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December 2002 news and reviews

December 26
Merry Christmas on our fourth anniversary

Merry Christmas to all our readers, supporters, sponsors and fellow digital camera site webmasters. I hope you've all treated yourselves with lots of digital photography related goodies. December 25th also marks our fourth anniversary. Four years on and I'm happy to report the popularity of digital photography and dpreview.com continues to grow. Once more, Merry Christmas everyone!

December 25
Sigma Japan recall SD9 battery case

Sigma Japan has posted a recall notice for the 'battery case' (the cartridge which slides into the base of the camera) for cameras with a serial number between 1000251 and 1000459. This is to correct a fault where the amount of remaining power is incorrectly reported when using NiMH batteries, this problem does not occur with Lithium CR-V3 type batteries. The notice states that only the battery case need be returned and new cases will be supplied in return. It's not clear yet if this range of serial numbers affects any cameras outside of Japan.

December 17
Just posted! Canon EOS-1Ds review

Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Canon's latest and greatest digital SLR. The EOS-1Ds has an eleven megapixel full 35 mm frame CMOS sensor.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 image 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. Read our review to see how the 1Ds performed in our tests.

Canon post File Viewer Utility for Mac OS X

Canon USA has today posted the first version of their standalone RAW conversion software the 'File Viewer Utility' for Mac OS X (10.1 and 10.2). File Viewer Utility has been available for some time for the Windows platform but has only just been made available for Mac OS X users. "The File Viewer Utility v1.1.1 for Mac OS X allows you to process RAW images into 16-bit TIFF files, 8-bit TIFF files or JPEGs. In addition, the File Viewer Utility can be used for a broad range of RAW file adjustments, including image processing parameters (digital exposure compensation, white balance and color matrix settings, custom tone curves, subject pattern sharpness and edge enhancement), as well as detailed IPTC captioning and even the application of up to 26 different Personal Functions to the EOS-1D and EOS-1Ds. EOS D30 and EOS D60 are also supported."

December 13
Sony official statement on CNET story

Sony US has contacted us with an official statement on the CNET story posted yesterday. It reads: "The information presented on CNET's News.com regarding new Memory Stick Pro media has several inaccuracies, which seem based on rumors and conjecture. We urge you and your readers to wait for the official Sony press release." This obviously confirms that there was something to the CNET story but that the entire truth isn't yet available. We know from several sources that there'll be some news at CES next month so my suggestion is that everyone enjoy the Christmas holidays, take lots of digital photos and look forward to new products in 2003.

December 12
Memory Stick Pro for new devices?

CNET's News.Com is currently running an article in which they hint that a new Memory Stick standard called 'Memory Stick Pro' will be announced at CES next month. This new standard is supposed to be based on a totally new architecture which will not only increase capacity (256 MB, 512 MB and 1 GB) but also improve performance (write speed). Sony are at this stage not commenting although it's expected that the new Memory Stick Pro cards will not work in existing Sony digital cameras, this could indeed be bad news for current owners. This news seems to be confirmed by the fact that Sony has removed the Memory Stick roadmap from the memorystick.org page, replaced with the notice "Sorry, Road map is now updating..."

Olympus announce delay to 256 MB xD-Picture Card

Olympus Japan has today posted a very short note that the 256 MB xD-Picture Card will not be available for purchase in December 2002 as previously announced and that instead it should be available at the end of January 2003. No doubt it's important for the xD-Picture Card to match the capacities now available for SD and CF and also breaking through the 128 MB barrier will also help users to realise the advantage over SmartMedia. Now all we need is for Sony to finally announced their 256 MB Memory Stick, promised oh-so-long-ago.

Nikon announce DX digital lenses

0700 CET: Nikon has today announced the first in a range of new 'Nikkor DX' lenses. These lenses have a reduce Image Circle which means that the lens can be made smaller and lighter but still maintain a full image for the smaller D-SLR sensor (23.7 x 15.6 mm; a 1.5x FOV crop factor). The new lens is a 12 - 24 mm zoom with a constant maximum aperture of F4.0, the lens is also a 'G' type which means aperture can only be selected electronically and it uses a SWM (silent wave motor).

December 11
Kodak Pro DCS 14n slips to January

Kodak Professional has posted a Q&A page on the DCS-14n. On this page they explain that they will not be shipping the DCS-14n in December as originally planned, instead the camera will be released 'mid January 2003'. The reason behind this delay is described as "...the initial user experience is critical to its success. Furthermore, we know that professional photographers rely on only the highest image quality to showcase their creativity and achieve their business goals. This brief, one-month extension will help Kodak ensure optimal customer satisfaction and "out of box" product performance for our valued customers. "

December 10
Exclusive Pretec 1.5 GB and 3.0 GB CF test

Exclusive: Today we received test samples of the largest capacity Compact Flash cards currently available. Pretec recently announced 1.5, 2.0 and 3.0 GB Type II CF cards, we have the 1.5 and 3.0 GB for testing. The 1.5 GB can be used in almost any digital camera that supports CF Type II, the 3.0 GB requires a digital camera which supports FAT32 (in our case we tested it with Canon's EOS-1Ds). Performance was up there with some of our faster cards and the 3 GB card appeared to work without any problems on Canon's latest D-SLR. UPDATE: Also works with Kodak Pro Back, Kodak DCS 14n, Canon PowerShot G2 and PowerShot G3.

Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro power supply problem

Fuji Photo Film (UK) Ltd today announced that a small number of FinePix S2 Pro digital cameras recently sold in the UK may be subject to a possible power supply 'lock-up' that could render the camera inoperable. The number of affected products sold to UK customers is estimated to be roughly 20 (twenty).

December 5
Just posted! Canon PowerShot G3 review

Canon announced the new PowerShot G3 at Photokina this year, it builds on the PowerShot 'G' platform by increasing the optical zoom to four times, adding a built-in ND filter, a new control dial, power dial, orientation sensor, one-button RAW creation and more. The G2 was one of the most popular digital cameras here on dpreview, you'll have to dive into our review to discover if we think the G3 is capable of taking that crown.

December 4
Pentax updated firmware for Optio 330GS

Pentax Japan has posted updated firmware, version 1.11, for their Optio 330GS, we're currently unsure as to whether this can be loaded onto European or US cameras. It is of interest because it appears to provide direct printing over USB, and Pentax were not part of the Direct Print Standard announced at the weekend.

December 3
Canon PowerShot S45 in US - official

UPDATE: Today, 3rd December Canon USA has added the PowerShot S45 to PowerShot.com, further confirming that this model is now official in the USA. This comes after our first news article that Amazon.Com were listing the S45 and that our own affiliate, State Street Direct had been shipping S45's for around a week. Anyone interested in this camera shouldn't miss our review (as it's the only one available at the moment). Press release inside.

Ricoh's new waterproof Caplio 300G

Ricoh Japan has announced a new waterproof digital camera, the Caplio 300G. This new model has a 3.34 megapixel CCD (2048 x 1536 max image size) and a three times optical zoom (35-105mm equiv.) F2.6-4.7 lens. The 300G is is not only waterproof but also dustproof, and impact resistant and so should appeal to sporty types. The camera isn't submersable but does carry a JIS grade of 7 which means it's rain / splash proof but not suitable for use underwater.

December 2
Direct Print Standard (DPS)

0900 2/Dec TOKYO: Six leading digital imaging companies have today announced a new direct printing standard for the connection of digital cameras and photo printers. With DPS you will be able to connect a compatible digital camera directly to a compatible photo printer (initially via PTP USB) and initiate prints directly from the camera - no need for a PC. This new standard was initially developed by Canon, HP, Epson and Sony. Fujifilm and Olympus joined discussions later and a collective specification has been finalized.