FULL review posted of Canon CanoScan FS4000US film scanner!
There seems to be a real dearth of film scanner reviews on the 'web these days, and an even more severe lack of *detailed* ones. In response to persistent requests from readers, we're updating and extending our film scanner coverage. These things seem to take us a beastly-long amount of time to process, so we beg your patience, but you'll definitely be seeing a number of new scanner reviews before the summer is up.
The most recent scanner we've reviewed is Canon's CanoScan FS4000US. This is a nifty little unit that operates over either SCSI or USB, comes with software for both Mac and Windows, and provides high-end specs like 14-bit A/D, automatic dust removal, and 4000 dpi resolution, all for under $1000. When we tested it, we were quite impressed with its quality and capabilities. It has an excellent lens, with great corner-to-corner sharpness, and in fact turned in about the best performance of any scanner to date on our resolution targets. (!) We also found its dust-removal technology not only very effective, but remarkably adept at avoiding loss of detail in the underlying images. In fact, about the only fault we could find with it is that it isn't as fast as higher-end models selling for 50-60% more. Not a bad tradeoff: If you're looking for a very high quality scanner at a bargain price, and don't need to scan dozens of photos a day, the FS4000US could be the scanner you've been looking for. Check it out!
Full Review posted for the Olympus D-510 Zoom!
Phew! With the site redesign (mostly) done, we'll finally be uncorking the bottleneck on our review production. - There should be a *lot* of reviews going up this week. The first is a review of Olympus' new entry in the "Full Featured 2 Megapixel Point & Shoot" category, the D-510Zoom. This new model is a replacement for their very successful D-490Zoom. It sports a somewhat simplified user interface, but the same great feature set that made the 490 so popular. This is a great model for people looking for good quality, good features, an easy to use camera, and an affordable price. Check the review for all the details!
Form" review posted for Ricoh RDC-i700!
In effort to cover more of the breadth of the digicam market, we're experimenting with "short form" reviews of some models. These will provide a more concise look at the features, capabilities and performance of some cameras we might not get to otherwise. As part of this format experimentation, we're also playing with the design of our sample pictures pages. The new format includes large thumbnails of the key test images, so you can get a general idea of what the photos look like without having to open a large file over your internet connection.
Our first Short Form review is of the Ricoh RDC-i700. This is a fairly amazing device, in that it combines a 3 megapixel digital camera with a huge 3.5 inch touch-screen LCD panel, and enough computing power to run a web browser, and sophisticated telecommunications capabilities. The "Image Capturing Device" (Ricoh's term) can actually be programmed to connect to the internet via a PC-Card modem, connect to an FTP server, and upload images automatically! It also supports email, and direct dial-in computer connections. We didn't report on all its telecom abilities, but looked at it from the camera standpoint. Our conclusion? It's an OK three megapixel camera, but if you don't need the telecom features, you can do better for a lot less than the $1200 selling price of the i700. On the other hand, if you *do* need an imaging device that can connect and upload photos directly, there's literally nothing like the i700 on the market. - If you need the i700, you probably need it bad, so check it out!
Form review of Polaroid PDC-2300 posted!
The subject of our second Short Form review is Polaroid's PDC-2300. Many people are unaware that last year, Polaroid sold more digicam units than anybody. Huh? That's right. The reason most of us in the digicam community haven't been aware of them is that the huge volumes they've been moving have by and large been cameras with VGA-level resolution (640x480) or less. Visit your local K-Mart or Wal-Mart and you're likely to see a rack of Polaroid digicams hanging in blister-packs. Not exactly the stuff photo-buff dreams are made of. Polaroid has been trying to move up-market though, as evidenced by the specs on the PDC-2300 - A 2 megapixel model with a zoom lens. How'd they do? Well... Let's just say there's room for improvement. If the PDC-2300 sold for about half its $399 list price, it'd be a fantastic deal, but as it stands, you can do a lot better for your money. Read the review for all the details, and our usual collection of sample photos.
MORE Comparison Images!
Several of you asked about further comparisons between the D1x and other Pro SLRs. Always happy to oblige, we've produced the "Great Digital SLR Shootout" Page, shown in thumbnail form at right. We've cropped out sections of the Davebox target, House poster, and ISO Res target, from shots taken with the D1x, the original D1, the Canon D30, the Minolta Dimage 7, the Olympus E10, and the Fuji S1. Check it out by clicking here!
MASSIVE site redesign completed/deployed!
Yikes! Believe it or not, we've been working on this for almost a year now! It took that long because (a) we had literally *hundreds* of pages that had to be changed to our new template format, and (b) we don't have the luxury of lots of spare resources to do that sort of thing with. (It's all we can do to keep up with the pace of new products, cranking out the quantity and quality of reviews that we do!) It's done now though, apart from the inevitable patching of broken links, minor tweaks, etc.
Besides the cleaner "look" (one enthusiastic reader described it as "calming to my eyes"), the new design navigates better, has more logical sections for different aspects of digital photography, and much faster-loading pages. You'll also find almost a hundred new articles that were previously buried in our newsletter archives, but are now seeing the light of day. (Have you subscribed to our newsletter yet? It's free, you can unsubscribe any time, and you'll not only get great articles like these appearing in your mailbox every other week, but great "newsletter-only" deals offered to our readers by various companies.) Bottom line, there's a *LOT* here to look at, and it should be a lot easier getting to it than ever before.
Now that the new site design is deployed, we'll be working behind the scenes on a variety of enhancements and new site features, so stay tuned. Oh - and of course, the great reviews will continue unabated, with many more scheduled for this summer. - In addition to our digicam reviews, expect to see more coverage of printers and scanners as well!
Thanks as always for your support, and the great way all of you have rallied around our advertisers: Clicking on one of our ads when it's time to buy your camera, scanner, or printer *really* helps! Thanks!
FULL Review of Nikon D1x now online!
Whew! That's a lot of camera to review! Not a lot to say here, we said it already in the review. Besides the usual info, we also looked at the performance of third-party programs Qimage and Bibble, both of which offer improved resolution from their custom interpolation of the D1x's NEF files. The conclusion? This is one heckuva camera! - No secret that we really liked this one - super resolution, virtually no noise, great user interface, great shooting speed, etc, etc. If you like Nikon pro SLRs, you're guaranteed to love this one! Check it out! (500 MB of D1x images on-line!)
FLASH: LOTS more D1x photos uploaded!
As promised, we now have a large number of additional test images uploaded for the (incredible) new Nikon D1x! We've now shot most all our standardized test shots, and have dozens of examples showing camera performance in a wide range of conditions, and the effect of a number of the camera's internal adjustments. (Tone, sharpness, and white balance "fine tuning".) There's also a couple of raw NEF-format files, for those of you interested in playing with them in Bibble and Qimage. - We hope to have some samples uploaded showing the effect of improved interpolation algorithms in both programs in another day or so. Eric Hyman (Bibble author) sent us an example of what Bibble did with the res target file, the results literally have to be seen to be believed! Check it out! (Now almost 500 MB of D1x images on-line!)
MASSIVE Comparometer(tm) update! - With some background work we are continually doing, our Comparometer(tm) test image comparison tool got a bit out of date. We've now updated it to include ALL reviewed cameras. (Just added are the Canon S110, Sony FD87, FD92, and S85, and Olympus C700 UltraZoom and Brio D100.) The Comparometer(tm) remains the only place on the web where you can compare 9 different standardized test images shot with a hundred different digicams side by side. We also encourage you to download our test shots and print them out (for personal use only!) on your own photo printer, so you can see exactly how the different cameras compare when viewing actual prints.
WOW! Preliminary results from Nikon D1X testing!
We just got a sample of a full production model of the camera in-house, and have spent a busy day shooting tests and analyzing the results. First thoughts? It's incredible! We were expecting high resolution, and the D1X really delivers on that score. What we weren't really prepared for was the almost complete absence of noise at low ISOs, and the very low levels we saw at higher settings. Beautiful, buttery-smooth flat tints and gradations are the order of the day, and color quality (and color control) are excellent as well. Hats off to Nikon on this one, they've really set a new standard!
We normally don't post results ahead of the full review, but we've had such
an extraordinary level of interest in the D1X from our readers that we didn't
want to wait a moment longer than we had to, to bring you our first results.
(Or for that matter, to answer any more of the "when will it be here"
emails!) We've posted two chunks of information, a look
at the D1X's resolution, and a partial
image analysis page, showing the results of viewfinder accuracy, resolution,
and color tests. Check it out, check back here often over the next week or so
as we continue our testing and post additional results.
Full Review of Sony Cyber-Shot S85 Posted!
It's a good guess that 2001 is going to be the year of affordable 4 megapixel cameras. While Toshiba announced a low-cost model just recently, Sony is the first of the market-leading manufacturers to announce a 4.1 megapixel unit under $1,000. - And it's *way* under $1,000, with a list price at introduction of only $799, a scant $100 higher than their already bargain-priced S75 model! The S85 is very similar to the S75 in many respects, with the same great Zeiss lens we've admired since the S70, the same user interface design, and virtually identical operation. The biggest change (apart from the 4.1 megapixel CCD) is the addition of more buffer memory, permitting bursts of 3 exposures in continuous-shooting mode, and an automatic exposure bracketing option. It's interesting to note that, with the release of the S85, Sony now has three (well four, actually) separate lines of cameras, with multiple models at each level. Their floppy-based Mavicas have been around for a while now, and earlier this year they extended their single CD-R based camera (the CD-1000) into a full line with the introduction of the CD-200 and CD-300. The "P-series" cameras are aimed at entry-level users looking for good images and solid build quality in easy-to-use products. With the introduction of the S85, we now see the beginnings of a multi-product lineup at the high end of the consumer market, with both 3.3 and 4.1 megapixel models. (Anyone want to guess what's next?)
We were fortunate to get our hands on a prototype of the new S85 in time to bring you a full review on the day of its official announcement. The new camera looks pretty impressive, with the same excellent color, tonal range, and image sharpness we liked in the S75, now with even more resolution. (And the Zeiss lens appears quite capable of handling the extra resolution of the 4.1 megapixel sensor: The resolution increase is quite noticeable in our resolution test target. Since the unit we tested was a prototype, final production models may show lower image noise and higher shooting speed. Despite this, we think readers will be impressed with the image quality and sharpness of the new S85. Read the review for all the details! (All images are online for the review, we should have them stitched into the Comparometer by the 5PM today, 6/7/2001, Eastern time US.)
Full Review of Polaroid SprintScan 4000 posted!
Continuing our slow march through the land of high-resolution film scanners, we've just posted our full review of Polaroid's aptly named SprintScan 4000. This was the first of the 4000 dpi units on the market, well ahead of this year's offerings from Nikon and Canon. It holds up well against the newer models though, and in particular is noticeably faster than some of the newer designs. Overall, a nice scanner with excellent throughtput. Read the review for all the details!
Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420