News archive for June 2005
Amateur photographers in the UK are being invited to capture digital photographs of Britain's rural, urban and human landscapes to help to build a picture of Britain. The competition is being run in conjunction with a BBC4 series 'A Digital Picture of Britiain' presented by professional photographer Tom Ang. As well as the chance to win £500 worth of photographic equipment, winning entries may be featured in a Photographic Masterclass presented by Tom Ang on BBC interactive TV. They may also be exhibited at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Yorkshire in September 2005. You can catch A Digital Picture of Britain on Sunday 3 July at 10pm.
Olympus has announced a new 8mm F 3.5 Zuiko Digital fisheye lens for its E-system digital SLRs offering a 180 degree angle of view. The lens has a special multi-layer coating designed to reduce susceptibility to ghosting and flaring and its ED element will help keep chromatic aberration to a minimum. It also offers 2 cm macro mode. The optional PPO-EO4 underwater lens port will allow you to take ultra-wideangle pictures 40 meters under the water's surface. It will be available in January 2006 at a price yet to be set.
Toshiba is set to consider a 'legal response' after the verdict from a Californian jury, which ordered the company to pay Lexar $465.4 m following theft of trade secrets and punitive damages, Reuters reports. The news was announced by the head of Toshiba, Tadashi Okamura, at the annual shareholders' meeting. Toshiba was found guilty in March of theft of trade secrets relating to NAND flash chips used in CompactFlash cards, Secure Digital and xD-Picture Cards. Okamura told Reuters, "We developed the NAND flash-related technology on our own. The ruling is totally unjust and we would like to consider a legal response."
Nikon has announced an software update to Nikon View. Version 6.2.6 adds support for RAW images captured by the D50 and the red-eye correction function can now be used on RAW and 16-bit TIFF images. Another problem that occurred was that RAW files could not be opened in Nikon Capture 2 if they were rotated in Nikon View 6.2.x.
Nikon has announced the opening of a new subsidiary in China called Nikon Imaging, which will initally employ 50 people to develop the imaging business in the country. The new enterprise, which opened June 20, endeavors to increase sales of digital cameras by directly importing and wholesaling imaging products such as digital cameras. The workforce is expected to rise to around 120 after a year and the company has a sales target of ¥10 billion for the first fiscal year and approximately ¥33 billion after three years.
Fuji has just announced an underwater housing for its '24-hour' camera, the six megapixel FinePix F10 Zoom that is waterproof up to a depth of 40 meters. The polycarbonate housing, which will be hard to lose with its bright orange coloring, offers full operational functionality underwater and the package includes a strap, spare o-ring and maintenance guide. The suggested retail price is around £149.
Nikon has announced an update to its RAW conversion and image management program. As well as adding support for the Nikon D50, Nikon Capture version 4.3 now adds color aberration control, red eye correction and improves processing for NEF files. The new color aberration tool automatically reduces the appearance of color fringing. The multi image window, which displays thumbnails and allows simultaneous editing of multiple images, is now easier to use; names of preferred folders can be changed to something the user finds easier to remember.
Microsoft has issued a beta version of a new illustration, painting and graphics application program code named Acrylic. The news was first announced by CNET, which says the software is based on graphics application Expression, which Microsoft acquired with its purchase of Hong Kong-based company Creature House. Acrylic will only be available for Windows XP, despite Expression being available for Apple Macs before the purchase.
Lexar has issued a customer advisory regarding its Professional 80x speed CompactFlash cards (512MB - 4GB) following the news that there was a problem, described as 'lost image condition', when used with certain Canon digital SLRs. Lexar is now proposing to replace the affected cards. Owners must fill out a Return Materials Authorization (RMA) form and once they have received an RMA number, they will be sent a replacement Lexar card with the firmware installed. It is not possible to install the firmware. Affected cameras include the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, 1D Mark II, 20D and Digital Rebel XT/350D/Kiss Digital N.
A new device is being marketed by UK distribution company Intro2020 that allows you to view the scene in the viewfinder on an LCD. The Zigview monitor attaches to your SLR's viewfinder where the image is captured by the CMOS sensor inside it and relayed in real time to the 1.9-inch TFT. The Zigview works with most digital and film SLRs and is supplied with an eyepiece adapter for common Nikon, Canon and Fuji cameras. Adapters for other cameras will cost £6.99. The Zigview monitor will retail for around £119.99.
Olympus is to cut production for digital camera costs by 30% due to fierce competition, reports Bloomberg. The news follows earlier announcements that Olympus, the world's fourth largest camera manufacturer, is to cut 4,000 jobs, 13% of its global workforce. The long term aim is to recover some profit after Olympus reported its first ever annual loss last month. The job cuts will save the company around ¥3 bn. Bloomberg says Olympus expects shipments of digital cameras to rise from 8.9m to 9.5m this year with the release of two SLRs aimed at pros and serious amateurs.
Just as soon as we review a camera, it's 'evolutionized' and a new one is launched. The new camera is the Samsung Digimax V800, successor to the recently reviewed Digimax V700. As suggested by its name it boasts one million more pixels than the V700 taking it to 8 megapixels, and, as seems popular with Samsung's recent launches, the V800 sports a large 2.5-inch LCD. The Digimax V800 can record high quality movies (VGA @ 30 fps) with stabilization and a pause function. It also boasts manual control, Schneider-Kreuznach lens and a 32MB built-in memory.
The final three 5 megapixel cameras to be launched by Samsung are in the A series. First up is the beginner-friendly fixed-lens Digimax A502, which has four scene modes and a 1.8-inch LCD. The Digimax A55W and Digimax A50 (pictured) sport almost identical spec, although the former has a 5x zoom and the latter has a 3x zoom. Features include in-camera video editing, 2.5-inch LCD, 32MB built-in memory, MPEG 4 movie mode and auto macro function (2cm A55W / 5cm A50). The also offer PictBridge compatibility and an Album feature for categorizing and saving your images.
Nikon has announced a collaboration with Microsoft which will allow easy access to its raw NEF files in current and future versions of Windows. The project is intended to make NEF more widely accessible through current and future versions of Windows, which is ironic considering that just a few weeks ago it emerged that Nikon had encrypted white balance data in its NEF files which meant it could not be read by Adobe Camera RAW. The next version of Windows, Longhorn, will offer enhanced native support. Microsoft and Nikon have previously worked together producing Microsoft's RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer for Windows XP.
Following severe financial problems, Leica shareholders met yesterday to discuss the future of the company. The company aims to reorient its corporate structure to achieve a sales volume of around €100 million in the near future. It aims to simplify capital reduction, increase the share capital against contributions in cash and a creation of authorized capital. Dr. Josef Spichtig, chairman of the board of management of Leica Camera AG, described these measures as being “indispensable for the existence of the Company”. Leica Camera Group recorded a 21% sales decline from €119.1 million to €93.7 million, year ending March 31. The measures take into account operating losses of around €13 million for the next financial year (2005/2006). For the subsequent fiscal year, 2006/2007, the company aims to break even. Dr Spichtig, said he intended to continue the photo and sports optic units as well as Leica M and Leica R camera systems and compact cameras as 'co-operation products'.
HP has today announced two 5.1 megapixel, 5x zoom cameras in the shape of the Photosmart R817 and R818. From the official press release the pair seem to have identical spec including a 2" LCD, 15 shooting modes, plus the new theatre mode, and shutter and aperture priority. Both feature HP technologies such as the new in-camera panorama stitching, which can stitch together five photos, adaptive lighting and in-camera red-eye removal. The one main difference is that the R817 is available in silver, while the R818 comes with a dark midnight gray metallic finish. The R817 will ship in July and is available with (£349) or without a docking station (£299). The R818 comes bundled with the HP Photosmart R-series docking station for £399 and will ship in August. The new HP Photosmart Scuba/Underwater Camera Case can be used for either camera and is waterproof to a depth of 40m.