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Digital Photography News Archive!
February 2000

 

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Tuesday, February 29, 2000



Sony Recalls NP-F750 and NP-F550 InfoLithium Batteries sold since March 1999
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 29, 2000 - 11:45 EST)


After finding evidence of three (out of 415,000 total produced) of their InfoLithium battery packs overheating and smoking during recharge, Sony has announced a recall of the units, and a 24/7 toll-free number for customers to call to find out if their battery is affected. AFAWK, the F750 battery is only used in Sony camcorders, but the F550 is the highest-capacity version that fits in the Sony Mavicas and D770 pro digicam. Model numbers are clearly labeled on the backs of the battery packs, but additional info you'd need to tell whether your battery was one of the affected units requires a phone call to ascertain. Units purchased since March, 1999 are subject to recall.

Consumers who purchased either the NP-F750 or the NP-F550 models of InfoLithium battery packs since March 1999 are urged to call a special
24-hour a day, seven-day a week toll-free number 1-800-710-9026, or visit a dedicated web site that Sony Electronics has established for customers in the U.S. at www.sony.com/batteryrecall. Callers and web site visitors will be assisted in determining whether or not their battery packs should be returned and how to obtain free replacements.

The problem apparently resulted from from a malfunctioning welding machine that caused a crack in the seal cap on the battery cells within the enclosed battery pack. Kudos to Sony for acting so decisively based on such a low incidence of reported problems!

Source: Sony recall press release

Digicams Break Billion Dollar Barrier!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 29, 2000 - 11:34 EST)


Wow! We knew digicams were really taking over (based on our own site traffic, if nothing else), but we didn't realize just how quickly! Market-information company NPD INTELECT just announced their gross market figures for 1999, and reported that digital still camera sales amounted to more than a *Billion* dollars in 1999! This reflected a 63% growth rate over 1998, and resulted in digicams amounting to 36% of all camera sales, on a dollar basis! (Looks like we'd better get the review machine cranked up even more!)
Source: NPD INTELECT press release

"Clicks & Mortar" - First Rumbles of Photofinishing Tidal Wave!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 29, 2000 - 11:28 EST)


Given its length, this mini-essay by Dave may be the bulk of our news today: It's worth the "ink" though, because this is an event with major implications for the entire photo industry. Read on...

Well, all great ideas seem inevitable after they've happened, and this is proably one of them (in its generalities, if not the specifics): Online photo-sharing giant Club Photo has just announced its acquisition of Signature Color, a major mail-order photo finisher based in Austin, TX. Signature Color has been in the photo finishing business for 70 years(!), and so has a well-honed production machine for cranking out prints and distributing them efficiently through the postal service. (If you're smart & work really hard, you can get the plain old USPS to be almost as efficient as slow-boat Fedex shipment. - You just have to be shipping zillions of packages a day, have a house-sized mail sorting machine, and drop-ship hundreds of presort sacks via Express Mail to key, central post offices.) - Signature Color has all this figured out, and has also been moving strongly into digital services over the last couple of years. As a result, they seem well-positioned to handle fulfillment for online orders on a massive level. Not to be ignored is that they're one of the larger photo finishers in the US, with many thousands of conventional film-based customers of their own to bring to the party.

For their part, Club Photo is one of the more established online photo sharing companies, with a large user base, some slick application software, and strategic partnerships with outfits like Travelocity.com, Acer, Ricoh, Pretec, U.S. West, and PalmGear.

Overall, a pretty powerful "clicks and mortar" combination, to use the newly in-vogue term. (Attributed to Chuck Davenport of Lyra Research in the press release, but we're pretty certain he wasn't the first to coin it.)

We think this announcement is a significant harbinger of things to come: We've already seen a lot of foment in the online photofinishing business, and believe that all that has happened thus far is just the tiniest tip of the proverbial iceberg, relative to the sweeping change that's coming to the photo industry over the next few years. Over the long term, we do believe that film will largely disappear from the consumer market, although we need to point out that we said "long" term and "largely" disappear. Despite the wonderfulness of digicams, and their ~60% annual growth rate, there are a LOT of plain old film cameras out there, and they work perfectly well for a lot of people and situations.

That said, in the short term, we believe the conventional photo finishing business will be turned completely on its head by the internet and deals like this one. The conventional model has people locked into buying one or two prints of every shot on each roll of film, just so they can get a look at them. Only really wanted prints from 3 or 4 of the shots? Too bad! Want extras or enlargements? Better plan another trip to the drugstore. - No wonder the overall reprint rate is something like a few percent! Bottom line, people really want pictures to look at and share with family and friends. The film is just a awkward means to that end.

While the first-blush view of the Club Photo/Signature Color merger is that of a dot.com photo sharing company acquiring output capacity, we think the most significant impact could be in another area entirely: We don't know how many traditional film customers Signature Color has (nor could we say if we did), but their industry ranking suggests it's a number well into the hundreds of thousands. That's a lot of rolls of film every week/month/year. Want to guess what the unit cost is of scanning a roll of film with a *high* speed scanner? (We'll give you a hint: It's a lot less than people trying to make money from the scanning process are charging.) (We'll give you another hint: It's an almost entirely automated process, so labor costs are virtually nil.) OK, we confess we don't know the exact number ourselves, despite our puffery. It's really, really cheap though. (Pennies a roll.) Connect the dots: Club Photo is going to have a LOT of images flowing into its servers from hundreds of thousands of people who never would have remotely considered buying a digicam or scanner. And all of those people and all of their friends will be able to order reprints and enlargements with the click of a mouse.

While Club Photo and Signature Color got there first, we're sure to see more announcements like this in the months/years to come. The oceans of VC and IPO money in the dot.com space and the obvious benefits of this sort of relationship virtually guarantee there'll be others sooner or later. Hang on, the next few years are going to be a wild ride for the photo business! For us consumers, the good news is that photo finishing is going to get real cheap, and all our film photos will end up in digital form for essentially no added cost. - You heard it here first!
Source: Club Photo/Signature Color press release

Monday, February 28, 2000



The *full* story on Fuji's NX-500 printer (Now have price info!)
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 28, 2000 - 13:53 EST)


A couple of other sites have picked up news on the new Fuji FinePix NX-500 thermal autochrome printer. This isn't actually "new" news, but we hadn't reported it when it first showed up at PMA. (Sorry, we got a bit overwhelmed by all the things we *did* report on.) Reader David Kamansky sent us a picture he shot for his site's coverage of PMA (see the link below for David's page), as well as scans of the Fuji info sheet on the product. This prompted us to dig through the piles of PMA info still awaiting filing, to find the same brochure, and scan it at a little higher resolution. Click on the image of the printer above to see a (much) larger version, or on the thumbnails of the brochure below to pull up readable versions of the front and back.

This is intended to be a "home" printer, using Fuji's Thermal Autochrome technology, in which encapsulated dyes are built right into the paper itself. - This means no messy inks, ribbons, etc: The paper is all you need. It makes A6-size prints, roughly 4x6 inches (3.9 x 5.8, to be exact). Print time is 140 seconds per print, but it supports the DPOF (digital print order format), so you can select how many of which images you want printed in your camera, then just slip the SmartMedia card in the printer's slot and hit the Print button. (Sorry, SmartMedia only, no CompactFlash support) We saw output from the printer at PMA, and it looked pretty nice: Very sharp, true continuous-tone. This just in: We heard from Fuji about price and availability: The NX-500 will be shipping in May at a suggested list price of $299.
Source: David Kamansky's PMA coverage page

Olympus C-3000 Details!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 28, 2000 - 13:11 EST)


Our Olympus contacts came through surprisingly quickly (thanks guys!) with info on the C-3000 announced in Europe at the CeBit show, and which we reported on Saturday. Details are very sketchy as to the specific features of the C-3000 relative to the C-3030, but what we heard sounds interesting. It'll have the same sensor and lens as the C-3000, the major difference apparently being the deletion of the 32 MB SDRAM cache memory used in the C-3030. That amount of SDRAM is a significant contribution to the bill of materials, so deleting it should have a fairly noticeable impact on price. Olympus wouldn't say what the selling price will be, but our bet would be $799, $200 off the $999 list of the C-3030, based on what SDRAM costs, and the multiplier on component costs that applies to manufactured products in general. The missing SDRAM will probably mean that the camera will have a cycle time of 5-10 seconds (a wild guess), rather than the ~2 seconds or so we've heard for the 3030. It may also mean that the QuickTime(tm) movie mode will either be shortened or deleted. If our guessing is correct, this will be an impressive 3MP offering for that price point. We do wonder though, whether people interested in that level of the camera may not just go ahead and opt for the higher performance of the 3030 for the extra $200. (That's what we'd probably do.) The C-3000 will also be packaged in a "smoked titanium"-colored body. (No, they don't actually smoke titanium: It'll be an aluminum body, anodized to a warm, dark gray tone.)

Steve posts Canon S-20 review
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 28, 2000 - 13:03 EST)


Our web-buddy Steve, over at Steve's Digicams has posted a preliminary review of the new Canon S-20 3MP digicam. (Steve's having a minor server problem that is preventing some of the pictures illustrating the review from showing up: He knows about it and is working on it, so no need to email him to let him know of the problem. It should be fixed shortly.) Here's Steve's conclusion:
All things considered this is one great camera. It's everything the S10 is plus more resolution and faster autofocus. The S20 is a very durable camera that performs better than other cameras three times its size.
We have an S-20 of our own in-house, and are running it through it's paces in our usual absurdly detailed manner. We hope to have something posted on it sometime next week, but can at least agree with Steve at this point that it looks like another winner. Stay tuned, meanwhile, check Steve's review in the link below.
Source: Steve's Digicams preliminary S-20 review

Saturday, February 26, 2000



First Nikon Coolpix 990 comparison pics online!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, February 26, 2000 - 23:59 EST)


We have a Nikon CoolPix 990 in-house and are working on a review. (There's a *lot* to this camera!) Our first unit was a "C-level" prototype with poor image quality (lots of noise) and buggy firmware. We've now received an "A-level" unit having good picture quality, so will be able to take some pictures! Given the high demand we've been seeing in our emails, we've shot just a few images and posted them to the Comparometer(tm). The outdoor portrait shot is still one taken with the C-level unit because we're having cloudy weather in Atlanta these days. We do have shots posted of the studio tests though, taken with the A-grade camera.The A-grade shots are those of the Resolution target, Davebox, House poster, and Musicians poster. We have to say the resolution of this camera is absolutely incredible! We've seen comments elsewhere that there isn't an appreciable increase in resolution relative to the 950, only image size, but we have to disagree! Image quality is outstanding, and the increase in resolution over the 950 is dramatically evident in the resolution target images. (Examine the fine detail in the resolution target, and you'll immediately see what we're talking about.) This is clearly the higest-resolution digicam we've tested to date! It's so sharp that the limiting factor in the House and Musicians shots is largely the posters we use as targets for those. (We haven't shot our *much* higher-resolution House2 poster with it yet: We'll do that soon, and hopefully add a "House2" page to the Comparometer very soon as well.) Check out the Comparometer(tm) for the images mentioned above, stay tuned for the FULL story in about a week!
Source: Imaging Resource Comparometer(tm)

Oly C-3000 - What is it?
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, February 26, 2000 - 15:21 EST)


This in from IR reader Mike Wright this morning: The Olympus Europa site (see link below) has mention of a model C-3000Zoom, in addition to the C-3030Zoom, but virtually no information about it. What is it?

We have an email into a couple of our contacts at Olympus, but we won't likely hear from them until sometime next week. Meanwhile, our guess is it's a slightly defeatured version of the C-3030, intended to sell at a lower price. How defeatured? How much lower? We'll let you know anything we learn.

One important caveat in all this speculation though: Just because it's announced in Europe doesn't necessarily mean it'll make it to the US. - I can recall at least one Olympus model that was sold in Europe and Japan, but not the US...
Source: Olympus Europa Site

Friday, February 25, 2000



Beefy Batteries Bear the Load!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 25, 2000 - 16:48 EST)


This is a holdover from before my (Dave's) vacation: Our buddy Dennis over at Thomas Distributing shipped me a set of the new Kodak 1600 mAh NiMH AA cells a little while back. I was a little skeptical about these cells, as I've seen other "high capacity" batteries show a shorter life in high-current digicams than ones having lower mAh ratings. (The high discharge rate kills the batteries early.) After putting the Kodaks through their paces in some informal A/B tests though, I confirmed Dennis' claim that they do indeed seem to last longer: I put the Kodak units and some "Brand Y" cells into a digicam with particularly piggish power-consumption habits, and timed how long they took to discharge. The result was that the new Kodak cells did in fact last ~10% longer than the other cells. That said, I'll also add that standard ~1300 mAh cells are still a much better buy, in terms of $/mAh. If you're strictly looking for the longest life available though, the new Kodak NiMHs look like the ticket. (And if you're spending $900 on a digicam, why sweat another $10 or $20 for the batteries?)
Source: 1600 mAh NIMH batteries from Thomas Distributing

Welcome to Atlanta
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 25, 2000 - 16:37 EST)


Probably not terribly relevant to our readers (but hey, it's *our* news page), we noted with interest that online photofinisher EZ Prints has moved its Worldwide Headquarters to Atlanta, hometown of The Imaging Resource. (The news release we saw didn't divulge the location of their Galaxy-Wide Headquarters though.) Noting their new arrival, we wanted to take the opportunity to extend a neighborly welcome, and remind them to be sure their air-conditioning is up to snuff before summer! ;)
Source: EZ Prints

Big Bucks for Shutterfly
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 25, 2000 - 16:29 EST)


The VC money continues to roll into the online photo-sharing space, with startup Shutterfly today announcing closing of a $25 million round of funding. Investors include Adobe Ventures, Tom Jermoluk, Jim Clark, and Mohr, Davidow Ventures. Also interesting was the appointment of Tom Jermoluk, charman of Excite@Home to Shutterfly's board of directors. (Easy to guess there'll be an alliance announced there soon...) The press release (linked below) has lots more information about how wonderful the companies, executives, and investors are, if you have the stomach for that sort of thing... ;-)
Source: Shutterfly press release

New 2D to 3D software from REALVIZ S.A.
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 25, 2000 - 16:21 EST)


French software company REALVIZ has announced ImageModeler, a high-end "Image-Based Modeler" that produces 3-D models from digital images. Details were a little scanty in the release we read, but there's lots of info on their website (see below). It sounds like this product is a bit like the Minolta/Metacreations product we've reported on in the past, that uses a Minolta EX1500 digicam (with a special flash attachment) and host software to synthesize multiple shots of a 3D object into a 3D model in the computer. ImageModeler goes quite a bit further though, in that it apparently can work with *any* images of the object or scene you're modeling, not requiring the special lighting of the MetaCreations approach. (Pretty amazing technology, IMHO.) That said, this is a decidedly high-end solution, aimed at people working in professional 3-D environments like Softimage/3D and LightWave. The package sells for $5,000 US. (Check the REALVIZ site for some other amazing software too, such as a package that will reconstruct the path of a movie or TV camera, based only on the progression of 2-D images!)
Source: REALVIZ web site

Thursday, February 24, 2000



(BIG) Photos of new Ricoh cameras
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 24, 2000 - 21:59 EST)


We reported this morning on the new Ricoh digicams announced for early summer availability, but unfortunately didn't have the pictures to accompany the article at that point. Ricoh's PR people have since emailed the pictures (and I'm just now getting around to posting them), so here they are. (I decided to put them in here, rather than just updating the earlier article. so they wouldn't get lost in the scroll.) To make up for the slightly tardy posting, I've included links to not only reasonable-sized images for web display, but to the absurdly large, magazine-quality original JPEGs Ricoh sent, for those of you who want to study and decipher the controls!

The RDC-7 in particular is an interesting shape, kind of reminiscent of the original Ricoh digicams. (Anyone out there still have an RDC-1?)

Click the image for a larger view, or here for a *really huge* one! (Could choke your browser though)
Click the image for a larger view, or here for a *really huge* one! (Could choke your browser though)


Wireless photo sharing from PhotoPoint and Avant Go
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 24, 2000 - 13:06 EST)


Hard on the heels of ClubPhoto's announcement yesterday of an album and sharing program bundled with the new color Palm IIIc, PhotoPoint today announced an alliance with Avant Go, to bring a connection to their online service to "mobile computing and handheld users" in a completely wireless format. The link doesn't appear to include uploads from the portable devices, but rather adds a "Photo of the Day" channel to AvantGo.com's free internet service. Personally, I'm not sure how much I'd care about seeing a random photo of the day on my PDA (but then I tend to be a bit of a digital curmudgeon about such things). This sort of wireless-web connection to portable devices is clearly going to be one of the next big waves in connectivity though.
Source: PhotoPoint press release

Sony Memory Stick gains ground
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 24, 2000 - 13:00 EST)


When we first heard of Sony's "Memory Stick" technology, we weren't shy about our chagrin over *yet another* digicam memory format. We were surprised by how much we liked it though, once we played with a few Sony cameras using it. Today, Sony announced a slew of new licensees for the technology (19 to be exact), suggesting that Memory Stick may in fact become something of a standard. The interesting part of the announcement to us though, was that only one of the announced partners makes digicams (Samsung), while most of the partners were in the auto industry (!?) Here's the list, see the Reuters article link below for more details: "The 19 new licensees included General Motors (NYSE:GM - news), Adam Opel AG, Holden, Saab, Vauxhall, Hitachi Ltd , Mitsubishi Electric Corp , Compaq Computer Corp (NYSE:CPQ - news), Samsung Electronics Co Ltd , Texas Instruments Inc (NYSE:TXN - news) and Acer Laboratories Inc."
Source: Reuters Memory Stick Story

Agfa & Corel in new bundling deal for SOHO users
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 24, 2000 - 12:54 EST)


This was kind of interesting, in that the original press release was changed to the one listed below: The first one made it look like Corel was going to bundle Agfa scanners and cameras with their software, while the updated release clarified that Agfa would be the one doing the bundling. (That is, the products will be distributed through Agfa's channels.) Well, whoever is bundling with whom, the upshot is that you'll get a free multilingual copy of Corel's Print Office 2000 for the PC and Mac with Agfa's new SnapScan e40, SnapScan e50 scanners and CL18 digital cameras. (Languages currently available are English, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Spanish, and Dutch.) Corel Print Office 2000 allows small businesses to create brochures, business cards and other graphics projects "with a professional look." The eye-opener for us was the quantities involved: Agfa projects that they'll distribute *2 million* copies of the application with their products over the next year!
Source: Corel press release

Turn your camera into a scanner?
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 24, 2000 - 12:47 EST)


Here's an item that may meet a need we've frequently heard expressed: Xerox and Philips have jointly announced a software product (apparently packaged with a new VGA-resolution tethered camera for the PC, produced by Philips) that lets you snap a picture of a document with the camera, then convert it into a text/graphic document and drop it into any application. - We can't count the times we've been asked about using digicams for OCR (optical character recognition)! The resolution of digicams isn't up to full-page OCR yet, but this plan to let you grab sections of a document makes a lot of sense. We wonder a bit though, how much of a page you can really grab for OCR purposes with only a VGA-resolution connection. - We wouldn't be surprised though, to see Xerox strike deals with other companies, having multi-megapixel cameras with USB connections. - That'd give you enough resolution to grab really useful-sized chunks of text!
Source: Xerox press release

Casio announces new 3MP digicam!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 24, 2000 - 12:39 EST)


Seems the engineers at Casio have been keeping busy: Besides their new QV-3000, which we just recently reviewed, they've now announced at CeBit a scaled-down version, billed as "the most compact 3.34 megapixel camera on the market". Well, strictly speaking, that's true, but it's a mighty close call: If you calculate the volume in cubic millimeters, the new QV-3 comes out at 239,085, while the Canon S-20 is 252,280. Translating back to English units, that's 0.8 cubic inches, a difference to be sure, but not a huge one. The S-20 also has a 2x optical zoom, which give it a bit of an edge, IOHO. It'll be interesting to see if/when the QV-3 comes to the US, what the selling price will be. Casio's Japanese site quotes a price of 88,000 Yen, about $792 US at today's rate. That seems a little high, given that Casio's QV-3000 (with more features, and bundled with an IBM MicroDrive) is selling for only $999. Interesting product though, and a great-looking case/form factor! Specs are below. (Click on the picture at right for a larger view)

(Thanks to reader Albert Chau for tipping us off to the article on the German digitalkamera.de site, which prompted us to turn to Casio's Japanese site for further details! - Thanks too, to Steve Sanders of Steve's Digicams who shared the same info, albeit a few minutes after Albert's email arrived...)

Casio QV-3
  • Resolution: 2,016 x 1,536 pixels (high) 1,008 x 768 pixels (medium)
  • Sensor: 1/1.8" CCD chip with 3,340,000 pixels
  • Lens: 41 mm f/2.6 fixed focal-length, 3.2x stepped digital zoom Filter thread
  • 50 cm to infinity normal focus, 10-50 cm macro
  • Apertures f/2.6, f/4.2 f/6.6
  • Exposure: program AE, aperture priority, shutter priority
  • Metering: Matrix, average, spot
  • Shutter speeds of 1-1/3,000 seconds
  • Exposure compensation of +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV steps
  • Flash: Internal, 5-mode (on, off, auto, red-eye, slow-synchro) (plus external?)
  • Viewfinder: Optical with dioptric correction, plus 1.8" 122,100 pixel LCD
  • Memory: CompactFlash type II (MicroDrive compatible), 8MB included
  • JPEG or Motion-JPEG AVI file formats
  • Serial or USB interface
  • Power: 2AA batteries (! doesn't sound like much power), Li-Ion rechargeable battery w/AC adapter
  • Video out
  • Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds
  • Burst-mode exposure (320x240 AVI), auto bracketing, panorama support, b/w & sepia modes
  • Metal case, available in aluminum and light blue color schemes
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 in (115 mm x 63 mm x 33 mm)
  • Weight 265 g (w/batteries)
  • Available end of April, 2000 in Japan
  • No US or European price announced, Japanese price projected at 88,000 Yen (~$800 US) (Seems a bit high)

Source: digitalkamera.de English-language news item

New Ricoh 3.34 and 2.1 megapixel cameras announced!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 24, 2000 - 11:43 EST)


Well, we knew we hadn't heard from Ricoh for a while, so figured something might be in the works. Ricoh today announced two new digicams, a 2.14 megapixel model "for the masses", and a 3.34 megapixel model aimed at the "mobile professional." The press release we got via email yesterday was a little scanty on details (including most notably the *prices* of the new units) and no further information appeared in the version on BusinessWire today, but they sound interesting. Here's the specs:

RDC-6000
  • 2.14 megapixel CCD
  • USB connection
  • SmartMedia Storage
  • "Dual Mode", letting it work as a digital video camera via the USB port(!)
  • Full motion video capture to Motion JPEG AVI file
  • On-board interpolation to 3 megapixel file size
  • 4x stepped digital zoom
  • Full-featured onboard flash
  • Lots of customizable settings
  • Easy user interface
  • Optional IR remote control
  • Mac/Windows compatibility
  • $???? (but apparently pretty cheap)
  • Available "early summer"

RDC-7
  • 3.34 megapixel CCD
  • "Sleek, ultra-thin design"
  • 3x optical zoom lens
  • 1cm ultra-macro mode
  • JPEG or uncompressed TIFF capture
  • In-camera interpolation to 7 megapixels
  • 8MB on-board memory, plus SmartMedia slot
  • Digital voice recorder function, records unlimited-length audio to WAV format
  • Full-motion video capture to Motion JPEG AVI file
  • "Document" mode for black/white text capture to TIFF file
  • Unique design with secondary shutter release and pivoting monitor for maximum comfort whether capturing video or stills.
  • Optional IR remote control
  • Mac/Windows compatibility
  • $????
  • Available later this summer, shortly after the RDC-6000

Source: Click for Ricoh press release

Wednesday, February 23, 2000



Fuji SuperCCD Chat tonight! 8pm!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 18:53 EST)


This came in about noon today from one of our Fuji contacts, sorry we're a little slow getting it posted! (Been playing with new digicams all day.) Here's the scoop from Fuji:

Tonight at 8pm EST on PhotoHighway.com Darin Pepple, consumer digital product manager for Fujifilm USA, will be the featured guest in an online chat session. The topic will be Fujifilm's Super CCD technology and the soon-to-be available FinePix 4700 ZOOM and FinePix S1 Pro digital cameras. This is a great forum for those who have questions regarding Super CCD and the cameras.

To participate, interested parties need only to type "chat.photohighway.com" (no "www" or "http" needed) in their browser's address bar to sign up.


QV-3000/MicroDrive bundle mystery...
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 16:37 EST)


Is this QV-3000 week, or what? A LOT of readers have written in, inquiring how to get Casio's bundle of the QV-3000EX 3 megapixel digicam and IBM MicroDrive together for $999, as we mentioned below, and in our recent review of the QV-3000: The Casio web site only shows the camera bundled with a 16MB card for $799 (still an aggressive price), but no sign of the MicroDrive package. What's up? The short answer is we don't know, but have calls into several people at Casio, and will report on what we find out as soon as we hear it! So... Hold the emails, but watch this space! UPDATE: We've heard back from Casio that the missing offer is just a glitch on their website - The "QV-3000EX Plus" package which includes the MicroDrive and camera together for $999 should be available on their site as of sometime tomorrow!

Image Software revs Agfa PhotoWise to 2.1
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 12:35 EST)


Not a lot of details, but contract software developer Image Software announced it's updated Agfa's PhotoWise software to version 2.0. No word on what the new features are though, the press release was more of the variety of "Hey, manufacturers: Hire us to write your software!" Check the press release link below for (scanty) details. (A slow news day...)
Source: Image Software press release

QV-3000 TIFF mysteries solved!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 12:28 EST)


Let's hear it for the power of the internet and group collaboration! We reported in our review of the new Casio QV-3000EX that we weren't able to open the uncompressed TIFF-formatted file in any of the imaging programs we had available. Well, it looks like we just didn't try the *right* programs! Many thanks to all the readers who wrote in with information. First was Magne Nilsen, who did a little programming/sleuthing on his own, to discover that it was indeed a TIFF format, but had some odd photometric information in the header. I think it was Magne who later emailed (lost in my email files, maybe accidentally deleted) that the file is actually in Yuv color space, but has the data for reference black and white points missing from the header. (If it was someone else who sent this data, my apologies for the mis-attribution.) It turns out that several widely-available programs open the QV-3000 TIFF files, including IrFanView 3.10 (a free program - thanks for the info to readers Thomas Clark, and Steve Yue), and ACDSee (thanks for the info to readers Brian Johnson and Raymond Schnoor). For some programs, it appears you may need QuickTime 4 installed on your machine to process the images, although I'm a little less certain of that fact. For those interested in the details, check the link below for the comments page for the QV-3000 review. Here are links for IrFanView and ACDSee. Thanks to everyone who wrote with information on this! (Apologies for not having more uncompressed TIFFs to share with you, but we hope to get a QV-3000EX back again to fill-in some of the shots we missed, and will shoot more TIFFs whenever that happens.)
Source: IR comments page for the QV-3000 review

Casio QV-3000EX review on-line!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 0:58 EST)


Full review of the Casio QV-3000EX posted! It appears Casio will be the first digicam manufacturer to actually ship their 3 megapixel camera later this month, and we were fortunate to get one of the first production-level units to arrive in this country. (Dave shipped it back to Stephanie straight from the PMA show floor.) We put it through its paces, and were pretty impressed with the results. Casio has retained all the control functions and features we liked in the QV-2000, and appears to have upgraded the color quality in addition to the obvious increase in CCD resolution. To top it off, they're including a 340MB IBM MicroDrive as the standard storage device in the box with every camera, and selling the whole package for $999. (This is a pretty amazing deal, given that MicroDrives currently retail for somewhere around $400 alone! - This comes down to a 3 megapixel camera for something like $600!) All in all, an incredible bargain for a true 3 megapixel digicam! Read the review for all the details!
Source: Imaging Resource QV-3000EX Review

Cheaper MicroDrives from d-store!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 0:25 EST)


The amazing IBM MicroDrive is getting more affordable: IR advertiser d-store has just dropped the price of the 340MB MicroDrive to only $399, including the PCMCIA adapter card! This gets the cost down to nearly a dollar per megabyte, less than half the price of chip-based flash cards!
Source: d-store's site

Epson's Film Factory comes to the Mac
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 0:13 EST)


We've felt for a long time that one of the biggest obstacles to digital photography has been the software that's needed between the batches of images on your hard drive, and the finished prints spooling off your printer. Some interesting solutions are starting to appear in this area, and Epson has just brought one of them to the Mac platform. (Their Film Factory application was launched on the Windows platform last summer.) Film Factory is offered on-line by Epson Software, now in both Windows and Mac versions. Mac and Windows downloadable versions are $29.95, the Windows CD-ROM version for $39.95. Additionally, there's a $10 rebate on purchases made between now and March 31, 2000, and there are 30-day trial versions available at the same Epson website. (No surprise that Epson would want to make it easier for you to print photos: They clearly make the lion's share of their profits from ink & paper!)
Source: Click to view Epson Film Factory press release

"Rich" media arriving soon, says Forrester
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 0:01 EST)


Ok, it's official: 2005 will be the "Year of Multimedia", at least according to Forrester Research, who projects that by that time, 92% of online consumers will be using "Personal Rich Media" to communicate. Actually, it's not clear from their press release (see link below) what the 92% figure refers to - The body of the release actually says that 57% of households will use some form of personal rich media once per month. Hmmm, well maybe... I guess 5 years is far enough away that people *could* actually start using multimedia routinely by then. I'm a little skeptical though, given that various pundits have proclaimed every year since about 1989 as "the year of multimedia." The problem is it's always been way too much work to try to actually do anything with video clips, etc. (Think of all those old photos lying in shoeboxes that never made it into the album - or all those images scattered on your hard drive that you've yet to really do anything with. Now think of how likely you'd be to edit together hours of bad video footage to make a slick documentary of that last wedding or bar mitzvah.) I could maybe see simple audio/video attachments to email being pretty common, but even then, I'm not sure I really care to see a live video from somebody's office cube, or worse, of them sitting in their bathrobe in their home office! Maybe I'm a just a latter-day Luddite, but I can't agree that "...Text-based email will seem as archaic as black-and-white TV", as they say in their release. Betcha a donut there'll be a LOT of text-based email still around in five years... Hmmph... Buncha new-fangled gadgets, who needs 'em!
Source: Click here for Forrester press release

Tuesday, February 22, 2000



Albums in your Palm!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 22, 2000 - 23:37 EST)


This first crossed our desk as an email from our friends at Club Photo, later showed up on BusinessWire (see the link to the full press release below). Hot on the heels of Palm Computing's announcement of the Color Palm IIIc (see the previous news item below), Club Photo announced the availability of their free Album to Go aplication for the Palm conected organizers. The new application gives you full photo-album capabilities on many models of the Palm organizers, although only the new IIIc will show the images in color. Album To Go not only lets you share photos on the go, but also (through the host computer) lets you download any of your online ClubPhoto albums directly into the Palm! Watch this space: We expect there to be a lot of photo-related things happening around the new Palm IIIc. Meanwhile, the Album to Go application apparently is included with the IIIc, letting you start sharing photos with it right "out of the box."
Source: Club Photo "Album to Go" press release

Now it can be told! - Why the Kodak PalmPix makes sense...
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 22, 2000 - 23:21 EST)


Kodak PalmPix with 3COM Palm IIIx - click for a bigger picture!


The picture above is a shot of the Kodak PalmPix color digital camera, made to plug into a Palm III PDA. Kodak announced (and we reported on) the camera a couple of weeks ago, with a general reaction from people that could probably be summed up as "Interesting, but why?" If you've seen a Palm III trying to display color images, the dithered black and white bitmap probably left you pretty unimpressed. The logic of the PalmPix became apparent today, when Palm, Inc. announced the Palm IIIc - That "c" stands for color! The new Palm PDA sports a 256-color display (well ok, you probably won't be using it for retouching), 8MB of memory, and lots of new software and OS features. (There's also a nifty full-sized Palm keyboard that folds into a compact package just barely larger than the Palm itself, for $99.) The new color Palm will retail for $449. Combined with the Kodak PalmPix, you can grab images to attach to memos, take notes to describe an image (sounds like a natural for insurance & similar applications), and then sync everything up to your PC. Pretty cool, and now we can all understand why Kodak bothered to make a color camera to attach to a Palm! (And we also now know why Kodak further chose to make the PalmPix black, which clashed so oddly with the previous Palm III case: The new Palm IIIc has a black body.)
Source: BusinessWire press release

Our favorite image-fixer wins an award!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 22, 2000 - 23:00 EST)


Our friends at Q-Research emailed to let us know that their "PhotoGenetics" image-fixer program just won "Consumer Product of the Year" at the 5th Annual Industry Achievement Awards sponsored by the Washington Software Alliance Feb. 17. A panel of industry experts selected the finalists, and the winners were determined by a vote open to the 1,400 WSA member companies that represent the hub of the technology industry in Washington state. (While a regional honor, this is pretty impressive, considering that the member companies include Microsoft and Adobe, among many others.) We've been pretty keen on PhotoGenetics from the beginning, as it's the first program we've seen that really makes it trivial to adjust color, tone, saturation, etc in your pictures, without being an expert: All you need to be able to do is tell the program whether you like version A or version B of the picture better, and it "evolves" your photo into what you're looking for. Even better, once you've fixed one photo, you can apply the same fix to entire batches of other pictures. - This last is really great for digicam owners: Testing dozens of cameras, we've discovered that most have fairly consistent "looks" to their pictures. Thus, you can use PhotoGenetics to make a few basic "Genotypes" (their name for combinations of image adjustments) that you can then apply to all your pictures very quickly. - It's so good, we call it "The $30 camera upgrade." Even better, Imaging Resource readers can get it for only $25, a special IR-only deal. Click the link below to read our review of it, and to access the special link that gives you $5 off the normal $29.95 price! (Sorry if that sounds more like an ad than a news story, but it really is a great program: Check out the review!)
Source: Imaging Resource review/deal for PhotoGenetics

Monday, February 21, 2000



Kodak offers DC290 tools!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 21, 2000 - 16:26 EST)


We noticed over on the digitalkamera.de website that Kodak has released two useful tools for users of its DC290 digital camera... An AVI Generator program will combine multiple TIFF or JPEG images from the camera, such as those taken in interval or sequential modes, into AVI movies, whilst the Watermark Generator will convert images from PNG format into Kodak's LGO format, allowing you to design your own watermarks in a paint package, and then replace the default watermark in your camera with your own design. Both programs are available free of charge on the Kodak Support Server.
Source: Kodak Support Server
Thanks to digitalkamera.de for this item!

Epinions finds consumers digicam opinions!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 21, 2000 - 16:22 EST)


A press release from consumer review website Epinions.com announces what its users have voted to be the best and worst products in a number of categories, as well as the most frequently rated. We noticed digital cameras in the list, and here's the verdict, in the "epinions" of the site's readers:

Best Camera: Olympus D-450 Zoom
Worst Camera: JamC@m 2.0
Most Talked About Camera: Olympus D- product family

No note is made of exactly how many ratings these results are based on, nor with what weight they can be taken - digital cameras are notorious for polarizing their users, creating very strong opinions of love for the cameras people own, and loathing for those they don't, so we'd advise caution in taking the results without a grain of salt. That said, they do make interesting reading...
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

SI SuperBowl image courtesy of Nikon D1 and Altamira!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 21, 2000 - 16:15 EST)


A press release from Altamira Group Inc. announces that its Genuine Fractals software helped Sports Illustrated get the picture in its coverage of this year's SuperBowl. According to the release, SI's photographers failed to get a suitable image of the final play this year - of 4 photographers in the end zone, one was out of focus, one too loose, and the other two were blocked. Mark Cowan, a photographer with stock photo agency Icon SMI, was the photographer behind the shot SI eventually used - and he took it with a Nikon D1 digital camera. The original 7.5MB TIFF file was re-encoded in Altamira's Genuine Fractals, with what Altamira terms a "visually lossless" process - and the resulting 900KB file was uploaded to Icon SMI's Californian office. The image was then scaled up and re-encoded a second time, this time saving it as a 17MB JPEG file which was sent to SI in time for the deadline on their February 7th issue. SI's editors were apparently leery about using an image which had been interpolated from a 7.5MB file up to a 17MB file, but apparently changed their minds and were happy to reproduce the final image in a 2-page spread. SI's Director of Photography, Steve Fine, said: "The file was huge (by digital camera standards), but the content and action were outstanding, and our imaging department was pleased. All I know is we liked the content of the photo and they did use a digital camera and were able to maintain the quality of the file. It is huge -- something like a 20MB file."
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

WhamTech licenses Iterated Systems' technology!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 21, 2000 - 15:55 EST)


A press release from Iterated Systems today announces that WhamTech, the company behind the WholeWeb.net search engine, has licensed part of the technology behind its MediaBin brand-image production platform for use in a new image search engine. WholeImage.net will allow users to search based on a combination of text, images and image characteristics; Iterated will receive a combination of royalties and an equity position in WholeImage.net after an initial assesment period.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

InfoTrends sees digital taking over from film!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 21, 2000 - 15:19 EST)


A new report from InfoTrends Research Group Inc. finds that digital camera owners expect to capture 100% of their images digitally by 2004. The report, compiled from a survey of 700 digicam owners, found that 30% already capture 100% of the images for their documents with a digital camera, and that the digital cameras have on average already taken over 63% of the work formerly done by film cameras. The study also found that using a digital camera increases the number of pictures used in electronic and printed documents by 86%. 50% of those surveyed expect to post images on personal Web sites in the future, and 31% expect to create photo albums on a commercial Web photo site in the future; emailing photos was the most popular way to share snapshots with family and friends, with a median of four images emailed per week, followed by sharing prints.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Nikon D1 review online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 21, 2000 - 13:17 EST)


Our friends over at Steve's Digicams have now posted their initial review of Nikon's D1 professional SLR digicam! No conclusions drawn just yet, but plenty of review to keep you busy, along with a number of sample pictures... Here's how Steve describes the D1:

"Now this is my idea of how a digital camera should be made. With a MSRP of $5850 (not including a lens) it's a tad pricey, but other professional cameras cost $13000 or more. Not only does this camera look like a Nikon professional 35mm SLR, but it handles and operates like one too. From the exclusive 3D color matrix metering and multi-zone autofocus modes to its ability to capture images at a blazing 4.5 frames per second."
Source: Steve's Digicams Nikon D1 review

Sunday, February 20, 2000



Deals is back (and not a moment too soon!)
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, February 20, 2000 - 4:14 EST)


It has been quite a while (as several readers have kindly pointed out :) since we last updated the Deals page, due mostly to the volume of work we've been buried in here between the reviews, the trade shows, and the day-to-day work of running the site... Fear not, though - we've not abandoned it - in fact, the Deals page has been reincarnated tonight! We've moved the page onto our news script, which will not only allow us to get your Deals online quicker, but should shortly also give you the ability to post deals directly yourself... Since there's been quite some time since the last update though, the majority of our old Deals have probably expired - we've only kept the last few, and we're counting on you to help us restock with a whole new batch of deals! We've started off with offers for Kodak's DC215 Millennium edition and free $200 gift certificates, courtesy of readers Robin Hand and John Bonewitz. Thanks, guys!
Source: The Imaging Resource Deals Page

Saturday, February 19, 2000



Lonestardigital.com posts Fuji S1 Pro sample, brochure!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, February 19, 2000 - 15:34 EST)


The folks over at Steve's Digicams have caught news of another new sample picture from Fuji's S1 Pro digital camera, this time from John Cowley's lonestardigital.com website. John's posted the picture in several different sizes, along with a PDF-format brochure for the camera...
Source: John Cowley's lonestardigital.com
Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!

Digital Photography Review posts Canon S20 review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, February 19, 2000 - 15:28 EST)


Our friends over at the Digital Photography Review website have been hard at work of late, it seems! Not only has Phil moved many thousands of miles from Singapore to England, but in his spare time (!) he's managed to put together what, as far as we're aware, is the first review of Canon's PowerShot S20 digital camera on the web... Here's what he had to say about Canon's first 3+ megapixel digital camera:

"I loved the S10.. For me it was the first digital camera to have the quality of the best compact film cameras with great features, pocketability, image quality and a robust build. The S20 takes that to the next level with even better image quality, many white and colour balance improvements and the added resolution which places it above the current crop of 2.1 megapixel digicams."

There's plenty more info and sample pictures from the S20 on the review page...
Source: Digital Photography Review's Canon PowerShot S20 review

Thursday, February 17, 2000



PhotoWorks outlines strategy for shareholders!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 17, 2000 - 15:07 EST)


Photofinisher PhotoWorks (formerly Seattle FilmWorks) has today outlined its strategy to shareholders at a meeting in Seattle. The company is working on the basis of being 'camera agnostic', as it calls it, supporting both digital and film camera users. It is also focusing on the opportunities of the Internet, and currently has some 750,000 online customers and 80 million photos online. It also announced the retirement of Sam Rubinstein from its board of directors; Rubinstein joined the company in 1981 and has been a director since 1986.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Lexar Media files for IPO!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 17, 2000 - 14:56 EST)


Flash manufacturer Lexar Media has announced in a press release that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the initial public offering of shares of its common stock. According to a related Reuters news item, Lexar's plans are to raise as much as $80 million in the IPO, although the exact number of shares and their starting value were not announced, and Lexar described the S80 million figure as "a basis for calculating the SEC registration fee". In 1999, Lexar had $29.2 million in revenue and registered almost $15.3 million in net losses; its primary customers included Eastman Kodak Co. and Ingram Micro Inc. Lexar said it will use the IPO proceeds for working capital, capital spending and to repay debt.
Source: Reuters / Yahoo! BizWire

Seiko Epson to release Digita-OS printers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 17, 2000 - 2:50 EST)


A press release we received in our mailbox today from FlashPoint, the company behind the Digita operating system used in some digital cameras, informs us of two new printers from Seiko Epson based on the versatile OS. Epson's PT-110W and PT-110B photo printers are essentially the same model in either a black or white chassis, and feature both parallel and serial interfaces, as well as supporting 44 preprogrammed filters and 100 additional ways to fine-tune images through custom filters. Paper stocks from standard bond to glossy, glossy film, OHP foil, and iron print paper can be used with the printers, which also feature the ability to play back audio clips recorded with the photos by the digital camera. The new printers feature Epson's enhanced AI Photo Processor II, and support print formats including panorama (two panorama images on one sheet), poster (maximum A4 X 16 sheet size), photo ID (eight different sizes on one sheet), album print (up to 20 images on one sheet with choice of printing order), and ScanTalk audio barcode-like printing.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Delkin ships 64MB SmartMedia, new USB media readers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 17, 2000 - 2:35 EST)


We received two emails from flash manufacturer Delkin Devices on Monday with news of new products. In the first release, Delkin announces that it is now shipping its eFilm 3.3V 64MB SmartMedia cards, certified for one million read/write cycles. The second release announces that the company has released two new eFilm USB card readers - the Reader-2 for Type-II CompactFlash cards, and the Reader-4 for SmartMedia cards up to 128MB. The readers support both Windows 98 for PCs, and OS 9.0 for iMac and G3 systems.

No pricing is announced in either press release, nor is availability specifically mentioned although the press releases seem to imply the products are available immediately.
Source: Delkin Press Releases

Olympus Japan announces waterproof cases!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 17, 2000 - 2:22 EST)


The Digital Photography Review website has posted news that Olympus has announced two new waterproof cases for its digital cameras in Japan. Both cases should ship in March-April, and are waterproof up to 30 meters. The PT-005, for the Olympus C-2020Z and C-3030Z should cost ¥19,800 / US$180, whilst the PT-006 for the C-960 Zoom and C-460 Zoom should cost ¥18,500 / US$168. There's photos of both cases in the Digital Photography Review news item - check them out!
Thanks to Digital Photography Review for this item!

Sega, KDD, PictureIQ launch DreamEye tethered camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 17, 2000 - 2:02 EST)


As predicted in our news item 'Sega, KDD, PictureIQ to link webcam to Dreamcast!' yesterday, console manufacturer Sega Enterprises Ltd. has today announced its new DreamEye tethered digital camera, in cooperation with Seattle-based PictureIQ Corp. and Japanese telecommunications company KDD Corp. DreamEye, which connects to Sega's DreamCast console and transmits video and audio over the Internet, weighs 62 grammes and is about six centimeters wide. It will launch in Japan this June, with pricing not yet determined, and will be bundled with PictureIQ's software which allows one-button enhancement of photos, the ability to add clip art and text, and to create electronic photo greeting cards. PictureIQ and Sega announced this separately (1,2), and CNet News have covered it as well.

SanDisk appoints two new VPs!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 17, 2000 - 1:29 EST)


A press release from flash manufacturer SanDisk Corp. announces the appointment of two new Vice Presidents in the company. Bo Ericsson has been named vice president of product marketing and Jose Flahaux has been named vice president of business systems, both of the positions being newly created and effective immediately.

Ericsson held various technical and marketing management positions at Cirrus Logic, vice president of marketing at ESS Technology, president and CEO of Apache Systems, and founder and CEO of Swedish software communications company Micro Systemation AB before joining SanDisk. He will report to Senior Vice President of Marketing, Nelson Chan.

Flahaux, meanwhile, will report to Ralph Hudson, Senior Vice President of Operations. He was previously Vice President of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Raychem Corp, President and Founder of Supply Point Solutions and Vice President and General Manager of Worldwide Order Fulfillment Operations for Unisys' PC/Server division.
Source: Reuters / Yahoo! BizWire

Reuters picks up on WebCam Go!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 17, 2000 - 1:18 EST)


Press agency Reuters has picked up on Creative Labs' WebCam Go tethered digital camera in a news item on Yahoo! BizWire today. The WebCam Go, which we featured on its US announcement last October ('Creative Labs announces Video Blaster WebCam Go!', Wednesday, October 6, 1999), is an interesting hybrid of a tethered and a portable digital camera. The unit features a resolution of 320 x 240 or 640 x 480, 4MB of built-in memory (stores 90+ high-res or 200+ low res images), a RhinoSkin carrying case, single or multi exposure mode and self-timer (when disconnected from the PC), and video capabilities (when connected to the PC). Power is supplied by two AAA batteries (good for up to 300 exposures), and the camera is available immediately at a price of $149.99. Reuters finds blurry images and poor results in the lower resolution to be problems, but praises the ability to automatically capture only frames where motion is detected in webcam mode, and also the unit's ability to double as a digital camera, albeit low resolution...
Source: Reuters / Yahoo! BizWire

Wednesday, February 16, 2000



Digimarc reports Q4 '99 results!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 16, 2000 - 21:42 EST)


Digital watermarking company Digimarc Corp. has today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter of 1999. The company had revenues of some $2.7 million in Q4 '99, as compared to the same period of 1998 with only $0.3 million. Q4 revenues were some 29% higher than Q3 '99, whilst the year 1999 as a whole with $6.9 million in revenues bested 1998's $1 million revenues by some distance.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

LizardTech plans MrSID on Intel Itanium!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 16, 2000 - 20:22 EST)


LizardTech Inc., who we saw back in November at the Comdex show in Las Vegas, has today announced that it is preparing its MrSID technology for Intel's upcoming IA-64 Itanium microprocessor. According to LizardTech, MrSID encodes image files via wavelet-based algorithms that reduce file size by ratios of more than 2:1, whilst retaining all image information. The first releases of IA-64 MrSID will be for Microsoft's 64-bit Windows NT, as well as SCO UNIX.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

PhotoLoft.com successfully files Form 10SB!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 16, 2000 - 19:51 EST)


A press release from website PhotoLoft.com announces that it has now successfully filed its Form 10SB, which means that it is now a fully reporting company under SEC jurisdiction. CEO Jack Marshall notes: "When PhotoLoft.com began trading on the Over-the-Counter bulletin board one year ago our plan was to file our Form 10SB as quickly as possible as the first step in moving from the bulletin board to the Nasdaq SmallCap. We believe that this step, coupled with our business strategy will be a cornerstone for building future shareholder value."
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Canon expands distribution of Digital Origin software!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 16, 2000 - 19:34 EST)


A press release from software company Digital Origin announces that Canon Europa has expanded its distribution of its software products throughout Europe. Canon already ships Digital Origin's EditDV for non-linear DV editing; RotoDV for video painting and special effects; PhotoDV for still image capture and manipulation; and MotoDV for motion video capture; the new announcement adds multiple-language versions of IntroDV for home video editing and streaming to the web to the list. IntroDV began shipping in the U.S. last October, and is designed for consumers new to video editing and the DV format. The software lets users connect their DV camcorders to their computers and transform their video footage into movies than can be posted on the web, distributed via e-mail, or saved to tape or CD-ROM.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

More on the Olympus C-2500 Zoom upgrade!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 16, 2000 - 16:39 EST)


We just received the following email from IR reader John Lippman, who did a little researching on Olympus' new upgrade for the C-2500L digital camera, and how to get it:

"I read your article re. Olympus' firmware upgrade to the C-2500L. I wrote to Olympus (see my e-mail below) inquiring about this upgrade. Their reply follows below. By the by, they are ONLY installing this upgrade in their New York facility . . . not in Long Beach, CA.

John Lippman

-----Original Message-----
From: Olympus Support [mailto:support@olympus.com]

Thank you for contacting Olympus Digital Technical Support in the United States.

Yes, the firmware upgrade for the C-2500-L is now available. Please see the following information in with your camera.

The Three additional features are:

1. The Addition of Slow Syncro Flash: (This works in both Automatic modes as well as the previous Manual modes).

2. The Addition of a Medium Sharpening Mode: (previously Normal/Soft;
now Normal 1/Normal 2/ Soft. Normal and Normal 1 are the same settings. Normal 2 is the Medium Sharpening)

3. AE Lock in the Center-weighted Metering mode. (Previously the camera did AE Lock only in Spot Metering, the exposure was not locked in Center-weighted, only focus)

Send your camera to:

Olympus America Inc
105 Crossways Park
Woodbury, NY 11797-3157
Attn: Digital Product Repair
(516) 844-5000

OR

Olympus America Inc.
3900 Kilroy Airport Way, Suite 100
Long Beach, CA 90806-2454
Attn: Digital Product Repair
(562) 492-5700

When sending your C-2500-L in for service, please send it postage
prepaid and insured and include the following on a sheet of paper
(printing very clearly):

Name:_____________________.
Address___________________.
Card Number_______________. (Visa, MC, Amex?)
Expiration Date___________.
Signature_________________.
Serial Number of camera.
Copy of Bill of Sale.

The cost is $24.95 including return shipping. :-)

Typical repair time is within 10 business days. Please write down and
keep your camera model and serial number for your reference."


Whilst we're providing this information for the assistance of C-2500L owners, we'd advise you to contact Olympus for authorisation and to confirm the wait time before sending your camera in, just to be safe (for one thing, if everybody sends cameras in at once, this may increase the wait time, and we're sure you don't want to be without your C-2500L for any longer than necessary! :)
Thanks to John Lippman for this item!

Digimarc and Equilibrium cooperate on watermarking!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 16, 2000 - 16:23 EST)


A press release from digital watermarking company Digimarc Corp. and digital content company Equilibrium announces a strategic relationship to provide automation of digital watermarking on the Internet. Under the deal, Equilibrium's DeBabelizer and future Internet infrastructure technology will include Digimarc watermarking technology...
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Japanese digicam shipments surge!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 16, 2000 - 14:47 EST)


A Reuters news item on Yahoo! BizWire today reports that Japanese digicam shipments surged some 81% in the period October-December 1999 compared to the same period the previous year, bringing shipments for the period to 1.94 million units. The value of these shipments jumped 61% to 84.4 billion yen, meaning that overall cost per unit fell by about 25% over the previous year...

For the whole of 1999, 4.82 million digicams worth 213.4 billion yen were shipped by Japanese manufacturers, a rise of 47% volume and 42% value over the previous year. Considering only domestic Japanese shipments, volume rose 21% to 1.45 million, with a 32% rise in value to 67.3 billion yen. Exports rose 62% by volume to 3.37 million and 47% by value to 146.2 billion yen.
Source: Yahoo BizWire / Reuters

Tuesday, February 15, 2000



'Millipede' promises high capacity storage in a tiny package!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 15, 2000 - 20:45 EST)


An article on Wired News from 10 February reveals that IBM is working on a new storage technology which could offer huge capacities in a very small package. Described as "the world's smallest punch card, a rewriteable piano roll", Millipede uses an array of tiny sensor arms to read the pattern of indentations in a square of plastic, and IBM researcher Mark Lutwyche speculates that the technology might be miniaturized all the way down to the molecular level! Already, a prototype some 3mm square can store just under a gigabyte of data, or some 400 gigabytes per square inch. Lutwyche feels that in 5 to 10 years, Millipede may offer the ability to store one terabit of data in a space the size of a dime!
Source: Wired News
Thanks to Kumio Yamada / digitalcamera.gr.jp for this item!

Digital Eyes reviews Umax Astra 2200!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 15, 2000 - 20:26 EST)


We just popped over to the excellent Digital Eyes site, which we've unfortunately not had time to look at recently between PMA and the general flood of work, and saw that they've now placed a review of Umax's Astra 2200 scanner online. Here's a quick summary:

"The resolution is quite impressive. I think there is some interpolation going on in hardware here, but it works. The clarity of the chipmunk's whiskers is right up there with much more expensive scanners, beyond that isn't useful or important in a SOHO environment. The color is pleasing if not as dramatic as it might be. I actually found myself preferring a couple of the Astra 2200 scans, even if they were a little less true to the original images. Overall? I think it's a great package for the price and will recommend this product to friends that need a product in this range."

Check the full review out at the link below!
Source: Digital Eyes Umax Astra 2200 review

I/OMagic announces new digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 15, 2000 - 20:21 EST)


I/OMagic Corp. has announced the release of its new MagicImage 500 digital camera in a press release today. The MagicImage 500, which follows on from the MagicImage 410 which sold more than 10,000 units at Circuit City stores last year, has an MSRP of $179.99 and offers features including include resolutions of up to 1280 x 960 pixels (CCD resolution unspecified), Auto Focus, Auto Flash, Auto White balance, and Auto Exposure. The MagicImage 500 features SmartMedia storage (4MB card bundled). It also includes a Macro mode for taking pictures at close range and a 10-second timer for self-portraits. An opening order estimated at $700,000 for the line of cameras has been placed by CompUSA for the new camera. The previous model, the MagicImage 410, hit the market in November 1999, and weighs less than three ounces, with 4MB of internal non-removeable memory, USB connectivity, Ulead PhotoExpress 2.0 SE software, and an MSRP of $99.99.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

ScanSoft announces Textbridge Pro Millennium!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 15, 2000 - 16:26 EST)


A press release from ScanSoft Inc. announces the latest version of its Textbridge OCR (Optical Character Recognition) line, Textbridge Pro Millennium Edition. The new version, which has received Microsoft's 'Certified for Windows 2000' logo, has a claimed accuracy of better than 99%, as well as improvements in the product's interaction with Microsoft Office 2000 through 'Instant Access', and a new 'Live Updates' feature.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Sega, KDD, PictureIQ to link webcam to Dreamcast!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 15, 2000 - 16:20 EST)


A Reuters news item announces that Seattle-based PictureIQ Corp. and Japanese telecommunications company KDD Corp. are planning to partner with Sega Enterprises Ltd. in creating a 'visual communication service' based on Sega's Dreamcast games console and a tethered digital video camera. The companies will announce the new service on Wednesday in a joint news conference. At the end of '99, Sega had already shipped 4.4 million Dreamcast consoles, and it plans to ship another 10 million in the next year starting April 1.
Source: Yahoo BizWire / Reuters

industry analysts, CEOs, examine future of digital photography!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 15, 2000 - 16:13 EST)


A press release from Lyra Research Inc. announces its 'Advancing Digital Photography Forum 2000', due to be held April 9 - 11, 2000, in Boston. The event, which apparently "focuses on the impact of the Internet on [the] rapidly changing [digital photography] market", will bring together CEOs Daniel Carp of Eastman Kodak Company and Gary Christophersen of PhotoWorks, Inc. (formerly Seattle FilmWorks) for keynote presentations, as well as analysts from market research, publishing, and financial firms. Individual sessions will include:

 - Digital Photography Market Overview: A Ripe
Environment
- E-Appliances: Downloading the World
- Digitization and the Photo-Image Processing Industry
- Panel Discussion of the Online Photo Market: The
DotCom World of Photography
- Home Photo Printing: A Matter of Convenience
- Youth Market: Imaging in the Next Generation
- What's Holding Back the Photo Enthusiasts?
- Panel Discussion: The Etailing Revolution in
Distribution and Merchandising
- Retail Sales Trends
- Digital Still and Video Imaging Convergence:
Does Still Imaging Still Have a Future?
- Financial Analysts Panel Discussion: The
View from Wall Street

Source: Yahoo! BizWire

KB Gear introduces new JamC@m!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 15, 2000 - 16:03 EST)


A press release from KB Gear Interactive today announces that it is introducing a new JamC@m digital camera. The announcement, made at the opening of Toy Fair 2000 in New York, describes the JamC@m 3.0 as "a revved-up, higher performing version of KB Gear's top-selling, award-winning digital camera that achieves mega-pixel quality pictures with a 640x480 VGA processor that is enhanced by PhotoSharp software". There is no mention on KB Gear's website of the new camera as yet, so we're not able to determine if the camera is indeed new, or a bundling of the JamC@m 2.0 with PhotoSharp software. The JamC@m 3.0 will ship this summer at an MSRP of $99.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

AgfaDirect.com launched, created by BuyNow!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 15, 2000 - 13:45 EST)


A press release from BuyNow.com announces that it has completed construction of a customised e-commerce site for Agfa Corp.'s Desktop Products Group, http://www.agfadirect.com. The site, where customers can purchase Agfa digital cameras, scanners and related accessories directly from the manufacturer, was created within 45 days from conception by BuyNow, and offers online order tracking, rebate coupons, and more...
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Monday, February 14, 2000



Epson announces 3 megapixel Super Colorio Photo CP-900Z!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 14, 2000 - 14:47 EST)


Seiko Epson Corp. has today announced its new 3.34 megapixel Super Colorio Photo CP-900Z digital camera in Japan The CP-900Z features a 3x optical zoom lens, JPEG or uncompressed TIFF storage, QuickTime video recording, CompactFlash storage, Aperture and Shutter-priority AE, auto or manual focus and white balance, sound recording and more... Here's the full specifications:

 - Epson Colorio Photo CP-900Z digital camera
- 1/1.8" 3.34 megapixel CCD, 3.24 megapixel effective;
gives image sizes of: 2544 x 1904 (interpolated),
2544 x 952 (interpolated, panorama mode), 2048 x
1536, 2048 x 786 (interpolated), or 640 x 480
pixels; interpolation uses Epson HyPict technology.
Image quality selected from 2544 x 1904 pixel Hyper
mode only, 2048 x 1536 pixel super-fine, fine or
standard compression, 640 x 480 standard
compression only.
- 3x optical zoom lens, F2.0 - 2.5, 7 - 21mm (equiv.
to 34-102mm on a 35mm camera); 8 elements (2
aspheric) in 7 groups; 2x digital zoom
- Optical or 1.8" low temperature polysilicon TFT
LCD display, 110,000 pixels, high view angle type
- Built-in flash, range 0.5 - 4.2 meters; auto, on,
off, first or second curtain slow sync, red eye
reduction or external modes; external flash hot
shoe
- CompactFlash storage (16MB card bundled)
- Mac/PC compatible USB, serial and NTSC/PAL video
connectivity
- Automatic or manual focus; focus from 50cm to
infinity (6cm to 50cm in macro mode)
- Electronic and manual shutter; shutter speeds from
8 to 1/750 second (difficult to translate, but we
believe the camera has shutter-priority AE)
- Aperture of F2.0, F2.3, F2.8, F4.0, F5.6 and F8.0;
aperture priority AE mode
- TTL exposure, 256 element matrix or spot metering;
exposure compensation +/- 2.0EV in 0.2EV steps
- Manual, preset and auto white balance
- ISO ratings of 100, 200 and 400
- Video capability (15 frames a second for 25 seconds
in 320 x 240 pixel mode)
- Voice memo capability (ten seconds or less)
- Images saved in EXIF 2.1 JPEG or non-compressed
TIFF; sound in WAVE format; video in MotionJPEG
conforming QuickTime v3.0; DPOF and DCF compliant
- Monochrome and panorama modes; interval mode (from
10 seconds to 24 hours between pictures, set in
1 second increments); burst mode (2 frames per
second); sports, portrait and scenery modes
- 10 second self-timer
- Playback modes include standard, 4 or 9-frame
multi, slide show, 2x playback zoom, deletion,
protection, video and audio playback, audio
annotation
- On a 16MB CompactFlash card, stores 155 mode,
31 fine mode, 15 super-fine mode, 12 hyper mode
or 1 TIFF mode image. Save times quoted as 0.7
seconds (Standard), 1.0 seconds (fine or super-
fine), 14 seconds (Hyper), or 32 seconds (TIFF)
per image
- Battery life on 2 NiMH batteries rated at 2000
shots without LCD, 290 shots with LCD on for
10 seconds per shot, 160 shots with 30 seconds
of LCD use per shot, or 200 minutes of playback
mode
- Weighs 365 grams without battery, flash card or
neck strap; 108mm x 89mm x 65mm excluding
projections
- Bundle includes 16MB CompactFlash card, video
cable, 2 rechargeable NiMH batteries and charger,
lens cap, camera case and neck strap
- Due to ship in Japan on March 11 at a price of
¥128,000 (US$1177)

Source: Seiko Epson Corp.
Thanks to Kumio Yamada / digitalcamera.gr.jp for this item!

Agfa to show new camera at CeBIT?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 14, 2000 - 13:40 EST)


The folks over at the digitalkamera.de website in Germany have posted a list of which digital imaging-related companies will be appearing at the CeBIT show in Hannover from February 24 to March 1 this year. Each company is listed alongside the products it will be showing, and one in particular caught our eye... Agfa are listed as planning to show the "CL-18 digital camera", a model number we don't recall hearing before. The camera is probably not a new model, and we're wondering if this is the low-cost ePhoto Smile making its break into the European marketplace?
Source: digitalkamera.de

More PMA news posted!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 14, 2000 - 3:05 EST)


We've just posted two new items in our PMA events section... There's news of an upgrade for Canon PowerShot S10 users, sample pictures from the PowerShot S20 and Fuji FinePix 4700, and a huge selection of PMA photos of all shapes and sizes... Head on over to the events page, and check it out!
Source: PMA Event Page

Info on Canon S10 updates, and lots more PMA news!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 14, 2000 - 3:02 EST)


We received an email from IR reader David Kamanski with news that he's posted a web page with loads of info from the PMA show, as well as news of an upcoming firmware upgrade for Canon PowerShot S10 users... There's also sample pictures from the PowerShot S20 and Fuji FinePix 4700, as well as more pictures of Canon's Digital EOS - and David still has more to come! Check it out!
Source: The Digital Picture
Thanks to David Kamanski for this item!

LOTS of photos of the PMA Show!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 14, 2000 - 1:58 EST)


Above Kodak's booth at the PMA Show 2000 - (c) 2000 Jack Olmsted, http://www.dvdreporter.com


One of many people we met at the PMA 2000 show was Jack Olmsted of the DVDReporter website - we met him in the press room, where he was spending a lot of his time, uploading some of the hundreds of photos he took at the show. We received an email from Jack over the weekend, to let us know he's uploaded all these images now - and there's some really cool ones, like the view above shot from the catwalk above Kodak's booth. You can find links to all this from the DVD Reporter site, or alternatively can find the photos on the EMemories, Zing, and GatherRound websites, under the username "DVDReporter"...
Source: EMemories Intro page for Jack Olmsted's PMA Photos
Thanks to Jack Olmsted / DVD Reporter for this item!

Saturday, February 12, 2000



Sample images of Casio QV-3000EX online!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, February 12, 2000 - 13:26 EST)


We brought a sample of the Casio QV-3000EX back from PMA with us, and put it through its paces. Pretty impressive! We'll have a full review posted in about a week, but meanwhile have uploaded the sample images from it into the Comparometer(tm), so you can get an advance peek at the image quality. (Follow the link below to go directly to the Comparometer. Products are listed alphabetically by mfr name/model number.)
Source: IR Comparometer(tm)

PMA "Shootout" update
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, February 12, 2000 - 13:24 EST)


Our "mini-shootout" of pro SLRs at PMA drew lots of interest. We did miss the obvious point of upsampling the Nikon D1 image to the same size as the S1, something several readers did and commented on. We've now done this and uploaded the results, which can be seen at the URL below. Also, Pro Photojournalism doyen Rob Galbraith had some cogent observations about the test, which we've added to the bottom of the same page. Check it out!
Source: IR PMA SLR Mini-Shootout

Thursday, February 10, 2000



Fuji recaps PMA awards!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 10, 2000 - 18:38 EST)


"FUJIFILM'S FINEPIX S1 PRO DIGITAL CAMERA TAKES TWO TOP HONORS AT THE DIGITAL IMAGING MARKETING ASSOCIATION'S ANNUAL SHOOT-OUT
Fujifilm's MX-1700 ZOOM Digital Camera and Pictrography 3000 Digital Printer Also Garner Awards

LAS VEGAS, NV, February 5, 2000 - The enhanced quality of Fujifilm's digital imaging products took center stage at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) trade show here as the company's new FinePix S1 Pro digital camera won two awards at the Fourth Annual Digital Imaging Marketing Association (DIMA) Digital Camera Shoot-Out. Prints from FinePix S1 Pro were chosen as best in the $5,000 and Below Professional Photographic Category, and the camera also was a winner of DIMA's prestigious Innovative Digital Product Award.

In addition to the accolades for the FinePix S1 Pro, Fujifilm's MX-1700 ZOOM won the Point-And-Shoot, $300-$599 Category. In the separate DIMA Digital Printer Shoot-Out, the Fujifilm Pictrography 3000 took top honors in the Small Format (8 " x 11" or less) Category.

Pictures captured by the FinePix S1 Pro and MX-1700 ZOOM were chosen "Best" in their respective categories by PMA convention-goers based on print quality, production and price. Manufacturers entered in the DIMA Shoot-Out were asked to bring their digital cameras to a specially constructed studio and shoot a series of models and scenes. Pictures captured by cameras in the Point-and-Shoot and Professional Photographic categories were sent through similar computers running the same image editing software and outputted from the same printer. The prints were then taken to the trade show floor where they were displayed, anonymously, and voted on by PMA tradeshow attendees. The first SLR digital camera with Fujifilm's new Super CCD image sensor, the FinePix S1 Pro has a 1.1-inch sensor that delivers an ultra-high resolution image file with 6.1 million pixels (3040 x 2016 resolution). It has a Nikon F lens mount for use with existing optics and has continuous shooting of approximately 1.5 frames/second up to five frames, adjustable ISO equivalents of 320/400/800/1600, a shutter speed of 30 to 1/2000 second and compatibility with SmartMedia (up to 64MB), CompactFlash (Card Type II) and the IBM microdrive. The FinePix S1 Pro will carry a manufacturers suggested list price of less than $4,000 when it ships in June.

About Fujifilm Digital Imaging

As the first manufacturer to offer a digital camera with removable storage media and the developer of the new Super CCD sensor, Fujifilm is a recognized digital imaging innovator. With a breadth of line that includes products for image capture, storage and output, Fujifilm offers a host of end-to-end imaging solutions, letting the user evolve from picture-taker to picture maker within minutes.

What sets Fujifilm digital imaging products apart is the technology that goes into each and every product. Fujifilm is one of only a handful of marketers that both designs and manufactures the key capture elements of a digital camera -- the lens, CCD and image processing mechanisms. This total control ensures strict adherence to design specifications.

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. is the U.S. marketing subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., of Tokyo, a leading manufacturer of imaging and information products."

Mail crash, Mike's running blind!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 10, 2000 - 18:13 EST)


Mike has spent the last 24 hours rebuilding a rather unhappy laptop, which decided to die just after returning from the PMA show. Everything is back up and working now, but unfortunately it seems that between Outlook Express and the full version of Outlook, Microsoft decided for reasons known only to themselves to move where mail was stored from the 'Application Data' directory to the 'Local Settings' directory (gee, that makes sense, of course I'd expect my email to be considered a "setting", and not data!) The result of this unhappy change is that Mike's been backing up the wrong place - and has just lost all of his email since last October (when the upgrade to Outlook took place). If you've sent in a Deal or Tip (and with things as busy as they've been lately, we had quite a few waiting), and we've not yet posted it, please can you resend it and we'll get it up ASAP... Likewise, any other recent mails which have gone unanswered, please drop Mike a note - we do try and answer all our mail, so if you didn't get a reply yet, your mail was probably zapped along with everything else. Sorry!

Visioneer selects ScanSoft as sole OCR supplier!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 10, 2000 - 16:14 EST)


ScanSoft Inc., has announced in a press release that it has been selected as the sole supplier of Paper Management and OCR software for scanner manufacturer Visioneer Inc. The deal, which will see ScanSoft's PaperPort, TextBridge and Pagis product lines bundled with all Visioneer scanners worldwide, has an estimated value of $5 million over the next three years, based on Visioneer's projected sales. Visioneer was taken over last year by Taiwanese manufacturer Primax Electronics Inc.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Muska & Lipman publishes "Digital Camera Solutions"!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 10, 2000 - 14:33 EST)


A press release from publishing company Muska & Lipman Publishing announces their new book, "Digital Camera Solutions". Billed by M&L as "the first full-color book on digital cameras to be priced below $30", Digital Camera Solutions includes more than 350 pages and 15 chapters ranging from "Getting Images into Shape" to "Filtering for Special Effects", and is written by author Gregory Georges. There's also a companion website, although the press release doesn't provide further details as to what this includes. "Digital Camera Solutions" is the second title in M&L's "Solutions" series; the first book in the series, "Scanner Solutions", was published in January 2000.

Hasbro to launch Yahoo! Cam!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 10, 2000 - 14:03 EST)


A press release from toy maker Hasbro Inc., notes that the company is planning to release a new "branded" digital camera, the Yahoo! Cam. The press release, summarising what Hasbro will show at Toy Fair 2000 in New York City, notes that the Yahoo! Cam will be shown publicly on February 13. Made by Tiger Electronics, the Yahoo! Cam is a palm-sized, color digital camera capable of storing up to 12 photos on its built-in memory. Resolution is not mentioned, but the camera can also be used as a tethered webcam and with a built-in infrared flash can take photos in the dark - presumably without anybody being able to see the flash, as Hasbro says the camera can "be used as a surveillance camera!" It will retail in the fall for $60, and includes software for downloading the photos to a PC.

Toshiba PDR-M5 wins award at PMA!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 10, 2000 - 13:52 EST)


"Toshiba PDR-M5 Wins Prestigious DIMA 'Digital Camera Shoot-Out' At Photo Marketing Association Show, Named Best Camera in $600-899 Category

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 10, 2000--Toshiba Imaging Systems, a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., announced today that its PDR-M5(TM) two-megapixel digital camera garnered top honors at the 2000 DIMA Digital Camera Shoot-Out at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, beating out cameras manufactured by Kodak (DC290), Olympus (C2020 Zoom), Epson (Photo PC850Z) and Casio (QV-3000) in the highly-coveted $600-899 category.

Sponsored by the Digital Imaging Marketing Association (DIMA), the Shoot-Out honors the best in digital imaging technologies, and is one of a number of major awards that Toshiba has received for its digital camera line. The Toshiba PDR-M4(TM) megapixel camera also scored highly in the contest, winning third place in the competitive $300-599 category.

The independent members of DIMA, who judged entries on the basis of image quality and price, cast votes. Forty digital camera entries and 18 manufacturers participated in the Fourth annual event, which took place on Wednesday, February 2.

``Toshiba is very honored to be singled out among the dozens of digital camera makers as having the best camera the consumer can buy in this popular category,'' said Doug Freck, Vice President & General Manager, Toshiba Imaging Systems.

``Today's victory validates our position both as a technology leader and as a manufacturer the consumer can turn to with utmost confidence as having the product with the features and capabilities that they value most highly,'' Freck said.

Introduced in June 1999, the groundbreaking PDR-M5 ($799 US) offers an advanced 1/2-inch, 2.14 million CCD (1600 x 1200); built-in five-mode flash; AVI movie function; an all-glass aspheric lens with 3X optical zoom; macro mode for enhanced close-ups; plus extremely fast recycle, burst and USB downloading rates.

For information, U.S. customers call 1-800-288-1354. Fax, 1-800-640-8674. Or visit Toshiba on the Web at http://www.dsc.toshiba.com.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Toshiba Imaging Systems is a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., and part of the $48 billion Toshiba Corporation, a global leader in high technology products with 307 major consolidated subsidiaries worldwide."
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

DCRP posts Olympus C-2500L review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 10, 2000 - 13:22 EST)


Jeff over at the Digital Camera Resource Page mailed us today with news that his review of Olympus' C-2500L digital camera is now online! Jeff had the following to say on Olympus' popular prosumer SLR:

"The C-2500L is one of the most 'powerful' cameras I've used. It's closer to a real SLR camera than any I've tested, though the aperture settings are lacking, and I sure wish I could use the LCD to take a picture. That said, you're able to take very high quality pictures as fast as you compose them, and store them on either SmartMedia or CompactFlash!"

Check out the full review for lots of pictures of (and from) the C-2500L, and more information about the camera and how it handles...
Source: The Digital Camera Resource Page C-2500L Review

Wednesday, February 9, 2000



More on the Olympus C-2500L firmware upgrade
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 9, 2000 - 18:04 EST)


Our apologies for the delay getting back to this piece of news, which we first mentioned in our PMA Day Two coverage (several readers have prompted us several times, and we just kept getting sidetracked!) The new firmware for the Olympus C-2500L which we told you about contains the following changes:

The C-2500 firmware upgrade sounds fairly minor, from what we've heard. Here's the info we have available:

1) There's now a "medium" option for sharpening, between the previous "soft" and "normal" settings.
2) There's a new slow-sync flash mode.
3) AE lock (half-press of shutter button) now works in both Spot and Averaging metering modes. (Previously wouldn't lock in spot mode, only in averaging.)

We think that existing units can be upgraded to the new firmware, but have to admit we're not completely sure on this point. We were also told that the C-2500L is now compatible with Olympus' new lithium manganese batteries - this change is likely only for new C-2500s as it would require a slightly different shape for the battery compartment to accommodate the new batteries, we believe...


Ofoto offers free film processing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 9, 2000 - 17:03 EST)


Online photo-finisher Ofoto has now announced its free film processing offer for users not quite ready to make the step up to digital, as we predicted in our January 31 news item "Ofoto offers free film processing, allies with Excite@Home!", the Digital Photography Review reports... Customers contact Ofoto for a postage paid envelope in which to send their APS or 35mm film cartridges and single-use cameras, and on receiving them, Ofoto will process them and send the negatives back to the customer, all free of charge. Ofoto will also scan the photos and place them online, again free, allowing the customer to select photos to be printed online. The printing is, of course, charged for - but Ofoto's offer of 100 free photos does also cover film prints, allowing users to try the service out completely free for the first few rolls of film and see whether they like it!
Source: Digital Photography Review

PMA Wrap Up posted!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 9, 2000 - 2:42 EST)


We've just posted a recap of this year's PMA show in our PMA Events section (click on the link by the headlines above to get to it...) If you didn't have time to keep up on all the news as it flooded in, this will get you back in touch - and even if you were reading the news throughout the show, it'll help everything sink through... :)

PMA's over, time for a recap!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 9, 2000 - 2:35 EST)


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

As usual, the big names had big shows on to attract the crowds - and these are interesting of themselves, as they give you a feel for which products a company is pushing the most, and also as to just how many marketing dollars are there to back those products.

Canon's PMA Show - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Canon's gave us "Canon Presents... Broadway", with a 6-person Broadway troupe performing at regular intervals throughout the day in front of a video wall. We didn't get a chance to see the whole of this performance once through, but what we did see was great fun - and a little less "commercial" seeming than some of the other performances... We didn't get to see whether the show was being used simply to draw a crowd, or whether the performers were also reeling off statistics on the latest products in the intervals, but they did have a carefully positioned ad for the PowerShot S20 right next to the stage.

Fuji's PMA Show - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

Olympus's PMA Show - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

Samsung's PMA Show - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

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

- Agfa
Agfa's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Agfa showed its existing line of digital cameras and scanners.

- Canon
Canon's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Without doubt, the big news for digital imaging on Canon's stand (and possibly the big news of the show, if the response on our news forum pages was anything to go by!) was Canon's new EOS digital SLR. Little information accompanied the camera, which was shown behind glass in the center of Canon's booth - but the unit apparently will surface in Fall of this year, with a 3 megapixel CCD and interchangeable Canon EF mount lenses. Canon's PowerShot S20 also showed, as did a new EOS film camera, the 1V.

- Epson
Epson's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Epson showed three new printers at PMA, all variations on a theme. The new printers accept roll paper (allowing for printing photos continuously, and then cutting them apart, saving on paper waste), as well as edge-to-edge printing (thanks to special receptacles to catch the ink which went off the edge of the paper), and most impressively, new light-fast inks and papers which should give close to the fade properties of silver halide prints. The printers were a wide format version, a standard version, and a standard version with a built-in PC card reader. Epson also showed its existing scanner and digital camera lines...
Dave's tech note: The light-fast inks and media the new Epson printers take are really big news. Fading has been the big bugaboo preventing inkjets from making serious inroads against conventional silver-based photo prints (IMHO). Epson projected lifetimes of 10 years for their glossy media and 26 years for their matte-finish product. What's most impressive about these numbers is that they come not from Epson themselves, but from Wilhelm Research, the absolute horse's mouth on all aspects of print permanence. Now, no need to worry about whether digital prints you make for friends and relatives will go the distance!

- Fujifilm
Fuji's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Fuji gave SuperCCD a lot of space on its stand, showing the new CCD layout that it has designed in two digital cameras, the Finepix 4700 Zoom and Finepix S1 Pro. We played with a working 4700 Zoom at the Digital Focus show, and found it to be very well designed ergonomically, and quite responsive. The S1 Pro was similarly impressive, and very difficult to get near on the Fuji booth, with crowds of people wanting to see it. Fuji quite obviously put a lot of effort into PMA, with lots of prime advertising space (the back cover of all the show guides, as an example) and the Fuji blimp (which we enjoyed a ride in last November at Comdex) in town... Also shown was Fuji's photo lab equipment, digital print ordering systems, and a whole lot else besides... This was one of the largest booths of all, with probably only Kodak and Canon managing larger. We tried the S1 Pro out for ourselves, curious to see how it fared - there has been a lot of controversy on the Internet regarding Fuji's decision not to quote the actual pixel resolution, instead quoting an interpolated figure which Fuji feels to be the camera's equivalent when compared to conventional CCD based cameras. We felt the camera fared well against three megapixel cameras, showing perhaps slightly more definition and significantly better noise, but against a true six megapixel camera the difference in resolution was quite noticeable. The results are highlighted in our comparison of the S1 with Nikon's D1, and Kodak's DCS330, 620 and 660. It will be very interesting to see a final version of the S1 go under the microscope in more controlled circumstances - we felt that overall the camera fared pretty well in this not-quite-scientific testing!

- Hewlett Packard
Hewlett-Packard's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
HP showed two new digital cameras, one of which features a 2/3" frame transfer CCD and an SLR design. Both cameras feature the Digita operating system and Pentax lenses, and are also to be sold under the Pentax name... The HP C618 / Pentax EI-200 features a 2.1 megapixel CCD, 3x optical zoom, aperture and shutter priority modes, and infrared printing, whilst the HP C912 / Pentax EI-2000 features the 2/3" 2.24 megapixel frame transfer CCD, 3x optical zoom Pentax lens, infrared printing, SLR design, and manual focus, exposure, color and flash control. Both cameras were shown behind glass by HP and Pentax, and booth staff would not reveal details beyond that in their press releases.
Dave's tech note: Frame transfer technology in a consumer digicam is big news. Frame transfer (as opposed to the more common interline transfer) gives higher light sensitivity, less image noise, and potentially better color fidelity. Previously, frame transfer CCDs were only found in high-end Kodak professional models, never in cameras costing less than several thousand dollars. It'll be interesting to see how the HP camera with this sensor performs!

- JVC
JVC's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
JVC has chosen 2000 to re-enter the digital camera marketplace, with its impressive looking QC-GX3 on show at PMA 2000. The -GX3 features a 3.3 megapixel CCD and 2.3x zoom lens in a fairly small camera. As well as its unusual control positioning (it features a mode dial on its side, next to the zoom lever and a mode lever, all within reach of your thumb - a control system that was surprisingly easy to use, at least in a show setting), the camera also features 3 special "Pro Still" modes, each of which promises enhanced pictures for still images. The first shifts the light up by one pixel on the CCD between the first and second shots, to allow for less interpolation of the image data; the second mode allows multiple still images to be averaged to reduce noise; the third allows a dark and light picture to be combined into one with increased dynamic range. Clever tricks that could be very useful, although only when the camera is on a tripod and there's no movement in the subject...
Dave's tech note: Another potentially really big deal, blurring the line between professional studio cameras and consumer point & shoots. If the Pro Still Mode" tricks in the GX3 work at all as advertised, we could see a lot of them making their way into commercial studios. Anyone looking for an inexpensive solution for high-end product photography may benefit from
this technology!

- Kodak
Kodak's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Kodak showed its full range of Pro digital cameras, several of which we were able to try out briefly as part of our image comparison - the DCS330, 620 and 660. Also on show were Kodak's existing line-up of digital cameras, in what was probably the most impressive looking booth of the show (it looked like something out of Star Trek, painted in Kodak colors and with a large globe mounted on the top - it really defies description!)

- Leica
Leica's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Leica showed its new Digilux Zoom, which it announced was due to ship later this year - but which a reader reliably informs us has been shipping since the end of last year... The Digilux Zoom is a rebadged MX-1700. Also on display was a slide-scanning attachment for the Digilux Zoom, which literally mounts on the front of the camera, to hold a slide at just the right distance to be photographed...

- Minolta
Minolta's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Minolta showed its new Dimage 2300 digital camera, a nice little unit which featured a 2.3 megapixel resolution, and attracted quite a lot of interest when we were playing with it at the Digital Focus event (we had to queue for almost ten minutes to get our hands on one!) Also on show was the Dimage Scan line, with the Dimage Scan Elite, Scan Speed and Scan Dual at the show. The Dimage Scan Multi received a free version of Canto Cumulus single user, as well as a new Universal Holder, making the bundle more attractive...
Dave's tech note: Cumulus is a nice software addition to the Dimage Multi. Several years back, I did a consulting job for a large imaging company, evaluating image-organizer tools, and Cumulus was one of the nicest I saw. Other big news, if not entirely new, is that the Dimage Scan Elite uses the "Digital ICE" defect-removal technology from Applied Science Fiction. Heretofore, the Nikon LS-2000 and LS-30 were the only film scanners on the market with this technology, which can have a *huge* impact on productivity, even when scanning relatively clean slides with little dust and few scratches. Check our reviews of the LS-2000 and LS-30 for more info on this almost-magical technology!
Very good news indeed that another scanner manufacturer has picked it up!

- Nikon
Nikon's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Nikon showed its D1 Pro camera, as well as the newly announced Coolpix990. The 990, announced just before PMA, looks to be a very nice camera, with intuitive controls, great speed, and the same swivel design that its older siblings featured. We have a prototype 990 in-house right now. We should have some preliminary photos online in the Comparometer(tm) by the time this issue goes to press, and a full review up shortly after Dave returns from vacation on 2/20. Initial results are *very* impressive, even though the prototype unit we have shows more image noise than we're told to expect in the production models.

- Panasonic
Panasonic's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Panasonic showed its PV-SD4090 PalmCam, which uses 120MB SuperDisk media to save images from a 1.3 megapixel CCD and 3x optical zoom lens.

- Pentax
Pentax's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Pentax has chosen to ally with Hewlett-Packard for its re-entry into the digital camera market, with both manufacturers to release their own versions of two new cameras. See the HP section for more details.

- Polaroid
Polaroid's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Polaroid showed its existing line-up of digital cameras, as well as Polaroid products and its i-Zone sticker cameras.
Dave's note: Polaroid has been focusing heavily on the mass-consumer market, with inexpensive cameras distributed through the likes of K-Mart and Wal-Mart. We haven't seen any of these for review, but were surprised to learn in a press release yesterday that Polaroid claims to have shipped 400,000 digital cameras in 1999!

- Silicon Film
Silicon Film's EFS-1 eFilm Digital Film Cartridge - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Silicon Film showed its eFilm EFS-1 digital film cartridge for film cameras at the show. The EFS-1 is now planned for a mid-year release at a price of $699 for a 1.3 megapixel version. USB capability has been added to the ePort (which reads the EFS-1 cartridge), allowing for high-speed downloads without needing a full-size PC Card slot on your PC. The eBox storage device, from which you can transfer images to storage when in the field, is still being completed. We were told that at the present time, Silicon Film has not decided on whether to use CompactFlash, SmartMedia or PC Card for this... Finally, we were told that initially at least, the eFilm pack will only be available from Silicon Film's website. This will include international sales, however. At a later date, Silicon Film is considering selling through distributors and retailers. Our apologies to Silicon Film and our readers - we completely forgot to take a photo of Silicon Film's booth before leaving the show!

- Sony
Sony's PMA Booth - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
Sony impressed with a large selection of new digital cameras. The DSC-S30, DSC-S50 and DSC-S70 (all announced just before the show), as well as the MVC-FD85, MVC-FD90 and MVC-FD95 digital cameras. The -S30 and -S50 cameras featured a very nice swivel LCD display which could be turned around for protection when not in use, or used from most angles, even from in front of the camera. The S70, with the highest resolution, sadly replaced this with a fixed LCD display, but with 3.3 megapixels this could be worth the sacrifice... All three cameras featured a great menu system which we found very intuitive. The larger cameras were equally impressive, the MVC-FD95 in particular being a very nice camera, if a little over pocket sized! ;) It was also absolutely packed with buttons, which made it easy to use without needing to delve into a menu system, but might take a while to learn...
Dave's tech note: The big news with Sony (IMHO) is that they've broken free of the restriction imposed by 1.44 megabyte floppy disks on their wildly popular Mavica line. The solution is to give the cameras special firmware, so their floppy drives can talk to a "FlashPath" adapter housing a memory stick module. (Note that I don't know what Sony is calling the floppy-disk
adapter, FlashPath is the name given it by Smart Disk Corp, the developer.) Thus, the new Mavica cameras will be able to have effective memory capacities up to 64 megabytes, with 128 megabytes not far off. While the FlashPath adapters aren't terribly fast transferring data to the host computer, their ease of use retains one of the key features of the Mavica line for end-users.
Other news is that all of the new cameras announced have 12 bit digitization, vs the 10 bits used by most digicams. This should/could translate into greater dynamic range and less image noise. Overall, the new Sony digicams should amount to a tremendous step up in image quality for the Mavica line, and a powerful extension to the prosumer models.)

Overall, our feeling is that this year's PMA will be remembered for two things - the onslaught of the 3 megapixel digital cameras, and the beginning of the SLR digital camera "battle". Who will triumph in the end it is too early to predict at this stage, but between Kodak's existing line, Nikon's D1, Fuji's S1 Pro and now Canon's EOS digital, it looks like things could really heat up over the next year for SLR digicams with interchangeable lenses - and the increased competition can hopefully mean only one thing, better deals for the users! Here's looking forward to PMA 2001, and hoping it will be even more fun than PMA 2000 has been!

The sun has set on this year's PMA Show, can't wait for next year! - click for a bigger picture!
The sun sets on PMA - Click for a bigger picture!


Thanks to Phil Mistry for catching the error in this item - yes, Nikon's LS-30 scanner also has Digital ICE technology!

Tuesday, February 8, 2000



Rob Galbraith weighs in on the Fuji S1!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 8, 2000 - 15:27 EST)


Rob Galbraith is one of the leading voices in digital photojournalism, through his site (see the link below) an incredible book he's written detailing the real nuts & bolts of his trade, and frequent appearances on newsgroups, in person at shows, etc. He's posted a brief analysis of what he saw in the Fuji S1 at PMA, and his comments are very illuminating, being from the perspective of a working photojournalist. Check out the link below for all the details! (His page will scroll as he adds new news items: His comments on the S1 are in the section dated February 7.)
Source: Rob Galbraith's News Page - Comments on Fuji S1

Zounds! A Pro SLR mini-shootout!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 8, 2000 - 3:58 EST)


This is included in our PMA coverage, but there's been so much interest and debate over the pro digicam arena, we thought it warranted a separate mention here on the main news page as well:

We've had a LOT of interest in the sample images we shot with the prototype Fuji S1 at PMA, and a lot of questions about how it compares with other cameras. Somewhat at the last minute, just before we left town on Saturday, we managed to gather a fair collection of professional SLRs from Fuji, Nikon, and Kodak, and conducted an on-the-spot, ad hoc shootout, to lay to rest some of the arguments over resolution, interpolation, etc. Cameras we tested included the Fuji S1, Kodak DCS 330, 620, and 660, and the Nikon D1. Even though the test wasn't controlled to the extent we'd like, we think you'll find the results very interesting! Click the link below to read the report and see the results!
Source: The Imaging Resource Pro SLR mini-shootout: Resolution & Image Noise

Wow! A pro SLR mini-shootout!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 8, 2000 - 3:51 EST)


We've had a LOT of interest in the sample images we shot with the prototype Fuji S1 at PMA, and a lot of questions about how it compares with other cameras. Somewhat at the last minute, just before we left town on Saturday, we managed to gather a fair collection of professional SLRs from Fuji, Nikon, and Kodak, and conducted an on-the-spot, ad hoc shootout, to lay to rest some of the arguments over resolution, interpolation, etc. Cameras we tested included the Fuji S1, Kodak DCS 330, 620, and 660, and the Nikon D1. Even though the test wasn't controlled to the extent we'd like, we think you'll find the results very interesting! Click the link below to read the report and see the results!
Source: Imaging Resource Special Report: Pro SLR Resolution/Noise Test

Monday, February 7, 2000



Kodak announces PalmPix digicam for Palm organizers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 7, 2000 - 13:33 EST)


Kodak PalmPix with 3COM Palm IIIx - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Kodak has today announced a new digital camera add-on for the popular line of Palm handheld organizers. Ready to use with the Palm III, IIIe and IIIx, IBM Workpad, Palm VII platform, and TRGpro, the PalmPix gives full color VGA (640 x 480) pictures, which can be viewed in grayscale on the Palm's LCD display or transferred to a desktop PC via the HotSync cradle. The PalmPix weighs only 1.5 ounces, and features a fixed focus lens, 2x digital zoom and a self timer. Each image stored in the Palm requires about 100K of memory. The unit is powered by two AAA alkaline batteries (included), and is bundled with a quick setup and user guide, PalmPix software, Windows 95, 98 and NT 4.0 Installer, Presto! Mr. Photo for editing, sharing and storing photos and Image Carousel software, a slide show screen saver and wallpaper utility. Custom carrying cases and rechargeable AAA batteries will be sold separately. The PalmPix will go on sale early next quarter for $179...

Fuji S1 sample shots online!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 7, 2000 - 3:32 EST)


Well, this properly should be part of our PMA coverage (and is mentioned there as well), but I thought the occasion merited a separate News-page announcement: We have a couple of sample shots taken with the Fuji S1 online! Check the link below for a mini First Look showing some more product shots of the S1, and several images shot with it!
Source: IR First Look at the S1, with sample images

First images from the Fuji S1 Pro online!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 7, 2000 - 3:30 EST)


To say there's been a lot of interest in Fuji's newly-announced $3995 SLR digicam, the FinePix S1 Pro would be an understatement. We're pleased to be able to bring you the first actual pictures shot with an S1 prototype, which we got our hands on at the PMA show Saturday morning. This was a prototype unit, a stretch to call it even an "alpha" unit (never mind "beta"), and the show lighting had a rather bizarre color balance, as it was apparently derived from some form of arc-lighting. Nonetheless, the shots we took should give some indication of how the final production models will perform. We also have some more-detailed closeups of the camera's operating controls. Very slick unit! (Now I just have to wait for the price to come down under $1,000, so I can afford one, or hope for a pile of money to magically appear on my doorstep before the June/July ship date!)
Source: IR Micro-Review of the Fuji S1!

Coming to a store near you - self ordered digital prints!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 7, 2000 - 1:20 EST)


One thing which we saw several times at the PMA Show in Las Vegas this year was technology which will allow traditional photo outlets and chain stores to accept digital images for printing - with very little effort on their part. Customer-operated stations such as Konica's QD-Mini and Fuji's Aladdin series amongst others promised stores the ability to accept SmartMedia, CompactFlash, MemoryStick and PC Card media with the appropriate adapters, and even to allow the customer to select which prints, their quantities, sizes and more with a minimum of effort - leaving the store only the job of setting the system up in the first place, and handing over the prints.

Fuji were unable to provide details and specifications to us, most likely because the equipment was brand new, so we'll concentrate on Konica's QD-Mini - which was a pretty powerful (and well designed) little unit! We had it demonstrated to us, and whilst it was still very much under development we felt that it should be useable by virtually anybody, regardless of computer literacy...

Konica QD-Mini - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


The QD-Mini is based on a 167MHz CPU (type unknown) with 64MB of RAM and 28MB of ROM, and can accept either a Type-II PC Card, or connect to a customer's camera via serial or USB ports. A second PC Card slot allows the unit to be used completely stand-alone - the store staff put a PC Card in the slot for the customer to copy images to, and then physically carry it to a Konica QD-21 system for automatic printing as per the customer's request. Alternatively (and more likely in most scenarios, we felt), the store can network the QD-Mini and QD-21, allowing the customer's order to be automatically processed without any intervention by store staff.

Konica QD-Mini connectivity options - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


The customer interacts with the QD-21 via a 12.1 inch TFT color LCD display, with a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels and 65,536 colors. The LCD has a resistance film type analog touch panel over it, with a resolution of 1024 x 1024, allowing the customer to simply touch the screen to select options - be it via an on-screen keyboard to type an address or telephone number, or via large, user-friendly buttons to for example select to start a new order.

Once into the system, it can not only let customers select which photos to print, and collect details such as their name, address, and payment method, but also gives customers the chance for some creativity - with different frames for pictures to be printed in, the ability to add captions, and more. One particularly impressive feature allowed customers to identify facial features by clicking on a location in their photo corresponding to the same location in a popup window - for example, the middle of an eyebrow. Once the relatively quick identification has been done, the customer can then alter the shape of the face slightly, and add "makeup" to it - the terminology even matched that of makeup, allowing the customer for example to add rouge or eye shadow. This approach to retouching a photo in a manner that is most likely to be wanted by the average customer gave impressive results, but even more so impressed with its simplicity.

Konica QD-Mini
Click for a bigger picture!


When the customer is done ordering, the system can then confirm the cost of the order (with features such as the makeup section being able to be charged for on top of processing), and when acknowledged by the customer can start the printing process automatically (assuming the QD-Mini and QD-21 are networked). The customer can even browse the Internet from the QD-Mini whilst they wait for their prints to be made, or the system can request an address for mailing the prints to. (We felt that this was another strong feature of the QD-21, as this would allow stores to have ordering stations in every outlet, but only have the expensive hardware for making prints in their larger outlets - orders at smaller outlets could then be mailed on completion...)

All in all, the system was very impressive - as was Fuji's, and the others we saw. It demonstrated to us that digital can be made very useable to the computer illiterate - and whilst we don't think Konica's system had this ability, we noted competing systems even offered users the ability to save their pictures to photo-sharing websites at the same time. This would allow use of flash cards much as we use film now - take photos until we're out of space, then visit the photo store for processing, and use another (digital) film in the meantime. The photo store deals with keeping the (digital) negatives for the customer, and can offer reprints as they're needed in the future. The average non-computer user really could enjoy a digital camera in this manner just as much as a film camera - and get the instant gratification of seeing their pictures on-screen as they're taken that comes with digital too!

Sunday, February 6, 2000



Epson announces new photo printers, lightfast papers and inks!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, February 6, 2000 - 21:36 EST)


We've just posted news and photos from the PMA Show floor of Epson's three new photo printers, with roll paper capability for reduced paper waste and panorama capability, and new inks/papers for greatly improved fade resistance on our PMA Events page. There's also a photo of Epson's chart showing fade performance as compared to Silver Halide, and inks/papers from Canon and HP. Head over to Day Four for the full story!

Epson announces new photo printers, lightfast papers and inks!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, February 6, 2000 - 21:31 EST)


Epson America Inc. announced three new photo printers at the PMA Show in Las Vegas, as well as lightfast inks and papers for use with them. The output we saw from the printers looked very nice; particularly impressive though was Epson's chart showing the results of a simulated 10 years of fading on their new inks and papers, as compared with silver halide prints, and photo paper from HP and Canon:

Epson Print Fade Test - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Bear in mind with the above picture that, being taken in less than ideal conditions, and with a non color-calibrated camera/PC, it is by no means precise - but it does give an idea of what can be expected over a long period... The lightfast Epson ink and glossy paper can only be used on the new Epson printers announced today, we were told, whilst the matte paper can be used in any Epson inkjet. Pricing for the paper is as follows:

Size                 Premium Glossy               Matte Paper
Photo Paper Heavyweight

Letter $16.99 for 20 sheets $14.49 for 50 sheets
11.7" x 16.5" (A3) $44.99 for 20 sheets $36.99 for 50 sheets
11" x 17" (B) $43.99 for 20 sheets N/A
13" x 19" (Super B) $56.99 for 20 sheets $45.99 for 50 sheets
4" Roll $19.95 (50 per roll) N/A
Epson estimates that with both the new inks and paper, an 8" x 10" print will cost about $1.25 and take two minutes to print, whilst an 11" x 14" print will cost about $2.89 and take about four minutes to print. The new printers announced include a basic model, the Stylus Photo 870, a model with a built-in PCMCIA reader, the Stylus Photo 875DC, and a wide-format model, the Stylus Photo 1270.

The new printers all feature what Epson bills as "the world's first continuous edge-to-edge 4`` x 6'' snapshot printing system", which allows the printer to use paper from a roll, and print right the way to the edges, saving on paper waste. Ink that is sprayed off the edges of the paper is caught by two carefully positioned receptacles on either side of the paper. The printers also feature bi-directional printing, offering an increase in print speeds of some 40% over the Stylus Photo 750 and 1200, some 60% faster than the nearest competitor's printer according to Epson. The press release notes that a typical 4" x 6" print can be completed in approximately 48 seconds and an 8" x 10" in 110 seconds... Six ink colors are used with a droplet size of only 4 picoliters, allowing up to 69 levels of tone, which Epson notes is more than twice that of any other inkjet.

Epson Stylus Photo 870 - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


The Epson Stylus Photo 870 is Mac and Windows compatible, with a maximum print size of 8.5" x 44" (print area 8.26" x 43.76"), and USB / parallel / optional network connectivity. It comes with a paper roll holder, a sample roll of Premium Glossy Photo Paper, Epson Software Film Factory and Adobe Photo Deluxe.

Epson Stylus Photo 875DC - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


The Epson Stylus Photo 875DC adds a built-in PCMCIA reader which, with appropriate adapters, is compatible with CompactFlash Type I and II, CompactFlash USB, SmartMedia and Sony Memory Stick. The printer is USB-only, and compatible with both Mac and Windows. When a card is inserted, users can view, edit and print images or use pass-through file transferring to save the images directly to their computers. A CompactFlash Type-II adapter, paper roll holder, roll paper sample, Epson Photo Quicker and Adobe Photo Deluxe software are bundled.

Epson Stylus Photo 1270 - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Finally, the Epson Stylus Photo 1270 adds a wider 13-inch paper carriage, Adobe Photoshop 5.0LE, discounts offering full Photoshop at an upgrade price of $299 and Monaco EZColor 1.5 color management software for $149, and the roll paper holder and sample paper are removed from the bundle. (The roll paper holder is available for the printer for $39).

No availability is quoted for the three printers, however pricing of $299 (Stylus Photo 870), $399 (Stylus Photo 875DC), and $499 (Stylus Photo 1270) is announced in the release. A separate release announces price cuts on the Stylus Color 900 and 900G ($349 and $379 respectively, with $50 mail-in rebates available).

2000 DIMA Digital Printer Shoot-Out winners announced!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, February 6, 2000 - 17:32 EST)


The Digital Printer Shoot-Out winners have been announced at the PMA 2000 Show in Las Vegas. According to the press material, "winners were chosen from 92 prints from 40 companies displayed during the DIMA annual conference in Las Vegas, NV. Entries ... were produced from files created by The Color Place Inc., Dallas, TX. Participants were asked to provide specification information pertaining to the equipment used (printer, RIP and color management); the consumables used (output media and ink/toner/dye); and the production timing. The entries were voted upon by DIMA voting members at the DIMA Annual Conference, based on criteria that included quality, production and price."

The winners are:

Photo Print

Wide Format (50" wide or more)
LightJet 5900 Wide Format Photo Printer
Cymbolic Sciences
Bellingham, WA


Wide Format (50" wide or more)
Kodak Digital III Photo Paper
Eastman Kodak Co.
Rochester, NY


Wide Format (11" to 49" wide)
LightJet 5500 Wide Format Photo Printer
Cymbolic Sciences
Bellingham, WA


Wide Format (11" to 49" wide)
Kodak Digital III Photo Paper
Eastman Kodak Co.
Rochester, NY


Small Format (8 1/2" x 11" or less)
Fuji Pictrography 3000
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc.
Elmsford, NY


Small Format (8 1/2" x 11" or less)
Graphx RasterPlus Windows Edition
Graphx Inc.
Woburn, MA


Inkjet

Wide Format (50" wide or more)
ColorSpan DisplayMaker Series XII/72
ColorSpan Corporation
Eden Prairie, MN


Wide Format (50" wide or more)
ColorSpan RIPStation 400
ColorSpan ColorMark Color Management
ColorSpan ColorMark Satin Photobase Paper
ColorSpan EnduraChrome Ink
ColorSpan Corporation
Eden Prairie, MN


Wide Format (36" to 49" wide)
ColorSpan DisplayMaker Series XII/52
ColorSpan Corporation
Eden Prairie, MN


Wide Format (36" to 49" wide)
ColorSpan RIPStation 400
ColorSpan ColorMark Color Management
ColorSpan ColorMark Glossy Photobase Paper
ColorSpan EnduraChrome Ink
ColorSpan Corporation
Eden Prairie, MN


Medium Format (11" to 35" wide)
ColorSpan Giclee PrintMakerFA
ColorSpan Corporation
Eden Prairie, MN


Medium Format (11" to 35" wide)
ColorSpan ColorMark Pro 4000
ColorSpan ColorMark Color Management
ColorSPan ColorMark Glossy Photobase Paper
ColorSpan EnduraChrome Ink
ColorSpan Corporation
Eden Prairie, MN


Small Format (11" x 17")
Epson Stylus Photo 1270
Epson America Inc.
Long Beach, CA


Small Format (11" x 17")
Epson AcuPhoto Halftoning System
Epson Premium Glossy Lightfast Photo Paper
Epson Photographic 6-color inks
Epson America Inc.
Long Beach, CA


Small Format (8.5" x 11")
Epson Stylus Photo 870
Epson America Inc.
Long Beach, CA


Small Format (8.5" x 11")
Epson AcuPhoto Halftoning System
Epson Premium Glossy Lightfast Photo Paper
Epson Photographic 6-color inks
Epson America Inc.
Long Beach, CA


Small Format (8.5" x 11")
Tetenal Spectrajet Duo Print Paper
Tetenal Vertriebsgesellschaft MBH
Germany


Electrostatic

Wide Format
3M SP2000
3M Commercial Graphics
St. Paul, MN


Wide Format
3M Cactus Graphic Print RIP
3M Cactus Color Calibration
3M Display Paper 150 8615
3M ScotchPrint Toners
3M Commercial Graphics
St. Paul, MN


Dye Sublimation

Small Format
Sony UP-D70AP
Sony Electronics Inc.
Park Ridge, NJ


Small Format
Sony Dye Sub Paper and Dyes
Sony Electronics Inc.
Park Ridge, NJ


2000 DIMA Innovative Digital Product awards announced!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, February 6, 2000 - 17:06 EST)


The Innovative Product Awards have been announced at the PMA 2000 Show in Las Vegas. According to the press material, "An Innovative Digital Product of PMA 2000 is determined by the judges to utilize new technologies and/or applications in such a way as to make the product either unique or the first of its kind. The products are of high quality, and show themselves to be an influence on the future of digital imaging."

The winners are:

Canon PowerShot S20
Canon U.S.A. Inc., Lake Success, N.Y.

Fujifilm S1 Pro
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc., Elmsford, N.Y.

Kodak Preview Camera
Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, N.Y.

Orbiculight
Astron Systems

Smartlens
SmARTlens Corp., Palm Harbor, FL

Sony Cybershot Digicam
Sony Electronics Inc., Park Ridge, NJ

Back from PMA, more news to come!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, February 6, 2000 - 15:54 EST)


Mike's back from PMA now, after a hectic final day of running from booth to booth, trying to get hold of the last product information and photos we needed before rushing off to the airport... Time didn't allow us to post anything yesterday, but there's still plenty more to come as we sort through all the information we have on hand! Look out for updates later today and tomorrow, as we tell you about some more interesting new products, and start to look back at what has been a very busy (and exciting) PMA 2000!

Friday, February 4, 2000



2000 DIMA Digital Camera Shoot-Out winners announced!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 4, 2000 - 23:17 EST)


The winners of the fourth annual DIMA Digital Camera Shoot-Out have today been announced at the PMA Show in Las Vegas. They include:

Point and Shoot Categories and Winners:

- Below $300
Kodak DC215
Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y.

- $300 to $599
Fuji Photo Film MX-1700 Zoom
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc., Elmsford, N.Y.

- $600 to $899
Toshiba PDR-M5
Toshiba America, Irvine, CA

- $900 and above
Olympuc C-2500L-SLR
Olympus America Inc., Melville, N.Y.

Professional Photographic Categories and Winners

- $5000 and below
Fuji FinePix S1 Pro
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc., Elmsford, N.Y.

- More than $5000
Phase One Light Phase
Phase One, Northport, N.Y.

Commercial Studio Quality Winner

- Strobe-Based Capture
Phase One Power Phase
Phase One, Northport, N.Y.

- Scanning Capture
Better Light Super 6K
Better Light Inc., San Carlos, CA
The entries were voted on by PMA Voting Members at the PMA 2000 Show, based on criteria that included image/print quality, production and price. Voters were not told what the cameras were, however... Images from the Point and Shoot cameras were output through a PC or iMac running Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe PhotoDeluxe, and printed on the Epson Stylus Photo 870 inkjet printer using Epson photo-gloss paper. The Professional Photographic images were output through a PC or Macintosh running Adobe PhotoShop and printed in RGB on a Fuji Pictrography 4000. Finally, the strobe-based Commercial Studio camera images were output through a Macintosh running Adobe PhotoShop and printed on a Kodak DCP9300 CMYK proofer printer and Kodak 8660 RGB printer.

Leica announces Digilux Zoom!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 4, 2000 - 23:05 EST)


Leica Digilux Zoom - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Leica Camera Inc. has announced at the PMA Show in Las Vegas its new Digilux Zoom digital camera. Following on from Leica's tradition of rebadging Fuji's impressive camera line, the Digilux Zoom looks to be a rebadged MX-1700 (1/2 inch 1.5 megapixel CCD, 3x optical zoom equivalent to 38-114mm). The camera will ship in the USA in November at a price of $599...

JVC delays release of QC-GX3!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 4, 2000 - 22:13 EST)


In speaking to booth staff at JVC, during our last full day at the PMA show (we'll be here tomorrow morning, then flying back home to write up our final thoughts, as well as covering the next wave of press releases which we expect to follow the show), we found out that they've delayed the release of their QC-GX3 digital camera. We were initially told that the QC-GX3, which we gave full details and several pictures of in our PMA Day Two coverage, would ship at the end of February. We felt at the time that this was a surprisingly quick turnaround, considering that many functions of the display cameras were not yet completed - and booth staff confirm that the decision was made today to officially delay the release to mid-March... We look forward to seeing this camera then!

Friday Headlines at PMA
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 4, 2000 - 17:58 EST)


Online printing made some news today. We're also providing a link to the recent Kodak/Adobe announcement on the same subject.

More EOS digital SLR pictures!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 4, 2000 - 15:17 EST)


You asked for it in the news forums, and here it is - more pictures of Canon's upcoming EOS digital SLR! First off, two side views as requested by an anonymous reader:

Canon EOS Digital SLR Left View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Canon EOS Digital SLR Right View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Next up, a picture which answers the storage question at least partially (note the card door says "CF Open" - so the new camera looks like it will use either Type-I or Type-II CF; at this stage we can't tell which):

Canon EOS Digital SLR Card Door - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Next up, a close-up of the controls and top LCD display (we tried our absolute hardest to find an angle which showed any hint of text in the LCD, but couldn't - either it is too difficult, or the mockup isn't using a real LCD display):

Canon EOS Digital SLR Controls - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


And finally, a picture which tells us that somebody, somewhere at Canon knows what this camera will be called already (note the piece of black tape covering the model number/name) - this picture also shows off the mode dial rather well...

Canon EOS Digital SLR Left View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Server problems slowing us down!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 4, 2000 - 14:43 EST)


We're having server problems this morning which are unfortunately bringing increased load times on our pages, and slowing things down for you, the reader. The cause? It seems that our traffic is way above its previous levels, thanks largely to our exclusive PMA coverage and photos... Never fear, though - our ISP is aware of the problems, and is working on getting everything back to full speed as soon as possible! In the meantime, thanks for enjoying our coverage, and don't worry - the server may slow down now and then, but we'll keep on finding all the PMA news for you at full speed!

WOW - lots of news!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 4, 2000 - 2:33 EST)


Over on the PMA events page, the news is literally flooding in! We've got four new digital cameras from Samsung, the full details on JVC's QC-GX3, new digital cameras from HP and Pentax including an SLR, press releases aplenty, and still more to come tonight before Mike gets to sleep! We're only updating the news page to point you to the PMA Events page from time to time, so be sure to check the Events page now and again if you want to be up to date on PMA 2000!

Samsung announces 4 new digital cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 4, 2000 - 1:58 EST)


Korean manufacturer (and interestingly, the world's 11th largest company) Samsung Co. Ltd. has announced through its US subsidiary 4 new digital cameras at the PMA show. All four of the cameras, announced today by Samsung Opto-Electronics America Inc., feature the unusual ability to be connected to a PC, and used as a tethered camera for video conferencing, webcams, etc. Two of the cameras (the CyberMax 35 and CyberMax 35 MP3) are 640 x 480 entry-level units, one of which has the equally unusual ability to store and play back MP3 audio files! The other two are a 1.3 megapixel 3x zoom unit, the Digimax 130Z, and a 2.1 megapixel 3x optical zoom camera with a Schneider-Kreuznach lens, the Digimax 210SE. Here's the specs and our exclusive photos of all of them!

Samsung CyberMax 35 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Samsung CyberMax 35 Back View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


 - Samsung CyberMax 35
- VGA resolution, 640 x 480
- Optical viewfinder
- CompactFlash storage, 2MB bundled
- Videoconferencing ability when tethered to a PC
- RS232C and USB connectivity
- PC and Mac compatible
- Available in iMac-esque blue and orange, more colors
- Suggested retail price of $199.99
- Available "Spring 2000" (booth staff told us April)


Samsung CyberMax 35 MP3 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Samsung CyberMax 35 MP3 Back View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


 - Samsung CyberMax 35 MP3
- All the features of the CyberMax 35, plus MP3 audio
playback capability
- Suggested price of $289.99


Samsung Digimax 130Z Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Samsung Digimax 130Z Back View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


 - Samsung Digimax 130Z
- 1.3 megapixel resolution, 1280 x 960 pixel image size
- 3x optical zoom (38-115mm equivalent); 2x digital zoom
- Optical viewfinder and 1.8" TFT LCD viewfinder
- CompactFlash storage (8MB card bundled)
- NTSC and PAL video out, RS-232C and USB connectivity
- Videoconferencing ability when tethered to a PC
- PC and Mac compatible
are planned
- Suggested retail price of $599.99
- Available "Late Spring 2000" (booth staff told us June
or July)


Samsung Digimax 210SE Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Samsung Digimax 210SE Back View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


 - Samsung Digimax 210SE
- 2.1 megapixel resolution, 1600 x 1200 pixel file size
- 3x optical zoom lens with Schneider-Kreuznach optics,
38-115mm equivalent; 2x digital zoom
- Optical viewfinder and 1.8" TFT LCD viewfinder
- CompactFlash memory (8MB bundled)
- Video Out (NTSC/PAL), RS-232 and USB connectivity
- PC and Mac compatible
- Suggested retail price of $1019.99
- Available "Late Spring 2000" (booth staff told us June
or July)


More on the JVC QC-GX3!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, February 4, 2000 - 0:04 EST)


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Thursday, February 3, 2000



More on the new HP/Pentax cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 22:58 EST)


Hewlett-Packard C912 Top View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Hewlett-Packard C618 Top View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

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

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

Here's the pictures:

HP PhotoSmart C912 / Pentax EI-2000

Hewlett-Packard C912 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Pentax EI-2000 - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


HP PhotoSmart C618 / Pentax EI-200

Hewlett-Packard C618 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Pentax EI-200 - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Late-Breaking News Highlights from PMA
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 21:51 EST)


Among the late breaking stories at PMA today:

PMA Thursday Mid-Day News Highlights
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 18:04 EST)


Among the stories breaking at mid-day in Las Vegas today:

Canon preparing EOS digital SLR!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 15:05 EST)


We've just published news of Canon's proposed EOS based digital SLR in our PMA Event page! Head on over there for our exclusive - the first photos you'll see anywhere on the web!

Canon preparing EOS digital SLR!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 15:03 EST)


Canon's proposed EOS digital SLR - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

Canon's proposed EOS digital SLR (top view) - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Canon's proposed EOS digital SLR (front view) - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Canon has released the following information on the camera at this stage:

Canon Overview of Product under Development

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


PMA Thursday Morning News Highlights
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 12:34 EST)


Among this morning's newsworthy items:

Digital Focus report posted, new digicams found!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 5:07 EST)


Mike and Dave attended the Digital Focus event tonight, and have now posted a report on what we saw... Amongst the exhibitors, we found new digital cameras from Toshiba and Minolta, and plenty of other just-announced digicams preparing to do battle on the store shelves in the next few months... Find out exactly what we saw in our PMA Event page!

The Digital Focus report!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 4:54 EST)


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

Canon

Canon PowerShot S20 - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

Casio
Casio QV-3000EX Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Casio QV-3000EX Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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


Fuji

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


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


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

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


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


Fuji S1 Pro SLR and Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom side by side - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

Minolta

Minolta Dimage 2300 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Minolta Dimage 2300 Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


A pair of Dimage 2300s - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

Nikon

Nikon Coolpix 990 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Nikon Coolpix 990 Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Nikon Coolpix 990 un-swivelled - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

Olympus

Olympus C-3030 Zoom Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Olympus C-3030 Zoom Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

Toshiba

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


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

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

Toshiba announces PDR-M60 and PDR-M70 digital cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 3:52 EST)


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

Toshiba PDR-M60 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Toshiba PDR-M60 Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

Toshiba PDR-M70 Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


Toshiba PDR-M70 Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


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

Day One News Highlights
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 0:00 EST)


Highlights of today's PMA 2000 news stories include:

Wednesday, February 2, 2000



New Sony and Olympus cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 2, 2000 - 19:14 EST)


We have news of two new digital cameras, a new photo printer and new manganese batteries from Olympus, as well as three (possibly four!) new digital cameras from Sony in our PMA report for today... If you're not checking our PMA report page, you're missing out - head on over there now, and stay tuned for news from the Digital Focus event at PMA this evening!

Sony to announce Mavica MVC-FD95?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 2, 2000 - 19:12 EST)


We received the following email from Danny Brenner over at the Digital Photography World website:

"I have just posted a single photo of the to be announced new Sony Mavica FD95. It's on the opening page of my web site and I have no further details.
--
Thank you,
Danny Brenner - Editor
Digital Photography World
http://www.brenner.co.il"

Thanks for the note and a very interesting photo, Danny!

Sony announces three new CyberShot cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 2, 2000 - 19:08 EST)


Sony Japan has today announced three new CyberShot series digital cameras, according to the folks over at Steve's Digicams and the Digital Photography Review! (Sorry we took a while picking this story up, Mike has literally just walked into the hotel in Las Vegas, on three hours sleep!)

The new cameras are the CyberShot DSC-S30 (1/2.7" 1.6 megapixel), DSC-S50 (1/2.7" 2.1 megapixel) and DSC-S70 (1/1.8" 3.3 megapixel)... All three cameras feature the following:

 - 3x optical (34-102mm F2.0-2.5 equiv. on -S70,
39-117mm F2.8-2.9 equiv. on -S30 and -S50) / 6x digital
zoom lens (uses "newly developed interpolating
technology" for smoother, more natural image; 37mm lens
thread on -S30 and -S50, 52mm lens thread on -S70
- Built-in intelligent flash
- MemoryStick storage
- USB connectivity
- InfoLithium long life batteries
- 12 bit Analog-Digital conversion for increased dynamic
range
- TIFF mode for non-compressed images
- Selectable 4:3 or 3:2 image ratio
- In-camera zoom/trim and resizing allows images to be
cropped, blown up, and reduced to a smaller resolution
without the need for a PC
- Auto-orientation - camera knows when pictures are taken
in landscape or portrait mode, and plays them back
accordingly
In addition, the DSC-S50 and -S70 add an MPEG movie mode with up to 60 second movies, and the DSC-S70 adds Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar optics, an optical viewfinder, a programmable AE mode with adjustable shutter speed and aperture priority, MPEG High Quality Mode, which gives full frame playback on a standard TV and an increased frame rate of 16 fps, and a flash terminal for the optional HVL-F1000 flash which will be available in April for $120. It appears that pricing/availability in Japan is as follows:

 - DSC-S30: ¥63,000 (US$582), available 04/25/00
- DSC-S50: ¥88,000 (US$813), available 04/15/00
- DSC-S70; ¥113,000 (US$1044), available 03/25/00
For the full specifications of the three cameras, check out Phil Askey's Digital Photography Review coverage...

February Issue of megapixel.net Published
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 2, 2000 - 19:07 EST)


The February 2000 issue of megapixel.net is now available at http://www.megapixel.net/html/issueindex.html.

Reviewed this month:

  • Casio QV-8000SX (super 8X zoom, good photos)
  • FujiFilm MX-1200 (inexpensive, good beginner camera)
  • Olympus D-450Z (new LCD screen, TIFF format)
  • Sony Mavica MVC-FD83 (easy use, surprisingly good photos)

Articles this month:

  • Paul Sullivan looks at some of the arguments made by detractors of consumer digital cameras.
  • LCD screens: Learn how to use them and when not to trust them
  • Exposure Compensation: what it is and what it does.
  • The name of the lucky winner of the SanDisk-megapixel.net contest: a 40MB CompactFlash card this month!



Galbraith CompactFlash Report Released
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 2, 2000 - 12:08 EST)


Rob Galbraith has posted "Selecting a CompactFlash Card for a Professional Digital Camera" at http://www.robgalbraith.com/card_report_2000/. The report describes storage card options that meet the needs of pros, with an emphasis on the options best suited to the needs of news photographers.

Olympus announces two new digicams, printer and batteries!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 2, 2000 - 10:24 EST)


Olympus America Inc. has today announced four new products in several press releases, including two new digital cameras! These are the Olympus D-360L digital camera, a 1.3 megapixel unit based on the existing D-340R, and the D-460 Zoom, also 1.3 megapixel and based on the existing D-450 Zoom...

Here's the full specs for both:

Olympus D-460 Zoom - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


 - Olympus D-460 Zoom digital camera
- Based on the Olympus D-450 Zoom
- 1.3 megapixel CCD (up to 1280 x 960 pixel image size);
image compression options expanded since its
predecessor. 1280 x 960 TIFF, Low compression or
Standard compression JPEG; 640 x 480 Low compression
or Standard compression JPEG
- 3x optical aspheric zoom lens, all-glass, 8 elements,
F2.8; macro focusing down to eight inches; 2x digital
zoom
- Built-in 1.8-inch LCD display, improved since its
predecessor with increased viewing angle and better
visibility in bright light
- SmartMedia storage (compatible with up to 32MB cards)
- 5 mode pop-up intelligent flash (red-eye reduction,
force-fill flash, automatic low-light and back-light
mode, flash-off and slow-sync)
- Serial and Video out connectivity
- ISO 100, 200 and 400 ratings
- 2 frames per second burst mode for up to 10 images in
all quality modes
- TTL focusing system
- Auto white balance with 4 preset manual settings
- Center weighted, Digital ESP matrix metering and spot
metering with +/- 2EV exposure compensation in 1/2EV
steps
- Improved menus and function button as compared to its
predecessor
- 3x playback zoom feature and 16-thumbnail playback
mode
- DPOF compliant
- Ability to display file names on the LCD screen
- Direct printing to the Olympus P-330 Photo Printer
- Two new long-lasting Olympus-branded long life CR-3V
Lithium batteries, 8MB SmartMedia card, hand strap,
Mac/PC serial cable, video cable, Adobe PhotoDeluxe,
Enroute QuickStitch, Olympus Camedia Master Utility
and instruction manuals bundled
- Available this month at a price of $499
Olympus D-360L - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!


 - Olympus D-360L digital camera
- Based on the Olympus D-340R
- 1.3 megapixel CCD (up to 1280 x 960 pixel image size);
1280 x 960 TIFF, Low compression or Standard
compression JPEG; 640 x 480 Low compression or Standard
compression JPEG
- 5-element all glass coated aspheric 5.5mm F2.8 lens
(equivalent to 36mm on a 35mm camera); 2x digital zoom
- Built-in 1.8 inch LCD display
- SmartMedia storage (compatible with up to 64MB cards)
- 6-mode flash with Auto, Auto-S (red eye reduction),
Off, Fill-in, Slow syncro, and Slow syncro with
red-eye reduction modes
- Serial (PC/Mac compatible) and Video out connectivity
- ISO Automatic, 100, 200 and 400 ratings
- 2 frames per second burst mode for up to 10 images
- Auto white balance with 4 preset manual settings
- Digital ESP matrix metering and spot metering with
+/- 2EV exposure compensation in 1/2EV steps
- Playback mode features 1 or 9 thumbnail viewing
- Direct printing to the Olympus P-330 Photo Printer
- DCF file number memory and photos reset options and
DPOF printer compliant
- 8MB SmartMedia card, 4 AA Alkaline batteries, strap,
serial cable for PC, coupon for free Mac cable, video
connection cable, instruction manuals, and Olympus
Camedia Utility Software bundled with camera
- Available this month at a price of $299
Also announced was a new photo printer, the P-330N:

 - Olympus P-330N Photo Printer
- Dye sublimation type, 306 dpi resolution at 16.7
million colors
- Support for JPEG files up to 10MB and TIFF files up to
20MB
- DPOF compliant, capable of print queuing, selection of
the number of prints and specific images, rotation and
trimming directly from the camera. Lamination, mirror
output for t-shirt and gifts, multi-image output on 4,
9 and 16-cut sheet, sharpness adjustment, and indexing
are also available.
- Reads SmartMedia cards with built-in SmartMedia slot
- Video In/Out connectivity allows display of images on
a TV, or frame grabbing from any VHS/DVD signal
- Parallel connectivity for attaching to a PC, serial
connectivity for a Mac
- Acts as a PC SmartMedia reader via the parallel port
- Prints 1, 4, 9 or 16 photos per 4" x 5.5" sheet in
either three pass (faster/cheaper) or four pass (adds
UV coat to lengthen image life) depending on ribbon
cartridge.
- 2 minutes per page in 24-bit color depth with 16.7
million true colors
- P-330N including the printer, photo paper and
cartridge pack will cost $449; release date has not
yet been announced
Finally, Olympus today announced its new CR-3V Manganese Dioxide Lithium batteries, which are compatible with two AA dry-cell batteries. Battery life of 2.75 times Lithium AA batteries, and 30 times that of Alkalines can be expected, and the batteries can be stored up to 5 years... Compatible with the C-460 Zoom and C-3030 Zoom, the CR-3V batteries are available immediately and have a suggested price of $9.95 each.

Mike and Dave off to PMA!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, February 2, 2000 - 8:18 EST)


Mike T. and Dave are flying off to PMA almost as we speak - ready to cover the show and spend a few days seeing all the newest "toys"! Look out for our reports, and in the meantime, if you have any urgent emails, please send them to hotnews@imaging-resource.com (which is being monitored in the meantime by newsletter editor Mike P.) - he'll be in contact with us throughout the show, and can pass any urgent messages along. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 1, 2000



Full review of Olympus C-2020 Zoom posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 21:54 EST)


Yeesh, what a day! As if the general get-ready for PMA wasn't enough, we've been working to significantly clear the decks of backlogged reviews. (There's going to be a whole mess of new cameras coming over the next couple of months!) I just posted our review (our third today) of Olympus' C-2020 Zoom, an update to their earlier C-2000 model. I have to say that Olympus really seems to have done everything right on this one (just wish the battery cover were a little easier to work). They've obviously listened to their customers and added a lot of nice touches to the new model. The (easy to mistake for the shutter button) pushbutton power switch is gone, replaced by power on/off via the mode dial. They've added a full manual exposure mode (hurray), and a very slick manual focus mode that not only gives you continuous distance feedback in either feet or meters, but has a surprisingly useful zoomed-viewfinder focusing aid that actually works. Oh - They've added a Quicktime movie mode too. Overall, an very well thought-out update to what was already an excellent camera. Check it out!
Source: IR Review of Olympus C-2020 Zoom

Full review of Casio QV-8000SX posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 18:49 EST)


Here's the second of what will hopefully be three(!) review posts today, as we (finally) clear some of our backlog. The QV-8000SX is a 1.3 megapixel unit that Casio calls a "Feature Rich" digital camera. Well, "feature rich" is certainly an accurate description: This thing has more modes and features than you can shake the proverbial stick at, and has the most amazing low light performance we've seen yet! (With 64 second exposures that actually work, producing usable images!) Lots of other goodies, including the much-sought-after full manual exposure mode, and decent color to boot. Check it out!
Source: IR review of Casio QV-8000SX

Advanced Lumitech to show Luminescent Photo Paper!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 18:15 EST)


A press release from Swiss company Advanced Lumitech Inc. today announces that it will be showing its Luminescent Printeable Photo Paper at the PMA show. Sold under the name "Brightec", this intriguing sounding paper was "developed and patented as an exclusive process to create luminescent color pictures of photographic quality which can be applied to a variety of substrates in numerous applications"... This one, I have to see! :)
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

MicroTek announces ScanMaker 3600!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 18:11 EST)


A press release from Microtek Lab Inc. today announces the release of its new ScanMaker 3600 scanner. The 3600, which is available immediately at a price of $99, features an optical resolution of 600 x 1200 dpi, USB connectivity, and features Microtek's "Dual Optimization Technology", which "twice optimizes the 42 bits of color data delivering 36 bits, or 68.7 billion colors, to Ulead's PhotoImpact image editing application". The scanner comes with Microtek's new ScanWizard 5 TWAIN driver, as well as Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Ulead PhotoImpact image editing software, CaereOmniPage Limited Edition OCR software, and Trellix WEB web-page creation software.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

PictureVision and NDS bring photo sharing to the TV!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 17:41 EST)


A press release today from Kodak subsidiary PictureVision Inc. and NDS Group plc announces that the two companies have entered into an agreement to jointly develop and market new applications that combine TV, digital photography and the Internet. NDS Interactive Photo Applications will allow consumers to view, use, share, and order reprints of pictures from digital cameras and those stored on the Internet, from their living rooms via digital TV. NDS will develop and deploy the applications, and share the revenues from reprinting with PictureVision. The applications will be available to consumers via their cable and satellite television operators. NDS and PictureVision intends to make the applications from the second half of 2000...
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Wolf Camera adopts PrintStation for Kodak PhotoNet Online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 15:55 EST)


Atlanta-based photo retail chain Wolf Camera, which operates more than 700 stores in 30 states nationwide, has announced in a press release today that it is adopting the PrintStation for Kodak PhotoNet Online package, developed by MGI and PictureVision. PrintStation allows users to organise their digital images into a print order offline, and then "check out" so that their photos are uploaded for printing. If the process is interrupted, it will automatically re-establish itself. Alternatively, the photos can be uploaded to the Kodak PhotoNet website, and prints ordered via Wolf from there... The application is available now for download at www.wolfcamera.com.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Digital Intelligence changes name, receives funding!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 15:38 EST)


It must be the day to change your company name today; following on from Seattle FilmWorks changing their name to PhotoWorks, the very next press release we read finds Digital Intelligence, creator of the PictureIQ technology which brings PhotoShop imaging to consumer electronics, doing exactly the same thing! Effective immediately, Digital Intelligence is now PictureIQ Corp., reflecting the name of its flagship technology, which has been licensed to Sega, Lexmark, Sony and Corbis. The company will be present at PMA, where it will be demonstrating PictureIQ on the Sega Dreamcast games console.

A second press release announces that the company has secured $16 million in funding from Digital Partners, LLC, Hikari Tsushin, Inc., InfoSpace.com, Inc., Intel Capital, Intel Corporation's strategic investment program, and Naveen Jain, founder and CEO of InfoSpace.com.

Seattle Filmworks changes name, embraces digital!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 15:18 EST)


A press release from Seattle FilmWorks today announces that the company is changing its name to PhotoWorks, Inc., effective immediately. The company will retains its existing Nasdaq NM symbol, FOTO. At the same time, PhotoWorks has announced its initial launch of the PhotoWorks Uploader service for digital cameras, which allows users to extract images from their cameras and upload them to their password-protected PhotoWorks archive, where they will remain for as long as the user is an active PhotoWorks customer.

The press release also announces that a $15 million investment will come to PhotoWorks from Orca Bay Partners and Madrona Venture Group, which will be used to to expand the Company's marketing presence, enhance its branding campaign, leverage its Internet presence through additional strategic alliances and add senior management resources. PhotoWorks will host a reception February 02 for all Photo Marketing Association Conference attendees to showcase the Company's expanded digital services...
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

PhotoAccess.com offers a million free prints per member!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 15:02 EST)


Online photosharing website PhotoAccess.com has today announced a new promotion which promises up to a million free prints per member - with a few twists. What they're offering is in fact 50 free 4 x 6" prints for the new PhotoAccess.com member who signs up by April 30, 2000, and another 1000 4 x 6" prints of the members images per guest (in the USA) that views their pictures - up to a maximum of one million prints... This still sounds like a great way to get some free prints of your favorite images, and let your family and friends all get up to date on your photos with free prints as well, though! A further rule is that for guest orders, only 100 prints are allowed per order, and each print has to be of a different image; a maximum of 10 orders per guest are allowed, and both guests and members must pay $1.50 for shipping on their free prints...
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

HP re-enters Mac scanner market!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 14:33 EST)


Hewlett Packard Co. has today announced its re-entry to the Macintosh scanner market, with its new HP ScanJet 5300C scanner. The 5300 will be compatible with all Mac systems featuring the PowerPC processor, USB ports, and Mac OS 8.5 and higher; no availability information is provided, but it should cost approximately $299 (street price) on release. The unit is quoted as having an optical resolution of 1200dpi, although it is not noted if this is the sensor resolution, or the stepper resolution. At the time of this writing, no information on the scanner was available on HP's website to confirm this. The unit ships with HP PrecisionScan Pro 1.0 for Macintosh, HP ScanJet Copy Utility, Adobe PhotoDeluxe 2.0 and ReadIris 4.11 OCR software, and features one-touch scanning. The PrecisionScan Pro software automatically optimizes scanned photos, and can be overridden should the user want to use their own settings. A 35mm slide adapter is available is an optional accessory, and a future version of the driver will also allow use of an optional 25-page automatic document feeder and an optional 5-inch x 5-inch transparency adapter later this spring. No price for these options is quoted.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

Full review of Ricoh RDC-5300 posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 13:54 EST)


This is hopefully the first of several review posts today, as we (finally) clear some of our backlog. The RDC-5300 is an updated version of Ricoh's earlier RDC-5000. Additions include a longer-ratio zoom lens (full 3x now), external flash sync connector, more sculpted body for a more secure grip, improved image quality, and a number of interface updates. Overall, we found the RDC-5300 to be a competent performer, offering a strong feature set (2.3 megapixel CCD, 3x optical zoom, external flash option) at an attractive price ($699 from Ricoh Direct.) Check it out!
Source: Ricoh RDC-5300 review

IR PMA coverage pages now up!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 13:46 EST)


Unique among the English-language digicam sites, we'll be having "live" reports from the PMA show floor this year! Mike Tomkins and I will be roaming the show, while Mike Pasini (newsletter editor) will be manning the battle stations back at base camp, to update, edit, and format our posts. Look for several posts per day, lots of pictures of the new products, etc, etc. The link below will take you directly to the index page for our coverage, from which you'll be able to link-off to the daily reports, etc. We have all the pre-PMA announcements we've covered thus far on the "Buildup" page, and will have ongoing reports as we see things on the floor. We'll be adding press release info as it appears, and will have the first on-the-scene items beginning sometime Wednesday night (late), or Thurday morning, after the Digital Focus event. Stay tuned, this is going to be by far the biggest digital photography event this year, and we'll have more coverage than anyone on it! Mike and I will hopefully be posting from the floor (assuming the PMA organization provides reasonable web access to the press), and Mike P. will be formatting our pictures and merging them into the stories as we go - Check back frequently, as the general drill will be for the text to appear first, followed shortly by the pictures. LOTS of cool stuff this year, and there are at least two major announcements still to be made!
Source: Imaging Resource PMA coverage index

Casio MicroDrive bundle available for ordering
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 13:34 EST)


Thanks to a number of emails from our alert readers, Casio has now fixed their web listing for the QV-2000/340 MB MicroDrive bundle, offered for $799 on their web site. (We earlier noted that this amounts to buying a MicroDrive and getting a 2 MP camera for only $350!)
Source: Casio QV-2000 bundle ordering page

IPIX previews Interactive 360-degree movies!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 0:05 EST)


A press release we missed a few days ago from Oak Ridge, TN based Interactive Pictures Corp. announces that it has previewed its iPIX Movies product at the Sundance Film Festival. iPIX Movies capture something similar to a full 360-degree panoramic image, with a twist - it also captures full motion, giving you a movie in which you can scroll around, and choose your own view point. IPIX bills iPIX Movies as "the only film or digital video capture system of its kind, allowing producers to capture and display in real-time or recorded playback"; presumably they've not heard of iMove's SVS-1000 Spherical Video System, which Dave saw (and was much impressed by) at PMA last year... Not that it takes anything away from IPIX - 360 degree immersive video sounds pretty impressive whomever is behind it!
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

 



 

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

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