Minolta USA has now made the Minolta DiMAGE 7 upgrade kit available for purchase directly from their online shop. The upgrade kit brings a large number of the new features available on the new DiMAGE 7i to the older DiMAGE 7. The most interesting improvements are those made to AF speed, drive speed, live view histogram and the addition of Direct Manual Focus. You can choose between the $49.95 upgrade which simply includes the firmware or $79.95 upgrade which includes the firmware and new DiMAGE Viewer software.
July 2002 news and reviews
TOKYO 16:00: Fujifilm has today announced the new xD Picture Card flash storage media. The xD Picture Card was developed in conjunction with Olympus as the replacement for the aging SmartMedia format. The card will be produced by Toshiba. As mentioned in the Olympus news article below both companies will continue to support the SmartMedia format and will continue to produce SmartMedia cards into the future. The xD format is designed to address the need for smaller sized cameras and higher capacity storage. Note: Fujifilm's press release includes an extensive Q&A section.
TOKYO 16:00: Olympus has today announced the new xD Picture Card flash storage media. The xD Picture Card was developed in conjunction with Fujifilm as the replacement for the aging SmartMedia format. The card will be produced by Toshiba. Both companies are keen to stress that they are and will continue to support the SmartMedia format and will continue to produce SmartMedia cards into the future. The xD format is designed to address the need for smaller sized cameras and higher capacity storage, it will be available initially up to 128 MB with 256 and 512 MB just around the corner. I personally am not that keen to see yet another flash storage format.
Canon BeBit (Japan) has today posted firmware 1.4.0 for the EOS-1D. This new firmware addresses five issues: 1. Noise reduction tone curve settings are added to the EOS-1D's monitor menu. 2. Continuous shooting is supported with Remote Capture 2.5 or higher. 3. Exif 2.2 (Exif Print) is supported. 4. Windows XP is supported. (Direct connect support via WIA 4.5) 5. Camera settings metadata has been modified. Note: If you install this new firmware you must be running the latest drivers on your computer (updated EOS-D drivers noted previously in our news).
Canon has posted new drivers for the EOS-D30, EOS-D60 and EOS-1D digital SLR's. The latest version of drivers for Windows are marked Ver 4.5.3. The Canon PowerShot page has a full summary of the latest versions of RAW Image Converter and Remote Capture for Windows and Mac, so not only is it worth downloading the latest drivers for your camera but it may also be worth checking to see you have the latest versions of the full software suite.
There has been talk of a 'recall' elsewhere, we can clarify that this is simply a firmware update but it is one which can't be applied by the user. This update solves an issue with White Balance Bracketing: "When Image Review (Custom Setting 1) is set to On and Bracket Set (Custom Setting 11) is set to WB Bracketing it is possible that the White Balance bracketing feature may not perform as expected. Additionally, if Image Review is Off but the Monitor button is pressed while images are being written to the CF Card the White Balance bracket may not perform as expected." Check your camera by viewing exposure information in camera, simply display an image and press the left or right arrow until 'FIRM VER' is displayed. Nikon D100 cameras with firmware V1.0 will need updating.
It's taken a little longer than I would have liked but today I have posted our full and final Nikon D100 review. The D100 continues Nikon's strong tradition for high quality digital SLR's, and best still it does so at a price many can afford. The D100 offers a compact, light weight digital SLR with high resolution and great compatibility. See how the D100 performed in our tests. UPDATED: 29/July/2002: Added coverage of Nikon Capture Camera Control.
Thanks to our friend Peter iNova for noting that Nikon Europe has posted a new firmware for the Coolpix 995 digital camera. Firmware 1.7 is noted to "improve the issue of images captured by Coolpix 995 appearing too red when using Auto White Balance under incandescent light". It's good to see a manufacturer continuing to support its older models as well as the latest cameras.
Japanese reviewer and friend of dpreview Yamada Kumio has today posted a head to head comparison between Casio's Exlim EX-S1 and Sony's DSC-U10. The comparison includes a quick side-by-side size and features followed by a variety of sample shots taken in different conditions and with different camera settings. If you think you may be in the market for one of these tiny digital cameras (and if you can get them where you live) then be sure to check out this comparison.
Forgent Networks (formally known as VTEL) has posted a press release stating their claim to JPEG and their intention to pursue licensing revenue from companies who use it. They own United States patent 4,698,672 which covers the JPEG compression standard, this patent was created by Compression Labs who Forgent bought back in 1997. The press release specifically mentions digital cameras as well as PDA's, web browsers, phones and scanners. It looks as though Sony has already paid for the privilege...
TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) has announced the results for 'Best Photo Products in Europe' from the European Photo & Imaging Awards 2002-2003. Best Digital Prosumer camera went to the Olympus E-20, Best Design went to the Minolta DiMAGE X, Best Digital Consumer camera went to the Canon PowerShot S40, Best Digital SLR went to the Canon EOS-1D, Best Lens was the Canon 400 mm F4 DO IS, Best Innovative Technology was Foveon's X3 chip.
The ever reliable (for leaks) website of the French printed magazine Chasseur d'Images is running a news article about the death of SmartMedia to be replaced by a new card called the XD Picture Card. According to their article this new card will be considerably smaller than SmartMedia, about the same size as an SD card and stiffer. They say that the card will be available in capacities of 128, 256, 512 MB and up to 1 GB with 4 and 8 GB a possibility. The card appears to be manufacturered by Toshiba and doesn't contain a controller chip (just like SmartMedia).
Adobe has announced an new version of Elements. Version 2.0 adds a variety of new features and improvements including a Glossary of digital photography terms, Quick Fix dialog which can add immediate fixes in one pass, Frame From Video which allows you to capture frames from video files, Selection Brush, PDF Slideshows, E-mail friendly output sizes. "Digital camera unit sales in North America are expected to grow to 18.7 million by 2007. Within this period, most digital camera users will desire easy-to-use tools for image editing and photo printing," said Michelle Slaughter, digital photography analyst at InfoTrends Research Group. "Photoshop Elements 2.0 offers a powerful feature set that is easy to use."
After well over two years (first announced in April 2000) the first tiny Memory Stick Duo is about to go on sale in Japan. The first model, MSA-M16A will have a capacity of just 16 MB but is about half the size (and considerably thinner) than a normal Memory Stick, this makes the Duo about the same size as an SD/MMC card. Also available will be a Memory Stick Duo adapter to allow the Duo to be used in a normal Memory Stick slot. The Duo is aimed primarily at the Mobile Phone and PDA market. The first application for the Duo will be the new Sony Ericsson P800 mobile phone (with built in digital camera).
DPReview and ColorVision have come together to offer our visitors a very special offer. Under a special promotion we are able to offer a 20% discount on the excellent ColorVision Monitor Spyder with PhotoCal or OptiCal software. This new Spyder can now be used on both CRT and LCD displays (Laptop or Desktop) and will ensure that your display is accurately calibrated and profiled so that you get optimum colour. There's nothing worse in the digital darkroom than a badly setup monitor, the Spyder with PhotoCal or Optical will ensure you get the most accurate colour from your display.
Canon BeBit (Japan) has today posted EOS-D60 firmware version 1.0.2. This firmware addresses a couple of issues which had been raised (rather vocally) by owners, especially on our 'Canon SLR Talk' discussion forum. This firmware solves: "Underexposure may occur in low light situations when the SI (Superimpose) display is ON" and "Duplicate file numbers may occur when more than 100 images are recorded per folder". This update can be installed by the user via a Compact Flash card, just follow the clear instructions.
I-O Data has today announced the availability of 256 and 512 MB SD cards. The SD card is now beginning to establish itself in the digital camera market, the advent and availability of larger capacity cards will be very welcome to owners of SD/MMC storage cameras. Another positive aspect of the new cards is that there appear to be no known compatibility problems, so unlike the SmartMedia debacle of a few years ago existing SD/MMC digital cameras should be able to use these new cards without problems.
Last week I attended a trip to Japan organized by Fujifilm UK. This trip included an extensive tour of the Fujifilm manufacturing plant at Sendai, Japan. This is the place where the majority of Fujifilm digital cameras are made. This brief report is designed to give you an insight into what is involved in the manufacture of a Fujifilm digital camera and how Fujifilm have built an advantage over others.
Colorplaza Ltd. has today announced ColormailerPro, an online photo finishing service aimed specifically at professional photographers. The service can be used by those who shoot digital or traditional film. Print sizes range from 4 x 6 inch up to 20 x 28 inch and are printed using a Polieletronica LaserLab processing onto Agfa Digital Professional II Photo Paper. The ColormailerPro service is available in the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland.
Nikon Singapore has today announced an eleven city Asia Roadshow providing a sound advice and training in Digital Photography Workflow. Nikon Tour Manager Daren Tan emphasizes "There is certainly no lack of individual product information available... ...we wanted to get out and teach people face-to-face with solutions of a good synergistic digital workflow (a combined researched solution with the partners) in a comprehensive and solution-based approach. We're aiming an audience not just of professional photographers, but also of 'professionals who take photographs' ".
Nixvue has announced its new firmware version 1.04 (and soon 1.05) for the Vista portable storage / display unit. The new firmware adds support for the display of Nikon RAW (NEF) and Canon RAW (CRW) files on both the internal LCD and connected TV. Other new features include the viewing of EXIF and Histogram information and multiple sub-directory slideshow option.
Sanyo Japan has today posted a press release about their development of a prototype wireless network digital camera. In parallel they are also demonstrating this prototype at NETWORLD + INTEROP 2002 TOKYO. The prototype camera is based on the 1.5 megapixel DSC-SX560. This camera is designed to be used with an IEEE 802.11b (11 Mbps) wireless CompactFlash card for connection to both public wireless as well as private indoor wireless LAN. The camera includes a TCP/IP stack and can be configured to upload the image immediately to a server on the wireless network. Public 802.11b networks are starting to become a reality both in Japan and other parts of the world.