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January 2005 news and reviews

January 31
Casio EXILIM Pro EX-P505
Pre-PMA 2005: Casio has today announced the new five megapixel, five times optical zoom EXILIM Pro EX-P505. The P505 is quite a departure for Casio with its SLR-Like appearance, large lens barrel and five times optical zoom. The EX-P505 is also the first Casio digital camera to use the MPEG-4 codec for encoding video, it can record full VGA (640x480) video at 30 fps with stereo audio at 4.2 or 2.2 MBit/sec (approx. 30 / 60 mins on a 1 GB card).
January 29
UK tsunami appeal auction
UK-based magazine What Digital Camera has joined forces with some of the top digital camera and equipment manufactures to run an online auction in support of the tsunami appeal. Simply visit www.whatdigitalcamera.com/auction before midnight on February 11th to place your bid for some great kit, at some great prices. Bid items include the award-winning Nikon D70, which has a starting bid of just £450 (approx $700) and the Pentax *ist D which has a starting bid of £500 (approx $778). Other items include a selection of software, printers and scanners all with a starting bid of half the RRP. *NB: Non-UK bidders may be subject to local taxes.
January 21
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z5
Pre-PMA 2005: The second addition to Konica Minolta's Z series of digital cameras is the five megapixel, twelve times zoom DiMAGE Z5. Just like the Z3 this camera also features Konica Minolta's unique Anti-Shake stabilization system and has a flash hot-shoe. The Z5 features a larger LCD monitor and a few other subtle specification changes but otherwise appears to be fairly similar to the Z3.
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20
Pre-PMA 2005: The first of two new Z cameras announced today by Konica Minolta is the Z20, a follow-on to the Z10 this five megapixel, eight times optical zoom digital camera is aimed at a lower price point than its bigger brother the new Z5. The main differences to the more expensive Z5 are the zoom range, a fixed rather than pop-up flash, no flash hot-shoe, hybrid AF, a smaller LCD, the 'switch finder' viewfinder, built-in storage and no Anti-Shake.
January 20
Canon PowerShot A510
Pre-PMA 2005: Canon has today announced the successor to the just under one year old PowerShot A75, the new PowerShot A510. This four times optical zoom three megapixel digital camera is aimed at the entry level user with a basic range of features. The biggest difference compared to the A75 are its size and weight (it's 13% smaller and 20% ligher), the inclusion of a new four times optical zoom lens (the A75 had a three times), zoom linked flash, a shift from Compact Flash to SD card for storage and a drop two two AA batteries from four. In addition Canon has also introduced a new optional slave flash.
Sigma announces Konica Minolta DC lenses
Pre-PMA 2005: Sigma has today announced that four of its DC ('designed for digital') lenses will soon be available with a Konica Minolta lens mount. The four lenses; the 18-50 mm F2.8 EX DC, 18-50 mm F3.5 - F5.6 DC, 18-125 mm F3.5-F5.6 DC and 55-200 mm F4.0 - F5.6 DC are all designed to be smaller and lighter than equivelant 35 mm lenses as they only need to produce an image circle large enough for a digital SLR sensor.
January 17
Just posted! Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D (Dynax 7D) digital SLR. This Konica Minolta's first digital SLR for five years, it is based around the Maxxum 7 (Dynax 7) film SLR with a six megapixel CCD and Konica Minolta's unique Anti-Shake technology (which stabilizes the CCD rather than the lens). See how the 7D works, how it performed and how it compares to the competition.
Konica Minolta Dimage E50
Konica Minolta has announced a new series of cameras today with the launch of the Dimage E50. The slim 5 million pixel model has a large 2.5-inch LCD and is a simple point and shoot device aimed at the beginner. It boasts a 640 x 480-pixel movie mode, limited only by the capacity of the card, a 3x optical zoom and macro down to 6cm. The Dimage E50 is available now for £199 in Europe only.
January 13
Just posted! Fujifilm FinePix S5100 Zoom review
Just posted! Our review of Fujifilm's latest compact ten times optical zoom digital camera, the four megapixel S5100 / S5500. This camera follows in the footsteps of the S5000, the primary difference being the switch from Fujifilm's own SuperCCD SR to a standard square layout four megapixel CCD. This has had a slightly negative effect on some features (such as continuous shooting and video modes) but as you will see in our review a more positive effect on image quality. What's best about this camera however is value for money, at around $399 it really does offer a lot. This camera is known as the S5100 in the US and the S5500 in other regions.
Panasonic and Olympus join forces on Four Thirds
Although Panasonic has been previously named as one of the 'Four Thirds System' development partners (along with Olympus, Kodak, Sanyo, Sigma and Fujifilm) today they issued a new press release stating that they have signed a Joint Development Agreement with Olympus to develop 'Interchangeable Lens Type Digital SLR Cameras'. The announcement goes on to detail what the agreement covers (everything from shared technology to lenses and D-SLR's). Maybe we'll see some Panasonic 4/3 mount Optical Stabilized lenses?
January 12
Apple today announced version 5 of image management software iPhoto (part of iLife 05), which adds RAW file support as well as the ability to import video clips. Other new features include Calendar View, which lets you see when you took photographs with a yearly or monthly overview, and a search field. iPhoto 5 also has a new suite of editing tools, a new advanced slideshow builder and more styles and choice of hard- and soft-backed books. iLife also includes iMovie HD, iDVD 5, GarageBand 2 and iTunes 4.7 and is available from 22 January in the US and worldwide from 29 January for $79.
Konica Minolta DG-5W

Konica Minolta has today announced a four megapixel camera that is waterproof to a depth of 1.5 meters. The black and silver DG-5W is also dust proof and shock proof. It boasts a 28 - 78mm wideangle lens, a 2-inch LCD for viewing captured images (there is no optical viewfinder) and large buttons for easy operation under water. Other features include a 320 x 240-pixel movie mode at 30 fps. It is thought to be a Japan-only product and will cost ¥80,000 when it is launched in March.

Nikon D2X pricing and availability

Nikon has today announced that the D2X digital SLR will begin shipping on 25 February and its suggested street price will be $4,999 (approx €3,818) and MSRP of $6,299 (€4,810). The UK price will be £3,499. The successor to the D1X was announced in September and can shoot five frames per second at 12.4 million pixels, or 8 frames per second using the High Speed Cropped Image mode which reduces the resolution to 6.8 megapixels. New features include a CMOS image sensor and a WT-2A WiFi transmitter for wireless remote control. Nikon also announced that the AF-S VR Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens will have a retail price of $5,999 (€4,581/£3,999) and will be available this month.

January 11
Nikon posts D70 firmware B 1.03

Nikon has today posted firmware B update 1.03 for the D70. The upgrade addresses the problem of image editing programmes with color management functions recognizing JPEGs as having the Adobe RGB color space. This occured when images were captured with the mode dial set to an exposure mode (P, A, S, M), II selected for the Color mode setting in the custom item of the optimize image menu and an option other than Custom selected from the optimize menu. The D70 has two sets of firmware, A and B. This update affects the B firmware only.

January 10
Just posted! Olympus EVOLT E-300 review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Olympus EVOLT E-300, a new challenger in the $1000 'affordable' digital SLR market. The E-300 sports an eight megapixel CCD sensor (from Kodak), a Four Thirds system lens mount and a unique 'porro finder' viewfinder with a mirror which flips sideways instead of upwards. The E-300 is a direct challenger into the huge market the Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel) and Nikon D70 have grown. See how the E-300 performed and how it compares to the competition.
January 6
SanDisk SD card with built-in USB
SanDisk has today announced a unique SD card which has a hinged portion, flip this over and the card becomes a USB 2.0 Flash Drive. This neat piece of engineering means that you can flip the card out of your camera and straight into your computer without the need for any card readers or cables. Clever. SanDisk expect to be able to produce this new card in capacities of up to 1.0 GB, they will have more detail and initial samples at the upcoming PMA 2005 show. UPDATE: While the flip over design is new the idea of a built-in USB plug isn't.
Kodak EasyShare One
In a clear attempt at encouraging people to print and share their images, Kodak has launched the WiFi EasyShare-One camera for storing images as well as taking them. Pictures can be viewed on its 3-inch tilt and swivel LCD screen. The four megapixel camera can hold up to 1,500 images, has a 256MB internal memory and is designed to communicate with the new wireless printing dock and Kodak's online EasyShare Gallery. The only catch is that it doesn't include the SD WiFi card, which will cost a further $99. The EasyShare-One will begin shipping in June with an expected retail price of $599.
Kodak EasyShare Z740 and Z700
Kodak has announced a new range of cameras into its EasyShare line. The new Z series includes the EasyShare Z740 (pictured), which has a 10x zoom, and the 5x zoom EasyShare Z700. Both cameras are aimed at the point and shoot crowd, with the five megapixel Z740 offering manual operation for those who want more control and the ability to add a wideangle lens and filters. The entry level Z700 is for the 'zoom seeking' picture takers and offers four megapixels. Both cameras will be launched next month and will only available as a package with the new Printer Dock 3, priced $499 (378) (Z740) and $399 (€302) (Z700).
Sony 4 GB Memory Stick Pro
Sony, obviously not wanting SanDisk to get lonely with the only 4 GB Memory Stick has today announced its own. This capacity was revealed on a Road Map page we found back in 2002, most of which has since become a reality. This new card will have retail price of $900 (or about $0.23/MB), that's about $300 more than the SanDisk piece.
Sony Cyber-shot P200
Sony has today announced another new camera, which only has minor cosmetic changes from its predecessor, in the shape of the 7.2 megapixel Cyber-shot P200. An upgrade of the P150, launched in July, the only real difference seems to be the larger 2-inch LCD, otherwise it sports the same Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 3x zoom lens, is PictBridge-compatible and has a rechargeable InfoLithium battery plus compatibility with Memory Stick and Memory Stick PRO. It will be available in February and is expected to be priced lower than the $499 DSC-P150 when it was launched in July last year.
Sony Cyber-shot T33
Sony has announced a near-identical camera to the T3 with the Cyber-shot T33. While the only differences to its older brother are mainly cosmetic - it is a slightly different shape and color - spec-wise the T33 also has five effective megapixels, a 2.5-inch Clear Photo LCD and a folded 3x optical zoom lens. The Cyber-shot T33 will be available throughout Europe later this month. It is available in platinum and white (except the UK).
January 5
Olympus C-55/C-5500 Sport Zoom
Olympus has today announced a 5x optical zoom camera with a 2-inch LCD and 5.1 megapixel resolution. The C-5500 Sports Zoom allows full manual control, has a super macro mode of 2cm and incorporates Olympus's TruePic TURBO Image Processor, which is supposed to suppress noise and boost image definition. It will be available in May, at around $349 (€262).
Olympus C-7070 Wide Zoom
Olympus has today announced the C-7070 Wide Zoom, which has a 27 - 110mm lens and is described as 'rugged on the outside, professional on the inside'. The SLR-style 7.1 megapixel camera has all you would expect of a high end model including RAW and TIFF file capture, a hotshoe for attaching an external flash, a 1.8-inch tilt and swivel LCD, full manual operation plus two new auto focus modes - predictive AF and target AF. It is available in February priced $699 (€525).
Olympus D-425/C-170
Olympus has today announced an entry level camera into its D series, the pocketable four megapixel D-425. The fixed lens D-425 is missing an optical viewfinder but has a 1.5-inch LCD screen for composition and, designed with the beginner in mind, it has a slide switch for turning the camera on and off, a built-in help guide and 'One-Touch' configuration. The D-425 will be available this month for around $149.99.
Seagate shipping 5 GB CF HDD
Seagate has today issued a press release stating that it is about to begin shipping the 5 GB CF Type II HDD which was announced in June last year. The CF card will be available in 2.5 GB and 5 GB capacities and will probably offer the best $/MB of any large CF card. However with the price of flash memory is coming down all the time and many professional photographers perferring the relatively safety of flash it's difficult to see this becoming a huge seller in the digital photography market (it will probably do better where it's already being used; in MP3 players).
Pentax OptioWP
Pentax has announced an underwater digital camera in the shape of the 'sporty' and 'elegant' five megapixel Pentax OptioWP, which is waterproof to a depth of 1.5 meters. A handy function that has been added is the recovery mode, which enables you to retrieve accidentally deleted images or audio files, as long as no further data has been recorded. The OptioWP measures a slimline 22mm thick, has a 2-inch LCD, 1cm macro mode and red-eye compensation function which 'touches up' red eye in images after they have been taken. It will be available in April, with pricing to be confirmed at PMA.
January 4
Just posted! Nikon Coolpix 8800 review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of Nikon's ten times VR zoom eight megapixel Coolpix 8800. The 8400 and 8800 were both announced at Photokina in September of last year, both feature similar designs and identical 'hearts'. The 8800 is on a mission to prove that you don't have to buy a digital SLR to get flexibility and image quality. It's big 35 - 350 mm equiv. zoom lens is the first in a Nikon to feature Vibration Reduction, something which is becoming more common in big zoom digital cameras. Read all to find out all about the 8800 and see how it compares to the competition.
Just posted! Nikon Coolpix 8400 review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of Nikon's wide angle zoom eight megapixel Coolpix 8400. The 8400 and 8800 were both announced at Photokina in September of last year, both feature similar designs and identical 'hearts'. The 8400 aims to be a relatively compact prosumer camera which can offer a wider field of view (by about 10°) than other competitive digital cameras. Read all to find out all about the 8400 and see how it compares to the competition.
Ricoh Caplio R1V
Ricoh has announced the five megapixel successor to the R1 with the aluminum-bodied Caplio R1V, which again boasts a 28mm wideangle lens, the world's fastest shutter response time of 0.01 seconds and a super close up macro mode of 1cm. Cosmetically the Caplio R1V doesn't look at all different from the R1 and maintains its slim dimensions of 25mm wide. It will be available in February at a price yet to be set.