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Digital Photography News Archive!
April 2000


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Friday, April 28, 2000

An unusual "First Look" at the Sony DSC-F505V!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 28, 2000 - 22:55 EDT)

We reported on this new camera just a couple of days ago, noting the unusual spread between its sensor resolution (3.34 megapixels) and its "effective" resolution of 2.6 megapixels. The difference is apparently due to Sony's putting a 3.34 megapixel sensor and all-new electronics into the otherwise unmodified DSC-F505 camera body. There's been more than a little controversy over this, particularly since product shots on the Sony Japan site made it look as though Sony was intending to market the unit as a 3.3 megapixel digicam. What's more, the camera has an option to interpolate the 2.6 megapixel images up to a final 3.7 megapixel size. This (optional) feature pushed everyone's "interpolation" hot buttons, and much venom against Sony began brewing across the net.

We're happy today (tonight) to be able to bring you two pieces of relevant news: First, we had an email dialog with Sony US, in which they indicated that, while the camera itself will bear a 3.3 megapixel silkscreened label on its side, all of the retail packaging would clearly display its 2.6 megapixel "effective" resolution. This means that the product box, flashy product labels (that Sony likes so), and retail "hang tag" will all prominently display the 2.6 megapixel number. We think the 3.3 megapixel silkscreening could still be a little confusing, but it certainly appears that Sony is going to go out of their way to make sure people know exactly what the camera will do and how it does it.

The second piece of good news is that we've actually managed to get our hands on a sample unit, and have already taken some pictures with it! We were particularly interested in Sony's new interpolation scheme, which works directly from raw CCD data, rather than from already-JPEG'd finished image files, as is more often the case. Despite promises to ourselves to stay away from "First Look" pieces in the future, we've gone ahead and prepared a brief "First Look" at the new DSC-F505V. Since so much of the controversy had to do with its resolution, that's the area we initially concentrated on. We think you'll find the results very interesting: Click the link below to see how the F505V stacks up in the resolution department, not only against its older sibling (the original F505), but against some 3 megapixel digicams... (We should also have a reasonably complete set of test images posted to the Comparometer(tm) by the first of next week at the latest, so stay tuned!)

Source: Imaging Resource "First Look" resolution tests of the Sony DSC-F505V

ZDNet expects 3 megapixel to push 2 megapixel into mainstream!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 28, 2000 - 7:08 EDT)

A news item from publisher Ziff Davis' ZDNet News team predicts that the new round of 3 megapixel digital cameras just now starting to hit the market will bring lower prices and increased sales to the 2 megapixel and lower cameras. ZD predicts prices of $500-$700 for 2 megapixel cameras, and $200-$500 for 1 megapixel units, with sales for this year expected to rise 62% to some 5.1 million units. In 1999, sales rose a whopping 202% from 1 million units shipped in '98 to 3.1 million units in '99; of these 3.1 million units, fully 30% were sub-$200 models, indicating a demand for lower prices... A similar 30% of units shipped in 2000 are expected to be sub-$200 cameras, the "entry level" market where features are less important and may even be a confusion...
Source: Yahoo! News / ZDNet News

Kodak seeks controlling stake in Chinon!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 28, 2000 - 6:14 EDT)

A news item today from press agency Reuters details plans from the Japanese arm of Eastman Kodak Co. to raise its current 50.1% stake in Chinon Industries Inc. Eastman Kodak Japan Ltd. intends to raise its stake in Chinon, itself a Japanese company to some 67.5% by buying some four million shares or 17.4% of Chinon's stock at ¥350 per share on Monday, May 1. That price is nine percent above the ¥321 at which Chinon shares traded when the Japanese markets closed Friday (local time).

Chinon's business revolves mostly around digital still cameras, which it develops and manufactures mainly for Kodak. Chinon's profits have fallen over the last year, however, mostly due to reductions in digital camera prices. Chinon said last November that it expected its profits in the period March '99 - March '00 to fall to ¥900 million (US$8.5 million) from about ¥1.5 billion in the previous year.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / Reuters

Thursday, April 27, 2000

PhotoPoint, SmashCast offer web movie making!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 27, 2000 - 6:33 EDT)

Online photo-sharing website has today announced that it is working with SmashCast (formerly known as Mslide) to offer web movie-making capabilities. PhotoPoint will, through the agreement, enable members to produce and broadcast web movies using personal digital photos and other content.

PhotoPoint members will be able to produce and broadcast a Web Movie directly from their browser by accessing PhotoPoint's private-label SmashCast production studio. There, they can add music, text, animation and other content to their personal digital photos, which they can either upload directly from their desktop, or transfer from their PhotoPoint album. The web movie is then hosted at a private URL, where members can direct friends and family to see their work...

"The opportunity to broadcast personal photos through an animated Web Movie opens a world of creative expression that will dramatically enhance the online photo sharing experience for our members," said Ed Bernstein, CEO of PhotoPoint.

The SmashCast 3.0 application will be designed uniquely for PhotoPoint members and available on the site in Q2 2000.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Mystic, PictureVision renew deal!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 27, 2000 - 6:27 EDT)

PictureVision Inc. has announced in a press release that Mystic Color Lab Inc. will continue to offer PictureVision's online photo finishing services to its customers for another three years. Mystic agreed to a new contract to use the company's Kodak PhotoNet online service. The agreement extends the existing relationship between PictureVision and Mystic, during which time the choice of digital image scanning has steadily grown among its photo processing customers. "The marriage between PictureVision and Mystic Color Lab has been very good for both parties," says Mystic President Ed McCabe. "The introduction of the PhotoNet CD was a big boost for us in 1998, and recently with the introduction of America Online's 'You've Got Pictures' option, we have again seen a rise in the percentage of customers who choose a PhotoNet product."
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

PhotoChannel completes $2.3m debenture!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 27, 2000 - 6:22 EDT)

Online photofinisher PhotoChannel Networks Inc. has announced that it has now received a final advance of $1.2 million under the Choices Entertainment Corporation $2.3 million debenture it previously reported. Geoffrey Briant, Chairman & CEO of PhotoChannel, noted:
"The completion of these financings and conversions puts PhotoChannel in a strong working capital position with no debt. The last advance of the Choices Entertainment Corporation and subsequent debenture conversions, readies PhotoChannel to initiate its business plan of printing from digital images with next day home delivery all at prices competitive to traditional film processing without the cost of film."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

Imagine launches digitalFOTO magazine!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 27, 2000 - 6:19 EDT)

A press release from publisher Imagine Media Inc. announces a new digital photography magazine due to hit store shelves soon... digitalFOTO magazine shipped to subscribers yesterday, and will be available on the newsstand May 9th with a circulation of some 100,000 initially. digitalFOTO magazine "is a monthly, cross platform publication that caters to digital photography enthusiasts and professionals. Each issue delivers Mac and PC users the most current digital photography news, reviews of the latest and greatest products, step-by-step how-to's for digital imaging and photographic techniques, and more. Like most of Imagine's publications, each issue will be polybagged with an interactive CD-ROM that is loaded with demos, how-to's, shareware and images that compliment the magazine." A website at has been launched simultaneously, and is currently offering a free sample issue of the magazine.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Harbortronics ships electronic shutter release!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 27, 2000 - 4:34 EDT)

A press release in our mailbox from the folks at Harbortronics announces that they're now shipping the DigiSnap 1000 wired remote, or electronic shutter release for Digital Cameras. The DigiSnap 1000 is compatible with a wide variety of Digital Cameras, potentially including Nikon, Agfa, Epson, Olympus, Polaroid, and Toshiba models, using the serial cable supplied by the camera manufacturer. A freeware DOS based program using the same algorithm as the DigiSnap 1000 allows you to confirm compatibility with your particular camera before purchase...

The DigiSnap 1000 can be used to trigger a single picture, or configured to capture a series of pictures over time for time lapse photography. Thanks to its electronic nature, the shutter release is completely vibration free...

The DigiSnap 1000 allows photographers to try time lapse photography using their existing camera equipment, without being tied to a personal computer to control the camera! The number of pictures as well as time between pictures is configurable. Photographers can also control their camera from a great distance, permitting them to capture images of unapproachable animals without the limitations of telephoto lenses.

The DigiSnap 1000 operates thousands of times on the included AAA battery, and can operate through additional serial cables of essentially unlimited length - it has been successfully tested up to 700 ft - and has been extensively tested with the Nikon Coolpix 950. The unit is is now available from the Harbortronics website ( for US $144.95, plus shipping and handling...

Wednesday, April 26, 2000

Whats up with the F505 revisited: Back of the envelope scratchings...
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - 16:26 EDT)

(Dave here, in another rambling discourse) Since posting our article earlier today on Sony's new DSC-F505V, there's been a veritable blizzard of email over the pixel counts reported for the new camera. ("3.34 megapixel CCD, 2.6 million effective pixels, 3.7 million interpolated, what's up with that?!") I think the answer is actually pretty simple, if you just do a little math on chip sizes, etc. Here's what we think the bottom line might be: Sony's basically dropped their 3.34 megapixel CCD chip (used by essentially *everyone* making a 3MP digicam these days) into the same physical body as the original F505. Let's look at the numbers:

As noted in our earlier news item below, all digicams mask some percentage of the CCD pixels around the edge of the array from appearing in the final image. Some of these are used for black-point/dark current calibration (these would be physically blocked from exposure to incoming light, likely by a mask in the camera body). Others will be left out of the image processing/interpolation used by all cameras to turn the RGB checkerboard array of colored pixels into file pixels that each have full RGB values at every pixel location. (When you get to the edge of the array, the last one or two rows don't have matching pixels of the other colors to complete the local interpolation process.) So: Assume the camera has a mask in it that was originally designed for the 2.1 megapixel CCD. We know from published specs that the original 505 CCD was nominally 1/2 inch across the diagonal, whereas the new 3.34 Sony chip is 1/1.8 inches across the diagonal. If you plug the numbers in for a 4:3 aspect ratio (length by width), you come up with actual areas for the two chips of 0.120 square inches for the 2.1 megapixel chip and 0.148 inches for the 3.34 megapixel one. So, suppose we stuff the 3.34 into the mask cut for the 2.1, how many pixels might we get? That'd be: (3.34/0.148)*0.120 = 2.705 megapixels. That's awfully close to the 2.62 megapixels Sony gives as the "effective" pixels of the F505v. - Just a very minor difference in aspect ratio, or the fact that we're not allowing for peripheral circuitry (clock drivers, sense amplifiers, etc) in this quick & dirty calculation could easily close that gap.

So, our guess is that Sony's used the identical body, right down to the chip mask for the CCD as on the original F505v. It does look though, like they've pretty well gutted and updated wholesale the rest of the electronics: The Sony Japan release talks about a lot of new features or capabilities that are part of the "Y2K" Sony lineup, including 12-bit digitization and dramatically improved aperture resolution. They also apparently are using a somewhat different approach for the interpolation used to produce the maximum image size, working from the raw CCD data, rather than converting to RGB and passing it through JPEG first. The fact that the camera interpolates at all has elicited some negative comment on the web, but we don't think Sony could really have been much more open about what they're doing, given the unusual detail the Japanese release goes into stating CCD size, effective pixels, and final file sizes. The one bone we might have to pick with Sony could be over how the final production models are labeled: One shot of the new companion F55V model shows it sporting a "3.2 megapixel" label. We sincerely hope this labeling is changed on the US production models. The camera does have a 3.34 megapixel CCD, but that really doesn't correspond physically to anything the camera produces: The array is evidently cropped down to 2.6 megapixels worth of sensors, and the interpolated image size is 3.7 megapixels. Adding a 3.2 megapixel label would be confusing at best, misleading at worst. Our hope would be that Sony would see the wisdom of removing said label on the production models, just as Fuji removed the 4.3 megapixel label on their FinePix 4700 production units.

For our part, we as always maintain that the only meaningful measure is how well the camera actually does shooting carefully controlled test images - As I noted in a private email earlier today, as far as interpolation goes I could really care less if manufacturers were actually sprinkling magic pixie dust on their CCDs: All that ultimately matters is what a camera actually produces in real-world test conditions. We're working on getting our readers that information, and will be sure to report back as soon as we have something to share!

As to why Sony chose to take the tradeoff of just dropping a more-dense CCD into the same camera body, there's plenty to speculate about on that front, but this news post is already reading like "War and Peace" (I happen to think it wasn't a bad move, given a whole variety of factors they probably had to deal with.) Oh - and let's not forget the *other* Sony digicam using the 3.34 megapixel sensor, the new S70! We're about to publish our review on that, but I can lift the curtain just a little to say that the Zeiss optics on it have once again come through to produce exceptional resolution: It isn't just about how many pixels you have, the lens is important too. - And we all know how exceptionally good the lens on the original F505 was... (Nuff said, Dave out!)
Source: Sony Japan press release on F505V and F55V

Sony MVC-FD91 review (finally) posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - 9:41 EDT)

From the better late than never department: Over time, we've received a *lot* of requests for this one. The review has actually been on the server for several weeks, waiting for laggard Dave to give it a once-over and his final blessing. He's now done that, and deemed the content fit for public consumption, so our Mavica MVC-FD91 review is finally posted! The catchphrase for the FD91 is probably "resolution isn't everything" - With its 14x optical zoom lens (yes, we said 14x!), it's actually the best digicam going for extreme telephoto work. In fact, thanks to the incredible zoom lens, it'll actually deliver a lot more pixels on-target than even the current 3.3 megapixel cameras, for subjects beyond the reach of the typical 3x zooms. Other features include an MPEG movie mode, anti-shake stabilization of the lens for telephoto shots (surprisingly effective), and a cool "SLR" LCD viewfinder option. Check out our review of this classic digicam! (PS: Stay tuned for reviews of more recent Sony digicams, coming very soon!)
Source: Click here for the IR review of the MVC-FD91

New Sony cameras, translated!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - 9:28 EDT)

We've just completed our translation of Sony Corp.'s announcement of two new digital cameras, which we first told you about a few hours ago - and we've been shaking our heads all the while, thinking we must be losing something in the translation. The new cameras, the DSC-F505V and DSC-F55V, are essentially upgraded versions of the popular DSC-F505K and DSC-F55K digital cameras, but where they differ is in the 3.34 megapixel 1/1.8 inch CCDs that have been shoehorned in where previously there lay a 1/2-inch 2.11 megapixel CCD.

Where this all gets a little bit bizarre though, is in Sony's rating of the cameras as having an effective 2.62 megapixel rating! If you didn't know, not all of your camera's CCD is used when you take a photo - and so, for example, a 3.34 megapixel camera will only use part of the CCD for taking the picture, whilst the remainder is used to allow the camera to ascertain what "black" is, and what the noise characteristics are (they vary with temperature and other factors). With every single 3.34 megapixel camera we've seen this rating on thus far, the 3.34 megapixel CCD has had an effective rating of 3.24 megapixels and a final image size of 2048 x 1536 - unsurprisingly, because they all use one and the same CCD, manufactured by none other than Sony.

Sony's new cameras, however, have been listed as having a 3.34 megapixel CCD (no surprise there), but with only an effective pixel rating of 2.62 megapixel - and that is significantly less than the rating of the other 3.34 megapixel cameras we've seen. Thus far, we have absolutely no idea why this would be - the aspect ratio of the new CCD seems to be identical to the old one, and whilst the new CCD is larger, it is only ever so slightly so... Nothing we can think of would account for the difference, but rest assured that if we figure the puzzle out, we'll let you know...

To further add to the confusion, Sony seems to have stepped up to bat as the next in a long line of manufacturers (Agfa, Epson, Fuji and more) to add an interpolated resolution to their cameras. Despite the lower effective CCD rating of 2.62 megapixels, the new cameras feature a maximum image size corresponding to a 3.7 megapixel rating! Sony have, however, opted for a rating of 3.34 megapixels on the camera body, from what we can see in the (tiny) photos attached to the press release. This isn't really a problem, per se, since other resolutions abound on the new cameras, and so the user isn't required to use the interpolated modes - but the word interpolation does tend to create quite some debate every time it is mentioned!

What any of this will mean, we wait with interest to find out - the true test of these cameras will be their real-world image performance, which we won't know until we test them. Until then, we'll have to be content to scratch our heads and wonder... Without any further ado, here's the announced specifications from Sony (with the usual caveat that errors in translation may creep in - Japanese is most definitely not our native tongue!)

Sony DSC-F505V
  • Based on the Sony DSC-F505K
  • 1/1.8" 3.34 megapixel SuperHAD CCD sensor; 3,340,000 pixels of which 2,620,000 pixels effective. 12-bit A/D converter. Sensor image size of 1,856 x 1,392 pixels.
  • Carl Zeiss "Vario-Sonnar" lens, F2.8-3.3, 5X optical zoom (f=7.1-35mm, equivalent to 38-190mm on a 35mm camera). 2x precision digital zoom. Focuses 0.25m to infinity in AF mode, or 0.02m to infinity in Macro AF Mode.
  • 123,000 pixel 2" TFT LCD display
  • MemoryStick storage
  • Built-in flash with off, on, auto and red-eye reduction modes, range of 0.3-2.5m. External flash connector for HVL-F1000 flash
  • USB and monaural NTSC/PAL Connectivity
  • Uses NP-FS11 InfoLithium batteries or AC power adaptor. Consumes 2.9W with LCD display on, or 2.4W with LCD display off.
  • Exposure compensation +/- 2.0EV
  • Shutter speeds 8 seconds to 1/1000 second.
  • JPEG, TIFF, GIF or MPEG1 storage
  • SRC "Super Resolution Converter" interpolation technology gives final image size up to 2,240 x 1,680 pixels (3.7 megapixel). Other available resolutions are 1856 x 1392, 1856 x 1232, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, and 640 x 480.
  • Video modes include 320 x 240 in High Quality or Presentation mode (both up to a maximum of 15 seconds per clip), and 160 x 112 in Video Mail mode (up to a maximum of 60 seconds per clip). 8MB of flash memory will allow up to 20 seconds of High Quality video, 1 minute of Presentation quality, or 5 minutes of Video Mail quality.
  • Weighs 424 grams by itself, 475 grams with battery, MemoryStick, wrist strap and lens cap. Dimensions of 107.2 x 62.2 x 135.9mm.
  • Bundled with 8MB MemoryStick, wrist strap, lens cap USB cable, AV cable, power cable NP-FS11 rechargeable battery, AC-VF10 charger/adapter, CD-ROM with USB driver, VideoWaveSE, and PhotoSuite 8.0.

Sony DSC-F55V
  • Based on the Sony DSC-F55K
  • 1/1.8" 3.34 megapixel SuperHAD CCD sensor; 3,340,000 pixels of which 2,620,000 pixels effective. 12-bit A/D converter. Sensor image size of 1,856 x 1,392 pixels.
  • Carl Zeiss "Distagon" lens, F2.8, 5X optical zoom (f=6.85mm, equivalent to 37mm on a 35mm camera). 3x precision digital zoom. Focuses 0.25m to infinity in AF mode, or 0.1m to infinity in Macro AF Mode.
  • Weighs 242 grams by itself, 300 grams with battery, MemoryStick, wrist strap and lens cap. Dimensions of 103 x 79.1 x 48mm.
  • Features as listed for DSC-F505V, with the exception of lens, dimensions and external flash connectivity.


iCanShare joins Kodak's PictureCD!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - 8:03 EDT)

InfoCast LLC has today announced that its iCanShare Special Edition program will be included on the newest issue of Kodak Picture CD scheduled for release this month.

iCanShare SE enables consumers to personalize their text-based e-mail by adding voice, handwritten messages or markup to pictures, which can then be sent to family and friends using their existing e-mail client. iCanShare SE is available free and can be installed directly from Kodak Picture CD.

"InfoCast LLC's iCanShare products provide consumers with the opportunity to explore unique, innovative and entertaining picture-sharing capabilities and we're excited to include them on our latest issue of Kodak Picture CD," said Margaret E. Jones, Worldwide Marketing Manager, Kodak Picture CD.

iCanShare SE is based on InfoCast's enterprise product eTEAM, and allows the sender to "capture" any picture on a computer screen. The sender can then easily personalize pictures and simultaneously record a voice track connecting the image with the handwritten note. The entire communication is then sent as an e-mail attachment using the sender's existing e-mail software.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

EZ Prints solves long uploads for online photofinishing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - 7:57 EDT)

Online photofinisher EZ Prints has announced a new service providing customers who have large files, numerous files or slower Internet connections with a faster alternative for transferring images to EZ Prints and receiving 35mm-quality prints. The service allows users to send CD-ROM and Zip Disk (100 or 250MB sizes) files of their image data to EZ Prints for processing.

To use the service, EZ Prints' customers simply log on to the Web site, select their images for upload, select the "CD/Zip Disk option," print the automatic mailing label and send the files via mail, UPS or Federal Express. Once received, EZ Prints guarantees 24-hour turn-around for returning photos printed on Kodak paper, along with the customers CD or Zip Disk.

"We're committed to making the digital photography experience as convenient and easy for the end-user as possible," said Bob Miller, president and CEO of EZ Prints. "This unique new service expands our ability to provide our customers and business partners with a wide array of quick and high-quality solutions for printing digital images."

EZ Prints' new CD-ROM and Zip Disk service will be available on May 1. There is no additional cost for the service, however users are responsible for the cost of mailing or shipping the CD-ROM or Zip Disk to EZ Prints.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

QSound to be bundled on PictureCD!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - 7:49 EDT)

QSound Labs Inc. has announced that beginning in early May, its AudioPix multimedia software will be included on the Kodak Picture CD from Eastman Kodak Co. AudioPix will be distributed free of charge on each Picture CD, which will also contain a link to QSound's Web site providing the consumer with the opportunity to upgrade to AudioPix Plus for $19.95.

Kodak Picture CD is available across the country and can be ordered by simply checking a box on the envelope provided by a Kodak Picture Processing retailer or photofinisher. It includes the consumer's digital pictures and a variety of built-in software tools for photo editing, printing, web publishing and sending photos via email. The addition of QSound's AudioPix software will allow consumers to develop their own multimedia presentations with their favorite photos and MP3s. Kodak Picture CD sales have grown significantly in the Year 2000 with over 760,000 sales being reported in the first two months of the year, more than 30% of all of 1999's sales.

"QSound's AudioPix software adds a new dimension to picture sharing on Kodak Picture CD," said Margaret Jones, worldwide marketing manager, Kodak Picture CD. "By letting people easily work with JPEG and MP3 files to create rich media slide shows, the software is bringing 'high-tech' features to the consumer market by making it easy to do more with pictures."
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Sarnoff announces BLINC digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - 7:44 EDT)

Sarnoff Corp. has announced the BLINC smart digital camera, a miniature camera assembly that delivers over 100X the dynamic range of typical cameras and goes from power-down to image capture in less than 1/10th second. BLINC was announced at the SPIE Aerosense conference in Orlando, Fl, and provides both still image and 30 frame per second video capture. It offers digital and analog output at VGA resolution (640 X 480) in a package only 1.2" square by 1.0" deep, and is built around Sarnoff's proprietary CMOS Active Pixel Sensor (APS) technology, allowing it to better resolve highlight and shadow detail. Automatic contrast detail enhancement is performed with an on-board real-time 16-bit DSP.

"BLINC's small size, low power draw, and simple hookup make it easy to integrate into imaging systems," said Niel McCaffrey, Sarnoff's Head, Advanced Imaging. "It is designed to show you more detail in any arbitrary scene than any other digital camera. And it responds so fast, you're always going to see everything in each frame of rapidly changing video."

The camera operates on a single 3.3 volt power supply, requiring less than 70 mJ to capture a frame. BLINC's response speed of 1/10th of a second allows it to remain in standby mode at zero power until just before exposure, further reducing power requirements. BLINC offers a 110 dB dynamic range, to deliver images with clear detail in both highlight and shadow areas.

Pricing and availability has not been announced at this time.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Watch this space - Sony announces two new 3.34 megapixel digicams!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - 5:12 EDT)

Our morning trawl through the news has picked up something extremely interesting today - two new 3.34 megapixel digital cameras from Sony, in the same form factors as the DSC-F505K and DSC-F55K... News of the new DSC-F505V and DSC-F55V was posted by our friend Kumio Yamada over at the website, and we're currently working on getting everything translated into English for you... Watch this space!

Tuesday, April 25, 2000

Just a few days left! PCPhotoREVIEW Easter contest!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 25, 2000 - 17:30 EDT)

Our friend Alex over at PCPhotoREVIEW emailed to ask us to remind our readers that there's just a few days left to enter their Easter contest. For those of you not familiar, PCPhotoREVIEW is one of the sites we partner with by exhanging links quite a bit. They host a *large* number of reader reviews of digital photo equipment. It's a great resource, to learn what people think of the products they've bought and are actually using. - A nice complement to our own "professional" reviews. We encourage people to support Alex's site, because we really believe in the "users helping users" philosophy it implements.

To enter the PCPhotoREVIEW Easter Contest, just write a review (or several) of any pieces of digital photo equipment you have, and you'll be entered in a drawing for a $500 spending spree at EPC Online, or to win one of 5 books by our good friend Dennis Curtin of Your name will be entered once for each review you submit, so the more you write, the better chances of winning! - As an added bonus, you'll also be entered in PCPhotoREVIEWs once-a-quarter drawing for a free digital camera. Check out the PCPhotoREVIEW site for all the details!
Source: Click here for PCPhotoREVIEW Easter contest rules!

Nikon opens Digital support line!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 25, 2000 - 7:35 EDT)

Nikon Corp. has announced the opening of a new toll-free number specifically for support on digital cameras, scanners and related software. 1-800-NIKON-UX offers support on the Coolpix990, Coolpix950, Coolpix800, D1, CoolScan III, Super CoolScan 2000 and more...
Source: Yahoo! News / MacCentral

SanDisk reports record revenues!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 25, 2000 - 4:07 EDT)

SanDisk Corp. has announced record revenues for the quarter ending March 31, 2000. Total first quarter revenues were $109.4 million, an increase of 148% from the first quarter of 1999 due primarily to increased sales of our CompactFlash and MultiMediaCard products. Product revenues were $97.2 million, an increase of 171% from $35.9 million compared to the same period last year. Revenues from licenses and royalties were $12.1 million, up 48% from $8.2 million in the first quarter of 1999. Net income for the quarter was $219.3 million and included a one-time after tax gain of $204 million from the conversion of SanDisk's investment in the United Silicon Inc. foundry into shares of United Microelectronics Corp. Excluding this one-time gain, net income for the current quarter was $15.3 million, up 256% compared to $4.3 million in the same period last year. In the first quarter, diluted earnings per share were $3.00, which included $2.79 per share from the gain on SanDisk's foundry investment. Diluted earnings per share excluding this one-time gain were $0.21 per share compared to $0.07 per share in the first quarter of 1999.

Total first quarter revenues increased sequentially by $26.6 million, or 32%, from total revenues of $82.8 million for the fourth quarter of 1999. Product revenues increased by 39%. Current quarter diluted earnings per share, net of the one-time gain related to the USIC merger, increased to $0.21 per share, up 40% compared to $0.15 per share for the fourth quarter of 1999.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Sierra's Image Expert CE 2.1 bundled by HP!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 25, 2000 - 3:14 EDT)

Sierra Imaging, Inc. has announced that its Image Expert CE software is now bundled with the HP Jornada 540 Series Color Pocket PC, recently unveiled by Hewlett-Packard Co. of Palo Alto, CA. With Image Expert CE 2.1, users of the HP Jornada 540 Series Color Pocket PC can easily transfer images from a digital camera into the Pocket PC; browse and organize the photos into a slide show; create, display and edit text over images; add voice annotation; and e-mail photos as attachments anywhere on the Internet, directly from their HP Jornada 540 Series Color Pocket PC. The Jornada Pocket PC features a 16-bit, 65,536-color display and 16MB RAM. "We are very pleased that HP chose to bundle Image Expert CE with the new HP Jornada Pocket PC," said John Omvik, product manager for Sierra Imaging. "We've worked closely with HP to provide imaging functionality for its previous Windows CE products, and we are excited by the potential of the new Pocket PC platform. HP has designed an exceptional product, and we are proud to once again provide software for it." The full version of Image Expert CE 2.1 is included as part of HP's productivity software bundle with the HP Jornada 540 Series Color Pocket PC. For all other PC Companion users, Image Expert CE 2.1 is available for sale directly at Sierra Imaging's website: An electronic download version of Image Expert CE retails for $39.95. A CD-ROM version can be purchased for $59.95.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Asian digicam preferences revealed!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 25, 2000 - 3:05 EDT)

A survey conducted by Reader's Digest Asia has revealed the most popular brand names in Asia across a number of categories including digital cameras. The survey, which gave results for Asia as a whole, as well as the individual markets of Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, didn't attempt to rate the brands in any order unless a company had more than three times the popularity of their nearest competitor - which none of them did in the digital camera market.

Canon and Sony, the two companies listed as most popular Asia-wide, were also listed as most popular brands in every market surveyed, and were the only brands listed for Singapore and Thailand. Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan all listed Olympus as another most popular brand alongside Sony and Canon, whilst the Philippines chose Kodak as its favorite along with the two Asia-wide winners.

According to Reader's Digest, to receive the awards, "brands needed to reach high scores on both quantitative and qualitative scales and perform significantly above other brands in the same category in the areas of quality, value, trustworthiness, image and understanding of customer".
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

Agfa introduces SnapScan e40 scanner!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 25, 2000 - 2:38 EDT)

Agfa Corp.'s Desktop Products Group yesterday introduced the SnapScan e40 scanner - the first of its new "e" series of scanners, designed to facilitate electronic communications. The e40, using Agfa's ScanWise software, automatically formats images or text for email, word processing, text conversion (OCR), Web pages, or image-manipulation programs. The dual-platform scanner (Macintosh and Windows, including Windows 2000) offers USB (Universal Serial Bus) connectivity, and includes a set of business and imaging software to provide a complete scanning solution. The SnapScan e40 features 42-bit color depth and an optical resolution of 1200 x 2400 dpi. The maximum scanning area is 8.5" x 11.7". The SnapScan "e" series scanners also feature interchangeable colored handles in translucent orange, blue and graphite. Agfa bundles the e40 scanner with Corel Print Office 2000 and ReadIris multilingual OCR (optical character recognition) software. Corel Print Office includes photo-editing tools, style templates, and support for digital cameras and scanners. ReadIris, which recognizes 55 languages, lets users convert hard-copy documents into editable text. All software is provided in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch for both Windows, including Windows 2000 and Macintosh platforms."
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Monday, April 24, 2000

Surely you jest: A "Universal" Inkjet paper?
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 24, 2000 - 17:50 EDT)

A "Universal" inkjet paper? When we attended PMA 2000 in Las Vegas earlier this year, Dave saw some inkjet prints that really caught his eye. They happened to be black & white prints, but the tonal range was incredible: Way better than anything he ever produced in the darkroom. Investigating further, the paper manufacturer claimed the paper worked equally well with any inkjet printer. Oh really? (We've heard that plenty of times before: Usually, any given paper works OK with some printers, somewhat with others, and not at all with yet another group.) Well, that claim could certainly be verified, so that's what we did: We loaded up with a mess of different papers, corralled about a dozen printers from four different manufacturers, and did a not-very-scientific test. The result? The paper did a remarkably good job with all the printers we tested. What's more, it's amazingly waterproof after printing, irrespective of the printer/ink combination used. Not enough? How about a cool ultra-heavy watercolor card stock paper that takes the ink just as well as the photo glossy? (Several other special papers, too.) Check out Dave's review for the full story!
Source: Imaging Resource review of a new inkjet paper

Olympus' Big News: 3.34 Megapixels, LOADS of features for under $800!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 24, 2000 - 4:39 EDT)

Olympus has just announced their C-3000 Zoom digicam, a very slightly trimmed-down version of the C-3030 Zoom, selling for $200 less. (Our C-3030 Zoom review is almost finished, we should have it up within a week. Very slick digicam!) Here are the salient characteristics of the new C-3000 Zoom:

  • 3.34 megapixels, 2048x1536 top resolution
  • 3x optical zoom lens, with continuous 2.5x digital telephoto
  • ISO of 100, 200, 400
  • Shutter speeds from 1/800 to 1/2 second in auto, up to 16 seconds in manual.
  • Multiple exposure modes, including full manual aperture/shutter speed
  • Manual focus option
  • External flash sync connector, for Olympus dedicated strobe units
  • USB connectivity
  • 15 resolution modes, including uncompressed TIFF at each of the 5 possible image sizes
  • Quicktime video with sound (15 seconds at 320x240, or 60 seconds at 160x120 pixels - we think the press release was in error, had the times/sizes reversed.)
  • Ships with 8MB SmartMedia card, 2 CR-3V batteries, Camedia Master 2.0 software
  • MSRP of only $799!

Well gosh, that sounds just like the C-3030 Zoom! So how did Olympus manage to trim $200 off the price? What are the differences? The press release Olympus published says only that it offers "most of the advanced features of the C-3030 Zoom", but doesn't say anything about what's left out. Based on conversations with Olympus, there are four main differences:

  • No 32 meg RAM buffer. This means the camera will have a much more typical cycle time, probably on the order of 5-10 seconds between frames (we're guessing on that time frame, Olympus didn't give us a number). The C-3030 Zoom with its huge buffer memory is spec'd to grab shots about every second, an incredible speed, given the resolution.
  • The lack of the buffer also accounts for the shorter movie recording time of the C-3000 Zoom: The C-3030 Zoom can record movies at either resolution of any length, limited only by the size of the memory card you're using. The C-3000 Zoom is limited to 15 seconds in high resolution mode, 60 seconds in low resolution.
  • No Photoshop LE bundled with the camera. - Only Camedia Master 2.0 is included.
  • 8 MB SmartMedia card, vs 16 MB for the C-3030.

In our minds, the C-3000 Zoom is really a breakthrough product: It offers far more features and resolution at a lower price point than any camera we've seen to date. (Easy to imagine considerable consternation amongst Olympus' competitors!) To be sure, the tremendous speed of the C-3030 Zoom is a very important feature, but we suspect there will be a lot of people willing to give it up for the $200-lower price. Olympus really couldn't have come out with just the C-3000 Zoom though, as the slower cycle time would have left many advanced users decrying its lack of usefulness for fast-paced applications. (Important note to make here: Beginning back with the Olympus D-620L, and also noted with products like the Toshiba PDR-M4 and M5, we've observed that shot-to-shot cycle times make a huge difference in how much a digicam feels like a "real" film camera - It's a subtle thing you wouldn't expect would make such a enormous difference in the "feel" of a product, but having a very fast cycle time contributes tremendously to the photographic experience. That said, the C-3000 Zoom represents an unparalleled value for a 3.3 megapixel digicam.

While we haven't been able to take any test shots with it to show you, we have had a prototype C-3000 Zoom for a few days now, and took a series of "beauty shots" of it, showing the design, which we've posted here, on a "First Look" page. Truthfully though, there's not much new to see: The camera is in the identical case to the C-3030 Zoom, the only difference being that the metal portions of the case are now accented in a gunmetal gray (dark bronze?- We never were too good at naming colors ;) A very attractive design, not sure but what we may actually like the looks of the C-3000 Zoom better than the all-black C-3030 Zoom.
Source: IR "First Look" photos of Olympus C-3000 Zoom

Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Agfa introduces online photofinishing service!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 19, 2000 - 8:06 EDT)

A press release from the Consumer Imaging division of Agfa Corp. today announces its new online photofinishing service. AGFANet Print Service is based on a client software program, available for download from the AGFANet website, through which users upload their images and order prints. The order is transmitted via the user's Internet connection, and users will have an option of which lab from AGFANet's network will process the prints, as well as which images are to be printed, their sizes and quantities, image cropping and payment method. Photos are then delivered by mail in 2-3 days. The program will be bundled with all Agfa scanners and digital cameras, starting with the ePhoto CL18 digital camera and SnapScan e40 and e50 scanners. A Windows version of the software is available immediately - Macintosh users will find a version available in the third quarter of this year.
Source: Yahoo! News / BusinessWire

Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Ai Caramba! Server problems today, hopefully now over!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 16:08 EDT)

Apologies to all who might have missed their daily "fix" of news: Apparently the tech pinched a cable when he replaced our ailing tape backup drive in the wee hours this morning. The result was our server was up and down today, with a total of over 5 hours of downtime, a thankfully rare occurrence. The good news is the machine has been upgrade to a faster CPU, with double the memory (now 256 MB), so peak performance should be improved. Thanks for your patience, stay tuned for more great digicam info...

Zing, eframes offer printing and framing online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 10:49 EDT)

A press release from Zing Inc. and Inc. today announces that the two are allying to offer customers their prints gift-wrapped and framed from Zing's website. Customers will be able to preview their picture in various photo frames, and then order a framed print in their choice of frame and gift-wrapped as a gift for friends and relatives. The service will go live later this month; pricing is not disclosed.
Source: Yahoo! News / BusinessWire

Kodak reports profit jump despite flat sales!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 10:42 EDT)

Eastman Kodak Co. has reported a significant increase in first-quarter earnings, despite flat sales caused by the Euro's decline in value over the last year, reports Reuters. The photography giant saw Q1 earnings jump some 19% over a year ago, to some $297 million, and net profits soar some 58% to $289 million in the same period. Sales stayed at some $3.10 billion, but if not for the Euro decline would have seen some 5% growth overall. Losses in Kodak's digital business, which includes digital cameras and the "You've Got Pictures" joint venture with AOL amongst others, were trimmed from $12 million in Q1 '99 to some $4 million in Q1 '00. Kodak's Professional business declined some 8% over Q1 last year, which CEO Daniel Carp attributed to competition in the digital camera business from Canon Inc. and Nikon Corp. Carp noted that he expected the second half of 2000 to see Kodak Professional recover.
Source: Yahoo! News / Reuters

PictureVision introduces bilingual Canadian site!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 10:19 EDT)

A press release from Eastman Kodak subsidiary PictureVision Inc., the company behind the Kodak PhotoNet online photofinishing service, today announces the introduction of its first bilingual site. Kodak PhotoNet Canada offers both French and English versions sharing the same database. The company already has foreign-language versions in Japan, France, Germany and Sweden, and has plans for future bilingual sites featuring English alongside Spanish, German and Japanese.
Source: Yahoo! News / PR NewsWire

Ofoto teams with InfoSpace!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 8:24 EDT)

A press release from online photo-sharing website Ofoto Inc. announces that it has teamed with communications infrastructure provider InfoSpace Inc. for its online photofinishing service. InfoSpace technology backs 4 of the top 5 busiest sites on the Internet, and the company apparently has a network of some 2,500 affiliate sites together covering 88 percent of all Internet users. James Joaquin, President and CEO of Ofoto noted:
"Our relationship with InfoSpace is very important. Ofoto's mission from the very beginning has been to bring the quality and convenience of online photography to everyone. Our partnership with InfoSpace means our service will be integrated and offered as part of their leading platform that powers services offered to consumers and merchants through their extensive affiliate network of wireless carriers, merchants and Web sites."

Source: Yahoo! News / PR NewsWire

Monday, April 17, 2000

Scheduled Server Maintenance
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 17, 2000 - 19:11 EDT)

Just a heads-up for our readers: Our server will be down tonight/tomorrow morning, for about 30-60 minutes, between the hours of 3 and 5 AM EDT. We're upgrading the CPU, adding more memory, and replacing a flakey tape drive. (The traffic just *keeps on* growing - We're routinely pushing out 10-15 gigabytes a day lately!) We haven't received any complaints, but noticed that the server was staying busier than we'd like to see it lately: If any of you have experienced slow response times, this should fix it.

Full review of Canon Powershot S20 posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 17, 2000 - 17:48 EDT)

Full review of Canon Powershot S20 posted! Canon has extended their "digital ELPH" line of digicams to 3.3 megapixel capability, with the S20. We've just finished reviewing the new unit, and found a great deal to like: A camera that's very appealing, in terms of both design and image quality. Here's the conclusion from our review:

With the S20, Canon kept the sleek, sophisticated, compact styling of the S10 and added a 3.3 megapixel CCD capable of delivering a much larger image resolution size (2048 x 1536). They also gave it an exceptionally sharp lens to match the sensor's resolution (producing the highest resolution we've measured on a digicam to date, as of late March, 2000). We found its color to be very good as well, both hue-accurate and properly saturated. (Neither over-bright nor dull.) While it lacks traditional aperture- and shutter-priority metering modes, much the same effects can be achieved through the "Fast Shutter" and "Slow Shutter" exposure modes. Overall, a great camera and a great extension of Canon's "Elph-like" digicam line. Highly recommended!

Just as we were "going to press" with our review, we received some correspondence from several IR readers, David Kamanski prominent among them, regarding the S20's tendency to push blue skies to a purplish hue. We didn't observe this in our own testing, perhaps because none of our shots had a very intense blue color. IR reader Jeff Schaefer was gracious enough to let us use a couple of test shots he took to both illustrate the problem, and the *excellent* fix provided by our favorite photo-tweaking tool, PhotoGenetics. It took us all of about 30 seconds to develop a "genotype" that cleanly and easily fixes the purple problem! You can see examples in our full review, along with a link to the genotype we created. The great thing is that PhotoGenetics lets you batch-apply fixes like this to all your photos in literally seconds, with just a couple of clicks of the mouse. - Another case of a $45 program (in this case including the needed "Isocolor" plug-in) turning an excellent digicam into a truly great one! We also briefly reviewed the beautifully-crafted lens-thread adapter from CKC Power that lets you attach auxiliary lenses. Check out our full review for all the details! (Thanks to David & Jeff for their help, and once again to Q-Research for their great "fixit" tool!)
Source: IR Review of Canon Powershot S20

Three new cameras in the Comparometer(tm)!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 17, 2000 - 17:40 EDT)

These have actually been up for a few days, we're just behind again on our "whats new" updates: We now have full sets of comparison images in the Comparometer for not only the Canon S20 mentioned above, but also for the Nikon D1(!) and Sony FD91. (Can you guess what reviews will be appearing next on the site?) We should have the image analysis and reviews for both of these other cameras up in the next day or two, but wanted to let people see the comparison shots quickly, particularly in the case of the D1, which is one of the most-requested reviews we've yet worked on. (We now also have a really well-standardized basis for comparison between the D1 and other pro digicams, an advantage we hope to capitalize on shortly.)
Source: Imaging Resource Comparometer

Phil posts major Coolpix 990 review!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 17, 2000 - 17:01 EDT)

Exceeding even his usual high standards, Phil Askey of DPReview has just posted an uber-review of the Nikon Coolpix 990. We're pleased to see Phil now also using the ISO-12233 resolution target we standardized on for our own resolution tests: This sort of standardization is very beneficial to the end-users who read our material, making it easier to compare "apples to apples" between various reviews of different cameras. Here's Phil's conclusion, click the link below to visit his review:

Where should I start? Nikon have taken one of the most capable, reliable and popular digital cameras of 1999 and brought it up to the next level. They've avoided simply upgrading the imager and have updated the camera inside and out, lots of new features, fixes to old niggles and improvements on what was already a great digital camera. Probably the best 3 megapixel digital camera under $1000 (time will tell, I'll be reviewing some more soon...).

Source: Phil Askey's Coolpix 990 review

Ofoto announces new alliances!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 17, 2000 - 12:16 EDT)

We just got two emails this morning from our friends at internet photo company Ofoto, regarding two new alliances they've just set up. The first is with PeoplePC, a company offering their subscribers turnkey "digital economy" systems, consisting of a brand-name PC, unlimited internet access, tech support, and an online buying community, all for $24.95 per month. The second new Ofoto alliance is with InfoSpace, a company offering a broad range of 'net services, which are syndicated to a newtwork of over 2500 affiliate websites. Overall, the two agreements should dramatically increase Ofoto's "reach" in the online world. Congratulations, guys!
Source: Ofoto's home page

Review page on Epson 870/1270 posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 17, 2000 - 12:02 EDT)

Epson's new 870/1270 printers have excited a lot of interest, not the least of which is because their prints are finally true archival-quality, lasting as long or longer than some conventional photo prints. Tham Kok Leong maintains an excellent site on printers in general, called the The Digital Darkroom, that's received far too little attention to us: It's an excellent resource for in-depth info on a number of photo printers. Thanks to a note over at Steve's Digicams, we notice that Tham has posted a page on the new Epson printers that includes links to a number of other reviews of them. Definitely worth checking out! (Meanwhile, we continue to plan to get into photo printers "some day," if we can ever get on top of the ongoing flow of digicams, and get our naescent software section off the ground!)
Source: Digital Darkroom's Epson 870/1270 page

Congrats to DCRP on the new look!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 17, 2000 - 11:52 EDT)

Congratulations to Jeff & Delane over at the Digital Camera Resource Page - They've completed a facelift of their site, entering their "purple" period. (All great artists go through phases like this, web artists included.) We in the digicam web community have been blessed by an exceptional spirit of cooperation and support, and Jeff & Delane have been an active part of that. Thanks, guys, and congrats on your facelift. (Now, maybe we could get Delane to do the vastly-overdue redesign for *our* pages!)
Source: The Digital Camera Resource Page

Friday, April 14, 2000

Sony updates and downsizes the MemoryStick!
By Bethany Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 14, 2000 - 18:54 EDT)

Sony Corp. announced today that it would launch a smaller version of its Memory Stick data storage device that will be about half the size of the original. The new version, called "Memory Stick Duo", is planned to be launched in the first quarter of next year and, like its predecessor, will offer either 32- or 64-megabit capacity. "Duo" will allow Sony to develop and introduce even smaller audio and visual products - as well as be used in modems and wireless mobile gadgets such as Bluetooth devices. It will also remain compatible with existing products using Memory Stick with the use of an adapter.
Source: Yahoo! News / Reuters

Steve's Digicams posts C-3030Z first look!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 14, 2000 - 3:14 EDT)

Our friends over at Steve's Digicams just mailed with news that they're up in the wee hours of the morning, hard at work - much the same as us! They've just posted a first-look review of Olympus' much-anticipated C-3030Z, a 3.34 megapixel unit with USB connectivity, video capability and a 3x optical zoom lens... There's no conclusion as yet, but lots of info on this new camera, as well as sample pictures aplenty!
Source: Steve's Digicams C-3030Z first look

Thursday, April 13, 2000

EZ Prints announces $2.7 million financing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 16:31 EDT)

Online photofinisher EZ Prints Inc. has announced the closure of its second round of financing in a press release today. The company raised some $2.7 million, with the financing being led by Pennsylvania Early Stage Partners. EZPrints has been providing prints from digital images over the Internet since early 1999, and recently moved its headquarters to Atlanta, GA.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

PictureVision/PhotoNet founder joins Silicon Film board!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 16:17 EDT)

A PR NewsWire article today notes that Yaacov Ben-Yaacov, a founder of PictureVision and its PhotoNet Online service, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Silicon Film Technologies Inc. Ben-Yaakov is also a founder and the current CEO of, and has over 10 years experience in digital imaging. Silicon Film was previously known as Imagek and is the company behind the long-promised digital film cartridge that will allow 35mm film cameras to take digital photos...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

PictureIQ enters Smithsonian IT research collection!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 12:27 EDT)

A press release from PictureIQ Corp. announces that its PictureIQ technology, which allows games consoles such as the Sega Dreamcast, set-top boxes and Internet web sites to offer image editing capabilities, has been included in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History's IT Innovation Collection. The collection was founded in 1988, and looks for innovative uses of information technology that "demonstrate vision and leadership". PictureIQ was nominated by Adobe Systems' Chairman and CEO John Warnock, in the Business and Related Services category.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Sierra Imaging shipping Image Expert 2000!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 12:01 EDT)

A press release from Sierra Imaging Inc. announces that a new version in its Image Expert image manager is now shipping. Image Expert 2000 includes the following additions and improvements over previous versions:
  • Instant search and retrieval tools
  • On-screen tabs and scroll bar for viewing, organizing, and managing of all images
  • Web templates that automatically create web pages and links for uploading images to websites
  • QuickTime(TM)movie creation from multiple images
  • Play, import, and add effects to AVI and QuickTime movies
  • Visual cropping tools
  • Direct text placement onto pictures
  • Red eye removal
  • Support for online print service
  • E-mailing of photos
  • Annotation support for images includes ink, voice and text
  • Automatic 2D stitching for panoramic images
  • Enhanced print templates that optimize use of inkjet paper and support a variety of custom sizes and perforated paper
Image Expert 2000 is available for download from Sierra Imaging at a cost of $49.95, or on CD-ROM at a cost of $69.96. Existing users can upgrade to the latest version at a cost of $29.95... For more information visit Sierra Imaging's home page for Image Expert, or click here to order a copy.

(Note from Dave: We're planning a review on Image Expert for the hopefully near future - It seems like an unusually well thought-out program. About 2-3 years ago, I did a consulting job for a company who was looking to come up with a "killer app" for consumers using digital cameras, scanners, etc. My partner at the time and I concluded that image organization was a huge hole in the market, and proceeded to spec-out an application to act as an organization tool and "home base" for imaging activities. That client never actually developed the application we'd spec'd, but imagine my surprise when I saw the Beta of ImageExpert 2000 at spring PMA this year, and found feature after feature that were almost exactly as we'd specified for our consulting client over 2 years ago! No, there was no connection whatsoever between the two companies involved, but I guess great minds think alike! ;)
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Agfa introduces ePhoto CL18 digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 13, 2000 - 11:11 EDT)

Agfa ePhoto CL18 - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!

Agfa Corp.'s Desktop Products Group has today distributed a press release formally announcing its new ePhoto CL18 digital camera, which we first told you about back in February. The CL18 features a CCD resolution of 640 x 480 pixels (~310,000 pixels), 2MB of non-removeable memory for up to 32 images, built-in flash, USB or serial connectivity, universal mini video output plug, and the ability to function as a webcam. The unit comes bundled with Corel image-editing software, ArcSoft VideoImpression video editor, and Microsoft NetMeeting, as well as a cradle. The unit will ship in May 2000 at a price of $149. Here's the full specs from Agfa's release:
  • Dual mode: Point-and-shoot digital camera with video conferencing feature
  • Picture resolution (in pixels): True 640 by 480 optical resolution
  • Internal memory capacity: 2 MB (non-removable)
  • Number of pictures on internal memory: 32 VGA images
  • With cradle to hold up camera during video conferencing
  • Image editing software: ArcSoft VideoImpression(TM), Corel Print House(TM) 2000, Corel Photo House(TM) 2000 with Agfa PhotoGenie QuickFix for color correction and image enhancement
  • Video conferencing software: Microsoft NetMeeting
  • Processing time between pictures: 6-7 seconds
  • Lens aperture: F/2.0
  • Lens focal length: 7.2 mm equivalent to 45mm camera
  • 4 flash modes: auto / fill-in / red eye reduction / disable
  • Color depth of sensor: 24 bit output
  • Self timer setting: 10 sec.
  • Output file format - standard JPEG
  • Video out: NTSC and PAL
  • Serial interface: 230,400 bits per second (RS-232)

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Wednesday, April 12, 2000

PhotoAccess Japan goes live!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - 17:51 EDT)

We reported on April 7th about the upcoming launch of's Asia-Pac subsidiary, PhotoAccess Japan, and a press release today announces that the service has now gone live. Japanese customers will pay ¥50 for L, ¥200 for 2L and ¥1000 for A4 size prints, with delivery within 3 business days via regular mail service for L and 2L prints, or express courier for A4 prints and photo merchandise. Online payment via credit/debit card is planned, but for the time being customers will receive an invoice with their order, which can be brought to any post office or participating convenience store for payment (a common payment method in Japan).
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

More on DataPlay's new storage media!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - 17:10 EDT)

DataPlay Discs - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
We reported back on April 6 about a new storage media from DataPlay Inc., the DataPlay disc, an optical storage disc about the size of a quarter which the company expects to reach the market in early 2001... One thing we noted at that time however was that DataPlay's website and press release neglected to disclose details such as the storage capacity and characteristics of the media, which will be important to its acceptance by end users. It was with interest, then, that we read a CNet news item today which answers at least one part of the question. According to CNet, the DataPlay discs, which will have a price-tag of $5-$10, will have a capacity of 500MB of data, and will feature built-in copy protection, allowing pre-recorded discs to be sold in stores. There's still no answer as to whether the media is re-writeable, however - and the wording of DataPlay's website suggests that the discs aren't rewriteable. If this is the case, it could be a good or bad thing - if your disc is full and you don't have another to hand, you won't be able to delete bad images from your camera to free up some space for more photos, but at the same time you'll already have your photos archived and ready for storage. Our emails to DataPlay requesting further details on their new format have, thus far, gone unanswered.
Source: Yahoo! News / CNet News.Com

Sound Vision secures $21 million financing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - 16:54 EDT)

A press release from Sound Vision Inc. announces that the company has secured a $21 million investment from Prism Venture Partners, Advanced Technology Ventures and Juniper Capital Venture in its second round of funding. The release notes that the financing will "be used to increase the company's leadership position in product development, as well as expand worldwide sales and marketing initiatives"... Sound Vision manufactures digital camera hardware and software, including CMOS image sensors.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Tuesday, April 11, 2000

ACD Systems ships ACDSee 3.0!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 18:58 EDT)

A press release from ACD Systems today announces the release of its ACDSee 3.0 image manager program. ACDSee 3.0, originally planned to be available November 3, 1999 when it was first announced last August, is now available in English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French, Korean, Italian and Chinese (with Dutch, Swedish and Portuguese versions to come), archives digital images and sound files in over 30 formats. New features include Photo Services & Send Pictures and ZIP / LHS Archive features.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / Canadian Corporate News

ScanSoft announces new VP!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 18:41 EDT)

A press release from ScanSoft Inc. today announces the promotion of Ben S. Wittner to the position of Vice President of Technology Development. Wittner, began working with OCR recognition in 1992 for Xerox Imaging Systems and stayed with ScanSoft as it became a Xerox subsidiary before being spun off as a sparate company, previously held technical and management positions at NYNEX Science and Technology and AT&T Bell Laboratories. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics and an A.B. degree in mathematics from Cornell University...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

PhotoWorks recaps changes!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 17:56 EDT)

A press release from PhotoWorks, formerly Seattle Filmworks, recaps its recent changes to the company... The release notes that it "stepped up its campaign to capture the emerging Internet photo processing and sharing market by rebranding the Company as PhotoWorks and launching a new Web site". The company changed its name and launched the PhotoWorks website and PhotoWorks uploader back on February 1st...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Viking ships 1 gigabyte flash cards!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 17:18 EDT)

A press release from flash media manufacturer Viking Components Inc. today announces that it is now shipping a 1 gigabyte Type-II ATA flash card. The new card, part number FL1024MDVA, tops out a range of Type-II ATA flash cards from Viking that includes 448MB, 512MB, 640MB and 768MB models. No pricing information is provided in the release.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

DPReview posts Casio QV-3000EX review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 14:33 EDT)

Our friends over at the Digital Photography Review website have now posted their review of Casio's 3.3 megapixel QV-3000EX digital camera. Here's what Phil had to say on the unit:
"The Casio QV-3000EX is a camera which performs beyond your expectations of it, it's big on features, big on lens and image quality and offers excellent bang for the buck. If you're in the US then the Microdrive bundle probably offers the best value 3 megapixel digital camera kit on the market. The designers could have spent a little longer tidying it up, the case could have been smaller and made of a better quality material but then Casio wouldn't have been able to bring it in at such a low price point. The key here is that the message appears to be getting through "good image quality starts with good quality lenses"."
There's plenty more info and photos both of the camera itself, and taken with it - so hop on over to the Digital Photography Review for the full story!
Source: Digital Photography Review's QV-3000EX review

Steve's Digicams reviews IPIX MyPhotoBubble!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 14:13 EDT)

Our friends over at the Steve's Digicams website have posted their review of IPIX's MyPhotoBubble software. Intended (and licensed) only for personal use, MyPhotoBubble requires your camera be mounted on a tripod, with a lens giving a full 180 degrees of information in one picture. Two pictures hence are stitched together by the software to make up a full 360 x 360-degree panorama, which is saved as a 400KB "photobubble". Each "photobubble" you make costs you $1, and when you run out you visit IPIX's website to purchase more...
Source: Steve's Digicams MyPhotoBubble review

Kodak CEO urges industry - forget fruitless feature battle, simplify!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - 13:54 EDT)

We told you last Friday about an upcoming keynote speech from Dan Carp, Eastman Kodak Company's President and Chief Executive Officer, in our news item "Kodak CEO to give keynote speech on digital!". At that time, we predicted the speech would be of interest to anybody in the digital field; as promised, here's the full text of the keynote address:

"(The presentation opens with the screening of the movie trailer for "Mission Impossible 2.")

Dan: Good afternoon! I was just handed a note from the Lyra people . . .

"Good afternoon, Dan. Your mission, should you accept it, is to detain a large audience of digital photo industry operatives from immediately advancing to their single-minded goal.....the post-conference cocktail hour. As always, should you get trampled in the stampede, Lyra will disavow any knowledge of the accident. This message will self destruct in five seconds. Of course, it would have lasted much longer, had it been printed on Kodak paper."

Kidding aside, I hope you enjoyed that preview of the new Mission Impossible sequel, coming to theaters next month. We are very excited about it -- not only because it will feature our Kodak DC 290 digital cameras in several scenes -- but because the plot revolves around a Kodak digital memory card that people smuggle, chase down, and even shoot at each other for. Talk about brand loyalty!

Steve Case at AOL once told me that his best salespeople were Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, thanks to their hit movie, "You've Got Mail." We think Tom Cruise can do the same thing for our industry with "Mission Impossible 2" -- which we are trying to convince Paramount Studios to re-title, "You've Got Pictures....taken with a 2.1 Megapixel Kodak Digital Camera." Hey, we can dream, can't we?

It's encouraging to see that more and more people are getting the digital photography "bug" these days....people such as computer buffs, real estate agents, photo journalists and, of course, international espionage agents. And that's great. But what about consumers....the mass market?

Frankly, that's who we have been aiming for. Not just the early adopters, not just the photo hobbyists, not just the computer and technology enthusiasts. They're already on board. And the business-to-business part of our market is on board with digital, too: This includes a good number of professional photographers, along with our health imaging and document imaging customers.

But we won't be happy until the mass consumer market signs up for digital, in much larger numbers than today. Because the big consumer market is Kodak's sweet spot. We have a long-term relationship with consumers that's unparalleled and unrivaled.

That's why we began building a consumer digital infrastructure, way back when digital was barely a blip on the radar screen.

First, we went after digital capture. Five years ago, who would have predicted that Kodak would have the number two brand of digital cameras in the U.S., and be among the top three brands in the world? Today, we are.

Next, we built the backbone for scanning and storing pictures. Today, we can convert four million images a day into digital files. We've got the largest scanning capacity in the world.

Third, we built an online photo community,, which receives somewhere in the neighborhood of three million hits per day.

And, fourth, we ramped up the output side. Our Qualex subsidiary routinely prints 40 million images per day, more than enough capacity to handle the digital print orders that people will send through our soon-to-be-launched online service, Print-at-Kodak...while providing print fulfillment for other dot-com photo businesses.

In short, we built the preeminent digital photography infrastructure. And, in retrospect, I guess you might say our philosophy was, "If we build it, they will come."

Well, consumers are coming over to digital. But you can't fault anyone in this industry for wondering, "Can't they get here a little faster?"

Looking ahead to 2005, we see U.S. sales of digital cameras climbing to seven or eight million per year. That's certainly respectable, but not great. Especially when you consider that some 18 million conventional cameras and more than 130 million one-time- use film cameras will also likely be purchased that same year.

So, in the next few minutes, I'd like to briefly suggest some fundamental reasons why digital photography isn't making faster inroads with the general photo market . . . and also suggest what we as an industry can do about it.

I have to be careful, because my first suggestion might get me in some trouble with the rest of the industry. I might even get branded a heretic. So I'll say it softly: "Digital" may not be a magic word for consumers. I'll say it again: "Digital" may not be a magic word for consumers.

Now, don't get me wrong. I grant you that the word "digital" still holds powerful magic for people in our industry. Heck, it's got the attention of people in every industry.

If you look at all the instant wealth that has been created in the past few years, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that "digital" is where the action is.

But is the mere mention of "digital" a hot button for someone who just wants to take some pictures of the family gathered together for Mother's Day brunch this weekend? Some in our industry apparently believe so.

I found this ad in a New York newspaper. "Are you digital yet?" Implying that the reader already understands WHY he or she should switch to digital: it's just a matter of when. But if you're still not sure what makes a digital camera so special, the rest of the ad provides the answers:

Not only does this camera have selectable ISO, a digital tele-converter and a high speed USB interface, it is fully compatible with Type 1 and Type 2 Compact Flash memory cards. Plus, it has an AE lock and is equipped for both RS-232C and NTSC video out.

Talk about compelling consumer benefits! It makes you wonder how we ever got through Mother's Day in the past, without that USB interface and AE lock!

Now, I'm not picking on this particular retailer or camera manufacturer. We've all been guilty, at times, of trying to sell the features we've engineered, instead of the benefits consumers value.

We know very well what "digital" means to us . . . and to industry analysts . . . and to Wall Street. But what does "digital" really mean to the public? How about a quick reality check...

To consumers, the word "digital" does not automatically mean "better." Quick example: expensive fashion wristwatches are always analog. Cheap disposable watches are almost always digital. Here's another example: digital books and digital newspapers are still regarded as poor substitutes for their hard copy counterparts.

Furthermore, "digital" does not necessarily mean "more reliable." Computers are the very essence of a digital product -- and no product in the consumer marketplace is more prone to crashes and freezes. Come to think of it, what other household appliance requires you to protect it from catching a virus?

If we asked consumers, they might beg us to keep the computer engineers as far away from their cameras as possible. In their minds, once the computer people take over the photo industry, we'll have cameras that take five minutes to boot up....that sporadically erase or lose your pictures for no apparent reason....and that bombard you with annoying banner ads every time you look through the viewfinder!

So, "digital" may not mean as much to consumers as we had hoped. And the corollary to this observation is the interesting fact that the really successful and widely accepted digital products are not commonly regarded as... "digital." Think about it. People don't talk about their "digital CD collection." A CD is just a CD. Same with your automatic garage door opener. If yours was manufactured in the last few years, it operates with four microprocessors -- it's fully digital. But does anyone think about or refer to their door opener as a digital device? Maybe the companies that make 'em.

You have to conclude that consumers are simply not as obsessed with digital technology as are the industry leaders and pundits. As a matter of fact, we know from recent history that new photo products do not have to be digital to be trendy or cool. The number one, top selling camera in the U.S. this past holiday season features technology that's a good fifty years old: Polaroid's I-Zone pocket camera.

I'll bet that if you go to any public school here in Boston, you will find the insides of the student lockers plastered with the tiny instant sticker photos that kids have been taking with this camera.

By the way, there is such a resurgence of interest in picture-taking among teens, that Kodak is inviting kids, via the Web, to help design a new line of camera fashion accessories for our one-time-use film cameras. Don't forget, this is Generation Y, the generation that was born into a digital world. And yet, from all appearances they care much more about the amount of fun they can have with a camera, rather than the number of megapixels that come inside it.

Now, please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that the future of digital photography is cloudy.

The picture business is transitioning to digital, and we have been helping consumers get comfortable with that transition through our film digitization initiatives, such as Kodak Picture CD and "You've Got Pictures" via America Online.

But it's not going to be a slam-dunk. Consumers will not abandon a product or service they are happy with, unless there is a compelling reason to do so. But they can be persuaded to switch -- if they are offered a something new that is demonstrably better, faster, cheaper or easier to use.

The burden of proof is on us. Especially since we are asking people to learn a whole new system for taking their pictures, for sharing their pictures, for storing their pictures and for getting their prints.

But this is hardly a new challenge for the photo industry. And certainly not for Kodak. Because we introduced an entirely new photography system to the mass market once before, with enormously successful results.

The episode I'm thinking of took place at the beginning of the 20th century, but the circumstances were remarkably similar to those we face today.

George Eastman had pioneered a practical way to capture images using roll film, instead of the more conventional and widely used glass plates. Because film processing was too complicated for the average customer, Eastman also devised a new system for photo finishing. After shooting a roll of film, people would upload -- via U.S. mail -- the unopened camera to Kodak. In a short time, their prints and their camera loaded with fresh film would arrive in their mailbox: "You've Got Pictures!"

George Eastman's new technology was far more economical and convenient than anything that preceded it. All he lacked was....a market! A mass market for this new system of picture taking simply did not exist. So it was up to him to create one.

If Eastman were a product of the Internet era, he might have been tempted to sell his system as a glamorous piece of new technology, with lots of ads and press releases hyping the wonders of "nitrocellulose roll film photography."

Of course, he didn't. Instead, he helped people envision how picture taking would enrich their lives. He showed people how simple and how much fun it is to take pictures. He suggested when and where to take pictures. He provided guidance on who should take pictures. He left no doubt about the modest cost of taking pictures. And, most important of all, he gave people plenty of sound reasons why they should take more pictures.

In short, he did all of the things we ought to be doing today. And if all of this sounds a bit simplistic, keep in mind the one lesson that 100 years of consumer marketing should have taught us: In the picture business, simple trumps megapixels, every time.

There is one more noteworthy parallel between the great photography revolutions of this century and the last. In 1900, the first breakthrough in selling roll film cameras to a mass market took place with the introduction of a toy camera for children, the Kodak Brownie.

It only cost one dollar, it came in a colorful, fun package, and it was simple enough for the youngest child to use. It was also the first camera in history to sell more than a quarter million units in its first year on the market.

Here we are, one hundred years later, and today's best digital photography play . . . is the digital photography playthings -- the toy cameras!

I'd like to show you a product that industry analysts say was one of last year's best selling digital cameras.

This is the Barbie Photo Designer, one of the really hot toys of 1999. Now, you have to ask yourself, what does Barbie know about selling cameras that the rest of us don't? Would we all do better by putting pink flower petals around the lenses of our digital cameras? Maybe not. But try to put yourself in Barbie's shoes for a moment -- yes, I know that's a painful thought -- and you'll begin to see why a hot pink daisy on a camera makes so much sense.

You see, in Barbie's world, a digital camera is not a piece of high tech hardware. It's a fashion accessory. It's a way to have more fun with your friends. And, above all, it's a portal to Barbie's world of glamour.

I guarantee you that the advertising for this product makes no mention of megapixels or AE locks. Language like that does not capture the imagination. Here are some of the phrases that do appear in Mattel's ads for this camera: "See yourself in Barbie's world."; "Design scrapbooks and photo albums, even mini-movies."; "Print out lasting souvenirs of every Barbie photography adventure."; And my personal favorite: "A real film-free color camera!". Now, ask yourself, is any marketer of serious cameras explaining the benefits of digital photography to the public this clearly?

This year, you can expect to see an even greater flood of digital cameras appearing on toy store shelves. If Barbie is a little too tame for your youngsters, you can pick them up a "WWF SlamCam," so they can put themselves in the picture with their favorite pro wrestling stars....Can anybody spell "role model?"

But that's not all. For young cable TV fans, the folks at Nickelodeon are offering "Nick Click," which they are advertising as the world's zaniest digital camera. Internet-savvy kids will soon be bugging their parents for the new "Yahoo! Cam" and the $79 "Jam Cam." Even Nintendo has joined the fray, with a little $29 black-and-white digital camera accessory for their Gameboy toy.

Now, the quality of the pictures you get with these toy cameras may be nothing to write home about. And granted, most self-respecting adults would not rather be seen in public with a camera that's officially endorsed by the Rugrats.

But the people who are marketing these cameras are doing some very smart things the rest of our industry might consider emulating: They are creating cameras that are easy -- and lots of fun -- to use. They are doing creative things with camera design and software to target their products to specific market segments. They are creating packaging and advertising that works hard at selling the product by showing kids all the ways they can enjoy playing with the camera.

They realize that the hardware -- that is, the camera and its advanced technology -- is not, in itself, of any particular interest to their customers. Instead, they focus on the cool applications that come bundled with the camera. Such as turning picture of your friends into tiny decals you can paste onto your fingernails.

They realize that the picture business isn't just about preserving memories. We are moving into an era of take-and-toss for the fun of it, pictures for play and pictures for socializing.

Perhaps most important, they are offering products in a price range the market is willing to pay. Parents can compare the "WWF Slam Cam," sold for $39.95 at Toys R Us, with other toys or with other cameras, and conclude it represents a reasonably good value. I would argue that the value proposition for serious digital cameras is still not nearly as clear.

One more interesting point about these toy digital cameras. Take another look at the product names. Not one of them is billed, first and foremost, as a "digital" camera. To these toymakers, that's an apparently irrelevant distinction.

And that brings me to what might be the most controversial suggestion you will hear this week:

I propose it's time for our industry to stop marketing digital photography. Sure, we can continue to sell digital cameras and digital print services and all the rest. But we may have to admit to ourselves that very few consumers share our infatuation with the technology. They have a saying in the hardware store business: People who buy quarter-inch drill bits don't actually want quarter-inch drill bits. What they really want is a quarter-inch hole. In photography, digital or otherwise, the technology is not the desired product. People buy good cameras because they want good pictures.

And the truth is, consumers are quite happy with the pictures they take with their 35 millimeter or APS cameras. The quality is good, the price is reasonable and, thanks to the thousands of mini-labs across the country, they can get prints back in the space of one hour.

It is up to us, as an industry, to give people compelling reasons to switch to digital. And the best way to do this is by demonstrating, clearly and convincingly, how digital technology can solve some of the most common picture-taking problems and complaints.

Complaints such as: "I just ran out of film." . . . or "I'm not sure if the picture I shot will be any good." . . . or "I don't want to pay for a print every time I snap the shutter. I just want to buy the pictures I like."

Obviously, digital cameras nicely solve all of these problems. And, in the near future, they will be able to solve even more picture-taking dilemmas. For example, we're now exploring the concept of "wearable cameras": digital cameras small enough to be incorporated into a pair of sunglasses or a piece of jewelry. As soon as products like these hit the market, there will no longer be an excuse for anyone to say, "Darn! I wish I had my camera with me!"

We will also soon be able to help everyone who's ever looked at an old snapshot and asked, "Who is that person sitting next to Uncle Ralph?" or, "Where on earth was that picture taken?" or, "Was this a photo from my second wedding? Or my third?" I'm sure many of you are familiar with the concept of "meta data" Simply put, it's the ability to permanently attach reference data, in digital format, on your pictures. And it's coming sooner then you may think.

Unfortunately, most marketing efforts for digital photography don't seem to concern themselves with making picture-taking more convenient and trouble-free.

If anything, the industry has made picture-taking more difficult and more complicated by cramming onto digital cameras more features, more buttons and more bells and whistles than most people want or need.

Camera manufacturers are engaged in a fiercely fought, but fruitless game of "feature wars" -- fruitless, because what the average consumer really wants, above all else, is point-and-shoot simplicity.

There's not much point in selling people cameras that promise to solve some of their picture-taking frustrations, if those cameras only create a whole new set of frustrations.

And if we allow ourselves to be perfectly honest, that's exactly what we've done with digital. We haven't fully addressed the fact that a digital camera by itself is useless -- without a convenient and simple system for storing, sharing and printing the images you capture. A system that doesn't force people to wait for long uploads to their computer or the Internet....or require them to tweak and adjust the color software that runs their home printer.

Although some of us might not have enjoyed reading his words a few weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal, Walter Mossberg may been speaking for most consumers, when he characterized the process of getting pictures from a digital camera into a PC as, "a mess and a hassle."

In short, digital cameras must be hooked to a system that delivers the same promise George Eastman made for his system one hundred years ago: "You press the button. We do the rest."

Believe me, Kodak is addressing these issues as fast as we can. Given our heritage, people expect us to lead the way in ease-of-use.

For example, imagine coming home from a vacation at Disney World, with 150 pictures stored on your 64 megabyte digital memory card. The moment you walk in the door, your camera begins uploading the images to your computer, wirelessly, before you've even unpacked it from your suitcase. By the time the luggage is put away, your pictures are online, ready to share with friends. Kodak RF wireless technology will soon make this an everyday reality, by transmitting images at the rate of 20 megabytes per second.

We are making sure that people who buy digital cameras can get prints with the same ease and convenience they've come to depend upon for their film photofinishing. With our new digital mini-labs, consumers can bring their digital camera memory cards to their favorite retailer and get back high quality Kodak silver halide prints.

And through our recently announced joint venture with Hewlett Packard, even the smallest retail locations will soon be able to offer outstanding, durable inkjet prints from digital files.

We are also making the process easier for consumers who print their digital pictures at home, by working with photo software developers to ensure their products qualify for our Kodak Picture Friendly seal of quality. We want to make sure that people can count on Kodak for the same advanced color technology and seamless operation in home printing, as they do at the retail counter.

However, by making picture taking and picture making easy, we've really done no more than catch up with what George Eastman achieved 100 years ago. To make digital photography grow, we must give people new things...more do with their pictures.

For example we will soon offer easy to use software for creating photo album pages on a computer screen, using your own snapshots and captions. Click the "Print at Kodak" button, and instead of an envelope of individual prints, we'll send you the entire page, printed on Kodak paper and ready to place in an album or scrapbook.

At our Kodak-dot-com website, we've had great success with something we call the "Picture Playground," an area where people can have fun with their pictures, turning them into puzzles, postcards or dozens of other applications. The average visitor spends 60 minutes at Picture Playground, uploading 10 to 15 pictures during their stay. Talk about sticky -- this site is virtual Superglue!

We believe brand identity will become even more important in the digital era. No one wants to risk the content that's most important to them -- their pictures -- to an unknown or unproven entity.

Brands create continuity, linking new products with well-established consumer relationships. That's why those toy camera companies are branding their products with Barbie and Nickelodeon and other proven franchises. That's why so many online photo dot com businesses are talking to us about co-branding their websites with a Kodak photofinishing logo. That's why even our own Kodak-branded digital cameras are being positioned to benefit from another popular brand, a brand called "Mission Impossible." And that's why you will see the Kodak brand play a prominent role in every digital photography space: in capture, in scanning, in storage, in sharing, in photo communities and in output.

Ten years ago, no one could have predicted that Kodak would one day take the leadership role in digital photography. Certainly, no one would have predicted that Kodak's digital products and services would grow to a $2.3 billion business by 1999.

The truth is, we are convinced that there has never been a better time to be in the picture business. And not just because digital has created some new excitement...a new buzz around pictures. What's more intriguing is how digital can change the way people take and use pictures.

Suddenly, there are no boundaries to how often you can take pictures, because film cost or availability is no longer an issue. Suddenly, there are no boundaries limiting when you can take pictures, because digital cameras have conveniently become hooked onto everything, from telephones to the new Kodak Palm Pix camera that attaches to your Palm Pilot PDA. Suddenly, there are no boundaries on how widely you can share pictures, because it's now done instantly, at the click of a mouse. Suddenly, there are no boundaries on how many pictures you can easily store and organize, and by doing it all online, you can also retrieve your pictures, from anywhere on earth, any time of the day or night. Suddenly, there are no boundaries on how you will use pictures. Yes, you'll still use pictures for preserving memories...but also for fun, for learning, for business, for e-mailing, for every conceivable aspect of a new picture-rich way of life.

But eliminating all of these boundaries with technology doesn't mean that people will notice the boundaries have disappeared. Human behavior changes slowly and old habits die hard.

What our industry really needs right now is a broad educational effort to redefine people's perceptions about how, when, where and why they should take and use pictures.

If this sounds reminiscent of George Eastman's marketing challenge . . . well, it's really no different. Digital photography can complete the revolution Eastman started in 1900, by making pictures a ubiquitous part of everyone's daily life.

Kodak has already started the process of changing people's ideas about pictures, with campaigns urging consumers to capture "everyday moments," and by encouraging just-for-fun, spontaneous picture taking by teens.

These days, though, it will take more than one company to change a century of consumer habits and perceptions. With the participation of the entire industry, I am confident that we can lead the way towards a more picture-rich era... and that, together, we can break through the technical barriers and marketing challenges facing us, no matter how difficult...

ANTHONY HOPKINS:(On screen in clip from Mission Impossible 2:) "'Difficult' should be a walk in the park for you."

DAN: I couldn't have said it better! Thank you!"

Monday, April 10, 2000

Steve's Digicams completes Coolpix 990 review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 10, 2000 - 15:52 EDT)

Our friends over at Steve's Digicams have now completed their review of Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera, including a very in-depth conclusion... Here's just a small snippet of what Steve had to say:
"The Coolpix 990 turns out some of the sharpest images I have seen yet from a three megapixel digicam. The color balance and saturation is very good and the exposure control is what we have come to expect from Nikon's best cameras. Just as the Coolpix 950 was one of the top selling cameras of 1999 I have no doubts that the new 990 is going to do the same in 2000. It's everything the 950 was and more, a whole lot more!"
Check out Steve's full review here, and don't forget our own in-depth look at this extremely impressive 3 megapixel camera here...
Source: Steve's Digicams Coolpix 990 Review

Burr-Brown introduces new signal processor!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 10, 2000 - 15:39 EDT)

A press release from Burr-Brown Corp. announces the release of its new VSP-3100 single chip signal processor, designed for use with CCD (Charge Coupled Device) or CIS (Contact Image Sensor) systems in color scanners, film/image scanners, fax machines, and industrial quality-control cameras. The VSP-3100 provides a direct interface between the image sensor and digital signal processor, and offers 14-bit resolution and 10MHz operating speed. Each of three channels offers sensor signal sampling, black level adjustment, and a programmable gain amplifier, multiplexed into a 14-bit analog-digital converter. The VSP-3100 also features integrated triple correlated double sampler, 0dB to +13dB analog programmable gain amplifier, 10-bit offset adjustment DACs, single +5V supply, internal or external voltage reference, +3V to +5V digital output compatibility, low power (375mW), and guaranteed no missing codes. Operating in temperatures from 0C to +85C, the VSP-3100 can be configured, by digital command, for CCD or CIS sensors. Black clamp and correlated double samplers are provided for CCD sensors. For CIS devices, it provides single-ended samplers and a reference input. The VSP3100 is priced from $5.00 in 1,000 piece quantities and comes in LQFP-48 packaging.

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Win a digicam, scanner or printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 10, 2000 - 14:10 EDT)

A press release this morning announces a chance to win yourself a digital camera, printer or scanner - but only if you're going to be in San Francisco tomorrow... Online photofinisher Club Photo will be at the "SF Giants and KNBR Opening Day Splash" festivities, hosted by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown on Piers 30 and 32, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Club Photo will be offering San Francisco Giants fans a souvenir photograph showing them posed with cut-outs of their favorite Giants ballplayers in front of a backdrop simulating the Willie Mays entrance to the new Pacific Bell Park. Anyone who signs up as a new member with Club Photo will be entered into a drawing to win one of 30 prizes, including five Acer scanners, five Acer printers and 20 digital cameras. Souvenir photos and winners' names will be posted on the Club Photo Web site. All visitors to the booth will also receive a Pick Your Photo prepaid mailing envelope to send rolls of film to Club Photo for processing. Film is processed and the images are posted on the Web site for viewing and print ordering.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

DCRP posts HP C500 review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 10, 2000 - 11:59 EDT)

Our friends over at the Digital Camera Resource Page have posted their review of Hewlett-Packard's C500 digital camera. Here's what Jeff had to say about this 2 megapixel camera which features CompactFlash storage, JetSend IR wireless printing, serial and USB connectivity, a 2" LCD display, 3x optical zoom lens and Digita operating system, with application-level scripting, a first in any Digita camera:
"I've decided that the PowerShot C500 is good in certain situations: Still subjects, macro shots, and "anticipated action" where you can frame your shot ahead of time. It also helps if the scene is well lit."
Check the full review out here!
Source: Digital Camera Resource Page HP C500 review

Sunday, April 9, 2000

Steve's Digicams reviews the DF-560 Digi-Frame!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, April 9, 2000 - 17:31 EDT)

Our friend Steve over at Steve's Digicams has today posted his review of Digi-Frame's DF-560 digital picture frame. This interesting device features refinements over its competitors such as both CompactFlash and SmartMedia compatibility, computer connectivity, and interchangeable surrounds. Here's what Steve had to say about the DF-560:
"This is the perfect addition to your desk at work, at home on the shelf with other family photos or as a present for that special Grandmother or other relative. When you want to update their photo album just send them a CF or SM memory card in the mail and tell them to send back the old one and use it again."
Check the full review out here!
Source: Steve's Digicams DF-560 Digi-Frame review

Saturday, April 8, 2000 announces new photo-personalised gifts!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, April 8, 2000 - 14:26 EDT)

We received an email this morning from the folks at photo-sharing website with news of two new photo-personalised gifts... Just in time for Easter, PhotoLoft is offering photo-personalised coffee mugs with Easter Bunnies in them, photo-personalised Easter Bunnies, and the extremely unusual sounding photo-personalised Rice Krispies Treats! PhotoLoft's Rice Krispie Pops are a set of 6 3 x 3-inch Rice Krispie bars on sticks, coated on one side with a layer of sugar printed with your image of choice, at a cost of $20.25, whilst its Rice Krispie Treats are 4 x 6.5-inch photo-personalised Rice Krispie bars in golden gift boxes. Photo-Personalised Easter Bunnies are 12-inch bunnies wearing photo-personalised T-shirts, and cost $16.95 each. Finally, there's the $14.49 5-inch stuffed bunny inside an 11 ounce photo-personalised ceramic mug...

Friday, April 7, 2000

Kodak, LightSurf collaborate!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 18:57 EDT)

A press release from Eastman Kodak Co. announces a collaboration with LightSurf Technologies Inc. on web server technology for online photo-sharing and wireless digital technology. The two will work to enhance capabilities of Kodak's PhotoNet infrastructure, combining it with LightSurf's ePhoto platform. Dennis Hamann, General Manager of Consumer Digital Services and Vice President of Consumer Imaging at Kodak, commented as follows:
"Kodak's online photo infrastructure has multiple 'touch points' with retailers and consumers, and we will work with LightSurf to enhance our infrastructure's community capabilities, such as sharing, viewing and albuming, among others. Kodak's strategy is to build the premier online photo community through innovative products and services. LightSurf's innovations in ePhoto server technology and wireless communications make them an ideal technology partner to help us further enhance the way consumers use and share pictures on the Internet."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Kodak CEO to give keynote speech on digital!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 18:36 EDT)

For anybody interested in Kodak's digital strategies (which, given their prominance in the film market, should be anyone interested in digital!), a keynote speech to be delivered by Kodak's new Chief Executive Officer Daniel A. Carp could be very interesting. Carp, who took up the CEO role January 1st, and is also the company's President, will deliver the keynote speech at the Advancing Digital Photography Forum in Boston, Massachusetts, on Monday, April 10, 2000, at 4:15 p.m. The keynote will aparently focus on the opportunities that digital products and services represent to the photography industry, and the challenges the industry faces in driving digital photography to mass-market acceptance from its current early-adopter stage. Carp will define Kodak's role in helping drive mass-market acceptance of digital products and services, as well as describing Kodak initiatives to make digital photography easier and more accessible... We'll have the full text of this important keynote for you shortly after the event!
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Secure Digital Association names new President!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 17:58 EDT)

A press release from the Secure Digital Association, which was established in January to "set industry standards for the Secure Digital Memory Card and promote its wide acceptance in digital applications", has today announced its new President. Raymond C. Creech has more than 27 years experience in the semiconductor industry, including various marketing and sales management positions with companies including Fujitsu Microelectronics, AMD, Catalyst Semiconductor, Synertek and Semico Research. His appointment is effective immediately...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Iomega brings Clik! PC card to the desktop!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 16:49 EDT)

A press release from Iomega Corp. announces that it has begun shipments of its new Clik! PC Card Dock. The card dock works on PCs and Macs with USB connectivity, letting the Clik! disks be used as a removeable drive on a desktop PC. The dock could also prove useful to anybody using Clik! disks as cheap storage when away from their PC, allowing images to be quickly saved over the USB port. The Iomega Clik! PC Card Dock is available immediately at a price of $49.95...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Allin to integrate Phase One LightPhase camera back!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 14:53 EDT)

A press release from Allin Corp. subsidiary Allin Digital Imaging Corp. today announces that it has been selected by Phase One United States Inc. to integrate Phase One's LightPhase digital camera back into its professional digital imaging solutions. Allin is the third company selected by Phase One, and Kevin Raber, Manager of Phase One's Portrait and Wedding Division noted:
"Allin Digital Imaging has demonstrated that they have the industry expertise and established brand identity to support our aggressive push into the professional portrait segment of the US market. Allin's Portraits Online Business-to-Business E-Commerce platform is an excellent example of Allin's ability to build custom solutions for this market and was a major factor in our selection of Allin as a partner in the United States."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire gets 360-degree panoramas!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 2:43 EDT)

A press release announces that, the photo-sharing website of Intel Corp., now supports 360-degree panoramas in its member albums. GatherRound members can download a special free version of MGI PhotoVista software from the site, with which they can create their own panoramas for uploading to their GatherRound album.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

MetaCreations announces new CFO and SVP!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 2:16 EDT)

A Reuters news item has announced a new Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations at MetaCreations Corp. James Abate, who takes up the roles, replaces Interim CFO Jay Jennings, who will retain his position as Vice President, Finance and Operations.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / Reuters

Hitachi planning next-gen memory device!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 1:58 EDT)

A Reuters news item looking at a new record in hard disk memory density from Hitachi Ltd. hints at the Japanese giant's plans for an upcoming memory standard. On developing the new technology, which has a density of 52.5 gigabits per square inch (the previous record was 50, and current PC hard disks have a density of up to 17), Hitachi noted that it "does not immediately plan to commercialise the new technology. Instead it aims to develop a hard disk with even an greater memory density of 80-100 gigabits per square inch within two years, and to sell a next-generation memory device incorporating that technology". Even the current 52.5 gigabits would allow 5 gigabytes of data (roughly the same as a DVD) on a hard-disk with a diameter of only one inch!
Source: Yahoo! Finance / Reuters forms Asia-Pac subsidiary!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 1:25 EDT)

Online photofinisher has today announced the formation of its new Asia-Pacific subsidiary, with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. A new site is being prepared based on the US model and technology, but customised for the Japanese marketplace. The site will be launched at in the second quarter of this year... Japan President Mark Huffman noted:
"The advent of our Asia-Pacific headquarters and pending Japanese site launch underscores our unique, rapid globalization strategy. Our unique scalability and proprietary automated dispatching and workflow system allows us to meet the needs of customers globally, without compromising quality and convenience. is proud to be the first U.S. mover into Japan, the world's largest digital imaging marketplace."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

ACD Systems and Data Becker bring ACDSee to Germany!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 1:19 EDT)

A press release from ACD Systems International Inc. announces that it will be shipping some 4.5 million shareware copies of its ACDSee image viewer in Germany, courtesy of Data Becker GmbH and Co. KG. Data Becker will ship shareware versions of ACDSee with books, magazine and special issues in Germany this year.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / Canadian Corporate News

Q-Research announces online photo editing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, April 7, 2000 - 1:11 EDT)

Q-Research, the company behind PhotoGenetics a program we felt everyone with a digital camera or scanner could find a use for when we reviewed it last year, has announced its new online photo editing package in a press release today. Based on the same clever "evolution" technique that PhotoGenetics uses, VisualGenetics lets users compare their a small copy of their original image with new versions of the image generated by the program, rating how much better or worse they perceive the new versions to be, and then based on this feedback makes modifications to the full-resolution image on the server. VisualGenetics also offers image-editing tools such as cropping, rotation, flipping, painting, warping, red-eye reduction, and various forms of image layering and blending, and consists of a suite of Java-based applets that may be licensed individually or as a package to Internet content providers.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Thursday, April 6, 2000

DIG releases OpenSource Internet Imaging Protocol!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 23:48 EDT)

A press release from the Digital Imaging Group announces that it has released the OpenSource implementation of its Internet Imaging Protocol (IIP) client and server applications. The client and server applications are programmed in Java, and are available for download free - but only until May 1, 2000. After May 1, the applications will cost $35 each, according to the DIG website. IIP allows for images to be downsampled "on the fly" to provide versions appropriate to your Internet connectivity, and also allow for panning and zooming of images.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

PictureIQ technology integrated into iPIX Infrastructure!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 23:33 EDT)

Oak Ridge, TN-based Internet Pictures Corp. (iPIX) has announced its inclusion of Picture IQ Corp.'s technologies into its iPIX visual content infrastructure. Sites based on iPIX's infrastructure will now have access to Picture IQ's technologies, including online photo enhancement and user-created online greeting cards. "iPIX's infrastructure is a perfect fit for high-traffic Web sites looking for a complete solution for the uploading, management, and delivery of rich media content," noted PictureIQ CEO and President Bill McCoy. "Enabling iPIX to reach new customers with an integrated offering incorporating PictureIQ capabilities as a key component furthers our mission to make PictureIQ the Internet's standard image enhancement and creativity infrastructure."
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

Kaidan, Geometrix ally!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 23:17 EDT)

Kaidan Inc. and Geometrix Inc. have today distributed a press release announcing a new development and marketing alliance. The two companies will offer bundles consisting of Kaidan's motion-control turntables and Geometrix' 3Scan object scanning software, solutions that in the words of the press release "will offer a powerful and extensible product family for automatically capturing realistic 3-D models of objects ranging in size from jewelry to motorcycles". Geometrix will phase out its proprietary turntables and instead begin including Kaidan's Magellan MDT-19 Desktop Turntable as its standard 3Scan hardware platform. Kaidan i return will distribute Geometrix software through its worldwide channels...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Lyra reports on youth market!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 22:39 EDT)

A press release from Lyra Research Inc. today announces its latest report, "The Youth Market: Imaging in the Next Generation". The survey, conducted among more than 500 children age 8 to 18 during November and December 1999, found that they were more interested in computers, the Internet and digital cameras than they were in film photography. Lyra noted that over 600,000 toy digital cameras shipped in the U.S. market in 1999, and predicted the number to rise to nearly 2 million in 2003... The survey is to be unveiled at the Advancing Digital Photography Forum 2000, on April 10 and 11, in Boston.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

DataPlay announces new storage medium!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 18:59 EDT)

DataPlay Discs - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!

A press release from DataPlay Inc. announces its new miniature optical storage format, the DataPlay disc. Each disc is about the size of a quarter, and will cost $5-$10; DataPlay's press release and website don't specify a capacity for the discs, which can be pre-recorded but are also capable of being written on by the end-user as well. DataPlay's website suggests that the discs are similar to CD-R or "WORM" discs (write once, read many), noting that "permanent recording technology protects your priceless photos - pictures can't be accidently erased". If the capacity is high enough, the cost might not be prohibitive. Until we see in depth specifications however, we can't judge - if the discs are only capable of being written once then capacity will be the judge of whether or not they're successful in digital cameras. DataPlay's website notes only that "dozens and dozens of high resolution photos" will fit on each disc... Interesting, nonetheless!
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Fuji FinePix 4700 in the Comparometer(tm)!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 18:36 EDT)

Just before Dave took off for the Internet World show early Wednesday morning, he posted our full review of Fuji's FinePix 4700 digital camera, with a promise that the pictures would be going into the Comparometer(tm) by Thursday... On schedule, we've just finished stitching everything together; now, not only can you read the web's first review of a production FinePix 4700, but you can also use the Comparometer to directly compare our (many) sample pictures with those from other cameras!

PhotoPoint announces three new alliances!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 17:35 EDT)

A press release from online photo-sharing website announces three new partnerships. PhotoPoint first of all notes a relationship with AvantGo, who offer personalised content for users of PDA and handheld computers, through its new PhotoPoint "Photo of the Day" channel. Secondly, a partnership with DoDots brings PhotoPoint Dots, which operate outside the web browser to allow uploading of photos, creation of albums, or purchase of photo gifts. Finally, an alliance with DogByte Development brings "Creative Photo Albums: Volume III" in a trial version, which allows users to create online scrapbooks and postcards.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

FlashPoint previews tonight's DIG Event!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 15:28 EDT)

A press release from FlashPoint Technology Inc. previews its plans for tonight's Digital Imaging Group gala reception at Los Angeles' Universal Studios. The company will be showing cameras, printers and wireless imaging solutions based on its Digita operating system at the event. Digita is used in HP's PhotoSmart C500, C912 and C618, the Kodak DC220, DC260, DC265, and DC290, and Minolta Dimage EX ZOOM 1500 digital cameras, as well as the Epson Print-On (PT-100 and PT-110) digital photo printers.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

DIG focuses on Wireless Imaging!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 14:26 EDT)

A press release from the Digital Imaging Group (DIG), an "open-industry consortium created to expand the use of digital images across consumer, business and professional imaging markets and applications", announces the launch of the Wireless Image Transmission Initiative (WITI). WITI's goal is to "accelerate the adoption of wireless technology in digital imaging devices, simplifying connectivity issues for end users". It has been formed by DIG members AGFA, Eastman Kodak Company, Hewlett-Packard, LightSurf, and NETIMAGE. Currently, the WITI team is assessing existing standards, after which it will make the necessary recommendations to tailor existing standards or create new standards for wireless digital imaging.
Source: Yahoo! BizWire

MGI Software announces PhotoSpace!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 14:16 EDT)

A press release from MGI Software Corp. announces its new PhotoSpace technology, which it feels will create "stickiness" for web sites, build visitor loyalty, and increase revenues. PhotoSpace allows for online image editing, regardless of what type of device a user is connecting with (PC, Internet appliance, or wireless device), and does not require software to be downloaded. The release also notes that PhotoSpace does not require a fast Internet connection. Intel has already agreed to use the new technology in its website, and MGI intends to have the technology ready for its partners in the second quarter of this year.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

Digital Photography Review posts Coolpix 990 first look!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, April 6, 2000 - 13:13 EDT)

We spotted over on the Digital Photography Review website that they've now got their hands on a production Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera. Phil has posted a brief first-look of the unit along with a number of outdoor sample photos and a macro sample...
Source: Digital Photography Review's Coolpix 990 First Look

Wednesday, April 5, 2000

SnapFish receives award!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 19:01 EDT)

A press release from Internet World Magazine this afternoon announces the recipients of its "Industry Awards" at the Spring Internet World show. Amongst the winners is recent startup, an online photofinisher that also accepts traditional film for processing/printing as well as accepting digital images. Internet World's judging team felt this differentiated SnapFish from the rest, giving access to "to the vast majority of picture-takers today, who will also presumably be the digital camera wielders of tomorrow."
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Ofoto, PerksAtWork ally!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 18:55 EDT)

A press release from online photofinisher Ofoto Inc. announces a new partnership with employee portal provider Inc. Ofoto will receive a presence on the perksatwork portal, in return for which it will offer a 10% discount to employees at companies offering the perksatwork portal.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

LizardTech announces MrSID Photo Edition!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 18:48 EDT)

LizardTech Inc., the company behind the MrSID fractal-based image compression technology which we first showed you back at the Comdex show in November last year, has today announced a new version of its encoder. MrSID Photo Edition, which is free for personal use, offers the ability to encode either JPEG or TIFF images as MrSID image files that, according to LizardTech, "can be reduced to less than 3 percent of the original image size without image degradation or pixelation that causes box-like, or ragged, edges found in other formats". MrSID Photo Edition is $49 per user for commercial use, and can accommodate RGB or greyscale TIFF and JPG files of 10MB or less. Larger files and other formats can be handled by MrSID Desktop Encoder or Workstation Encoder...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

PixAround offers free panorama tools!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 18:16 EDT)

A press release from Singapore-based Pte. Ltd. announces its new PixMaker panorama software, available for download free of charge from the website. PixMaker allows for creation of panoramic JPG files, webpages with embedded java 360-degree scrollable pictures, and what PixAround describes as "Postcards", essentially an executable file which contains a 360-degree panorama. PixMaker features auto- or manual-stitching, auto or manual lens selection, automatic color correction, de-ghosting algorithm and manual fine tuning capability. PixMaker Lite is completely free of charge, whilst PixMaker 1.0 to be released later this year at an unannounced price will offer all of the above as well as hotlinks (links from web page text to areas of a panorama picture) and hotspots (links from one 360-degree panorama to another). A separate program, PixScreen 1.0, also a free program, allows viewing and printing of panoramas with fast optimized rendering in up to 32-bit color, as well as control over the viewing perspective.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

Pixami announces low bandwidth online image editing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 17:19 EDT)

A press release from Pixami Inc. promises what it feels to be the solution to slow, high-bandwidth, online image editing. Some web sites already offer users the ability to edit their images online, making changes without the need for image editing software on their own machine - but Pixami feels the approach is flawed, simply because each time the image is changed, it has to be transferred to the user in full resolution - a potentially slow and cumbersome process over a dial-up link. Pixami is demonstrating its "Bandwidth Independent Processing" (BIP) technology at the DIG Internet Imaging event during Internet World Los Angeles. BIP uses low-resolution previews to show changes made to the image, and then when the user is satisfied, a script file is downloaded to the server which makes all necessary changes to the full resolution image file. Tom Moore, CEO and President of Pixami Inc., noted:
"BIP technology solves bandwidth-related performance issues which have always been a barrier to working with digital photos over the Internet. By eliminating any bandwidth issues, BIP makes online photo enhancement a favorable experience, which is actually more efficient than traditional local photo enhancement - particularly for users who store their photos online in photo sites. While other companies offer online enhancement capabilities, they require users to pass high resolution data over the Internet. This reliance on bandwidth results in an inconsistent and often slow experience for the user. The result is that online photo enhancement loses its appeal, and loses its stickiness for the host site."
Pixami's BIP technology will be offered under license to photo-sharing and photo-finishing websites for incorporating into their services. No availability or pricing info has been disclosed...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

FotoWire celebrates first US anniversary!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 15:38 EDT)

A press release from online photofinishing network FotoWire celebrates the first anniversary of its US rollout... According to the release, FotoWire has gone from two or three US labs at launch, to more than two dozen - with half of all US online photo labs being part of the FotoWire network.

Over the same period, FotoWire's European presence has grown by some 400%, with some 65 labs either online or coming soon. FotoWire differentiates between labs, and points of service, counting each corporate lab as a single entity regardless of how many printing locations they have. As an example, FotoWire member Linkopia AB of Sweden is counted as only one lab, despite having more than 1,000 points of sale.

The release notes that 40% of FotoWire's overall printing volume is now coming from the US. Over the one year since US launch, FotoWire's print volume has increased by 987%...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

DCRP posts HP C500 samples!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 15:28 EDT)

The Digital Camera Resource Page has posted sample pictures from HP's new PhotoSmart C500 digital camera, as part of an upcoming review. Jeff expects to have the full review posted on Monday... HP's 2 megapixel C500 is the first digital camera to provide not only access to Digita Script capabilities, but also to application-level scripting of the camera, essentially meaning that it will be possible to completely redesign the interface of the camera from scratch, building the camera's interface to match its planned use. It also features CompactFlash storage, JetSend IR wireless printing, serial and USB connectivity, a 2" LCD display and a 3x optical zoom lens.
Source: Digital Camera Resource Page C500 Samples posts April issue!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 14:35 EDT)

Our friends over at the website have now posted their April edition. This month, they review the Minolta RD-3000, HP C500, Canon S20 and Sony DCR-PC100, as well as publishing articles on the HP P1000/P1100 inkjet printers, "Digital vs. Film (part 2)", and "Inexpensive Digitals"...

Steve's Digicams posts production Coolpix990 samples!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 13:15 EDT)

Our friends over at Steve's Digicams have now posted sample pictures from a production-model Nikon Coolpix990 digital camera... Steve's not yet had a chance to finalize a review of the camera, and is planning to add more sample photos soon, but if you're looking at the Coolpix 990 as a possibility for your next digicam, you should definitely hop on over and have a look!
Source: Steve's Digicams Coolpix 990 samples

Dave off again, hold the email!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 2:10 EDT)

Just a quick note, to hopefully avoid some of the usual mountain of waiting email when I return: I'm heading off to Internet World in LA for the next 3 days, looking for some key technologies for our site. I'll be out of email range (I've really *got* to get my laptop's modem fixed!), but will be back in the office Saturday if I survive the trip. (Starting with waking up 3 1/2 hours from now to go catch my crack-of-dawn flight.) The web and detchells email accounts at IR won't be answered until I get back, so it'd help if you could hold any nonessential emails until after that time. Thanks! - Dave E.

FlashPoint announces Digita Wireless Email!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 2:04 EDT)

FlashPoint Technology Inc., the company behind the Digita operating system used in some digital cameras, has today announced its Digita Post application, which we first showed you in our PMA Show 1999 coverage, back in February last year. Digita Post allows users to transmit digital photos wirelessly from Digita-enabled cameras - the software runs inside the camera and cleverly lets users send e-mails including text, sound and images over a data-enabled cellular phone, without the need for a computer. Stephen D. Saylor, Executive Vice President of FlashPoint Technology, had the following to say on the announcement:
"This marks a major milestone in photographic technology. Because of Digita, applications such as Post can run inside the camera and transform it into a powerful, mobile tool - independent of a PC. Digita Post enables a groundbreaking communications imaging solution for the first time."
No pricing or availability is mentioned for Digita Post in the press release. You can see a photo of what Digita Post looks like in our PMA '99 coverage, but bear in mind that the program may have changed somewhat in the year since we first saw it!
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire
Thanks to Rommel P. Feria for this item!

Full Review of Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom Posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 2:00 EDT)

Full review of Fuji FinePix 4700 posted! In the now-it-can-be-told department is our full review of the new Fuji FinePix 4700 Zoom. This camera has been somewhat controversial in that it uses a SuperCCD sensor with 2.4 million pixels to produce files 2400x1800 pixels in size (about 4.3 million pixels in the final file). We had a prototype unit of this camera in our hands a couple of weeks back, but decided to wait for a final production unit before shooting our test images and writing the review, so our reporting would fairly represent the capabilities of the units our readers will find in stores. How'd it do? Well, read the full review for the details, but we'll say this much here: It's neither as good nor as bad as it's been made out to be: We'd place its resolution as plainly better than the current crop of 2.1 megapixel cameras, but equally plainly not as high as the 3.3 megapixel units now hitting the market. We suspect a lot of people will look at the images from it on-screen, and conclude from their softness that there's less detail there than in many 2 megapixel cameras. Careful study reveals that there's more detail than that actually recorded, but the large file size spreads it out across more pixels, giving the softer appearance. Download our test images and make some prints from them, and we think you'll come to similar conclusions to those we arrived at. Other than resolution, the camera shows good color, a very nice control layout, an ultra-compact form factor, and higher-than-average ISO speed. A nice upgrade for people currently carrying or considering Fuji's excellent little MX-1700 digicam (a 1.5 megapixel model), and looking for more resolution. Check out our full review for all the details! (Begging some patience with potential QC problems on the review and picture index page: Dave wanted to get this posted before he took off for Internet World this week, and there are still a few rough edges that William will be polishing over the next day or two. Likewise, the images probably won't be in the Comparometer(tm) until Thursday or so.)
Source: IR Review of Fuji 4700 Zoom

StoryBox Network members to get access to Zing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 1:22 EDT)

It seems to be the day for news related to Weave Innovations' Storybox Network and online photo-finisher today, and this item ties the two together. A press release from the two companies announces that they will create a link allowing members to send pictures to StoryBox Connected Frames and for StoryBox Network subscribers to quickly and easily create and subscribe to personalized photo albums at The two will integrate their services later this year. StoryBox and Kodak announced earlier today their plans to release a Kodak-branded digital picture frame this summer that will display images from the StoryBox network.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire provides for home printing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - 0:04 EDT)

A press release from online photo-finishing website announces what it refers to as its "10 Minute Prints" home printing tool... Zing notes that prints ordered online generally take 3-5 days to arrive, whilst customers may want to be able to get their prints more quickly. Hence, they are offering the ability to print images from the original file uploaded to Zing, hence offering the highest possible quality (as opposed to requiring users to print an image resized for screen display). "10-Minute Prints" tools allows customers to size pictures to fit standard mattes and frames,as well as enhancing photos by cropping, zooming, rotating or adjusting the brightness and contrast for prints. Templates include wallet sized photo and several card formats for creating personalized business cards, as well as multiple prints of the same or different photos on a single sheet paper in several combinations of 8x10', 5x7', 4x6' and 3x5'-sized prints. The "10-Minute Prints" tool also allows prints to be made to fit "multi-window," montage-style mattes and frames, with oval and other fancy cut-outs...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Tuesday, April 4, 2000

ZDNet offers DC290 as contest prize!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - 23:43 EDT)

We occasionally come across competitions on the web offering digital cameras as prizes, and spotted one such today. The ZDNet website, run by publishing giant Ziff Davis Inc., is currently holding a competition seeking ideas "for a creative, original, functional, appealing and never-before-created software program that will enhance the technology user experience" - one entry selected on the basis of originality, creativity, design and functionality by ZDNet's software team will win its author a Kodak DC290 digital camera. The winner will be announced in August, and credited with the idea behind the program - which ZDNet's software team will create. The contest is online at and entries must be received by June 1, 2000.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

Digimarc announces new watermarking pricing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - 22:12 EDT)

A press release from DigiMarc Corp. announces its new pricing structure for digital watermarking, which is based on annual image volume. According to the release, the first 99 watermarks embedded per year are free, after this pricing is as in the table below. DigiMarc also offers a service to search for watermarked images on the Internet, called MarcSpider - pricing for the first 99 images per year is $49, after which time costs are as below:
Watermarks per Year     Embedding (US$)     MarcSpider (US$)
100 - 999 99 99
1,000 - 4,999 399 149
5,000 - 9,999 699 249
10,000 - 24,999 1,499 499
25,000 - 49,999 2,499 799
50,000 - 99,999 3,999 1,199
100,000 - 249,999 7,499 1,499
250,000 - 499,999 12,499 1,999
500,000 - 999,999 19,999 2,999
The Software development kit can be licensed allowing companies to combine watermarking into their own systems, for images to be automatically watermarked as they are processed - the cost for this is a minimum of $5000. Alternatively, software from Adobe Systems, Cerious Software, Corel Corporation,, Equilibrium, Jasc Software and Micrografx Inc. can be used for the watermarking process. ReadMarc, which allows reading of ownership info for a watermarked image, is free of charge.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

3COM offers rebate, Labtec microphone!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - 21:23 EDT)

A press release from 3COM Canada today announces a new promotion on its HomeConnect PC tethered digital camera. Customers purchasing the unit between April 2 and September 30, 2000 will receive a Cdn$30 mail-in rebate as well as a Labtec ClearVoice LVA-7370 Collar Microphone at a cost of Cdn$219...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

Kodak to release digital picture frame this summer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - 15:14 EDT)

A press release today from Weave Innovations Inc. and Eastman Kodak Co. announces that Kodak will be the first company to manufacture and sell digital picture frames that connect to the StoryBox Network. The Kodak frame, to be launched this summer, will feature CompactFlash storage, built-in memory for up to 36 pictures, and the ability to connect to Weave's StoryBox network over the Internet via a built-in modem, allowing sharing of pictures between digital cameras and frames, as well as allowing prints of photos to be ordered.
Source: Yahoo! Finance

Lexar, SanDisk continue legal wrangling!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - 15:08 EDT)

We've reported numerous times over the last year on the legal tussles between flash-card rivals Lexar Media and SanDisk Corp., with the only guarantee being that both sides would contradict each other to the bitter end. The latest round of press releases seems to follow on from past announcements with more of the same... SanDisk's latest press release notes that:
"the U.S. Federal District Court has ruled that Lexar Media, Inc. ... has infringed a fundamental solid state flash memory card patent held by SanDisk. The judge also denied two motions by Lexar -- one claiming SanDisk's '987 patent is invalid and requesting a partial summary judgment of non-infringement. Eli Harari, SanDisk CEO and president, said, 'Judge Breyer's ruling vindicates our stand with regard to Lexar's infringement of SanDisk's '987 patent. We had on several occasions offered a patent cross-licensing agreement to Lexar under reasonable terms, but Lexar rejected our proposals. Our strategy has been, and remains, to license our patents to enable an open, competitive market for flash cards. We believe that this ruling strongly reaffirms SanDisk's pioneering innovations in flash memory storage and are optimistic that it will pave the way for other flash memory card suppliers that are not currently licensed by SanDisk to negotiate cross-licenses with SanDisk.'"
In response, Lexar's press release notes:
"Lexar Media today announced that United States District Court for the Northern District of California has ordered a long-standing patent dispute brought by SanDisk Corporation to trial to decide the validity of SanDisk's patent. While the Court did conclude that some of Lexar's products contributorily infringe SanDisk's patent, the trial is set for October 23, 2000 to determine if the patent is valid and enforceable. 'Lexar strongly believes that SanDisk's patent is invalid,' said John Reimer, President and CEO, Lexar Media. 'The Court's decision permits Lexar to pursue all of its invalidity arguments at the October 23, 2000 trial. We have always believed that the only way to conclude that we violate the '987 patent is to read the patent claims in a way we believe would ultimately invalidate the patent. That issue will be before the jury in October. Until then, we will continue to support our customers, pursue new business and solidify our technology leadership,' said Reimer."
The patent in question, #5,602,987, teaches and claims important aspects of the emulation of a magnetic disk drive in removable flash memory cards according to SanDisk. One thing looks certain from this latest round of press releases - neither side is going to go down without a fight. Stay tuned, as this looks set to continue at least through October!

Digi-Frame announces distributors, retailers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - 14:37 EDT)

Digi-Frame Inc., the company behind the DF-390 and DF-560 digital picture frames, has announced a number of new retailers and distributors in a press release on Yahoo! Finance. The new distributors are Argraph Corporation, servicing over 3,000 photography stores, and Laguna Distributors, servicing specialty retailers in the Northeastern United States; a long list of new retailers includes Wolf Camera, Fry's Electronics, Eckerd Drug, Neiman Marcus' Men's' Spring Catalog,, DataVision, J&R Computer/Music World and B&H Photo. The DF-390 and DF-560 digital picture frames feature 3.9" and 5.6" active matrix LCD screens, CompactFlash and SmartMedia slots, and PC/Mac connectivity; the DF-560 also offers three interchangeable decorative frames.
Source: Yahoo! Finance

Lexar uses Toshiba NAND flash memory devices!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - 14:32 EDT)

Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. has distributed a press release announcing three new design wins for its NAND flash memory devices... Of the three, one in particular is of interest - Lexar Media has implemented Toshiba's 64Mb, 128Mb, 256Mb and 512Mb NAND flash memory in its CompactFlash card range. Lexar offers CompactFlash cards in capacities up to 256MB in a Type-II form factor with USB controller in the card. Mike Assar, Senior Vice President of Technology at Lexar, noted: "We chose Toshiba's NAND flash memory due to its high density technology, extreme reliability, low current program and erase operations. Our USB solution is a breakthrough in CompactFlash design that not only meets storage and performance needs, but enables host device manufacturers to pass along the added value of USB connectivity."
Source: Yahoo! Finance

Club Photo announces color photo sharing for Palm/Mac!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - 14:25 EDT)

A press release from online photo-sharing website Club Photo announces the availability of a Macintosh version of its Album To Go 1.5 software... Album To Go 1.5 for Mac will allow Mac users to upload their digital images in color to the Palm IIIc handheld organizer. The software is available free of charge for download from the ClubPhoto website, immediately...
Source: Yahoo! Finance announces millionth member!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - 14:21 EDT)

A press release today from photo-sharing site announces its millionth member. Mary Meeks, a 43-year-old mother of three from Pinckney, Michigan, built a ZingAlbum with photos of her family to share with her sister, living in California. Lucky Mary will receive 25 free prints per month for 30 years from Zing, as well as a Nikon Coolpix950 digital camera!
Source: Yahoo! Finance

Monday, April 3, 2000

Epson cuts price of PhotoPC 750Z!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 3, 2000 - 12:48 EDT)

A press release this morning from Epson America Inc. announces a $100 price cut on its PhotoPC 750Z digital camera. Previously $599, the 1.25 megapixel camera now lists for $499. The Epson PhotoPC 750Z also features a 3x optical and 2x digital zoom, 4MB of internal memory, CompactFlash storage (with an 8MB CF card bundled), solar-assisted LCD, and a burst mode capable of 2 shots per second for up to 16 shots in 640 x 480 mode... Originally announced back on November 10, 1998, the 750Z was Epson's first camera to offer an optical zoom lens. It shipped in February 1999 at a price of $799, which was reduced to $699 in May '99, and again to $599 in September '99. The 750Z was reviewed by in their April '99 issue, and IR readers James Koponen and J. David Eisenberg also posted their own user reviews of the camera...
Source: Yahoo! Finance

Nikon announces $100 Coolpix950 rebate!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 3, 2000 - 12:31 EDT)

A press release from Nikon Inc. announces a new rebate for its Coolpix950 digital camera. Currently priced at an MSRP of $899, the camera is now covered by a $100 rebate running from April 1 to June 30... The rebate form can be provided by authorised Nikon dealers, or can be downloaded from the Nikon website - rebate applications must be received no later than July 15, 2000.
Source: Yahoo! Finance

iPIX completes PictureWorks acquisition!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 3, 2000 - 12:24 EDT)

We reported some time ago on the planned takeover of PictureWorks Technology Inc. by Oak Ridge, TN-based Internet Pictures Corp. ("IPIX acquires PictureWorks Technology Inc.!", Wednesday, March 8, 2000 - 11:53 EST) - and according to a press release from iPIX today, the deal has now been done... iPIX has now acquired all of the outstanding shares of PictureWorks stock in exchange for 4,644,344 shares of iPIX common stock in a transaction valued at approximately $173 million. The merger was effected on a tax-free basis to PictureWorks' stockholders and will be accounted for as a purchase, the release notes.
Source: Yahoo! Finance gives away free digital cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 3, 2000 - 12:16 EDT)

A press release from announces that it is giving away a digital camera every day from now until April 25th in its 'Digital Camera-a-Day Giveaway'... Every time you send a free ZingCardfrom the site, between now and April 25, 2000 at 12:00PM PST, you are entered in Zing's daily drawing for a digital camera, or alternatively if you've already got a digicam you can opt for a $300 gift certificate at towards another digital product or accessory.
Source: Yahoo! Finance

Mitsubishi files patent infringement complaint against SanDisk!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 3, 2000 - 12:07 EDT)

A press release from Sunnyvale, CA-based SanDisk Corp. announces that a complaint has been filed against its Japanese subsidiary SanDisk K.K. by Mitsubishi Denki Co. Ltd. in the Tokyo District Court. The complaint alleges that SanDisk K.K. infringes on Japanese patents JP2099342, JP2129071 and JP2138047 which SanDisk believes "are related primarily to the mechanical construction of memory cards built with a separate connector". SanDisk CEO and President Eli Harari noted:
"SanDisk has been engaged in patent cross-license discussions with Mitsubishi Electric. We believe that Mitsubishi Electric's latest action is intended to secure for them a cross-license for our valuable portfolio of patents. We intend to vigorously defend our intellectual property rights."
Mitsubishi has asked the Japanese court to grant a preliminary injunction halting the sale of SanDisk CompactFlash and Flash ATA memory cards in Japan...
Source: Yahoo! Finance

d-store selected as "premier online retailer" of Digi-Frame!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, April 3, 2000 - 11:52 EDT)

A press release from Digi-Frame Inc. announces that it has selected online retailer as the 'premier online retailer' of its DF-560 digital picture frame. The DF-560 is the larger of two models of digital picture frames made by Digi-Frame, and features a 5.6" backlit active-matrix LCD display, three interchangeable snap-on decorative frames, SmartMedia/CompactFlash storage and serial connectivity...
Source: Yahoo! Finance



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!