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November 2004 news and reviews

November 29
Sony pays out $40 million over patents
Sony has settled with Ampex for $40 million over patent litigation which relates to digital still and digital video cameras as well as PDAs. Back in July this year Ampex announced that it was aiming to block Sony from importing and selling products in the US which contained Ampex's intellectual property. Ampex has already come to license agreements with Canon, Sanyo and Kodak worth tens of millions of dollars. Ampex currently has outstanding litigation against Kodak for violation of the same patents. It looks as though Ampex will come out from these agreements with ongoing royalty payments too. Its patents related to "image storage and retrieval".
Olympus Stylus 500 Digital
Olympus has today announced the Stylus 500 Digital / mju Digital 500, a compact five megapixel three times optical zoom digital camera. As with other mju models this camera has a metal weather-proof case and, like the mju mini, doesn't have an optical viewfinder. The mju Digital 500 features a very large 2.5-inch 215,000-pixel LCD monitor, just like the C-8080 and C-7000 this screen has a fast refresh and response time to avoid smear or visual lag.
November 26
Luminous Landscape field tests the R-D1
Luminous Landscape has carried out a field test of the world's first digital rangefinder camera, the Epson R-D1. The camera was jointly developed by Epson and Cosina, has a 6 megapixel APS size sensor and accepts Leica M and L mount lenses. While the R-D1 has all the usual features of a digital camera, it exhibits some unique differences, such as cocking the shutter by using something akin to a film advance lever. The R-D1 should be available now and is expected to cost around $2,999 (€2,269).
November 25
Canon posts three new software updates
Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) 1.5, EOS Viewer Utility (EVU) 1.2.1 and EOS Capture 1.2 are available now to download from Canon's website. Previous versions of EVU and DPP are required to install the new versions. The three new software updates are available for both Mac and Windows platforms.
November 24
Just posted! Canon PowerShot SD300 Review
Just posted! Our review of Canon's newest and highest resolution ultra-compact digital camera, the PowerShot SD300 Digital ELPH (AKA. the Digital IXUS 40). This metal clad pocketable digital camera has an impressive three times optical zoom lens which has a tight profile which enables the SD300 to be just 20 mm thin. The SD300 also features a four megapixel CCD, large 2.0" LCD monitor, Lithium-Ion rechargable battery and SD storage. Check out our concise review of the SD300 to see what we thought of it.
Olympus announces price of Evolt E-300
Olympus has announced that the eight megapixel EVOLT E-300 will be priced $999 for a kit including the body and a 14 - 45mm lens. The E-300 is the first 100% digital-from-the-ground-up consumer SLR and the second Four Thirds System camera from Olympus. While traditional SLRs use glass prisms, the EVOLT uses a sideways swinging mirror system and, to reduce the effects of dust on the CCD and to improve the resultant image quality, features Olympus patented technology first seen on the E-1, the Supersonic Wave Filter.
November 23
Rollei dr5100
Rollei has announced a second new camera, the five megapixel wideangle lens dr5100. The aluminum-bodied compact offers a 3x zoom lens (28 - 85 mm) as well as a movie mode, 1.8-inch LCD plus a very close macro mode of 1cm. Like the dk4010 also announced today, the dr5100 has a hot shoe for accessory flash, as well as a built in flash. Storage media of choice is SD/MMC card and there's 16MB of internal memory to get you started, although with a five megapixel CCD, this isn't likely to last very long. It is available now priced €349 (approx. $458).
Rollei dk4010
Rollei has announced a super zoom in the shape of the 10x zoom, four megapixel dk4010. Despite going for a long zoom, popular with many manufacturers, it has a fairly small, by today's standards, 1.5-inch screen on the back. It also offers a 640 x 480-pixel movie mode, a burst rate of 3.3 fps and storage media is SD/MMC. The dk4010 can also accept wide angle and teleconverter lenses. It is available now priced €399 (approx. $524).
Leica Digital-Modul-R delayed until April 2005
Leica's Digital-Modul-R has been delayed and will now begin shipping in April next year. First deliveries were originally expected next month. The reason for the delay is that some software components needed for the universal insertion of the digital solution could not be realized up to the standards of Leica until now, says the company. A need for additional programming has also surfaced.
Sony announces 2 and 4GB Microdrives
Sony Electronics is expanding its range of media storage with the announcement of two Microdrives available in 2 and 4GB capacities. They offer data transfer rates of 97.9 Mbits/sec, are compatible with CompactFlash type II standard and with a PC adapter can be used in devices that have a PC card type II slot. The 2GB version will retail for $179 (approx. €137) and the 4GB Microdrive will sell for $279 (approx. €214).
November 22
Kodak offers $1000 discount on Professional DCS Pro SLR/c
Kodak is offering a $1000 instant discount off the Professional DCS Pro SLR/c bought from a Kodak dealer from now until 31 December. The 14 million-pixel camera has a Canon mount, a full 35mm sensor and retailed for around $4495 when we reviewed it in June this year. This offer is only valid in the US and does not apply to the Professional DCS Pro SLR/n.
Kodak gains on Sony in US digital camera market
At last Kodak has some good news after it shipped only 10,000 fewer units in the US than the current number one seller of digital point and shoot cameras, Sony. According to market research firm IDC, Sony delivered 1 million consumer cameras in the third quarter, while third placed Canon shipped 800,000 followed by Olympus with 585,000. Kodak is clearly aiming for the top spot in US digital camera sales and its decision to concentrate on the burgeoning digital camera market in favor of film photography seems to be paying dividends.
November 19
Just posted! Kodak DX7590 review
Just posted! Our review of Kodak's flagship superzoom model and successor to the popular DX6490, the EasyShare DX7590. The 5 megapixel DX7590 has a 10x Schneider - Kreuznach Variogon zoom lens and a wealth of advanced features in a very compact design. It also boasts 16 scene modes and a large 2.2-inch LCD screen. Check out our concise review of the DX7590 to see what we thought of it.
November 18
Kodak to cut 500 jobs and close five UK sites
Kodak is to close five labs in the UK over the next 12 months resulting in a loss of 500 jobs. The news of the closures in Northampton, Glasgow, Walsall, Wimbledon and Portishead follows the announcement of 600 job losses last month after Kodak closed a factory in Nottinghamshire and 250 people lost their jobs at a site in Harrow, North London. A call center is also due to close, The cuts are a result of Kodak's shift towards the digital market and its plans to cut up to 15,000 jobs worldwide in three years. Employees are expected to receive enhance severance terms, access to counseling and assistance in finding alternative employment.
November 15
Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 review

Just posted! Our full review of Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 software. Elements 3 is designed to be the 'Photoshop for Everyone else' with a reduced range of features and removal of more professional Photoshop features such as CMYK conversion. Elements 3 appears to be a fairly significant step forward from Elements 2 and introduces lots of new features including RAW conversion and 16 bit/channel support. This review was written by site contributor and author of the 123 of digital imaging, Vincent Bockaert.

November 12
Nikon profit triples
Nikon's first half profit more than tripled as a result of demand for chipmaking equipment and digital cameras, Bloomberg reports. The manufacturer forecast profits of ¥3 billion ($28 million) (based on ¥2.05 billion ($19 million) last year) but blew that figure out of the water with a net income of ¥7.8 billion ($74 million). Profit is due to demand for LCDs, chipmaking equipment and digital cameras, such as digital SLR the D70.
November 10
Olympus to boost in-house digital camera production by 50 percent
Reuters has reported that Olympus is set to boost in-house production of digital cameras to 50 percent in one or two years to boost its ailing camera division. The decision to bring it in-house is due to losses of around $27.49 million and a 57 percent decline in net profit for the April - September first half period. Around 60 percent of Olympus digital cameras are currently produced by other companies.
SanDisk doubles the capacity of industrial CompactFlash and PC cards
SanDisk Corporation has expanded its industrial product line with the introduction of 4 and 8GB ComopactFlash cards and 8 and 16GB PC cards. The new cards double the current maximum capacity available and offer faster read and write times of 20 megabytes per second. Industrial grade CF and PC cards offer extended temperature ranges, extreme endurance, an MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) of 3 million hours, extended shock and vibration resistance, complete serialization and traceability, and a seven-year warranty. The standard grade cards offer a competitively priced product with high endurance and 1 million hours of MTBF.
Just posted! Nikon Coolpix 4800 review
Just posted! Our review of Nikon's first budget super zoom camera the Coolpix 4800, which has four million pixels and an 8.3x zoom. This point and shoot is considerably larger and more powerful than the 5200 and 4200 before it, sports a larger handgrip, is crafted entirely out of plastic and sports an ED lens. It also boasts 11 scene modes, a 640x480-pixel movie mode and fast startup and operation. Click on the link below to see how it fares in our test.
November 9
ArcSoft PhotoImpression 5.1
ArcSoft has announced an upgrade to its image editing program PhotoImpression. Version 5.1 is said to feature 'significant' upgrades to previous editions of the software including easy acquisition from cameras, scanners, freehand and template-based cropping and auto colour enhancement, as well as offering the usual tools of red-eye removal, decorative frames and project templates. It is available as a download from the website for €49.99 (£29.99).
Rollei Prego dp5200

Rollei has announced its latest high roller in the shape of the 5.2 megapixel Rollei Prego dp5200, which boasts a 2.5-inch LCD screen with high resolution movie mode. The metal-bodied compact is just 24mm thin and is said to fit in the 'middle class' of digital cameras. It also has a 3x optical zoom and a 32 - 96mm focal range. It is available now priced €329 (approx $424).

November 8
Canon and Nikon offer DSLR rebates
Nikon and Canon US have announced Fall 2004 rebates for its digital SLRs with savings of up to $500. The Nikon offer applies to the D70 body, the D70 kit with an 18-70mm DX Nikkor lens ($100) and a D1X body which qualifies for a $500 rebate, among other items. The Nikon offer ends December 31. Canon's offer is extended until January 31 and includes a $100 rebate on the EOS Digital Rebel, plus a deal whereby if you buy any two different items you get double the rebate amount, and three times the amount if you buy three different items. Nikon UK is also offering consumers a voucher booklet worth £300 for money off D70 accessories and Canon UK is enticing consumers by offering £100 cashback when purchasing the EOS 300D plus a 256MB CompactFlash card when registering for Canon's iMAGE GATEWAY.
Just posted! Olympus E-300 hands-on preview
Just posted! Our detailed hands-on preview of the new Olympus E-300 digital SLR. The E-300 becomes the second 'Four Thirds' system digital SLR from Olympus and is targetted at the more affordable end of the market. Its unusual shape comes from the use of a sideways swinging mirror and porro finder system. The E-300 has an eight megapixel Kodak CCD sensor and a 4/3 system lens mount. Our preview includes full specifications, body, controls, operation, displays and menus. We are not posting sample images at this stage.
November 4
Just posted! Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 review
Just posted! Our review of Panasonic's flagship model and the third generation of super zoom cameras, the Lumix DMC-FZ20. The 5 megapixel FZ20 has a whopping Leica-branded DC Vario-Elmarit 12x zoom and numerous improvements over its predecessor, the FZ10, as well as new technologies. It boasts a newly-improved optical image stabilization Venus II engine for shots at the long end of the zoom. Check out our concise review of the FZ20 to see what we thought of it.
November 3
Just posted! In-depth Canon EOS 20D review
Just posted! Our final, in-depth review of Canon's eight megapixel EOS 20D digital SLR. Successor to the EOS 10D the 20D not only increases resolution but is also faster, can shoot at five frames per second continuously, a new AF system, support for EF-S lenses, true RAW+JPEG, B&W mode and USB 2.0, among other new features. The review took much longer than we'd expected but it's also now our largest ever.
November 2
Black-bodied Canon Digital Rebel (EOS 300D)
Canon has announced that it will release a black version of the affordable Digital Rebel for a limited period of time in the US. The black 6.3 megapixel SLR will cost $999 and will come with the digitally enhanced EF-S 18-55mm zoom lens. It is hoped that the black digital version will increase sales even further with its 'professional and fresh new look'.