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June 2000 news and reviews

June 29
Jeff Keller posts Mavica FD95 review

Jeff over at DC Resource has just posted his review of Sony's Mavica FD95. Here's what he had to say "The Sony Mavica line is really one of the kind, and the MVC-FD95 stands out as the top of the line, at least until the CD1000 model ships. Though it's very large and bulky, it's designed extremely well and is very easy to use. The photo quality is generally good, though JPEG compression is obvious in some cases."

June 28
Shutterfly announce International Shipping

Living in the UK I can say this is a relief, at long last the US photo finishing companies are starting to recognise the rest of the Internet. Shutterfly have today announced international shipping of digital prints. International shipping costs between US$3.79 and US$10.89.

Nikon Coolpix 990 Infrared Technique

After finding out that the 990 has different internal features many users were disappointed that their old IR filters didn't work with the 990, Cory Shubert a regular reader and contributor to our forums sent me a note pointing out his webpages covering the use of 89B IR filters on the 990 and some of his results (which look rather good).

June 27
Microtech announce new Microdrive Bundles

Microtech today announce new "Deluxe Kit" and "RoadWarrior Kit" both come with USB reader/writers and PC Card Type II adapters for connection directly to a notebook. The new bundles include the 340MB and new 512MB and 1GB Microdrives.

Microtech unveil ZiO!

Microtech today announced their miniture ZiO! line of USB media readers, there will be three different ZiO! models capable of reading/writing CF Type I/II, SmartMedia and MultiMedia/SD. With no cables or batteries the ZiO! simply plugs straight into a USB socket for access to particular media cards. Fully compatible with Windows 98, 2000 and Mac OS 8.5 and above.

Shutterfly Partners with Kodak

Seems to be partnerships-between-photofinishing-companies day today, Shutterfly today announced that they have come to an agreement with Kodak to offer 35mm and APS film developing and scanning services to Shutterfly customers, once developed images appear in the users area on the Shutterfly site. The Shutterfly film developing and scanning service will be available starting July 7th, 2000, and for an introductory period will be free of charge.

Sony chooses Ofoto for ImageStation.Com

Ofoto today announced that they will be providing photo finishing facilities for Sony's new photo sharing website www.imagestation.com. ImageStation users will now be able to purchase prints at 4x6, 5x7 or 8x10 printed on Kodak Professional paper.

Red Hen Systems GPS Mapping for DC290

Today Red Hen Systems Inc. announced MediaMapper which "...is an innovative mapping program that easily integrates digital still pictures, video, and audio with GPS information into an interactive map.", put simply it will automatically map and locate images taken witha Kodak DC290 with connected Garmin receiver or Red Hen's own VMS 200.

Sony DSC-S70 review!

Just posted! We've put the finishing touches to our Sony DSC-S70 review, "Sony surprised quite a few people with their announcement of the S70, not least I'm sure some of their competitors. Although most manufacturers claim to know what their competitors are doing some of Sony's recent moves must certainly have sent ripples through certain offices in Japan."

June 26
Kodak announce Print@Kodak

Today Kodak announced their own Internet photofinishing service, Print@Kodak. Along the same lines as many other photo finishing services Kodak are hoping that their reputation and name will go a long way to winning customers. Print@Kodak is available direct from Kodak at www.kodak.com and through several photo sharing sites.

Hitachi 448MB CF Type II

Almost a month since we covered Hitachi Japan's announcement of a 448MB CF Type II and 1GB PCMCIA ATA Type II card, Hitachi USA have today made these products official. Here's the complete press release. The 448MB CF Type II is priced at $895 per 1000 (to distributors obviously) that's a price of $1.99/MB compared to IBM's 1GB CF Type II Microdrive at $499 is just $0.50/MB.

June 24
By popular demand: Ricoh Talk

Several people asked for it, and with the advent of new cameras and more interest in Ricoh we've now created a "Ricoh Talk" forum. So get in there and get discussing the RDC-5000, RDC-5300, RDC-6000, RDC-7 and RDC-200G.

Minolta Dimage 2300

Minolta sneak a new model in without anyone noticing... Well, nearly. In a press release published yesterday Minolta announced their budget priced Dimage 2300, this 2.3 megapixel (2.1 megapixels effective) fixed lens (38mm, 35mm equiv.) will go in sale in Japan on 7th July for 49800 YEN (~US$480).

June 22
Impress publishes 13 S1 Pro samples

Impress Digital Camera Magazine is a printed bi-monthly Japanese digital camera publication which covers all the latest digital cameras with some of the most in-depth reviews you're ever likely to find. In association with this they always publish sample images for download. Their latest samples are from FujiFilm S1 Pro, Sony F505V & F55V, Kodak DC4800, Canon IXY Digital (S100 ELPH / IXUS), Ricoh RDC-7, JVC GC-X1, Sony FD-90 & FD-95.

Olympus announce 8x10 Dye Sub printer

Olympus today announced their P-400 A4 size (8.25" x 11.7") printer, with some interesting features including direct print from SmartMedia, PC Card, CompactFlash or Memory Stick as well as PC and Mac connectivity (USB, Parallel). Cost per A4 sheet (paper & ink) is said to be $1.90 and the printer takes 90 seconds to print a single page. List price $999.

Trimble unveils GPS for small mobile devices

This could turn into interesting news for digital camera owners, Trimble Navigation today announced FirstGPS, a chipset solution to enable small portable devices to "know where they are". Featured in Epson's Japanese "Locatio" product which is a PDA, phone, navigator, digital camera with built-in Internet access. FirstGPS has the lowest power consumption of any GPS receiver, requiring only 30-50 milliwatts at 3.3 volts. It's likely we'll see digital cameras of the future with built in GPS locators.

Two new cameras from Casio

Casio Japan announce the QV-2800UX & QV-2300UX. Both cameras feature the same 2.11 megapixel CCD (1600 x 1200 resolution), the QV-2300UX has a 3x optical zoom lens, the QV-2800UX has a big 8x optical zoom lens. Interestingly Casio have gone for the rotating lens option we first saw in the QV-7000UX and QV-8000UX.

Pricing and availability: QV-2300UX - 65,000 YEN (Est. US street $750) in July, QV-2800UX - 78,000 YEN (Est. US Street $850) in September. Full specifications inside.

June 21

Myself, I'm about 85% through a DSC-S70 review (should be up by the end of the week), in the mean time Steves-Digicams, DC Resource and Imaging-Resource have posted reviews or first looks of cameras ranging from Sony's MVC-CD1000, MVC-FD95, Canon's little S100 and the Epson PhotoPC 3000Z.

IBM makes 512MB and 1GB MicroDrive official

Just two hours after publishing the "sneak preview" news story below, IBM have release an official announcement of their 1 GB MicroDrive. Full release and specifications inside. "Packing one gigabyte (GB) of data storage capacity on to a disk the size of an American quarter, IBM's newest Microdrive can hold up to 1,000 high-resolution photographs, a thousand 200-page novels or nearly 18 hours of high-quality digital audio music."

UPDATED: Specifications

June 20
IBM ready 1GB MicroDrive

Some sneak news here from NY Times, IBM are readying their next generation MicroDrive, weighing in at 1GB yet still the same small CF Type II package, increased shock resistance (now a claimed 1500G) it will be priced at US$ 499 ($0.48/MB) and said to go on sale in September. "The smaller size and accelerating density of magnetic storage systems are one of the remarkable stories of Silicon Valley. Disk storage is now increasing at a rate faster than the legendary Moore's Law improvement rate of the semiconductor industry. "

June 19

Here's an interesting announcement from a surprising source "PhotoAccess.com Corporation, a leading provider of digital imaging solutions for the Internet, today announced the availability of its PhotoChip(tm), the world's fastest digital image processing chip for use in digital cameras."... ..."features an "instant-on'' environment and throughput rates of up to 24 megapixels per second - significantly faster than any other application specific integrated circuit or DSP available"

June 16
Olympus C-2100 UltraZoom, 10x optics

Olympus Japan announce the a new digital camera based on the 2 megapixel C-2020Z with an Olympus ten times stabalised zoom lens (38mm - 380mm, F2.8 - F3.5) with optical stability. Expected retail price is 138,000 YEN ($1300) in Japan available in August. Olympus's answer to the FD-95 & MVC-CD1000 ?

UPDATE: Full specifications inside.

Essentials: 1.92 megapixels effective (1600 x 1200), 10x stabalised zoom lens (38mm - 380mm), TTL LCD Viewfinder, SmartMedia

PC Watch post Ricoh RDC-7 samples

Impress PC Watch, on the ball as always snapped some pictures with Ricoh's new RDC-7. As far as I'm aware these are the first available samples on the net. The RDC-7 is a 3 megapixel digicam which also features a cunning 6 megapixel interpolated mode (3072 x 2304).

June 14

Caught this interesting press release about an interesting photo authenication application which is designed to be used by Police and Courts to verify the authenticity of images taken with digital cameras, something which has always thwarted their use as court evidence in the past. The new technology digitally marks the image at the time of download to maintain their authenticity up to the point at which they are used as evidence in court.

Kodak Pro DSC620x Review!

Just posted! Our latest review, the Kodak DCS 620x. An amazing professional digital SLR with the highest sensitivity of any digital camera currently available (ISO 400 - 6400). Here's what we had to say "This is incredibly important to working in medium / low "available light" situations where you still need high shutter speeds to capture "that moment" (think floodlit football, basketball, ice hockey, a dusk shoot-out in a war torn country)."

June 13
Sony officially announce MVC-CD1000

As we reported yesterday (thanks to a slip by TWICE.COM) Sony have today announced the MVC-CD1000, a 2.1 megapixel digital camera based on the FD-95, this camera is unique in so much as it writes images not to flash memory or floppy disks but directly to 3.5" 156MB CD-R discs. Sony, as ever breaking with convention (nothing wrong with that) but also interestingly coming to the market with yet another storage format (which incedently they'll profit from). Each CD-R is hoped to be priced around $4 which makes each (non erasable) image shot cost approximately $0.03. Camera price? $1300, shipping August.

The advantage? Cheap, large storage, can be read by standard CD-ROM drives, big 10x zoom lens. Disadvantages I see.. (a) Yet another storage standard, (b) Camera size, (c) Availability and pricing of mini CD-R's, (d) Non-rewritable nature (surely a 64MB buffer wouldn't have been out of the question) (e) Price

UPDATE: Imaging-Resource post first look, thanks to Imaging-Resource for pictures of the camera

Jeff Keller posts FujiFilm 4700 review

Jeff Keller over at DC Resource has just posted his review of FujiFilm's FinePix 4700, here's what he says "The FinePix 4700 is a good looking, small, and fun-to-use camera, as long as you're doing casual shooting. People who want to tweak aperture and shutter settings will have to look elsewhere. But most consumers don't care about those things, and the 4700 fits the bill very well. "

June 12

I received an email earlier today pointing me to TWICE.COM who were carrying an article on a new digital camera from Sony. This camera, based on the 2.1 megapixel FD-95 will write to mini sized CD-R's (156MB @ $4 a piece), at the time I copied the news release from TWICE.COM but didn't publish it until I'd verified it. Imaging-Resource are now running this news article and saying that they are under NDA until tomorrow about this product. Interestingly going back to TWICE.COM the article has been pulled.. curiouser and curiouser...

UPDATE: 10:00 GMT Imaging-Resource have pulled their coverage of the MVC-CD1000.. what a farce.

Imaging Resource post two new reviews

The busy guys over at Imaging Resource have put their finishing touches to a review of FujiFilm's FinePix 1400 (an entry level compact digicam) and Sony's new interesting F505V (the 2.6 megapixel upgrade to their successful F505) of which they say "The sharpness of the Carl Zeiss optics show in the final images, and we really like the "real camera" manual-focus option (although we'd really like to see some sort of optical viewfinder, even if only a "gunsight" on the top of the lens barrel). The full 5x optical zoom is a big plus that we wish more manufacturers would adopt. "

June 9
PC Watch post Kodak DC4800 (Beta) samples

Impress PC Watch post samples from a Beta Kodak DC4800, as always PC Watch get the jump on the latest digicams publishing these images just a couple of days after the official announcement of the camera. So, how do they look? Well, not bad actually.

June 8
PC Watch report from Computex

Impress PC Watch report from the Computex Taipei 2000 exhibition, where low cost, OEM, CMOS and multimedia (MP3) digital cameras are seen by local manufacturers as the only way to break into the low end digital camera market.

June 7
Megapixel.Net June issue out now

The monthly bi-lingual digital camera webzine Megapixel.Net have just released their June edition, under the reviewers eye this month is Sony's FD-95, FujiFilm's 4700Z, Toshiba's M70 and the cut-back Olympus C-3000Z. There are also articles on images in newspapers, how people use their digital cameras and why CMOS cameras are much cheaper than traditional CCD units.

June 6
Kodak US announce DC4800 & DC5000

Hot on the heels of Kodak Japan, Kodak US have officially announced (and put up web pages) for the DC4800 and DC5000 digital cameras. The US webpages also carry PDF specification sheets, demos and a samples gallery for each camera.

Kodak DC4800: 3.1mp, ISO 100/200/400, 3x optical zoom (28-84mm), Lithium-Ion battery

Kodak DC5000: 2.1mp, ISO 100, 2x optical zoom (30-60mm), AA batteries, rugged design

Kodak DC4800, 3.1mp 3x zoom

Kodak Japan today announced the DC4800 and gave a sneak preview of the DC5000 digital cameras. The DC4800 is a 3.1 megapixel (2160 x 1440), 3x optical zoom (28mm - 84mm, 35mm equiv.), available in Japan June 23rd @ 99,800 YEN (~US$1000). The DC5000 is a rugged-ised DC280, exact specifications are as yet unknown.

June 3
Hitachi announce 448MB CF Type II

Just when you thought your Microdrive was big. Hitachi Japan announce three CF Type II cards of capacity 448MB, 320MB and 256MB and a 1GB PCMCIA ATA Type II, all of these new devices use 512 or 256 Mbit flash memory and are capable of up to 2MB/second. Prices not yet announced and I'm sure they won't yet be able to get down to the low $/MB of the Microdrive but for those people with reservations about mini-harddisks this will be encouraging news.

FujiFilm officially announce 40i

Received this overnight from my contact at FujiFilm, this is the official (English) announcement of the multitalented (Images & MP3's) FinePix 40i. "Fujifilm today announces the super compact, high resolution FinePix 40i digital camera, due for release in Japan next month and in the rest of the world in late August."

June 2
FujiFilm FinePix 40i, JPEG & MP3!

FujiFilm blur the multimedia line by bringing out a combined digital camera and MP3 player, this little camera looks more like a MiniDisc player but actually plays MP3's (uploaded by USB). It's equipped with FujiFilm's 2.4 megapixel SuperCCD outputting 2400 x 1600, 1280 x 960 or 640 x 480. Priced at 88,000 YEN (about US$880), available July 1st in Japan.

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