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November 2002 news and reviews

November 28
Phase One Capture One DSLR available for download

Phase One has today confirmed its Capture One DSLR software and also now made available a 30 day trial version for download. We evaluated Capture One DSLR a couple of weeks ago and were impressed with the results, I'll be examining it in more detail in my EOS-1Ds review. "Phase One's CEO, Henrik Håkonsson remarks: The Capture One DSLR software is a RAW converter providing the professional photographer with improved productivity and image quality. Today most DSLR cameras are controlled by software that allows you to carry out image adjustments in a rather complex way. From now on Canon DSLR camera users take advantage of workflow-oriented software enabling the creation of print-ready images with amazing quality in just a few simple steps."

Nikon Capture 3.5 upgrade available

Nikon Europe has posted Nikon Capture 3.5 as an upgrade which can be downloaded and used by owners of Nikon Capture 3.0 on Windows or Macintosh operating systems. This new version adds several new features including D100 capture control with Mac OS X and PTP compatibility, support for Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), 10 megapixel output mode for D1X NEF files, Large thumbnail (1600 x 1063) output option, improved noise reduction and interestingly Automatic Vignette Control which can automatically counteract the effects of fall of at lens edges experienced with certain lenses at maximum aperture. The new Auto Vignette Control feature requires the new firmware upgrades announced today (because of the additional lens information required).

November 26
Just posted! Sigma SD9 review

Phew! A review that took quite a bit longer than I had expected. The Sigma SD9 is the first digital SLR to utilize Foveon's revolutionary X3 sensor. The X3 sensor is the first image sensor capable of capturing full color (RGB) at each pixel location. The SD9 is based around Sigma's SA9 film SLR and has all of the normal SLR functionality you would expect, the SD9 takes Sigma SA mount lenses, writes images in RAW (.X3F) format onto Compact Flash Type I or II cards. See how the SD9 did in our tests and comparisons.

November 25
ColorVision Spyder Promotion

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. (This article is a friendly reminder that this promotion ends September 30)

ColorVision and DPReview Announce Special Spyder Monitor Calibration Pricing

In a unique partnering agreement with DPReview and ColorVision we are able to offer DPReview visitors preferred pricing on the award winning ColorVision Monitor Spyder with PhotoCal or OptiCal software. The Spyder can 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. Is there anything 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 post EOS-D60 firmware 1.0.4

Canon has today posted firmware version 1.0.4 for the EOS-D60 digital SLR. This firmware fixes two bugs outstanding from version 1.0.2, these are: Thumbnails of RAW images appearing black (main image is ok), RAW data not written to CF card (sometimes the camera 'pauses' writing and doesn't release until shutter is half-pressed). This firmware can be loaded onto cameras with firmware versions 1.0.0, 1.0.1 and 1.0.2. This firmware can be loaded via Compact Flash card.

November 23
Netac CF card with Mini-USB port

Thanks to Danny Brenner for noting a new 'USB-CF' Compact Flash card from a Chinese manufacturer called 'Netac'. Their card works in the same way as any other 128 MB Compact Flash card but additionally has a Mini-USB port on the rear left corner for direct connection to a PC / Mac. We have seen something similar to this in the past with Lexar's JumpShot cable, however it's interesting to see the solution implemented with an industry standard Mini-USB port.

November 21
Reduced Size MultiMediaCard

The MultiMediaCard Association (MMCA) has approved a new RS-MMC (Reduced Size MultiMediaCard) standard. This new flash storage format has the same width but almost half the length of existing MMC cards, RS-MMC cards will be 24 x 18 x 1.4 mm. Hitachi are the first manufacturer to announced RS-MMC cards up to 64 MB in capacity. It's clear that this new reduced size format is aimed primarily at the mobile phone / PDA market but I'm sure it would also offer digital camera manufacturers the opportunity to build even smaller digital cameras.

November 20
Pretec announce 1.5, 2 and 3 GB CF cards

COMDEX 2002: Pretec Electronics Corp. has announced three new high capacity Compact Flash cards. Previously their largest capacity had been 640 MB, these new cards widen their range considerably. The 1.5 GB and 3.0 GB are CF Type II, the 2.0 GB is CF Type I. These new cards are all larger than anything else on the market, the 3.0 GB card will no doubt be of special interest to digital SLR photographers whose cameras continue to create larger and larger files as the manufacturers increase resolution year on year.

November 19
Nikon extends savings on Coolpix 4500

Nikon US has today announced an additional $50 saving on the four megapixel Coolpix 4500, this in addition to the $50 mail-in rebate already available (valid until 31st December). This should bring the effective list price of the Coolpix 4500 down to an attractive $599. We reviewed the Coolpix 4500 back in August and were very impressed with this evolution on the unique Nikon split-body design.

November 18
Sandisk introduces rugged industrial products

Electronica 2002: Sandisk has today introduced a line of compact storage designed to be rugged, highly durable and long lasting. "The ability to withstand a tremendous level of G-forces, wide temperature ranges as well as shock and vibration is an important requirement for the military, which is using the SanDisk Industrial Grade CompactFlash cards in a number of applications including hand held computers, field radios and jet fighter planes. The Industrial Grade cards are reinforced with RTV silicon for protection against shock, vibration and up to 3000-G operating shock."

Fujifilm announce updated S602 Pro Zoom

Fujifilm has today announced the updated FinePix S602 Pro Zoom. The "Pro" notation adds a PC Sync flash socket, Manual (threaded) cable release socket, All-black finish, 4 NiMH AA batteries and fast charger and a bundled 340 MB IBM Microdrive. This new version of the S602 improves the camera's chances against the competition, notably the also-updated Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi. All other S602 specifications stand, the same 3.1 million pixel SuperCCD which produces 6 million final image pixels.

November 16
Epson release PIM II plug-in for Photoshop

Epson has today announced the availability of a PRINT Image Matching II plug-in for Adobe Photoshop 6.0, 7.0 and Elements 1.0, 2.0 for Windows and Macintosh. The plug-in is designed to allow you to import PIM II or ExifPrint (EXIF 2.2) JPEG's and print them accurately on a PIM II (Epson) printer. "The availability of the P.I.M. II plug-in furthers Epson's pursuit to provide the ultimate photo printing solutions for consumers looking to print the best prints possible from their photo printer."

November 15
Minolta US confirm X/Xi underwater case

Minolta US has today announced an underwater ("Marine") case for the DiMAGE X or DiMAGE Xi digital camera. We actually covered this new accessory when it was announced by Minolta Japan back in May and also in our Photokina 2002 show report, today Minolta made it official and announced a list price of $249. "This new durable housing allows users involved in virtually any outdoor activity to bring their DiMAGE X or DiMAGE Xi camera with them anywhere they go to document their day-to-day activities or special adventures," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing.

November 13
Imaging Resource post Sigma SD9 review

Dave Etchells over at Imaging Resource has today posted his review of Sigma's SD9 digital SLR which is the first digital camera to use the revolutionary Foveon X3 sensor. "The Foveon technology is impressive but not perfect, and I fully expect a holy war to erupt on the 'net over the issues of color purity and image noise with the SD9. Supporters will point to the SD9's excellent capabilities, good resolution, and affordable price, while detractors will call attention to its substantially higher than average image noise in the red portion of the spectrum and maximum shutter time limitation. Mixed into the fray will be arguments over subtle aspects of the "look" of images derived from a sensor with full-color pixels." The SD9 is currently second in our queue of cameras to review (out of six here awaiting review). UPDATE: Some comparison shots posted.

November 12
Just posted! Canon PowerShot S45 review

Just posted! Our exclusive review of Canon's new PowerShot S45, the update to their successful S40. The updated S45 is Canon's response to new entrants to the four megapixel subcompact market, it expands the S40's feature set and introduces several new capabilities which are based around the new DiGiC processor which is at the heart of the camera. Although not yet officially announced in the US the S45 has been launched elsewhere in the world and I'm sure it won't be long before we'll see it hitting US shores.

Toshiba announces 'Sora' PDR-T15

Toshiba Japan has today announced the new 'Sora' PDR-T15 digital camera. This ultra-compact ultra-slim digital camera has a two megapixel sensor and fixed focal length lens. The T15 also has a removable facia and so cashing in on the mobile phone craze for customizing the look there are a wide variety of clip-on facia's available, probably just for the Japanese market.

November 11
Phase One Capture One DSLR Preview

During Photokina Phase One announced that they would be producing a version of their sophisticated Capture One software for DSLR's. Named 'Capture One DSLR' this new application provides workflow management, RAW conversion and sophisticated image manipulation initially for Canon RAW files (including the EOS-1Ds). In the future this package will also support Nikon, Fujifilm and Kodak D-SLR's. We have an exclusive preview of a beta version of this new application, a more detailed look will be included in our EOS-1Ds review.

November 2
Nikon D1X shoots entire California coastline

Environmental activist Ken Adelman with his Nikon D1X, Robinson R-44 Helicopter and an Apple PowerBook is taking thousands of photographs of the California coastline. His images are being used to identify illegal seawalls and for other environmental uses. So far he's taken 7,000 images, and expects this to rise to 10,000 when he's completed the entire coastline. All of the images are available on his website californiacoastline.org. "The camera is linked with a cable to the helicopter's global positioning system, and to an Apple Power Book laptop. Every three seconds, he snaps a picture, and the exact longitude, latitude and altitude are recorded."

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