News archive for September 2001
Approximately three hours ago the results from our current poll "Which D-SLR for you?" had received some 2600 votes and indicated interesting results, a three-way split between the Nikon D1x, Canon EOS-D30 and Canon EOS-1D (each with almost 30%). However, thanks to the childish behaviour of two users we have had to pull the poll. Scanning our log files it turns out that two users decided to 'fix' the results of the poll by registering 700 votes for the D1H and 400 votes for the EOS-1D. Very clever. Read more...
Agfa (Agfa-Gevaert NV) has today announced it plans to lay off 4,000 employees (20% of its global work force) to concentrate on digital imaging. This is kind of interesting after they were quoted back in July as saying "No more digital cameras". Agfa-Gevaert Chief Executive Ludo Verhoeven said the company, best known for its photographic films, needed to invest more in new technologies, such as digital imaging. "We can only grow if we are profitable,'' Verhoeven told the VRT television network.
Pentax has today announced a four megapixel version of its pocket sized Optio 330. This camera is essentially identical to the 330 appart from its 4 megapixel CCD sensor (and, lets hope improved AF ability). "The Optio 430 measures just 3.6" (92mm) wide, 2.3'' (59mm) high, and 1.2" (31mm) deep and weighs only 7.2 ounces (205g). Precise imaging is achieved with the powerful 4.13 megapixel (total pixels) primary color filter CCD and a superior PENTAX 3X zoom lens (equivalent to 37.5-112.5mm in 35mm format) which provides high-resolution images and low image distortion."
Sanyo Japan has today announced the DSC-AZ1 digital camera which has a 4.1 megapixel CCD and a 2.8x (Canon) optical zoom lens with an automatic cover. The AZ1 features a metallic case, optical viewfinder, 1.8" TFT LCD and supports CompactFlash Type I or II (including Microdrive). It weighs in at 280 g (10 oz) and is priced at 99,800 YEN (approx. US$840). It's not clear at this stage whether this is a domestic market (Japan) only model.
13:00 JST / 04:00 GMT: Canon has today announced its EOS-1V based digital SLR, the EOS-1D. It features a 1.3x focal length multiplier, 4.48 megapixel CCD producing a 4.06 megapixel (2464 x 1648) image. The EOS-1D is capable of shooting continuously at an amazing 8 frames per second for up to 21 JPEG images (or 16 RAW images). Other features include a fully environmentally sealed magnesium body, Canon's excellent 45-point AF, 1/16,000 max shutter speed, 1/500 sec flash X-sync, Firewire (IEEE 1394) connectivity, JPEG, RAW and RAW+JPEG saving modes, 21 custom and 25 personal functions, selectable colour matrixes (sRGB, Adobe RGB) and a super-fast 87 ms viewfinder blackout. The EOS-1D is expected to go on sale in at the end of December at a an expected street price of US$ 7000. We have an exclusive, detailed eight page hands-on preview with the EOS-1D available now.
ACDSystems the authors of the excellent image browsing / viewing application have today announced ACDSee 4.0 (Windows). ACDSee has been the browser of choice here at dpreview for some time, and it just keeps getting better. New features include a new interface, a full screen file-browsing mode, 10 new multimedia formats, enhanced slide shows, zoom level by pixels or percentages, catalog photos from CD (for offline browsing), browse thumbnails and file details in a column view and 'first frame thumbnail' for video files. Download a free trial, buy ($49.95) or upgrade ($34.95) today. This version also supports Canon RAW files (CRW) - although VERY SLOWLY.
Canon has also today announced two new lenses. The EF 16 - 35 mm F2.8L USM is a new wider version of the 17 - 35 mm, matched up to the new EOS-1D SLR it can provide a field of view equivelant to a 21 mm lens on a 35 mm film camera. The 400 mm F4 DO IS USM is a lens we first saw at Photokina last year. It features a unique multi-layer diffractive optical element which has allowed the designers to make the new 400 mm DO 1 KG lighter and 84 mm (3.3 in) shorter than the old 400 mm F4.
Mike Chaney, author of QImage Pro has just launched the first version of Profile Prism. This unique product allows you to generate your own ICC profiles for digital cameras or scanners. "Profile Prism is software that allows the digital photographer to quickly and easily create ICC profiles for their digital cameras and scanners using the included 753 patch color target. Since digital cameras can often be more difficult to profile due to lens distortions, lighting, exposure, and other factors, Profile Prism offers several industry firsts that assist in developing digital camera profiles that work under both general lighting and specific lighting conditions."
In a surprise move the nationwide (UK) high street pharmacist Boots Plc. has decided to pull the plug on its online photo finishing business bootsphoto.com. Boots are blaminig low demand for the service which was launched just 12 months ago. Bootsphoto are currently sending emails out to previous users warning them of a gradual decrease in service availability.
We've just posted our full in-depth review of a production Minolta DiMAGE 5. The DiMAGE 5 is the three megapixel 'cousin' to the five megapixel DiMAGE 7. It features the same 7x optical zoom lens which, because of the slightly smaller sensor size produce an equiv. focal length range of 35 - 250 mm. The camera weighs in with a list price of $999, although can be found around the web at approximately $900. Come in and see how it did in our tests.
Rob Galbraith has just posted an excellent head-to-head of the Nikon D1H and Kodak DCS 720x in use at high sensitivities. Titled "ISO 1600 and beyond with the Nikon D1H and Kodak DCS 720X" the article covers the basic functionality of both cameras, a description and examination of noise and some excellent head-to-head sports photography shots from both cameras at ISO 1600, 3200 and 6400. To quote Rob, "...it's clear to me that either the DCS 720X or D1H is suitable for sports photography up to ISO 1600.", "ISO 3200 is another story. A properly-exposed DCS 720X image like the one at left, once filtered with Quantum Mechanic Pro, is unbeatable."
A week after the announcement of the E-20P in Europe, Olympus US has announced the E-20N. Identical to the E-20P other than its NTSC video output and name. There's no official word on why Olympus has decided to release the same camera with only a very slightly different name, however we could guess that it could be an attempt to discourage grey imports. US list price for the E-20N will be $1999 (which is too high IMHO). UPDATE: High resolution product images available.
EST: 0600 UTC: Nikon has today announced the Coolpix 5000. This
all new five megapixel, three times optical zoom (28 - 85 mm equiv.) digital
camera marks the new prestige in the Nikon line. There are many noticeable
specifications: all metal case, flash hotshoe, new flip-out and twist
LCD, record/play instant switch, rear status LCD, AE-L / AF-L button and
dual speed continuous shooting plus all of the major features of the Coolpix
995. This article (part one of two) we'll examine the cameras specifications
in detail as well as the full press release. Price: $1099.
Here's a date for the diary of our readers in the UK, on Saturday September 29th the UK magazine What Digital Camera will be hosting the first dedicated "digital photography show". There event will be attended by various major manufacturers including Fujifilm, HP, Kyocera, Lexar, Minds@Work, Minolta, Nikon, Nixvue, Olympus, Pentax, Ricoh, Simple Technology and Sony. There are also talks on digital camera basics and Photoshop techniques. It will be held at the Westminster Central Halls, entry is just £5 (two for one vouchers in October issue of What Digital Camera and Amateur Photographer).
EST: 0600 UTC: Nikon has today announced the Coolpix 5000. This
all new five megapixel, three times optical zoom digital camera marks
the new prestige in the Nikon line. It's all metal (magnesium alloy) body
and stylish lines make it extremely distinctive and professional looking.
Don't be deceived by the looks this camera is smaller than you would think!
In this article (part two of two) we have press photos of the image as
well as some exclusive shots of a pre-production unit we have in-house.
We've just posted our full review of Nikon's fast shooting D1H digital SLR. The D1H is based on the sucessful D1 but adds the features and user interface seen on the D1x as well as a faster 5 fps shooting rate, 40 image continuous shooting buffer and improved high ISO performance. As a part of the review I took the D1H to the Silverstone race track for rounds 21 and 22 of the British Touring Car Championship. Catch some of the action and see how the D1H stands in our extensive review.
Sanyo Japan has today announced its IDS-M1 portable storage device. This unit is capable of transferring the contents of Compact Flash (Type I or II) or SmartMedia cards onto 730 MB iD PHOTO Magneto-Optical storage discs (or visa versa). It has both USB (1.1) and Firewire (IEEE 1394) connectivity for computer transfer of data. Expected price is 55,000 YEN (approx. $500) and it should be available on October 19th (Japan).
Irvine Sensors, a 51% share holder of Silicon Film, has today announced that it is suspending operations at Silicon Film. What started as a rumour, grew into vapour ware, became a product which was demonstrated at PMA 2001 but was simply never attractive and always crippled by storage, battery, environment and sensor size limitations has now turned into vaporized-ware. "The Silicon Film Board has retained special counsel in contemplation of liquidation through bankruptcy proceedings, if immediate financing alternatives are not secured."
Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) has today announced the LUMIX line of digital cameras which make use of Leica Optics. The DMC-LC5 is a 'prosumer' four megapixel digital cameras with a 3x Leica optical zoom lens with full manual control. The DMC-F7 is a compact two megapixel digital camera with a 2x Leica optical zoom lens. Both cameras utilize MMC (SD) storage cards and are powered by proprietary Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries. Both cameras will be available in both black or silver finishes.
Europe has today posted an update to Nikon Capture 2 (for D1 / D1x / D1H).
v2.0.1 has two major fixes: (a) When multiple images are selected in the
Thumbnails section of the
Camera Image Window, if Image Adjustment is pasted, White Balance and Adranced Raw settings will not be reflected. (b) Saving JPEG(JFIF or EXIF) images at the excellent quality (the lowest compression ratio) setting does not produce the expected results. The update requires an existing full install of Nikon Capture 2 and is available for both Windows and Mac OS platforms.
Olympus Japan has today announced two new waterproof casings, the PT-011 (for the C-2) and PT-012 (for the C-40Z). The PT-011 provides a waterproof casing for the new C-2 which is capable of depths of 30 m, the PT-012 which is designed for the new C-40Z goes even deeper with a maximum depth of 40 m. Both cases weigh approximately 350 g (12 oz). The PT-011 will go on sale in October (Japan) at 12,800 YEN (~US$ 100), the PT-012 will go on sale in Novemeber (Japan) at 25,000 YEN (~US$ 200).
Olympus has today announced a new 2 megapixel version of the C-1 digital camera named the C-2 (to be known as the BRIO D-230 in North America). Just like the C-1 it has a fixed focal length lens (36 mm equiv.), automatic sensitivity (ISO 100 - 400), USB connectivity and a SmartMedia slot for storage (16 MB Supplied).
Olympus has today announced the sucessor to the Olympus E-10, the 5 megapixel E-20. The P suffix stands for PAL (video format) for the model which is sold in Europe (and SE Asia), the N suffix will be used for the NTSC model. The E-20P has the same 4x zoom 35 - 140 mm lens, the same TTL viewfinder (though now with a focusing screen), the same ISO 80, 160, 320 sensitivity, RAW mode, noise reduction, pixel mapping and official support for the 1 GB Microdrive. All of these additions should add up to a capable and improved Olympus 'E' digital SLR.
Kodak has today announced an updated version of its medium format digital back the 'Pro Back' as the new 'Pro Back Plus'. The Pro Back Plus now has a shutter release port and electronic shutter cables to enable it to work with a wider range of medium format cameras. Support - medium format: Hasselblad 553 ELD, Hasselblad 503, Mechanical Hasselblads, Bronica, Fuji 680, Kapture Group True-Wide. Large format: Sinar, Horseman, Toyo, Arca Swiss, Cambo. Other cameras: Horseman DigiFlex, Silvestri.
Words fail me at this time, I have been watching CNN (and the BBC) since the original news broke and have seen these terrible events unfold, watching the second plane strike the WTC tower live then seeing each tower collapse was something which stuns the senses. Our thoughts go out to those individuals and families caught up in this terror. We will all remember where we were and what we were doing on this day.
Fujifilm has today announced the 2 megapixel (not SuperCCD), 6x (F2.8 - F3.0) optical zoom (38 - 228 mm equiv.) FinePix 2800Z digital camera. The 2800Z (as with all other Fujifilm consumer digital cameras) has a SmartMedia slot and comes with a 16 MB card. It can record 60 second movies (with audio) as well as voice annotations which can be attached to images. Its SLR-like design and 6x optical zoom will appeal to first time (and even more advanced) buyers who are looking for an easy to use digital camera. Available October, price just $449.
Canon Europe has today announced it has acquired the UK photo-sharing service 'Fotango'. Fotango was founded in London in 1999 by a team of just five. Fotango make both traditional film photographs available as online albums as well as digital images. Alexis de Belloy, CEO of Fotango said: "The Canon deal provides both parties a strong foothold in the exploding digital imaging marketplace. Canon is a multi-national organisation that offers unrivalled expertise in digital imaging capture, while Fotango provides the means to manipulate and distribute pictures worldwide."
IBM has today cut the price of the Microdrive. The official prices are now: 1 GB - $379, 512 MB - $259, 340 MB - $199. This brings the Microdrive down to an unbelievable $0.37/MB. "As acceptance of Microdrive by both consumers and device makers grows, we're able to continue with dramatic price cuts," IBM spokesman Michael Kuptz said. IBM has lowered the cost per megabyte by 50 percent in each of the past two years, he added. Also worth noting is that with the Microdrive 1 GB really is 1048576 KB.
Canon Japan has just posted a firmware update for EOS-D30 digital SLR's with a serial number between xxx200001 and xxx799999. This firmware (v188.8.131.52) will already be loaded on EOS-D30's with a serial number greater than xxx800000 (at the factory). This update solves a problem which occurs occasionally when rotating or tagging (protect / print) an image on the LCD the playback image may be replaced by a '?' (question mark). I'll be honest and say I've never seen this problem myself. There are no other fixes listed in this update.
Imation has today announced the new FlashGO-J and FlashGO-Multi card readers. The FlashGO-J is a compact USB card reader with a Compact Flash Type II slot, it is provided with CF Type II adapters which enable it to read MMC/SD, SmartMedia or Memory Stick. The FlashGO-Multi is a desktop USB card reader with a Compact Flash Type II slot, MMC/SD slot, SmartMedia slot as well as a Memory Stick slot.
Hitachi as today announced a range of MMC (MultiMediaCard) cards. They range in capacity from 16 to 128 MB. It's worth noting that this is only the third announcement (Toshiba, SanDisk previously) of 128MB MMC (or SD) cards. The 16 and 32 MB cards have a claimed transfer speed of 1 MB/sec, the 64 and 128 MB cards have a claimed transfer speed of 2 MB/sec. (Though it's not clear what Hitachi define MB as).
We don't often put these offers up as a news article, but this one is too good to miss. State Street Direct (our official affiliate) are offering a 320 MB Compact Flash card for just $99.95 with the purchase of any in-stock Canon, Nikon, Pentax or Minolta digital camera. Or, a 128MB Smartmedia Memory Card for only $34.95 with the purchase of any Fuji, or Olympus digital camera over $250. If you've read the reviews and made a decision then now could be a very good time to pick up the camera you want. All purchases help to support this site. Limited period only - valid from 09/07/01 - 09/09/01.
A rumour bouncing around a couple of Japanese digital camera sites is that the SSFDC Forum (those companies involved in development and production of SmartMedia and SmartMedia products) will be sitting down in October to lay out a standard for 256 MB SmartMedia. The aim is that 256 MB SmartMedia should be priced between 10,000 and 20,000 YEN (US$80 - US$160) per piece. My question is (a) is it soon enough (b) can SmartMedia perform well enough for the 4, 5 and 6 megapixel digital cameras coming up and (c) will those SmartMedia cameras which are 128 MB compatible support the new 256 MB cards?
PIE (Picture Information Extractor) is a shareware application which performs two important tasks. First of all it provides an easy 'one button' method for downloading all the images from your digital camera or card reader to your local hard disk, during the transfer it can rename the images to your own defined pattern (eg. date/time etc.). Secondly it provides a useful view into the detailed exposure information stored inside your digital images (in the EXIF header). PIE has several other additional features such as lossless JPEG rotation, flipping, trimming and slideshows. We use PIE to transfer and rename almost all our digital images.
Epson US has today opened the doors to its new Print Image Matching website, unfortunately English drivers are not available for download but can be ordered (Huh?). What's annoying is that these drivers have been available for a couple of months in Japanese. PIM printer drivers enable you to get "matched colour" between your PIM compatible digital camera and the printer's final output. UPDATE: Download PIM drivers TODAY! Thanks to Magne Nilsen for noting that ENGLISH drivers have been available on the Epson UK (and US) site for some time.
We've been contacted by Epson who've let us know that the article we ran below is slightly inaccurate (and that their own site isn't particularly helpful). Downloading and installing the PIM drivers for your printer won't on its own give you colour matching with images created by PIM cameras. You still need to use THEIR OWN proprietary application (which you have to order) before you can get PIM matched colour. Makes you wonder what ever was wrong with ICC, why do we need a new standard like PIM which just makes things more confusing, narrow and proprietary? Now everyone is relying on Epson (who themselves admit confusion).
Our friends over at digitalkamera.de have 'leaked' information about two new HP digital cameras. The Photosmart 318 has a 2.1 megapixel CCD and a fixed focal length F2.8 lens (38mm equiv.) which actually has auto focus (many fixed lens cameras are 'focus free' meaning they are locked at a certain focus distance). The Photosmart 715 is HP's first 3 megapixel digital camera to be officially announced (now whatever happened to the C913?), it has a 3x F2.0 - F2.5 optical zoom lens (sound familiar?). digitalkamera.de report the 318's price as €275 (~$250) and the 715 as €550 (~$490).
SanDisk and Sony have today announced that the have signed a cooperation agreement involving Memory Stick. Under this agreement SanDisk will ship its own branded Memory Stick. "The two companies also agreed to jointly develop, separately manufacture and sell the next generation of Memory Stick that will incorporate advanced features such as significantly higher performance and storage capacities."
Minolta Europe (and Japan) has announced the compact, DiMAGE E203. This 2 megapixel is a step up from the E201 as it adds a F2.8 - F4.6, 3x optical zoom lens. What's also significant about the E203 is its storage format. Unlike the E201 which has a Compact Flash slot, the E203 has an SD/MMC slot and is provided with an 8 MB SD card. Power comes from one CR-V3 Lithium or two AA batteries. As far as we know this camera will not be available in the US.
Another DiMAGE reviewed! Minolta's S304 was announced at the same time as the DiMAGE 5 and 7. Probably overshadowed by them at the time the S304 is a more than capable camera in its own right. With a 4x optical zoom lens and 3 megapixel CCD it offers a good range of both easy-to-use auto & scene modes as well as more creative manual settings and full control over internal processing algorithms. All this at a lower price point than its major competition, the Nikon Coolpix 995. See how it faired in our tests...
Our digital camera reviews have evolved over the last two years to cover almost every detail of the camera in design, operation, performance and image quality. The Nikon Coolpix 885 review (below) and Minolta S304 review (above) mark the first of a new reorganized review style which should make finding the right information in the right place easier, and make writing the reviews a quicker process for us.
We've just posted our full in-depth review of Nikon's latest Coolpix, the 3 megapixel 885. The 885 is far more than just an udpate to the 880, although it has a similar 'look' it has had a complete ergonimic overhaul. It also now has a full 3x optical zoom lens and a wide range of manual controls and features (only just less than the 995!). Best of all? The 885 should hit the streets for around $600, that should make it a bit of a bargain...
0000 GMT: Olympus has today announced the first pocket-sized four megapixel digital camera. The C-40Z features a 4 megapixel sensor and a 2.8x F2.8 - F4.8 optical zoom lens. It looks quite square from the front on with a sliding front cover which also acts as a power switch. Two things stand out about this compact, it's got six apertures for exposure (most compacts have only two) and it has virtually all the functionality of the C-4040Z. It weighs just 270 g (9.5 oz) with batteries and measures 87 x 69 x 44 mm (3.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in). (Known as the D-40Z in US / Canada)
The monthly Canadian webzine Megapixel.Net has just released its September edition. This month they have reviewed the Sony DSC-S85, Kyocera Finecam S3, Sony MVC-CD300 and Olympus D-510Z. There's also an article on the use of optical filters in digital photogrpahy, covered are colour, close-up lenses, star filters, diffuse filters, ND filters, polarizing, UV, haze and skylight filters. "Exploring the uses of filters can help creativity, and encourages experimentation, two of the key ingredients of good photography. The digital camera is a superb tool to develop and enjoy the pleasures of photography and optical filters should be a part of the experience."