News archive for March 2003
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Canon's EOS-10D Digital SLR. The EOS-10D is the direct successor to popular EOS-D60, with the same six megapixel CMOS sensor and the same basic functionality, however there have been some significant improvements. Gone is the at times frustrating AF, replaced with an improved seven point system from the EOS-30, gone is the plastic body, replaced with magnesium alloy, gone is the ISO 1000 limit of the EOS-D60, the EOS-10D goes up to ISO 3200. Best of all though has to be the value proposition, the EOS-10D enters the market with a list price $600 less than the EOS-D60 at the time it was introduced. Did Canon cut any corners to reduce the price? Read our full review to find out.
Dazzle, an SCM Microsystems brand has today announced the Universal TV Photo Show. It accepts the six most common types of digital media, CompactFlash(TM) Type I and II, IBM Microdrive, SmartMedia(TM), MultiMediaCard/Secure Digital, and Memory Stick, and can read any megapixel resolution photo from any digital camera. New features allow users to customize their slideshows by arranging and deleting images, removing red-eye and performing editing features like rotating, panning and zooming in on photos all by simply pushing a button on the included remote control.
Canon has today posted new firmware for their eleven megapixel EOS-1Ds digital SLR. Firmware version 1.0.2 fixes three bugs; (1) White balance defaulting to 'daylight' when Auto was selected and personal function 25 (default settings for camera reset) is set, (2) for JPEG Small/Fine images a gray bar was seen on the right hand edge, (3) Error in display of aperture in Remote Capture application (1.4 1.4 instead of F1.4).
Nikon has today posted new firmware for the Coolpix 4500 and 5700. Nikon Coolpix 4500 firmware 1.2 fixes a problem between the MC-EU1 remote cord shooting at HI image quality which led to corrupted images. Nikon Coolpix 5700 firmware 1.1 fixes three problems: A digit error in date/time for RAW images, the metering bug in user sets and a playback problem with RAW images.
Dave Etchells from Imaging-Resource has just dropped me a note to let me know he's posted his lengthy review of Kodak's fourteen megapixel digital SLR, the DCS-14n. Note that his review is based on a pre-production camera. About this camera Dave says "It delivers excellent color, and an unusually flexible post-exposure workflow, thanks to the capabilities of Kodak's DCR "raw" file format. Unfortunately, it also has a number of limitations, many of which appear to stem from overly high noise levels in the sensor itself. No matter how much tweaking Kodak may do with their image processing algorithms, they're really at the mercy of their sensor supplier to deliver chips with better noise performance.".
Nikon has today announced a new look for its famous black on yellow logo. The new logo keeps the yellow background and Nikon typeface but adds white 'rays' to the yellow background, which according to the press release "Add a graphic element of sequential rays, to represent the future, and express Nikon's mission, will and future possibilities". We're not sure at this stage if this also means the end of the two blue bars either side of the yellow logo which is often seen on Nikon printed material.
CDM Optics has recently been granted a patent for Wavefront Coding. Wavefront Coding allows traditional digital imaging systems to perform in non-traditional ways, by greatly increasing their depth-of-field performance. This system works by changing the phase of the light, instead of the size of the aperture, by doing this no light is wasted. Since the phase is changed, the resulting image on the CCD is out of focus and has to be post-processed to generate a sharp image. Anyone fancy a macro lens with infinite DOF?
Canon Bebit has today posted firmware updates for the PowerShot S230 (IXUS v³), PowerShot S45 and PowerShot G3. The firmware carries the version number 1.0.2, it fixes one common bug (occasional transmission errors to connected computers) as well as different things for each model. The PowerShot S230 (IXUS v³) gets a slow-sync flash underexposure fix, the S45 gets a fix to FlexiZone AF and the G3 gets a fix with compatibility to the 380EX SpeedLite flash.
CeBIT 2003: SanDisk also yesterday announced an addition to its standard MMC card range in 128MB size. The new card, which also can be used in most portable devices that have a slot for SD memory cards, is the top MultiMediaCard capacity offered in the industry. SanDisk also sells 32 and 64MB MultiMediaCards. The 128MB MultiMediaCard has a suggested retail price of $74.99 and will start shipping to retail stores later this month.
CeBIT 2003: SanDisk also yesterday announced additions to its standard SD card range in 512MB and 1GB sizes which use one gigabit NAND flash memory chips, based on multi-level cell (MLC) technology. MLC allows two bits of data to be stored in one memory cell, doubling memory capacity. The 512MB and 1GB SanDisk SD cards have suggested retail prices of $169.99 and $329.99 respectively. The 512MB SD card is expected to be available in the second quarter while the 1GB SD card is expected to be available in the third quarter.
CeBIT 2003: SanDisk has today announced their ImageMate card readers for a variety of popular flash memory cards. The four new ImageMate models, all with hi-speed USB 2.0 connectivity, are available for CompactFlash® Type I and Type II cards along with the IBM MicroDrive cards, SD and MultiMediaCards, SmartMedia and the xD-Picture Card and Memory Stick® and Memory Stick PRO. The latter model is the first card reader in the industry for both the Memory Stick and the Memory Stick PRO. The new single slot readers have a suggested retail price of $19.99 except for the SmartMedia/xD model that is priced at $24.99.
CeBIT 2003: SanDisk has today announced a 4GB CompactFlash Card, the highest capacity CF Type I card available. The 4GB CompactFlash card has a suggested retail price of $999.99 and is expected to start shipping this summer. Chris Chute, a senior analyst at the IDC market research firm, said, "This new SanDisk card will be an especially compelling product for professional photographers who need all the storage capacity they can get to store their many images."
CeBIT 2003: SanDisk has today announced the SanDisk miniSD which joins the MemoryStick Duo and XD card at this small form factor. The miniSD card was recently adopted by the SD Association as an ultra-small form factor extension to the SD card standard. SanDisk will offer the new format in capacities between 16-256MB. It is expected to ship in 2003 and will be around the same price as an SD card of the same capacity.
Just posted! Our final PMA 2003 Show Report has now been posted. This report is designed to cover all of the new digital photography products announced this year at PMA Las Vegas. The report is spread over six pages and covers the more than seventy new digital photography announcements this year. Don't hesitate, get into the report and get down with what PMA 2003 had for the digital photographer.
Post-PMA 2003: Just before PMA our friends at DC Resource noted a small paragraph in Fujifilm USA's PMA preview article about a new 20.8 megapixel medium format back. Since then Fujifilm has published a more detailed press release and high resolution images of the back. On the 2nd March Fujifilm announced a new 20.8 megapixel SuperCCD medium format back which has a very large 37 x 52 mm sensor. The new back is designed to be used with medium-format professional camera systems such as the Fujifilm GX 680. The SuperCCD chip produces a 41.4 million pixel image (5408 x 7648). The back has a 1.8" LCD monitor, sensitivity options of ISO 100, 200 and 400 and stores images in either JPEG or CCD-RAW formats. No pricing or availability has been announced.
Olympus has today launched a new informational website at 'www.four-thirds.com', this site provides some basic information on the new "digital SLR standard" as well as the advantages of the four thirds size sensor, in theory lower aberrations due to straight light path to the sensor and larger lens mount in proportion to the sensor size. The site clearly indicates Four Thirds as being supported by Olympus, Kodak and Fujifilm. The site also re-confirms our original statement that 4/3 refers to the sensor size '4/3-inch type' (13.5 x 18 mm).
Larry Berman and Chris Maher, writers for Shutterbug magazine, first discovered the work of Asya Schween right here on our Nikon Talk forum. Asya's haunting, beautiful and inspiring self-portrature is the perfect example of how digital photography aides the rapid realization of your own photography skills. Asya's work stands as testimony that many who consider themselves amateur photographers have far more inside them. Asya is an exchange student from Russia doing postgraduate work at the University of Southern California. Come in to see more and read part of Larry and Chris's interview with Asya.
CeBIT 2003, 0530 GMT: Fujifilm has today announced the new FinePix A310 Zoom, the second camera to be based on Fujifilm's fourth generation SuperCCD HR (High Resolution) sensor. The A310 has a three million pixel sensor which produces a six million pixel image. The A310 also supports high sensitivity (up to ISO 800 at 1280 x 960; ISO 400 otherwise), stores images on xD-Picture card (16 MB supplied) and is powered by two AA type batteries. The optional PictureCradle docking station provides USB and video out as well as charging AA NiMH batteries in the camera.
Foveon has today announced a license agreement for the manufacture and distribution of X3 technology to National Semiconductor. "Foveon has developed a large portfolio of image sensor products and image capture technologies that we are bringing to market through partners. Through National's worldwide sales and marketing organization we will see the accelerated adoption of X3 based products in key markets," said Jim Lau, president and CEO of Foveon, Inc.
ColorVision has released Japanese and Chinese versions of the Spyder with OptiCAL product for monitor calibration. The software is available as a free download to users that have a serial number for previous versions of the OptiCAL software and began shipping on March 2. The product combines the Spyder, an all-digital, seven-filter colorimeter that works with both LCD and CRT displays with the OptiCAL software. The Spyder with OptiCAL calibrates monitors to a universal standard for color and automatically creates a correct monitor profile. The end result is a monitor that displays accurate color and lets users trust what they see on their display. The Spyder is a USB device and works on both Windows (98,ME,2000,XP) and Mac (OS 9x, OSX 10.1 or better) platforms.
PMA 2003: Duracell has announced an all new battery designed specifically for digital cameras, the CP1 is a high-power lithium primary prismatic battery. It is flat and rectangular, designed to fit into small digital cameras. Although this press release doesn't mention it we know that Duracell will be producing both a rechargeable and a 'retail' non-rechargeable battery. It's very likely we will see future digital cameras supporting the new Duracell CP1.
Olympus has today announced a three year deal to sponsor the Ferrari F1 racing team. The Olympus logo will be prominently displayed on the nose of Ferrari F1 cars beginning with the 2003 Australian Gand Prix (March 9, 2003). "As a world leader in digital imaging and medical diagnostic equipment, Olympus sponsorship of the No. 1 team in the demanding field of F1 racing is a natural and fitting partnership. Just as speed, precision, and team spirit have earned Ferrari a position at the pinnacle of motor sports, they are also a driving force behind Olympus' success as a major global brand."
PMA 2003, Live: Yesterday we got our hands on Olympus's new Digital SLR 'E System' which is based around the 4/3 announced by Olympus and Kodak at PMA last year. The system is currently made up of an unamed Digital SLR, four lenses and a flash unit. At this stage Olympus have no firm specifications or details about the system other than that the body design and layout is pretty much final and that the majority of the remainig work is inside the camera (firmware etc.). I was impressed by the build quality and professional design features and am looking forward to testing the digital SLR later this year.
PMA 2003: SimpleTech has today announced the FlashLink PhotoZen. It is a TV photo image viewer, USB Flash memory card reader and PowerPoint presentation projector. PhotoZen displays digital photos of up to six megapixels from CompactFlash (Type I/Type II), MicroDrive, Sony Memory Stick, SD, MMC and SmartMedia cards.
PMA 2003: SanDisk has today announced new additions to its Ultra(TM) line of high-performance cards, a 1.0 GB CF and a 512 MB Secure Digital. The new Ultra CompactFlash cards have write speed of up to 6MB/sec and read speed of 9MB/sec., which is approximately twice the speed of SanDisk's current Ultra line. The Ultra line now also includes SD cards for the first time. These have a sustained write speed of up to 2.5MB/sec., which again is more than twice the speed of current SD cards. Both are expected to start shipping in Q2 2003.
PMA 2003, Live: Yesterday we got our hands on the very early prototype Pentax *ist D digital SLR which is being shown at the Pentax stand. This is a bit of a 'me too' article as we note that several other sites have also posted their own images of this camera. At this stage the camera is still in an early form, although does power up. The first thing that strikes you about this camera is its size and weight, it's noticeably smaller than the current digital SLR's (Canon EOS-D60 / 10D, Nikon D100), it's also clear that although loosely based on the *ist film SLR this body and control layout has been design to be digital from day one. We're looking forward to testing the *ist D, and hope that it can proove to be some real competition to the Canon and Nikon offerings. We also heard a rumour (not at the Pentax stand) that it will have a street price of US$1,600.
PMA 2003: SanDisk has today announced SanDisk Extreme(TM), a line of high-performance CompactFlash and SD cards. Extreme CompactFlash have write speed of up to 6MB/sec, and will initially ship in capacities of 256, 512MB and 1 gigabyte, with street prices of $99, $189 and $379 respectively. Extreme SD cards have write speeds of up to 2.5MB/sec, and will be available in 256 and 512MB capacities with a street price $109 and $219 respectively. Both card formats are expected to start shipping in Q2 2003.
PMA 2003: HP has today announced its new five megapixel, three times optical zoom Photosmart 935. The 935 has a similar design to the 735 announced today. "As the first camera at this price point to offer an impressive 5 megapixels, Pentax® 3x optical zoom, 7x digital zoom (21x total), video and audio clip facility and a range of sophisticated manual controls with on-camera help wizards, the HP Photosmart 935 meets the needs of creative individuals and family users."
PMA 2003: HP has today announced its new three megapixel, three times optical zoom Photosmart 735 digital camera. At first the 735 looks very similar to the 812, however a closer look shows some major design changes, a big viewfinder, status LCD on the top of the camera and other changes. The 735 is also a three megapixel, three times optical zoom camera. Storage is via built-in 16 MB of flash and/or a SD/MMC memory card.
PMA 2003: SmartDisk has today announced its new FlashTrax handheld portable device. The FlashTrax can store images transferred from any flash memory card onto the built-in 30GB USB2.0 hard drive and display them on its 3.5" LCD. It has built-in controls to zoom in, zoom out and scroll, or choose a slide show function and also also has an MP3 player for playing audio tracks stored on the disk.
PMA 2003: Kodak has today announced the three megapixel, three times optical zoom EasyShare LS633 Zoom digital camera. The LS633 is world's first digital camera with OLED display. As there is no need for a backlight the LS633 should have good battery life. The LS633 will debut in April and will be available initially in Europe, Asia and Australia at a suggested retail price of $399.
PMA 2003: SiPix has today announced its new 2.1 Mega Pixel StyleCam Extreme digital camera. Marie Wesson, director of marketing for SiPix said "The StyleCam Extreme combines basic and advanced features in an easy-to-use, affordable and value-driven package. We provide users with all of the benefits they seek in a digital camera today, as well as capabilities that can be utilized as their skills increase. The StyleCam Extreme even features 3 Mega Pixel enhanced resolution enabling users to enlarge an area of the image or print the whole image into a larger photo."
PMA 2003: Toshiba has today announced its new PDR-4300 four-megapixel digital camera with a 2.8x optical zoom, macro capability up to 6-inches and comprehensive manual controls. Doug Freck, Vice President & General Manager, Toshiba Imaging Systems Division. Our new PDR-4300 ideally meets these demands with its powerful four-megapixel CCD, its professional-grade, all-glass lens system, its fully array of manual controls, and an operation that is comparable to a film-based point-and-shoot model. And at $379, we believe it is the best value in the four-megapixel digital camera category.
2003: Kyocera has today announced two new models to its popular Finecam
series, the 3-megapixel Kyocera Finecam L3v and the 4-megapixel Kyocera
Finecam L4v. Both feature their new "DayFine" 2.5-inch LCD and
a 3x optical zoom (35-105mm equiv. 35mm). The suggested retail price for
the Kyocera Finecam L3v is $449.00; suggested retail price for the Kyocera
Finecam L4v is $549.00.
UPDATED: New official pictures added.
08:00 PST, 07:00 PST: Olympus has today announced
that it will be exhibitting its first 4/3 rds digital SLR prototype at
PMA 2003. As well as the prototype SLR (about which we know very little)
there are also four lenses, two of which are primes, and two zooms. Olympus
has made available images of these products including the lenses. As we
can see the new 'E System' digital SLR looks very similar to the previous
E-10 and E-20.
PMA 2003: Olympus has today announced the three megapixel C-740 and four megapixel C-750 Ultra Zoom digital cameras. These are direct successors to the C-730 Ultra Zoom. Featuring the now familiar C-7xx body the both cameras feature a 10x optical zoom lens (38 - 380 mm equiv.). Like all newly announced Olympus digital cameras they store images on xD-Picture Card, and are powered by AA batteries. Although the format may be familiar the lens system is new, all elements are glass and we hope this will help to eliminate some purple fringing seen in other C-7xx models.
PMA 2003: Olympus has today announced the D-560 Zoom (C-350 Zoom in Europe) digital camera. The competitively priced D-560 / C-350 offers a three megapixel sensor and three times optical zoom, as we would expect it stores its images on xD-Picture Card and is powered by AA batteries. This new camera is smaller than the D-550 it replaces and also features a new easier to use menu system. Price: $299 (US street) / £249 (UK RRP).
PMA 2003: Olympus has today announced the entry level D-390 (C-150 in Europe) digital camera. This model is the successor to the D-380 / C-120 model, the new camera is some 15% smaller than that which it replaces, it has a two megapixel CCD sensor and a fixed 38 mm equiv. lens. The D-390 / C-150 stores its photos on xD-Picture Card and is powered by AA size batteries. The D-390 / C-150 also features a larger 1.8" LCD monitor. Price: $149 (US street) / £139 (UK RRP).
PMA 2003: Minolta has today announced its unique and innovative new communication software application called 'Minolta Messenger'. Messenger allows you to attach interactive hot-spot messages to your standard images (TIFF, JPEG, BMP), these messages are embedded into the image header, the image can then be sent to another user with Messenger who can browse the image and add their own messages. "People say that 'a picture is worth 1,000 words,'" said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing for Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "But we say, 'we give you both'."
PMA 2003: Minolta has today announced the new DiMAGE E223, a new entry level digital camera is the direct successor to the E203, with a two megapixel sensor and three times optical zoom lens. "Perfect for home and small business use, and the ideal tool for sharing images via e-mail, the DiMAGE E223's 2.1-megapixel CCD and versatile zoom lens provide high-resolution, clear and crisp images," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group.
PMA 2003: Minolta has today announced the direct successor the the F100 (and you thought it was the F300!), the new four megapixel DiMAGE F200. Interestingly the F200 has a different layout than the F100 or F300 with rubberized strips and relocated controls, levers and displays. "The compact body borrows the fine soft curves and intersecting planes of its predecessors, and adds distinctive rubberized grips and a new control layout. The rich aluminum exterior reflects the quality of the design. The camera is available in two colors: silver and indigo."
PMA 2003, Live: Today we got a sneak peek of Minolta's next evolution of the DiMAGE X. "The new design eliminates more than 5% from the size and nearly 8% from the weight of the DiMAGE Xi. At 85.5 x 67 x 20mm and 120 g (3.4 x 2.6 x 0.8 in., 4.2 oz), the DiMAGE Xt can be slipped into a pocket or bag as easily as a wallet. The exclusive folded optical zoom system allowed Minolta to recreate the world's thinnest compact, planar digital camera with a 3X optical zoom. This revolutionary non-extending lens is responsible for maintaining the camera's 20mm (0.8 in) thin profile either while recording or when stored." UPDATE: Specifications added.
PMA 2003, 0:00 GMT: Casio has today announced the new EXILIM EX-S3, an ultra-thin magnesium alloy bodied digital camera with a three megapixel CCD sensor and fixed focal length lens. The EX-S3 weighs just 72 g (2.5 g) and measures just 90 x 57 x 12 mm (3.5 x 2.2 x 0.5 in). Also up since the EX-S2 is the LCD monitor which has grown from 1.6" to a huge (considering the size of the camera) 2.0" TFT. The EX-S3 has 10 MB of internal RAM and also supports SD / MMC storage, it's powered by a supplied Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery and comes with a cradle.
PMA 2003: It has been announced that dpreview.com will tonight be awarded a DigitalFocus Award for the best "Digital Imaging Site or Service". Here at dpreview we are very proud to receive this award and must thank all those people in the industry who have shown their support for our aim of bringing high quality, timely, independent, factual and accurate news and reviews to the digital photography public. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our visitors and especially our long term supporters who contribute so much through our forums. Other winners were the Canon EOS-1Ds (Professional Digital Camera), Olympus C-50 (Prosumer Digital Camera).
PMA 2003, Live: Hot from the early morning Sony Press event we've got some pictures of the new HVL-F32X flash, the unit we saw was on a DSC-V1 and thus will take advantage of the new communications pins on that camera's hot-shoe. The HVL-F32X can be programmed for various exposure and flash mode settings, it has a backlit LCD status monitor, AF assist and even a modeling light. The unit we saw was pre-production and thus its finish is not representative of the final product.
Pre-PMA 2003: Nixvue Systems the manufacturers of the Digital Album and Vista (Visual Storage Album) has today announced a new concept in mobile digital image storage. The Visor is based around a portable CD writer device which can copy images directly from flash memory cards (Compact Flash, SD/MMC, Memory Stick and others) onto CD-R discs. This ia a very interesting device as it allows for safe 'record to archive' capabilities and would be extremely useful on holidays or long trips. The Visor can also playback images on a CD-R to a TV or PC.
PMA 2003: Lexar has today announced 256 MB Olympus xD Picture Cards, a new version of their Digital Photo Player, High-Speed Secure Digital, Jump Drive secure and a new USB 2.0 multi-card reader which supports MemoryStick Pro. "Not all flash memory is the same speed or quality and our X-speed rating system lets customers know what speed they are buying, while providing a level of assurance regarding the integrity of the memory," said Doug Kellam, vice president worldwide marketing, Lexar Media. "In addition, some of the newest digital applications, such as VGA quality video, require high-speed cards to insure the host products will function optimally."
PMA 2003: Lexar has today announced 2 and 4 GB Compact Flash cards with a rated speed of 32X (where X = 150 KB/sec). These cards are also equipped with Write Acceleration (WA) which increases performance with compatible cameras like Kodak's DCS-14n, Nikon D1x, Nikon D1h, Nikon D100 etc. "We are pleased to be the first company to bring 4GB CompactFlash to market, which is made possible by our advanced controller technology and the new industry leading 4-gigabit quad die pack flash memory from Samsung. The close Lexar Media and Samsung relationship allows us to collaborate to optimize our controller with the Samsung 4-gigabit flash memory device and deliver the largest CompactFlash available."
Pre-PMA 2003: Site contributor Vincent Bockaert has today published "123di v1.0 - The 123 of digital imaging Interactive e-book". Earlier this month I had a sneak preview of this new e-book and was amazed at the depth and detail of coverage. The e-book which stretches over 2000 pages covers everything from the basics of digital camera operation to detailed discussion about what goes on inside your digital camera, JPEG compression, color space and so much more. Additionally there are entire sections covering popular image manipulation packages such as Adobe Elements and Photoshop 7. And all this for a launch price of just $39.99. Think you know everything about digital imaging? Think again.