Epson Stylus Photo 1280 review posted!
Continuing to work our way through Epson's line of photo printers (3 down, one more to go in the current batch), we've just posted our review of the wide-format (13" wide paper capacity) Stylus Photo 1280. This uses the same 2880 dpi print head as the 875EPX and 780 we've already reviewed, as well as the true edge-to-edge printing capability we liked in those models, but has a much wider carriage. As was the case between the 850EPX and the 780 though, we noticed subtle differences in color and tonal range between the three models, even though they use the same print head. Which did we like the most? Read the review for the details!
Software Review: iCorrect Pro
Color correction is one of the biggest bugaboos for amateur digital photographers. It's easy enough to know something's not quite right, but often difficult to "describe" the problem to your editing software. IR Newsletter Editor Mike Pasini took a close look at iCorrect Professional by Pictographics, and like what he saw a lot. (But had a few recommendations for the program authors as well.) Read his review, delivered with the hallmark Pasini humor and panache.
Software Review: LensDoc
Geometric distortion (barrel and pincushion distortion) is a perpetual problem in consumer-level digicam lenses. Barrel distortion (the edges of the image bulging outward) in wide angle shots is often particularly pronounced. There's now a great solution to this, in the form of a software package from Andromeda Software, called LensDoc. IR all-around writer-gal Stephanie Boozer and Newsletter Editor Mike Pasini put their heads together and came up with a great review of the product. Read the review for the details (or if you're not sure what this barrel distortion thing is all about - there's a great example there).
Software Review: Nik Sharpener
Image sharpening is one of the least-understood aspects of digital photography. It's also one of the most mis-applied by folks with partial understanding. Nik Sharpener is a dedicated tool that de-mystifies the sharpening process, and produces beautiful, just-right results for any given situation, whether it be web/email display, inkjet prints, or offset printing. It's price ($129) probably means it'll be of most use to pros or serious amateurs, which is too bad, as the results are superb, and would benefit anyone's photos, from novice to pro and all points in between. Read Newsletter Editor Mike Pasini's take on Nik Sharpener, in his "Never a Dull Moment" review.
Dave Digs Out, Part II - Dimage D7 Review Updated!
Continuing to dig out of the hole he fell into after the Alaska trip, Dave has now revisited our review for the Minolta Dimage 7, filled-in the power and timing data based on a production model, expanded on his thoughts about the Dimage 7's unusual EVF, and generally updated the piece based on experience with the production unit. Thanks to all who've waited so patiently (sort of ;-) for this update! Some of Dave's (rabid) enthusiasm for the camera has mitigated a bit in the fullness of time, but he still considers it a "breakthrough" product. (Among other things, its lens is still second to none in the prosumer digicam arena.) Check the review for all the details!
Toshiba's established a niche for themselves by offering feature-rich cameras at very aggressive prices. The latest of these is the PDR-M81, a four megapixel design, at a relatively affordable $799. We felt it offered good value for the money (particularly when you consider that the "Street" price is running around $700 even), although its image quality & color weren't in the top echelon. If you're looking for a bargain-priced 4 megapixel with a lot of features though, the PDR-M81 could be the camera you need. Read the review for all the details.
Digs Out! (slowly) - Olympus C700 Test Results
(Dave here.) It seems I'm still digging out from the aftermath of the Alaska Trip, tidying up odds and ends, trying to keep up with the review flow, etc. One task that kept falling through the cracks was to go back and add the "Test Results" section to our review of the Olympus C-700. After repeated email prodding from readers, I've finally done that(!) Overall, this a great little camera, with good color and a good white balance system, not to mention its 10x zoom lens. We did find that the lens is soft in the extreme corners of the image, but performance otherwise is quite good, and it does a great job in low light shooting too. Read the Test Results section of the review for all the details!
Wow! Few cameras have excited as much rumor, interest, or speculation on the internet than Sony's new DSC-F707, and with good reason. We've had our hands on a preproduction model of the new camera, and it figuratively knocked our socks off! A follow-on to the DSC-F505V, a camera which attracted something approaching a "cult" following, the new DSC-F707 includes dramatic improvements in just about every aspect of camera performance, as well as some never-before-seen digicam features. The new model sports a lens that's a full stop faster (f/2.0-2.4), a 5.2 megapixel CCD (5.04 effective), bigger battery, fantastic color, very low image noise, and an electronic eyelevel viewfinder. Not enough? How about the ability to "see" and focus in total darkness? Sony's adapted their infrared-based "NightShot" technology from their videocamera line, including both NightShot and a new mode called NightFraming (read the review for the details). They've also included an optional "Hologram Autofocus" feature, that projects a focusing pattern on the subject using a visible-light laser diode and diffraction grating. All in all, the F707 expands the digicam state of the art in unforeseen directions, while simultaneously raising the bar on image quality. Oh- and all this will sell for $999 MSRP in the US, not the $1400-1500 that's been rumored! We predict that this camera will be a huge factor in the market it's literally one of the best we've seen at any price. (Save your pennies, this beauty will be hitting US retail sometime in September.) Check out the review for all the details!
While it won't make as big a splash in the market as the DSC-F707, we suspect this model may actually sell more units: Sony's announced an update to their very popular subcompact camera, the DSC-P1. The new DSC-P5 sports many of the same features, but is much thinner, thanks to a two-part telescoping 3x zoom lens. The resulting camera is a bit less than an inch and a half thick (36mm), but is otherwise the same size as the original P1. The new model has all the Y2001 Sony improvements though, in terms of internal electronics and improved color. The net result is an ultra-compact 3 megapixel, 3x-zoom digicam that snaps great pictures while carrying the Sony trademark style. As noted, while the F707 is perhaps bigger news, we think the P5 is actually going to sell more units, as it's very much in the mainstream of consumer interests. - And at a MSRP in the US of $599, it's quite affordable for a 3 megapixel camera. (Look for this model on store shelves in September also.) Check out the review for all the details!
August 16 1/2
Canon PowerShot G2!
Canon's PowerShot has consistently been one of the most popular "prosumer" cameras since it was introduced over a year ago. Now, Canon's upped the ante with a 4 megapixel sensor, and improvements in nearly every aspect of camera performance! We got our hands on an initial-production G2, put it through it's paces, and liked what we saw *very* much! All of Canon's "Year 2001" cameras have displayed beautiful color rendition, and the new G2 carries on that tradition. Also, even though the new G2 uses the same lens as the G1, the G2's images look much sharper than the 3 -> 4 megapixel increase in sensor resolution would seem to warrant. Canon has also brought over noise-reduction technology from their Pro SLR the EOS D30, with the result that low light photos from the G2 are amazingly clean and noise-free. Finally, Canon has added myriad little tweaks and enhancements, with the result that virtually all of the most-requested improvements asked for by G1 users have now been addressed. Oh - and the introductory list price will be the same $899 carried by the G1 when it was first announced. We think Canon has a real winner on their hands here, check out the review for all the details!
FujiFilm FinePix F4800
Fuji's line of compact digicams win big points for style. Their latest round of products have improved image quality significantly over their predecessors, with better color and lower noise. We reviewed the top-end 6800 model earlier, now we've taken a look at it's little brother (sister?) the FinePix 4800. The 4800 has a 2.4 megapixel SuperCCD, delivering images up to 4.3 megapixels in size. Interestingly, we found the 4800's color inaccurate in some respects, but the overall effect is to produce printed output that we think typical consumers will find very appealing. All in all, a nice, compact advanced point & shoot camera that we think will find a ready market. Read the review for all the details!
No Film, No Regrets!
Digicam maven though he is, Dave hasn't been able to completely sever his ties with film... Until now! Testing the latest pro and prosumer digicams this spring convinced him to take the leap of going completely filmless on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Alaska. High risk, trusting all those photos to digital? Well, he *did* bring belt & suspenders, and all turned out splendidly! Read all about it in his "No Film, No Regrets" article!
1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate
2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate
3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate