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September 2004 news and reviews

September 30
Epson L500V
Epson's has announced its latest entry level camera in the shape of the five million pixel L500V. Controls are basic but the model sports a large 2.5-inch LCD screen, doing away with an optical viewfinder altogether. It has a 32MB internal memory and can take SD/MMC cards.
September 29
Mamiya ZD and digital back
Mamiya has announced the first medium format digital SLR, the 22 megapixel Mamiya ZD and a digital back of the same name. The ZD has a large 36 x 48mm sensor, is compatible with 645AF lenses and has a 1.8-inch LCD. It stores 12-bit colour images on to either CompactFlash or SD cards. The Mamiya ZD Back realizes full interactive communications through the MSCE (Mamiya Serial Communication for External) to bring out the best of all the advanced functions of these cameras.
Following the launch of Kodak's first camera to use xD-Picture Card, the LS755, the company has now launched its own range xD-Picture Cards. Lexar will distribute and market the cards from the beginning of the next quarter. Lexar and Kodak formed a long-term relationship in May in a bid to gain a larger share of the market for removable digital media.
September 28
Contax i4R
Contax has today announced the four megapixel i4R.The rather unconventionally designed camera has a sliding lens that also incorporates the flash. The fixed lens camera has a 1.5-inch LCD and can capture 640 x 480-pixel movies. It will be available in November priced £299 (approx $447) and will come with a high capacity SD card, approximately 256MB. This will be updated when we receive more information.
Contax U4R
Contax has today announced a lookalike of the SL300R T*; the four megapixel Contax U4R. The swivel lens camera has a curvier body and boasts a Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar 3x zoom lens and a 2-inch LCD. It will be available in October priced £399 (approx $595) and we're told that will include a 'fairly large' SD card of around 256MB. This will be updated when we receive more information.
Exclusive Maxxum 7D samples
We have just been handed a pre-production Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D digital SLR. On our way back from the show I've snapped a few samples for your viewing pleasure. Most of these shots were taken with a deliberately slow shutter speed to test Konica Minolta's Anti-Shake CCD stabilization system. And the results do look surprisingly good. We hope to bring you a more extensive gallery later in the week.
SanDisk Digital Photo TV Player
SanDisk has today announced a device that allows you display still images and movies on a television. SanDisk Photo Album (SPA) can take eight types of storage media as well as portable flash drives. One of the key features is that the SPA stores images in a format optimal for television viewing. The SPA comes with a remote control and will retail for around $49.99 (approx. €46).
SanDisk launches three card readers
SanDisk has announced three new card readers; the ImageMate 12-in-1, ImageMate 5-in-1 and the ImageMate CompactFlash. Each new reader has a one-touch transfer button and software for simplifying common tasks such as renaming and emailing files. All devices come bundled with image cataloguing program Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 Starter Edition.
SanDisk Extreme III
SanDisk has today announced its new range of memory cards which double the performance speeds of its predecessor. Aimed at professionals, the new Extreme III range includes CompactFlash, SD and Memory Stick PRO media with the first two boasting read/write speeds of 20MB/sec, while the latter has 18MB/sec. SanDisk says its cards will work in extreme temperatures ranging from -13F (-25C) to 185F (85C). Integrated RescuePRO software allows photographers to recover accidentally deleted images or data. They will begin shipping in October.
SanDisk Ultra II

SanDisk has quadrupled the capacity of its high speed Ultra II line of memory cards with an 8GB CompactFlash card. Also at the top end of the Ultra II range is a 4GB Memory Stick Pro and 2GB SD card. Each boasts a minimum write speed of 9MB/sec and read speed of 10MB per second.

SanDisk Shoot and Store range
SanDisk has announced the availability of its budget-priced Shoot & Store line of flash memory cards in Europe. The cards, including CompactFlash, SD, Memory Stick PRO and xD-Picture Cards, will be sold according to the number of images that can be stored as well as their capacities. The new range is aimed at new digital converts who want the convenience of leaving their flash cards with developers as well as those who don’t have the time or ability to download images to a computer. Prices are expected to range from around €10 for 32MB to approximately €15 for 64MB, both excluding VAT.
Panasonic Pro High Speed Series
Panasonic has today announced a new Pro High Speed Series 1GB and 512MB SD Memory cards this fall which use Panasonic's new LSI architecture and proprietary high speed technology to achieve data transfer rates of 20MB/sec. They will be availlable in October. Panasonic will also simultaneously launch a Cardbus compatible PC Card Adaptor as a host device to enable high-speed data transfer.
September 27
Extensis has announced an update to its Pro Photo Raw Image Filter for Portfolio 7. Using the Filter Portfolio 7 can extract EXIF metadata and IPTC from Raw files, create thumbnails and generate high resolution JPEG previews for displaying images in catalogues. Registered owners of Extensis’ digital asset management (DAM) solution will be eligible for a free upgrade.
Olympus m:robe
Olympus has today announced that it wil launch a combined digital camera, image viewer and music player called the m:robe early next year. Information is very sketchy at the moment with no technical spec available or images but Olympus says it has an 'eye-catching, minimalist design'. It is due to be released early next and the price is yet to be confirmed. The only other company to release a similar product is Fuji with the FinePix 40i in June 2000.
Ulead PhotoImpact 10
Ulead Systems has today announced PhotoImpact 10. Aimed at beginners, the update has a welcome screen which allows users quick access to tasks such as scanning, getting photos from a digital camera, browsing images or making simple edits. Some new high end features include an enhanced Lasso tool and Object Extraction Wizard for complicated cut-outs, a Touch up tool, live Histogram Panel display and enhanced High Dynamic Range (HDR) Engine. Other new features include a Basic Mode simplifies the interface and displays large, easy-to-recognise icons, revamped menu system, dockable and groupable panels, and a moe 'robust' Browse Manager.
Olympus E-300 Digital SLR (EVOLT)
Olympus today announced the second ever Four Thirds System digital SLR, the new E-300 (to be know in North America as the 'Olympus EVOLT E-300'). This digital SLR features an eight megapixel 4/3 size CCD, it has unique TTL Optical Porro Finder (mirrors instead of glass prisms) viewfinder which uses a sideways swinging mirror system. Although Olympus hasn't yet announced pricing we can derive from the specifications and design that this camera will be aimed at point lower than the E-1, in the consumer D-SLR market.
Three new Olympus 4/3 lenses

In conjunction with the announcement of the E-300 Olympus has also today announced three new Four Thirds System zoom lenses; ED 7 - 14 mm F4.0 (2x), E 14 - 45 mm F3.5 - F5.6 (3.2x) and E 40 - 150 mm F3.5 - F4.5 (3.8x). On the E-1 or E-300 these lenses will produce an equivelant field of view of 14 - 28 mm, 28 - 90 mm and 80 - 300 mm respectively. In addition Olympus has also improved the as yet to be released ED 150 mm F2.0 by fitting a faster AF drive unit.

Olympus FL-36 Flash
Three new lenses, a new digital SLR and to round things off a new more compact, more affordable flash unit, the FL-36. This flash is designed to work exclusively with the Olympus E series (Four Thirds System) digital SLR's and provides 1/8 step illumination control with both TTL and FP-TTL automatic flash metering. The FL-36 has a range of 12 - 36 m (depending on focal length) and has a field of view coverage of 8 mm (16 mm equiv.). The FL-36 will be priced at $249 in the US.
Olympus D-590 Zoom / C-470 Zoom
Olympus has today announced the 4 megapixel D-590 Zoom for the entry level market. The camera has no optical viewfinder (like the AZ-2) and a 1.8-inch ‘sunshine’ LCD, 8 scene modes, movie with sound and is PictBridge-compatible. Aside from the new curvy designs we've been seeing from Olympus, it has chosen to position an on/off slider switch on the front of the camera.
Olympus AZ-2 Zoom
The sleek AZ-1 has had an upgrade in the shape of the 4 megapixel AZ-2 which is just over 2cm (less than an inch) wide and includes a 2.8x zoom lens. The rear of the camera is dominated by a large 2.5" 'sunshine' LCD said to allow better viewing in bright light and it has a minimalist design with very few controls and notably no optical viewfinder. It also boasts 13 scene modes and is PictBridge compatible. It will be priced £299 ($399) when it is launched.
Adobe announces new format for raw files
Adobe Systems has today announced a new unified public format for raw digital camera files and a free software tool, Adobe DNG Converter, for translating raw photo formats into the new .DNG format, which is compliant with the Digital Negative Specification. There is no standard format for raw files, which vary between manufacturers and cameras. Digital Negative Specification will introduce a single format that can store information from a diverse range of cameras. An updated Adobe RAW File Converter adds support for DNG as well as several other cameras.
Three major manufacturers have announced an agreement to develop a set of storage standards to preserve digital photos on CDs, DVDs and other media. Konica Minolta, Fuji Photo Film and Eastman Kodak have formed the Picture Archiving and Sharing Standard (PASS) Group which aims to enable digital file compatibility with future playback devices. PASS wants to ensure that digital images can be retrieved from any digital device or storage medium in future
Lexar announces four new card readers
Lexar has today announced two new CompactFlash card readers, built with similar material to a digital camera, a Multi-Card Reader and single slot Card Reader. The two new Professional CompactFlash readers can be easily stacked and daisy-chained together for concurrent download of images. They offer read and write speeds in excess of 10MB per second, are available in USB 2.0 and FireWire format, and they support Lexar’s new ActiveMemory System. The four-slot Multi-Card Reader accepts Reduced-Size MultiMedia Cards (RS-MMC), Mini SD and Memory Stick Duo among numerous other media cards. The Lexar one-slot Card Reader replaces the Lexar JumpDrive Trio, and offers compatibility with Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital and xD-Picture Cards.
Lexar announces ActiveMemory
Lexar has today announced a new technology designed to optimize digital photography workflow and enhance productivity in the studio. ActiveMemory System will allow photographers to store the owners name and image preferences on the card as well as append images with copyright information. The new technology is already supported by Professional CompactFlash cards and new Lexar Professional FireWire ad USB 2.0 card readers. Of course, to use these cards you will need to an ActiveMemory-enabled camera, which has yet to be announced.
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II samples gallery
Yesterday we managed to get our hands on a pre-production Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, after a short run around Cologne we've mangaged to put together a sixteen image samples gallery from this sixteen megapixel digital SLR. Two things are immediately obvious, firstly that noise levels are impressively low at high sensitivities and secondly that less sharpening appears to be required that the EOS-1D Mark II. Oh, and there are a lot of pixels in a EOS-1Ds Mark II image!
1GB xD-Picture Card announced

Fuji and Olympus have announced a 1GB xD-Picture Card. The M1GB will be available at the beginning of next year. The new card uses high density MLC (Multi Level Cell) memory technology to make it possible to pack 1GB into an ultra-compact card.The new technology will allow for xD-Picture Cards up to a capacity potential of 8GB. The ultra-compact card was first launched two years ago and up until now has only been used in Fuji and Olympus cameras. Kodak has just announced that its latest camera, the LS755, uses xD-Picture Card storage media.

September 26
dpreview at Photokina
Pre-Photokina 2004: It's Sunday and dpreview are already here in Cologne, Germany for the Photokina 'World of Imaging' Trade Show. During the show we will be bringing you our usual live show report as well as live breaking news and . Tomorrow is 'Press Day', a day which gives us press people the opportunity to meet with the exhibitors before the show begins on Tuesday. Tomorrow will be a big day with big samples and more new announcements.
September 24
Casio 2.2" VGA LCD monitor
Casio has announced the highest resolution LCD display to date, a 2.2" HAST TFT LCD monitor with full VGA (640 x 480) resolution. The majority of LCD monitors used in digital cameras today have QVGA (320 x 240) resolution (230,000 total pixels), this new screen would deliver over 900,000 pixels which would produce a far more detailed reproduction of images, very useful for immediate record review or playback verification. Casio claim that this new screen has the same power consumption as the older models.
September 23
Fujifilm FinePix F810 also for US
In an interesting surprise move Fujifilm US has today announced that it will carry the SuperCCD HR FinePix F810 digital camera. The F810 and E550 share much of the same componnetary (including the lens) the main differences are in the body design and the F810's unusual widescreen 2.1" LCD monitor and widescreen shooting mode. This camera was originally announced for the European market back in July, full details available inside. It should hit the shelves at around $600.
European digicam market to become largest
According to a new study published by InfoTrends/CAP Ventures digital camera sales in Western Europe this year are forecasted to reach 24.2 million units which is a growth of 42% compared to 2003. This will make the European digital camera market the largest (in terms of unit shipments) in the world. This is very interesting news and supports what we have seen in the ever growing number of European visitors we receive here on dpreview.
Just posted! Sony DSC-P150 review
Just posted! Our review of Sony's CyberShot DSC-P150, when announced it was the first digital camera to use the new 1/1.8" seven megapixel CCD, and so it becomes our first review of a camera based around this sensor. From a design and feature set point of view the DSC-P150 is the same as the DSC-P100. What the DSC-P150 has revealed is that this small seven megapixel sensor can actually deliver the goods. See how it shaped up in our concise review.
September 22
Microsoft announces MTP protocol
Microsoft has announced two new technologies that use the capabilities of Windows XP to make digital photography easier for all users. The new technologies, which will be unveiled at Photokina, include Media Transfer Protocol (MTP), designed to make camera connectivity easier, and Windows Connect Now (WCN), which simplifies the setup of wireless devices and networks - especially devices with a limited or no user interface. Together they should make connecting cameras wirelessly easier for users, as well as simplifying the development of camera drivers for manufacturers. Canon has already announced support for the new protocols, and Nikon will demonstrate an MTP-enabled SLR and consumer digital camera at Photokina.
Sigma Photo Pro Version 2.1
Back in August Sigma announced an update to the Photo Pro software used to develop SD9 and SD10 RAW images for output to JPEG or TIFF, we did miss this announcement. There are several improvements and benefits in this new version including improved Automatic White Balance, SD9-specific color highlights fix, SD10-specific purple-fringing fix, Monochrome processing (including tinting), As-Shot WB and various Info window improvements.
Sigma 18-125 mm DC Four Thirds lens
Sigma has announced their first Four Thirds System lens, the 18-125 mm DC Four Thirds lens. On a Four Thirds mount digital camera (the only one right now being the Olympus E-1) this seven times zoom lens provides an equivelant field of view of 36 - 250 mm. This lens is clearly the same 18-125 mm DC lens announced in May with a Four Thirds lens mount / communication protocol. This means that it's producing an imaging circle large enough for an APS-C size sensor.
Sigma EM-140 DG Ring Flash
Sigma has announced the EM-140 DG Ring Flash. Targetted at macro, medical and scientific applications the EM-140 DG can be configured to fire both flash rings (left & right) or just one depending on the look. It has a guide number of 14 and is is powered by four AA batteries. From a connectivity point of fview it is compatible with most modern TTL flash protocols including Canon E-TTL, Nikon D-TTL & i-TTL and Pentax P-TTL (as well as Sigma S-TTL).
Three new lenses from Sigma
Sigma has announced three new lenses designed for both film and digital SLR's. They are the APO Macro 150 mm F2.8 EX DG HSM (a fast tele-macro lens with a Hyper Sonic Motor), the 24-70 mm F2.8 EX DG Macro (a useful 24 mm wide angle zoom with a large maximum aperture and macro capabilities) and the 28-70 mm F2.8 EX DG (a compact standard wide angle zoom with a large maximum aperture).
Samsung announces six cameras
Samsung is fighting hard in the compact digital camera market with the launch of six new cameras to be officially announced at Photokina. First is the 7 megapixel Digimax V70 which has a tiltable 2 inch LCD and MPEG4 movie capture. The Digimax A400 is a four megapixel compact, boasting a 2.8x optical lens, 2" LCD and 640 x 480 pixel video clips. The Digimax A5 and Digimax A6 which have resolutions denoted by the model name. And for the style-conscious among you there's the fixed lens five megapixel U-CA 501 and U-CA 505. More news as get it from Samsung.
Fujifilm S3 Pro final press release
It's final, or so we're told. Here is what Fujifilm are calling the official final press release for the FinePix S3 Pro, this comes ten days after we posted our own exclusive hands-on preview of the camera. We've used the specifications provided in this final press release to double check the specs page provided in our preview. Still no official pricing yet, I guess that will be saved for another announcement...
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D Samples
Konica Minolta has today posted two sample images from their upcoming Dynax / Maxxum 7D Digital SLR. The images carry the EXIF tag 'Konica Minolta Alpha-7 Digital v1.00'. The portrait shot (shown right) was taken with the Minolta AF 85 mm F1.4 (D) lens stopped down to F5.6. Only two samples at this stage but we hope Konica Minolta will soon add some more or even better give us the opportunity to bring you a gallery of our own!
September 21
Kodak EasyShare LS755
Kodak Japan has announced the first digital camera to use xD-Picture Card storage media, previouslys only seen in Olympus and Fuji cameras. Kodak has always used in SD/MMC cards in its compact cameras. The five megapixel EasyShare LS755 also has 16 MB internal flash memory, like the LS743, a 3x optical zoom, 2.5-inch LCD and VGA movie mode. The EasyShare LS755 will be for the Japanese domestic market only.
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, wireless
Leaked in some detail over the weekend we can now bring you full details of the 16.7 megapixel EOS-1Ds Mark II. Successor to the EOS-1Ds the Mark II maintains the 36 x 24 mm CMOS sensor (full 35 mm frame size), raises the pixel count by almost six million pixels, provides ISO sensitivity through to ISO 3200, faster continuous shooting (4 fps) with a large and improved buffer (32 JPEG, 11 RAW) as well as all of the changes we saw between the EOS-1D to EOS-1D Mark II. Additionally Canon has also announced the WFT-E1 Wireless Transmitter which supports 802.11b/g (WiFi) as well as tethered LAN for transmission of images directly back to a server. It will be priced £5,999 (UK), $7,999 (US) and €8,000 (Europe).
Canon PowerShot SD20
Canon has today announced its latest cutie in the shape of the PowerShot SD20. Available in four colours, it is Canon's smallest five megapixel camera to date. It's capable of shooting 180 seconds of video with sound, but lacks an optical zoom, offering only a 6.5x digital zoom. The all-metal camera weighs 100g and is said to be "half the size of many mobile phones". It will be priced $349.
Canon PowerShot SD200 / SD300
Canon has today announced what it is calling a brother-sister pairing, in the shape of the PowerShot SD200 and PowerShot SD300. They are the first cameras to incorporate two UA (Ultra-high Refractive Index Glass Moulded (GMo) Aspherical lens) elements which has alllowed Canon to produced its smallest cameras to feature a 3x zoom. Both are SD compatible with the only main difference being the resolution; four million pixels (SD300) and 3.2 million pixels (SD200), priced €399 and €299 respectively.
Fuji FinePix F455 Zoom
Fujifilm has today launched the FinePix F455 Zoom, taking inspiration for the body design from the F810 and spec from the F450 Zoom. Essentially an elongated version of the F450 Zoom, the F455 also boasts 5.2 million pixels and a 2-inch LCD. It comes with a Picture Cradle for downloading images and recharging the battery (different to the F450Z; an NP-40) as well as a 16MB xD-Picture Card.
September 20
Kingston Technology announces 2GB and 4 GB cards

Kingston Technology has today announced expansion of its Elite Pro range with the addition of a 2 and 4GB CompactFlash cards. They offer data transfer rates up to 10 MB/sec (read) and write speeds of 8MB/sec. It is expected that the 2GB card will cost $219 (approx £143) and the 4GB card will cost $500 (approx £329).

September 17
Just posted! Canon PowerShot A95 review
Just posted! Our review of Canon's budget priced but big featured PowerShot A95, the five megapixel replacement for last years PowerShot A80. The A95 has a three times optical zoom lens, flip-out and twist LCD monitor, metal body and a wide range of manual controls. See how it shaped up in our concise review.
Nikon D2X CMOS sensor made by Sony
Thanks to Rob Galbraith for the tip-off on this interesting news, according to Japanese website Nikkei Electronics Online the 12.4 megapixel CMOS sensor used in the Nikon D2X is made by Sony. While not a huge surprise (as Sony were the manufacturer of the CCD sensors used in previous Nikon digital SLR's) it does show that Sony are now capable of producing professional quality CMOS sensors for digital SLR's. It's unclear however if this is an exclusive agreement between Sony and Nikon or if this sensor could make its way into other manufacturesr cameras (like the D100's CCD did). We are assuming of course that it was a Nikon (or collaborative) design.
September 16
Nikon TC-E3PF Phase Fresnel lens
Nikon today announced a new three times teleconverter lens for the Coolpix 8400. The TC-E3PF is unique in the compact digital camera arena, it is the first to be based around a Phase Fresnel (Fray-nell) lens which has a series of concentric circles engraved onto it (similar to Canon's DO SLR lens). This new teleconverter is 33% smaller and 33% lighter than the older TC-E3ED while maintaining the same image quality.
Photokina 2004 Show Report - Preview
Pre-Photokina 2004: Our show report pages are always a big hit and considering the number of Photokina products already announced we thought it was about time we activated our Photokina 2004 Show Report. It will enable you to stay informed about all the latest product announcements as well as getting live updates from the show floor once the show commences. We are expecting several more announcements in the next ten days which will be posted both on the front page of the site and linked from the 'New Product Index' page in the show report. (We recommend you bookmark the show report page).
Olympus D-535Z / C370 Zoom
Olympus has announced its latest 3x zoom, 3 million pixel camera for beginners. The D-535 / C-370 Zoom. sports a curvy body design and has a simple mode dial. It willl be available for around £119 ($175) from October. You can record movies until your heart's content, or at least up to the capacity of the memory card at 320 x 240 pixels. Designed to "get the job done with the minimum of fuss" the D-535 / C-370 Zoom has four scene programme modes supported by a special help function, which describes the selected mode on the LCD monitor.
Olympus C-70 / C-7000Z
Olympus has today announced the 7.1 million pixel C-7000Z / C-70Z. The metal-bodied camera offers a high res movie mode, 5x optical zoom, RAW file captures as well as full manual control. Super close up shots can be achieved with the 2cm macro mode and viewed on the 2-inch LCD. It is also PictBridge-compatible. It will be available in October priced £419 ($615).
Nikon D2X, 12.4 mp
Nikon has today revealed the sucessor to the D1X. The new D2X digital SLR has a 12.4 million pixel DX format CMOS sensor, by default the D2X can shoot at 5 fps, however it has an interesting 6.8 milion pixel option which reduces the sensing area (to a FOV crop of 2x) but increases the frame rate to 8 fps. Hence the D2X can be seen as two cameras in one, a 12.4 million pixel high resolution shooter and a 6.8 million pixel high frame rate shooter. Obviously the use of CMOS is new to Nikon but also new on this camera is a four channel read-out from the sensor and the ability to perform WB correction to the analogue data before it is digitized. Also new is the WT-2 wireless transmitter with 802.11 b/g support and wireless Capture Control (Nikon Capture 4.2).
Nikkor AF-S 300 mm F2.8G VR
Nikon has today announced a new 300 mm prime lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8 and Vibration Reduction. Following on from the AF-S 200 mm F2.0G VR announced back in May this new lens would provide an equivelant 450 mm F2.8 on a DX format digital SLR (such as the D2H or D2X). Also new on this lens is the Nano-Crystal coating used on the inside lens elements which are desgned to further reduce ghosting and flare. In addition it is also compatible with the TC II teleconverters (1.4x - 2.0x).
Nikon Coolpix 8800 and preview
Nikon has today announced the eight megapixel ten times optical zoom Coolpix 8800. It becomes the first eight megapixel digital camera to feature a ten times optical zoom lens and also becomes the first consumer digital camera from Nikon to have Vibration Reduction, the stabilization system seen on some of Nikon's SLR lenses. Other features include a 1.8" flip-out and twist LCD monitor, higher capacity battery and USB 2.0. Internally it appears to be almost identical to the wide angle zoom Coolpix 8400 also announced today. We have had a pre-production camera for a few days and have produced a detailed preview, see inside. The 8800 will have an MSRP of $999 (£699) and will be available in the Fall.
Nikon Coolpix 8400 and preview
Nikon has today announced the eight megapixel wide angle zoom Coolpix 8400, the successor to the Coolpix 5400. It features an all new wide angle 24 - 85 mm equiv. 3.5x zoom lens, a 1.8" flip-out and twist LCD monitor, an electronic viewfinder, a higher capacity battery and USB 2.0. Internally it appears to be almost identical to the 10x Coolpix 8800 also announced today. We have had a pre-production camera for a few days and have produced a detailed preview, see inside. The 8400 will have an MSRP of $899 (£649) and will be available in September.
Nikon Coolpix 4800
Nikon has today announced the Coolpix 4800, a four megapixel camera with an 8.3x optical zoom. Designed to appeal to "quality and performance-conscious consumers" Nikon's new baby offers a 36 - 300mm focal length, 1cm macro mode, 15 scene modes, Nikon Best Shot Selector (BSS) and AE-BSS, and a voice memo functionality. It will be available in November priced £349 (approx $515).
September 15
Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0
Adobe has today announced Photoshop Elements 3.0. New features include the Healing Brush, previously only available in the full version of Photoshop, and new Spot Healing Brush as well as the ability to support RAW files. Other new features include SmartFix which analyzes a photo and automatically applies enhancements and the new red-eye function has been improved, all you have to do now is to click in the vicinity of demon eyes to remove them. It also now includes much of the functionality of image organisation program Photoshop Album. It will be available for a street price of around £69 ($99).
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta today put the final 'meat on the bones' and officially announced the specifications for the Maxxum 7D (Dynax 7D) digital SLR. Much of it is as we had guessed, a Minolta A-type bayonet lens mount, a 1.5x FOV crop 6.1 million pixel CCD, Anti-Shake, Pentaprism viewfinder, 2.5" LCD monitor, RAW, RAW+JPEG, sRGB/Adobe RGB, ISO 100 - 3200, CF Type I/II storage and a Lithium-Ion battery.
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Master
Another item as part of the official announcement of the Maxxum 7D is Konica Minolta's new image organization and editing application; DiMAGE Master. This optional purchase provides image management, examination, editing and enhancment and includes a wide range of RAW conversion options. Indeed Konica Minolta are clearly stating that RAW images converted through this new application will be better than JPEG's out of the camera thanks to advanced white balance correction and 3D Lookup Table color conversion.
To coincide with their official announcement of the Maxxum 7D Konica Minolta has also today announced two new lenses designed specifically for it. These are the AF 17 - 35 mm F2.8 - F4.0 (D) and the 28 - 75 F2.8 (D). Because of the 7D's 1.5x FOV crop these lenses will provide an approximate field of view of 26 - 53 mm and 42 - 113 mm respectively. No prices or availability for these lenses has yet been released.
Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200
Konica Minolta has today revealed a new DiMAGE A series digital camera, the DiMAGE A200. This model appears to be based on the DiMAGE A2 but features a new smaller and more rounded body design, control layout and a flip-out and twist LCD monitor (compared to the A2's tilt-only unit). Otherwise the specifications reveal a slightly cut-back unit which loses some A2 features but improves on others. No pricing information at this point but we can make an educated guess that this camera will be cheaper than the A2.
September 14
Just posted! Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3 review
Just posted! Our review of the three megapixel twelve times optical zoom (stablized) Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3. The FZ3 is one of the smallest 'super zoom' digital cameras on the market, its twelve times optical zoom lens carries the Leica badge and has a constant F2.8 aperture, it's also got image stabilization (very important on super zoom lenses). Announced at the end of July the FZ3 hits a pretty impressive price point with a good range of features. See how it shaped up in our concise review.
September 13
Pentax *ist DS and preview
Pentax has today announced the budget priced *ist DS digital SLR. The *ist DS appears to be based on the *ist D and features a six megapixel CCD (which appears to be identical to that used in the *ist D). Feature wise it's cut-down compared to its bigger brother but also has a few improvements. The camera will be priced at a very similar level to the Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel). We have an exclusive, detailed hands-on preview of the *ist DS. Also announced today is a new DA 18 - 55 mm F3.5 - F5.6 AL lens designed specifically for digital SLRs.
Pentax Optio MX4
The oddly-shaped digital camera-cum-cine camera Optio MX has be reincarnated with the MX4, which Pentax announced today. The new version ups the resolution to 4 million pixels while maintaining the 10x optical zoom. It has a 1.8-inch tilt and swivel LCD as well as a pop-up flash the height of which is said to reduce red-eye. It will be available in October.
Pentax Optio SV
Pentax has announced the lateset addition to its Optio range; the 5 megapixel, 5x optical zoom Optio SV. The Optio SV incorporates Pentax's Sliding Lens System which means a reduction in the length of the lens and also allows for compact dimensions of 28mm wide. It will be available in October.
Nikon today announced a new image data transfer protocol named PTP/IP (Picture Transfer Protocol over Internet Protocol). This new protocol is designed to work in a very similar way to PTP (that is the operating system will recognize a connected imaging device and offer transfer features) but that it works over the IP protocol. Nikon's press release hints that this would be useful for transferring images over a wireless LAN, their current WT-1 only supports FTP protocol which can be a little complicated to set up. This development was made in collaboration with FotoNation and Microsoft. The press release also tells us that Nikon are to announce a new wireless transmistter for professional D-SLR's which will support PTP/IP.
September 12
Exclusive! Fujifilm S3 Pro Hands-on Preview
Exclusive! Our detailed hands-on look at a pre-production Fujifilm S3 Pro. The successor to the popular S2 Pro this camera was first announced at PMA in February of this year. It features a new more rugged body with a built in vertical grip, a larger LCD monitor, support for CF and xD cards but most importantly an all new SuperCCD SR sensor designed to deliver extended dynamic range. There have been a few adjustments to both the design and features available since first announcement, including the ability to control the mix of the SR sensor's double-pixels and hence dynamic range.
September 10
Wacom Intuos 3 tablet
Wacom has announced the Intuos 3 as successor to the excellent Intuos 2 tablet. The Intuos 3 will be available in 4x5, 6x8 and 9x12 sizes and features double resolution (5080 lines per inch), new software a new pen and mouse as well as 'express keys' and touch strips on the sides of the tablet. We've been using the Intuos 2 in-house for a while now and swear by them, the Intuos 3 is looking even better.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M1
Sony has announced the five megapixel three times optical zoom DSC-M1, their first 'Hybrid' movie / stills product. The DSC-M1 is the first Sony digital camera to feature MPEG-4 movie encoding which means higher quality clips which occupy much less space. The folded lens / sensor system appear to be taken from the DSC-T1. The body design is also unique, it's about the same size as the DSC-P100 but has a rotating screen portion which holds the large 2.5" LCD monitor.
September 9
Just posted! Konica Minolta Z2 review
Just posted! Our review of the four megapixel, ten times optical zoom Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z2. The unusually styled Z2 offers a full range of manual controls, a big zoom lens and respectable resolution in a package which sits comfortably under the US$500 price point. The only thing the Z2 appears to be missing is image stabilization (something the recently announced Z3 adds). See how it shaped up in our concise review.
September 8
Just posted! DxO Optics Pro review
Just posted! Our full and detailed review of DO Labs 'DxO Optics Pro' software. DxO Optics Pro is designed to enable digital camera owners to correct images which suffer from distortion, vignetting, blur and chromatic aberrations. The software works by using modules created by DO Labs based on their analysis of camera bodies and lenses. This review was written by site contributor and author of the 123 of digital imaging, Vincent Bockaert.
September 7
Creo Leaf Aptus Digital Back
Creo today announced their latest generation digital camera backs in the Leaf Aptus 17 and Aptus 22 (17 and 22 megapixels respectively). The Leaf Aptus back features a very large 3.5" (6 x 7 cm) touch-screen LCD monitor for immediate image evaluation. The back is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery and stores on either Compact Flash or the removable 20 GB Leaf Digital Magazine. The Leaf Aptus support various medium format cameras from Hasselblad, Mamiya, Contax, Fuji and Bronica as well as a range of View cameras.
September 3
Olympus µ-mini / Stylus Verve Digital
Pre-Photokina 2004: Olympus today revealed its first new product for Photokina, the µ-mini Digital / Stylus Verve Digital. The camera has soft rounded 'stylish' design, an all metal body with a color co-ordinated sliding cover over its two times optical zoom lens. The 'Stylus Verve' will be available in a range of colors (more detail inside). Specification wise it appears to be fairly close to the Stylus 410 announced at PMA but with a 2x lens, metal body and streaming move clip recording.
New Olympus E D-SLR at Photokina
Olympus today published a 'teaser' on their 'E-System' website indicating that they will be announcing a new E-System digital SLR at Photokina. The teaser states "Totally New, Welcome to the next generation of digital SLR cameras." and "Debut at Photokina The Next E". The site gives nothing else away at this stage. We'll make a guess that Olympus will probably be aiming a little lower in the price range this time with a digital SLR which should have more consumer appeal.