News archive for June 2002
Sony has today announced their smallest and lightest digital camera the DSC-U10. This tiny 1.3 megapixel digital camera weighs in at just 118 g (4.2 oz) fully loaded, has a fixed focal length lens, one inch LCD, is powered by two AAA batteries and stores its images onto MemoryStick. This camera is expected to hit the stores in Japan on 20th July this year and should have a street price of 25,000 YEN (approx. US$200).
Delkin Devices has today announced the 'eFilm PicturePAD', the PicturePAD is a portable storage and display device for digital photography and appears to be an OEM Nixvue Vista. The PicturePAD has a 1.8 inch LCD monitor which is used to navigate menus and display images, the built-in CompactFlash slot is used to transfer images from CF (or other formats with an adapter) to the internal hard drive. The PicturePAD initially will be available in 20 and 30 GB capacities. The MSRP for the 20GB model is $549.
Nikon US has today confirmed the pricing (MSRP) of the Nikon Coolpix 5700, Coolpix 4500 and Coolpix 2000 as $1195.95, $699.95 and $249.95 respectively. This brings the price of these cameras in line with the competition and also distinguishes the 5700 from its lesser-zoom-brother the Coolpix 5000. According to the press release all of these cameras should be in the shops in July.
Olympus has announced the four megapixel C-4000Z. This camera is (yet) another re-hash of the same body design which we first saw used back on the C-2000Z. The C-4000Z appears to be based on the C-3020Z but with the addition of a four megapixel sensor, TV output and an external flash connector. Note that this camera does not have the fast F1.8 lens of its bigger brother the C-4040Z, instead it has the slightly slower F2.8 (still respectable). Expected UK price will be £449.99 inc VAT, available in August.
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Fujifilm's new FinePix F601 Zoom. The F601 Zoom has the latest generation SuperCCD sensor which has 3.1 million pixels and creates a 6 megapixel output image. The F601 is Fujifilm's successor to the 6800Z, it's slightly smaller, slightly lighter better designed and faster. Indeed, the F601 Zoom may well be the fastest compact digital camera currently available.
Casio Japan has today announced the QV-R3 and QV-R4, three and four megapixel, three times optical zoom ultra-compact digital cameras in a metal case. Casio note that the lens is made by Pentax, which would probably make it the same lens unit used in the Optio 330/430. Casio are also promoting this camera has having a very short shutter release lag of 1/100th of a second. More hints about how heavily this new camera is based on Pentax's Optio 330/430 creep up in the specifications, with features such as World Time and the Alarm function.
Just posted! Our in-depth look at Minolta's new and update DiMAGE 7i. The 7i follows on from the success of last years DiMAGE 7, it adds several new features and fixes as well as some subtle design changes and build finish improvments. Since the introduction of the DiMAGE 7 the high end 5 megapixel market has seen several new cameras, Minolta's toughest test will be Nikon's new Coolpix 5700, a match which we will add to this review at a later date.
Epson, the creators of PIM (Print Image Matching) has today announced yet another standard. This time it's called PIM II (this could turn into a Rocky series) in addition to the original set of parameters PIM II now understands embeded noise reduction and custom scene flags. To me this is just another confusing standard for users who are STILL not getting reliable colour matching between their digital camera and their printer. None of the solutions put forward so far (PIM, PIM II or EXIF 2.2) are the real solution.
Nikon Europe has today posted the English installer version of firmware 1.1 for the Coolpix 2500. This firmware popped up on the Nikon Japan website last week, as far as we know the actual firmware is the same it's simply the installer which is now in the English language. This new firmware addresses issues arising from the rotation of images in Windows XP it also adds full support for EXIF 2.2 (ExifPrint). The installer requires that you have the camera connected to your PC via a USB cable.
Kodak has today announced that it has dropped the price of the Professional DCS 720x from $6,995 to $4,995. The 720x is based on the Nikon F5 body and features Kodak's unique Cyan, Magenta and Yellow CFA CCD. This provides the camera with a wide sensitivity range of ISO 400 to ISO 6400. "The DCS 720x digital camera is the ideal camera if you're shooting in low-light or action situations - such as military and law enforcement applications, or sports and news events - and now it's available at a very affordable price." To me the DCS's are now looking old, tired and outdated.
Minolta has today announced an upgrade kit for the DiMAGE 7. This kit contains new firmware for the camera and an updated version of the DiMAGE Viewer software. The firmware upgrade implements a large number of the new features available on the new DiMAGE 7i. The most interesting improvements are those made to AF speed, drive speed, live view histogram and the addition of Direct Manual Focus. The upgrade kit will be available for $79.95 (including DiMAGE Viewer) or $49.95 (just firmware) from the Minolta USA website soon.
In an interesting move Fujifilm US has now dropped the price of the S2 Pro digital SLR Kit to $2399 from its previous price of $3699. The S2 Pro has a six megapixel Super CCD sensor which produces a twelve megapixel output file. This new drop brings the price of this camera closer to that of the recently announced Nikon D100 and Canon EOS-D60. Note that there will now no longer be a non-kit version available. All pre-orders placed with our official affiliate will automatically be lowered to the new $2399 price. Place your order today and help support this site!
HP has posted new firmware (1.00.11) for its four megapixel 812. When we reviewed this camera we had more than a couple of issues with its image quality. Specifically images appeared soft and low resolution. The new firmware is supposed to address these issues by improving noise filtering and increasing image sharpening. We hope to update our 812 review sometime in the next week to reflect this new firmware. This update can be applied by the camera owner.
The Dutch website Tweakers.Net has posted a report on a tour they had of Dane-Elec's Irish memory factory. The first four pages of the tour concern themselves with standard PC RAM (SDRAM etc.), page five ownards offers an interesting peek into the production of Compact Flash cards. Anyone with even a passing interest of what the inside of these factories looks like should take a look at this report.
Pentax has updated their 330 and 430 models as well as confirming the 'Digibino' DB-100. The 'RS' suffix for the 330 and 430 represents a variety of improvements over the previous cameras; improved LCD monitor (although still low 80,000 pixel resolution), improved performance (shot to shot time), filter modes, 3D mode (similar to Optio 230), easy view mode (a shooting priority play mode). Additionally the 'RS' cameras now feature 11 MB of internal RAM which allows you to shoot even when your CF card is full.
Maha, better known for their battery chargers has introduced a new business line called "Powerex". Powerex has introduced a range of four Lithium-Ion / Lithium-Polymer rechargeable battery packs which are directly compatible with several digital camera models which take proprietary designed packs. The four packs are the MH-BP511 (Canon G1, G2, D30, D60 etc.), MH-NP80 (Fujifilm / Toshiba / Kodak), MH-ENEL1 (Nikon Coolpix 775, 885, 995, 880, 885, 5000 etc.), MH-NB1L (Canon PowerShot S100, S110, S300 etc.). These packs are completely compatible and have either the same or higher capacity than the packs they replace.
Casio has today announced its updated GV-20 digital camera. The GV-20 is essentially a two megapixel version of the GV-10 which was announced back in October last year. The GV-20 is has a ruggedized and waterproof case. All seal points have o-rings and the main camera body is 'cushioned' within the case by internal rubber shock absorbers. The outside of the case is also coated by thick rubber, you can choose red or black. The GV-20 has a two megapixel CCD sensor and fixed focal length lens. More proof if any were needed that two megapixel is the new entry level.
13:00 JST: Canon has today announced the new two megapixel, fixed lens PowerShot A200. This compact, lightweight entry level digital camera is relatively high on features and yet will be low priced. The A200 is based on the same body and overall design as the 1.3 megapixel A100 which was introduced at PMA this year. Features include selectable ISO sensitivity (ISO 50 - 400), highlighted AiAF focus points, movie clip recording, an AF assist beam and nine combinations of image size / quality. The A200 is powered by two AA batteries and stores its images on a Type I Compact Flash card.
The Cardmediaviewer available from Cardmedia UK is now available as a new model called the Cardmediaviewer-H with a 10 GB internal hard disk drive. The Cardmediaviewer-H can read Compact Flash (Type I or II) or SD/MMC cards natively as well as other cards via an adapter. This unit can display JPEG files as well as playback MPEG and audio MP3 files. The Cardmediaviewer-H is controlled by a small InfraRed remote control. Unlike Nixvue's Vista the Cardmediaviewer isn't designed to be portable and thus is tied ot an AC adapter.
Delkin Devices are now shipping their USB 6-in-1 card reader/writer. The 6-in-1 reader/writer supports CompactFlash (Type I or II), IBM Microdrive (CF Type II), SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, SD and Sony MemoryStick. Because the unit complies to the 'mass storage device' standard it does not need drivers for most modern operating systems which understand this protocol. Drivers are included for other operating systems.
Toshiba Japan has today announced the new 'Sora' PDR-T20 digital camera. This ultra-compact vertical orientation digital camera features a two megapixel CCD sensor and two times optical zoom lens. Something different, this camera has a touch-screen LCD panel. The camera is clad in a metal case and will be available (in Japan at least) in three different colour finishes. Turn the camera on its side and it does look a little like Canon's S30/S40.
Thanks to Stephen H. Westin for noting that Kodak has released a PDF spec sheet on a new five megapixel 4/3 inch type CCD, the KAF-5101CE (update from the KAF-5100CE). This new sensor is of particular interest if you think back (quite a way) to February 2001 when Kodak and Olympus announced their new alliance to develop a new D-SLR standard (and cameras) based on the 4/3 inch sensor format. This could be the first sensor developed for that application. Perhaps we'll see this camera at Photokina in September.
Once more the Japanese 'gallery' site 'Miscall' has posted samples from yet another pre-production (Beta) camera. This time it's Fujifilm's S2 Pro digital SLR with its new third generation SuperCCD sensor. There are 23 samples, mostly shot outdoors, unfortunately there is little exposure or lens information with these samples. Not sure who the owner of this site is but he's always got his hands on early cameras (and doesn't seem to mind publishing from pre-production cameras). UPDATE: Yamada Kumio also posts samples (inc. comparisons to Nikon D100 & Canon EOS-D60).