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Wednesday, March 31, 1999
March 31 - Sharp develops new LCD display, and lots more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, March 31, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Sharp develops reflective/penetrative LCD display! Sharp Ltd. has developed a new type of TFT liquid crystal display, according to the PC Watch website. The new panels are able to operate as standard TFT LCD displays (illumination provided by a backlighting device) or as an HR-TFT display (reflected external light used for illumination), depending on the circumstances. The display is available in two or seven-inch sizes, the two-inch units being ideal for digital cameras, however there is a tradeoff to be made for this ability. In transparent (backlight) mode, the display has a contrast ration of 100:1 or more, and can be viewed from an angle of 80 degrees in all directions. When in the more efficient reflective mode, the contrast is reduced to 5:1, and the viewing angle reduces to 70 degrees (horizontal) and 80 degrees (vertical). The two-inch display has a resolution of 560 x 220 pixels
(123,200 pixels), whilst the 7-inch display has a resolution of 480 x 234 pixels (112,320 pixels). What is particularly impressive with these units is the potential power savings they offer - a 2-inch screen is reduced from its normal 0.98 watts to 0.08 watts in reflective mode, and a 7-inch screen is reduced from 5.45 watts to 0.45 watts in reflective mode. Two-inch samples are available now at a price of 9,000 yen, and full production will commence in April.
- Polaroid and Wal-Mart cooperate! Polaroid Corporation has announced a traveling road show created in cooperation with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., showcasing their PhotoMAX products. The road-show consists of a 25-foot van containing four demonstration stations. Each station consists of a computer and PhotoMAX camera, PhotoMAX software allowing users to edit their sample images, and PhotoMAX photo printer to print the results. Outside the van, an awning and stage are staffed by two digital imaging experts, and a 15-foot inflatable mascot ("MAX The Bird", Polaroid's logo for its PhotoMAX line) floats over the van. The van will visit over 250 of Wal-Mart's almost 3000 stores through the end of the year.
- Online greetings get an extra touch! Photodex Corporation, maker of imaging and media applications sold by the likes of Broderbund, Maxis and IBM, has announced an agreement with online greeting card company Digital Greetings, to provide a more personalised version of the common web-based greetings cards. Users will be able to put their own digital images into greetings cards, and then crop, rotate, enlarge, reduce, correct color, remove redeye, add captions and speech bubbles, and frame the pictures in soft-focus vignettes. The card can then be delivered online, all through Digital Greetings' proprietary version of the CompuPic Digital Content Manager, which can be downloaded from Digital Greetings' website.
- PictureWorks releases MediaCenter! PictureWorks Technology, Inc. has announced today availability of its new MediaCenter application, free software which integrates with Internet Explorer to allow users to acquire content from or publish it to the World Wide Web. MediaCenter 1.0 allows users to acquire images from any source, with batch-download capabilities, organise these pictures into galleries with thumbnails, perform image editing such as crop and rotate, and more... The software can be downloaded from PictureWorks' website.
- PowerShot Pro in Hong Kong! Phil Askey spent last weekend in Hong Kong, and has posted a new gallery of PowerShot Pro images from his trip on his photo.askey.net website. Oh, how I envy him - it's been too long since I was last in Hong Kong, but the pictures were a welcome reminder of my old home... If you're considering the PowerShot Pro, they're a good example of what the camera can do, and even if you're not then they're still some very pretty eye-candy!
- Speaking of far-flung places... your trusty News Editor is on the move again - Steve's Digicams, Phil Askey, the Digital Camera Resource Page have all been off travelling, and now it is my turn again. I'm moving into a new apartment in Iowa tomorrow, and will be flying back to Tennessee to collect my belongings, then driving back with them. What this means to you is that the next update will be (depending how long it takes me to pack) either Monday or Tuesday...
Tuesday, March 30, 1999
March 30 - Free PhotoLoft accounts, CoolPix 950 pictures, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, March 30, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- PhotoLoft premium accounts for free! In a press release today from PhotoLoft.com, it was announced that Casio Inc. had agreed to a co-branding agreement which offers visitors to the digital imaging section of Casio's website free one-year premium memberships to PhotoLoft.com's website. In return, Casio will feature PhotoLoft.com in its new online publication, "QV Magazine". PhotoLoft.com premium memberships are normally $29.95 annually, and allow users to print photos from their PhotoLoft page at the highest resolution of their printer, directly from their web browser, as well as pan and zoom their images without the need for extra programs or plugins.
- Digital Imaging advances printer market! A report from Infotrends Research Group Inc., published today has found that the adoption of digital cameras and scanners could result in sales of an additional 12 million printers (mostly low-end inkjets) by 2002, as well as over US$11 billion in consumables (paper, inks, etc). This translates to a prediction of 55 billion images from digicams and scanners being printed by 2002, the majority on copier/plain paper. According to Infotrends' research, 60% of scanner users, and over a third of digicam owners currently buy a printer specifically for use with their digital imaging device. The most important issue over the next 3 years for 30% of users was "much better printed photos".
- Nikon CoolPix 950 production images online! Whilst catching up on the last couple of days of the rec.photo.digital newsgroup, I came across news of a luck gentleman who has received his Nikon CoolPix 950, bought for him by his son in Japan. Frank Schaffer has posted several sample images from the camera on his website, to satisfy the many people who've been begging for sample images from a production camera. All but the first image link to unretouched images straight out of the camera - Frank resized the first image as it was too large to be allowed by his internet provider.
Monday, March 29, 1999
March 29 - Canon announces new camera, PC Watch posts CeBIT report!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, March 29, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Canon announces PowerShot A50! The PC Watch website in Japan has revealed details of Canon's latest digital camera, the PowerShot A50. The A50 is essentially an upgraded version of Canon's PowerShot A5 Zoom, replacing the previous unit's 810,000 pixel CCD with a 1.3 megapixel (1,310,000 pixels) unit. The new CCD gives a new maximum output resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels, and the software has also added support for DCF and DPOF formats as well as the existing CIFF JPGs. Dimensions and weight of the new camera are identical to the previous model (103x37.3x68 millimeters, 260 grams), and the camera uses a lithium ion 2CR5 battery to provide 80 shots with LCD on (up to 500 shots with LCD off). The new A50 camera will ship in Japan on April 17 at an estimated price of 79,800 yen (US$660). Two pictures of the camera, which also adopts a new
champagne-colored chassis, are on PC Watch's news page.
Footnote: As we were readying this article to upload, reader Ken Sun emailed us to let us know Canon had officially announced the camera on their website also! Thanks, Ken!
- Agfa ePhoto CL50 now shipping! A press release from Agfa's Desktop Products Group today notes that Agfa's ePhoto CL50 digital camera is now shipping in the United States. The camera has a resolution of 1.3 megapixels, and through Agfa's PhotoGenie software has an interpolated output of 1.9 megapixels, as well as a 3x optical zoom lens, burst-mode capability and sunlight-assisted backlighting.
- PC Watch posts CeBIT report! PC Watch has today also posted their report on the CeBIT Show in Hannover, Germany, accompanied by numerous pictures.
The article starts by covering Kodak's new DC265 digital camera, which the writer notes is being shown for the first time in a major show. The specifications of the camera are noted as being very similar to the existing 1.6 megapixel DC260, with the significant difference being the addition of a large buffer memory allowing pictures to be taken more rapidly. The article mentions that although this is the first time the DC265 has been shown, information on the camera has been publicly available on Kodak's website for some time. The Kodak DC260 is also mentioned, the writer pointing out that even though it is no longer the top model it is still being upgraded thanks to its Digita Operating System, with Digita's image processing software and email client for both the DC260 and DC265 being exhibited at the show. Finally, the writer mentions that the 1.3 megapixel DC240 was also exhibited.
Next up is Sharp's Internet Viewcam, which we first reported on March 17th. The article mentions that this is the first time this camera has been shown, and describes it as a pocket-sized camera which can record both still pictures at VGA resolution, and video animations with sound in MPEG-4 format. The writer notes that the camera wasn't very popular on the show floor, probably mostly due to the low video resolution and the fact that little space was given to promoting the unit in Sharp's booth. The writer feels that currently the video quality is suitable only for use on the Web, but does note that this is currently the cheapest MPEG-4 recorder, and is sure to be developed further in the future.
Sony showed their DSC-F55E and DSC-D700 Cybershot cameras, as well as pushing their MemoryStick format, and PC Watch notes that the CyberShot cameras seemed more popular in Europe (thanks to their higher picture quality) than they have been in the USA, where the Digital Mavica cameras are far more popular.
Next to be mentioned is Nikon, who were showing their CoolPix 700 and CoolPix 950 cameras. The writer found it difficult to get hold of the cameras on this crowded booth, and felt this most likely due to the success of the CoolPix 950's popular predecessor. Expectations of those on the show floor were very high for these cameras, thanks both to the CoolPix 900's capabilities and the Nikon brand name. Also shown once again was Nikon's still-unnamed Pro SLR, of which there is another new picture, and as usual this was shown in a glass box away from prying hands... ;)
Toshiba showed their PDR-M4 digital camera (PC Watch actually calls this the RDC-M4, although I've not seen this designation for the camera before), which they showed first at the PMA show last month. This time, however, a working sample was on hand, although it seems that development is being prioritized for the Japanese market as the menu system was still in Japanese thus far. The writer was very impressed with this camera, noting that it could take pictures almost instantly one after another, even when using the LCD.
Ricoh exhibited the 2.3 megapixel RDC-5000 digital camera. There is little information on this camera, it appears that PC Watch did not get their hands on it and therefore have no new comment, although they do have a new picture of the camera.
Fuji showed their 2.3 megapixel MX-2700, and the writer notes that they were also handing out CD-ROMs of sample images from the camera. This item is a little difficult to translate, but I think that it goes on to say that Fuji are not known for their digital cameras in Europe but that this new model may do a lot to change that.
Agfa showed their ePhoto CL-30 and CL-50, as well as the ePhoto 1280 and 1680, which jointly received a Product Design Award at the show. The article mentions that, being a European manufacturer, Agfa's booth was particularly crowded.
Casio showed their QV-5500SX and QV-7000SX digital cameras. A major theme of their booth was WindowsCE, the handheld operating system on which their Cassiopeia handheld and palm-size PCs run, and they also demonstrated Nokia's Communicator as a solution for wireless digital imaging, taking photos on the QV-7000SX and transmitting them over the GSM telephone network through the Communicator.
Canon showed their A5 Zoom camera as well as the Pro70 prosumer camera, however somewhat surprisingly they did not show their new A50 camera announced today. The writer noted that whilst nothing new was shown on Canon's booth, he though that their was positive development continuing (probably a reference to the A50).
Epson showed their new CP-700Z digital camera, with a huge model of the unit on their booth, and since a large portion of the booth was devoted to printers, they showed shots from the CP-700Z printed out on them.
Finally Minolta showed their Dimage EX digital camera, as well as the cube-shaped 2.7 megapixel RD-3000 prosumer model. The writer was eager to see a new product on this booth, and was somewhat disappointed to find that there were none.
My apologies for any translation errors which undoubtedly have crept in here and there!
- Cyclovision receives funding! CycloVision Technologies, Inc., manufacturers of the ParaShot software and digital camera attachment, has announced it has received a US$1.2 million investment from Walden Capital Partners LP, a Small Business Investment Company. The ParaShot is a software and hardware package which allows users of Agfa's ePhoto1280 and 1680 digital cameras to easily create 360-degree immersive photographs which do not require any processing, stitching or plugins.
- Nikon warns of parallel imports! Steve's Digicams has picked up a posting from the rec.photo.digital newsgroup, from Nikon's webmaster, warning of parallel-imported Nikon CoolPix950s:
"We've already gotten some calls from folks who want the "english" version of the Coolpix 950 software and documentation. . Obviously somebody has shipped a small quantity of these cameras to the US from Japan to grab some quick dollars (too bad that customs didn't nail them).
Only products purchased in the USA or South America are covered under the Nikon USA warranty. If you happen to purchase a Japanese Vintage Coolpix 950, you'll find that you have no warranty coverage and without a valid US purchase receipt, the USA Nikon Technical Support Office will not be able to ship a software CD.
Make sure any camera you do purchase has an original US warranty card enclosed. US products ship with software and cables, many of the European Subsidiaries and Japan, Ship sans software and cables. Euro cameras also have PAL video output, which is the reason that our friends in Europe and Australia don't see these products for a good month after they hit the USA.
The first folks to get actual production cameras will be the USA Office support and sales staff. These will be the cameras opened for inspection as we've reported on Steve's Digicams.
Obviously there will be a pretty big splash on Nikontechusa.com when the stuff actually arrives
We normally monitor, but don't post info on this newsgroup, but given the situation is ripe for some folks to take advanatge of the demand for the new camera and hurt the consumers we felt that this info should be made available now. Buying by credit card is always the safest. If you have a "debit card" better check with your bank, as they don't afford the same protection as a credit card. A debit card transaction is treated as if were a real check, in some cases cash.
NikonTechUsa.com"Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!
Friday, March 26, 1999
March 26 - Sony's DSC-D700 upgrade, Digital Living Room conference, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, March 26, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- More news on Sony's DSC-D700 firmware upgrade! Latest news on the Sony DSC-D700 mailing list is that Sony Canada are expected to finalise their own plans for the DSC-D700 firmware upgrade we first covered on March 17th. According to the list, it is believed that retailers in Canada are already receiving cameras with the new firmware, but if you have a Canadian DSC-D700 with the old firmware then be sure to watch the list and this news page for the latest!
- Digital Living Room seeking top digital gadgets! An interesting press release on BizWire today notes that the annual 3-day Digital Living Room conference is now seeking the latest digital gadgets to be demonstrated this year. The conference, which has a limited attendance of 350 people, looks at how consumers and technology will handle the move from traditional to digital media. Up to 30 digital products will be evaluated and selected for display, in five categories:
Digital Broadcasting (HDTV, Cable, Radio, DSS)
Digital Audio, Photography and Video
Digital Entertainment and Games
The conference is scheduled to take place at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, CA from June 20-22, 1999. Registration fees are$1,995 until May 15, and $2,495 thereafter.
- Lasers beat ink jets on cost! A press release from Blackstone Research Associates' Color Business Report today has found Laser Printers to have a lower per-page cost than Ink Jet Printers. 22 printers were tested, and the cheapest was found to be the Xerox DocuColor 5799 (10.4 cents/page), followed by HP's Color Laserjet 4500DN (11 cents/page).
Thursday, March 25, 1999
March 25 - Agfa receives award, ULead lists on stock market, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, March 25, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- PC World names Agfa DuoScan T1200 "Best Buy"! A press release from Agfa's Desktop Products Group yesterday announced that its DuoScan T1200 scanner received a Best Buy award from PC World magazine. The scanner has an optical resolution of 600 x 1200 dpi in 36-bit color, and features Agfa's TwinPlate(TM) technology for optimum scanning of both transparencies and reflective images. The scanner retails at a suggested price of US$699, with an optional ten page Automatic Document Feeder available for US$249.
- New version of VuePrint released! Whilst browsing the rec.photo.digital newsgroup, I came across news of the new VuePrint version 7.3:
"I just released VuePrint 7.3 - a JPEG image viewer for Windows. The main new feature may be of interest to rec.photo.digital - it displays comprehensive digital camera information when reading files that have embedded EXIF, CIFF, or Olympus APP12 info.VuePrint 7.3 can be downloaded from: http://www.hamrick.com/
The new features in VuePrint 7.3 are:
* Shutter speed and F-number are displayed in menu bar (along with file name, image size, bit depth, and dpi) when EXIF or CIFF file from a digital camera is displayed. This information is also extracted from images produced by some Olympus digital cameras.
* Image comments contain detailed information from EXIF or CIFF file from digital camera. Choose the "File|Show|Show comments..." command to display this, or press the "N" key.
Note that the CIFF, EXIF, and APP12 info are saved with new images if you convert to new formats or crop images. When you subsequently display these images, the shutter speed, F-stop, and other camera information isalso available."
- ULead lists on Taiwan stock exchange! ULead Systems has today announced its Initial Public Offering on the Taiwan OTC Securities stock exchange. Ulead authors a range of digital imaging software, and its 2.5 million share listing is the first by a Taiwanese software company on the Taiwan stock exchange.
- SanDisk supplies 32MB MultiMedia Cards to LG! A press release from SanDisk Corp today notes that Korean electronics giant LG Electronics has agreed to bundle SanDisk's 32MB MultiMedia cards with LG's new Portable MP3 Audio Players. Whilst not really digital imaging related, this story is interesting nonetheless, as it is not only the digital imaging market which will decide which Flash format(s) will eventually triumph. The MP3 players feature two MultiMedia card slots capable of accepting 64MB in total, which would provide up to 60 minutes of near CD-quality audio. According to LG, SanDisk were selected for their technology achievements and ability to deliver high capacity in a small form factor...
Wednesday, March 24, 1999
March 24 - New digicams from Olympus and Sanyo, Olympus offer 32MB SmartMedia upgrade, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, March 24, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Olympus offers upgrade to 32MB SmartMedia capability! Some time ago, when the 16MB SmartMedia cards were first announced, Olympus took the unprecedented step of offering an upgrade program to their users, letting them upgrade the cameras to 16MB compatibility. (Olympus and a number of other camera manufacturers were caught by a problem not of their own making, in that the standards committee for SmartMedia elected to change the standard to provide for 16MB capacity. To our knowledge, Olympus was the only SmartMedia-based camera company which rose to the challenge and offered their users an upgrade path.) Now, come the 32MB SmartMedia cards!
Olympus is offering an upgrade program to make their older camera models compatible with the new 32MB SmartMedia cards. The new program begins April 1, 1999, and replaces the earlier program which provided for upgrade to compatibility with 16MB SmartMedia cards. The new upgrade program costs $49.95 for D-340L/D-340R cameras, or $69.95 for D-500L and D-600L units. D-320L owners can upgrade to 16MB compatibility for $49.95, but the '320 can't be upgraded to handle the 32 MB cards. If you previously upgraded a camera to 16MB capability, and now want to go to 32MB, the upgrade is offered for free if you purchase a 32 MB SmartMedia card from Olympus at the same time for $99.95. If you don't want the 32MB card, the upgrade can be purchased for the $69.95 amount. Owners of the P-330 printer can also get them upgraded to 32MB compatibility, although the information we received did not indicate a price for that service.
The following table comes from the Olympus literature, showing what Olympus products are compatible with 16 and 32MB media:
|Product||16MB Compatible||32MB Compatible|
(Note: "Yes*" means the product is compatible after upgrade, "Yes" without the "*" means the camera is compatible "out of the box.")
- LOTS more pictures of the Olympus C-2500L! The PC Watch website in Japan has posted numerous pictures of Olympus' upcoming C-2500L prosumer digital camera, as well as a new as-yet-unnamed 2.1 megapixel fixed focus model. Also on the same page are a number of pictures of the Olympus booth.
The page notes the specifications (covered in a previous update) of the new camera, and mentions that the booth staff believe the camera will be able to record uncompressed TIFF files. The camera has a 2.5 megapixel CCD, of which about 2.4 megapixels are effectively used with an aspect ratio of 4:3, although the final image size has not yet been released. The writer mentions that it is unconfirmed whether the LCD can be used as a viewfinder, although the camera does have video-out capability.
The article goes on to state that the camera should be released in Europe this July (at a price of about DM3000 / US$1683), and it is believed the camera will ship in Japan about a month later (the article is a little difficult to translate, mentioning prices of 210,000 yen / US$1783 and 150,000yen / US$1274). The writer seems particularly impressed with the use of a 2/3" CCD, and says that even though samples from the camera have not yet been seen, it looks like at least for now the camera will have no direct rival, and will lead the current lineup of 1/2" CCD 2-megapixel digicams.
The article continues to look at the new unnamed 2.1 megapixel fixed focus camera, noting that the display model is a mockup which only just made it in time for the show to complete Olympus' lineup. Very little specifics are known, but the writer comments that the camera is very slim and compact, with a nice aluminum finish. The writer notes that the camera has 2.5x digital zoom, although he can't make out specifics of the lens as the sticker below it has worn off. He goes on to speculate that the camera might use the same 1/2" 2.1 megapixel CCD as the Olympus C-2000Zoom.
Steve's Digicams and Phil Askey's website both also have pictures of these two cameras taken by Marc-Andre Keune.Thanks to PC Watch, Steve's Digicams and photo.askey.net!
- New Sanyo digital camera! Sanyo has announced a new digital camera, the 1.5 megapixel VPC-SX500EX, according to PC Watch. The new camera has a 1/2" 1.5 megapixel CCD, and marks a departure for Sanyo in that the camera uses Type II CompactFlash instead of SmartMedia. The article notes that Sanyo have made a point of pushing the ability to record animations with their cameras, and this camera is particularly able to do so thanks to the fact that with it's Type II CompactFlash capability, the new IBM MicroDrives can be used with the camera, giving a reasonable record time.
The camera was displayed in a glass case, and so was difficult for the writer to see, but appeared almost as small as Sanyo's DSC-X110. Two NiMH batteries are used, although it is not certain if these will last long enough to provide a reasonable battery life with the MicroDrive, and video is recorded in AVI format with sound. The camera also has a built-in speaker for playback of videos in the unit, and a 2" LCD display. The camera should ship in Europe in September at a price of about DM1,500 / US$843.
Also shown on the same page is a CD-R drive from Sanyo which can record images onto CD-R disks directly from SmartMedia and CompactFlash including TypeII CF, without the need for a PC. The unit has video-out capability to allow you to control it via your TV, and should ship this autumn at a price of 60,000 yen / US$509.
- Size really does count!! We received an email from Phil Williams about his Xtend-a-Lens(tm) product which, surprisingly enough, extends your Kodak DC260/265 lens so you can attach filters, lens-hoods and other attachments to it! Here's how Phil describes it:
"If you're frustrated with not being able to take REALLY closeup pictures with your DC260, Xtend-a-Lens(tm) may be the answer...It's simple, really. The DC260 doesn't have threads on the lens barrel because the additional weight of filters, etc. would throw it out of alignment. I've designed a simple "sleeve" arrangement that attaches to the outside barrel (right next to the camera) that doesn't interfere with the normal lens extension. The inside of this sleeve is made from textured rubber, and is completely safe for your camera. A simple twist of the wrist, and the Xtend-a-lens is attached to your camera. Twist again, and it's removed.
The Xtend-a-Lens(tm) is lightweight (1 1/2 ounces), made from rigid ABS material. It's fitted with a standard, steel 49mm thread to which you can add filters, lenses, lens hoods, and other attachments. The steel thread was used to eliminate the possibility of cross-threading in softer materials. If your favorite filters, etc have a different thread size, then a simple 49mm to XXmm adapter can be added."
Phil is working on a website for the Xtend-a-Lens(tm) at the moment, but in the meantime Phil can give you the instructions for how to make your own Xtend-a-Lens(tm) or make you one for $24 including shipping! There are some sample images taken with the Xtend-a-Lens(tm) online at:
- Review of the Olympus C-1400XL/D-620L! Reader Kane Archer wrote in to let us know he's completed a review of his new Olympus C-1400XL digital camera, along with a number of sample images! The C-1400XL is more commonly known in the US as a D-620L, and Kane's got some very pretty pictures from it that show it off quite well... I only wish the weather looked as good where I am!Thanks for the email, Kane!
- More news on the Sony DSC-D700 upgrades! The Sony DSC-D700 mailing list continues to discuss Sony's firmware upgrade, which we repoted on a few days ago. Latest news is that Sony's Netherlands office has the new firmware in hand and is currently deciding how to handle an upgrade program, whilst United Kingdom customers are now starting to receive their DSC-D700s which appear to already have been upgraded. More news as we receive it!
- Kodak DC265 pictures back offline temporarily. We have unfortunately just discovered that our Kodak DC265 used for the sample pictures we put up last week has been damaged in shipping or is defective, and this has adversely affected the picture quality. Kodak are doing their best to get us a replacement unit, but in the meantime we've removed the pictures as we feel they are not representative of the camera. Look out here for news when we get more pictures online!
Tuesday, March 23, 1999
March 23 - PCMCIA administer SmartMedia, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, March 23, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- PCMCIA to administer SmartMedia and Miniature Card! PCMCIA, the international standards body responsible for control of the PC Card format, has announced that it has agreed to take over administration of the SmartMedia and Miniature Card formats from their respective controlling bodies. The agreements call for PCMCIA to coordinate and distribute updates and enhancements to both standards as they become available. The Miniature Card Implementors Forum will pass control to PCMCIA, whilst the Solid State Floppy Disk Card forum will now share responsibility for administering SmartMedia with PCMCIA.
Three further announcements are made in the same release - first is a new standard, CardX, which adapts the USB and 1394 specs for use with the PC Card form factor. Next is a new version of the PC Card format to be available at the end of this month, PC Card 7.0, which will incorporate all proposals since April '98, and finally there is a note that PCMCIAs Annual International Meeting, will be held in Dublin, Ireland on June 8 and 9 of this year.
- LivePicture launches ZoomIt! Dave Beebe of Live Picture Inc. emailed us with news of their new ZoomIt! service, which Dave describes better than I can:
"I wanted to call everyone's attention to a new, free image hosting
service offered by Live Picture called ZoomIt!. You can upload as many JPEG images to our server as you'd like for free, and we'll convert it to Zoom format and return to you via email a link for you to view your photos, email them to friends, or even include them on your web site.
When you view the image, our patent-pending Universal Viewing technology makes it possible for you to click and zoom into images to view them in greater detail. We also offer a browser plug-in at no charge which provides even greater viewing flexibility. Finally, we offer you a choice of templates in which your image can appear. We think it's a great way for people to share digital images with friends and family, to spice up their web pages, or perhaps even increase the success of their online auctions with Zoom images.
Please give ZoomIt! a try at http://zoomit.livepicture.com."Thanks for the note, Dave!
- New version of Nikon firmware updaters! Users of Nikon's LS-2000 and LS-30 scanners, take note. According to the MacInTouch website, Nikon has released new versions of the firmware updates for these two scanners - some minor bugs in earlier versions have been fixed, and the new versions are required for users to use the latest version 2.2 of the NikonScan software. Check Nikon's FAQ for more details...Thanks, MacInTouch!
- ArcSoft launches products in Germany! We received an email from digital imaging software developer ArcSoft, with a press release regarding their launch in Germany. The press release is not yet on their website or BizWire, but to summarise, ArcSoft is now selling German-language versions of their PhotoMontage, PhotoPrinter, PhotoFantasy and PhotoStudio products. All four programs will ship this month to major German distributors, priced between DM70 (US$30) and DM150 (US$80) approx. PhotoMontage allows users to create a montage of a single image from thousands of smaller micro-images, whilst PhotoFantasy allows users to combine their photos with a wide variety of fantasy backgrounds. PhotoStudio is a full-featured image editor with a set of photo editing and retouching tools, accompanied by a variety of special effects and enhancements, and finally PhotoPrinter enables users to save money by laying out and printing multiple images
on a single sheet of paper.
- Help us to help you! It's been a couple of weeks since we've received any emails for the Deals and Tips pages, and being a slower day news-wise, perhaps this is as good a time as any to remind you all that you can help these pages grow! Deals and Tips both consist mostly of items found by our readers - and they're often a goldmine of useful information. If you've every found something of use in the Deals and Tips pages, now is the time to put something back into them, as a measure of thanks and a show of support! Email your Deals and Tips to [email protected], and help us to help you!
Monday, March 22, 1999
March 22 - Epson drops price of Stylus Photo EX, new CD-RW drives, and another CoolPix 950 review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, March 22, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Epson drops Stylus Photo EX price! Epson America Inc. has dropped the price of their Stylus Photo EX printer from $499 to $399, a press release notes. The Stylus Photo EX is a wide format printer with six ink colors and a resolution of 1440 dpi (dots per inch).
- New Nikon CoolPix 950 review online! We reported on March 11th that the Digital Eyes webpage was working on a review of Nikon's CoolPix 950 digital camera, and had posted an initial preview - well, 11 days later they has now completed its review (save for details of the menu system when in manual mode). Digital Eyes finds the camera to be a winner, noting that even though the pre-production version reviewed has a slower processor than will be used in production versions, it is still faster than its predecessor despite the larger image size.
- HP announces portable CD-RW drive. HP has announced in a press release today their new HP CD-Writer Plus M820e. The new SCSI CD-Writer weighs less than a pound, and fits in the palm of the hand. It has a read speed of up to 20x, and a write speed of 4x, with dimensions of 5" x 6.5" x less than 1". The drive should retail at US$599, and should be shipping by July. Sounds like an interesting solution for burning off CDs of your digital images whilst on the road!
- Sony announces USB and i.LINK CD-RW drives! Sony has today announced in a press release its first CD-Rewriteable drives to incorporate USB and i.LINK interfaces. The Spressa USB drive offers quad-speed CD-R record, double-speed CD-RW record and six-speed read at a price of US$399. The Spressa i.LINK offers quad speed CD-R and CD-RW record, and up to 24-speed read at a price of $499. The Spress USB will be available in March, while the i.LINK version will be available in June.
- SanDisk MultiMediaCard to ship in Europe! SanDisk has announced at the CeBIT show that they intend to start selling their MultiMediaCard product in Europe from May, with worldwide sales commencing this summer. The MultiMediaCard is the world's smallest solid-state sotrage card, available in 4, 8, 16 and 30MB capacities, and will retail at prices of US$40, US$50, US$80 and US$130 respectively. The dimensions of the card are an impressive 32mm by 24mm by 1.4mm, and products using it include the Pontis Mplayer3 MP3 music player, Nokia 9110 Communicator handheld PC/mobile phone, and JVC Digital DualCam video camera.
- Polaroid announces high-res digital microscope camera! Polaroid Corporation has announced a high-res digital camera designed specifically for use with microscopes, the Polaroid Digital Microscope Camera (DMC). The camera has an output resolution of 1600 x 1200 dpi (dots per inch) in 36-bit color, and a choice of black and white or color preview at up to 11 frames per second. The camera can also provide output at 800 x 600 and 400 x 300 pixels, and will fit any microscope with a C-mount adaptable photoport. Availability is scheduled for March, at a price of US$5,695.
- Asian printer market grows, thanks to Inkjet sector! A report released by Dataquest finds that the total market for printers in the Asia/Pacific region has grown by 0.7% in the last quarter of 1998 as compared to 1997. Of interest is that despite this overall growth, every single format of printers decreased in sales volumes except for the Inkjet segment, which surged forward by 8.4%. Japan is not included in these figures.
India and China showed the largest growth with 38% and 28% respectively. China accounted for 32% of all AsiaPac shipments, with Australia second at 15%, Korea with 13%, Taiwan with 11%, and India with 7%. The only market showing a decline was Korea, with shipments down by 29%.
Results by sector were: (1997 Q4 volume; 1998 Q4 volume; % change)
Ink Jet (1,186,400; 1,286,400; +8.4%)
Serial Dot Matrix (440,700; 384,700; -12.7%)
Page/Laser (312,000; 285,200; -8.6%)
Thermal Transfer (5,600; 2,900; -48.2%)
Line Impact (1,600; 1,600; -5.0%)
Total Market (1,946,300; 1,960,800; 0.7%)
- Further pictures of Olympus C-2500L. Phil Askey's photo.askey.net website has posted two further photographs of the upcoming Olympus C-2500L digital camera, taken at the CeBIT show. Photo quality is not great, due to the fact that both pictures were taken through a glass case, but does show a little more of the camera than was visible in the officialy Olympus picture on their web site, particularly of the back of the camera...
- SmartDisk announces appointment. SmartDisk Corporation has announced the appointment of Mr. Robert L. Protheroe as Senior Vice President of Development and Engineering. Mr. Protheroe holds 20 patents on products and technologies he has invented, and was previously Vice President, Engineering of Atlanta POS manufacturer IVI/Checkmate Electronics, Inc.
- cameraworld.com selects Lexar media. Lexar Media, manufacturer of a line of PC Card, CompactFlash and SmartMedia flash products, as well as related connectivity products, has announced in a press release today that it has been selected as supplier of high performance digital film products by online retailer cameraworld.com.
- Another retailer picks up the SnapScan. A press release from Agfa's Desktop Products Group notes that Fry's Electronics has agreed to carry Agfa's SnapScan 1212p flatbed scanner at all locations of Fry's Electronics in the USA. The 1212p has an Enhanced Parallel Port interface, and an optical resolution of 600 x 1200 dpi (dots per inch) in 36-bit color. It retails at a suggested price of US$99, and a US$20 rebate is available from now until June 1, 1999.
- Olympus P-330 takes awards! The Digital and Imaging Systems Group of Olympus America Inc. notes today in a press release that their P-330 Instant Photo Printer received three awards in the space of one week, during the PMA '99 Show last month. The printer, with a built-in SmartMedia card reader, video in and out connectors, as well as Windows and Mac connectivity, received awards as "PMA Photo Printer Shoot-Out Winner", "PMA Innovative Product", and "Digital Focus/Popular Photography Best Photo Printer".
Friday, March 19, 1999
March 19 - New portable and reprographic scanners, new version of Ixla Explorer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, March 19, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Nikon CoolPix 950 review online! The Japanese PC Watch website has posted the first full review of Nikon's upcoming CoolPix 950. Caught out by the time zones, I got to this a little late as it appeared after I'd finished today's news update. My apologies in advance for any errors in this rather complex translation
The review starts with a note that this camera is still a beta model, and hence the photos will not be identical to those from a production camera - however, the reviewer does note that this camera has been significantly revised since the sample photos that we saw previously, and will certainly be a lot closer to the final version. The review continues by looking at the camera itself, noting that it feels "high quality", and is quite easy to use. In particular, the reviewer notes that the camera's design offers a good degree of stability, reducing the likelihood of blurred shots.
Next the reviewer looks at the capabilites of the camera itself, starting by saying that even though the camera is a beta version the picture quality is still quite satisfactory, with the images being quite well balanced. He notes that in particular, the camera doesn't seem to be using any sharpening on the image, with the CCD already providing a sufficiently sharp, clear image. He feels that this is a particularly important feature of the camera.
The review finds that even though there is not a big step between a 1.3 or 1.5 megapixel camera and a 2 megapixel camera, that the pictures seem better, with postcard-sized prints being perfect, and even prints at A4 and A3 sizes being reasonably good. It goes on to say that whilst the pictures are really too big for use on a computer monitor, the camera offers the capability to take photos 1/4 the size (800 x 600 pixels), and that even at this lower size the pictures are still good. The reviewer actually notes that the image quality at this size is still noticeably better than that from an 800k pixel camera.
The review continues by noting that in fact, the reproduction of convincing colors and tones is more important than the resolution, and that these aspects are particularly good on the CoolPix 950. It also notes that the camera has exposure compenmsation, which is particularly useful in allowing you to get a good picture in difficult lighting.
The reviewer seems somewhat disappointed with the auto white balance on the camera, which he doesn't think compares favourably with that on Fuji's FinePix 2700, however he notes that the camera has a manual white balance which enables you to correct for this. He finds the manual white-point selection of the camera in particular to be very useful if accurate white balance is required.
The review goes on to look at the lens system, which it states gives a "considerable" range of 38 to 105mm (equivalent on a 35mm camera). He seems impressed with the lens being Nikkor branded, and feels that the lens truly draws out the capabilities of the 2 megapixel CCD. He did however see some barrel distortion on the lens, but only around the 3x zoom area, and also felt that the lens didn't allow enough light at the telephoto end of the zoom, and felt that Olympus was better in this aspect. In his words, he "put this as an expectation for the next model".
He goes on to mention a 2x teleconverter for the camera, which he feels is good although at the wide angle with the teleconverter attached there is some vignetting apparent. He points out that this isn't really a problem however as the camera can already cover this wide-angle range without the teleconverter. He also mentions a 24mm and fisheye converter for the camera, and says that hopefully with the addition of these you will have a camera that can handle anything from 24mm up to 230mm capably.
The next point in the review is a brief mention of the camera's BSS (Best Shot Selection) mode. He describes what it does (essentially, takes a number of photos in a row, and then chooses the least blurred photo and discards the others), which he seems to find to be a very good idea. He points out that Nikon has worked very hard on reducing camera blur, but at the same time points out that this mode obviously requires a still picture (ie. not cars driving past nearby at night, etc).
The review continues to look at the specifics of the camera, noting that on this beta version, the start-up time is about three seconds, and the time between shots is very speedy at 1.5 seconds. The camera waits up to three seconds after taking a picture for you to view the picture on the screen or discard the picture without saving it, should you so desire, and then if you have not pressed a button to do either of these the image is saved. Hence, this does add a brief delay before the images are saved. If however you take another picture without waiting the three seconds, the previous shot will be saved immediately. At the maximum resolution, he notes that it takes approximately 20 seconds for processing of an image to complete - although obviously if the buffer isn't full you can still keep shooting. The reviewer does note that the autofocus is not very fast, but that with prefocusing this is not really a problem.
The next topic is the playback, which the reviewer notes allows for zooming of the images, and also shows a rough preview image before displaying the final image. He also notes that you can interrupt drawing of an image to skip to the next image. A final note is that apparently the speed of the camera is still being worked on, and should still improve further, to a level near that of the CyberShot Pro (Japanese name of Sony's DSC-D700) which he considers to be the landmark. He feels that if they achieve this, it will be very impressive in a 2-megapixel camera at half the price.
Next to be discussed is the viewfinder, which the reviewer finds to be very fast, allowing for accurate framing. He also finds the viewfinder to very accurately represent the final picture, to within 2-3% of the final result.
The reviewer likes the interface of the camera, and particularly the selection dial, which he found made it very easy to control all aspects of the camera without having to waste time looking at the LCD display. He also found it important that the majority of settings in the camera are remembered when it is switched off, unlike the Olympus C-2000 Zoom.
Finally, the reviewer compares the CoolPix 950 briefly to the C-2000 Zoom, and finds that the picture quality is better on the Nikon and is a step above in terms of the design of the camera itself.
I apologize for any errors in this article, having attempted to translate such a long piece I am sure a few have crept in. My thanks to the PC Watch website for this item!
- Ixla releases Explorer 3.0! Ixla Ltd. has announced a new version of their Ixla Explorer image organizer product in a press release yesterday. IXLA Explorer 3.0 adds support for 120 digital cameras, as well as a number of Internet related features. Users can now capture pictures from web sites and online services, create email "postcards" and web pages, and purchase personalised gifts made from their images (Ixla have teamed up with pix.com Inc. on this). Another addition is a favorites menu which allows you to go straight to your favorite pictures. Ixla Explorer 3.0 will retail for US$30, although no shipping date is mentioned in the press release.
- Digita Camera reviews Digita FX. Tony Schreiber emailed to let us know that he's posted a review of the Digita FX in-camera image editor on his Digita Camera website, including a number of screenshots of the program in use. Tony was surprised by the program's speed and found it well worth the $20 it costs.Thanks for the note, Tony!
- I/O Magic shows first portable battery-powered color scanner! I/O Magic has announced the world's first battery-powered portable color scanner. The MobileScan weighs just under two pounds, and has an optical resolution of 300 x 600 dpi. The scanner is a paper-feed type, with an Enhanced Parallel Port interface (USB version in the works) and should ship by March 30th at an estimated price of $200.
- Vidar launches Atlas scanner! Vidar Systems Corp. has announced the TruScan Titan Atlas scanner for large-format reprographics at CeBIT. The scanner can handle a variety of formats from paper-thin to 12 millimeter thich dry-mounted documents, with a feed width of 106.5 centimetres. The scanner features Vidar's Last Document Memory, which automates the scanning of a batch of similar documents, as well as their TruInfo scanner control and archiving software. Pricing and availability is not mentioned.
Thursday, March 18, 1999
March 18 - Digicams for the kids, Olympus C-2500L picture, update on DSC-D700 upgrade, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, March 18, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- New digicams - from Tomy and Bandai?? Digital cameras are continuing to trickle down towards the lower end of the marketplace, with news from the 1999 Tokyo Toy Show that two more digital cameras have joined the Barbie digicam as toys. The first is (I think) made by Japanese toy giant Tomy, and is a 250,000 pixel model called the "Mexia". Images are saved as BMP files, and up to 15 can be stored in the camera before being transferred to a Windows95/98 PC with the supplied connection kit. A simple image editor is supplied for changing brightness, etc., and the camera runs on four AAA batteries. No pricing or release date has yet been set. The second camera is made by Bandai, and has a 60,000 pixel CMOS sensor as well as a built-in printer. Up to 4 images can be stored in the camera, which uses 6 AA batteries as a power supply. The camera also has a self-timer, and printed photos measure 28 x
20 millimetres, at 144 dots per inch in 64 colors. This camera will retail at 29,800 yen (US$253) and print cartridges will cost 1,980 yen (US$17) each.Thanks to the PC Watch website for this item!
- New photo printers from Panasonic, Sony and Fuji! The excellent digitalkamera.de website is currently carrying a news item regarding four new photo printers that are showing at CeBIT.
The Panasonic NV-MPD5 and NV-MPD7 replaced the sold-out NV-MPD1E model last month, are dye sublimation printers. The MPD5 is a smaller 144dpi model designed for use with VGA digicams or TV screenshots, while the MPD7 has a resultion of 306 dpi and reads images directly from PC Cards, allowing SmartMedia and CompactFlash to be read with an adapter. The printer can also capture TV screenshots, which can be printed or stored on your Flash card with or without a title. Print speed is around 95 seconds per shot, and the machine has parallel, serial, S-Video, video in and video out connections. Windows 95/98/3.1 are supported, as well as Macintosh OS7 and higher. The MPD7 comes with a remote control at a price of EUR 600(US$658), and the MPD5 costs EUR500 (US$548).
Sony also showed a thermal dye sublmiation printer, the FVP-1E. This printer accepts floppy disks from Sony's Mavica cameras, as well as accepting inputs from analog or digital video devices. The resolution is identical to the Panasonic NV-MPD7 at 306 dpi, with a print speed of about 100 seconds per picture. 1, 2, 4 or 16 photos can be printed on a 114 x 85 millimeter print, as well as an index page of up to 42 thumbnails from a Mavica floppy disk. The FVP-1E has video in, video out and S-Video connectors, but no provision for connecting it to a PC.Accessories include a mains cable, video cable and a CD-Rom containing image editor for Windows95/98/NT4.0. An optional single-sheet feeder costs EUR100 (US$110), and the printer itself costs EUR600 (US$658) and has been available since last month.
Finally, Fuji have a new thermal autochrome printer, the 306dpi NX-5D. This printer reads only from SmartMedia cards, and has a PAL video-out for viewing and selecting images. Fuji's A6 autochrome paper is used, and up to 20 sheets can be held in the auto-feeder cassette. 1, 2, 4 or 16 pictures can be printed on one sheet, and each print requires about 120 seconds. A video cable, paper cassette, mains cable and print-head cleaner are supplied, and autochrome "sticker" paper is available for printing stickers. The printer will cost EUR350 (US$384) and will ship "this spring".
digitalkamera.de has photos of three of these four printers.Thanks to digitalkamera.de and the Universal Currency Converter!
- Japanese digicam price index online! PC Watch has posted their regular listing of digital camera prices in Japan, for the period March 4 to March 18. Changes are as follows (old price in parentheses):
Olympus C-900 Zoom - 58,800 yen/US$501 (59,800 yen/US$509)
Kyocera 1300DG - 49,800 yen/US$424 (69,800 yen/US$594)
Sony DSC-D700 - 166,200 yen/US$1415 (178,000 yen/US$1515)
Canon A5 Zoom - 49,800 yen/US$424 (52,800 yen/US$449)
JVC GC-S1 - 43,800 yen/US$373 (49,800 yen/US$424)
Thanks to PC Watch and the Universal Currency Convertor!
- Olympus C-2500L picture online! Olympus has now posted an image of their upcoming C-2500L digital camera, which we were first to bring you news of yesterday, on their website.
- Update on Sony DSC-D700 firmware upgrade. It appears from discussion on the Sony DSC-D700 mailing list that all of the DSC-D700s shipped in the USA already have had the firmware upgrade we mentioned in yesterday's news update applied to them. With an upgrade program announced in Japan, and US models already upgraded, this covers the majority of the market - but no news yet as to how everybody else (particularly those of you in Canada and Europe) can have your firmware upgraded. More on this as we hear it. Also of interest is that Sony DSC-D700 prices in Japan have dropped by US$100 in the last fortnight...
- Pretec makes 128MB CompactFlash, 320MB on the way! Pretec has announced that they are showing a new 128MB CompactFlash+ (CF Type II) card at the CeBIT show. Their press release claims that this is the only CF card over 80MB, although we reported last month at PMA on 128MB CompactFlash cards from both Simple Technology (due to ship this month) and Lexar (due to ship during Q2 1999). The 128MB Pretec card is scheduled to start production in April, and a 320MB version is scheduled to be ready in samples in the second half of this year. The press release touts "compatibility" with IBM's MicroDrive, although I have to admit I don't see what Pretec mean by this. A second press release from Pretec predicts the demise of full-sized PC Flash Cards at the hands of Pretec and CompactFlash. naturalsizeflag="0">
- Kodak puts the Oscars online! Kodak has announced that they will have a number of Kodak photographers at the Oscars ceremony, using digital cameras to bring photos to the Internet at top speed! Photos will be posted in limited numbers on Kodak's website, as well as the full selection of photos updated once every 30 minutes at http://www.asylum.com/events/oscar_99/scrapbook
- Graphic Trust uses digital imaging at Smithsonian! A press release from Graphic Trust Inc. notes that they have successfully commenced a digital archival project for the Smithsonian Institution, using digital cameras and scanners. Graphic Trust will create digital images of both 2 and 3 dimensional artwork, which will then be reproduced using both modern and traditional printing processes for sale as limited collector editions.
- Casio commits to pSOSystem! A press release today from Integrated Systems Inc. (ISI) states that Casio has based their QV-7000SX digital camera on ISI's pSOSystem real-time operating system. The release also notes that Casio has committed to using pSOSystem as the standard for future digital camera development.
- SmartMedia makes its way into another device! Whilst this isn't strictly Digital Imaging related, we felt it worthy of a brief note that Toshiba has announced a voice recorder which uses SmartMedia. The new device can record up to 4 hours and 25 minutes of monaural audio on a 16MB SmartMedia card. A PC can be used to convert the recorded DMR files into WAV format. Thanks to PC Watch for this item!
Wednesday, March 17, 1999
March 17 - New Sharp and Olympus digicams, 2 megapixel sample images, new Sony DSC-D700 firmware, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, March 17, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- New digicam from Olympus! This item came in just as we were putting today's news online. We received an email from Olympus' PR people to let us know of a new 2.5 megapixel SLR digital camera from Olympus, the C-2500L. The new camera has a 3x optical zoom lens, built-in 4-mode flash and support for an external flash, 2/3" progessive scan CCD, all-glass lens equivalent to 36-110mm on a 35mm digital camera, and an SLR design. The camera will ship this summer, at an estimated street price of US$2000.
- New digicam from Sharp! Sharp has announced a new digital camera, the Sharp Internet Viewcam. According to the PC Watch website, the VN-EZ1 Internet Viewcam will be available on April 27th, at a price of 60,000 yen (US$508), and records MPEG-4 video at resolutions of 160 x 120, 320 x 240 pixels, as well as still pictures at 640 x 480 pixels. At the lowest resolution and the highest quality, the VN-EZ1 can record up to 2 hours and 17 minutes of video on a 32MB SmartMedia card. The camera has a choice of 4 compression modes in low resolution mode, however the hi-res video mode has only one compression option yielding a maximum of 10 minutes of video on a 32MB SmartMedia card. The camera features a moveable lens which can rotate 270 degrees, and weighs 148 grams (240 grams with batteries and SmartMedia card). A 1.8 inch LCD
display is included, and the video can be edited to remove sections of video in the camera. The camera takes 4 AA batteries, which provide about an hour of usage, while an optional high capacity battery (32,000 yen / US$271, and a weight of 460 grams) provides up to 15 hours of usage.Thanks to PC Watch for this item!
- PC Watch gets lots of sample images! The PC Watch website has posted sample images from a number of upcoming digital cameras. The first three in the list below have wide angle and telephoto pictures, while the three fixed length cameras below each have one sample picture. Samples are available for:
Olympus C-2000 Zoom
Nikon CoolPix 950
Nikon CoolPix 700
Fuji FinePix 2700
Thanks again to PC Watch!
- Sony releases new firmware for DSC-D700! The DreamArts website in Japan has posted news of an upgrade for the Sony DSC-D700 digital camera. Currently only scheduled for Japan, the upgrade requires the camera to be returned to Sony, and will commence from March 23rd, with a turnaround time of about ten days. Changes include changes to shutter speeds for AE mode as below:
1/30 to 1/2000 second in ISO 100, 200 and 400.
ISO 100 - 1/8 to 1/2000 second
ISO 200 - 1/15 to 1/2000 second
ISO 400 - 1/30 to 1/2000 second (no change)
Also changed is the flash timing. Previously, the shutter speed was fixed at 1/125 second when flash was used, however this has now been changed so that the shutter speed varies in proportion to the available light. Changes have also been made to the white balance, and the picture quality in general.
Dreamarts has posted numerous photos comparing the new and old cameras, as well as a very lengthy (and difficult to translate) comparison of the photos. All of the photos are taken with the new software, with the exception of the following:
Of the first six photos, those on the left are old firmware, and the ones on the right are the new firmware.
The photo of the jumping dolphins is from the old firmware.
The second photo of the bridge at sunset is a retouched version of the other bridge photo, taken with new firmware.
The photo of an angelfish is taken with the old firmware.
Thanks to Dreamarts for this item!
- PhotoPoint passes 250,000 mark! We received an email today from PhotoPoint.com, to let us know that they've just passed their 250,000th photo! Every week, over 1,000 new members join PhotoPoint, and over 20,000 new photos are shared on the site. Congratulations to PhotoPoint.com on passing this landmark number!
Monday, March 15, 1999
March 15 - Kodak DC200+, DC240 and DC265 reviews, sample images, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, March 15, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- New Kodak cameras unveiled, and reviews online! We received an email this morning from Kodak, officially announcing their new Kodak DC200+, DC240 and DC265 digital cameras. These links go to Kodak's official pages on their website, which came online within the last hour, and we also have our own reviews and sample photographs as well! In our reviews section, you will now find a preliminary review of the Kodak DC265, as well as sample images and a data sheet with specifications. Also online is a "http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/DC240/DC240A.HTM">review for the DC240 and accompanying datasheet. At this time, we've not yet had an opportunity to create a sample images page, but you will find the pictures are online, stitched into the Comparometer instead. Finally, we have DC200+ sample images in the Comparometer also, although we have not yet had time to complete a review or create the sample images page...Enjoy!
(Footnote: A subsequent press release has been distributed by FlashPoint Technology Inc., makers of the Digita OS. There is no new news in the release, but we're still linking it as a related item).
- Lexmark announces new printer! Lexmark International has today announced a new inkjet printer, the Z51 Color Jetprinter. The Z51 produces photo-quality output at 1200 x 1200 dpi (dots per inch), and can print at 10 ppm (pages per minute) in monochrome or 5ppm in color. The printer has a dot size of as little as 7 picoliters, and is priced at $279, and includes a $50 rebate for a final price of $229.
- Request puts digital photography on TV! Request Inc. has today announced a new digital imaging website, www.photo-request.com, and an intriguing new product. Photo-Request is a set-top box which reads images from Agfa, Casio, Epson, Fuji, Kodak, Nikon, Olympus and Sony cameras directly from the CompactFlash, SmartMedia or floppy media used. The box can then store and organise these images on 100MB Iomega Zip disks, and display them on your TV. Images can be displayed as thumbnails or fullscreen, as well as in a slide show, all controlled by a remote control. There is also the ability to edit photos, changing brightness, sharpening, rotate and cropping them as well as removing red-eye. An optional photo-printer can be connected to print the photos directly from the box, and future models will include a modem to allow users to email their images and transmit them to
ReQuest's DevelopReQuest Network for professional printing. The set-top box will ship in July at an estimated price of $399, and can be pre-ordered on PhotoRequest's website for $349.
- Canon shuffles top management! Canon USA Inc. has today announced a management reshuffle designed to boost flagging Japanese domestic sales caused by the economic slowdown in Asia. Effective March 30th, Canon USA CEO and President Haruo Murase will become President of Canon Sales Company Inc. in Japan. Mr. Murase will be replaced at Canon USA by Kinya Uchida, currently President of Canon Franca S.A. Mr. Uchida joined Canon in 1963, and his first position outside Japan was with Canon Latin America in 1969. From there he became President of Canon Brazil in 1972, before returning to Canon Latin America in 1979 as the new President. In 1986, Uchida became President of Canon Singapore, where he spent nine years before assuming his most recent position as President of Canon France in 1995. At this time, he was also elevated to a poisition on Canon's Board of Directors. With the move to Canon USA, Mr. Uchida
has also been made Managing Director of Canon's Board.
- Micro Center to carry Agfa scanners. A press release put out by Agfa Desktop Products Group states that Agfa's complete SnapScan family, as well as the DuoScan T1200, will now be available at all Micro Center stores nationwide, effective immediately.
Sunday, March 14, 1999
March 14 - IPPF report, Kodak DCS315 review, new version of Qimage Pro!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, March 14, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- PC Watch posts IPPF '99 report! The PC Watch website has posted a report on the 1999 IPPF (International Professional Photo Fair) held March 11 to 13 in the Ikebukuro Sunshine City Convention Center, Tokyo. As noted in our March 8th news item, Mamiya's 6-megapixel MegaVision S3 camera was shown, and a new photo of the camera has been posted in the report, although the new image is very similar in composition to the previous one. Also pictured is a new pro digicam from a company called Phase One, the LightPhase. Unfortunately, this is a rather difficult item to translate, so I'm not certain if this is also a 6-megapixel unit, but believe this to be the case.
Kodak exhibited their DSC315, DCS560 and DCS620 digital cameras (seen together in one photo), while several scanners were also shown. Kyocera and Polaroid both showed 4,000dpi 12-bit film scanners - Kyocera's called the Contax, and Polaroid's the PolaScan 4000 (previously announced at PMA). MicroTech showed a rather impressive 2,000 dpi A3 flatbed scanner, the ArtixScan 2020.
Fianlly, a company called Flexible Image Technology displayed fisheye lenses for use with the Sanyo DSC-X1, Kodak DC200, Nikon CoolPix 900, Olympus C820L/C840L/C-1400L, and Epson CP-500/CP-600. The lenses range from 26,000 yen (US$218) to 31,000 yen (US$260), with the exception of the Olympus C-1400L unit which is an astronomical 450,000 yen (US$3,781), presumably due to it's considerable size! The lenses are being marketed for business use, specifically for creating QuickTime VR images.Thanks to PC Watch and the Universal Currency Converter!
- Kodak DCS315 review online! We received an email from John Cowley, of the excellent Lone Star Digital Outpost website. John has completed his review of Kodak's DCS315 digital camera. John has also found a couple of issues that DCS315 owners and buyers should be aware of, most notably an issue with the focal length multiplier which Kodak quote for the camera... Check it out! Thanks for the note, John!
- Qimage Pro 3.3 released! Steve's Digicams has received news of a new release of the popular Qimage Pro software. Qimage Pro 3.3 has a number of improvements, the most significant being a rather impressive algorithm to remove dark current and high ISO noise from photos, without the need for a dark frame! For readers who may not know the significance of this, digital camera CCDs can suffer from "noise" which varies with factors such as, for example, temperature. Previously, to remove this noise required the photographer to take a second, black (dark) photo in which the CCD noise showed up by itself, and then subtract this from their photo to remove the noise - Qimage Pro removes the need for this.Thanks, Steve's Digicams!
- Dave takes a well earned break! Dave is taking a well-earned break for the next week, so if you need to get in touch with us urgently in this time, please don't use Dave's or the [email protected] emails... Email [email protected] instead, and Mike will do his best to help!
Thursday, March 11, 1999
March 11 - 2 megapixel digicams shoot to top of Japanese rankings, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, March 11, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- New Japanese sales figures out! The PC Watch website has posted the latest sales figures for Japan (Feb 22 - March 7), which makes pretty interesting reading thanks to some new releases... Three out of the top four cameras are new, and all but two of the ten cameras listed change positions in the listing. The numbers in parentheses below indicate the previous ranking:
1 (1) - Olympus C-900 ZOOM (89,800 yen, approx. US$742)
2 (-) - Fuji FinePix 2700 (94,800 yen, approx. US$783)
3 (-) - Olympus D-340L (No price listed)
4 (-) - Sanyo DSC-X110 (68,000 yen, approx. US$568)
5 (2) - Fuji FinePix 700 (99,800 yen, approx. US$833)
6 (6) - Fuji FinePix 500 (74,800 yen, approx. US$625)
7 (8) - Fuji FinePix 600Z (94,800 yen, approx. US$783)
8 (-) - Ricoh DC-4U (84,800 yen, approx. US$708)
9 (5) - Canon PowerShot A5 Zoom (84,800 yen, approx. US$708)
10 (9) - Sony MVC-FD81 (99,800 yen, approx. US$833)
Of note is the fact that the eighth-placed Ricoh DC-4U is not a new camera, but one that has just had a $420 price cut. Also interesting is speculation as to whether the Fuji FinePix 2700 will top the next listing or not. One point of view sees this as almost a certainty, but another view is that the C-900 Zoom will continue to triumph thanks to its recent $500 price cut). Thanks to PC Watch and the Dynamind Currency Converter!
- Digicam sales help Olympus outperform! The PMAI Newsline is carrying an item noting that Olympus is expected to outperform expectations with a 2% rise in parent pretax profit. Of particular interest is that the original source of the story, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, predicts the rise despite disappointing sales of microscopes, endoscopes and analysers, thanks to growing sales of the company's digital cameras both in Japan and overseas. Thanks to the PMAI Newsline for this item!
- Nikon CoolPix 950 preview online! I surfed past the Digital Eyes webpage this morning, and noted that they've added a brief preview of a preproduction CoolPix 950 which they are currently reviewing at the moment. Whilst it's too early for Digital Eyes to draw any conclusions yet, the article does give a little insight for anybody eager to own one of the cameras on release!
- DSC-D700s appearing left, right and center! News on the Sony DSC-D700 mailing list is that people are finally starting to receive their cameras. Just to confirm this, a note just came into my mailbox from Norman Camera, who wrote to let me know that they now have DSC-D700s in stock in limited quantities, at a price of $1699.
Wednesday, March 10, 1999
March 10 - Digicam market growing, new version of Picture Information Extractor, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, March 10, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Japanese digicam growth figures out! The PC Watch website in Japan has posted figures for digicam sales from the Japan Electronic Industry Development Association. Shipments for the period Oct-Dec '98, covering 19 Japanese manufacturers as well as one unnamed foreign manufacturer, totalled 1,073,000 digital cameras worth 52,450,000,000 yen (US$431,438,677). Of these cameras, 395,000 (37%) were sold in Japan, with the remaining 678,000 (63%) sold overseas. Total shipments are expected to reach 3,900,000 for the 1998 fiscal year, with a value of 180,000,000,000 yen (US$1,480,628,444). JEIDA expects the digital camera market to reach 6,000,000 units with revenues of 400,000,000,000 yen (US$3,290,285,432) for the 1999 fiscal year (April '99 to March 2000).Thanks to PC Watch
for the story, and the Dynamind Currency Converter for US dollar equivalents!
- New version of Picture Information Extractor released! Steve's Digicams has received an email from Holger Jungk, author of the Picture Information Extractor (PIE). PIE is a 32-bit Windows program that renames .JPG files from your digital camera, extracting date, time, and other information to provide a more meaningful filename. The program also allows you to view information about your pictures such as shutter speeds, apertures, etc. and export this information into text files that can easily be converted into a spreadsheet or database. The program also allows viewing, copying, moving, deleting and renaming files, as well as lossless rotation of JPG files without decompressing and recompressing the image. The new version of the program is 2.81.Thanks to Steve's Digicams! align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Heidelberg CPS bundle Canto Cumulus with scanners!
We received an email from Canto Software, regarding their Cumulus asset management software. Cumulus allows users to archive files such as graphic images, text, audio and video, and is available for Mainctosh, Windows, Unix, and the new Apple Mac OS X servers. The program supports over 100 file formats, supports TCP/IP, and is remotely configureable. Canto kindly summarised the original (rather wordy) releases as below:
HEIDELBERG CPS TO BUNDLE CANTO CUMULUS WITH NEW SAPHIR HIRES & SAPHIR ULTRA 2 SCANNERS
.....Heidelberg establishes bundling agreement with market leaders in asset management, Canto Cumulus
.....New bundle to provide users with an easy-to-use, turnkey solution to scan and catalog images in one step.
CONAIR SIGNS CUSTOMIZATION SERVICES CONTRACT AT SEYBOLD
.....Customization services will tailor Cumulus asset management solution to Conair's workflow; users will receive training on how to efficiently manage images.
.....Conair upgrades to Cumulus Media Asset Management v.4.0 for Windows NT, with 10 Mac clients.
.....50 person Creative Team to centralize digital assets for global access across the Intranet.
CANTO CUMULUS ANNOUNCES V.4.0.5
.....Latest update will support Apple's new Mac OS X server
CANTO, NSM RELEASE ON-LINE ASSET MANAGEMENT STORAGE SOLUTION
.....Canto and NSM offer a turn-key digital asset management storage solution for cataloging and storing images on-line for instant access
Tuesday, March 9, 1999
March 09 - Toshiba PDR-M4 info, scanner ownership grows, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, March 9, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- PC Watch previews Toshiba PDR-M4! The PC Watch website in Japan has today previewed the upcoming 89,800 yen (US$740) Toshiba PDR-M4 digital camera. Specifications are listed, as well as a photograph of a development model of the camera. The PDR-M4 will have a start-up time of two seconds, a shot-shot time of one second (!) and the ability to take four shots per second for a limited time (unfortunately, the article does not say how long).
The camera has resolutions of 1600 x 1200 pixels and 800 x 600 pixels at three different qualities, and a picture can also be reduced from 1600 x 1200 to 800 x 600 after you've already taken it, if you need to free up some spcae later on. The recording medium is 3.3v SmartMedia in sizes up to the new 32MB cards, and power is supplied by a 5000 yen (US$40) Lithium Ion battery, one of which is included with the camera. The battery charges in the camera with an AC adapter, and can fully charge in 8 hours - an optional rapid charger will be sold as an option (price undecided), with the ability to recharge the battery in one hour.
The camera has a lens equivalent to 40mm on a 35mm camera, apertures from F3.2 to F8, focus from 50cm to infinity (10-50cm in macro mode), auto and four-mode manual white balance, shutter speeds from 1/4 to 1/1000 of a second, and a flash with red-eye reduction.
The LCD screen has a diagonal of 1.8 inches, and the camera weighes 240 grams. Connection to the PC is via either USB or serial, and the connection kit is also sold as an optional extra at a price of 7000 yen (US$55). A final option is a 32MB SmartMedia card, at a price of 15,000 yen (US$120).Thanks to PC Watch for this story!
- Toshiba makes a smaller LCD screen, bigger! It's still a touch big for a digital camera, but whilst browsing Toshiba's website I came across a press release regarding a new high resolution active matrix LCD screen from Toshiba. The new screen is apparently the world's smallest VGA TFT screen, with a resolution of 640 x 480 (307,200 pixels) with a diagonal of 4 inches. The new screen has a color depth of 256,000 colors, and samples will be available in March at a price of $435 each (final production costs are not noted). Let's hope they can get these even smaller soon!
- Canon introduces new image transfer technology! Canon has today announced a new technology, Transfer Replication Media, which enables users to imprint digital photos and artwork onto surfaces such as ceramic tile, stone, wood, glass, fabric, metal and paper. The technology allows printing at resolutions of 400 x 400 dpi, using 256 colors from a palette of 16.7 million. The transfer media work with Canon's CLC-series digital laser copiers and printers, and prices range from $178 for 50 sheets of Gloss Finishing Film for Glazed Ceramic to $598 for 50 sheets of White Finishing Film for Glass.
- Scanner ownership to be 31% by Summer 2000! A telephone survey by Infotrends Research Group of 1,000 US households has found that 18% of PC-owning households currently own a scanner, and that of the remainder, 13% would "probably" purchase a scanner in the next year! Scanner shipments are expected to grow at 34% annual through 2002, and revenues for North America alone should reach $1.5 billion this year. Of the current scanner owners, only 15% used their scanners strictly for business purposes.
- HP PhotoSmart S20 info! Reader Barry Tolnas contacted us with a couple of links for the HP PhotoSmart S20 scanner that we mentioned in our PMA coverage. First of all, there's the official HP announcement for the scanner, and then there's a review of the unit from one of HP's beta testers...Thanks, Barry!
- Agfa and GIA offer scanning seminars! Agfa Desktop Products Group has announced in a press release that it will be offering a series of scanning seminars across the USA in cooperation with the Graphics Intelligence Agency. The seminars will offer users of all levels an opportunity to learn how to achieve great scans and color control, and will feature Agfa's DuoScan T2500 and T2000XL scanners. The seminars will cost $179 per person, and are scheduled as follows:
Tuesday, March 9 - New York, NY (The New Yorker Hotel)
Wednesday, March 10 - Newark, NJ (Hilton Newark Gateway)
Thursday, March 11 - Philadelphia, PA (The Warwick Hotel)
Monday, March 15 - Boston, MA (Sheraton Tara Hotel)
Friday, March 19 - Minneapolis, MN (The Marquette Hotel)
Monday, March 22 - Denver, CO (Radisson Hotel)
Tuesday, March 23 - Cincinnati, OH (Blue Ash Best Western)
Thursday, March 25 - Los Angeles, CA (LAX Ramada Hotel)
Thursday, March 25 - Chicago, IL (Radisson O'Hare)
Wednesday, March 26 - Anaheim, CA (Embassy Suites)
Wednesday, March 26 - Houston, TX (Airport Medallion)
Monday, March 8, 1999
March 08 - Japan Photo Expo report, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, March 8, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- PC Watch posts Japan Photo Expo '99 report! The PC Watch website in Japan has posted a report on the 1999 Japan Photo Expo held March 5-7 in the Ikebukuro Sunshine City Convention Center in Tokyo. Although the show seems to have mostly mirrored products shown recently at PMA, there are still quite a few interesting items.
First on the page is the Nikon CoolPix 950, which the writer found to be the center of attention on a very crowded booth. Also, the mockup of Nikon's upcoming (and unnamed) SLR was displayed, again behind glass and with no comment on pricing or specifications.
Next is the Olympus C-2000 Zoom, which impressed with its large lens and apparently seemed smaller than most people had thought it would. The writer heard many comparisons between the C-2000 Zoom and products on the adjacent Nikon booth.
Fuji showed both their new FinePix 2700, and the "BIGJOB DS-260HD", and it was noted that it was much easier to get your hands on a camera here thanks both to the fact that Fuji was first to announce their camera and also (unfortunately for Fuji) thanks to the fact that their booth was simply a lot emptier than either Nikon or Olympus' booths.
Next on the page are pictures of Ricoh's new RDC-5000, followed by Konica's Q-M200 camera, first shown at PMA. The writer notes that whilst the slim, high-quality build and motorized lens cover were welcome, many people were unhappy with the slowness of the camera.
Epson demonstrated a new printer which could print directly from PC cards, as well as a wide-format printer (the MaxArt PM-9000C) which printed photos from a 2 megapixel digicam on B0 sized paper (big).
Sanyo demonstrated both their DSC-X110 and DSC-SX1ZS digital cameras, the former in particular being favoured thanks to its small size and light weight. The most attention however was reserved for Sanyo's swimsuit model!
Kodak showed their DSC560 and DSC315 professional digital cameras, whilst Minolta showed the Dimage RD-3000 professional digital camera. Also noted is that Minolta did not confirm or deny plans for a 2-megapixel Dimage EX.
Kyocera showed their new Contax film scanner, which takes 35mm or APS film and has a resolution of 4000 x 4000 dpi, although pricing and availability will not be announced until the International Professional Photo Fair next week
Mamiya announced the new 6 megapixel Mamiya S3 professional digital camera, a heft looking item based on a Mamiya 645 body. Apparently, sample images from this camera are also due to be shown at the IPPF next week.
Next on the page is Enroute's QuickStitch360 panorama software, which is due to ship in Japan although a release date and pricing have not yet been finalised. An interesting new item follows, in the form of a wide-angle and telephoto adapter lens for Olympus' C-900ZOOM, made by a company called Lei Knox.
Kenko have announced a 28-37mm convertor for use with Nikon's CoolPix 900/910 cameras, with a target price of 1,200 yen, whilst another company has announced an adapter for attaching digital cameras to a telescope. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the name of the company which is not too easy to translate, but they are a telescope manufacturer and the name looks like it might be "Mikku International" (if you can confirm this, please do let me know!)Thanks to PC Watch!
- Casio and Nokia link up at CeBIT! The digitalkamera.de website is currently carrying an article regarding Casio's QV-7000SX and Nokia's 9110 Communicator PDA/mobile phone. Casio has been showing the two procuts at CeBIT, as a solution for wireless imaging. A photographer can take photos with the QV-7000SX, transfer them to the 9110 Communicator via the infrared port, and then send the photo onward over the GSM network from the Communicator. Thanks, digitalkamera.de!
- Kodak DCS 620 review online! Phil Askey has posted a review of the Kodak Professional DCS 620 digital camera on his photo.askey.net website. He finds the camera to be extremely capable and well-designed (not surprisingly), although perhaps a touch large and heavy. Thanks, photo.askey.net!
Saturday, March 6, 1999
March 06 - New Article up: How many Pixels?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, March 6, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- How many pixels do you need? Confused? Don't pass up a great deal on a 1.3 or 1.5 megapixel camera just because you think you maybe want 2 megapixels! There's been so much attention on the forthcoming 2-megapixel cameras lately that we're concerned many people may be missing out on great deals on 1.3 or 1.5 megapixel models, not realizing how small the differences really are, in terms of the actual, "bottom line" resolution. Read this article for an explanation & some examples!
Friday, March 5, 1999
March 05 - New Sony digicams, and much more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, March 5, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Sony announces MVC-FD88 digital camera! In a press release, Sony has announced the new 1.3 megapixel MVC-FD88 digital camera. Features include an 8x optical / 16x digital zoom with auto macro, resolutions of 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768 and 640 x 480, MPEG movie recording (up to 60 seconds), voice memo mode, A/V Out connectors, disk-copying inside the camera, and a 4-speed floppy disk.
Also announced is the MVC-FD83, with an interpolated resolution of 1216 x 912 pixels, 6x digital zoom (no mention of optical zoom), and otherwise features very similar to the MVC-FD88.
Finally, the release also notes the MVC-FD73, with a 10x optical zoom, double-speed floppy drive, email mode, and a 2.5 inch LCD screen.
The MVC-FD88 and MVC-FD83 will be available in June 1999 for recommended prices of $999 and $799 respectively, whilst the MVC-FD73 will be available in May for $599.
- Konica Q-M200 pictures online! The Japanese PC Watch website has posted pictures of the upcoming Konica Q-M200 digital camera on their site. The accompanying (Japanese) text notes that the camera will ship in Japan for 89,900 yen (approx. US$732) at the end of April. The camera has an aluminum case with motorized lens cover, compact flash media (8MB supplied with the camera) and resolutions of 1600 x 1200, 1152 x 872 and 640 x 480 pixels are available. Three AA batteries can be used (with a life of about 90 shots for alkalines, no LCD), however an optional lithium ion battery will be sold for 6,500 yen (approx. US$53) which will give a life of about 300 photos with no LCD usage. The camera takes about 3 seconds to "boot" when first turned on, has a shot to shot interval of up to 8 seconds, and if I'm translating this correctly takes 0.5
seconds to take the shot (not sure if this is prefocused). A note is made that Konica has used a proprietary technology to improve color reproduction in shadows and highlights.Thanks, PC Watch!
- Japanese digicam prices fall! The PC Watch website has also posted its regular price index, which shows a number of digicams falling in price. By far the most significant drop was the Minolta Dimage 1500EX Zoom 1500, which fell to $647 from $809. Other cameras dropping in price (all by about $80) were: Epson CP900Z, Olympus C-900 Zoom, Sanyo DSC-SX1Z, Fuji FinePix 600Z, Fuji FinePix 500, Fuji FinePix 700, and Fuji Clip-It 80. The Sanyo DSC-X100 fell by about $40, and the Ricoh DC-4U fell by about $25.
- megapixel.net March issue online! The excellent megapixel.net website has posted its March issue, with reviews of the Sony DSC-D700, Olympus D-400Z, Canon PowerShot A5 and Agfa ePhoto 1280. The site has also moved to a new server in the hopes of improving reliability.
- Minolta and Olympus price drops. Steve's Digicams has heard news from an anonymous source of price cuts from both Minolta and Olympus. Apparently, the minimum advertised price of the Minolta Dimage 1500EX is now $799 down from $899, while Olympus will be dropping the 340R and 400L cameras by $100 each and the 620L by $200. Thanks to Steve's Digicams and their anonymous source!
- PowerShot Pro70 and Tiffen add-on lenses! Phil Askey's photo.askey.net website has been contacted by reader Gino Creglia Jr., who's been trying out some of Tiffen's add-on lenses with his Canon PowerShot Pro70. Check out Gino's results here!
- Burr-Brown announces new CCD Signal Processor. Burr-Brown Corporation has announced a new signal processor for conditioning and 10-bit analog-to-digital conversion of signals from megapixel CCDs. The new chip requires a voltage from 2.7 to 3.6 volts, has a low power consumption of 160mW at 2.7 volts, and is priced at $5.75 in quantities of 1000.
- Mike's a'moving again! That's right, your trusty news editor has got itchy feet again - last time I moved from England to Tennessee, USA - now I'm off to Iowa. What this means to you is that I'm desperately packing left, right and center, and won't be able to manage a news update over the weekend. I should be back with more updates from Monday, and apologize for the brevity of today's update! Oh, and if you're anywhere in between Tennessee and Iowa, and happen to see a car driving past so heavily loaded that sparks are flying as it bottoms out every fifty feet - be sure and wave, it's probably me!
Wednesday, March 3, 1999
March 03 - New printers from Canon and Epson, new scanners from HP and Imacon, and much more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, March 3, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Canon introduces BJC-6000 printer! Canon Computer Systems Inc. today introduced its new BJC-6000 color bubblejet printer. The BJC-6000 has a resolution of 1440 x 720 dots per inch (dpi), five pages per minute (ppm) print speed in color, eight ppm in monochrome, and a street price of $249. The press release details in-depth Canon's "Think Tank" ink cartridge system, which consists of separately replaceable tanks for each color of ink, each monitored by its own optical low-ink sensor via a triangular prism in each ink tank. When a cartridge runs low, a pop-up box on the PC warns you of this. The printer also features Canon's Drop Modulation Technology to allow the printer to print regular or half-sized dots in the same sweep from the same printhead. An optional Photo Ink cartridge is available for $42.95
- Canon introduces BJC-8500 photo printer! Canon Computer Systems Inc. also introduced its new BJC-8500 photorealistic color bubblejet printer today. The press release describes the new printer as "capable of producing output that does more than rival the image quality of traditional photographs -- it surpasses it." A new printhead design and enhanced inks allow a resolution of 1,200 x 1,200 dpi, and the printer also features Canon's P-POP system. P-POP improves plain-paper output by treating the paper with "Ink Optimizer" milliseconds before the ink is applied, in effect transforming plain paper into coated paper. The printer offers four ppm in color, or five ppm in monochrome, and has a maximum paper size of Tabloid (13" x 19"). The printer also features separate ink cartirdges for each color, with ink low and ink out warnings to reduce wasted ink and papers. The BJC-8500 will have a street price below
$1,700 and will be avaiable between the second and thrid quarters of 1999.
- Imaging Technologies announces ColorBlind Pro for Windows! Imaging Technologies Corp. has today announced the release of ColorBlind Professional for Windows 95/98/NT. ColorBlind allows users to accurately profile their scanners, monitors, printers and digital cameras, ensuring the consistency and predictability of output. ColorBlind Professional for Windows is available immediately at a price of $4799.
- Epson introduces ColorPage 8000 color laser printer! Epson America Inc. today introduced its new ColorPage 8000 laser printer. The ColorPage 8000 offers 600 x 600 dpi resolution, with print speeds of four ppm in color and 16 ppm in monochrome (letter-sized paper) or two ppm in color and 8 ppm in black (tabloid-sized paper). The printer comes with an external EFI Fiery print server, and has 256MB of RAM (192MB for the printer engine plus 64MB for the Fiery server). Epson's Aculaser Color Halftoning technology is used to provide photo-realistic image quality, and has a built-in HTML server to allow configuration over the network from any web browser.
- Epson introduces Stylus Pro 9000 color printer! Epson America Inc. also introduced its new StylusPro wide format color printer today. The Stylus Pro 9000 can handle paper up to 44 inches wide, media as thich as 1.5mm cardboard, and has a resolution of 1440 x 720 dpi. The printer uses 6 ink cartridges and Epson's Micro Piezo print-head for optimum quality. The printer will be available in two versions in April - a non-Postscript version will retail at approximately $7995, whilst a PostScript 3 version bundled with Epson's RS-5100 Fiery X2 RIP will cost approximately $13,995.
- Epson announces Stylus Photo 750, 1200 & Stylus Color 900! The digitalkamera.de website is currently carrying an item regarding three new printers from Epson which have been announced prior to CeBIT. The Epson Stylus Photo 750 (A4-sized) and Stylus Photo 1200 (A3+ sized) have a resolution of 1440 x 720 dpi, 6-color printing and use Ultra Micro Dot technology to provide ink drops of three different sizes, speeding up printing and allowing greater detail. Both printers have parallel, serial and USB ports, and the Stylus Photo 1200 additionally has automatic port recognition and can print right up to the edges of A3-sized paper. Finally, the item mentions the Stylus Color 900, with an incredibly fast 12 ppm in monochrome or 11.5 ppm in color, with a resolution of 1440 x 720 dpi and four ink colors (black, cyan, magenta, yellow). The Stylus Photo 750 is
available immediately for EUR300 (approx. $327), the Stylus Photo 1200 should ship this month for EUR 500 (approx. $544), and the Stylus Color 900 shipped last month for EUR450 (approx. $490).Thanks to the digitalkamera.de website!
- Imacon unveils FlexTight Photo Scanner for Pro Photographers! Imacon Inc., producer of the Award-winning FlexTight Precision CCD drum scanner today announced its new FlexTight Photo Scanner. The new scanner has an optical resolution of 3,200 dpi, and can scan transparencies from 35mm up to a strip of 120 films (6 x 18). Both the preview and final image are in 14-bit color, and data is scanned at 15MB per minute. The new scanner will have a price point "less than $12,000", and availability is not mentioned.
- HP announces new scanners! The Hewlett Packard Company has announced two new flatbed scanners intended for home use. The HP ScanJet 3200C is the first HP scanner expected to sell at a street price below $100, and connects via an enhanced parallel port. The HP ScanJet 4200C should sell for about $199 street, and has a USB connector, along with one-touch operation (three buttons allow you to scan, copy, or email as an attachment).
- US Nikon release dates! An anonymous reader emailed us with news that the expected shipping dates for Nikon's CoolPix 700 and CoolPix 950 have been updated by Ingram Micro. The CoolPix 700 is now listed as shipping on the 5th of April, and the CoolPix 950 is now listed as the 12th of April.Thanks to an anonymous reader!
- Japanese digicam release dates, Nikon Info Sheets, and a Microdrive preview! Phil Askey's photo.askey.net website has picked up a few items over the last couple of days.
First off, Phil has been forwarded expected release dates for a number of digital cameras in Japan. March should see the Fuji FinePix 2000 ship on the 4th, the Casio QV-5500SZ on the 13th, the Fuji DS-260HD on the 21st, and the Nikon CoolPix 950 on the 25th. In April, Japan should be seeing the Sony DSC-F55K on April 1st (I hope for their sake that's not an April Fool's Day joke ;) followed by the Olympus C-2000Z on April 8th, and the Ricoh RDC-5000 near the end of April.
Phil has also posted the official data sheets for both the Nikon CoolPix 700 and CoolPix 950, as well as a link to a preview on the AGN Hardware website for the IBM Microdrive. This is interesting mostly because it quotes a cost of $1 per megabyte for IBM's upcoming Microdrives, although no source for this price is given. Thanks to photo.askey.net and AGN Hardware!
- Altamira selects Nikon scanners to showcase Genuine Fractals! The Altamira Group has announced that it has selected the Nikon Super Coolscan 2000 film scanner to showcase their Genuine Fractals product. Genuine Fractals allows lossless or near-lossless digital images that can be easily scaled and are very strongly compressed.
- Ad space (almost) full! We've just signed NECX as a major advertising sponsor for the Imaging Resource site. Not only is NECX one of the largest sellers of computer hardware and peripherals on the web, but we've used them ourselves for years, for many of our routine supplies orders. We've had *excellent* experience ourselves using them, and think our readers will too! - If we hunt, we've sometimes found lower prices on some items, but end up coming back to NECX over and over again: Their service just can't be beat, and they offer solid products at good prices. As always, we encourage our readers to support the site by placing orders with our advertisers, and to click-through from one of our links when doing so: That way, the advertisers know where the business is coming from! Thanks for your support, and welcome aboard to NECX!
Monday, March 1, 1999
March 01 - Agfa drops ePhoto 1680 prices, Microtech announces new card-reader, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, March 1, 1999 - 0:00 EST)
- Agfa cuts ePhoto 1680 prices! Agfa Desktop Products Group has today announced a price cut for their ePhoto 1680 digital camera. Effective immediately, the camera has a suggested price of $699, the reduction making way for Agfa's new ePhoto CL30 and CL50 digital cameras. When we reviewed the ePhoto 1680 at the start of January, we found it to be "a well-designed and flexible digital camera, with image quality and resolution at the top of the field" - obviously newer and better cameras have been announced since, but the ePhoto 1680 remains a very good camera, and well worth considering!
- Microtech announces dual-slot USB CameraMate! Microtech has announced a new dual-slot Flash card reader with dedicated slots for both SmartMedia and CompactFlash, eliminating the need for a PC-Card adapter. Transfer rates peak at 1.2MB/sec, and the reader supports both 3.3v and 5v SmartMedia up to 128MB, as well as CompactFlash Type II cards. Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!
- FotoNation extends FotoDeveloper to Java! FotoNation Inc. has today announced that they have extended their FotoDeveloper camera interface software range, adding support for the Java platform. The first program built on top of the new Java FotoDeveloper is JCam, a program for OS/2, unix, Win32, Linux and Mac-PPC operating systems. The same press release also notes that FotoDeveloper is being integrated into Microsoft's upcoming Windows2000.
- Tawbaware releases Thumber 2.6 and DigiSS! Max Lyons from Tawbaware contacted us with news of a new release of his popular Thumber program, as well as a new slideshow program called DigiSS, which also has the capability to display hidden information such as date, time, etc. along with each slide:
"I've just released Thumber 2.6. Thumber is free software that extracts thumbnails, creates web page indexes, displays shutter/exposure information, renames images in batches, performs lossless rotation, transfers files and more. This version adds many new features, including the following:
1. Option to create image information reports with user-selected information in tab-delimited format, suitable for importing into a spreadsheet program.
2. Ability to merge image info reports into a "master report".
3. Ability to work with comments in multiple files simultaneously.
4. "Append comment" option.
5. "Jump 10 forward", "Jump 10 backward" buttons.
6. Open image in default viewer button.
7. Open web page in default browser option.
8. Option to retain file time/date stamp when adding comments or transforming images.
9. "Fix time/date stamp" option. Applies image's internal time/date stamp to file.
The latest version of Thumber is available here:
I've also released DigiSS, an interactive slide-show screen-saver for digital camera images. Like Thumber, DigiSS can read the "hidden" information inside digital camera files (such as time, date, aperture, shutter speed), and can display this data as part of the slide show. DigiSS makes creating a play list from files in any
number of directories a one-click process. And, DigiSS is an interactive screenshow, allowing the user to control the slide show as it is running. DigiSS can also function as a stand-alone slide show program. DigiSS is here:
- ArcSoft PhotoMontage now available for Mac! ArcSoft emailed us with news that PhotoMontage, the program that lets users create a "montage" image from thousands of smaller micro-images, is now available for Macintosh users. If you've got a large library of your own images you can use these, however PhotoMontage comes with 20,000 micro-images of its own if you've not been trigger-happy enough to use only your own images!
- Digital Eyes posts HP PhotoSmart C20 review! The Digital Eyes webpage at image-acquire.com has posted a preliminary review of HP's new PhotoSmart C20 print/film scanner. Overall, they found the scanner to be a good choice for Windows98 users, with a price that compares very favourably to other 35mm scanners on the market.
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