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Digital Photography News Archive!
January 2000

 

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Monday, January 31, 2000



MGI to sponsor DIG reception, participate in panel discussion!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 23:37 EST)


Two press releases today (1,2) from MGI Software announce that it will be sponsoring the Digital Imaging Group reception to be
held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas on February 2nd from 4:30PM to 7:00PM before the Photo Marketing Awards dinner, as well as participating in a panel discussion earlier in the day... MGI Director of E-Services Marsha Scharf will be participating in the "Sharing Photos the Digital Way: Digital Imaging and the Internet" panel discussion, February 2nd, 2000, at 2:30p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center, after which MGI will be showing its products, and in particular its ZOOM Server product line at the DIG reception.

Reuters picks up on FinePix 4700 Zoom launch!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 22:20 EST)


A news item from Reuters picks up on the launch of the FinePix 4700 Zoom digital camera in Japan today. Little information is given, and unfortunately Reuters does not appear to be aware of the US announcement as they note that a "Fuji Photo spokesman said the company will eventually sell the digital camera overseas, but declined to comment on its sales target"; they do note that the camera will ship March 1 in Japan, however. (The FinePix 4700 Zoom should ship in April 2000 in the USA, at a price of $999, according to the US announcement which we covered early this morning...)
Source: Yahoo BizWire / Reuters

Ofoto offers free film processing, allies with Excite@Home!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 22:05 EST)


A press release from online photofinishing website Ofoto Inc. today announces that the site has signed a strategic alliance with Excite@Home, which will see Ofoto become the exclusive photo finisher to the Excite Photo Center and another Excite property by the name of Webshots.com. Excite Photo Center members will be able to order 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10 prints as well as various frames from Ofoto in the first quarter of this year.

A separate CNET news item mentions the Excite deal, and also predicts that from next week, Ofoto will offer free film processing to entice non-digital camera users to the site, hoping that customers will then see the advantages of digital and continue to use the site for their digital photos once they make the move...

Nogatech and Fujitsu announce USB laptop drive-bay digicam!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 20:48 EST)


A press release today from Nogatech Inc. and Fujitsu PC Corp. announces a new form factor for digital cameras. Breaking from the tradition of laptop digicams either being built into the screen surround or hinge, or being separate from the laptop the same as a PC tethered digital camera, the "modular digital camera FPCCAM01" can either be used as a tethered camera on the end of a USB cable, or alternatively can be used in the laptop's modular drive bay, much the same way as a removeable DVD, CD-RW, CD-ROM or floppy drive. Also announced in the release is the "standard digital camera FPCCAM01", a more traditional tethered USB camera which can be clipped onto the screen surround of the laptop. Both cameras are based on Nogatech's USBvision chip, which offers 30 frames per second at CIF resolution, or 15 frames per second at VGA. Fujitsu makes the packaging and will offer the two cameras to users of its Lifebook series laptops in the USA (they already sell in Japan) at a price of $229 for the modular drive bay version, or $199 for the clip-on version.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Interpolation is our friend ;-)
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 20:34 EST)


After posting our information on the new Fuji cameras below, we've received a large number of emails, in addition to the reader comments that were left on the comments page for that article. Fuji's failure to specify the number of pixels in the sensors on the new cameras has led to a lot of speculation about the extent to which Fuji is using interpolation in the new camera designs. Previous abuse of interpolation by various manufacturers has left rather a bad taste in everyone's mouths, so there's no shortage of speculation and controversy over published specs for Fuji's SuperCCD-based cameras. Given the level of interest and attention this is receiving, I wanted to chip in my 2 cent's worth (well, maybe more like 50 cents or so), to explain what is probably going on, and also to clear up the common assumption that typical digicams don't interpolate. (They all do.)

We covered the SuperCCD design extensively 'way back last November, in our Comdex coverage. Fuji's claim is that the unique pixel structure of the SuperCCD design improves spatial frequency response along the X/Y axes relative to conventional designs. There was a lot of back and forth on the news comments page for that article over whether or not the staggered octagonal layout really made a difference or was just smoke & mirrors. Speaking personally (but not wanting to open that whole discussion again), I believe that it in fact does produce higher resolution in the X/Y directions than conventional CCDs, although it is probably weaker on image structures oriented at a 45 degree angle. At some point, pixels are pixels, and each one gathers one pixel's worth of data. Favoring the X/Y axes over the 45 degree diagonal though did seem to show some benefits in the sample images we saw earlier. See the Comdex comments page for more background on this.

I want to say at the outset that all the theoretical discussions that have taken place to date are fine, but the ultimate issue of whether the SuperCCDs show higher resolution or not will be determined by objective tests, as in our own resolution test using the ISO-12233 standard test target. It's also important to point out, as frequent IR reader "benoit" did in a comment on the Fuji story below, that resolution is only part of the story with SuperCCD. A possibly much more significant factor will be increased light capture ability and lower noise, as a result of more-efficient utilization of the silicon surface area. (Thanks Benoit, for that piece of clear thinking!)

We don't know what the actual pixel dimensions of the sensors in the new Fuji SuperCCD cameras are, but it seems likely that there may be some higher level of interpolation happening than is the case with digicams using conventionally- constructed "striped" sensor arrays. As noted, there's a lot of foment over this apparent fact, but I think the level of fervor may be a bit overblown: Many people don't realize that all digicam images are actually "interpolated" to a significant degree...

How's that you say? Isn't it true that most cameras make files with the same number of pixels in them as on their sensors? Well yes, but... Consider that digicam CCDs are "striped" with red, green, and blue filters to extract the color information from the light falling on their surfaces. It thus actually takes the light from three pixels to make one pixel's worth of full-color information in the final image. - By some measures, this could be considered to be a 3:1 interpolation! Obviously, the image-processing tricks played by the back-room boffins (Brit term, there) at the digicam companies are quite successful in pulling out roughly the original level of detail, but there is still something lost when compared to "true" co-sampled RGB pixels, as from a scanner. (Check out the reference images in our Comparometer(tm) from the combination of film/scanner used in Kodak's PictureCD product, to see what I'm talking about: You'll notice that, even though the PictureCD files are only 1.5 megapixels in dimension, their resolution is at least on a par with that of 2 megapixel cameras.)

The "canned" test images we've seen from Fuji comparing resolution of equivalently-sized SuperCCD and conventional CCD sensors showed the SuperCCD to be dramatically superior in this regard. (Again, see our coverage from Fall '99 Comdex.) The greater areal efficiency and unique pixel layout of the SuperCCD suggests that Fuji may be able to go beyond the nominal 3:1 interpolation we've seen with conventional sensors to some higher ratio, while retaining the same level of sharpness in the final files. Our guess is that this is why they're focusing on the file dimensions rather than the CCD pixel count in their product announcements thus far.

How will this play in the market? Hard to say, and it will ultimately depend on the resolution actually shown in the final image files. "Interpolation" has gotten a bad name in the industry due to early abuses, and many highly-touted technologies for doing it ultimately came up short. What Fuji will have to fight is the widespread belief that an ordinary "2 megapixel" digicam built around a CCD with 2 million pixels on it isn't interpolating, when in fact (as we just discussed) there's something more like 3:1 interpolation going on that nobody ever talks about. People tend to simplistically assume that just because the pixel counts are the same on the raw sensor surface and in the final file, everything's "on the level." - And it is, as long as everyone's on the same playing field. It may be though, that Fuji has found a new field to play on, which changes the rules a bit. Based on what we've seen so far, we suspect that Fuji will indeed be able to wring out more usable information per sensor pixel from the SuperCCD than from conventional designs. If the added information is actually there (as demonstrated by resolution tests), then what they're doing is entirely legitimate. How to communicate this rather technical detail to the average consumer is another matter entirely though...

Keep a watch on this whole SuperCCD story: We're admittedly operating on rather scanty information, but what we saw at Comdex looked very strong. If the results seen in Fuji's early comparison samples are confirmed by our own laboratory tests, SuperCCD could be one of the most significant developments in the digicam field this year. It's important to note in all this that we're not at all taking a position of advocacy with respect to the SuperCCD. (!) We do feel though that there are some things that are different about it, and that it's important to keep in mind that all digicams interpolate their image data to one degree or another. What's at issue is what level of interpolation is justified/acceptable with various sensor layouts. You can bet we'll be moving heaven and earth to get our hands on a SuperCCD camera as soon as possible to run it through its paces in our lab. Stay tuned, it's going to be an interesting year!


Jasc releases Media Center Plus!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 20:31 EST)


A press release from software developer Jasc Software Inc., most famous for its Paint Shop Pro series, announces today the latest version of its Media Center multimedia organizer. Media Center Plus, in the words of Jasc, "offers users the unique ability to manage, catalog, and publish not only digital photos and Web graphics, but also MP3 sound files, MPEG and AVI video files, and more". The latest version has the following features:

 - Capture, Post and Print -- With support for TWAIN
devices and built-in support for many digital cameras,
use Media Center Plus to acquire images from a camera
or scanner and quickly post them to the Web or print
them in standard photo sizes.
- Show and Tell -- Easily create a slideshow presentation
of photos and multimedia files.
- Preview -- Use the built-in file viewer to review files
fast.
- Take Control -- Track and manage hot Web formats, such
as MP3 sound and MPEG video files.
- Share -- Export and post albums to the Web to share with
coworkers, clients, family, and friends.
- Save Time -- Find files fast and increase productivity.
- Bonus -- Free membership to StudioAvenue.com, Jasc
Software's online digital content community where users
can store, share, and print images, and more. Media
Center Plus includes the ability to upload images
directly to StudioAvenue.com.
Jasc Media Center Plus 3 is available for $39.00 from Jasc Software, or can be downloaded via electronic software distribution for $29. Upgrades from previous Media Center versions cost $19, and corporate/educational site discounts are available. An evaluation copy of Media Center Plus may be downloaded from the Jasc Software Web site at http://www.jasc.com
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

News on Casio's QV-2000UX / Microdrive offer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 20:13 EST)


After posting a news item "Buy a MicroDrive, get a 2MP camera for $350!" on January 27, we were literally deluged in mails asking how to get this offer... It seems that the "Buy Online" button was not working, and the offer was only available online. We've since received a couple of very helpful posts in our News Forum for this item which, if you'll excuse a little self-advertising, really demonstrate what we'd hoped the forums would provide - a way for users to discuss the news, and help each other! IR reader Robert G. kindly pointed out that the deal was only available to anybody inside the US (not Canada, sadly), and another reader by the name of "Lee" has since noted that the "Buy On-line" button has been fixed. We today received an email from IR reader Chris A. Epler (which we've posted in the forum) noting that he'd ordered the bundle from an 800 number, 1-800-836-8580, which offers an alternative to the online ordering, and that he's been told his bundle should ship in 7 to 10 days...
Thanks to Robert G., "Lee", and Chris A. Epler for this item!

IDC survey finds digicam knowledge below par!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 17:36 EST)


A press release from International Data Corp. today announces a new report, "1999 Digital Camera User Survey: U.S. Consumer Digital Camera Owners" (IDC #21197) which finds that digicam owners know less than they should about what exactly they've purchased. According to the report, a whopping 47% of digital camera users didn't know what the maximum resolution of their cameras was... That said, they certainly knew what they wanted - 81% of digicam owners rated rechargeable batteries as important or very important, making this the single highest priority. Optical zooms and LCD displays were close behind, being ranked as important by 79% of respondents. The survey found that 93% of digicam owners also owned a film camera, but that 53% used the digital camera more often of the two. Looking at those who'd spent over $500 on their digital camera, this figure increased to 61%...

Other findings included the following:

 - 36% of respondents preferred to buy their digital camera
at a retail store
- 75% said they'd buy another digital camera in the future
- 94% of those who print their digicam images said they did
so on their personal printer
- About 50% of digital camera images were deleted
- 63% of respondents found themselves satisfied with the
imaging software that came with their camera
- The most important functionality of a digital camera was
felt to be upgradeable firmware

Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Viking announces 64MB SmartMedia now shipping!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 17:23 EST)


A press release from flash manufacturer Viking Components Inc. today announces that it is now shipping 64MB SmartMedia. No pricing is disclosed for the new cards, which are 3.3V types available as part number SSFDC3/64. The announcement brings Viking's SmartMedia offering to the following:

Capacity   Voltage    Part Number
2 MB 5 Volt SSFDC/2
4 MB 5 Volt SSFDC/4
2 MB 3.3 Volt SSFDC3/2
4 MB 3.3 Volt SSFDC3/4
8 MB 3.3 Volt SSFDC3/8
16 MB 3.3 Volt SSFDC3/16
32 MB 3.3 Volt SSFDC3/32
64 MB 3.3 Volt SSFDC3/64

Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Club Photo opens Mac Living Album beta!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 17:05 EST)


We received an email from the PR folks for online photo sharing website Club Photo today, with news that they're now opening their beta program for the Mac OS version of Living Album. Since the release won't actually hit the wires until tomorrow, here it is in its entirity:

"Club Photo Launches Beta of First Online Photo Sharing Solution for Mac Enthusiasts

Powerful Solution Organizes and Shares Pictures from the Mac to the Internet with Just a Few Clicks of the Mouse

SAN JOSE, CALIF., Feb. 1, 2000 - Club Photo Inc., the industry leader
in making photo sharing and finishing a simple and meaningful experience, today announced the beta release of the industry's only online photo sharing and finishing software solution designed specifically for Apple Macintosh enthusiasts. The beta software is now available for free at www.clubphoto.com and is compatible with all Macs (OS 8.5 above) including the G3, G4, and the fruitful array of colorful iMacs.

Living Album for the Mac, the newest of Club Photo's free Internet photo sharing tools, gives Mac users a simple, flexible, and fun way to organize and share pictures on the desktop and with friends and family around the world on their own free Club Photo Web site.

Visitors to MacWorld 2000 were impressed by the preview of the Living
Album software, whose user-friendly interface lets Macintosh users organize photos and then, with the click of a button, move an entire album from the desktop onto a free personal Club Photo Web page. No other photo sharing or finishing service, on or off the Web, has matched Living Album's one-button simplicity for sharing albums and reliving precious memories.


"Until now, the Mac market has been overlooked," said Andrew Wei, president and CEO of Club Photo. "We are very pleased at how enthusiastically our Living Album software was received during its preview at MacWorld last month in San Francisco. We're hoping that the beta program will provide valuable feedback as well as an opportunity to show Mac enthusiasts just how powerful and easy the Club Photo solution really is."

Club Photo Makes Sharing Simple
Club Photo provides a complete and free photo sharing solution supported by fully integrated online photo finishing services. Instead of archiving favorite pictures never to be seen again, or having to reprint individual pictures and send them by "snail mail," Club Photo members can create albums and share them over the Internet for all to enjoy within minutes.

Club Photo's powerful, free-for-download Living Album software for Macintosh and Windows-based computers provides a simple to use, digital photo album that enables everyday users to quickly and easily organize, manage, archive and electronically share their pictures on the Internet or the desktop with a few clicks of the mouse. The free Club Photo membership includes a personal photo Web site where members share their memories and special occasions with friends and family around the world. Club Photo's Album To Go, for Palm connected organizers, enables portable photo sharing with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Club Photo recently introduced i.Share, a free plug-in for Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe PhotoDeluxe, further extending the sharing process by enabling image editors, artists and graphic designers to upload images directly to their Internet photo albums as they are editing the pictures.

About Club Photo
Club Photo Inc provides a simple and meaningful photo sharing and finishing experience. The company delivers award-winning digital photo organizing, sharing and personalized finishing solutions for everyday and professional photographers. The company's innovative model for online sharing and finishing community is redefining the traditional business of photography and simplifying the entire process for sharing life's precious moments.

Club Photo provides free tools for a variety of image management and album creation applications including photo sharing software for the desktop and Palm Connected Organizers, and Internet sharing plug-ins for Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe PhotoDeluxe. The company's ground-breaking Prints & Gifts Center further extends the sharing and finishing model by providing the ability to order prints and keepsakes by submitting one or several pictures through the Internet.

Club Photo is located at 650 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose, California and
can be reached at (408) 557-6743 or www.clubphoto.com."
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

digitalcamera.gr.jp covers numerous Japanese announcements!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 15:16 EST)


The excellent digitalcamera.gr.jp website has covered numerous announcements on top of the Fuji FinePix S1 Pro and 4700 Zoom... At the same time, Fuji Japan apparently also announced the following:

 - Fuji FinePix Printer NX-700
An A6-sized photo-quality printer which accepts SmartMedia cards and creates edgeless prints with a built-in cutter. The NX-700 also features USB connectivity, has a 20-sheet feeder, a resolution of 306 dpi, ability to enlarge prints by up to 5 times, and is described as having prints with "good gloss and whiteness". The NX-700 will ship on March 1st for ¥62,800 (US$585) and paper packs will sell for ¥980 (US$9).

 - Fuji FinePix Platform HA-700
A set-top box for storing, viewing and editing digital images on a TV. The HA-700 features SmartMedia and Type-II PC card slots (allowing for use of CompactFlash and MemoryStick with an adapter), and a 200MB HiFD floppy disk drive on which images can be stored. The unit can also be connected to a PC and treated as an external drive via its USB port. It also features a remote control to allow for use with a TV. The HA-700 should ship in Japan March 21st, for ¥62,800 (US$585).

 - Store-front photo printer system
The Aladdin is apparently an industrial photo printer for use in stores, which accepts SmartMedia cards, and gives prints up to 2L size. Also announced was the Frontier, which sounds like it is probably a control system for the Aladdin or similar units.

Also from digitalcamera.gr.jp comes news from JVC (Japan Victor Corporation, known as Victor in Japan)... The JVC QC-GX3 camera we mentioned on Sunday is getting the standard treatment of a gradual unveiling on the JVC website. Thus far, the only picture of the camera is here, and shows very little. Kumio Yamada points out, though, that the filename of this picture is "side.gif" - is this a side view of the camera? If so, isn't that a bit of an unusual place to put the mode dial? Who knows... :) More of the camera is scheduled to be unveiled some time today.

With Windows 2000 now shipping, Canon has posted news in Japan of problems with some of its products in the new OS. (Yes, we know Windows 2000 doesn't ship until February 17th, but we hear that Microsoft has released its new OS early to PC manufacturers, who are gleefully shipping it right off the bat)... Apparently the PowerShot cameras will work when using the RS232C TWAIN driver version 3.0.1 or higher, but the PowerShot S10 will not work with USB at the moment. A fix for the USB problem will be available in Japan on February 18th. Obviously this information is for the Japanese drivers, and Windows 2000 Japanese edition, but it does suggest that there could be issues with the PowerShot S10 (and probably other cameras from various manufacturers) and Windows 2000 in this country too. We'd recommend that users check with their digital camera manufacturers before upgrading to Windows 2000...

Finally, also on digitalcamera.gr.jp are two new sample pictures from Canon's PowerShot S20 - a photo of a child shot in "M" mode with white balance set to daylight, and a daytime photo shot in full auto.
Thanks to Kumio Yamada / digitalcamera.gr.jp for this item!

Fuji Japan announces FinePix 4700, FinePix S1!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 14:28 EST)


The PC Watch website has posted news of Fuji Japan's announcement of the FinePix 4700 and FinePix S1 digital cameras, also announced today in the USA (see our article below). Since the specifications are already covered in our earlier article, the pictures are the main interest here - including 5 photos of the FinePix 4700 from various angles, and 3 of the FinePix S1. One picture does merit a little further explanation though; in one picture, the FinePix 4700 is pictured to the left of the earlier FinePix 1700, to give an idea of the fact that, despite its much more impressive feature set, the FinePix 4700 retains almost the same size as its trim predecessor...

Apparently in Japan, the FinePix 4700 will also ship in a special limited edition with a partially black chassis (a photo of this can be seen at the digitalcamera.gr.jp website; look at the bottom left FinePix 4700 picture).

The FinePix 4700 should ship March 1st in Japan at a price of ¥128,000 (US$1192). The FinePix S1 Pro meanwhile should ship around June at a price of about ¥400,000 (US$3,725) although this is subject to change...

Note: Fuji's US release can be found here.
Source: PC Watch

Casio Japan announces QV-3000EX; more sample pics!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 14:13 EST)


The PC Watch website in Japan has posted news that Casio has now announced its QV-3000EX digital camera in Japan. Announced on January 4th in the USA, the QV-3000EX was the first digital camera with a 3.34 megapixel CCD to be seen by the public. It will ship February 25th in Japan, which should also make it one of the very first to reach the consumer, and will cost some ¥88,000 (US$820).

At the same time, PC Watch has updated its previous sample pictures of the QV-3000EX, adding a separate page with some 28 sample pictures, as follows:

 - 2 close-ups of the camera itself
- 1 facial close-up
- 5 indoor pictures
- 2 outdoor pictures
- 2 night-mode pictures
- 2 macro pictures
- PC Watch's standarised pictures for demonstrating zoom
range and compression modes, etc. as follows -
:Fine Wide, Fine Tele
:Normal Wide, Normal Tele
:Saturation High, Normal and Low
:Sharpness High, Normal and Soft
:Contrast High, Normal and Low
:Economy Wide, Economy Normal
:Normal (1024 x 768 mode)
Here again is the specifications of the QV-3000EX from our announcement of January 4th:

 - Casio QV-3000EX
- 3.34 megapixel 1/1.8 inch square pixel CCD, effective
pixels 3.24 megapixel, 2048 x 1536 or 1024 x 768 pixel
image size in fine, normal and economy modes; JPEG
(EXIF Ver 2.1), DCF standard, DPOF compliant
- 3x optical zoom lens; 7 - 21mm (equivalent to 33 -
100mm on a 35mm camera), F2.0 - 2.5; 8 elements in
7 groups; 2x digital zoom
- 1.8" low glare color hyper-amorphous TFT LCD display,
555 x 220 = 122,100 pixels
- Optical zoom viewfinder (with LCD monitor screen?)
- CompactFlash Type-II storage, IBM microdrive compatible
- 4-mode flash (Auto, on, off, red-eye reduction); range
0.5 to 4 meters
- USB, Digital In/Out, NTSC/PAL Video Out, AC adapter
connections
- Exposure control: CCD light metering - multi-pattern,
spot, center weighted; Program AE, aperture priority
AE or shutter priority AE modes; +/- 2EV exposure
compensation in 1/3EV steps
- Shutter speed: 2 to 1/1000 second (both electronic
and mechanical shutters)
- Aperture: F2.0 / 2.3 / 2.8 / 4.0 / 5.6 / 8.0
- White balance: Auto, 4-mode fixed or manual
- Burst mode: Up to three images at 0.5 second intervals;
2 seconds between full-resolution shots afterwards
- Casio proprietary noise reduction system
- Image scroll speed of 0.5 seconds/image in playback
- Delete single images, folders of images, selected
images, or all images (with image protection)
- Built-in quartz digital clock; date and time recorded
with image; auto calendar up to 2049
- 320 x 240 pixel movie mode; 30 second maximum length
or 10 seconds in "past" mode (records the last 10
seconds before the shutter release was pressed);
AVI (OpenDML Motion JPEG conforming)
- Self-timer: 2 seconds or 10 seconds
- Power from 4 AA lithium, alkaline, or NiMH rechargeable
batteries, two Panasonic CR-V3P lithium batteries;
optional AC adapter
- Dimensions 134.5 x 80.5 x 57.5mm, excluding projections,
lens facing upwards; Weight 320 grams excluding
batteries
- Supplied with USB cable, CD-ROM with PhotoLoader
software, 8MB CompactFlash card, video cable, soft case,
neck strap, lens cap
- Available March 2000 at a price of less than $999.

Source: PC Watch

First Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom sample pics online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 13:53 EST)


Our friends in Japan at the digitalcamera.gr.jp website have excelled themselves, with the first sample pictures from the Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom digital camera, announced this morning by Fuji! Only two sample pictures thus far, a picture of a small child, and a night scene. You can find them both on the main page of the digitalcamera.gr.jp website - click on the two small thumbnails for the full-sized images.

digitalkamera.de looks at flash card size discrepancies!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 13:18 EST)


The digitalkamera.de website has posted a great article looking at why flash card sizes don't necessarily match up with those the manufacturer quotes. If you think that buying a card labelled 128MB, for example, means that you've got 128MB of space available for your images, you might be in for a surprise! Digitalkamera.de's informal poll found that 128MB CompactFlash sizes varied from 122MB to as little as 110MB. If this surprises you, then here's the real stunner - as flash card manufacturers sometimes swap between memory chip and/or controller manufacturers to reduce costs or for other reasons, the capacity of identically labelled flash cards from the same manufacturer could vary by the same margin!
Source: Digitalkamera.de article on CF size discrepancies
Thanks to digitalkamera.de for this item!

IR News Policies
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 1:58 EST)


I thought I'd better post this note here, so the PR folks we deal with would understand our policies (including why we posted the Fuji article below when we did), and so our readers would know our policies as well...

As most of you reading this know, we frequently work under Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in order to be able to bring you information in the most timely fashion possible. Sometimes, manufacturers also solicit our feedback on new models they're working on months before the products are announced publicly. Obviously, this information access would quickly stop if we weren't able to keep the various secrets we're party to.

We're therefore very careful to never divulge information before we're told it's OK to do so. On the other hand, there's no restriction on our being able to pass along information that's already been published by other people elsewhere. When we do so though, we're careful to report only what we've seen elsewhere, even if it happens to conflict with information we have from the manufacturer under NDA. (That is, we don't use any privileged information we may have to correct errors in stories we pass along.)

In the case of the Fuji story below, we were told by Fuji that the release time was 8AM today, Eastern time, and that's when we planned to release it. When two other web sites published the information within minutes of each other just after midnight Eastern time, the information became public, so we went ahead and posted our own previously-prepared story. By the policy stated above, we can't say whether this is all accurate or not until 8am this morning, but we will go so far as to say that one of the articles posted by another site certainly looks like a copy of a company press release...

Fuji announces 3 new digicams, including 6 megapixel SLR!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 1:23 EST)


Fuji Photo Film USA Inc. has this morning announced three new digital cameras, including the first two cameras we've seen based on Fuji's revolutionary SuperCCD sensor, which we first discussed back in October! (For more details on the SuperCCD and how it works, see our Comdex report from November, 1999).

Fuji FinePix S1 Pro Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Perhaps the most exciting of the three cameras is Fuji's new SLR-format professional digital camera, the FinePix S1 Pro. The S1 has an extremely impressive feature set including a 1.1-inch SuperCCD which gives a 6 megapixel file, a Nikon F lens mount, ISO ratings from a low of 320 to a high of 1600 (!), and a pairing of SmartMedia or Type-II CompactFlash storage. Here's the full specs for the S1 from Fuji:

Fuji FinePix S1 Pro Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


 - Fuji FinePix S1 Pro Digital Camera
- Interchangeable lens SLR-type camera
- 1.1 inch (23.3mm x 15.6mm SuperCCD sensor gives image
files at 6 megapixel (3040 x 2016), as well as 2304 x
1536 and 1440 x 960 pixels; TIFF-RGB, TIFF-YC and Exif
2.1 compliant JPEG file formats (fine, normal and
basic compression)
- Accepts AF and AI-P Nikkor lenses using Nikon F mount
(not compatible with IX- Nikkor lenses); focal length
multiplier of 1.5x over 35mm equivalent
- Both SmartMedia and CompactFlash slots (SmartMedia is
3.3V 2MB to 64MB compatible; CompactFlash is a Type-II
slot which is MicroDrive compatible)
- Optical viewfinder is fixed-eye level penta-prism
high-eye-point type with 90% frame coverage; LCD
viewfinder is 2-inch low temperature polysilicon TFT
with approx 200,000 pixels, frame coverage not quoted
- USB and video out connectivity (NTSC for USA/Canada,
PAL for Europe)
- Four shooting modes; single-frame, continuous (burst
mode of 1.5 frames per second for up to 5 frames),
preview mode and multiple exposure mode
- Five exposure modes; general purpose program,
auto-multi program (flexible program possible),
shutter-priority auto, aperture priority auto, or
fully manual exposure control
- 5 variable program modes; portrait, landscape,
close-up, sport and night scene
- Exposure metering is 3D Matrix with D-type AF Nikkor
lenses, 6-segment Matrix with non-D type AF Nikkor or
AI-P Nikkor lenses, and center-weighted in Manual
exposure mode or with Auto Exposure lock
- Exposure compensation (3EV range in 1/3EV steps)
- Autofocusing is by TL phase detection (range:
equivalent to EV -1 to EV 19 at ISO 100 and normal
temperature)
- White balance: Auto, Fine, Shade (Fine weather),
Incandescent light, 3 modes for fluorescent light,
and manual
- Shutter: Electronically controlled vertical travel
focal plane shutter; shutter speeds 30 to 1/2000
second
- ISO ratings of 320, 400, 800 and 1600
- Mechanical remote release
- Built-in flash with a guide number of 15 at ISO100,
effective for 28mm lens coverage, TTL -BL flash
operations: Normal, slow-synchro, red-eye reduction,
red-eye reduction with slow-synchro; External flash
accessory shoe, Standard ISO-type with hot-shoe
contact, ready-light contact, TTL flash contact,
monitor contact; mount receptacle for Posi-Mount
system provided
- Playback mode offers single frame, four thumbnails,
nine thumbnails, playback zoom, histogram indication,
standard chart
- Self timer (2 seconds or 10 seconds)
- Power source is 4 Alkaline, Ni-MH or Nicad AA
batteries (manganese batteries can't be used). Also
2 type CR123A lithium batteries for controlling camera
system. AC power adapter available.
- Dimensions 5.8"W x 4.9"H x 3.1"D, weighs 29 oz.
without batteries or lens
- Bundled with a CD-ROM with camera shooting software,
USB and video cables, 16MB SmartMedia card, 4 AA
batteries and 2 lithium batteries
- Available in the first half of 2000 at a suggested
retail price of US$4,000
Also announced was Fuji's first consumer SuperCCD-based camera, the FinePix 4700 Zoom. The 4700 features a 4.3 megapixel file size, 3x optical zoom lens, USB connectivity and SmartMedia storage. Here's the full story:

Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


 - Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom digital camera
- 0.58 inch SuperCCD gives image files at 4 megapixel
(2400 x 1800), as well as 1280 x 960 and 640 x 480
pixels; JPEG images at fine, normal or basic
compression
- 3X Super EBC Fujinon aspherical optical zoom lens,
f/2.8, equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom lens on a 35mm
camera; macro focusing down to 11.8 inches; digital
zoom (power unspecified) zooms in 0.2x steps
- SmartMedia storage (16MB card bundled)
- USB connectivity
- Built-in popup flash, effective to 11.5 feet, with
automatic, red-eye reduction, flash-on-demand, flash
cancel and slow synch modes
- Five programmed exposure modes; auto, portrait,
scenic, night scene, and full manual
- Three metering modes; multi, center or spot; 64-zone
TTL metering with programmed auto-exposure and
exposure compensation
- Shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 3 seconds
- ISO ratings of 200, 400 and 800
- Video mode allows up to 80 seconds of video in AVI
format with sound
- Improved electronics save power; camera boots and
cycles images in less than two seconds
- Power from two AA alkaline batteries
- Bundled with two rechargeable NiMH batteries and
charger, as well as Adobe PhotoDeluxe 3.0 Home
Edition
- Available in April 2000 at a suggested price of $999
Finally, Fuji announced the entry-level FinePix 1400 Zoom, a 1.3 megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom lens and a familiar point-and-shoot design:

Fuji FinePix 1400 Zoom Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Fuji FinePix 1400 Zoom Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


 - Fuji FinePix 1400 Zoom digital camera
- 1.3 megapixel CCD gives images of 1280 x 960 pixels;
JPEG files with fine, normal or basic compression
- Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens equivalent to 39-117mm
on a 35mm camera; focuses to 2.6 feet or 3.5 inches
in macro mode
- 1.6 inch LCD viewfinder and optical viewfinder
- SmartMedia storage (4MB card bundled)
- USB connectivity
- Built-in automatic flash with red-eye reduction,
slow synch flash, flash-on-demand and flash cancel
- Programmed exposure modes with exposure compensation
- Automatic and manual white balance
- Multi-frame playback mode shows nine thumbnails at
once on the LCD display
- Power from 4 AA batteries
- Bundled with Adobe PhotoDeluxe(r) Home Edition 3.0
- Available in April 2000 at a suggested price of
below $399

Thanks to Jeff Keller at the Digital Camera Resource Page for sharing several pictures we'd not received from Fuji with us!

Digital Photography World opens voting for Photo of the Month!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 31, 2000 - 1:19 EST)


We just received an email from Danny Brenner over at the Digital Photography World website in Israel, with news that voting is now open on the Photo of the Month contest! Danny has 31 photos from around the world for you to vote on in this month's contest...
Thanks to Danny Brenner / Digital Photography World for this item!

Sunday, January 30, 2000



Canon BeBit posts new S20 sample pictures!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 30, 2000 - 19:03 EST)


The excellent Steve's Digicams website has heard from readers that Canon has updated its BeBit S20 sample pictures... The site has six PowerShot S20 pictures, including a very impressively noise-free night shot which Steve found to be taken at 1/2 second, F2.9...
Source: Steve's Digicams
Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!

DCRP posts Olympus C-2500L sample pics!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 30, 2000 - 18:49 EST)


Our friends over at the Digital Camera Resource Page have today posted sample pictures from their upcoming review of the Olympus C-2500L digital camera. Jeff figured that with bad weather forecast for the coming week, he'd take the photos early before the review - and there's 12 pictures, with some really beautiful views in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area... Check it out!

JVC to show 3 megapixel camera at PMA?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 30, 2000 - 18:43 EST)


A news item on the TWICE ("This Week in Consumer Electronics) website previews the PMA show to be held next week in Las Vegas. According to the article, some 80 companies should show consumer or professional digital cameras, including JVC. TWICE expects JVC to show a 3.3 megapixel camera, the QC-GX3, which should ship in February at a price of below $1000, making it possibly one of the first 3.3 megapixel cameras to ship based on announced dates we've heard thus far...

The QC-GX3 should feature SmartMedia storage, and a professional still mode which apparently double-exposes a photo to produce a 6 megapixel final image. The camera will offer the ability to capture 20-second, 200KB video clips, which use a proprietary compression algorithm. A decoder can be emailed with the clip to allow others to view the video.
Source: This Week in Consumer Electronics website
Thanks to Danny Brenner / Digital Photography World for this item!

Saturday, January 29, 2000



Kodak releases DC290 Serial kit, firmware upgrade imminent!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, January 29, 2000 - 3:01 EST)


We received two emails from regular contributor (and Kodak fan) Rommel P. Feria this evening, regarding Kodak's DC290 digital camera. In the first, Rommel tells us that Kodak has released its Serial Connectivity Kit for the DC290... In the second mail, Rommel notes that a firmware upgrade for the DC290 is on its way:

"List members of Kodak-digita-camera at egroups.com reported a firmware release (1.0.3) for the DC290 that enables Manual Shutter Priority mode beyond the usual 1/2 to 16 that is available in long time exposure. You can now set the camera to any shutter speed from 1/350 to 16 seconds using a script.

Firmware update will soon be OFFICIALLY released by Kodak. Watch their website."
Thanks to Rommel P. Feria for this item!

Steve's Digicams posts Nikon Coolpix 990 first look!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, January 29, 2000 - 2:22 EST)


The excellent Steve's Digicams website has posted a first-look review of Nikon's just-announced Coolpix 990 digital camera. There's no conclusions as yet, but there's plenty of close-ups of the camera body, and a look at the menu system, as well as 10 sample photos! Great stuff...
Source: Steve's Digicams
Thanks to Steve Sanders for this item!

Intermedia announces Digital Photo 2000 Expo!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, January 29, 2000 - 0:26 EST)


We received an email from Intermedia Events today with news of an upcoming Expo, just for digital cameras! This is something we've felt was long overdue - with the digital camera marketplace really beginning to take off, it is certainly time that there was an event that took this into account. Digital Photo 2000 will take place in Rosemont, IL, at the Rosemont Convention Center, May 19-20, 2000, and the Expo will be accompanied by a conference in the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, May 17-19. We're not aware of the press release being available online at this time, so we've copied it below in its entirity:

"DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY COMES OF AGE AT DIGITAL PHOTO 2000

Trade Expo and Conference Offers the Latest Solutions in Digital Photography and Imaging

BROOKFIELD, WIS. - January 26, 2000- InterMedia Events announces the only national trade expo and conference dedicated to digital photography and imaging - Digital Photo 2000. The expo will be held May 19-20, 2000, at the Rosemont Convention Center, Rosemont, Ill., with the conference scheduled for May 17-19, 2000 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, across the street from the Rosemont.

The event provides photographers, photo labs, retailers and other graphics professionals with a wide-range of solutions for the explosive digital photography market - from digital photo capture to software manipulation and the latest potentials in photographic printing.

“Recent technology developments are propelling digital photography into the next millennium, offering practical ways to incorporate a new workflow which unites camera, computer and printer,” says Jay Schneider, Director of Trade Show Development for InterMedia Events.

The Digital Photo 2000 Conference features a variety of topics delivered by some of the most dynamic users in the digital photography and imaging market. Educational seminars feature the latest growth strategies, tips on digitally-capturing a quality image, techniques in image manipulation and color correction, and tricks for achieving the desired output.

The Digital Photo 2000 Expo gives attendees the opportunity to see the latest products shaping digital photography and imaging. “Technology advances have occurred at an unprecedented rate with significant improvements in quality and price. Digital Photo 2000 allows professionals the opportunity to see these technologies first-hand, in one location,” Schneider says.

Complete information about the show and conference can be found at the Digital Photo 2000 Web site (www.digitalphotoexpo.com) or by e-mailing info@digitalphotoexpo.com.

About InterMedia
InterMedia Corporation produces events and publishing products for the digital photography and graphic-arts markets."
Source: Digital Photo 2000 Expo website

Friday, January 28, 2000



Fuji Japan announces FinePix 2900Z Dental Kit!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, January 28, 2000 - 17:10 EST)


Fuji has today announced on its website a special kit for the Japanese market, targetted at use in dental practices. The Fuji FinePix 2900Z Dental Kit consists of a FinePix 2900Z camera (equivalent to the US MX-2900), a 32MB SmartMedia card, an AR-FX29 adapter ring, a Yuzo 14RDX ring flash, a 43-52mm step-up ring, an MC No. 10 Close-up lens, and an MCC2 Color filter. The 2900Z Dental Kit follows on from a line of similar Fuji bundles, including the DS-220 dental kit, DS-330 dental kit, and DS-560 dental kit. The 2900Z kit will give a picture of an area as little as 45 x 30 millimeters. The ring flash weighs 160 grams, and runs off 4 alkali battery, giving 110 to 1,350 flashes of between 1/500 and 1/500,000 second. The kit will go on sale in Japan February 3rd, and no pricing has yet been announced.
Thanks to Danny Brenner at the Digital Photography World website for mailing us with this item - we were already translating it, but felt he still deserved a credit... ;)

Japanese film camera market shrinks!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, January 28, 2000 - 16:52 EST)


A news item on the Japanese edition of Yahoo! News today announces that Japan's film camera sales have fallen by 5.9% in the last two years, to 33,880,000 units. The fall is believed to be due in part to competition with digital cameras, although Japan's recession as part of the Asian financial crisis has obviously played a large role too. Predictions for 2000 are for a 1.2% increase in film camera sales, to 34,270,000 units, thanks to Japan's stabilising economy...

Thursday, January 27, 2000



Olympus USA announces C-3030 Zoom!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 27, 2000 - 17:42 EST)


C-3030 Zoom Front View - click for a larger picture!


Olympus USA has now officially announced the C-3030 Zoom digital camera in the USA (as well as having provided us with some nice pictures of the camera, front and back - click for larger versions!) When does the camera ship in the US, and for how much? According to the release, May 2000, with a street price of about $999...

C-3030 Zoom Rear View - click for a larger picture!


Kodak cuts prices, still losing money on digital!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 27, 2000 - 16:50 EST)


A Reuters news item today reports that Kodak has cut prices on five of its digital cameras, including the Kodak DC290 (was $999, now $899), and the DVC325 tethered camera (was $149, now $99). The news article also reveals why (as Dave mentions below) Kodak declined to detail its digital earnings, saying only that its digital division "continued to experience strong sales growth"... According to Reuters, despite an overall earnings increase of 17%, Kodak lost some $116 million last year, $17 million of which was in the last quarter. This is actually an improvement, however - the previous year they lost $262 million, $92 of it in the last quarter...! When asked when digital would become profitable, Kodak President and CEO Daniel Carp declined to comment.

Buy a MicroDrive, get a 2MP camera for $350!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 27, 2000 - 16:22 EST)


This just in from our contact at Casio (Although I'm sure he would have placed the emphasis differently! ;) - They've been selling their QV-2000UX on their web site for a while now, for $599 with an included 8MB CF card. (A good deal for a very versatile unit that we just recently reviewed.) Now, they've put together a bundle that includes a 340 megabyte MicroDrive unit, for only $799! This is quite a bargain, as the "street" price of just the 340MB MicroDrive is about $459 all by itself! How big is 340 megabytes? With the QV-2000 set to maximum resolution, maximum quality 2 megapixel mode, it reports a capacity of 401 images on an empty MicroDrive! (That's a LOT of pictures, by anybody's standard.)

Review update: We mentioned a few days ago that we learned that our eval unit of the QV-2000UX had a color problem, resulting in a magenta cast to many of the images. We just received a new unit yesterday, and preliminary results show that its color is much better. No ETA on when we'll have replacement images posted on the site, but it will hopefully be before we jet off to PMA the middle of next week.

Lots of Life in Big Yellow!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 27, 2000 - 16:01 EST)


We missed this on Monday (Dave's fault, he was going to sit in on the "webcast", but got sidetracked). Kodak announced higher than expected earnings numbers, and had some interesting figures on both film sales and digitization rates as well. We're not financial analysts (thank goodness!), but the profit figures looked pretty good: Kodak reported net earnings that were up 15% (excluding special charges and credits) over the previous year, on revenue that increased by 5%. (Pretty good, 3x the increase in earnings vs revenue.) Being digital types, the things we found most interesting though, were some statistics on their digital services, as well as how well their film business did. Taking the latter first, US film use grew 14% in 1999, in Kodak's words, "the equivalent of adding a market the size of France to the U.S. in one year alone." Personally (Dave speaking here), I've been feeling for some time that all the activity in the digital space is actually driving *increased* film sales in the sort term, as opposed to cannibalizing sales. Sure, lots of us are shooting more pictures digitally than on film, but even being the digital hound that I am, I still shoot a *lot* of film. I think new products like Picture CD and other online digitizing services can do a lot to increase people's usage of pictures, and I suspect that this is part of what's responsible for the 14% growth in film that Kodak saw last year.

The other interesting numbers were an indication of how Kodak's scanning services are faring: Kodak reported that for the six-week period ending 1/15/00, they scanned approximately 40 million pictures(!). As of December, they were scanning 3.5% of all rolls processed. While 3.5% may not sound like a lot, I think 1 out of every 30 rolls processed, across the board, is a pretty encouraging response by consumers. The release also noted that Kodak currently has the capacity to scan 4 million photos a day. The reporting periods don't match precisely, but combining the above numbers, it looks like Kodak is currently using about 20-25% of their scanning capacity, to handle 3.5% of the total roll volume. Thus, they should be able to handle an increase of 4-5x in volume, to something like 15-18% of total rolls processed, without any infrastructure upgrades. Very interesting!

Conspicuous by their absence from the release though, were separate numbers for Kodak's D&AI unit (their digital camera operations), which were buried in the "Other Imaging" category on the report. The release said that D&AI "continued to experience strong sales growth", but declined to give any specifics. "Other Imaging" as a whole showed lower sales, attributed to the divestiture of Kodak's Office Imaging unit.

So... Big growth in film, perhaps aided by some of the digital activity. No numbers for their digicam operations, but the company as a whole is looking healthier than we've seen in a while. (Congratulations, Kodak!)

Nikon USA releases Coolpix 990 details!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 27, 2000 - 15:42 EST)


Nikon USA has now released its specifications for the Coolpix 990 digital camera to the public as promised. A section of its website is devoted to the new camera, and includes a two-page PDF brochure for the 990... No sample pictures as yet from either the US or Japanese sites, nor have PC Watch got any samples up yet (although given their usual speed, expect them soon! :)

Watch this space...

Nikon has now also officially distributed a press release announcing the Coolpix950...

PC Watch posts C-3030Z sample pictures!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 27, 2000 - 15:21 EST)


The excellent PC Watch website in Japan has, as is usual, beaten the rest of the world with sample pictures from a brand new digital camera - this time Olympus' C-3030 Zoom, announced yesterday... The 30 sample pictures, all taken by Kumio Yamada of PC Watch, are as follows:

 - 5 indoor pictures
- 4 outdoor pictures
- 2 night pictures
- A series of 3 outdoor pictures designed
to show the burst-mode speed of the camera
- A picture to demonstrate flesh tones
- 3 macro pictures
- PC Watch's standard picture set to
demonstrate zoom range and picture quality
as follows:
SHQ Wide and Tele
HQ Wide and Tele
ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400
SQ1 (1600 x 1200) wide and tele
SQ2 (1024 x 768) wide and tele
Maximum zoom with optical and digital zoom
As usual, the way that PC Watch can get these pictures so early is that they're taken with a development version of the camera. This does mean that the pictures could be very different from those you'll take with a camera out of the store - although hopefully the store camera will be even better... ;)

Reuters picks up on C-3030 launch!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 27, 2000 - 3:00 EST)


A news item from Reuters on the Yahoo! BizWire service today picks up on Olympus' launch of the C-3030 Zoom digital camera in Japan. According to the Reuters item, Olympus plans to produce 40,000 C-3030 Zoom cameras monthly, for sale at 125,000 yen domestically.

The news item also mentions Olympus' recently announced C-960 Zoom, a 1.31 megapixel camera which should sell below 50,000 yen with monthly production at 50,000 units...

Wednesday, January 26, 2000



Olympus announces C-3030 Zoom digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 23:33 EST)


C-3030Z Olympus Japan has now released details of its upcoming C-3030 Zoom digital camera, which we first told you about in our previous news item, thanks to the digitalkamera.de website in Germany...

Here's the full details as announced by Olympus:

 - Olympus C-3030 Zoom digital camera
- 1/1.8 inch, 3.34 megapixel CCD
- 6.5mm - 19.5mm 3x optical zoom lens equivalent
to 32-96mm on a 35mm camera, F2.8, eight elements
in six groups, 1 - 2.5x digital zoom
- All-black chassis similar to previous C-2020 Zoom
- Five pictures sizes and three quality settings, as
follows: 2048 x 1536 (TIFF, SHQ and HQ), 1600 x
1200 (TIFF and SQ1), 1280 x 960 (TIFF and SQ1),
1024 x 768 (TIFF and SQ2), 640 x 480 (TIFF and SQ2)
- SmartMedia storage up to 64MB compatible (3.3V,
2MB/4MB/8MB/16MB/32MB/64MB)
- Optical viewfinder with diopter adjustment and
90% view, 1.8" low temperature polysilicon TFT
LCD display with high viewing angles
- Flash mode: Red eye reduction, off, auto, on, and
slow-sync; external flash sync for FL-40 flash
- Remote control (allows shutter release and zoom)
- Serial, USB and video-out connectivity
- iESP Auto TTL Focusing system provides more
accurate focusing, traditional digicam focusing is
by detecting contrast shift near the center of the
picture when changing focus - iESP breaks down the
central detection area into pieces and then
analyses them to ensure that the focus is not
confused by the picture; manual focus 0.2 meters to
infinity with 160 steps
- iESP Auto TTL White Balance system, also preset
white balance (Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent,
Fluorescent)
- 32MB Internal RAM buffers gives burst mode of at
least 3.3 frames per second in all modes except
for TIFF, for minimum of 5 frames.
- Exposure control: Full auto with exposure
compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV steps, Aperture
priority F2.8-F11, Shutter priority 1 - 1/800
second (Auto ISO and ISO 400) , 4 - 1/800 second
(ISO 100), 2 - 1/800 second (ISO 200), and full
manual up to 16 seconds
- Auto bracketing feature with either three or five
stages, 0.3/0.6/1EV either side, doesn't work in
TIFF mode
- User-selecteable sharpness (two settings)
- ISO rating: 100, 200, 400 or auto
- Spot and TTL digital ESP exposure detection
- Focus from 0.8m to infinity (normal), 0.2m to
0.8m (macro)
- Movie mode allows animations up to 88 seconds in
SQ mode or 360 seconds in HQ mode, with audio.
15 frames per second, times are for a 32MB flash
card
- Audio capability to record attached sounds for
still images (wave format)
- Black and White and Sepia modes
- 109.5 x 76.4 x 66.4 millimeters, 300 grams
- Available in Japan at the end of March for about
125,000 yen (US$1183)
There is also a button for a page with sample images from the camera. At the time of this writing, the button is not yet linked to anything, but keep checking it! (We'd be grateful if readers could email us when the pics go up, if we've not already announced it)...

digitalkamera.de posts details of Olympus C-3030Z!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 22:37 EST)


Yes, another new 3.3 megapixel digital camera in the news today - this time from Olympus! The C-3030 Zoom has been announced today, and features a new all-black chassis, with a look very similar to the previous models the C-2000 Zoom and C-2020 Zoom. To be shown at CeBit, the C-3030 Zoom also features a 3.34 megapixel CCD, USB connectivity, video capability (QuickTime MotionJPEG format), 3x optical zoom, sound recording, fully automatic and manual focusing, exposure and white balance, and an expected ship date of April for EUR 1,250 (which is actually almost exactly US$1250)...

It bears noting at this point that we don't divulge anything
we've signed NDAs on (and in the interest of getting you timely reviews, if in doubt we're probably under NDA!), but we'll freely pass along information that has appeared publicly elsewhere. That said, it also means that there's no guarantee as to the accuracy of the information - if we know more details, we can't tell you them until our NDA expires... ;) The requirement for us is that the information be published somewhere else though, not just passed along to us in an email... So if you come across any details of a new camera, please remember we might be under NDA and include a link to a source that has published the info publicly!

Thanks to the digitalkamera.dewebsite for this item!

French website breaks news on Coolpix 990!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 18:31 EST)


An email from IR reader David L. Morel tells us that a website called "Les Infos de Chasseur d'Images", based in Senille, France, has today broken news of Nikon's upcoming Coolpix 990 digital camera - a day ahead of Nikon's schedule! The page, available here, is in French only, but we've done a rough translation of the page, which reveals the following:

The Coolpix 950's successor, the Coolpix 990, is very familiar in form, but adds a number of new innovations. The camera will be unveiled at the PMA Show in Las Vegas, but Chasseur d'Images brings this news to you in advance of Nikon's release.

The Coolpix 990 breaks the two megapixel barrier with a new 3.34 megapixel CCD. The CP990 is equipped with a new 8-24mm (38-115mm equivalent) aspheric 3x optical zoom lens which boasts little distortion. The camera features a 5 point AF system, with 4896 step focusing. The user can select which of the AF focusing points is required with the joypad on the back of the camera, and the camera can simultaneously focus and spot-measure from this spot for exposure calculation. The camera also offers a 256 zone matrix exposure, center-weighted or traditional spot metering.

The Coolpix 990 handles all types of subjects equally well, near or far, still or moving. The camera can focus in macro mode as close as 2 centimetres. The Coolpix 990 uses the same method of determining white point as the professional D1, using either automatic (exclusive matrix system), preset (5 settings on 7 intensity levels), or manual with measurement from a white card.

For greater image control, the CP990 offers exposure bracketing, histogram and also the ability to show over-exposed portions of a picture on playback. The camera offers easier connection to a PC with a choice of either serial or 12Mbs plug'n'play USB connectivity.

The camera is designed to allow for longer periods of usage away from a power source, with up to 90 minutes of use with the LCD display turned on. It is also very fast - only 0.1 seconds to power up, and image capture rates of up to 30 images per second! Image capture and zoom were also modified to ensure that there is no latency (delay when pressing the button).

As a prosumer camera, the Coolpix 990 offers a range of attachments including telephoto, wide-angle and fisheye lenses, as well as an attachment for studio flashes. The CP990 will be available in May 2000 at a price of 9,990 francs, equivalent to US$1525 including all taxes.

There then follows specifications for the camera, as below:

Sensor: 1/1.8 inch 3.34 megapixel CCD sensor
Image size: 2048 x 1536, 2048 x 1360 (3:2), 1024 x 768, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 pixels
Lens: Nikkor 3x optical zoom lens, 8-24mm (equivalent to 38-115mm on a 35mm camera), f2.5-4, macro capability, 9 aspheric glass elements in 8 groups
Sensitivity: ISO100, 200, 400
Focusing: Autofocus - TTL, contrast detection, 4896 steps. Three modes, AF-C (continuous focusing), AF-S (focus once and leave focus for next picture) and manual (50 steps from 2cm to infinity). Focusing from 30 centimeters to infinity, or 2 centimeters to infinity in macro mode.
Optical viewfinder: Real image type, magnification from 0.4x to 1.1x. Focus and flash indication. Dioptric correction -2 to +1 diopter.
LCD display: 1.8 inches diagonal, 110,000 pixels, low temperature polysilicon active matrix TFT type. Brightness and contrast adjustable (3 settings). 97% of full image. Display of histogram and over-exposed areas of the image.
Automatic shutoff: 30 seconds default. Adjustable to 1, 5 or 30 minutes.
Image type: Uncompressed TIFF or compressed JPEG. Records to CompactFlash Type-I cards. Full automatic or manual exposure, 3 preset setups can be stored in camera.
Capture modes: 1) Frame by frame, 2) Continuous 3) 16 images in a row 4) Rafale VGA (? sorry can't translate this :), 5) High speed, approx. 30 frames per second in QVGA resolution, 6) Movie (40 seconds (?) maximum)
Exposure method: 256 segment matrix, center-weighted, spot or spot in conjuction with 5-point AF focusing spot.
Exposure time: Mechanical and electronic shutter, 8 seconds to 1/1000 second.
Aperture: Iris with 7 plates, electromagnetic control
Exposure control: 4 modes - P (automatic), A (aperture priority), S (shutter priority), M (manual). Exposure correction +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV steps. Automatic bracketing (5 steps in 2/3EV steps). Exposure range: wide-angle -2 to +15.5EV, Tele: 0.8 to 16.5EV (ISO100)
White balance: TTL system, 3 modes - matrix, adjustable preset (daylight, incandescent, fluorencent, cloudy or flash), or white balance hold.
Timer: 10 seconds or 3 seconds
Integrated flash: Guide number 9 at ISO100, dedicated sensor control, flash modes: on, off, auto, slow-sync, red-eye reduction)
Flash sync connector for Nikon SB-28DX, 28, 26, 25, 24, 22s (via accessory SK-E900); Studio flash adapter available
OS: Requires Windows 95 or MacOS 8.1 and later
Interface: 12Mbs USB, serial (Windows 115Kbps, Mac 230Kbps), PC Card (with optional PC card adapter), video out (NTSC for US).
Power: 4 1,5V LR6 batteries, 4 1.5V lithium rechargeable, 1.2V NiMH or 1.2V NiCad.
Dimensions: 149 x 79 x 38mm, weight 370 grams.

Thanks to IR reader David L. Morel for this item!

We got the scoop on this one, just - shortly after we posted the first news in English of the Coolpix 990, Steve's Digicams has also posted the same information as well as several nice pictures of the new camera, and a few details the French site didn't have. You can find Steve's info here!

Steve's Digicams reviews the Fuji DS-260HD "Big Job"!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 17:22 EST)


Our friends over at Steve's Digicams have posted a review of Fuji's DS-260HD digital camera, affectionately (and rather amusingly) known as "Big Job". The DS-260HD is a ruggedized 1.5 megapixel camera, with a 3x optical zoom lens, and a chassis that is designed to be useable even when wearing heavy gloves. Originally targetted at industrial use, Fuji has realised the camera is also ideal for sports and outdoor use, thanks to a design that keeps it dust and water resistant. Here's what Steve had to say:

"The bottom line is that this camera does exactly what it was designed to do, survive in the worst weather conditions and still take great pictures. The Fuji DS-260HD and DS-250HD are the only cameras of their kind currently in production."

Check Steve's full review out here!

PhotoLoft.com increases membership 200%!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 14:51 EST)


A press release from photo-sharing website PhotoLoft.com announces that it has doubled its membership in the last quarter, and its members have shared over 45 million images in the same time frame. The company lists a number of what it feels are important firsts during it's initial year of business:

"- PhotoLoft.com is the first and only photo-sharing
community that can create and deploy private label
and co-branded partner Web sites within days of
signing the contract. This allows partners to
continue to promote their important brands to
consumers, while at the same time giving consumers
the advantages of on-line photo-sharing.
- PhotoLoft.com is the first and only photo-sharing
community that has worked within the traditional
photo-finishing community to closely integrate the
Internet and photography. Pakon, the industry-
leading supplier of innovative digital imaging
products, was the first to partner with
PhotoLoft.com. This global partnership ensures
photo-finishers can offer their customers Internet
photo-sharing via PhotoLoft.com.
- PhotoLoft.com is the first and only photo-sharing
community with the patent-pending Photo Sharing
Array (PSA(TM)), which translates to peace of mind
for PhotoLoft.com members. They can rest assured
that their photos are safely stored and
retrievable quickly and easily through the
PhotoLoft.com album technology.
- PhotoLoft.com is the first and only publicly
traded photo-sharing company, trading on the
Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol
'loft'."


Gartner to study flash memory market!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 14:31 EST)


A press release from Gartner Consulting announces that it is planning a study of the global supply and demand market for flash memory. The study will "examine pressing issues of interest to both flash memory vendors and users, including what products will drive demand, how this demand is likely to change, and when supply will be able to meet demand"; the results of the report will only be available to sponsors, and the report will commence from Marh 2000 for a year, posting findings on a quarterly basis.

HP to bundle ACDSee 3.0 with PhotoSmart cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 14:23 EST)


A press release from ACD Systems announces that HP is to bundle its ACDSee 3.0 software with the PhotoSmart line of digital cameras. ACDSee will be modified to include audio handling capabilities for sound files from the HP cameras, and localized versions in Italian, European Spanish, German, French and Japanese will be provided. ACD expects to gain as many as 1 million new customers from the deal, which will see the software shipping in PhotoSmart packages this fall...

Express Digital announces ExpressPhoto 6.0!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 14:12 EST)


A press release from software company Express Digital announces the release of its new ExpressPhoto 6.0 image printing application. Targetted at professional photographers, the program is designed to capture, customise (with borders and text), and print a photo in 45 seconds. Two versions are offered, either ExpressPhoto Pro (which is compatible with multiple cameras and printers, and features special effects and composite prints), or ExpressPhoto Event (which is designed specifically for use with Sony's DKC-FP3 digital camera, and Sony printers). Both versions also feature Publisher software which allows photos to be uploaded to PhotoReflect.com, from where photographers can sell reprints and photo accessories of their work.

The Sony DKC-FP3 is a modified version of the DSC-D770 digital camera which we reviewed on Monday. The FP3 adds FireWire connectivity, a slightly darker chassis color, and slightly improved image quality through tweaks to the in-camera processing, but for the most part the camera is very similar to its less expensive D700 and D770 siblings.

No pricing is mentioned for either version of ExpressPhoto in the release.

Imatec to appeal decision in Apple suit!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 13:17 EST)


A press release from Imatec Ltd. acknowledges that its court case against Apple Computer Corp. has been dismissed, but vows to appeal the decision. Imatec sued Apple in February last year, alleging that Apple's ColorSync technology, a color management system built into Apple's Mac OS, and intended to be released as a separate Windows program, infringed on 3 Imatec patents. Imatec President and CEO, Dr. Hanoch Shalit, had the following to say on the decision:

"With due respect to the court, the dismissal of our Complaint leads me to question how well the presiding judge understood the highly technical issues involved. This ordeal has given Imatec a renewed determination to move forward on behalf of its shareholders. As we continue to advance various technologies we intend to prove to the financial community and to the public that we are an innovative and effective company, despite this unfortunate decision in our suit against Apple, which we hope will be reversed."

Don't try this at home! (Well ok, since you insist, here's how...)
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 2:22 EST)


Do you have a Nikon CoolPix 900 with an aging, funky zoom control? Have a week or so to spare? Do you have surgical-level skills with soldering irons & solder? Well then, we have just the article for you! Reader Steve West put together a web page, describing a remarkable bit of surgery he performed to resurrect his CoolPix 900, saving it from an untimely end. The tiny surface-mount switches that do the actual work of figuring out when the human is asking the zoom lens to move in or out had become intermittent. Steve didn't want to spend a $150 repair charge on a camera now almost two generations old. Nikon's price for the part alone was $90. (I'm surprised they'd even sell it to him!) What's a hacker to do? Why, just tear the thing apart, haywire in some surplus switches cadged from a local distributor, and glue it back together again! (A little poetic license in that description.;) Steve not only did all the above (he did impose on an electronic-surgeon friend for the finicky soldering, a very wise idea), but he shows you how to do it too! This absolutely takes the cake for sheer guts in the face of malfunctioning technology! The results? Steve's CoolPix 900 lives again, and we can all have the vicarious thrill of watching some *else* tear into delicate electronics. Lots of fun, check it out! (By the way, Steve was entirely too generous in saying he "benefited" from discussions with Dave Etchells (me). - My contribution consisted solely of emails saying in effect "Go, Steve, Go!"...)

Massive Comparometer(tm) update!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - 2:00 EST)


We're nearing the end of a large number of in-process reviews, and we're finally starting to see some fruit from our labors! We've just updated the Comparometer to include sample images from the Casio QV-2000UX and QV-8000SX, the Sony DSC-D770, Ricoh RDC-5300, and Olympus C-2020 Zoom. Whew! The reviews for the QV-2000 and DSC-D770 have already been posted, the others should follow shortly. See the Comparometer now though, to compare images from these cameras to all the others we've tested!

IMPORTANT NOTE: We've learned that the Casio QV-2000 we used to shoot *all* our test images with apparently was from an early production run (it was full-prodution though, not a prototype) that had some color problems. (The magenta cast we noted in highlights on many shots.) This problem has been fixed by Casio, and in fact they apparently have been fixing any user's cameras with the problem for free. We've just received a new QV-2000, and its color is in fact much improved. We'll be reshooting and reposting images as quickly as we are able. In the meantime, we've tagged the carrier pages for the offending images with a notice that the camera which produced them had a color problem, since fixed. No ETA on the replacement pictures, as we're in the midst of some of the winter weather the rest of the country is having as well, and sunny days (for the outdoor stuff) are few and far between. Also, PMA looms close around the corner, and we've a lot to do to prepare. We'll try to get some of the replacement images posted before we leave, if at all possible.

Tuesday, January 25, 2000



Sony DSC-D770 full review posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 25, 2000 - 0:05 EST)


Full review of Sony DSC-D770 posted! - Wow! Its 1.5 megapixel resolution no longer tops the charts but the 5x optical zoom lens does a lot to make up for that, at least in telephoto situations. The Sony D770 still defines a high point though, for supreme picture-taking control in an under-$5,000 digital camera. Image quality is very good too, and low-light capability excellent. Film buffs unwilling to give up all the control they're used to with their 35mm SLRs will immediately appreciate the incredible flexibility of the D770! Here's a brief excerpt from the conclusion of our review:

What a camera! We really liked the exceptional manual control provided by the DSC-D770 and found the overall interface very user friendly. The "real camera" styling quickly puts film based camera lovers at ease with its familiar shape and heft. We also loved the manual focus and optical zoom adjustment rings on the lens and the SLR optical viewfinder which helps save precious battery power. Overall, this is a great camera for the "prosumer" or professional who wants all the features of a fully manual 35mm camera with the convenience of a digital camera. The D770 sets a high standard for full-manual digital cameras, offering features and capabilities well beyond the rest of the sub-$5,000 market. (At least as of this writing, in January, 2000.) While it currently defines the high end of digicams in terms of manual control, we hope that other manufacturers will follow Sony's lead in bringing this level of control to the serious amateur and professional photographer
.Check it out!

Monday, January 24, 2000



Mobility award nominations announced!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 24, 2000 - 21:18 EST)


A press release today from Mobile Insights announces that its nominations for the sixth annual Mobility Awards are now in. Of note for digital imaging fans are the following nominations:

- PC Card
Iomega/Clik! PC Card Drive
- CF Card
SanDisk/D2 Flash Cards
Lexar/USB-Enabled CompactFlash Cards
IBM/Microdrive
- Peripherals
Brother/MP-21C mobile color printer
Sharp/VN-EZ Internet ViewCam
- Mobile Storage
Iomega/Clik! PC Card Drive
IBM/Microdrive
- Solid-State Storage
Sony/Memory Stick
SanDisk/MultiMediaCard
SanDisk/CompactFlash Card
Lexar/CompactFlash Card
SanDisk/SD Memory Card
In each category, there will be a winner, and an honorable mention. 41 members of the press and analysts will register their votes online, and the results will be announced at the 2000 Mobility Awards, March 5-7 in Palm Desert, California. The nominations, accepted from October 15 to December 31 last year, cover only products released during 1999.

Mitsubishi to increase flash output!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 24, 2000 - 16:17 EST)


Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has announced plans to increase its output of flash memory, according to a Reuters news item. The company, which is planning for sales of ¥65 billion to ¥70billion this year, hopes to raise this to ¥100 billion in the 2001/2002 business year...

Reuters reveals PowerShot S20 pricing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 24, 2000 - 13:30 EST)


A news item from Reuters carried on Yahoo! BizWire today picks up on Canon's recent announcement of its upcoming PowerShot S20 digital camera, which we first brought news of on January 6th. The news item covers Canon's Japanese announcement of the camera, and notes that 40,000 units will be manufactured for worldwide sales monthly. Of these, 12,000 units each will go to Japan, the US and Europe, whilst 4,000 units will be sold in other areas. Of particular interest is that the Reuters item also notes pricing on the PowerShot S20 for the first time - the unit is to have a list price of ¥99,800 in Japan when it reaches the market. This translates to about US$952... Also of interest is that the scheduled ship date in the Reuters item is significantly different to the "second quarter" noted in Canon's original announcement - Reuters has been given a date of March for the camera to be launched worldwide!

Apple wins in "frivolous" Imatec lawsuit!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 24, 2000 - 13:19 EST)


A press release today from Apple Computer Inc. reports that the company has won a lawsuit filed against it by Imatec Ltd. on February 13 1998. The lawsuit alleged infringment on three Imatec patents in Apple's ColorSync system, which is part of the Macintosh Operating System, and is planned to be released as a separate Windows program. The Judge in the case decided that not only did ColorSync not infringe on the three patents in the lawsuit, but that Imatec did not even own the patents on which the suit was based in any case! Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, had the following to say: "We are pleased that the Judge threw out this frivolous lawsuit. Our customers can now lay to rest any concerns raised by Imatec's lawsuit."

Digital Camera Resource Page posts PhotoPC 850Z review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 24, 2000 - 1:01 EST)


Our friends over at the Digital Camera Resource Page have posted a review of Epson's PhotoPC 850Z digital camera. Jeff had the following to say on this 2.1 megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom, USB connectivity, flash hot-shoe and manual capability:

"The 850Z is a camera that I'd recommend. It's photos aren't the sharpest or brightest out there, but the all-around feature set is strong, and you'll be pleased with its output. The only other camera in this price range with a hot shoe and manual controls is the Fuji MX-2900."

Check the full review out here!

Ulead announces PhotoImpact available by electronic distribution!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 24, 2000 - 0:57 EST)


A press release from Ulead Systems Inc. announces that its PhotoImpact 5 image editor is now available via electronic distribution. The program, which is available boxed for $79.95, can be downloaded from www.ulead.com for $74.95. The download uses Ulead's Smart Download technology, and gets around the problem of downloading a large program by allowing the core program (20MB) to be downloaded and installed, and extra components to be downloaded as they are needed...

Umax announces special offer on Adobe software!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 24, 2000 - 0:42 EST)


Scanner manufacturer UMAX Technologies Inc. has announced a special offer on software from Adobe Systems Inc. for users of its PowerLook and Mirage scanner. Customers who purchase qualifying scanners between January 01 and March 31 2000 will be eligible to purchase the following:

Adobe Design Collection -
Adobe InDesign 1.0, Adobe Illustrator 8.0, Adobe
Photoshop 5.5, and Adobe Acrobat 4.0, valued in the
Adobe online store at $1599, will cost qualified UMAX
users US$1349.
Adobe Dynamic Media Collection -
Adobe After Effects 4.0, Adobe Premiere 5.1, Adobe
Photoshop 5.5, and Adobe Illustrator 8.0 software.
Valued at $1589 in the Adobe online store, UMAX
qualified customers can purchase for US$1279.
Adobe Publishing Collection -
Adobe PageMaker 6.5 Plus, Adobe Photoshop 5.5, Adobe
Illustrator 8.0, and Adobe Acrobat 4.0 software. Listed
at $1059 in the Adobe online store, the collection will
cost qualified UMAX users US$849.
Adobe Web Collection -
Adobe GoLive 4.0, Adobe Illustrator 8.0, and Adobe
Photoshop 5.5 software, valued at $1059 in the Adobe
online store, the price for qualified users is US$849.


Sunday, January 23, 2000



Sony planning 1GB MemoryStick, says Cahners!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 23, 2000 - 22:32 EST)


A page on the CES Show website kindly pointed out by Paul on the CyberShot DSC-D700/D770/F55/F505 Forum notes that Sony has extended its plans for the MemoryStick medium to include a 1GB MemoryStick. The page, authored by Steve Smith for Cahners Business Information, states that "[at] CES, Sony is demonstrating currently available, new and future products based on its storage media — which is available in 8, 16, 32 and 64MB sizes, with 128MB, 156MB (sic) and 1GB sizes coming soon, according to Fujio Nishida, president of Sony Consumer Products Marketing Group." Sony announced plans some time back in Japan to have 128MB MemorySticks available this year (2000) and 256MB MemorySticks available in 2001; these is no indication as to when 1GB MemorySticks would reach the market, but assuming Sony has not moved up its plans for smaller MemorySticks we'd expect there to be a period of at least a few months after 256MB ships before 1GB reaches the market... Once it does though, this could be an ideal storage capacity and form-factor, should MemoryStick have made its way into a greater number of digital cameras in the meantime, and should the pricing be reasonable!

Silicon Film appoint ex-Kodak digital imaging exec!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, January 23, 2000 - 22:08 EST)


A press release from Silicon Film, previously known as Imagek and the company behind the long-promised digital film cartridge that will allow 35mm film cameras to take digital photos, announces that it has appointed ex-Kodak exec Kenneth P. Fay as its new Chief Operating Officer. Fay most recently held the position of Vice President, Digital and Applied Imaging at Kodak, as well as Executive Director of Kodak subsidiary Chinon Industries Inc. Chinon is based in Nagano, Japan, and manufactures several hundred thousand digital cameras annually... Fay also led the team that established Kodak's first wholly owned manufacturing company in China, and was General Manager of Kodak Electronic Products (Shanghai), Ltd., as well as having held various manufacturing, engineering and technical support positions with Kodak over the previous 10 years. He will oversee Silicon Film's Engineering and Manufacturing functions.

Thursday, January 20, 2000



Flashpoint announces new VP of Marketing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 20, 2000 - 19:53 EST)


A press release from FlashPoint Technology Inc., creator of the Digita operating system used in some digital cameras, announces the appointment of a new Vice President of Marketing. Catherine S. Edwards previously worked for Compaq Computers, Amdahl Corporation, 4th Dimension Software, Sun Microsystems, Lotus Development and Digital Equipment Corporation, and holds an MBA from Boston University and a BS in Mass Communications from Towson State University. She will report to Steve Saylor, executive vice president and general manager, in her new position.

Fuji to show SuperCCD-based cameras at PMA!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 20, 2000 - 19:36 EST)


Fuji Photo Film USA Inc. has today distributed a press release noting its plans for the PMA show in Las Vegas, which Dave and myself will be attending and reporting on. Of particular interest is the following paragraph:

"Fujifilm's leadership in digital camera technology is once again demonstrated with the introduction of Fujifilm's proprietary Super CCD image sensor technology, in which the unique placement of sensors results in images rich in detail and alive with vibrant colors. The company plans to make several product announcements regarding the Super CCD technology during the PMA show."

For more news on what Fuji plans to announce, stay tuned - as soon as we have something to share, you'll see it here! It sounds like this could be a very interesting PMA...

Q-Research to launch VideoGenetics at PMA!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 20, 2000 - 17:34 EST)


Q-Research Inc., the company behind the PhotoGenetics software that we've mentioned several times in the past on this news page, has announced that its version for improving video quality will be available at the start of the PMA show in Las Vegas. VideoGenetics uses a process similar to that in PhotoGenetics to let the user decide what looks best, and intuitively change the video based on this. The software is to be launched February 3rd, first in a Macintosh version ($249, or $199 before April 3rd), with a PC version to follow later.

Ofoto introduces Ofoto Now software, offers free prints!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 20, 2000 - 13:50 EST)


A press release from online photofinishing website Ofoto Inc. announces that it has released a preview version of its Ofoto Now software, for enhancing and uploading digital images. The press release notes that people using OfotoNow to upload their photos to the Ofoto site for the first time will receive 50 free 4x6 prints. The software allows photos to be viewed either singly or in a slideshow, either scaled to fit the screen or zoomed in, and can also be cropped, rotated and have red-eye removed, before being uploaded through the software to Ofoto's website to be shared online, and for prints to be ordered.

New features have also been added to the Ofoto website, including have the option to print entire images within the standard print size, since digital camera images often do not match the shape of traditional film; images can now be copied between albums and into new albums, and photo comments can now be edited or deleted.

Simultaneously, Ofoto has announced that it has received $16 million in first round venture funding from Silicon Valley investment firms Benchmark Capital and The Barksdale Group.

US digicam sales pass two million mark, US$1 billion!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 20, 2000 - 13:38 EST)


A new report from Imerge Consulting LLC today announces that two impressive milestones were passed by the US digital camera market in 1999. For the first time, annual sales excluding toy cameras passed the two million units mark, which in turn brought sales past the US$1 billion revenue point for the first time!

Imerge's report, "The Worldwide Digital Camera Forecast and Market Overview, 1999 -- 2004", sees the US market having moved ahead of Japan on this news, to become the largest digital camera market region. Unit volume for all digital camera segments except toy cameras was much higher than Imerge's predictions of a year ago, and the report notes that demand outstripped manufacturing capacity, forcing Japanese OEMs to drop OEM arrangements to meet the demanded of their branded vendor clients, and also forcing Japanese vendors to seek outsourced manufacturing in Taiwan. The report finds, though, that Taiwan remained unable to manufacture optical zoom lenses and opto-electronics, and remained at the 1.3 megapixel level while the Japanese vendors prepared for 3.3 megapixel cameras.

The full report is available from Imerge at a cost of $3000, and features five-year, (1999 -- 2004) unit, ASV and street revenue forecasts, segmentation for low-end, mid range and high-end consumer digital cameras for the U.S., Japan, Europe and ROW, and market share leaders for each region/segment and their unit volumes along with revenue. Also included is Imerge's trend analysis for 2000 and beyond, as well as forecasts from Imerge's other reports on film digitization and online print fulfillment, flash media for digital cameras and sensor forecasts for consumer digital cameras.

Retiring Adobe co-founder to give keynote speech!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 20, 2000 - 12:15 EST)


A press release from the National Association of Photoshop Professionals promises a "glimpse into the future" at the Adobe Photoshop World 2000 show, to be held March 30 - April 1 in Orlando, Florida. Chuck Geshcke, the retiring co-founder of Adobe, will give a keynote speech to kick the show off, and companies including Agfa, Adobe Systems, Apple Computer, Extensis, Media Labs, and Wacom will be present at the show to preview their upcoming products. The event is to be held in the Orange County Convention Center.


Wednesday, January 19, 2000



Agfa announces scanning seminars!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 19, 2000 - 20:30 EST)


The Desktop Products Group of Agfa Corp. has today announced a series of seminars scheduled in 20 US cities between February 7 and April 13, 2000. The Agfa Scanning Seminar 2000 is designed to help all levels of scanner users get good scans and color control, and is based on Agfa's DuoScan T1200, T2500 and T2000XL scanners. Attendees will be taught how to set up their systems, as well as color correcting, descreening, mounting originals, glassless scanning and reading and understanding color numbers. Also shown will be the differences between Mac and PC software, setting up a scanner driver and configuring PhotoShop 5.5.

The seminar schedule is as follows:

DATE    CITY                LOCATION
Feb 07 Las Vegas, NV Excalibur Hotel
Feb 09 Orlando, FL Clarion Plaza Hotel
Feb 11 Cincinnati, OH Regal Cincinnati Hotel
Feb 14 Washington, DC One Washington Circle Hotel
Feb 16 Philadelphia, PA Doubletree Downtown
Feb 18 New York, NY Hotel Roosevelt
Mar 01 Denver, CO Embassy Suites Downtown
Mar 03 Houston, TX Houston Doubletree Post Oak
Mar 06 San Francisco, CA Marriott Hotel
Mar 08 Seattle, WA Claremont Hotel
Mar 13 Los Angeles, CA Ramada Plaza Hotel
Mar 15 Anaheim, CA Embassy Suites
Mar 21 Nashville, TN Marriott Courtyard
Mar 23 Salt Lake City, UT Hilton Hotel
Mar 29 Kansas City, MO Embassy Suites
Mar 31 Minneapolis, MN Double Tree Park Place
Apr 04 Chicago, IL Hilton Garden Inn
Apr 06 Detroit, MI Marriott Troy
Apr 10 Boston, MA Regal Bostonian Hotel
Apr 13 Atlanta, GA Hilton Garden Perimeter Ctr.
The seminars, which run from 8:30AM to 4:00PM, cost $179 per person. If you're interested, you can obtain more information from http://www.graphintel.com

Circuit City to sell SanDisk memory cards, readers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 19, 2000 - 2:45 EST)


A press release from SanDisk Corp. announces that effective immediately, national retailer Circuit City is now carrying a number of SanDisk products. Included are SnDisk CompactFlash cards, SmartMedia cards, MultiMediaCards and ImageMate card readers, although models are not specified. Circuit City Stores Inc. has over 600 retail outlets across the USA, and operates out of Richmond, VA.

More on photo-sharing startup SnapFish!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 19, 2000 - 2:38 EST)


We reported back on December 31 about a new addition to the line-up of online photo sharing/finishing companies, in the form of CMGI/Mayfield-backed SnapFish.com in our article "Snapfish to offer online photosharing, photofinishing!". A press release from the company provides further details on its plans; both digital and film cameras are to be supported, and customers will mail their films or single-use cameras in free of charge either in a free mailer, or by printing out a postage-paid label. A few days later, SnapFish will email the customer with news that their pictures are posted online, at which time the customer can view them, share the pictures with friends and family, and order reprints, enlargements and photo gifts. The first set of prints (4 x 6" from our previous information) and negatives arrive in the mail, free of charge - but the customer does pay a shipping and handling charge, which is unspecified.

No news as to whether digital camera users will be entitled to their first set of prints free - but our information is that they won't, probably because it would be difficult for SnapFish to ascertain whether the files had been printed before, and so charge for reprints. What pricing will be for the optional extras and reprints remains to be seen...

ScanSoft to acquire Caere Corp.!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 19, 2000 - 1:42 EST)


A press release today from ScanSoft Inc., the software company behind the popular "Kai's" range of imaging software, announces that it has entered into an agreement to acquire OCR company Caere Corp. The agreement, which has been approved unanimously by the boards of both companies, will give holders of Caere stock $4 in cash and $7.75 in ScanSoft stock. The total transaction is valued at above $140 million...

Tuesday, January 18, 2000



User Review posted for Sony MVC-FD91!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 18, 2000 - 16:27 EST)


User review of Sony MVC-FD91 digicam posted! - IR reader, frequent Q&A Forum contributor, and first annual Grover Henson Patient Author award winner ;-) Dan Desjardins wrote a very nice, informative user review of the Sony MVC-FD91 digicam. Dan's article is great, as it's based on real-life experience with the camera, and to his credit, Dan avoids the syndrome of "it must be great, since I bought it." Overall, this is a great perspective on why the FD91 is so popular, and at the same time, why it isn't for everyone. Thanks Dan, and thanks for your patience! (Oh - Be sure to check out Dan's "Maview" program for managing Mavica image files as well. Check his site at www.viewpix.com for more details.) Meanwhile, we actually have an FD-91 in-house at the moment, and hope to have our own review up within the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, January 15, 2000



A warning on buying from auctions and classifieds!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, January 15, 2000 - 17:04 EST)


Our friends over at Steve's Digicams have posted a very important warning for anybody considering purchasing a digital camera off an online auction site (and the same could apply for other methods such as 'For Sale' boards and possibly even the local classifieds...) Steve was lucky to have found out what was happening before he'd lost his money, and hopefully we can all play our part in making sure nobody we know gets taken in by this. Thanks to Steve for the warning, which we're posting in full below since he did such a great job writing it up...

"Beware Of Online Digicam Scam
Yours truly almost fell prey to one of the latest online scams involving digital cameras. I noticed this Sony D770 on the eBay auction site and at the end of the description the seller had an email link where he stated that he was willing to deal direct. On that same line he stated that he was ready to do a direct deal for $1299 for this brand new and factory sealed Sony D770. I know that the best price you can get on a new D770 is around $1700-1800 so I decided to check it out.

I emailed this fellow whose eBay ID showed zero feedback, in other words he was a newly registered user. This set off a warning bell by itself but I still wanted to see what the story was. He emails me back and tells me that he will send me the camera, with no prepayment on my part whatsoever. I would have two days to examine the camera and once I was satisfied then I could use the Western Union electronic pay system to send him my $1299 payment. He even offered to pay the Western Union charges. So I figure - how in the heck can I lose - he sends it first and I pay for it later.

Well, today I get an email from one of the folks at OnSale/Egghead that is responsible for chasing down credit card fraud. He asked me if I had been dealing with someone over a Sony DSC-D770 camera and pretty much described this guy's whole M.O. to a tee. Turns out that it is an elaborate but relatively simple, high-tech scam and he's used it on eBay, Yahoo! Auction and a few other places online, and here's how it works.

This fellow asks for your shipping address and then goes to Onsale, Amazon.com, Beyond.com or one of the other large online vendors and sets up a new account using a stolen credit card. And guess whose name and address is on that new account? Yep, it's yours! So now he orders a brand new Sony D770 for about $1900 and charges it with this stolen credit card and has it sent right to your doorstep. You get the brand new camera and are thrilled with your more than great deal and after a day or two you happily send him the $1299 via Western Union.

A week or so later you get contacted by the vendor that shipped you the camera and they inform you that the credit card used to buy your new camera was either stolen or declined. They now want you to give them $1900 or return the merchandise. You've already sent the scammer $1299 that you will never, ever, see again, it's gone! Those electronic payments can be picked up at any Western Union office, anywhere in the world, all he needs is the password info you get when you authorize the payment.

Luckily I have been an OnSale user for over three years and when this guy created the new account there it got cross-referenced to my other account and set off some kind of warning. They cancelled the order and contacted me and I was not scammed out of my money unlike a lot of other folks before me. They've been chasing this guy for several months now and still haven't caught him -- he's still out there and he's still scamming folks.

The moral to story - if a deal looks too good to be true then it probably is - buyer beware - scammers are everywhere!"
Thanks very much to Steve's Digicams for alerting everybody to this scam!

Friday, January 14, 2000



Simple Technology offers 64MB SmartMedia!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, January 14, 2000 - 13:40 EST)


A press release from flash media manufacturer Simple Technology Inc. has announced the availability of its 64MB SmartMedia cards. Simple guarantees the cards to be 100% compatible to the SmartMedia standard, and notes that it is the first to market with 64MB SmartMedia for the reseller and retail channels... The 64MB card features a 512Mbit NAND flash electrically erasable programmable read only memory memory chip, packaged in an overmolded thin package. Erase time is 3ms and access time is 10us for the first access and 50ns for serial access. The 64MB SmartMedia card, available now, is expected to have a street price of about $159.

Canon PowerShot S20 receives "Best of Show" award!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, January 14, 2000 - 13:22 EST)


Canon USA Inc. has distributed a press release announcing that its PowerShot S20 digital camera has received a "Best of Show" award at the MacWorld 2000 show in San Francisco. The 3.3 megapixel S20, first announced on January 6th in our news item "Canon announces PowerShot S20; samples online!", was one of nine products selected to receive the award, and the only photographic product to do so.

Here's the full specs for the camera:

 - Canon PowerShot S20
- 3.34 megapixel 1/1.8 inch CCD, 2048 x 1536, 1024 x 768
or 640 x 480 pixel image sizes in Super-Fine, Fine or
Normal compression modes; JPEG file storage, DCF and
DPOF compliant
- 2x optical zoom lens; 6.5 - 13mm (equivalent to 32 -
64mm on a 35mm camera), f2.9 - 4; all glass aspheric
design; 2 and 4x digital zoom
- Mechanical and electronic shutter, 2 - 1/1000 second
- TTL Autofocus (Macro: 12 - 66cm, Standard:
66cm - infinity)
- Built-in LCD monitor (1.8" low temperature polysilicon)
and optical viewfinder
- CompactFlash Type-I and Type-II storage; compatible
with the IBM MicroDrive
- Built-in four mode flash (off, on, red-eye, auto),
range 0.17 - 2.3m (tele) or 3.3m (wide)
- USB, RS-232C, Mac serial, and Video out connectivity
- Center weighted or Spot metering
- TTL Program AE, AE lock, exposure compensation
+/- 2EV in 1/3EV increments
- Manual or Auto white balance
- Adjustable contrast and sharpness
- Adjustable ISO (100, 200, 400)
- Burst mode of up to 0.8 frames per second (number of
frames unspecified, LCD display off)
- Scrollable image zoom during playback
- Full auto, manual, stitch assist, slow-speed shutter,
high speed shutter, night scene, landscape and black
and white modes
- Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.7 x 1.3 inches
- Metallic champagne colored chassis
- Weight 270g without batteries and CF card
- Bundled with Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Canon PhotoStitch for
Mac and Windows, Canon ZoomBrowser EX for Windows and
Canon PowerShot Browser for the Mac
- Supplied accessories: USB, Serial, Mac Serial and Video
cables, wrist strap, 2CR5 lithium battery, 16MB CF card
- Optional accessories: Power Supply Kit DK110, soft case
- Availability set for second quarter, 2000. Pricing to
be determined.


Agfa SnapScan 1212u receives "best buy" award!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, January 14, 2000 - 12:56 EST)


A press release from Agfa Corp.'s Desktop Products Group announces that its SnapScan 1212u scanner will receive a "Best Buy" award in the February 2000 issue of Consumer's Digest Magazine. The 1212u, which has a suggested price of $99, features USB connectivity, 600 x 1200dpi optical resolution, 36-bit color depth, and a $20 rebate that runs through May 31, 2000...

Thursday, January 13, 2000



Dave prognosticates (PMA prediction)
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 13, 2000 - 18:16 EST)


I had an interesting conversation with a pro photo dealer today who's been very active in the digital marketplace. Combining some of his observations about what's happening in the pro channel (vs what various manufacturers are *saying* is happening) with some things I know but can't talk about led me to a clear conclusion: The upcoming PMA show (Feb 3-6 in Las Vegas) is going to be very interesting in the pro-camera realm! I think there's going to be a real shakeup in the >$3,000 digicam market, and we should see a lot of it happen (or at least start to happen) at that show.

The Nikon D1 has set a price point for digital SLRs that Kodak hasn't fully answered yet. (No, I don't know anything about Kodak's plans, or I wouldn't be free to speculate like this.) But, looking at the price differential between the D1 and Kodak's equivalent Pro units, you'd have to think that there's going to be some further price adjustment. I'm of course completely ignoring feature sets, functionality, etc, here. This in part because my conversation with the dealer today left me convinced that at least the commercial pros (perhaps as opposed to photojournalism people) buying digital SLRs are looking mainly at the price tags in making decisions about which camera to buy.

You also have to wonder what Canon's next move will be: Their arch-enemy in the pro camera marketplace (Nikon) has made an incredibly strong play that they haven't as yet answered. Again, I know *nothing* about Canon's pro plans, but can't imagine that they'll be content to resell Kodak hardware into the indefinite future. The more time that goes by without even a pre-announcement of a new pro digital SLR solution, the more turf they concede to Nikon. If I were them, I'd be working like the dickens to come up with something I could announce at this PMA, as it's the most significant imaging event happening any time within at least the next six months. (And we all know what an eternity six months is in the digicam world.) And (being as deliberately cryptic as possible), the above-mentioned people aren't the only potential players we could hear from at PMA...

I couldn't begin to make any specific predictions, but think we could reach a real watershed in the pro camera market in just another few weeks. Stay tuned! Mike Tomkins and I will both be going to PMA, and IR newsletter editor Mike Pasini will doubtless be chipping in from "base camp" as well: We should have a lot to report!

Scitex announces 6.6 megapixel CMOS sensor!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 13, 2000 - 8:26 EST)


We received an email this morning from Danny Brenner over at the Digital Photography World website with news that Scitex Corp. Ltd. has announced a whopping 6.6 megapixel full-size 35mm CMOS sensor on Monday. The resolution of 6.6 megapixels in a CMOS sensor is certainly exciting, but perhaps even more so is the 35mm sensor size. There's a vast amount of camera hardware already on the market designed around the 35mm format thanks to 35mm film, and a 35mm CMOS sensor would allow manufacturers to reuse all of the quality lenses etc. that they've already designed for their film cameras - which would remove the cost of designing and tooling up for new lenses, as well as allowing photographers to use their current lenses with both digital and traditional camera bodies without worrying about focal length multipliers. Scitex notes exactly this in its press release, stating that "[with] its unique, ultra thin packaging the Leaf C-MOST sensor can be positioned in the focal plane of a standard 35mm camera, allowing full-size, high resolution images to be captured using standard 35mm lenses." The C-MOST sensor is described as being comparable to current CCD sensors in both sensitivity and noise levels, and is expected to appear in future Leaf digital cameras. Scitex collaborated with FillFactory of Leuven, Belgium for the design of the CMOS sensor, Tower Semiconductor Ltd., of Migdal Haemek, Israel for the wafer fabrication process and ShellCase Ltd., of Jerusalem, Israel for the development and production of the custom packaging. The company is planning to raise external funding to support development of 6.6 megapixel CMOS products...
Thanks to Danny Brenner for this item!

Casio QV-2000UX full review online!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 13, 2000 - 4:06 EST)


Full review of Casio QV-2000UX posted! - Casio has been a true innovater in the digicam market, being the first to introduce features such as a swiveling lens and LCD panels on cameras. Their early models showed more of a "gadget" focus than one oriented to photographic capabilities, but this has changed radically with their recent cameras. A case in point is their QV-2000UX camera, which combines 2 megapixel resolution and a 3x optical zoom lens with arguably the broadest exposure and creative control of any camera under $1,000. It offers averaging, center-weighted and spot metering, and full-program, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, and full-manual exposure settings. Not enough? How about a power control for the built-in flash, and adjustments for in-camera sharpening, contrast, and color saturation! Given its aggressive selling price, it's a bargain for those wanting the same level of control over their digital shots as they're accustomed to in their higher-end film cameras. The one fault we found was a tendency toward a magenta cast, particularly in high-key subjects. This is an excellent example though, of where the PhotoGenetics software program (our favorite image-correction tool) can turn a good camera into a great one, for only $30!

Wednesday, January 12, 2000



New server move underway!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 12, 2000 - 6:51 EST)


The move is on - we're currently in the midst of switching to our new web server, which should bring improved reliability and faster page loads. With the way the web works, though, it will take several days for this change to propagate through the whole Internet - and in the meantime, some of you will be seeing the new server, and some the old one. If you're reading this message, you're now seeing the new server as your particular Internet provider has already picked the change up. This means the change should be transparent to you, as you're already seeing the server which we're updating with the news - congratulations! (If you arrived here by clicking on the link from the old server, remember that you'll not yet be able to use the News forums feature...)

Tuesday, January 11, 2000



Silicon Film announces manufacturer for EFS line!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 11, 2000 - 14:54 EST)


A press release from Silicon Film Technologies Inc., the company behind the 35mm "digital film" cartridge that was first announced as long ago as April 1998 when the company was known as Imagek, has announced that it has selected a manufacturer for the EFS line. Express Manufacturing Inc. According to the press release, the EFS-1 system, consisting of the eFilm cartridge, ePort carrier, and eBox storage module will be available in the first half of this year. The eFilm cartridge will now use a CMOS sensor, and will contain 64MB of memory and two batteries. At least initially, the eFilm package will be designed to fit in specific camera bodies, so it won't be an instant solution for every film camera... No pricing is mentioned, but the last we heard back in September was that the full EFS-1 system was supposed to be compatible with the Nikon F-5, N-90, F-90, and F-3, as well as Canon's EOS 1N, A2 and A5, at a price of below $800...

Nikon announces price cuts on digital products!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 11, 2000 - 14:42 EST)


A press release from Nikon Inc. announces price cuts on its line of digital products effective immediately, as follows:

 - Coolpix 950 digital camera, was $999, now $899
- Coolpix 800 digital camera, was $699, now $599
- Super Coolscan 2000 film scanner, was $1899, now $1599
- Coolscan III film scanner, was $999, now $799


NexFlash promotes MediaStik memory format!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 11, 2000 - 14:28 EST)


A press release from flash memory manufacturer NexFlash Technologies Inc. promotes yet another memory format, adding to the numerous types of memory used by digital cameras. NexFlash's proprietary MediaStik looks similar to Sony's bubblegum-shaped MemoryStick, with a 1.8" x 0.6" package (thickness not mentioned in the release) that NexFlash describes as "the smallest flash card available". NexFlash is targetting the MediaStiks at low-end digicams, reasoning that they don't need the higher capacities of megapixel digital cameras. Hence, the MediaStik has been designed into entry-level cameras from Taiwanese manufacturers such as Relisys (Dimera), Mustek (VDC-3500) and others, and the MediaStiks will only be available in capacities of one, two or four megabytes. The one megabyte cards seem to be sold only to camera manufacturers, whilst the two and four megabyte cards are available from online retailers including Egghead.com. NexFlash sees the MediaStik as useful because, being much simpler than rivals such as CompactFlash (the MediaStik has a two-pin connector), they can be manufactured much more cheaply.

Monday, January 10, 2000



KB Gear announces PhotoSharp for JamC@m 2.0!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 23:10 EST)


A press release from KB Gear Interactive announces the release of PhotoSharp, a piece of software designed to optimize output from the KB JamC@m 2.0. PhotoSharp asks a series of questions about the photos, such as for example asking the user to input the level of lighting at which the pictures were taken, before transferring the photos to the PC. Photos in the JamC@m 2.0 apparently are stored in a raw CCD format, allowing the pictures to retain better detail when extracted in this manner - and KB feels that the results from the 640 x 480 $100 JamC@m are "very near the quality of pictures taken with mega-pixel digital cameras, priced in the $300-$900 range"... KB has samples on its website at http://www.gojamcam.com/photosharp/ - however at the time of writing KB's site was down and we were unable to examine them. We do remember seeing samples at Comdex however, which did show a marked improvement over the unprocessed JamC@m pictures...

Digital Camera Network to offer digicam prints without a PC!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 22:48 EST)


A press release from the Digital Camera Network previews its "Shoot-2-Print" technology, which it considers the first to offer digicam prints without the need for a PC. A combination of software and hardware will allow your digital camera to be connected directly to a telephone line, either to upload your photos for immediate printing and next day delivery, or alternatively upload the photos from the camera and then view them over the web from your PC to choose which photos to print. DCN intends to ship its first Shoot-2-Print solution, based on Panasonic's PV-DC2590 digital camera, later this year.

Casio, Zing and FotoNation announce internet solution!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 22:37 EST)


A joint press release from Casio Computer Co. Ltd., FotoNation Inc. and Zing.com announces that the three companies have cooperated to produce what they describe as the first "Internet camera end to end solution". Displayed in Casio's booth at the CES show in Las Vegas, essentially the technology means that using FotoNation's FotoDeveloper Uploader on the PC, Casio digital camera users can upload images through their PC directly to the Zing website, without first having to store and organize the images on the PC. This is apparently the first stage in FotoNation's plans for an Internet camera solution; stage two calls for a FotoCall modem to be connected to the camera for images to be uploaded without a PC, and stage three calls for the camera itself to be connected directly to the telephone line for uploading of images without any extra hardware.

Fuji MX-1700 wins Innovations 2000 award!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 22:17 EST)


Fuji Photo Film USA Inc. has distributed a press release announcing that its MX-1700 Zoom digital camera has received an Innovations 2000 award from the Consumer Electronics Association at the 2000 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The MX-1700 and other honorees were displayed at the Innovations Booth, and were selected for the honor by a panel of industrial designers, engineers and industry trade media.

Lexar appoints new Vice President and CFO!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 22:12 EST)


Lexar Media has announced the appointment of Ronald H Bissinger as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Bissinger joins the company from Ultradata Corp., where he was VP of Finance and Business Development, and Chief Financial Officer, and has also held senior financial posts at The Alta Group, Biosym/MSI, Crystal Graphics, Silicon Systems and Siemens Semiconductor, amongst others. John Reimer, President and CEO of Lexar, had the following to say on the announcement: "We are delighted to add Ron's experience and leadership skills to an already highly qualified team of senior managers at Lexar. I expect that his extensive financial experience in managing complex multinational businesses and in improving corporate processes will enhance Lexar's ability to compete in the global marketplace. I am personally pleased to have attracted a highly experienced CFO as we aggressively move ahead in executing our business plan, and I welcome Ron to my team."

VST announces USB CF+, SmartMedia and floppy reader!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 22:06 EST)


A press release from VST Technologies Inc. announces its new Tri-Media USB reader. The Tri-Media accepts not only CompactFlash Type II and SmartMedia cards, but also rather unusually contains a 1.44MB floppy disk drive! The unit takes its power from the USB chain, and will be available in March 2000 at a price of $189.95.

Memorex steps into Flash Memory battlefield!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 13:23 EST)


Memorex, the well-known media manufacturer, has announced its entry into the flash memory marketplace, already in the midst of a war for dominance between flash giants Lexar and SanDisk... The company, attracted by the expansion in Flash sales thanks to digital cameras, portable audio players and handheld computers, is entering the market with CompactFlash cards in 8, 16, 32, 48, 64, 80, 96 and 128MB capacities ($39.95 to $399.95) and SmartMedia cards in 8, 16 and 32MB capacities ($29.99, $49.99 and $99.99). Also available at launch will be a USB CompactFlash reader ($44.95) and a PC Card adapter ($12.95). It isn't clear whether Memorex is designing/manufacturing the products itself, or rebadging those of an existing manufacturer, but regardless, the entry of another corporate heavyweight to the field should bring price/performance benefits to end-users over time!

Lexar and Sony exchange technology, enhance MemoryStick!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 13:08 EST)


A press release from Lexar Media announces that the flash manufacturer has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Sony Corp. to develop Sony's MemoryStick media. Under the terms of the agreement, Lexar will license its technology for high-speed flash memory controllers to Sony, in exchange for Lexar's being allowed to license the specifications of MemoryStick from Sony, and manufacture/market MemoryStick media. Sony will use the controller technology to improve the read/write speed of MemoryStick to allow 64 megabytes of music to be copied to a MemoryStick in ten seconds...

Q-Research and Casio cooperate!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 12:56 EST)


A press release announces that Casio Inc. has agreed to package Q-Research Inc.'s PhotoGenetics software with its newest digital cameras, including the QV-8000SX and QV-2000UX. The program, which we reviewed back on May 28, lets you adjust all the various aspects of color and tone in images, without knowing anything about image manipulation. It will also batch-correct large numbers of images, allowing it to quickly and automatically tweak all your images to eliminate the standard "biases" that most digital cameras tend to have...

The press release also notes that Ariston will bundle the software with its Universal Serial Bus iRead Flashcard Reader/Writer and iSee Web cameras, and distribute it through online retailer d-store.com.

Casio announces wrist digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 12:33 EST)


Casio Inc. has announced a new gadget worthy of James Bond, in the form of its new WQV-1 Wrist Camera, a watch which features a built-in monochrome digital camera. The Wrist Camera, which measures 40 x 52 x 16mm and weighs 32 grams, features a 1/14 inch monochrome CMOS sensor with 28,000 pixels (24,334 pixels effective), coupled with a 1.1mm F2.8 lens which focuses from 30 centimeters to infinity. A 20 mm x 20mm, 120 x 120 pixel, 16 grayscale STN LCD display serves as a viewfinder and playback screen, whilst the camera has 1MB of built-in memory for storing up to 100 images... Three recording modes allow for 16-grayscale images, two-tone images of the merging of multiple images into one image, and the watch also records time and date stamp on every image. A Visual databank feature allows a portrait to be stored in the watch along with each name and phone number, and an infrared sensor allows images to be transferred to an infrared-capable PC or another Wrist Camera at 115,200bps. A battery life of 6 months on a CR2032 battery, with 60 seconds of camera use per day, is quoted. An infrared adapter and link software is sold separately. No pricing or availability is noted...

Thomson offers free prints with RCA Digicams!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 12:20 EST)


A press release from January 05 announces that Thomson has signed an agreement with PhotoAccess.com to offer 5 free prints with its digital cameras. The RCA CDS1000 and CDS4100 digital cameras will feature the offer for 5 free PhotoAccess prints bundled in the box; the cameras are currently available at prices of $199 and $499 respectively, although no specifications are mentioned in the release.

Epson offers FireWire connectivity for G3 and G4!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 12:15 EST)


A press release from Epson America Inc. announces that the company is now offering a IEEE 1394 Type B FireWire card for use with the Apple Power Macintosh G3 and G4 computers. The card allows users to take advantage of the higher speed of FireWire connectivity optionally available on the the EPSON Stylus Color 900, Stylus Color 900G, Stylus Color 1520, Stylus Color 3000, Stylus Pro 5000 and Stylus Pro 9000 printers, and features two connectors allowing up to 63 other FireWire peripherals to be daisy-chained from the printer. The card is now available; pricing is not mentioned in the press release.

Agfa launches beta program for ScanWise and FotoLook!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 10, 2000 - 12:05 EST)


A press release from the Desktop Products Group of Agfa Corp. announces that it has established a web page where interested customers can participate in beta testing of the ScanWise and FotoLook drivers for Agfa's SnapScan and DuoScan scanners. Available immediately at http://www.agfa.com/betasoftware/ the site also has a bug report feedback page where users can inform the company of any problems they find with the software...

Saturday, January 8, 2000



New server on the horizon (thank goodness!)
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, January 8, 2000 - 2:13 EST)


Well, if we needed anything to validate our decision to change ISPs, the events of yesterday would certainly have qualified! Our server-hosting ISP managed to kill our email system completely for almost 12 hours, converted our web server into a read-only device (we couldn't make updates, although it continued serving pages for at least some of the time), and finally managed to blow our site completely off the 'net for over two hours! Fortunately, we were already in the process of moving to a new server, to the extent that the new IP address has already been submitted to the internet's DNS system. We'll be dual-posting news on both systems for a little while, and the old server is scheduled to come off-line on or about the 17th of this month. The new server is actually a pretty similar configuration to the old one, but some back-end changes seem to have significantly sped up page loading, particularly for readers on faster connections. As part of the move, we've also picked up a few back-end software goodies that will be making themselves felt in various aspects of the site over the next several months.

So... Apologies for the server and email problems today: If you tried contacting us, you may want to try again, as our email accounts were essentially offline from about 10:00 EST to 22:00 EST. Hopefully we'll leave such problems far behind us in our new home!

Friday at Macworld Expo
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, January 8, 2000 - 1:51 EST)


Newsletter editor Mike Pasini flew under the radar at Macworld Expo Friday to find some unusual products and offers. His Friday report covers a miniature digicam, 3-in-1 device reader and a few interesting (and free or inexpensive) software packages. With pictures to prove he's not making it up.

Friday, January 7, 2000



Macworld Expo Reports
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, January 7, 2000 - 2:01 EST)


Newsletter editor Mike Pasini is posting daily reports with pictures from the floor of Macworld Expo in San Francisco. We have the Wednesday report featuring a $100 digicam and $30 editing software and the Thursday report with a note on the Canon S20, free cataloging software and an impressive "graphic synthesizer."

Thursday, January 6, 2000



Canon announces PowerShot S20; samples online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 6, 2000 - 15:25 EST)


A press release a little over an hour ago from Canon USA Inc. announces its much rumoured PowerShot S20 digital camera. The S20 is the second 3 megapixel camera to be announced thus far, and is based on the same 3.34 megapixel chip being used by the Casio camera announced earlier this week. Here's the specs:

 - Canon PowerShot S20
- 3.34 megapixel 1/1.8 inch CCD, 2048 x 1536, 1024 x 768
or 640 x 480 pixel image sizes in Super-Fine, Fine or
Normal compression modes; JPEG file storage,
DCF
and DPOF compliant
- 2x optical zoom lens; 6.5 - 13mm (equivalent to 32 -
64mm on a 35mm camera), f2.9 - 4; all glass aspheric
design; 2 and 4x digital zoom
- Mechanical and electronic shutter, 2 - 1/1000
second

- TTL Autofocus (Macro: 12 - 66cm, Standard:
66cm - infinity)

- Built-in LCD monitor (1.8" low temperature
polysilicon)
and optical viewfinder
- CompactFlash Type-I and Type-II storage; compatible
with the IBM MicroDrive
- Built-in four mode flash (off, on, red-eye,
auto), range 0.17 - 2.3m (tele) or 3.3m (wide)

- USB, RS-232C, Mac serial, and Video out connectivity
- Center weighted or Spot metering
- TTL Program AE, AE lock, exposure compensation
+/- 2EV in 1/3EV increments
- Manual or Auto white balance
- Adjustable contrast and sharpness
- Adjustable ISO (100, 200, 400)
- Burst mode of up to 0.8 frames per second (number of
frames unspecified, LCD display off)
- Scrollable image zoom during playback
- Full auto, manual, stitch assist, slow-speed shutter,
high speed shutter, night scene, landscape and black
and white modes
- Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.7 x 1.3 inches
- Metallic champagne colored chassis
- Weight 270g without batteries and CF card
- Bundled with Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Canon PhotoStitch for
Mac and Windows, Canon ZoomBrowser EX for Windows and
Canon PowerShot Browser for the Mac
- Supplied accessories: USB, Serial, Mac Serial and Video
cables, wrist strap, 2CR5 lithium battery, 16MB CF card
- Optional accessories: Power Supply Kit DK110, soft case
- Availability set for second quarter, 2000. Pricing to
be determined.
We also noticed whilst browsing over at Steve's Digicams that Canon's BeBit website has posted info on the camera. We found 4 sample images from a beta version of the PowerShot S20 there, along with the details in italic in the specifications above, filling in gaps from the US press release...
Thanks to Steve's Digicams for pointing us to the Canon BeBit site!

Wednesday, January 5, 2000



PhotoPoint offers 3 free photo postcards!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 5, 2000 - 18:24 EST)


A press release today from PhotoPoint.com announces that, in cooperation with AmazingMail.com, it is now offering a service to turn your digital photos into postcards, and mail them using the USPS to the recipients on your behalf... The service costs 99 cents minimum, or less if you order multiple postcards at one time. For a limited time, you can try the service free - the first 10,000 PhotoPoint members get three free postcards, plus a two for one deal with their first purchase...

Image Software works with Konica!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 5, 2000 - 18:05 EST)


A press release from software development company Image Software announces that the company has created an Adobe plugin for the Konica RX-1 film scanner. The Konica RX-1 plugin conforms to Adobe's standard, and provides for adjusting color, focus, gray balance and sharpness, as well as setting resolution, rotation, cropping, frame edge detection, positive or negative film, and film type. It also includes an auto-naming feature for scanning multiple images in a row, and optimized code for throughput to JPEG, TIFF, FLASHPIX and Windows BMP formats. Image Software previously coded Konica's Windows TWAIN Data Source driver for the RX-1 scanner.

Epson introduces Expression 1600 scanner!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 5, 2000 - 14:34 EST)


A press release from Epson America Inc. announces its new Expression 1600 flatbed scanner. The Expression 1600 features a hardware resolution of 1600 x 3200 dpi (dots per inch), and scan speeds some 25-30% faster than its predecessor the Expression 800. A full-color preview takes 8 seconds, an 8.5 x 11-inch scan at 300 dpi takes 20 seconds, and a 35mm slide at 1600 dpi takes 53 seconds. The unit works in 36-bit color internally and externally, and has a dynamic range of 3.3 Dmax, whilst a Xenon cold cathode fluorescent lamp allows the unit to scan immediately that it is switched on, with no warm-up time. The Expression 1600 also features a unique Dual-Focus Mechanism, with which the focal distance can be changed to 2.5 mm above the glass scan bed. This eliminates light refraction and avoids the common "Newton Ring" problem.

Four configurations are available, the Special Edition, Artist, Pro, and Pro FireWire. The $799 Special Edition features the scanner itself, as well as the Epson TWAIN Pro scanner driver and the Epson TWAIN Pro for Networks driver. The Artist edition, $899, adds Adobe PhotoShop 5.0 LE, MonacoEZcolor 1.5, NewSoft Presto! PageManager, and Xerox TextBridge Classic. The Pro model adds a transparency unit to the above, bringing the price to $1099, and finally the Pro FireWire model adds a FireWire card and another $300 to the price, bringing it in at $1399.

If bought separately, the FireWire card costs $299, as does the transparency unit. An automatic document feeder is available for $499, and can handle multiple pages and legal-size documents. The Expression 1600 and all accessories will ship in late January.

Monaco announces MonacoEZcolor 1.5!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 5, 2000 - 13:47 EST)


A press release from Monaco Systems Inc. announces its new MonacoEZcolor 1.5 color profiling package. The program, which is being demonstrated in the Epson booth at the MacWorld show, adds the following:

 - The ability to build CMYK or RGB output profiles
- Implementation of the new Monaco Systems color engine
improves color matching capabilities
- A set of profile customization controls that allow the
user to regulate the amount of contrast and black
generation contained in their output profiles
The program is available immediately; current users can upgrade to the new version for $50 or download a new version which doesn't include the CMYK profiling. MonacoEZcolor is available on Macintosh and Windows platforms at a price of $299, or $498 including a MonacoSENSOR Colorimeter.

PC Watch posts Casio QV-3000EX samples!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 5, 2000 - 9:20 EST)


On the ball, as always, the good folks over at the PC Watch website in Japan are first to get sample pictures from the Casio QV-3000EX digital camera online. A small photo of the camera itself accompanies the photos. PC Watch's Kumio Yamada notes that the QV-3000EX is the first 3 megapixel consumer camera, and was first announced yesterday in the USA. His sample photos come from a US development camera, and obviously are subject to the usual caveat that they may not accurately reflect the results to be expected from a final release version.

The first thing Yamada notes in his look at the camera is that, being the first 3 megapixel camera we've seen, he was eager to see what the picture quality might be like. He notes that a good, natural-looking image comes not only from high resolution but also from a number of other factors - but that he felt that the Casio satisfied these. Interestingly, Yamada seemed to feel that the improvement in resolution could be felt even on the camera's LCD display, but when the image is reduced to the same size as those from older cameras, there really wasn't a lot in it. He likened it to cars, saying that he felt just as safe in a 100 horsepower car as in a 280 horsepower car, if he was only touring a hundred kilometers with it...

[Three sample pictures at this point]

Yamada next notes that the picture quality of the QV-3000EX is even better than he'd expected, and the balanced images are a remarkable improvement over the QV-7000. He notes that the CCD is a 3.34 megapixel 1/1.8 inch type, with an effective 3.24 megapixels going into the final image. He looks at the bright F2.0-F2.5 three times zoom lens, and notes that it is not a Casio design, but is actually made for the company by Canon. He feels that the choice to go with a lens designed by a company specialising in photography rather than try and create one themselves was a wise one.

Yamada describes the QV-3000EX as able to extract the full potential out of its images, thanks to the combination of great electronics and the high quality lens, and that this is notable in that there is not so great a need for sharpening of the image in software in the camera, resulting in a cleaner feeling image. He did however notice issues with noise on the camera and patterns on edges, but felt that these were not severe and was not really important because of the large image size - by the time the image is printed, these are not likely to be significantly visible.

[Three more sample images]

Yamada notes that the camera looks like it has been designed for the American market which prefers larger models, but that it is actually smaller than Nikon's popular Coolpix950, and only gives the impression of being larger because of its "instamatic" styling. It fell surprisingly well in his hands, and he found it very light. Operation was described as similar to the QV-2000UX, and the camera was very convenient to use, although he found there were a lot of buttons due to commonly used features being given their own button.

The QV-3000EX starts up in a speedy 3 seconds, and even the shot to shot time, which you might be worried about with the high pixel count, is less than 2 seconds. Yamada noted that the playback time of only 0.5 seconds between pictures was similarly very fast...

[Three more sample pictures]

Yamada states that what he most wanted to find out was whether 3 megapixel was overkill in a personal camera - but that in using the camera, he felt instead that the digital camera had simply come to finally equal film cameras, albeit with the higher resolution coming at the expense of some sensitivity and dynamic range, as the CCD becomes more high density and the sensor size decreases.

Yamada noted that interestingly Casio chose to launch the camera not as being a high-end camera, but targetted normal users by setting the release price at $999 in the US, roughly equivalent to a 2 megapixel 3x zoom camera. The Japanese price is yet to be decided, but Yamada felt the US price to be good, especially considering the lightness of the camera, and the picture quality.

Yamada notes that it is 5 years since Casio's QV-10 was put on the market this year, and whilst the company has to some extent strayed from the path over this time, that the QV-3000EX restores confidence in Casio's ability to design a very good digital camera. Yamada notes that whilst the Japanese model should be released at roughly the same time as the US model, the camera has very definitely been designed with the US market in mind, and that he would prefer to see the camera customised more for the Japanese market, making the camera smaller and even higher quality - but acknowledges that the 3 megapixel revolution is only just appearing on the horizon and that there will be a lot more chances for his wishes to be fulfilled in the next year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2000



HiFi.com survey sees digicams as hot products!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 4, 2000 - 23:34 EST)


A survey carried out by the HiFi.com website found that more than 60% of the 1000+ respondents plan to purchase a digital camera, DVD player or digital television in 2000. Out of the respondents, a whopping 70% were expecting to spend $1000 to $10,000 on digital buys, whilst 13% were looking to spend more than $30,000... These numbers are for digital items as a whole though, bear in mind - no mention of what the numbers are specifically for digicams...

Ariston to show FireWire tethered camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 4, 2000 - 23:09 EST)


A press release from Ariston Technologies announces that the company will be showing its new iSee-Exec FireWire tethered camera and FireCard CardBus to FireWire adapter at MacWorld San Francisco. The iSee-Exec retails at $399, and can provide 30 frames per second at 640 x 480 resolution; the FireCard meanwhile is a passive CardBus to Firewire adapter that allows the user to connect FireWire digital imaging devices, storage devices, and printers to a PowerBook G3 or PC laptops.

Excite promotes PhotoCenter!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 4, 2000 - 20:23 EST)


A press release today from Excite@Home promotes its PhotoCenter photo-sharing service, run in cooperation with HP's Cartogra. Although the press release suggests that the service is brand new, it has actually been live for almost a month. Here's our coverage of the launch, December 13:

"Excite launches Photo Center with HP!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 13, 1999 - 15:09 EST)

A press release today from Excite@Home announces the launch of its new Excite Photo Center service, which features photo sharing using HP's Cartogra infrastructure. The Photo Center site also includes the recently acquired Webshots service, which features thousands of commercial images for use as backgrounds or screen savers, as well as chat and message boards, and resources for learning about digital photography. The site is located at http://photocenter.excite.com/ and is available immediately."

Canon to bring Photo and Photo Gold to Mac!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 4, 2000 - 20:19 EST)


Canon Computer Systems Inc. subsidiary Canon Software Publishing has today announced plans to provide versions of its Canon Photo and Canon Photo Gold image editors, amongst other programs, on the Macintosh platform. Both programs will be available to Mac users this month, at a price of $34.95 (Canon Photo) or $54.95 (Canon Photo Gold) via download from www.software.canon.com - and the shipping version of Canon Photo and Canon Photo Gold in the stores will begin to include a hybrid Mac/PC CD-ROM for the same price in March 2000.

Kaidan announces new panoramic VR solutions!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 4, 2000 - 19:58 EST)


Kaidan Inc. has distributed a press release today announcing a number of new Panoramic VR tripod heads and software bundles for users of Olympus C-2000 Zoom, C-2020 Zoom, D-500L, D-600L, D-620L, Fuji MX-2700 and MX-2900 Zoom digital cameras. For users of the C-2000 and C-2020, there is the new Kaidan KiWi 2000/2020 panoramic tripod head; for the D-500L, D-600L and D-620L, there's the KiWi 600/620; for the Fuji MX-2700, the KiWi 2700, and logically enough the KiWi 2900 for users of the Fuji MX-2900. Each of the heads can also be sold bundled with QuickTime VR panoramic stitching software, and features a 2-axis bubble level, a camera slider/positioner, a captive attachment knob and indexing detent discs for the standard and numerous wide-angle camera lenses and settings. The new tripod heads will begin shipping in February 2000, and will retail for $179.95. Bundles with Macintosh or Windows QuickTime VR creation software will begin at $314.95.

Club Photo to show Living Album for Mac!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 4, 2000 - 19:42 EST)


A press release today from online photo-sharing site Club Photo announces that it will be showing the Macintosh version of its Living Album software at the MacWorld 2000 show in San Francisco. The program is to be officially released in February, however visitors to the show can sign up now to receive it on release. Club Photo has also signed up photojournalist Shelly Katz to document the show in a special Club Photo album...

Casio first to announce 3 megapixel digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 4, 2000 - 12:58 EST)


Dover, NJ-based Casio Inc. has today announced its first entry into the 3 megapixel digital camera marketplace, in the form of the new Casio QV-3000EX. The camera has the following features:

 - Casio QV-3000EX
- 3.34 megapixel 1/1.8 inch square pixel CCD, effective
pixels 3.24 megapixel, 2048 x 1536 or 1024 x 768 pixel
image size in fine, normal and economy modes; JPEG
(EXIF Ver 2.1), DCF standard, DPOF compliant
- 3x optical zoom lens; 7 - 21mm (equivalent to 33 -
100mm on a 35mm camera), F2.0 - 2.5;
8 elements in
7 groups; 2x digital zoom
- 1.8" low glare color hyper-amorphous TFT LCD display,
555 x 220 = 122,100 pixels
- Optical zoom viewfinder (with LCD monitor screen?)
- CompactFlash Type-II storage, IBM microdrive compatible
- 4-mode flash (Auto, on, off, red-eye reduction); range
0.5 to 4 meters
- USB, Digital In/Out, NTSC/PAL Video Out, AC adapter
connections

- Exposure control: CCD light metering - multi-pattern,
spot, center weighted; Program AE, aperture priority
AE or shutter priority AE modes; +/- 2EV exposure
compensation in 1/3EV steps

- Shutter speed: 2 to 1/1000 second (both electronic
and mechanical shutters)
- Aperture: F2.0 / 2.3 / 2.8 / 4.0 / 5.6 / 8.0
- White balance: Auto, 4-mode fixed or manual
- Burst mode: Up to three images at 0.5 second intervals;
2 seconds between full-resolution shots afterwards
- Casio proprietary noise reduction system
- Image scroll speed of 0.5 seconds/image in playback
- Delete single images, folders of images, selected
images, or all images (with image protection)
- Built-in quartz digital clock; date and time recorded
with image; auto calendar up to 2049
- 320 x 240 pixel movie mode; 30 second maximum length
or 10 seconds in "past" mode (records the last 10
seconds before the shutter release was pressed);
AVI (OpenDML Motion JPEG confirming)
- Self-timer: 2 seconds or 10 seconds
- Power from 4 AA lithium, alkaline, or NiMH rechargeable
batteries, two Panasonic CR-V3P lithium batteries;
optional AC adapter
- Dimensions 134.5 x 80.5 x 57.5mm, excluding projections,
lens facing upwards; Weight 320 grams excluding
batteries
- Supplied with USB cable, CD-ROM with PhotoLoader
software, 8MB CompactFlash card, video cable, soft case,
neck strap, lens cap
- Available March 2000 at a price of less than $999.


Monday, January 3, 2000



New version of Maview released!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 20:39 EST)


We received an email from Dan Desjardins with news that he's released a new version of his Maview program for users of Sony's Mavica range of digital cameras. The latest version adds the following features:

 - Will create .411 thumbnails for images that no
longer have them
- Option to erase disk after copying all images
- Place a README.TXT file on every floppy for
identification
- New Narration Recording: You can record narration for
any image
- May optionally assign an existing WAV file to any
image
- Slide Show music now supports MIDI, WAV and MP3!
- Improved printing engine for superior print quality
- Image date (original creation date, or selected date)
may be superimposed on any print with selectable
orientation
- A VERY powerful batch renaming utility for renaming
lots of images quickly and easily
- Picture editing: Rotation, Crop, Sharpen, Blur,
Lighten, Darken, Contrast, Edge and Emboss effects
- The ability to erase a floppy after copying the
contents
- A free Viewpix Screen Saver is now included which can
be managed by Maview allowing you to display your
pictures as a screen-saver
- Assign any image to your desktop wallpaper
- Ability to optionally pass any image to an editor as
a Bitmap (BMP) rather than a JPEG. This is handy for
editors that do not support JPEG (MS Paint)
- Slide show creator has new display for slides with
audio/narration
The upgrade is free to registered users, and new users can register for only $29.95! You can get the program from the Maview website.

Digital Photography World Photo Contest results!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 20:27 EST)


We received an email today from Danny Brenner at the Digital Photography World website with news that the results of the last "Photo of the Month" contest of 1999 are now in! The first three places are all occupied by Sony cameras, with John Hazard's "Celebration!" (Sony Mavica FD-91) in first place, Charlie Brown's "Sunrise Through The Trees" (Sony DSC-F505) in second place, and Doug Lloyd's "Windy Point" (Sony Mavica FD-91) in third... See the results here...

Upload your images with the Digicam Webpage Generator!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 20:09 EST)


We received an email on Saturday from Alan Hinrichs, author of the freeware program Digicam Webpage Generator, to let us know about his program. Alan's program turns creating your web-page with thumbnails into a five step process, complete with audio instructions, and even allows you to attach an audio file to the page! There are also several different web-page formats available... The software is available for download here...

Olympus announces pricing on C-2000 Zoom, C-2020 Zoom!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 19:36 EST)


We received an email from the PR folks for Olympus over the weekend with news of price cuts on both the C-2000 Zoom and C-2020 Zoom digital cameras. According to their email, the C-2000 Zoom is now selling for $799, which confirms the rumor we'd heard of a price cut for the camera back on November 4. The C-2020 Zoom in the meantime is selling at the $899 price predicted on its announcement back back on November 3rd in the USA...

megapixel.net January issue online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 19:16 EST)


The good folks over at the megapixel.net website have now posted their January 2000 issue, with reviews of the Casio QV-2000UX, Olympus C-2500L, Nikon Coolpix800 and Sony Mavica MVC-FD73 digital cameras, as well as a round-up of high capacity storage media and a look at resolution versus sharpness of digital images... Check it out!

Salon.com compares Canon Elura, Sony DCR-TRV900 and Panasonic PV-DV910!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 19:05 EST)


The Salon.com website has compared the Canon Elura, Sony DCR-TRV900 and Panasonic PV-DV910 digital camcorders in an article published on the Yahoo! News website today... The article compares each for image quality, features and ergonomics, as well as looking at exactly how you'd go about using a digital camcorder. The final winner? Canon's Elura was found to have the best bang for the buck - but you can find the full story here.

Tektronix sells color printer business to Xerox!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 16:25 EST)


A press release today reveals that priner manufacturer Tektronix Inc. has completed the sale of its color printer business to Xerox Corp. for $925 million. The Tektronix employees responsible for this division will be transferred to Xerox as part of the sale, which was originally for $950 million, but adjusted. Tektronix intends to return the majority of the proceeds to its shareholders, as well as paying off debts.

Enroute's QuickStitch wins Cool2 award!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 14:26 EST)


Enroute Imaging, creator of the popular QuickStitch 2.0 panorama software package, has today distributed a press release announcing that the program has won an award from PEI Magazine. PEI's annual Cool2 award in the category of "Best Immersive/Panorama software" was granted to QuickStitch 2.0, marking the second year that Enroute's products have won this award. The January 2000 issue of PEI Magazine notes: "It's amazing how a group of hand-held shots scanned with slight inconsistencies of angle can be stitched together with just the push of a button [using QuickStitch 2.0]." The program is available currently at a cost of $49.95.

ArcSoft announces PhotoImpression 2000!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 14:18 EST)


A press release today from ArcSoft Inc. announces its new multi-platform PhotoImpression 2000 entry-level photo editor. PhotoImpression 2000 is available for Mac and Windows, at a cost of $39.99, and combines features from ArcSoft's PhotoStudio, PhotoFantasy, PhotoPrinter and MediaBrowser programs, along with the ability to upload photos to ArcSoft's PhotoIsland photo-sharing website. Features of the program include the ability to remove "red-eye", edit and retouch photos with a suite of tools including Airbrush, Bucket Fill, Clone, Paintbrush and Eraser, incorporate special effects, such as Sketch, Splash, Emboss and Ripple, and make precise adjustments to image Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Sharpness, Tone and saturation. The program also allows effects to be applied to distinct parts of an image, as well as to the whole image. The program will be demonstrated at the MacWorld Expo, January 5-8, and also in a private suite at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Pretec debuts colorful CompactFlash!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 13:42 EST)


Taiwanese manufacturer Pretec Electronics Corp. has today announced that it will be showing its new colorful CompactFlash media cards at the CES show, Jan 6-9. Four 128MB CompactFlash cards will be on display with transparent yellow, blue, green and graphite casings, allowing you to see the C-ONE controller IC and Hitachi or Toshiba 256Mb flash ICs which make the card up... No information is available as to planned availability or pricing, nor whether the new casings will be used for other CompactFlash capacities...

Epson cuts price of PhotoPC 800!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 13:28 EST)


Epson America Inc. has today announced a price cut on its PhotoPC 800 digital camera. Previously available at a price of $699, the 2.14 megapixel PhotoPC 800 was announced back on July 12, and features serial or USB transfer capability, 1.8-inch LCD display, Quick Shot mode which allows capture speeds of 1 picture per second, CompactFlash storage with a bundled 8MB CF card, and Video-Out connectivity in a 1/2 pound package. The camera also offers black and white, macro and panorama modes, a microphone for recording up to 10 seconds of audio with each image, as well as Full Auto, Programmed (sports, portrait and landscape) or Manual modes. The manual mode allows spot metering, manual focus, manual aperture and manual shuitter speed. A 2X digital zoom is offered, and the camera features Epson's Direct Print technology (allowing direct connection to EPSON Stylus Photo 700, EPSON Stylus Photo EX, EPSON Stylus Photo 750, EPSON Stylus Photo 1200 and EPSON Stylus Color 740 printers) as well as Epson's HyPict image enhancement technology which Epson claims will offer 'breathtaking images as large as 11" x 14"'. Power is taken from 2 AA batteries, and the camera is compatible with Epson's optional Image Authentication System, which verifies whether the picture has been altered after capture. A $100 price cut should see the unit retailing at a street price of about $599; in addition, two rebates offer $50 off with the purchase of a Stylus Color or Stylus Photo inkjet printer, and $30 off with the purchase of any Epson scanner...

Pretec to show new multimedia digital camera at CES!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 13:12 EST)


Taiwanese manufacturer Pretec Electronics Corp. is to show a new digital camera at the Consumer Electronics Show, held January 6-9, according to a company press release. The 4-function DC530 features a 640 x 480 pixel still camera, with optical viewfinder, 2-mode flash, self-timer, RS-232, USB, NTSC/PAL video out, microphone, and stereo earphone connections, as well as the ability to operate as a USB webcam, a voice recorder and an MP3 music player. A black and white LCD display is also built in, although it isn't clear if this display is a viewfinder, or merely shows settings. Storage is on a Type-II CF+ slot, allowing more than 5000 pictures in VGA mode on a 320MB CF+ card, or more than 5 hours of MP3 music. The unit is also compatible with IBM's microdrive. The unit will cost $99 in volume, and will start sampling in Q1 2000. It is similar in appearance to the existing DC-520, which is available in gold and silver, and will be available in transparent and translucent colors this month.

Agfa drops price of ePhoto Smile!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 12:55 EST)


A press release this morning announces a price cut on Agfa's ePhoto Smile digital camera. Previously available at a price of $129, the Smile has now entered the sub-$100 market at a price point of $99. The entry-level digital camera, first announced on May 10, '99, features a resolution of 640 x 480 in 24-bit color pixels. Agfa's PhotoGenie technology is used to interpolate this resolution from the original 30-bit image, although the actual resolution of the camera's sensor is unknown. Storage is on the camera's internal 2MB memory, with no option provided for removeable memory, and images are transferred to the PC by a serial connection (maximum speed 230.4Kbps). Unusually for the price point, the camera has video-out (NTSC) capability, and a 10-second self timer, as well as a 4-mode flash (auto, fill, red-eye and off), a hand-strap, carry case, cables, two AA alkaline batteries, and cables for both PC and video connections. The ePhoto Smile is available from numerous US retailers, including Sears, OfficeMax, Ritz Camera, and Wolf Camera.

New version of MAME for Digita released!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 12:48 EST)


We noted over the Christmas weekend that a new version of the MAME Arcade Machine Emulator for the Digita Operating System has been released. MAMED version 36b11b improves sound on the DC265; sound is still disabled on the DC290 with plans to add support soon. You can find the official MAMED website here.

Digital Photography Review posts Kodak DC290 review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 3, 2000 - 12:39 EST)


Our friends over at the Digital Photography Review website have now posted their review of Kodak's DC290 digital camera. Here's what Phil had to say about this 2.1 megapixel revision of Kodak's popular DC260/265 which was first announced back on August 12, and shipped back on October 22nd, '99:

"If you're an avid scripter (read Digita) or a big Kodak fan then you'll love this natural progression from the DC265.. though I suspect many D260/DC265 owners were hoping for much more than the DC290, something to compete with the best 2+ megapixel digicams on the market, not something that feels like a 12 month old camera with a 2 megapixel CCD shoehorned into it. That said I can't fault the image quality (other than most images do seem to come out "dark") and the bright vivid colours are bound to please some."

You can also find our own review of the DC290 here, and the Steve's Digicams review here...

Saturday, January 1, 2000



Happy Y2K - we made it!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, January 1, 2000 - 14:27 EST)


Y2K has finally arrived, and with it the much-hyped Y2K or Millennium Bug has been, and gone - to thankfully little effect. Things that belong up in the air stayed there, things that belong down on the ground stayed there too and for the most part stayed working... The few problems we did hear of should hopefully have had relatively little impact. What was left was, partly thanks to the fears of bugs and terrorists, a time to be celebrated at home, with family - which was probably a very good thing! From our own families to yours, we'd like to take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy and prosperous Year 2000, and many more to come!

 



 

AOL Alert: Several readers connecting via AOL have complained of poor image quality when using the AOL web browser. This is caused by a setting called "compress images" in the browser that causes it to completely mangle images in the interest of faster transmission. You should turn this setting OFF before viewing any of the comparison images on this site.

  • FLASH: Thanks to reader Lynn Mannan, here's an explanation of how to make the correct settings adjustments (at least in AOL 4.0 for PCs):
    • I opened the "My AOL" preferences screen in the toolbar across the top. Then I clicked on WWW icon and selected the "web graphics" tab where I unchecked the "compressed graphics" choice and clicked on the Apply button at the bottom. Now the scanner test pictures are gorgeous. The pictures take a long time to load. But they are worth waiting for. Thank you, Lynn!