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Epson's PRINT Image Matching logo. Courtesy of Epson America Inc. Click here to visit the PRINT Image Matching website! Epson links PIM, Exif2.2!
(Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 02:17 EST)

Imaging manufacturer suggests close ties between its color management technology and the latest version of the Exif file standard...

A press release from Epson America Inc. claims that PRINT Image Matching, its color management technology which numerous companies have licensed, "has been accepted throughout the digital imaging industry with the publishing of [the Exif 2.2 JPEG file standard]". The company states that Exif 2.2 is "based on the P.I.M. concept", however the new additions to the Exif standard do differ somewhat from P.I.M.

PRINT Image Matching includes parameters such as gamma level, color space, shadow and highlight points and color balance - none of which are amongst the additions or changes in Exif 2.2. That standard, meanwhile, also adds items that aren't in P.I.M. - such as the type of scene (landscape, portrait or night scene), digital zoom setting, gain control, position of the main subject in the frame, and more. We don't think Epson is suggesting that Exif 2.2 is actually based on P.I.M. - more that it feels the two standards are somewhat similar and complementary. Certainly, the company notes that "PRINT Image Matching-enabled printers and software released after the third quarter will read the print matching parameters from both today's P.I.M.-enabled digital cameras and from future cameras using Exif 2.2".

Epson's release notes that since its announcement of PRINT Image Matching in February 2001 (the first products reached the market in the summer of 2001), more than two million P.I.M. -compliant products have been shipped worldwide. Exif 2.2 is at the current time a draft white paper, work having begun on the standard last September. Comments from JEITA members are currently being accepted through April 5th, and it will likely be some time after then before the standard is actually established. The first Exif 2.2 products might begin shipping around the end of the year, or early next year, at a guess...

We'd see both the creation of Exif 2.2 and the adoption of P.I.M. by numerous companies as advantageous for digital camera users. The more data that is recorded as to what an image is and how it was captured, the easier it will be to customise and automate the editing and printing processes to ensure a satisfactory result. That, for less experienced users (or those who don't have the time to edit their images) can only be a good thing.

Original Source Press Release:

Epson Announces Major Milestone for PRINT Image Matching Technology

Breakthrough Technology Linking Digital Cameras and Photo Printers Takes Another Step Toward Becoming an Industry Standard

LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 19, 2002-- Epson America Inc. today announced that PRINT Image Matching(TM) (P.I.M.) technology has been accepted throughout the digital imaging industry with the publishing of Exif 2.2, a new JPEG file standard.

Exif 2.2 is based on the P.I.M. concept, incorporating seven print matching parameters and will be implemented industry-wide in the near future. This will give customers an even wider selection of digital cameras that can be used to produce better prints automatically with PRINT Image Matching technology. PRINT Image Matching-enabled printers and software released after the third quarter will support cameras using Exif 2.2 and current P.I.M-enabled digital camera models.

PRINT Image Matching technology, which Epson announced in February 2001, ensures that P.I.M.-enabled digital cameras and P.I.M.-enabled printers work perfectly together to create the best possible prints. The first P.I.M.-compatible products began shipping in summer 2001 and by the fall, there were 35 P.I.M.-enabled products from 16 manufacturers of digital cameras, photo printers and software. To date, over two million PRINT Image Matching-enabled products have been shipped worldwide.

``Epson and its partners recognized that not only do consumers have the desire and need to achieve high quality prints from their digital camera files, but also have the expectation to do so with minimal effort,'' said Keith Kratzberg, director, photo imaging, Epson. ``P.I.M. has addressed that need and has been enthusiastically accepted by consumers. As additional digital camera manufacturers move forward with the Exif 2.2 file type, more people will be able to enjoy high quality P.I.M. prints.''

About PRINT Image Matching

PRINT Image Matching ensures that digital cameras and printers that are P.I.M.-enabled work perfectly together to create the best possible prints. With P.I.M. technology, digital camera manufacturers can set critical image specific parameters in the JPEG file for printing, such as gamma level, color space, contrast, sharpness, brightness, saturation, shadow point, highlight point, and color balance, to ensure optimum results for each digital camera model. The photographer's original intentions are automatically reflected in the printed image. Photographers can now easily create stunning, frame-ready photos with their favorite P.I.M.-compatible digital camera model and PRINT Image Matching-enabled printer and software without any complicated procedures to ensure accurate color results.

PRINT Image Matching has been licensed by a number of industry-leading names, such as ArcSoft, Asahi Optical Co. Ltd. (Pentax Corporation), Casio Computer Co. Ltd., JVC (Victor Company of Japan Ltd.), Konica Corporation, Kyocera Corporation, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic), MGI, Minolta Co. Ltd., NewSoft, Nikon Corporation, Olympus Optical Co. Ltd., Ricoh Company Ltd., Sanity Software, Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., Sony Corporation, Toshiba Corporation and Ulead Systems Inc. A complete list of PRINT Image Matching-compatible products is available at www.printimagematching.com. This web site will continually be updated as more P.I.M.-compatible products are introduced to the market.

More About Exif 2.2 Standard

Exchangeable image file format (Exif) is the international file format standard for digital cameras. The new Exif 2.2 standard was published recently by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) and it supports information that is useful for printing, embedded in a JPEG file header. With Exif 2.2, print matching information such as contrast, saturation, sharpness, gain control, captured scene type and digital zoom ratio used during capture will now become standard digital camera image parameters. This print matching information is attached to the digital camera file and can be used by a printer that can read the information. PRINT Image Matching-enabled printers and software released after the third quarter will read the print matching parameters from both today's P.I.M.-enabled digital cameras and from future cameras using Exif 2.2.

``Exif 2.2 provides a solid foundation for PRINT Image Matching in the consumer digital camera market,'' continued Kratzberg. ``Together with our digital camera partners, Epson will continue to focus its efforts on the development of advanced PRINT Image Matching technology to provide the highest possible print quality automatically.''

About Epson

Epson offers an extensive array of award-winning image capture and image output products for the consumer, photography, business and graphic arts markets. The company is also a leading supplier of value-added point-of-sale (POS) solutions for the retail market. Founded in 1975, Epson America Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, a global manufacturer and supplier of high-quality technology products that meet customer demands for increased functionality, compactness, systems integration and energy efficiency. Epson America Inc. is headquartered in Long Beach, Calif. More information about Epson and its products is available by calling 1-800-GO-EPSON or visiting the company's Web site at www.epson.com.

Note: Epson is a registered trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation and PRINT Image Matching is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation. Third party brand or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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