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August 2004 news and reviews

August 30
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V3 and preview
Sony today announced the sucessor to the DSC-V1, the seven megapixel four times optical zoom DSC-V3. This camera is noticeably larger than the DSC-V1, has a black body and a 'proper' hand grip. Changes include a huge 2.5" LCD monitor, RAW image format and a Compact Flash slot. The more you look at the DSC-V3 and examine its specifications the more it actually seems like a successor to the popular DSC-S85. We've had a pre-production DSC-V3 for a couple of days now and have been able to produce a hands-on preview.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-L1, hands-on images
Sony today announced the ultra-compact DSC-L1, a four megapixel digital camera featuring a new three times optical zoom lens which is considerably more compact than any Sony lens before it but provides a 32 mm wide (ish) angle. Looks wise the DSC-L1 is closer to the DSC-U series but has a larger LCD monitor (1.5" vs. 1.0") and the zoom lens. The DSC-L1 will be available in three colors / finishes. We've had a pre-production camera for a couple of days now and have some hands-on images. Expected street price around US$ 329.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T3
Sony today announced another new digital camera in their ultra-slim 'T' line. The DSC-T3 has a five megapixel CCD coupled to Sony's "folded path optical system" which provides a three times optical zoom without the need for a telescoping lens. The DSC-T3 has a completely flat front and flip-up metal lens cover. Around the back is a 2.5" LCD monitor with 230,000 pixels which has an advanced anti-reflective coating (we assume similar to that seen on some Sony notebooks and newer LCD flat panel monitors). Just like previous T models the T3 takes the half-size Memory Stick Duo. Expected street price around US$ 549.
August 26
Just posted! Nikon Coolpix 5200 review
Just posted! Our review of the sleek and simplisitically stylish Coolpix 5200. This five megapixel compact digital camera can trace its roots back to original Coolpix compacts of the 1990's however years of development since then have delivered us this nice thin metal bodied digital camera with a three times optical zoom lens, easy to use interface and even VGA 30 fps video mode. See how it shaped up in our new concise review format.
Just posted! Sony DSC-F88 review
Just posted! Our review of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F88, their latest incarnation of the inner swivel lens design which started back in 1996. This camera is a far more advanced beast, its 300 degree swivel lens has 3x optical zoom and is mated to a five megapixel CCD. It may seem quirky but it's nicely put together, flexible and delivers nice colorful images. See how it shaped up in our new concise review format.
August 25
Casio Exilim Pro EX-P700

Casio has announced a 7 megapixel version of the Casio Exilim Pro EX-P600, in the shape of the aptly named EX-P700. It retains the 2-inch LCD and 4x optical zoom found on its predecessor as well as EX-FINDER, which graphically displays shooting information. The Pro EX-P700 also now includes the Business Shot and Icon Help function which shows pop up explanations for icons on the screen. It is priced £499 ($TBC).

Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z50 and Exilim Zoom EX-Z55
Casio is expanding is Exilim Zoom range with the announcement of two new additions, the EX-Z50 and the EX-Z55, which maintain a thin body construction and large LCD screens. The aluminium bodied cameras both have a 5.3 megapixel CCD and a 2-inch (Z50) and 2.5-inch (Z55) screen and are 23mm wide. A Photostand features allows users to run a slideshow of images, while the camera sits in its cradle. The Z50 will be priced (£329 ($399) and the Z55 will be £349 ($449).
Casio Exilim Card EX-S100
Casio has today announced its first camera to incorporate ceramic lens technology, which has a higher refractive index and is stronger and thinner than glass. The 3.2 megapixel Casio Exilim Card EX-S100 is made of stainless steel, which gives it a nice heavy feel, and is the smallest 2.8x optical zoom camera in the world, just 17mm thick. A large 2-inch screen dominates the back of the credit card-sized camera, which has no optical viewfinder. It will be priced £349 ($399).
Casio QV-R61

Casio has today announced its entry level flagship camera in the QV range with the QV-R61, a six megapixel, 3x optical zoom lens camera. It also boasts a 2-inch LCD screen that as well as displaying shooting information and photographic effects, also has Icon Help, which uses pop-ups with explanations of the differenct icons. A rather helpful Business Shot provides automatic alignment for photos of text documents taken at an angle. Images are stored on to 9.7MB of internal memory or removable SD cards.

August 24
Pentax Optio S5i
Pentax has today announced the launch of the Optio S5i. The five megapixel update of the S4i has a new 'coarse' handgrip and textured body to convey a 'sense of quality'. It retains a plethora of scene modes found on its predecessor, ideal for beginners, and now includes a sports mode. The S5i incorporates Pentax's sliding lens mechanism allowing for a camera that is 21mm wide. The Optio S5i will be available in September.
Pentax Optio X

Pentax has today announced its first swivel lens compact in the shape of the stylish Optio X which echoes Nikon's early design of the 900 series. The right hand side rotates 180 degrees upwards and 90 degrees downwards. Manfactured from aluminium alloy and resin coating, the Optio X boasts five megapixels and is the slimmest camera in the range at 18mm. It will be available in October.

Sony 2 GB Memory Stick Pro
Sony has today announced a revamp of its Memory Stick Pro range which will now include a 2 GB card (twice the capacity of the largest current Sony Memory Stick Pro) as well as High Speed read/write across the range. The new High Speed range also boasts a wider operating temperature range of -25°C to 85 °C (-13°F to 185°F); which will of course be very useful.
August 23
Canon EOS 20D update and samples
As the embargo on sample images has lifted we can bring you our updated EOS 20D preview and a 24 image samples gallery. Our update includes image parameter, B&W feature tests as well as color, noise and resolution comparisons. All samples / test results based on our pre-production camera and should be considered non-final.
August 19
Canon EOS 20D and preview
Canon has today revealed the EOS 20D, the eight megapixel successor to the EOS 10D. The new sensor is however only half the story the EOS 20D has a slightly smaller and lighter body, a brand new 9-point AF system, near instant power on time, 5 frames per second continuous shooting, support for EF-S digital lenses, true RAW+JPEG, a B&W mode and USB 2.0. In total we've counted approximately 30 noteworthy improvements on the EOS 20D. Naturally we have a detailed eleven page hands-on preview. Price on the street around US$1,500.
Canon PowerShot G6, preview and samples
Canon's second seven megapixel (after the S70) is the new G6 (yes, odd name but I guess they couldn't have called it the G7). Having skipped the 1/1.8" six megapixel sensor Canon moved right along and dropped the new seven megapixel one into the G6, it features an almost-identical 4x lens as the G5, a flip-out and twist LCD (now 2.0") a narrower body and just about all the manual controls you could ever need. We've got a detailed preview of a production G6 including samples! This camera could be yours for around US$700.
Two Canon EF-S lenses and a flash
Canon has today announced two new digital SLR lenses and a flash with digital features. The EF-S 17 - 85 mm F4 - F5.6 IS USM lens (US$600) provides an equivelant field of view of 27 - 136 mm (5x zoom), the EF-S 10 - 22 mm F3.5 - F4.5 USM lens (US$800) provides and equivelant field of view of 16 - 35 mm. Currently these new lenses can only be used on the Canon EOS 20D and EOS 300D digital SLR's (the only camera's to support EF-S lenses). Additionally Canon has also announced the Speedlite 580EX flash (US$480) with digital specific features such as zoom linked to sensor size and control of camera white balance.
Canon PowerShot S70
A raft of 7 megapixel compacts is coming your way soon, with Canon being the latest to announce its PowerShot S70, which is practically the same as the S60, except the resolution. The sliding lens camera retains the wideangle 28-100mm optic of the S60, plus a 3.6x optical zoom. Images can be recorded in RAW or JPEG modes and improved continuous shooting up to 15 images. Price around $600.
Canon PowerShot A95
Canon has today announced its new flagship A-series PowerShot, the 5 megapixel A95, which replaces the 4 megapixel A80 announced this time last year. The A95 has a larger 1.8-inch vari-angle LCD, improved continuous shooting capability (17-shot burst mode) and VGA movie mode. It is as feature-rich as its predecessor with FlexiZone AF/AE, 21 shooting modes including fully manual modes. PictBridge compliancy allows direct printing to any compatible printer, a hefty four AAs are needed to power the camera and images are stored on to CompactFlash. Price around $400.
Canon PowerShot A400
Canon has today announced a new range opening camera in the shape of the 3.2 megapixel PowerShot A400, which is available in four colours – Silver, Sky Blue, Spring Green and Sunset Gold. It has a focal length of 45-100mm offering a 2.2x optical zoom and features 9-point AiAF technology, Intelligent Orientation Sensor, DIGIC processor as well as eight scene modes. Stills and video can be recorded and saved on to SD memory. The user interface also now supports two new languages, Portuguese and Russian. Price around $180.
Ricoh Caplio RZ1 and Ricoh Caplio R1
Ricoh has today announced two four megapixels cameras, the Caplio RZ1 has a 35 -105mm lens, while the Caplio R1 boasts a wideangle 28 – 135mm optic and 4.8x optical zoom. They also exhibit Ricoh’s now ubiquitous 1cm macro mode and fast start-up times. The new Ricoh Caplio RZ1 and R1 have shed a few millimetres from their waistline, compared to their predecessors, and now measure a slimline 25mm. Both will be available in September.
August 17
Hasselblad and Imacon merge
Hasselblad has announced the acquisition and merger with Imacon, the digital cameraback and scanner company. The new company will be called Hasselblad Imacon and will be clearly targeting the professional digital market. Christian Poulsen, founder of Imacon and new CEO of Hasselblad said, "Both companies are committed to producing the highest quality products and the integration of established technological expertise and vision will ensure we maximise penetration for both new and existing products in the marketplace."
August 16
Pentax Optio 750Z
The second 7 megapixel compact camera to be announced this month is the retro-looking Pentax Optio 750Z which has a 5x zoom. Roughly the same size as the Optio 550, the 750Z has a swivelling 1.8-inch LCD and is aimed at those who want to create ‘gallery-quality photographs’. The aluminium alloy-bodied classic-look camera has 10 shooting modes and full manual operation. It will be available in September priced around £499 (approx $750).
Pentax Optio S50
Pentax has today announced the third addition to the S range in five months with the 5 megapixel Optio S50. Aimed at newcomers to digital photography, it has a nine-option control dial plus a help mode that displays explanations of the control buttons. It has a 1.8-inch LCD screen - which is larger than the S40 (1.6-inch) - but retains the same compact dimensions. Pentax’s proprietary sliding lens system also helps keep things compact. The Optio S50 has a digital filter function that can be applied in-camera during playback and allows users to convert images to black and white, while retaining red, blue or green areas. It will be available in October priced around £250 (approx $370).
August 13
New staff and a new review format
We're very pleased to introduce two new members of the Digital Photography Review team, Simon Joinson and Stephanie Krahn. Simon and Stephanie are joining us from the UK publication 'Total Digital Photography' where Simon was the Editor and Stephanie the News Editor. Today also sees the publication of the first reviews based on our shorter 'concise review' template which is designed to enable us to produce reviews of mid-range cameras more quickly and yet maintain our coverage of the details which matter. This new review format is in addition to our in-depth reviews which will continue as before.
Just posted! HP PhotoSmart R707 review
Just posted! Our review of the compact five megapixel, three times optical zoom HP PhotoSmart R707. Announced at PMA this year the R707 caused a 'quiet storm' because it was the first HP digital camera to have a nicely styled design with a sweeping stainless steel front and rubber coated rear. In use the R707 feels faster and is more advanced than any HP before it. See how it shaped up in our new concise review format.
Just posted! Canon S60 review
Just posted! Our review of the compact five megapixel, 3.6 times optical zoom Canon PowerShot S60. Sucessor to the S50 the S60 sees a new body design which is smaller and lighter and yet sports a zoom lens which provides a useful 28 mm at its widest position. See how the S60 shaped up in our new concise review format.
Just posted! Canon S1 IS review
Just posted! Our review of the compact three megapixel, ten times optical zoom Canon PowerShot S1 IS. Believe it or not but it's been three years since Canon last introduced a ten times optical zoom digital camera, and that was the Pro90 IS. Feature wise it could be considered prosumer, with manual controls and Image Stabilisation, it's price however places it at the affordable end of the market. See how the S1 IS shaped up in our new concise review format.
August 10
Another new card format?
Taiwanese manufacturers are planning to launch a new memory card format clamied to offer transfer speeds of 120MB per second, 10 times faster than Secure Digital cards. It is also claimed the capacity of the card has the potential to reach 2 Terabytes (TB). The ‘μcard’, which is the same size as an SD card, will be unveiled at Taipei International Electronics Show, Taitronics, October 8-12. Manufactured by Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), it will be USB 2.0-compatible and will also offer compatibility with other media storage cards.
August 8
Pentax macro lenses
Pentax has today announced a new series of interchangeable lenses which are optimised for use on digital SLRs such as the *ist D (though the image circle is large enough to cover a full 35mm frame if used on a film camera). The first two lenses in the range are the smc PENTAX-D FA Macro 100mm F2.8 and the smc PENTAX-D FA Macro 50mm F2.8. Both are considerably more compact and lightweight than the standard smc PENTAX-FA versions, and each comes complete with a metal lens hood. The macro lenses offer a maximum magnification of 1:1 (lifesize) and feature a Quick-Shift focus system when mounted on a Pentax *ist D.
August 6
Lexar's new identity and logo
Lexar has announced its new corporate identity which it says is to help "Reflect Expanding Innovative Product Portfolio". Jim Gustke, general manager, marketing says "By creating a new logo and evolving the name, we are aligning the corporate identity to better illustrate who we are today and how we are growing to meet the future needs of our customers."
Samsung Digimax U-CA 4
Developed for the younger generation and style conscious, Samsung has announced the pocket-sized U-CA 4, which boasts 4.1 million pixels. Available in two colours, it features a long time shutter function for shooting in low light and allows users to customize menus using the Move & Set function. Movies can be recorded in MPEG4 format and it also features, no doubt for the ‘young and stylish’, a 7-colour function lamp. It is set to retail at under £200 (approx $310).
August 5
Samsung Digimax V6
Samsung has today announced the latest addition to its V range, the 6 million-pixel Digimax V6, which is set to retail at under £300 (approx $450). The aluminium-bodied camera has a 3x Schneider Kreuznach zoom lens and, in line with other cameras in the range, can take up to nine types of batteries. As well as offering manual control the Digimax V6 is PictBridge-compatible and includes a new Move & Set function for customising the menu controls.
August 4
Konica Minolta Dynax 7 Digital interview
Konica Minolta Europe today distributed an interview carried out between the Marketing Manager for Konica Minolta Europe, Clemens Helberg and the General Manager of the Konica Minolta Development Center, Keiichi Ishizuka. The subject of the interview was the upcoming Dynax / Maxxum 7 digital SLR and the questions posed were from registered users of the Konica Minolta Photo World website. UPDATE: New 'Maxxum 7 Digital' website launched.
Casio's ceramic lens
Casio has announced the development of a new lens for compact cameras which is made from a transparent ceramic material instead of glass. The material (Lumicera) was originally developed for other applications but happened to have interesting optical properties including a higher refractive index than glass. Casio has refined the process of polishing and coating the material to make lenses which can be thinner and stronger than conventional glass. Casio claim this will allow a reduction in the profile of a lens system by approximately 20%.
August 3
Sigma UK ad cleared by ASA
Sigma UK today issued a press release detailing how they were cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority over a magazine ad which featured a high resolution photograph of a human eye. A complaint was made by a magazine reader who complained that the photograph had been retouched and was therefore misleading. Sigma UK managed to convince the ASA that the only modifications made to the image were the removal of the reflection of the photographer and some mascara blobs. The ASA agreed that the photograph was comparible in resolution to the un-retouched image.
Kodak EasyShare Printer Dock Plus
Kodak has today announced the EasyShare Printer Dock Plus which can print 6x4-inch images that have been sent wirelessly from your mobile phone, as well as printing directly from digital cameras and memory cards. Built-in infra-red technology allows user to print directly to the Dock and receive hard copy images in around 60 seconds. A new auto enhance button instantly corrects underexposed shots, a common with phone camera images. The Printer Dock Plus also includes the ability to print, one, four, two or nine images on a 6x4-inch sheet. It also incorporates PictBridge technology, has an SD/MMC slot and users can transfer images from EasyShare cameras as well as recharge batteries in three and a half hours using the dock.
Kodak EasyShare DX7590
Almost a year after Kodak announced its first 10x zoom camera, the DX6490, today it has announced its new flagship digital camera and second 10x zoom model, the 5 megapixel EasyShare DX7590. The SLR-styled camera boasts a Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon 38-380mm lens which can reach its optimum zoom in two seconds. The new model offers just one million more pixels than the EasyShare DX6490. The DX7590 is fully manual and aimed at both beginners and enthusiasts. It offers 16 program modes, as well as a 2.2-inch LCD screen and EVF.
August 2
Rollei Prego dp5300
Rollei has today announced the metal-bodied 5.3 megapixel Prego dp5300. Similarly specified to its little brother the dp4200, it has a smaller LCD at 1.5 inches but a wider shutter speed ranging from 8 - 1/1500 sec as well as continuous shooting mode. And a built-in microphone allows you to record sound with 320 x 240-pixel video clips.
Rollei Prego dp4200
Rollei has today announced the ultra-slim Prego dp4200 which offers a 4.2 megapixel CCD as well as video with sound. After announcing its highest resolution compact earlier this month, Rollei is aiming at the entry level market with lower priced cameras offering fewer megapixels. The metal-bodied dp4200 is just 24mm wide and boasts a 3x zoom and a large 2-inch LCD and takes SD memory.
HP Photosmart R507
HP has today announced the newest addition to the sleek R series with the 4.1 million-pixel Photosmart R507, which houses a 3x zoom Pentax lens. It retains the good looks of its older brother, with a metal front and sculpted grip as well as in-camera red-eye removal and HP Photo Advisor, which analyses users photos and makes suggestions as to how the image can be improved. The in-camera panorama mode allows you to preview the panorama on its 1.5-inch LCD, then stitches them together when you download them using the supplied software.
HP Photosmart M307
If size matters and you like the look of the new R series then you might be interested in the new Photosmart M307 announced by HP today. The 3.2MP camera looks like a stretched version of the R507/R707, with a sleek aluminium front, rubberized plastic back and ‘wave-style’ finger grip. Aimed at the entry level market, it has a large 1.8-inch LCD monitor, 3x zoom, a 'fast-shot' mode plus video clips with sound.

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