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September 2002 news and reviews

September 30
Nikon post Coolpix 5000 Firmware 1.7

Nikon USA, Europe and Japan have today posted new firmware for the Coolpix 5000. Version 1.7 adds numerous features Nikon introduced into the 5700. Thesei nclude RAW (NEF) image format, quick response shutter release option, internal flash off function, PTP USB support, EXIF 2.2 support, improved LCD display, Auto Focus improvements and a fix for the recorded shutter speed in Bulb exposures. This has to be one of the most comprehensive firmware updates issued by any manufacturer for any digital camera, Kudos to Nikon.

Canon EOS-1Ds samples posted!

Canon's newest digital SLR looks to be the best digital EOS yet. With a full sized 35 mm eleven megapixel CMOS sensor and a body, metering and AF system from the EOS-1D/1V the EOS-1Ds is certainly an amazing digital camera. The only thing we couldn't say about this camera (until now) is the image quality. Today I have posted a gallery of twelve sample images from the EOS-1Ds as well as a test shot of our standard resolution chart.

September 29
Canon EF 24 - 70 mm F2.8 L USM lens

Photokina 2002: Canon has introduced a new wider replacement for the popular EF 28 - 70 F2.8 L USM lens. The new lens provides wide angle coverage from 24 mm up to a standard-zoom 70 mm, all at a constant maximum aperture of F2.8. Other improvements include a closer minimum focus distance, rubber environment seal around the mount and near circular aperture diaphragm between F2.8 and F5.6.

Kyocera Finecam S3L & S5

Photokina 2002: Kyocera has announced the new Finecam S3L and S5. Both cameras are based on the previous ultra-compact Finecam platform but now feature a new silver body design and new features. As the name implies the S5 features the same five megapixel sensor we have seen as an upgrade to several other models at this Photokina. Both cameras have a three times optical zoom lens, store images on SD/MMC cards and come supplied with a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery.

Konica introduce Revio KD-500Z & C2

Photokina 2002: Konica has introduced the five megapixel Revio KD-500Z and the ultra thin Revio C2. The KD-500Z is based on the dual-slot four megapixel KD-400Z but now features a new five megapixel 1/1.8" CCD sensor and a restyled black case. The Revio C2 is based on a 1.2 megapixel 1/3.4" CMOS sensor and a fixed focal length lens, it has 14 MB of internal storage is powered by two AAA batteries and can also record short video clips.

September 28
Phase One software for EOS-1Ds / EOS-1D

Photokina 2002: Phase One has announced that it will be producing a version of its much admired image processing and workflow software for Canon's new EOS-1Ds and will also be compatible with the EOS-1D. This new software will be able to manage and convert RAW files directly from these cameras and the release states, Nikon, Fuji and Kodak D-SLR users at a later date.

Nikon Coolpix 4300 First Look

We've had a pre-production Coolpix 4300 in-house for a few days now, just enough time to produce a very brief First Look at Nikon's latest digital camera. The 4300 has many advanced features such as manual exposure, 5-area selectable Auto Focus, Noise Reduction, Bracketing and a 4 cm (1.6 in) macro mode. Note that this level of camera doesn't represent final image quality and thus we will not be posting any sample images at this stage.

September 27
Hasselblad H1 & Kodak 645H sample

Photokina 2002: EXCLUSIVE: We have managed to get a sample from Kodak Pro's new DCS 645H mounted on a new Hasselblad H1 medium format camera. The sample was taken in a studio environment and measures 4072 x 4072 pixels (16.5 megapixels). Quality looks good and the image size is unbelievable. But then so is the total price of this particular photographic solution.

Sigma SD9 samples from Photokina!

Photokina 2002: EXCLUSIVE: We have had an opportunity to shoot some sample images with a late pre-production Sigma SD9. Thanks to the weather here in Cologne (wet and heavily overcast) we have been struggling with very slow shutter speeds but have managed to put together a few samples. If the weather improves tomorrow or the day after we'll get some nicer sunlit shots for you too. In addition we also have two images provided by Foveon.

September 26
FillFactory supplier of sensor for DCS-14n

Photokina 2002: Belgian electronics company FillFactory has today announced that it is the supplier of the 35 mm full frame 13.8 megapixel CMOS sensor used in Kodak's new DCS-14n. "This new high-resolution CMOS image sensor is the result of a joint research and development effort that started about 18 months ago."

September 25
Fujifilm FinePix F402

Pre-Photokina 2002: Fujifilm has today announced the FinePix F402. This ultra compact, ultra slim digital camera has a fixed 39 mm equiv. lens and a 2.4 megapixel SuperCCD. The F402 is notably slimmer than the F401 but does lose the zoom lens. The F401 also now uses the new xD Picture Card for storage and comes with a PictureCradle for easy connectivity and charging.

Fujifilm FinePix M603

Photokina 2002: Fujifilm has today announced the new multi-function FinePix M603. This 'two in one' device is designed to provide the best of a still camera and a camcorder. It can record VGA moves at 30 or 15 fps with video and also capture still images using its 3 megapixel SuperCCD (6 megapixel final image size). The M603 supports both xD-Picture Card as well as Compact Flash (specifically the IBM Microdrive). With a Microdrive installed the M603 can record 15 minutes of 30 fps video or 30 minutes of 15 fps video.

Lexar delivers Image Rescue for consumers

Photokina 2002: Lexar has today announced that it will be opening up Image Rescue for purchase by consumers. Lexar's Image Rescue software is designed to retrieve deleted or damaged images from their own brand cards, it does so by interacting with the cards controller at a lower level than is possible with other Compact Flash cards. Lexar also note that they will be providing a copy of Image Rescue for free pre-loaded onto their new range of 'Write Acceleration' cards. Image Rescue is now available on both Windows and Mac OS X platforms.

Lexar announces CF write acceleration

Photokina 2002: Lexar has today announced new 'Write Acceleration' technology which can improve write speed between their Pro series Compact Flash cards and certain professional digital SLR's. Write Acceleration is made up of two parts, the firmware on the Compact Flash card and the firmware in the camera. Thoses cameras which recognize a 'WA' card will use a more efficient protocol for writing images which can improve write speed by up to 20%. The first partners for this technology are Kodak Professional, Nikon and Sanyo.

September 24
Kodak DCS Pro Back 645H

Photokina 2002: Kodak Professional has today announced the new DCS Pro Back 645H. The 645H is fully compatible with the new Hasselblad H1 camera system and delivers 16 megapixels of resolution. The 645H is completely portable with a built-in power supply, LCD monitor and storage slots. The 645H has a user selectable ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 400. The suggested U.S. list price is $11,995.00.

Olympus 'Four Thirds' D-SLR pictures!

Photokina 2002: EXCLUSIVE: Live from the show floor, just three hours after arriving at Photokina we have a set of exclusive pictures, which Olympus kindly allowed us to take, of a prototype 'Four Thirds System' D-SLR with a removable lens. This prototype is an early example of the design process and does look remarkably similar to an E-20 with the optional grip / battery pack. This prototype will appear behind glass on the Olympus stand throughout the show.

Olympus and Kodak confirm 'Four Thirds System'

Photokina 2002: In a press release issued today Olympus and Kodak has confirmed the new 'common standard' for digital cameras. Called the Four Thirds System (4/3 System) it is designed to be a new standard for digital SLR cameras with interchangeable lens mount capability. Interestingly the press release also mentions that Fujifilm has also agreed to participate in the new 4/3 System standard. While it's encouraging to receive such news it's a real shame that neither company has yet announced a product considering that we first heard about this alliance 19 months ago.

Olympus C-50 Zoom

Photokina 2002: Olympus has today announced the five megapixel metal bodied successor to the C-40 Zoom. The new C-50 Zoom has a three times optical zoom lens and a five megapixel 1/1.8" CCD. This camera is also the first Olympus to be supplied with a Lithium-Ion battery and charger. The stylish, ultra-compact C-50 Zoom should be available in November and as a UK list price of £549.99.

Kodak DCS-14n Q & A

Photokina 2002: As a part of our coverage of the new DSC-14n digital SLR from Kodak we've had a chance to question Jay Kelbley, Worldwide product manager. This article includes some exclusive questions I asked as well as a reproduction of a set of questions and answers supplied by Kodak as part of the DCS-14n press kit. We asked some probing questions about the new camera and especially Kodak's entry into large format CMOS sensor territory.

September 23
Kodak Pro DCS-14n, 14 megapixel full-frame CMOS

Photokina 2002: Kodak has announced the new 14 megapixel DCS-14n. This new digital SLR is even more remarkable for its capture device, a 13.89 megapixel full-frame (36 x 24 mm) CMOS sensor. The magnesium-alloy body is built around a Nikon F100/F80, has a built-in portrait grip and is notably smaller than any previous Kodak DCS D-SLR. The camera is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery, takes Compact Flash (Type I/II) and SD/MMC storage, supports JPEG-ERI (higher dynamic range JPEG) and also features an orientation sensor. The camera should be available in December with an expected street price of US$4,000.

Kodak EasyShare LS443

Photokina 2002: Kodak has announced the four megapixel tree times optical zoom EasyShare LS443. The LS443 features a new 'Variogon lens' from German lens maker Schneider-Kreuznach. The camera also features a 1.8" indoor/outdoor LCD monitor stores its images on SD/MMC and comes with the dock (pictured here). The LS443 should be available in October and is priced at $499.95.

Canon EOS-1Ds, 11 megapixel full-frame CMOS

Photokina 2002, 0600 GMT: One day short of a year after the EOS-1D Canon has officially announced the 11 megapixel, full-frame capture EOS-1Ds digital SLR. This camera had a leaked introduction to the web world a couple of weeks ago. The 1Ds is heavily based on the excellent EOS-1D D-SLR with that superb environmentally sealed magnesium body, 45-point AF, selectable colour space, Firewire connectivity, FAT32 support for CF cards greater than 2 GB and RAW+JPEG imaeg output (as well as many other features). Also new to the 1Ds is control of personal functions from the camera menu. The EOS-1Ds has a continuous shooting capability of 3 frames per second for up to 10 frames. We have an exclusive preview of the EOS-1Ds online now.

Sony announces DSC-U20, confirms DSC-U10

Pre-Photokina 2002: Sony US has today announced the new two megapixel DSC-U20 to complement the already announced 1.3 megapixel DSC-U10. "We're challenging the notion that photography is exclusive to special occasions - weddings, graduations, birthdays," said Steve Haber, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Digital Imaging Product Division. "Between these special occasions, life happens. We've made this camera so small and so cool that it can become an everyday accessory, making sure you don't miss a thing."

September 22
Photokina 2002 - live page

Pre-Photokina 2002: In preparation for Photokina 2002, the largest trade fair of its kind. We have posted the beginnings of our full Photokina 2002 show report. The report format repeats that used for the PMA 2002 show report (which was well received, thanks for all your emails). The report currently contains an index of of products announced before the show, this index will be regularly updated as new products are announced over the next few days. We are expecting several very exciting announcements which will appear both on the show report page and here on the front page of the site. The show starts on Wednesday, although we expect the majority of announcements to be made the day before.

September 20
Foveon and Sigma reveal SD-9 pricing

Pre-Photokina 2002: Foveon and Sigma have today revealed the list price and shipping date for the SD-9 digital SLR, the first digital camera to use Foveon's ground-breaking X3 sensor. The SD-9 (body only) will have a list price of $1800 in the US and £1299.99 inc VAT in the UK and should be available in late October. Taking into account the difference street price will make this places the SD-9 in an extremely competitive position compared to the Nikon D100 and Canon EOS-D60. Inside: Press Releases from Foveon and Sigma UK as well as links to our exclusive information on the SD-9 and X3 sensor.

Minolta DiMAGE Xi

Pre-Photokina 2002, 2200 GMT: Minolta has today announced the DiMAGE Xi, a three megapixel update to the ultra-compact DiMAGE X. "The new Minolta DiMAGE Xi is approximately ¾ of an inch thick and shares the same revolutionary folded 3x optical zoom lens as the DiMAGE X. Making a camera this thin would be impossible with conventional zoom lens technology. ". Phil: Personally I'm a little concerned that a lens system which couldn't deliver particularly sharp 2 megapixel images will be even weaker with a 3 megapixel sensor, it will be an interesting camera to review.

September 19
Silicon Film Strikes Back?

Pre-Photokina 2002: Well, the ongoing saga continues. Silicon Film (also previously known as Imagek) has been in and out of our headlines for at least three years now with their digital film cartridges for 35 mm film cameras. A year after Irvine Sensors a 51% shareholder in Silicon Film suspended operations at the company we discover there may be a new product in the pipeline. Th EFS10-SF features a 10 megapixel sensor has a color LCD monitor and a Compact Flash slot.

Canon PowerShot G3

Pre-Photokina 2002, 0600 GMT: Canon has today announced the PowerShot G3. This new digital camera appears go slightly further than the typical 'product refresh' we've seen recently. The G3 now has a 'proper' hand grip with a rubber finger edge, a new body design, command wheel and an all new 4x F2.0 - F3.0 optical zoom lens with a bayonet fitting optional thread adapter. It maintains all of the G2's functionality but adds some of the new features also introduced to the S45 (DIGIC processor, FlexiZone AF/AE, Custom exposure mode, etc.) Expected street price: US: $799, EU: €999. UPDATE: Other sites post previews from pre-production G3's. Canon BeBit post sample images.

Nikon Coolpix 3500

Pre-Photokina 2002, 0600 GMT: Nikon has today announced the new three megapixel Coolpix 3500. The 3500 is based on the uniquely designed 2500 but now has a grey coloured body and increases imager resolution to three megapixels. "The COOLPIX 3500 boasts a sophisticated grey color and unique inner-swivel lens design that lets users shoot from nearly any angle. With the lens retracted snugly into the body, the camera's slim shape makes it easy to carry anywhere, and all essential controls are placed in comfortable reach."

September 18
Toshiba announces two new digital cameras

Pre-Photokina 2002: Toshiba has today announced the two megapixel PDR-2300 and the three megapixel PDR-3320. "The PDR-3320 ideally meets the needs of today's tech-savvy buyer with an unprecedented value proposition and a feature-rich, easy-to-use design," said Doug Freck, Vice President and General Manager, Toshiba Imaging Systems.

Sony DSC-F717 and Previewed!

Pre-Photokina 2002, 0:00 EST: Sony has today announced the DSC-F717, an update to the popular DSC-F707. The DSC-F717 utilizes the same body design, five megapixel sensor and excellent five times optical zoom lens. New features include zoom via the lens ring, hot shoe, record and play histogram, ISO 800, Full Auto exposure, USB 2.0 and more. Thanks to leaks in the far east this camera is no surprise to many on the Sony Talk Forum. We have a detailed preview of the new DSC-F717, the only thing we can't bring you at this pre-production stage are image samples. A full review will follow soon.

HP Photosmart 850 and Previewed!

Pre-Photokina 2002: Hewlett Packard Europe has today announced the new Photosmart 850 digital camera. The 850 has a four megapixel sensor and big eight times optical zoom lens. It features a large 2" LCD monitor and a sharp Electronic Viewfinder. The camera is powered by four AA batteries and stores images to SD / MMC storage card. The 850 is the first four megapixel digital camera to feature a large zoom range, as such it's bound to generate a lot of interest. We have a detailed preview of a pre-production 850, no image samples yet but still plenty of information.

Sony DSC-F77 / DSC-FX77

Pre-Photokina 2002: Sony Europe and Japan have announced the ultra-compact fixed lens DSC-F77 and DSC-FX77. The DSC-F77 is a four megapixel ultra compact with a similar design to the 'classic' DSC-F55, that is a fixed focal length lens on a rotating cylinder. The DSC-FX77 is identical to the DSC-F77 with the addition of Bluetooth communications allowing the camera to beam images directly to other Bluetooth devices using the Bluetooth Basic Imaging Profile (BIP). At this time there are no plans to bring the DSC-F77 or DSC-FX77 to the US market.

Olympus C-730 Ultra Zoom, 3mp, 10x

Pre-Photokina 2002: Olympus has today announced the C-730 Ultra Zoom. Based on the C-720 Ultra Zoom (announced just four months ago) the 730 features a three megapixel CCD sensor, a 10x optical zoom lens (back to its roots), flash terminal and a unique storage 'dual slot' which can take either the new xD-Picture Card or SmartMedia. The camera also features a new higher resolution 180,000 pixel EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) and histogram mode.

New Canon technologies behind the cameras

Pre-Photokina 2002, 0600 GMT: Today sees the announcement of the PowerShot G3, S45 and IXUS v3 (S230 ELPH). All three cameras are based on Canon's internally developed all-in-one digital camera processor, the DIGIC chip. The DIGIC chip is a dedicated image processor designed to be very fast, produce improved image quality, faster AF, faster JPEG compression, better battery life and faster continuous shooting. Also introduced today are iSAPS (Intelligent Scene Analysis Photographic Space Technology), Intelligent evaluative metering (tied to orientation sensor), Flexizone AF/AE and 9-point AiAF.

Canon Digital IXUS v³ / S230

Pre-Photokina 2002, 0600 GMT: Canon has today announced the three megapixel two times optical zoom Digital IXUS v³ (EU name) / S230 Digital ELPH (US name). The Digital IXUS v³ is based around the IXUS v² body design and lens but now features a three megapixel sensor, new image processing and 9-point AiAF. Also new is the ability to record video clips of up to 3 minutes in length, although this requires a high speed Compact Flash card. And just in time Canon are also introducing such a High Speed card. Expected street price: US: $399, EU: €599.

Pentax Optio 330 GS

Pre-Photokina 2002: Pentax has today announced the new three megapixel Optio 330 GS. The camera appears to be based on the Optio 230 design with the same body design (although with a champagne colour finish), control layout, lens system and fold out LCD monitor. The Optio 330 GS now has a three megapixel 1/2.7" CCD sensor combined with the three times optical zoom lens. The LCD monitor can fold out of the body up to 180 degrees.

Casio QV-5700, 5 megapixel

Pre-Photokina 2002: Casio has today announced the QV-5700 five megapixel digital camera. This camera is clearly based on the QV-4000 with the same body design and three times optical zoom lens. One major improvement over the previous model is the ability to select ISO sensitivity between ISO 50 and 800. As I predicted when Olympus announced the C-5050Z it's increasingly easy for manufacturers to simply drop the latest CCD into an existing design, with the same lens, I'm keen to test the image quality of these new five megapixel digital cameras.

September 12

This is an advanced warning that the dpreview.com web servers will be shut down this Saturday 14th September at 9 AM BST (4 AM EST) for a maximum of six hours. This is to enable the switch over from our current servers (which have done us proud for the last 12 months) to a new set of servers which should be able to cope with our ever increasing traffic over the next 12 months. After the switch over we will also need to re-build the forums full text index, as there are 2.5 million messages in the forums this can take up to 24 hours during which time the forums search feature will be unavailable. Thank you for your understanding.

Olympus C-730 Ultra Zoom Quick Look

We were lucky enough to have a very early Japanese pre-production unit in house for a couple of weeks. Although we can't publish any images from the camera I do have a few additional images of the camera including the new combined xD / SmartMedia slot which promises support for what are now 'legacy' SmartMedia cards and the new xD Picture Card.

September 10
Sony DSC-F717 Samples Gallery

As everyone else seems to be posting samples from production Sony DSC-F717's I thought I may as well join in. Inside you'll find a small (10 image) gallery from a production DSC-F717. So far the camera seems to be performing almost identically to the DSC-F707, unfortunately it looks as though Sony still haven't addressed the F707's tendancy to over saturated reds, as is clear from some of my samples.

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi First Look

0700 EST: It's been a rush (just three hours with the camera so far) but I've managed to put together a first look at the DiMAGE 7Hi. Also included in this article is comparison of features and specifications with the DiMAGE 7i. While it's very welcome to see a manufacturer developing their model line it's a little surprising to see the 7Hi just six months after the 7i and especially considering that the improvements could probably have been included in the original model. A surprising number of the improvements made were mentioned as cons in my 7i review. UPDATED: Added small samples gallery.

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi

0700 EST: Seybold SF 2002: Minolta has today announced the DiMAGE 7Hi. This camera is base on the DiMAGE 7i with a black body design and has new features and improvements including a built-in PC Sync terminal, selectable color space (with embedded profile), extra-fine JPEG mode, more white balance modes and a full rubber hand grip.

September 9
Kodak recall DC5000 digital cameras

Kodak has today announced a recall of all Kodak DC5000 digital cameras with a serial number from 01800001 through 11700825. The Kodak Statement reads, "Kodak has received 12 reports, including six in the U.S., of consumers who experienced an electrical shock while changing batteries, or installing or removing the memory card or USB cable. There have been no reports of serious injury."

September 6
A note to the Internet Pirates

Just a quick note to the tens of foreign websites who regularly copy our content without permission. We are now actively seeking you out. Since publishing my Sony DSC-F717 and HP 850 articles images (including studio shots), specifications and even editorial content as appeared on Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Taiwanese and numerous other so called 'serious' hardware websites. These sites are nothing better than leaches attaching themselves to successful sites such as ourselves (some even carry advertising from digital camera manufacturers!). In the last hour we have added no less than eight new sites all of which have been contacted and their details added to our database of known offenders. This database will be shared with other sites and in some cases legal action may follow.

Sinar 22 megapixel digital back

Sinar has today announced the development of a digital back (for medium format cameras) with an amazing 1-shot resolution of 22 million pixels. Even more interesting is that the sensor used by the camera is the Kodak KAF-22000CE CCD sensor which has a pixel area of 4080 x 5440 and measures 38.8 x 50.0 mm (1.5 x 2.0 in). This is a huge sensor with a huge pixel count and according to Sinar "This makes this sensor suitable for applications as a digital replacement of film in modern 645 medium format camera systems, without the need for significant changes in focal lengths."

September 4
Sony US confirm F717 and set price

Sony US has today confimed the DSC-F717, set the RRP at $1,000 and expects the camera to be in stores in October. PR: "The Cyber-shot DSC-F717 camera offers the best of both worlds: the superb technology people expect from Sony and the pure fun of a product that allows for unlimited creativity." said Steve Haber, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Digital Imaging Product Division. "And, with an expected selling price of $1,000, we know this model bridges the traditionally wide gap between mass market cameras and semi-professional models."

September 3
Minolta DiMAGE 7i limited recall

Minolta Corp. has today announced a limited recall for the DiMAGE 7i digital camera. This recall affects a limited number of cameras with serial numbers in the range 95217273 - 95219999 and 96201000 - 96226022. The problem is not thought to be serious and is related to a potentially faulty main switch. Send in your camera and Minolta will replace the faulty part and return your camera free of charge. Note that this does not apply to DiMAGE 7 cameras.