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Photo Marketing Association Show 2000
Day Two - Thursday, February 03, 2000

More on the JVC QC-GX3! - (0:04 EST)

JVC QC-GX3 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Mike Pasini promised you last night that we'd get you more information on the JVC QC-GX3, and get more we did... We've got several pictures of the camera, as well as the full details - and for the $899 price we were quoted (and a planned ship date of the end of this month) this looks like a superb little camera! The model we played with was very much developmental - nothing operated on it other than the power, shutter button and zoom - but the feature set is impressive to say the least, including several features we've not seen on any other comparable consumer digicam!

First of all, here's JVC's specifications:

 - JVC QC-GX3 digital camera
- Optical 2.3x zoom lens, f7.5 - 17.5mm
- Aperture settings: F=2.8 (wide)/3.8 (tele), 5.6, 8.1
- 1/1.8" CCD with 3,338,400 pixels
- SmartMedia storage (3.3V)
- TIFF and JPEG file formats, DCF and DPOF conforming
- Video format: JVC original, max. 20 seconds
- USB connectivity
- 2" 200,000 pixel TFT polycrystalline silicon color LCD
- DC 5V (AC power adapter) or DC 3.6V (lithium ion
battery) power source
- Dimensions: 108mm x 64mm x 57mm, weighs 300 grams
inclusive of battery and SmartMedia
- Bundled with rechargeable battery, charger, 8MB
SmartMedia card, lens cap, hand strap, USB cable, video
cable and CD-ROM with USB driver, Video Player for
Windows and JVC Video Decoder for Macintosh
- Optional accessories: Soft case, extra SmartMedia card,
extra battery, floppy disk adapter, and digital printer


Now - onto the really interesting stuff! The QC-GX3 has three "pro still" modes, all of which take multiple shots and use various techniques to make an enhanced shot from them. This obviously requires a stationary subject, but can yield much better results...

JVC QC-GX3 Back View - click for a bigger picture!
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First is the "6 Mega Pro-Still", which uses a movement of the optical refraction plate to shift the image 3.45 microns (1 pixel) upwards in between shots. Using this method, the light falls onto colors of different pixels in each shot, allowing less of the data to require interpolation. Every green pixel is recorded, not interpolated, whilst the red and blue data is doubled. A 3.34 megapixel 2032 x 1536 image which JVC notes offers color reproduction equivalent to over 6 megapixels is the result...

Next comes the "NR Pro-Still". This takes multiple exposures (no note of how many) and uses the data to cancel out random noise components of the pictures, raising the signal to noise ratio by 18 dB!

Finally, the "DR Pro-Still" takes two pictures, one bright and one dark. It then merges the two, creating a final image with triple the dynamic range, giving a range that JVC says approaches film quality.

JVC QC-GX3 Top View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Obviously all these require stationary subjects, but as options on a camera (rather than the standard way it works)l, we think they sound great! The press kit notes that the QC-GX3 also has a burst mode capable of only one second between shots in all resolutions (although at the highest resolution, this is only for the first two shots)... The zoom lens is equivalent to a 37-86mm zoom on a 35mm camera, and features 2 aspherical glass lenses.

The video feature of the camera is at 1/16 VGA resolution, and gives a 100-200KB file for 20 seconds of video. The video player is provided, and can be downloaded from the JVC website. A collage function allows the use of a luminance key to superimpose subjects which are in front of a white background on top of a previous image...

The built-in LCD display has a refresh rate of 30 frames per second, for smooth panning... The built-in flash features red eye reduction, and can be fired manually for fill-in flash. It will also automatically fire when needed.

The autofocusing system of the QC-GX3 can be set in either AF-S mode to lock in on a single focal point, or AF-C mode for continuous adjustment. The camera can also be focused manually, with a choice of fully manual adjustment, fixed 2.4 meter and infinity settings. It can also be set in either Program AE (fully automatic) or Aperture Priority AE modes, with a choice of multi or spot metering.

Image sizes of 2032 x 1536, 1024 x 768 and 640 x 480 are available. The camera can also be set to one of four ISO settings (unfortunately not listed in the PR kit), and offers manual white balance and exposure compensation of +/- 2.0EV in 0.5EV steps. A digital zoom is offered, with 2x digital zoom at 1024 x 768 or higher, and 3.2x digital zoom at 640 x 480. Built-in special effects include black and white, sepia or negi-posi; images can be converted to black and white or sepia on playback, but must be shot in negi-posi mode...

JVC QC-GX3 User Interface - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


The camera features an aluminum chassis with a carbon-fiber reinforced polymer back, and features a very unique control system which, in our brief trial of the camera, we liked. The mode dial might look odd on the side of the camera, but falls naturally under the thumb... JVC's booth staff told us the idea came from their video cameras, which feature a similar mode dial.

Finally, the QC-GX3 features video output connectivity, as well as a special connector for high-speed printing to the GV-SP2 printer, which offers 310dpi prints.

More on the new HP/Pentax cameras! - (22:58 EST)
Hewlett-Packard C912 Top View - click for a bigger picture!
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Hewlett-Packard C618 Top View - click for a bigger picture!
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Just back from the show floor at PMA, we can reveal further details of the newly announced digital cameras from Hewlett Packard, the PhotoSmart C912 and C618. These cameras are advertised as having a "Pentax precision lens" in HP's press release, but it turns out that the relationship between the two companies is even closer than that... Pentax will also sell both cameras under its own label, as well - which will bring Pentax back into the digital arena, after a lengthy absence...

We have photos of both digital cameras, in both flavors (HP and Pentax) below - which we believe to be the first anywhere on the web! The PhotoSmart C912 / Pentax EI2000 in particular is one very pretty camera, and with a large 2/3" frame transfer CCD and 36-bit color depth promises to have great picture quality too...

Sadly, both manufacturers were keeping their digital cameras behind glass, and being tight-lipped about pricing and features (the HP rep did, however, confirm that they're planned for a "late summer" release, and the Pentax booth quoted image sizes of 1600 x 1280 or 800 x 640 from the EI-2000, and 1600 x 1200 or 800 x 600 from the EI-200).

Here's the pictures:

HP PhotoSmart C912 / Pentax EI-2000

Hewlett-Packard C912 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
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Pentax EI-2000 - click for a bigger picture!
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HP PhotoSmart C618 / Pentax EI-200

Hewlett-Packard C618 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
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Pentax EI-200 - click for a bigger picture!
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Late-Breaking News Highlights from PMA - (21:51 EST)
Among the late breaking stories at PMA today:

PMA Thursday Mid-Day News Highlights - (18:04 EST)
Among the stories breaking at mid-day in Las Vegas today:

Canon preparing EOS digital SLR! - (15:03 EST)
Canon's proposed EOS digital SLR - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Canon USA has today shown its EOS digital SLR for the first time at the PMA Show in Las Vegas - and we have the first pictures on the web of it for you!

Canon's proposed EOS digital SLR (top view) - click for a bigger picture!
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Canon's proposed EOS digital SLR (front view) - click for a bigger picture!
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Canon has released the following information on the camera at this stage:

Canon Overview of Product under Development

Type: Autofocusing Single-Lens Reflex Digital Camera
Lens Mount: Canon EF Mount
Lenses Used: Canon EF Lenses
Digital Resolution: Over 3 Million Pixels
Launch Date: Fall 2000 (tentative)
Canon's proposed EOS digital SLR (back view) - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


PMA Thursday Morning News Highlights - (12:34 EST)
Among this morning's newsworthy items:

The Digital Focus report! - (4:54 EST)
Mike and Dave spent their first evening in Las Vegas on the prowl at the Digital Focus event, a separate show targetted at press and analysts, and concentrating solely on digital camera-related hardware and software... What did we see? A lot - check out the list and photos below!

Canon

Canon PowerShot S20 - click for a bigger picture!
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Canon showed its diminutive (in size, not specification) PowerShot S20 at the show... We didn't get to spend enough time with this one to form an opinion of it other than "Wow, it's small", and "I want one!" - an opinion we formed of almost every camera at Digital Focus! Revisiting the S20 for a longer play is on our to-do list for the next couple of days...

Casio
Casio QV-3000EX Front View - click for a bigger picture!
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Casio QV-3000EX Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
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There's no question that the QV-3000EX has personality, and lots of it - the two protrusions on the front top of the camera give it almost a cartoonish face... More importantly though, the QV-3000EX seemed to fit Mike's (rather large) hands very comfortably, something that can be a bit uncommon, particularly with the Japanese models which invariably are designed for something other than lanky Europeans... The large quantity of rubber on the camera helps give it a secure feeling, at least in my hands!


Fuji

Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom Front View - click for a bigger picture!
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Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
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Fuji showed both its new SuperCCD cameras, the consumer FinePix 4700 Zoom, and the professional S1 Pro, along with the 1.3 megapixel FinePix 1400, which really does look like a film camera more than a digital camera... Several large glossy photos from the S1 Pro were on display, but we overheard the booth staff boasting that if those were impressive, we should wait and see how big they're going to have them blown up on their PMA booth... We can't wait! ;)

Fuji S1 Pro SLR Front View - click for a bigger picture!
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Fuji S1 Pro SLR Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
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Fuji S1 Pro SLR and Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom side by side - click for a bigger picture!
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The FinePix 4700 really seemed to be very well thought out, with a nice combination of speed, and a great interface... (We particularly liked the use of the LCD in the control system, which with the backlighting makes for a camera that should be easy to use, in most conditions...) The S1 Pro too had great backlighting on its LCD data display, something that too many digital cameras lack... We'd like to see other manufacturers pick this up too - the data LCDs are great for saving power instead of using that hungry LCD viewfinder, so why not make it so we can use them in any conditions? Thanks, Fuji!

Minolta

Minolta Dimage 2300 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
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Minolta Dimage 2300 Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
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A pair of Dimage 2300s - click for a bigger picture!
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First previously unannounced camera of the evening - Minolta's Dimage 2300! This little camera - and it really did feel little in my hands - was actually rather hard to get your hands on! It seemed to be drawing quite a few people, a very impressive feat for a 2.3 megapixel camera in a room full of new 3 megapixel models...

Nikon

Nikon Coolpix 990 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
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Nikon Coolpix 990 Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
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Nikon Coolpix 990 un-swivelled - click for a bigger picture!
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Nikon were, of course, showing their Coolpix 990, announced recently... Mike has to say, this is one very nice camera - I found the control layout to be very intuitive indeed, and it was really FAST! I didn't have long to play with this camera, but whilst I did, I really found it fun and "camera-like" to use - and the histogram feature was a real bonus... Hopefully I'll get a little longer to try the Coolpix 990 out in the next couple of days.

Olympus

Olympus C-3030 Zoom Front View - click for a bigger picture!
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Olympus C-3030 Zoom Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
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Olympus were showing their new C-3030 Zoom digital camera, as well as the new D-460 Zoom and D-360L digital cameras, announced early yesterday (January 02)... The sharp-eyed amongst you will notice something a little unusual about the C-3030 in our photos (well, other than the overexposed nature of the photos - Mike says "Sorry!", and will try and get some better ones!)... Yes, it does say on the camera that it is a C-3000 Zoom - and it's not a new model you've not yet heard of, just that the camera in hand was a development version and presumably reflected what the name was, at one stage, planned to be... :) We also heard from Olympus of a new version of firmware for the C-2500 - and as tired as Mike was, he forgot the specifics of the new software before writing them down! We'll try and get that information to you tomorrow...

Toshiba

Toshiba PDR-M60 and PDR-M70 side by side - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Toshiba showed mockups of its new PDR-M60 and PDR-M70 digital cameras on its booth. We covered the launch of these two new cameras, unannounced until today, in the previous news item - and you can find pictures of both mockups there as well. Toshiba's booth staff noted that the mockups we were looking at were substantially similar to how the final cameras should look, but may vary in details... The specifications and pricing look attractive, and the cameras themselves seemed attractive and easy to hold, so we're looking forward to seeing them in action... The only pity was that as realistic as the mockups looked, they wouldn't do anything when we tried to switch them on! ;)

We're only on the first day of PMA (well - technically, it doesn't actually start until 10am today!) but already we've seen many new and exciting digital cameras... Mike's pick of what he saw at Digital Focus would have to be the Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom, for its very clever user interface (plus the "coolness" quotient of turning on your camera to be cheerfully greeted by it on the LCD display)... Seriously though, every camera we saw there has the chance of being a contender over the next few months, and we're greatly looking forward to getting as many as possible of them in-house for the "Dave" reviewing treatment. Days like Digital Focus make our job worthwhile!

Toshiba announces PDR-M60 and PDR-M70 digital cameras! - (3:52 EST)
Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. has today announced its new PDR-M60 digital camera. The M60 features a 2.3 megapixel CCD, 2.3x optical zoom lens, USB connectivity, and SmartMedia storage, as well as a price tag of less than $600! Here's the full details:

Toshiba PDR-M60 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
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Toshiba PDR-M60 Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
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 - Toshiba PDR-M60 digital camera
- 1/2 inch 2.3 megapixel CCD gives image at 1800 x 1200
or 900 x 600 pixels; EXIF 2.1 JPEG compression ratios
of 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16 in both resolutions
- 2.3x all-glass aspheric optical zoom lens, F2.8 - 3.2,
9 elements in 6 groups, equivalent to 38-86mm on a
35mm camera; macro focusing down to 2 inches; 2x
digital zoom; built-in lens cap
- 1.8 inch TFT backlit LCD display, 60,000 pixels
- Built-in five mode flash (auto, on, off, slow-sync,
red-eye reduction, fill-in); range 20 inches to 10 feet
- USB (PC/Mac compatible) and NTSC/PAL video out
connectivity
- SmartMedia storage (2 to 6MB; upgradeable to 128MB)
- Automatic exposure control with exposure compensation
+/- 1.5EV in 0.3EV steps
- Shutter speeds 1/2 to 1/500 second (with mechanical
shutter)
- Automatic and four-mode manual white balance (outdoor,
incandescent, fluorescent I and II)
- ISO 100, 200 and 400 ratings
- Less than two seconds recycle time between shots, less
than two seconds between images in playback, less than
two seconds startup time
- Multi-shot mode records 16 shots in 1 (4 per second)
- Self timer (2 or 10 seconds)
- Long exposure mode (1, 2, 4 or 8 seconds)
- Playback single frame, slide show, 9-in-1 thumbnails
or 2.5x playback zoom
- Weighs 10.4 ounces with batteries, dimensions of 121mm
x 75mm x 60mm
- Bundled with USB cable (Mac/PC), video out cable,
neck-strap, 4MB SmartMedia card, four AA-sized
batteries, and multi-platform CD software from Sierra
Imaging for accessing, managing and enhancing digital
photos
- Expected to ship in May 2000 at an MSRP below $600
Also announced was the Toshiba PDR-M70 digital camera:

Toshiba PDR-M70 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
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Toshiba PDR-M70 Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
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 - Toshiba PDR-M70 digital camera
- 1/1.8 inch 3.37 megapixel CCD gives image at 2048 x 1536
or 1024 x 768 pixels; EXIF 2.1 JPEG
- 3x all-glass aspheric optical zoom lens, F2 - 2.5,
8 elements in 7 groups, equivalent to 35-105mm on a
35mm camera; macro focusing down to 8 inches; 2x
digital zoom
- 1.8 inch TFT backlit LCD display, (wider vertical
viewing angles), 122,000 pixels
- Built-in five mode flash (auto, on, off, slow-sync,
red-eye reduction, fill-in); range 8 inches to 13.3 feet
- USB (PC/Mac compatible) and NTSC/PAL video out
connectivity
- SmartMedia storage (2 to 6MB; upgradeable to 128MB)
- Automatic exposure control with exposure compensation
+/- 1.5EV in 0.3EV steps; shutter priority and aperture
priority AE modes
- Shutter speeds 1/2 to 1/1000 second (with mechanical
shutter)
- Automatic and four-mode manual white balance (outdoor,
incandescent, fluorescent I and II)
- ISO 100, 200 and 400 ratings
- Approx 1.5 seconds recycle time between shots, less
than one second between images in playback, less than
three seconds startup time
- Multi-shot mode records 36 shots in 1, 15 shots per
second
- Movie mode records up to 120 seconds at 15 frames per
second
- Self timer (2 or 10 seconds)
- Long exposure mode (1, 2, 4 or 8 seconds)
- Playback single frame, slide show, 9-in-1 thumbnails,
movie, audio or 1.6x/3.2x playback zoom
- Weighs 14.1 ounces with batteries, dimensions of 116mm
x 76mm x 62mm
- Bundled with USB cable (Mac/PC), video out cable,
neck-strap, 16MB SmartMedia card, soft case, lens cap,
rechargeable Lithium Ion battery with AC Adapter, and
multi-platform CD software from Sierra Imaging for
accessing, managing and enhancing digital photos
- Expected to ship in March 2000 at an MSRP below $1000
Note: The photographs in this item are of mock-up models of these cameras shown at the Digital Focus event in Las Vegas. Whilst they should be substantially similar to the final shipping cameras, there may be some differences!













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