News archive for April 2001
Steve over at Steve's Digicams has posted his review of the Casio QV-3500EX, here's what he concluded, "Casio has produced another winner here, the QV-3500EX is a top of the line 3-megapixel camera with all the features needed to make novice and experienced users happy... Dollar for dollar the QV-3500EX Plus bundle with the 340MB Microdrive costs about the same as other 3-megapixel cameras that come with only a 16MB flash card. This camera is a very good choice for those that want point-n-shoot ease or total flexibility and advanced features all rolled up in the same package!"
It's been a few days since Nikon announced the new Coolpix 995 and 775, I'm sure some of you have made up your minds already. So, for those of you chomping at the bit to get your hands on one of these new models you can be one of the first by pre-ordering from our official affiliate State Street Direct. Don't forget that your order helps to support this site!
Ofoto, the Internet photo company, have drawn the results for their Reasons to Smile contest. Congratulations go to the first prize winner Doug White of Fishers, IN who won $10,000, second went to Michele Yurgaitis of Enfield, CT who won a Canon PowerShot Digital ELPH and third went to Carolyn De Anda of Clovis, CA who won a Sterling Silver Frame.
EST: 2AM EST: Nikon has today announced the sucessor to the now
legendary Coolpix 990, a hard act to follow. The new Coolpix 995 has the
same 3.34 megapixel sensor (sorry guys, no 4/5 megapixels yet) but adds
several things which bugged 990 owners: Pop-up flash (designed to address
red-eye), a 4x optical zoom lens, CF Type II support (Microdrive MK 2
only), 1/2300 sec max shutter speed, noise reduction. Things some users
may see as negatives: plastic case instead of the much loved magnesium
alloy, proprietary rechargeable battery (though now included in the bundle).
MSRP $900, in stores June 2001.
According to a report by InfoTrends titled "Photo Kiosks and Digital Minilabs To Fuel Digital Photography Revolution", they expect Digital minilabs to grow from their current 4% penetration to about 70% by 2006. I personally found this report kind of surprising, while getting Prints is definetly an important part of the "digital revolution" I don't believe it's the most important part, there are lots of other supporting technologies which need to mature more quickly. Fact: Digital Photographers print far less than Film Photographers because they simply don't need to.
Thanks to Brian Woodchek of Imaging Spectrum Inc. (our official Professional Equipment affiliate) we now have access to the first (as far as I'm aware) full-size samples from Kodak's latest Pro Digital SLR the DCS 760. This 6 megapixel digital SLR was announced back in March, it's based on the Nikon F5 SLR. List price is $7,995, though Imaging Spectrum are currently offering it for $6,995.
Our friend Yamada Kumio has posted a set of samples from Fujifilm's 6900Z for the PC Watch site. The camera who's body is based on the 4900Z and sensor is the 3.3 megapixel SuperCCD (with a 6 megapixel output) found on the 6800Z. His samples cover a variety of subjects from outdoor architectures, people, indoor and his standard Japanese building shot. Other shots are available at different resolutions and ISO sensitivities.
Well, in my opinion. The strength of "My Netscape" was the users ability to add channels of information from independent (important word) providers such as ourselves (note that Imaging-Resource and DCResource also had My Netscape channels). With their "new" version they also seem to have dumped all external sources, now you can only choose from a limited selection of content from Netscape. It's a sad day.
As suggested by forums user "poohbear" and confirmed by other posters (and indeed requested by email before) we've created a new forum for the discussion of storage and media, to cover everything from media for digital cameras (SmartMedia, Compact Flash, Memory Stick, etc.) to on-the-road storage (Digital Wallet, Nixvue Digital Album etc.) to archival storage (CD-R, CD-RW etc.).
As an update to the story we posted on the 1st of March about Kodak suing several manufacturers over patent infringement, it looks as though they have come to an agreement with Sanyo and dropped the suit against the others. This involves a cross licensing pact whereby Sanyo will offer access to the Kodak Internet picture processing systems.
Nikon has today introduced three new Nikkor AF-S lenses, the 400 mm f/2.8D IF-ED II, 500 mm f/4D IF-ED II and 600 mm f/4D IF-ED II. "Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce THREE new additions to their outstanding range of superior AF-S Nikkor super telephoto lenses designed for sport and nature photographers. In listening to the wishes of photographers, Nikon have succeeded in dramatically reducing weight AND achieving closer focusing distances than their predecessors."
We've just posted slight updates to our Canon PowerShot A20 and IXUS 300 (S300 ELPH) reviews, with the addition of the WP-DC200 and WP-DC100 waterproof cases for the A20 and IXUS 300 respectively. We've also updated the A20 review with the various accessories available for this camera. Both waterproof cases are built to a very high quality level and are waterproof to 30 m (100 ft).
EST: 2AM EST:Nikon has today announced the Coolpix 775, designed
as an entry level digital camera it sports a 2 megapixel sensor with a
3x optical zoom lens. Loosly based around the popular 880 the 775 shares
many of its features including pre-programmed scene modes, good news this
time is that the Lithium-Ion rechargable battery and charger are included!
MSRP US$450, in stores July 2001.
Adobe has today announced a special plugin which has been optimized for the Intel Pentium 4 processor, it enhances the performance of Photoshop 6 running on a Pentium 4 by up to 70%. Pentium 4 processors are now available in 1.70GHz, 1.50GHz, 1.40GHz, and 1.30GHz speeds. "Performance-intensive applications such as digital imaging, multimedia and 3-D graphics run great on the Pentium 4 processor, but will run even faster when the application is optimized to unleash its full potential. Photoshop users can now begin to realize that potential when using this new plug-in."
Hagiwara Sys-Com, Japanese manufacturer, has today announced three new Compact Flash Type I cards based on new capacity flash memory. Available soon in 320, 384 and 512 MB sizes these new cards are some of the largest Type I available (along with Lexar's 384 MB 12x). No pricing has yet been announced, they should go on sale mid May 2001.
We've just posted our full, in-depth review of Canon's entry level PowerShot A20. Fitted out with a 2 megapixel CCD and 3x optical zoom lens the A20 is aimed at the novice buyer on a budget who doesn't want to compromise on image quality. The A20 can also be directly connected to the CP-10 Card Photo Printer (reviewed recently). The A20 enters the fiercely competitve end of the market which has received a number of new entrants in the last few months.
Steve Sanders over at Steve's Digicams has posted his review of the Canon PowerShot A20, here's what he concluded, "Canon's new PowerShot A20 is an excellent choice for those desiring an easy to use and compact size two-megapixel camera... The bottom line is that this is an excellent camera for those that just want to take good pictures without fussing with any controls. Turn it on, frame the shot, press the button -- you're done. And if you've got a CP-10 printer in less than a minute you can generate a beautiful photo print!"
Sony, as competitive as ever, have cut the price of the DSC-P30 and DSC-P50 digital cameras (which were announced at PMA 2001) by $100 each. The DSC-P30 will be priced at $300 (versus the $400 stated previously) and the DSC-P50 will be priced at $400 (versus the $500 stated previously). This makes these cameras a more interesting proposition to the entry level buyer, they will make interesting competitors to Canon's A10 and A20.
Following our "rumour" article at the end of last week Kodak has now officially announced the DX3500 and DX3600 as a part of their new "EasyShare" initiative, this involves a new universally compatible USB "Camera Dock" and software solution. The DX3500 features 2.2 megapixels and a fixed lens, the DX3600 has the same 2.2 megapixels, a 2x optical zoom lens and a movie clip mode.
Princeton, a Japanese Manufacturer, has today announced the first (that I know of) physically write protectable CF memory, available as a Type I flash card in a variety of capacities (currently 32 to 256 MB) the card has a minute switch at the back which allows you to physically protect the contents from erasure / writing.
Scoop pictures! Kodak today sneaked us all by releasing a product to resellers before announcing it (tactics which are questionable to say the least). The DX3500 is another entry level digital camera, priced at $299 it comes in at the bottom end of the market but offers a 2.2 megapixel CCD, fixed focal length lens, 3 x digital zoom and has 8 MB of internal flash memory and a CompactFlash card slot. The DX3500 is powered by two AA batteries. It's said to be compatible with the mc3's USB cradle.
Iomega are to add the 1GB Microdrive to their product offerings. They announced last November that they were to offer the 340MB version but there was no mention of the 1GB drive at that time. As with the 340MB drive they are to bundle a Type II PC Card adapter (for an extra $10) and the Iomega Quik Sync 2 software.
After some 430,000 messages we've finally reached the stage at which we need to introduce registration for posting our forums. However, as I am a strong believer in successful forums allowing open posting our implementation is less restrictive. If you register you are protecting your identity and email address from misuse, you will also gain access to some new and advanced features of the forums (more of which to come). We will still allow unregistered posts (in the medium term).
Kodak has released news of their new camera system which it claims will make digital photography easier than ever. It is basically a USB dock and associated software that automatically transfers any pictures from the camera to the PC and allows the user to rotate, print etc. directly from the the one integrated software suite. The first two models that will be able to use the system will be the DX3500 and DX3600. UPDATED: official press release.
Well, I'm wearing a smile. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine, May 2001 has reviewed various sites dedicated to photography, and we've been given the gold star award as "Best Digital Camera Reviews" site, to quote, "If Dickens had written digicam reviews, they'd probably have looked like these long. But there's good reason for the length: This site posts the Web's most exhaustive hands-on analysis. No feature is too small". Other winners include Ofoto for Best Overall Photo Site / Digital Print and Steves-Digicams for digital camera news.
The printed monthly Japanese "Digital Camera Magazine" published by Impress has posted samples from several digital cameras, these tie in to articles printed in the magazine. This month are samples from: Nikon D1X, Olympus C-700UZ, Canon IXY Digital 300 (S300 ELPH / IXUS 300), Olympus C-1 (BRIO D-100), Casio QV-3500EX, Sony Mavica FD97 and the Fujifilm Finepix 2300 among others...
The Japanese digital camera news site "Digital Camera Express" (DCEX), run by the famous photographer Rio Enzo Fuzuki has just posted eighteen sample images from a Beta Nikon D1X. All of the images are in JPEG format and weigh in at about 2.3 MB. EXIF reports firmware ver 0.40. The D1X is Nikon's eagerly awaited six megapixel sucessor to the groundbreaking D1. UPDATE: Now Yamada Kumio has also posted four samples from a D1X. Japan Miscall have posted no less than ninety-nine (99) D1X samples including resolution charts and comparisons to other digital SLR's. PC Watch post samples.
Dave Etchells over at Imaging-Resource has just posted his review of Sony's 1.3 megapixel MVC-FD92, here's what he had to say "With all the great qualities of the Mavica line that have made these digicams so popular, the MVC-FD92 is a welcome new addition to the Mavica family. Limited exposure control keeps the camera at point-and-shoot ease, while a selection of Program AE exposure modes and recording options (such as E-mail, Voice, etc.) give the FD92 enough flexibility to handle a variety of situations. "
Lexar and Samsung have today announced a partnership agreement under which Samsung will license Lexar's high speed controller technology. The terms of the agreement will enable Samsung to manufacture flash storage devices based on Lexar's controller technology."Samsung Electronics chose to license Lexar Media's unparalleled technology because controller-based solutions are critical to the future of new applications," said Chang-Gyu Hwang, President of Samsung Electronics.
The results of our last poll shouldn't come as any surprise to the struggling online photo sharing / photo finishing companies, several of which have recently announced charges for sharing services. The poll asked "Of all the photos you share online for what % do you order prints?", 59% said None, 23% said up to 5% of their photos and just 9% said 5 - 25% of their photos. We should also factor in that most photo sharing / finishing sites offer free prints for signing up so that may have skewed the results a little.
The Canon CP-10 is a rather unique dye sub printer, it connects directly to compatible Canon digital cameras (currently A10, A20 and IXUS 300) and supports printing of single images or batches (using DPOF selection) directly from the camera. Although the prints are only card sized (86 x 54 mm; 3.4 x 2.1 in) they're high quality and glossy coated. Design isn't something that was ignored with the CP-10 and it wears a trendy semi-transparent blue case.
The C-3040Z is Olympus's update for last years C-3030Z, fitted out with a new "fast" F1.8 - F2.6 lens (answering the criticism that last years lens was based on that found on the C-2020Z). The C-3040Z also features several internal processing and software changes. Available at around $800 (and in some places as low as $750) the C-3040Z seems to offer a lot of bang for your buck, but how does it really measure up? UPDATE: Imaging-Resource also publish theirs.
Epson has today announced what it calls the "Ultimate Printer for Digital Cameras" (does that mean they won't be making any more after this?). The new 785EPX features 2880 x 720 dpi resolution, includes PRINT Image Matching (the new colour matching technology announced at PMA) and has a built-in PC Card slot which enables direct printing from storage cards via a PCMCIA adapter. Optionally there's even a 1.6" preview LCD which allows you to review and select images for printing. The 785EPX is priced at US"249 and should be available in June. UPDATE: Pictures.
Eastman Kodak has today reported revenues of $2.975 billion and net earnings of $150 million ($0.52 per share) for Q1 2001. Segment results were: "Other Imaging" (which includes digital cameras) up 1%, Consumer Imaging sales down 7%, Kodak Pro sales down 11%, Health Imaging up 15%. "These results are in line with the expectations we set last December and reaffirmed in January when we reported year-end 2000 results,'' said Daniel A. Carp. UPDATE: Kodak to cut at least 3,000 jobs, blames slow down in film sales and drop in prices of film media.
We've just posted an additional gallery of 18 images from a full production Sony DSC-S75. Because our initial gallery was half pre-production / half production we decided to add on another gallery of shots from the production camera. Thanks and introductions to Jim Tominey who contributed to the gallery. Samples include some flash and low-light shots.
Another superb deal from State Street Direct and DPReview.Com! This weekend at you can purchase Dane-Elec 64MB Memory cards for only $59.95 each (below normal dealer cost). Plus! when you spend at least $200 or more on any in-stock items you'll also receive FREE Shipping. This special is only available when clicking & purchasing directly from our link and is not redeemable on prior purchases. Offer ends Monday 9th (or while stocks last).
Last week we ran a generic IBM Microdrive satisfaction poll, we had 933 responses and although the majority of the results were in favour of the Microdrive it's clear that not everyone is happy (it's also clear that the newer 1 GB Microdrive is better). Some 77% of 340 MB Microdrive owners and 83% of 1 GB Microdrive owners were happy, however that still leaves a good percentage of people who either had some problems or who thought their Microdrive was terrible.
The observant among you will no doubt have noticed we've been making some subtle improvements to the forums software over the last few days, the main thrust of which has been integration into a cleaner and more powerful database backend. This new backend has allowed us to remove all limitations to browsing and searching for messages, you now have full access to all forums messages back to day one! We've also added the new HOT tag to threads which receive the most posts within 48 hours.
If you take digital photography seriously you need to be certain your monitor is properly calibrated and profiled. Color Vision's Monitor Spyder is a device which attaches to your monitor (by three suckers) and in conjunction with PhotoCal or OptiCal software walks you through its set up, calibration and profiling. The results are surprising and may well breathe new life into your monitor and your photographs. Best of all? The Monitor Spyder and PhotoCal sell at the amazing price of U$224.
A Digital Eye have posted their full review of the Sony DSC-S75, here's what they say about it, "With a solid camera feel to it, very easy menus to use, lots of camera control and manual exposure/focus settings, and a great battery life, the latest 3.34 megapixel offering by Sony is one which we feel has a lot to offer potential buyers, and one we can highly recommend."
Strydent Software is currently undertaking a survey of users of digital cameras and ink jet printers. Their aim is to develop custom printer drivers which deliver better output and colour matching, which will ultimately benefit you in producing better photos. Completing the survey entitles you to be entered into a prize draw for $200 worth of "digital darkroom" supplies (photo paper and ink). UPDATE 11/Apr: Due to a technical problem on our server some of the responses from yesterday have been lost.. If you filled the form in yesterday please complete and re-send it today.
Canon has today released version 3.6.1 of their TWAIN drivers, these are compatible with the S10, S20, S100, S300, EOS-D30, G1, Pro 90 IS, A10 and A20. These updated drivers have improved speed for RAW file conversion as well as a new standalone utility (RawConverter) for converting from .CRW (Canon RAW) to TIFF. Drivers are available for Windows 95/98/98 SE/Me/2000 and Mac OS 8.1+. UPDATE: 3.6.1 drivers pulled.
Off Topic: You may already have heard that there is a massive peer to peer (P2P) project underway involving thousands of computers around the world trying to find a drug cure for cancer. The project, a joint development between Intel, United Devices and Oxford University, simply requires you to install some software on your computer which uses the CPU power which would otherwise go to waste. After a few requests from readers we've set up a Digital Photography Review team which you can join!
Kodak Professional has today revealed their official price for their new 6 megapixel, Nikon F5 based professional digital SLR the DCS 760, it will have a suggested list price of $7,995. "Authorized dealers of Kodak Professional digital cameras are now taking orders for the DCS 760 camera - including several dealers at the 2001 Seybold conference and exhibit, which opens today in Boston. Customer availability of the camera is scheduled for May." Remember, our professional equipment affiliate Imaging Spectrum Inc. are taking orders at just $6,995.
Eric Hyman is the first developer to have cracked Canon's new compressed RAW format and Bibble 2.5 now offers Canon EOS-D30 owners a real opportunity for the improved flexibility, image quality and speed that it can offer in the RAW conversion process. Having had a few days to digest Bibble 2.5 we've put together a couple of samples comparing native JPEG, Bibble converted and Canon converted RAW files.
Mike Chaney, author of Qimage Pro has published version 1.3 of the 2001 edition. In this update he's completely rebuilt the NEF converter to provide the highest possible resolution from your Nikon D1 NEF RAW files without a hint of Moiré. "After weeks of designing and testing new interpolation algorithms, I've finally settled on a hybrid method that is capable of bringing you 1450+ lines of moiré-free resolution..."
Owners of Photopoint accounts are today receiving an e-mail letter addressed from Ed Bernstein, the CEO of Photopoint to inform them that Photopoint will be switching to a subscription based service. "...starting in mid-May, PhotoPoint.com will no longer be a free service". They will be charging an annual fee of $9.95 (existing members, limited time offer only) for storage of up to 1,000 images or $19.95 with 25 free prints bundled. It's a sad day for the photo sharing community but it's no surprise to those of us who have been following the fortunes of the market or who understand the economics of such a huge project.
DPreview's professional equipment affiliate Imaging Spectrum Incorporated are now taking orders for Kodak's new six megapixel, Nikon F5 based professional digital SLR. Although we've not had an official announcement of price yet from Kodak, Imaging Spectrum are taking orders at this unbelievably low price of $6,995. Expected to ship at the end of April / early May. Link inside...
David over at Imaging Resource has just posted his review of the Canon PowerShot S300, here's what he concluded, "The new S300 Digital ELPH really competes comfortably at the very top of the 2 megapixel camera world for sharpness and color fidelity, while trading off only the slightest increase in size. Overall, a really sweet little camera, now one of our personal favorites! Highly recommended."
Eric Hyman, author of Bibble has just announced version 2.5 of his image conversion / manipulation application. Previously seen as one of the best conversion tools for Nikon D1 RAW files Bibble now supports conversion of Canon RAW files (D30) at a claimed two to three times faster than the Canon software (I've yet to test this). (Don't email me about the grammar of the title... If you don't get it just ignore it).
Another dpreview.com exclusive review! We've just posted our review of Fujifilm's FinePix 6800Z, the successor to the 4700Z features a 3.3 megapixel SuperCCD generating a 6 megapixel image file. Stlyed by F.A. Porsche the 6800Z is certainly sleek and stylish, but does it live up to the promise of a super high resolution super compact digital?
The monthly bilingual webzine Megapixel.Net have just released their April edition (in French and English), this month they've reviewed the Canon Pro90IS, Sony Mavica FD-75, Sony Mavica FD-85, HP PhotoSmart C618. They also have an overview of all the major types of storage systems for digital cameras.