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Wednesday, June 30, 1999
June 30 - Oly C-21 update on PC-Watch, BIG battery pack, ClubPhoto in the news, and more...
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, June 30, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- More info on the Olympus C-21! - This may well be a case of Dave adopting a jaundiced viewpoint simply because he's too busy to get into a full translation from the Japanese, but the information in PC-Watch's updated piece on the new Olympus C-21 (announced as to be available in Japan only, at this point) holds little new data. One point we noticed in the data sheet for the unit, but neglected to report on in our previous coverage, is that the camera uses white-light LEDs for the backlight on the LCD screen, apparently reducing power consumption. PC Watch's pro-photographer reviewer Yamada appeared to like the color more than the prior (and excellent) C-2000 Zoom, and also found the C-21's automatic ISO-switching to be very handy for shooting under variable lighting conditions. He objected rather strongly though, to the user interface, which requires users to enter the LCD menu system to control such common functions as macro shooting mode and flash modes. He
also had some complaints about overly-small pushbuttons on the camera body. (Overall, this looks like an excellent compact 2 megapixel digicam though, and it appears that it will have a (Japanese) street price near $570 US. We look forward to the possibility of it's becoming available in the US.)
-BIG Battery Pack! - We received an email on this yesterday, but it didn't quite make it into that day's news update: Unity Digital is offering a high-capacity NiMH battery pack, with about twice the capacity of the highest-capacity NiMH AA cells (2450 mAh). The idea is to carry it clipped to your waist, with a slim power cable plugging into the camera's auxiliary power jack. Steve of Steve's Digicams reviewed it, and liked it a lot, having the following to say: "I give the ProPower battery pack a rating of 5 (out of a possible 5) digicams! It's a small, well-built, external battery pack that gives you plenty of picture taking power, even for today's multi-megapixel power guzzlers. NiMH packs can be recharged at least a 1,000 times so this means a substantial savings over
one-use, throwaway batteries!" At $99.95, it's not cheap, and we'd personally probably favor just having an extra set of AAs along. On the other hand, there are definitely times when you don't want to take time out to swap batteries, and the Unity product would be just the ticket for that! Time permitting, we'll try to review a unit to get our own take on it in the near future...
- ClubPhoto in the news! - Gosh, even some of the print magazines (or at least their on-line counterparts) are getting the idea: This 'web stuff is pretty cool! Two very positive articles on the ClubPhoto online photo-sharing system just appeared, on Internet World and ZDNet. The Internet World article was a little more in-depth, but both are worth reading. Internet World makes an analogy to Ebay, which sounded like a goofy idea at first, but then turned out to be worth about $3 billion. For our part, we liken ClubPhoto more to the Hotmail free-email concept (which was "only" worth $400 million), but it's definitely cool! Expect us to harp on this quite a bit over the next months, it's clearly a whole new angle on how to share your pictures, and really
makes a LOT of sense! (Plus, it's free and really easy.) Check it out!
- Nikon Auxiliary Lenses, anyone?? - We never got to test the wide-angle, fisheye, or teleconverter auxiliarly lenses with the CoolPix 950 when we had it in-house, and have had several queries from readers interested in these optics. The latest is from Bob Duke, who's about to take the plunge for a camera, and wants to know how well these lenses perform: If anyone out there has some sample images taken with any of the Nikon auxiliary lenses, post a few in an album on ir.clubphoto.com, drop us an email, and we'll not only let Bob know where they're at, but put links in to the 950's review, so everyone can see! (This is a good example of how the community can help each other out, doing far more than we'd ever be able to do on our own!)
- One from Steve: In the swirl of baton-passing and back-from-vacation, we missed the first of these: Samsung has formally announced two new digicam models (well, actually 3), the 1.5 megapixel Digimax 150, and the aptly-named megapixel spy-camera lookalike, the Samsung 007. (Samsung has also announced the Digimax 800K an 800K-pixel design). Other than the sleek-looking 007, these are fairly "typical" designs, which we saw under non-disclosure 'way back at PMA in mid-February. The big news here though, is the incredible market clout that Samsung wields in the conventional point & shoot camera business, and the breadth of distribution (and mass-production capability) they bring to the table. If they seriously get behind their
digital offerings, Samsung could have a huge impact on the market, potentially becoming a value leader overnight. (We'll see if we can smoke out more info on these camera, perhaps even get a unit or two to review.) Meanwhile, check Steve's Digicams for pictures of the '150 and '007.
- Another from Steve: Just before Dave's vacation, we posted a "first look" review of the new super-compact Canon PowerShot A50, and now Steve Saunders has followed with his own user review of this product. We liked the A50 quite a bit, and Steve did too, having the following to say: "For an average retail of $500 the Canon A50 offers a good value to consumers. I would recommend buying the optional rechargeable battery, charger and DC power coupler kit for another $100 to really finish the spackage. Most people will think you are using a Canon Elph film camera until you turn it around and show them their picture on the LCD screen. Without reservation I can recommend this camera to anyone who needs a pocket-sized megapixel, it's a winner!" Stay tuned for the full Imaging Resource review soon, possibly sometime next week. "/ART/SPACE.GIF" align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- (Almost) makes me wish we were hosted on a Mac... - This just in from Kim Beardsley at Extensis Corp: "Striving to keep those publishing content to the Web as up-to-date as possible, Extensis Portfolio Web Edition 4.1 now supports the latest WebSTAR Server Suite 4.0. Working in conjunction with this leading Macintosh Web server technology, Portfolio Web Edition allows users to quickly and easily publish Portfolio catalogs to the Web - without any scripting. Additionally, customers and partners can search and view published data with only a Web browser." This is pretty cool, at least for people using Mac-based WebStar servers! Extensis has been one of my personal favorite software companies for a long time (hopefully, we'll get to review some of their excellent products soon). Portfolio is a really great, industrial-strength, but easy-to-use image database program. This
direct integration with a web server looks to be pretty slick as well! -Thanks, Kim!
Tuesday, June 29, 1999
June 29 - Fame (but sadly, no fortune) for reader Dave McClure!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, June 29, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Share your pictures & help the community! (Dave did) - We mentioned our partnership with the free photo-sharing site ClubPhoto a couple of weeks back. We've now put placeholders into the top ~20 product reviews on the site, so we can list albums of our reader's own sample pictures under each review. Our standardized test shots provide a reliable way to do true "apples to apples" comparisons between different digicams and scanners, but we'll be the first to admit they're not very artistic! ;) Wouldn't it be great to be able to see sample shots from a LOT of folks, all in one place? Glad you asked! - You can share your own pictures easily (really easily!) and for free (our favorite word) by visiting http://ir.clubphoto.com/ and signing up for free on-line photo album space. If you're a Windows user (Mac version
coming), be sure to download the free (there's that word again) Living Album software: It makes organizing your pictures and publishing albums super easy! Check it out! (And check out Dave McClure's shots taken with his Olympus C-2000 Zoom camera. - A couple of great shots of some vintage warplanes, and a surprisingly good freeze-frame of whirling chopper blades! - Seems like 1/750 is plenty fast enough to stop even very rapidly moving objects!) Thanks, Dave! (Now, the rest of you join in!)
- Too cool to wait for tomorrow! - The ever-resourceful Max Lyons of TawbaWare (Thumber) fame has come up with a new one: The double-teleconverter. (tele double-converter?) He managed to stack both a standard Nikon 2x teleconverter together with a Tiffen 1.5x (actually ~1.3x, according to Max). The result is a mondo 2.6x teleconverter that doesn't even require unreasonable manual dexterity to slap together. Image quality leaves a bit to be desired, particularly along the bottom of the frame, but it's a fairly cheap way to get a really long tele! Visit his page to see how he put it together, and how it works! - I got such a kick out of this one, I just had to post it now, even though it's about 1:30AM as I write this... (Thanks, Max!)
Monday, June 28, 1999
June 28 - New digicams in Japan, legal finesse in bankruptcy court...
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, June 28, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- New 2.1 MP Digicam From Oly Japan! - Olympus Japan announced a new digicam today. The C-21 appears to be a fixed focal-length (38mm, f/2.4) version of the C-2000Z, at a substantially lower price (89,000 Yen, or $732 USD at today's latest conversion rate.) This selling price appears to be a fair bit higher than that of some competing units, notably the Nikon CoolPix 700 and Fuji MX-2700. Availability is set for early August in Japan, no announcement has yet been made in the US as to whether the new camera will migrate to these shores. For those interested, PC Watch has some samples posted from a "beta" unit, on their web site. - The images look to be pretty high quality, but several shots with objects against bright backgrounds show some
chromatic aberration. Check out the incredible detail in the macro shot of the pink flowers though! (Sorry, no links to the pics themselves, as they're copyright PC Watch - click the link above to get to their page.)
The new camera is very compact, at only 105.5 x 35.5 x 62.3mm (~4.2 x 1.4 x 2.5 inches) and 190 grams (~10 ounces), making it one of the smallest on the market. Like all other Olympus cameras to date, the C-21 uses a standard RS-232 serial connection, rather than the newer USB port. Olympus instead recommends their newly-announced USB SmartMedia card reader. This is consistent with Olympus' position on USB, as conveyed to us in Dave's luncheon meeting with Mr. Kojima in New York: Olympus views USB as essentially an interim interface standard, and is focusing their own efforts on higher-speed interfaces that they feel have more long-term utility. (Presumably FireWire.) They also prefer the operating aesthetics of a camera untethered from the computer, with a very high-speed card reader attached as a computer peripheral. The C-21 appears to be an expression of this philosophy. Here's a list of other key camera features (I'm not as good as Mike at the Japanese translation, so
there are some questions here, as noted):
- 2.1 megapixel, 1/2 CCD (1600x1200, 1024x768, and 640x480 image sizes)
- "Digital Zoom" ratios of 1.6x, 2x, 2.5x
- Focusing range: 60cm-infinity normal, down to 15-60cm in macro mode
- Focus lock at infinity, 2.5, or 0.2 meters
- Apertures of f/2.4 and f/8.0 (sounds like just 2 apertures, rather than a continuous range as in the C-2000)
- Shutter speeds from 1/2 to 1/750 seconds
- "Digital ESP" (matrix evaluative?) and spot metering
- +/- 2EV exposure compensation in 1/3 EV steps
- ISO sensitivity from 100-400, either manual or automatic
- 4 white balance modes
- 4-mode internal flash, more powerful than most, with 4.4 meter (14 foot) range and 6-xecond flash charge time.
- Both optical and LCD viewfinders. LCD is 1.8", 114 KPixels (sharp!)
- Optional TIFF capture at highest resolution, or 2 JPEG-compressed quality settings.
- SmartMedia storage, 8MB card included. (Data sheet states up to 32MB cards supported, but Olympus has told us that all 32-meg-capable cameras will support up to 128 MB cards without modification. 32MB is just the largest provided by Olympus at this juncture.)
- VERY fast startup time of ~1-2 seconds
- Burst mode recording: ~1 fps in HQ mode for 5 frames, ~1.5 fps in SQ/XGA mode for 45 frames(!)
- Powered by CR-V3 Lithium battery (non-rechargeable?) or optional NiMH battery pack/AC Adapter
- FotoWire announces minilab software system. FotoWire of Geneva Switzerland has for some time had the only internet-based network for ordering photo-paper prints from digital files. (The two licensees in the US are SignatureColor (http://www.signaturecolor.com/) and Mystic Color Labs (http://www.mysticcolorlab.com/).) They've now announced a software system designed to allow minilabs to accept digital images over-the-counter, directly from customers' SmartMedia or CompactFlash memory cards. The FotoWire RS system appears to be a software option to FotoWire's existing photo print automation system. We suspect that system integration of hardware and software will be a key issue for most lab owners though, and the press release made no mention of whether this service was provided or notwidth="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Flash memory surges, '99 shipments to exceed $3 Billion! At first blush, this sounds like a LOT of "digital film," but it turns out the figure is for ALL flash memory uses, which includes a vast range of consumer applications, from games to cell phones. Still, bigger volume overall means lower prices for you and me! ;)
- ArcSoft backs out of LivePicture acquisition. - The latest chapter in the bankruptcy proceedings of Live Picture is that ArcSoft has backed away from a previously-announced intent to purchase Live Picture's assets. The press release makes for interesting reading: According to ArcSoft's attorney in the matter, there was a "secret deal" negotiated between a major shareholder of Live Picture and MGI, the other player in the drama, apparently *months* prior to the Live Picture bankruptcy filing. We won't try to repeat the full story here, but the ArcSoft press release describes a rather interesting sequence of events and relationships prior to the bankruptcy filing... ArcSoft's aquisition of Live Picture's assets would have fit into a larger plan of much-expanded internet activity (note: watch ArcSoft in the months to come, there should be some interesting internet stuff happening there), but for now, they're
wearing a game face, and saying that the Live Picture assets wouldn't have amounted to a very big piece of their planned activity.
- Paint it Black! - This one courtesy of the Digital Photography Review: Sony has announced a black version of their just-now-shipping-in-the-US F55 2 megapixel compact digicam. No evident differences in specs, other than a apparently slightly higher price.
Sunday, June 27, 1999
June 27 - Dave's Summer Vacation, Nikon cable release, more to come later...
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, June 27, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Dave & Mike pass the baton... Fortunate timing has Dave back in town, just as Mike had to leave on family business. Wowsers! - No way am I going to be able to maintain Mike's standard on the news though! (Multi-thousand word translations of Japanese product reviews, for pete's sake...) I'm still getting my feet under me, but have at least managed to answer most of the ~400 emails that were waiting, despite Mike's excellent fielding of much of the more routine correspondence. Vacation was great, not the least because I finally got to actually play with some of the wonderful technology we're constantly reviewing: I had along an Olympus C-2000 Zoom camera, courtesy of Olympus (I may just have to end up owning one of these!), along with both 16 and 32-meg SmartMedia cards, the latter courtesy IR advertiser d-store. Also in the kit were an Iomega Clik! drive, and a nifty macro/panorama tripod head from Velbon. I'll be
writing up my experiences with the Clik! and Velbon setup in the days/weeks to come, but can report that I really liked both products a lot. - There's been some comment on the Clik! on the 'net to the effect of "Who really needs it, now that memory cards as large as 32 meg (SmartMedia) and 96 meg (CompactFlash) are available?" (The Clik! drive stores 40 meg of data on tiny removable 2" disks. The Clik! Plus that I used includes a combination SmartMedia/CompactFlash reader that automatically dumps the contents of your cards onto the removable disks.) What I found was that the Clik! really, totally eliminates concerns about which shots to save and which to discard - I just saved everything, and all at the SHQ JPEG setting of the C-2000, for maximum quality. I ended up with ~200 meg of digital photos, and didn't have to lug along a laptop to offload onto! Also, we did a lot of hiking, and for the sake of a few extra ounces, the Clik! let me shoot as much as I
wanted, all day long, miles from nowhere, without thinking about memory card capacity. I'll write up a full report on it later, but as you can gather, my experience was pretty positive!
The Velbon Macro Slider/Panorama head was another nifty addition - We have a fairly extensive article planned on panorama shooting in the near future, but a quick note for now: One of the keys to getting easily "stitchable" shots for use in making panoramas is to rotate the camera/lens assembly about it's optical center, or "nodal point." This is usually a point somewhere in the middle of the lens, offset by an inch or two in both directions from the camera's tripod mount. Thus, if you just stick the camera on a tripod and swivel the pan head to take your shots, you'll end up having real problems getting the images to stitch cleanly. There are several setups available on the market for achieving the proper offset between camera and tripod head, but the Velbon gadget is one of the most versatile I've seen: It's an adaptation of their "macro slider" head, which lets you move the camera in small, precise increments for fine adjustments during macro shooting. By adding a
bracket to this, they've made a very versatile panorama head, with the original "macro slider" capability left intact as a nice bonus. We first saw this setup at Spring PMA back in February, and it's now just beginning to ship in "official" kits. You may have to pester your photo dealer to get them, as the part numbers are just now entering Hokuba's (the name of the company who sells products under the Velbon name in the US) product line. Again, more details to follow, but we think Velbon (well, Hokuba, actually) has a real winner with this gadget.
- Lunch with Olympus - Thanks to a lunch invite, I ended up doing something I'd swore I wouldn't do: Break into my long-awaited vacation for business affairs! This was an opportunity I just couldn't turn down though: Olympus invited me to lunch with Mr. Yusuke (Joe) Kojima, Masamichi (Michael) Handa, and Ben LaMarca in New York, as part of the PC Expo show. Mr. Kojima is the General Manager of Digital Imaging for all of Olympus (worldwide), and Mr. Handa is the Group Vice President in the US. Ben LaMarca runs the US digital imaging operation. Wow! What a great opportunity to get some real insight into Olympus' thinking about the digital photography market, & so much for previous resolutions about sacrosanct vacation-time! The bottom line was I took a day out of the vacation to fly to New York for lunch. (Yeesh, is this the jet-setting 90's or what?) It turned out to be a very worthwhile trip, and I plan to write up some of the discussion that ensued as soon as I
can put out the other fires that are burning my figurative toes. (As just a bit of a tease, I got answers to questions like "Why no full-manual mode on the C-2000Z?", and "Where's the USB?".) Needless to say, I'm very appreciative to Olympus & Msrs Kojima, Handa, and LaMarca for setting aside time for this meeting! (Unfortunately, my schedule didn't really permit any additional scanning of the show, so I don't have any fresh info on other happenings in and around PC Expo.)
- Nifty Nikon Cable Release! - This one is courtesy Steve's Digicams: Reader Nigel Bisset of Australia invented inexpensive and easy to fabricate cable release brackets for the Nikon Coolpix 900, 900s and 950 cameras. Check out Nigel's web site for details. (These look like really simple, elegant solutions to the "missing" cable release on the 900 & 950!)
Friday, June 25, 1999
June 25 - Sony DSC-D770 - the full story! Also, new Sanyo digicam, Kodak DC240 upgrade, and much more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, June 25, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Mike's snowed under! Yikes! There's been far too much happening for me to keep up with the last few days, with Dave off on vacation, and various emergencies of one sort or another at home! Now, I'm off to Tennessee for a few days to visit my mother-in-law who had to go into hospital for surgery, as well... The upshot of all this is that the news has suffered a little the last couple of days, with work and preparations coming out of my ears! Here, though, is a brief roundup of the news from the last couple of days. I'll be off on vacation from this evening until Thursday of next week, with things in Dave's capable hands from when he returns on Sunday... -- Mike
- Sony's camera of many names... We can now clarify some of the rumours we've heard about Sony's DSC-D700 digital camera, and replacements for it. The DSC-D700 is now discontinued from what we hear, with the replacement camera, the DSC-D770 waiting in the wings to fill the void. New features of the D770 include a histogram function (check Steve's Digicams for a photo from the 3-page preliminary specs sheet we've seen), Guideline function (which adds markings on the LCD display at predetermined positions, to aid in lining up a photo accurately - examples here), improved AE focus, focus detect beep sound, ISO 50, 100 and 400 settings, faster MemoryStick adapter card, a new digital 2X zoom in Cam mode, grey plastic casing, and the Sony logo has been changed from a silk-print logo to a solid, raised profile logo. We've also heard that the new D770 has a revised algorithm that should
provide slightly sharper pictures, something that would undoubtedly be popular, being one of the few complaints I've seen raised against the D700 along with the manual focusing issues.
From what we're aware, there are no plans to provide an upgrade path from the DSC-D700 to the DSC-D770, understandably because the cameras are extremely similar with a few differences mostly in hardware. Sony Japan now has a page up for the new DSC-D770, which is due to ship in Japan on July 10 at a price of 235,000 yen (15,000 yen for an optional accessory pack) according to the PC Watch website. One thing the DSC-D770 does not add is firewire connectivity. So where did all the confusion over this camera's features hail from? First, a little history is called for...
Sony's DSC-D700 was originally designed for use by professional photographers, by Sony's Electronic Photography Products group (EPP). However, at around the same time as Sony EPP was readying its camera, Sony's commercial division needed a camera capable of taking on Canon's PowerShot Pro70 and Nikon's Coolpix900. Hence, the decision was made that both divisions would sell the D700, whilst the EPP folks would work on an upgraded version of the D700 to be known as the DKC-FP3. This camera is the one seen at PMA and other shows, which added firewire connectivity and more, and was never intended to compete with the D700. The DKC-FP3 is still planned for release later this year, although it will be at a pricemark higher than the D700.
So where does the DSC-D700 fit into all this? Well, Sony wisely decided that whilst many of the features in the DKC-FP3 were too expensive to include in a revision of the D700, there were also significant features that could be included without excessive cost - and so decided that these features should be made available swiftly, to improve the camera's useability. Hence, a number of the features (as mentioned above) for the DKC-FP3 were added to a revised version of the DSC-D700, officially called the DSC-D770. So - now you know! :) Check out Sony's DSC-D770 site here (with pictures of the camera from all angles here!)
- Latest Japanese price figures released! PC Watch has released its latest pricing data for the Japanese market! Whilst Mike doesn't have time to translate the whole table, a brief scan notes a 20,000 yen price drop for the Olympus C-1400XL (now 69,800 yen), a 5,000 yen price drop to 34,800 for the Sanyo DSC-X110, and a 10,000 yen price drop for Ricoh's new RDC-5000 to 69,800 yen. The big news this fortnight is the number of new releases - Fuji's FinePix2900Z has hit the Japanese stores at a price of 79,800 yen, Kyocera's Samurai 2100DG enters at 94,800 yen, Konica's Q-M200 enters at 64,800 yen, Sony's MVC-FD88K enters at 89,800 yen, Fuji's FinePix1500 enters at 49,800 yen, and finally the Sony MVC-FD83K enters at 74,800 yen.
- Sanyo announces 1.5 megapixel DSC-SX150! Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. has announced its new 1.5 megapixel DSC-SX150 digital camera, according to PC Watch! The new unit can take pictures at 1,360 x 1,024, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 or 160 x 120 pixels, as well as a burst-mode up to 7.5 frames/second (!), as well as a shot-shot time of 0.7-0.9 seconds (sorry, difficult to translate! :) The unit, which uses CompactFlash+ TypeII storage, can also record video in QuickTime MOV format, at 15 frames/second in 640 x 480, 320 x 240 or 160 x 120 pixel resolutions. the unit also has a microphone, 1.8 inch LCD, built-in flash, and uses 2 AA NiCAD batteries.
- Kodak DC240 upgrade! We've not had time to examine this ourselves yet, but IR readers Rommel P Feria and Jaroslaw Kaczynski both kindly emailed to let us know that the Kodak DC240 upgrade, which we reported was on the way some time back, has now arrived! Thanks, guys!
- BizWire looks at Flash media! An article today on BusinessWire looks at different types of Flash storage available on the market at the moment. The article mostly compares Sony's MemoryStick media with CompactFlash and CompactFlash+, noting that MemoryStick is "really only relegated to Sony's own products", CompactFlash prices "range from $70 to $300, nearly as much as an inexpensive digital camera", and IBM's CompactFlash+ MicroDrive "is expensive, costing $495 for a hard disk and an adapter that enables users to use the device". Somewhat cutting is a comment from International Data Corp analyst Kevin Kane, "I don't necessarily consider MicroDrive a viable option for cameras. If you drop it, there's a good chance you're going to lose what's on there." Ouch!
- MGI bundles software with Minton! A press release from MGI Software Corp. announces that is has signed an agreement to bundle its MGI PhotoSuite software with digital cameras made by Taiwanese manufacturer Minton Optic Industry. Amongst others, Minton's cameras are sold rebadged by Samsung Electronics, and the deal covers not only cameras sold by Minton, but also these rebadged units.
- IPIX announces starter kits! Interactive Pictures Corp. has announced that it has begun selling new digital camera kits based on Nikon Coolpix 950 and 700 digital cameras, along with IPIX' Wizard 2.1 software for creating 360 x 360-degree images. The kits are available immediately, starting at $350 for a starter kit and scale to $2,150 for professional multimedia offerings.
- Adobe and ecircles.com ally! A press release announces that Adobe, which recently announced its new Adobe ActiveShare photo-sharing software, has agreed to cooperate with online community site ecircles.com. Pictures, once uploaded to Adobe's ActiveShare site, will be available for sharing in the ecircles.com community.
- Digital Eyes reviews Mustek VDC-300! The good folks over at Digital Eyes have completed a review of Mustek's VDC-300 digital camera, concluding "The Mustek VDC-300 is light, well made, and easy to operate. Unfortunately, we can't recommend a camera with this many limitations, although it is certain that a lot of folks will buy it and have a good time with it." Check it out!
- Olympus takes you deeper! Olympus has introduced a new watertight camera, adding to its existing Aqua Case PT-002 which protected the C420L to C-840L cameras in water down to 3 meters. The new case, Aqua Case PT-003, takes the Olympus C-900 Zoom much, much deeper - all the way down to 30 meters, plenty enough for most of us! Also of note is that these camera cases, being waterproof, are also excellent protection for your camera on land too!Thanks to digitalkamera.de for this story!
Tuesday, June 22, 1999
June 22 - Part III, all the rest of today's news!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, June 22, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Nikon and Hard Rock at Rockfest '99! A press release today from Nikon Inc. announces that on June 5, the digital camera manufacturer joined forces with Hard Rock Cafe, equipping 20 Hard Rock photographers with Nikon's Coolpix950 digital cameras to document Rockfest '99 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Acts performing included Better Than Ezra, Third Eye Blind, Sugar Ray and Collective Soul, and with more than 127,000 fans in attendance, Hard Rock's photographers took over 5,000 photos which were posted to the Hard Rock Cafe website. 5 Coolpix 950s were given away on the website, and over 1500 fans at the show took home digital print souvenirs from Nikon's pavilion, where they could pose in front of a Coolpix950 and see the camera in action!
- Nikon extends Scanner rebate program! Another press release from Nikon Inc. today announces that it has officially extended its $150 rebate program on the Super Coolscan2000 and CoolscanIII film scanners, due to expire June 30, to run thru September 30, 1999. Customers who purchase the scanner up until this date will now also be eligible to receive the $150 rebate by mail, when they fill in the rebate form available from Authorised Nikon Dealers or the Nikon website.
- PhotoPoint.com and Digital Camera Magazine partnership! Online photo-sharing website has today announced a deal at PC Expo New York with Digital Camera Magazine, published by the Aeon Publishing Group. Under the agreement, Pantellic Software, which owns and operates PhotoPoint, will purchase an equity stake in Digital Camera Magazine, as well as sponsoring sections of the magazine focused on photo-sharing, processing and imaging on the Internet. In return, PhotoPoint will have exclusive on-line rights to Digital Camera Magazine's editorial content, product reviews, columns, features, etc.
- Flashpoint and PhotoPoint announce partnership! A press release from Flashpoint Technology Inc., creators of the Digita Operating System used in certain digital cameras, and online photo-sharing website PhotoPoint.com announces that the two companies have formed a partnership aimed at creating a photo-sharing website for users of Digita-enabled cameras. According to the press release, the website will "[simplify] the process of submitting Digita photographs, by leveraging the built-in intelligence to create and organize interactive Web albums and broadcast e-mail announcements". The site will also feature news, information and products of interest to Digita-based camera owners, as well as discussion boards and a public photo gallery.
- NewSoft announces OfficeExpress 2000! Software company NewSoft Inc. today announced that it has integrated TWAIN acquire and basic image editing functionality into Microsoft Office with its new OfficeExpress 2000 product. OfficeExpress' Scan Navigator module supports importing from any TWAIN-compliant device, including scanners and digital cameras, an OCR-module handles character recognition, and the Image Retouching module offers basic capabilities such as brightness, contrast, saturation and focus modifications, as well as the ability to control color tint by dragging the mouse pointer in a color wheel to cast the specified color to the image. OfficeExpress2000 works with Microsoft Office 97 or 2000, and has a street price of $49.95.
- Wind River Systems and Digital Intelligence cooperate! We've mentioned software company Digital Intelligence several times in the last few days, it seems, and news today is that Digital Intelligence now plans to port its PictureIQ technology to Wind River Systems' VxWorks real-time operating system! For those of you that haven't seen mention of PictureIQ, essentially it incorporates Adobe PhotoShop technology into a range of devices including photo printers, handheld machines, set-top boxes, game consoles and more.
- 36 companies attend Digital Focus99! A press release today from Digital Focus summarises the Digital Focus '99 @ NYC event, held alongside the PC Expo show in New York yesterday. More than 400 members of the press and analysts attended the event, held at Apogee's Tribeca Rooftop, to see demonstrations by the likes of Adobe, Agfa, Caere, Canon, Club Photo, Epson, FlashPoint, Fuji, Hewlett Packard, Intel, IXLA, Jasc, Lexar Media, Lexmark, Minolta, Mitsubishi, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Polaroid, SanDisk, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Xerox and many more. A Nikon Coolpix700 digital camera was raffled off at the event, with the option of the prize being donated to charity in the name of the winner...
June 22 - Part II, New digital cameras from Kodak and Toshiba!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, June 22, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Kodak announces DC280J Zoom! Kodak Japan has announced a new 2 megapixel digital camera based on the Kodak DC240 Zoom, according to the PC Watch website! The DC280J has a 2.06 megapixel CCD, a new F3.0-3.8 2x optical zoom lens equivalent to a 30-60mm zoom on a 35mm film camera, and can focus down to 0.5 meters (0.25 meters in Macro mode). Also included are an optical and a 1.8-inch LCD display, NTSC/PAL video outputs, USB and serial connectivity, and CompactFlash storage (an 8MB CF card is bundled with the camera). Picture sizes are 1,760 x 1,168 or 892 x 592 pixels, and the camera conforms to DCF and DPOF. The DC280J has a range of shutter speeds from 1/2 second to 1/755 second, an ISO rating of 140,
exposure compensation in 0.5EV steps, exposure lock, and auto / daylight / fluorescent / incandescent white-balance settings. It is due to ship in Japan on July 23rd at an estimated street price of 90,000 yen (US$746), and weighs 342 grams without battery in what looks to be the same 133 x 52 x 76mm case as Kodak's DC240 Zoom.Picture courtesy of the PC Watch website!
- Toshiba announces 2-megapixel PDR-M5! Toshiba has announced its new 2.14 megapixel PDR-M5 digital camera at the PC Expo show in New York today! The unit, which features a 3x optical zoom lens equivalent to a 38-115mm zoom on a 35mm film camera, is based on a 1/2" 2.14 megapixel CCD, offering 1600 x 1200 resolution and a rather speedy burst-mode allowing 4 full-resolution pictures to be shot at 0.5 second intervals thanks to 16MB of buffer memory. The camera can take pictures up to the available card capacity at 0.8 seconds per shot, and has an aspherical, autofocus, 8-piece all-glass lens (F5.8/F5.5) which can focus down to 20 inches (4-20 inches in super macro mode). Toshiba also mentions the use of its Image Perfect technology to allow "brilliant, true to life images even in low light environments". Other features of the camera include a 1.8" Hyper Amorphous-type LCD viewfinder (556 x 220 pixels),
SmartMedia storage up to 32MB, 2x digital zoom, upgradeable firmware to allow for 128MB SmartMedia, 4x playback zoom LCD, as well as slide-show and multi-image playback (9 photos on screen). A five-mode (automatic, red-eye reduction, forced-fill flash, slow synchro and force-off) flash is included, which has a range of up to 8 feet, and a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery should provide up to 200 shots with LCD and flash usage. An AC adapter (included) recharges the battery in the camera, and the camera weighs 13.4 ounces with dimensions of 5.1 x 3.1 x 2.8 inches. Bundled with the unit is a multi-platform CD software from Sierra Imaging for accessing, managing and enhancing digital photos. Also included is a rechargeable lithium battery; USB cable; RS-232C serial cables for PC and RS-422 serial cables for Macintosh; video-out cable; hand strap; and an 8MB SmartMedia Card. The Toshiba PDR-M5 should ship in August 1999 at an estimated street price of US$799.
June 22 - Filmless Photography Sweepstakes!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, June 22, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Filmless Photography Sweepstakes Announced! In conjunction with two other leading digital camera web sites, the Imaging Resource today announced the "Summer Filmless Photography Sweepstakes." The Sweepstakes is open to adult residents of the United States, age 18 or older, and runs from today through August 17. Prizes will consist of five Olympus C-2000 Zoom 2.1 megapixel digital cameras, valued at $999 each. Sweepstakes winners will be selected through a random drawing after the close of registration. "We're very pleased to announce this sweepstakes," said David Etchells, publisher of the Imaging Resource. "It will be broadly advertised on major internet portal and consumer-oriented sites, and we expect it to not only increase traffic to the sponsoring sites, but to significantly elevate consumer awareness of filmless photography as well. As a side benefit, demographic data collected through the sweepstakes registration process will help direct Olympus' own
marketing efforts in consumer digital imaging. We view this as a real win-win-win, with the sponsoring sites gaining great exposure, five lucky winners getting true state-of-the-art filmless digital cameras, and Olympus gaining valuable insights into the consumer digital imaging market."
The sweepstakes is being sponsored by the three leading digital photography web sites: The Imaging Resource, The Digital Camera Resource Page, and The Digital Photography Review. Interested parties may register for the sweepstakes by visiting any of the three sponsoring sites and clicking on an ad banner, or by clicking on banners advertising the sweepstakes which will appear on multiple portal and consumer-related sites around the internet. Each person may only register once from each site carrying the advertising banners, but may complete a separate registration form for each advertising site they click-through from. Full sweepstakes rules may be found on the registration form.
Monday, June 21, 1999
June 21 - PowerShot a50, PhotoSmartS20, C-2000ZOOM, DSC-D700 reviews, and lots more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, June 21, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Canon PowerShot A50 "First Look" posted! A super new "Digital ELPH" from Canon: The same form factor as the diminutive A5 & A5 Zoom, only now with a full 1.3 megapixels of resolution. Super resolution, great color, accurate exposure, and a true optical 2.5x zoom lens. - Another contender for the "Ultimate Portable Camera" crown! Check it out!A thousand thank-you's to IR Reader Don Cooper for spotting that, in the confusion before Dave's vacation, we missed announcing this and the following two news items!
- HP PhotoSmart S20 Scanner review posted! Wow! The original HP PhotoSmart Scanner was a great little unit, producing suprisingly good scans from a budget-priced scanner. It's main limitation was that you had to plug a SCSI adapter card into your computer to use it. The latest model, the S20, eliminates this obstacle, by using a slightly slower, but oh, so much easier to connect! No knocks against the scanner: USB speed proves perfectly serviceable, and where you'll really save time is in adjusting your images: The new PhotoSmart S20 was so remarkably accurate in its default scan settings, that many of our test shots needed NO adjustment at all! Amazing! - Check out the review of this little beauty!
- All Nikon CoolPix 950 and Olympus C-2000 Zoom pictures now updated. And finally, we missed mentioning this, although it's been done for quite a while now. We originally shot tests of both these cameras using prototype units. All images from both cameras have now been updated using full-production models. We also shot some "real life" outdoor night photos with both cameras, with excellent results! (The Oly's slightly faster lens and higher ISO rating helped produce higher shutter speeds for a given lighting level, but both cameras did very well! Check out the pictures pages for the Nikon CoolPix 950, and the Olympus C-2000 Zoom.
- Steve's Digicams posts Olympus C-2000ZOOM review! The folks over at Steve's Digicams have posted a review of Olympus' C-2000ZOOM digital camera over the weekend. To quote Steve, "I just finished up my Olympus C-2000Z Review am most impressed with this new 2.1 megapixel digicam. Sharp, colorful and well-exposed pictures, fast operation, simple user controls and a small and light form factor. Of special interest is the remote control that I have been begging the manufacturers to include with their cameras, congrats to Olympus for listening. Due to rather foul outdoor weather this week I have been unable to get all of my test shots taken so it will be another week before my sample pics are online." Check it out!
- Digital Photography Review posts Sony DSC-D700 review! Also out over the weekend was an excellent review of Sony's DSC-D700 digital camera by the folks over at the Digital Photography Review! Here's how Phil summarised the camera: "The D700 is a great camera, I can't take that away from it, nor would I want to. It offers the most flexibility of any digital camera available without paying $5,000+. Best of all, the manual controls are easy to access and the camera really becomes a workhorse for the photographer (rather than the other way around).
I really enjoyed using the D700 and as I'm comfortable with the idea of the digital darkroom (post-editting of images) was also happy with the images I got out of the camera.
It feels and looks like a "real camera" and you can happily use it with the top LCD and viewfinder alone, thus saving valuable battery life (up to 1.5 times longer in some cases)." Check it out!
- SanDisk expands to offer SmartMedia! Flash-memory manufacturer SanDisk Corporation has today announced its first foray into the manufacture of SmartMedia cards. The company already manufactures CompactFlash, PC Card and MultiMediaCard-format products, and with the introduction of SmartMedia to its lineup intends to become a single source of supply for all flash formats. No pricing or availability was announced.
- digitalkamera.de predicts rise in SmartMedia prices! The digitalkamera.de website in Germany has predicted a price rise in low-capacity SmartMedia cards, thanks to a huge rise in demand from both digital cameras and MP3 audio players. Also responsible is difficulties in the changeover to producing 32MB SmartMedia and, for Europeans, the sinking value of the Euro against the US dollar. Also a possibility, apparently, is a bottleneck in SmartMedia deliveries thanks to these same problems.
- Ricoh and ClubPhoto to document PC Expo! Online photo-sharing and -finishing website ClubPhoto and Ricoh Corp's PC Peripherals Business Unit have today announced that they will be joining forces to cover the PC Expo show in New York in a special series of photo albums on ClubPhoto's website. Company spokespersons will "comb the show floor", taking photos with Ricoh's new 2.3 megapixel RDC-5000 digital camera, and post them throughout the show thru ClubPhoto's service. One attendee on each of the three days the show runs (June 22-24) will win an RDC-5000 digital camera when they register at Booth 0722!
- Iomega and Digital Intelligence join forces! A press release today from portable storage company Iomega and digital imaging software company Digital Intelligence announces plans for the two to cooperate on their PC-less digital imaging solutions. The two companies have been developing what they rerm Beyond-PC devices, with Iomega's ZIP devices for printers, scanners, set-top boxes and more as well as Clik! drives that can be connected directly to digital cameras and the suchlike, whilst Digital Intelligence for its part has ported technologies from PhotoShop to platforms like handheld devices, set-top boxes, games consoles and more. The two companies have now signed a strategic agreement that will see them cooperating globally on marketing and development, and they will also both demonstrate example technologies at the Digital Living Room conference in Laguna Niquel, CA today and tomorrow."/ART/SPACE.GIF" align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Digital Intelligence licenses PictureIQ to Lexmark! A press release today from Digital Intelligence announces that it has licensed its technologies to printer-manufacturer Lexmark International for use in future PC-free Photo Printers. Using the technologies, Lexmark intends to create printers that "perform advanced digital photography functions, including the ability to edit, enhance, store and organize photos directly on the printer without the need for a personal computer".
- PhotoLoft.com and Hylas unite! A press release today from online photo-sharing sites PhotoLoft.com and Hylas International announces a new partnership between the sites. Both PhotoLoft and Hylas' site Photo-on-PC.com will provide links to each other, and PhotoLoft members will receive full access to the information on Photo-on-PC and Hylas' websites. In return, Hylas' members will receive a free PhotoLoft.com premium account (a $29.95 value).
- photohighway.com cooperates with Digital River; Active Research! Upcoming digital imaging website PhotoHighway.com has today announced two further additions to its website. First of all, a press release announces that PhotoHighway will be providing Active Research's Active Buyers Guide on the site. A separate release which isn't available on BizWire, but is on PhotoHighway's preview site, notes that Digital River will be selling products from its selection of over 100,000 digital products on the site.
- PictureWorks' MediaCenter "Hot Download" at 3COM! A press release today from PictureWorks Technology Inc. announces that its MediaCenter product has been made available by 3COM on its website. MediaCenter is a Media Manager working through the Internet Explorer browser, which allows users to browse, view, acquire, batch convert, edit and manage files in TIFF, BMP JPEG, WAV and AVI formats. 3COM has placed the program in the "What's Hot" section of its 3COM HomeConnect PC website, for users of its HomeConnect PC tethered digital camera.
Friday, June 18, 1999
June 18 - Part II, translation of PC Watch Nikon D1 article!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, June 18, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- PC Watch Nikon D1 article translation! As promised in our news item earlier on today, the following is a summary of the Japanese article published by PC Watch on the launch of Nikon's new D1 Pro SLR digital camera:
The reviewer (Yamada) begins by explaining that the very name "D1" has a story to tell about the digital camera; Nikon traditionally reserves the lowest numbers for its very best cameras, such as in the extremely popular Nikon F5. Nikon's choice, then, of the name D1 for the camera shows just how serious the company is about aiming for the very peak of digital SLR cameras with the new model.
Yamada continues to say that the camera was designed to be the fastest, the easiest to use and to offer the best picture quality available as its design concept, and that externally the camera looks essentially identical to that shown behind glass at PMA and Japanese camera shows.
What Yamada feels to be of the most impact, is the price and specification of the new camera. He comments that even though he has used the great majority of digital cameras with his own hands, the combination of these two factors made him draw in his breath (a reaction very similar to my own, hence proving that no matter what language they speak, people are the same around the world! -- Mike). Yamada feels that there is only one way to describe this groundbreaking camera - a digital SLR which "changes the age".
The article continues by repeating that the most incredible thing is the price of only 650,000 yen. Yamada compares this to what he feels previously led the class, Canon's D2000, a 2 megapixel SLR that costs triple what the 2.74 megapixel D1 will retail for. He points out that whilst the price is still far above what the average amateur can afford, the price-drop is still amazing. He continues by comparing the price to that of a 300mm F2.8 super-telephoto lens for a 35mm camera, which would cost around 500,000 yen, and notes that in fact, it is an "epoch-making" event that the camera has been priced low enough that even a few amateurs might be able to afford it.
Yamada continues by saying that the camera will likely have a very strong effect on the rest of the market, forcing down prices of other manufacturers SLRs and bringing SLR digital cameras into the mainstream, in much the same way as Fuji's 1.4 megapixel DS-300 assisted in bringing megapixel digital cameras into the mainstream. Thanks to the Nikon D1, the chances of real digital SLR cameras of this quality being available at half the price in another year or two just increased significantly...
The article continues by discussing the so-called "deep picture" capabilities offered by the camera, with its huge CCD much more sensitive to minute changes in the light, and hence able to capture much finer details. Yamada points out that whilst 2.74 megapixels as a number doesn't sound that impressive compared to the current crop of 2 megapixel cameras available, where the Nikon D1 wins is this very ability to capture slight changes in color and light that other cameras would miss, and turn what could be a very "flat" picture from another camera into what Nikon is calling a "deep picture".
Yamada feels the reason for this detail is simply because of the size of the CCD, the fact that with an area 12 times larger than that of the popular 1/2" CCDs used in consumer digital cameras, each individual element or "pixel" of the CCD measures 11.8 microns across, instead of the consumer digicam's 4 micron elements. When this is considered as an area, each element has almost 10 times the area (and hence "catches" 10 times as much light) as those in the consumer digicam. This increase gives rise to a much more advantageous signal/noise ratio...
Yamada notes that, even still, the CCD is not as big as a 35mm film frame, being nearer to the size of an APS frame. This gives rise to another issue which Pro digicam users will already be aware of - the fact that due to the smaller size of the light receptor (in the case of the digicam, the CCD), the lens captures a completely different picture to what a 35mm frame would capture. Hence, there is what's known as a focal length multiplier - a lens that would give a 70mm focal length on a normal 35mm film camera has to be multiplied by a factor of 1.5x (resulting in a 105mm lens) when used with the D1. This is common to basically all digital cameras, but does make it more difficult (and expensive) to have a very wide-angle digital camera lens.
Yamada praises the camera's 12-bit per color internals, noting that these probably also assist the camera in achieving such good pictures by allowing much more detail in highlights or shadows without under- or over-exposing the picture (which, in a digital camera, results in cropped values and lost details). Likewise the extra bits of color per pixel probably assist in more accurate white-balancing than would otherwise be possible. Yamada notes that the camera also has the capability to save the raw data from the CCD in 36-bit color is also an excellent option, allowing the absolute finest details captured by the camera to be retained...
Yamada continues by noting that, amazingly, the basic performance of the D1 is equal to Nikon's acclaimed F5 - no small feat. The camera was designed from the ground up to be a digital camera, unlike essentially every other Pro SLR on the market, and this fact is probably the reason behind the camera's performance, and certainly is the reason for the camera's comparitively light weight. The body is styled very similarly to the F5 at first glance, although apparently the base of the camera is more similar to Canon's D2000.
Basic operation is almost the same as the Nikon F5 and F100, with the camera able to take 4.5 frames per second (up to 21 frames) at full resolution, and even after this huge buffer is full the camera can continue to compress and store one frame every 0.8 seconds until the storage is full! The playback is equally speedy, with one full-resolution picture able to be displayed per second.
Particularly impressive is the highest shutter speed of 1/16,000 second, high for a 35mm camera, let alone a digital one. Equally impressive is the high 1/500 second maximum flash sync, and even the shutter lag of only 58ms is only slightly slower than using a film camera.
The camera uses a similar 5-point autofocusing system to the F5 and F100, and has an excellent viewing area through the viewfinder (about 96% of the actual picture), however one minor drawback is that the LCD cannot be used as a viewfinder simultaneously with the optical viewfinder, as the viewfinder uses a mirror to provide the optical viewfinder view, which obstructs the light from reaching the CCD. (Only one camera I'm aware of can do both at the same time, Sony's DSC-D700, due to its use of a light-splitting prism instead of a mirror -- Mike)
The camera has the same level of dustproofing as Nikon's F5, meaning it should be able to handle the harsh environments that might be expected of a Pro SLR, and IBMs newly released Microdrive CF+ cards can be used for storage thanks to the D1's ability to accept CF+ Type II cards. The battery (an NiMH type specific to Nikon) should be able to provide 1000+ shots on a charge.
Yamada notes that regrettably, most of those at the press conference were unable to try the camera out yet, as (similarly to previous shows), the unit was displayed behind glass, however he was able to try the camera out separately and hence can comment on the "feeling" of the camera. To quote, "The entire feeling is F5". (Couldn't have put it better myself! -- Mike). The shutter release felt very light and comfortable, and although the camera obviously has no film to feed and hence doesn't sound exactly the same as the F5, the fact that it has a moving mirror and the shutter could be cycled very quickly, it certainly sounds similar. Although it was difficult to describe, Yamada felt that all the speed of this camera made taking a photo feel more like a "real" camera, making it much easier to handle the camera overall, particularly when photographing a moving object. It was easy to frame objects correctly with the viewfinder, and the unit had a
5-point red light indicating which AF point was being used, similarly to the F100.
Yamada comments that the 2-inch Polysilicon TFT display is extremely useful for confirming that your picture came out correctly immediately after taking it, and that the ability to see a histogram immediately afterwards to see whether your picture was exposed correctly to capture every detail makes using the camera much "safer", too. Finally, Yamada comments that there are no real incompatibilities to be found with the Nikon D1 - if you're used to using the F5 or F100, you'll be right at home with this camera!
Yamada continues by looking at the picture quality, noting that this camera is in a totally different class to the other 2-megapixel cameras out there. He notes that, unfortunately, there are as yet no third-party sample images available to the general public, but that he intends to publish some as soon as he can. He does say, however, that the photos exhibited by Nikon were of considerable quality, with A4-sized prints from the camera absolutely faultless, and even a large number of A3-sized prints exhibited! He comments that the level of finish of these images is on a totally different level to every other 2-megapixel camera, even those still under development.
The article continues by noting that, even in comparison to other manufacturer's 6-megapixel cameras, when looking at Nikon's supplied test charts, it is hard to believe these cameras have more than double the resolution of Nikon's D1. Good color reproduction and an extremely wide dynamic range, both in light and shadows, as well as the Nikon's sharp resolution result in extremely impressive pictures. Yamada felt that it was amazing looking at a picture of a hotel in a snow-scene, and seeing every minute detail in both the highlights of the snow and the dark hotel windows, and notes that it was difficult to obtain these results with previous pro digicams, and they were completely absent from any consumer-level digicam...
In a portrait of a woman, he noted that every last hair was visible, and the tone and texture of the cheeks were true to life. He also noted that in this particular shot, the model was lit by natural light streaming through a window, as well as indoor lighting, and yet the white balance was still exquisite. Another picture, of a bridge in the late-afternoon light, showed again excellent color and white-balancing, and also demonstrated excellent sharpness even in far-away details, something that digital cameras have great difficulty reproducing.
According to Yamada, no opportunity was given to the public to make their own sample images, as Nikon is still fine-tuning the camera's software, and doesn't want to allow sample prints until it is absolutely sure that every aspect of the prints will show the quality Nikon is known for. Whilst it was possible for Yamada to obtain sample prints from Nikon which he could scan and place on the web (as has since been done by another site, as mentioned in today's news), he felt it better to wait until real sample photos can be published.
Yamada feels that the Nikon D1 has brought the world of digital SLRs with exchangeable lenses much, much closer to the end consumer, and Nikon's "deep pictures" have done far more to improve the picture quality of digital cameras than the relentless increase of pixel numbers that most manufacturers seem to be concentrating on. The camera produces pictures that simply couldn't be done before without huge amounts of work on a PC, and greatly speeds up the process of getting good photos prepared. The raw mode offered by the camera, however, offers those with the expertise even better results...
Whilst it might be debatable whether the camera is truly affordable depending on your use, Yamada feels that the low price of this camera will bring it into the reaches of many more people, and that the publishing, commercial photography and news industries will now begin to rapidly spread their use of digital cameras. Yamada feels also that the camera will have wide-reaching effects on not just other Pro SLR cameras, but even high-end consumer cameras and SLR cameras with fixed zoom lenses, helping the entire digital camera market to evolve. Yamada says he is very much looking forward to September, when the Nikon D1 goes on sale. So am I...!
Apologies for any inaccuracies that inevitably crept into this translation!
June 18 - Kodak announces DCS660, Adobe announces PhotoShot 5.5, Nikon D1 sample pics, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, June 18, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Kodak announces 6 Megapixel DCS660! Thanks to IR Reader Rommel P. Feria for emailing us with news of a new professional digital camera from Kodak, the DCS660! This new camera has a whopping 6 Megapixel resolution, and is based on a Nikon F5 camera body. The 6 Megapixel ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) CCD offers increased blue-channel response and greater color accuracy, with a final image size of 3040 x 2008 pixels. The camera also features optical anti-aliasing, calibrated color response and white balance, burst rates of 1 image per second (for three images), ISO 80-200, 36-bit color (12-bit per color), IEEE1394 interface, dual PC-card slots (1 Type II, 1 Type III), voice recording capabilities and Kodak's Histogram feature.Thanks to Rommel for this item!
- Kodak announces DC265 GPS Solutions Kit! Kodak has today announced its new Kodak DC265 Zoom GPS Solutions Kit. Consisting (as we exclusively reported June 16) of a Kodak DC265 Zoom camera, Garmin GPS III+, aluminum mounting bracket, interface cable and GPS Digita script, the kit is now available on the Kodak website for a price of US$1,999. The combination of hardware and software will automatically stamp images with latitude, longitude as well as the precise time and date as they are taken. A separate bundle for existing owners of the Kodak DC260 and DC265 is planned, at an as-yet unannounced price.
- Nikon D1 sample pics online - sort of! Thanks to the Digital Photography Review for pointing us towards the first sample pics from Nikon's recently announced D1 Pro SLR digital camera. The PixelZone website has posted two sample pictures from the camera, with a slight twist. The pictures come from a press package mailed to PixelZone and posted with Nikon's permission, and hence are actually scans of two Fuji Pictrograph prints of images from the camera. Hence, take note that whilst the pictures are certainly interesting, there is no way of knowing what was done to them before printing, and nor can scans of prints truly represent the quality of the camera's output. That said, check them out!
- PC Watch posts D1 article! The PC Watch website has posted an article on the Nikon D1 SLR Pro digital camera on its website today; we're just starting work on translation now, so expect another news update in a few hours with the details, but for now there are some pictures of the camera itself and of some (Japanese) charts from Nikon's presentation here.
- Adobe announces PhotoShop 5.5! Adobe Systems Inc. yesterday announced a new family of products, starting with the flagship Adobe PhotoShop 5.5! The lineup is to be demonstrated next week at PC Expo, New York.
PhotoShop 5.5, due to ship in July at a price of $609 ($129 after rebate for existing PhotoShop 5.0 and ImageReady 1.0 users) includes new web-ready features for optimizing and compressing graphics, "Live View" panels allowing the user to see the effects of compression options when saving and a new "lossy" GIF feature that optimizes graphics when saving as GIF files to reduce file-size by 10-50%. Also new are Background Eraser and Extract Image commands, easing transparencies and masking and making compositing one image on another background easier. Finally, there is the new Art History Brush, which "allows users to create an entirely new genre of images by interactively applying realistic paint strokes".
PhotoShop LE marks a new retail product for Adobe. Previously only available as an OEM-bundled program (sold with digicams, scanners and more), PhotoShop LE has now become part of Adobe's retail line, available in July at a cost of US$99. The program is being targetted at imaging enthusiasts and business users who don't need the full capabilities of PhotoShop 5.5.
Finally, there is the new Adobe ActiveShare and ActiveShare.com, Adobe's answer to the online photo-sharing market. The ActiveShare software will be offered as a download from ActiveShare.com in October 1999, and will also be bundled with digital cameras and scanners in late 1999 and early 2000. The ActiveShare software imports photos from a digital camera, scanner, or "other sources" with one click, and then provides basic photo editing, organization and albuming, as well as the ability to preview photos and albums as they're created. Comments can be stored with each image to facilitate searching, and images or albums can be sent as emails or posted to the ActiveShare.com website.
- Olympus announces USB SmartMedia reader! Olympus America Inc. yesterday announced its new Olympus USB SmartMedia Reader/Writer, a fast and portable solution for transferring images to a PC with USB connectivity. The device reads at speeds up to 1MB/second, and offers sustained write-speeds of 400KB/second, in a palm-sized 4" (H) x 0.5" (W) x 0.75" (D) package. According to Olympus, speed is maximized by keeping the USB reader separate from the camera, achieving higher throughput than designs that incorporate the USB connectivity into the camera itself. The unit should prove reliable, with no moving parts to fail, and can accept industry-standard SmartMedia cards (3.3v or 5v) from any vendor. The Olympus USB SmartMedia Reader/Writer will ship during July 1999 for $79.95, and is compativle with both Windows98 or MacOS8.1 or better. naturalsizeflag="0">
- Coolpix950 upgrade on the way! This item comes to us courtesy of the fine folks over at Steve's Digicams:
"According to information posted on the NikonUSA Support Board:
'The following information has been made available by Nikon Corporation Japan Nikon Corporation is preparing to supply an upgraded version of the Coolpix 950 firmware to improve the product operation. The firmware update will be available for free downloading from Nikon's USA Technical Support Site. The update is user installable. We expect the update to be made available in the middle of July. Additional information will be posted here as it is made available to Nikon's US offices by Nikon Corporation Japan.'"
- CEMA survey finds digicams a good gift! A survey by the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) has ranked the top consumer electronics items that Dad wants this Father's day, from a random telephone poll of 1,000 households. The survey found that whilst most Dads want a new PC (25%), second place shows that a digital camera or digital camcorder (15%) is another popular choice of Father's Day gift. Third place was a tie between DVD players and Color TVs (8% each), whilst cell-phones and pagers ranked 5th (with 6% of the vote).
- InMedia and d-store sign deal! A press release today announces that InMedia Presentations Inc., which hosts the PhotoChannel.com website, and online digital photography retailer d-store have signed a deal confirming d-store as the exclusive agent for all sales through the online PhotoChannel store. PhotoChannel.com has not yet officially opened, and the press release does not specify a planned date for the site to go live.
- Digital Intelligence to show at Digital Living Room! We mentioned digital imaging software company Digital Intelligence in a news item yesterday, and notice today that DI has announced plans to demonstrate its Picture IQ software (which incorporates Adobe PhotoShop technology into everything from set-top boxes to games consoles) at the upcoming Digital Living Room conference in California, June 21-22. Interesting!
Thursday, June 17, 1999
June 17 - New Kyocera 2.14 megapixel digicam, and lots more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, June 17, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Kyocera announces 2.14 megapixel digicam! Kyocera has announced its new 2.14 megapixel Samurai 2100DG digital camera, according to the PC Watch website. The unit has an interesting vertical form-factor reminiscent of a camcorder, and is available in both silver and black versions. Along with the 1/2" interlaced 2.14 megapixel CCD, the unit has an all-glass 6.6-26.4mm F2.8-4.5 4x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 35-140mm in a 35mm camera), 4x digital zoom, optical and 1.8-inch low-temp polysilicon LCD viewfinders. Also included is a built-in 4-mode (auto, red-eye, fill, off) flash, special effects (black & white, sepia), 3-mode
white-balance (auto, day-light, tungsten lamp), exposure compensation (+/- 1EV, 1/3EV steps), CompactFlash storage, and a Lithium-Ion battery which gives 200 shots (50% flash use, no LCD) or about 60 minutes of LCD playback.
Files are stored in JPEG format (conforming to DCF) in resolutions of 1,632 x 1,232 and 800 x 600, and compression levels on offer appear to be "standard" for the lower resolution and "fine"/"super-fine" for high-res. The unit can focus down to 0.6 metres in normal mode, and 10-25 cm in Macro mode, and has both an infra-red active autofocus and a "video feedback" AF via the CCD. The unit also has a self-timer mode and a continuous shooting mode (12 pictures at low-res, 3 pictures in high-res, interval unknown). The Samurai 2100DG weighs 400 grams (without the bundled 8MB CF card or battery), has dimensions of 57 x 123 x 92mm, and will be available in Japan on June 20 for a price of 128,000 yen (US$1063). Kyocera intends to sell 5,000 units per month, and feels that the vertical form-factor promotes a steadier grip and reduced camera-shake.
According to Kyocera, the unit is the first 2+ megapixel camera announced with a 4x optical zoom. Images courtesy of the PC Watch website.
- IBM ships Microdrive! A press release today from IBM reveals that its 340MB TypeII CompactFlash+ Microdrive has started shipping to "initial key customers". Companies receiving these initial shipments include Casio, Compaq, Clarion, Diamond (RioPort division), Kodak, Hitachi, IBM, Minolta, Nikon, Samsung, Sanyo and Trimble. The companies will either integrate the Microdrive in their offerings, or sell it sa a separate storage option. The kit, consisting of a Microdrive, field case, and PC Card adapter should retail at US$499, and reach both Japanese and US retail markets in early summer!
- PhotoLoft.com offers photo-personalised greetings! Online photo-sharing website PhotoLoft.com has announced the debut of its new online photo-personalised greetings cards. Next on the to-do list is a plan to extend this capability further, with PhotoLoft.com printing the greetings cards in photo-finish quality, and then mailing them via the US Postal Service directly to the recipient for you! Also planned by PhotoLoft are a "consumables" service, selling such items as paper and ink, followed by a service allowing professionals to share their images online for the public to order reprints...
- PhotoHighway.com and d-store ally! A press release today announces that imaging portal PhotoHighway.com and online photo retailer d-store have agreed on a partnership which will see d-store selling products and services to PhotoHighway members, as well as offering special offers on the site. PhotoHighway.com is to officially launch on June 23, at PC Expo in New York.
- Canon introduces Ultura camcorder! Canon yesterday announced its new Ultura Mini-DV camcorder, with Optical Image Stabilisation, 16x Optical zoom lens, digital zoom extending this to a whopping 320x zoom (how many pixels on screen will that be? ;), built-in automatic editing function, as well as still-image capability (no mention of resolution, however.) Canon boasts that the camcorder is equivalent to having a 37mm to 11,840mm zoom lens - personally, I'd like to have a real 37-11,840mm zoom (and a truck to carry it around on!)
- PC Watch website announces Nikon D1 SLR! The PC Watch website, along with basically every digital imaging website, covered the release of Nikon's D1 SLR digital camera on Tuesday. Whilst the body text merely summarises the same specifications we reported on previously, there are a number of interesting pictures of the camera itself (presumably at a Japanese press conference announcing the camera). One very revealing photo shows the Nikon D1's CCD alongside the CCD used in the Nikon Coolpix950 (which looks tiny in comparison!).
- Digital Intelligence announces appointment! Digital Intelligence, a developer of digital imaging software such as PictureIQ (which incorporates Adobe PhotoShop technology into a range of devices including photo printers, handheld machines, set-top boxes, game consoles and more) has today announced the appointment of Mike Lynch as vice president of sales and business development. Lynch previously was the worldwide director of the Beyond PC Applications group at Iomega, responsible for developing Iomega's Zip and Clik! business in non-PC markets such as digital cameras, printers, scanners, set-top boxes and more. Lynch was responsible for growing Iomega's OEM business to more than half of all Zip drives sold, between 1996 and 1998. Lynch has a total of 14 years experience of technology and business development, which also includes his work at Adaptec and Calera/Caere.width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- PC Watch posts digicam sales rankings! The fortnightly sales rankings for the Japanese market (05/31/99-06/13/99) have been posted by the PC Watch website, with several interesting changes as in the table below. The Fuji Finepix2700 climbed due to a fall in its street price, and low stocks of the Nikon Coolpix950 continued to hold it in 4th place. Olympus' new C-840LKP is a C-840 (1.3 megapixel fixed focus) unit bundled with a PC connection kit, and enters the charts in 8th place, thanks to a low street price around 30,000 yen (US$243). Toshiba's PDR-M4, meanwhile, enters the charts in 9th place in its first full fortnight on sale:
|1 (1)||Olympus C-2000 ZOOM||¥113,000 (US$915.30)|
|2 (3)||Fuji FinePix2700||¥94,800 (US$767.88)|
|3 (2)||Sony DSC-F55K||¥115,000 (US$931.50)|
|4 (4)||Nikon Coolpix950||¥125,000 (US$1012.50)|
|5 (5)||Olympus C-900 ZOOM||¥89,800 (US$727.38)|
|6 (8)||Fuji Finepix700||¥99,800 (US$808.38)|
|7 (9)||Sanyo DSC-X110||¥68,000 (US$550.80)|
|8 (NEW)||Olympus C-840LKP||Unknown|
|9 (NEW)||Toshiba PDR-M4||¥89,800 (US$727.38)|
|10 (7)||Nikon Coolpix700||¥87,000 (US$704.7)|
- An unusual use for your digicam/scanner! Whilst compiling today's news update, we came across an interesting use for your digital camera (and perhaps a solution for people who can't afford that new photo-printer, and have a lot of time on their hands!). Dayton, OH company M&R Technologies, has announced the release of Version 5.0 of its PCStitch program. The program allows users to draw a picture or import a photograph for conversion into a cross-stitch pattern. Numerous stitch-types and thread colors can be defined, and the program can output cross-stitch patterns up to a maximum of 999 x 999 stitches. Now that could look pretty impressive up on the wall!
Wednesday, June 16, 1999
June 16 - Sony DSC-D700 and D770, PowerShot Pro reviews, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, June 16, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- digitalkamera.de reviews DSC-D700, previews DSC-D770! The digitalkamera.de website has posted its review of the Sony DSC-D700 digital camera, finding "the professional operating concept, the outstanding 5x zoom lens and the high processing speed all make the Sony DSC-D700 a first choice for photographers for daily papers as well as action and sport photography". The review continues to conclude "[amateur] photographers who already have everything else might want to acquire the Sony to be able to hold their own when it comes to digital photography. Finally, other digital camera manufacturers will need to buy one to gain inspiration for functions they need to include in their future models". In fact, the only thing that digitalkamera.de's reviewer found of detriment to the camera was that it was "very large and heavy", and too expensive considering
the "plasticky" casing.
At the same time, digitalkamera.de has announced further specifics of the successor to the DSC-D700, the DSC-D770. A number of interesting changes have been made to the camera, according to the news item, such as an SLR-type viewfinder to ease manual focusing, a faster PC-card adapter and modified ISO grades (ISO 50/100/400 instead of 100/200/400). Software changes include an optional "beep" when focused in AF mode, a "stencil" feature to aide in creating more pleasing photo layouts, and of most interest the addition of an in-camera histogram display to ensure photos are correctly exposed! The DSC-D770 should ship in Europe from July at a cost of EUR 2,000 (US$2085) and will be reviewed by digitalkamera.de in August.
- Digital Eyes reviews Canon PowerShot Pro70! The folks over at Digital Eyes have completed an excellent 3-page review of Canon's PowerShot Pro70 digital camera. The review concludes that whilst faster focusing and file saving are needed to make the camera better all-round, and the zoom range needs to be longer, if these deficiencies are ignored "the PowerShot Pro70 is one of the nicest digital cameras to use on a tripod. Those used to recent SLR film cameras will be comfortable, and the images are excellent in both focus and exposure. The Canon PowerShot Pro70's extraordinary battery life and storage capacity, along with the feel of the body, almost makes you forget that this is a digital camera". Check the review out here! naturalsizeflag="0">
- FotoNation announces FotoManager Express! A press release today from FotoNation Inc. announces its upcoming FotoManager Express product. Designed to eliminate the cumbersome process of transferring images first to your PC, and from there to be shared on the Internet, the product pulls cameras directly from 100 different digital cameras (including models from Agfa, Canon, Casio, Epson, Hewlett Packard, Fuji, Kodak, Minolta and Nikon) and sends them directly to your website. Web site designers can integrate digital camera support into their websites by including FotoNation's Java applets in their sites. FotoNation's technology has been incorporated into Microsoft's upcoming Windows2000 operating system, so this could be one to watch!
- Kodak PictureCD now available nationwide! A press release yesterday from Eastman Kodak Company, Intel Corporation and Adobe Systems Inc. announces that Kodak PictureCD is now avilable at retailers across the USA. Retailers such as CVS, Eckerd Drug, Kmart, Target, Walgreen's and Best Buy at prices ranging from US$8.95 and US$10.95, depending on the turnaround times. These times vary between roughly one hour and two days. PictureCD was also recently rolled out in the UK, Canada, Germany and the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland).
A related press release from 30 Minute Photos Etc. of Irvine, CA suggests that with the advent of PictureCD, disposable cameras have become the cheapest digital cameras available, with prices around $10 plus processing offering digital pictures on CD...
- Microtech selected as distributor for Microdrive! Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item - IBM has selected Microtech as the first North American distributor for its much-anticipated 340MB Microdrive. The Microdrive uses a Type II CompactFlash+ housing, requiring either a camera with a suitable CF+ slot or a Type II PC Card slot and adapter, and unlike Flash cards currently on the market, the unit actually does have rotating "platters" the same as a full-sized hard disk. The card should have transfer rates up to 3MB per second, and measures a tiny 42.8 x 36.4 x 5.0mm. Microtech intends to sell the unit through d-store and other retailers.
- Canon posts PowerShot A50 info! We received a note today from IR Reader Matthew C. Mead, who pointed out that Canon Japan's BeBit site has now posted English-language info for the PowerShot A50 digital camera! Thanks to Matthew for the link!
- More on Kodak GPS cameras! We received an email today from an anonymous IR reader, with news that Kodak's GPS product mentioned in a news item a few days ago could soon be reaching the US. No hint yet on pricing, but apparently the unit consists of a Garmin III+ GPS unit, cable, bracket and disk with a Digita script on it, for use with the DC260/265 digital cameras. The firmware of the Garmin GPS has been specifically modified by Garmin to add support for the camera at 9600 baud in ASCII text, and the script grabs this info from the GPS, and watermarks the image with location, time and date. The bracket attaches to the camera, and holds the GPS on top, with the serial cable running between the two. Our source describes it as a "slick little package", which it certainly sounds to be!Thanks to our anonymous reader!
- Ricoh RDC-5000 "iMac ready"! Ricoh Corp's PC Peripherals Business Unit today announced that its RDC-5000 digital camera is iMac-ready out of the box. The camera, which features USB connectivity, 2.3 megapixel resolution, 2.3x optical zoom, and 8MB of onboard memory, includes iMac-compatible software such as ArcSoft PhotoStudio 3.0 for image editing and PhotoBase, for photo album organization, as well as all necessary USB drivers for the iMac platform. The camera is avilable immediately at an estimated street price of US$699.
- Flashpoint opens Japanese office! We first covered this news on April 20, but felt it worth noting that Flashpoint Technology Inc., creators of the Digita OS used in the Kodak DC265, 260, and 220 and the Minolta Dimage EX ZOOM 1500 and WIDE 1500 digital cameras, has officially announced the opening of its Japanese branch office. Flashpoint feels that the presence will help "continue the proliferation of intelligent Digita-enabled imaging devices". Kazuhide Kumada has been appointed as Flashpoint's Country Sales Manager, whilst Takao Aihara takes up the role of branch representative for Japan-based operations. The press release also recaps the devices currently using Digita (the cameras we mentioned above, as well as the Epson PrintOn PT-100 printer), and mentions that as well as users being able to create their own scripts for the camera, Flashpoint recently released its own in-camera image editor for Digita.
Tuesday, June 15, 1999
June 15 - A NEWSFLASH from Nikon!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, June 15, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Nikon announces detailed specs for D1 SLR digicam! Nikon has today announced complete specifications for its new Nikon D1 SLR Professional Digital Camera! At the time of this writing, Nikon USA's server points to a page on Nikon Japan's site, which (not surprisingly) seems to have died, probably from the number of photographers worldwide trying to get to this information! Thanks to an anonymous reader, however, we can still bring you the full details from Nikon's official D1 brochure. Without any further ado, here they are:
Nikon D1 SLR Professional Digital Camera
Suggested Retail Price: US$5,580
Expected Delivery Date: By end September, 1999
Expected IR Review Date: August, 1999 (approx.)
Specification Source: Official Nikon brochure
- 2.74 Megapixel, 23.7 x 15.6mm-size CCD for ultrahigh definition (2012 x 1324 effective pixels) images
- Superhigh-speed, high-quality image processing with original Nikon algorithm designs
- 4.5 frames per second shooting speed for up to 21 consecutive shots
- 3D Digital Matrix Image Control (3D Color Matrix Metering, TTL White Balance and Tone Compensation) with 1,005-pixel CCD for superior overall picture quality
- High-speed AF system including Dynamic AF operation (same performance as F5 and F100
- Exclusive top shutter speed 1/16,000 sec. and flash sync up to 1/500 sec.
- Operability rivaling Nikon F5 and F100 (two Command Dials, Custom Settings, and more)
- 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash for D1 controlled by five-segment TTL Multi Sensor available with new Speedlight SB-28DX
- ISO equivalency 200, 400, 800, and 1,600
- Compatible with virtually any F-mount Nikkor lens (picture angle with D1 is equivalent to approx. 1.5x focal length in 35mm  format)
- Interchangeable Ni-MH Battery Pack EN-4 and dedicated Quick Charger MH-16 (compatible with MH-15 for F100) (all optional)
- Lightweight, strong magnesium body; high resistance to penetration by water drops
- CompactFlash Card (Type I/II) and IEEE1394 interface
Type of Camera
- Lens-Interchangeable SLR-type digital camera
- 23.7 x 15.6mm RGB CCD; 2.74 million total pixels; 2.66 million effective pixels (2,012 x 1,324 array); captures 12-bit full-color image
- ISO equivalency 200, 400, 800, 1,600
- System: Digitally stored; JPEG (approx. 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 compressed), uncompressed (12-bit RAW*, 8-bit RGB-TIFF*), monochrome mode
* Optional software is needed to reproduce images; "Nikon Capture" for Raw/YCbCr-TIFF images, "Nikon View DX" for YCbCr-TIFF images.
- Media: CompactFlash (CF) Card (Type I/II)
- Modes and No. of frames (With EC-64CF 64MB CF Card):
Image Quality Mode (EC-64CF 64MB CF Card)
Raw (uncompressed Raw) - Approx. 16
Hi (uncompresses YCbCr-TIFF) - Approx. 12
Hi (uncompressed RGB-TIFF) - Approx. 7
Fine (approx. 1/4 compressed) - Approx. 48
Normal (approx. 1/8 compressed) - Approx. 97
Basic (approx. 1/16 compressed) - Approx. 195
- Single frame shooting (S) mode: advances one frame for each shutter release; capture preview mode available
- Continuous shooting (C) mode: approx. 4.5 frames per sec. (up to 21 consecutive shots)
- Self-timer (Sf) mode: time duration can be set
- Playback (Pb) mode: playback, menu setting
- PC (Pc) mode: data transfer with personal computer
- Auto (TTL control with 1,005 pixel CCD)
- Manual (six settings with 7-step fine tuning)
- 2-in., 120,000 dot, low temp. polysilicon TFT LCD; backlight/brightness adjustment available
- 1 Frame
- Thumbnail (9 segments)
- Slide show
- Histogram indication & highlight point display
- Card Format
- All frames delete
- Selected frames delete
- [P] Programmed Auto (Flexible Program possible)
- [S] Shutter-Priority Auto
- [A] Aperture-Priority Auto
- [M] Manual
- D-Type AF Nikkor: All functions possible
- D-Type Nikkor other than AF: All functions other than AF possible
- AF Nikkor other than D-Type: All functions except 3D Color Matrix Metering and 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash for D1 possible
- Ai-P Nikkor: All functions except 3D Color Matrix Metering, 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill Flash for D1 and autofocus possible
- Non-CPU: Usable in [A] or [M] mode, Center-Weighted or Spot Metering; Electronic Rangefinder usable with lens with maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster
Note: When Non-CPU lenses are used, [A] mode is selected automatically for [P] or [S] mode, also Center-Weighted Metering is selected for 3D Color Matrix Metering
- Approx. 1.5x focal length in 35mm  format equivalent
- Optical-type fixed-eye level pentaprism; built-in diopter adjustment (-3 to +1 DP); eyepiece shutter provided
- B-type BriteView clear Matte screen III; interchangeable with optional E-type screen with grid for F100
Viewfinder Frame Coverage
- Approx. 0.8x with 50mm lens set to infinity and -1.0 DP
- Focus indications, shutter speed, aperture, exposure mode, metering system, shutter speed lock, aperture lock, AE lock, electronic analog display, frame counter, ready-light, five sets of focus brackets (area)
- TTL Phase Detection, Nikon Multi-CAM1300 autofocus module; Detection range: EV -1 to EV 19 (ISO 100 equivalent, at normal temperature)
- Single Servo AF (S)
- Continuous Servo AF (C)
- Manual Focus (M); Focus-Tracking automatically activated by subject's status in (S) or (C) AF
- One of five focus areas can be selected
AF Area Mode
- Single Area AF
- Dynamic AF (Dynamic AF mode with Closest Subject Priority is available)
- Focus is locked by pressing button or lightly pressing shutter release button in (S) AF
Exposure Metering System
- TTL full-aperture meterting system
- 3D Color Matric Metering with 1,005 pixel CCD
- Center-Weighted Metering (75% of the meter's sensitivity concentrated on the 8-mm dia. circle)
- Spot Metering (4mm dia. circle, approx. 2% of entire frame)
Exposure Metering Range
- 3D Color Matrix Metering: EV 0-20
- Center-Weighted Metering: EV 0-20
- Spot Metering: EV 2-20 (at normal temperature, ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens)
Exposure Meter Coupling
- Exposure compensated in +/-5 EV range in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps; the mark appears in viewfinder information and top LCD panel
Auto Exposure Lock
- Detected exposure value locked by pressing button
Auto Exposure Bracketing
- Number of shots: two or three; compensation steps: 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, or 1 steps
- Charge-coupled electronic and mechanical shutters
- 30 to 1/16,000 sec. and Bulb
- X-contact only; flash synchronisation up to 1/500 sec.
- Automatic Balanced Fill-Flash controlled by five-segment TTL Multi Sensor
- 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash for D1 when used with SB-28DX and D-type Nikkor lens
- Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash for D1 when used with SB-28DX and AF Nikkor other than D-type, AI-P Nikkor lens
- AA (Auto Aperture)-type Flash available when used with SB-28DX and Nikkor lens with built-in CPU
- Non-TTL Auto Flash with a Speedlights such as SB-28DX, 28, 27, 22s, etc.
Flash Sync Mode
- Front-Curtain Sync (normal sync)
- Red-Eye Reduction
- Red-Eye Reduction with Slow-Sync
- Rear-Curtain Sync
- Lights up when flash fully charged with Speedlight SB-28DX, 28, 27, 22s; blinks (3. sec after flash) for full output warning
- Standard ISO-type hot-shoe contact; safety lock provided
- Standard JIS terminal; lock screw provided
- Electronically controlled; timer duration: 2-20 sec.
Depth-of-field Preview Button
- Stop-down lens aperture by pressing depth-of-field preview button
- Via 10-pin remote terminal, IEEE1394 interface
- Ni-MH Battery Pack EN-4 (7.2V DC), Quick Charger MH-16/15; AC Adapter EH-4 (100-240V AC)
- #0] Custom settings: Specify the two setting combinations of A and B
- #1] Capture preview mode: Set to show captured image on LCD monitor before sending the image data to CF Card
- #2] EV steps for exposure control
- #3] Bracketing order
- #4] Autofocus activation
- #5] Anti-Vibration mode: Set to prevent effects of camera shake
- #6] Focus area selection
- #7] AE lock
- #8] Mirror-Up: Set to clean the CCD
- #9] Dynamic AF mode in (S) AF
- #10] Dynamic mode on (C) AF
- #11] Auto Exposure/Flash Exposure Bracketing
- #12] Command Dial functions
- #13] Exposure compensation settings
- #14] Center-Weighted Metering Area: Change 8mm dia. circle to 6, 10, 13mm or average metering
- #15] Time-delay for auto meter-switch-off
- #16] Self-timer duration
- #17] LCD illumination
- #18] Auto power off of LCD monitor: 20 sec., 1, 5 or 10 min.
- #19] Aperture setting during zooming
- #20] Shutter release indication via self-timer LED
- #21] AE-L/AF-L button
- #22] Aperture selection: Change via Sub-Command Dial to lens' aperture ring
- #23] Edge enhancer: 1) Default; 2) Low, 3) High, 4) None
- #24] Tone compensation: 1) Auto, 2) Normal, 3) Contrast -, 4) Contrast +, 5) Custom (with "Nikon Capture" control software)
- #25] Shooting speed in (C) mode: Choose from 4.5, 3, 2, 1 or 0.5 fps
- #26] Maximum number of consecutive shots in (C) mode: 1 to 21 shots
- #27] LCD monitor display mode: 1) Default, 2) Histogram, 3) Highlight point, 4) Highlight point with histogram
- #28] Save Raw images
- #29] Auto File Numbering mode
- #30] Select shooting mode when disconnected from personal computer in (Pc) mode: (S) mode or (C) mode
Dimensions (W x H x D)
- Approx. 157 x 153 x 85mm (6.2 x 6.1 x 3.4 in.)
Weight (without battery)
- Ni-MH Battery Pack EN-4, Quick Charger MH-16, AC Adapter EH-4, CompactFlash Cards, Speedlight SB-28DX, IEEE1394 Cable SC-D1, Antifog Finder Eyepiece DK-15, "Nikon View DX" Browser Software, "Nikon Capture" Control Software
** Standard accessories may differ in each country or area
Other notes of interest from the press release include the fact that the camera was designed from the ground-up to be a digital camera, and is not a hybrid adaptation of an existing camera. The camera boots up in 0.5 seconds, and has a shutter-lag time when prefocused of only .05 seconds (!). The camera is set to ship by the end of September this year, and for the US is listed as also shipping as standard with the NiMH battery and charger, as well as the NikonView DX software. Our apologies for the length of this news article, but we figured better to provide too much information (ie. all of it!) than not enough!Thanks to our anonymous reader for sending us the link to the PDF brochure, and also to reader Michael Weiner for mailing us a link to the press release!<
Monday, June 14, 1999
June 14 - New Kodak and Nikon cameras, and much more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, June 14, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Nikon preparing for launch of new SLR Pro Digicam? IR Reader Michael Weiner heard interesting news from a Nikon rep over the weekend about Nikon's upcoming SLR professional digicam, which has been displayed as a mockup several times over the past few months, always with huge speculation as to its specifications. Whilst attending a "Digital Day" at a local photo store, Mike was told that full specifications and info would be released for the camera on June 16th... This is given further credibility (and moved forward a day) by the fact that, as the excellent Rob Galbraith Online site points out, Nikon has added a little teaser to its website, reading "Check back June 15 for an exciting announcement"! Cross all your fingers and toes, everybody, and prepare to find out if this camera is everything many people expect it to be!Thanks to Michael Weiner and the Rob
Galbraith Online website!
- Olympus C-2500L coming soon? Also from IR Reader Michael Weiner comes news from an Olympus rep suggesting that the much-anticipated 2.5 megapixel SLR-style C-2500L camera should be reaching the US in the next couple of months. We first broke news of this camera on March 17, 1999, and had heard that the unit should ship in July for Europe and August for Japan, however we hadn't heard any mention of the US in all this. Mike spoke to the Olympus rep at the "Digital Day" mentioned in the previous item, and was told the camera should reach US customers in July or August!
- Kodak Japan launches new digital camera! We mentioned a couple of months (?) back that Kodak was working on a version of the DC260 digital camera which could be hooked up to a GPS and automatically mark photos with not only the time and date they were taken, but also the position in which they were shot. It seems that this technology hsa now reached the marketplace in Japan, in the form of the Kodak GPS-260 digital camera, according to the PMA International Daily Newsline. Priced at 460,000 yen (US$3,865), the camera/GPS combo will start shipping at the end of this month, targetted at surveyors, civil engineers and other business users. The camera also features a 1.6 megapixel CCD, 3x optical/2x digital zoom, and sound recording capability.Thanks to IR Reader Rommel P. Feria for alerting us to this item!
- CycloVision extends ParaShot to new cameras! A press release today from CycloVision Technologies Inc. announces that it has extended its ParaShot attachment for creating panoramic digital images to work with three new digital cameras. Previously only useable with Agfa's ePhoto 1280 and 1680 digital cameras and the Nikon Coolpix900, the unit now also works with the Nikon Coolpix950, Kodak DC265 Zoom and Olympus C-2000 Zoom! ParaShot costs US$995 including software, and converters to attach the unit to the Nikon Coolpix900/950 cost US$20. No mention is yet made of the Kodak DC265 or Olympus C-2000 Zoom on CycloVision's website, but we'd expect probably a similar cost for converters for these cameras.
- 32 Meg SmartMedia hits the market! Just in time for Dave's vacation, IR advertiser d-store has gotten stock on 32 megabyte SmartMedia cards. Apparently one of the few (only?) places that actually have stock on these elusive beasts, they're selling them for ~$139 each. Dave says the Olympus C-2000Z he's bringing along appears to get fully 35 shots per card at the highest-quality JPEG setting, enough for a full day's shooting with no worries over whether to take a shot now, and lose the chance for another later! Check it out at d-store!
Also from d-store comes news of some great deals on 64MB and 80MB Compact Flash cards, as part of d-store's Spring-Cleaning Special! From today whilst supplies last, d-store has 64MB 4x CF cards for $179, and 80MB 8x CF cards for $239! This special offer is not being advertised, and can only be ordered by calling 1-888-313-1587 and referring to the Lexar Spring Cleaning Special Code "L69S". Hurry, though, before they all run out!
- Epson offers Stylus Color 640 rebate! Epson America Inc. has today announced a rebate program for its Stylus Color 640 printer. Customers purchasing the printer thru Aug. 30 1999 will be eligible for the rebate, which is a mail-in offer for $30 off the price of the unit, currently $179 street.
- Steve's Digicams posts Fuji MX-2700 user review! The folks over at Steve's Digicams have posted a review of the Fuji MX-2700 digital camera over the weekend! Steve summarises the camera as "excellent ... for someone who wants the ultimate in image resolution in a pocket-sized form factor ... The picture quality is very good and the white balance hit the mark most everytime, even under mixed lighting conditions." Also particularly impressive, according to Steve, was the camera's durable, well-finished aluminum body... Check the review out here!
- Future Image launches new FIR Executive Service! Future Image Inc. has today announced the launch of a new news briefing for executives who need to stay on top of the world of digital imaging. The FIR Executive Information Service is a weekly email news briefing, accompanied by a monthly hard-copy newsletter, and costs just $500 per year. Each monthly newsletter will consist of 16 pages of "exclusive conversations with industry leaders, reports on innovative customer applications, and primary market research", whilst the FIR Digital Imaging Briefing, published by email 48 times per year, consists of "reportage and analysis of breaking news in four key areas: Internet Imaging (services, alliances, tools, leading edge applications, emerging business models); Digital Cameras (product
and marketing innovations); Camera Components (sensors, processors, media, file formats and more); and Industry Updates (significant developments in imaging areas such as printers, scanners, and application software)." Special bulletins will also be issued as necessary. A sample issue is available here.
- New Olympus C-2000 Zoom pocket guide! Thanks to Steve's Digicams for pointing us towards a Pocket Guide for the Olympus C-2000ZOOM digital camera, just posted for download by the folks over at Short Courses! If you've got an Olympus C-2000 ZOOM, don't miss this one!
- SMART Modular expands flash lineup! Flash manufacturer SMART Modular Technologies Inc. has announced an expansion of its flash-card lineup. SMART is now shipping PCMCIA flash cards up to 256MB, and CompactFlash up to 64MB. Also planned are 128MB CF cards and PCMCIA cards up to 512MB, samples of which should ship in Q3 this year.
- Canon takes products on tour! Canon U.S.A. has announced that it is taking its products on tour, with a 53-foot 18-wheeler "showroom" visiting 10 cities across the USA and events including the Three Rivers Arts Festival (Pittsburgh, PA) and Comdex (Las Vegas). Unfortunately, the press release doesn't mention venues or dates for the truck, but it does detail what will be on display. As well as Canon cameras, digital camcorders, copiers, scanners, and printers, Canon's digital cameras (A5 Zoom and Pro70) will be available to try. Visitors will also be able to print souvenir copies of their photos or send them as digital "postcards" on the Internet, receive Photo IDs of their children, learn about Canon's environmental and philanthropic programs, and receive souvenir lanyards and ID cards.
- PictureWorks announces PhotoLoft, iPrint, pix.com cobranding! PictureWorks has today announced cobranding agreements with photo-sharing websites PhotoLoft.com, iPrint.com and pix.com, which sees its free brows-erbased MediaCenter product offering integration for all three sites. MediaCenter works through Internet Explorer to allow users to browse, view, acquire, batch convert, edit and manage files in TIFF, BMP, JPEG, WAV and AVI formats, amongst others. Users of the program will receive a free 1-year premium account from PhotoLoft.com, and will be able to upload their files directly from MediaCenter to all three sites, as well as PictureWorks' own Picturebay.com site. Interestingly, the press release notes that users will be able to order the usual range of photo gifts including cookies, mugs and mousepads, as well as one I'd not heard of before - customised photo boxer-shorts!align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Polaroid to exhibit at COMDEX '99! Noted in a press release today that Polaroid will be exhibiting at Comdex Canada '99... Look out for digital cameras, photo printers and scanners from Polaroid, if you happen to be at the show! Also, a separate press release notes that a class-action lawsuit has been filed by law-firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP against Polaroid, on behalf of all those who purchased stock between April 16 1997 and August 28 1998, claiming that Polaroid issued false and misleading statements regarding the company's operations and results. Polaroid describes the lawsuit as "frivolous" and "without merit".
Friday, June 11, 1999
June 11 - A slow news day (for a change!)
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, June 11, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Foveon plans new digital camera! Scott Chytil on the Sony DSC-D700 mailing list pointed out news from Forbes magazine of a new digital camera on the way from Californian startup Foveon. Foveon intends to make a digital camera for professional use that is immune to moire patterns and the suchlike. The article says Foveon is extremely protective of exactly how the camera achieves this, but it seems the unit is based on a splitter design with three separate CCDs, one for each primary color. Most existing cameras use "patterned" filters over the CCD to create a spread of cells to receive each color, this approach having the disadvantage that each cell can only receive one color, the other two colors for that position being "guessed" from surrounding cells. These guesses can destroy the subtlest details in a picture... Foveon has
apparently applied for about 40 patents for their design, and so evidently must be using a few extra tricks as well, however the article doesn't go into a lot of detail. Interestingly, in the past the man behind Foveon (Prof. Carver Mead) devised a gallium-arsenide transistor and laid down the original design rules for etching microchips, amongst other things... Mead spent the 80s looking at natural "computing" systems such as the human ear and eye, and founded Foveon in 1997 as a result of this research. Foveon intends to have a camera on the market by year-end in the range US$10,000-30,000.
- IR welcomes its first Photo-Sharing member! Our thanks to IR reader "Randy", who was the first to try out our new Photo Sharing service in cooperation with ClubPhoto! Randy has posted some absolutely beautiful pictures from New River Trail Rides, Oak Hill, W. Va, where he is starting a business... I would say if the pictures are anything to go by, the stunning scenery alone will be enough to ensure that his business is a success! The photos were taken with Randy's brand-new Nikon Coolpix950, which he chose due to the potentially tricky nature of some of the shots he'll be taking - and it seems the camera was a perfect choice, as Randy found the camera's autoexposure to handle everything better than the 35mm camera he had been using! Now Randy can hand customers prints of photos from their trail rides just
as soon as they return, a much simpler solution than the old method of having the film printed, then the prints scanned and printed... Check out Randy's photos, and if you're in W. Va then be sure to drop by and say hi!
- Netopia and PhotoLoft ally! Online photo-sharing website Photoloft.com and Internet provider Netopia have announced a new co-branding agreement today in two separate releases (1,2). Under the deal, Netopia Virtual Office Web Site customers will get free ($29.95 value) PhotoLoft.com premium accounts and Netopia will provide a direct link to PhotoLoft.com. In return, PhotoLoft.com members who visit Netopia from the link on PhotoLoft will receive a free 30-day trial Netopia Virtual Office account...
- Steve's Digicams hits the million! Congratulations to our friends over at Steve's Digicams for hitting the million mark! Steve's got a photo of happy reader Dave Lucarelli, who received a whole bunch of goodies to mark the momentous occasion...
Thursday, June 10, 1999
June 10 - Agfa support, HP awards, and a re-enactment of Twister!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, June 10, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Was that a cow that just flew past??? Apologies for the rather short news update today, due mostly to the fact that your trusty news editor spent a fair amount of his afternoon away from the PC, having spent the time under a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado warning to boot! Maybe moving to Iowa wasn't such a hot idea, eh? :) Anyway, for now a couple of the main stories of the day, and then (weather allowing) we'll get a fuller news update in tomorrow...For those of you who're wondering about that headline, pop out and rent the movie "Twister". It will all become clear...
- Agfa adds to end-user and reseller support! A press release today from Agfa's Desktop Products Group announces the addition of its new Inside Sales Team, a trio of trained professionals ready to answer end-user and reseller questions by phone and email, 12 hours daily. Between the hours of 8am and 8pm ET, Monday-Friday except holidays, presales questions addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or called in to (978) 658-0200 will receive the attentions (and extensive knowledge) of the team, under Inside Sales Manager Juliane Leary.
- HP summarises awards! Hewlett-Packard has today distributed a press release summarising some of the 29 awards its products have received over the last three months:
* HP 2000C printer (5 stars, March PC Computing; 98%, Small Business & Communications; 1st Place, Business Week website; WinList, PC Magazine Sep98-Apr99)
* HP2500C printer (4 stars, March PC Computing)
* HP DeskJet 895Cse printer (Finalist, PMA Excellence in Imaging awards; 6th Place, PC World Top Ten Color Inkjet List)
* HP OfficeJet Pro 1170Cxi printer ("Best All-in-one devices", April 'Wired' magazine
* HP OfficeJet Pro 1175C printer (WinList, PC Magazine Aug98-Apr99)
* HP ScanJet 6200C scanner (Finalist, PMA Excellence in Imaging awards)
* HP ScanJet 5200C scanner (5 stars, Toronto Sun)
* HP DesignJet 1050C/1055CM printers (Show Stopper Award, National Design Engineering Show)
* HP DesignJet CP Ink System UV (Innovative Digital Product, DIMA@PMA Show)
* HP PhotoSmart C30 Digital Camera (Editor's Choice and 10/10, CNET Computers.com (February); "Top Picks", Photographic Magazine (March); Top 10 Digital Camera list, Future Image Report (March); Editor's Picks A-List, PC Computing (March and April).
- PC Watch posts Japanese price update! The PC Watch website has posted its fortnightly price update for the Japanese marketplace. There is very little in the way of price changes, with only one camera dropping its lowest available price. The Sony DSC-F55K drops by 10,000 yen (11%) to 79,800 yen (US$671).
The most interesting item we noted in this listing, however was the total absence of the Sony DSC-D700 from the rankings! PC Watch doesn't make mention of this absence at all, which we found rather odd, but it is possible that they didn't notice (or that the omission of the D700 is an editorial error). We did wonder, though, if all three stores covered in this survey have stopped carrying the D700 in preparation for the rumored successor to the camera, which we've seen reported as due at the start of next month? If so, this perhaps suggests the new camera will replace the existing D700, rather than selling alongside it. This would tend to make sense as the new camera is more of an evolutionary rather than revolutionary upgrade to the D700. Remember however, that this is purely speculation on our part. We've yet to see any of the digital imaging sites attribute any of their comments on the D700's supposed replacement camera to Sony...
The only other real news of interest is the lack of stock of numerous cameras in Japan. Nikon's Coolpix950 remains out of stock at all three stores surveyed, whilst the Casio QV-7000SX, Canon PowerShot Pro70, Nikon Coolpix910, Minolta Dimage EX Zoom 1500, and Fuji FinePix700 are all out of stock at one of the three stores. Fuji's DS-260HD, only carried by two of the stores, is out of stock at one of these two.
|Sony DSC-F55K||¥79,800 (US$)||-¥10,000 (%)|
|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%)|
- ScanSoft appoints new CFO! ScanSoft Inc. has today announced the appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer, John J. Rogers. Jr. Rogers has 18+ years of senior-level management experience, and was previously CFO and Treasurer of PADS Software, Inc. Rogers also served as Executive Vice President, CFO and Treasurer of Cognex Corp., which grew from 110 people and $23 million in revenues to 500 people and $150 million in revenues between 1991 and 1998, the time Rogers was with the company. Rogers was also featured in the January 1997 edition of CFO Magazine. ScanSoft develops a range of well-known scanner software, including Pagis, TextBridge, PaperPort Deluxe, PaperPort ScannerSuite, ScanWorks and Visual Explorer.
Wednesday, June 9, 1999
June 09 - Kodak CEO to step down, share your photos at IR, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, June 9, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Imaging Resource and ClubPhoto - A new alliance! Effective immediately, Imaging Resource readers now have access to the (free) "Imaging Resource Photo Club" service, provided through an alliance with Club Photo, the premier photo-sharing and finishing service on the Internet! This free service allows our readers to quickly and easily publish web-based photo albums for sharing with family, friends, and the Imaging Resource digital photography community. It also provides the ability to order photo reprints and photo-related gifts without ever leaving the album. We'll be "officially" announcing this service to the world in about a week, but wanted to let our loyal readers know about it here first.
Through this service, you can get not only free web-based photo album space for sharing your digital images, but also an excellent desktop photo organizer program that makes publishing 'web albums a matter of just a few mouse clicks! You can link directly to this new service here, or from the "Share Photos" links appearing on many of our pages, in the navigation bar. For more information on the new service, what it means to you, and the significance of how this site operates, click here for a more in-depth discussion of our vision, mission, and plans over the next several months. (Among other things, we *finally* have an effective way for our readers to share sample photos from various digital cameras and scanners for free! - If you post an album of sample images from a particular camera or scanner to the IR.clubphoto.com domain, href="mailto:email@example.com">email us, and we'll include a link to your album in our review of that product!)
We think that ClubPhoto has the slickest photo-sharing and finishing service out there, and are excited by the possibilities we see developing from this new service! CHECK IT OUT!
- Kodak CEO George Fisher to step down! Several articles have appeared today on Yahoo! BizWire and other sources noting that Kodak CEO and Chairman George Fisher will step down from his CEO post at the end of this year. Mr. Fisher will continue in the role of Chairman for a further year, whilst Kodak COO and President Daniel Carp will assume the role of CEO from January 1, 2000. Carp has been with Kodak for 29 years, and holds a masters degree from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a bachelors degree in quantitative methods from Ohio University, and an MBA degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
- Minolta announces DimageEX upgrade! Thanks to Steve's Digicams for catching this item, which we all missed from May 25... Minolta has announced an upgrade to its Dimage EX ZOOM 1500/WIDE1500 cameras, which significantly enhances the units. The new Dimage EX Version 2.0 consists of a number of hardware and software enhancements (with the software enhancements also available to existing EX customers to download), as well as a new reduced price of US$699 (street):
* Burst capture mode increased from 3.5 to 7.5 frames/second in true megapixel resolution!
* Larger control buttons
* Now ships with 8MB CompactFlash card.
* Digital zoom in several steps to 2x (full resolution) or 4.7 x (1/4 resolution)
* Enhanced scripting (manual exposure, manual focus, manual white balance, flash compensation, metering and more)
* Long exposure mode
* Improved AE lock mode
- Lexar launches new JumpStart USB CompactFlash! Imaging site PhotoHighway.com has published a press release dated June 14 from Lexar today, officially announcing its USB CompactFlash cards. According to the release, the cards (which feature built-in USB controllers alloing connection directly to a PC without the need for a card reader) will reach retailers in August, in a range of capacities from 16 to 80MB. Prices will start from $69 list for the 16MB unit, and a separate USB connection kit (consisting of cable, Mac/Windows98 driver CD, and software for viewing/organizing the images will sell separately for $19.95.
- Roher PR reports on publishing industry's "digital" opinions! Leibowitz/Roher Marketing Inc. has released a report on the use of digital and film images in the publishing industry on its website. According to the report, based on a survey of 475 US publications (excluding, of course, those that don't use photographs) found some interesting results! 56% of consumer magazines still prefer color transparencies, whilst 28% now prefer digital images. Of trade publications, 46% prefer transparencies, and 36% choose digital. Newspapers overwhelmingly (74%) now prefer digital images, with only 22% preferring transparencies.
Highlighting the fact that many publications have separate staff for their print and online versions, these publications answered quite differently when asked of their needs for online versions. 34% of online consumer magazines preferred digital images, as did 64% of online trade magazines. 67% of online newspapers want digital images, whilst 7% said they weren't aware of their own requirements. Overall, 95% of all media will accept digital photos, however 79% prefer scans of images originally shot on film. Only 23% prefer images shot on a digital camera. Online, 63% prefer scanned images.
So how do publications want to receive their images? For consumer magazines, either CD-ROM or ZIP disk are fine. Trade publications prefer ZIP disks 2-1 over CD-ROM. Newspapers prefer email, but can also accept CD-ROM, or as a last option ZIP.
70 percent of respondants want their images readable by Macintosh computers (demonstrating that Macs still hold on thus far to their traditional stronghold), whilst only 5% of respondants prefer Windows formatted media. Which format of files to choose? Consumer magazines choose CMYK TIFF files, trade magazines prefer CMYK EPS files, and newspapers overwhelmingly prefer RGB JPEG files. GIF files were unanimously considered unacceptable, however interestingly 19% of publications would also refuse to accept RGB files.Thanks to Louis J. Brazil for pointing us towards this item!
Tuesday, June 8, 1999
June 08 - Fuji MX-2700 review, Infotrend sees digicams in the mainstream, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, June 8, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Fuji MX-2700 review online! We've just posted a full review of the amazing, tiny Fuji MX-2700 2.3 megapixel digital camera. An update of their earlier MX-700 digicam, the new camera actually ties for the highest pixel resolution of any camera we've tested to date. Image quality looks very good (although we noted that routinely using the PhotoGenetics program that we recently reviewed could raise the image quality into the "outstanding" category). We concluded that this is probably the ultimate portable digicam, in terms of compactness, image quality, and it's amazing 2.3 megapixel resolution. Check out the review for full details: You'll find sample images from the MX-2700 in the Comparometer(tm) as well. href="http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/MX27/M27A.HTM">Check it out!
- InfoTrends sees digital photography enter mainstream! A report out today from InfoTrends Research Group notes that the digital camera market is starting to change the face of photography in North America, and finds digital photography entering the mainstream! According to InfoTrends, sales of digicams will grow by 38% annually through 2003, reaching over 6 million units in North America alone. Revenues will grow 35% to nearly US$1.2 billion this year, with almost 45% of cameras sold being for personal use. Infotrends sees digital camera demand being driven by increasing adoption of PCs, Internet connectivity, and (rather curiously) flatbed scanners in the home. 50% of US households own a PC, with 60% of these able to access the Internet and 18% owning a scanner. Infotrends predicts that by 2003, "digital cameras will become as easy to use as film cameras. For prints, users will drop off camera storage
cards at one-hour minilabs to get high quality photo prints, or use their home-based printer. For sharing, they will use Web TV appliances to upload images to their online photo albums and email their friends. Their images will be annotated with voice clips and even motion clips".
- Improve your photo skills with DIGIPHOTO 101! We received an email today from Prof. Arthur Bleich of the Digital PhotoCorner with news of his new 10-session interactive web course in Digital Photography. DIGIPHOTO 101, as it is called, will teach lighting, color, texture, composition and more to 10 beginner/intermediate students beginning June 21st. The course will cost $175 for these 10 students, however the rest of us will be able to see selected work from the students along with Prof. Bleich's comments, and on completion of the course, noteworthy examples of the students' work will be displayed in an online gallery!
- ClubPhoto receives $2 million in financing! A press release today from online photo sharing and finishing site Club Photo Inc. announces that is has received US$2 million in financing from venture capital firm Indosuez Ventures:
'"Indosuez Ventures recognizes the overall potential for online photo sharing and we chose Club Photo because it offers a true photo sharing and finishing experience," said Dr. David E. Gold, founding manager and general partner of the Indosuez Ventures. "Club Photo's comprehensive, and easy to use, approach is solving a problem that the industry has been faced with since the advent of photography -- how do we share entire events quickly and easily with friends and family around the world? We expect Club Photo to cultivate and lead this new paradigm."'
- CompUSA carries Agfa SnapScan 1212u! Agfa's Desktop Products Group has today announced that US retailer CompUSA now carries its Bondi Blue SnapScan 1212u at all locations, nationwide. The unit, with a resolution of 600 x 1200dpi, 36-bit color depth and USB connectivity, retails for US$129.<
Monday, June 7, 1999
June 07 - 320MB CompactFlash, and LOTS more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, June 7, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Pretec to make 320MB CompactFlash! A press release today from Pretec Electronics Corporation reveals that it is continuing to stretch the boundaries of CompactFlash technology, revealing at the WindowsCE Developers Conference its new 160MB CF+ card. The press release also notes that Pretec has started shipments of 80MB CF+ cards, and will start sampling both the 128MB and 160MB CF+ cards this summer. Even more incredibly, Pretec intends to have a 320MB CF+ card prototype ready to demonstrate in Q4 of this year! By this stage, Pretec intends to have a line-up consisting of 2MB, 4MB, 8MB, 16MB, 32MB, 48MB, 64MB, 80MB, 96MB, 128MB, 160MB, 192MB, 256MB, and 320MB CompactFlash cards... According to Pretec, its new 160MB CF+ card is the highest capacity CompactFlash card in the world. The only catch is that CF+ cards require a Type II CompactFlash slot, such as in the Canon PowerShot Pro camera (unless your
camera has a full-sized PC Card slot and you use a converter, obviously). This sadly rules out these cards for many digicam owners, but hopefully more manufacturers will adopt CF TypeII in their upcoming designs!
- Ricoh ships RDC-5000! Ricoh is now shipping its new 2.3 megapixel RDC-5000 digital camera - the release hasn't yet hit the wires, but we've been given the go-ahead to distribute it anyway:
"Ricoh Ships 2.3 Megapixel Digital Camera at $699
RDC-5000 offers photo-quality images, complete software package and USB-connectivity at industry's lowest estimated street price
Sparks, Nev. June 8, 1999 -- Ricoh PC Peripherals Business Unit today announced that its new 2.3 megapixel digital camera, the RDC-5000, is now available. At only $699, the newest additional to its award-winning family of cameras is expected to offer the industry's most feature-rich camera, at the market's lowest estimated street price.
Targeted towards everyday consumers and professional users, the RDC-5000 offers powerful features that include USB and serial connectivity, protective LCD cover/power switch, 2.3x optical zoom, 1.6-inch super macro for close-up shots, time lapse and 8MB of on board memory. In the tradition of offering its customers a total solution, the package also contains productivity software including ArcSoft PhotoStudio 3.0, PhotoMontage, PhotoFantasy, PhotoPrinter and Club Photo's Living Album 99 online photo sharing software.
According to Jeff Lengyel, marketing manager of Ricoh PC Peripherals Business Unit, "The RDC-5000 delivers unprecedented ease-of-use combined with unsurpassed resolution and functionality. This camera was designed to offer 35-mm point-and-shoot familiarity so that anyone can intuitively take a picture. And, it was priced to offer professional features and image quality to consumers and imaging enthusiasts. At $699, the RDC-5000 delivers maximum price/performance value and completes the package with industry-leading software tools to empower a new generation of digital photographers.
RDC-5000 Offers More Bang for the Buck
The new digital camera features a 1.8-inch LCD monitor and viewfinder for perfect image composition and capture. Photographers can choose resolution of either 1792 x 1200 pixels (2.3 million) or 896 x 600 pixels. The higher resolution enables sharp, detailed 8 x 10 prints to be produced from ink jet or other color and black and white printers. A 640 x 480 resolution may also be obtained using the camera's digital zoom, providing a perfect resolution for instant Internet-ready pictures. The camera also includes 8MB of on-board memory for storing images, and can be used concurrently with up to 32MB SmartMedia cards
The Ricoh RDC-5000 features auto focus, auto exposure, auto white balance control, auto flash/red-eye, manual override with exposure compensation, manual flash on/off, and white balance control. It also provides selectable NTSC or PAL video-out signal for international travelling and external photo presentations.
Pricing and Availability
The Ricoh RDC-5000 ships with 8MB on-board memory, AC adapter, serial and USB cables and video cables. The kit also contains productivity software including ArcSoft PhotoStudio 3.0 for image editing and PhotoBase, for photo album organization, PhotoMontage, for creating digital collages, PhotoFantasy, for items with creative backgrounds while using digital images, PhotoPrinter, for laying-out images in multiple sizes on single sheets of paper and Club Photo's Living Album 99, for online photo sharing and finishing capabilities.
The Ricoh RDC-5000 digital camera is available immediately through a
nationwide network of Ricoh certified resellers for an estimated street price of $699. Customers can receive live technical support Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST, or via faxback 24 hours a day, by calling Ricoh Technical Support at (800) 742-6410. Technical support is also available through the Web site support at www.ricohcpg.com, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Ricoh PC Peripherals Business Unit
Ricoh PC Peripherals Business Unit, a division of Ricoh Corporation and headquartered in West Caldwell, NJ., is a worldwide market leader in the development, manufacture, distribution and OEM licensing of imaging, digital imaging and multimedia products.
Information about Ricoh's complete range of products and services can be accessed on the World Wide Web at http://www.ricohcpg.com. Customer product inquiries and information requests can be directed to Ricoh PC Peripherals Business Unit at (800) 742-6410.
About Ricoh Corporation
Ricoh Corporation, headquartered in West Caldwell, NJ, is a subsidiary of Ricoh Company Ltd., the 67-year-old leading supplier of office automation equipment with sales in excess of $10 billion. Ricoh Corporation was recently selected as one of the World's Most Admired Companies for the second year in a row by Fortune magazine. Ricoh and Ricoh RDC-5000 are trademarks of Ricoh Ltd. All other trademarks or product names are property of their respective owners."
- Ricoh and Club Photo cooperate! We also received news today from Ricoh that is has agreed to bundle Club Photo's Living Album '99 software with its RDC-5000 digital camera. Regular IR readers will be well aware of ClubPhoto's excellent photo sharing and finishing service, which offers users the ability to easily upload their images to their online album with the user-friendly Living Album software, and hence share the images with family and friends, as well as having prints and specialty items made from their photos...
- One last Ricoh item for the news today... is that we've heard news that Ricoh is already hard at work on a firmware upgrade for its just-released RDC-5000 digital cameras... In the process of reviewing the cameras, we (as well as other websites) found that under certain conditions a peculiar noise pattern/artifact could affect the images. Ricoh Japan is aware of this issue, and thanks to the fact that Ricoh wisely designed the camera firmware to be user-upgradeable (unusual amongst the current crop of digicams), they should hopefully be able to issue a simple upgrade to resolve the problem! (Another benefit is that this means the Ricoh should, once the time comes, be upgradeable to 128MB SmartMedia cards, definitely a bonus! Watch this space for more news on this...!
- Epson ships one BIG printer! A press release today from Epson America Inc. announces shipment of its colossal 44-inch wide format Stylus Pro 9000 printer. The unit, capable of handling media as thick as 1.5mm cardboard, features variable droplet sizes, six color quick-drying inks, Epson's new DC-based motors, and a resolution of 1440 x 720dpi. Also available is a 44-inch reel system capable of feeding the printer from 2 and 3-inch spindles. The Epson Stylus Pro 9000 costs $9,995 (non Postscript), $14,995 (Postscript 3 with external Fiery X2 RIP).
- Yamada selects the top digicams! It's only a few weeks since the last time PC Watch reviewer Yamada selected what he feels to be the best digital cameras, but in this fast-changing industry nothing stays still for long, and hence PC Watch has released an updated listing. New on the 2 Megapixel Zoom list is Fuji's FinePix 2900Z, whilst the Epson Colorio CP-800 climbs to the top of the 2 Megapixel Fixed-Focus category due to a change of mind by Yamada re: the price/value. Likewise in this category, Toshiba's PDR-M4 moves ahead of Sony's DCS-F55K, thanks to the Sony's high price in comparison to the lightweight PDR-M4. Finally, Fuji's new FinePix1500 debuts in top place in the sub-2 megapixel class.
2 Megapixel Zoom Cameras
Fuji FinePix 2900Z
2 Megapixel Fixed Focus Cameras
Sub-2 Megapixel (Zoom and Fixed Focus)
Canon P'Shot A50
- Agfa offers free 4MB SmartMedia card! A press release from Agfa's Desktop Products Group which, oddly, our standard news searches didn't catch on Friday announces a special bundle for Shopping.com customers from June 4 while stocks last. The bundle consists of Agfa's ePhoto CL50 digital camera along with an extra 4MB SmartMedia card, and a 200-sheet box of Agfa's premium quality ink-jet paper. As always, we recommend our readers to check sites such as ResellerRatings.com and 20-20Consumer.com before making their purchasing decision.
- Caere announces Omnipage Pro Suite! Caere Corp. has today announced the latest version of its Omnipage Pro Suite, consisting of Omnipage Pro 9.0, PageKeeper Pro 3.0, Adobe PhotoDeluxe Business Edition, and 3M Post-It Software Notes. Omnipage is a popular Optical Character Recognition package, and PageKeeper is a document archival program. Adobe's PhotoDeluxe is described as "a one-stop-shop marketing solution that includes hundreds of photo projects, clip art and customizable templates for creating brochures, flyers, business cards, and direct mail pieces", whilst Post-It Notes is, as the name suggests, a sticky-notes program for the PC. The suite also offers (and we certainly hope it is an option, not an automatic change as in some programs) the ability to change your browser's Home Page to Caere's co-branded My Yahoo! page. Omnipage Pro Scanner Suite, available immediately, costs US$149 (street),
for anybody who currently owns an OCR package, including the limited versions that come bundled with most (if not all) scanners.
- Digital Eyes reviews Mustek Plug'n'Scan 1200ED! Our friends over at the Digital Eyes website have just completed a review of Mustek's Plug'n'Scan 1200ED flatbed scanner. The unit, a 30-bit 600dpi parallel port device, "installed without problems, and the images were exceptional for the price." according to Digital Eyes. The review concluded "We were pleasantly surprised, this will make a great first scanner, and is all that is needed for most users that need to scan photographic prints." Check it out!
- megapixel.net June issue online! Another month, another issue of megapixel.net! This item came into our mailbox a couple of days back, but we completely forgot about it until now - the good folks at megapixel.net have reviewed the Agfa CL50, Olympus C-2000 ZOOM, Fuji MX-2700 and Ricoh RDC-5000, as well as discussing the HP Deskjet 895Cxi printer and camera metering systems! Plenty to keep you busy!
- Digital Photography Review looks at Coolpix700! Also on the subject of reviews, there's a new one over at Phil Askey's Digital Photo Review! Phil's reviewed the Nikon Coolpix700, and gives it a solid 9.5/10 for its image quality, size, weight and features, the only problems being slight barrel distortion, occasional focusing problems in low light, a tripod mount too near the CF card slot, and a lack of USB connectivity... Overall though, Phil "couldn't find anything bad to say about the 700, even the LCD is brighter [than the Coolpix950]!"
- PhotoLoft.com and UMAX announce bundling! Online photo-sharing website Photoloft.com has announced a deal with scanner manufacturer UMAX Technologies to offer all Umax Astra buyers free premium memberships in PhotoLoft.com (usually $29.95). UMAX will bundle PhotoLoft.com's client software with the scanners.
- IPIX anounces new VP of Operations! Interactive Pictures Corp. (IPIX), creators of the well-known IPIX immersive image technology, has announced the appointment of Marsha Lehman (formerly of Kodak) as Vice President of Operations. Lehman, who will report to President and COO Jeff Peters, also a former Kodak executive. Lehman was most recently Kodak's Vice President of Digital and Applied Imaging Divisions, and spent more than 20 years with the company, whilst Peters was previously vice president and general manager of Kodak's Digital and Applied Imaging Group.
- Imaging Technologies announces new CFO! Imaging Technologies Corp., creator of several digital imaging hardware and software solutions including its ColorBlind calibration software has announced the appointment of Charles J. Olson as its new Chief Financial Officer. Olson replaces Michael K. Clemens, who continues to work for the company on a consulting basis, and joins ITEC from Laser Systems Inc., an Irvine, Calif., manufacturer of dental lasers and ophthalmic products, where he was chief financial officer.
- Photo Access Corp. announces funding! Photo Access Corp., founded in 1997 and currently developing its PhotoChip digital camera platform, has announced that it has secured US$5.5 million in new funding from three venture capital companies, AVI Capital, JAFCO America Ventures, and Allegro Capital. PhotoChip is "a high performance co-processor, coupled with in-camera applications and server-based Internet software" which allows digital cameras with the technology to be "connected directly to the Internet or to a printer, [allowing images] to be e-mailed, printed and archived on the Web, all directly from the camera."
- Hitachi announces M2 recorders compatibility! Hitachi America Ltd. this morning distributed a press release documenting the compatibility of its M2 recorders with a variety of software and hardware products on the marketplace. Whilst more of an advert than a press release, and certainly too long to summarise in this item, the listing may be of interest to readers in giving an idea of some of the more popular programs in a variety of categories, including MPEG video playback, photo album, video editing, still image editing, presentation, panorama, and more...
- Kodak promotes PhotoNet for Father's Day! Another press release today with more of an "advertisement" theme - this time from PictureVision... The release promotes its Kodak PhotoNet Online service as a good idea for a Father's Day present from the kids. PictureVision recommends a personalised coffee mug or similar gift with a picture of the kids on it as an excellent gift for Dad!
- And finally... We see that Steve's Digicams has reported on new versions of Qimage Pro and VueScan... The current version of Qimage Pro is now v5.0, which adds:
* User selectable crop area. Qimage Pro still "defaults" to the middle of the image when you "crop to fit" into a popular print size, however, you can now select which part of the image gets cropped.
* Exposure correction. New to the batch filter, exposure correction expands the dynamic range of your images and is a one click answer to underexposed images.
* Thumbnails are now stored in their own folder. Previous versions saved thumbnails in the same folder as the original images. If you used an older version and have thumbnails in your image folders, v5.0 will automatically migrate the old thumbnails to the new folder, removing them from your image folders as you access them!
* Global filter. The new global filter option allows you to create a filter and set it globally within Qimage Pro without having to associate the filter with individual image(s). The global filter can then be turned on/off under options. When turned on, all images pass through the global filter prior to all view/print operations.
* Image override. You can now drop new images on existing ones while keeping the size/location of the old images. This allows creation/saving of complex manual templates and allows updating the images in the template via click/drag.
* The page editor is now fully sizeable for a better/bigger view of your page.
* Batch filter upgraded to better utilize 32 bit video modes.
The current version of VueScan, v2.4, adds support for HP's new USB PhotoSmart S20 scanner.Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!
Thursday, June 3, 1999
June 03 - Olympus upgrades, 1Gbit SmartMedia, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, June 3, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- Olympus officially announces 32MB upgrade! A press release today from Olympus America Inc. reiterates what we confirmed two days ago - the Olympus 32MB SmartMedia upgrade program is back on! The release announces Olympus' 32MB SmartMedia cards, which enables Panorama capabilities in certain Olympus cameras, will be available this month at an estimated price of $99. The upgrade program, meanwhile, officially started on June 1 and will continue through December 31, with the following items being upgradeable to 32MB:
D-340R Digital Camera ($49.95)
D-340L Digital Camera ($49.95)
D-500L Digital Camera ($69.95)
D-600L Digital Camera ($69.95)
P-330 Photo Printers (serial numbers < 2206021) (Free)
MAFP-1 FlashPath Adapter (download the new driver)
The following items are already compatible with 32MB SmartMedia:
D-400 Zoom Digital Camera
D-620L Digital Camera
C-2000 Zoom Digital Camera
P-330 Photo Printers (serial numbers >= 2206021)
MAFP-2 Flashpath Adapter
MA-2 PCMCIA Adapter
The following items are not compatible with 32MB SmartMedia:
MA-1 PCMCIA adapters
D-220L Digital Camera
D-320L Digital Camera (may be upgraded to 16MB)
Thanks to Tim Corcoran, who emailed us a link to Olympus' .PDF upgrade form just before this press release came out!
- InMedia recruits Don Sutherland! A press release today from InMedia Presentations Inc. notes that it has appointed Donald Sutherland, Contributing Editor and/or columnist for five monthly periodicals including Shutterbug, Photo Trade News and Digital Imaging Magazine, to the position of Vice-President, Editorial Content for its PhotoChannel website. Sutherland's first article on digital photography appeared in Popular Photography magazine in 1976, since which time he has been a frequent contributor of articles on photography to Playboy magazine, as well as having been Founding Editor of Spanish-language monthly MediaLink and running the photography-based BBS "Press Here!" from 1988 to 1993. InMedia will be launching PhotoChannel late this month, and is currently running a contest to win a Nikon Coolpix950 digital camera at the site.align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Iomega announces PC Card Clik! Iomega yesterday announced its new Clik! PC Card drive for notebook and sub-notebook computers. Priced at $199.95, the unit fits (as the name suggest) in a notebook computer's PC Card slot, and accepts the same 40MB Clik! disks as other CLik! products. The unit was developed in cooperation with Citizen Watch Co. Ltd., and should ship in the third quarter of this year.
- Conexant, Toshiba show CMOS sensors! Conexant and Toshiba have shown new CIF-format CMOS image sensors, according to an item in the EETimes Online. Conexant's device has a resolution of 352 x 288 pixels, and whilst no per-unit cost has been released, Conexant claims that a USB tethered cam based on the chip should have a materials cost of less than $25, whilst a low-end digicam based on the chip should retail for $150. Toshiba have been a little more generous with their details, offering a 352 x 288 1/7" CMOS sensor that runs on 2.8V, 15mW, and has double-sampling noise reduction, gain control, and 10-bit A/D converter. The unit is available in color or greyscale versions, and samples are available at a cost of $25. Volume shipments should begin in September.
- Toshiba expects 1Gbit SmartMedia! Also from the EETimes comes an article noting that Toshiba's laboratory has developed a new paper-thin IC format (PTP, Paper Thin Package) which allows ICs only 50 microns thick to be made (about 10% of today's thickness). Including the package, Toshiba can still make a total of 130 microns in thickness, about one-tenth the thickness of today's TSOP (Thin Small Out-Line Package) designs. As a comparison of thickness, EETimes explains that the PTP packages are somewhere between 0.1mm thick copier paper, and 0.2mm thick business cards - pretty thin! Toshiba forsees being able to stack four PTP packages in one SmartMedia card, extending SmartMedia capacity to 1-Gbit by the first half of next year!
- NEC develops 360-degree Internet camera! According to an item posted by our friends over at Steve's Digicams, NEC has announced a new 360-degree Internet camera based on a moving mirror design! The unit spins its mirror at high speed, continously taking shots which are then corrected for distortion and curvature, and patched into a single 2000 x 300 pixel 360-degree panoramic image. NEC believes the unit will sell for 1/3 the price of competing systems due to its simpler, faster mirror design, and NEC "plans to make the camera commercially available at the earliest opportunity ... [including] features such as image recognition ... an Internet image transmission service and variety of observation systems".Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!
- And finally... Digital Photography Review reader Max Lyons emailed with news that he's received a Kenko 8x32 monocular and adapter for his Coolpix digital camera today. Max has posted a number of sample photos to show what results you can expect from the pairing, which produces a focal range from roughly 450mm to a whopping 910mm! Check it out!Thanks to Max and the Digital Photography Review!
Wednesday, June 2, 1999
June 02 - New Taiwanese digicams, PhotoMe and BT ally, a new Sony on the way, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, June 2, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- PC Watch posts Computex Taipei '99 roundup! The PC Watch website has posted a roundup of the digital camera news from the Taiwanese Computex Taipei '99 show on its website today.
Pretec showed two digital cameras, the 350,000 pixel DC-600 and the 800,000 pixel DC-800. PC Watch comments that the cameras look very similar to Fuji's DS-7 and FinePix700 respectively, but they're both a bit larger. The two units are already shipping in Taiwan, and may also be sold in Japan later this year. They both have CompactFlash media, optical and LCD viewfinders and serial interfaces, with the DC-800 also being equipped with a USB interface. The DC-600 retails for US$200, whilst the DC-600 costs about US$300. Also shown was the FotoPrint, a box which can be plugged between the digital camera and an HP, Epson or Canon photo printer, allowing the photos to be printed out without a PC. Finally, PC Watch's reviewer heard tell that Pretec should be announcing its first 1.5 megapixel camera soon...
Largan showed two digital cameras, both of which we've seen previously at the PMA show in February. The Largan Easy 800 and Easy 1500 models shown were mockups (the reviewer noted that the Easy 1500 mockup's flash didn't shut properly as demonstrated in the pictures) and are, as the names suggest, 800k and 1.5 Megapixel models. They both have CompactFlash storage, serial interfaces, LCD and optical viewfinders, and are set at export prices of US$215 and US$250 respectively. Apparently an OEM deal for the Japanese market on these cameras is already in the works, and the cameras should be appearing around September...
Teco showed its new 1.3 megapixel DC1311 digital camera, also a mockup. The unit has LCD and optical viewfinders, USB and serial interfaces, CompactFlash storage and dimensions of 141 x 62 x 101mm. The manufacturer is currently looking for a Japanese distributor, and the camera should ship at a price of around US$200 in August.
Sampo demonstrated its DCE-400 digital camera, with a 1/3 inch 850k pixel CCD, and voice recorder function. The unit has LCD and optical viewfinders, serial and USB interfaces and CompactFlash storage, and dimensions of 144 x 51.5 x 75mm. The camera is shipping locally in Taiwan at a price of US$192, and there are no plans for Japanese export.
Mustek showed its 850k pixel MDC-800, with serial and USB interfaces, LCD and optical viewfinders (as well as an extra LCD status display, although oddly it is on the back of the camera, not on the top as is usual), 4MB built-in memory and CompactFlash storage. The camera has dimensions of 138 x 73 x 50mm, and retails for US$279-299. It should ship in Japan in September. (A note from Mike - I remember Mustek from many years back, as having released what at the time was an incredibly cheap flatbed scanner, at only 1/4 of the price of anything available back then...)
Altima Computer showed two cameras at Computex. First off was the Altima Kids Camera, a 160 x 120 pixel unit for children, based on a 19,200 pixel CMOS, and with an optical viewfinder and 4MB built-in memory. The unit has a serial interface, and with the absence of any LCD display or memory expansion capability cuts the price right down to US$60. Also shown was the AltimaCam-30, based on a 300k pixel CMOS sensor and including 2MB of Flash Memory. Little information was available beyond this on the unit, which was apparently not to the stage of deciding pricing or availability yet.
- A successor to the Sony DSC-D700 on the way...? We'd been holding off on posting this information until more definitive details were available, but other sites have covered the story now, so we felt that we should throw in what we've heard (although we've yet to see anything positively attributed to Sony). It appears that the all-black Sony DSC-D700 that we saw at the PMA show in February will be reaching the marketplace soon. We've heard three different stories on a name for the camera (depending on who you ask, either the Sony DSC-D770, DSC-F700 or DKC-FP3), but all these sources seem to agree that Firewire support is being added to the camera. This makes sense, based on the fact that reports from PMA said that the model on display had a Firewire connector, and also the fact that Sony have recently added Firewire support to
their Vaio computers, however we've also heard mention of a faster autofocusing system and some tweaks to the software as well... Obviously, the color of the camera is also changing from silver to black (which should solve one problem we've heard mentioned a few times, that of reading white text on a silver camera). All in all, it looks like a very nice unit...Picture courtesy of the PC Watch website!
- PhotoMe and British Telecom cooperate! The PMA International Daily Newsline has posted news from the British Journal of Photography that could have a very fundamental effect on UK digital imaging. Apparently PhotoMe, the company responsible for instant photo booths in public places around the country, has announced an alliance with British Telecom which will enable a range of digital services to find their way into the booths. Users should be able to take photos in the machine which can be posted directly onto a website or sent as an email attachment, printed as ID photos, stickers, postcards, or business cards, as well as browse the Internet, and send and receive email. Significantly, you should also be able to plug in your digital camera to print or email the pictures in the same way as those taken in the booth... BT will be responsible for providing the network services, and also the content and operation of the
multimedia services, whilst PhotoMe will handle the rest. In return, PhotoMe will keep all profits from the photo side, whilst sharing the multimedia profits with BT. PhotoMe has 4,300 of these booths in the UK, and most are scheduled to be replaced with the new multimedia booths, so this is unquestionably big news...
- DreamArts launches Digital Press, compares Fuji digicams! The DreamArts website in Japan has gone some way to explaining its recent dearth of the excellent digicam comparisons it publishes, with the sudden (and unexpected) release of a completely new design for its website. Rebadged as the Digital Press website, DreamArts has kicked off its new layout with a comparison review of 5 Fuji digital cameras. Its sort of a new against old comparison, with beta versions of the new FinePix2700 and 2900Z digital cameras pitted against the older Finepix 700, FinePix 1500 and DS-30 cameras. The by-now familiar "stuffed animal sitting next to some soft-drink cans and a color chart" picture is accompanied by an outdoor shot of buildings, trees and a grassy field, a beautiful shot of a sailing ship at dock, a sunset shot and a night shot of a bridge..."35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Kodak announces support for Picture Friendly program! Kodak has today announced support from a number of leading software developers for its Kodak Picture Friendly branding program, including GT Interactive, HMR, Inc., Image Architects, Ixla/ISR Group, Live Picture, MetaCreations, MGI Software, Inc., Newsoft, Sierra Online, Streetwise Software, Totally Hip, TriVista Technologies, ULead and Visual Applications. Products offering support for Kodak PhotoNet Online, Print@Kodak PhotoNet Online, Kodak PictureCD, Kodak Digital Cameras and Kodak Inkjet Perforated Templates are eligible for the program, in which they are allowed to carry the PictureFriendly logo. In return, the program inspires customer confidence, according to Kodak Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President Carl Gustin. "When [consumers] see the Kodak Picture Friendly logo coupled with another leading brand, they will know that the product
will more than meet their imaging needs. And software companies will benefit from that confidence, in turn."
- Casio and PictureWorks cooperate! A press release from PictureWorks Technology today announces an agreement with Casio Computer Co. Ltd. to cobrand PictureWorks' MediaCenter application. MediaCenter lets users quickly browse, view, play, manage, and batch convert various types of images files, and is available free from PictureWorks' website. Casio will feature the application in the digital imaging section of its website, as well as Casio's online QV Magazine, in return for a share of revenues generated from upgrades and add-ons to MediaCenter.
- DigitalKamera.de posts Canon PowerShot Pro review! The DigitalKamera.de website has posted the next in its series of prosumer digicam reviews, for Canon's PowerShot Pro digital camera. To quote the reviewer, "All in all, the Canon PowerShot Pro70 is a perfectly finished all-round camera which will become a good friend to the discerning amateur. Professionals will miss more extensive means of influence and the display of, for example, the current aperture and shutter speed. Remaining on the wish list are a greater zoom range and perhaps since the camera already looks like one and is equally large and heavy a viewfinder following the SLR principle." Check it out!
- Scanner sales continue to grow! According to research from IDC (International Data Corp), worldwide scanner shipments reached 13.9 million units in 1998, and double-digit growth will continue through 2003. By this time, worldwide shipments should reach 38.9 million units annually, thanks mostly to a flood of flatbed color scanners now below $100 per unit due to price wars at the end of last year. IDC feels that some key findings of its research are that:
* Worldwide flatbed scanner price declines and resultant growth have cannibalized other scanner technology segments
* Utilization of scanners has migrated to the non-graphic professional user
* Lower scanner prices have provided an opportunity for consumers, with limited to no scanner knowledge, to learn how to take advantage of scanner technology
* Once educated, consumers view scanners as an important component of their home system to resolve their copier and fax needs
- SanDisk supplies MultiMediaCards for Panasonic! A press release today from SanDisk announces that it will be supplying MultiMediaCards for Panasonic's new NV-C3 digital video camera. The camera, heralded as the smallest and lightest in the world, will be able to operate as a (low resolution) digital still camera using the cards, which are currently available in capacities from 4 to 32MB. With plans to go as high as 64MB, users should be able to take plenty of digital images with their video cameras. The camera ships with a 4MB SanDisk card, which will store about 25 images in fine mode, 50 in normal and 100 in economy mode. The camera will ship next month, at a price point which has not yet been announced.
June 02 - The Barbie printer, digicam upgrades, and lots more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, June 2, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- A new companion for the BarbieCam! Just when you thought your computer had survived the forays of Barbie into all things digital, news reaches us today of a new Barbie-ized product for your PC (and, of course, for the kids to beg for)... Apollo Consumer Products (HP's value branded subsidiary) has teamed up with toy giant Mattel to announce its new P-1220 Barbie Color Inkjet Printer. According to the press release, the "mist-gray printer with glitter pink accents comes with Barbie decals, which encourage girls to creatively decorate and personalize their printers", and features print speeds of 3.5ppm (pages per minute) in greyscale, along with 1.5ppm in color. The unit is bundled with a Barbie Magic Hairstyler CD-ROM, and will sell throughout the summer for around $79 exclusively at Best Buy. Later in fall, the unit will reach other retailers at an as-yet undecided price.align="TOP" width="1" height="35" naturalsizeflag="0">
- Imaging Resource Syndicated! (A special note from Dave.)
We're very pleased to announce the first of what we believe will be several syndication agreements over the next few months: We've arrived at an arrangement with Club Photo to syndicate large portions of our content to their site, for viewing by subscribers to their excellent photo-sharing service! We're excited because we see this as a real win-win-win: Club Photo has been able to very quickly and cost-effectively add a huge amount of content to their site, Club Photo's subscribers now have access to a wide variety of digital imaging-related material (including this very news feed!), and our own "brand" now has a significantly expanded reach in the internet imaging arena. Do you have an imaging-related site in need of content? Email us at email@example.com, and let's talk! As noted, we're in discussion with several other major sites about licensing our content, and hope to announce
more such relationships in the near future. Stay tuned! (And check out Club Photo while you're at it, at http://www.clubphoto.com/ - They've got a very nice photo-sharing arrangement, with an excellent desktop program that's both a very nice general-purpose image manager, and that lets you create & publish (free!) web albums to their site with just a few mouse-clicks. - Very slick!)
- Kodak DC240 firmware upgrade imminent? We've heard news today from a reader in the Netherlands of a possible firmware upgrade coming for Kodak's DC240 digital camera. It seems that under certain bright lighting conditions, the camera produces a very fuzzy picture, as demonstrated in one of our sample images. Apparently, Kodak are aware of the problem and looking into it, and fortunately Kodak's cameras are upgradeable and so this peculiar glitch of the software should soon be rectified. No word as yet on when US users are likely to get the upgrade, but historically Kodak has released upgrades for the DC210 and DC260 cameras free on its website, so we'd expect to see a similar arrangement for the DC240 sometime soon...
- Kodak DC240 sample images posted by PC Watch! The PC Watch website in Japan has posted a number of sample images from Kodak's DC240 digital camera, including one which shows a bug in the camera's firmware. Areas of the picture that are totally saturated in red seem to push the red channel to zero, rather than leaving it at 255. According to PC Watch's writeup, a firmware upgrade in Japan is scheduled for the middle of this month, and besides these fixeable bugs the reviewer notes that the camera has excellent picture quality and would make a very good family camera.
- Olympus 32MB SmartMedia upgrade resumes! We've been hearing news over the last day or two that Olympus is re-commencing its delayed 32MB SmartMedia upgrade program, which we reported on a while back, and can now confirm that this is indeed the case. Owners of some of Olympus' older models can now have them upgraded to 32-megabyte capability at low cost. (Olympus is pretty unique in the industry, providing major hardware/firmware upgrades of this sort.) One of the options is to buy an Olympus-brand 32-meg SmartMedia at $99, and get your camera upgraded to 32 meg capability at no additional cost. (A great deal!)
The problem causing this delay was that Olympus has apparently had problems (along with the rest of the world) getting sufficient supplies of 32-meg memory cards to meet demand. (We'd independently received unconfirmed rumors that Toshiba and Samsung were experiencing manufacturing difficulties getting the 32-meg parts to market.) It now appears that the 32-meg supply problems are abating, as recent communication with Olympus indicates that they are now fully up to speed on the 32-meg program. There's been considerable confusion over this, as even some Olympus communications have conveyed conflicting information. This latest info though, can be taken as the official word that "all systems are go" for the upgrade program.
- Rob Brainard takes the plunge! We received an email from soon-to-be digicam newbie Rob Brainard of 20-20consumer.com, who is just taking the plunge into digital photography from conventional film photography. While Rob feels he's only an "amateur" film buff, he's taken many thousands of photos, and is sure to learn a lot that will be of use to others who're considering that first digicam themselves. Rob has decided to share his experiences and advice with you all for just that reason, on his website. Check it out!
- More on PLEDM memory technology! Whilst browsing round the other digital imaging sites on the web this afternoon, we saw that our friends at Steve's Digicams and the Digital Photography Review have both picked up on news of Hitachi's PLEDM memory technology from 1394Informer and Amateur Photographer (UK). We first mentioned PLEDM about three weeks back (see our archive for May 18) but the new item from Amateur Photographer does give us an idea of the time-frame for PLEDM to reach the market, with the Group Leader of Hitachi/Cambridge University labs expecting the gigabyte-capacity, thumbnail-sized chips to reach the market by about 2006...Thanks to Steve's Digicams and the Digital Photography Review!"0">
- Photobit launches new CMOS sensor! A press release today from Photobit Corp. announces the release of a new CMOS image sensor chip, capable of recording at rates of up to 500 fps (frames per second). The new chip has a resolution of 1024 x 1024 pixels in monochrome, and uses as little as 100mW of power when running at 60fps. The new chip, called the PB-1024, is currently the fastest CMOS image sensor in any category, worldwide, and is based on Photobit's CMOS "active pixel" technology.
Tuesday, June 1, 1999
June 01 - Ricoh RDC-5000 samples, new HP printers, 1GB flash cards, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, June 1, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)
- First images posted from Ricoh RDC-5000 2.3 megapixel digicam! We just received a sample of the Ricoh RDC-5000 2.3 megapixel digicam for eval, and have hurried to post images from it, so folks can evaluate it a bit prior to the unusual QVC offering scheduled for June 6th. We're working on a quick "mini-review" of this slick little camera, but in the meantime have posted a fair number of our test images for you to look at, and also stitched the ones we have into the Comparometer(tm). We're waiting on good weather for the outdoor shots, and won't do the model shots until then either, to make best use of resources.
The camera appears to be a very nice, easy-to-use, "point & shoot" - Not for the Ansel Adams full-manual-control buffs, but we expect it will find happy homes with many more casual users interested in letting the camera figure out all that tricky exposure stuff. Steve, of Steve's Digicams has a mini user-review already posted where you can read about the camera's basic features. Also online is a review of the RDC-5000 at the Digital Camera Resource Page. Since these reviews already had the basics covered, we went ahead and worked on the test images first, with our own "First Look" review to follow in a day or two.
- HP announces new Inkjet Printers! HP has today announced three new inkjet printers, the HP DeskJet 810C/812C, 612C and 610CL. Details in the press release are sketchy, but the 810/812C printers should offer both USB and parallel port connectivity and photo-quality PhotoRet II color layering along with print speeds of 6.5 ppm (pages per minute) in greyscale and 4.5ppm in color. The 612C and 610CL printers offer dual print cartridges, optional photo-quality cartridges and print speeds of 5ppm black and 2.5ppm color (612C), 4ppm black, 1ppm color (610CL).
- Simple Technology announces flash up to 1GB! Wow... That's all I can think of to describe Simple Technology's announcement of three new flash cards with capacities of up to a maximum of 1GB. The cards have capacities of 512MB (Type I), 800MB (Type II) and 1GB (Type III), and are estimated to retail at $1599, $2499 and $2999 respectively. All three cards offer read speeds up to 1.5MB/sec and write speeds up to 3MB/sec.
- Agfa announces price-cut for SnapScan 1236s! Agfa's Desktop Products Group has today announced a price cut on its SnapScan 1236s flatbed scanner. Unfortunately, the press release does not mention the previous price or the amount of the cut, so unless you were already familiar with this scanner then there's not a whole lot of information for you. That said, the new price of the SnapScan 1236s, which has a resolution of 600 x 1200 dpi and 36-bit color depth, is $199.
- LifeView announces new USB RoboCam! LifeView Inc. has today issued a press release announcing its new USB RoboCam tethered digital camera. The unit's CMOS sensor offers still and video resolutions up to 640 x 480, 1/500 second exposure, ability to handle conditions down to 20 lux, and a power consumption of 0.6W. The USB RoboCam retails for $79.99.
- UMAX solves the G3 SCSI nightmare! UMAX has announced that effective immediately, it is bundling a PowerMac G3 compatible SCSI card with all its Mac bundles of PowerLook and Mirage scanners, at no extra cost. According to UMAX, the move is designed to solve the compatibility problems G3 owners have been plagued with, due to Apple's move away from SCSI-based computers requiring G3 owners to specify and purchase their own SCSI card.
- PhotoLoft.com to appear at Equities Conference! A press release today from PhotoLoft.com announces that it will be appearing at Equities Magazine's 48th Anniversary Corporate Conference being held June 3-4 in New York. PhotoLoft's CEO Jack Marshall will make six corporate presentations outlining his corporate strategy for PhotoLoft on the first day of the conference.
- PC Watch posts Japanese sales rankings! The Japanese PC Watch website has posted its fortnightly sales rankings figures for the period May 17 - 30. There's quite a bit of activity, but it mostly consists of small steps up or down the listings, with the items highlighted in green below climbing the charts, and those in red falling. Of note is that the Nikon Coolpix950 continues to be in short supply, whilst Toshiba's PDR-M4 and Epson's Colorio CP-800 both started selling part-way through this period in Japan and did not make enough sales to get into the top 10. Look for the PDR-M4 next fortnight however, as PC Watch comment that whilst the camera didn't make it into the top 10 this time, it certainly came close even despite the fact it wasn't available for the whole period.
|1 (1)||Olympus C-2000 ZOOM||¥113,000 (US$915.30)|
|2 (2)||Sony DSC-F55K||¥115,000 (US$931.50)|
|3 (4)||Fuji FinePix2700||¥94,800 (US$767.88)|
|4 (3)||Nikon Coolpix950||¥125,000 (US$1012.50)|
|5 (5)||Olympus C-900 ZOOM||¥89,800 (US$727.38)|
|6 (7)||Canon PowerShot A50||¥79,800 (646.38)|
|7 (8)||Nikon Coolpix700||¥87,000 (US$704.7)|
|8 (10)||Fuji FinePix700||¥99,800 (US$808.38)|
|9 (6)||Sanyo DSC-X110||¥68,000 (US$550.80)|
|10 (9)||Fuji FinePix500||¥74,800 (US$605.88)|
- CycloVision launches 360Solution.com! CycloVision Technologies has announced a new website promoting its ParaShot panoramic imaging solution, http://www.360solution.com/. Visitors will be able to purchase a bundle consisting of an Agfa ePhoto1680 digital camera with 4 MB clip plus an additional 16 MB Smart Card image clip (20 MB total), CycloVision's 360-degree ParaShot Web system, complete with parabolic lens attachment and software, plus a multi-compartment nylon carrying case with adjustable strap for a price of $1995.
- DigitalFocus '99 at PC Expo coming soon! DigitalFocus has announced that it will be hosting the 'DigitalFocus '99 @ NYC' event at PC Expo in New York on June 21, 1999. Slated to attend are numerous digital imaging names including Adobe, Agfa, Applied Science Fiction, Avid, Caere, Canon, Epson, Fotowire, Fuji, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Ixla, Jasc, Kodak, Lexmark, Minolta, Mitsubishi, Nikon, Nogatech, Olympus, Picture CD, Polaroid, SanDisk, Sharp, Sony, Tektronix, Toshiba and Xerox. Press or analysts are invited to RSVP by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 800-826-9622.
- SanDisk announces new VP of Human Resources! SanDisk Corporation, maker of a wide variety of Flash storage media, has today announced the appointment of Jocelyn Scarborough as Vice President of Human Resources. Scarborough, accordinng to the release, previously "worked for Digital Equipment Corporation for 20 years in various management positions including positions such as human resources director for several divisions and director of planning, training and organization development. She also was a vice president of human resources for the American Automobile Association and held management positions with American Optical Biomedical Electronics and Compugraphic Corporation. Most recently, Scarborough was president and principal of Scarborough and Associates, a human resources and organization development consulting firm".
- Visioneer announces appointments, record sales! Visioneer Inc. has announced record sales today, with a 50% increase over the previous quarter and PC Data ranking Visioneer in the top three scanner brands in the USA, and four of Visioneer's scanners in the top ten best sellers. At the same time, Visioneer announced the appointment of new CEO and President Murray L. Dennis, whilst John Blair becomes VP of Marketing and Engineering, Roger Lund takes on the position of VP of North American Retail Sales, Larry Lane becomes VP of Customer Service, Hayward Monroe moves to VP of Operations, and finally Greg Elder becomes VP of Finance. With so many new positions announced, we simply cannot fit in all the biographical info here, but there's full details in the press release...
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