News archive for July 2000
The size of imagers to come? "Atmel Corporation (Nasdaq:ATML - news) today announced the immediate availability of its MPIX 1 single chip digital camera processor. The chip, first sampled in June of this year, supports up to 16 megapixel CCD and CMOS type imagers. Production is now ramping up in support of two major customers, one with a digital camera consumer product and the other with an industrial application. "
A Gartner Survey Shows that 12.7 million US Households are expected to have a digital camera by the end of 2000. "Ninety-eight percent of digital camera sales in 2000 will be to consumers buying their first digital camera, indicating the market is wide open to new vendors that have a better product and bigger advertising budget,'' said Andrew Johnson, vice president of Dataquest's e-Digital Imaging Devices and Services U.S. program. "New buyers most likely do not have enough personal, hands-on experiences with a particular digital camera model to have developed a strong preference. Word of mouth and third-party recommendations will weigh heavily in their purchase decision.''
Wow, that's what you'll be saying. This tiny digital camera (looks like something out of MI:2) shoots at VGA (640 x 480), takes Memory Stick Duo (the new shorter Memory Stick) AND has a 0.55" LCD (viewfinder / review I assume). Best of all? It measures 21.5 x 62.6 x 13 mm (0.8 x 2.7 x 0.5 ") and weighs just 26 g (1 oz) with batteries... Ok, so I want one.
What a camera... 190 mm Carl Zeiss zoom lens, great electronics, clean and sharp image quality... Call my cynical but I didn't really expect much out of what was basically an F505 (don't get me wrong, good camera) with a 3.3 megapixel CCD shoe-horned into it. But Sony came up trumps with the F505V. So much so in fact that my conclusion will probably surprise a lot of people.
Professional Photographer Rob Galbraith has just posted a 5,500 word report on Canon's upcoming EOS-D30 Digital SLR. "It's not a direct competitor to the D1 or Kodak's pro cameras. But if the image quality is as good as Canon promises, then its feature set and software, combined with a street price of well below US$3000, will make the D30 an appealing option for newspapers with smaller budgets and lots of Canon gear, as well as the thousands of Canon-toting freelance news shooters eager to make the jump to digital".
Just noticed over on FinePix.Com, FujiFilm have a new section called "New FinePix". More details on the camera will be available in September, but from the skeleton case picture they've shown so far we can see that the camera has a SLR-look but with a large (I'll guess fast - ~F2.0) non-interchangable lens with a focus ring, a flash hotshoe, SLR style grip & controls, SuperCCD imager and lots of manual controls. Looks interesting... Competition for Canon's Pro 70 follow-up?
We've know for some time now that Olympus & Polaroid will be holding a joint press conference live on the web (anytime now in fact), however their press release by PRNewswire came through a little ahead of time. As we'd expected the C-211Z is a 2.1 megapixel, 3 x optical zoom digital camera with the ability to print directly onto Polaroid 500 instant film (10-pack for $9.99). Expected release is October 2000, retail price $799.
Olympus UK have added the C-2100UZ and C-990Z to their website, in addition there are Quicktime VR 3D views available of both cameras for those who are interested. A quick recap, the C-2100UZ has: 1.92 megapixels effective (1600 x 1200), 10x stabalised zoom lens (38mm - 380mm), TTL LCD Viewfinder, SmartMedia. Expected retail price is around US$1,300, supposed to be available in Japan in August (which means we can expect them around September).
The Japanese website Impress PC Watch picked up news of a development by Kyocera (owner of the Contax name) to produce a digital version of their N1 35mm camera, dubbed the N Digital it will feature a 6 megapixel sensor (not yet confirmed CCD or CMOS) which will be the size of a 35mm frame (thus no focal length multiplier), a two inch LCD and support CF Type II. The camera will support Contax's own "N mount" lenses, so far four Carl Zeiss lenses exist with this mount. Kyocera are hoping to price the Digital SLR at around 800,000 YEN (approx. US$7,400). Expected Spring 2001.
UPDATED 19/July/2000 - Exclusive photographs of the camera
Dave over at Imaging-Resource has just posted a Sony Mavica FD-95 review, obviously having more luck with loan cameras from Sony than I am... As he said, it's back to reviewing cameras after spending an inordinately long time on our last review. "Mavica critics will likely still comment on the image softness that results from the high levels of JPEG needed to squeeze the 2.1 megapixel images onto floppies, but there's no question that the FD95 is a huge improvement in the image-quality department relative to all the floppy-based Mavicas that have gone before."
If you're reading this news article then you made it to our new server, everything seems to be running smoothly at the moment, obviously we'll be monitoring the servers vitals closely over the next 48 hours. One slight funny is (at least for the first 3 hours) you may notice messages in the forums with odd posted times, this is because we've also relocated on the west coast (pacific time) and incurred a timezone change which has slightly confused the forums, this will correct itself within the first 3 hours.
Seems to be "DV cameras which can also shoot stills day" today. Sony have updated their ever popular (yep, I've got one) DCR-PC100 MiniDV camcorder. Why should we care? Because it was one of the first DV camcorders to feature a stills facility, it also did this with a 1 megapixel CCD, which the new model retains (1152 x 864 JPEG stills onto Memory Stick). What else is new? It's got a pop-up flash and MPEG clip mode.. a sure declaration that Sony are moving forward in the integration of DV and digital stills cameras.
It's a good problem as a spin doctor would tell you. Due to the increasing popularity of dpreview.com we're having to upgrade our servers. Most of the work has already taken place (in the background) and all primary services (DNS, MAIL, WEB) have already been moved to the new server. However, those of you who know the business also know our biggest enemy is DNS. When we switch the site over to the new server we will shut down the old website and www.dpreview.com will be given the new IP address, this may take a day or so to get into your ISP's database and thus the site may seem inaccessible.. However, there is a solution.
Minds@Work today made their Digital Wallet product official, we've seen pictures and some brief specifications on their website for some time now. The Digital Wallet (in a digital photography sense) is a portable device for downloading the contents of your memory card to allow you to continue shooting. Today Minds@Work have not only issued a press release but also activated their e-commerce site enabling you to buy the Digital Wallet. And we can vouch for it's authenticity as we have a unit in-house and will be posting a review very soon.
Not strictly digital photography news, but more interesting is the technology used and it's possibilities. Hitachi announced (back in June actually) the DZ-MV100 as a first of a kind DVD-RAM camcorder, features a 1.1 megapixel CCD has a 12x optical zoom lens and records in MPEG-2 format directly onto 8 cm 2.92 GB DVD-RAM discs it's also capable of 1280 x 960 stills recorded in JPEG format and has USB connectivity. Interesting technology when viewed alongside Sony's recent announcement of the MVC-CD1000 and interesting potential in a "Wallet" type device.
Steve Sanders over at Steves-Digicams has just posted a First Look of Ricoh's innovative RDC-7. This digital camera aimed at the "business market" has a flat design with a fold-out LCD and some interesting little items of technology such as a Pro mode which allows for "pixel shifting" (interpolation to you and me) up to 3072 x 2304. "The styling of the RDC-7 reminded me of Ricoh's hugely successful RDC-2 digicam that I owned about two years ago. It even has the same type of "flip up and rotate around" 2-inch color LCD monitor that can be used as a realtime viewfinder. "
As promised yesterday we're now able to bring you a complete in-depth review of Minds@Work's Digital Wallet. This portable storage system promises to be the answer to all your flash storage problems, but does it deliver? "As a first of it's kind the Digital Wallet does exactly what it's supposed to, it's quick at transferring data in the field and the batteries last well, everything that you'd need to go out shooting for extended periods without worrying about how many shots your taking... "
Today at 8:00 PM ET (5:00 PM PT) there will be a live chat with Richard Pelkowski from Olympus, you can join in and may win an Olympus 360L. "Richard Pelkowski from Olympus will be sharing his secrets and insights into the latest Olympus show stealing products. And Richard will be giving away an Olympus 360L during the chat to the person who asks the most interesting question!"
Although we did cover this camera back at the beginning of June when it was announced in Japan it's worthwhile following the US announcement for confirmation of specifications and price. Fujifilm Finepix 40i digital camera + MP3 player, fixed 36 mm equiv. lens, 2.4 megapixel SuperCCD (producing up to 2400 x 1800), ISO 200 equiv., also 320 x 240 Motion JPEG AVI with audio up to 80 seconds. Available in the US late August 2000, expected retail price of $699.
This coming Tuesday, July 25 there will be a first ever Webcast announcement of a new digital camera product. More interesting is the announcement is a joint development between Olympus and Polaroid. "Olympus GM Joe Kojima and Polaroid CEO Gary DiCamillo will join forces in both companies' first-ever Webcast to make an announcement surrounding the launch of an innovative new product. This new product merges the strengths of both companies and will create a new imaging category that will provide consumers and professional users with a product solution that is a first in the U.S. marketplace."
In the same article as the N Digital (see below) Impress PC Watch also noted the announcement of a new consumer digital camera from Kyocera (in the West: Yashica), the Finecam 3300. This super-compact (93 x 37 x 66mm - just a little bigger than a Canon IXUS / ELPH) 3.3 megapixel, two times optical zoom, scheduled to go on sale (in Japan at least) in September at a price of 79,800 YEN (approx. $740). This compact will support CF Type II and features a special Lithium-Ion battery.
And you thought yours was big... Dan Slater has gone to the complete extreme, testing telescopic lenses from a Celestron 300mm through to a Russian made 1000mm lens and the amazing Perkin Elmer 4572mm f11 Missile Tracking Lens coupled with a Nikon TC301 x2 teleconverter giving a HUGE 9144mm... You just have to see his pictures to believe what you're seeing. Yes.. that's a car jack.
Just received an announcement from Modular One Designs about an alternative to Nikon's SK-E900 Flash Bracket, their bracket of a significantly different design offers a viable alternative to the Nikon bracket. "It consists of two parts: The main bracket for hand held flash shots and an Auxiliary Attachment (see it at their web site) that provides for a standard shutter release cable when used on a tripod."
This story is probably of more interest to the techies and industry readers of the site, however it's also good news for the ongoing improvement of digital still cameras. TI today announced a new programmable DSP-based chip not only improves shoot-to-shoot times but also offers enhanced multimedia options by supporting various codecs including real-time MPEG1, MPEG4, JPEG, MJPEG, H.263 and MP3, as well as data communication standards such as IrDA, USB, and RS-232.
Today Canon, Kodak, Fujifilm and Matsushita (Panasonic) updated DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) specification to version 1.1. DPOF has been a feature of all recent digital cameras, it's a mechanism for naming and marking digital images created by digital cameras to be printed later by printers / photofinishers which also understand DPOF. In the latest revision DPOF supports Multiple Image Printing, Specific Size Printing, Slide Shows (for intelligent projectors) and 2-byte Unicode text (greater language support).
Jeff over at DCResource posts a review of Epson's PhotoPC C3000Z. He concluded "The Epson PhotoPC 3000Z is in the area of digital photography with the toughest competition: 3 Megapixel cameras....If you're a regular user, this is a decent choice for a 3 Megapixel camera. If you're shooting for print, or require TIFF mode often, you might want to consider something else, as the slowness will really get to you."
Japanese Photographer Yamada Kumio has posted a comparison of three of the newest two megapixel digicams on the Impress PC Watch site. This time he has a single shot comparison of the Olympus C-990Z, Sony DSC-S50, Pentax EI-200 (AKA HP PhotoSmart 618), Canon IXY Digital (AKA Digital IXUS/ELPH) and the Casio QV-2300UX.
According to Rob Galbraith's site, Kodak US has dropped the price of the DCS620 & DCS620x to bring them closer to the price of Nikon's D1. The price cuts of US$1000 off the DCS 620 and US$2000 off the DCS 620x mean you'll be able to pick up a DCS 620 (without an anti-aliasing filter) for about US$5500.
Polaroid will be releasing new digital imaging products in the third quarter of 2000, the emphasis on 'trendy' offerings at low prices, bringing digital cameras to the masses. "Palmer discussed Polaroid offerings in the mobile arena, including the PhotoMAX modem camera that will allow the instant download of photos to the Internet via a phone line. Palmer also highlighted a digital photo printer, which will take advantage of emerging wireless technology to allow printing and transferring images on the go, and a digital printing camera, which will produce instant prints of digital images. Both are currently scheduled for release in the second half of 2000. "
It's always nice to see other websites doing well, PhotoPoint was established at about the same time as this site. They saw unprecedented success not long after launching as one of the first photo sharing sites. According to the Media Matrix May 2000 Digital Media Report PhotoPoint.Com had 2,079,000 unique visitors in May. Well, we're not doing too badly ourselves with 826,000 unique visitors in June...
Just received this press release, SCM Microsystems have acquired Microtech the chosen distributor of the IBM Microdrive in the United States along with other storage systems. "Microtech will continue to operate as a wholely owned subsidiary of SCM. Keeping its focus on the channel, Microtech will leverage SCM's considerable resources to expand it's market share of existing and new products."
Just received this exclusive press release (which will go out elsewhere tomorrow). Looks like Nikon are quite proud to announce they've been awarded Best Digital Professional Product 2000-2001 for the Nikon D1 and Best Digital Compact Camera 2000-2001 for the Nikon Coolpix 990 by TIPA (Technical Image Press Association).
Sometimes I wish Max would slow down!! We only mentioned Thumber 3.20 last week, now Max has updated it to support drag-and-drop from Windows Explorer, extra specific information for certain cameras (Nikon 990, 950, Casio QV2000, QV3000 and some Olympus models), Support for Nikon D1, font sizes etc. etc. He never stops that guy...
The European Low-End (sub 1,000 Euro) Digital Camera Market is set to grow 55% annually through 2005 to reach 3.6 billion Euro according to an InfoTrends report. "The European market is often characterized as solely demanding superior image quality and high resolution. However, it is now ready to adopt digital cameras that offer basic point & shoot capabilities and deliver sufficient image quality for sharing digital photos via the Internet,'' says Michelle Lampmann, market research analyst for InfoTrends Research Group. "This turning point is a result of the increasing PC penetration and Internet connectivity.''
What's this? A smell of coffee? Computer monitors are 4:3 ratio, old CCD's always had a 4:3 ratio, and thus digital cameras inherited this aspect ratio. Some consumer digital camera manufacturers have started to include 3:2 ratio image sizes (just cropping you understand) to match photo finishing prints. PhotoAccess takes the initiative by offering 4:3 ratio prints at 3.75" x 5" ($0.39), 4.5" x 6" ($0.49), 6" x 8" ($1.49), 7.5" x 10" ($2.49) and 9" x 12" ($4.95). I'm sure it wasn't all that difficult... Guillotine?
Yesterday Jasc made available a public beta of their latest generation of the excellent paint / photo package Paint Shop Pro. Version 7 sees a maturity of what has become a truly excellent and amazingly feature packed application. Of special interest to Digital Photographers should be some new features aimed directly at enhancing and correcting digital camera photographs. Watch out Photoshop 6....
Well.. if you live in Japan that is, where the S1 is already on sale. Thanks to digitalcamera.gr.jp for publishing a "real world price table" from the Japanese camera retailer Yodobashi Camera. The table, published today, covers pricing of digital cameras from Digital SLR through to prosumer and consumer digital cameras. Bear in mind that Japanese prices are often much lower than those found in the rest of the world due to packaging differences and shipping / tax charges.
Translated table inside...
Just picked up an interesting article from EETimes about a partnership between three companies in the US and China to accelerate the development of hardware based JPEG2000 compression for digital cameras. "One key to the project is an algorithm, developed and implemented in an FPGA by startup WIS Technologies Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), that uses one filter for both lossless and lossy techniques to slash the die size of a JPEG2000 device."
Thanks to our forum poster "ETernity" for ever-so subtly pointing out that we'd missed this news article (I do have to sleep sometime ;) Atmel have unveiled two new digital imaging systems designed to be used where high quality digital imaging is required (and cost little object I'd expect). The Camelia 8M provides 12-bits of B&W image at up to 2.5fps and the Camelia Color 8M provides 12-bit colour data at 2.5 fps. This generates 24 MB files.
Good news if you're in the US and considering the Nikon Coolpix 950 or Coolpix 800, Nikon has rebates of $100 on the Coolpix 950 and $75 on the Coolpix 800. These rebates are available on cameras purchased between July 1st 2000 (April 1st 2000 for the 950) and September 30th 2000. We have reviews of both cameras on this site and they should certainly be in consideration of you're looking for a 2 megapixel digicam.
Today Panasonic announced their NV-C7 MiniDV digital video camera with a 10x optical zoom lens. This camcorder also features the ability to take 1200 x 900 (1 megapixel) stills recorded to the SD/MMC storage format flash cards (8MB - 64MB). The camera can also playback audio recorded on SD or MMC format cards. Priced at 235,000 YEN (~$2200) and available in Japan in September.
The monthly bi-lingual digital camera webzine Megapixel.Net have just released their July edition, under the reviewers eye this month is the Nikon D1, Sony DSC-S70, Epson PhotoPC 3000Z and Kodak DCS 315. They also have a first look at Ricoh's RDC-6000 and Kodak's PalmPix digital camera for the Palm.
I get a lot of emails from people asking "how did you get the exposure information out of the images?" Well, personally I use Thumber. And just browsing over to the Thumber website I noticed that Max has updated Thumber to version 3.20. This version incorporates a few updates since we last noted it. Max also regularly updates the "cameras.txt" file which enables Thumber to support new cameras, now up to the Canon Digital IXUS/ELPH.
Good news for the Memory Stick, Lexar are now shipping their own Memory Sticks in capacities of 16, 32 and 64MB. Earlier in the year we reported of Sony's investment in Lexar and the technology exchange agreed between the two companies including Lexar's high-speed flash memory controller, we're not seeing that technology in this range of Memory Sticks I'm sure it's not far around the corner.
FotoTime just released FotoAlbum version 1.12, which organizes and shares your pictures. FotoAlbum 1.12, FotoTime's free image organizer, has a host of new features including new camera driver support for the QV3000, the ability to create an archive CD of your pictures, and support for printing on non-standard papers including European and Asian formats. In addition, they also have reduced print prices for prints ordered from the FotoTime photo sharing site!
"Nikon's Coolpix 990, 3.34 megapixel, 3X Zoom-Nikkor lens digital camera has won the PC World "2000 World Class Award'' for Best Digital Camera. Awards were announced in the July 2000 issue of PC World and winners will be honored at an awards ceremony to be held on Wednesday, June 28, 2000, from 5-8 p.m. at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York City. "
Thanks to Danny Brenner for noting this bit of "light relief" news. Samsung have integrated a digital camera into a mobile phone, the unit can take up to 20 pictures at 640 x 480 (350,000 pixel CCD, 1 MB internal storage). The phone features a 1.5" TFT LCD and typical mobile phone battery life of 170 minutes talk and 180 hours standby. Note, this phone supports only CDMA networks.