Here's wishing all of our readers, supporters, sponsors and other site webmasters a very Merry Christmas, I hope Santa brings you a bag full of digital photography goodies this year (if you haven't already treated yourselves that is ;). This December 25th also marks our second anniversary! Have a happy, relaxing and stomach filling Christmas and don't forget to take lots of snaps!
December 2000 news and reviews
Kodak Professional have released a standalone application for browsing and converting their proprietary RAW files (which have a .TIF extension). Previously conversion of RAW files from the DCS series of cameras could only be carried out from a TWAIN module but this new standalone application provides many of the same features without requiring a photo package to "host" the TWAIN module. Photo Desk is a free download for Kodak DCS owners.
The printed Japanese "Digital Camera Magazine" published by Impress has now gone monthly, as ever they've updated their current issue page with sample images which correspond to reviews / articles in their magazine, always a good source of sample images from recent cameras. This month (magazine dated Jan 2001) they have samples from several new cameras including Olympus's C-3040/2040 Zoom and E-100RS.
But certainly a repair for some owners... Thanks to the investigative work of Rob Galbraith we seem to have an answer to why some owners have D1's with the high ISO banding problem and some don't. "...there is no so-called "silent upgrade" for the Nikon D1 that magically transforms its high ISO performance. But, some D1 cameras may require the replacement of a failing electronic part to rid images of a slight to noticeable diagonal pattern, especially in the green channel of images shot at ISO 1600 and above."
According to a report on AsiaBizTech shipments of digital cameras are expected to reach 12 million units worldwide in fiscal year 2000, double the volume from the previous year. Shipments could balloon to 20 million units in 2001. Sony, Olympus and Fujifilm own a combined 80% share of the global digital camera market.
Long time called vapourware SiliconFilm's (previously known as Imagek) eFilm appears to be finally making some real progress. The eFilm is a 35 mm digital film (1.3 megapixel) cartridge which will fit into certain 35mm film cameras. Now there's talk of real product ($699) next year, and they've today published sample images on their website.
Rejoice D1, D30, S1 pro and E-10 owners! We've been closely monitoring the amount of traffic on the dedicated brand forums and the amount of SLR discussion now warrants the creation of dedicated forums for the discussion of brand specific SLR cameras. Also considering what we expect to see next year, it's probably a good pre-emptive move. So, we've now created four new forums: Canon SLR Talk, Fuji SLR Talk, Nikon SLR Talk and Olympus SLR Talk. Obviously as we know more about the release status of other digital SLR's we'll make decisions about the creation of forums dedicated to them.
Thanks to reader JRG for pointing us towards this prototype / pre-production product. The Nixvue Digital Album is similar to the Digital Wallet product we've previously reviewed, however it's smaller, features a 10 GB hard disk and has the ability to work standalone (without a PC), via a remote control you can view images on a TV (Video / S-Video) and/or print directly (has a parallel port). This neat little product is certainly interesting and we'll try to bring you more information as it becomes available.
Pollet from Belgium digital has just let me know that he's updated his
comparison of digital photofinishing and print services. He's now compared
the following services: Shutterfly, Ofoto, Printroom, Fototime,
Photo Access, Digitaalfoto.NL, Dotphoto, Agfanet, Spector,
Fotofun, Fracken, Photo Alltechn and a Canon D300 printer. Using two sample
images from a Canon S10 as reference shots he's got some great side-by-side
examples, and the quality from the larger US photofinishers isn't as good
as we'd all expect.
(Bold type indicates new / updated tests).
As promised we've got another special deal only open to Digital Photography Review readers. This one is valid from today (13th December) until 19th December: "State Street Direct would like to extend a special pre-holiday discount to DPreview visitors. Save an additional 5% on all In-Stock Digital Cameras at State Street Direct."
This time of the year news is always a little light on the ground (understatement this year), however this item may be of interested to ACDSEE users (those who know a good image browser when they use one). "Under the terms of the agreement, Corbis and ACD Systems will use their multi-million user bases to sell each other's digital image products online. ACD's digital imaging software will be promoted on www.Corbis.com. In addition, Corbis will promote ACD software through its e-newsletter, circulated monthly to its 200,000 user base."
Jeff over at DC Resource has just posted his review of Sony's Mavica CD1000, here's what he concluded, "I want to say up front that I very much like the Sony Mavica MVC-CD1000 for its "camera features". It's got a great 10X optical zoom, nice manual controls, good photo quality, and it's easy to use. What I'm not sold on is the CD-R technology itself, as you've probably noticed throughout the review. While it's the cheapest storage out there per megabyte, you lose a lot of the "digital camera features" such as the ability to truly delete photos, as well as to reuse the storage media. "
Steve over at Steves-Digicams has beaten us to it (well a first look, I'll be posting a full review soon), thanks to a good bout of flu I've been out of action for the last four days. Here's what Steve says about the HP C912 (so far): "I've only had the C912 for a few days but it is a delight to use. It looks a lot like a conventional 35mm SLR and has a great feel to it thanks to a large rubberized grip. The zoom is controlled by a ring on the lens barrel and overall the camera produces excellent images"
We've just posted our full review of Kodak's DC4800, a camera which marks a departure for Kodak from the DC260/265/290 series and a move to a more stylish, traditional and insterestingly non-Digita based camera. The DC4800 finds itself in the very competitive 3 megapixel market alongside several other digital cameras at a similar price.
Time magazine has named the Nikon Coolpix 990 "Machine of the Year", they go on to say "This was the year that digital photography finally plunged into the mainstream and the Nikon Coolpix 990 led the way."... "Manufacturers (ALL) shipped an astonishing 5.1 million digital cameras throughout the U.S. last year, up from 3.1 million in 1999. "
As part of a new regular feature DPReview and State Street Direct (our official affiliate) will be bringing you special deals which will only be available from news articles here on DPReview. This week free 2-day shipping on any purchase over $250, plus $25 off special Olympus and Fujifilm packages. These offers are valid until 12th December 2000.
Must be Fuji Monday or something, both DC Resource and A-Digital-Eye have published their own reviews of Fujifilm's Finepix 4900Z, this camera has certainly gained a lot of interest from the webmasters but how did it perform for them? "The camera is also one of the fastest out there, with minimal processing times. The build quality is very good, and the camera includes an attractive bundle.", "Overall, the Fujifilm FinePix 4900 is an advanced camera with very good to excellent results in actual usage, especially in rendering colors"
Peter iNova's eBook "Mastering Nikon Compact Digital Cameras" has been a long time anticipated by a large number of Coolpix owners, having just received my copy I can honestly say that it was well worth the wait. Never has there been a more comprehensive, detailed and off-the-cuff book guaranteed to help you take better pictures immediately. Peter iNova is a photographic and literary genius! DPReview guaranteed as an excellent buy for anyone with a Nikon Coolpix digital camera.
Kodak have just posted a firmware update for the DC4800, improvements include: Improved Auto Focus (AF) in dim lighting situations, Alarms if not in AF range, Displaying Landscape / Closeup icon and Exposure Compensation icon on color LCD screen, PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) improvements (For future compatibility), Minor bug fixes. The update can be carried out either by placing the firmware file on the CF card or by using the supplied Firmware Upgrade Utility.
Michael Chaney, author of QImage Pro just sent me a note about the latest release of his image manipulation / printing application. "Qimage Pro v10.2 has some major improvements regarding color management that allow you to REALLY start managing color! This version works hand-in-hand with the new digicam ICC profiles that we are developing... ...it allows you to "tag" digital cameras to specific ICC profiles. We are currently working on developing ICC profiles for all the cameras that we currently have plugins for (the CP990 ICC profile is already available)."
The monthly bilingual webzine Megapixel.Net have just released their December edition (in French and English), this month they've reviewed the Olympus E-10, Fujifilm FinePix 4900 & 2400 and HP C-912. They also have the final part of their "Beginners Guide" article and some user contributed gallery images.