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June 2003 news and reviews

June 30
Fujifilm delay FinePix F700 again

Fujifilm Japan has today announced that its first digital camera based on the high dynamic range SuperCCD SR sensor has been delayed again, this time until 'October 2003'. The SuperCCD SR technology was first announced in January this year, shortly followed by an announcement of the F700 in February. In April Fujifilm announced the F700 would be delayed until 'Summer 2003', this new delay adds at least four months to that. The reason give is the same as it was in April, "A delay in material procurement".

June 26
Canon post EOS-10D firmware 1.0.1

Canon has posted EOS-10D firmware 1.0.1 on its BeBit website. Copies of this firmware have been floating around the Internet for a few days now, this is the first official copy and installation guide. This firmware seems fairly unremarkable with only two fixes, the first improves the reliability of USB communication when performing a Direct Print, the second corrects some Chinese lettering in the menu system.

June 25
Leica Digital Modul R for the R8 & R9

Leica has today announced the development of a Digital Module for the Leica R8 & R9. This new module has a ten megapixel Kodak sensor and has been developed in association with Imacon. The module is made up of two parts, a digital back which cliips onto the rear of the camera and a power unit which fits on the base. The digital back has a ten megapixel Kodak sensor which produces a FOV crop of 1.37x and has a sensitivity of ISO 100 to 800. Image formats will include RAW (Imacon 3F), storage by SD card.

In a very interesting story published on Nikkei BP Olympus are said to be aiming for sales of 90,000 units of their recently announced E-1 digital SLR this fiscal year (from now to end of March 2004). Global shipments of digital SLRs reached approximately 250,000 units in 2002 and Canon are apparently shipping 30,000 units of their six megapixel EOS-10D digital SLR per month, according to Canon production is still unable to keep up.

June 24
Olympus E-1 detailed preview

1500 CET: The embargo is over and we can finally bring you our detailed preview of Olympus's long awaited E-1 digital SLR. We had just under 48 hours with a pre-production camera, just long enough for me to produce a ten page preview of the camera and system. Unfortunately at this stage we are not allowed to publish image samples or talk about image quality.

Olympus E-1 Digital SLR

0700 CET: Olympus has today officially announced the Olympus E-1 digital SLR. The E-1 is the first Olympus removable lens digital SLR, it's also the first digital SLR with an entirely new lens mount. The E-1 conforms to the '4/3 System' standard with a standard 4/3" type CCD (18 x 13.5 mm) from Kodak (five megapixel) and the 4/3 System lens mount. Olympus has also confirmed five ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses and three flash units. UPDATE: While we weren't given any pricing it looks like other sites were, see inside...

Olympus 'E System' lenses and accessories

0700 CET: As part of their announcement of the new E-1 digital SLR Olympus has also issued a press release covering the available lenses and accessories, this includes a couple of new flash units, a teleconverter, extension tube and one new ultra-wide angle zoom lens which should be available towards the end of the year. Olympus has also now branded the lenses, "ZUIKO DIGITAL", the name 'ZUIKO' synonymous with quality OM lenses of the past. The new zoom lens provides a 35 mm equivalent field of view of 21 to 44 mm with a maximum aperture of F2.8 to F3.5 (sounds very interesting). Other items of interest include a different focusing screen and an eyecup. Kudos to Olympus for ensuring a relatively wide range of accessories and lenses at the time of announcement of the new E-1 digital SLR.

June 23
Popularity of Digital Still Cameras to Continue

According to a report published today by In-Stat/MDR the results of recent survey reveals that 37 percent of respondents planned to buy a digital camera in the next twelve months. The report goes on, "Digital cameras in general, are currently among the hottest consumer items on the market. Whether digital still cameras, digital camcorders, or PC cameras, consumers have taken advantage of falling prices and increasing quality to make digital imaging a marketplace phenomenon over the past three to five years."

June 19
Toshiba PDR-3340

Toshiba Imaging Systems has recently announced the new PDR-3340. It offers a 3.2 megapixel resolution, 3X optical zoom lens (34mm - 102mm) and 16Mb of internal memory, expandable with SD cards. "The PDR-3340 is perfect for entry-level consumers making the transition from traditional film cameras to digital cameras," said Doug Freck, Vice President and General Manager, Toshiba Imaging Systems. The PDR-3340 is expected to ship in August with an MSRP of $249.

Toshiba M Series with 10x Zoom

Toshiba Imaging Systems has recently announced its new M Series range of digital camera, the PDR-M700 and PDR-M500. The PDR-M700 offers a 3.2 megapixel resolution, while the PDR-M500 offers 2.0 megapixels. Both have with 10x Canon optical zoom lenses (35mm equiv. to 35mm - 350mm) and 16Mb SD cards. The PDR-M700 is priced at around US $449 and the PDR-M500 at around US $349.

June 17
Colorvision PrintFIX - and a great deal

ColorVision Inc. has today announced the latest in their line of color calibration products. The PrintFIX hardware and software combination offer a very affordable method for profiling your printer (at first Epson inkjets) allowing you to produce far more accurate print color. This product is also especially useful for users of high end Epson Stylus Photo printers using third party papers. We have managed to arrange for a special deal price of $299 for PrintFIX ($352 SRP) and $499 for a Spyder and PrintFIX suite pack ($587 SRP, $704 total if bought individually).

Sigma announce 24 - 135 mm F2.8 - F4.5 lens

Sigma Japan has today announced a new lens. The 24 - 135 mm F2.8 - F4.5 will be available for Sigma, Canon , Nikon, Minolta and Pentax lens mounts, it has a 77 mm filter size, 50 cm (19.7 in) minimum focus distance and weighs 530 g (17 oz). This lens will no doubt be interesting to digital SLR owners because of its relatively wide angle 24 mm, on the Sigma SD9 this lens would provide an equivelant field of view of approx. 41 - 230 mm, on the Canon EOS-10D approx. 38 - 216 mm and on the Nikon D100 approx. 36 - 203 mm.

June 11
Sony ICX456 eight megapixel CCD sensor

Thanks to forums contributor 'Andreas P' for spotting this, a Taiwanese technology website is currently running an article about the difference between CCD and CMOS sensors. On this page they have a copy of a Sony sensor road map, on it is the ICX 456 sensor, it's 2/3" in size (8.8 x 6.6 mm) and has eight megapixels (a pixel pitch of 2.7 µm). The box on the roadmap is marked '1H03' (first half '03) which would make it available for manufacturers looking to release some prosumer cameras before Christmas this year (a new Sony DSC-F717 or Canon Pro 90 perhaps?).

June 10
Sony QUALIA 016 - the smallest yet

Sony Japan has today announced a range of new 'high quality' products under the 'QUALIA' name, each product is identified simply by the QUALIA name and a three digit product number. Inlcuded as part of this range is the 'Qualia 016' an ultra-compact two megapixel digital camera which stores images on Memory Stick Duo and has a 0.55" LCD monitor installed. The camera measures just 69 x 24 x 17 mm (2.7 x 0.9 x 0.7 in) and weighs just 50 g (1.8 oz) ready to use - significantly smaller than the 'U' series. The body is made almost completely from aluminium and is supplied in a very neat looking black box with a range of accessories including a flash unit, viewer unit, wide conversion lens and tele conversion lens. Yours for just 380,000 YEN ($3,200). With no word from Sony companies elsewhere in the world it does look as though this may be another exciting product only available in Japan, we will try to get confirmation on this later in the day.

June 9
Creo Leaf Valeo 22 megapixel back

Creo has today announced the Leaf Valeo 22 digital camera back for in studio and portable shooting. It utilizes a newly developed 22 megapixel CCD giving 4,056 x 5,356 resolution in a sensor size of 48 x 36 mm. Raw data files reach 126 MB in 16 bit and are stored on a removable 5 GB or 10 GB Leaf Digital Magazine. A detachable 6 x 7 cm display, based on the HP iPAQ pocket PC, and removable Digital Magazine provides Leaf Portable Power. Demonstration units are available from July 2003 and commercial shipments begin September 1, 2003.

June 8
Samsung introduce two new digital cameras

Samsung UK has recently announced two new additions to their Digimax range, the 420 and 360. The Digimax 420 offers a 4 megapixel resolution, while the 360 offers 3.2 megapixels. Both have with 3x optical zoom lenses (35mm equiv. to 38mm - 114mm) and 16Mb internal memories, which can be upgraded using SD cards. The Digimax 420 is priced at around £300 and the Digimax 360 at around £250.

June 7
The 123 of digital imaging e-book 1.1

Site contributor Vincent Bockaert has today announced an updated version of his excellent 'The 123 of digital imaging Interactive e-book'. This new version has been reedited, has updated content, new technology information as well as improved internal search engine and other more subtle improvements such as cover design and shipping media. Upgrade to version 1.1 is free for owners of version 1.0, an all new 2.4 MB downloadable demo is also now available. I can thoroughly recommend this e-book to anyone, whether you consider yourself an expert or are a complete beginner, there's something here for everyone. (Apologies to Mac users, this product is Windows only).

June 3
Konica Revio KD-510Z

Konica has revealed the KD-510Z, for quite a while today I think they probably underestimated the amount of traffic their server would have to deal with (especially after tempting everyone with that teaser last week). After all that the KD-510Z seems to be a fairly unremarkable five megapixel three times optical zoom digital camera virtually identical to the black bodied KD-500Z they announced at Photokina last year. Just like the previous camera the KD-510Z can store images on both SD/MMC and MemoryStick, making Konica the only manufacturer other than Sony to use the format.

June 2
Kodak introduce three new digital cameras
Kodak has today introduced three new digital cameras with 2, 3 and 4 megapixel resolution respectively. The two megapixel CX6200 has a fixed focal length lens, it is priced at $129. The three megapixel CX6330 has a three times optical zoom lens, it is priced at $279. Finally the four megapixel DX6440 has a four times optical zoom lens and is priced at $399. "These new EasyShare cameras clearly demonstrate how Kodak is applying innovative technology to develop products that deliver superb image quality, performance, and ease of use," said Rowan Lawson, director of worldwide product marketing for Kodak's Digital & Applied Imaging division.
Canon PowerShot G5

0700 GMT: Canon has today (officially) announced the five megapixel PowerShot G5. While we are often happy to respect embargo's (to get what we are told is exclusive info) it's getting repeatedly more frustrating when you see so called embargo information published sometimes weeks ahead of the real announcement (it does make you wonder if such leaks aren't planned by the manufacturers). The PowerShot G5 is a camera I feel Canon should have announced at Photokina last year instead of the G3, it's a essentially a black bodied, five megapixel version of that camera. Five megapixel 1/1.8" sensor and a four times optical zoom lens, the competition will be Sony's DSC-V1 and the recently announced Nikon Coolpix 5400. List price €899 in Europe, $899 in the US.