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Digital Photography News Archive!
December 1999


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Friday, December 31, 1999

Coolpix950 external flash experiences!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, December 31, 1999 - 2:14 EST)

Cameraid author Juri Munkki wrote in to let us know that he's posted a web page detailing his experiences in choosing an external flash to use with his Nikon Coolpix950 digital camera. The page is a great resource not only for users of the Coolpix950, but also for any digital camera user who's considering going with an external flash - it'll really help you get to grips with what features to look for in your flash and what it will help you achieve!
Thanks to Juri for the great work, and the email!

Snapfish to offer online photosharing, photofinishing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, December 31, 1999 - 1:35 EST)

A news item from Yahoo! News reports on online photo-sharing/-finishing startup SnapFish, the latest to join a recent flood of similar sites hitting the 'Net. SnapFish intends to differentiate itself in a couple of ways; first of all it will allow processing of conventional film, and sharing of the resulting photos online. Secondly, it will offer its service to some extent for free, in exchange for receiving personal information from users - although it is not clear from the reports we've seen as to exactly what will be free. The Yahoo! article suggests that there will be a charge for prints from digital cameras, and prints above 4x6 inches - but that processing and printing of traditional film prints will be free of charge. What pricing will be for the larger prints, or 4x6 prints from digital cameras, has not yet been announced...

Thursday, December 30, 1999

Simple Technology products carried by Best Buy!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 30, 1999 - 21:18 EST)

National consumer electronics retailer Best Buy is now carrying flash cards manufactured by Simple Technology, according to a press release. Simple's CompactFlash and SmartMedia cards and USB CompactFlash reader are being carried at over 300 Best Buy stores nation wide.

CFA and 33 members to exhibit at CES2000!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 30, 1999 - 19:56 EST)

A press release from the CompactFlash Association notes that it, and 33 of its member companies, will be exhibiting at the upcoming CES 2000 show, running January 6-9, 2000. The CFA booth will be #4325, whilst the following member companies will have their own booths:

Askey Computer
CIS Technology
Delkin Devices*
Fuji Photo Film
Kingston Technology*
Lexar Media
Memory Corp.
National Semiconductor
SCM Microsystems*
Silicon Storage Tech.*
Victor Company
Wintec Industries*
Exhibiting in CFA booth 4325

Wow, two great deals, but act quick!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 30, 1999 - 2:03 EST)

We've just placed two items on the Deals page that may be of interest to readers, but thought both merited a mention here simply because if you don't act quickly, they'll be gone! The first is a 40% discount on SmartMedia cards, which brings a 32MB card down to only $60... The second is a Toshiba PDR-M5 digital camera, with shipping, for only $547 after a $100 rebate! But both offers expire on December 31st, so if you want to take advantage of them, act immediately! Check the Deals page for the full details...

Wednesday, December 29, 1999 offers 150 free prints to new members!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 29, 1999 - 11:59 EST)

Online photofinishing service, which announced its debut back on December 8th, 1999, has today announced in a press release that all customers signing up for the service before midnight PST on January 15, 2000, will receive 150 free 4 x 6 prints, which may be used any time before December 31, 2000! It seems that with this and other similar offers announced recently, readers are getting a great chance to evaluate the services of a number of companies and really choose the one they feel is best - which can only be a good thing...

Agfa to show products at MacWorld 2000!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 29, 1999 - 11:42 EST)

A press release this morning from Agfa Corp.'s Desktop Products Group announces that it will be showing certain of its digital imaging products at this week's MacWorld 2000 event in San Francisco. On display will be the 1000 x 2000 dpi, 42-bit DuoScan HiD scanner, due to ship in February 2000 for US$2450, as well as the SnapScan Touch scanner, currently available for $129, and the ePhoto CL30 digital camera, currently available for $350.

Tuesday, December 28, 1999

Agfa extends rebate programs!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 28, 1999 - 17:07 EST)

A press release today from Agfa's Desktop Products Group announces that it is extending its rebate programs for the SnapScan scanner and ePhoto digital camera lines. The $20 rebate on SnapScan 1212p and 1236u scanners will be extended to March 31, 2000, whilst the $20 rebate on the 1212u (off-white) scanner will be extended to May 31, 2000. The SnapScan 1212u and 1212p rebates, initially announced on October 1st, were due to expire at the end of this year. We've not seen mention of the 1236u rebate, however, so this could well be a new rebate...

Also covered under rebates expiring March 31, 2000, are the Agfa ePhoto CL30, ePhoto CL30 Clik! and ePhoto CL50 digital cameras, all covered by a $50 rebate. The ePhoto CL30 rebate was announced on October 19, and also expired at the end of the year. The CL50 rebate actually expired back on August 31st, and was at the time a $100 rebate - so the $50 rebate is really a new one, and will bring the effective cost of the CL50 down to $499. The ePhoto CL30 Clik! rebate is also a new one...

Monday, December 27, 1999

E-Book announces FlipAlbum CD Maker!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 27, 1999 - 14:34 EST)

E-Book Systems Inc. has today announced its new FlipAlbum CD Maker. Based on FlipAlbum 3.0, the program allows you to create auto-running albums of your digital images, with accompanying background music, overview pages, contents and index, bookmarking feature, annotation and more, on a CD that you can distribute to friends and family. The software allows for unlimited CDs to be produced without extra charge, and the resulting CDs can be viewed on any Windows95, Windows98 or WindowsNT4 PC. The program is available immediately for $49.95. A business version will be released within two months, allowing commercial distribution of the CDs with a per CD royalty fee.

ZDNet publishes QuickStart guides for digicams and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 27, 1999 - 14:28 EST)

The ZDNet website ( has published a new series of guides under the banner QuickStart 2000. Included are guides for digital cameras and scanners, as well as PC and Macintosh systems, Software, Handhelds/PDAs, Printers, Netcams, Internet, e- mail, Mp3 Players, CD-Recordable, DVD, PC Games, Dreamcast, Playstation, and Nintendo 64. Each category includes information as below:

 - Getting started -- What you need to know about getting
started with your new product, in plain English
- Having problems? -- How to get back on track with
ZDNet's quick troubleshooting hints and tips
- Expert advice -- For more personalized help, get
assistance online from live experts
- Accessories and add-ons -- ZDNet's pick of cool
accessories to help you get the most out of your new
- Fun first projects -- Now that you're up and running,
here are some fun first projects
- Books -- Want to go deeper? ZDNet has scanned the
shelves for popular print picks
- Downloads -- ZDNet has scoured the Internet for the
most useful free downloads for each product category,
and guides visitors through downloading and using it.
- Other useful sites -- ZDNet recommends other useful
sources of information on each product category.

Sony to license MemoryStick to Palm Computing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 27, 1999 - 14:14 EST)

The digitalkamera.dewebsite has posted a news item speculating that Sony is to license its MemoryStick format to 3COM subsidiary Palm Computing. No source is quoted for the item, however Sony has already licensed the format to a number of companies, and has announced that it is working to sign up other companies, so it is certainly feasible. In return, Palm would permit Sony to use PalmOS in its products, something which could greatly help Palm to make the OS seem to be less proprietary and more of a standard, in light of Microsoft's continued attempts to push the WindowsCE operating system. With the popularity of Palm's range of handheld organizers, this could definitely help popularise MemoryStick...

Canon receives Digital Camera Editor's Choice awards!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 27, 1999 - 13:27 EST)

Canon USA Inc. has announced in a press release today that it has received Editor's Choice awards in Digital Camera Magazine's Buyer's Guide 2000 for its Canon PowerShot A50 digital camera and Canon Elura Digital Camcorder. The PowerShot A50 received the Editor's Choice award for Best Overall Value, whilst the Canon Elura received the Best Overall Digital Video Camera award. Also receiving awards were Nikon's Coolpix950 (Best Camera System), Olympus' C-2500L (Best Performance Camera), and the Sony Cybershot DSC-F505 (Best Camera Design).

Friday, December 24, 1999

Best wishes of the season to you and yours!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, December 24, 1999 - 12:33 EST)

Here it is once again, that time of year when thoughts of home, faith and family are in our minds - Christmas. A lot has happened at the Imaging Resource since this time last year, and we've once again received far more mails than we could possibly count with thanks and best wishes from our readers, as well as the ever-important suggestions for how we can make the site better for you. As we head into a new year, and towards a new millennium (yes, we know, we're not going to fall into that trap - there is still another year before we technically enter the new millennium), we'd like to take this chance to thank you all for your tremendous support of the site, and to wish you all the very best tidings of the season! May your Christmas be merry, your New Year be your very best yet, and may there be a digital camera in each and every one of your stockings this year!

Thursday, December 23, 1999

Toshiba posts 64MB SmartMedia firmware for PDR-M4!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 23, 1999 - 19:00 EST)

Toshiba has now posted the firmware upgrade we told you was on the way in our article of December 21, "64MB SmartMedia brings compatibility worries, upgrades again!" The new firmware fixes compatibility issues with 64MB SmartMedia, something that several digital camera manufacturers are going to have to face in the coming weeks... Toshiba's PDR-M5 is already compatible with 64MB SmartMedia. You can find the upgrade for download here. As always, we recommend our readers to follow all manufacturer instructions to the letter, and only use the firmware in cameras for which the manufacturer recommends it - or you'll turn your digital camera into a digital doorstop!
NOTE: IR reader Steven Chan advises us that, after upgrading to 2.08 firmware, his camera still reports that it is on version 2.07. After contacting Toshiba, he has been told that this is a known bug, and that if everything else works normally, then the camera has been upgraded correctly... Thanks to Steven for the note!
Jan 01: Steven wrote in to let us know that Toshiba has now corrected the firmware on its website to remove the above problem... Thanks, Steven!

Kodak assists DC290 owners in Europe with CF card reader, CF adapter!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 23, 1999 - 18:54 EST)

The digitalkamera.dewebsite has reported that in Europe, Eastman Kodak Co. is giving CompactFlash card readers or PC card adapters to buyers of the DC290 digital camera who don't have a USB port on their machines. Whilst the camera does have a serial interface cable, the necessary drivers are not yet ready - and hence users without USB capability are unable to download their photos to their PC. To solve this, the company is providing the EUR75 CompactFlash reader to PC users and the 20EUR PC card adapter to Mac users who call in to the Kodak hotline before the end of January and give their serial number.
Thanks to digitalkamera.defor this item!

Kodak to report on digital imaging progress!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 23, 1999 - 16:41 EST)

A press release from Eastman Kodak Co. announces that the company has scheduled a meeting with investors and the media on January 24, 2000 to review its fourth quarter financial results, and report on progress with the company's consumer digital imaging strategy. The meeting will be held at the Marriott New York at 1pm, and the financial results will be released at 7am the same day.

Fuji offers MX-1700 Zoom digicam in sweepstakes!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 23, 1999 - 13:50 EST)

A press release from Fuji Photo Film USA Inc. announces its new "Picture Your Life" sweepstakes. Entrants will need to choose their favorite pictures and register to upload them to Fuji's website. From their, each picture must be titled, a category selected and a 60-word story can be attached to the picture. Pictures should be either the last picture taken before the Year 2000, or alternatively the picture that best represents how the entrant would like to remember the current millennium. Registered Fuji website users are automatically entered into the sweepstakes to win a Fuji MX-1700 Zoom digital camera; the sweepstakes ends January 20, 2000.

FotoNation acquires GESS Software!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 23, 1999 - 13:44 EST)

A press release from FotoNation Inc. announces that the company, which offers a line of digital photography software including FotoNation-Explorer, FotoDeveloper and FotoSecure, has acquired Irish company Global Engineering Systems & Software Ltd. GESS, founded in 1997, works on firmware and software for digital photography. GESS Founder and General Manager Dr. Peter Corcoran becomes Vice President, European Operations for FotoNation. FotoNation Founder and CTO Eran Steinberg had the following to say on the announcement:

"This is a rare opportunity for FotoNation to expand globally to capitalize on the synergies of our companies. We are fortunate to be able to secure the services of this highly accomplished pool of experienced engineers."

Wednesday, December 22, 1999

Image Software works with Mitsubishi!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 22, 1999 - 0:26 EST)

A press release today from Image Software Inc. announces that the company has been selected by Mitsubishi Electronics America Inc. to create the Mitsubishi PrintEZ program to be bundled with Mitsubishi's dye sublimation printers. The program, now complete, offers brightness, contrast, color and sharpness adjustment, special effects filters, contact sheet, and templates for a variety of outputs. It is to be bundled with the Mitsubishi CP800DW, CP2000DU, CP700DS/D and CP7000DSW dye sublimation printers.

Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Casio chooses Kingston for CompactFlash supplies!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 21, 1999 - 20:47 EST)

A press release from Kingston Technology Co. announces that the comp-any has been chosen to supply Casio Inc. with CompactFlash media for its handheld PC and digital camera product lines. The company will supply cards in capacities ranging from 8 to 96MB; Casio Product Marketing Manager Bob Smith had the following to say on the announcement:

"Casio chose Kingston from a number of CompactFlash vendors after extensively testing their products both in the lab and in the field. Kingston Technology is the world's leading memory supplier whose reputation for quality, service and performance is unsurpassed."

New firmware for PDR-M5, Coolpix950!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 21, 1999 - 15:36 EST)

We just received an email from IR reader Steven Chan with news that Toshiba has posted a new version of firmware for its PDR-M5 digital camera. Firmware version 2.08 boosts autofocus speed, as well as increasing low-light performance, image sharpness and improving the red channel. The firmware is available from Toshiba's website.

We've also heard from Danny Brenner of the Digital Photography World website that Nikon Europe has posted firmware version 1.3 PAL for the Nikon Coolpix950 digital camera. Available here, the latest firmware has the following changes from version 1.2:

 - Improvement in white balance control in fixed
aperture mode. If you select fixed aperture mode in
manual white balance mode, the image sometimes becomes
green. This problem has been solved.
- Improved manual focus accuracy. With some cameras,
when manual focus is set to infinity, the focus became
inaccurate. This has also been overcome.
- Condition under which Preset white balance data is
reset changed. With Ver. 1.2, the set value by preset
white balance was reset when fixed aperture mode is
set to off. With Ver.1.3, the value is not reset when
this mode is turned off.
As usual, we strongly recommend readers to follow the manufacturer's upgrade instructions to the letter, and only upgrade your camera with firmware intended for the specific model and region you have, at risk of your camera becoming a very expensive doorstop!
Thanks to Danny Brenner and Steven Chan for these items!

64MB SmartMedia brings compatibility worries, upgrades again!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 21, 1999 - 12:31 EST)

The excellent digitalkamera.dewebsite has published news that not all digital cameras capable of using 32MB SmartMedia are going to be capable of using the newer 64MB cards, and that once again another round of camera upgrades may be waiting in the wings! The site has published an excellent compatibility list which we're not going to attempt to duplicate here, their job being so good already. It seems though that Agfa and Sanyo's 32MB-capable cameras will not be able to accept 64MB cards, but most (not all) 32MB-capable Fuji and Olympus cameras will take the cards fine. The only company listed as having plans to upgrade a 64MB-incapable camera thus far is Toshiba, who's PDR-M5 is already OK out of the box. Their PDR-M4 is going to need an upgrade, and apparently a firmware update will be available in a few weeks...
Thanks to digitalkamera.defor this item!

Nikon working on Coolpix950X!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 21, 1999 - 12:19 EST)

The folks over at the Digital Photography World website have published news (in Hebrew, which they kindly translated for us!) of what they believe to be Nikon's next digital camera, the Coolpix950X. Whilst we're generally under a non-disclosure agreement with most of the digital camera manufacturers (which allows us to get reviews quicker for you), and hence cannot confirm the specifics Danny has managed to find, we did feel that the information he has may be of interest to our readers. Here's what Danny had to say:

"[Nikon] are going to introduce their next digicam during January 2000. This will be the Coolpix 950X, a revised version of the current camera with the following changes: USB connectivity, CF Type I and II compatibility and a new battery compartment with a lithium rechargeable battery. [There] will also be additional changes to the functions and menus of the camera [but I have] no further details. Same zoom lens and exposure manual control. The camera will ship 02/00 at about $950.- in the U.S."

With the PMA and CeBit shows (traditionally filled with digicam announcements) on the way, rumours of other cameras to watch out for are starting to appear elsewhere as well. The good folks over at Steve's Digicams have posted rumours of the Canon PowerShot S20 previously, and have now added to this the Casio QV-3000EX, apparently to have a 3.34 megapixel CCD, 3x optical zoom, CF Type II card slot, and infrared and USB connectivity. Apparently Matsushita has also just released its 3.75 megapixel CCD to manufacturers a couple of weeks ago, so we could be seeing both 3.34 and 3.75 megapixel digital cameras on the way soon...
Thanks to Digital Photography World and Steve's Digicams for this item!

Monday, December 20, 1999

30 Minute Photos labels online photofinishing "shortsighted gimmick"!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 20, 1999 - 14:48 EST)

A press release from 30 Minute Photos Etc. claims that online photofinishing is a "shortsighted gimmick". The quote, from Mitchell Goldstone, President of 30 Minutes Photos Etc., is described as that of an industry expert, although since his business stands to lose if online photofinishing catches on, Goldstone is perhaps not the most impartial observer. It is interesting though to consider the motivation behind the release - whilst Goldstone claims that the record sales are occurring at traditional photofinishers who've embraced digital, it is clear from the tone of the release that Golstone sees online photofinishing as much more of a threat than he'd like to admit. That said, we see a market for both online and traditional photofinishers in the digital arena - each catering for its own market. Online photofinishers have the advantage that you need not leave your house to get your photos - they come to you... Traditional photofinishers can get your prints to you a lot quicker. The final choice will be made by the consumer, not by inflammatory press releases...

FlashPoint announces two new Digita apps!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 20, 1999 - 13:18 EST)

FlashPoint Technology Inc. has today announced two new in-camera software applications for its Digita Operating System, used in certain digital cameras. Digita Presents, a slide-show application, allows the user to choose which order photos will be displayed in, as well as choosing from 10 transitions, choosing picture quality and resolution for the slide show, time alloted to each slide, and whether to play the attached sound with the image. Multiple slide shows can be saved for later playback.

Digita File, meanwhile, allows for formatting of CompactFlash cards, renaming files, deleting files, sorting images by date, category and group filters, reading stored picture information, and viewing details about the installed flash card. The program is bundled with Kodak's DC290 digital camera.

Both programs require Digita version 1.0.3, and an 8MB CompactFlash card or greater with 2MB free. Digita Presents is available for Kodak's DC290 by download from FlashPoint, and costs $19.95. The latest version of Digita File for the DC290 can be downloaded from FlashPoint free of charge.

Agfa ships ePhoto CL30 Clik!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 20, 1999 - 12:40 EST)

Two press releases today (1,2) announce that Agfa is now shipping its new ePhoto CL30 Clik! digital camera. First announced back on September 23 ("Agfa announces ePhoto CL30 Clik! camera!"), the ePhoto CL30 has the following feature set:

 - 1 Megapixel CCD, 30 bit color depth
- Resolutions of 1440x1080 (interpolated), 1152x864
1024x768 and 640x480; also a 1152x864 black and
white mode. 24-bit color JPEG files.
- 1.8" LCD
- Clik! card storage media; 40MB disk bundled
- 2X digital zoom
- 6 to 11 seconds between pictures dependant on
- Focus free, all glass lens; equivalent to 43 mm
on a 35mm camera; macro capability
- Aperture f/2.8 (wide)/ 8.0 (tele)
- Built-in flash (auto, fill, variable energy, red-eye
reduction, external flash trigger, off)
- 10 second self timer
- NTSC and PAL video out connectivity
- USB connectivity
- 5" x 3 1/4" x 1 1/2" dimensions
- Weighs 265g / 9.33 oz (without batteries)

Friday, December 17, 1999

FotoNation, Kablink provide camera-to-web interface!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, December 17, 1999 - 17:20 EST)

A press release from Kablink Corp. promotes its cooperation with FotoNation Inc. in developing what they term a camera-to-web interface - the ability to upload digital images directly from a digital camera to a photo-sharing or photo-finishing website. FotoNation first announced this capability, which works with about 100 different digital cameras, way back on June 16 ("FotoNation announces FotoManager Express!") - but they're no longer the only company offering this. Recent photo-finishing startup has the ability to upload images directly as well, albeit from a lesser number of camera models...

Epson promotes products, highlights rebates!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, December 17, 1999 - 16:28 EST)

A press release today from Epson America Inc. promotes its products in particular digital cameras and scanners, as a great way to capture the first images of the New Year. Nothing new is announced, but the press release does mention some special offers that may be of interest if you're in the market for a digicam or printer at the moment. Epson is offering $50 cash back by mail when you purchase any EPSON PhotoPC digital camera and EPSON Stylus ink jet printer between now and March 31, 2000. Also, you can get a free pack of EPSON 4 x 6" Photo Paper by mail with the purchase of an EPSON PhotoPC 850Z digital camera between now and Dec. 31, 1999.

DCRP posts Panasonic PV-SD4090 review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, December 17, 1999 - 13:26 EST)

We received an email overnight to let us know that the Digital Camera Resource Page has now posted its review (a web's first) of Panasonic's PV-SD4090 digital camera. Jeff found both good and bad qualities to this unusual camera, which features storage on 120MB SuperDisk media. Here's what Jeff had to say:

"In the end, I was left a bit underwhelmed. If this camera had better photo quality, I would recommend it. But I took so many bad pictures with it, I was starting to wonder if it was me, or the camera. The only other cameras to use floppy disks are, as I've mentioned the Sony Mavica line, but those can hold no more than 40 photos per disk. I'd take a look at a camera that uses CompactFlash or SmartMedia, which offer faster access, and usually, better photos."

Check out the full review here!

Thursday, December 16, 1999

DCRP posts Umax AstraCam review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 16, 1999 - 17:10 EST)

The Digital Camera Resource Page has posted its review of the Umax AstraCam. Jeff had the following to say:

"I'd never used a true entry-level camera before the AstraCam. As a regular Coolpix 950 user, I'm spoiled I guess. I don't think you can get anymore bare bones than this -- and if you want to pay very little, perhaps that's to be expected?"

Up next - a review of Panasonic's PV-SD4090 digital camera, which uses 120MB SuperDisks for storage... Jeff is planning for this review to go online tomorrow - and we've not seen any reviews of the SD4090, announced September 9, anywhere else on the web!

Digital Photography Review posts Coolpix800 review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 16, 1999 - 15:03 EST)

Our friends over at the Digital Photography Review website have posted a review of Nikon's Coolpix 800 digital camera. Phil had the following to say about this 2.11 megapixel digital camera, which features a 2x optical zoom lens and a street price of around $700:

"The Coolpix 800 has most things you'd find on its bigger brother save some manual features, a few more millimeters of zoom and the swivel lens.. Yet it's only half the price.. It's a rough and ready camera which you'd take everywhere and rarely be disappointed with... So if you want Coolpix 950 quality and a fraction of the price then you really should be considering the Coolpix 800. Proof of the pudding is in the pictures."

Head on over to the Digital Photography Review for the full story!

Steve's Digicams concludes C-2020Z review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 16, 1999 - 14:05 EST)

We reported a few days back that the folks over at Steve's Digicams had posted a first-look review of Olympus' C-2020Z digital camera, first announced back on November 3, 1999. ("Olympus C-2020Z review online!"; Sunday, December 12, 1999 - 22:06 EST). Steve just emailed us with news that he's now completed the full review, complete with an in-depth conclusion... Here's just part of what Steve had to say:

"I have no problems recommending this camera to either new digicam buyers or those of us who have been using them for awhile. The C-2020 Zoom is an excellent camera with a rich set of manual features, good optics, fast image processing and it's just plain fun to use -- Olympus has a winner here. And I love that remote control (big hint to other camera manufacturers to include one too.)"

Check the full review out here!

Wednesday, December 15, 1999

FotoWire confident in wake of new photo-finishing announcements!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 15, 1999 - 17:09 EST)

A press release from online photofinisher FotoWire today welcomes the competition of new services such as Ofoto and Shutterfly, noting that it has been in the market since 1997. The press release notes that FotoWire has more than 50 member labs in 16 countries, and offers a service for photo-sharing sites to work either exclusively with a particular member lab, or with all labs in the FotoWire service. At the same time, the press release notes that FotoWire members EZPrints, Signature Color and Mystic Color Labs are now fully online and ready to support third-party photo sharing sites. Two new member labs, Moto Photo and IonPhoto are also announced.

Wolf Camera carries ePhoto Smile!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 15, 1999 - 16:54 EST)

A press release from photo retailer Wolf Camera today announces that it is now offering Agfa's low-cost ePhoto Smile digital camera at its stores. The ePhoto Smile, an interpolated 640 x 480 digital camera with 2MB of internal memory, is available at a suggested price of US$129.

Canon posts S10 firmware upgrade!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 15, 1999 - 14:04 EST)

The Canon BeBit website in Japan has now posted the promised firmware update for its PowerShot S10 digital camera, which corrects issues that prevent IBM's MicroDrive working with the camera. The firmware update is available here - be sure and read the instructions carefully, and follow them to the letter though, as like any firmware upgrade, you could potentially kill your camera if the upgrade gets interrupted. In fact, we'd recommend that unless you intend using the MicroDrive, you don't install the patch for safety's sakes - Canon advises that no other changes have been made to this firmware than those related to the MicroDrive issue.
Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!

Hold the mail, Dave gone for ~2 days...
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 15, 1999 - 0:09 EST)

In an attempt to stem the absolutely absurd volume of email I'm dealing with these days, I wanted to let everyone know that I'll be traveling the next ~two days on business. Thus, [email protected] and [email protected] will NOT be answered until sometime this weekend. (And replys could get spotty anyway: I've heard that digicams are the #2 consumer electronics "must have" this Christmas (behind DVD players), and I can well believe it, given the level of traffic the site and my personal email boxes are seeing!)

Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Kodak DC290 FULL REVIEW On-Line!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - 23:32 EST)

Full Review: Kodak DC290! - Two reviews in one day! (Just don't start expecting it! ;-) We posted pictures from the DC290 a while back, but have now completed our full review of the camera. This is the first 2 megapixel camera in Kodak's Digita(tm)-equipped line, and marks several advances over the earlier DC260/265. (The previous high end of that line.) Besides the obvious increase in resolution, Kodak's done extensive work "under the hood", improving color, greatly reducing image-processing/compression "crunch" (including a true uncompressed storage mode for the first time), and dramatically improving low-light performance. In fact, the low-light capability of the DC290 was the biggest surprise in our testing: The DC290 can capture low-noise images with excellent color balance at amazingly low light levels. (Try down to a half a foot-candle for genuinely good pictures, and discernable detail almost two stops below that!) The DC290 is now the reigning low light champion among the cameras we've tested, but there are plenty of other reasons you might want one -- Check it out!

Sony DSC-F505 FULL REVIEW online!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - 17:30 EST)

Full Review: Sony DSC-F505! - We'd heard a lot about the "Carl Zeiss Optics" this unusually-shaped camera sports, but were surprised to see just how big a difference high-quality glass made in its images: They are arguably the sharpest we've seen from a 2 megapixel digicam! We also found it to be characterized by excellent color and tonal range, and a pretty fast cycle time of only 3.5 seconds shot-to-shot at maximum resolution. The hybrid transmissive/reflective LCD (and no optical finder) was a bit quirky, but at least usable in all lighting conditions. (Best in direct sun or darker surroundings, problematic in medium-bright conditions.) Good exposure control with both aperture and shutter-priority metering options, plus a powerful preset ("One-Push") white balance option. It also has a very cool MPEG3-based movie-recording function. The biggest surprise, beyond the exceptional lens performance? We liked the memory sticks! We still dislike the proliferation of memory-card standards, but ended up liking the Memory Stick form-factor more than either SmartMedia or CompactFlash. (And this, after all Dave's grousing about non-standard memory in the past. - Still a valid subject for discussion, but we found the Memory Stick to be a very utilitarian format...) The main limitation we found in the '505 was in low light shooting, the camera probably not being suitable for after-dark, non-flash photography. (At least, based on our tests.) Overall, a very strong performer, one that we think will appeal to both prosumer enthusiasts and first-timers (full auto mode is very simple). Check it out!

Ulead announces management changes!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - 17:23 EST)

Ulead Systems Inc. has announced in a press release changes to its management structure. At the end of this year, President and CEO Dr Liming Chen wil retire from the company. Effective from the start of January, the Chairman position will be taken over by Lotus H.C. Chen, Ulead's Senior Vice President and Co-Founder. Danielle H. L. Liao, Ulead's current vice president of marketing will become the company's president.

MetaCreations focuses on MetaStream; CEO resigns!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - 17:08 EST)

Four press releases ( 1,2,3,4) from MetaCreations Corp. today announce a shift in both strategy and leadership for the company. MetaCreations CEO Gary Lauer is resigning from both the CEO and President positions to take up a new position with an unnamed company. He will, however, remain on the Board of Directors and continue as Chairman. Mark Zimmer, previously President of the Business Graphics Division, will take up the roles of President and CEO of the company. Zimmer was also previously President and CEO of Fractal Design, which was merged into MetaCreations.

At the same time, MetaCreations has announced its plans to restructure the business with a focus on its MetaStream e-commerce visualisation product, and to divest itself of any unrelated software. About 100 employees will be laid off in the move, which comes due to a lack of growth opportunities in the professional graphics business, coupled with what MetaCreations sees as "very substantial" growth opportunities in e-commerce visualisation.

Fuji, WalMart consider online photo finishing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - 16:45 EST)

The Japanese Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily has reported that Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd. and WalMart Stores Inc. are considering entering the online photo finishing marketplace, according to a news item from Yahoo BizWire. If the rumour is correct, the service could begin as early as January; Fuji declined to comment whilst negotiations are under way in the US. Fuji purchased WalMart's photo labs in 1996.

ThirdAge sees digicams, scanners as holiday favorites!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - 16:25 EST)

With Christmas only just round the corner, the website has completed a survey that finds digital cameras and scanners two of the three most popular products on holiday wish-lists... The site has selected what it feels to be the best models in each wish-list category, and for digital cameras has recommended Kodak's DC280, according to their press release.

Analog Devices announces next-gen AFEs!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - 16:17 EST)

A press release today from IC manufacturer Analog Devices Inc. announces its next-generation Analog Front-End (AFE) family, aimed at bringing higher-resolution pictures and increased battery life to digicams and digital camcorders. The new AD984x family reduces power requirements by 50%, whilst offering reduced noise, doubled sampling rates and support for larger CCDs.

DCRP reviews the Kodak DC215!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - 16:04 EST)

Our friends over at the Digital Camera Resource Page have completed their review of Kodak's DC215 digital camera. Jeff liked the feature set, ergonomics and zoom lens, but faulted the camera for its speed, poor LCD display and image quality. Overall though, he had the following to say:

"The Kodak DC215 is a good choice for an entry level camera. It's pretty hard to find a camera that features a 2X optical zoom, CompactFlash, and a USB card reader for under $450. And if you look hard enough, you can find the Millenium edition for around $360!"

Check the full review out here - next up from the DCRP will be a review of Umax' AstraCam, in the next couple of days...

Canon Germany releases PowerShot S10 upgrade!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - 13:41 EST)

The good folks over at the Steve's Digicams website have reported that Canon has released its firmware upgrade for the PowerShot S10 digital camera, correcting issues with IBM's MicroDrive, on its German website. This hopefully suggests that the fix will be available for US customers shortly. We're deliberately not providing a link to the German upgrade and strongly recommend readers not to try and install this upgrade in your camera unless it was purchased in Germany - it is extremely unlikely to work, and has a fair chance of turning your brand new camera into a doorstop... ;)

Steve also has reported on a rumor of a PowerShot S20 digital camera, with a 3.3 megapixel CCD, 2x zoom, USB, metal case, rechargeable battery, AC adapter, software bundle and a 16MB CF card, with a planned German price of DM1998 (US$1035) on release in March... Interesting!

Monday, December 13, 1999

Yikes - PC crash, Mike's running blind!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 13, 1999 - 19:30 EST)

Thanks to the notorious instability of a certain to-be-nameless operating system, Mike has just lost a large quantity of email. A PC crash has destroyed everything since the last backup, meaning that anything sent over the last week or so, but not yet responded to, has vanished without trace... If you sent in any news for us, and we've not yet posted it on the site, please resend it and we'll get to it ASAP. Thanks!

Kingston announces new line of ATA Flash up to 512MB!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 13, 1999 - 15:56 EST)

Kingston Technology Co., manufacturer of a wide range of memory, storage, networking and upgrade products, has today announced a new line of ATA Flash cards in the Type II PCMCIA form factor with capacities up to a whopping 512MB. The four new cards are as follows:

 - DP-ATA/224; 224MB, $635; $2.83/MB
- DP-ATA/320; 320MB, $890; $2.78/MB
- DP-ATA/448; 448MB, $1240; $2.77/MB
- DP-ATA/512; 512MB, $1400; $2.73/MB

Toshiba announces new 128Mb NAND device!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 13, 1999 - 15:30 EST)

Toshiba Corp. has today announced a new 0.25 micron 128Mb NAND flash device, part number TC58128FT. The new flash device, encased in TSOP Type I packaging, operates at 3.3 volts, and replaces the previous device which consisted of two 64Mb components engineered with a 0.4um process. Also announced at the same time is a version of the new device in SmartMedia packaging, part number TC58128DC. The new device has a capacity of 16 megabytes.

Excite launches Photo Center with HP!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 13, 1999 - 15:09 EST)

A press release today from [email protected] announces the launch of its new Excite Photo Center service, which features photo sharing using HP's Cartogra infrastructure. The Photo Center site also includes the recently acquired Webshots service, which features thousands of commercial images for use as backgrounds or screen savers, as well as chat and message boards, and resources for learning about digital photography. The site is located at and is available immediately.

Shutterfly announces new online photo finishing service!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 13, 1999 - 15:02 EST)

A press release today from Shutterfly announces its new online photo finishing service for digital camera owners. The company, chaired by Silicon Graphics and Netscape Communications founder Jim Clark, bills itself as the only photo finishing service to optimize the printing process for particular digital cameras, to provide "true 35-mm quality prints". Prints can be mailed to family and friends directly, presonalised with digital frames, effects and printed messages, and stored free of charge in secure online albums on Shutterfly's site.

Mike Chaney reviews Nikon D1!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 13, 1999 - 10:33 EST)

Mike Chaney (Of super printing program Qimage fame) has just posted an extensive user review of the new Nikon D1 digital camera. He has a lot of excellent observations about the high-end unit, making it a must-read for anyone considering one of these beauties. (We particularly liked the clever rollovers he's programmed into the pictures of the D1, letting you identify parts of the camera just by moving your mouse over the image. Very slick!) While you're there, be sure to check out Mike's Qimage Pro image-printing software, it's arguably the most capable program of its type on the market, among other things magically removing large amounts of CCD sensor noise from your images!

Now it can be told, $50 million in free prints!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, December 13, 1999 - 10:20 EST)

$50 million in free prints!? This will come as no big surprise to IR newsletter readers, since they got to participate in the beta-testing of Ofoto's new online photo finishing service late last week. (What, you're not an IR News subscriber yet? Well, you missed out on this special deal, but can get yourself a subscription to catch all the future special deals from various sources, by sending a blank email to [email protected] . - The newsletter goes out every two weeks, covering a LOT more than just news!) Ofoto's new service offers genuine photographic prints on Kodak paper from your digital files. You can also share photos with friends, like many of the photo-sharing sites now popping up all around the internet, but the big news here is very high-quality photo prints (not dye-sublimation, like some services offer), at very competitive prices. (Try $3 for an 8x10.) To introduce their service, Ofoto will reward the first one million people who sign up for an account through January 15, 2000 with 100 free 4x6 prints. The free prints can be used any time through the end of the year 2000, and shipping for the first order is free.

"This promotion gives everyone a jump start on participating in the digital photography revolution," said James Joaquin, president and CEO, Ofoto. "Anyone who uses a digital camera, knows someone with a digital camera, or is even thinking about getting a digital camera, will want to sign up for this offer. We're confident that when people try our service, they will agree it's the easiest, quickest and most convenient solution for getting great prints."

Visitors to the Ofoto site will not only be able to take advantage of the services the site already offers such as secure storage and digital photo printing, but will also be able to order up to 100 prints absolutely free. There are no membership fees, lengthy registration forms or complicated ordering processes. Consumers simply enter in their password, upload their digital photos, or view photos that have been sent to them and have the option to choose print sizes -- 4" x 6", 5" x 7" or 8"x 10" -- and custom frames.

Oh yes - what about the Imaging Resource Newsletter readers who participated in the beta test last week? - They all automatically get another 100 free prints added onto any unused balance in your beta-test account! (Now, aren't you glad you're an IR News subscriber?)

Sunday, December 12, 1999

Olympus C-2020Z review online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, December 12, 1999 - 22:06 EST)

The fine folks over at Steve's Digicams have posted a first look review of Olympus' C-2020Z digital camera. No conclusions as yet, until the sample photos go online after the weekend, but there's plenty of content to fill you in on Olympus' new camera... Check it out!

Kodak cites digital as "key growth driver"!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, December 12, 1999 - 20:45 EST)

A press release from Eastman Kodak Co. Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President Carl Gustin cites digital imaging as a key growth driver for the company, and predicts that within 5 years, 30% of the company's total revenues will come from its digital portfolio. Coming hot on the heels of the CNet news item we reported on December 4 ("Kodak exec pronounces digital photography 'not good enough'!"), it seems likely that Gustin's comments were taken out of context as we suggested - it seems that he is not as negative on digital as the CNET article portrayed him... "Customer acceptance of our products has put Kodak on a course to achieve about $2.3 billion in total revenues from digital and digitization products and services for the full year 1999, proving itself as a key growth driver. In five years, more than 30% of our revenues will come from our digital portfolio," said Gustin. "I know of no other company with as comprehensive and aggressive an approach to digital imaging in both the consumer and commercial space." He continued by noting that Kodak wanted to grow the entire picture market, regardless of technology...: "We want to make it as easy as possible for people to do more with their pictures, whether they use film, digital or a combination of technologies."

Gustin cited the following as a demonstration of Kodak's digital imaging successes:

 - The company's leading position in digital cameras,
with Kodak the clear market leader in professional format
digital cameras and one of the top three suppliers of
consumer digital cameras.
- Robust revenue growth for digital products, 44% during
the third quarter of 1999.
- The company's Health Imaging business is successfully
moving to a digital model, expecting to generate at
least 50% of its revenues from digital products during
- A recent survey conducted by the Reputation Institute,
which ranked Kodak number 7 overall among digital
companies, shoulder-to-shoulder with Microsoft, Intel,
Sony, Dell, Lucent and Gateway.
- In the Document Imaging market, Kodak is the leader in
the high and mid-range document scanner market.
- consistently ranks among the top 10 of all
corporate internet sites and is the foremost site in
the imaging industry.

MGI PhotoSuite III Platinum leads UK market!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, December 12, 1999 - 20:32 EST)

A press release from MGI Software Corp. announces that its MGI PhotoSuite III Platinum Edition image editor is currently leading the UK market, placing first on the 150 Utility list compiled by Chart Track in November. The nearest rival software placed 57th on the list. MGI recently announced at Comdex that, with the purchase of LivePicture Inc., it had 38% of worldwide digital imaging software market share, giving it the market leader position worldwide, based on unit shipments from 1996 to 1998.

Friday, December 10, 1999

S10-Microdrive compatibility update
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, December 10, 1999 - 14:25 EST)

One of the neat features of the Canon PowerShot S10 digicam (see mention of the review below) is that it has a Type II CompactFlash slot, allowing it to accept the 340 megabyte IBM Microdrive. We had a Microdrive in-house when we tested the S10, and the two played beautifully together: The Microdrive was noticeably faster than CF cards, and it gave an incredible 236 image capacity in super-fine resolution mode(!) Apparently there have been some intermittent compatibility problems between the S10 and the Microdrive though, and much speculation on the internet as to their cause. I spoke today with Chuck Westfall, Manager of Canon's Technical Information Department. (Chuck's the go-to guy for virtually anything of a technical nature with Canon's digicams.) He told me that Canon has identified the exact cause of the intermittent behavior, has a firmware fix under final test even as I write this, and that they'll have a full announcement early next week. The good news is that the firmware patch to address the Microdrive issue won't require sending the camera in to them to have it applied. (You'll be able to download it from the internet or receive it via email, to do it yourself.) It's also promised to be available NO LATER than 12/18 (next Friday). Good news from Canon, a great response to user issues, and further support for the value of field-upgradeable firmware!

Thursday, December 9, 1999

Canon PowerShot S10 review online!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, December 9, 1999 - 22:49 EST)

Full Review: Canon PowerShot S10! - Our second review posting for this week is Canon's remarkable little 2.1 megapixel digicam, the PowerShot S10. We say "remarkable", because it's not only the smallest digicam currently on the market, but it takes pictures of exceptional quality: Color, detail, and tonal range are all excellent, comfortably in the top tier of the current two megapixel marketplace. The classy, rugged all-metal case design is nice, too. About the only things we would would change would be to improve the accuracy of the optical viewfinder, and possibly add a longer-ratio zoom lens. (The S10 has a 35-70mm equivalent focal-length range, making it about a 2x ratio.) Oh - and don't even think about buying one without the "optional" battery/charger combination... We think this one's going to be a real winner with consumers this season! Check it out!

Wednesday, December 8, 1999

EZPrints announces EZAlbumPrints service!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 23:14 EST)

A press release today from online photofinisher EZPrints announces its new EZAlbumPrints service, aimed at photo sharing websites. The EZAlbumPrints software, when installed on the host site, will allow users to order 4 x 6, 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 inch prints, as well as photo gift items such as mugs and mouse pads, and more, created from their digital images. EZPrints has been providing prints from digital images over the Internet since early 1999; no financial details are provided for either the end user or customer web site, but the press release notes that the usual $499 setup fee will be waived for sites ordering the EZAlbumPrints service before January 15, 2000.

Corel announces Photo Paint 9 Digital Camera Edition!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 22:55 EST)

Corel Corp. has announced the latest version of its Corel Photo Paint application. Corel Photo Paint 9 Digital Camera Edition is available immediately at a suggested price of US$99, and consists of Corel Photo Paint 9 (obviously :) as well as the following:

 - Corel Photo Slide Show; slide show app with annotation
and screen saver capability
- Extensis Intellihance Pro 4.0; image editing app, allows
for images to be altered by seeing the results of 25
image settings at once and choosing the best
- Canto Cumulus Desktop LE 4.0; media management app,
organizes images and fonts into a searchable catalog
- Bitstream Font Navigator; font manager for Win95/NT4
- Corel Texture; create "natural" textures
- Corel Capture 9; screen capture utility
- Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0
- Image and Font libraries (5000 photos, 1000 clipart
images, 800 fonts, and more)

SanDisk announces promotion!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 21:22 EST)

SanDisk Corp. has announced the promotion of Nelson Chan, previously vice president of marketing, to the position of senior vice president of marketing. Chan has been with SanDisk since 1992, before which he was marketing manager for the Integrated Systems Products Division at Chips and Technologies and also held marketing and engineering positions at Signetics and Delco Electronics. Chan is an officer of the CompactFlash Association and a board member of the MultiMediaCard Association. In his new position at SanDisk, he will report to Leon Malmed, SanDisk senior vice president of marketing and sales.

Viking readies 128MB CompactFlash card!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 16:48 EST)

Viking Components has today distributed a press release announcing that it will soon be shipping Tye-II CompactFlash cards in capacities of 128MB... The flash manufacturer currently ships capacities of 4 to 80MB, and will ship the NAND-based 128MB card in the first quarter of 2000.

Club Photo announces three new partnerships!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 16:40 EST)

Three press releases over the last couple of days (1,2,3) announce new partnerships for online photo sharing service Club Photo. In the first, Club Photo announces that customers of Acer Peripherals will have access to a co-branded photo sharing community. The second release announces that customers of US West's internet service will be able to access Club Photo via a link on the provider's home page. Finally, the third release announces that users of the website, owned by reservations company Sabre Inc., will be able to post photos of travel destinations in a special Photo Gallery. Users will be able to post one photo at a time in the album, or sign up for a Club Photo account to post multiple photos. announces new photo finishing service!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 16:14 EST)

A press release from announces its new photo finishing service. features automatic camera connectivity which allows uploading of digital images directly from almost 60 digital cameras to the PhotoAccess website, as well as proprietary color management technology that will take into account the digital camera and printer used to ensure true-to-life colors. PhotoAccess has some US$8.8 million in venture capital financing, as well as top-level management with backgrounds at Adobe, Borland and Symantec. The site will also offer free password-protected image storage for as long as a customer remains active on the site, and a satisfaction guarantee that will see free replacements or refunds if the customer is not satisfied with a print or photo merchandise. Pricing is as follows:

 - 3.5 x 5" print; 35 cents
- 4 x 6" print; 45 cents
- 8 x 10" print; $2.95
Two special offers are available currently to attract users to the service; first-time users will get their first five prints free, whilst until March 31, 2000, a special offer gives 12 4 x 6" prints for the price of 10. To receive the first time user offer, visit this link. Also available from the site are personalised greeting cards, coffee mugs, beer steins, mouse pads, food canisters, caps, softballs and t-shirts, and photos in sizes up to 11" x 14".

Agfa's Desktop Products Group gets a new web site!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 13:23 EST)

A press release today from the Desktop Products Group of Agfa Corp. today announces a new look for its web site. Effective immediately, the DTP group website located at is online, with information, specifications and photos of Agfa digital cameras and scanners, as well as press releases, sales information, and details of current rebate programs on the products. Scott Signore, Marketing Manager of Agfa DTP, had the following to say: "The new Web Site is exciting, bold and colorful. It's a good representation of our business. We are extremely pleased with its look and feel - and hope to maintain a high level of satisfaction for all visitors."

Tuesday, December 7, 1999

What? A review of our own? - Kodak DC215 on-line!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 7, 1999 - 23:38 EST)

Finally(!) the pent-up review backlog is starting to make its way online! (There should be a few more reviews coming over just the next several days.) Kodak's DC215 is a pocket-sized entry-level camera, with megapixel resolution, great color, and a very easy-to-use user interface for first-timers. This full review should be the first of three going up this week... Check it out!

Steve Reviews Mavicas!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 7, 1999 - 12:18 EST)

A big day for reviews: Steve Sanders of Steves-Digicams fame has just posted reviews of two Mavica cameras, the FD-88, and FD-83. We (truthfully) haven't read his full reviews ourselves yet, but did see that he felt the Sony Mavica FD-88 had the best image quality he's seen yet from the Mavica lineup. (We'll finally be reviewing some Mavicas ourselves in a couple of weeks, so will have all the usual data on them. Also, we'll be posting pictures from our DSC-F505 tests very soon, to be followed shortly by the full review.) To our mind though, the big news with the Mavicas isn't their image quality, but rather how easy they are to use (the floppy disk, you know), and the huge-ratio zoom lenses Sony provides: We wish more digicam makers would do as Sony has done, and reach beyond the 3x zoom that's become standard in the industry.

Phil Reviews Olympus C-2500L!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 7, 1999 - 11:39 EST)

We reviewed the Olympus C-2500L SLR digicam a while back, and since then it's consistently been one of the highest-traffic digicams on our site. Phil Askey of Digital Photography Review has now reviewed it as well. (Click here for his typically exhaustive and beautifully laid-out review.) This probably is a good example of why different voices and perspectives are good on things like product reviews: Phil found much to like, but quite a few points to quibble with as well, and ended up giving the camera a rather lukewarm "recommended" rating, as compared to his "very highly recommended" rating of the Nikon Coolpix 950. We came to a rather different conclusion in our own review of the camera, attracted by its incredible color accuracy and superior resolution (at least in our tests) that we felt set a new benchmark for digicam image quality. To compare and contrast conclusions, our review is here

New Thumber release official!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 7, 1999 - 10:53 EST)

We reported a week or so back that Max Lyons was about to release a new version (3.1) of our favorite thumbnail-maker program Thumber. He's now done so, and the results are impressive. Not only does it now include a basic image editor, but you can save images whilst retaining the EXIF comments (where things like exposure & aperture info is recorded), edit the EXIF comments. The program also has extended EXIF interpretation capabilities, and can translate digicam focal length information into 35mm equivalents. Check it out!

At last! Digicam-specific third-party power adapters!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 7, 1999 - 10:37 EST)

(This seems to be Digipower/Thomas Distributing day on the news page.) We've had many queries from readers about where to find AC power adapters (aka "wall warts") for digicams. The original manufacturer units are often very expensive (not to mention almost impossible to find in the retail channel), but we've been reluctant to advise readers risking their $800 digicam on an off-brand power adapter, just to save $20 or so. Now, Digipower (see the article below) has developed a line of AC adapters designed specifically to power digicams. The five models they offer cover the majority of digicams currently on the market, and at $28 each are priced well below what the manufacturers' units typically cost. Check them out on the Thomas Distributing site! (Thanks to Dennis Thomas for this and the news item below.)

WOW! Mega-digicam power from Digipower and Thomas Distributing
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 7, 1999 - 10:29 EST)

As everyone reading this page has doubtless figured out by now, digital cameras absolutely devour batteries: We always recommend high-capacity NiMH rechargeables and a good-quality charger for any new digicam purchase. Even with high-power AA cells though, you can frequently run out of juice in the middle of a day's shooting. We just tested an eval unit of a fantastic belt-mount power pack from Digipower, their DPS8000 model. We weren't super-impressed with Digipower's original DPS4000, which only offered an additional 1300 mAh of power, albeit at 6 volts. The new unit provides fully 2700 mAh (at 4.8 volts), and you can also load your camera with fresh batteries before you start out, switching over later simply by unplugging the DPS power pack after you've exhausted it. (If you manage to get that far!) We can attest to the very impressive performance of the DPS8000 though - We don't have a formal battery-life test, but it seems to last WAY longer than you'd expect, based just on the power rating. (Our guess is that the larger cells in the DPS8000 can handle the high digicam power drains better than the smaller AA cells we're used to using in the cameras themselves.) Advertiser Thomas Distributing has the new power packs in stock, along with the (extra, but required) adapter cords to mate them to most any digicam out there. Check these out, they're a great deal at ~$58 for the pack plus adapter cable!

Flu 2: IR 0 - Dave pinch-hits again! :-(
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, December 7, 1999 - 10:19 EST)

Mike's down with a nasty return bout of the flu, so Dave's filling in on the news page again today. (Also explains why no news posts yesterday, sorry...) - I'll have a few news items posted in the next hour or two, hopefully more later in the day.

Sunday, December 5, 1999

Get a free 3-year subscription to Popular Photography Magazine!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, December 5, 1999 - 15:19 EST)

One we missed from just before Comdex, and have just uncovered whilst clearing out a mountain of email: the folks over at the PC Photo Review currently have an offer to get a free 3-year subscription to Popular Photography magazine. All you have to do is visit this page on their site, enter your details, and then write a review of your digital camera, traditional camera, printer, scanner, or just about any other product... In addition, the best reviews get entered into the review contest, and could win one of two digital cameras... This really shouldn't be missed - but hurry, there's only 5 days left to participate, as the deal ends on 12/10/99!
Apologies for the delay reporting on this item!

Saturday, December 4, 1999

December issue of online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, December 4, 1999 - 17:32 EST)

We received an email from the folks over at the website to let us know their December issue is now online. Reviewed this month are:

 - Kodak DC-290
- Fuji MX-1700
- Epson PhotoPC 850Z
- Canon PowerShot S10
Also included are articles on composition, white balancing and working with centre-weighted metering... Check it out!

Kodak exec pronounces digital photography "not good enough"!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, December 4, 1999 - 16:59 EST)

We received an email from our friends over at the Digital Photography World website last night, pointing out a rather interesting news item on the CNet website. CNet interviewed Kodak Chief Marketing Officer Carl Gustin, previously general manager of Kodak's digital and applied imaging division, and were surprised to find Gustin describing digital cameras as "not good enough". It is difficult to read much into Gustin's statements since, without the full text of the interview we cannot really see what context they were made in, but they do make for interesting reading. Gustin commented that "Today's digital imaging does not offer sufficient benefits to unseat photographic methods used for more than a century, whether achieved through digital cameras linked to PCs or traditional photographs processed and stored in a digital format", and further noted that "To make a new model work, the old model has to be broken. Today, digital imaging doesn't offer anything [better] besides sharing."

"Digital cameras are still too hard to use", he continued, "They're not great, but they're better than anything else that's out there," he said. In addition, with digital photography, consumers can't save the negatives of pictures they don't want to print right away, or at least, not easily. Putting it through the PC is a pain."

"The mass market is not going to happen until the cost and time of digital imaging [is better] than the old model. We don't care when it happens because we make money on every link in the chain."

The CNet item continues to act with great surprise at Gustin's comments, and quotes ARS analyst Carl Holec as saying "Honestly, this sounds like something someone would say two years ago." To be honest though, the majority of the comments seem logical enough - for digital to really take over from traditional imaging, it has to be as cheap and easy - if not more so. Whilst for some, it has already reached this level, for many it is still far more expensive and complicated than grabbing a throw-away camera to take a few holiday snaps. Gustin did miss one of the big advantages of digital, however, in that the ability to see pictures instantly adds greatly to the experience, particularly for the amateur photographer that wants to be sure their picture came out correctly first time round. That said, we'd agree with Gustin that for digital to hit the big time - and we mean the *real* big time, when there is little or no reason to choose a film camera - it has to be a lot easier and cheaper than it is currently. Whilst the predictions as to how soon this will be vary wildly, one thing seems certain (and Gustin's comments don't deny this) - that day will happen - and every day brings it that much closer...
Thanks to Danny Brenner for this item!

Friday, December 3, 1999

PicPrint offers Kodak photofinishing for digital photos!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, December 3, 1999 - 0:19 EST)

A press release today from online photofinishing service PicPrint announces that it will be going live in mid-December, offering users the ability to have their digital photos professionally printed on Kodak paper. The press release does not mention pricing, however a sample album on the PicPrint site lists the following prices (bear in mind these may be subject to change, as they're not officially listed in the press release!):

 - 4 x 6" glossy print; $0.75
- 5 x 7" glossy print; $3.49
- 8 x 10" glossy print; $6.99
The service will use PicPrint's own proprietary software which allows for editing of photos and ordering of prints offline. Future versions of the software will apparently allow for users with no internet access at all. The service has no minimum order quantity, and as an introductory offer, first time orders will get a free 4 x 6" glossy print.

Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Logitech QuickCam Express uses Photobit CMOS sensor!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 1, 1999 - 18:05 EST)

A press release from image sensor manufacturer Photobit Corp. reveals that Logitech's QuickCam Express uses Photobit's PB-0100 CMOS image sensor. The PB-0100 has a resolution of 352 x 288 pixels, and uses Photobit's "active-pixel" technology, which combines all camera functions onto a single chip. Logitech's QuickCam products have historically used CCD sensors, but the agreement sees a CMOS sensor going into the line. The press release notes that the QuickCam Express is the best-selling product in its category. survey sees digicams as popular electronics buys!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 1, 1999 - 15:26 EST)

A survey of 5,000 customers finds that digital cameras are on the horizon for 22% of respondants, all of whom have plans to purchase one in the next six months, a press release reveals. Digital cameras were selected alongside TVs and DVD players as the three most popular planned purchases, with 61% of respondants planning to make a purchase on one of these items in the six months following the survey.

ClubPhoto slashes photo printing pricing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, December 1, 1999 - 14:53 EST)

Online photo sharing website ClubPhoto Inc. has today announced a reduction of up to 50% on its photo printing costs. Effective immediately, the following rates per print will apply:

 - 3 x 5 inch print; $1.00
- 4 x 6 inch print; $1.00
- 5 x 7 inch print; $1.50
- 8 x 10 inch print; $4.50
ClubPhoto President and CEO Andrew Wei had the following to say on the announcement: "Club Photo is making it easier and more affordable for anyone to share their favorite digital pictures. Now, photographers can choose the picture they want to print over the Internet and we'll send it right to their doorstep for less than the local photo processing lab. By combining our complete photo sharing solution with affordable photo processing, we're setting a new standard for photography that directly benefits photographers."



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

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