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Digital Photography News Archive!
May 1999


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Friday, May 28, 1999

May 28 - New digital camera, Olympus C-2000 Zoom sample pics, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, May 28, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- The perfect end... to the perfect day! Apologies for the lateness of today's news update; which I was just about to upload it when I found that, despite regularly saving the page as I'd been writing it, hadn't saved any of my work... Here's how it happened, so that (hopefully) you'll never have the same problem. As I work, I save my changes every couple of minutes by typing Ctrl-S - the shortcut to save a file in most programs. Problem was, I am temporarily working from Zip disks containing my archived news updates, as I just purchased a new PC and haven't transferred everything over yet. I made the mistake of changing Zip disks and forgetting to change back just after opening my file for today's update, and each time I saved the file whilst working, my HTML editor (which shall remain very nameless) didn't bother to advise me that the disk had changed, nor did it bother to just save the file to the new disk. No error message at all, in fact - it merely allowed me to
believe I'd been saving my work all along, until I quit the program having just saved the final addition to the news. Upon quitting, I was prompted to save my changes - but knew I had only just saved, so I clicked "No". The moral of this story - always think twice before you answer "No" to anything, and never, ever trust a programmer... ;) And now, for today's news update, version 2.0. -- Mike
- New Panasonic digital camera! The Japanese PC Watch website has posted details of a new digital camera announced in Japan by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., parent company of Panasonic. The 1.32 megapixel Panasonic Coolshot II Mega is unusual in having not one but two CompactFlash slots, similar to the Canon PowerShot Pro (although in this case neither slot is believed to be a Type-II slot as in the Canon). This offers the ability to record pictures to either card, and unlike the Canon to automatically switch between CompactFlash cards when one is full. Interestingly, Panasonic intend to release a 13,500 yen USB connection kit, which consists of a CompactFlash USB adapter which can be placed in one of the two slots, allowing images to be rapidly transferred to your PC from a CompactFlash card in the other slot. The camera also has a
3x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 34-102mm in a 35mm camera), and can focus from 20cm to infinity. It weighs 280 grams without batteries and CF cards, and measures 118 x 68 x 52 millimetres, and takes 4 AA alkaline batteries, which should be able to last for 160 picures (presumably with LCD off).The camera will ship in Japan on June 25, at a price of 74,800 yen.
- Olympus C-2000 Zoom reshoot completed! Dave has just completed re-shooting all the sample images for the Olympus C-2000 Zoom review, and they're now on-line. Bottom line, the full production model had significantly better sharpness and greatly-reduced low-
light noise than the preproduction prototype we initially tested! In our

evaluation, the C-2000 is every bit as sharp as the Coolpix950, whereas before it looked like the Coolpix950 had a distinct advantage in the sharpness department. Check it out on the C-2000 Pictures Page! Look out soon for a reshoot of the Nikon Coolpix950 sample images with a production model of the camera!
- Software Review: Adjusting Images with PhotoGenetics! A company called Q-Research has developed a unique application that lets you adjust all the various aspects of color and tone in images, without knowing anything about image manipulation! We played with it and found it to be quite impressive, particularly at it's very low $30 price point. Not only does it make image adjustment supremely easy, but it will also batch-correct large numbers of images: As a result, we see it being of interest not only to image-manipulation novices, but to experienced camera or scanner users, who could use it to quickly and automatically tweak all their images to eliminate the standard "biases" that most units tend to have. Very interesting, check it out!
- Agfa extends SnapScan rebate program! A press release today from Agfa's Consumer Products Group announces that it has extended its $30 rebate program for the Agfa SnapScan 1212u scanner. The extension adds one month to the program, which now expires on August 1st 1999, and only covers the off-white SnapScan 1212u. The SnapScan 1212u has a USB interface and a resolution of 600 x 1200dpi in 36-bit color.
- PC Watch posts PDR-M4 sample pictures! The Japanese PC Watch website has posted 15 sample pictures from Toshiba's upcoming PDR-M4 digital camera. The majority are self-explanatory, but note that the last three are to demonstrate the compression options on the camera, with the pictures being in Fine mode (871KB), Normal mode (475KB) and Basic mode (229KB) respectively. The remainder of the text briefly recaps the main details of the camera (2.14 megapixel, 1 second between shots, 1600 x 1200 resolution) and refers the reader to PC Watch's original news item detailing the full specifications of the camera.
- Focus Online posts Epson Stylus Photo 1200 review! The Focus Online website has posted a review of Epson's Stylus Photo 1200 printer. We were unable to connect to Focus Online's server at the time of writing and so cannot summarise the article, but noted the following from the Steve's Digicams website:

"Focus Online has posted an informative Epson Stylus Photo 1200 user review from a monochrome fine-printing professional with 27 years of experience. He tells us that the new Epson printer is a b&w photographers "digital" dream with the variable-dot technology now extended to the black cartridge as well as the color cartridge."Thanks very much to Steve's Digicams for this item!
- And finally... reader Andrew Teoh wrote in to point out a website with some rather interesting digicam accessories, including a "Sideview Lens" suitable for digital cameras, which allows you to take candid shots of people whilst pointing your camera at 90 degrees to them - the idea being that if they don't realise they're being photographed, they don't put on a "pose"... Thanks, Andrew!

Thursday, May 27, 1999

May 27 - Lexar and SanDisk in legal battle, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, May 27, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- PC Watch posts Japanese price data! The PC Watch website has posted its fortnightly pricing data for the Japanese market, covering the period May 13-27. The Nikon Coolpix950 is out of stock again at all three retailers surveyed by PC Watch, whilst the Canon PowerShot Pro70, Nikon Coolpix910, Minolta Dimage EX Zoom 1500 and Konica DG1 are out of stock at one of the three retailers. The Sony DSC-D700 and Fuji DS-260HD are both out of stock at one of the two listed vendors which carry these cameras. Price changes are as follows:

Fuji FinePix2700¥69,800 (US$565.38)-¥10,000 (12%)
Epson CP-700Z¥49,800 (US$403.38)-¥3,000 (6%)
Olympus C-900Zoom¥54,800 (US$443.88)-¥5,000 (8%)
Casio QV-7000SX¥49,800 (US$403.38)-¥5,000 (9%)
Sony DSC-D700¥168,000 (US$1360.80)-¥1,800 (1%)
Fuji FinePix600Z¥49,800 (US$403.38)-¥10,000 (17%)
Casio QV-5500SX¥44,800 (US$362.88)-¥5,000 (10%)

- and PowWow in deal! Online photo-sharing website has announced a co-branding agreement with messaging and online community company Tribal Voice, creators of the popular PowWow software. According to the agreement, PowWow users will have free access to a premium PhotoLoft account (usually $29.95 per year), in return for Tribal Voice informing its users of the PhotoLoft service and free offer via its website, online newsletter, and "other vehicles". A separate press release from Alan Stone & Company notes that its research arm WallStreet Research has issued a "buy" recommendation on shares.
- PhotoPoint reaches the 500,000 mark! A press release today from another online photo sharing service,, announces that it has hosted its 500,000th photo online, since its launch in August 1998. Their site now receives over 50,000 new photos every week...
- Lexar accuses SanDisk of unfair competition! Lexar Media yesterday filed charges of unfair competition against flashcard rival SanDisk Corporation, alleging "false advertising, unfair competition, trade libel and interference with prospective business advantage arising out of their false, misleading, deceptive and malicious conduct". The complaint, filed with the San Jose, Northern California district of the US District Court, continues by alleging "that SanDisk's actions are motivated by SanDisk's anti-competitive desire to dominate the market for non-volatile memory storage devices known as ``CompactFlash(TM)'' and to drive Lexar out of that market, thereby preventing Lexar's superior product from reaching consumers in the market". Lexar feels that SanDisk has misrepresented the speed of its CompactFlash cards through the use of misleading or inaccurate tests, and that SanDisk has used its position of dominance to control the CompactFlash association in voting down
Lexar's proposal to add its USB controller device to the CompactFlash standard. Lexar's proposal, based on its new JumpShot line of CompactFlash cards with built-in USB capability was voted down 10-4 by members of the association, resulting in SanDisk's new cards not being allowed to carry the CompactFlash Association compliance logo. SanDisk describes the charges as "frivolous", and denies Lexar's accusations. Three press releases cover this story (1,2,3).
- Altimira software bundled with Epson Stylus Photo 1200! A press release today from Altamira Group Inc. notes that its Genuine Fractals 2.0 LE product has been selected by Epson America Inc. to be bundled with the new Epson Stylus Photo 1200 inkjet printer. The program uses fractal compression technologies to allow lossless or visually lossless compression of an image with extremely high compression ratios. Stylus Photo 1200 users will be offered the option to upgrade to the full version of Genuine Fractals 2.0 for $75 (street price is normally $159).
- Picture Vision promotes PhotoNet to students! Kodak subsidiary Picture Vision has distributed a press release promoting its Kodak PhotoNet Online service to students. According to the release, PhotoNet is the "ideal place for today's teens to store and share their pictures", from where pictures can "be shared either through e-mail or by giving the password to friends and family". The release also recommends teens visit Kodak's Guide to Better Pictures for tips on how to get the best shot first time round...

Wednesday, May 26, 1999

May 26 - Minolta demonstrates 3D 1500 digital camera, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, May 26, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- MetaCreations and Minolta offer 3D photos! We've mentioned MetaCreations' MetaFlash technology several times over the last few months on this page, but it seems with the release of two press releases (1, 2) by MetaCreations that the first camera using the technology is getting nearer to its debut. Minolta's 3D 1500 digital camera was officially announced and demonstrated at a press conference in New York yesterday, and whilst the Vice President of Marketing, Minolta Consumer Products Group felt that the camera was not finished and hence he could not comment on availability or pricing, he did say that "the camera will be marketed to professionals and profession-level amateurs who usually spend more than $700 for a camera".
- Agfa to sponsor Corel RoadShow '99! A press release today from Agfa's Desktop Products Group notes that it will be sponsoring Corel's RoadShow 1999, which will be demonstrating Corel's new releases including CorelDRAW9 in 34 cities across the USA. Agfa will have employees on hand to provide information on Agfa's DuoScan line of scanners at each event, the schedules for which can be seen on Corel's website.
- Kodak rolls out PictureCD internationally! Kodak has announced in a press release we received by email that its PictureCD product is now rolling out internationally, starting with the United Kingdom, where British retailer Boots started offering a PictureCD service on May 5 at a price of GBP 9.99 Next to receive PictureCD services will be Canada, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland in late May. PictureCD in Canada will cost CD$14.49, with PictureDisk and PhotoNet Online costing CD$8.49. No other pricing information for the European countries is mentioned in the press release.
- Looking for a Father's Day gift? Look no further than the Nikon Coolpix700, according to Nikon in a press release issued today. In a rather humorous press release, Nikon feels that with a digital camera, "Dad can now chronicle family functions, company picnics (scoring big points with the boss), and catch family members in embarrassing moments provoking spontaneous foot races as subjects chase Dad screaming 'come back here and delete that picture.'", and that at a price point of $500, the Coolpix700 is "firmly within reach of soon to be 'Digital Dads'".
- Canon sets up distribution with Pinacor, Ingram Micro! Two press releases today from Canon announce that new distribution channels for its products have been set up through wholesalers Pinacor Inc. and Ingram Micro Inc. Canon feels these new channels will allow more cost-effective delivery, with shipment usually inside 48 hours and hence the high cost of the retailer maintaining inventory essentially eliminated. Products covered by these new distribution arrangements include the PowerShot A5 Zoom and Pro 70 digital cameras.

Tuesday, May 25, 1999

May 25 - Fuji MX-2900 preview, 3COM USB camera, BusinessShow '99 and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, May 25, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Lucky, lucky, lucky... That's the only way I can describe the guys over at Steve's Digicams - they've already gotten their hands on the first Fuji MX-2900 in the USA! The unit, a hand-built Japanese model (hence Japanese menus and controls) is obviously not representative of what we can expect from the final versions, so Steve hasn't posted any sample images - but he's posted numerous pictures of the camera itself, as well as a brief preview of how the camera operates...
- 3Com announces USB tethered camera! 3Com has announced its debut into the USB tethered camera market, with the 3Com HomeConnect PC, a $149.95 unit designed for Windows95, Windows98 and Windows2000 USB capable machines. Unusually, the camera comes with a 9-foot cable which can be disconnected from the camera itself, saving reaching around to the back of your PC. Also available is a shorter cable suitable for keeping with a laptop, allowing you to unplug the camera from a home or work PC easily to take on business trips with you. The camera also has a tilt-swivel base, single-shot button and low-light capability, but no mention is made of resolution or frame-rate. The 3Com HomeConnect PC is available immediately across the US.
- reveals statistics! Online photo-album site has announced that it is currently serving approximately 1 million images per day on its site, and persuading users to stay once there with features such as the ability to print photo-quality images directly from their browser, and zoom/pan on images to see them in closer detail. According to PhotoLoft, sites powered by the service have found that their users generally stay approximately three times longer than previously...
- PC Watch rounds up BusinessShow '99! The PC Watch website has posted a summary of BusinessShow '99 Tokyo, hosted May 18 - 21 by NOMA (Nippon Omni-Management Association) in the Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Sight). 417,400 people attended the show, slightly below last year's attendance, to see 456 companies exhibiting in 6 halls of the Exhibition Center. Highlights were as follows, according to PC Watch:


Canon displayed its 1.3 megapixel 2.5x optical zoom "PowerShot A50", which was demonstrated using an iMac machine. Several cameras were on-hand, along with a model on stage for users to take pictures of (and, of course, to try and draw a crowd), and the general feeling was that the camera was excellent in size, if a touch dated in resolution. Also shown was Canon's latest BJC-F8500 bubblejet printer, along with numerous sample images framed in a "gallery" of sorts.

Ricoh demonstrated its RDC-5000 digital camera, which according to the reviewer was unexpectedly popular. The unit has a resolution of 2.3 megapixels, and has some interesting abilities including excellent macros and an OCR-mode for documents, which the reviewer felt could have been promoted a little better. Also exhibited was a dustproof OEM version of a 1.08 megapixel Konica digicam.


Epson demonstrated its Colorio CP-800, with several units on-hand for users to try out, as well as Print-On PM printers for printing the results. The camera, whilst it didn't seem quite as popular as Canon and Ricoh's units, still attracted a lot of attention with many people wanting to see the size and useability of the camera first hand...


Sharp showed its Internet ViewCam, which generated a lot of interest, mostly due to its ability to record brief video clips in such a small package...

Casio showed their Cassiopeia E-507 Palm-Size PC (the Japanese version of the US E-500) in cooperation with a digital camera. We've mentioned this device in the news before, but this is the first "user review" of sorta that we've seen of it, the reviewer finding it surprisingly easy to use, thanks to its simplicity and the large 3.93" LCD screen of the Palm-Size PC. The unit has a 350,000 pixel CCD, and gives pictures in 640x480, 214x160 and 160x120 formats. The reviewer also points out that, as well as images captured by the Cassiopeia's camera, the unit can also read images from a CompactFlash card taken with your full-size digital camera, for annotation and sending directly from the field!

IBM displayed its Digital Camera Expert 2000 software, which is due to be released in Japan over the next few days. The software has been improved, with an easier-to-use interface and support for DCF images.

Finally, NTT displayed two items of interest. The first was a 2GB solid-state disk, which was demonstrated in a laptop which had no other means of storage. Windows98 and all applications were running off solid-state storage, giving a significant speed boost and improvement in power comsumption, and allowing Windows98 to be used more like WindowsCE. Whilst not directly related to digital imaging, this sort of jump in technology does hold promise for similar improvements in storage making their way to digicam users. On the downside, the unit currently costs in the tens of thousands of US dollars (millions of Japanese yen) for the reference versions made thus far, and it is likely to be a few years before the technology becomes cheap enough to become commercially viable. Also exhibited by NTT in one of the pictures, but not really mentioned in the summary, was a mobile phone which appeared to have a built-in digital camera! Intriguing indeed..."TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Umax MirageII Pro price plummets! Talk about a price drop, this is one of the more dramatic onces we've seen recently! Umax has announced that its Mirage II Pro scanner with the Master Software bundle, previously $3795, has dropped in price by a staggering $1200 to $2595. The Advanced Software version, meanwhile, falls an impressive $700 to $2295. The MirageII is a professional scanner with large-format A3 scan-size, 36-bit color, bundled transparency adapter, and optical resolutions up to 1400 x 2800 dpi (dots per inch). The Master Software Bundle includes binuscan PhotoPerfect Master, LivePicture (Mac) or Wright Design (Windows), Adobe Photoshop LE, and Textbridge OCR Classic. The Advanced Software bundle includes binuscan PhotoPerfect Advanced, Adobe Photoshop LE and Textbridge OCR Classic.
- NetChip offers USB Scanner on a chip! Well, not the whole scanner, but NetChip has today announced a single-chip solution that integrates the MCU (scanner controller and stepper controller), ASIC, buffer memory and most TTL logic, meaning a scanner manufacturer need only provide the stepper motor, A/D block, CCD/CIS, and image RAM components. The chip is available for $8.50 in quantities of 5000, offering a low price at the same time as reducing scanner size and software development costs. Reliability should be increased with less components to fail, and the chip offers throughputs up to the maximum available for USB, 12MB/sec.
- Kopin CyberDisplay wins award! Kopin Corporation today announced that its CyberDisplay 320C, a 320x240 8-bit color LCD screen with a tiny 0.24" diagonal has received Photonics Spectra Magazine's "1999 Photonics Circle of Excellence Award". The award, given annually to the 25 most technologically innovative products, was granted for the CyberDisplay's "potential to change the way ultra-portable electronic products are used to access information".

Monday, May 24, 1999

May 24 - Vivitar introduces new digicam, Fuji ships MX-2700, and lots more news and reviews!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, May 24, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Fuji now shipping MX-2700! A press release today from Fuji Photo Film USA Inc. announces that Fuji's MX-2700 digital camera is now shipping to retailers across the USA, with an expected retail price of $699. The MX-2700 is the world's smallest 2.3 megapixel digital camera, with a 35mm equivalent lens, 1800 x 1200 pixel resolution, macro capability, 2.5x digital zoom, exposure compensation, auto and manual white-balance, and 2-inch 130,000 pixel LCD screen. The camera uses a rechargeable Li-Ion battery to take up to 250 shots without LCD, or 80 shots with LCD on, and weighs only 8.5 ounces.
- Vivitar introduces new digital camera for kids! The PMA International Daily Newsline is carrying a news item today noting that Vivitar has announced a new digital camera for children, the Vivitar E-cam. The unit has a fixed-focus lens, auto exposure, stores 24 pictures in its built-in memory and is powered by a 9V battery or AC adapter. The unit will sell for under US$80, and will ship with LivePix Looney Tunes Photo Print Studio software. Thanks to the PMAI Newsline!
- A roundup of the new reviews! Quite a few new reviews on the web in the last couple of days... First of all, Steve's Digicams has posted a review of the Canon PowerShot Pro70, concluding "The PowerShot Pro 70 is a great camera but it's not for everyone. For the average consumer it's far too expensive at $1099". Steve continues "[It] consistently turns out properly white balanced pictures ... this camera has got a great lens ... coupled with the Canon 380EX Speedlite [this camera] will do for any serious photographer wanting to go digital on a budget".

Next up, Phil Askey's Digital Photography Review has posted a review of Kodak's DC265 digital camera. Phil concludes "I like the Kodak DC265, it's a really satisfying camera, you take a shot knowing that 99% of the time it'll come out looking just how you intended it ... If you can do without the extra features of the newer cameras and the slow LCD update rate the DC265 is a great camera."

Finally, the Digital Camera Resource Page has posted a comparitive review of Olympus' C-2000 ZOOM and Nikon's Coolpix950. Each camera has its good and bad points (with the exception of both cameras having easy-to-lose lens caps ;) but the final verdict is left up to the user from the camera features and a number of sample images...Thanks to Steve's Digicams, the Digital Photography Review and the Digital Camera Resource Page!
- Umax announces Astra 2000 scanner family! Umax Technologies Inc. today announced its new Astra 2000 family of flatbed scanners. Consisting of the Astra 2100U, 2000P and 2000U, the family of scanners come with Umax's VistaScan 3.5 software, as well as Adobe® PhotoDeluxe(TM), Presto! PageManager(TM) from NewSoft, Caere® Omnipage LE OCR(TM) and the UMAX copy utility, and feature 36-bit color at resolutions of 600 x 1200 dpi (dots per inch). The 2000P has a parallel interface, whilst the 2000U has a USB interface. The 2100U adds one-touch scanning thanks to its USB interface, with scan, copy and custom buttons to simplify document scanning. All three scanners are available immediately, with the 2000P costing US$99, the 2000U at US$129, and the 2100U at US$169.
- HP drops Mac scanners! A news item on the PMA International Daily Newsline today reveals that HP has decided to end development of Mac scanners, recommending developers and buyers look to third-part companies instead. HP will continue to support their Mac-compatible scanners on MacOS 8.x, but note that their scanners are not compatible with Apple's blue G3 machines, and will remain so. HP currently sees the Mac market as "relatively small compared to the Microsoft Windows and NT markets", but may return at a later stage. Thanks to the PMAI Newsline!
- ScanSoft announces Pagis Pro 3.0! ScanSoft Inc. today announced its new Pagis Pro 3.0 Scanning Suite, consisting of TextBridge Pro 9.0, Adobe PhotoDeluxe Business Edition, Pagis file management software, Pagis Copier for automating copying of documents and Pagis Forms Fill-In, for scanning forms for processing on the PC. The suite is currently available on pre-order for $119 from Pagis, and is due to ship in mid-late June. Users purchasing Pagis Pro 2.0 from May 25 to July 16 1999 will be eligible for a free upgrade to Pagis Pro 3.0, provided they fill in a form on ScanSoft's website by July 31st.
- More on Lexar's USB CompactFlash cards... We carried a story in the last week or two regarding Lexar's plans to introduce a CompactFlash card with built-in USB connector, doing away with the need for a separate USB reader completely, and the PMA International Daily Newsline has provided further details to this news... Apparently, the CF card, cable and software kit is now available to manufacturers under the name JumpShot. JumpShot kits will reach retail in the third quarter of this year, and Minolta will be the first to bundle JumpShot CF cards with its upcoming Minolta 3D 1500 digital camera (presumably the official name of the modified EX Zoom camera we saw at PMA using MetaCreations' MetaFlash 3D photo technology?). Thanks again to the PMAI Newsline!
- PhotoLoft and Photodex cooperate! A press release today from and Photodex Corp. announces that the next version of Photodex's CompuPic Digital Content Manager will integrate software allowing CompuPic users to easily post their digital images in online albums, for sharing with family and friends.No time-frame is given for the release of the next version of CompuPic.
- LivePicture bankrupt, who picks up the pieces? It seems that good news and bad news go hand in hand over at LivePicture Inc. at the moment. It has filed for Chapter 11 reorganisation with the Bankruptcy Court, which as bad news goes has to be quite a biggie, but simultaneously it doesn't seem that there's going to be any problem finding a company to purchase LivePicture's assets - in fact, the problem could be in deciding who gets them... First of all MGI Software announced in a press release May 20th that they'd reached an agreement with LivePicture to purchase its assets, and received the financial support necessary to complete this transaction. Then on the 21st, ArcSoft threw in its own bid, noting that it sees itself as "a natural heir to Live Picture's image servers and zoom-imaging technology", and "[amid] rumors of sales to other
competitors, ArcSoft has moved quickly to adopt Live Picture's advanced technology as its own". The only thing we can be sure of is that this is unlikely to have a quick resolution...
- Equilibrium announces OneButton image processing! Equilibrium, creator of the well-known DeBabelizer scripting software has today announced its new Onebutton scripting solution for digital imaging, designed to allow users to automate repetitive tasks with their digital images. OneButton software will be bundled with a selection of digital cameras, scanners, digital video cameras and photo printers in Q3 this year. An example scenario where a "web professional" had to automatically scan a dozen slides, crop them to the borders, convert each to a high-resolution TIFF file, create optimized GIFs and JPGs for the Web, and create an HTML catalog of all 12 images took 3 hours for the web professional to complete vs. 5 minutes for OneButton. Whilst this might raise more of a question over the speed of the web professional than it does to advertise the speed of OneButton, there's no doubt that automating
repetitive tasks could still save you a significant amount of time... ;)
- Digital Eyes starts a new column! We reported on May 19 that Arthur H. Bleich, contributing editor of Digital Camera magazine and the man behind the Digital Photo Corner website, was writing a new column for the Steve's Digicams website - but it seems even this addition isn't enough to keep Arthur busy... News in today is that Arthur will also be writing a monthly column for the excellent Digital Eyes website!Congratulations to Digital Eyes on the addition!

Saturday, May 22, 1999

May 22 - Agfa offer ePhoto rebate; great deal on the Coolpix 900!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, May 22, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Astounding deal on a Nikon Coolpix 900! We've heard today from Ron over at IR advertiser State Street Direct, with news of a truly amazing deal on the Nikon Coolpix 900 digital camera... For a very limited time only, Ron has 21 of these much-loved digital cameras available for only $499 each. The units are factory-refurbished with Nikon 90-day warranties, and include all original hardware and software (4MB Compact Flash, Strap, Video out cable, Serial cables or PC/Mac, Quick Stitch, Adobe PhotoDeluxe 2.0, 4 "AA" Alkaline batteries) - and at this price, they're a steal!
- Agfa offers $100 rebate on ePhoto CL50! Agfa Corp's Desktop Products Group has today announced a rebate program for its 1.3 megapixel ePhoto CL50. From May 22 to August 31, 1999, anybody who purchases one of these cameras in the USA will be eligible to receive a $100 mail-in rebate from Agfa. The camera also features a 3x optical and 2x digital zoom, sun-assisted LCD backlight, burst-mode (10 photos in 640x480 at 1/2 second per photo), panorama mode, quick-review feature and built-in microphone, as well as Agfa's PhotoGenie interpolation software for interpolated resolutions up to 1.9 megapixel...

Friday, May 21, 1999

May 21 - Fuji 1500 and 2900 sample photos, Nikon Coolpix950 user review, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, May 21, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- PC Watch posts Fuji 1500 & 2900 sample photos! The excellent PC Watch website in Japan has posted a page of sample photos from Fuji's recently announced Finepix1500 and Finepix2900 digital cameras. The accompanying body text merely mentions the resolution and approximate sizes of the photos (350KB, 1280 x 1024 for the Finepix1500; 450KB, 1600 x 1200 for the Finepix2900). Also online are sample images from both the Finepix1500 and Finepix2900 at Fuji Japan's official website!
- Steve's Digicams reviews Nikon Coolpix 950! Steve's Digicams has posted an in-depth user review of the Nikon Coolpix 950 digital camera. To quote Steve, he found that, "[the] combination of small size, fantastic image quality and a camera that is easy to use in automatic mode makes the Coolpix 950 a good choice for the average user. For those that like to manually control everything the Nikon 950 is an even better choice". Check it out!
- Retailers predicting 4.5 million digicams sold in '99! The PMA International Daily Newsline has published an item noting that a recent study by Neretin Associates of New Jersey has found that 1,727,940 digital cameras were sold in the first 17 weeks of this year by selected retailers, at a value of over $796 million. The survey covered 136 retailers with a total of 10,749 outlets, and further found that since June-August 1998, the average digital camera sale price has gone up by 8%. Neretin expects 4.5 million digital cameras to be sold in total this year, but finds that when asked to rank 20 brands on national, local, in-store, product training and rep support, most suppliers were ranked low and concerns were expressed about a lack of support for the products on the shop floor.
- PMA Australia sees wireless digital imaging! A further item from the PMA International Daily Newsline reports that at the DIMA day session of the PMA Australia Convention, David Cullen, managing director of Tech Pacific, and Greg James, product manager of GSM South Pacific have shown technology for wirelessly transmitting images from a digital camera to a mobile phone, and then over the GSM network to a recipient.
- And now, a correction! We received a note from Kodak today to let us know of a small error we made in our May 19 item "Kodak unveils Picture Playground". Picture Playground is in fact not part of PhotoNet online, but is a separate service of, although users can select images from a variety of sources including PhotoNet for use in the Picture Playground. Thanks to Kodak for catching my mistake!

Wednesday, May 19, 1999

May 19 - Kodak adds to PhotoNet, and much more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, May 19, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Kodak unveils Picture Playground! Kodak has unveiled a new section to its PhotoNet service, Picture Playground. Users can now upload their digital images, and apply a number of interesting (and in some cases unique) effect to their images, including:

Cartoon Maker - Make your pictures into cartoons!
Antique Maker - Gives your pictures an aged look...
You Animal You - Overlay a portrait on an animal's face!
Super Saturator - "Drowns" your picture in color...
Flower Power - Overlay a portrait on a blooming flower!
Oil Paint - Turns your photo into a work of art...
Classic - Turns your photo into a black and white version...

Photos can also be "woven" into Kodak's PhotoQuilt 2000 project, as well as sent as e-postcards or turned into a variety of personalised merchandise!
- Kopin CEO receives award! Dr. John C.C. Fan, President and CEO of Kopin Corp., has received an award from the Society for Information Displays. The SID Special Recognition Award was granted "[for] the development and commercialization of single crystal wafer based TFT/LCD technologies". The announcement follows hot on the heels of Kopin's announcement in the last week of new .24, .38 and .77-inch CyberDisplays, which offers resolutions of 320x200, 640x480 and 1280x1024 respectively with drastically less power consumption than a conventional LCD display.
- reviews Olympus C-1400XL! Following on from its reviews of the Fuji DS-330, Nikon Coolpix 900S, Agfa ePhoto 1680 digital cameras, the website has today published its review of Olympus' Camedia C-1400XL camera (equivalent to a D-620L in the US). Still to come over the next few weeks will be reviews of the Canon PowerShot Pro70, Sony DSC-D700, Kodak DC260/DC265, Minolta Dimage EX Zoom, Olympus C-2000 Zoom and Nikon Coolpix 950. Seems like there's plenty to keep them busy there!
- Steve's Digicams adds a new column! The ever-popular Steve's Digicams website has added a new monthly column, written by Arthur H. Bleich. Arthur is the Contributing Editor of Digital Camera Magazine, runs the Digital PhotoCorner website, and has over 40 years of photography experience behind him... Congratulations to Steve's Digicams on the new addition!
- Also from Steve's Digicams... comes news of the latest in a line of digital photography-inspired creations by users attempting to solve the little annoyances we all find in our cameras. For Nikon Coolpix950 users, one of these is the lack of a cable-release option. Steve's reader Denny Cannon has created an elegant solution using a headphone adapter, a blanking plate from a PC slot, a screw and a small rubber plug. Denny also has a FAQ and sample photos from the camera... Check it out!Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!
- A little something for Olympus C-2000 users! Reader Mike Roda wrote in with a great little undocumented feature for users of Olympus' new C-2000 ZOOM digital camera:

"I don't know if I'm the first one to discover this but I found a way to make the Olympus C-2000 Zoom do F11 at long exposures. As mentioned in your review, you can get to higher exposure times from 1-16 seconds by using the undocumented feature of holding down the OK button and toggling the jog dial past 1/2 second. However, until now we all thought that the aperature was fixed at 2.2/2.8 but that is not true. Press the OK button again after you have set the exposure time to 1 second or more, then press the shutter release half way and you will see the aperature is set to F11 !!"Thanks, Mike!
- Planning on making John Cowley's LCD cover? If you're planning on making the LCD cover John Cowley created, which we covered in a news article a few days ago, then this news might be important to you - we received an email from reader Ken Bowles, who tried to make a similar cover with Horizon's 4x Loupe. Apparently, the Horizon loupe isn't as well suited to this use, being slightly larger and less solidly built - it covers the buttons and might come apart a little too easily. It seems that the Peak 2038 Loupe is a lot more suitable, but unfortunately Ken has heard news that this item is discontinued. If you want to get one, you'd better order it now, before the stocks run out!Thanks, Ken!
- Japanese Sales Rankings! The latest Japanese sales rankings for the period May 3 - May 16 are out on the PC Watch website. In first place is Still Olympus' C-2000 ZOOM, and the changes this period are mostly near the lower end of the top 10. Significant is the debut of Nikon's Coolpix 700. As usual, the number in parentheses is last fortnight's position:

1 (1) Olympus C-2000 ZOOM

2 (2) Sony DSC-F55K

3 (3) Nikon Coolpix 950

4 (4) Fuji FinePix 2700

5 (5) Olympus C-900 ZOOM

6 (8) Sanyo DSC-X110

7 (6) Canon PowerShot A50

8 (New) Nikon Coolpix 700

9 (9) Fuji FinePix 500

10 (7) Fuji FinePix 700
- Yamada of PC Watch ranks digicams! Japanese reviewer Yamada of PC Watch has ranked what he feels to be the best digital cameras available in three categories - 2 Megapixel Zoom, 2 Megapixel Fixed-Focus and Sub-2 Megapixel. Each camera is also rated on a scale of 1 to 5 on a number of aspects:

2 Megapixel Zoom -
1. Olympus C-2000 ZOOM

Picture Quality - 4/5

Functionality - 4.5/5

Ease of use - 4.5/5

Weight - 4.5/5

Design - 3.5/5

Portability - 3.5/5

Value - 4.5/5

2. Nikon Coolpix 950

Picture Quality - 4.5/5

Functionality - 4.5/5

Ease of use - 4.5/5

Weight - 4/5

Design - 4/5

Portability - 3.5/5

Value - 4/5

3. Ricoh RDC-5000

Picture Quality - 3.5/5

Functionality - 3.5/5

Ease of use - 3.5/5

Weight - 3/5

Design - 3/5

Portability - 3.5/5

Value - 3.5/5

2 Megapixel Fixed Focus -
1. Nikon Coolpix 700

Picture Quality - 3.5/5

Functionality - 4.5/5

Ease of use - 4.5/5

Weight - 4/5

Design - 3.5/5

Portability - 3.5/5

Value - 4/5

2. Epson Colorio CP-800

Picture Quality - 4/5

Functionality - 4.5/5

Ease of use - 4.5/5

Weight - 4/5

Design - 3.5/5

Portability - 4/5

Value - 3.5/5

3. Sony DSC-F55K

Picture Quality - 4/5

Functionality - 4/5

Ease of use - 3.5/5

Weight - 3.5/5

Design - 4/5

Portability - 3.5/5

Value - 3/5

4. Toshiba PDR-M4

Picture Quality - 3.5/5

Functionality - 3.5/5

Ease of use - 4/5

Weight - 4.5/5

Design -3.5/5

Portability - 4/5

Value - 3.5/5

5. Fuji FinePix 2700

Picture Quality - 3.5/5

Functionality - 3/5

Ease of use - 3/5

Weight - 2/5

Design - 3.5

Portability - 4/5

Value - 3.5/5

Sub-2 Megapixel (Zoom and Fixed Focus)
1. Canon PowerShot A50

Picture Quality - 3.5/5

Functionality - 3/5

Ease of use - 3/5

Weight - 3.5/5

Design - 4/5

Portability - 4.5/5

Value - 4/5

2. Kodak DC240

Picture Quality - 3.5/5

Functionality - 3/5

Ease of use - 3.5/5

Weight - 4/5

Design - 3/5

Portability - 3/5

Value - 3.5/5

3. Sanyo DSC-X110

Picture Quality - 2.5/5

Functionality - 3.5/5

Ease of use - 3.5/5

Weight - 4/5

Design - 3/5

Portability - 3/5

Value - 3.5/5

4. Olympus C-900 ZOOM

Picture Quality - 3/5

Functionality - 3.5/5

Ease of use - 3.5/5

Weight - 3/5

Design - 4/5

Portability - 3.5/5

Value - 3/5

5. Sony DSC-D700

Picture Quality - 4/5

Functionality - 4.5/5

Ease of use - 4/5

Weight - 4/5

Design - 4/5

Portability - 3/5

Value - 2.5/5

Tuesday, May 18, 1999

May 18 - Part 3 - The Japanese translations!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, May 18, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Fuji's announcements for the MX-2900 (FinePix2900Z) and FinePix1500! Here, after much translation, is the full specs for Fuji's new FinePix1500, as well as some extra details on the FinePix2900Z/MX-2900 that weren't mentioned in the US press release we covered (twice) earlier today.

Fuji FinePix2900Z (equiv. of US MX-2900)
1/2" 2.3 megapixel CCD

Images in 1800x1200, 1280x1024 (seems like this might be an option to downsample from 1800x1200 in the camera afterwards?) and 640x480 pixels; 24-bit color.
Conforms to EXIF2.1, DCF, DPOF for JPEG and TIFF-YC for TIFF.
Fujinon 3x zoom lens with less than 0.2% distortion

ISO125 rating

Minimum focus distance 90cm (25cm in macro mode)
Both auto and manual focus available

Shutter priority AE exposures from 1/4 to 1/2000 second

Manual exposures from 3 to 1/1000 second

64 TTL segment matrix metering

Exposure compensation -0.9EV to +1.5EV in 0.3EV steps

Auto and 7-mode manual whitebalance.
Built-in flash w/ red-eye reduction and fill-flash, range up to 3 meters

Continuous mode in VGA res. 3 frames/second up to 9 frames.
Up to 6 pictures can be taken in 4 seconds, then 4 second intervals per picture.
Ability to zoom in playback mode from 1.2 to 4 times zoom.
Sepia and black & white modes.
10 second self-timer

Uses NP-80 Li-Ion battery and AC-5V adapter

Weighs 345 grams (body) or 385 grams (w/ SmartMedia and battery).
Operating humidity range up to 80% non-condensing

Comes with: Battery, charger, hand strap, lens cap, PC & video cables and instructions.

(Note: There are two pages of specs for the MX-2900, which contradict each other for the apertures - one says F3.3 or F5 (believed to be correct), the other says F4.0 or F8.0)

Fuji FinePix1500

1.5 megapixel 1/2" CCD

Image resolutions of 1280 x 1024 and 640 x 480 pixels in 24-bit color

Complies with EXIF 2.1 JPEGs as well as DCF and DPOF

Fujinon fixed-focus lens equiv. to 38mm on a 35mm camera

ISO125 rating

Focus down to 50cm (macro can do 10-60cm)
Shutter speeds from 1/4 to 1/2000 second

Apertures of F2.6 or F7.2

64-segment TTL matrix metering

Exposure compensation -09.EV to +1.5EV (0.3 EV steps)
Automatic and 7-mode manual white balance

Built-in 4-mode flash w/ fill and red-eye reduction, range 0.3m to 2.5m

Sepia and Black & White modes

Electric self-retracting lens cover

One-handed operation

10 second self timer

Optical viewfinder

LCD screen (D-TFD type, 1.8 inch, 110,000 pixels)
NTSC video and RS-232/RS-422 outputs

Takes two AA NiCad or NiMH batteries

Up to 400 pictures on 2 AA batteries, or 110 pictures with LCD on.
Uses AC-3V adapter

Weighs 195 grams (250 grams w/ batteries and SmartMedia)
Aluminum alloy body, apparently the smallest and lightest of any megapixel camera

Operates in up to 80% non-condensing humidity

Comes with NiMH batteries, charger, hand-strap, cables and manual.

There are also some harder-to-translate features - both cameras appear to be able to record latitude and longitude information with the pictures (doesn't say if it links to a GPS or you provide the info), and the Japanese market will apparently receive software which allows them to archive pictures by where they were taken (?). There is also a "Best Framing" function on both cameras - again difficult to translate, we believe this is not the same thing as Nikon's BSS, but actually much more simple. It appears that the camera marks lines on the LCD cutting the picture into thirds both horizontally and vertically, allowing the user to follow the "rule of thirds" (where a picture generally is more pleasing to the eye if the main subject is placed where two of these lines intersect).Thanks to the PC Watch website in Japan for links
to the Fuji info above!

- And finally... (it has been one long day today) - we didn't get a chance to translate either of these, but PC Watch also had news of a new digital camera for Casio's WindowsCE based Cassiopeia palm-size PC, as well as a review of Sharp's Internet Viewcam digital camera.

May 18 - Part 2 - Mike's back, and he's swamped too!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, May 18, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

(NOTE: More news to come today, once translation is complete!)
- Fuji announces MX-2900 digicam, and the world's gone crazy!
I get sick for a couple of days, and what happens? When I get back, everybody has decided to release all the products they've been hiding, and I'm completely flooded! Sorry, folks! I was working on a news update this morning at the same time as Dave, so apologies for any duplication in my effort... - Mike

Fuji today announced its new MX-2900 digital camera, with 2.3 megapixel resolution and a 3x optical zoom lens. The new camera has a shape somewhere between that of an SLR camera and that of an instamatic, but appears to have separate viewfinder and lens optics. The camera should be available in August at a recommended price of $899.00. According to Fuji's press release, here's the specs:

2.3 Megapixel resolution.
(Image sizes up to 1,800 x 1,200 in JPEG or Uncompressed TIFF)
3x Optical Zoom lens equiv. to 35-105mm on a 35mm camera.
(43mm filter threads on lens)
Magnesium alloy body

SmartMedia storage (maximum size unspecified)
8MB SmartMedia card included

Built-in flash, Hot-shoe mount for external flash

2-inch polysilicon 130,000 pixel LCD display

Optical viewfinder with diopter correction

Video output and serial output (Not USB, as we earlier thought)
Rechargeable Li-Ion battery (100 shots w/LCD, 250 w/out LCD)
AC Adapter included

Weighs 12 ounces, 5.1" x 2.35" x 2.7" dimensions.

2.5x Digital Zoom

Three compression levels - fine, normal or basic

Aperture-priority AE mode (F3.3 or F5.0)
Slow-synchro mode (long exposure and flash to expose foreground and dimly-lit background)
Manual white balance, exposure compensation, exposure, flash brightness adjustment, light metering

Spot, Average and Multi metering

Continuous shooting mode

Automatic playback

Zoom mode on playback

Multi-frame playback (9 pictures on-screen)
Optional USB SmartMedia reader

Optional 28mm wide-angle adapter
- Agfa announces new digital camera! Agfa Corp.'s Desktop Products Group yesterday (sorry for the delay, Mike was feeling poorly) announced a new entry-level digital camera, the Agfa ePhoto 780C. The new camera, targeted for a price-point of $199 (a touch above the $129 ePhoto Smile announced last week), is essentially a repackaged ePhoto 780 in a new blue metallic housing which, whilst we've yet to see a photo, probably looks very similar to that of the ePhoto Smile. The camera has a 350,000 pixel CCD offering resolutions of 320 x 240 or 640 x 480, as well as an interpolated resolution using Agfa's PhotoGenie software of 1024 x 768. There is no mention of an optical viewfinder, but a 1.8" LCD viewfinder is offered and pictures can be stored on SmartMedia cards up to a maximum size of 8MB (A 2MB card is bundled with the camera). The camera has a fixed-length all-glass lens comparable to 50mm on a 35mm
camera, 4-mode flash, NTSC and PAL video output, RS-232 230.4 Kbps serial connection, and a shot-shot time of just under 2 seconds. Power is supplied by four AA batteries. No weight or dimensions for the camera are listed, the figures in the press release being for the entire package (at least we hope so, or this is going to be a touch above pocket-sized! ;)
- Epson announces Stylus Photo 1200! Epson yesterday announced its new Stylus Photo 1200 inkjet printer, aimed at the professional photo market. The new unit has 1440 x 720 dpi (dots per inch) resolution, six ink-colors, six picoliter minimum drop size and color photo print-speeds up to 150% faster than the previous model (Epson's Stylus Photo EX). Coupled with Epson's Advanced AcuPhoto Halftoning, and the printer's ability to select from three different droplet sizes, led Epson to state that "[the] output from this printer was so superior that many photographers claimed it rivaled that of the more expensive dye-sublimation printers". A USB interface connects printer to PC, and Adobe Postscript 3 software allows printing of graphic postscript files. The unit has two print-cartridges, one for black, and one for the colors, and can print paper up to 11" x 17", or Epson's roll paper up to 13" x 44" for
panoramas. Software bundled with the printer includes Adobe Photoshop 5.0 LE (with the option to upgrade to the full version for $299), Vivid Details' Test Strip 2.0 and Altamira Group's Genuine Fractals 2.0 LE trial version (with the option to upgrade to the full version for $75). The printer is available immediately at an estimated price of $499.
- Signature Color and Club Photo cooperate! We received news from online photo sharing service Club Photo that they've allied with major mail-order photofinisher Signature Color, and created a new site at Signature Color will offer users the chance to have their non-digital images processed, printed, and professionally scanned onto floppy disk or CD-ROM, from which users will be able to upload images to the new site. Once on the site, users will be able to order photographic prints of their digital images, host their digital images online for friends and family to see, and order products such as mugs, mousepads etc. customised with their personal photos.
- Epson to relocate headquarters! A separate press release yesterday from Epson announced that it intends to relocate its American headquarters from Torrance, CA to the Kilroy Airport Center, Long Beach, CA in October. The move, a distance of 12 miles, is to increase office space in line with Epson's growth.
- Corel ships PhotoPaint 9! Corel yesterday announced the shipping of both its Coreldraw 9 suite, and its Corel PhotoPaint 9 stand-alone version. Corel PhotoPaint 9 retails for US$495, whilst upgrades from previous versions and competitor products are available for $149. There are far too many new features to list here, a select few are:

- Support for ICC Color Profile embedding

- Support for QuickTime VR 3.0

- Over 30 new effects filters
- Sierra Imaging ships Image Expert CE 2.0! Sierra Imaging has announced the shipping of its Image Expert CE 2.0 product, an image viewing and slide-show program for Microsoft's WindowsCE handheld operating system. The program supports new WindowsCE form factors including the Palm-Size PC, and adds features including:

- The ability to create, display and edit text over images and build slide show presentations.
- Creating slide show shortcuts for faster convenient, one step access to slide show presentations of favorite images.
- Support for "high color" and large screen devices.
- PC World matches up Coolpix950, C-2000ZOOM! Thanks to Steve's Digicams for spotting an article on PC World Magazine's website placing the Nikon Coolpix950 up against Olympus' C-2000ZOOM. According to PC World, "[overall], for the best-looking, most vibrant pictures and easy-to-use controls, the Coolpix 950 is your best bet. But if you want a camera that works with a floppy disk adapter and comes with extras such as rechargeable batteries, consider the C-2000 Zoom."Thanks, Steve!
- Also thanks to Steve... for one we missed a few days ago. hasbro Interactive has announced a rival to the popular Barbie-cam, in the form of its new Nascar digital camera. The only real details on the camera itself are that it can take 28 high-res or 80 low-res pictures, and apparently the bundled software contains Nascar clip-art which can be overlaid on the photos, allowing anyone to appear behind the wheel of a Nascar...
- Cambridge and Covion announce Polymer Display Alliance! The two companies involved in developing Light Emitting Polymer (LEP) displays have announced the formation of a marketing alliance designed to accelerate and simplify manufacturers' take-up of LEP displays in their designs. The Polymer Display Alliance (PODIA) "intends to make available all the necessary technology from polymer materials, device architecture and process know-how through to device prototyping to companies wishing to evaluate LEP display technology". LEP displays were identified by the Wall Street Journal CEO forum as one of three new technologies most likely to succeed in the next three years, and many feel that LEP displays could make CRT (cathode ray tube) and LCD displays a thing of the past.
- Hitachi, Cambridge University extend memory technology! Hitachi Ltd. and Cambridge University yesterday announced a new memory technology which, according to a Hitachi press release, could enable an entire movie-worth of images and sounds to be stored on one chip. The new technology, PLEDM (Phase-state Low Electron(hole)-number Drive Memory), uses less power than conventional DRAMs and has a read/write time of less than 10 nanoseconds. Of particular interest is Hitachi's note that "[with] further development, PLEDM(TM) could also solve the current performance trade-offs experienced with the two existing types of memory: the DRAM - high-speed but volatile memory (memory lost when power switched off) and the FLASH - slower but non-volatile (memory retained when power switched off)." PLEDM replaces the conventional pairing of a transistor and capacitor cells with two transistors making a "gain cell", thanks
to a breaktrhough allowing one transistor to be integrated onto the gate of another transistor.
- Kopin releases another CyberDisplay! Kopin yesterday announced it has created another CyberDisplay product, following on from an article we carried a few days ago. The CyberDisplays are similar to displays seen in video camera viewfinders, allowing for low power consumption and a compact design in a digital camera, but still allowing for high picture quality and menu text to be overlaid on the picture you see in the viewfinder. The new Kopin display has a diagonal of only 0.77 inches, but offers a stunning 1280 x 1028 pixel resolution. This is perhaps even more suitable for digital cameras than Kopin's previous CyberDisplay, with a resolution that would allow precision in manual focusing and framing, as well as the ability to really examine a photo in detail to decide if it is suitable or needs to be retaken!
- Toshiba makes smaller, lighter CMOS sensor! A press release from Toshiba announces in two separate press releases (1,2)that it has made a new smaller, lighter CMOS sensor for use in digital cameras and the like. The new sensor is 40% smaller than Toshiba's previous model, with a 10 x 10 x 6mm casing including an integral lens, and consumes 1/5th the power of traditional CCDs. With a resolution of 110,000 pixels, the CCD offers an effective image size of 352 x 288 pixels. The new CMOS chip will be available from September.
- Digital Photography Review posts Coolpix700 pics! Phil Askey's excellent Digital Photography Review site has posted a gallery of sample pictures from a production-level Nikon Coolpix 700. Phil is currently working on a review of the unit, however the samples he's posted should give an indication of what can be expected from this upcoming camera...Thanks, Phil!

May 18 - Mike's sick, Dave's swamped, we're behind!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, May 18, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

Now that everyone has gotten used to the excellent job Mike's been doing on the news update, we all really notice(!) when he's out of the saddle! Mike's been down for a couple of days, so Dave's pinch-hitting to catch up on the news a little bit. This abbreviated update is to let people know we haven't forgotten you, and to announce the new review and FAQ mentioned below. We'll post a further update, hopefully later today...
Fuji DX-10 digicam reviewed! Dave's just completed the review of the Fuji DX-10, an 0.8 megapixel digicam that's Fuji's current entry in the "low end sweepstakes". Actually, we found it to be an excellent performer, with a lot more control that we're accustomed to seeing anywhere the $299 list price it's selling for. The combination of good picture quality, ease of use, and advanced features (when you're ready for them) led us to call this an ideal "first digital camera" for people entering the hobby. (Its small size would also make it an ideal "take anywhere" second camera for the enthusiast.) Check it out!
Email FAQ posted! Most modern email systems handle images with aplomb, but if you're crossing computing platforms, or major ISPs (eg, from AOL to or from the rest of the world), you may have had occasion to tear your hair over emailed images. This brief guide outlines some of the issues, and hopefully provides some answers to your questions.
Digita Winners Announced! FlashPoint Technology has announced the winners of its first annyal Digital Photo Adventure Scripting Contest. (You'll doubtless recall seeing ads for this on this site for about four months last winter.) The contest apparently was a big success, with over 2,500 entries received. The Grand prize winner was "Diff Capture", which turns your camera into a motion sensor by comparing the size of successive images, and saving the shot when the change exceeds a user-set threshold. First prize went to Picture Info 2, which extracts extensive image information from the file headers, and makes it available as web pages, CSV data files, etc. Second prize was for Web Site Frames, which creates very nice frames-based indexes of your digicam photos. Also winning a second-place position was Electronic Ruler, which turns a Kodak DC265 into a measuring tool, using the autofocus to measure distances, and allowing you to
pick off height, width, and area from the captured image. All these, and a few other winning entries are available for free download from Flashpoint's website, at this link.
Look out Nikon & Olympus! Fuji announces new 2.3 megapixel model! This just in from Fuji this morning: They've announced their MX-2900 2.3 megapixel digicam, apparently using the same sensor as their MX-2700 (which we're about to review), but adding a 3x optical zoom lens, an on-camera hot shoe flash mount (!), filter threads, optional wide-angle lens adapter, multiple metering modes (including spot metering), fast USB interface (hooray!), etc. The camera is slated for release in August, at an SRP of $899. - This should really heat up the 2+megapixel competition, being the first such digicam to offer USB, (although the forthcoming Toshiba PDR-M4 apparently will as well), and pushing the CCD resolution up the extra notch first introduced by the MX-2700. (Photo copyright PhotoWire - click the photo for a
BIG version.) Stay tuned, we'll fill-in more details on this exciting new digicam soon!
New Reviews! "Van" Van Horn at Digital Eyes emailed us to report that they've completed their review of the Nikon CoolPix 950, which is online HERE. Van clearly liked the camera, agreeing with most of our analysis. (BTW, one of Van's readers had asked about flash uniformity with the CP950: We test this parameter in all of our reviews, via our "Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity" test target. - These are all shot with the room lights off, and just the flash illuminating the subject at both telephoto and wide-angle settings.) In other Review News, the DC Resource Page has posted a brief review of the SanDisk ImageMate CF card reader. (Thanks, Van & Jeff for letting us know about your reviews!)

Friday, May 14, 1999

May 14 - 32MB SmartMedia ships, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, May 14, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Delkin ships 32MB SmartMedia! Delkin Devices Inc. has today announced shipment of its first 32MB SmartMedia cards. The cards, based on Samsung flash technologyl, are available to OEMs at a cost just above $80 each, and should reach consumers at a street price of around $150. Full production should commence in June.
- Kodak receives BBBOnline seal! Kodak's online store, part of the website, has today received the Better Business Bureau's BBBOnline privacy seal. The seal is granted to companies that, according to the BBB, "tell consumers what information is collected and what the company does with that information, show how the company complies with its stated privacy policy, and agree to participate in a dispute resolution system that sets the standard for resolving consumer concerns over privacy."
- Kopin introduces CyberDisplay! Thanks to Steve's Digicams for catching this one, which we missed - Kopin Corporation has announced its CyberDisplay 640C, the world's smallest color VGA LCD display. The unit has a diagonal size of 0.38", 8-bit color, and power consumption of only 30mW. Steve correctly points out that this unit is realistically the future of digital cameras - the drastically reduced power consumption in comparison with conventional digicam LCDs will mean far greater battery life. Equally, this unit can replace both the optical and conventional LCD viewfinders, taking up very little space and allowing full control of the camera without taking your eye away from the viewfinder. Along with the size decrease offered by the absence of a large LCD screen, digital cameras using this display can, thanks again to the reduced power consumption, get away
with using smaller batteries, reducing overall camera size and weight still further.

Personally, I can't wait to see this sort of screen becoming widespread in our digital cameras, offering truly pocketable units that have battery lives easily comparable to conventional film cameras...Thanks to Steve's Digicams!
- Intel and Kodak make digital film cartridge! Just to prove he's really on the ball, Steve also caught an item in New Scientist magazine regarding a digital film cartridge similar to Imagek's forthcoming device, based on patents belonging to computer giant Intel. If you're not familiar with the concept, essentially a small package shaped to fit inside a conventional camera chassis (where the 35mm film would normally go) contains a CCD, memory and supporting circuitry, allowing the user to simply slot the unit into their existing camera rather than purchasing an entirely new camera.

Advantages to this method are that the user can swap back and forth between digital and conventional film, and can retain their existing camera, lenses, filters, etc. - which they are both familiar with, and have probably invested a significant sum of money in. The disadvantage is that thus far, these units don't provide for the user to see their images immediately that they're taken, allowing for errors to be spotted and the shot to be retaken - something that is often cited as one of the main reasons of purchasing a digital camera. No details are given of the planned device, which would be a cooperation between Kodak and Intel, but another disadvantage which Imagek's unit suffers from which hopefully the Kodak/Intel effort will avoid is an absence of removeable memory. With Imagek's device, once you have filled the (small) memory, you either stop to transfer the images to a PC, or you can take no further photos on it. This approach could make or break the idea, as it forces
users to have a computer at hand or purchase multiple digital "films" so that they can take more pictures - something which at the current predicted price they are unlikely to do. What path Intel and Kodak will take with this problem awaits to be seen...Thanks again to Steve's Digicams for this and the previous item!
- European digicam/scanner market growing! A report today from InfoTrends Research Group finds that the combined market for digital cameras and scanners in Europe will grow 43% in 1999, reaching over 9 million units and by 2003 will collect $2.9 billion in revenues. Currently, scanner shipments acount for 90% of total shipments, but IRG sees this falling to 80%, with digital cameras taking the remaining 20% share by 2003. Last year, the scanner market in Europe doubled, and after taking into account this year's expected 50% increase, should reach almost 8 million units shipped this year and $1.6 billion in revenues by 2003. Digital cameras, in comparison, should have 900,000 shipments this year and $1.3 billion in revenues by 2003.
- PhotoLoft announces appointment! Online photo sharing company has announced the appointment of a new Vice President of Engineering, in an email we received from them yesterday. Robert Free joins the company fromfrom Integrated Software and Devices Corp., where he was Director of Engineering of the Graphics Software Group. Prior to this, Free was architect, engineering manager and an

award-winning designer for 3D Web Products at Live Picture. Free replaces Co-founder and Vice President Chris McConn, who has been named Chief Technology Officer.

Thursday, May 13, 1999

May 13 - Japanese digicam comparison and sales rankings!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, May 13, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- DreamArts posts another new digicam comparison! Adding to its line-up of digicam comparisons, the Japanese DreamArts website has posted a new comparison of picture quality for a number of digicams at both wide and tele positions, where applicable. Cameras covered are:

Sanyo DSC-X110 (Hi1)
Canon PowerShot A50 (Large Fine)
Olympus C-900 ZOOM (SHQ)
Kodak DC240 ZOOM (Best)
Leica Digilux (Fine)
Olympus C-1400XL (SHQ)
Kodak DC260 ZOOM (Best)
Sony DSC-F55K (Fine)
Epson CP800 (Development Model)
Toshiba PDR-M4 (Fine, Development Model)
Nikon Coolpix 700 (Fine)
Olympus C-2000 ZOOM (SHQ)
Nikon Coolpix 950 (Fine)
Ricoh RDC-5000 (1800F, Development Model)
Fuji Finepix 2700 (Fine)

The reviewer recommends you to look carefully at the photos for chromatic abberations (where a colored smudge can appear near the edges of a picture due to different frequencies of light being refracted at varying angles as it passes through the lens, arriving in slightly different positions on the CCD), while the photo demonstrates barrel distortion (where the picture "curves" slightly near the edges and the performance of white-balance and exposure differences more obviously. Another point the reviewer makes is that cables in the distance can be quite good for judging the sharpness and detail inherent in the picture.

Another problem which some of the cameras exhibit in these photos is a color cast, with the Olympus C-900 ZOOM and C-2000 ZOOM having a blueish cast, and the Nikon Coolpix 700 and 950, as well as the Epson CP800 (still a beta machine, remember) having a yellow cast. The reviewer did however note that this was only apparent in auto white-balance photos, and can easily be resolved by using a manual white balance. According to the reviewer, the Kodak DC240 ZOOM and DC260 ZOOM, as well as the Fuji Finepix 2700, probably gave the most accurate color with auto white-balance.

One final rather amusing note is that the reviewer apologises for having gotten his finger in the top-left corner of the Sanyo DSC-X110 image!
- Japanese Digicam price watch! The PC Watch website in Japan has posted its regular price comparison for the Japanese market, covering the period 15 April - 13 May. For a change, the pricing seems reasonably stable, with fewer changes than normal. Four cameras change price and a number are in short supply, with the only significant item being Sanyo's DSC-X100 falling by almost a quarter of its old price!

In the list below, the first number is the price change, and the second is the current price in yen - currency conversions available at the Dynamind Currency Converter. :

Epson CP-700Z (-7,000; 52,800)
Canon PowerShot Pro70 (-10,000; 128,000)
Sony DSC-D700 (-8,200; 169,800)
Sanyo DSC-X100 (-10,000; 34,800)

The Sony DSC-D700 and Fuji DS-260HD are currently out of stock in one of two vendors carrying them in this survey, whilst the Nikon Coolpix 950 is listed as out of stock at all vendors. Both the Konica DG-1 and Minolta Dimage Zoome EX1500 are out of stock at one of the three vendors which carry them in this survey.

Wednesday, May 12, 1999

May 12 - Fuji MX-600 Zoom review, new Agfa scanner, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, May 12, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Full Fuji MX-600 Zoom review posted! Fuji was (and still is) a real value-leader in the digicam marketplace with their MX-500 1.5 megapixel digicam. Now, they've updated it with an optical zoom lens, calling the result the MX-600 Zoom. We didn't test the previous MX-500, but the MX-600 looks like a winner: Excellent resolution, very good color, super exposure control. Check it out! We're also working on a review of the MX-600's "little brother", the 0.8 megapixel DX-10, a slick little pocketful. Images from both cameras are now in the Comparometer(tm), and we hope to have the DX-10's review posted within a week.
- Beat the living daylights out of your LCD... with John Cowley (aka the Mad Scientist)'s latest invention - a way of making your digital camera's LCD visible in outside light.

John melded some velcro, a slide loupe and his Coolpix 950 to make things a little easier to see, and artfully did so without blocking any of the controls. The technique could easily apply to other digital cameras with similarly-sized LCDs as well, and the design also offers quick removal of the shade (hey, you don't get much quicker than Velcro!) as well as a neat solution for indirect light - you can remove the edyepiece and the base remains as a smaller shield. Just to top off this marvel of creativity, the loupe has a neckstrap (so its always at hand - or should that be at neck?) and an adjustable eyepiece that allows for accurate focusing or vision correction.Excellent stuff, John! (And apologies for missing your link in my haste to get this online yesterday!)
- Japanese Digicam sales rankings! The latest Japanese sales rankings for April 19 - May 2 are out from the PC Watch website - as usual the number in brackets is last fortnight's placing.

1 (1) Olympus C-2000ZOOM

2 (2) Sony DSC-F55K

3 (Outside) Nikon Coolpix 950

4 (3) Fuji FinePix 2700

5 (4) Olympus C-900ZOOM

6 (10) Canon PowerShot A50

7 (5) Fuji FinePix 700

8 (7) Sanyo DSC-X110

9 (8) Fuji FinePix 500

10 (Outside) Sanyo DSC-X100

Of note is that Nikon's Coolpix 950 has returned to the rankings after an absence last fortnight. Evidently there is stock in Japan once more, a situation that will hopefully be replicated in the US soon...Canon's PowerShot A50 has shot up to 6th place in its first full fortnight in the results, while Kodak's DC210A and Olympus' D-340L have both fallen out of the top 10 thanks to the return of the Coolpix 950 and Sanyo's DSC-X100.
- Agfa introduces SnapScan Touch scanner! Agfa has today announced its new SnapScan Touch flatbed scanner. The unit has a USB interface, and one-touch buttons for scanning directly to email, fax or printer, which can also be reconfigured as the user desires. Optical resolution in 36-bit color is 600 x 1200 dots per inch (dpi), and can be interpolated up to 9600 dpi, while the scanner can scan documents up to a maximum of 8.5 x 11.7 inches in size. Also bundled is Agfa's ScanWise software as well as MicroFrontier Color it! and Caere OmniPage LE 5.1 for the Mac. PC versions will be bundled with ScanWise, Corel PrintHouse Magic, Caere OmniPage LE 5.1 and Caere PageKeeper. The SnapScan Touch will ship in June at a price of $129.
- IDC expects 22 million digicams to ship by 2003! According to a new study by the IDC, digicam sales are skyrocketing thanks to falling prices, increased resolution and new applications, with sales set to hit 4.7 million this year, and 22 million by 2003! IDC sees a compound annual growth rate of 48% through 2003, with revenues growing at 25%. The worldwide market in 2003 should total $6.4 billion. One final point of interest is IDC's note that "digital camera use is more prevalent in the U.S. and Japan than in other worldwide markets. The two markets, however, look for very different traits in these products. U.S. users value simplicity in camera design while the Japanese prefer compact, feature-rich devices."
- SanDisk now shipping 64, 80 and 96MB CF! A note just in from Geof Lewis at SanDisk distributor WYNIT has great news for anybody who's been patiently waiting for some really big CF cards - SanDisk's 64MB, 80MB and 96MB cards are all now shipping, and retailers are receiving them already! According to Geof, Mac Warehouse and Wolf Camera (Atlanta, GA) amongst others have received stock... Thanks to Geof for this great news!

Tuesday, May 11, 1999

May 11 - MetaCreations Canoma ships, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, May 11, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- MetaCreations releases Canoma! MetaCreations has today announced the release of its Canoma product for Macintosh and Windows. Canoma is a Photogrammetry tool, capable of creating a 3D textured model of an object or environment from a number of 2D images. The resulting model can then be exported in a variety of formats including MetaCreations MetaStream, which is designed for streaming 3D graphics over the Internet.Canoma costs $499 (or $469 if you download the software and don't request a manual and CD), and can be downloaded from MetaCreations' website.
- IXLA wins award! A press release today from IXLA Limited notes that it has received the Price Waterhouse Coopers Australian Technology award for "Excellence in the Development of Technology for Multimedia" in the 1999 Australian Technology Awards. The award was given for IXLA's Digital Camera Interface (DCI) technology at a dinner in Sydney, Australia yesterday.
- Ulead announces Face Factory! No, not a method of making yourself look presentable the morning after the night before, but a rather unusual new toy for when you run out of games to play on your digital camera. Face Factory allows you to scan in a picture of your own face, which is then mapped onto a wireframe model to create a 3D textured likeness of yourself. You can then alter the model via a variety of presets such as "Cube" and "Alien", and save the results in VRML or AVI format. According to Dr. Liming Chen, president of Ulead Systems, Inc., "Not only can our users distort and animate faces in a humorous way, they can also see what the changes look like from any angle and share those results with others via email or the Web."
- Canto supports Linux, bundles software with Imacon! We received two press releases from Canto in the mail. First off they announced support for the Linux operating system - if you're not familiar with Linux, it is a PC look-alike for the Unix operating system, which has gained a large following of users - and is beginning to gain commercial acceptance as well. Canto intends to port their Cumulus Asset Management software to Linux, with the final result being available by the end of the year! A second item notes that Cumulus Desktop 4.0 will be bundled with Imacon's FlexTight CCD drum scanners as of May 1, 1999.

Monday, May 10, 1999

May 10 - Dimage Scan Multi review, New Agfa camera, new Canon printer, and much more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, May 10, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Review Posted! We've just completed our review of Minolta's Dimage Scan Multi, a multi-format film scanner that can handle anything from 16mm to 6x9 cm! At a current suggested retail price (SRP) of $2499, it's the lowest-priced medium-format scanner on the market, costing thousands less than others handling this format. An excellent unit, with true 12-bit digitizing, and resolutions of 2820 dpi on 35mm and smaller formats, and 1128 dpi on medium-format film. As noted before, we like the Minolta software, which we feel does a good job of meeting the needs of beginners, while still offering full capabilities for expert users. Check it out!
- Agfa announces new ePhoto Smile digital camera! Agfa has today announced its new ePhoto Smile digital camera, a $129 entry-level digital camera with a resolution of 640 x 480 in 24-bit color pixels. Agfa's PhotoGenie technology is used to interpolate this resolution from the original 30-bit image, although the press release does not note the actual resolution of the camera's sensor. Storage is on the camera's internal 2MB memory, with no option provided for removeable memory, and images are transferred to the PC by a serial connection (maximum speed 230.4Kbps). Unusually for the price, the camera has video-out (NTSC) capability, and a 10-second self timer, as well as a 4-mode flash (auto, fill, red-eye and off), as well as a hand-strap, carry case, cables, two AA alkaline batteries, and cables for both PC and video connections. The camera should ship in July.height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- DreamArts tests digicams for night use! The Japanese DreamArts website has attempted to answer the question "Which digital camera is best for night use?" with a series of sample images taken in low-light conditions, with a combination of bright lights (neon signs) and dark areas in the picture. Cameras tested, and shutter/aperture/ISO values where applicable are as follows (ordered by row):

Sanyo DSC-X110 - F2.8, 1/4 second.
Canon PowerShot A50 - F2.0, 1/8 second.
Canon PowerShot A50 Night View mode - F2.0, 1 second.
Kodak DC240 ZOOM - F2.8, 1/8 second.
Olympus C-900 ZOOM - F2.8, 1/2 second, ISO 200.
Leica Digilux, F3.2 - 1/4 second, ISO 100.
Olympus C-1400XL - F2.8, 1/4 second.
Kodak DC260 Zoom:
- F2.8, 1/2 second.
- long exposure, F2.8, 2 seconds.
Canon PowerShot Pro70 - F2.0, 1/2 second.
Epson CP800 development unit:
- F2.4, 1/2 second, ISO 100.
- F2.4, 10/20 seconds (?), ISO 400.
Olympus C-2000 Zoom:
- F2.0, 10/20 seconds (?), ISO 400.
- Shutter priority AE, F2.0, 10/20 seconds (?), ISO 100.
- Shutter priority AE backlit, F2.0, 2 seconds, ISO 100.
Nikon Coolpix 950:
- F2.6, 1 second.
- Shutter priority AE, F2.6, 2 seconds.
Fuji FinePix 2700 - F3.2, 1/4 second, ISO 120.
- Canon announces new printer for iMac and G3! Canon has today announced a new multi-function printer for Apple's iMac and G3 systems, the MultiPASS C635. The printer/scanner/fax/copier combo offers 720 x 360 dpi (dots per inch) photo-realistic printing at 6.5 pages per minute (ppm) in monochrome, or 2.5 ppm in color. Other functions include a 14.4K plain-paper fax, 360 x 360 dpi copying in color or monochrome, and batch scanning up to 30 sheets at an interpolated resolution of 600 dpi in color, with hands-off OCR a possibility. The Canon MultiPASS C635 should ship in July at an estimated street price of $379.
- Steve's Digicams reviews Toshiba PDR-M3! Steve's Digicams has completed a review of Toshiba's PDR-M3 digital camera, which Steve found to be small, light easy to use and with great image quality. Steve was also pleased to find batteries and charger included with the camera, and overall felt the unit to be a good buy... Check out Steve's review and sample images here.

Also on Steve's excellent news page in the last couple of days were two items we missed here (we stand suitably humbled). :) First off was news of updated drivers for the Flashpath floppy disk Smartmedia reader - according to Steve the current versions are v2.68 (Win 95, 98 and 3.1) and v3.05A for WindowsNT 4.0. Also from Steve was news of a new type of CompactFlash card from Lexar. According to the EE Times article Steve read, the new card has a built-in USB controller, offering users with USB ports the ability to plug a cable directly into the card and their PC, to transfer images without the need for any reader. Apparently the USB controller takes up very little space, and the new cards should be ready to ship by July. Thanks to the Steve's Digicams!
- New version of VuePrint released! Phil Askey's Digital Photography Review has received word of a new version of Ed Hamrick's excellent VuePrint JPEG/GIF image viewer. The upgrade, which is free to users who've already paid $40 to register a previous version, and adds a number of new features, according to the information from Ed's release notes below:

"New features in 7.4:
* Shutter speed and aperture info for Nikon 900 and 95 are now extracted from EXIF file.
* CRW files from Canon PowerShot cameras have improved color fidelity

* Added support for .cam files from newer Casio digital cameras

* Reads .tif files that have more than 4 samples per pixel (i.e. 40-bit .tif files from VueScan)
* Changed .mp2 extension to .mp3 extension, added .mpeg and .jpeg extensions to "Utilities|Configure extensions" command

* Default is now to associate sound and movie files with VuePrint. Can be turned off in "Utilities|Configure extensions" command

Bugs fixed in 7.4:
* Fixed problem with MIME/base64 files when file names have a slash or backslash embedded in them. This also fixes a problem with VueIcons hanging when reading this type of file."

Also in the last few days, Phil's excellent site has published some pretty extreme macro shots from Nikon's new Coolpix950 - when Phil gets close, he gets really close ;) - and a rather inspired method of turning a Coolpix 950 into a very expensive slide-scanner, using a toilet-paper tube and a pair of scissors... Just be sure and have your parents watch you all, so you don't cut your fingers! :) Thanks to the Digital Photography Review!
- Finishing off our roundup of the Imaging sites... our friends over at the Digital Camera Resource Page have reviewed the Epson PT-100 PrintOn photo printer and SanDisk USB ImageMate CompactFlash reader! Keeping themselves busy, they've also completely rebuilt their digital camera database, and fired off a great competition to boot. DCRP readers can enter to win a variety of prizes including the grand prize of a Nikon Coolpix 950 digital camera, 48MB CompactFlash card and Kodak NiMH battery/charger pack! That's two opportunities in our news update today for you to win a much-sought-after Coolpix950, so good luck and get winning! :)Thanks to the Digital Camera Resource Page!
- SanDisk supplies CF for Kodak DC265 bundle! A press release today from SanDisk Corp. announces that it will be supplying CompactFlash cards for Kodak's new Kodak Professional 265 Interactive Imaging System. The bundle will contain a Kodak DC265 digital camera, 64MB CompactFlash card from SanDisk, Kaidan custom panoramic tripod head, and imaging software and scripts for both Macintosh and Windows environments. Kodak will also bundle SanDisk 64MB CF cards in its Kodak Professional 260/265 Web Imaging Kit, which contains the same components as the Interactive Imaging System, but with no camera. The Interactive Imaging System will retail for a suggested price of $1,499, while the Imaging Kit will retail at a suggested price of $525, and both products will ship later this month.
- Inmedia readies online photo albums! Inmedia Presentations Inc. has announced it is readying its new website, with online photo albums, chat rooms, discussion forums, a digital darkroom for editing your photos online, as well as news, reviews and more. The site is due to open in June, and InMedia is currently offering a Nikon Coolpix 950 digital camera as a prize to one lucky winner who signs up to be notified when the site opens!
- Eyetronics challenges MetaCreations' 3D photos! We received an email today from Eyetronics, with news that MetaCreations isn't the only company offering a simple way to create realistic 3D images. Eyetronics has released its ShapeSnatcher technology, which allows any existing camera, digital or conventional, to capture 3D images. The system uses a normal slide projector, used with a slide provided by Eyetronics, to project a pattern of lines on the object you are photographing. The image is then decoded by Eyetronics' software, and assembled into a 3D image from a single shot. The program costs $4000, or alternatively you can sign up to receive the slide only at a cost of $750, and then email your photos to Eyetronics for processing into 3D images at a cost of $125 each. Eyetronics also offers a way to stream images over the Internet, similar to MetaCreations' MetaStream technology. Cult3D, coded by Cycore Computers, which
allows users to view 3D objects in Cult3D format in their web browser, with the use of a simple plugin. It will be interesting to see how Eyetronics' and MetaCreations' technologies compare, once the MetaFlash cameras start shipping!
- And now for a little fun...! Its always nice to hear from a reader who we've been able to assist with their buying decision, and we received just such an email today from regular reader Dave Albright, who has arrived at his decision and purchased a Nikon Coolpix950. Dave has obviously been having a great time with his new toy, as you can see if you head on over to his webpage. He's already put some sample LivePictures PhotoVista 360-degree panoramas from the camera online, and I'm sure will be adding more as he gets to know the camera even better with time!Thanks for the note, Dave - it makes our job worthwhile to receive emails like yours!

Wednesday, May 5, 1999

May 05 - Olympus C2000-ZOOM shipping, PDR-M1 on WinList, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, May 5, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Olympus C-2000 ZOOM now shipping! According to emails our friends over at Steve's Digicams and the Digital Camera Resource Page have received, the Olympus C-2000 ZOOM digital camera is now shipping... Steve has heard that every Best Buy store in the country now has a display model, so it should be reasonably easy for most of you to get hold of one and take a look for yourselves. If you can't get to Best Buy, don't forget we reviewed the C-2000 ZOOM a few days ago - you can find our review here.
- Toshiba PDR-M1 on WinList five times in a row! Toshiba Imaging Systems has today announced that its PDR-M1 digital camera has appeared on Windows Magazine's WinList (a monthly ranking of the best items in various categories) for the fifth straight month. Described by Windows Magazine as a "low-cost megapixel camera that brings high-quality to the midrange price point.", the $399 PDR-M1 features 1280 x 1024 resolution, a 2x digital zoom, 1.8-inch LCD, and a four-mode flash. When we reviewed the PDR-M1 in July last year, we found it to have "excellent "megapixel" performance, with excellent color, exceptional resolution, and good user-interface ergonomics", so its certainly worth considering!
- MRT micro launches new Network cam! MRT micro has announced in a press release its new ViewPort network digital camera. The unit captures images (resolution unspecified) at a rate of 30 frames per second, which it then stores in its built-in 16MB of RAM in M-JPEG format for subsequent transmission over a 10BaseT Ethernet network, or alternatively via an optional 56KBps PC Card modem to a remote application. The unit comes with Observer Command Center software for configuration, Observer/Alert for motion-detection, and VirtualEye, for using the unit as a webcam. The ViewPort is available immediately; no pricing is given.
- Canon announces HyperPhoto digital lab system! Canon has today announced its new digital lab system, "HyperPhoto". Comprised of the HyperPhoto Scanner HS-100, HyperPhoto Server PC HG-100, HyperPhoto Printer H-100, and CanoScan 620P Flatbed Scanner, can accept 35mm and APS transparencies and print films, images and artwork stored on ZIP, floppy disk, CD-ROM and PC Card, as well as reflective artwork. Up to 30 frames a minute can be scanned from 35mm or APS format films, witrh built-in software correcing defects such as red-eye and scratches. The flatbed scanner allows for reflective art such as postcards and prints up to 4 x 12.5" to be scanned. Output is at resolutions up to 1200dpi (dots per inch), with print sizes up to 11.6 by 49.6 inches, and can output a variety of items such as stickers, calendars, postcards, composites and more. HyperPhoto is available immediately at a suggested price of
- On a related note... a report just out from Infotrends Research Group finds that digital minilabs will play a significant role in the growth and acceptance of digital cameras, allowing non-computer users to take advantage of the benefits of digital photography without having to learn how to use a PC. The report, "Digital Minilabs to Spur Digital Photography Acceptance", is available immediately and according to Infotrends "examines the digital minilab's impact on digital camera market development, profiles vendors' products and strategies, and examines the unit shipment and hardware revenue potential for digital minilabs from 1999 - 2004 based upon replacement rates for current digital minilab installations".
- Another new option for digital imaging storage... has appeared, this time in the form of a recordable DVD-RAM drive! As DVDs are starting to catch on in popularity, Hitachi has announced its new DVD-RAM drive, capable of recording 2.6GB of data per disc on single-sided media, 5.2GB on double-sided media, and able to read CDs, DVD-R (write once) and DVD-ROM discs. Two flavors of the drive are available throgh preferred distributor Optical Laser Inc. - an ATAPI (GF-1000) version and a SCSI (GF-1050) version. Pricing is not mentioned.
- Kodak adds to DCS315! Kodak has announced it has released new software for its DCS315 professional digital camera, according to the website. The new firmware version and acquire software apparently improve image quality, reduces blue channel noise, and improves contouring and color quality. Also, Kodak has announced it is now bundling an AC adapter with US power cable with all new Kodak DCS315s.

Tuesday, May 4, 1999

May 04 - Agfa prepares for ScanWise, Kodak DC200 Plus review, and lots more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, May 4, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Agfa prepares for ScanWise release! In preparation for its upcoming release (and probably in response to a flood of enquiries), Agfa has announced it has set up an automatic notification system, which will email users when the new Agfa ScanWise software is ready for downloading. SnapScan 1212 users should be able to download ScanWise at the ned of this month, whilst SnapScan 1236 customers should be able to get ScanWise at the end of June. The notification responder has currently been set up for SnapScan 1212 customers only, as their version will be first to ship, and can be accessed here.
- Full Kodak DC200 Plus Review is up! The full review of the Kodak DC200 Plus camera is now posted, including a picture index page. The DC200 is an entry-level camera, with a fixed-focus lens and simple controls, but does provide megapixel resolution. It's easy interface would make it ideal for someone dipping their toe into the digicam waters, or just wanting a basic unit that can produce files printable up to about 5x7 inches. Despite its low price and modest feature set, we found that it produced some of the best color of any camera we've tested to date(!) Check it out!
- New FAQ's posted! We just posted two new FAQs, one by Dave, another by reader Gerald Payne. Gerald took the time to set down on paper some of the steps to go through when debugging serial-port connections to digicams. (Probably the number-one problem new owners experience.) Check out his excellent article, "Troubleshooting Serial-Port Camera Connections." Another frequent question has to do with the relationship between printer dpi ratings, digicam (or scanner file) resolution, and how big you can print your images. Dave wrote a brief essay on this, with some general guidelines, and suggestions for how to decide what image size will work best for your camera/scanner/printer combination. Check out "How big can I print it?" for more info on this frequently-puzzling topic! (Special thanks to reader Gerald
Payne for his generous contribution!)

- Epson launches Stylus Color 740i! Epson has announced the release of its new Stylus Color 740i inkjet printer, which is billed as the first printer designed for the iMac and PowerMac G3. Essentially, the printer is a Stylus Color 740, wrapped in a "blueberry" colored case designed to match the iMac's love-it-or-hate-it coloring choices. Also available will be separate covers for the printer in grape, lime, tangerine or strawberry. The printer will retail for $279, and the extra covers will sell separately for $15 each. A $30 mail-in rebate will be offered on the printers initially.
- - auctions, ads and awards! No less than three separate press releases were distributed by online photography and digital imaging vendor yesterday!
First, cameraworld's new online auction service was announced. Not a new thing perhaps, but the best time to get to these auction sites is when they're young - once they become well-known then your chances of finding a bargain decrease thanks to the thousands of other prospective bidders competing with you. Check it out before it grows, and you might find something that really is a bargain!
cameraworld's second press release covers its first advertising campaign, currently running in the San Francisco area. 72 outdoor ads are supported by cable TV and newspaper ads are targetted at cameraworld's 20,000 bay area customers.
Finally, cameraworld announced that is has received a Portland, Oregon Chamber of Commerce Top Ten Growth award in the mid-sized company category. The award is presented annually by Oregon Business Magazine to companies showing exceptional sales and employee growth. According to the press release, cameraworld has increased its staff from 55 to 115, enabling 90% of all orders to be processed within 24 hours.
- Seattle Filmworks, GeoCities cooperate! A press release today from mail-order photofinisher Seattle Filmworks and web hosting service GeoCities announces their intention to cooperate in providing a way for GeoCities members to have their images scanned for use on their website. Seattle Filmworks recently announced its new service whereby all customers having film developed and printed by Seattle can also request the images be scanned free of charge, and an email be sent to them with details for downloading the images. According to the release, Seattle and GeoCities now intend to add to this the capability for images to be transferred directly from Seattle's server to GeoCities "GeoBuilder", the proprietary software GeoCities uses to allow members to create their content.
- Photohighway plans dialog with Alexis Gerard! A press release today from reveals plans for an online forum in which members and sponsors of their service can participate in scheduled discussions with Alexis Gerard, creator of the Future Image Report. PhotoDialog, as the service is to be called, will cover topics such as standardization issues, image archiving and retrieval, and more.
- Thanks for the correction! We received today an email from Duane Woodworth at Kodak correcting an error we made in an article a few days back:

"Your April 30 Industry News item (Kodak makes Consumer Imaging appointments!) stated that Kodak's Consumer Imaging business unit handles consumer digital cameras. That is not correct. Kodak's Digital and Applied Imaging business unit handles the consumer digital camera line. Refer to the following URL for links to info about both business units:"

My thanks to Duane for correcting this error, and apologies for any confusion that this may have caused our readers.

Monday, May 3, 1999

May 03 - Epson cuts prices, Sienna acquires Dicomed technology!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, May 3, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)

- Epson cuts PhotoPC 750Z prices! Epson has today announced a price-cut for its PhotoPC 750Z digital camera. The 1.25 megapixel unit, which has a 3x optical zoom, CompactFlash storage, solar-assisted LCD backlight and support for Epson's optional Image Authentication System, has been reduced from US$799 to US$699, a fall of about 15%. On a related topic, reader J. David Eisenberg emailed with news that he's completed a review of his PhotoPC 750Z, which he purchased from for an excellent $515! He found the camera to offer good picture quality, and liked the software bundle and solar-assist LCD, but found the zoom sluggish and the manuals to be poor. He also notes a design error in Epson's user interface for the unit, which whilst not fatal is certainly annoying...naturalsizeflag="0">
- Sienna Imaging acquires Dicomed technology! Englewood, Colorado company Sienna Imaging has today announced that is has acquired Dicomed's digital camera technology, and hired Dicomed's product development team, with intentions of releasing its own line of digital cameras under the Dicomed name later this year. Dicomed will remain in business, and continue to support its Big Shot and Pro Series scanning cameras itself. Although Dicomed's name and logo will be used on Sienna's new cameras, Dicomed will not be involved in the sales or support of any of the cameras.Thanks to the PMAI Newsline for this item!



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!