heard rumours about has today been made official by Sony. Today they announced the 3.34 megapixel DSC-F505V and DSC-F55V. Essentially upgraded versions of their popular Cybershot digicams these cameras now complement their (extensive) range of digicams. DSC-F505V will be available in Japan in June @ 125,000 YEN (US$1100), DSC-F55V will be available in Japan in July @ 88,000 YEN (US$830)
Every month Impress Group of Japan publish their printed Digital Camera magazine, they also publish a webpage with downloadable sample images associated with various articles in the magazine. This month there are samples from the following cameras: Nikon Coolpix 990, Olympus C-3030Z, Sony DSC-S70, FujiFilm FinePix 4700Z, Toshiba M70, Casio QV-3, Casio QV-3000EX, Epson CP-900Z, Canon S20, Sony DSC-S50, Fuji FinePix 1400Z, Sanyo DSC-SX550, Olympus C-960Z, Olympus C-860L and Panasonic LK-RQ132S. There's also a 3 megapixel vs. 2 megapixel comparison.
We've not heard much from Minolta since their EX-1500 diigcam, the camera which offered upgradable CCD's due to its removable lens portion (that never came to anything did it?). Today they announced an alliance with Konica in an attempt for both companies to gain ground on competitors such as Canon and Ricoh in the "digital equipment" sector (read: digital cameras). Watch this space...
Wim Pollet, a regular poster on our Canon Talk forum has put together a page exploring the possibilities of macro shots using the Canon S10 (or S20 for that matter) and a 10x Peak Scale Loupe. His results are outstanding and show that you don't always have to work within the limitations of your particular camera. The Loupe he uses is of high quality, it has a 20mm eyepiece and adjustable focus ring.. Cheap at about $60. He's got over 76 sample shots in the Albums section of his site.
Steve, happily living in the land of NTSC managed to get his hands on a C-3030Z way before me and has now completed his review. I'm receiving about ten emails a day requesting my own C-3030Z review which will come as soon as Olympus UK supply me with one, apparently there aren't any PAL C-3030Z's around (I don't really care what Video output it has...). Steve says "Bottom Line is that this is an excellent camera. As I said at the beginning, it will be one of the cameras that I'll recommend without hesitation to those seeking the "best" of the Y2K consumer digicams. "
Camedia Master 2 lets you download images directly from the camera over USB or Serial, has better printing support, support for slide shows, wide-screen panoramas, 360 degree panoramas and QuickTime VR and emailing support directly for Microsoft Outlook, Netscape Mail and Eurdora. It'll be shipped with the C-3030Z and C-3000Z, upgrades can be purchased for $19.95.
In a very interesting piece of news Lexar have received $2 million equity investment from Sony, in conjunction with a strategic partnership to apply their high-speed flash memory controller technology to Sony's Memory Stick. Sony wants their Memory Stick to be able to download 64MB of data in 10 seconds (that's 6.4MB/s boys...) As a part of the agreement Lexar has received license to manufacture and market Memory Stick under their own brand. Memory Sticks for the masses? Anyone else notice that the recently announced "Duo" Memory Stick would fit inside the CF form factor?
Here's a nice alternative to the supplied digital camera software, Ulead Photo Explorer will thumbnail and sort images, it's got download facilities for digital cameras and a TWAIN interface for scanners. Supports lossless JPEG rotation (without destroying the essential EXIF/CIFF data), batch resizing and file conversion. Sharing and Printing facilities. Best of all in it's Beta form it's a free download.
Nikon have launched a new toll free number for their US customers, 1-800-NIKON-UX which has been setup for exclusive support for their Digital Customers to answer questions about Nikon Coolpix Digital Cameras, Scanners and D1 professional system and software."By devoting a separate set of resources for digital information, we can ensure that Nikon customers will have a rewarding experience as they learn about using their digital Nikon products."
It's here. We've worked doubly hard this last week to ensure the most detailed and comprehensive review we've ever carried out. The Nikon Coolpix 990 is probably the most eagerly awaited digital camera of 2000, riding on the success and high praise of its now older brother the 950, Nikon had a high standard to upkeep (and lots of little niggles to fix).
Hats off to David over at Imaging Resource for pumping out regular reviews, this time he's completed a review of Canon's S20 he says "...They also gave it an exceptionally sharp lens to match the sensor's resolution (producing the highest resolution we've measured on a digicam to date, as of late March, 2000). We found its color to be very good as well, both hue-accurate and properly saturated. (Neither over-bright nor dull.) While it lacks traditional aperture- and shutter-priority metering modes, much the same effects can be achieved through the "Fast Shutter" and "Slow Shutter" exposure modes. Overall, a great camera and a great extension of Canon's "Elph-like" digicam line. Highly recommended!"
Sony have developed a new sized MemoryStick tentatively called "Duo" measuring just 20 x 31 x 1.6 mm it comes with a detachable cartridge which makes it the same size as a Memory Stick. Developed primarily for the PDA / telephone / portable AV markets. It's purely a develpoment and aimed for production in 2001.
We have just been told that State Street Direct is offering a special price on the Canon Powershot S10 - that is so low - we are not allowed to quote it here. When you visit their site (via this link) you will need to enter your e-mail address in - and the special price and buy link will be e-mailed to you. This offer is ONLY for online orders and will end as soon the current inventory is depleted.
Agfa today announce their palm-sized "dual use" digital camera it's only VGA (640 x 480) and has a built-in 2MB memory (enough for 32 images) or it can be used as a webcam with ArcSoft VideoImpress or Microsoft NetMeeting. Available end of May 2000, priced at US$149. "made on earth by man" - uh huh.
We've just posted our review of Casio's QV-3000EX, a camera which packs a lot of features into a very well priced bundle. Add to that a high quality Canon lens and a 3.3 megapixel CCD and you've got a camera capable of churning out some excellent images. I was impressed. If you're in the US (or if you don't mind importing) then the $999 Microdrive bundle is a steal.
Lucky chap Steve managed to get his hands on a Coolpix 990 a long time before me, and now he's finished off his Coolpix 990 review. So what does he think? "The Coolpix 990 turns out some of the sharpest images I have seen yet from a three megapixel digicam. The color balance and saturation is very good and the exposure control is what we have come to expect from Nikon's best cameras. Just as the Coolpix 950 was one of the top selling cameras of 1999 I have no doubts that the new 990 is going to do the same in 2000. It's everything the 950 was and more, a whole lot more! "
Probably one of the most eagerly expected digital cameras of 2000. At last we've got a production Coolpix 990 in house, it's got version 1.0 firmware and is fresh off the production line (Ser no. 5000070). Here's a quick first-look article and some sample images which I'm sure you're all dying to see.
Dave Etchells has just posted a review of Fuji's FinePix 4700z he says "It's neither as good nor as bad as it's been made out to be: We'd place its resolution as plainly better than the current crop of 2.1 megapixel cameras, but equally plainly not as high as the 3.3 megapixel units now hitting the market. "
Interesting news release from FlashPoint, the developers of the Digita operating system for digital cameras. Although the release doesn't make it clear which cameras and indeed which mobile phones their new "Digita Post" system is compatible with, it is an interesting step forward for truely portable, connected digital imaging devices.
The monthly Canadian digital camera websize megapixel.net have published their April edition (available in both English and Francais), this month they review the Canon Powershot S20, HP C500, Sony DCR-PC100 and interesting Minolta RD-3000 (a camera which uses two 1.5 megapixel CCD's to produce a 2.7 megapixel image). They also have articles on digital vs. film, HP P1000/P1100 Ink Jet printer and inexpensive digital cameras.
Thanks to all those people who took my story about the Canon CCD seriously. It's a completely fictitious if mildly convincing article. April Fool! A couple of interesting discussions errupted on the news forums after this posting. The concept for the CCD was all mine, although I'm sure it's beyond practical manufacture. (Manufacturers who think it's viable... email me ;)
OK, this time the guys are really gonna blow us all away because they've posted a comparison of the latest and hottest digicams, not only that but they've used the PIMA / ISO 12233 standard digital camera resolution test chart... an excellent way to directly compare the resolution of digicams. My best picks were the Sony S70, Nikon Coolpix 990, Olympus C-3030Z and Canon PowerShot S20.
This news leaked to me last night, I've just verified it with another industry source. Canon, in association with an undisclosed partner are developing a totally new class of CCD which will revolutionize digital cameras. Their so called multi-layer CCD uses the properties of a specially developed glass membrane which spreads the light equally to each layer.