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February 2004 news and reviews

February 28
Digital Photography Workflow Handbook

Uwe & Bettina Steinmueller from the Digital Outback Photo website have released the DOP2000 Digital Photography Workflow Handbook in PDF e-book format. This new e-book has over 360 pages of information on professional digital photography workflow including Photoshop CS, RAW manipulation and output, understanding histograms, using features such as shadow / highlights and sharpening as well as covering more basic aspects of exposure correction. The e-book is available as a downloadable PDF at just $34.95.

February 26
Canon EOS 300D review updated

Just posted! Our final, updated Canon EOS 300D review. This review has been updated with test results from a final production EOS 300D, image samples have been re-shot and a new samples gallery added. The overall conclusion remains the same as the late pre-production camera we had for our initial review appears to be very similar in quality to the final camera. Also added is a new 20 image samples gallery including several long exposure night shots.

February 25
Casio Exilims with 2.5 times battery life

Casio has today announced the 4-megapixel EX-Z40 and the 3.2-megapixel EX-Z30, two new models in the EXILIM® ZOOM range of digital cameras with long battery operation and 3X optical zoom. These two new cameras have a battery life of 2.5 times that of previous models (comparison between the EX-Z4 and EX-Z40), allowing up to 360 photos to be taken on a single charge. Other features common to both models include a 2.0-inch TFT LCD screen and the Direct On function for one-touch record and play modes.

Fujifilm FinePix A120, entry level

Fujifilm today announced the entry leve 'point and shoot' FinePix A120, a three megapixel digital camera with a fixed focal length lens, 1.5" TFT LCD monitor and xD-Picture Card storage. The A120 is another new Fujifilm digital camera which doesn't utilize Fujifilm's own SuperCCD sensor but instead uses a traditional square layout 1/2.7" CCD. Adrian Clarke, Fujifilm UK's Director of Consumer Products, commented, “The FinePix A120 has been designed to provide users with a camera equipped to take great pictures on ‘auto’ but with the option of experimenting with its full range of features, as they grow in confidence.”.

February 24
Nikon Thailand Factory Tour - D70 assembly

George Mann over at dpmac.com has posted an interesting (if short) article on the Nikon Factory in Ayuthaya, Thailand which is producing the Nikon D70. George states that the factory expect to produce 800,000 D70's this year (over 60,000/month). The article has images of the D70 in various stages of production as well as an interesting 'exploded' view of the major camera components.

February 23
2004 DIMA Innovative Digital Product Award

PMA 2004: DIMA, the Digital Imaging Marketing Association have announced the winner of the 2004 Innovative Digital Product Award. This year the award went to Picasa's Hello, an instant photo sharing application that enables users to share images securely over a peer-to-peer network and chat about them in real time. Last year the honor went to the company's flagship photo organizing software, Picasa.

February 20
Nikon D2H wireless, PMA follow-up

Those who followed our site during the PMA show last week will have seen our exclusive live from the show floor reporting. This was achieved in no small measure thanks to Nikon's D2H and WT-1 wireless transmitter. And as a follow-up to the show and our use of the D2H and WT-1 I have added a new page to our D2H review covering the use of this wireless add-on and our experiece of using it in live-to-web environment.

February 18
Matsushita's Next-Generation Image Sensor

Matsushita, best known for its Panasonic brand, has recently announced the development of its next-generation image sensor "v(nu)MAICOVICON". Compared to the conventional image sensors, the new product has advantages such as less power consumption than the CCD image sensors, and higher quality image production compared to CMOS image sensors. Mass production of the sensors will start this month. Future models will feature increased number of pixels and enhanced performance speed, capable to be applied to AV-related products such as digital still cameras, digital video cameras.

February 17
Fujifilm FinePix F710 Zoom

Fujifilm has today unveiled a new addition to its digital camera range based on the Super CCD SR technology: the FinePix F710 Zoom. The FinePix F710 Zoom enters Fujifilm's range as a partner to the FinePix F700 Zoom, which has won more awards than any other camera in the company's compact digital line-up. The new model ups the ante further with a 4x zoom lens, widescreen LCD display and a pop-up flash. The F700 model will continue to be available alongside the F710. The FinePix F710 Zoom will be available in the UK from leading photographic retailers from April 2004. Pricing will be announced nearer to the date of retail launch.

February 14
Kyocera Finecam SL400R and M410R

PMA 2004: Buried within a press release for their RTUNE engine are the announcements for the two new Kyocera cameras being shown at PMA. The Finecam SL400R which is essentially a 4 megapixel version of their recent SL300R, and the M410R a 4 megapixel, 10x optical zoom digital camera, the Japanese press release also shows the same camera in silver as the M400R, we're not sure whether this is a Japanese only model though. RTUNE provides unparalled high speed capture, faster start-up/shutter response/shot-to-shot times and improved picture quality.

Pixology and TI = embedded anti red-eye solution

PMA 2004: Pixology has today announced its collaboration with Texas Instruments, to develop an automatic solution for removing red-eye the moment a digital image is taken, while the picture is still in the camera. The solution will combine Pixology IRISS, the company's pioneering red-eye detection and correction technology and TI's DSP based digital media processing technology, which provides a highly integrated, programmable platform for digital still cameras and multimedia systems.

February 13
2004 DIMA Digital Camera Shoot-Out

PMA 2004: DIMA, the Digital Imaging Marketing Association have announced the winners of the 2004 Digital Camera Shoot-Out. They are the Leica Digilux 2, Olympus C-8080, Sony CR-PC330, Olympus C-5060, HP Photosmart 945, Casio QV-R51, Konica Minolta DiMage X20, HP Photosmart 735 and finally the Mustek MDC4000.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1

PMA 2004: Panasonic leaves it until the second day of PMA to launch its new DMC-LC1 Lumix camera. The 5-megapixel DMC-LC1 has a digital brain but the heart and soul of a finely crafted 35mm camera, right down to its controls. Zoom, focus and aperture are manually controlled by ring settings on the lens; shutter speed is controlled by a dial located on the top of the unit. The new DMC-LC1 incorporates a finely crafted, F2.0 - 2.4 Leica DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens (13 elements in 10 groups) with zoom capability equivalent to 28 - 90mm on a 35mm camera. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1 is scheduled for March, 2004 delivery. It will have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $1,599.00

Panasonic, Sanyo, and Sigma join  Four Thirds

PMA 2004: Olympus has announced the addition of three more firms to the roster of companies supporting the Four Thirds System standard for digital SLR camera systems. The three firms (in alphabetical order) are: Matsushita (Panasonic), Sanyo, and Sigma. The Four Thirds System standard was announced in September 2002 by Olympus and Kodak, and has been supported since its inception by Fuji.

Casio Exilim Pro EX-P600

PMA 2004: Casio has today announced its first prosumer model for quite a few years, the six megapixel Pro EX-P600. This flagship model has a four times Canon F2.8 - F4.0 optical zoom lens and a six megapixel CCD. The EX-P600 has a wide range of manual controls, a large 2.0" TFT LCD monitor, 9 MB of built-in storage, an SD/MMC slot and is powered by a supplied Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery.

Adobe extends Camera Raw plug-in for CS

PMA 2004: Adobe Systems has today announced a new Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop® CS, extending raw file support to 14 additional digital camera models. Available as a free download from Adobe's Web site, the plug-in builds on the raw file functionality integrated in Photoshop CS, adding new support for digital cameras from leading manufacturers such as, Fujifilm, Kodak, Leaf, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Sony. Additionally Adobe will provide Foveon X3F raw file format support in the Photoshop® CS Camera Raw plug-in. Support for X3F raw-format files is expected to be available from Adobe in the third quarter of 2004.

PNY Optima SD and CF cards

PMA 2004: PNY has announced its new Optima SD and CF cards store digital information at blazing, sustained write speeds of up to 5 (33X) and 6 (40X) megabytes per second (MBps), respectively. PNY Technologies high-speed Optima SD cards will be available in 128MB and 256MB storage capacities, while its Optima CF cards will support 128MB to 1GB. All PNY Optima SD and CF cards will be available for purchase in the second quarter of 2004 from distributors and specialty photo dealers in the United States and Europe. Optima SD will carry an MSRP of $89.99 and $119.99, respectively while Optima CF cards will carry MSRP's of $69.99, $89.88, $169.99 and $329.99, respectively.

February 12
Microsoft at PMA

PMA 2004: Signaling its commitment to the digital imaging industry, Microsoft Corp. today will make its first appearance at PMA 2004, the annual convention and trade show of the Photo Marketing Association International, being held in Las Vegas Feb. 12-15. At the show, Microsoft is demonstrating its breadth of digital imaging products and technologies for hardware and software developers, retailers, professional photographers and consumers.

Luminous Parrot Dream in Pictures

PMA 2004: Luminous Parrot Technologies has today introduced its debut product, Dream in Pictures, at PMA 2004. The software is designed to meet the varying needs of digital imaging beginners, hobbyists and enthusiasts. It combines a unique and intuitive interface, the most useful and popular image management and editing capabilities as well as enjoyment features such as a creative slideshow builder, an interactive 3-D art gallery, a fun photo mosaic builder, a challenging picture puzzle game and a screensaver.

Lexar 60x 1GB Secure Digital Cards

PMA 2004: Lexar has today announced that it has doubled its highest capacity Secure Digital (SD) memory card to 1 gigabyte, speed-rated at 60X, which signifies a minimum sustained write speed capability of 9MB per second.. In a form factor roughly the size of a postage stamp, Secure Digital memory cards will now be available from Lexar Media in capacities from 32MB to 1GB. Lexar’s 1GB Secure Digital memory card will be available at consumer electronics stores worldwide this spring, with an estimated retail price of $499.99

Lexar Enhanced Memory Stick

PMA 2004: Lexar has today announced a new line of updated Memory Stick™ products that will have significantly increased read speeds. Available this spring in capacities of 64MB, 128MB and 256MB (total 128MBx2), the enhanced Memory Stick delivers data read speeds that are up to four times faster than current cards, when used with compatible (4-pin parallel), high-speed Memory Stick-enabled devices. The new Memory Stick cards are also compatible with serial interface Memory Stick-enabled products. Lexar’s new Memory Stick will be available with expected retail pricing of $39.99, $59.99 and $99.99 for capacities of 64MB, 128MB and 256MB, respectively.

Lexar 80X Professional CompactFlash

PMA 2004: Lexar has today doubled the minimum sustained write speed capability of its Professional Series CompactFlash™ (CF) product line to 80X, or 12MB per second. With this introduction, Lexar Media is providing the fastest CompactFlash with guaranteed write speeds available. Lexar is offering its 80X Professional Series CompactFlash cards in five different capacities, including 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB and 4GB capacities, with expected retail prices of $99.99, $199.99 and $399.99, $699.99 and $1,499.99, respectively. Lexar Media’s new 80X speed-rated Professional Series CompactFlash will be available in photo specialty stores beginning May 2004.

Lexar 8GB CompactFlash

PMA 2004: Lexar has today announced its 8GB Professional Series CompactFlash™ card, the highest capacity memory card available in the world today. In addition to delivering extraordinary capacity in a matchbook-sized memory card, Lexar’s new 8GB CompactFlash card delivers a 40X speed-rating, signifying a minimum sustained write speed capability of 6MB/s. The new 8GB CompactFlash cards will be available at many photo specialty stores in May of this year. Pricing for the 8GB card will be released at time of shipment.

MAGIX Photo Cleaning Lab

PMA 2004: MAGIX has today announced MAGIX Photo Cleaning Lab, the digital camera accessory that repairs, organizes and preserves the thousands of digital images collected by photographers and consumers. Priced at only $49.99, MAGIX Photo Cleaning Lab includes real-time image correction, high-speed photo management, instant album creation, accelerated image explorer, photo printing, CD archiving and a powerful image editor in one easy-to-use program. MAGIX Photo Cleaning Lab for Windows® will be available in late February 2004 through major retailers for $49.99 SRP.

dpreview.com Live from the Show Floor

PMA 2004: We are proud to present our live show report direct from the Show Floor at PMA 2004. We don't use the word Live and not mean it, wirelessly connected across the entire PMA show we are beaming images back to our server using a Nikon D2H + WT-1 wireless transmitter while each stand report follows from an ultra compact notebook. In combination this means that you get to see our stand reports coming in live and experience our tour of the PMA show from the comfort of your web browser! New stand reports appear as soon as text and images are received. Live updates are shown at the top of the front page of the site as well as the introduction page of our PMA report.

Konica Minolta Maxxum 7 Digital

PMA 2004: Konica Minolota today made a development announcement about a new digital version of their Maxxum 7 / Dynax 7 SLR. The Maxxum 7 Digital will have a six megapixel APS sized CCD, will have body integrated anti-shake (just like the DiMAGE A1/A2) which will work with all lenses and will be fully system compatible. This camera should be available in 'Fall 2004'. We, along with a few others had an opportunity to take a few pictures of an early pre-production camera.

Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2, 8 mp, Anti-shake

PMA 2004: Konica Minolta today placed its chips on the eight megapixel roulette table with the DiMAGE A2. Clearly based around the DiMAGE A1 the A2 has the same seven times optical zoom lens and Anti-shake system achieved by moving the CCD rather than a lens element. Other new features include a '3D Auto Focus system' which Konica Minolta claim to be 1.5 times faster than the AF system in the DiMAGE A1, a new high resolution electronic viewfinder and a higher resolution and higher frame rate video mode.

Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z2

PMA 2004: In the second of three announcements, Konica Minolta have revealed a new version of the slightly odd looking DiMAGE Z1, the four megapixel, ten times optical zoom DiMAGE Z2 (it still looks a bit Buck Rogers to me.) The DiMAGE Z2 squeezes its four megapixels out of a tiny 1/2.5" CCD, has a brand new ten times optical zoom lens (38 - 380 mm equiv.), predictive focus control and streaming SVGA or VGA movies with audio. The only thing I feel this camera lacks is Image Stabilization.

Konica Minolta DiMAGE Xg

PMA 2004: Konica Minolta today announced the DiMAGE Xg, an updated version of the DiMAGE Xt, the Xg has a new lens design,a larger LCD monitor, streaming 30 fps movies, a faster startup time (claimed 0.8 sec, a third of a second faster than the Xt), PictBridge direct printing support and of course wears the new Konica Minolta name and logo. "The DiMAGE Xg packs the popular features that today's consumers are seeking into an inviting take-anywhere design that's already a proven winner.” said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Konica Minolta's Camera Division.

Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom, plus preview

PMA 2004: Olympus today moved its prosumer 'stake in the ground' onto eight megapixel soil with the new C-8080 Wide Zoom. This camera is curvier and more 'design concious' (in my opinion) than any previous prosumer level Olympus. It has a large five times optical zoom lens coupled to that 2/3" Type eight megapixel sensor. The other thing immediately noticeable about the C-8080 Wide Zoom is its speed, taking under a second to startup with the lens at wide angle. Preview online: We have had a C-8080 Wide Zoom for a hands-on preview.

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 150 mm F2.0

PMA 2004: Olympus today widened the range of lenses available in its 'E System' by adding the impressive Zuiko Digital ED 150 mm F2.0 lens. On the E-1 digital SLR this lens will provide an equivalent field of view as a 300 mm lens would on a 35 mm film camera, and this with an impressive F2.0 maximum aperture. It's no lightweight though, this lens weighs in at 1.35 KG (3 lb). UPDATE: There was an error in the pricing on this press release, the quoted price is WELL below the expected price, we are awaiting confirmation of pricing from Olympus.

Olympus C-770 Movie, with MPEG-4

PMA 2004: In a 'by popular demand' move Olympus today revealed its very interesting still camera / video camera cross-over product the C-770 Movie. Just like the C-765 UZ the C-770 has a four megapixel CCD sensor and ten times optical zoom lens. Most interesting however is that Olympus has implemented the MPEG-4 video compression codec for movie recording, this means smaller higher quality video files at high resolution and frame rate. The C-770 Movie records VGA (640 x 480) MPEG-4 video at 30 fps at a data rate of approximately 300 KB/sec.

Olympus C-765 Ultra Zoom

PMA 2004: Olympus today announced what they claim to be the worlds smallest 10x Zoom digital camera, the new C-765 Ultra Zoom. This camera has a four megapixel CCD sensor and ten times optical zoom lens (38 - 380 mm equiv.). Other features of interest will be the high resolution EVF (electronic viewfinder), live view histogram, a wide range of manual controls and adjustments as well as USB 2.0 connectivity. Expected street price for the C-765 UZ in the US is $499.

Olympus Stylus 410 Digital

PMA 2004: Olympus today announced the Stylus 410 Digital (to be known as the µ[mju] 410 Digital in Europe). The design of this camera reflects the successful and well known Stylus compact film camera range. The 410 Digital has a four megapixel sensor and three times optical zoom lens. Other features include a weatherproof casing, Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery xD-Picture card storage and a 1.5" LCD monitor. Expected street price in the US is $399.

Olympus D-540 / D-580 Zoom

PMA 2004: Olympus today announced two new entry level zoom digital cameras, the three megapixel, three times optical D-540 Zoom (C-310 Zoom in Europe) and the four megapixel, three times optical D-580 Zoom (C-460 Zoom in Europe). With a US street price of $199 and $299 respectively these two cameras are aimed first time buyers and the budget conscious. That's two new Olympus digital cameras down, five to go!

Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n, plus samples

PMA 2004: Kodak Professional today announced the new DCS Pro SLR/n. This digital SLR is based on the 14n but has numerous improvements including a redesigned sensor, a new type of filter over the sensor surface, new analog and digital boards and new software features. The DCS Pro SLR/n has a 35 mm (full frame, 36 x 24 mm) fourteen megapixel CMOS sensor, 512 MB of RAM for a buffer depth of around 19 RAW images and is based around the N80 (F80) camera internals and top. Existing 14n owners will be offered a return-to-Kodak upgrade path to have various components changed to turn their 14n's into a '14nx' (essentially the same as the SLR/n). Exclusive: hands-on and small samples gallery.

HP Photosmart R707

PMA 2004: HP today announced the five megapixel metal fronted Photosmart R707. This new camera from HP looks and feels nothing like previous models, it's clean and classy with modern lines and design touches, a very appealing design. The camera has a five megapixel sensor, three times optical zoom lens and a range of unique in-camera features such as Adaptive Lighting Technology (digital 'dodge & burn' / digital flash) and red-eye removal in playback mode. With a very attractive US street price of $349 the R707 could be one of the dark horses of PMA.

Pentax OptioMX and new Lens for *ist D

PMA 2004: Pentax has today announced the introduction of the first PENTAX Optio(R) digital still/movie camera - the OptioMX. The palm-sized OptioMX features 3.2 megapixels and 10X optical zoom to capture still images and high resolution (VGA) full-motion movies on MPEG-4 format with zoom capability. A second Pentax digital product under development - a wide-angle interchangeable lens for the *ist D digital SLR - also has been announced. The smc PENTAX-DA 14mm F2.8 ED (IF) is extremely compact, measuring 2.7 inches long and 3.3 inches in diameter. Featuring the reliable PENTAX KAF lens mount and high-performance 12-element, 11-group optics, it offers a focal length of 14mm (equivalent to 21.5mm in the 35mm format), and a minimum focusing distance of 0.7 inches.

Pretec 80X Cheetah CompactFlash

PMA 2004: Pretec has today announced the world's highest speed CF card with capacities ranging from 256MB to 6GB. The cards have a sustained read speed of 13MB/s and write speed of 12MB/s, Pretec Cheetah series CF card is the highest speed CF card on earth. If using the speed of 150KB/s as 1X performance benchmark, the write speed of Pretec Cheetah CF card is categorized as 80X. Pretec 80X Cheetah CF card will start sampling this month and delivery by the end of March.

Sony Speeds up Memory Sticks

PMA 2004: Sony has today announced updated versions of its standard Memory Stick range. The new Memory Stick media will start shipping this spring in 32MB, 64MB, 128MB and 256MB (total 128MBx2) capacities. A striking cobalt-blue color will distinguish the new line from its purple predecessor. When used with compatible (4-pin parallel), high-speed Memory Stick media-enabled hardware, users can enjoy read speeds that are up to four times faster than current standard Memory Stick media. Pricing for Sony's new Memory Stick media will be about $30 for 32MB, $40 for 64MB, $60 for 128MB, and $100 for 256MB.

Canon Post 8 EOS-1D Mark II Sample Images

Canon have launched a new web site for their EOS-1D Mark II. On this site are eight full size sample images. All of the images are in JPEG format and weigh in at about 2 MB. Exif information states that they are taken using firmware version 2.9.0 The EOS-1D Mark II is Canon's eagerly awaited sucessor to the groundbreaking EOS-1D.

Nikon Coolpix 4200 and 5200

PMA 2004: Nikon today announced the four and five megapixel compact Coolpix 4200 and 5200. These two metal bodied digital cameras are noticeably thinner than the 2200 and 3200 and have a more stylized design. Both cameras feature a 3x optical zoom lens, are powered by a supplied Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery and store images on SD (Secure Digital) media or the built-in 12 MB of flash RAM. These compact cameras weigh in at just 180 g (6.3 oz) ready to shoot. Nikon also announced the WP-CP2 waterproof case which can be used for either camera.

February 11
Sony DSC-W1

Pre-PMA 2004: Sony today announced the new compact 'rangefinder style' five megapixel digital camera, the CyberShot DSC-W1. This camera has a five megapixel sensor and a three times optical zoom (which Sony claim extends in under a second), on the rear is a large 2.5" LCD monitor . The DSC-W1 will be available in both a black and silver body finish and should be in stores (in the US) around May time for $400.

Sony's four new CyberShot digital cameras

Pre-PMA 2004: Sony today revealed four new CyberShot P-series digital cameras. Starting at the lowest priced, entry level DSC-P41 which has a fixed focal length lens and four megapixel sensor, then comes the DSC-P73 and DSC-P93 both of which have three times optical zoom lenses coupled with a four and five megapixel sensor respectively. Lastly is the DSC-P100, a compact three times optical zoom five megapixel digital camera. The biggest news here being that Sony appear to be utilizing the idea of of a standard image processor across the range, for them it's the "Real Imaging Processor".

Leica Digital Solutions for Proven Analog Products

Leica has announced plans to use the proceeds of the sale of convertible bonds to create the financial basis for its innovation and distribution strategy. The emphasis of the development work that is already in progress is on hybrid concepts that combine digital technology with proven analog products.
“Well over one million high-grade Leica lenses for the Leica R- and Leica M systems await a solution for being used optimally in conjunction with digital technology. Our approach to digital cameras for existing lenses conforms to our philosophy of decades-long system compatibility and to our belief that the optics are the decisive elements for outstanding photographs – not the analog or digital path to those photographs”, states chief of technology Ralf Coenen.

SanDisk Switchable 4GB CompactFlash

Pre-PMA 2004: SanDisk has today introduced the first 4GB CompactFlash card that can be used in any CompactFlash digital camera or device. The 4GB SanDisk CompactFlash card features a features a three-position switch that allows it to operate in cameras that use either FAT16 or FAT32, it can switch between either a single 4GB (FAT32) volume or two separate 2GB (FAT16) volumes. It is the only CompactFlash card of its capacity and compatibility level that is available in the popular Type I format and fits into any CompactFlash slot.

SanDisk Shoot & Store cards

Pre-PMA 2004: SanDisk has today announced a new line of inexpensive flash memory cards designed to allow users to save their pictures indefinitely without using a computer for downloading, thus giving millions of consumers a major incentive to switch from film to digital photography and providing them with a durable, permanent way to store a lifetime of images. With an initial suggested retail price of $14.99 each-a breakthrough in the industry-the Shoot & Store™ cards are expected to allow people to order prints on a "cost-of-use" basis that is equal to or less than that of traditional analog film. And they won't have to worry about leaving expensive flash memory cards with retail photo finishers.

SanDisk Expands Memory Stick Range

Pre-PMA 2004: SanDisk has today announced the addition of the 128MB Memory Stick® PRO™, and 128MB Memory Stick PRO Duo cards to its product line. SanDisk now offers the industry's broadest range of Memory Stick PRO and PRO Duo cards with capacities that range from 128MB to 2GB and 128MB to 512MB respectively. Memory Stick PRO cards are expected to be available this month with list prices from $59.99 to $999.99. Memory Stick PRO Duo cards are expected to be available Q2 2004 at a list price of $64.99 and $224.99 for the 128MB and 512MB capacities respectively.

More Canon Pro1 hands-on

PMA 2004 Live: We've just returned from our first press event of PMA, the Canon UK Press Briefing. Here we heard more about the more than ten new digital photography products introduced by Canon at PMA. It was also our second opportunity to get our hands on some of the new digital cameras, of most interest to our readers will be the eight megapixel PowerShot Pro1. What we've seen so far has impressed us, the camera feels smaller and better ergonomically than the G5, my only complaint would be that the USM zoom doesn't feel as immediate or responsive as the Sony DSC-F828's mechanically linked zoom mechanism.

SanDisk 1GB Extreme and Ultra II Memory Stick PRO

Pre-PMA 2004: SanDisk has today introduced the SanDisk Extreme and SanDisk Ultra II versions of Memory Stick PRO, a new line of premium, high-performance digital film cards targeted at advanced and professional photographers. Similar to the Extreme and Ultra II CompactFlash and SD product families introduced earlier by SanDisk, the two new Memory Stick PRO cards deliver a minimum write speed of 9 megabytes (MB) per second and minimum read speed of 10MB a second, making them the fastest Memory Stick PRO cards in the world. The cards, which will start shipping at the end of this month, 256MB to 1GB and priced from $119.99 to $679.99

SanDisk 2GB Extreme and Ultra II CF cards

Pre-PMA 2004: SanDisk has today introduced the 2 gigabyte (GB) SanDisk Extreme™ and SanDisk Ultra II CompactFlash® cards, the largest capacities available for its comprehensive line of high-performance CompactFlash cards for digital photographers. SanDisk Extreme and SanDisk Ultra II cards are targeted primarily at the professional digital camera and 'prosumer' market where 4 megapixel or higher resolution digital cameras require significantly faster digital film cards. Each card features a minimum write speed of 9 megabytes per second (MB/sec.) and a minimum read speed of 10MB/sec.

February 10
ColorVision SpyderPRO and PrintFIX bundle

Pre-PMA 2004: ColorVision has today announced up to 30% reductions and better on the award winning, state-of-the-art color management systems. The introduction of the SpyderPRO+PrintFIX(TM) bundle, a $578 retail value offered at $449 meets the industry demand for an affordable integrated hardware/ software solution from monitor calibration to printer profiling. "Spyder(TM) product suites are cost-efficient, intuitive add-ons that color correct monitors and printers, saving time, ink and paper, creating great looking out-put," remarks ColorVision's Vice President, Brian Levey.

Delkin Expands Battery and Card Reader line

Pre-PMA 2004: Delkin has announced an expanded line of digital camera and camcorder batteries. Among the products is the eFilm RCR-V3 digital camera battery. Many of today’s digital cameras are powered by two or four AA batteries, or in their place one or two of the popular CR-V3 batteries. Delkin’s RCR-V3 provides a rechargeable alternative in a Lithium Ion battery. Delkin’s broad line of memory card reader/writers was expanded with the introduction of the new USB 2.0 Reader-29, the only device on the market that will read and write to Secure Digital, Mini Secure Digital, MultiMedia and Reduced Sized Multimedia without the need for an adapter.

Delkin Expands eFilm PRO Card line

Pre-PMA 2004: Delkin has announced new additions to its high-speed eFilm PRO Card line. Initial eFilm SD PRO Card capacities will be 256MB and 512MB (with SD PRO 1GB coming in Q2) and are expected to be among the fastest Secure Digital memory cards on the market. Transfer rate speeds up to 10 MB/s can be achieved. Delkin is also increasing the storage capacities to their eFilm CompactFlash (CF) PRO Cards for high-end SLR digital cameras. High-capacities of 1 and 2 Gigabytes (GB) now join the existing PRO Card line up. The MSRP for the SD PRO 512MB is $ 299.00, with the 256MB at $ 129.00. MSRP for the CF 2GB is $ 649.99 and 1GB at $ 339.00

February 9
SimpleTech 8 GB Type II CompactFlash

Pre-PMA 2004: SimpleTech has today announced the industry's highest capacity CompactFlash with an 8 GB Type II card using the Company's patented stacking technology. The Company also announced 2, 4 and 5 GB Type I cards and a significant increase to the write speed of its entire ProX line of CompactFlash cards. Samples of the new ProX CompactFlash Type I cards in 2, 4 and 5 GB capacities and the 8 GB type II cards are expected to ship during the first quarter of 2004, with production anticipated during the second quarter of 2004.

Polaroid x530 with Foveon X3 sensor

Pre-PMA 2004: Foveon today announced that Polaroid's new x530 digital camera will use a 1/1.8" size X3 Direct Image Sensor. The x530 will have a three times optical zoom lens and is designed around a typical point-and-shoot digital camera body, similar to the Canon A70. The sensor used is Foveon's 'X3 5M' Direct Image CMOS Sensor (three layers of 1.5 million pixels each) which is the industry standard 1/1.8" Type size (7.1 x 5.3 mm effective). In a big step forward for Foveon the x530 can now produce JPEG images in-camera. Exclusive: We have some images of a design model of the x530.

Canon PowerShot Pro1, plus hands-on

Pre-PMA 2004: Canon has today revealed its submission to the eight megapixel race, the PowerShot Pro1. The Pro1 has a unique lens, it's the first time Canon has placed it's professional "L-series" label on the fixed lens of a digital camera. The 28 - 200 mm equiv. (7x) lens has a maximum aperture of F2.4 to F3.5 features a USM (ultrasonic motor) for zoom. Canon are satisfied classifying this lens with the "L-series" label because it incorporates both UD (ultra-low dispersion) and fluorite lens elements. The Pro1 has an eight megapixel CCD sensor, 2.0" fliip-out LCD monitor (235,000 pixels) and electronic viewfinder (also 235,000 pixels). The Pro1 will be priced at $999 in the US and €1199 in Europe. Exclusive: We have a hands-on preview of the Pro1 online.

Canon PowerShot S1 IS, plus hands-on

Pre-PMA 2004: Canon today announced its foray into the 3 megapixel 10x zoom market, the PowerShot S1 IS. This new digital camera has an Image Stabilsed ten times optical zoom lens (38 - 380 mm equiv., F2.8 - F3.1) and a 3 megapixel CCD sensor. Interestingly the lens zoom is driven by a small USM (ultrasonic motor) similar to those found in Canon SLR lenses, the motor has multiple speeds and even a slow silent mode specifically designed for shooting movies. Control wise the S1 IS adds add dedicate movie record button and a customizable shortcut button. The S1 IS will be priced at $499 in the US and €599 in Europe. Exclusive: We have a hands-on preview of the S1 IS online.

Canon PowerShot S430, S500, SD110

Pre-PMA 2004: Canon today announced three new ultra compact digital cameras. The four and five megapixel PowerShot S410 (IXUS 430) and S500 (IXUS 500) are based on the soft edged S400 (IXUS 400), both have bodies made from same unique 'Celabrite' material which is a mix of metal and ceramic. The PowerShot SD110 (IXUS IIs) is a follow-up to the PowerShot SD100 (IXUS II). These new models also take the total number of IXUS models to 30 since 1996.

Canon PowerShot A75

Pre-PMA 2004: Canon today revealed the successor to the entry level zoom A70 with the A75. The A75 has the new direct print button, an orientation sensor, is powered by four AA batteries and takes Compact Flash media. Just like the A70 the A75 has a three times optical zoom lens and three megapixel CCD sensor. This camera is aimed at the entry level user who is looking for something slightly more advanced than the A310. The A75 will be priced at $299 in the US and €329 in Europe.

Canon PowerShot A310

Pre-PMA 2004: In the first of seven new product announcements today Canon has revealed the successor to the PowerShot A300. Like all of the new cameras announced today the A310 has full PictBridge support and a new dedicated direct print button on the rear of the camera which will trigger the printing of the currently displayed image to an attached printer. The A310 has a three megapixel CCD sensor, a fixed lens, a sliding front cover which doubles as a power switch, is powered by two AA batteries and takes Compact Flash media. The A310 will be priced at $199 in the US and €199 in Europe.

ImageWare PDI Studio v2.0

Pre-PMA 2004: ImageWare Systems has today announced that it will debut the latest version of PDI Studio at Professional Marketing Association (PMA) 2004. As part of ImageWare's Professional Digital Imaging (PDI) product line, PDI Studio is a complete studio management software solution that provides professional photographers with comprehensive digital workflow capabilities, eliminating the need for additional workflow or invoicing software. "PDI Studio provides professional photographers with a simple, continuous customer and image management workflow solution from scheduling to production and billing," said Paul Devermann, SVP and general manager of ImageWare's PDI Group.

February 5
Delkin CardBus Adapter SD and MS

Pre-PMA 2004: As we predicted in November last year Delkin will be selling the new Aska MS32A and SD32A as their own CardBus SD and MS adapters. These new adapters should provide the highest possible transfer speed from Secure Digital / MMC or Memory Stick. We tested the CardBus CF adapter in October of last year and were impressed, it was four times faster than a traditional PCMCIA adapter and was even faster than Firewire readers. With the increase of the use of SD in digital SLR's I am sure the CardBus SD adapter will become very popular.

Fujifilm S20 Pro, SuperCCD SR

Pre-PMA 2004: Fujifilm today announced the camera which in my opinion should have been released instead of (or before) the F700. The S20 Pro is essentially an S7000 with the same 3mp + 3mp SuperCCD SR sensor used in the F700, this means all the same manual control and wide feature set of the S7000 but with the promise of extended dynamic range. The S20 Pro also gets a PC Sync flash terminal. Fujifilm has also decided that this sensor which has 3.1 million pixel locations shall be described as having 6.2 million effective pixels, can't say I agree.

Fujifilm FinePix A330 and A340 Zoom

Pre-PMA 2004: Fujifilm has today announced the new entry level FinePix A330 and A340 Zoom digital cameras. These two compact cameras both have a protective sliding cover which doubles as the power switch and a three times optical zoom lens. The A330 has a three megapixel standard CCD and the A340 a four megapixel standard CCD. We say 'standard' because these two digital cameras don't utilize Fujifilm's SuperCCD sensors.

Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro

Pre-PMA 2004: Fujifilm has today announced the development of the all new SuperCCD SR based FinePix S3 Pro. The S3 Pro appears to be still based on the N80 (F80) body but is now much rounder and compact in appearance as well as including a vertical hand grip. The S3 Pro has a 6mp + 6mp SuperCCD SR sensor with the same output image sizes as the S2 Pro (12 megapixel maximum) but (as we hope) with higher dynamic range as each pixel location has two photodiodes, one which has normal sensitivity and one with lower sensitivity for capturing the highlight detail. Ever since Fujifilm announced the SuperCCD SR design we've been waiting for the moment they'd introduce it into a digital SLR, well here it is. At this stage there are no detailed specifications available, although we have produced a 'what we know so far' list. UPDATED: Official S3 Pro Brochure added.

February 4
Matsushita Oxyride Dry-cell Battery

Matsushita has recently announced the development of a new dry cell battery with 1.5 to 2 times better performance than standard alkaline dry cell batteries. Called the "Oxyride Dry-cell Battery" it is a successor to Matsushita's nickel-manganese dry battery designed exclusively for digital cameras. Matsushita demonstrated the new dry cell by running a car on two AA batteries. The two cells drove the 18.5 kg car with a driver for a distance of 1,200 meters, according to a Matsushita spokeswoman. Source Nikkei and EE Times.

Sea&Sea Underwater housing for the Nikon D70

In one of those "that didn't take long" moments we today noted that the Japanese Underwater Imaging company Sea&Sea has announced the Sea&Sea DX-D70 a specialized underwater housing for Nikon's recently announced D70 digital SLR. The DX-D70 case has two hand grips and several flash mounting points as well as repeated camera controls on the outside of the body including settings such as ISO sensitivity and white balance. The case is waterproof to a depth of 60 m (200 ft). Sea&Sea products are distributed in the US by Tusa USA and we expect to see this housing (and pricing) to appear on their website fairly soon.

Phase One's new P backs, totally untethered

Pre-PMA 2004: Phase One today announced two new medium format backs, the 22 megapixel P25 and the 16 megapixel P20. These backs, unlike others, can be used both tethered and now totally untethered. The P25 has a 48.9 x 36.7 mm (1.9 x 1.4 in) 22 megapixel CCD sensor, the P20 has a 36.9 x 36.9 (1.5 x 1.5 in) 16 megapixel CCD sensor. Both new backs have 2.2" LCD Monitors, Lithium-Ion battery power a Compact Flash shot and Firewire port and are available for the Mamiya 645 AFD, Hasselblad H and Contax 645. The P25 will additionally be available for the Hasselblad V.

February 3
Just posted! Nikon D70 hands-on preview

Just posted! Our ten page hands-on preview of Nikon's all new sub-$1000 D70 digital SLR. We have now received a pre-production D70 and have produced a fully detailed hands-on preview of the camera examining the design, operation, display and menus as well as a comparison to the D100 and Canon EOS 300D. So far I like what I see, some seriously good competition for Canon. As yet we are not able to post image quality samples but will do so as soon as we can get a production camera.

The 123di e-book bundled with Nikon and Epson

Pre-PMA 2004: Asimex/123di today announced a major bundling deal with both Nikon and Epson. The 123 of digital imaging Interactive e-book Version 2.0 will be bundled with selected cameras, printers and at events. This promotion covers most of South East Asia and Australia. Daren Tan, Manager of Asia Tech Office (Nikon Singapore): "This unique interactive e-book perfectly complements our digital cameras and scanners. It is very intuitive and gives instant access to in-depth background information, practical tips and useful techniques, illustrated by amazing graphics."

DO Labs DxO Optics Pro

Pre-PMA 2004: DO Labs has announced a new software solution called DxO Optics Pro which can automatically correct images for errors such as Distortion, Chromatic Aberrations, Vignetting and Blur ('lack of perceived sharpness'). This new software is based around profiles for specific cameras which characterize the correction required for each type of error. Initially DxO Optics Pro will have profiles for almost all current digital SLR's and a wide range of branded lenses. DO Labs also note that this technology could be embedded into the camera image processing pipeline. Pricing is yet to be announced.

February 2
Pentax Optio S4i

Pre-PMA 2004: In the last of the trio of new Pentax cameras announced today we have the Optio S4i, an improved version of the Optio S4 announced last September. There are numerous improvements including a subtle finger grip on the front of the camera, the new quick reset button on the rear and most noticeably the larger 1.8" TFT LCD monitor. The Optio S4i remains one of the smallest and lightest ultra-compact's.

Pentax Optio S40

Pre-PMA 2004: In their second announcement of the day Pentax introduce the Optio S40, a four megapixel digital camera in a metal case and utlizing Pentax's unique sliding lens mechanism which we first saw on the Optio S this time last year. The S40 has 11 MB of built-in flash storage as well as an SD/MMC slot, it's powered by either CR-V3 or AA batteries and has a 1.6" LCD monitor.

Pentax Optio 30

Pre-PMA 2004: Pentax today announced the Optio 30, an affordable three megapixel three times zoom digital camera with easy to use controls and menus. Despite being relatively 'entry level' the Optio 30 has a fair number of advanced features such as histogram display, selectable ISO, timelapse movies and continuous shooting modes. Thankfully Pentax have thought of everything and have even included the essential Food and Pet scene modes.

Kodak EasyShare DX7630, 6 megapixel

Pre-PMA 2004: Kodak today announced the DX7630, this new sub-$500 digital camera is based around a six megapixel image sensor and has a three times optical zoom lens. The DX7630 also has a large 2.2" indoor/outdoor LCD monitor, 32 MB of internal flash memory, an SD/MMC slot, supports streaming movie recording (320 x 240, 24 fps) and is powered by a supplied Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. The DX7630 will be available in April 2004 with a suggested retail price of $499.

Kodak EasyShare CX7220, CX7300, CX7430

Pre-PMA 2004: Kodak today announced a trio of new 'entry level' EasyShare digital cameras. The EasyShare CX7220 ($149) has a two megapixel sensor and two times optical zoom lens, the CX7300 ($129) has a three megapixel sensor and a fixed lens and the CX7430 ($279) has a four megapixel sensor and three times optical zoom lens. All three cameras feature 16 MB of built-in flash storage as well as support for SD/MMC cards, are powered by two AA batteries and are compatible with the optional Kodak EasyShare printer or camera docks.

Casio QV-R41

Pre-PMA 2004: Casio today announced the QV-R41, a complementary four megapixel version of the recently announced five megapixel QV-R51. Just like the QV-R51 the R41 has a very fast startup time and a unique separate Direct-On record and play buttons for fast access to either camera mode. The QV-R41 has a large 2.0" LCD monitor, 9.7 MB of internal flash memory, an SD/MMC slot and is powered by two AA batteries. The QV-R41 should be available from February 2004.

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