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February 2007 news and reviews

February 27
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9 and DSC-H7
Pre-PMA 2007: Today is the day that Sony has chosen to unveil its PMA compact digital camera annoucements, perhaps the worst-kept secret of the year so far. For anyone who hasn't seen the leaked information there are additions and updates to the T, W and H series. We'll start with the big boys; the DSC-H7 and H9, which replace the H2 and H5. The new models both sport 8.1 megapixel sensors, HDTV output, 15x stabilized zooms and - in the case of the H9 - NightShot technology for, apparently, shooting in total darkness. This being 2007 both models (the difference is basically the screen size) also have automatic face detection technology, without which any camera is now officially, old hat.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 and DSC-T20
Pre-PMA 2007: Next up are two additions to Sony's ultra-slim Cyber-shot T series, the T100 and T20 digital cameras, the former boasting a 5x zoom and 3.0-inch screen, the latter available in pink. Aimed at the 'fashionista crowd' (Sony's words, not ours), both models have HDTV output and, naturally, face detection technology.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W200, DSC-W90 and DSC-W80
Pre-PMA 2007: Last but by no means least are three new W series digital cameras, now even slimmer, and with some pretty impressive specification. Top of the tree is the W200, which is the first camera we've seen to feature a new 12 megapixel 1/1.7-inch sensor (and you thought the megapixel race was over). All three models also boast Sony's optical image stabilization. Find out more after the link.
Just Posted! Kodak EasyShare C875  Review
Just posted! Our concise review of the Kodak EasyShare C875 digital camera, a well-specified 8MP compact with 5x zoom lens, full photographic control and very aggressive pricing. We decided to find out if this budget-priced Kodak really is punching above its weight or if it's a lightweight through and through. :Read on after the click to find out what we thought...
February 26
SanDisk to deliver write-once flash
Pre-PMA 2007: In an announcement today Greg Rhine, head of SanDisk's consumer business talked about introducing a 'new category in the middle of the year: a read-only memory card'. This new flash card is using a technology which SanDisk are calling '3D memory' which we presume is based on the Matrix Memory technology which it acquired in 2006 for $250m and we first reported on in 2002 at PMA. These write-once cards are likely to be very cheap but have the advantage of very long term storage (100+ years).
February 25
New Olympus E DSLRs, 5th March
Pre-PMA 2007: A rather stark teaser ad on the Olympus Europe Digital SLR website hints at the announcement of some new Olympus E series digital SLR's on 5th March, just three days before the start of PMA in Las Vegas. The teaser image shows darkened versions of two cameras with '5 March 2007' labels attached and the silhouette of a larger model (the E-1 successor?) in the background.
Pentax to exhibit future products at PMA
Pre-PMA 2007: Pentax has issued a press release detailing other future digital SLR products it intends to exhibit at PMA. This includes three new DA* (Star) digital-only lenses a 35 mm F2.8 Macro Limited lens and the long announced, long awaited 645 Digital medium-format camera (and a new lens). In addition we will also see the new AF 200FG 'clip-on type' flash unit.
February 22
Fujifilm FinePix S5700
Pre-PMA 2007: Fujifilm has chosen today to announce its PMA 2007 compact digital cameras, starting with the upgrade to the popular S5600 budget super zoom. The S5700 brings many improvements including a redesigned body and control system, 7.2 million pixel sensor, ISO 1600 and several new features. It's a solid upgrade but we're not sure that the claim from the press release that it's 'the ultimate camera for every occasion' would stand up in a court of law...
Fujifilm FinePix A820 & A900
Pre-PMA 2007: Also new from Fujifilm today are a couple of new A series digital cameras featuring 8 and 9 megapixel Super CCD sensors, 4x zooms and ISO 800 settings. Both sub-$200 models also sport anti-glare 2.5-inch screens and Fuji's new dual XD / SD card slot.
Canon EOS-1D Mark III accessories
Pre-PMA 2007: In addition to the new EOS-1D Mark III Canon has also announced an updated versions of the EF 16-35 mm F2.8L lens, and Speedlite 580 EX as well as a smaller and lighter wireless transmitter (WFT-E2) and Original Data Security Kit (OSK-E3). "Canon has expanded the functionality of the Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E2 to also support two-way communication via peer to peer (PTP) and HTTP protocols. Remote users can trigger the shutter button or download images from the camera via an internet browser window, dramatically reducing the time it takes from capture to publication. The Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E2 offers users a greater degree of security by allowing up to 4 types of WEP encryption as well as WPA2-PSK, which supports high security AES encryption."
Canon EOS-1D Mark III, 10 mp, 10 fps
Pre-PMA 2007: Canon has today announced the latest iteration of their EOS-1D digital SLR. The Mark III has a ten megapixel APS-H (1.3x FOV crop) CMOS sensor and can shoot at ten frames per second. It features the updated DIGIC III image processor, a new 19 area Auto Focus system, up to ISO 6400 and a 3.0" LCD monitor (with a live view feature). The Mark III should ship in April for US$ 3999.
Canon PowerShot TX1
Pre-PMA 2007: Today also sees Canon announcing a raft of new PowerShot models. We'll start with the most interesting, the PowerShot TX1, which is unusual both in its cine camera styling and its positioning as a hybrid digital camera/video model offering HDTV (1280x720 pixel, 30fps) movie capture (no MPEG unfortunately), 10x stabilized zoom and 7.1MP sensor. All in an IXUS / Elph size body.
Canon SD750 and SD1000
Pre-PMA 2007: Less surprisingly Canon has also announced a couple of new IXUS (ELPH) models, the SD 750 (IXUS 75) and SD 1000 (IXUS 70). These new digital cameras are both 7.1 megapixel / 3x zoom / DIGIC III jobs, and if you're looking for distinguishing features the SD 750 has a 3.0-inch screen and the SD 1000 is Canon's slimmest model to date, squeezing in at only 19.4mm thick (or should that be thin?).
Canon PowerShot A570IS and A560
Pre-PMA 2007: Next up are two new 7.1MP A series digital cameras boasting DIGIC III processors, Face Detection Technology and ISO 1600. The A560 is a fairly predictable upgrade to the entry-level A540, with the A570IS throwing optical image stabilization, full manual control and compatability with add-on lenses into the mix. Both cameras also sport 2.5-inch screens and 4x zooms. We're also pleased to hear they also both have Print/Share buttons, without which no Canon camera is complete.
February 21
Pentax confirm two DA Star Zoom Lenses
Pre-PMA 2007: Back in September just before Photokina Pentax revealed a range of new digital-only DA Star (DA*) lenses with built-in Supersonic motors, these were briefly covered on a publicly released lens roadmap. Today Pentax has confirmed two of those lenses; the DA* 16 - 50 mm F2.8 ED AL [IF] SDM and the DA* 50 - 135 mm F2.8 [IF] SDM. Used in conjunction with a 1.5x crop sensor digital SLR such as the K10D these two lenses will provide an equivalent field of view of 24 - 75 mm and 75 - 202.5 mm respectively. As well as the SDM motors both lenses feature ED lens elements as well as weather and dust protection. No pricing or availability information has yet been made available.
Pentax Optio A30
Pre-PMA 2007: Pentax has announced two new digital camera compacts today. First up we have the 10 million pixel Optio A30, replacement to the A20 launched last August. The A30 has a larger 1/1.8" CCD and adds sensitivity to ISO 1600. It sports the same CCD-shift shake reduction, 2.5-inch LCD and 3x zoom.
Pentax Optio W30
Pre-PMA 2007: Next we have the 7-megapixel Optio W30 digital camera, successor to the popular W20. THe new A30 is capable of shooting to depths of 3 meters continuously for 2 hours (compared to the W20 at just 1.5m for 30mins). It also increases sensitivity to ISO 3200.
February 20
Sigma SD14 on-sale date announced
Sigma's website in Japan has today published a brief announcement stating that the new SD14 digital SLR will finally start shipping on March the 6th. The SD14 was originally announced at Photokina in August 2006 and Sigma had originally intended to ship in November or December of last year. Well, the wait is now over, and eager Foveon fans will be able to get their mitts on the new model within a few weeks.
Lexar 300x CompactFlash cards and new readers
Pre-PMA 2007: Lexar has today announced new Professional 8 GB 300x (45 MB/sec, 1 MB = 1,000,000 bytes, or 42.9 MiB/sec). These cards can achieve faster throughput thanks to their support of the UDMA (Ultra DMA) protocol, supporting Mode 5 (up to 100 MB/sec). In addition Lexar has also introduced a matching FireWire 800 CompactFlash reader and dual media USB 2.0 reader.
Nikon Coolpix S200
Pre-PMA 2007: Next up is a slim, 7.1MP Coolpix digital camera with 3x zoom, 2.5-inch screen and what Nikon somewhat vaguely refers to as electronic VR (image stabilization using digital signal processing). This is the only 'VR' camera in new range that doesn't use lens or CCD shift. But hey, it's got ISO 1000 so that's ok...
Nikon Coolpix S50 / S50c
Pre-PMA 2007: The Coolpix S50 and S50c digital cameras (the latter has an improved version of Nikon's WiFi transfer functionality) continue the S series' tradition with slim cases, 3x zooms, big (3.0-inch) screens and 7.1 megapixel CCDs. The good news is that the new models are even smaller, and have the added benefit of optical image stablization (VR). In the UK both cameras will be exclusive to specific retailers (Amazon and DSG respectively).
Nikon Coolpix S500
Pre-PMA 2007: The Coolpix S500 digital camera, which appears to be very similar to the S200 except is has 'real' optical image stabilization and an ISO 2000 setting, also has a slightly wider (35-105mm) zoom range. The slim metal body is available in black or silver and sports a 3x zoom and 2.5-inch LCD screen.
Nikon Coolpix L10 and L11
Pre-PMA 2007: As we move towards the 'budget' end of the new Coolpix digital camera range we have the twin L10 and L11 models (5.0 and 6.0 megapixels). Both cameras sport 3x zooms and ISO 800, and 2.0 / 2.4-inch screen respectively.
Nikon Coolpix L12
Pre-PMA 2007: Last but not least is the Coolpix L12 digital camera, a well-specified 'budget' camera with 3x zoom, optical image stabilization (VR) and 7.1 million pixel CCD. The L12 also sports a 2.5-inch LCD screen, ISO 1600 and - like all the models here - Nikon's D-Lighting, Face Detection and Red-Eye Fix features.
Nikon Coolpix P5000

Pre-PMA 2007: Nikon has chosen today to announce its new Coolpix digital camera lineup, debuting at PMA in a couple of weeks. By far the most interesting new model is the P5000, a fully-featured 10 megapixel camera with stablized 3.5x zoom, 2.5-inch screen and very compact design. Could this be the camera to put Nikon back on the high-end compact map?

February 18
Sony 1/1.8" high speed CMOS sensor
Sony has announced the IMX017CQE high speed 1/1.8" type CMOS sensor with a resolution of six megapixels (2921 x 2184) and the ability to output this resolution at 60 frames per second (a data rate of around 384 megapixels per second). This sensor is important news both for its seamless transition between video capture and still capture and for the fact that it's a CMOS sensor of the 1/1.8" type, a rare thing indeed. In addition to its impressive full resolution 60 frames per second this sensor can also deliver 300 frames per second at lower resolutions. Because of its design this sensor can be used to capture full resolution stills during video capture without any dropped frames.
February 17
Just Posted! Nikon Coolpix S10 Review
Just Posted! Our review of the Coolpix S10, latest in a long line of swiveling body Nikon compacts. The S10 offers a compelling mix on paper; 10x optical zoom, CCD-shift image stabilization and a very compact design. Find out if it lives up to the promise in our concise review after the link...
February 15
Nikon Capture NX 1.1
Pre-PMA 2007: Nikon has announced a major upgrade to its Capture NX software with version 1.1. New improvements include increased performance, full support for Intel-based Mac OS X, optimization for Microsoft's Windows Vista OS and resizable palettes for histograms and curves & levels adjustments.
February 14
PMA 2007 Show Report - with added RSS
Pre-PMA 2007: Just over three weeks to go and we have already seen over fifty new product announcements and are expecting many more before the show opens on March 8th. So that you can keep up to date with his growing list of new products we have enabled our PMA 2007 show report and new product index which will also provide direct access to our live 'from the show floor' reports as they happen. This year we have also added two new RSS feeds, one for the show report itself (reports of each stand) the second for the new product index.
A new brand on the block: General Imaging
Pre-PMA 2007: Just when you thought you knew all of the camera brands out there GE, better known for their home appliances and light bulbs are getting into the digital camera game. General Electric has licensed its name to be used by the new General Imaging Company in the branding of their new digital cameras. The top people at General Imaging come from such well known companies as Olympus, Sony and ArcSoft. No specific product announcements have been made yet but we are expecting some at PMA.
February 13
Lexar Professional 133x 4 GB SDHC card
Pre-PMA 2007: Lexar has today announced its new Professional 133x 4 GB SDHC cards. Lexar quote a minimum sustained write speed of 20 MB/sec, far beyond the fastest SDHC speed classification and hence the card carries the top label, a Class 6 (6 MB/sec). Lexar Professional SDHC cards will be available in March.
February 12
Lensbabies Creative Aperture Kit
Pre-PMA 2007:Lensbabies has introduced a new Creative Aperture Kit for use with the Lensbaby 3G and 2.0 SLR lenses. The kit contains star and heart-shaped aperture disks, plus blanks which can be cut to any shape the photographer wants.
February 9
Samsung S1030
Pre-PMA 2007: Samsung announced a few new cameras yesterday, but we have only received this information today. First up is the 10.1-megapixel S1030, sporting a 3x zoom, 2.7-inch LCD, sensitivity to ISO 1600 and 45MB of internal memory.
Samsung S830
Pre-PMA 2007: Next we have the 8-megapixel S830 which seems to be exactly the same as the S1030 above, except of course having a lower resolution.
Samsung L77
Pre-PMA 2007: Last is the new Samsung L77. This super slim (21mm thick) 7-million pixel features a non-extending 7x optical zoom, 2.5-inch LCD, ISO to 1600 and Samsung's 'ASR' Advanced Shake Reduction system (which offers a slight variation on the usual ISO boosting method, but is not a mechanical or optical system).
February 7
Samsung NV3 new finishes
Samsung has announced two new finishes for its NV3 compact; silver and 'Oriental Plant Lacquer' or as Samsung call it 'OPL'. The 7.2 million pixel NV3 launched last July, features a 3x zoom, built-in speakers, sensitivity to ISO 1000, a 2.5-inch screen and a Portable Multimedia Player (PMP) in a slim 17.5mm metal body.
Just Posted! Panasonic DMC-FZ8  Review
Just Posted! Our in-depth review of the Panasonic DMC-FZ8, latest in a line of successful compact ultra-zooms. The new model (which replaces last year's FZ7) ups the resolution to 7MP and features the Venus III processor (which has so far had a somewhat mixed reception). Other important changes include raw shooting capabilities, an improved viewfinder and a couple of new features. So does the FZ8 address the concerns we had about its predecessor's image quality at higher ISOs? Read on after the click to find out...
February 6
New Kodak Inkjet printers promise cheaper prints
Kodak has today announced a range of new All-In-One Inkjet printers which promise to provide cheaper home printing with pigment based inks and special paper. Kodak is attempting to turn the current printer / ink model on its head with price controlled printers and cheaper inks, which with the cheapest paper can work out at $0.10 per 4x6 inch print. The printers range in price from $150 to $300 with the top of the range 5500 featuring a scanner, document feeder, fax and LCD display. Inks cost $15 for the color cartridge (for just over 100 4x6 prints) and $10 for the black cartridge (for over 300 pages).
February 5
Ricoh 500SE GPS-ready
Although the information has been floating around for a while now, Ricoh has officially introduced its first GPS-ready digital camera, the 8 million pixel 500SE, in Europe today. The 500SE's integrated precision GPS module provides an easy- to-use device for geo-coding images and video at the time of capture. It is capable of transferring images via Bluetooth or Wifi and receiving NMEA data streams from external GPS devices via the built-in Bluetooth radio. It features the same 28mm wide zoom, 2.5-inch LCD and waterproof / shock-resistant body as the 500G, announced last year.
February 1
Olympus Master Software update
Olympus has announced what it is calling a major update to the Olympus Master software supplied with all its new digital cameras. Version 2.0 adds a Quick Start Guide, improved image-sorting functions and histogram / Color Management adjustments. The new version also sees the introduction of (optional) 'add-ons' that extend the functionality of the software - including professional features from the company's 'Studio' software. The new software will be shipped with all Olympus's 2007 digital cameras.
Kodak Professional Image Enhancement Plug-in
Kodak has announced a new range ('professional' and 'standard') of Image Enhancement Plug-ins for Photoshop (and compatible applications). They include one that automatically reduces noise/grain, an airbrush effect, one that corrects, balances and restores color and one that optimizes contrast and exposure. A free trial of the plug-ins is available to download.