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April 2004 news and reviews

April 26
Iomega Floppy Plus 7-in-1 Card Reader

Iomega has today announced the availability of the new Iomega® Floppy Plus 7-in-1 Card Reader. Iomega’s new host-powered drive is ideal for photographers and mobile users, bundling a convenient 1.44 MB floppy drive with the seamless capability to read and write all of the most common flash media formats. The Iomega Floppy Plus 7-in-1 Card Reader is available now for $59.95 (U.S. suggested retail price).

April 23
Forgent sues 31 companies over JPEG

Forgent Networks has today made good their 2002 claim to JPEG and their intention to pursue licensing revenue from companies who use it. They own United States patent 4,698,672 which covers the JPEG compression standard, this patent was created by Compression Labs who Forgent bought back in 1997. Over the last two years, Forgent's has generated $90 million from licensing the patent to 30 different companies. The camera companies include Canon, Kodak, Fuji, Kyocera, HP, Panasonic, Ricoh, Toshiba, Concord and software suppliers Adobe, Macromedia, JASC.

Adobe Camera Raw 2.2 update

Adobe has today released version 2.2 of its Camera Raw plugin for Adobe Photoshop CS. New cameras from Canon (PowerShot Pro1, EOS-1D MARK II), Kodak (DCS Pro 14nx, DCS Pro SLR/n), Konica Minolta (DiMAGE A2), Nikon (D70, Coolpix 8700), Olympus (C-8080 Wide Zoom) and Sigma (SD9, SD10) are now supported.

April 22
The CD-R Lifetime Myth

There is an interesting story today in the UK newspaper, The Independent, about the claims manufacturers make about the lifespan of their CD-R's. They are the easiest means of archiving digital photographs today, but if disc is useless after 2 years, perhaps another archival medium is required. If CD-R is still your chosen media, then purchase the best, record at the recommened speed for your drive, and store in a cool dry environment.

April 20
Just posted! Olympus C-8080 WZ review

Just posted! Our full in-depth review of the eight megapixel Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom. This camera combines a brand new five times optical wide zoom (28 - 140 mm) lens with a 2/3" type eight megapixel CCD. The C-8080 also sports a new body design and comprehensive control system. See how the C-8080 Wide Zoom performed in our tests and how it compares to the other four eight megapixel digital cameras currently on the market.

Just posted! Canon PowerShot Pro1 review

Just posted! Our full in-depth review of the all new eight megapixel Canon PowerShot Pro1. This camera features a 2/3" type eight megapixel CCD sensor combined with a Canon "L-type" 7x optical zoom lens which provides a wide zoom of 28 mm to 200 mm. See how the Pro1 performed in our tests and how it compares to the other four eight megapixel digital cameras currently on the market.

Just posted! Nikon Coolpix 8700 review

Just posted! Our full in-depth review of the eight megapixel Nikon Coolpix 8700. This camera is visually identical to the Coolpix 5700 as it shares that camera's body and lens, however there have been quite a few changes inside the camera. This is Nikon's offering to the eight megapixel prosumer market which is now made up of five cameras. See how the Coolpix 8700 performed in our tests and how it compares to the other four eight megapixel digital cameras currently on the market.

Just posted! Konica Minolta A2 review

Just posted! Our full in-depth review of the eight megapixel Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2. The A2 shares its body design, lens and control layout with the five megapixel DiMAGE A1 but pushes the megapixel count up to eight and includes several 'under the hood' improvements. See how the DiMAGE A2 performed in our tests and how it compares to the other four eight megapixel digital cameras currently on the market.

April 19
Olympus AZ-1

Olympus Japan today announced the three megapixel three times optical zoom AZ-1. This new ultra-compact camera appears to utilize a 'folded optics' lens design similar to the Minolta DiMAGE X series and the Sony DSC-T1, T11. The AZ-1 measures just 94 x 67 mm (3.7 x 2.6 in) and is 22 mm thick (0.8 in), making it approximately the same size as the Sony DSC-T1. The AZ-1 also comes with a cradle used for charging the camera's internal Lithium-Ion battery as well as providing USB and video out connectivity. This camera has not yet been announced outside of Japan and it's not clear at this stage whether this will become a domestic market only camera.

April 16
Sports Illustrated's digital workflow

Eamon Hickey has posted a fascinating article on Rob Galbraith's website about the digital workflow employed by Sports Illustrated's team of photo editors and photographers shooting Superbowl XXXVIII. While amazing it also shows how far the workflow side of the process has yet to come, there's still a lot of disjointed work going on, even at the biggest names in the industry. Some fascinating quotes from this story, "Steve Fine is looking at two pictures every second. He's been keeping up that pace, with frequent short interruptions, for over four hours, and he'll keep it up for three more.", "In 2003, Sports Illustrated's photo department processed 1,028,000 digital photographs shot by staffers or freelancers under assignment. In 2004, an Olympic year, they estimate they will process closer to 3 million."

April 14
Imaging-Resource post D70 review

Dave Etchells over at Imaging-Resource has just posted his full reivew of the Nikon D70 digital SLR, "I'll save you the suspense though, and say right up front that I *really* liked this camera. Nikon really got just about everything right, offering a lot more features and capability than the Digital Rebel, at only a slight premium in price. And the lens that ships as part of the kit is a bargain too, at an incremental cost of $300 for a very nice piece of optics."

Sony's new DSC-T11 and more

Sony Japan today announced the all new DSC-T11 ultra-compact digital camera. Clearly based around the DSC-T1 the DSC-T11 appears to be even slimmer still and does away with the T1's sliding front cover to give the camera a completely flat front profile. The DSC-T11 also gets a larger, more prominent chromed neck strap attachment bar which runs down its left side. The DSC-T11 has a five megapixel CCD and three times folded optical zoom lens. Also announced today were the DSC-W1, DSC-P100 and DSC-P73 (which were all announced at PMA), new however is the DSC-P43 which appears to be based on the DSC-P73. It's unclear at this stage if the DSC-T11 or DSC-P43 will make it to the European and US markets.

April 12
Kingston Technology 1GB CF Elite Pro

Kingston Technology has today announced the availability of a 1 GB CF Elite Pro card featuring the latest in high-density flash components. Kingston.’s newest 1 GB CompactFlash Elite Pro provides a low price per megabyte solution of reliable, high-speed media. The Elite Pro provides a write speed of up to 5.2 MB per second and a read speed of up to 6.1 MB per second. Kingston’s 1 GB Type I CompactFlash Elite Pro card has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $349.00

April 8
Black Bodied Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel)

Canon Japan has today announced a new black bodied version of the 'Kiss Digital' as it is known in Japan (EOS 300D / Digital Rebel). At this stage it's unclear whether Canon will make the new black body available in Europe (as the EOS 300D) or North America (as the Digital Rebel). Remember also that the Japanese market get the USM version of the EF-S 18-55 mm lens which is powered by a normal DC motor in the rest of the world. Personally I think the camera looks much better in black, the color Canon should have chosen right from the start.

April 6
Roxio PhotoSuite 7 Platinum

Software: Roxio began shipping its new PhotoSuite 7 Platinum software today. Building on its predecessor, the latest release of adds multimedia slide show capabilities, professional level editing tools, and advanced Video CD authoring. PhotoSuite 7 Platinum offers tremendous value by including all the tools needed to capture, edit, create, organize, share, and preserve digital photos on CD or DVD in one package. PhotoSuite 7 Platinum will be available shortly in North American for a suggested retail price of $49.95 (US) or $59.95 (CND), and for download today.

Canon EOS-1Ds Firmware v1.0.3

Canon BeBit has today posted firmware Version 1.0.3 for the EOS-1Ds. This firmware update offers following improvements and additions; when formatting a media card with a capacity of greater than 2GB the camera may not recognise the full capacity. As usual please read carefully the firmware installation information before installing the firmware update!

Fujifilm FinePix F420 Zoom underwater housing

Fujifilm's has today announced an underwater housing for their FinePix F420 Zoom. The housing is made from hard-wearing, transparent polycarbonate, offering sub-aqua shooting at depths of up to 40 metres and its dedicated design retains full camera functionality. With an attractive ergonomic design, and bright orange detail, it's highly visible when under water.

April 5
Just posted! Nikon D70 review

Just posted! Our full in-depth review of a full production Nikon D70. The D70 is Nikon's first sub-$1000 digital SLR and now offers digital SLR buyers a new option other than Canon's EOS 300D (Digital Rebel). The D70 features a new six megapixel 'DX' size CCD sensor, Nikkor lens mount, quality black body and a wide range of manual features and controls. See how the D70 performed in our tests and how it compared to the EOS 300D (Digital Rebel).

ColorVision and Pantone ColorPlus for $99

ColorVision and Pantone have today announced ColorPlus, the newest addition to the PANTONE(R) COLORVISION(R) product line. ColorPlus is an affordable monitor calibration tool for consumers and photo hobbyists that calibrates a monitor to produce stunning photos in a few easy steps. ColorPlus by PANTONE COLORVISION comes bundled with Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition and is available immediately in the U.S. for an estimated street price of $99.

April 1
Sony v Kodak patent war hots up

There has today been an escalation of the patent war between Kodak and Sony, in what looks like a tit for tat response, Sony has filed a suit against Kodak alleging that they infringed 10 of Sony's patents related to digital cameras. "It's a very important technology resource for Sony and we feel that if any company is in infringement of them, we will take action," said Sony spokesman Gerald Cavanagh in Tokyo. Sony's latest suit involves patents related to electronic shutters for CCD's. Sony said its action was not a counter-suit and involved different patents than the suit filed by Kodak.

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