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September 2003 news and reviews

September 29
Adobe Photoshop CS - Review posted

We have just posted our review of the most important new features in the latest edition of Adobe's Photoshop line, Photoshop CS. Site contributor and author of the "123 of digital imaging Interactive e-book", Vincent Bockaert has used his extensive knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and his involvement in the Adobe Photoshop CS Beta test team to produce this article which covers the major points of Photoshop CS from a digital photographer's perspective.


Olympus Europe has today announced the CAMEDIA C-5060 WIDE ZOOM which is an update to the popular C-5050 camera. The 5.1 megapixel CAMEDIA C-5060 WIDE ZOOM has a fast startup time (3 sec.) and very short shutter release time lag of 0.4 sec. (including AF time in wide angle, focus position from 80cm to infinity) and three frames per second in HQ mode. It has 4x optical zoom (equiv. 27 -110mm, f2.8-4.8) and can use xD-Picture Card, Compact Flash and Microdrive cards. It will have a UK RRP of £599.99 [inc VAT].

Adobe Creative Suite - Photoshop CS

Adobe has today launched its new range of design, publishing and image editing applications under the name 'CS' which stands for Creative Suite. Gone are version numbers of the past, the new applications will carry the CS suffix. So we have new Adobe Photoshop CS, ImageReady CS, etc. Of most interest to our readers will be Photoshop CS which new has a variety of new features focused on the digital photographer. These include built-in camera RAW support (including CA and Vignetting correction), an improved file browser, improved support for 16-bit editing, match color, histogram palette and shadow / highlight correction. We have been using a beta version of Photoshop CS for a while now and will have a full review of Photoshop CS available very soon. Adobe Photoshop CS is due to ship towards the end of November.

September 28
Olympus E-1 Formula One samples

Exclusive: We have just posted a gallery of Olympus E-1 images from the second qualifying session of this weekend's USA Formula One Grand Prix in Indianapolis. These were taken by our good friend and dpreview.com contributor Les Freed. The camera Les used is the latest pre-production Olympus E-1 which appears to be delivering noticeably improved image quality, especially image sharpness. We will also have a 'hands-on experience report' from Les sometime in the next two days. UPDATE 30/Sep: Imaging-Resource also post E-1 images from USA GP.

September 25
Kodak Unveils Digitally Oriented Strategy

Kodak will present to investors today a broader strategy for growth that will harness the power of digital technology to expand into a range of commercial businesses, resulting in a more diversified business portfolio with the potential to generate $16 billion in revenue by 2006—and $20 billion by 2010. "We are acting with the knowledge that demand for traditional products is declining, especially in developed markets," Carp said. "Given this reality, we are moving fast—as digital markets demand—to transform our business portfolio, with an emphasis on digital commercial markets. The digital world is full of opportunity for Kodak, and we intend to lead it, as we have led innovation in the imaging industry for more than a century."

Pentax Optio33LF

Pentax UK has today announced the Optio33LF. It has a 3.2 megapixel CCD, 3X optical zoom lens and advanced PENTAX image processing technologies. It also offers the advantage of a handy swivelling LCD monitor — an innovation enabling shooting possibilities through accurate composition from above or below eye level! It is due out in late October, and is planned to retail for £229.99.

September 24
Delkin FireWire Reader/Writer for CompactFlash

Delkin is now shipping a FireWire Reader/Writer for CompactFlash digital memory cards. Delkin’s new external tabletop eFilm FireWire Reader/Writer (Reader-24) is designed for high-end digital photography enthusiasts and professionals who want to dramatically speed workflow. The contents from CompactFlash Type I, Type II and Microdrives can be downloaded to a computer in seconds, and you can write back to the card as well. The Reader-24 is powered via the FireWire cable, so it doesn't require any external power connections, is plug-and-play and works with any PC or Mac with a FireWire port.

Minolta DiMAGE A1 samples posted

I have just posted a gallery of 27 sample images from a production Minolta DiMAGE A1. This is in advance of completing our full review which should be up within the next three weeks. I have to say that I was surprised at how well the DiMAGE A1 performed, it's clearly a step ahead of the DiMAGE 7Hi in terms of image quality and is most certainly in the running to be labelled the best five megapixel prosumer digital camera. Resolution, sharpness, tonal balance (with good dynamic range) and color response are all improved. Add to this the A1's unique image stabilzation which allows you to shoot at much slower shutter speeds and the A1 is a very impressive 'all in one' package.

September 23
MAGIX PhotoStory on CD & DVD 2004

Software: MAGIX has today announced PhotoStory on CD & DVD 2004, which creates CD and DVD slideshows that can be watched on any TV. PhotoStory works with photos from digital cameras and scanners and a wide variety of image, video and sound files. Consumers can simply select photos, drag and drop to arrange; then click to burn CDs and DVDs, create streaming videos for the Internet, or save as an AVI movie for use in other projects. The package also includes MAGIX Photo Clinic 2.0, a 24-bit image editor, which adjusts brightness, sharpness, color, focus, red-eye, and adds effects, such as fish-eye, mosaic, painting and cartoon-style.

September 22
Pretec 6GB CF and SD/IO Cards

Pretec has today announced that they will be shipping sample 6GB rugged compact flash cards from next month and mass delivery by end of this year. They will have sustained read speeds of 8MB/sec and write speed of 7MB/sec. A 12GB CF Card is also planned in the 2nd half of next year. They have also announced the Platinum CF Card which has an all metal construction. A number of SD/IO cards, including the SD Camera(SmartCam) with VGA CMOS sensor, the SD Presenter which allows a PocketPC to output VGA, composite, and s-video to a monitor or projector. And lastly the CF Barcode Reader, which can turn a PocketPC into an instant productivity tool for use in inventory control, POS etc.

Pentax *ist D production samples posted

Exclusive: I have just posted a gallery of 25 sample images from a production Pentax *ist D. This is in advance of completing our full review which should be up within the next two weeks. So far the *ist D is looking quite good, there are two sides to the *ist D's image quality story. Firstly tonal balance and color response are both good, a natural color response and lifted shadow detail with highlight clipping at about the same point as most other digital SLR's. Noise is also quite low, about the same as the Nikon D100 (which is what we'd expect as they both share the same sensor). The other side is that Pentax has clearly chosen a low sharpening approach, at 100% view most images have a soft look but do sharpen well and can be delivered sharper out of the camera by pushing up in-camera sharpening. The lenses available to me meant I was most likely to be shooting 'wide open' and thus have less sharp images as a consequence. Overall the *ist D is looking 'so far so good'.

September 19
Imaging-Resource post updated E-1 samples

Dave Etchells over at Imaging-Resource has posted an updated samples gallery from the Olympus E-1. He notes, "...based on a late-model prototype camera. While image quality is now good enough for me to provide a set of "gallery" photos, I haven't shot my standardized test images yet, nor do I have any detailed analysis of test images available at this time. (In particular, I've refrained from conducting noise or resolution measurements because Olympus has told me that the E1's anti-noise and image-sharpening processing are not yet in their final states, even in this most recent update of the firmware.)" Which is nice to know, as information was not made available to us when we posted samples from what we were told was a production camera (and then later 'initial production') over a month ago.

September 17
ColorBlind Matchbox v.5.0

Software: Imaging Technologies Corporation has today announced the release of ColorBlind Matchbox v.5.0 for Microsoft Windows. ColorBlind Matchbox v5.0 is an all-in-one ICC compatible color matching solution for the PC. The software is a tool for creating profiles for color consistence for any color device using International Color Consortium (ICC) standards. A colorimeter is provided for creating printer profiles, profile editing, spot color calibration, and image proofing. Users are provided all the tools needed for creating and maintaining ICC profiles in one package. It is available now for $645 or an upgrade price of $299.95.

Auto FX Photo/Graphic Edges 6.0

Software: Auto FX Software has announced version 6.0 of its Photo/Graphic Edges software. This new version of includes dozens of new features and effects. PGE 6 includes SmartLayers (tm), Visual Layer Presets, Brush Effects, Unlimited Undo and lots of new creative content. Photo/Graphic Edges 6.0 includes a stand-alone imaging application as well as a plug-in that works with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro and Corel Draw. Photo/Graphic Edges 6.0 retails for $179 but purchase before October 31st and get it for $149.

Olympus's Ferrari µ[mju]

Olympus Japan has today announced the ultimate accessory for you Ferrari owners out there, the first Ferrari digital camera the "Ferrari DIGITAL MODEL 2003". This is to commemorate their sponsorship of the Ferrari F1 grand prix team. It will only be available in a limited edition of 10,000 worldwide and will be available to be reserved from October 10th for approx 80,000 Yen.

Just posted! Fujifilm FinePix F700 review

Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Fujifilm's first digital camera to utilize their high dynamic range SuperCCD SR sensor. The F700 is a compact metal bodied three times zoom digital camera. It has a three megapixel SuperCCD SR sensor which has two photodiodes at each photosite, one captures a standard light range, the second has lower sensitivity and captures more highlight detail. Fujifilm's image processor then combines data from these two photodiodes to produce an extended dynamic range image. That's the theory. See how the F700 performed in our tests.

Just posted! Fujifilm FinePix S5000 Zoom review

Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Fujifilm's ten times optical zoom 'SLR like' S5000 digital camera. The S5000 features a three megapixel SuperCCD HR sensor, a fast F2.8 - F3.2 10x optical zoom lens, manual control and an electronic viewfinder. The camera design is compact but SLR like with a deep hand grip and well designed control layout. It's a camera which appeals to film SLR owners who want a lightweight 'all in one' digital camera. See how the S5000 performed in our tests.

September 15
Nikon D2H Pricing

Nikon has today announced pricing for its D2H digital SLR, plus a number of related accessories. The main highlights are the D2H body plus battery and charger which is priced at $3,999, the AF-S DX 17-55mm Zoom-Nikkor at $1,650 and the AF-S VR 200-400mm Zoom-Nikkor at $6,700.

Toshiba's Five-Megapixel PDR-5300

Toshiba has today announced an addition to its PDR line of digital still cameras - the PDR-5300. It has a 5.0 megapixel CCD, 3X optical zoom lens with a wide aperture range, noise reduction technology, user-selectable shutter speeds, plus full manual control. "The PDR-5300 accommodates different types of users and levels of skill, from the discerning photographer requiring total manual control over shooting functions to the weekend digicam enthusiast who wants a high-performing, easy-to-use camera to capture special moments," said Doug Freck, Vice President/General Manager, Toshiba Imaging Systems. It is expected to ship later this month with a MSRP of $399.

September 14
Imaging-Resource post Nikon D2H samples

Dave Etchells over at Imaging-Resource has just posted a gallery of sample images from a prototype Nikon D2H. The D2H is the sucessor to the D1H and features Nikon's new four megapixel JFET LBCAST sensor technology. Dave has produced a wide range of shots including action shots and moderate ISO sensitvities (up to ISO 640 for the action shots). One thing Dave notes is strong noise in shadow areas of the images. "In their presentations about the D2H, Nikon has made a big deal about how much their LBCAST sensor technology should improve image noise. Given that, I was very surprised by how high the image noise was in some of these photos, even at very modest ISO ratings." UPDATE 16/Sep/03: Dave has been asked by Nikon to take down this samples gallery.

September 12
Kyocera SL300R

Kyocera Japan has today announced a twisting lens compact digital camera the Finecam SL300R. Looking very much like a Nikon Coolpix it has a 3.1 megapixel CCD and 3x optical zoom lens, a 1.5" TFT LCD, is powered by a lithium ion battery and uses SD cards for storage. It will be available in later this month and the price is expected to be approximately 45,000 Yen.

Canon PowerShot SD10 (Digital IXUS i)

Canon has today announced the ultra-compact four megapixel PowerShot SD10 Digital Elph / (Digital IXUS i. The SD10 has a four megapixel CCD and a fixed focal length lens. It has an ultra-compact metal body which will be available in four colors; White, Bronze, Silver and Black. The SD10 is only the second Canon digital camera to use SD card for storage. Also available will be the AW-DC10 weatherproof case. "This is the camera everybody wants to play with - and nobody wants to put down," says Hiroshi Komatsuzaki, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. "It comes packed with all the technology needed to look after the photography - so Digital IXUS i owners can concentrate on looking after the fun". We have some exclusive hands-on pictures with the IXUS i.

September 11
Samsung's new fashion accessory the U-CA 3

Samsung UK has recently announced the U-CA 3. As much of a fashion accessory as a digital camera, the silver U-CA 3 has a 3.2 mega pixel resolution, 3x optical zoom, uses Memory Stick Duo (32MB included) for storage and is more akin to the size of a mobile at 102 x 52.8 x 31mm and weighing just 145g. It has an AVATAR loading screen which can be personalised by downloading your own pictures and favourite MP3 tunes. The new U-CA3 is priced at approx. £280 and will be available from the end of September.

September 10
Kodak DCS-14n now with 512 MB

Kodak has today introduced an updated version of the DCS Pro 14n Digital Camera in a 512MB RAM version that delivers a greater burst depth (approx. 20 RAW files compared to approx. 7). Also in late September they will post firmware v4.4 for the Pro 14n camera, which includes improved long exposure mode, in-camera selection of "Looks", improved lens settings, automatic image review and LCD brightness slider, as well as the updated Kodak Professional DCS Photo Desk v3.2 software for all Kodak Professional DCS digital cameras which allows for finer image control and also an undo feature.

CIPA official site for PictBridge

The Camera & Imaging Product Association (CIPA) has launched the official site for PictBridge, the industry standard for direct printing of images from a digital camera using a cable without the use of a PC. The standard was established as one of the CIPA specifications in February 2003 and is already been supported by a number of manufacturers. The site is available in both English and Japanese.

September 8
iView MediaPro 2.0

Software: iView Multimedia has today announced iView MediaPro 2.0. Version 2.0 increases capacity to 128,000 media items per catalog while reducing catalog size, enhanced drag and drop support and image support, and more output formats including PDF, HTML and QuickTime movies.

Olympus Supports Lexar Write Acceleration

Lexar has today announced that Olympus is now supporting its Write Acceleration (WA) technology. The E-1 is the first Olympus camera to incorporate Lexar Media’s WA technology. Write Acceleration technology works to reduce the overhead required to store images to memory cards and results in faster write speed performance.

September 4
Canon EOS 300D / Digital Rebel Review

Just posted! Our full in-depth review of a pre-production Canon EOS 300D / Digital Rebel. We've had the camera for just over ten days and in that time I've managed to produce a review of about the same detail as our normal D-SLR review. That said you must remember that the camera used for tests / samples was a pre-production unit and thus results may differ from the final production camera. We will update this review after we receive a production camera (not yet received). Dive in!

September 3
A snapshot of climate change

The UK Energy Saving Trust has teamed up with the Independent newspaper for the second year to run a photography competition. Capture in a photograph the impact of our everyday actions on the environment and you could see your picture exhibited at the National Science Museum and in the Independent. The deadline for the competition is 12th September.

Pentax Optio S4

Pentax has today announced the launch of the Optio S4 an upgrade to the Optio S. Sporting the same tiny dimensions and light weight of its predecessor, the Optio S4 has a 4.23 effective megapixel CCD, a 3X zoom lens, and a variety of features including a large, easy-to-use manual control playback button. The Optio S4 will ship to major camera retailers around the end of October.

Pentax Optio 555

Pentax has today announced the Optio555 digital camera which is an upgrade to the 550. It is a 5 megapixel, 5X zoom camera which Pentax has maximized the responsiveness of, by reducing lag time so the camera is instantly ready when the power is turned on. The Optio 555 will ship to major camera retailers around the end of October.

Pentax Optio 33WR

Pentax has today announced the Optio 33WR digital camera. It is a 3.2 megapixel, 2.8X zoom that has a JIS Class 7 water resistance rating, the Optio 33WR remains watertight even when the camera is rinsed, splashed or immersed in water. The Optio 33WR will ship to major camera retailers around the end of October.

September 2
SilverFast DCPro

Software: Lasersoft has announced SilverFast DCPro. The application combines SilverFastAi with Virtual Light Table. The VLT is an image management tool that also has image correction tools, such as red-eye removal, colour correction, white balance, and exposure adjustment. Advanced SilverFast features, including ACR, USM, GANE, selective colour correction, and JobManager. SilverFast DCPro supports the Raw Data Format of many professional Digital Cameras from Canon, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Kodak, Fuji and Sigma.

Origami auto focus?

Up until now auto focus has been carried out either by DC motor or Ultra Sonic / Silent Wave Motors, however a new innovation noted by Monty Solomon and reported in todays New Scientist may offer another option, especially for ultra-compact lens systems. A company called '1 Limited' of Cambridge, UK has developed a sheet of piezoelectric ceramic material which can move whatever is placed on it (by using a grip and shift type movement), roll it into a cylinder and you could move a small camera lens up or down the cylinder (zoom or focus). At the moment this technology is aimed at camera phones however I have no doubt that it could be important for lens systems in ultra-compact cameras.