The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 2, Number 3 11 February 2000

Copyright 2000, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 11th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We've got PMA 2000 coverage (unlike the other guys, Dave Etchells and Mike Tomkins were actually there) and just the thing if, like us, PMA turns you green with envy. Our regular features will return in the next issue (if we know what's good for us).


TOPICS

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Feature: PMA 2000: Blooming in the Desert

By MIKE TOMKINS with tech notes by DAVE ETCHELLS

(You can read the full, blow-by-blow coverage of PMA 20000 by visiting http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS00/PMA2000.HTM on the Web site. Be patient, there are lots of images.)

With the Photo Marketing Show 2000 now behind us, it's time for a recap of the show -- and all the new products we saw. This year's show was impressive not only for its size (PMA is not as big as Comdex, but it is still easy to spend half your time just trying to find the booth you're heading for!), but also for the number of digital products on display. With companies like Pentax, JVC and Samsung looking to join the regulars such as Nikon, Olympus, Kodak and Sony, there has to have been a record number of digital cameras at the show this year -- and most of these models showed great promise.

SHOW BIZ

As usual, the big names had big shows on to attract the crowds -- and these were interesting in themselves, giving a feel for which products a company is pushing, and also suggesting just how many marketing dollars are behind those products.

Canon gave us "Canon Presents ... Broadway," a 6-person Broadway troupe performing at regular intervals throughout the day in front of a video wall. We didn't get a chance to see the entire performance all the way through, but what we did see was great fun -- and a little less "commercial" seeming than some of the other performances.

We didn't get to see whether the show was being intended to simply draw a crowd, or whether the performers were also reeling off statistics on the latest products in the intervals, but they did have a carefully positioned ad for the PowerShot S20 right next to the stage.

Fuji took a more straightforward approach: three models in extremely colorful wigs and sparkling metallic costumes went through a well-rehearsed performance, describing Fuji's latest products and showing them off at the same time, while three huge video walls in the background played a well choreographed mixture of music and footage of the new products. Both the SuperCCD cameras -- the Fuji Finepix 4700 Zoom and FinePix S1 Pro -- were highlighted, along with Fuji's home photo printer and store-based digital print ordering systems.

We'd have to vote the Olympus show as probably the second most popular, based on how difficult it was to get past their booth whenever a performance was on. An extremely energetic performance from four people singing and dancing, accompanied by live saxophone and drums made for a fast-paced show with plenty to keep the attention of the audience. Yet another video wall in the background helped the performers showing off Olympus' products, including the C-3030 Zoom digital camera.

Perhaps the most popular show of all was at the Samsung booth. Pop music played in the background while three singers took turns on the stage, dancing and singing lyrics altered to advertise Samsung's CyberMax and Digimax digital cameras, as well as their film cameras and more. Two extremely energetic (not to mention flexible!) dancers accompanied this throughout, and for a finale, all five performers filled the stage in front of (yes, yet another) video wall. This was rounded off with a give-away of a Samsung film camera after each performance.

The shows themselves were certainly impressive to watch, but were unquestionably surpassed by some of the products on display this year. Here's a run-down on what we saw at the Digital Focus and PMA events, from each manufacturer:

AGFA

Agfa showed its existing line of digital cameras and scanners.

CANON

Without doubt, the big news for digital imaging at Canon's booth (and possibly the big news of the show, if the response on our News Forum pages was anything to go by!) was Canon's new EOS digital SLR.

Little information accompanied the camera, which was shown behind glass in the center of Canon's booth -- but the unit apparently will surface in Fall of this year, with a 3 megapixel CCD and interchangeable Canon EF mount lenses. Canon's PowerShot S20 also showed, as did a new EOS film camera, the 1V.

EPSON

Epson showed three new printers at PMA, all variations on a theme. The new printers accept roll paper (allowing for printing photos continuously, and then cutting them apart, saving on paper waste), as well as edge-to-edge printing (thanks to special receptacles to catch the ink which went off the edge of the paper), and most impressively, new light-fast inks and papers which should give close to the fade properties of silver halide prints. The printers were a wide format version, a standard version, and a standard version with a built-in PC card reader. Epson also showed its existing scanner and digital camera lines.

Dave's tech note: The light-fast inks and media the new Epson printers take are really big news. Fading has been the big bugaboo preventing inkjets from making serious inroads against conventional silver-based photo prints. Epson projected lifetimes of 10 years for their glossy media and 26 years for their matte-finish product. What's most impressive about these numbers is that they come not from Epson themselves, but from Wilhelm Research, the absolute horse's mouth on all aspects of print permanence. Now, no need to worry about whether digital prints you make for friends and relatives will go the distance!

FUJIFILM

Fuji gave SuperCCD a lot of space at its booth, showing the new CCD layout it has designed for two digital cameras, the Finepix 4700 Zoom and Finepix S1 Pro.

We played with a working 4700 Zoom at the Digital Focus show, and found it to be very well designed ergonomically, and quite responsive. The S1 Pro was similarly impressive, and very difficult to get near on the Fuji booth, with crowds of people wanting to see it.

Fuji quite obviously put a lot of effort into PMA, with lots of prime advertising space (the back cover of all the show guides, as an example) and the Fuji blimp (which we enjoyed a ride in last November at Comdex) in town. Also shown was Fuji's photo lab equipment, digital print ordering systems, and a whole lot else besides. This was one of the largest booths of all, with probably only Kodak and Canon managing larger.

We tried the S1 Pro out for ourselves, curious to see how it fared. There has been a lot of controversy on the Internet regarding Fuji's decision not to quote the actual pixel resolution, instead quoting an interpolated figure which Fuji feels to be the camera's equivalent when compared to conventional CCD based cameras. We felt the camera fared well against three megapixel cameras, showing perhaps slightly more definition and significantly better noise, but against a true six megapixel camera the difference in resolution was quite noticeable. The results are highlighted in our comparison at http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS00/Shootout/SHOOT.HTM of the S1 with Nikon's D1, and Kodak's DCS330, 620 and 660. It will be very interesting to see a final version of the S1 go under the microscope in more controlled circumstances. We felt that overall the camera fared pretty well in this not-quite-scientific testing!

HEWLETT PACKARD

HP showed two new digital cameras, one of which features a 2/3" frame transfer CCD and an SLR design. Both cameras feature the Digita operating system and Pentax lenses, and are also to be sold under the Pentax name.

The HP C618 / Pentax EI-200 features a 2.1 megapixel CCD, 3x optical zoom, aperture and shutter priority modes, and infrared printing, while the HP C912 / Pentax EI-2000 features the 2/3" 2.24 megapixel frame transfer CCD, 3x optical zoom Pentax lens, infrared printing, SLR design, and manual focus, exposure, color and flash control. Both cameras were shown behind glass by HP and Pentax, and booth staff would not reveal details beyond that in their press releases.

Dave's tech note: Frame transfer technology in a consumer digicam is big news. Frame transfer (as opposed to the more common interline transfer) gives higher light sensitivity, less image noise, and potentially better color fidelity. Previously, frame transfer CCDs were only found in high-end Kodak professional models, never in cameras costing less than several thousand dollars. It'll be interesting to see how the HP camera with this sensor performs!

JVC

JVC has chosen 2000 to re-enter the digital camera marketplace, with its impressive looking QC-GX3 on show at PMA 2000.

The GX3 features a 3.3 megapixel CCD and 2.3x zoom lens in a fairly small camera. As well as its unusual control positioning (it features a mode dial on its side, next to the zoom lever and a mode lever, all within reach of your thumb -- a control system that was surprisingly easy to use, at least in a show setting), the camera also features 3 special "Pro Still" modes, each of which promises enhanced pictures for still images.

The first shifts the CCD over by one pixel between the first and second shots, effectively doubling the sensor pixels used to capture the image; the second mode allows multiple still images to be averaged to reduce noise; the third allows a dark and light picture to be combined into one with increased dynamic range. Clever tricks that could be very useful, although only when the camera is on a tripod and there's no movement in the subject.

Dave's tech note: Another potentially really big deal, blurring the line between professional studio cameras and consumer point & shoots. If the Pro Still Mode" tricks in the GX3 work at all as advertised, we could see a lot of them making their way into commercial studios. Anyone looking for an inexpensive solution for high-end product photography may benefit from this technology.

KODAK

Kodak showed its full range of Pro digital cameras, several of which we were able to try out briefly as part of our image comparison: the DCS330, 620 and 660.

Also on show were Kodak's existing line-up of digital cameras, in what was probably the most impressive looking booth of the show. It looked like something out of Star Trek, painted in Kodak colors and with a large globe mounted on the top -- it really defies description!

LEICA

Leica showed its new Digilux Zoom, which it announced was due to ship later this year, but which a reader reliably informs us has been shipping since the end of last year. The Digilux Zoom is a rebadged MX-1700.

Also on display was a slide-scanning attachment for the Digilux Zoom, which literally mounts on the front of the camera, to hold a slide at just the right distance to be photographed.

MINOLTA

Minolta showed its new Dimage 2300 digital camera, a nice little unit which featured a 2.3 megapixel resolution, and attracted quite a lot of interest when we were playing with it at the Digital Focus event (we had to queue for almost ten minutes to get our hands on one!)

Also on show was the Dimage Scan line, with the Dimage Scan Elite, Scan Speed and Scan Dual at the show. The Dimage Scan Multi includes a free version of Canto Cumulus single user, as well as a new Universal Holder, making the bundle more attractive.

Dave's tech note: Cumulus is a nice software addition to the Dimage Multi. Several years back, I did a consulting job for a large imaging company, evaluating image-organizer tools, and Cumulus was one of the best I saw. Other big news, if not entirely new, is that the Dimage Scan Elite uses the "Digital ICE" defect-removal technology from Applied Science Fiction. Heretofore, Nikon sold the only film scanners with this technology (see http://www.nikonusa.com/products/imaging/digitalice/digitalice.html for an animated example), which can have a huge impact on productivity, even when scanning relatively clean slides with little dust and few scratches. Check our review of the LS-2000 for more info on this almost-magical technology! Very good news indeed that another scanner manufacturer has picked it up!

NIKON

Nikon showed its D1 Pro camera, as well as the newly-announced 3.3 megapixel Coolpix 990. The 990, announced just before PMA, looks to be a very nice camera, with intuitive controls, great speed, and the same swivel design that its older 9xx siblings featured.

We have a prototype 990 in-house right now. We should have some preliminary photos online in the Comparometer(tm) by the time this issue goes to press, and a full review up shortly after Dave returns from vacation on Feb. 20. Initial results are very impressive, even though the prototype unit we have shows more image noise than we're told to expect in the production models.

PANASONIC

Panasonic showed its PV-SD4090 PalmCam, which uses 120MB SuperDisk media to save images from a 1.3 megapixel CCD and 3x optical zoom lens.

PENTAX

Pentax has chosen to ally with Hewlett-Packard for its re-entry into the digital camera market, with both manufacturers to release their own versions of two new cameras. See the HP section for more details.

POLAROID

Polaroid showed its existing line-up of digital cameras, as well as Polaroid products and its i-Zone sticker cameras.

Dave's tech note: Polaroid has been focusing heavily on the mass-consumer market, with inexpensive cameras distributed through the likes of K-Mart and Wal-Mart. We haven't seen any of these for review, but were surprised to learn in a press release yesterday that Polaroid claims to have shipped 400,000 digital cameras in 1999!

SILICON FILM

Silicon Film showed its eFilm EFS-1 digital film cartridge for film cameras at the show. The EFS-1 is now planned for a mid-year release at a price of $699 for a 1.3 megapixel version. USB capability has been added to the ePort (which reads the EFS-1 cartridge), allowing for high-speed downloads without needing a full-size PC Card slot on your PC.

The eBox storage device, from which you can transfer images to storage when in the field, is still being completed. We were told that at the present time, Silicon Film has not decided on whether to use CompactFlash, SmartMedia or PC Card for this.

Finally, we were told that initially at least, the eFilm pack will only be available from Silicon Film's Web site. This will include international sales, however. At a later date, Silicon Film is considering selling through distributors and retailers.

SONY

Sony impressed with a large selection of new digital cameras: the DSC-S30, DSC-S50 and DSC-S70 (all announced just before the show), as well as the MVC-FD85, MVC-FD90 and MVC-FD95 digital cameras.

The S30 and S50 cameras featured a very nice swivel LCD display which could be turned around for protection when not in use, or used from most angles, even from in front of the camera. The S70, with the highest resolution, sadly replaced this with a fixed LCD display, but with 3.3 megapixels this could be worth the sacrifice.

All three cameras featured a great menu system which we found very intuitive.

The larger cameras were equally impressive, the MVC-FD95 in particular being a very nice camera, if a little over pocket sized! ;) It was also absolutely packed with buttons, which made it easy to use without needing to delve into a menu system, but might take a while to learn.

Dave's tech note: The big news with Sony is that they've broken free of the restriction imposed by 1.44 megabyte floppy disks on their wildly popular Mavica line. The solution is to give the cameras special firmware, so their floppy drives can talk to a "FlashPath" adapter housing a memory stick module. (Note that I don't know what Sony is calling the floppy-disk adapter, FlashPath is the name given it by Smart Disk Corp, the developer.)

Thus, the new Mavica cameras will be able to have effective memory capacities up to 64 megabytes, with 128 megabytes not far off. While the FlashPath adapters aren't terribly fast transferring data to the host computer, their ease of use retains one of the key features of the Mavica line for end-users.

Other news is that all of the new cameras announced have 12 bit digitization, vs. the 10 bits used by most digicams. This should/could translate into greater dynamic range and less image noise. Overall, the new Sony digicams should amount to a tremendous step up in image quality for the Mavica line, and a powerful extension to the prosumer models.)

CONCLUSION

Overall, our feeling is that this year's PMA will be remembered for two things: the onslaught of the 3 megapixel digital cameras, and the beginning of the SLR digital camera "battle."

Who will triumph in the end it is too early to predict at this stage, but between Kodak's existing line, Nikon's D1, Fuji's S1 Pro and now Canon's EOS digital, it looks like things could really heat up over the next year for SLR digicams with interchangeable lenses.

And the increased competition can hopefully mean only one thing: better deals for the users! Here's looking forward to PMA 2001, and hoping it will be even more fun than PMA 2000 has been!

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Feature: Olympus C-2020 Zoom Updates a Classic

By DAVE ETCHELLS
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/C2020/C20A.HTM on the Web site.)

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

The C-2020 Zoom is an exciting update on an already exceptional camera, the C-2000 Zoom. At first glance, the newer C-2020 Zoom looks almost identical to its tried and true predecessor -- the body shape, style and coloring are all the same. But upon closer examination, you'll notice a few additional control buttons, the removal of the power button and the new style of the jog dial. Best of all, the C-2020 Zoom remains lightweight and extremely compact with its 10.8 ounce weight (306.2g) and 4.2 x 2.9 x 2.6 inch (107.5 x 73.8 x 66.4mm) dimensions.

The C-2020 Zoom sports both an optical, real image viewfinder and a rear panel 1.8 inch, 114,000-pixel, TFT color LCD screen (almost doubling the C-2000 Zoom LCD's 72,000 pixels). The LCD viewfinder conveniently supplies detailed feedback about the current exposure settings, showing the f-stop, shutter speed and exposure compensation in a row of numbers across the top. We really liked the distance display that appears on the LCD monitor when using the new manual focus function -- helpful in those hard to focus situations, where you have to proceed by "dead reckoning".

The 6.5 to 19.5mm lens provides a range of 35mm equivalent focal lengths from about 35 to 105mm with 3x optical zoom and a very fast f2.0 to f2.8 (wide to tele) maximum aperture. New on the C-2020 Zoom is the manual focus setting, with a distance readout that allows you to be even more accurate with difficult to focus subjects. In addition to the C-2020 Zoom's 3x optical zoom, a 2.5x digital zoom can capture images at a total zoom ratio of up to 7.5x, with noticeable quality degradations of course. This variable digital zoom can be set at 1x (no zoom), 1.6x, 2x or 2.5x magnifications. The basic image size captured by the C-2020 Zoom is 1600 x 1200 pixels, but lower resolutions of 1024 x 768 and even 640 x 480 are available. Likewise, the image compression options include an uncompressed mode producing full resolution TIFF images. Another change relative to the C-2000 is that the '2020 gives you two compression/quality settings at each image size.

The C-2020 Zoom offers a great deal of exposure control and we're pleased to note a full manual capability that wasn't available on the earlier model. Like its predecessor, the C-2020 Zoom gives you four options for ISO (Auto, 100, 200 and 400 in all modes), but this time doesn't override the ISO setting in program mode. Program mode controls both aperture and shutter speed, offering exposure times as long as 1.0 seconds. Aperture and Shutter Priority modes give you control over aperture or shutter speed while the camera does the rest of the work, offering apertures from f2.0 to f11 and shutter speeds from four to 1/800 seconds. Manual control gives you the same aperture options and much longer shutter speed times (as slow as 16 seconds). In all automatic modes, exposure compensation can be adjusted from +/- 2EV in 1/3 step increments. Add the optional spot metering and automatic bracketing, and you have a great deal of creative control.

There's also a 12 second self-timer and an infrared remote for more flexible shooting. (We really like the IR remote!) White balance can be set to Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten or Fluorescent to accommodate a variety of lighting conditions and the Picture Effects option allows you to capture images in black and white and sepia tone with white and black board settings (for capturing text).

We were very pleased to note the addition of a Movie mode on the C-2020 Zoom, which allows you to record up to approximately 60 second QuickTime movies in the SQ mode (320x160), or about 15 seconds in HQ (160x120). Panorama and Sequence modes add even more to the camera's functionality (with Sequence mode capturing up to 1.4 frames per second at normal camera resolutions).

The C-2020 Zoom's flash offers four operating modes (Off, Auto, Fill and Red-Eye Reduction) with flash power extending to approximately 18.4 feet (5.6m) in wide angle mode and to about 12.5 feet (3.8m) in telephoto. Any of these modes may be combined with the Slow Sync option to increase the ambient light exposure. A PC sync socket allows you to connect an external flash unit.

The unit ships with an eight megabyte SmartMedia memory card, connects to the computer via an RS-232 serial interface and has video output as well. Images may be captured and stored at several sizes and compression levels, including an uncompressed mode. Software shipped with the unit includes a basic camera interface package, plus the extraordinary QuickStitch panorama stitching application and Adobe PhotoDeluxe for image editing.

Since we were already won over by the original C-2000 Zoom (it's the camera we use for our own product shots on the Web site), we definitely love the new and improved C-2020 version: The addition of a full manual mode, movie mode and manual focus make this an even more flexible digital camera than its predecessor. At the same time, the ergonomic improvements from the control changes make its operation much more convenient. You get exceptional creative control with the same straightforward user interface we learned to love on the C-2000 Zoom. Combine this with first rate image quality, and you have what we think will be an extremely popular digicam.

One of the few quibbles we have with the C-2020's interface design is that some functions can require a lot of button-pushing to access. Moving the flash, macro, and spot-metering functions out of the LCD menu system and onto the camera's back-panel controls was a great step in the right direction. We'd like to see even more of this though, or at least a greater ability to control the camera via the top-panel LCD readout, rather than forcing you to use the larger LCD screen all the time.

We really liked the tiny infrared remote control provided with the C-2020 Zoom. We shoot most of our own tests from a tripod, and the studio shots tend to have fairly long exposure times. To avoid any loss of resolution, we're always keen to reduce our disturbance of the camera while taking pictures. On a conventional camera, this would require a cable release, to avoid jostling the camera when pressing the shutter button. With most digital cameras, the best we can do is use a very sturdy tripod and press the shutter button lightly, or use the self-timer to trip the shutter and spend a lot of time standing around waiting. Thus, with the C-2020 Zoom (as with the previous C-2000 Zoom), we loved being able to trigger the shutter without the risk of any camera disturbance at all.

CONCLUSION

Olympus took an already great digicam, the C-2000 Zoom, and made it even better. The new C-2020 Zoom increases the already exceptional exposure control of the C-2000 with its full manual exposure and focusing capabilities and goes a step further with the addition of the Movie mode. Multiple user-interface improvements make for greater ease of use and flexibility. Finally, excellent image quality and compact portability make for a unit that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The C-2020 Zoom looks like a case of a manufacturer really listening to their customers, and we expect the C-2020 to be very popular as a result.

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Feature: A PMA Antidote

Well, I don't know about you, but here at the Imaging Resource Convention Center (aka base camp) we're a little down after hearing about all those fabulous products in Las Vegas. In fact, as we contemplate playing a round of Hacky Sack with our 320x240 Obsoleto II, we're unable to find anything in our wide-angle non-zoom pinhole lens to inspire us to lift our finger enough to depress the shutter. And that's bad.

Or we were until we read our mail. Which included this interesting request from June Garel:

"I have a Pathe, marked 'Made in France,' movie projector that I know is at least 72 years old. I also have a box of bulbs that go in it. Could you direct me to a place where I might find out the value of same and/or contact an individual, store or company that would have an interest in buying the projector? We had it working a few years ago, showing film of my now 74-year-old husband when he was 2 years old playing in his mother's back yard. Consequently, provenance is valid. Please help me find an interested party."

Well, of course, the trick to remaining on working terms with old equipment like our fully depreciated Obsolete II is to appreciate it for the antique it is. So we interrupt this newsletter for the Antique Camera Web Show coming to you this week from the Imaging Resource Convention Center.

Well, June, we say, turning the old Pathe upside down, you'll notice it is not signed on the bottom by Louis Comfort Tiffany which suggests it really is French. Do you know anything about the French? Ever heard of Charles Pathe, for example?

Charles (1863-1957) made a fortune playing a phonograph at a fairground booth. Edison had invented it but Charles Pathe took one to a fairground booth in Vincennes, near Paris, and played its cylinder recordings for amazed -- and paying -- crowds. Eventually he even manufactured a fairly decent copy of the Edison phonograph (you can see a few at http://agnard.scg.ulaval.ca/collection3/pathe.htm).

But he had bigger ideas. In 1895 he took a Kinetoscope (Edison's 1893 peep-show device that used a 50-foot loop of 35mm celluloid film to provide continuous viewing) and added four lenses to it to quadruple profits at the old fair booth. The next year he manufactured and sold his own movie camera and made a few short films, including the immortal (and inevitable) Arrivee du train de Vincennes (Train Arriving at Vincennes). Which many of his patrons were probably dying to see after listening to those One Tenor Concerts (that would be the unaccompanied Caruso) at the old fair booth.

Charles was soon joined by his brothers Emile, Jacques and Theophile in a new company called Pathe Freres (the Brothers Pathe) which made everything from phonographs to film to movies.

To manufacture film Pathe built a plant outside Paris (and had an agreement with Kodak to sell retread Kodak film in Europe while using 1,000 meters of Kodak film a day in their own productions). The Betamax of its day, Pathe pushed a 28mm film format sprocketed to require Pathe products. But the company eventually abandoned the format for the 35mm standard.

As film goers moved out of the fairgrounds and into theaters, Pathe capitalized on the trend by inventing the, uh, blockbuster concept of renting movies rather than selling them to theaters. An innovation, we note with a straight face, that was ratified at the Congres des Dupes in 1909.

But because Pathe's "safety film" on a cellulose acetate base did not burn like the nitrate-based films used by other studios, the company's prints of classics like "The Perils of Pauline" (not to mention your husband's childhood) ensured the survival of these priceless works of the early cinema.

By 1910 the company, whose logo was a crowing rooster, was manufacturing cameras and projectors. See for yourself at http://www.oscars.org/cmps/artifact/pathekok.html.

In January 1914 George Eastman (that fellow over at Kodak) was greatly upset that Pathe was "about to bring out a color process which will revolutionize the industry ... the colors are in the film, reproduction is simple ... finished positives costing scarely anything extra for color." But by the fall, Kodak had developed a product called Kodachrome to compete with Pathe. Ring a bell?

The first World War disrupted the company and by 1928, when George Eastman visited Pathe in Paris, Charles was happy to merge, forming Kodak-Pathe.

Which is about the time your projector was sold. And it wasn't alone. Pathe was the Bell & Howell of its day. That was in an era when children were (cinematically, at least) seen and not heard. Sound only became feasible with video tape in the 1970s. An Edifying if not Pathetic observation, I should note, since the invention of the phonograph preceded the movie camera.

So, June, do you have any idea what your Pathe projector is worth?

At auction, on eBay, on a good day, who can tell (especially with a box of spare bulbs)? But drop by http://www.samdodge.com/pathe.htm and ask. Dodge deals in Pathe paraphernalia. Please ask him if he's interested in a rare Obsoleto II. And thank you for visiting the Antique Camera Web Show.

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New on the Site

Just in case you haven't been by lately, here are a few things to catch up on at the site (http://www.imaging-resource.com/):

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Just for Fun: And the Winner Is ...

Last time we elected every one of you a member of the Ersatz Academy of Sliding Picture Arts and Sciences in the hopes of getting a few nominations for Best Slide Show, a category neglected by that other Academy about to throw a few Oscar nominations away on Feb. 15.

You didn't disappoint. So we're delighted to pass along the nominations (with a W for Windows software and M for Macintosh) for this year's Academy of Sliding Pictures Award for Slide Show software.

Oh, yes, the winner. The envelope, please? [pause] The envelope? [pause] Please! What?! [Scuffling off stage] What about Billy Crystal's lawyer? [Exit]
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Dave's Deals

PhotoAlley.com will give a $50 gift certificate to the first 1,000 who sign up at their PhotoFeedback site. Just register at http://www.photoalley.com/pa/communityHome.cfm using code 750, upload three images and review five others. If you're among the first 1,000 you'll get a $50 gift certificate you can use on PhotoAlley's wide selection of digital cameras and accessories. And they ship free FedEx 2 Day on all orders over $100 or free UPS Ground shipping on all orders. NOTE: This isn't a sweepstakes. If you follow the requirements, and are one of the first 1000 to do so, you absolutely get the $50 gift certificate. (Not bad pay for uploading a few photos and commenting on a few more!)

Ofoto has extended its introductory offer of 100 free Kodak prints free prints to those signing up by March 5. And you don't have to use them all until the end of the year. Just visit their Web site at http://www.ofoto.com to sign up.

Software Architects, Inc. has extended the special Macworld price of $24.95 to Imaging Resource Newsletter readers for Great Photo!, its image enhancement product. Just visit http://special.softarch.com to take advantage of the $30 discount. For a look at the interface, see our brief review at http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/MWW00/0105mac.htm from Macworld Expo.

Scansoft, creators of TextBridge Pro OCR, recently acquired the Kai line and decided to combine PhotoSoap2, SuperGoo, and PowerShow into a new product called PhotoFactory. They're offering the three-in-one package for $29.95 -- a savings of almost $50 -- at http://www.digitalriver.com/aladdin/scansoft/22617/ for both Macintosh and Windows platforms.

Trial downloads of the (excellent) PhotoGenetics imaging program are still available. If you decide to purchase PhotoGenetics, be sure to come back through this URL (http://www.q-res.com/php3/downloads.php3?refid=imgresource) to receive the special $5-off deal for Imaging Resource readers!

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We Have Mail

First of all, thanks very much for all the kind mail we received praising the new newsletter section of the Web site at http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS. Secondly, thanks for the very kind words we continue to receive about the newsletter. And thirdly, here are a few selections from our in box we thought particularly worth sharing. Remember, you can email us at editor@imaging-resource.com. And we'll actually reply.

RE: A Good, Inexpensive Idea

I am a brand new Christmas present type digital camera person.

I just used it to take a photo inventory of the furnishings and stuff in our house -- for insurance purposes. I will store it off premises.

Amateur or professional digital camera user, this is a good, very inexpensive use. Hope we never need to use it.

-- George Weimer, Jr.

(Good idea. It's an excellent use for the macro capability of your camera, too (particularly for jewelry, coins, etc.). And we, too, hope you never need use the shots. -- Editor)

RE: Branded Luggage

Here's a tip for the group. Sometimes it does not pay to advertise! Instead of telling the world you have expensive camera equipment sitting in your car by using a brand name camera bag, try using a soft-sided cooler.

I have been using this trick for years. Most of these coolers have padded (insulated) walls which provide protection for your gear. Also, you can customize the fit of the cooler by cuting and hot gluing rigid foam 'ground pads' (available at any camping store) to create partitions for exactly the equipment you have. Coolers are available in many different styles, colors, and sizes.

Soft-sided coolers work very well as camera bags. They don't look like they contain anything valuable so they are less likely to "grow legs."

-- Digital Don

(Well, when you have an Obsolete II you don't have to worry about things like this, but this is a great idea. I always pack my magic wand in a pool cue case. No one ever suspects. -- Editor)

RE: Olympus C-2500L Structural Defect?

I recently purchased an Olympus C-2500L and used it extensively with great results.

One day I discovered that the area of the camera by the hot shoe wasn't tight.

I sent the camera to Olympus. They say it's impact damage and (although it's not) I have agreed to pay nearly $400 to get my camera fixed and returned.

It's my belief that the area around the hot shoe is not structurally strong enough to properly support the flash unit without fail.

I believe the public at large (at least your readership) should be informed of this structural deficiency.

BTW, I used the FL-40 Dedicated Strobe Unit which is recommended for the camera.

-- Jim Conlow

(Duly noted. But give Olympus' Customer Service number a ring and let them know what happened. We're reminded of a professor's advice about asking questions. "May I smoke in church?" is infinitely less preferred to "May I pray while I smoke?" he noted. Same here. Repair may not be able to grant what Customer Service can. -- Editor)

RE: Fuji S1, D1, 620, 660 Image Comparison at PMA

As an owner of five D1 cameras, I was very interested to view the image comparisons of the cameras listed above at PMA. The D1 images looked particularly crisper than the others except the DCS660. As we all know the D1 has presets for sharpness and contrast. Perhaps the Fuji S1 was defaulted with no sharpening or contrast adjustments. Of course maybe it doesn't allow for presets. We know the DCS models do not, isn't that right? Well anyway, when doing a comparison the sharpening and contrast settings should be the same for all shots. Comments?

-- Bruce Whitehead, Southwest Research Institute

(Thanks for your note! The test had a lot of shortcomings, imposed by the constraints of essentially zero time with the cameras in preparation, and the pre-beta status of the S1. The Kodak cameras had a "medium" setting on the sharpening, the D1 was at whatever the factory default was, I don't know what the S1's settings amounted to. We're definitely hoping for a more serious go-round with all the products later this spring, working under laboratory conditions, with proper controls, etc. The D1 definitely looked crisper, there's some debate over whether there was more detail in it or the S1. I've personally been thinking the S1 won on detail, but others see the D1 winning. It's close, either way, and clearly not a blow-out for the S1. -- Dave Etchells)
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Editor's Notes

Muska & Lipman Publishing at http://www.muskalipman.com has released "Digital Camera Solutions," the first full-color book on digital cameras priced below $30. Author Gregory Georges focuses on taking better digital pictures, mastering camera software and learning photo manipulation. The book teaches readers how to edit images, prepare them for the Internet and print them in high-quality formats. Supported by a companion Web site, it has 15 chapters ranging from "Getting Images into Shape" to "Filtering for Special Effects." The first book in the series, "Scanner Solutions," was published in January 2000.


Curtis Intl. Ltd. at http://www.curtis-intl.com plans to introduce three digital cameras late in the second quarter of this year. Aaron Herzog, CEO of the company, noted: "Due to the rapid acceptance and growth of digital cameras in the market place, we see a real opportunity at the mass merchandisers for opening price point digital cameras. We intend to be at $79 to $149.99 retail for our initial product range, price points that are not presently available with the current product on the market."


Dan Bricklin's Trellix Corp. at http://www.trellix.com has announced a comprehensive distribution agreement with Kodak, bundling Trellix Web software with select Kodak digital cameras. The bundled version includes a Photo Album Wizard, a step-by-step guide which lets you quickly create a picture-rich Web site. Trellix Web can also resize, rotate and crop photos with a single click-and-drag.


Nikon has released an update of Nikon View at http://www.nikontechusa.com/OS9Updates.htm featuring OS 9 compatibility. Version 2.5 supports models E950, E700, E800, E900 and E900s. The new version now permits card initializing and image deletion on mounted cameras.


The Photoshop plug-in ProJPEG at http://www/boxtopsoft.com has been upgraded. Version 4.0 is available for an upgrade price of $19.95 or $49.95 new. Among the new features: targeted file size, different levels of compression for background and foreground areas of your image, dual image previewing, live absolute file size, download time estimate.


Kodak has announced the PalmPix camera at http://www.kodak.com/go/palmpix, enabling users to take pictures and to transfer them to their desktop through the Palm III, IIIe and IIIx, IBM Workpad, Palm VII platform, and TRGpro HotSync cradle. Pictures are viewed on the Palm's LCD screen (2.3 x 2.3 inches) as grayscale images. Once on the computer desktop, the pictures are stored as standard jpeg or bitmap files. They can be accessed as full-color VGA (640 x 480) pictures then manipulated, emailed, printed and saved. At 1.5 ounces it features a fixed focus lens, 2x digital zoom and self-timer. Until images are transferred to a computer, they are stored in the Palm organizer, each VGA file requiring approximately 100K. The Kodak PalmPix camera will be available for $179, along with PalmPix accessories, online at www.kodak.com/go/shop and at major computer retailers early in the second quarter.


The eyemodule digital camera at http://www.eyemodule.com for the Handspring Visor PDA snaps into the Springboard expansion slot to enable capture and viewing of digital images in color or black & white. Images can be categorized, annotated, beamed to other Visors or Palm OS devices, or synchronized to a personal computer with the included software to edit, email, or print. The eyemodule uses a CMOS imaging array relying on the Visor screen for a viewfinder. Date and time stamped images can be renamed with notes attached to them. A Visor Deluxe with 5MB of free memory stores over 500 small black & white images, or over 125 large black & white images, or over 25 color images. The eyemodule will be released in Spring 2000 and will be sold through Handspring's web store (www.handspring.com) for $149.

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Signoff

That's it for now, but look for our next issue in about two weeks. Meanwhile, visit our site for the latest news, reviews, or to have your questions answered in our free discussion forum. Here are the links to our most popular pages:

Daily News: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM
New on Site: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM
Digicam index: http://www.imaging-resource.com/DIGCAM01.HTM
Q&A Forum: http://www.imaging-resource.com/FORUM.HTM
Newsletter Forum: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a.tcl?topic=irnews
Tips: http://www.imaging-resource.com/TIPS.HTM

Happy snapping!

Mike Pasini, Editor
editor@imaging-resource.com
Dave Etchells, Publisher
web@imaging-resource.com

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