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Friday, February 26, 1999
February 26 - Photo of new Kodak digicams, a correction of yesterday's PMA coverage, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 26, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Photos of Kodak DC265, DC240 and DC200+ online! The excellent Steve's Digicams website has posted the first photo of the upcoming Kodak DC200+, DC240 and DC265 digital cameras. There's just the one photo showing all three cameras, so far...Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this!
- Ulead PhotoImpact wins Best Image Editor award! A press release today from Ulead Systems Inc. announces that their PhotoImpact image editing product has won MaximumPC's Best Image Editor award for the second year in a row. The award is in the March issue of MaximumPC, where PhotoImpact v4.2 was compared to MicroGrafx Picture Publisher 8.0, Jasc Paint Shop Pro 5.0 and Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home Edition 3.0
- Flashpoint releases DigitaFX! We covered this one already in our PMA report, but felt it worth noting that Digita have officially announced their DigitaFX in-camera image editor. Filters such as stucco, water color, mosaic, underwater, emboss and pixelate can be applied to your photos, plus tools such as sharpen, rotate, mirror, posterize, blur, color balance, brightness/contrast and hue/saturation. Pretty impressive!
- More info on upcoming Agfa ePhoto CL50! Steve's Digicams has been contacted by a reader who has spoken to Agfa to obtain further information on their upcoming CL50 digital camera. Apparently the CL50 will not have a threaded lens, but a filter-holder accessory that attaches to the tripod mount will be made available. The camera will have aperture and shutter priority modes as well as manual exposure, with apertures from 2.8 to 8.0 (wide angle) and 4.7 to 13.5 (telephoto), and shutter speeds from 1/2 to 1/500 of a second. The camera will accept 3.3v SmartMedia up to a maximum of 16MB.Thanks to Steve's Digicams and their reader Mitch Rosen!
- Further info on Toshiba PDR-M4! This is turning into Steve's Digicams Day today, with further news on Steve's page from Toshiba. Apparently final pricing for the upcoming PDR-M4 digital camera is $699, the camera is now likely to ship in June, and there may also be software added to allow users to make simple videos. Also there is news that a new version of the PDR-M4 with an optical zoom lens (called, surprisingly enough, the PDR-M5) should be available around August.Thanks once again to Steve's Digicams!
- A correction of yesterday's PMA Day Four coverage: Many thanks to IR reader Scott Grieff, who kindly emailed us with a correction on our translation of PC Watch's PMA Day Four coverage, in which we mentioned a modified version of Sony's DSC-D700 digital camera:
"I was reading your summation of the PC Watch article regarding the PMA show and you posted:
'PC Watch has a picture of a black Sony DSC-D700, which they say is an upcoming 2-megapixel business version of the camera, as well as pictures of the Sony booth.'
But if you read the Japanese, the reporter thought it was a 2-megapixel version, but found out that it was just a business version of the camera. Let me relate some other interesting nuances from the report:
The reporter was impressed with how much nicer (richer...) the black body looked in comparison to the current silver implementation. He was a little disappointed that it was only the 1.5-megapixel version, but assuming that Sony will release a 2-megapixel version of the camera, there might be a possibility that Sony would use the black body for the new version."Heartfelt thanks to Scott for correcting my mediocre Japanese...
Thursday, February 25, 1999
February 25 - New Casio QV-5500SX camera, PC Watch post PMA Day Four report, official Nikon CoolPix950 samples, and much more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 25, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- New Digital Camera from Casio! Casio Japan has announced a new digital camera due to ship on March 13 in Japan (initially 15,000 units a month). The QV-5500SX is a 1.3 megapixel camera, with a planned price of 63,000 yen (approx. US$525). The main feature of the new camera is its 16MB of RAM, which allows it to take photos at 0.5 second intervals at a resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels for the first six photos (when using the optical viewfinder - with the LCD in use, this slows to 1 second per photo). The camera can also create animations in AVI format (10 frames per second)
The camera features has a 1/3 inch 1,310,000 pixel CCD, a 1.8 inch 120,000 pixel LCD display, CompactFlash storage, built-in four-mode flash with red-eye reduction, auto and four-mode manual white balance, NTSC and PAL video outputs, switcheable Japanese/English language menus, and the ability to focus down to 10 centimetres. There is no optical zoom, with the lens being fixed at an equivalent of 36mm on a 35mm traditional camera, although a 4x digital zoom is offered. It weighs about 250g without batteries, and can take about 360 photos on four alkaline AA batteries. It also has manual focus, and, in a literal translation of the website, "Various 'Manual setting' which can be freely controlled according to taking a picture intention"
Another interesting feature is the ability to take multiple exposures (in three different ways - average the two pictures, give priority to the brighter image, or give priority to the darker image). The camera can also display a grid on the LCD to help in positioning subjects on the screen (at least, this is what it seems to translate as), and can combine pictures together in the camera to create panoramic images... Another neat idea is that the camera automatically builds an HTML page on the CF card along with the images, enabling you to view the images from a web browser immediately you copy everything to your PC. The Casio website has nine sample images, and the Japanese PC Watch website has
two pictures of the camera itself. Thanks to the Universal Currency Converter and PC Watch Japan!
- PC Watch posts their PMA Day Four report! The Japanese PC Watch website has posted their Day Four PMA report, with photos and information on several of the larger companies:
PC Watch as impressed with both the CoolPix700 and 950, commenting that they felt much lighter than you would expect. They continued to praise the cameras speed, not just thanks to the fast shot to shot time, but also because the focusing and shutter-lag times were very low. Three pictures of the CoolPix700 have been posted. There are also three photos of the as-yet-unnamed new Nikon SLR, along with a lot of speculation as to what the specification of the new unit might be. I have to say that in a mildly sadistic way, it's almost pleasing to see our Japanese counterparts having to resort to hypothesis in the absence of fact, as they very often seem to be privy to all the juicy facts long before everybody else! ;)
PC Watch has a picture of a black Sony DSC-D700, which they say is an upcoming 2-megapixel business version of the camera, as well as pictures of the Sony booth. They comment that the upcoming Sony DSC-F55K didn't seem too popular, and speculate that this is due to it's planned price of $899 being too high in comparison to Nikon's $599 CoolPix700. Also pictured (2 shots) is a new digital camera/printer combo for making ID cards, as well as two devices related to Sony's MemorySticks. The first is a storage device, the MemoryStick Bank, which lets you selectively copy up to 140MB of images off MemorySticks for storage while out in the field, powered by AA batteries. The storage medium is actually a Sony MiniDisc, but incredibly, you cannot remove the disc - and so are limited to a maximum of 140MB of data per unit! Data transfer is by parallel port as well, so you can expect to wait quite a while to transfer that 140MB. Second is the MemoryStick Media Convertor, which
allows you to convert images and data from MemorySticks into an analog signal or i.Link (IEEE1394) data, or in the reverse, capture i.Link data or an analog signal as a VGA image on a MemoryStick. PC Watch notes that this box is quite expensive, however.
PC Watch has two images of the Minolta Dimage EX1500ZOOM that has been modified with MetaFlash technology. It is noted, however, that the display model is a mockup. There are also two still images of the output, in this case a pottery jar, as a 3D image. PC Watch note that this 3D wireframe image is only about 300KB in size, and hence suitable for use on the Internet, despite the level of detail. They feel that this is a new field worth watching, as the technology is ideally suited to online mail-order companies, and the price is not too high either.
Finally, there is a report on the DIMA awards which we have already covered on this page.
- Nikon Japan posts CoolPix950 samples! Phil Askey's Digital Photography Review has posted news that the Nikon Japan website has posted three sample pictures from the new CoolPix950 digital camera.Thanks to Phil Askey for this item!
- Steve's Digicams gets Kodak DC240/DC265 specs! Steve's Digicams has been emailed by an anonymous source, who provided a list of specs for both the new Kodak DC240 and DC265 digital cameras, as below:
1.3 megapixel with 1280x960 and 640x480 resolution modes, JPG file format, three compression levels (good, better, best), 3X optical zoom (39-117mm) with 2X digital zoom, 8MB CompactFlash card, 1.8" TFT LCD, 4-mode flash (auto, red-eye, fill, off), autofocus with single and multi-spot, 0.25cm macro mode, f/2.8-f/16 in wideangle, f/4.5-f/25.7 in telephoto, 1/2 to 1/755 sec shutter speeds, autoexposure with center-weighted or intelligent multi-pattern modes, +/- 2EV override in 0.5 steps, auto white balance with daylight, tungsten and flourescent settings, ISO 140 rating, captures 2 images within 0.2 seconds, serial and USB connectivity, Video out in NTSC, PAL, power-up time 2 secs, less than 1 sec to autofocus, LCD review in 0.6 sec and a shutter delay of less than 0.2 sec! Physical size is 5.2 x 2 x 3 inches and weight with batteries is 12.5oz.
1.6 megapixel with 1536x1024, 1152x768 and 768x512 resolution modes, Flashpix or JPG format, four compression levels (good, better, best, super), 3X optical zoom (38-115mm) with 2X digital zoom, 2" TFT LCD, 16MB CompactFlash, 4-mode flash (auto, red-eye, fill, off), autofocus with single and multi-spot, no macro mode but does focus as close as 0.3m, f/3.0-f/14 in wideangle, f/4.7-f/22 in telephoto, 1/4- 1/400 shutter speeds, autoexposure with manual and external modes, 10-sec selftimer, +/- 2EV override in 0.5 steps, auto white balance with daylight, tungsten, flourescent and off settings, ISO 100 rating, burst mode 5-24 pictures @ 0.1-3fps (6 @ hi/med res, 24 @ low res), time-lapse capture mode up to 1800 images (1 min - 24 hour interval), serial IrDA and USB connectivity, Digita OS with fast power-up (less than 5 sec), image processing time is 15 secs, LCD review in less than 0.6 sec and the preview framerate is 8.6fps (vs 4.3fps on DC260). Video out NTSC, PAL with video
preview. Physical size is the same as DC260 4.6 x 2.2 x 4.2 inches and weight with batteries is 19.4oz.
Both cameras are powered by 4 AA size batteries, alkaline or NiMH rechargable type. Pictures of the cameras when we get some good enough to be posted, the ones on the scanned chart were very poor."Thanks very much to Steve's Digicams for this news!
- Minolta receives awards! We already covered this item in our article on the 23rd, but felt it worth noting that Minolta has put out an official press release covering their awards for Best High-End Consumer Point-and-Shoot Digital Camera and Most Innovative Digital Product in the PMA '99 DIMA Awards.
- And so do Olympus and Kodak! Olympus and Kodak have both received awards at the Mobile Insights '99 conference in Palm Springs, according to a press release. Olympus' D-620L received an Honorable Mention in the "Mobile Complements - Digital Cameras" category, whilst the Kodak DC260 took the award as Best Digital Camera.
- Agfa's Color Symposium gets worldwide attention! A press release from Agfa Typographic Systems today lists some of the attendees of Agfa's Color Symposium in Tokyo that we reported on recently. Some of the names that stand out in the list include Alps, Brother, Canon, Casio, Fuji-Xerox, Hitachi, IBM, Konica, Kyocera, Matsushita, Minolta, Motorola, NEC, Okidata, Ricoh, Sharp, Tektronix, and Toshiba, amongst quite a few others. Agfa got a rather nice quote in particular from Matsushita's representative, as follows: "Agfa has proven beyond a doubt that they are the leader in color technology development. When we heard that Agfa's key color scientists were sharing their knowledge in an open forum, it was too important an opportunity to pass up."
- Ricoh releases new CD-RW drive! Ricoh has today announced the release of a new CD_RW drive, the Ricoh MediaMaster MP7040A. The new drive is the fastest currently available, with a read/write speed of 4X, and a read-only speed of 20X, as well as a read-only speed of 8X on CD-RW media. The drive is priced at $399, well within the range of digital photographers looking for a cheap, reasonably reliable and fast way of storing their photos.
- People are receiving their Sony DSC-D700s... and one of the first signs of this is that we're starting to get reviews appearing... Steve's Digicams has been contacted by Mike Chaney (author of Qimage) who has posted a review of his DSC-D700 along with some out-of-box pictures. Another review is on Phil Askey's site, written by new DSC-D700 owner Dave Sheldon, accompanied by more sample pictures.If you've just received your DSC-D700 and put some photos on-line, let us know where and we'll point people in your direction!
- PowerScan Inc. supports Panasonic scanners! PowerScan Inc., a subsidiary of Star Technologies Inc., has today announced the release of two new versions of their PowerScan image capture software, designed specifically for the Panasonic KV-SS855 and KV-S2055 high-speed high-production scanners. The releases mean that PowerScan's software is now available for the entire line of Panasonic's high-end scanners.
- IDC sees digital video camera market skyrocketing! International Data Corporation has released the results of new research suggesting that worldwide digital video camera shipments will increase from 606,000 annually in 1997 to 9.2 million in 2002. IDC sees Firewire and USB having a big impact on sales, and increased corporate LAN/Internet bandwidth helping to further boost the acceptance of digital video cameras.
Tuesday, February 23, 1999
February 23 - Taiwan and South Korea focus on 800k pixel and 1.5 megapixel cameras at PMA, Dave's final PMA wrapup, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 23, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Belated PMA wrapup by Dave now online! Dave is back in the office, trying to get dug out from under a week or so's email, snail mail, and mounds of paper that followed him back fromPMA. He did manage to post a final update on his PMA visit to our PMA coverage page though. (Although I missed a lot of the Taiwanese stuff Mike picked up from PC Watch, as listed below - looks like next year we'll need to make a full week of PMA, and ship Mike out to boot! - Dave)
- Day Three PMA report online from PC Watch! Japan's PC Watch website has posted their report on PMA Day Three today. Taiwan and South Korea have been jumping on the megapixel bandwagon, and PC Watch have pictures of a number of new megapixel digital cameras.
Skanhex Technology of Taiwan have a new digital camera which was shown on the Sinpo Optical booth. The 1.5 megapixel SX-150Z uses a half-inch CCD, and gives an image size of 1360 x 1024 pixels. The camera's 3x optical zoom is equivalent to a 38-115mm zoom on a 35mm camera, and CompactFlash has been selected for storage. The SX-150 also has a 2-inch TFT LCD screen, USB and serial capability, and there are three photos of it on the PC Watch page. No pricing or release date has been given.
Taiwan's Largon announced two new models at PMA. The first is the 800k pixel EASY800, with an LCD display, fixed-focus lens, CompactFlash storage and an expected price-tag of $349. The second camera is the EASY1500, with a 1.5 megapixel, 1/2" CCD, fixed-focus lens equivalent to a 32mm lens on a 35mm camera, 1.8" LCD, optical viewfinder, and a price-tag of $499. PC Watch notes that the camera was originally planned for a price of nearer $200, and that the price may be re-evaluated once the camera is in mass-production. 3 pictures of the EASY1500 are on the PC Watch page, one of which also contains the EASY800.
Minton, another Taiwanese manufacturer, has also announced 800k pixel and 1.5 megapixel models. Both cameras are fixed-focus, USB-only models with an LCD screen and SmartMedia storage. PC Watch speculates that the 800k pixel S-CAM F1 might in fact be a rebadged Samsung DigiMax80, and the 1.5 megapixel S-CAM A1 might be a rebadged Samsung DigiMax150, but they were unable to gain access to the actual cameras to see them and confirm this.
Premier, a South Korean manufacturer, showed their new fixed-focus DC-1501 digital camera. PC Watch has three photos of the camera, which was announced at the same time as a fixed-focus, vertical-format 800k pixel camera visible in the third photo. No further details of these cameras are given, or even a model-name for the 800k pixel unit.
PC Watch also show photos of the new Polaroid PDC-700 and SprintScan 4000, and note that the $349 price of the PDC-700 "is indeed cheap". Finally, PC Watch has photos of the new Agfa ePhoto CL-50.
- PC Watch posts sales rankings for Japan! The PC Watch website has also posted a list of the top ten selling digital cameras in the Japanese market. The period surveyed is from February 8th to 22nd, and for our non-Japanese readers, the table below summarises the page (numbers in brackets indicate the previous ranking, name in green indicates that a camera has climbed the list, red indicates a fall, and black indicates no change):
1 (1) - Olympus C-900 Zoom
2 (3) - Fuji FinePix700
3 (2) - Sanyo DSC-X100
4 (5) - Olympus C-830L
5 (8) - Canon PowerShot A5 Zoom
6 (7) - Fuji FinePix500
7 (4) - Kodak DC210A Zoom
8 (6) - Fuji FinePix600Z
9 (9) - Sony MVC-FD81
10 (10) - Epson CP-700Z
Not in the table, but also of interest, are the Sanyo DSC-X110 and Olympus D-340L. The DSC-X110 has only been available in Japan for a few days, and has already climbed to 14th place - so expect to see it in the next rankings. Meanwhile, the Olympus D-340L (an international version of the Japanese C-830L, being sold now in Japan without software but with Japanese manual and connection software) is in 16th place.
- Cable Release adapter for Nikon 900/900S/950 available! Thanks to Steve's Digicams for pointing out this from their message board:
"The Cable Release Adapter is available from Porter's Camera Store in Cedar Falls, Iowa (1-800-553-2001) and can be ordered online for $34.95. Their part number is: 10-0754K and you'll also need the 20" cable release 10-7113 for $2.99. It's not cheap but so far it's the ONLY solution for shooting a macro shot with the Nikon 900/900s/950 cameras without pressing the shutter button."Thanks, Steve's Digicams!
- New versions of Cameraid and ThumbsPlus out! Thanks also to Steve's Digicams for spotting new versions of two popular programs, Cameraid and ThumbsPlus.
Cameraid, a $15 shareware program for the Macintosh, downloads images from Agfa, Apple QT-200, Epson, Fuji, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Sanyo and Toshiba digital cameras, creates HTML index pages with custom icons, renames images according to the date and time they were taken, and more. The latest version if Cameraid 1.1.2, which is primarily a maintenance release.
Steve describes ThumbsPlus, from Cerious Software, as an image thumbnailer/viewer/converter/adjuster, and the latest version (ThumbsPlus 4.0) adds far too many new features to list here...Thanks, Steve's Digicams!
- News on the Kodak DC240! The Digital Camera Resource Page is carrying the following item regarding the upcoming Kodak DC240:
"The Kodak DC240 will feature a 1.3 Mpixel CCD (for 1280x1024 photos), have a 6X zoom (optical + digital, not sure how much for each), and will come with an 8MB CompactFlash card for under $700. (In fact, BuyComp is listing it on backorder for $595.95)."Thanks to the DCRP!
- DIMA Digital Camera Shoot-Out winners announced! The winners of the DIMA Digital Camera Shoot Out, held at PMA'99 and selected by PMA voting members, have now been announced:
Point and Shoot Category
Below $300 - Fuji DX-10
$300 to $599 - Kodak DC210 Plus
$600 to $899 - Kodak DC260
$900 and above - Minolta Dimage EX Zoom 1500
Professional Photographic Category
$5000 and below - Fuji DS330
$5001 and above - Kodak Professional DCS560
DIMA Innovative Digital Product Award Winners
Durst Epsilon 30 DDA - Durst
Enroute Imaging QuickStitch 360
Fuji MX-2700 digital camera
HP DesignJet UV Inks
Minolta Dimage EX Wide 1500 Digital Camera
Nadio Internet Print
Olympus P-330 Instant
Sony Memory Stick Product Line
- Canon's PowerShot Pro70 runs on DOS! An interesting press release today highlights something that a lot of digicam owners may not be aware of. When you're using your digital camera, you're probably using some of the same computer technology you were using 15 years ago, and not even be aware of it! In the case of the Canon PowerShot Pro70, believe it or not, the underlying operating system of the camera is an OS called "ROM-DOS" from Datalight. ROM-DOS is exactly what it sounds like, a fully-compatible MS-DOS workalike, compacted down into an impressive total of 50KB.
- JVC introduces world's smallest digital camcorders! JVC has today introduced the world's smallest two digital video cameras, the JVC GR-DVM50 and GR-DVM70. The two cameras are almost identical, the GR-DVM70 having the addition of a 4MB MultiMedia card for capturing digital still images onto (supplied by SanDisk, as mentioned in another of our articles several days ago).
- Signafy releases OwnerMark 1.2 digital watermarking software! Signafy Inc., a subsidiary of NEC USA Inc., has announced the release of their new OwnerMark 1.2 digital watermarking software, as well as the launch of a 30-day free trial of the software. OwnerMark can be downloaded for the 30-day free trial from Signafy's website, and allows the user to add a watermark to the images most significant areas that is invisible to the human eye, but almost impossible to remove. The program costs $99 for the standard version, or $499 for the professional version which includes batch watermarking and a larger choice of file formats.
- News on the Nikon CoolPix700 and CoolPix950! An anonymous reader has contacted us with news about the upcoming CoolPix700 and CoolPix950 digital cameras from Nikon. According to the reader, Ingram Micro (one of the largest wholesalers) is currently listing 3000 CoolPix950s on order, with an ETA of 03/05/99. Ingram also lists 1000 CoolPix700s on order with the same ETA.
There is also a note that Ingram lists 1440+ units of the Kodak DC260 in stock, with another 4493 units to come around the first of next month. The new Kodak DC265 shows as having 1900 units on back order with an ETA of 03/09/99, and the DC240 shows 4600 units on back order with the same ETA.
Based on these Ingram numbers, it certainly seems that the demand for the new cameras is there and they will be shipping in increasingly large volumes. NDAs preclude any comment on the stated ETAs though...Thanks to an anonymous reader.
Monday, February 22, 1999
February 22 - AGFANet and Altaplano deal, free Visioneer scanner (almost), and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 22, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- AGFANet and Altiplano create online album! AGFANet, AGFA's new online shopping center, and Altiplano, the online site for Swiss photo processor Fotolabo, have announced a deal to create a new online album. Altiplano.com is available immediately, and besides the usual ability to store images in online albums and order various prints from them, offers users the ability to rotate, flip, crop, and add text to pictures, as well as apply various templates for creating cards and invitations. All this is done in the web browser itself, without any need for extra programs or plugins. Currently, prints from the site are only available in the US and North America, in either 4" x 6" format ($0.35/photo) or 8" x 12" format ($3.10 per photo)
- Buy an HP CD writer, get a free Visioneer scanner! Primax V Acquisition Corp., the new Taiwanese owner of the Visioneer scanner brandname, and the gigantic Hewlett Packard Co. have announced a rebate linking the two companies' products. Customers buying the Visioneer OneTouch 5300 Scanner will receive a $129 mail-in rebate with the purchase of an HP 7200I or 8110I CD-writer. The Visioneer scanner has a list price of $129.99, so this is essentially "buy an HP CD-writer (of the correct models) and get a free Visioneer scanner"! The promotion began on January 31, 1999 and is valid thru April 30, 1999.
- Epson preferred printer of Kodak PictureCD! Kodak has announced that Epson is the preferred printer manufacturer of their new Kodak PictureCD Volume 2.0 Issue 1.0. The PictureCD, developed by Kodak in cooperation with Intel, and using Adobe software, allows users without digital cameras or scanners to have their processed photos delivered to them on a CD, and should be available across the USA in the first half of this year.
Saturday, February 20, 1999
February 20 - PMA winds down, day two report is online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, February 20, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- PMA winds back down... and things are returning to normal here in Imaging Resource-land... We've got a new report online from PMA Day Two on the PMA report page, and not much else in the way of news is around today... Hop on over to the PMA report for plenty of news and photos from Dave!
Friday, February 19, 1999
February 19 - Dave's first PMA report online, Konica release digital camera, HP release photo scanner, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 19, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- The PMA '99 show continues to deluge us with news. and our Dave Etchells is at the show hunting out all the top news for you! Dave's just posted his first report from the show, and there's plenty of insight and photos to keep you busy! You can find it on our special PMA '99 Show report page, and as usual stay tuned for more frequent updates from the show, both on the PMA page and here on the news page...
- Konica releases 2.11 megapixel digital camera! Konica has announced the release of a new 2.11 megapixel digital camera, the Konica Q-M200 Digital Still Camera. The Q-M200 sports a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels, CompactFlash storage, a Hexanon 38mm equivalent lens, and an aluminum alloy case weighing only 9.5 ounces. It can autofocus down to 4 inches, shutter speeds 1/8th to 1/1000th of a second, built-in flash with red-eye reduction, digital 2x zoom (4x for playback only), 1.8-inch LCD, RS-232 and NTSC/PAL outputs and 3 AA alkaline batteries as the power source. A continuous shooting mode allows the camera to take four photos with one press of the shutter release, and the camera can also take black & white photos when in "Text mode". No pictures are available on Konica's website, however the excellent PC Watch
website in Japan has five photos of the new camera in a report on PMA day one.
- HP announces PhotoSmart S20 photo scanner! HP has announced their new PhotoSmart S20 photo scanner, a 2400-dpi 36-bit scanner which can accept 35mm positive, negative and slide film, as well as processed photos. The scanner can also scan either single frames from film or up to five frames at a time to form panoramas, and is expected to sell at a street price of $499. No release date is given.
- Thumber 2.5 released! We received an email today from Max Lyons to advise us that a new version of his popular Thumber application has been released:
"I've just released version 2.5 of Thumber.
Thumber is free software that extracts thumbnails, creates web page indexes, displays shutter/exposure information, renames images in batches, performs lossless rotation, transfers files and more.
This update adds a lot of minor features and bug fixes, such as support for many more cameras. Thumber can now read information and extract thumbnails from the latest 2 Megapixel cameras -- Nikon 950, Fuji 2700 and Olympus 2000.
Thumber now displays a lot more information in its main screen, including exposure, brightness, ISO speed, metering mode, make/model, and software version. All this data can now be extract and placed on the web pages Thumber creates.
Thumber is now able to insert and read comments in EXIF/JPG files (produced by most new digital cameras).
- iView Multimedia 3.5 released! We also received an email from Script Software International regarding a new release their iView Multimedia program for Kodak Professional digital cameras. The program supports the Kodak DCS 1, 3, 5, 315, 410, 420, 460, 520, 560 and the upcoming DCS 620; Canon EOS D2000, EOD D6000; and AP/Kodak NC2000e. The program allows you to catalog images from the cameras, view preview images, and view all attached annotation to the files.Thanks, Script Software!
- IXLA gains acceptance worldwide! IXLA Limited has put out a press release stating that their Digital Camera Interface technology supports more digital cameras than any other. According to IXLA, companies who have endorsed DCI and provided IXLA with access to proprietary information about data storage and transfer for their cameras include: Kodak, Casio, Canon, Microtek, Mustek, Largan, ViewQuest, Teco Image Systems, Minton, Tekom, Arima, Kocom, Pretec, Samsung and Polaroid. In related news, IXLA announced an agreement with Kodak to provide IXLA with proprietary information required to enable their DCI to work with extended features of Kodak digital cameras.
- Canon CEO receives "Person of the Year" award! Fujio Mitarai, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canon, Inc. has received an award from the Photographic Manufacturers and Distributors Association as "Man of the Year" for 1999. The award was presented at a banquet last night in the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas. Mr. Mitarai joined Canon Camera Company, Inc. in 1961, after graduating from Chuo University. In 1966, he was transferred to the newly formed Canon U.S.A., as one of only 7 employees - and it was here he remained until returning to Japan in 1989, at which time he had been President and CEO of Canon U.S.A. for the previous 10 years.
- Kodak PhotoNet and Ebay link up! Not really digital, but interesting nonetheless - Kodak PhotoNet and Ebay have announced plans to form an alliance. PhotoNet will work with Ebay to provide Ebay users with the ability to take 35mm or APS slides, negatives or prints to a PhotoNet location, and then select their image online for inclusion in their Ebay auction. Both companies will also launch cooperative marketing efforts. Although the deal is not yet finalised, it will cover the next three years.
- Polaroid considering merger? Details are virtually nonexistant, but Yahoo! BizWire is carrying a story from Reuters hypothesizing that Polaroid may be considering a merger with "a company that could help turn it around". The story originates from an article in the March 1 edition of BusinessWeek, quoting an analyst (Pete Enderlin) at investment firm First Albany as having heard rumblings of a possible deal.
Thursday, February 18, 1999
February 18 - PMA Show kicks off, and the news starts pouring in!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 18, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- The PMA '99 Annual Convention and Trade Show is underway, and we'll be posting news just as quick as we can type it... Look out for frequent updates both here (for the biggest stories, and any non-PMA items), and on our special PMA '99 report page for the big PMA picture!
- Toshiba PDR-M4 and Minolta RD-3000 pictures online! You heard it here first! No sample images online yet, but the PC Watch website in Japan now has pictures of Toshiba's PDR-M4 digital camera online. If you look just below, you'll find our original news article on the release of the PDR-M4. Also on the same page are two pictures of the new Minolta RD-3000 SLR camera we mentioned previously, as well as a picture of a Minolta Dimage EX modified with the MetaFlash technology from MetaCreations which we broke the story on last month. MetaFlash lets this camera take a 3-dimensional picture in one shot! Lastly, the page also has a picture of Agfa's new CL30 digital camera.
- More on Sony's Digital Photo Frame and Photo Printer! The PC Watch website in Japan also has photos online of Sony's 5.1" LCD Digital Photo Frame, and DPP-MS300 Digital Photo Printer, plus news that Sony intends to have 128MB MemorySticks in 2000, and 256MB MemorySticks (the largest currently planned) in 2001.
- Toshiba releases PDR-M4 digital camera! Toshiba has today announced the release of a new 2.14 megapixel digital camera, the Toshiba PDR-M4. The new camera offers resolutions up to 1600 x 1200 pixels, USB connectivity, 16MB of internal RAM and SmartMedia storage up to the just-announced 32MB cards. The camera also has a new DSP chip which allows for 2-second intervals between shots, bursts of 4 shots at 0.5 second intervals at full resolution, and extended battery life. Full details on the PMA page...
- Simple Technology announces 128MB CompactFlash! Simple Technology today announced it's new 128MB CompactFlash card at PMA '99. The card is available in 3.3 and 5-volt versions, and uses 256Mbit flash components. Shipping will begin next month, with an estimated street price of $399.
- 64MB MemoryStick on the way - Sony pushes its media, announces compatible products!
Sony Corporation today put out two press releases regarding their Memory Stick storage media and compatible products. The first mentions an upcoming 64MB MemoryStick (to be available in April), and also mentions an LCD Digital Photo Frame (PHD-A55) to allow users to view images on a MemoryStick card, and a Digital Photo Printer (DPP-MS300) which can print photos directly from the MemoryStick card without the need for a PC. The second release details the introduction at PMA of the Sony CyberShot DSC-F55 digital camera (to be available in May at $999 MSRP), the Digital Photo Frame (also a $999 MSRP with May availability), the new VAIO SlimTop LCD computers (available in March with MemoryStick capabilities built-in), the Digital Photo Printer (May availability, MSRP $699), and the Digital HandyCam Camcorder (May
availability, $1799 MSRP).
The Digital Photo Frame can display digital images and MPEG digital video from a MemoryStick on its 5.1" LCD screen, and can be turned on by its motion sensor with a wave of the hand. It has a sleep-timer and a "futuristic decorative frame".
The Digital Photo Printer can accept MemoryStick, SmartMedia, CompactFlash or PC cards (using a PC-card adapter for the first three), or can be connected to a VCR, camcorder, or other NTSC-video, S-video or composite source. It can also be connected to a Windows PC via the parallel port. No mention is made of resolution, but the printer reads JPEG images only off the above cards.
The Digital HandyCam Camcorder (DSC-TRV10) has a 1/4" CCD with 680K pixels, iLink DV interface, and comes with a 4MB MemoryStick for still-image storage.
- Epson PhotoPC 750Z now shipping! Epson has announced in a press release that their new PhotoPC 750Z digital camera is now shipping. The camera has a resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels, a 3x optical zoom, burst mode of 2 images/second for up to 16 images at 640 x 480 resolution, and 3 seconds/picture above this. The camera also has a 2" LCD screen with solar-assisted backlighting to save power. Availability is immediate, at an estimated price of $799.
- Canon PowerShot Pro70 and A5 Zoom about to ship!
Canon USA Inc. has announced at the PMA '99 show that their PowerShot Pro70 and A5 zoom cameras will ship imminently. Both the PowerShot Pro70 and the A5 Zoom will begin shipping in March, with prices estimated at $1,199 and $399 respectively.
- Kodak announces DCS620 digital camera! Kodak has today announced their new DCS620 professional digital camera at PMA '99. At the same time, they have placed information including the specifications on their website. With a 2-megapixel CCD, 1728 x 1152 pixel output, 3.5 frames per second burst mode for up to 12 frames, etc., etc., etc., it's very nice, - but on the negative side, it is very big and heavy (3.49 pounds without a lens or battery!). Let's face it, if you're a professional, it'll probably be worth it to you to put up with the weight and size, and if you're not, you're pretty unlikely to ever see one in person anyway! ;)
- Minolta announces Dimage RD-3000 Digital SLR! The Digital Eyes news-page is currently carrying an article regarding a new camera from Minolta, the Dimage RD-3000 Digital SLR. To say this camera sounds very nice is to put it mildly, but unfortunately although price isn't mentioned, it's pretty unlikely to be within the reaches of any of us save for the very rich, or those of us with very patient employers! The RD-3000 features an SLR design with interchangeable Minolta V mount lenses, 2.7 megapixel resolution (interestingly provided by 2 half-inch 1.5 megapixel CCDs), a final image size of up to 1984 x 1360 pixels, exposures from 1/2000 to 30 seconds, TTL phase-detection autofocusing, and a whole lot more! Pop by Digital Eyes for the full specs (no pictures or sample images as yet)...Thanks, Digital Eyes! src="/ART/SPACE.GIF" align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Canon introduces CanoScan FS2710 film scanner! Canon has introduced the CanoScan FS2710 film scanner, with a maximum speed of 13 seconds per frame, 2,720 dots per inch optical resolution, and the ability to accept black and white or color slides/negatives in either 35mm or APS formats. The scanner provides 36-bit color depth, and uses a SCSI-II interface. Availability is scheduled for April at a price of $1,100 (list) including cables and PCI SCSI-II card.
- Panasonic introduces CompactFlash-capable Camcorders! Panasonic have, according to a press release from SanDisk Corporation, announced the world's first digital camcorders to use CompactFlash for still-image storage. Panasonic's PV-L759 and PV-L859 digital camcorders will be bundled with a 2MB SanDisk CompactFlash card, and the camcorders can both take still images as a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. Both camcorders will be available this month, the former having an RRP of $799.95 and the latter being $899.95
- Lexar introduces 32MB SmartMedia, 128MB CompactFlash, and 320MB PC Cards! Lexar Media has today announced the release of three new products. 32MB SmartMedia and 128MB CompactFlash cards will begin shipping in Q2 1999, and the Lexar Pro Series 320MB type-II PC Card will be available in March. The 320MB PC Card will have a suggested list price of $1,199.00, and pricing is not mentioned for the other two cards. In a related press release, The Associated Press has selected Lexar Pro media for use by Associated Press staff worldwide.
- Peripheral SNAPZ announces 64MB CompactFlash and 32MB SmartMedia. Peripheral Enhancements Corporation today announced at PMA '99 that they will shortly be shipping two new products expanding their SNAPZ line of digital film. The 64MB CompactFlash card is available immediately, whilst the new 32MB SmartMedia will begin shipping in mid-March. No mention is made of pricing.
- Kodak announces 1999 seminar dates! Kodak has today announced the dates for their 1999 Digital Photography and Color Management seminars, as follows:
- Dallas, TX (March 23-25)
- Los Angeles, CA (April 20-22)
- Boston, MA (April 27-29)
- St. Louis, MO (May 18-20)
- Chicago, IL (Sep 14-16)
- Seattle, WA (Sep 21-23)
- Orlando, FL (Oct 12-14)
- Washington, DC (Nov 2-4)
- New York City, NY (Nov 9-11)
The sessions are $375 per person, and can be booked on 1-800-336-8868 ext. 606.
- Digitella announces Intellipix! Digitella Technology, Inc. today announced Intellipix, a software system that allows Digita-OS digital cameras and back-end software systems to interact. The software allows photographers to assign a description to their photographs as they are taken, and when the images are uploaded, the images are automatically routed, processed, renamed or archived as appropriate.
- Enroute Imaging announces PowerStitch! Enroute Imaging has today announced their upcoming PowerStitch product, currently scheduled for an April release. The $399 program enables users of professional and prosumer digital and film-based cameras to create panoramic images at greater than 50-megapixel resolutions. The software has an infinite workspace, limited only by the user's hardware, and provides automatic and manual stitching, gamma correction, contrast, hue, saturation, invert, emboss, add, and more...
- Minolta launches online scanning tutorial. Minolta has launched a new website designed to teach readers how to use their Minolta film scanners, what the differences between different types of scanners are, and how to handle the resulting images. The site is online at http://www.how2scan.com/
- MGI PhotoSuite to be sold on Kodak website. MGI Software Corp. announced that they have the distinction of being one of the first companies to have a non-Kodak branded product sold on Kodak's website. MGI PhotoSuite II is now available from the kodak.com site.
- LSI Logic announces DCAM-103 image processing chip. LSI Logic has introduced the new DCAM-103 image processing chip, designed to save power by integrating CCD pre-processor, image processing engine, JPEG codec, highspeed serial I/O, and an NTSC/PAL encoder into a single chip. The chip also supports a maximum CCD size of 2048 x 2048 pixels, and can capture and compress 1.3 megapixel images at 1.5 frames per second. The chip will be in production by June, and will be priced at $18.95/unit in volumes of 10,000 units.
- SCM Microsystems and SanDisk add to OEM agreement. SCM Microsystems today announced an addition to the OEM agreement with SanDisk Corporation. SCM's new USB CompactFlash card reader will be sold by SanDisk as the ImageMate USB. The new reader can transfer data from a CompactFlash card at a rate of 1.4MB/second.
- Infotrends find digital camera sales soaring! A report from Infotrends Research Group finds that digital camera sales are growing at 43% annually, and are forecast to reach over $4 billion in revenues by 2002. Japan currently leads the market for low-end digital cameras, accounting for 40% of the worldwide total, with the USA close behind. Europe lags behind the rest of the world, although revenues are still high thanks to significantly higher street prices.
- Philips' TV-based Internet devices to offer Kodak PhotoNet! Kodak subsidiary PictureVision and Philips Electronics have signed a deal which paves the way for Philips' internet-enabled devices such as WebTV and Ambi to offer access to Kodak PhotoNet. In a related story, PictureVision today announced a redesign of the PhotoNet website.
- HP inks will be around after you or I! A report commissioned by HP has found that HP's DesignJet CP series large-format inkjet printers using HP's Pigmented UV inks are expected to last for more than 100 years without noticeable fading when kept indoors, according to Wilhelm Imaging Research Inc.
- Future Image report finds Image Search Engines "fundamental". A study from Future Image, publishers of the Future Image Report, has found that Web Image Search Engines are fundamental and a crucial tool as the web evolves into a vast storehouse for photos, art, sound, animation and video. The study compares AltaVista Photo Finder, Arribavista, and Scour, and concludes that Arribavista "offers the most flexible and friendly user interface".
Wednesday, February 17, 1999
February 17 - PDR-M3 pictures online, and Dave's off to PMA '99 - look here for news as we get it!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 17, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- First shots from new zoom-equipped PDR-M3 now posted! Along with everything else, we've been working with a prototype of the new PDR-M3 camera from Toshiba. This is essentially a PDR-M1, only with a zoom lens added. There are a few image-quality enhancements though, as we found the 'M3 to be both a little sharper, and to have slightly improved color over that of the M1. - An accomplishment, given the already-excellent image quality the PDR-M1 had. So far, we've only had time to shoot the pictures (a few of which unfortunately need re-shooting), and post them with comments. (They're also linked into the Comparometer(tm), so you can compare them to the PDR-M1 and other cameras.) A full review will have to await our return from PMA, but for now, we refer readers to the
review of the earlier PDR-M1, since many of the functions are the same. Looks like another great camera from Toshiba, at an affordable price! (The PDR-M1 really helped push the price curve down on the whole digicam market, and the PDR-M3 carries a list price only $100 higher.)
- PMA '99 opens its doors tomorrow! At 10:45am tomorrow, doors open at the PMA '99 Annual Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas! The list of exhibitors is extensive to say the least, and Dave will be there relaying all the hottest stories to IR readers! We expect to be fairly flooded with news, so to try and keep the news page readable we've created a separate PMA '99 show report, where you'll find all of the news and pictures from the show! We'll still be condensing the biggest stories for the news page as well, so be sure and watch both pages to have your news prioritised for you!
- DigitalFocus '99 award winners announced! Digital Focus and Popular Photography have jointly announced the winners of the second annual "Excellence in Imaging" awards at "Digital Focus @ PMA '99". 11 awards were presented, with winners and runners-up (in parentheses after each award) as follows:
- Best Consumer Digital Camera: Olympus D-400 Zoom
(Epson PhotoPC 750Z, Sony Digital Mavica FD-81, Casio QV-7000SX)
- Best Prosumer Digital Camera: Kodak DC260
(Agfa ePhoto 1680, Canon PowerShot Pro 70, Minolta Dimage EX 1500, Nikon Coolpix 900S, Olympus D620L)
- Best Professional Digital Camera: Kodak DCS 520 and Canon EOS-D2000
(Nikon E3, Fuji DS-300)
- Best Inkjet Printer: Epson Stylus Photo EX
(HP DeskJet 895, LexMark Photo JetPrinter 5770, Canon BJC-5000)
- Best Photo Printer: Olympus P-330 Instant Home Printer
(Fujifilm NX-5 Digital Printer, Canon CD-200, Casio DP-8000, Polaroid ColorShot)
- Best Flatbed Scanner: Agfa DuoScan T1200
(Epson Perfection 636, HP ScanJet 6200Csi, MicroTek ImageDeck, Umax Astra 2400S)
- Best Film Scanner: Nikon Super Coolscan 2000
(Kodak Advantix FD 300, Minolta Dimage Scan Multi, Polaroid SprintScan 35 Plus)
- Best Digital Video Product: Canon Vistura
(Sony TRV-900, Avid Cinema 3.0, JVC GR-DVL9000U)
- Best Photo Editing Software: Adobe Photoshop 5.0
(MGI PhotoSuite II, Microsoft Picture-It! '99, Adobe PhotoDeluxe 3.0)
- Best Photo Specialty Software: Enroute Imaging QuickStitch 360
(Adobe ImageReady, MediaCreations KPT5, Extensis Intellihance Pro 4.0)
- DigitalFocus Innovation Award: Digital I.C.E.
(Kodak/Intel PictureCD, Iomega Clik!, FlashPoint Digita OS, Toshiba FlashPath Adapter)
[Note: Kodak's press release states that the Kodak Advantix FD-300 film drive was also a runner up for the Innovation award, however this is not noted in the DigitalFocus release this story was compiled from.]
- Just a brief note... to let readers know that whilst Dave is away braving Las Vegas to get you the PMA news (oh, to swap places with him... ;) he won't be able to check his regular email address at firstname.lastname@example.org - so if you need to get in touch with us, please use email@example.com for now, and I'll get the mail instead! -- Mike
- Agfa DuoScan T2500 now available! Agfa Desktop Products Group has announced that the Agfa DuoScan T2500 is now available from wholesaler TekGraf Inc. The DuoScan T2500 is a 36-bit A4 flatbed scanner with an impressive optical resolution of 1250 x 2500 dpi (dots per inch), and both transparency and reflective scanning abilities out of the box. The scanner is aimed at professional graphics users, with features such as removeable glassless batch film holders, to allow scanning to continue whilst films are being loaded and reduce image defects such as Newton rings etc. No pricing is currently mentioned on TekGraf's site.
- Digital Origin to show at PMA '99! Digital Origin, formerly Radius Inc., have put out a press release stating that their products will be on display at no less than three booths during PMA '99. MotoDV and MotoDV Studio (broadcast quality digital video editors for Mac and PC), EditDV and EditDV Unplugged (non-linear special-effects editors) will be on display on the Canon (J-91), Panasonic (T-140), and JVC (R-65) booths.
- Ricoh RDC-5000 official press release. We already covered the story on February 12, but felt it worth noting that Ricoh have officially announced their new RDC-5000 digital camera in the USA. Additional information from the press release is that the new camera has a USB connector, and that the 8MB on-board RAM can also be used as extra storage for your photos, with the ability to transfer photos from the internal memory to the SmartMedia card, or vice versa. Special effects include black and white, sepia toned, and "antique" modes, and the camera allows the date to be overlaid on the image. Software includes ArcSoft PhotoStudio 3.0 for image editing, PhotoBase for album organisation, PhotoMontage for creating collages, PhotoFantasy for "items with creative backgrounds while using digital images" (?) and PhotoPrinter for printing your digital images.src="/ART/SPACE.GIF" align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- ixla allies with Kodak! Ixla Ltd. have announced in a press release today that they have signed a memorandum of understanding with Eastman Kodak Co. to support extended features of Kodak's digital cameras in their ixla Digital Camera Interface product. In particular, ixla will include support for Kodak's on-camera audio, burst-motion, time-lapse, and albuming capabilities, and will be privy to Kodak's future digital camera plans to allow new features to be supported at the earliest possible time.
Tuesday, February 16, 1999
February 16 1/2 - Now it can be told (2): The Nikon CoolPix 950!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Nikon US announces 2.1 megapixel digicam! "First Look" review posted! Finally!! Having had their hand forced somewhat by Nikon Japan, Nikon US pushed the announcement date for their new CoolPix 950 up by a day, and just gave us the go-ahead to post our own information! We've actually been working with a preproduction model of the '950 for a bit over a week, and have put together a fairly detailed "First Look" review, and a very complete set of test images.(Including samples of the enormous uncompressed image format.) - The images from the '950 are also stitched-into the Comparometer(tm), so you can easily compare them with those from other cameras. Overall, the CoolPix 950 is a very impressive offering, with many enhancements
over the previous CoolPix 900 (which was already an extremely successful product). Here are a few of the highlights on it, see the review for a more complete list:
- 2.1 million-pixel, 1/2 inch CCD sensor element
- Image sizes of 1600x1200, 1024x768, and 640x480
- Three JPEG compression levels, plus uncompressed TIFF
- 3x Optical Zoom lens, with macro focusing to 4 inches
- Multi-ratio digital zoom, magnifications of 1.25, 1.6, 2.0, and 2.5x
- 4746-step(?!) autofocus system, with continuous or single-shot focus modes
- Manual focus option, with 10 focus steps from 4 inches (10cm) to infinity
- Three-aperture lens system: f2.6/4.0, f4.4/6.8, and f7.4/11.4
- Multiple autoexposure modes: full program, aperture- and shutter-priority
- Aperture priority allows selection of any of three lens openings (see above)
- Shutter priority allows selection of shutter time in 1-stop increments from 8 seconds(!) to 1/500 of a second (1/750 in final production units?)
- 256-segment Matrix, spot, and center-weighted exposure-metering options
- "Live" feedback of current aperture, shutter speed values
- 48 megabyte RAM buffer for full-res continuous shooting at 2 frames per second
- Rapid cycle time of ~2-3 seconds in normal shooting mode
- US List price of $1199 (? - waiting confirmation on this), available in April
February 16 - Now it can be told: The Olympus C-2000 Zoom!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Olympus announces 2.1 megapixel digicam! "First Look" review posted! I think we actually got a clean "scoop" on this one! (Except that Olympus Japan announced the product last night, US time, about 12-16 hours ahead of the US.) We were fortunate to be able to evaluate a pre-production prototype of Olympus' new 2.1 megapixel camera, the C-2000 Zoom. What a device! Probably the biggest news beyond the 2.1 megapixel CCD is the degree of control it gives you over the photographic process: It sports full program, aperture- and shutter-priority autoexposure controls, with (get this) 1/3 f-stop control over both shutter and aperture, across their entire range! Lots of other juicy stuff, too, including a really great user interface. The unit we were given to work with was an early prototype, so we can't show any pictures taken with it (the color was
still being tweaked.) The "dreamarts" site in Japan has posted some very nice-looking images on their Japanese-language page, though, and the Japanese PC-Watch site also has a page on the camera, complete with pictures. Meanwhile, here's a brief list of its attributes. Check out our First Look for more details! (We'll have a complete review with our usual complement of test images as soon as Olympus can get us a full-production version of the camera.)
- 2.1 million pixel CCD -- resolutions of 1600x1200, 1024x768, 640x480
- 3x (35mm-105mm) optical plus 1.6/2.0/2.5x digital zoom, usable at any optical focal length
- Fast f2.0/f2.8 lens (apertures down to f11 manually selectable)
- Shutter speeds from 1/2 to 1/800 seconds
- Exceptional exposure control, including full program, aperture-priority, shutter-priority. (The really big news here is that the shutter & aperture-priority adjustments are both in 1/3-stop increments across the full range!)
- Spot and averaging metering
- User-selectable ISO: 100, 200, 400
- Uncompressed TIFF mode
- SmartMedia (compatible up to 32MB, comes with 8MB)
- Fast cycle time of 2-3 seconds (production units should be faster yet), huge RAM buffer, can take at least 5 full-res pictures without pausing,at least 45 at VGA resolution! (We got up to 10 full-res shots!)
- (Big news) Camera stays "live" while it's processing images! - You can adjust exposure & other shooting parameters without waiting for it to finish digesting images!
- Very useful 3x zoom on picture playback, makes it easy to see every last detail, even in full-res images.
- Infrared remote, for remote control of most camera functions (we didn't get to try this out with our prototype unit.)
- Compact design - see our comparison picture alongside the Oly D-600L
- Direct printer support for Oly P-330 printer
- Very intuitive user interface
- 1.8" LCD, 113,000 pixel LCD.
- US List price of $999, available in May
We were very impressed with what we saw of the C-2000 Zoom: The smooth 1/3-stop exposure control over the full range of lens aperture and shutter speed is a big boost in creative control, that we expect will be welcomed by many. We still need to see the final version to make up our minds about image quality, but the pictures posted on the Japanese sites look very good, indeed!
Monday, February 15, 1999
February 15 - Sigh... Nikon 950 & 700: The price of a promise...
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 15, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Beans spilled on Nikon 950, 700! We've been working under non-disclosure with Nikon on their new products (eg, we promised Nikon we won't publish any of our info until they say we can). This means we have lots of goodies on things that we unfortunately can't tell you anything about until the 17th. Meanwhile, Nikon Japan spilled the beans on the new CoolPix 950 and 700 with an official press release in the Far East. Phil Askey picked up a packet, and even has pictures on his site of the new units. (We'll have more pictures of our own on the 17th, and LOTS of sample images.) Steve's Digicams has also picked up on this story, with their own features, specifications and sample pictures from the CoolPix 950, as well as specs for the Coolpix 700 - all linked from Steve's news page! The DCRP has taken the opportunity to share
what they know as well, here's what they've published:
(Oops, that's NIKON Japan! - We slightly edited this news item in the wee hours last night, to remove the suggestion that Mr. Askey had "spilled the beans" and inadvertently typed "Fuji Japan" rather than "Nikon Japan!" - Our profuse apologies to Fuji, who have never shown any sign of subterfuge relative to Nikon's plans!!)
- 2.1 million pixel CCD -- resolution of 1600x1200
- 3x optical + 2.5x digital zoom
- manual focus, exposure/aperture controls
- spot metering; macro mode
- ISO of up to 320 (Correction to previous stat)
- Very fast startup time, and quick between shots
- Uncompressed TIFF mode
- Ability to review a picture (and delete it!) before it's written to the CF card.
- Light-weight magnesium body (see Phil's site for photo of it
- 2" LCD, ships w/8MB CF card.
- Available for ~$1100 in April
- Sample photos from PC Watch (Japanese)
The PC-Watch sample pictures are really incredible! - Check out those time-exposure night shots, the one with the car lights as streaks was an 8 second exposure time! We'll have more info on the 17th, so stay tuned...
- Outpost.com has D700's! - We just got word from our advertiser Cyberian Outpost that they're about to receive their first shipment of Sony D700 digicams! They're quoting a 4-day lead time, which suggests to us that the cameras are (finally) in the US, perhaps just now clearing Customs. Click HERE to order yours! ($1699)
- BIG surprise due tomorrow! - On the subject of things we can't talk about, check-in tomorrow (mid-day?), for some big news: We actually may have a "scoop" on this one! (Finally!)
Friday, February 12, 1999
February 12 - 2+ megapixel Ricoh digicam, Fuji MX-2700 review, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 12, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Ricoh announces RDC-5000 2.3 Megapixel digicam! We heard this news almost simultaneously from the Future Image email newsletter (see the text box above entitled "Serious News"), and Phil Askey's excellent site - Ricoh Co. Ltd. has today announced their first 2+ megapixel digital camera. The Ricoh RDC-5000 has the following features:
- 2.3 megapixel CCD (sound familiar?)
- Glass lens assembly (9 elements in 6 groups).
- 2.3x zoom equivalent to 38-86mm on a 35mm camera.
- 2.5x digital zoom
- Focus down to as little as 4 centimetres away
- 1792 x 1200 pixel resolution.
- 8MB of internal RAM allows up to 28 shots at 1 second intervals.
- SmartMedia storage (in sizes up to the new 32MB cards).
- Shutter speeds 1/500th to 1 second.
- Built-in flash with red-eye reduction.
- Automatic and 5-mode manual white balance.
- Weighs 315g excluding battery.
- Self timer (10 seconds)
- Interval timer (30 second increments up to 3 hours)
- Optional remote control
- Video in/out connectors (NTSC/PAL switcheable)
- Japanese or English menus
- 4 AA alkaline, lithium or NICAD batteries.
A nice touch is that when you power the camera off, a cover slides down to protect the 1.8 inch LCD from scratches. There is also apparently the possibility to take photos in 1792 x 1200 pixels, and then have the camera downsample them to 896 x 600 pixels using an algorithm similar to JPEG to selectively compress less important image components. The specifications also seem to note that manual focus is available on the camera. No availability is listed, but a price of 99,800 yen (approx US$875) is predicted. Thanks to the The Future Image and the Universal Currency Converter.
- DreamArts posts Fuji MX-2700 review! The Japanese DreamArts website has posted a review of the Fuji FinePix MX-2700, with plenty of sample images. They've also done comparison photos with the Leica Digilux and the Kodak DC-260, so you can really get a feel for the performance of the new camera. Check it out!
- HP and PhotoLoft.com expand capabilities of online photo site! Hewlett Packard and PhotoLoft.com have today announced a deal that gives PhotoLoft's digital imaging website unique new capabilities. Photoloft will use HP's OpenPix ImageIgniter and OpenPix print integrator software to allow users to print photos at the true resolution of their printer, rather than the 72dpi limit normally imposed by their browser. This means that essentially, users can print their photographs directly from their PhotoLoft album, rather than having to save the image to disk and open it in another application as has previously been the case. The new software will also enable users to zoom in on their images, and pan around them, without loss of image quality.
- PhotoParade creates polished photo presentations! Callisto Corp. emailed us about their photo presentation program, PhotoParade. Its a little difficult to describe, but essentially PhotoParade lets you create themed presentations from your photos. One example has your photos displayed on a huge screen on the side of a building, the titles of each photo scrolling on a ticker-tape style board beneath the screen, accompanied by the sounds of the city, jazz music, pigeons flying by in the background and interesting antics in the lighted windows of the building itself. The viewer can interact with the scenes, such as in the stamp collecteor theme where you can use tweezers and a sponge to stick your "stamps" (the pieces of the photo you're viewing) together in the right places on the page of your stamp/photo album to see the full picture. The program creates compressed files that you can email to
friends and family, or place on a floppy disk, and the files can be viewed with a free viewer application. For a limited time, the program itself is also free to download, and additional themes can be purchased on the PhotoParade website. Go take a look!
- Sony DSC-D700 finally shipping in the USA! The Digital Camera Resource Page has heard from readers that the Sony DSC-D700 is shipping, and a quick check of CNet Shopper.Com confirms that at least one site is listing the DSC-D700 as in-stock. A lot of people will be breathing a sigh of relief at this news, I am sure... Thanks to the Digital Camera Resource Page!
Thursday, February 11, 1999
February 11 - In-camera security on the way, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 11, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- FotoNation patent in-camera security software! FotoNation Inc., emailed us today with news of their new in-camera security software, SecureSuite. The software consists of four elements, FotoEncrypt, FotoMark, FotoFingerprint and FotoAuthenticate, all of which run inside the camera itself ensuring that they cannot be bypassed. FotoEncrypt obviously encrypts digital images taken with the camera, FotoMark adds a visible watermark to the image that can only be removed with a given password, FotoFingerPrint allows users to view copyright information attached the to image, and FotoAuthenticate verifies whether the image has been altered or tampered with in any way, and if so identifies the affected region of the image. Two patents have been granted for the technology, although there are no specific details in the release of what the patents cover.src="/ART/SPACE.GIF" align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Ulead announce new panoramic image software. Ulead Systems has announced the new Cool360 program for creating 360-degree panoramic images. The software takes a three-step approach to creating the images. In the first step, the software guides you through acquiring images from a scanner or digital camera for your choice of panoramic or full 360-degree images. The second step allows you to manually or automatically stitch images together, and adjust perspective, hue, saturation, brightness and contrast between photos. Finally, the third step allows you to save the image to an executable file (for emailing), a panorama for use on the web (using the Ulead plugin), as a screensaver, a MOV video file, or printing the panorama. The software is available now on Ulead's website and most software distributors at a
price of $39.95.
- Duracell introduce longer-lasting lithium batteries! Duracell today announced the release of their new Duracell ULTRA photo lithium batteries. Scheduled to start shipping in April 1999, the new batteries are available in 123, 223, 245 and CR2 sizes, and should last up to 40% longer than current photo lithium batteries.
- Alexis Gerard joins PhotoHighway.com! PhotoHighway.com today announced that digital imaging expert Alexis Gerard, executive editor and publisher of The Future Image Report, has been appointed to its Advisory Board. Gerard was previously the president and executive director of the Digital Imaging Group, a non-profit consortium formed by Adobe, Canon, Eastman Kodak, Fuji, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel, Live Picture and Microsoft to promote digital imaging. ixla Ltd., developer of the upcoming PhotoHighway.com website intends to unveil the site at the upcoming PMA '99 show in Las Vegas.
- Photo Assistant '98 Light released. Steve's Digicams is carrying news that EasyTek have released the latest version of their Photo Assistant program for Windows95/98. Photo Assistant is designed to help you print your pcitures with the best quality possible, and arrange multiple pictures on one page to reduce waste. Details of the changes and additions to the latest release can be found here.Thanks to Steve's Digicams for the story!
Wednesday, February 10, 1999
February 10 - 32MB SmartMedia on the market, important news for Kodak DC25, DC40, DC50 or DC120 owners, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 10, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Olympus announces 32MB SmartMedia and FlashPath! Olympus Optical Co. Ltd. has today announced the immediate release in Japan of 32MB SmartMedia cards, as well as the planned release of the corresponding 32MB FlashPath SmartMedia reader at the beginning of March. The 32MB "M-32P" SmartMedia cards are available at a price of 15,000 yen (approx. US$130), and the 32MB-specific FlashPath reader will retail for 12,000 yen (approx. US$105). The 32MB SmartMedia can also be read using the existing MA-2 PC Card adaptor, or using the existing MAFP-1/1N FlashPath adaptors and accompanying 32MB driver update. The following equipment from Olympus can accept 32MB SmartMedia cards:
Olympus Digital Cameras
- C-1400XL, C-900ZOOM
- C-1400L, C-1000L (after 8000 yen [US$70] upgrade)
- C-840L, C-830L and D-340L (after 6000 yen [US$50] upgrade)
Olympus Digital Color Printer
- P-330 (after 1000 yen [US$10] upgrade)
Olympus Digital Photo Editor
- VS100ST, VS100MO (after 1000 yen [US$10] upgrade)
There are two cautionary notes from Olympus in the press release. The first states that while C-1400L and C-1000L cameras upgraded to 16MB recently were supposed to be able to accept 32MB SmartMedia, and will work under most circumstances correctly, the cameras can occasionally encounter an error which can lose data or even destroy the 32MB SmartMedia card, and hence Olympus are recommending customers return these cameras for a second upgrade free of charge. The second note is a little odd, and I am not 100% sure of my translation of it, but it appears to warn Olympus C-1400XL users to format their 32MB SmartMedia cards in their camera rather than their PC, stating that data on the card might be lost when a PC-formatted SmartMedia card is inserted in the C-1400XL camera.
Thanks to the Universal Currency Converter for US pricing equivalents, and to PC Watch in Japan for finding the original press release.
- Kodak announces recall of AC Adapters for Digital Cameras! We've received a note today from Eastman Kodak Company advising of a recall for certain potentially dangerous AC Adapters:
"CPSC, Kodak Announce Recall of AC Adapters for Digital Cameras.
Kodak has found a potential problem with the IMPROPER USE of the optional AC adapters manufactured by ELPAC Electronics, Inc. that were supplied as a digital camera accessory to Kodak DC25, DC40, DC50 or DC120 Digital Cameras. These ELPAC AC adapters, if not fully plugged into the digital camera, MAY CAUSE THE BATTERIES to overheat to a high temperature. This situation can cause the batteries to leak acid and explode, possibly causing thermal and chemical burns or lacerations. We're conducting a voluntary recall in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
If you have one of these cameras and are using an ELPAC AC adapter, model numbers 2457, 2534, M42008 or MI2008, PLEASE CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY.
Go to http://www.kodak.com/go/acadapter right now to arrange for the return and FREE REPLACEMENT of your adapter.
Kodak Digital and Applied Imaging Division"
- Footnote to Kodak AC Adapters story: If you are not sure if your Kodak AC Adapter is one of those affected by the press release above, go to Yahoo! BW PhotoWire, which is currently carrying a photograph comparing the affected and unaffected AC adapters alongside each other.
- Steve's Digicams soars higher! We were pleased to see that the excellent Steve's Digicams website has reached their 500,000th visitor a few days ago! If you're a website, birthdays seem to be counted in terms of visitors more often than years, and 500,000 is quite an impressive milestone to pass... If you've not tried Steve's site before, be sure and drop by later, and see if you can't get him up to his millionth visitor! Congratulations, Steve!
- Digital Photography Review posts Dimage 1500EX review! Phil Askey's Digital Photography Review has posted a review of Minolta's Dimage 1500EX digital camera. Phil liked the speed, image quality and upgradeability of the camera, but found the zoom to be too noisy and the flash a little difficult to control. For the full story, be sure to pop over to Digital Photography Review.
- Kodak puts snapshots on PictureCD. An article today by the Associated Press tells that in the next few weeks, Kodak will be offering PictureCDs in the first of what will become 40,000 retail outlets across America offering PictureCD capabilities by this summer. PictureCD is a format for storing photos on Compact Disk, and was developed in cooperation with Intel and Adobe. In tests, it was used by roughly 5% of customers. Stores offering PictureCD processing will include Kmart Corp., Walgreen Co., CVS Corp. and Target Stores. At least initially, customers will still be required to purchase traditional prints at the same time, and PictureCDs will take two days to process.
- MRT micro launches Observer/Eye digital camera. MRT micro ASA of Norway has announced it's Intelligent Observer line of products, including the Observer/Eye digital camera. The Observer/Eye is designed for surveillance and similar solutions, and can capture, compress and store up to 85,000 full color images at 768 x 494 pixels (At 25 frames per second, that's about 56 hours of video). The camera contains a 10/100MB Ethernet port and can also accept an optional PC Card modem, for transmitting the images to another location. Two software packages are available, the Observer/Alert package with motion-detection for security purposes, and the Virtual Eye package which acts as a webcam, transmitting images to web servers. The Observer/DTK developer's toolkit is available for those wishing to design their own software for the camera.align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- IXLA technology used in Polaroid photo printer. A press release from IXLA Limited of Danbury, Connecticut today reveals that Polaroid Corporation has licensed IXLA's Digital Camera Interface Technology for their Direct Camera Adapter. The Direct Camera Adapter is used to allow digital photographers to connect selected digital cameras directly to the Polaroid ColorShot Photo Printer without the need for a PC.
- Imaging Technologies to address Color Symposium. Imaging Technologies Corp. has announced that they will be addressing the Color Symposium for Printer Manufacturers in Tokyo today. They also intend to demonstrate their latest technology, ColorBlind Color Management software, which allows users to profile all of their peripherals such as scanners, digital cameras, printers and monitors to ensure consistent reproduction of colors. The symposium is being sponsered by Agfa-Gevaert. Also to be shown is Xionics' CopyColor, a software application designed to allow OEMs to link a color scanner and printer, allowing them to be used as a color copier.
- Microsoft to highlight digital imaging at WinHEC. There is little information given to support the notion, nor is the exhibitors list a who's who of digital imaging, but Microsoft has stated in a press release today that the eighth annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference and Exhibition (WinHEC) will "address key hardware technologies ... such as digital imaging". We wait with interest...
- Roland Hi-Fi JET wins Cool2 award. Roland's Hi-Fi JET printer has been selected for a Cool2 award by PEI (Photo Electronic Imaging) Magazine. The printer is the world's first wide-format 1440 dpi (dots per inch) printer, and won the award for best large-format color printer under $20,000. The award is based on quality, innovation, improvement, ease of use, and broadness of scope.
- Photodex joins with Digital Greetings. Photodex Corporation, the Texas-based creator of CompuPic (the image viewing/editing program) and GraphicsWiz (a website with information on graphics storage and editing, along with a picture gallery), has announced a partnership with Digital Greetings, an online greeting-card company also based in Texas. Digital Greetings has been contracted by Photodex to create a variety of online greetings cards for CompuPic users, accessible from Photodex's "GraphicsWiz" website, including Valentine's Day cards - so go send one to your loved one!
Tuesday, February 9, 1999
February 9 - New Sanyo camera, new Sony digital camcorder, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 9, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Sanyo announces new DSC-X110 digital camera! Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. has today announced a new digital camera, the DSC-X110. The excellent PC Watch website in Japan noted that the new camera is essentially a DSC-X100 camera with updated firmware, the hardware being identical. The DSC-X100 and DSC-X110 digital cameras have the ability to record video clips (with sound), and it is here that the largest improvement has been made, with the DSC-X110 camera now able to record twice as much as the previous model (up to 120 seconds of 15 frames per second video, using a 16MB SmartMedia card, at a resolution of 160 x 120 pixels.) Improvements have also been made to the speed of the camera overall. The camera has an 850,000 pixel (1024 x 768 pixel image) CCD, and offers software
interpolation up to 1.3 megapixel (1280 x 960 pixels). The camera also features a 3.2x digital zoom, and a 2-inch, 110,000 pixel LCD display with a weight of 200 grams (including battery). Availability is scheduled for February 20th, and existing DSC-X100 cameras can be upgraded for an unannounced fee. Sample photos are also online at PC Watch, and there is also an official press release (in Japanese) from Sanyo.
- Sony announces digital camcorder with MemoryStick slot! PC Watch in Japan also is carrying a story today regarding the new DCR-TRV10 digital camcorder from Sony, sporting not just a DV Tape for recording video, but also a MemoryStick slot for capturing still images in JPEG format at a resoltuion of 640 x 480 pixels.A maximum of 246 photos can be captured in standard mode and 164 photos in fine mode, using a 16MB MemoryStick. The DCR-TRV10 is about 17% lighter (650 grams without battery) and 33% smaller (67.5 x 157.5 x 89 millimeters) than the previous model, the DCR-TRV9, and features a 10x optical zoom (as compared to the 12x optical zoom in the previous model). The camera also features Sony's famous NightShot capability, which hit the headlines last year for it's reported ability to "see through" clothing, a popular feature that
Sony has since removed. :) Sony's webpage contains more in-depth specifications (in Japanese only).
- Computer Shopper announces top-selling products of 1998! Computer Shopper.com, part of Ziff Davis' ZDNet website, has announced the top 10 products of 1998 in terms of online and phone orders, and requests for contact from vendors. Products related to Digital Imaging were the Epson Stylus Color 800 (1st place), Epson Stylus Color 600 printer (2nd), HP DeskJet 722C printer (4th), Visioneer PaperPort 6000 scanner (7th) and the Kodak DC210 digital camera (8th).
- Club Photo's new Living Album '99 now official! We've mentioned Club Photo's new Living Album '99 several times recently, however we thought it was worth noting that Club Photo has put out their official press release on Yahoo! Business Wire today...
Monday, February 8, 1999
February 8 - Agfa introduces camera, and quite a bit more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 8, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Agfa introduces ePhoto CL50 digital camera! Agfa Desktop Products Group has today announced the release of the Agfa ePhoto CL50 digital camera. The camera has a resolution of 1280 x 960, which is software-interpolated up to a maximum of 1600 x 1200, as well as burst-mode capability (10 continuous pictures at 0.5 second intervals, however only if the pictures are taken at a resolution of 640 x 480). The camera also has sound capability, SmartMedia storage, and "panorama" software for stitching multiple photos into panoramic shots. Probably the most notable feature of the camera is a prism to direct sunlight into the LCD, allowing the backlight to be turned down and consume less battery power. Availability is set for March at a price of $799.
- Digital Origin's EditDV bundled with Canon EluraDV. A press release today states that Digital Origin's EditDV Unplugged! software will be bundled with the upcoming Canon EluraDV digital camcorder. The software will be bundled as a preview version only, and enables the user to add effects, transitions, titling and more to their video. Somewhat amusingly, a CD-ROM of video pre-recorded on a Canon EluraDV is included to enable "consumers using computers not yet outfitted with IEEE 1394 (Firewire) [interfaces] the ability to begin editing immediately."
- Inmedia announces PhotoChannel. Inmedia Presentations, Inc. of Vancouver has announced that they are developing PhotoChannel, a new Internet portal for conventional and digital photographers. PhotoChannel will include a "photography information resource center", an online photofinishing service and an online camera store offering camera equipment, accessories, supplies, reprints, enlargements and photo merchandise.
- Digital Intelligence unveil PictureIQ. Digital Intelligence, a Seattle-based company previously part of Adobe Systems Incorporated, has announced their new embedded software for use in a variety of devices such as set-top boxes, photo appliances, game consoles, handhelds, and printers. PictureIQ has been designed to allow users to create, store, organize, enhance, and print digital photos without a PC. Examples of features in PictureIQ are image rotation, cropping, retouching, red-eye removal, and more.
- IPIX promotes users' creations. Interactive Pictures has posted two press releases/adverts today, promoting their technology for creating navigable, 360-degree panoramic photographs. The technology is certainly nice, and according to the first press release has been used by CNN for an interactive tour of the space shuttles' cockpit, the Nobel prize ceremony, and the church where Martin Luther King spoke, as well as by ESPN to allow users to join ESPN on the fairways at the President's Cup golf tournament in Australia. The second press release concentrates on how IPIX's software is superior to that from other companies, because it allows not just a 360-degree panoramic photograph, but a photograph that is 360-degree panoramic in both horizontal and vertical planes. IPIX state that this puts their
software above the rest helping them "dominate the real-estate market".
- CDT has breakthrough in LEP technology. Cambridge Display Technology, a British company leading worldwide development of Light Emitting Polymer displays, has announced a breakthrough in LEP chemistry. Until now, Cambridge has had difficulty creating an LEP that creates blue light, but they have announced that they have now succeeded in doing this, and have demonstrated a single-pixel white LEP (which requires a careful combination of red, green and blue LEPs to create.) Cambridge is working in cooperation with Seiko Epson of Japan to create a full-color LEP display, and believe that it will be ready sooner rather than later. They point to the fact that it took more than a decade to create the first blue LEDs, whereas Cambridge has created the first blue LEP in only 18 months. (Dave's note: This could be really big news, indeed, for digicamowners,
although it won't likely hit digicam production for at least another 18-24 months, even if all goes well. - Once the displays are created, they'll have to be designed into a new crop of digicams, which will take time to happen. The reason it's such big news though, is that the LEPs could be a lot more efficient than the current LCD-with-backlight. LCDs work by passing light through polarizers, which cuts at least 50% of the backlight brightness right there. Also, their optical structure means that viewing angles are pretty narrow. With LEPs, because the panel itself is the light-emitting element, there should be no viewing-angle restrictions whatever! (Well, you DO still have to be in front of the thing...)
- DigitalFocus attracts top companies at PMA '99. Digital Focus, a leading Digital Imaging newsletter, has announced that leading companies will debut their latest products at DigitalFocus '99 @ PMA. The DigitalFocus event takes place from 6 to 9pm on the eve of the PMA show, February 17, 1999 in Las Vegas. Companies to show products at DigitalFocus include 3COM, Adobe, Agfa, Canon, Digital Imaging Group, Duracell, Energizer, Enroute Imaging, Epson, Flashpoint, Fuji, Intel, IOMega, IPIX, Jasc Software, Kodak, Lexar Media, Lexmark, MGI Software, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Philips, Picture CD,Sandisk, Toshiba Imaging Systems and Ulead.
Sunday, February 7, 1999
February 7 - Nikon Coolscan III mini-review and image samples on-line!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, February 7, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
-Nikon Coolscan III (LS-30) mini-review and sample images posted!. At long last, we've completed our testing of the "little brother" to the Nikon SuperCoolscan 2000 (LS-2000). This scanner is a virtual clone of the higher-end Super Coolscan, but with lower bit-depth digitization, and a few other features left out to bring the list price down to under a thousand dollars (and "street" prices of course much lower.) Our testing supported the fact of this close relationship, with the LS-30 performing as well as the LS-2000 in most areas. We refer readers to our earlier review of the LS-2000 for a full description of the control software and user interface, and for examples of the amazing "Digital ICE" dust & scratch-removal technology. If you're already familiar with the Nikon Scan application from the earlier review, you can just go directly to the "PRODS/LS30/LS30PICS.HTM">Pictures Page for the Coolscan III. Check it out!
Friday, February 5, 1999
February 5 - Sample images from Sony DSC-F55K and Fuji MX-2700 online, new version of FlashPath on the way, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 5, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Sony DSC-F55K sample photos online! The PC Watch website in Japan has posted sample images from Sony's upcoming DSC-F55K, the first 2-megapixel digital camera to be announced just a few days ago. The pictures are pretty impressive, and led the reviewer to comment that the Zeiss lens looked much sharper than previous 1.3 and 1.6 megapixel units that he had tested. The pictures did display a tendency to have a reddish cast, however the review noted that the camera used was a beta version and that this issue would likely be fixed before release date.
- Fuji FinePix MX-2700 sample photos online! The PC Watch website has also managed to get a preview and sample images of the Fuji MX-2700 digital camera online, only two days after first news of the camera came out. The preview mentions two things of note - firstly that the camera has a six-step manual white balance, secondly that the time between shots is approximately 6 seconds. The pictures pretty much speak for themselves, but note that according to the page these photos are all from a beta version of the camera, and hence will probably differ from the final version. According to the page, the camera takes about twice as long (2 seconds) to start up as the Sony DSC-F55K, can take several seconds after taking a shot to display it on the LCD, and the reviewer
seems slightly disappointed by the sharpness of the images considering the resolution of the camera. On the upside though, the reviewer was impressed with the night-shooting capabilities of the camera, and the automatic white balance feature (despite a slightly greenish cast under fluorescent lighting). (Note: If you have already seen these photos, you might want to look again, as there is a note on the PC Watch webpage that further photos have been added).
- Fuji make new version of FlashPath. The Fuji MX-2700 preview mentioned in the previous article also mentions the FlashPath adapter. Apparently, a new version of the adapter is to be released, called the FD-A2B. The site doesn't specify what the differences are from the original FD-A1 adapter, but does note that both adapters will be able to accept 32MB SmartMedia - although the FD-A1 adapters will require a new driver to be able to do this. The Japanese language drivers are available on Fuji's Japanese website, so look for English-language drivers soon!
- Fuji to introduce three new cameras at PMA! In a press release, Fuji has announced that the theme of their stand at the PMA '99 show will be "The Bigger Picture", and that they will be introducing the following new cameras:
Fuji MX-2700, as mentioned previously.
Fuji MX-600 Zoom, 1.5 megapixel, 3x optical and 2x digital zoom, 1.8 inch LCD.
Fuji DX-10 XGA, 850,000 pixel resolution, 1.8-inch LCD, and "digital processing effects ... at a [surprising] price".
- Digital Camera prices take a plunge in Japan! PC Watch also has a story regarding a recent drop in Japanese digicam prices. Current prices in Japan for the affected cameras are below, and Currency conversions are from the Universal Currency Converter, comparison prices from CNET Shopper.
Nikon CoolPix 910, a Japanese version of the Coolpix 900 - $618, previously $706. No longer available in the US.
Olympus C-830L, Japanese version of the D-400Z without the zoom lens and with a slightly smaller LCD - $352, previously $440. Not available in the US.
Toshiba PDR-M1 - $352, previously $432. US price approx. $370.
Konica Q-M100V, not available in the US, but very similar to the Q-M100 except a better CCD, better white balance, revised front-panel and differnt color case. $352, previously $440. US price for Q-M100 approx. $350.
Sony MVC-FD51 - ($378, previously $485). US price approx. $400.
- Nikon CoolPix 910 still selling in Japan! The previous article has an interesting footnote. Regular readers may remember that we reported on January 31st that sales of the Nikon CoolPix 900 had ceased in the USA, due to stocks running out thanks to the popularity of the camera. The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed in the list above that the CoolPix 910 (the Japanese version of the CoolPix 900) is still selling in Japan. IR's sources confirm that there are still CoolPix 900s in the Japanese channel, but that since they were packed up for the Japanese market, it simply wasn't practical to consider re-packing them to fill the US void.
- Kodak and Sanyo announce Organic EL display tie-up. Electronics giant Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. and the Eastman Kodak Company have announced a comprehensive alliance agreement to jointly develop Organic EL displays. The displays are comprised of self-luminous pixels, and hence require no backlight. They have an unlimited viewing angle, and are faster to respond than traditional LCD displays, as well as being thinner, brighter, and requiring less energy. All in all, they sound perfect for digital cameras! Passive displays should be in production by mid-2000, and active displays requiring still less power, yet providing even more brightness in more compact packaging should be in production by 2001.
- Canon introduces Elura digital camcorder. Although camcorders are really outside the scope of this site, the Elura camcorder announced yesterday by Canon is worthy of a brief mention simply because it can also be used to take digital still images. More than 500 images can be stored on one 60-minute MiniDV cassette tape, however with a CCD of only 380K pixels, the resulting images would only be around 640 x 480 pixels.
- Xerox drops large-format printer prices! Xerox Corporation has announced a price drop on their large-format ColorgrafX printers by up to 35%, bringing US prices down to between $22,995 and $64,900. The Xpress 36 inkjet printer will be reduced by 24%, the Xpress 54 by 16%, whilst the 44-inch 8900 series will come down 28% and the 54-inch 8900 will come down the most of all, by 35%.
- d-store drops prices! Be sure and visit the Deals page for information of some price changes at d-store on SmartMedia, UBS-SCSI converters and Olympus Digicams.
- Hemara to bundle software with HP scanners. Hemara Technologies Inc. has announced that their "Netgraphics Optimizer" and "Photo-Objects Gallery" software is to be bundled with HP's new ScanJet 5200C scanners. Netgraphics Optimizer is an award-winning program for optimizing graphics for display on the web, and Photo-Objects Gallery is an image cataloguing program.
- PMAI announces "World's Funniest Photo Contest". The Photo Marketing Association International, hosts of the upcoming PMA '99 show, has announced the "World's Funniest Photo" contest. Entries are due by April 1st, 1999 (April Fool's Day), and will be accepted in two categories, traditional photography and digital imaging. First prize in each category is $1000, and five runners up in each category will receive $100. Full details are at: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/990205/mi_pmai_ph_2.html
Wednesday, February 3, 1999
February 3 - Fuji MX-2700 official, rumors of Kodak cameras, Minolta signs for MetaFlash, and quite a bit more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 3, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- The Fuji MX-2700 - it's official! We carried a story yesterday caught by Steve's Digicams regarding a rumored new camera from Fuji, and 24 hours later rumor becomes fact! Fuji Photo Film USA has officially announced the new Fuji MX-2700 digital camera, with a 2.3 million pixel CCD producing photos at a resolution of 1800 x 1200 pixels. The camera is an impressively small 3.1 x 3.8 x 1.3 inches, and thanks to its small size and aluminum alloy body, weighs just 8.5 ounces. Other features include a 2-inch 130,000 pixel polysilicon LCD display, optical viewfinder, built-in flash, 2.5x digital zoom, user-adjustable white balance and exposure compensation, video out and serial port. The camera uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery (charger included, quick-charger available) to provide up to 250 shots with the LCD
display off, or 80 shots when using the LCD display. The storage medium is SmartMedia, which will allow a maximum of 142 shots on the upcoming 32MB SmartMedia cards. A photograph of the camera is available on BusinessWire. (Dave's note: This is very interesting, looks like there *is* a 2.3 megapixel CCD out there from a chip maker we didn't know about. (Fuji themselves?) We're itching to try this out, along with the rash of coming 2 megapixel cameras we'll be reviewing (a pretty broad hint). - Hope we can get one from Fuji to work with!)
- New Kodak digital cameras on the way? Steve's Digicams has posted rumours of two new digital cameras from Kodak. First off is a rumor of an uprated version of the popular Kodak DC260, called the DC265. The camera is rumored to be essentially a DC260 with a RAM buffer that will allow for 7 images to be shot continuously at maximum size, high resolution, and in fine mode. The second rumor is of a modified Kodak DC210, called the DC240, and containing features such as black & white and sepia modes, with a resolution of 1280 x 960. Steve stresses that these rumors are as yet unconfirmed by Kodak, however he scored a pretty much direct hit with yesterday's rumor on the Fuji MX-2700, so let's cross our fingers and hope! Thanks, Steve's Digicams! (Dave's Note: Our lips are sealed by non-disclosures on this one, but the timing would certainly
fit past Kodak product-release schedules, given when the DC260 first appeared...)
- Kodak DSC 620 on the way? Steve's Digicams has spotted an article on Rob Galbraith Online regarding a new camera from Kodak, the DSC 620, and a companion flash, the SB-28D. Rob, in turn, received the information in an email from Jeff Snyder of Penn Camera, quoting Kodak as the original source. (Oh, what a tangled web... - Mike) The specifications are very detailed, but to summarise, the basics are: based on the Nikon F5, 2-megapixel, 200-1600 ISO, 0.5 fps (frames per second) continuous with up to 3.5 fps burst for up to 12 images, dual type II/single type III PC-card, auto white balance with 4 manual settings and custom white balance, calibrated exposure, color and flash, sound annotation, and a whole lot more... Thanks to Steve's Digicams and
Rob Galbraith Online for this story! (Dave's note: This will definitely be a megabuck-level camera, probably in the ~$25,000 range. If you have the money though, the nice thing about the highest-end Kodaks is that the sensor fills the 35mm frame, meaning you can shoot true wide-angle with them. Also, the larger sensor means bigger CCD pixels, and therefore much better low-light performance. I don't know anything about this specific camera though, so it's possible the sensor is smaller. If not though, this is probably the closest you'll find to a "true film" experience with a changeable-lens SLR digicam...albeit for a price!)
- Minolta and MetaCreations sign deal on MetaFlash! Regular IR readers may remember that we broke a story on January 21st titled "MetaCreations, Kodak, Intel let you take pictures in 3D!". A related press release today reveals that Minolta has signed a deal with MetaCreations to produce a new digital camera utilizing MetaFlash technology. MetaFlash 3D files can be streamed over the Internet using another MetaCreations technology, MetaStream - which Microsoft has agreed to include as a component of both Windows98 and Windows2000. This is bound to create a large user base able to view MetaFlash files, which in turn will make the technology extremely attractive to companies wishing to display their products over
the Internet - and thus far, the Minolta deal is the only one announced which will enable companies to take advantage of the new technology. Of note, however, is the fact that the press release does not say the deal is exclusive - so look out for other manufacturers to realise the potential value of MetaFlash and sign deals of their own.
- More than $231 million of DRAM and Flash to sell by 2002 to Digital Camera market! A report just out from the Cahners In-Stat Group predicts that sales of flash-based digital film will grow by an average of 110% (presumably per year) until 2002, thanks to the digital camera industry. Cahners believes that by 2002, sales will have reached an impressive 797 gigabytes per year, due to growth in image complexity (and hence file size) necessitating larger flash cards, larger buffers in cameras, and also due to increased sales of the digital cameras themselves.
- Pixology helps you try before you buy! Pixology Software & Systems of Surrey, England has announced plans to launch a software package designed to enable users to try out digital cameras in the store before buying them, and compare ready-made sample images. The software will be launched at the upcoming PMA show, and lets users browse sample images and specifications unassisted. With the help of a sales assistant, users can take a sample image with the camera of their choice, and view it on the PC, zooming in or out and comparing images as they please. Updated CD-ROMs containing current cameras will be released every 4 months.
- SmartDisk gets investment from Rohm and Yamaichi. SmartDisk has announced today that two Japanese electronics manufacturers have invested in the company. Yamaichi Electronics Company Ltd. manufactures sockets and connectors, and has over 2000 employees, whilst Rohm Company Ltd. manufactures ICs (Integrated Circuits), CMOS chips (Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductors), and EEPROM chips (Electronically Eraseable Programmable Read Only Memory). (Dave's note: A big part of the digicam business is about packaging - We expect to see more partnerships between people with packaging expertise and people making other components for this market. This of course is good news for digicam buyers, as it will help drive total costs down.)
- More details on Olympus D-400Z waterproof case. Having just translated the Japanese Olympus web-page in our January 31st article "Olympus lets you get wet taking photos!", we can now add a little more information regarding the Olympus D-400Z case currently in development. The case is currently scheduled to be released in mid-February in Japan, and weighs only 413g excluding the strap. It has been designed for a maximum depth of 30 meters, and so should even be suitable for scuba-diving up to that depth! The only real limitation of the design is that you are unable to use the optical viewfinder at the same time as the case - instead, you have to use the LCD viewfinder which obviously reduces battery life. This is a small price to pay, however, for the ability to take your digital camera to places that you'd never have dreamed possible! The planned retail
price for the case is 18,500 yen (about $160). (Dave's Note: Did you catch that? Translated the Japanese! Readers: If you've seen a Japanese web page with what looks like an interesting item on it, email us! We'll check it out, and post the results as news, if it actually is something new & relevant.)
- February issue of megapixel.net is now online. megapixel.net has released their February issue, with reviews of the Fujix DS-300, Kodak DC-260, Ricoh RDC-4200 and Toshiba PDR-M1, plus a revamped navigation system, an article on how megapixel.net create their reviews, and one on why reader David Lau wants to buy a digicam!
Tuesday, February 2, 1999
February 2 - Epson pushes the limits, and rumors abound!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 2, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Epson announces world's fastest color inkjet printer! Epson America Inc. has today announced the release of a record-breaking new printer. Epson states that the independent "National Software Testing Laboratory" has found the new Stylus Color 900 is the fastest color inkjet printer in the world in their tests, with a speed of 12 PPM (pages per minute) in greyscale, and 10 PPM in color! The printer also boasts variable droplet sizes right down to 3 picoliters, another record as the industry's smallest ink droplet! The printer has a resolution of 720 x 1440 dpi (dots per inch), USB connectivity, and uses standard Epson inks to provide instant-drying, waterfast and smudge-resistant copy. Interestingly, Epson also allows users to choose their own two-item software bundle from a list including such titles as
Corel Ventura Publisher, Lotus Freelance, Lotus Mail, McAfee VirusScan, Warcraft II, You Don't Know Jack, and more. The printer is scheduled to be available in mid-February at an estimated street price of $449. (Dave's note: 3 picoliter drops are really small. This printer could have capabilities for subtle color gradations very close to those of 6-color "true photo-quality" printers.)
- ALPS discontinues European printer sales? The digitalkamera.de website in Germany has posted news that ALPS is to discontinue their European sales of ALPS printers. I've been unable thus far to find anything confirming this on ALPS website or my usual sources, so if anyone finds confirmation of this, I'd love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org!Thanks to digitalkamera.de for the story!
- Fuji to announce new camera? Steve's Digicams has posted an article yesterday with a rumor of a new camera from Fuji to be announced at Cebit '99. Steve stresses that this is completely unconfirmed, but lists the camera as being called the Fuji MX 2700. The camera is rumored to have a resolution of 1800 x 1200 pixels (although this could be interpolated), 7.6mm F3.2-8 Fukinon fixed focal length lens, 1/2" 2.4-million pixel CCD, 2" TFT LCD screen, shutter speeds from 1/4 to 1/1000th of a second, and able to save both JPEG and uncompressed TIFF files to a SmartMedia card. Thanks to Steve's Digicams, and remember folks, this is a rumor thus far... (Dave's Note: If true, this would be the biggest CCD in a consumer digicam. We know of at least three chip makers
all producing 2.1 megapixel CCDs, but this is the first we've heard of a 2.4 megapixel chip. If it comes out, we expect it to be pricey, as chip yield goes down pretty fast as chip sizes increase. If the rest of the world is at 2.1 MP, 2.4 MP is likely to cost a fair bit more.)
- Epson almost ready to ship PhotoPC 750Z? The Digital Camera Resource Page has noticed that NECX is listing the Epson PhotoPC 750Z as due in stock on the 9th of February. If this is so, then 750Zs should be shipping by the start of next week!Thanks to the DCRP for spotting this!
- PictureVision uses Sun for image storage. Sun Microsystems Inc. has today announced that PictureVision Inc. of Herndon, Virginia has selected the Sun Ultra 60 server and dual-array Sun StorEdge A1000 for storage of digital photos on PictureVision's Kodak PhotoNet online photography service. PictureVision has purchased 90 of the StorEdge A1000's, each of which can be expanded up to a maximum of 144 gigabytes (that's over 12.5 terabytes!) which will be connected to Sun Ultra 60 servers in Online Photo Centers located in the US, France, Germany, the UK and Japan. PictureVision is a subsidiary of Eastman Kodak, and runs
Kodak's PhotoNet, Sony's ImageStation, and AOL's upcoming "You've Got Pictures!". (Dave's note: This is a big shift, indeed, and *could* mean a significant charge to Kodak's bottom line. Why? A few years back, Kodak reportedly made a HUGE investment in IBM storage hardware for the original Kodak Picture Network. - A Kodak insider once told me the system was large enough to store an appreciable percentage of Kodak's entire wholesale photofinishing output for months. Pundits had speculated that the presence of this enormous storage facility and the need to depreciate it over an extended period would stifle any potential for lower scanning fees in the PhotoNet pricing model. The new Sun hardware suggests that Kodak *may* have decided to bite the bullet on the writeoff of the old IBM storage system... This
is all mere idle speculation on my part, but it's nonetheless a surprising development. One other note: I wonder how much PictureVision paid for this hardware? These days, 100 Gigabytes really isn't all that big, when you can buy an off-the-shelf Seagate hard drive with 50 gigabytes of capacity for under $3,000!)
Monday, February 1, 1999
February 1 - Two new Canon printers, 80MB CompactFlash ships, and much, much, MUCH more! ;)
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 1, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Canon releases two new printers! Canon has today announced the release of two new printers, the BJC-1000 and BJC-2000. The BJC-1000 is a replacement for the existing BJC-250, can print 4 ppm (pages per minute) in monochrome, supports CMY color printing, and can use Canon's BC-06 "Photo Ink" cartridges for photorealistic printing. The BJC-2000 can handle 5 ppm in monochrome, supports CMYK color printing, accepts Canon's BC-22e "Photo Ink" cartridges, features a new "drop-in" cartridge loading system for ease of use, and uses "drop modulation technology" (ie. variable-sized dots) to increase print quality. The BJC-2000 also has a rather interesting (and very unusual) feature - a special cartridge called the IS-22 Color Image Scanner Cartridge turns the printer into a 360dpi (dots
per inch) color sheetfed scanner! Both printers have a resolution of 720 x 360 dpi , and are up to 20% smaller than Canon's previous smallest desktop bubble jet printers.
- Olympus wins 1998 MacWorld Editor's Choice Award! Olympus America Inc. today announced that their D-620L camera has won the award for "Best Digital Camera for 1998" in the 14th annual "Eddy" Editor's Choice Awards at MacWorld Expo 98. The award marks the third win for Olympus in the Eddy's in the last three years. In last year's awards, the Olympus D-600L took first place, and in the previous year's awards, the winner was the Olympus D-200L. The D-620L is a ZLR (zoom-lens reflex) camera with 1.4 megapixel (1280 x 1024) resolution, 3x zoom lens, external flash sync, and TTL viewfinder. When we recently reviewed this camera, we found it to be
as close to using a conventional camera as we have yet seen!
- ImageExpertCE ready for new Color WindowsCE for Palm-Size PC! Sierra Imaging, Inc., makers of the excellent "ImageExpertCE" imaging program for Microsoft's WindowsCE operating system has announced that the program is ready for the latest WindowsCE form factor. The latest WindowsCE release for Palm-Size PC was announced separately by Microsoft, with the biggest difference over previous versions being the addition of support for color displays. (Note
from Mike: I have used a previous version of ImageExpertCE on my handheld PC, and found it to be one of the most useful and best-made WindowsCE programs on the market.)
- Lexar ships first 80MB CompactFlash card! Lexar Media has today announced that they have commenced shipping the Lexar Media Pro series 80MB CompactFlash card. The card marks a new high as both the largest and fastest CompactFlash card currently available. One rather confusing point from the Lexar press release is that they state the card "offers 8X performance-up to three times as fast as the generic digital film" - but even if you don't understand Lexar's math, there is no question that if your camera supports CompactFlash, you should add one of these cards at the very top of your wish-list! The 80MB CF card is available immediately at a price of approximately $329.
- CompactFlash to be $0.50/MB in 2 years? Reader Louis J. Brazil contacted us with a very interesting link indeed: "Michael Murie has posted some interesting info from the recent Kodak Developer Conference.
A couple of interesting notes include a GPS link via the Digita OS (someonerecently posted this as a wishlist item on RPD) and SanDisk reporting that CF memory will be $1/mb. by Q1 2000 and .50 by the end of 2000." Thanks, Louis!
- ScanSoft and Hanes create software bundle! Hanes, makers of the Hanes T-ShirtMaker program that allows users to design and print their own T-shirts and other customizable items, and ScanSoft, a subsidiary of the Xerox Corporation, have announced that they have created a bundle of their software. The special offer, priced at $69.95, bundles both Hanes' T-ShirtMaker and Pagis ScanWorks, a photo-editing and management program designed for home users, which allows users to edit, organize, and shair their photos via fax, email and the Web.
- Signature Color signs deal with The Learning Company. A press release today from Signature Color, a direct mail company that offers digital and conventional film services, announced a deal to sell software from The Learning Company. Signature Color will be selling software including Print Shop, Family Tree Maker, and Announcements, which they feel will "[enable] consumers to do more with [their] digital images". The Learning Company has recently announced plans for a $3.8 billion merger with toymaker Mattel.
- North Plains creates I-Piece plugin. Iterated Systems, Inc., a leading developer of next generation digital imaging systems, and North Plains Systems, Inc., a media asset management systems provider, announced today that North Plains is creating an I-Piece plug-in to enable its users to view STiNG(TM) files within its TeleScope media management product. TeleScope manages images, illustrations, digital sounds and movies, page layouts and World Wide Web files.
- HP introduces new laser printer! Hewlett Packard has today announced a new family of laser printers to replace the extremely popular LaserJet 6P and 6MP. The LaserJet 2100 printers provide true 1200 x 1200dpi resolution, 10 ppm (pages per minute), an instant-on capability to avoid the usual delay whilst the printer "warms up", and are designed to handle 15,000 pages per month.
- CMP.Net previews PMA Show. In an article on the CMP.Net website, columnist Steve Koenig previews this year's PMA Show and mentions the cameras that are likely to debut there. To summarise, Steve mentions the new Agfa CL50 (see yesterday's news from the Digital Camera Resource Page), an unnamed Sony camera (presumably the Sony DSC-F55K we mentioned in yesterday's news), Toshiba's PDR-M4 (aluminum body, 2-megapixel CCD, 1.8" LCD, and rumored to have 3x optical zoom, 5-mode flash, and accept SmartMedia cards.) Last to be mentioned was Epson's PhotoPC 750Z, with a 1.25 megapixel CCD which is software-interpolated to about 1.8 megapixels.
- Nikon CoolPix 900 upgrade - where is it? Steve's Digicams has a story currently regarding the status of the CoolPix 900 upgrade in Japan, which may explain why the upgrade hasn't made it out to the rest of the world. According to the information, which was sent to Steve by TsuruZoh Tachibanaya (author of the popular CAME program), shortly after the update came out, Nikon found a bug which sometimes prevented the camera from starting up. Nikon fixed this bug and released another update, however this was found to have another bug which prevents the camera taking pictures under certain conditions. Thanks to Steve and TsuruZoh for the information!
- US products top in China! A survey of 300,000 Chinese consumers, distributors, vendors and resellers conducted by "Advanced Forecasting-HuiCong" has found that overall, American computer products are the top choice in the Chinese market. Of particular interest to Imaging Resource readers, the top 5 brands of scanners in the Chinese marketplace (in descending order of preference) are: MicroTek (Taiwan), HP (California, USA), Uniscan (Ohio, USA), Agfa (Belgium) and Sharp (Japan).
- Agfa ePhoto 1680 goes up, up and away! The Agfa homepage currently has an item mentioning that the Agfa ePhoto 1680 camera will be being used on Cable & Wireless' attempt at the first round-the-world balloon flight. Pilots Colin Prescot and Andy Elson will be taking digital photos with the camera and uploading them via satellite to the Cable & Wireless website, sharing the trip with those of us who don't have the money or the bravery to attempt to set the record ourselves.
- Club Photo announce "Best of Valentine Photos" contest. Andy Parng from Club Photo dropped us a line to mention Club Photos newest contest, the "Best of Valentine Photos". Prizes include CompactFlash or SmartMedia cards, and "Photo Cookies" with your winning photo printed on them fedex'ed to your loved one on Valentine's Day! There's more prizes still to come, so if you want to be sure to get into your loved one's good books, be sure and drop by Club Photo for the full details!Thanks, Andy!
- Club Photo releases Living Album '99! Club Photo Inc. also sent us the following press release today:
"San Jose, Calif., Feb. 2, 1999 - Club Photo Inc., the first Internet-based digital photo sharing and finishing network, today released its latest digital photo sharing album software, Living Album 99 for Windows 95/98/NT. Living Album is a comprehensive and engaging photo album that enables users to manage, organize and electronically share their images on the Internet or the desktop with a few clicks of the mouse. The package also includes a free photo Web site that houses completed albums for customers to share their memories and special occasions with friends and family around the world.
The complete solution includes everything users need to share their images immediately. With Living Album 99, users can create albums using any number of electronic or print photos, from any source, in seconds. The created album can then be easily organized, annotated and enjoyed at the desktop or shared with friends, families, and associates instantly over the Internet.
"The Club Photo network and Living Album software were created because we couldn't easily share images with our friends and family. To send pictures, we'd first develop our film, reprint the desired photos and then mail duplicates around the world. With digital, we'd scan the images, or import them from a digital camera and then e-mail each picture because we didn't have the time or skill-set to build HTML Web pages," said Andrew Wei, president of Club Photo Inc. "Living Album 99 solves these fundamental issues associated with photography and image sharing today, by combining image management software and Web publishing all in one complimentary package. For the first time, we're enabling world-wide communities to exchange their precious memories, quickly and easily."
Image Sharing in a Few Easy Steps
The Living Album wizard walks customers through the photo gathering and sharing process. Once the user imports the pictures and organizes into their desired layout, Living Album instantly uploads the photo album via the Club Photo Network. The entire process can literally take just minutes with no special technical knowledge, HTML programming or home page service needed. Friends, families, and associates can then view and enjoy the entire photo stories instantly and purchase reprints and personalized finished products while online.
Living Album features creative templates to instantly organize each album. The software also offers desktop presentation and slide show capabilities that transform the computer into an engaging and interactive e-photo album. In addition, the album can be archived on the desktop, modified, reorganized and shared again and again."
(Note from Dave: Club Photo's approach to photo sharing looks to be one of the strongest out there: The combination of a photo-organizer with one-button web-posting and free web albums looks like an absolutely winning combination! Definitely check out ClubPhoto and their Living Album software!)
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