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October 2001 news and reviews
Phew! I've just completed a big update to our Compact Flash "Digital Film Comparison". The updates fall into two categories. First we have now added results of eight more cards from six more manufacturers: Viking, Microtech, Pretec, Ridata, Dane-Elec and Crucial. Secondly all sixteen cards have now been tested on a Canon EOS-1D, this proved to be very interesting as the 1D managed to push almost all the cards into 2 MB/sec territory and showed what a difference the device driving the card can make. Also noteworthy is the Pretec card, one of the largest flash CF's weighing in at 640 MB.
Good news for those who are looking forward to Canon's EOS-1D. Both of our retail affiliates, State Street Direct and Imaging Spectrum Inc. are offering the Canon EOS-1D for pre-order at just $5500. That's a whopping $1000 less than the price originally quoted by Canon USA. It's also an opportunity to give back to dpreview, if you order form either of our affiliates you will be contributing to the upkeep of this site and production of future reviews. We can confirm that this is the new official price from Canon.
Professional Photographer and fellow webmaster Rob Galbraith has posted another update to his (team) coverage of this years Eco-Challenge. Shooting exclusively with Nikon D1x's, some 21,000 frames and 90 GB of images later and it's still not over, but you've got to visit Rob's page if only to be in awe of his (and other members of his team's) photography. Stunning.
We've just posted our full in-depth review of Olympus's five megapixel E-20. The E-20 is unique (along with the E-10) with its implementation of a prism which splits the image from the lens between the viewfinder and CCD. This allows the E-20 to produce a live view image on the LCD monitor as well as a TTL viewfinder. The E-20 enters a market with competition from Minolta and Sony, something the E-10 didn't face when first released. Just how well did the E-20 do against its peers?
ColorVision, the people who brought us the Monitor Spyder and PhotoCal / OptiCal colour profiling and calibration software has announced an all new LCD/CRT Spyder which can be used to calibrate both CRT Monitors and newer LCD Flat Panel displays. This will be good news for users who need calibrated colour from their LCD Flat Panels. We hope to bring you a full review of the new CRT/LCD Spyder as soon as it's available.
Fotki, the photo sharing site ("community") has introduced a premium member service which provides you with a wide range of additional features: co-branding (a unique option to have your domain name, look and feel to a group of galleries), unlimited photo storage, a 100 MB mail box and external photo linking (plus several upcoming features). All of this for just US$30 per year. Fotki will continue to support "basic members".
Fujifilm has updated to the combination MP3 player digital camera 'i' line with the announcement of the new 30i. Gone is the SuperCCD used in the 40i and 50i, replaced by a 2 megapixel CCD sensor with non-interpolated resolution of 1600 x 1200. The lens is also slower at F4.8 vs. the previous F2.8. These changes add up to cost savings which should place the 30i in the sub $500 bracket (UK price has been set at £350). The 30i also adds handphone connectivity for the Japanese market.
Just updated! We've just posted an update to our Canon EOS-1D D-SLR preview article. This update was produced with a newer EOS-1D running Firmware 1.0.1 (very nearly production). The update includes some new shots of the camera, accessories and box (!) as well as image quality samples, resolution, ISO noise and a samples gallery with 25 shots. This camera is still classified as pre-production and so I've decided not to write the full review yet. As soon as we receive a full production EOS-1D I'll start work on the full in-depth review. For now, dive in to the image samples...
Dazzle, an SCM Microsystems brand has today announced an amazing six in one card USB card reader. The dual-slot accepts Compact Flash Type I and II (including Microdrive), SmartMedia, SD / MultiMedia card and Sony Memory Stick. The two slots act as separate and concurrent drives. "The Dazzle 6 in 1 reader can be used as a removable disk drive, with USB true plug-and-play capability. For newer operating systems including Windows® Me and Windows® XP, the Dazzle 6 in 1 is mass storage compliant and requires no additional software drivers to be installed."
Peter iNova, author of the popular 'Mastering Nikon Compact Digital Cameras' eBook has just dropped me a line to let me know that the eBook has been updated and released as version 3.0, the new eBook adds detail for Nikon's new Coolpix 995 and 775 digital cameras. "The 995 is an evolutionary camera that has become the standard bearer for the Nikon 3 megapixel camera line," said author Peter iNova, "and while the little CP775 may be the 'least' Coolpix, it certainly delivers a lot in a small package."
Kingston Technology has today announced a 128 MB Secure Digital (SD/MMC) card. The new card has an MSRP of $199 ($1.55/MB). "The SD card also provides enhanced cryptographic security protection for copyrighted data. SD cards are used in the latest SD compatible digital devices such as PDAs, digital cameras, digital camcorders and MP3 players"
It's official. Pentax has cancelled its 6 megapixel digital SLR. A prototype of this long awaited full frame 6 megapixel digital SLR was seen (and handled) by us in the flesh at PMA 2001, although at the time it was particularly unstable. Pentax UK has today issued this statement, "The cost of manufacturing the prototype SLR 6-megapixel digital camera meant it was not a viable product for our target market. However, we have gained a great deal of knowledge and experience in the development of this prototype which will ensure technological innovation in future Pentax digital products."
Sony has today confirmed a PDA accessory which we've seen in prototype form before. The $150 PEGA-MSC1 Memory Stick Camera Module plugs into the Memory Stick slot of the CLIE T415, N760C and N610C and allows users of these Palm OS driven PDA's to capture low resolution (320 x 240, 160 x 120) snapshots which can then be viewed on the PDA or later on a PC.
JOBO Fototechnic, the distributor of the award-winning Nixvue Digital Album in the US and Canada, has a limited number of used/demo Digital Albums available for sale. Members of DPReview are being given advance notice of the availability of these models. These Digital Albums were returned from various media outlets, have the 800mA battery, come complete with everything a new Digital Album ships with, and include the standard one-year parts and labor warranty.
Professional Photographer and fellow webmaster Rob Galbraith is part of an all-digital seven man shooting team covering this years Eco-Challenge. This year the race is being held in the mountains of New Zealand's South Island. Rob shot the same event last year where he used Nikon's D1, this year it's up with the megapixels and an extreme conditions test for Nikon's D1x. Other kit along for the ride: a variety of lenses including an AF-S Nikkor 500mm (pictured), Lexar 12x Pro Compact Flash, DVD writers, Think Fire-n-Ice FW drives, Apple G4 Powerbook, Nikon Capture 2 as well as MacBibble! Catch Rob's first report on the challenge of shooting the Eco-Challenge!
Minolta is to shift its camera production from Japan and Malaysia to Shanghai in two years. The move is designed to boost profits for the camera maker who manufactured their first camera back in 1928. This follows the announcement made in September of 2,500 job cuts over three years. No jobs are scheduled go in Japan following the move but workers in Malaysia may not be so fortunate. "We will reduce the number of workers at our domestic camera division in Japan from 900 to 500, but all will be moved to other divisions," Maruyama said. "Although we have not reached any final decision, we cannot help but ask some workers at our Malaysian plant to leave," the spokesman said.
Casio has today announced the QV-2100, a fairly unremarkable 2 megapixel digital camera except for the fact that it takes SD/MMC storage cards. The camera doesn't come with MMC cards, instead it has 16 MB of built-in flash storage, the MMC slot is for additional storage. Casio has been a strong Compact Flash supporter in the past so this camera is fairly significant as it may indicate Casio's choice for its future compact digital cameras. Time will tell.
Scott Murray, author of Scott Professional dropped me a line to let me know that he's just released the first (beta) version of his Canon RAW (CRW) conversion and workflow application 'Scott Professional Photo Studio'. The interesting detail about Photo Studio is the interface, it's based around (and very similar to) Kodak's DCS Photo Desk, look and feel are almost identical. Photo Studio uses the Canon SDK to do the final image conversion, although Scott has written some custom decoders for quick preview of RAW images. Photo Studio is compatible with RAW files from the D30, Pro90 IS, G1 and G2.
It's time for a showdown! We have just posted an article titled 'Digital Film comparison', this article is actually constantly updated database of the performance of various digital film (flash cards). Our first installment covers eight large capacity Compact Flash cards including the IBM Microdrive, Lexar Pro 12x, SimpleTech and recently announced SanDisk Ultra card. Our tests include a sythentic performance test (using a Firewire card reader), the Canon EOS-D30 and Nikon Coolpix 995.
SanDisk has today announced a new line of high speed Compact Flash cards which will carry the name 'Ultra'. Available as 'label capacity' sizes of 128, 192, 256, 384 and 512 megabytes. The SanDisk press release states that these new cards "have a sustained write speed of up to 2.8 megabytes (MB) per second". We have today received a test sample 512 MB Ultra card and will be posting the results of our tests very soon.
Olympus has today announced the 'mid-priced' C-3020Z, a 3 megapixel, 3x optical zoom digital camera. This is essentially an 'improved' C-3000Z with the following new features: scene exposure modes, 'My Mode', storage class USB, AE lock, noise reduction, contrast and sharpness setting has more levels, one touch white balance, flash compensation, image rotation. Other noteworthy details - No video out, no remote control, no external flash, uses the slower F2.8 lens (compared to the F1.8 on the C-3040Z). All this at a street price of $499.
Polaroid Corp. has today filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection (according to Fox News). This has been on the cards for several days, it now seems to have finally happened. Polaroid's last recorded share value was 28 cents compared to a 10 year high of $60.31 back in July 1997. According to Reuters Polaroid owes almost $1 billion in total ($600 million to bond holders, $350 million to two groups of banks).
We've just posted our review of Pentax's pocket-sized 3 megapixel digital camera, the Optio 330. This small metal cased digital camera has a big 3x optical zoom and a wide range of manual controls. It's a camera which offers ultra-compact proportions and still enough controls to keep a shutterbug happy on a long trek. So, just how does it stack up in our review?
Casio has today announced the 'G.BROS GV-10' digital camera. Available in this highly attractive rubberized red / black case or a similar purple / silver the GV-10 has a 1.3 megapixel CCD sensor and a fixed focal length lens (35 mm equiv.). It is said to be waterproof and dustproof to JIS protection grade six, this essentially means it could be used in the rain, skiing or on the beach without any worries. Storage comes via a Compact Flash slot and the GV-10 takes four AA batteries. It's not clear at this stage if this is solely a domestic (Japan only) model or whether it will be available in the rest of the world.
We don't post much printer news, but this is significant, especially for digital photographers trying to match colour between what they see on their computer screen and what comes out of the printer. Epson recently released new ColorLife paper, the new "Custom 1440" ICC profiles for the Epson Stylus Photo 870 / 875DC / 1270 printers with the ColorLife Paper. Interstingly the release notes that "These ICC profiles were developed by EPSON America, Inc. using GretagMacbeth ProfileMaker 3.1 Professional software, along with a GretagMacbeth SpectroScan Spectrophotometer."
The online digital photography retailer Advandig has posted a sad message on their front page, "IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to unfavorable business conditions, Advandig.com has suspended operations effective 10/8." This does, unfortunately seem to be the way of the Internet at the moment, there's a big shake up under way and only the strongest will survive. In other news it looks as though Polaroid are on the brink, trading in their shares has today been suspended.
Just last week we learned of Canon's new additions to the 'S series', the PowerShot S30 and S40. Today we're proud to bring our review of a full production PowerShot S40. This (almost) pocketable, metal cased, 'carry anywhere', four megapixel digital camera is packed with manual controls and exposure features as well as a three times optical zoom lens. The camera comes with its own Lithium-Ion battery pack and is IBM Microdrive compatible. So just how well did it do in our tests? (14:40 GMT)
Lexar Media has today announced new 16x professional Compact Flash cards. Lexar claim a throughput of 2.4 MB per second (although they don't specify which camera this was tested on) where 1x is 150 KB/sec. In our own tests a standard OEM card is capable of approximately 4x, more recent large capacity cards from SimpleTech, Kingston, Pretec, Ridata etc. are at least capable of 8 - 12x speeds. "Improvements in camera resolution and image quality have increased the importance of our speed-rated CompactFlash cards,'' said Eric Stang, president and CEO, Lexar Media. "Lexar Media has long been the performance leader in memory cards and the only company to individually speed-rate its products..." (13:20 GMT)
Gatherround.com, the photo sharing / photo finishing site has announced that it will be "discontinuing service" on 1st November. Gatherround joins Zing and several other photo finishing sites in the "great internet shake-up". Just like Zing, Gatherround users are being offered an account with Ofoto as well as 15 free prints for making the move. From their FAQ page: "Why is GatherRound.com going away? We feel our customers will be better served by a service such as Ofoto, whose primary business focus is online photo sharing and printing"
The PhotoPlus Expo 2001 will be held between November 1st and 3rd at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. New digital camera products which will be shown at the exhibition will include Olympus's E-20N, Nikon D1x, Nikon Coolpix 5000, Canon PowerShot S30 / S40 and Canon EOS-1D (as well as others). We will update this article as soon as the organisers of PhotoPlus Expo confirm other products which may be on show.
Well, nearly. Thanks to reader Sven Bernert for pointing out a set of articles on the Carl Zeiss website which confirm that the lenses used in both the DSC-S70 (and we therefore assume S75 and CD300) and DSC-F505/F505V were designed by Carl Zeiss. "...multicoating guarantees vibrant pictures with superior definition and natural color rendition. With these features, the camera is sure to meet the demands of professionals and will even be used with enthusiasm by particularly ambitious photographers..."
Hagiwara Sys-Com, Japanese manufacturer, has today announced a Compact Flash Type II SmartMedia adapter, this adapter allows you to read / write SmartMedia cards in a Compact Flash Type II slot. This could be useful for those who have high speed CF card readers. It could also be used to bring SmartMedia storage to PDA type devices, it's worth noting that the SmartMedia card will protrude from the CF adapter so it couldn't be used in devices with closing CF compartment doors. (10:00 GMT)
Buffalo (Japanese Manufacturer) has today announced the "AirStation WLI-CF-S11G" 802.11b (also known as Wi-Fi) wireless Compact Flash Type II card. To me at least this type of wireless card is far more interesting than Bluetooth because of the additional range, bandwidth (11 mbit/s) and acceptance of this standard. With a much higher bandwidth the idea of carrying a large capacity storage device in a back-pack and having this wireless CF card in a digital camera may still become a reality (assuming digital camera manufacturers decided to support it). PDA owners will also be very interested in this card.
13:00 JST / 04:00 GMT: In conjunction with their announcement of the PowerShot S30 and S40 (above) Canon has today also announced the Bubble Jet S820D direct photo printer. This printer can be connected directly to the PowerShot S30 or S40 (no computer required) via USB, connection enables new menu options on the cameras which can then send prints directly to the printer. The S820D is based on Canon's flagship S800 and can also print directly from Compact Flash Type I or II, SmartMedia and Memory Stick (all via PCMCIA adapters). Exclusive: screen captures from PowerShot S40 connected to S820D. (04:00 GMT)
Having only received a PowerShot S40 in the last two days I've only just started the review proper. As a taster to those who are interested in this four megapixel compact digital camera, and for those who may already have been considering the PowerShot G2 I've prepared a very brief preview article which consists of product shots, major features, a feature comparison to the G2 and our standard ISO 12233 resolution chart. A full review will follow in the next seven days. (04:00 GMT)
13:00 JST / 04:00 GMT: Canon has today announced two new 'S' series digital cameras. The PowerShot S30 and S40 are based on a new body design with a sliding front lens cover, thin narrow body, new battery pack and shooting priority play mode. The S30 has a 3 megapixel sensor, the S40 has a 4 megapixel sensor. Both cameras have a full range of manual controls (they appear to be based on and almost identical to the G2). PowerShot S30 has an expected street price of $599, S40 has an expected street price of $799. (04:00 GMT)
Dave at Imaging-Resource has posted a range of samples shot with Canon's new professional D-SLR the EOS-1D. These samples are from a later camera than I had for my preview. Dave says, "We just received our test unit of Canon's new SLR speed demon the EOS-1D today. (Man it's fast!) I know how many of our readers have been eagerly awaiting the first test images from the new camera, so I'm happy to provide this first glimpse at it's images. All the shots here were shot more or less with the camera's default settings,but there's a few shot with other "Color Matrix" settings." (19:15 GMT)
Yes, definitely discount day... Epson has today announced it is today cutting the price of its Stylus Photo 785EPX printer to $199 and its PhotoPC 3100Z digital camera to $599. "Epson has built a solid reputation with photographers of all levels by providing digital photography products that offer superior technology, convenience and ease of use,'' said Lisa Graham, product manager, photo imaging, Epson. "With these price reductions, we are able to offer an even greater value without compromising the level of quality our customers have come to expect.'' (19:00 GMT)
Today must be discount day... Nikon has today announced it is cutting the price of the Coolpix 775 to a new low MSRP of $399.95 in addition it is also offering a $100 rebate on purchases of the Coolpix 995. "Nikon today announced a price reduction and a rebate on two of its most popular digital cameras. The Nikon Coolpix 775 will now have a reduced manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $399.95 and the Nikon Coolpix 995 will be offered with a $100 manufacturer's rebate." (16:30 GMT)
Fujifilm US has today announced a $200 price reduction for the FinePix 4800Z, 6800Z and 6900Z digital cameras. This brings them down to $499, $699 and $799 respectively. "In anticipation of this holiday season,'' Pepple continued, "shoppers will find that with Fujifilm's FinePix digital cameras, giving the gift of great pictures will be easier than ever before. With a choice of digital cameras that meet the needs of just about every digital photographer, Fujifilm's quality, high-performance FinePix line is now accessible to a wider range of consumers.'' (13:20 GMT)
Here's some interesting news from Matsushita (Panasonic), today they have announced that a 256 MB SD Memory Card will be released in Japan on December 21st and a 512 MB SD Memory Card on January 21st. This will be good news for this particular format and for the owners of digital cameras which use SD/MMC cards. "The SD Memory Card is a digital storage medium that was jointly developed by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., SanDisk Corporation, and Toshiba Corporation." (10:20 GMT)
Eric Hyman, author of the RAW conversion tools Bibble and MacBibble has just sent me a note that MacBibble 1.99 is now available. Major new features include support for D1x / D1H RAW files, new demosaicing filter and raw routines, new 2001 colour profile for the D1, faster RAW processing and firwire support for the D1x / D1H. MacBibble is also carbonized to run native under OSX. (08:50 GMT)