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January 2006 news and reviews

January 31
Kodak's digital sales overtake film
Kodak digital sales made up 54% of total revenue for 2005, marking the first time in the company’s history that digital revenue exceeded film. The news came on the same day that the company reported that total losses for this year could top $1 billion, after the fifth consecutive quarter of losses - due mainly to the restructuring that the shift to digital required. On the positive side, sales of Kodak digital cameras are up.
OpenRAW Survey needs your help
The OpenRAW initiative has today launched a survey to collect "experiences, requirements, preferences, and concerns of digital photographers and other interested parties regarding RAW imaging technology." The results of this survey will be published into the public domain and we will report them in detail here on dpreview. We would encourage all dpreview readers to take part in this survey.
Fujifilm cut jobs, move some production to China
According to reports on various news wires Fujifilm Japan has announced that it is to cut 5,000 jobs (1,000 in Japan, 4,000 abroad) by September, this out of around 76,000 workers in the photo segment. There will also a shift of some production from Japan to China. A company spokesperson is quoted as saying "structural reforms include the reduction of approximately 5,000 people from the imaging solutions segment". What future for SuperCCD?
January 30
Adobe Camera RAW 3.3 with D200 support
Adobe has now posted the final (non-beta) Camera RAW 3.3 plug-in which now has full official support for the Nikon D200. This new release adds support for 17 new camera models (including the Canon EOS 5D, Nikon D200, Olympus E-500 and Sony DSC-R1) as well as adding a range of new features and an enhanced Bayer demosaic algorithm. This RAW converter / importer is well respected and has become the standard for many photographers (and reviewers).
January 28
PMA 2006 Show Report - Preview
Pre-PMA 2006: Just under one month away and the presence of the PMA trade show can already be felt with no less than 36 new product announcements (including a few from CES). We're expecting many more in the next four weeks or so and so have already activated our PMA 2006 show report. This special live article will enable you to stay up to date with the latest product announcements as well as following our live minute-by-minute reports from the show floor (during show hours).
January 27
Pentax *ist DL2
Pentax has announced a minor upgrade to the *ist DL - but only for users in Asia and Canada. The *ist DL2 offers a couple of extra focus points, a few new scene modes and a couple of bits of silver plastic (where the DL was all-black). Looking at the spec the DL2 appears to be the Pentax version of the Samsung GX-1L, which was half-announced earlier this month along with the GX-1S, and may be an indication of the intention to sell the future cameras as Pentax branded in some markets and Samsung cameras in others (namely Europe and the US).
January 26
Olympus E-330 (EVOLT) Digital SLR, previewed
Pre-PMA 2006: The cherry on the top of a raft of new Olympus products today is the new E-330 (to be known in North America as the 'Olympus EVOLT E-330'). The E-330 has a similar appearance to the E-300 (although slightly narrower) and inherits many improvements seen on the E-500, however it has one major new feature. The seven-point-five megapixel E-330 is the first digital SLR designed to provide a full-time live view on its LCD monitor while still providing a usable through-the-lens viewfinder. It provides two live view modes, the first uses a small CCD sensor integrated into the viewfinder chamber, the second mode uses the main sensor but this blocks the viewfinder and disables auto-focus. We have a detailed hands-on preview of the E-330 available.
Olympus FE-115 & FE-150
Pre-PMA 2006: Olympus has announced today the FE-150 and FE-115; 5 megapixel cameras that won't break the bank. The FE150 has a 3x optical zoom, 2.5-inch LCD and movie recording capability all wrapped up in a slim metal casing. The FE115 has a 2.8x zoom and features a 'one button, one function' design.
Olympus FE-130 & FE-140
Pre-PMA 2006: Today sees the announcement of a couple more budget priced cameras from Olympus, the FE-130 and FE-140. Featuring 5.1 and 6 million pixels respectively, the cameras sport large screens and their 'one button, one function' design makes for easy operation.
Olympus Stylus 810 & 700 Digital
Pre-PMA 2006: Olympus has announced two new additions to the weatherproof Stylus (Mju) range in the form of the slim-bodied Stylus 700 and the Stylus 810 Digital - a minor upgrade to the current Stylus 800. The cameras, 7.1 megapixel and 8.0 megapixel respectively, both feature an all-weather body, 3x optical zoom, ISO range covering ISO 64 through to 1600 and a 2.5-inch LCD screen.
Updated: Specifications added
Olympus Stylus 720SW
Pre-PMA 2006: Olympus today announced the Stylus 720SW, a waterproof (to 3m) 7.1 megapixel camera that is also 'shock-proof' (resistant to falls from up to 1.5m). Boasting a maximum ISO of 1600, a large 2.5-inch screen and a 3x optical zoom, the 720SW is available in an array of colours; Dusky Pink, Polar Blue and Steel Silver.
Updated: Specifications added
Olympus SP-320
Pre-PMA 2006: Olympus also announced today an upgrade to the SP-310 in the shape of the SP-320. The 7.1 megapixel camera features full manual exposure control, a 3x optical zoom, a histogram function, up to ISO 800 and a large 2.5-inch LCD screen. An optional tele-converter and underwater casing will also be available. Updated: Specifications added.
January 24
S3 Pro buffer upgrade available in US
Fuji Photo Film USA is now offering the same hardware upgrade for the FinePix S3 Pro as originally launched in Japan in September 2005. The upgrade doubles the camera's internal memory capacity from 128MB to 256MB. This increase in buffer space means up to 8/16 RAW/JPEG frames (Wide dynamic range) or 17/33 RAW/JPEG frames (Standard dynamic range) in a single burst.
ClearVid, Sony's SuperCCD?
Sony Japan has today announced a newly developed CMOS sensor which has a 45 degree rotated pixel structure (the same layout as Fujifilm's SuperCCD). The development background to this sensor was the need to pack more pixels into a smaller and smaller package. Sony make the same claims about the increase in horizontal and vertical resolution (they state 1.4x better) as well as improved sensitivity per pixel (presumably because each output pixel is a combination of more than one input pixel). This new ClearVid (Clear + Vivid) CMOS sensor will initially be used in the new DCR-DVD505 camcorder, it will be interesting to see if this development makes it way to Sony's digital still camera range. UPDATE: Further detail.
January 23
Panasonic DMC-FZ7
Panasonic has announced the successor to the popular 12x zoom lensed Lumix FZ5 in the shape of the DMC-FZ7. The main differences are the sensor (up from 5 megapixels to 6), larger 2.5-inch screen, ISO 1600 mode, longer battery life and the adoption of the 'joystick' control system first seen on the DMC-LX1. The FZ7 also offers a manual focus option, something missing from its predecessor.
UPDATE: we have an exclusive hands-on preview of the DMC-FZ7 after the link.
Casio Exilim EX-Z600
Casio has announced the latest addition to its Exilim range with the 6-megapixel EX-Z600. This pocket-sized offering features a large 2.7-inch screen that is said to be three times brighter than its predecessors, the Z500. It also features Casio's Anti-shake DSP and an extra long battery life.
January 19
Just posted! Kodak EasyShare P880 Review
Just posted! The 8 megapixel P880 offers a fairly unique mix of features, including a wideangle 24-140mm equivalent 5.8x zoom. Throw in raw capture, full photographic control and a 2.5-inch screen and you have what - on paper - looks like a very compelling mix of features. To find out if the P880 lives up to its promise check out the review after the link.
Canon's 30 millionth EF lens
Canon today celebrates the cumulative production milestone of 30 million interchangeable EF lenses, in less than twenty years since the launch of Canon’s EOS camera system and the EF lens mount.
Konica Minolta withdraw from camera business
This has to be the biggest and most shocking news before the upcoming PMA show, Konica Minolta has today announced that it is withdrawing from the camera and photo business. They will be transferring assets related to their camera business to Sony who will continue to develop digital SLR's based around the Konica Minolta lens mount. Konica Minolta it appears will continue to work with Sony (a relationship announced last year) in the development of digital SLR's and lenses but they will not be branded as or be sold by Konica Minolta. Full announcement and details of the Sony asset transfer inside.
January 18
Sigma 17-70mm lens for digital SLRs
Sigma has announced a new 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 standard zoom lens designed specifically for APS-C sensor digital SLR cameras. The lens offers a minimum focusing distance of 20cm (7.9”) throughout the entire zoom range and a maximum magnification of 1:2.3 enabling extreme close-up photography.
Zeiss Lenses for Nikon F Mount
After a mini-teaser campaign and numerous leaks it's now official. Zeiss has announced that is to introduce a range of new 'ZF' lenses which will have a Nikon F Mount (although it's not clear at this stage how much communication will go on between the lens and body). These new lenses appear to be the result of Kyocera's decision to ditch Contax. The first lenses to be introduced will be the Planar T* 50 mm F1.4 ZF and the Planar T* 85 mm F1.4 ZF. These lenses are slated to become available in 'Spring 2006' with 'several more.. ..during 2006' (at Photokina in September).
January 17
Lexar Professional 133X cards, tested
Pre-PMA 2006: Lexar has today announced new professional series storage cards with a speed rating of 133X (20MB/sec). Available in both Compact Flash and Secure Digital formats at a range of capacities these professional cards also include Lexar's proprietary Write Acceleration technology. These cards promise to be the fastest currently available, we have had a selection of them on hand for a few days and have some test results inside.
January 16
Samsung launches first digital SLR
It's been rumoured for weeks, leaked ahead of annoucement and now it's here; Samsung's first digital SLR, and the first fruit of the Samsung / Pentax tie-in announced in October. The GX-1S is a lightweight 6 megapixel camera with a 2.5-inch screen, ISO up to 3200 and a Pentax AF lens mount. Nothing we haven't seen before; the GX-1S is a rebadged Pentax *ist DS2 (there's some new Schneider lenses too, but they also appear to be straight re-badge jobs).
Casio S600 for European release
Casio today announced the UK and European release of the latest addition to its Exilim digital camera range, the EX-S600. Originally released in Japan back in October 2005, this pocket-sized 6 megapixel camera features an 'Anti Shake' DSP and MPEG-4 movie recording capability.
January 12
Nikon to focus on digital
Nikon UK has made an interesting announcement titled 'Nikon prepares to strengthen digital line-up for 2006' that signals the beginning of the end of nearly 60 years of Nikon fllm cameras. Nikon Corp has made the decision to 'focus management resources' on digital cameras in place of film cameras, and is discontinuing most film camera bodies, manual focus lenses and accessories and all large format and enlarging lenses. In Europe only the flagship F6 film camera will remain on sale.
January 11
dpreview to judge at DIMA 2006 shoot-out
Pre-PMA 2006: We are proud to announce that the Photo Marketing Association have asked the Editor and Owner of dpreview, Phil Askey to be one of the judges of the 10th annual DIMA 2006 Digital Camera Shoot-Out which will take place on Saturday 25th Februrary, the day before the PMA show opens. The results of the shoot-out will be announced in a press conference the following morning. Judging will be made of prints viewed using a D50 Viewing System from GTI Graphic Technologies.
Sony MemoryStick Duo 4 and 8 GB
One story which slipped past us during CES was that Sony announced their MemoryStick Pro Duo storage cards will be available in 4 and 8 GB capacities some time in 2006. This will no doubt be of great interest to Sony PSP owners but perhaps less interesting to digital camera owners as the majority of Sony digital cameras which take Duo are likely to find 1 GB more than sufficient. It's timely perhaps to question the future of MemoryStick especially when Sony themselves are now putting SD (Secure Digital) card slots in their latest Vaio notebooks.
January 10
Ricoh Caplio R30
Ricoh announced today the Caplio R30, a more affordable, ultra-slim version of the Caplio R3, with a smaller zoom range. The 26mm thick, 5.3 megapixel R30 features a wide angle 28-160mm equiv. (5.7x) optical zoom, 1cm macro mode, large 2.5-inch screen and low (0.09 sec) shutter lag. As usual we have no word as to whether the R30 will ever be distributed in the US.
January 9
Adobe Lightroom Beta
Macworld 2006: Adobe has today announced a new application aimed squarely at the digital photographer. Lightroom is a workflow and editting application which takes all of the useful photography related stuff from Photoshop and combines this with a sophisticated importation, browsing and organizational front-end. Lightroom is clearly aimed at taking on Apple Aperture as well as a few other high end workflow tools. At the moment Lightroom is available as a Mac OS X only Beta for anyone to try.
January 8
New logo for Kodak
CES 2006: As part of a wide ranging speech at CES by Kodak Chariman and CEO Antonio Perez it was revealed that Kodak will be saying goodbye to their famous yellow-box logo in favour of a simpiler more contemporary design. The new logo also features a new typeface with more rounded letters. According to Perez,"This introduction is the latest step in the company’s broad brand transformation effort, which reflects the multi-industry, digital imaging leader Kodak has become."
January 5
Inventors of the CCD honored
In 1969 Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, while working at Bell Laboratories, designed the first Charge Coupled Device (CCD), a working version was produced just a year later. The CCD as we know has become the bedrock the digital imaging revolution including digital photography and video. They have just been honored with the Charles Stark Draper Prize which is presented by the National Academy of Engineering, this includes a $500,000 award.
Sony Cyber-shot M2
CES 2006: Sony US today announced its successor to the M1, the Cyber-shot DSC-M2, which was originally revealed back in September by Sony Europe. Like the M1, the M2 is designed to combine the functionality of a digital stills camera and a digital video camera. It also shares the M1's unusual flip-out design
Updated: specifications added
Sony Cyber-shot S-600
CES 2006: Sony today announced the latest addition to its budget 'S' series in the shape of the new 6 megapixel Cyber-shot S-600. It features a 3x Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens covering a 31-93 mm equiv. range, which is much wider than most other cameras in this class. Other features of note include sensitivity up to ISO 1000, 460 shot battery life and a large 2.0-inch LCD screen.
Updated: Specifications added
January 4
Panasonic DMC-LZ5 and DMC-LZ3
CES 2006: Panasonic has announced two new cameras to replace the budget DMC LZ1 and LZ2 models. Like their predecessors, the DMC-LZ3 (5.0 megapixels) and DMC-LZ5 (6.0 megapixels) sport image stabilized 6x optical zoom lenses. The new models have improved focus speed and power consumption, a low resolution ISO 1600 mode and large screens (LZ3: 2.0-inch, LZ5: 2.5-inch).
Panasonic DMC-LS2
CES 2006: The first of today’s announcements from Panasonic is the Lumix DMC-LS2, officially a replacement for the budget DMC-LS1, but one that is a lot more compact and a lot more stylish. Like the LS1, the new model features a 3x image stabilized zoom lens and is powered by AA batteries. Aside from the re-style, the LS2 also ups the resolution to 5.0 megapixels, uses the Venus Plus engine for faster focusing and lower power consumption, and adds new scene modes.
HP Photosmart R725
CES 2006: Today HP has announced a new 6.2 megapixel camera, the Photosmart R725. This ultra compact camera features a large 2-inch LCD screen, a 3x optical zoom and utilises the new HP automatic in-camera red-eye removal system.
HP Photosmart R727 and R927
CES 2006: HP introduces today the latest additions to the Photosmart range, the slim meta-encased R727 and R927 digital cameras. with 3x optical zoom and 6 or 8.1 megapixels respectively, both feature large LCD screens and can be used with the optional Photosmart 6222 Wireless Dock to wirelessly manage their snapshots and navigate through a TV interface.
HP Photosmart M527
CES 2006: HP has announced the new Photosmart M527 6 megapixel camera, featuring a 3x optical zoom and in-camera red eye removal and the new HP Design Galllery. The M527 also features a large 2-inch image display and 16MB internal memory.
HP Photosmart M525
CES 2006: HP has today announced the Photosmart M525 Digital Camera, the latest 6 megapixel offering the latest generation of HP Real Life technologies including a new feature called HP Design Gallery, which enables the user to add artistic effects and borders right in the camera and In-camera red-eye removal to remove red-eye while images are still in the camera.
HP Photosmart M425
CES 2006: HP today announced the M425, to add to its new Photosmart range of cameras. This 5 megapixel camera features a 3x optical zoom and utilises the on-camera HP Photosmart Express button to enable ordering of prints and sharing of photos.
HP Photosmart E327
CES 2006: HP has today announced the new range of Photosmart cameras. Starting here with the E327, a 5-megapixel point and shoot with a 1.8-inch screen.
Fujifilm FinePix V10, shoot and play
CES 2006: Fujifilm has today announced the new five megapixel, 3.4x optical zoom FinePix V10. This new pocketable camera features a huge 3.0" LCD monitor and a SuperCCD HR sensor which provies shooting sensitivities of ISO 64 for the highest quality and up to ISO 1600 for low light situations. The 'unique selling point' for the V10 however will be its three built-in games, although I doubt it will be challenging the Sony PSP in this respect.
Fujifilm FinePix F470
CES 2006: Another Fujifilm camera today, the FinePix F470 which features a standard six megapixel CCD sensor and three times optical zoom lens, it packs 16 MB of flash storage, has a 2.5" LCD monitor, has a Lithium-Ion battery and is just 20 mm (0.8 in) thin.
Fujifilm FinePix A400 and A500
CES 2006: The last of four new cameras announced today by Fujifilm are the FinePix A400 and A500 Zoom. Two affordable cameras one which are essentially identical apart from their sensor, one four megapixel and one five megapixel SuperCCD HR. Other features include a three times optical zoom lens, 1.8" LCD monitor and power from two AA batteries.
January 3
Pentax Optio A10
CES 2006: Pentax today announces its flagship model and the introduction of a new range, with the Optio A10. Most noteworthy is the proprietary Shake Reduction system that Pentax is has included on this 3x zoom camera, which uses two internal gyro sensors to detect the amount of camera shake and compensates by shifting the CCD (the same as Konica Minolta). The A10 also boasts 8 megapixels, a 2.5-inch LCD, 15 scene modes and a 640x480-pixel 30fps movie function.
Pentax Optio E10
CES 2006: Pentax has today announced the six megapixel entry-level Optio E10 with easy to use features such as the 'Simple' mode on the mode dial, which sets everything except for the size and quality of the photograph. The Optio E10 offers six million pixels, a movie function, six scene modes and a 2.4-inch LCD for framing your shots. It takes two AA batteries and is PictBridge-compatible which means you can print to any PictBridge printer, no matter what the make or model.
Samsung i6 and S series
Pre-CES 2006: Samsung has today announced a new slim 6 megapixel camera, the Digimax i6, which doubles as a 'PMP' (personal media player), capable of playing music and video files as well as taking pictures. Also announced is a new series of budget cameras in 5,6 and 8 megapixel flavors.
Kodak High Speed card
CES 2006: Kodak and Lexar Media have introduced a new high performance memory card, designed to capture smooth TV-quality video with 30 fps video capability. Its fast read/write speed also means less time between shots (though it should be noted that Kodak doesn't actually say how 'fast' they are). The new card will initially be available in 512MB and 1GB SD format.
New Kodak EasyShare version 5.2
CES 2006: Kodak has introduced the latest version of its EasyShare Software, which helps users to effortlessly organise, edit, share and print their digital pictures. Version 5.2 adds several new features including a new 'Quick Print' function, and is free to download from Kodak's website.
Kodak Easyshare Z650
CES 2006: The third new model announced by Kodak is the EasyShare Z650, which will sit at the top of the 'Z' series of budget super zoom cameras. The 6.1 megapixel Z650 features a SCHENIDER-KREUZNACH VARIOGON 10X optical zoom lens, 2.0-inch screen, 17 scene modes and a live histogram function.
Kodak Easyshare C663
CES 2006: Kodak has announced today the latest addition to its Easyshare range of cameras, the C663. The 6.1 megapixel camera features a 2.5-inch LCD screen, 3x optical zoom and is the first to incorporate Kodak Perfect Touch Technology. This innovative feature creates better, brighter pictures by bringing out detail in shadows without affecting lighter areas.
January 2
Kodak EasyShare V570, dual CCD

Pre-CES 2006: Proof if it were required that the cost of compact class CCD's are now at very low levels Kodak has today announced a camera with two lenses and two CCD's. The EasyShare V570 has two 'fold optics' lens/CCD packages mounted above each other, the first providing a prime 23 mm equiv. field of view, the second a 37-117 mm three times optical zoom. Both lens systems are mated to a five megapixel CCD sensor. One selling point is a built-in 180 degree panorama feature which is achieved with just three shots from the 23 mm equiv. lens. Other features include MPEG-4 video capture and a 2.5" LCD monitor.

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