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Digital Photography News Archive!
July 1999

 

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Friday, July 30, 1999



July 30 - 250MB CF Microdrive, 64MB SmartMedia, Tomy Mexia camera, new DC260 firmware, and lots more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 30, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- TekGraf offers Agfa for Point of Purchase displays! A press release today from Agfa's Desktop Products Group reveals that distributor TekGraf Inc. is promoting Agfa's DuoScan T1200 flatbed scanner and ePhoto 1680 digital camera (both US$699) as input components for TekGraf's digital Point of Purchase solutions. The solutions allow companies to create "digital signage of all types -- from table tents to cooler stickers to posters and banners", with TekGraf supplying the systems, training, support and consumables required.
- Adaptec SCSI card bundled with CanoScan FB 1200S!
Adaptec Inc. has today distributed a press release revealing that its AVA-2903B Fast SCSI card has been selected by Canon Computer Systems Inc. to be bundled with its new CanoScan FB 1200S flatbed scanner. The FB 1200S has an extremely high optical resolution of 1200 x 1200dpi and uses a SCSI interface to provide the speed necessary to keep scan times down.
- SIMA auctions Canon scanner, printer, digicam!
The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) has announced that it will be conducting an online auction to raise money for its Environmental Fund. The auction is to be conducted on Amazon.com's auction site tomorrow, and items of interest to our readers are a Canon scanner, printer and digital camera (model unspecified). Pre-registrations to participate in the auction are being accepted now (visit this page, and click on the SIMA link), and the deadline for these registrations is 12 noon tomorrow (PDT). The auction will commence at 8:45PM (PDT) tomorrow.
- Halo Data Devices working on 250MB CF Microdrive!
A press release today from Read-Rite Corporation reveals that storage company Halo Data Devices is working on a 250MB Microdrive, with a twist. Unlike IBM's 340MB Microdrive, that requires a Type-II CompactFlash slot (which few digital cameras thus far have), Halo Data's Microdrive will be in a CompactFlash Type-I package, and hence hopefully compatible with many existing digital cameras. The press release notes that Read-Rite has signed an agreement to become the sole supplier of heads for the Microdrive, and that Halo Data's drive would be "the world's smallest disk drive designed for use by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end users". No further information is provided in the press release or on Halo Data's website about the drive or its likely pricing and release date, although the fact that parts
suppliers are being agreed may indicate that the project has progressed a significant amount already.
- Photodex announces CompuPic 4.6!
Photodex Corp. yesterday announced the latest version of its digital content manager, CompuPic 4.6. The new version adds the capability to upload images directly to online photo sharing site PhotoLoft.com, something which we revealed was on the way a month or two ago...
- ITEC secures Bolivian distribution, growing fast!
Two separate press releases hit the wires over the last couple of days from digital imaging company Imaging Technologies Corp. (ITEC). First off was yesterday's announcement that ITEC has secured a new distribution agreement for the Bolivian marketplace, with La Paz-based ATMA Sistemas Graficos. A second release notes that ITEC has been named one of the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in San Diego and Orange County, CA, in Deloitte & Touche's "Orange Coast Tecnology Fast 50" program. The rankings are based on revenue growth in the 5-year period 1994-1998, and requires that the companies had revenues of of at least US$50,000 in 1994.
- Tech Data to offer Peripheral Enhancements' SNAPZ line!
A press release today from Peripheral Enhancements Corporation announces that distributor Tech Data will now be carrying certain of its products including the SNAPZ line of digital film cards. Peripheral Enhancements' SNAPZ line includes ATA flash cards (up to 128MB), CompactFlash, SmartMedia (both 3.3v and 5v), a CompactFlash adapter and a FlashPath SmartMedia Floppy-Disk adapter.
- An unusual idea for your digital images!
Well, not so much your digital images as those you've had scanned for you from traditional film on Kodak's PictureCDs, anyway... A press release from Kodak notes that the latest version of PictureCD includes a program which allows you to sign up for a credit card from NextCard Inc. The gimmick? You can put any photo of your choice on the credit card, allowing truly customised credit cards... Neat!
- Toshiba announces 64MB SmartMedia!
A press release today from Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. announces the release of its new 64MB SmartMedia card, the TC58512DC. The card is available for sampling only at a cost of US$250, and production quantities should ship at an undisclosed price in Q4, 1999. The new SmartMedia card is based on two single level cell 256 megabit NAND die in a SmartMedia package, and importantly the press release notes that "Identical page and block specifications are used, making the new SmartMedia devices fully backward compatible with existing products"!

A separate news item on the PC Watch news site elaborates on the release date, noting that in Japan volume shipments will begin in September, with a planned initial volume of 50,000 units per month.
- VueScan 3.1 released!
Continuing Ed Hamrick's astounding tradition recently of adding new features to his VueScan program like there's no tomorrow, we saw in the rec.photo.digital newsgroup that he's released yet another upgrade of the program. We're now up to version 3.1, which according to Ed adds support for the Polaroid SprintScan 35/LE and ES, improves the cropping speed for PhotoSmart film strips, improves white balancing and auto-levelling and fixes a problem with the Minolta ScanDual at 2438 dpi. Wow!
- New Kodak DC260 software released!
IR reader and frequent contributor (thank you!) Rommel P. Feria dropped us a note today with news of a new firmware upgrade for Kodak's DC260 digital camera. According to Kodak's website, the update eliminates the red -> magenta color shift, which is caused by one of two issues in sensor production. The problem only affects cameras with a serial number of EKH84000001 or higher, and is currently only available on the PC platform. A Macintosh version is to be released at the end of August.Thanks to Rommel P. Feria for this item!
- Ulead ships Photo Express Platinum 2000!
Ulead Systems has announced that it is now shipping its Photo Express Platinum 2000 bundle. The package consists of Photo Express 3.0 image editor, Cool 360 panorama stitcher, Photo Assistant, and a CD with 6000 files including clip art, images, sounds, and calendar templates. Photo Express Platinum 2000 is US$49.95, whilst the standalone Photo Express 3.0 retails for US$24.95.
- More on Sanyo, Olympus, Hitachi cooperation!
Following on from an article we published on Tuesday regarding a new media standard for digital cameras that Sanyo, Olympus and Hitachi were working on, we can now elaborate further with details from an article on the excellent PC Watch website in Japan. The new magneto-optical disk format is known as 'iD', and is based on a 50mm diameter optical disk, and using a blue laser and MANMOS (magnetic expansion reproduction) methods to bring the capacity per disk to 730MB. The disks can be written to at speeds in excess of 20Mbps, and can be re-written in excess of 1 million times. They also have a life of 100 years or more,. Similar to a floppy disk, the magneto-optical disk itself is protected by a metal flap which slides away, and the overall cartridge weighs 13 grams and measures 59.5 x 56.5 x4.8 millimeters. The standard also defines file formats to be
used on the disk as well as the media itself. Sanyo hopes to have cameras using the technology on the market by next summer.
- Tomy announces Mexia digital camera!
Japanese toy giant Tomy (best known for their 1980's toy robots such as the Omnibot series, which I collect -- Mike) has announced its new Mexia digital camera. With a 250,000 pixel CMOS sensor and an image size of 256 x 240 pixels, the camera has a planned price of 6,980 yen (US$60) when it goes on the market in October. The unit is available in two colors (pink or blue), and has a built-in 1MB memory stores 15 images in .BMP format, the reasoning being that the camera, which is only compatible with Windows95/98, will provide files that can be edited in an editor every Windows user has - Paintbrush (!). The camera transfers all 15 images to the user's PC in 54 seconds via a parallel connection. The F2.5 lens has a focal length of 4.8 mm, equivalent to 55.7mm on a 35mm camera, and is fixed focus (60 centimeters to infinity). Power comes from 4 AAA
batteries, and interestingly there is no way to turn the camera off, although a battery life of three weeks is quoted thanks to the absence of a flash, LCD display, focusing or zoom mechanisms and a power-hungry CCD. The camera weighs 113.5 grams, with dimensions of 89.2 x 28.5 x 57.6 millimeters. Suprisingly (especially considering Tomy's background in toys), the camera is aimed not at children like the Barbiecam et al., but is instead to be sold in PC shops, gadget shops and discount camera retailers, and will be targetted at PC beginners as a "communications tool".
- And finally...
 the latest Japanese digicam sales rankings have been released by the PC Watch website. The top 10 for the period July 12-25 is as follows:

Position (Previous)NameMSRP
1 (1)Olympus C-2000 ZOOM¥113,000 (US$973)
2 (2)Fuji FinePix1500¥62,800 (US$541)
3 (4)Olympus C-900 ZOOM¥89,800 (US$774)
4 (3)Sony DSC-F55K¥115,000 (US$991)
5 (9)Fuji FinePix700¥99,800 (US$860)
6 (5)Nikon Coolpix950¥125,000 (US$1077)
7 (6)Fuji FinePix2700¥94,800 (US$817)
8 (7)Toshiba PDR-M4¥89,800 (US$774)
9 (8)Fuji FinePix2900Z¥99,800 (US$860)
10 (10)Ricoh RDC-5000¥99,800 (US$860)


Tuesday, July 27, 1999



July 27 - Fuji MX-2900 review, 730MB digicam media, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 27, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- DCRP posts Fuji MX-2900 review! The folks over at the Digital Camera Resource Page emailed us today with news that they've now posted a review of the first English-language Fuji MX-2900 on the site. The camera, which is apparently still a development model but "very close" to what would ship in the US, according to Fuji. Jeff finds the camera to give photos competitive with other 2-Megapixel cameras, as well as being fairly easy to use, but also noted that the camera was the slowest 2-Megapixel unit he'd used. The autofocus was also too noisy, and the camera was somewhat awkward to hold. That said, bear in mind that this is still a development model and that these flaws may not affect you - so check out the review here!
- Dave Kunze takes Coolpix950 zoom to the next level!
We received an email today from IR reader Dave Kunze, with an interesting technique for extending the range of his Coolpix950 digital camera's zoom somewhat dramatically... The results really have to be seen to be believed (all three thumbnails below link to the 437 x 328 pixel resampled images that Dave sent us). Want to know how Dave managed it? Head on over to the Tips page, and we'll tell you...

Coolpix950 Wide Angle

Coolpix950 Telephoto

Dave Kunze's Ultrazoom :)


- Sanyo, Olympus, Hitachi partner in digicam storage!
A news item from Reuters today reveals that Sanyo, Olympus and Hitachi have partnered to develop a new standard for digital camera storage. The new media takes the form of a rewriteable magneto-optical disc, and should offer 730MB of storage per disc. No pricing or availability is noted, beyond a comment from a Sanyo spokesman that digital cameras using the disc should ship by next summer. No other details are available in the press release, beyond a rather misleading note that the 730MB capacity is "20 times greater than memory devices presently used in its digital cameras". We'd make it nearer to double the capacity of IBM's now-shipping Microdrive, which leaves the new media as impressive but not quite as much as the press release would have you believe. ;)
- Agfa promotes SnapScan scanner!
A press release today from Agfa's Desktop Products group takes advantage of a lull in digital imaging news to promote its SnapScan 1236S flatbed scanner. The release notes that the scanner comes bundled with an Adaptec AVA 1505 AE SCSI card, and that both scanner and card are "designed for SOHO and professional applications". The SnapScan 1236S retails for US$199.
- Kodak releases software upgrade for DCS 300, 500 and 600!
Kodak has announced the release of a software upgrade for its DCS300, DCS500 and DCS600 Professional digital cameras.The upgrade is in the form of both an upgrade of the acquire software and the camera's firmware, and the details from Kodak are as follows:

"Kodak Professional Releases Enhancements for DCS Digital Cameras; New Software and Firmware Available Free Online

ATLANTA, July 26

Professional photographers will realize even better performance from Kodak Professional DCS 300, 500 and 600 series digital cameras thanks to new software and firmware enhancements available free on

Kodak's Web site.
The new software and firmware*either on the host computer (acquire

software) or in the camera itself (firmware)*enhance and extend Kodak's highly-acclaimed professional digital cameras to meet the growing requirements of today's professional photographers. Both the software and firmware are expected to be made available in August on the Kodak Web site. The software enhancements let professional photographers customize camera functions to meet their needs while the firmware opens up new applications for the cameras' second PCMCIA slot. These improvements are available to owners of Kodak Professional DCS 300, 500 and 600 series digital cameras at no cost.
"Kodak Professional is committed to developing and delivering high-performance digital SLRs which meet and exceed the needs of professional photographers," said Peter Jameson, director of digital capture, Kodak Professional. "That commitment doesn't stop with the camera sale. These new software and firmware enhancements are the latest examples of total solutions we provide customers to help them affordably and efficiently transition to digital and realize their return-on-investment."
The new software and firmware enhancements are designed to provide professional photographers with the tools they require to easily capture award-winning photos while keeping pace with new developments and innovations in digital technology. All Kodak Professional DCS Digital Cameras were designed to allow for this type of enhancement.
"Kodak remains committed to providing its customers with the latest

technological improvements via acquire software," Jameson said. "Most recently, Kodak provided new firmware to enhance contour and color quality, and acquire software to improve the overall quality of images for the Kodak Professional DCS 315 Digital Camera."
Software acquire version 5.7 features:
* Exposure throttle: enables photographers to manually manipulate ISO / gain setting of images after an image has been taken and saved. This process is similar to push / pull processing in traditional film where the exposure is compensated for in the development process.
* Integrated noise reduction: allows photographer to select automatic

application of noise reduction processing to images during acquire.
* Sharpening: allows photographer to select optimized automatic

sharpening of images during acquire.
* Camera properties control: allows for customization of options in

the camera, including start-up screen text and photographer / artist name. It also allows for remote control of virtually every photographic setting in the camera, including ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc.
* ICC profiles in-the-box: these profiles are optimized for strobe /
daylight and linear acquire mode. Additional profiles will be available at Kodak's Web site.
New camera firmware has been designed to activate the cameras' second PCMCIA slot. With this new firmware, both slots are now active for storage of images, allowing photographers to use both PCMCIA slots for storage of images, offering a total of 680MB of storage space. As this firmware functionality is further developed, the second slot will also be able to host other PCMCIA cards to support applications such as GPS, image encryption, wireless networking anf mobile telephone transmission.
Availability
The new host software and camera firmware enhancements will be

available at no cost for owners of Kodak Professional DCS Digital Cameras for download through Kodak's Web site. The new software, v5.7, is scheduled for release in early August."

- Euro Nikon upgrades vanish again?
We note that the European Nikon Coolpix950 upgrade files we referred to in yesterday's news update have vanished, although the directories are still there. We'll try and let you know when the upgrade comes back again, however in the meantime we'd recommend contacting Nikon Europe for information as to when the upgrade will be released, or just continuing to enjoy your camera whilst you wait... :)

Monday, July 26, 1999



July 26 - DC280J sample pics, Samurai 2100DG preview, free digicams and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 26, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- PC Watch posts first Kodak DC280J sample pics! The PC Watch website in Japan is, as usual, first out of the gates with sample pictures from yet another new digital camera - in this case, Kodak's DC280J! The accompanying text merely covers the highlights of the camera (announced June 22, image size 1,760 x 1,168 pixels) and notes that the camera is a development model and hence not representative of the final unit. The interesting part is the 10 accompanying photos - check them out, and come to your own verdict! :)
- Steve's Digicams previews Kyocera Samurai 2100DG!
The fine folks over at Steve's Digicams have now posted a preview of Kyocera's Samurai 2100DG digital camera. This camcorder-shaped 2.14 megapixel unit, which features CompactFlash storage and a 35 to 140mm equivalent F2.8 - F4.5 zoom lens, "produces good to very good" images according to Steve... The biggest shortcoming Steve found in his preview was that the camera wasn't designed with the large-handed in mind, Steve's fingers not falling in the right places to reach the zoom lever or shutter release one-handed. Check out the full preview and sample pics! Also, Steve has now uploaded sample pics from Panasonic's PV-DC2590 digital camera, which you can find here...
- Agfa offers free digicams with scanners!
Agfa's Desktop Products Group has announced a new promotion for its DuoScan T2000 XL and DuoScan T2500 flatbed scanners, effective between July 1 and November 30, 1999. Customers purchasing the scanners (which cost US$4,995 and US$8,995 respectively) between these dates are eligible to receive a free digital camera. T2000 XL buyers will get a 1.3 megapixel Agfa ePhoto CL50, whilst those purchasing a T2500 will receive an Agfa ePhoto 780c.
- Epson announces imaging software division!
Epson America Inc. has announced in a press release today its new Digital Imaging Software division, Epson Software. The announcement is accompanied by news of Epson Software's first product, Film Factory. The program, available directly from Epson Software for $39.95 (electronic download) or $49.95 (CD-ROM) allows users to import pictures from a digital camera, scanner, or other source and organize them into "film rolls" which can in turn be stored in "film cases". Text and voice annotations can be added, and images can also be enhanced and retouched (brightness, contrast, and several other unspecified tools). Interestingly, the retouching options do not alter the original image, allowing users to regress changes to their photos at a later date. A 30-day free trial version is also available.
- Agfa Clik! bundle to retail mid-October!
According to a posting on the techstocks.com website which Dave caught word of in rec.photo.digital, the Agfa ePhoto CL30 Clik! bundle which we mentioned previously should be reaching the market at a suggested price of $599 in mid-October. Interesting!
- Coolpix PAL update online!
We received an email from IR reader Martin Edner pointing us towards Nikon's European PAL update for the Coolpix950 digital camera which we couldn't find a few days ago on the Nikon Europe website. The upgrade is apparently on the European FTP site, at:

PC: ftp.nikon-euro.com/nikon/win/E950V1_1/E950V1_1.zip

MAC: ftp.nikon-euro.com/nikon/mac/E950V1_1/E950V1_1.zip

Why the files weren't linked on the web site we're not sure, but we'd recommend caution in using them just in case of problems. That said, they're on a publicly accessible portion of the server and Martin informs us he had no problems with the PC upgrade, so they should be OK. Remember, folks, these updates are for European cameras only - do not attempt to upgrade a non-European camera with these files unless you want an expensive Nikon door-stop. [07/27/99 - Note, the files above have disappeared from Nikon's server, although the directories are still there.]
- Tips & Techniques for cloning and sharpening!
One of the absolutely coolest things you can do with digital imaging is to "clone" parts of a picture to replace portions you don't want. It's tough to do this undetectably though: Here's a few pointers to increase your success! Also, if you haven't tried "sharpening" your pictures digitally, you won't believe the difference it can make. The key is figuring out how much to apply though: Read this guide to learn more...
- Latest installment of "Going Digital!"!
Rob Brainard of 20-20 Consumer is a photographer with long film experience who recently decided to take the plunge and "Go Digital." He kept a running diary as he went along, and shared his experiences with the community. He was kind enough to let us republish them here, and we've now posted the fourth installment in the series. (Ed: Super article series! - Thanks, Rob!)
- Full production CoolPix 950 review online!
This must have set some record for tardiness! We finally got around to updating all aspects of the Nikon CoolPix 950 review to reflect the results we obtained with the full-production model! Added were expanded comments on low-light capability, some power-consumption measurements, and information on chromatic aberration in the lens.
- A unique Nikon Coolpix950 lens cap!
Mike must apologize for the delay in publishing this item, which twice got lost in my voluminous Inbox... We received an email some time ago from reader Mark M. Babcock who has executed an interesting and rather clever idea he got from Gary Udstrand. The two have come up with an interesting flip-up lens cap for the Nikon Coolpix 950, based on a Butler Creek scope cover. Check it out here!
- Kodak announces DCS330 digital camera!
The folks over at Steve's Digicams have posted news of a new Pro SLR from Kodak, the DCS330. Based on a Nikon Pronea 6i SLR camera body, the DCS330 contains a 3 megapixel CCD which gives 2008 x 1504 pixel images. The camera also has a 32MB buffer allowing one shot per second for the first 8 shots, an ISO range from 125 to 400, 1.8-inch LCD, built-in microphone, IEEE1394 interface, Type III and Dual Type-II CompactFlash storage, and an anti-aliasing filter. Nikkor AF and F-Mount lenses as well as SB-series flash attachments can be used with the unit, which also features a built-in flash and runs off six AA, NiCad or NiMH batteries or an AC adapter.Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!

July 26 - Quick PPA report online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 26, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- Nikon D1 tidbits, Foveon studio camera prelim info. We'll probably have more news later today, but for now, we've posted a report by Dave on the PPA show in Atlanta: Not a lot new, but some tidbits on the Nikon D1 digital SLR, and the much-talked-about Foveon (very) high end pro studio camera. Check out the show report!

Friday, July 23, 1999



July 23 - Firewire scanners, digicams with modems, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 23, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- UMAX demonstrates FireWire-ready scanner! UMAX Technologies Inc. has announced its new PowerLook F3 scanner, which is being shown as part of Apple's FireWire exhibit at the MacWorld Expo in New York. The PowerLook F3 is demonstrated alongside an Apple PowerMac G3, a FireWire printer, and a FireWire backup device, and visitors to the show can try scanning and printing images with the setup first-hand to see for themselves how the speed compares to existing scanners.
- Steves Digicams posts Panasonic PV-DC2590 first look!
Preparatory to a review of the camera soon, the folks over at Steve's Digicams have posted a first look at Panasonic's PV-DC2590. The camera, unusual in that it has dual CompactFlash slots, is CompactFlash+ Type II ready, and comes with a CompactFlash modem which can be used to send your images back home without needing a laptop PC, Steve finds the camera to be somewhat let down by mediocre quality images. Check the preview out here!
- PC Watch posts comprehensive image comparison!
The PC Watch website has posted a whopping selection of sample images from 17 different digital cameras. Note that the Sony DSC-D770 has incorrectly been listed as a 1600 x 1200 2 Megapixel camera by PC Watch; the unit is in fact a 1.3 megapixel 1344 x 1024 camera. Also note that the Olympus C21 camera is a development unit, and hence may not accurately represent the final model. That said, the images are listed as below. On an interesting sidenote, PC Watch has also posted the first pictures we've seen of Casio's new QV-2000UX digital camera - the accompany text doesn't reveal anything of note other than that the camera was displayed with a 160MB Sandisk flash card.

2 Megapixel Zoom Digital Cameras

Olympus C-2000 ZOOM

(Wide SHQ, Tele SHQ, Wide HQ, Tele HQ)
Nikon Coolpix950

(Wide Fine, Tele Fine, Wide Normal, Tele Normal, Wide Basic, Tele Basic)
Fuji FinePix2900Z

(Wide Fine, Tele Fine, Wide Normal, Tele Normal, Wide Basic, Tele Basic)
Ricoh RDC-5000

(Wide Fine, Tele Fine, Wide Normal, Tele Normal, Wide Economy, Tele Economy)
Kyocera Samurai 2100DG

(Wide Superfine, Tele Superfine, Wide Fine, Tele Fine)
Kodak DC280J

(Wide Best, Standard Best, Tele Best, Wide Better, Standard Better, Tele Better)
*
Sony DSC-D770

ISO 400 (Wide High, Standard High, Tele High, Wide Middle, Standard Middle, Tele Middle)
ISO 100 (Wide High, Standard High, Tele High, Wide Middle, Standard Middle, Tele Middle)
ISO50 (Wide High, Standard High, Tele High, Wide Middle, Standard Middle, Tele Middle)
* Note: PC Watch has incorrectly placed the Sony DSC-D770 camera in the 2 Megapixel Zoom section; this camera is actually a 1.3 Megapixel unit.

2 Megapixel Fixed-Focus Digital Cameras


Nikon Coolpix700

(Fine, Normal, Basic)
Sony DSC-F55K

(Fine, Standard)
Epson CP-800

(Hyper, Superfine, Fine, Standard)
Fuji Finepix2700

(Fine, Normal, Basic)
Konica Q-M200

(Superfine, Fine, Basic)
Olympus C-21 (Development model)
(SHQ, HQ)

Less than 2 Megapixel Zoom and Fixed Focus Digital Cameras

Fuji Finepix1500

(Fine, Normal, Basic)
Canon PowerShot A50

(Fine Wide, Fine Tele, Normal Wide, Normal Tele)
Kodak DC240

(Best Wide, Best Tele, Better Wide, Better Tele)
Casio QV-5500SX

(S, F, N)
- VueScan gets another version!
This just in from rec.photo.digital - only two short days after we announced an upgrade of Ed Hamrick's excellent VueScan product, we've heard that Ed's been hard at work and released yet another version...! This from Ed:

"I just released VueScan 3.0, and it includes support for the Minolta Dimage Scan Dual film scanner for both 35mm and APS film. You can download VueScan 3.0 from:
http://www.hamrick.com/vsm.html
The Scan Dual only costs $350 from www.buy.com (without a SCSI card), and with VueScan it produces very nice looking scans. I was surprised how well it works and how quiet it scans. The APS adapter works really well too - it's motorized, the film can be randomly positioned, and a whole roll of APS film can be scanned without any manual intervention (set the Automatic feed option to do this).
VueScan works a lot faster than the Minolta software since it doesn't need to do the pre-scan step. The color correction in VueScan is also a lot better than

the Minolta software, and has been calibrated using a Kodak Q60 calibration slide. In addition, you can do multi-scanning with VueScan, which reduces the scan noise and increases the effective bit depth.
As you can probably tell, I really like this scanner.
Many thanks to Tim O. for loaning me his Scan Dual for a few days to add support for it to VueScan!
"

Thursday, July 22, 1999



July 22 - New KB JamC@m, Kyocera 1300DG drops price by a third, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 22, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- KB Gear launches new JamC@m! KB Gear Interactive today announced its new second generation JamC@m, priced at a very reasonable suggested retail price of $89. The camera has a resolution of 640 x 480, a storage capacity of up to 24 pictures, and features both serial and USB connectivity. The JamC@m comes bundled with Microsoft Picture It! 99 and ArcSoft PhotoFantasy, and was nominated for Best New Peripheral Device at RetailVision 99. The JamC@m is based on an HP CMOS chip which, according to KB Gear, should offer extended battery life and performance comparable with CCD-based cameras that cost nearer to $2-300.
- PC Watch posts Japanese pricing data!
The PC Watch website has posted its fortnightly pricing data, for the period July 7 - July 22. The biggest news this fortnight is the stunning 33% price drop for Kyocera's Samurai 1300DG, which brings the 1.32 megapixel camcorder-shaped camera with its 3x optical zoom lens, 4-mode flash and bundled 8MB CompactFlash card down to only an equivalent of US$337, truly an excellent price! Other changes are as follows:


NamePriceChange
Fuji Finepix2900Z¥79,800 (US$676)+¥8,000 (9%)
Epson CP-800¥74,800 (US$633)-¥5,000 (6%)
Konica Q-M200¥59,800 (US$506)-¥5,000 (8%)
Kyocera Samurai 1300DG¥39,800 (US$337)-¥20,000 (33%)
Fuji Finepix500¥34,800 (US$295)-¥5,000 (13%)


Other items of interest are as follows:

* The Nikon Coolpix950 remains out of stock at all three stores surveyed.
* Casio's QV-7000 SX is back in stock at all three stores surveyed, following stock shortages last fortnight.
* Sony's DSC-D770 reaches the marketplace at a street price of ¥185,800 (US$1573), some ¥17,800 (11%) higher than the final street price of the out-of-production Sony DSC-D700, although the MSRP for both cameras is identical.
* Olympus' C-1400XL, Canon's PowerShot Pro70, Sony's MVC-FD91 and Konica's DG-1 are all out of stock at one of three vendors surveyed.
- Agfa relaunches DuoScan T2000 XL!
Agfa's Desktop Products Group has announced the relaunch of its DuoScan T2000 XL scanner. The unit is now shipping in redesigned protective packaging, and comes with newly improved glassless batch slide holders. The T2000 XL, which is distributed by TekGraf Inc. in the USA, offers a scanning area of 12 x 18 inches for reflective materials, and 12 x 9.5 inches for transparencies, and retails for approximately US$8,995.
- PhotoLoft announces new site features!
Online photo-sharing website has announced a number of new features in a press release distributed today. PhotoLoft users can now dynamically crop images online before printing them, and also have access to a "My Loft" area where logged in members can manage their photos, albums, guestbooks and other PhotoLoft.com features. The site also features revamped navigation controls. In June, the site traffic had increased by 60% over March, with a 40% growth in the number of images hosted and a 121% increase in total members. PhotoLoft has also added an average of two co-branded sites per week for companies such as Casio, Epson, Tribal Voice and UMAX.

Wednesday, July 21, 1999



July 21 - Nikon Coolpix950 upgrade, Iomega Clik! review, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 21, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- Nikon releases Coolpix950 upgrade software - almost! Nikon has now officially released its Coolpix950 software update for the Coolpix950 in the USA - with a minor catch. The updater is only available thus far for Macintosh users, proving that Macs do still occasionally get the latest software first! ;) Take caution, folks, it is very important that you get the correct updater file for your Coolpix - not only for the correct system (PC/Mac) but the right country as well. Otherwise, as Steve's Digicams so aptly puts it - you'll turn your Coolpix950 into a doorstop. Whilst the Nikon Doorstop950 might be a neat talking point, we're sure you don't want to spend quite so much on it!

Coolpix950 Updater for NTSC - This is the updater for cameras shipped to the USA, Canada, Mexico and South America. Currently, only the Macintosh version has been released.

Coolpix950 Updater for PAL - This is the updater for cameras shipped to Europe. The Nikon USA website refers European customers to an upgrade available at www.Nikon-Euro.com, however sa far as we can see this has not yet been posted to the site.

Coolpix950 Updater for Japan - This is the updater for cameras sold domestically inside Japan. Users who purchased their cameras in Japan only should install this update, which has been available since July 16.

So why the delay for US PC users? According to a posting from the folks at Steve's Digicams, Japanese users experienced problems with the upgrade which has presumably required a quick rewrite. Specifically, Japanese users with serial connections below 57.6Kbps and the camera's sleep timer set to 5 minutes were finding that, 5 minutes into the upgrade process (which must not be interrupted), the camera was powering itself off, which means the old software has been overwritten and destroyed, but the new software has not been fully loaded. Hey presto, instant doorstop. In light of this, we commend Nikon's decision to protect Coolpix users from this possibility by delaying the upgrade slightly... Let's face it folks, its better to wait a little while for the upgrade than risk having to wait even longer whilst Nikon turns your doorstop back into a camera... ;)
- Review of Iomega Clik! Drive posted!
The Iomega Clik! drive is a portable disk drive with tiny, removable 40 megabyte disks, and an optional flash-memory reader. The "Clik! for digital cameras" and "Clik! Plus" versions include the flash reader, and allow digicam owners to offload photos from their memory cards in the field, without lugging along a laptop computer. We really liked the Clik!, when we brought it along on a recent trip: It completely freed us from worrying about memory space, which had a surprising impact on our picture-taking. Highly recommended! Check it out!
- Olympus bundles PhotoGenetics software!
A press release today from Q-Research Inc. reveals that a trial version of its PhotoGenetics software will be bundled with all its digital cameras in Olympus' European region, including Russia, Eastern Europe, Israel and South Africa. Olympus will also sell the full version of the software in these regions. The deal should see PhotoGenetics bundled with more than 250,000 digital cameras in the first year alone. When we reviewed PhotoGenetics in May, we found the software made image adjustment "supremely easy", and noted that with its low (US) price point of $30, and ability to batch-correct large numbers of images, it should be of interest both to novices and experienced users... Check the full review out here...
- New versions of Qimage, VueScan!
Dave caught word on rec.photo.digital of new versions of popular programs Qimage Pro and VueScan...

Qimage Pro 5.42 has a number of fixes over the previous (5.3) release, including:
* Fixed a bug that caused a crash when "For Best Fit" was set to "Crop Image"
* Slide show "windowed" mode: fixed image update and timer (auto advance)
* Disk swap file now used for all filters to reduce memory requirements

* On screen image now automatically updates after lossless JPG transform


It also adds a number of new slide-show features, as below:
* Choose full screen to view images full size or select windowed if you would like access to on-screen controls

* Stamp each image with slide number, date/time or both

* Advance or rewind manually or let Qimage Pro advance for you automatically

* Set the time interval for display in auto advance mode

* Auto advance to next image (Qimage Pro will "wrap around" to the beginning after the last slide) or let Qimage Pro pick a random image

* Non-intrusive interface allows you to show the options before each slide show or set the options and hide them


Ed Hamrick's VueScan also has a new release, VueScan 2.9 for Film Scanners. The program now supports the following film scanners: HP PhotoSmart (both SCSI and USB versions); Nikon LS-30, LS-2000, LS-1000, LS-20; Polaroid SprintScan 35+; Canon CanoScan 2700f. Changes include:

* Added support for in-memory scanning. Use the special file name "memory.tif" as the "Scan tif file". Using this file name will make VueScan keep the scanned data in memory, which is faster on some systems with a lot of memory. Note that a full resolution scan of a single frame can take about 50 MBytes, so only use this option if you have more memory than the size of the scan file required.
* Improved support for Canon CanoScan 2700f film scanner

* Created help file (press F1 for help)

- Epson announces three new printer/scanner combos!
Epson America Inc. has today announced three new combined printer/scanners, the Stylus Scan 2000, Stylus Scan 2500 and Stylus Scan 2500 Pro. All three printers feature USB and parallel connectivity, and 1440 x 720dpi photo quality printing using Epson's Micro Piezo print technology and a droplet size of only six picoliters. The Stylus Scan 2000 also features a 300 x 600 dpi 36-bit sheetfed scanner, whilst the 2500 and 2500 Pro models feature a 600 x 2400dpi 36-bit color flatbed scanner. The 2500 Pro model also adds an automatic document feeder.
- New scanner from Lumiere has world's highest resolution!
A press release today from French company Lumiere Technology announces its new JumboScan scanning system. The JumboScan system can capture images as large as 24,000 x 60,000 pixels at 300 dpi over an area of up to 16 foot by 10 foot. No word in the release on pricing for this colossal machine, but if you need one, presumably you can afford it. ;)

Tuesday, July 20, 1999



July 20 - Part II, Casio announces new digicams and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 20, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- Casio announces 1, 2 megapixel digicams! Three separate press releases today from Casio Inc. announce the release of three new digital cameras, the 1.31 megapixel QV-5500SX and QV-8000SX, and Casio's first foray into the 2-megapixel realm, the 2.11 megapixel QV-2000UX. Details of the three cameras are as below:

QV-5500SX
1.31 megapixel CCD

High-resolution Hyper Amorphous Silicon TFT LCD display

4-mode flash (auto, on, off, red eye reduction)
NTSC/PAL video outputs

CompactFlash storage (8MB CF and PC Card adapter bundled)
Uses 4 NiMH batteries, batteries and charger supplied

AC adapter supplied

No mention is made of connectivity to a PC.

2x / 4x digital zoom and playback zoom

"Quick Shutter" 0.5 second burst mode for 6 images (when LCD off)
1 second/shot burst mode with LCD on

Multi-pattern, center-weighted or spot metering

Auto Exposure Bracketing (records -0.5EV and +0.5EV images automatically)
Multiple Exposure Mode (allows images to be overlaid on each other)
Night Scene Mode (Slow shutter speed and flash)
AVI recording capability for up to 9.6 seconds, 10fps, 320 x 240

Panorama recording and playback

Grid display assists in framing of pictures

0.5 second frame-frame time in playback mode

Saturation, contrast and sharpness adjustable in camera

Custom settings saved in camera

HTML index and thumbnails assembled in-camera

QV-8000SX
1.31 megapixel CCD

Optical 8x zoom lens (QV series swivel lens type)
2.5" High-resolution Hyper Amorphous Silicon TFT LCD display

CompactFlash storage

USB connectivity

Viedo output connectivity

4-mode flash (auto, on, off, red eye reduction)
Multifunction wired remote control

Shutter or aperture priority mode

B / Bulb mode keeps shutter open up to 64 seconds

Burst mode of up to 5 images at 0.25 second intervals

Multi-pattern, center-weighted or spot metering

Macro focusing down to 1 centimeter

Movie recording and playback with recording of action prior to pressing of the shutter release (?)
Self timer, timer and interval modes

Landscape and Portrait Modes

Panorama recording and playback

Night Scene Mode (Slow shutter speed and flash)
0.5 second frame-frame time in playback mode

Custom settings saved in camera

HTML index and thumbnails assembled in-camera

DCF/DPOF compliant

QV-2000UX
2.11 megapixel CCD

F2.0 Optical 3X Zoom lens

CompactFlash+ Type II storage, compatible with MicroDrive

USB connectivity

1.8-inch High-resolution Hyper Amorphous Silicon TFT LCD display

Optical viewfinder (zooms with lens)
Video output connectivity

Shutter or aperture priority mode

Burst mode of up to 4 images at 0.5 second intervals (resolution unknown)
2-second shot-shot time at UXGA 1600 x 1200 resolution

Multi-pattern, center-weighted or spot metering

Movie recording and playback with recording of action prior to pressing of the shutter release (?)
Landscape and Portrait Modes

Panorama recording and playback

Night Scene Mode (Slow shutter speed and flash)
0.5 second frame-frame time in playback mode

Custom settings saved in camera

HTML index and thumbnails assembled in-camera

DCF/DPOF compliant

All three digital cameras are to be shown for the first time at the MacWorld show, Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York City which opens tomorrow.
- SanDisk ships 1,000,000 CF cards in a quarter!
A press release today from SanDisk Corp. announces that, for the first time, it shipped over one million CompactFlash cards in a 3 month period. Exact figures weren't released, but the landmark figure was exceeded in the second quarter of this year. According to the press release, 87 digital cameras and 95 other products including handheld PCs and mobile audio devices use CompactFlash storage.
- McDonalds and JVC give away digital camcorders!
A press release today from JVC Company of America announces that, in cooperation with fast-food chain McDonalds, the company will be giving away up to 65 GR-DVF10 Digital Cybercam Camcorders. The competition is part of McDonald's Inspector Gadget promotion, and the camcorders are to be given away as Instant-Win prizes between July 16 and August 12 1999.

July 20 - FlashPath for MultiMediaCard, Nikon D1 public appearances, lunch with Olympus, and much more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 20, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- SanDisk announces floppy disk adapter for MultiMediaCard! SanDisk Corpo. has today announced its new floppy disk adapter developed in cooperation with SmartDisk Corp. for the SanDisk MultiMediaCard. The MultiMediaCard is the world's smallest removeable flash storage card, and with the use of the FlashPath adapter for MultiMediaCard, end-users will be able to read images from their MultiMediaCards in their existing 3.5-inch floppy disk drives, without the need for extra cabling and card-readers. Sample shipments of the FlashPath for MultiMediaCard adapter will begin in Q4 1999, and the devices will reach the marketplace in Q1 2000. SanDisk will also redistribute SmartDisk's FlashPath adapter for SmartMedia under the SanDisk brand name.
- Nikon D1 digital camera to make first public appearances!
Professional photographers will soon be getting their first opportunity to get hands-on demonstrations of Nikon's much-anticipated D1 digital Pro SLR camera shortly, according to news from the excellent Rob Galbraith Online website. Nikon's Bill Pekala has confirmed that a pre-production unit will be on display at the Professional Photographers of America Convention 1999 in Atlanta, Georgia between July 25-27, whilst the first opportunity to see a fully operational Nikon D1 will be at Visual Edge '99 in St. Petersburg, Florida from August 22-27. Workshop attendees at this event will have the opportunity to use one of several Nikon D1s that will be on hand. Finally, a fully-operational D1 will also make an appearance at the Seybold San Francisco digital special interest day on August 30th.

Also of interest on Rob Galbraith's news page was a reaction from a photographer lucky enough to see two preproduction D1s in Scotland, as well as news of a price drop for Kodak's DCS520 and DCS620 digital cameras, which sees the camera bundle expanded to include three camera batteries, three 160MB PC cards, and a 1-year Silver service agreement around a price point of US$10,000. Finally, Rob has news of Kodak's revamped service program for professional photographers and upcoming exposure compensation features in Kodak's acquire software for Mac and PC.Thanks to Rob Galbraith Online for these items!
- Lunch with Olympus article is posted!
Is nothing sacred? Well, apparently not Dave's vacations! He was lured back from his vastly-overdue summer vacation for a day to interview top Olympus executives on a variety of topics, including: Why no USB, Why no manual controls on the C-2000, and Whither SmartMedia? Check it out!
- Canon Digital Camcorder in space!
Canon U.S.A. Inc. today announced that its XL1 digital camcorder will be going where no Canon digital camcorder has gone before - into space! The Canon XL1, the world's first digital camcorder to incorporate Canon's Interchangeable XL Lens Mount System which allows use of Canon XL and EOS 35mm lenses, will be accompanying NASA astronauts on the STS-93 mission to deploy the Chandra X-ray observatory. the XL1 will be used to document experiments conducted in the shuttle, including tests that focus on radar echoes, space weathering, cell activity and earth observation.
- PictureWorks releases new image manager!
PictureWorks Technology Inc. has released the latest version of its MediaCenter media manager. MediaCenter 1.1 adds support for Internet Explorer 5.0 and WindowsNT 4.0, the ability to recognize MP3, MPG, MOV, RM, RA, ASF and MID files, as well as download capability from Jaz drives, Zip drives and CompactFlash card readers. At the same time, JPEG support has been optimised for Pentium II/III and MMX. Web Publisher, an add-on for MediaCenter, was also announced at the same time. As the name would suggest, the add-on is designed to quickly and easily create web pages with your pictures and upload them to the web. A full version of MediaCenter can be downloaded free from PictureWorks' website.
- ParaShot now supports Epson PhotoPC 750Z!
A press release today from CycloVision Technologies Inc. announces that its ParaShot digital camera attachment now supports Epson's PhotoPC 750 digital camera. ParaShot is CycloVision's solution for making simple, quick work of 360-degree panoramic images. One picture with the attachment, and a quick run through CycloVision's software without the need for stitching, and you have a 360-degree image...
- PictureWorks' HotShots software in Epson bundle!
Digital Imaging company PictureWorks Technology Inc. has announced in a press release today that its digital image enhancement software, HotShots, has been selected by Epson to be bundled with its new Epson PhotoPC 650 digital camera. HotShots is described by PictureWorks as "the first image application to include links to the Internet. HotShots lets you organize, enhance, and publish pictures from the digital camera or the Internet quickly and easily with a simple and effective user interface. It's also helpful with projects for photo cards, signs, labels and more."
- Digital Imaging set-tops to reach $330 million by 2002!
The latest report from InfoTrends Research Group looks into the future of a new category of devices due to be unleashed in the coming Christmas season, digital imaging set tops. The devices allow digital camera users to store, view and edit their digital images without the need for a PC, and should be reaching the market at the end of this year. InfoTrends predicts that by 2002, the market for such devices could reach US$330 million, but cautions that even with this prediction, the success of such set top boxes which connect to a normal television is far from guaranteed. Further details are in InfoTrends report "Imaging Appliances' Impact on Digital Photography", available immediately.
- Kodak digicams to document Woodstock '99!
A press release from Eastman Kodak Co. announces that its professional digital cameras will be used to document the annual Woodstock festival on the woodstock.com website. According to the press release, photographers from LiveOnLine will be using 10 Kodak Professional series digital cameras, either the DCS 520, the DCS560 and the DCS 315 models, to document the festival with thousands of shots of the many acts who will be appearing. Woodstock is to be held from July 23-25 at Griffiss Park in Rome, N.Y.
- JVC brings Kopin CyberDisplay to market!
Kopin Corporation has today announced that its Kopin CyberDisplay product will be reaching the market for the first time, in JVC's newest digital camcorder. The JVC DVC-CyberCam GR-DVF-11U and GR-DVF-21U will feature a Motorola ASIC chip to interface between the camera and its 0.24-inch diagonal 320 x 240 pixel CyberDisplay. The CyberDisplay has the highest resolution available in such a small package, which offers a significant improvement in power consumption and battery life.
- Visioneer best-selling and fastest-growing US scanner company!
A press release today from Visioneer Inc. announces that it is currently the fastest growing scanner company in the US marketplace, and Visioneer now occupies the #1 positions in both flatbed and sheetfed scanner sales in the US, according to statistics released by PC Data. The survey from PC Data reveals that Visioneer's OneTouch scanners have gained 27% of the US marketplace, and 4 of the top 10 best-selling flatbed scanners in the US were made by the company. Visioneer's sheet-fed StrobePro scanners, meanwhile, hold 88% of the color sheetfed market according to the survey, which covered the market as of May 1999.

Friday, July 16, 1999



July 16 - Mavica and DC265 reviews, new 20x zoom camcorder, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 16, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- Canon announces Digital Camcorder with 20x zoom lens! Canon U.S.A. Inc. has announced its new GL1 digital camcorder, the first to include Canon's L-series Fluorite 20x optical zoom. Equivalent to a range of 40-806mm on a 35mm camera, the lens is also backed up by a 100x digital zoom (for those times when you want to be really sure what each pixel looks like? :) as well as optical image stabilisation, 3 CCDs (one for each color) and the ability to capture still images. The new digital camcorder will be available in September at a suggested price of US$2699.
- SanDisk announces record results!
A press release from SanDisk Corp. announces that it achieved record revenues for the second quarter of this year. Revenues reached $52.5 million, $21.2 million or 68% over those for the same quarter last year, including some $10.2 million from licenses and royalties - although the bulk of growth came from product revenues, which increased by a whopping 80% over last year's figures.Shipments of SanDisk flash cards exceeded 1 million units per quarter for the first time, and the total number of megabytes shipped grew by 45%. Sales of SanDisk's MultiMediaCard product reached 170,000 units in the second quarter, up from 60,000 in the first quarter of 99.
- PhotoHighway.com adds Alexis Gerard Digital Focus column!
The PhotoHighway.com website has announced that it has added the Digital Focus column by Alexis Gerard, president of Future Image, to its weekly newsletter. The column currently appears in PC Photo and Electronic Publishing magazines. The agreement also provides for PhotoHighway to publish a weekly article extract of the Future Image Report newsletter.
- Burr Brown announces image signal processor!
Burr Brown Corp. has announced a new signal processor designed to work with 3-channel CCD or CIS (Contact Image Sensor) devices such as color scanners and industrial quality-control cameras. The VSP3010 is a single-chip 12-bit 12MHz interface between the CCD/CIS chip and DSP (digital signal processor). It is packaged in a 48-pin LQFP package, and features "integrated triple correlated double sampler, 3-channel (12MHz) color mode, 0dB to +13dB analog programmable gain amplifier, 8-bit offset adjustment DACs, single +5V supply, internal voltage reference, +2.7V to +5V digital output compatibility, low power (500mW), and guaranteed no missing codes". The VSP3010 is priced from $5.75 in 1000 piece quantities.
- Nikon Japan posts firmware upgrade!
The Nikon Japan website has posted an upgrade for its Coolpix950 digital camera, which corrects a few bugs as well as increasing the speed of the camera in a couple of places. To be honest, the information we have seen in Japanese is not the easiest to translate, particularly when we know that Nikon intends to release the upgrade in the US within the next couple of weeks. We're also not going to post a link to the upgrade files, as if you have a Japanese camera, then you should have no problems reading Nikon's Japanese website. :) Remember folks, even if you find the files, DON'T put them in your non-Japanese Coolpix, or if you break it, you'll have nobody to blame but yourself. Hold on instead, Nikon will have the patch out in English very soon!
- Digital Eyes reviews the Sony Mavica MVC-FD91!
The folks over at Digital Eyes have just published their review of Sony's Mavica MVC-FD91 digital camera. The camera, which has a resolution of 1024 x 768 and shutter speeds from 1/60 to 1/4000 second coupled with a 14x optical zoom lens and image stabilisation, gains this thought from the reviewer: "After enthusiastically using many higher resolution cameras with faster storage systems and more intelligent automatic focus and exposure systems it isn't easy to be excited about this camera, but I am. In good light the images are excellent. If the Sony Mavica FD-91 will satisfy your requirements in terms of resolution and speed, you are going to be very happy with it."
- Kodak DC265 review from digitalkamera.de!
The digitalkamera.de website has posted the latest in its series of lab tests. The site finds that "with the DC265 ... [Kodak] ... optimised the camera for professional applications in which it convinces with its comprehensive range of features and good all-round characteristics and opens new possibilities through programmability". Check the review out here!

Wednesday, July 14, 1999



July 14 - Colorful DC240s, Sanyo DSC-SX150 review, and lots more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 14, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- d# Digital Press reviews the Sanyo DSC-SX150! The folks over at the Japanese d# Digital Press website have completed a review of the Sanyo DSC-SX150 digital camera. There are numerous (and we mean numerous :) sample photos from the camera, as well as a 5.5MB QuickTime movie complete with sound, however take note that all of these are still from a development version and may not accurately represent the final model!

The review starts off by noting that the Sanyo DSC-SX150 continues in the tradition of Sanyo's X100/X110 digital cameras, in providing the ability to record animations in the camera. The unit features a 1.5 megapixel CCD, an expected price of 78,000 yen and should ship on August 20th of this year. The camera is capable of recording 15 frames per second in 640 x 480 mode, and can also record sound along with this - according to the reviewer, with the camera's ability to record up to 15 minute sound clips, it could even double as a voice recorder! The reviewer notes that the camera has abandoned SmartMedia in favour of Type II CompactFlash, as with these abilities it needs far more storage than SmartMedia can yet provide. Type II CF, or CF+ cards as they are also known, come in sizes up to that of IBM's 340MB MicroDrive, much more suitable for a camera that can capture 15 frames per second. With the MicroDrive, the reviewer notes that it becomes possible to take 800 or more
pictures, even in the Fine mode at 1.5 megapixel resolution - and because using the MicroDrive you can stay with one card in the camera, you don't have a problem with file names being duplicated. Unfortunately, where this all falls apart is the camera's use of two AA batteries as a power source, which means that if you're using the MicroDrive, you're going to need plenty of batteries to keep you going.

The review continues by looking at the camera compared with the sizes of other popular models, but notes that it is really beside the point judging cameras by size nowadays, as they are all getting so small that any difference is minimal! Coming back to the camera itself, the reviewer describes the autofocus speed as "so-so", and goes on to note that the camera has a 5-mode white balance, and three ISO modes (100, 200 and 400). The camera also can do timed long exposures of 1, 1.5, 2, 3 or 4 seconds, however the reviewer is saddened by the absence of any manual focus control.

Overall, the reviewer summarises that this camera could be badly let down by its battery life, with a full charge likely only to get you 30 minutes or so of usage if a MicroDrive is used, and the batteries may not be sufficient to power the unit even if they have a low charge left. He finally notes that when you consider that many rechargeable batteries suffer from the memory effect, even they may not be the answer to this power-hungry camera.
- Kodak makes iMac-lookalike DC240s!
According to an article on the Japanese PC Watch website, Kodak is planning 5 new variants on the DC240 digital camera, styled similarly to Apple's popular iMac computer. The 5 DC240i cameras are green, pink, orange, blue or purple, and are functionally identical to the normal DC240 Zoom, just with different packaging. There is no hint as to whether the cameras are sanctioned by Apple, which is relevant because a PC manufacturer was recently sued by Apple for copying the style (if not the design) of its iMacs. No word also on what catchy names will be chosen for the colors, instead of "green, pink, orange, blue and purple". :)
- Sony Canada publishes DSC-D770 info!
The Sony Canada website has now removed its DSC-D700 info, and replaced it with info on its new Sony Cybershot Pro DSC-D770. Of interest is the price for the camera, set at CD$2999.99 (US$2037), which is essentially the same price as the DSC-D700 was. We've covered the details of the camera some time ago now, but if you'd like to see the official specs from Sony in English, here they are! Still no change on the Sony USA website, which shows the DSC-D700 and makes no mention of the DSC-D770.
- HP introduces megapixel CMOS test system!
HP has announced today its new megapixel CMOS test system, the US$650,000 HP 94000IP. Due to ship in the 4th quarter of this year, the system tests CMOS chips up to 16 megapixels by capturing up to 50 2-megapixel test images at speeds between 20 and 40MHz. CMOS chips are 50% more energy efficient, 20-30% better integrated and 40-50% cheaper than the equivalent CCD chips which they look set to replace. Existing HP 94000 and 9490 series test systems can be retrofitted to match the new HP 94000IP system.
- Ixla, Microtech sign licensing agreement!
A press release today from Ixla Limited announces that it has signed a bundling agreement with Microtech International. Under the agreement, Microtech will bundle the full version of ixla Digital Camera Suite S.E. presentation software, and a trial version of ixla WebEasy S.E. website authoring software with the Microtech USB CameraMate digital film reader and the USB XpressSCSI intelligent USB to SCSI converter cable. Also to be bundled is a special pricing offer for ixla Explorer, although the press release does not mention the specifics of this.
- Olympus relaunches website!
Olympus America Inc. has today announced that it has relaunched its corporate website, at the same time moving it to http://www.olympus.com/. Olympus first took up residence on the web in 1995, and the new site certainly seems well thought out to us, and should greatly assist Olympus customers, and those who may soon fall under that category, in finding the information they need!
- ITEC ColorBlind "amost perfect"!
A press release today from Imaging Technologies Corp. announces that its ColorBlind Matchbox color profiling solution has been rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by Publish magazine. The review notes that ColorBlind is "an almost perfect solution for creating custom color profiles", and continues "Color Solutions has put together an excellent profiling package at a reasonable price, and the built-in profile-editing and -analyzing tools are icing on the cake". ColorBlind Matchbox costs US$999 and is a combination of hardware and software designed to profile your scanner, monitor and printer to improve continuity of the colors in your images. Publish magazine reviewer Michael Kieran has never given 5 stars in a review, but he notes that he "came close with ColorBlind Matchbox".
- CycloVision and Digitella form alliance!
Internet imaging company CycloVision, creators of the ParaShot digital camera attachment that makes taking 360-degree panoramas easy, and imaging workflow systems provider Digitella Technology Inc. have today announced a new partnership. According to the joint press release, the two companies intend to cooperate in making a "complete photography workflow solution for managing and delivering 360-degree images of MLS property listings on the Web". Users will be able to take panoramic photos with a camera running Intellipix' software, such as the Kodak DC265, and immediately assign listing numbers as the photos are taken, streamlining the process of uploading the images into the database later on.
- ImageExpert bundled with Epson PhotoPC800!
A press release today from Sierra Imaging, who make the interesting claim that they are "the only company offering OEMs all the necessary components for digital still camera product success" (don't you love marketing hyperbole? :) notes that their Image Expert product has been selected by Epson America Inc. to be bundled with the newly announced Epson PhotoPC800. Image Expert is an image acquisition, management and viewing program which runs on Windows95, 98, NT, and Macintosh systems. A version for Microsoft's handheld WindowsCE operating system, ImageExpertCE is also available.
- Pagis Pro 3.0 is CNET Editor's Choice!
ScanSoft Inc. has published a press release today announcing that its Pagis Pro 3.0 scanning suite has been named "Editor's Choice" by online magazine CNET. In the words of CNET Editor Ben Patterson, "If you're serious about document scanning and want a one-stop solution, Pagis Pro is a smart choice." Pagis Pro 3.0 consists of TextBridge Pro 9.0, ScanSoft's most accurate OCR software on the market; Adobe Photo Deluxe Business Edition for photo editing; Pagis for advanced file management; Pagis Copier to produce color copies using your scanner and printer; and Pagis Forms Fill-In to scan and fill in forms on your PC.
- Divio announces single-chip tethered camera solution!
Divio Inc. has announced a new single-chip solution to be used in cooperation with Panasonic's 640 x 480 1/4" progressive scan CCD for making USB tethered digital cameras. The NW802 Panasonic/Divio Camera Kit uses JPEG-Lite encoding to provide 30 frames per second (fps) at a resolution of 352 x 288, and 15 fps at 640 x 480, and is in a 100-pin LQFP package. It is available through Panasonic or Divio immediately, and is priced at $15 in volumes of 10,000.
- Casio announces protective case for Casio QV-7000SX!
The fine folks over at the digitalkamera.de website have posted news that Casio has released a new waterproof, dustproof case for its QV-7000SX digital camera. The case allows the use of all features of the camera, including LCD and flash, and is designed to be used even through gloves, with large buttons and levers. It can be taken up to 3 metres deep underwater, and also helps protect the camera from dust and scratches. Perhaps most interesting is the price - in comparison with Olympus' PT-002 model which is similar in specification, the Casio HU-7000 protective case is US$85 less at about US$65. However, Olympus PT-003 model is most impressive of all, with a price around US$200 and a maximum depth of 30 meters!Thanks to digitalkamera.de for this item!
- Digital Camera Review looks at Olympus C-2000 ZOOM!
Phil Askey's excellent Digital Photography Review website has posted a review of the Olympus C-2000 ZOOM digital camera. Phil finds the unit to be a worth rival to Nikon's Coolpix 950, saying:

"I liked the C-2000Z, it's a well rounded camera with a good quality feel, excellent image quality, fast cycle times and enough manual features to keep you occupied and creative. With the C-2000Z and a good photo printer you'll be able to take great photographs and deliver them in print at a kind of quality that most people wouldn't be able to tell from your average 35mm print."

In particular, Phil liked the excellent image quality, very fast lens, and the speed of the camera, although he found the menu system to be poorly laid out, and the ergonomics of the camera to be a bit below par. Check out the full review here!

Monday, July 12, 1999



July 12 - Epson announces two new digicams, printer prices drop, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 12, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- Epson announces PhotoPC 650, PhotoPC 800! Epson America Inc. has today announced its new PhotoPC 650 and PhotoPC 800 digital cameras, 1 and 2 megapixel units respectively.

The PhotoPC 650 features a resolution of 1152 x 864 (just a hair under 1 megapixel), 1.09 megapixel CCD, USB and serial image transfer, 1.8 inch LCD display, status LCD, CompactFlash storage and a bundled 8MB CompactFlash card. No details are provided for the lens, beyond the fact that it is all-glass, autofocus, aspherical-type and features a lens-cover and 37-mm lens thread for accessory filters. The Epson PhotoPC 650 should ship in mid-August at a price of US$349, and customers who also purchase an Epson Stylus Color printer at the same time will receive a US$50 rebate. A US$30 rebate is offered to customers who purchase an Epson scanner at the same time as their PhotoPC 650.

The PhotoPC 800, meanwhile, has significantly higher specifications, starting things off with a 2.14 megapixel CCD. The camera has serial or USB transfer capability, 1.8-inch LCD display, Quick Shot mode which allows capture speeds of 1 picture per second, CompactFlash storage with a bundled 8MB CF card, and Video-Out connectivity in a 1/2 pound package. No mention is made of the lens, although the press release does note that a lens adapter and add-on filters/lenses will be sold for the unit. The camera also offers black and white, macro and panorama modes, a microphone for recording up to 10 seconds of audio with each image, as well as Full Auto, Programmed (sports, portrait and landscape) or Manual modes. The manual mode allows spot metering, manual focus, manual aperture and manual shuitter speed. A 2X digital zoom is offered, and the camera features Epson's Direct Print technology (allowing direct connection to
EPSON Stylus Photo 700, EPSON Stylus Photo EX, EPSON Stylus Photo 750, EPSON Stylus Photo 1200 and EPSON Stylus Color 740 printers) as well as Epson's HyPict image enhancement technology which Epson claims will offer 'breathtaking images as large as 11" x 14"'. Power is taken from 2 AA batteries, and the camera is compatible with Epson's optional Image Authentication System, which verifies whether the picture has been altered after capture. The PhotoPC 800 will cost US$699, which includes four AA-sized NiMH batteries and a charger, when it ships at the end of this month. In addition to the rebates available on the PhotoPC 650, the PhotoPC 800 will come with an offer for a free package of Epson 4" x 6" photo paper valid through October 30, 1999.
- Epson announces printer rebates!
Keeping the folks over at Epson America Inc. busy today was the announcement of a new rebate program for three of their Stylus Color printers. Between now and September 30, 1999, customers purchasing the EPSON Stylus Color 740, 740i and 440 will be eligible for a US$50 mail-in rebate!
- Canon announces updated printer pricing!
A press release today from Canon Computer Systems Inc. announces its new pricing for four printers, which sees the units between $49-$199 after rebates. Details as below:
 ModelOld PriceCurrent PriceRebateFinal Price
BJC-1000$119$79$30$49
BJC-2000$149$99$30$69
BJC-5100$179$179$30$149
BJC-6000$249$249$50$199


- Creative announces new webcam!
Creative Technology Inc. has announced the latest in its series of Creative Labs Video Blaster tethered digital cameras, with the release of its new Video Blaster Webcam 3. The Webcam 3 features USB connectivity and a true 640 x 480 CMOS sensor, at the extremely low price of US$79!
- Canon PowerShot A50 full review now completed!
(Phew!) We've now posted our full review of the Canon PowerShot A50 digicam! (With the exception of the low-light test images themselves, which will follow in a couple of days.) We're trying a new format with this review, with the elements of it arranged on separate pages. This will allow our readers to view those portions they're interested in, and skip over sections they're not. There's still an "EZ-Print" page that has the entire review on a single HTML page, minus our navigation elements, to facilitate printing. The new format is a LOT more work to post, so we'd appreciate any feedback on it - email us with your comments!

The PowerShot A50 is an impressive little camera: It maintains the compact style and rugged body construction of the earlier A5 and A5 Zoom, but boosts resolution to a full 1.3 megapixels, provides excellent color, and does better than most digicams in low-light conditions. This could be a nearly ideal "family" camera, easily packed along to take pictures of kids' soccer games, school functions, vacation excursions, etc, etc. We voted it a "big thumbs up!"
- New Photo of the Day contest!
- In conjunction with ClubPhoto, we're now offering a Photo Of The Day (POTD) contest on our News page, as well as on a separate page of its own. The contest displays entries from the entire ClubPhoto network, but we're going to be offering prizes specifically for entries from the IR.Clubphoto.com domain. (Prize for this month to be announced in a week or so.) All you have to do to enter is go to IR.Clubphoto.com, create an album (make things easy on yourself by using the free Living Album software for Windows), and then go to the "Album Manager" to submit it to the "Gallery." You'll get an email back when your entry is accepted, and another email if/when your picture is chosen as a "Picture of the day." At the end of every month, we'll collect together thumbnails of all the IR.Clubphoto
entries, and post them to a voting page. After a week or so of collecting votes, we'll announce the winner and award the prize! (By the way, Dave won POTD today for his "Broken Gear" shot - This wasn't a "fix", honest! Regardless, rest assured that "employees and staff" of The Imaging Resource won't be eligible for the end-of-month prizes, so no-one need fear competition from Dave on the prize front. (Actually, Dave says that nobody need fear him very much anyway, given the snapshot-level quality of most of his photo work! ;-)
- Masking for Fun & Profit! - One of the first things people want to do with their digital images is to cut pieces out of one and paste them into another. This simple operating can be surprisingly difficult with some subjects Here's a short tutorial on some of the finer points of "masking," the process of separating an object from its background. Check it out!
- "Going Digital"
- Rob Brainard of 20-20 Consumer is a photographer with long film experience who recently decided to take the plunge and "Go Digital." He kept a running diary as he went along, and shared his experiences with the community. He was kind enough to let us republish them here (Ed: Super article series! - Thanks, Rob!)
- 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!)
- Dave jets off again!
Dave will again be out of email contact this week, through Thursday AM, so his messages may backlog a bit. He'll be attending a Kodak digital technology conference in Rochester, NY, where he'll be getting the scoop on Kodak's overall digital technology plans and positioning. Time permitting, he'll hopefully have some choice tidbits to share upon his return!

Sunday, July 11, 1999



July 11 - Foveon prepares 15 Megapixel digicam, Steve's Digicams reviews Agfa ePhoto CL50!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, July 11, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- More on Carver Mead & Foveon! We first reported on this story a month ago, in a news item on June 11 entitled "Foveon plans new digital camera", but noted that a couple of other sites have just picked this up also, from an article on the Techweb website. Foveon is a company started up by Prof. Carver Mead, a man who has had much success in the field of electronics and set the company up with the aim of designing natural computing systems based on research into the human ear and eye.

The new Techweb article adds a little more detail, noting that the Foveon camera thus far looks like "a Wintel laptop with a squared-off Hula Hoop surrounding it and a Canon 28-mm to 70-mm lens attached to the front", and gives 48MB 4,000 x 4,000 pixel images. This would be roughly equivalent to a 15 Megapixel digital camera with existing technology, although the square profile and interesting approach Foveon takes in capturing the image may make this figure of little importance.

Where Carver Mead's idea is particularly different from existing cameras (and somewhat confusing) is in its concept to actually taking the photo, the article noting that "Foveon's analog VLSI chip dedicates fewer or greater resources to each particular area of an image, depending on the detail and light levels at that point", and also that the camera doesn't require interpolation (where existing digital cameras only measure one of three colors for each pixel, and then interpolate the other two colors from the surrounding pixels). This approach apparently solves moire problems and should yield significantly better pictures - but Foveon currently only plans to make cameras in the US$10-30,000 range with the technology according to the Forbes story we originally picked this up from. That said, we still await further details of this new camera design with interest...!Thanks to Louis Brazil for pointing us towards the Techweb article!
- Steve's Digicams reviews Agfa ePhoto CL50!
The fine folks over at Steve's Digicams have completed a review of Agfa's ePhoto CL50 digital camera, a 1.2 megapixel unit equipped with 3x optical zoom and a 2-inch LCD display with sun-assisted backlight. Steve definitely appreciated this interesting approach to backlighting, badged as the "Suncatcher" by Agfa, but sadly found little else to recommend the camera. In particular, minus points included a shutter lag of 2 seconds, poor indication of when the shot is being taken, overly dark images and a difficult-to-access SmartMedia slot. One final point that Steve noted is that the camera is a touch ergonomically challenged, with 4 completely unmarked buttons, and several buttons being too deeply recessed to be effectively used. That said, as Steve notes, "$425 for a brand new and fully warrantied 1.3 megapixel camera with a 3x
optical zoom and 2-inch LCD ain't bad" - there's sure to be some folks for who this camera is suitable... Check the review out here!

Thursday, July 8, 1999



July 8 - Yahoo changes terms of service, new Ricoh digital camera, and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 8, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- Yahoo change Terms of Service! We've reported several times over the last week or so about Yahoo's Terms of Service, particularly in relation to the GeoCities website which many IR readers host their personal sites on. Yahoo, who bought GeoCities earlier this year, applied its own Terms of Service to all GeoCities websites, including a clause which disturbed many in the Internet community with its wording basically giving Yahoo perpetual rights to your work. Numerous websites campaigned against this, with the Focus Online site in particular taking the lead for those in the world of digital imaging. It was with great relief, then, that we heard from the folks over at Focus Online this morning that Yahoo has now changed its Terms of Service to remove this clause, and replace it with a much more friendly one:

"7. CONTENT SUBMITTED TO YAHOO GEOCITIES

Yahoo does not claim ownership of the Content you place on your Yahoo GeoCities Site. By submitting Content to Yahoo for inclusion on your Yahoo GeoCities Site, you grant Yahoo the world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your Yahoo GeoCities Site on Yahoo's Internet properties. This license exists only for as long as you continue to be a Yahoo GeoCities homesteader and shall be terminated at the time your Yahoo GeoCities Site is terminated."

We at the Imaging Resource applaud this decision, and can now feel safe in recommending GeoCities to our users once more!
- New digital camera from Ricoh!
Ricoh Japan has announced a new 1.08 megapixel digital camera, the RDC-100G. The new unit is based on a waterproof, dustproof design that complies with JIS Grade 7 protection, essentially meaning that the unit is safe even in rain and can also be washed clean, as well as preventing dust and grit from entering the camera. The camera has been designed to be easy to use even when wearing thick rubber gloves, and has a built-in flash and 2x digital zoom. Two sample images from the camera have been posted on Ricoh's website.
In other news from Ricoh, we note that the RDC-5000 digital camera, which recently started shipping in the USA, is to be sold in six new color schemes in Japan, ranging from the tasteful (blue/pastel blue highlights, khaki/green highlights, carbon-fibre/red highlights), through the wild (hot pink/red highlights, grey camouflage/black highlights) to a rather scary orange and yellow camouflage unit with green highlights (Yikes!). The multi-colored RDC-5000s will sell over the Internet only.
- PhotoPoint.com passes the million mark!
A press release from online photo-sharing website PhotoPoint.com announces that it has passed the million mark, with Malaysian businessman Laurence Poh submitting the one millionth picture to the site. Mr. Poh's picture of his 8-month old cocker spaniel "Rusty" is featured on a special web page alongside a picture of himself, and the photo was taken through the telescope he is leaning on. As his reward for sharing PhotoPoint's one millionth photo, Mr. Poh will receive an unspecified collection of gifts from PhotoPoint and its partners.
- MetaCreations gives away KPT Equalizer plugin!
The folks over at Steve's Digicams have caught news of a free PhotoShop plugin being given away for a limited time by MetaCreations. The KPT Equalizer plugin, part of the Kai's Power Tools X series, is available free of charge (with registration) for download until July 31st. The plugin apparently "belongs in the professional sharpen filter category. KPT Equalizer contains a huge batch of blurs, sharpens, channel-ops, and various other filters, all in one interactive plug-in application. The resulting collection of three professional sharpen filters are: Equalizer, Bounded Sharpen, and Contrast Sharpen. Use these filters to correct blurred images, while maintaining a high level of image quality. The Equalizer filter also allows you to add creative effects to images
by manipulating their frequency values. Use KPT Equalizer to professionally sharpen your image!"Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!
- IR reader posts DC240 fireworks pictures!
With all the hoopla about the new "high end" digicams, it's easy to overlook the capabilities of some of the 1.3 megapixel units. Reader Tyson "Smoothy" Hofsommer (wonder how he got that nickname?) has just posted an album full of fireworks pictures shot with his Kodak DC240. The flash shots of the kids with the fireworks in the background were particularly impressive! Nice work, Tyson!

Also taking up the challenge of taking fireworks pictures was reader Enrico Giordani, who put up two albums (1,2) full of fireworks shots taken with a Coolpix950 and tripod, as well as "lots of fireworks", as he puts it! Lots of fireworks equals lots of pictures - 66 in all, and some beautiful shots in there... Great stuff, Enrico!
- First of Dave's vacation pics online!
As he'd mentioned earlier, Dave was lucky enough to bring along an Olympus C-2000 on his recent vacation. He's posted the first set of his vacation pictures, from Blowing Rock, NC on the ir.clubphoto domain. Here's Dave: "This was the vacation where the impact of digital really hit home for me - Last year I shot about 8 rolls of 35mm, this year only a little over 2. The difference was the Oly C-2000, which finally gave me all the picture-taking control I wanted, and enough image quality that I didn't feel like I had to "back up" ever digital shot with a film one for posterity. As an encouragement to others to try it, I've posted the first album of shots from Blowing Rock, NC on the
ir.clubphoto.com
domain. A lot of these are just "snapshots", but I wanted to show the use of the album-sharing for another purpose, that of telling a story. Before my Dad passed away last year, I'd spend hours (and hours and hours) making photo albums for him of family trips, complete with little descriptions of the story behind each picture. This took a lot of time, printing the captions, cutting them out, pasting the whole thing into a photo album, but the result was worth it. He'd pull out the albums literally every day and look over the pictures of Marti, the boys, and I, and experience the trips all over again through the pictures and captions. With ClubPhoto and the Living Album software, it's easy to make albums that tell stories like this, and sharing them can be as quick as sending an email. Check out the album I've made, and stay tuned for another showing our current favorite place in the world, Highlands, NC. (Of course, the best part of a 'web album is that
your relatives don't have to be held captive through a 3-hour slide show of Uncle Bob's favorite 300 pictures of his vacation! ;-)"


- Extensis announces PhotoFrame 2.0!
Extensis Corporation has announced its new PhotoFrame 2.0 product. PhotoFrame is a plugin for Adobe PhotoShop which simplifies creation of frame and border effects, with over 1000 frames to choose from, plus more available for download from a companion website. Users can also design their own frames, or modify existing ones, and also add effects including drop shadows, glows, bevels, textures, blur, noise, opacity, blend modes and more to them. English versions of PhotoFrame 2.0 will be available July 27 for $199.95. French, German and Japanese versions will be available Q4 1999. Extensis PhotoFrame is compatible with Photoshop 4.x, 5.0 and 5.5, Windows(tm) 95, 98, NT 4.0, and Power Mac(tm) OS 7.5.5-8.6. Additionally, Auto F/X® Photo/Graphic Edges(tm) can be used with PhotoFrame.

Wednesday, July 7, 1999



July 7 - Mike's back, lots of catch-up!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 7, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- Digital Eyes reviews Olympus P-300 Photo Printer! The folks over at Digital Eyes have posted a review of Olympus' P-300 Personal Photo Printer, a 306-dpi dye sublimation printer which Olympus considers equivalent to a 2400-dpi inkjet printer. A paper size of 4 x 5.5 inches offers prints of 3.3 x 4.2 inches with a small border around them, and prints take a little over 2 minutes each. Digital Eyes concludes "For those of us who have come to see the digital image as the goal, with prints only serving as an intermediate step, this printer may seem curious. But if Grandma Gertie doesn't have e-mail and you want to send some of those crisp shots from Jason's birthday party this perfect." Check it out!
- Digitalkamera.de reviews Minolta Dimage EX!
The German Digitalkamera.de website has posted the next in its series of Lab tests, this time for the Minolta Dimage EX digital camera. The review finds the little 1.5 megapixel camera, which features interchangeable lenses and even an upgradeable CCD, to be "a very interesting and versatile camera – especially with its wide range of accessories. For the camera to be good fun they are necessary, really, but at the same time this raises the price considerably, a price which is difficult to justify compared to the basic equipment." Read the full review here...
- Digital Photo Review posts Fuji MX-2700 review!
The folks over at the Digital Photo Review have now posted their review of Fuji's MX-2700 digital camera. Phil concludes "The MX-2700 is Fuji's answer to the easily pocketable easy-to-use 2 megapixel class camera and to that extent it fits the bill, most people wouldn't notice or be bothered by the occasional image artifact (although poor performance in low light was a let down). A worthy successor to the popular MX-700. Although about $100 more expensive than the competition at the time of writing this review (end June 99)." Check the full review out here!
- megapixel.net July issue online!
We received a note in our mailbox this morning to let us know that the latest issue of megapixel.net is now online! Reviewed this month are the Canon PowerShot A50 Zoom, Sony DSC-F55 CyberShot, Kodak DC265, Nikon Coolpix700, Canon BJC-6000 Bubblejet printer, as well as two CompactFlash cards and a SanDisk reader. Check it out!
- Canon and Compaq cooperate in bundling!
A press release today from research company ARS Inc. finds that Canon has overtaken the printer bundling market in cooperation with Compaq. Previously, nearly 90% of printers sold through bundling agreements were manufactured by Lexmark and Hewlett Packard, but according to Huyen Pham at ARS Canon and Compaq have now reclaimed over half of that market.
- Canon release new drivers for PowerShot series!
The Digital Photography Review has reported that Canon has released new English-language TWAIN drivers for its PowerShot series of cameras, including the PowerShot 350, 600, A5, A5 Zoom, A50 and Pro70. According to Phil, the new software does some extra processing on CCD-RAW image files; the drivers are for Windows95, 98 and NT4.0, and are a little under 3 megabytes.
- Chargers use Cyclovision ParaShot!
A press release from CycloVision Technologies Inc. announces that the San Diego Chargers will be using its ParaShot digital camera attachment to create 360-degree images from the team's games, practises, and more for the official Chargers.com website! ParaShot is Cyclovision's attachment which enables 360-degree panoramic images to be taken in one shot, and easily turned into web-ready panoramic images which can be viewed without plugins in most web browsers.
- Staples, Micro Center to carry Microtek ImageDeck!
A press release from Microtek Lab, Inc., announces that retailers Staples and Micro Center will be carrying its ImageDeck stand-alone scanner. The ImageDeck features a resolution of 600 dpi in 36-bit color, and has built-in ZIP and floppy drives, allowing scanned images to be transferred directly onto these media without the need to connect the unit to a PC. The scanner can also be connected directly to a color printer to be used as a high-resolution color copier. No pricing information is noted in the release, however the scanner is available immediately at locations across the USA at both of these retailers.
- CameraWorld.com receives award!
Online photography and imaging retailer CameraWorld.com has announced that it has received the CIO WebBusiness 50/50 Award, given to 50 Internet and 50 intranet/extranet sites that "go beyond customary Web commerce practices to deliver outstanding business value". The award is presented by CIO Magazine, after assessment of hundreds of websites by CIO's "web development experts".
- UMAX announces new bundles!
UMAX Technologies Inc. yesterday announced four new software bundles for the PowerLook 3000, PowerLook III, and Mirage II professional scanners, designed for graphic designers and imaging professionals. The bundles, PowerColor Photo/PrePress, Mac Design Pro, Win Design Pro, and Duo Design feature a variety of software, including PhotoPerfect Master or PowerColor color correction, Canto Cumulus Desktop Media Asset Management, Adobe Photoshop LE, and Xerox Textbridge Classic OCR and UMAX MagicScan. Full details as well as availability and pricing info are in the press release.
- MGI and Trans Cosmos partner in LivePicture subsidiary!
We reported several days ago that ArcSoft Inc. had backed out of its planned acquisition of LivePicture Inc., and the subsequent approval by the UIS Bankruptcy Court of MGI Software Corp.'s bid to purchase LivePicture's assets. News now is that, following the $8.6 million deal, MGI has agreed to partner with Japanese company Trans Cosmos Inc. on Japanese subsidiary Live Picture Japan K.K. MGI will retain a controlling 50.1% interest in the subsidiary, with Trans Cosmos taking up the remaining 40.9%. Trans Cosmos is listed on the Japanese stock exchange, and will be responsible for localizing Live Picture products into the Japanese language and expanding Japanese distribution.
- ITEC announces Australian distribution!
Imaging Technologies Corporation, creator of the ColorBlind line of color management and calibration products, has announced a new distribution agreement covering the Australian marketplace. An initial order of US$300,000 has been placed by Australian software distributor Ados, which will sell ColorBlind® Professional, Edit, Matchbox, Parachute, & Prove it! throughout Australia and New Zealand. The two companies foresee potential orders of up to US$1.3 million in the first year of their agreement.
- HP receives PC Magazine readers award!
According to a press release today from Hewlett Packard Company, a survey of 17,000 readers by PC magazine has found that HP significantly outscored all competitors when respondents were asked to rank their overall satisfaction with printer reliability, repair experience and technical support. The press release notes that HP did exceptionally well in the color laser printer category, where customers were almost twice as likely to become repeat buyers as with HPs competitors, and non-HP color laser printers were found to be more than twice as likely to fail in the first year when compared to HPs units. Pretty impressive!
- Scanners find new marketplace!
According to a new study by market research firm IDC, scanners are growing in popularity with SOHO (small office/home office) and medium-sized businesses (defined as those from 100-499 employees). 40% of offices covered by these demographics are expecting to purchase a scanner soon, 81.6% of these intended to be 600dpi or greater. HP is the number one scanner currently used by respondants, with 43% of the market share, whilst Umax and Microtek are next in line with 15-16% each. Interestingly, whilst 42% of respondants planned to buy an HP unit for their next scanner, no other vendor received more than an 8% share of the remainder of planned purchases! In the last 12 months, 5% of scanners purchased by small/medium businesses were returned, of which 76% were exchanged and 24% refunded.
- Japanese pricing figures released!
The PC Watch website has released its latest pricing figures for the Japanese marketplace, covering the period July 7 - 24. Changes are as follows:
NamePriceChange
Sanyo DSC-X110¥44,800 (US$370)-¥5,000 (10%)
Fuji Finepix2900Z¥71,800 (US$593)-¥8,000 (10%)
Toshiba PDR-M4¥59,800 (US$494)-¥10,000 (14%)
Nikon Coolpix 700¥59,800 (US$494)-¥10,000 (14%)
Olympus C-900 Zoom¥49,800 (US$411)-¥5,000 (9%)
Nikon Coolpix910¥49,800 (US$411)-¥10,000 (17%)
Fuji Finepix500¥37,800 (US$312)-¥2,000 (5%)


Other notes of interest are the debut of Panasonic's CoolshotII Mega, a 1.32 megapixel model with a 3x zoom and 2 CompactFlash slots, at 59,800 yen, as well as two new colors of Fuji Finepix1500 (Mint Green, and another color which I can't translate!). The Nikon Coolpix950 is out of stock at all three stores surveyed, whilst the Casio QV-7000SX is out of stock at two of the three.

Monday, July 5, 1999



July 5 - First digicam fireworks album, New Photo of the Day Feature, All STILL not well with Yahoo TOS?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 5, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


- Nicholas Noe shoots the works! WOW! Responding to our suggestion to "shoot the works", reader Nicholas Noe of Seattle, WA took his Nikon CoolPix 950 to the local fireworks show, and came back with some outstanding pictures! He's posted an IR.clubphoto fireworks album (quick work, Nicholas!) for everyone to see. If there were any remaining doubts about digicams' ability to shoot in low light, this should completely demolish them! My own efforts in this area were a little disappointing, albeit a lot of fun: I just attended a local, neighborhood show, with only Class B 'works, so didn't have the big, impressive displays of the professional shows to work with. Also, I discovered that being close to the launching area is a bad idea, photographically: I was
shooting almost directly vertical, from next to the mortars, which proved to be a lousy angle to shoot from. For future reference, you'll do much better if you're positioned to catch the bursts in more of a side view. (As did Nicholas in his great shots.) As an aside, Nicholas also reported: "Oh, and I am impressed with clubphoto.com. At first, I thought it was a little stupid, but I now see the clear benefit." - Don't know that I'd have gone all the way to "stupid", but I confess we were less than excited by the concept when we first learned of it. Now though, we really think it's the next big wave in digital photography! If you've been thinking ir.clubphoto was for "other people", you really ought to check it out for yourself, you may be surprised!Photo thumbnail copyright Nicholas Noe. Thanks, Nicholas!
- Picture of the day (POTD) on the IR! Fame now, fortune maybe soon? More IR.clubphoto news: In conjunction with that service, we've inaugurated a Photo Of The Day (POTD) contest! For now, there are no prizes, just the thrill of seeing your photo atop the IR news page. Currently, the POTD entries are drawn from all photos submitted to the Clubphoto Showcase gallery from all domains.- We're working to get it set up so that the IR POTD contest is separate, at which point we'll begin offering prizes for the best photo each month. The picture at right is a recent POTD winner submitted by IR reader Michael Opinia, part of an album he's published of photos from Washington DC. Click here for instructions on
submitting photos to the contest, or here for a page with a somewhat larger copy of the photo, if you'd like to bookmark that separately!Photo thumbnail copyright Michael Opinia. Congratulations, Michael!



- Yahoo TOS Still not OK!
We reported a couple of days ago that it looked like Yahoo had "fixed" the major problems with their confiscatory Terms of Service agreement for the GeoCities service. We did claim that we "were no legal experts", and it looks like we did a pretty fair job of proving it! - Reader James Wakefield of the Focus Online and Copyright Watchdog site wrote in with the following: "Hi there, it's James from Focus Online. You've made a mistake on your news page which may lead visitors to believe that they are now 'safe' with regards to Yahoo Geocities- well, they are far from safe. The extra two lines in the agreement have been shown to be nothing more than misleaders by legal experts. There are several factors that 'cancel out' those two lines, mainly, because if you have exclusive rights to something, doesn't mean you necessarily own it. For a full explanation see the full article on my subsidiary Copyright Watchdog site at: href="http://copyright.focus-online.com/yahoogeocities.html">http://copyright.focus-online.com/yahoogeocities.html YIKES! We read James' explanatory web page, and were astounded to discover that (apparently), nothing has changed! The "explanatory letter" written by Yahoo that we covered earlier has no legal bearing on the TOS agreement! If they wanted to "clarify" things, they should have/could have changed the TOS agreement, which they apparently have not done. Thus, all the "explanatory letter" amounts to is an attempt to distract people from the true legal import of the ridiculous TOS! Given this fact, and reading James' discussion of the issue, the whole thing looks more and more like a deliberate attempt by Yahoo to lure people into signing-away rights to their material! We therefore must again strongly warn our readers that they should remove their material from GeoCities asap,
lest they effectively lose all copyright protection for their work!

Saturday, July 3, 1999



July 3 - A Quickie: Galbraith has a first look at the Nikon D1, Minolta upgrades EX1500, AOL modifies TOS...
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, July 3, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


-Rob Galbraith reports on the Nikon D1! Rob Galbraith is a professional photojournalist in Calgary, Alberta, who's contributed tremendously to the advance of digital imaging in photojournalism. His material and perspective are remarkable, both for their readability, and the authority that comes from in-the-trenches experience, shooting literally thousands of photojournalistic images digitally, under all manner of conditions, with a wide variety of equipment. We highly recommend his excellent site for anyone interested in digital photojournalism, and particularly call attention to his book on that subject! (See his site for details)

Rob emailed us last night with word that he'd managed a fairly extensive "hands-on" session with the new Nikon D1 at PC Expo (with "Sample 43", the only pre-production prototype currently in North America). His comments are extensive and illuminating, far too comprehensive for us to do justice to by summarizing here: We'll just refer our readers to Rob's review. - For our part, we expect to get a look at Sample 43 sometime in late July, although we doubt we'll be permitted to take any pictures with it, given that it's so early in it's design cycle...

- Minolta updates EX1500 firmware... (And you can too!) - One of the biggest features of the Minolta EX1500 is its modularity, and potential for future upgrades. Some of this potential has already been realized through Minolta's introduction of an external-flash adapter, and their codevelopment (with MetaCreations) of the "Metaflash" 3-D capture system based on the camera. Now, Minolta has released a free user-installable firmware upgrade for the camera, taking the camera to Version 2 of the firmware, and adding a number of significant enhancements. (Including some we're really surprised were possible to do just in firmware.) New features include:


  • New digital magnification function

  • Increased burst rate, fast = 7.5fps, medium=3.7fps ("Slow" is still 1.2fps)

  • Smoother motion in live images,33% faster LCD refresh rate

  • Internal flash may be switched on/off (Note that metering/focus assist pre-flash still remains though - You'll need a digi-slave flash or slave unit unless you have the Minolta flash adapter.)

  • Flash bracketing function added

  • Custom setting for white balance (You can point the camera at a white object, and have it adjust color balance automatically for your exact lighting conditions.)

  • Improved custom script function (LOTS of stuff here, see below)

  • Bracketing increments changed from 1/2 to 1/3 EV steps (bracket by 1/3, 2/3, or full-stop increments.)




  • The "Custom Script" functions are particularly impressive, giving far more control over camera functions than we've seen to date from other manufacturers. Features here include direct shutter-speed control, including exposures longer than 2 seconds, control over the camera's effective ISO sensitivity (!), flash-only exposure compensation, selectable metering (25-segment matrix, center-weighted, or spot), selectable AE lock (you can choose to have a half-press of the shutter button lock only the focus, and not the exposure - very handy!), manual white balance adjustment (independent control over R, G, B channels under control of the script), and manual focus. Overall, this is the most dramatic user-installable digicam upgrade we've heard of to date, and further confirms our evaluation of the EX1500 (see our review) as the most obsolescence-proof digicam on the market. Thanks to reader Jere Hock for the heads-up on
    this!
    - Jeff also reports that the new 7.5fps burst mode is "astounding."
    - Yahoo backs-off on TOS (big time): We reported recently on the hubbub over Yaohoo's change in Terms of Service for GeoCities web users. In a nutshell, the legal language Yahoo was requiring GeoCities members to agree to gave Yahoo blanket intellectual property rights to the members' web creations. Yahoo has now published a letter which rescinds some of the more egregious language of the new agreement. In part, the letter states:


    • You license your content to Yahoo! so that we can display the content on your GeoCities site and promote the Yahoo! GeoCities services.

    • The license exists for as long as you continue to be a Yahoo! GeoCities homesteader, no longer.

    • Yahoo! has the right to reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, and create derivative works of your content only for the purpose of hosting your GeoCities site and providing and promoting the Yahoo! GeoCities service.




  • Well, that's certainly an improvement, and we'd say (again, not claiming to be legal scholars) that GeoCities members no longer need worry about Yahoo conducting wholesale piracy of their intellectual property. Still, the terms of the modified agreement as originally presented were so absurdly broad, you have to wonder what they were thinking: This has to class as one of the most stupid pieces of legal verbiage we've ever seen! (But, Dave, what do you really think? ;) Yahoo presumably pays their lawyers big bucks to draft intelligent, well-crafted legal documents: The new TOS piece was neither, and was so mindlessly heavy-handed that it called into question the spirit and motivation of the entire organization. The explanatory letter corrects the problems of the original piece, but why did it take a massive public outcry to produce it? Oh well, it's fixed now, so "flame off!" - Back to happier topics...
    - Shoot the 'works this Fourth! Now that several consumer digicams on the market have the ability to take long time-exposures, many of you will be wanting to take digital pictures of the July 4th fireworks. The aforementioned Rob Galbraith has an excellent tutorial on fireworks photography, although it's aimed at people shooting with high-end digicams like the >$5K Kodak and AP units, for print publication. Nonetheless, there's a LOT in his article that will be useful for amateurs as well. To our mind, the most important advice is that you have to expose for the highlights (the brightly colored streamers), or you'll just get streaks of overexposed white in your shots. This is tougher with consumer digicams, because most that provide long time-exposures
    only do so with the lens wide open: This will almost certainly overexpose the fireworks themselves. Two tips: If your digicam provides variable-ISO capability, shoot using the lowest ISO speed available. (Watch out that your digicam doesn't override your choice though - for Oly C-2000 owners, this means being sure to shoot in Shutter Priority mode, which you'd probably be doing anyway.) A second tip would be to put some sort of light-reducing filter over your lens. This could be a Neutral-Density filter (which few amateurs tend to have), or more conveniently a polarizing filter, which typically provide a 1-2 stop decrease in light intensity. If your camera provides them, you may also want to play with the white-balance settings, trying not only auto, but incandescent and daylight settings. Another really important tip is to keep exposure times short, to keep the sky as dark as possible. Try to time your shutter release relative to the "chuff" of the launching mortar, so you'll
    only have the shutter open for a minimum amount of time as the shell actually bursts. Oh yes, one last note: If your digicam has either manual focus or an autofocus override, set the focus to "infinity", to avoid autofocus "hunting." Good luck! (If you get some nifty shots, post an album to ir.clubphoto.com, and we'll tell everyone about it. Download the free Living Album software to make it easy for yourself. We hadn't thought of it before, but maybe we can have a contest for the best shots, with a prize of a CF or SM memory card to the winner! - If we get more than a few people responding, we'll definitely do this!) (Fireworks GIF courtesy Atlas Advanced Pyrotechnics.)

    Thursday, July 1, 1999



    July 1/2 - Mike delayed, Dave beset, Copyright Foofraw, Windows World/Tokyo, and more...
    By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
    (Thursday, July 1, 1999 - 0:00 EDT)


    - Mike delayed, Dave labors... - Apologies for the slightly sporadic news updates: Mike's trip had to be extended by a few days, leaving me more bogged than usual. (Actually, "more bogged than usual" seems to becoming usual...) In addition, I had an all-day meeting out of the office yesterday, further skewing the schedule. Mike is now scheduled to return on Tuesday.
    - Make sure you own it, don't give it away! - This one in from reader Ted Allen, calling our attention to the firestorm of protest over Yahoo's terms of service, now that they're taking over the GeoCities free-website business. Apparently, maintainers of all GeoCities free websites have been blocked from updating or modifying their sites unless they agree to new terms of service. Among other things though, the new terms of service appear to give away blanket intellectual property rights to ALL material the users have posted on GeoCities(!) We say "appear to", because we're certainly not legal scholars, but it's hard to read the TOS language any other way. Here's what it says, according to the Netscape news page: The term in question gives Yahoo "the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive and fully sublicensable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt,
    publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, and display such content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed." Yikes! - We STRONGLY recommend that users not sign up to this! - There are plenty of other free-website services out there, some of which have ridiculous terms like this, and some who don't. Find one that doesn't, and move your web pages! (We certainly recognize the need for "free" web providers to find some means to support their offerings financially through advertising or whatever, but the language above is so absurdly broad that it's hard to ascribe an innocent intent to it.) Two services mentioned in a News.com article that don't have such language in their TOS can be found at http://www.crosswinds.net/ and http://www.hobbyhost.com/.Thanks, Ted!.
    - Aux Lenses Update: We've received a couple of responses to our request on behalf of Bob Duke for image samples with the Nikon 950's auxiliary lenses. Max Lyons emailed with this link, where he has some samples of images shot with a CoolPix 900 and both the 2x teleconverter and 0.66x wide angle lens. Reader William Petit posted an IR.clubphoto album with some samples taken with an Olympus C-2000 and the add-on Olympus Macro lenses, in case someone wanted to compare those results with those of the Nikon. (The "shrimp plant" shot is particularly nice, looks like the Olympus Macro Lenses are very high quality!) How about it, anyone else out there with a 950 and auxiliary lenses, willing to post a few samples to IR.clubphoto?
    - Steve posts a "First Look" at the PDR-M4! Steve Saunders has just posted a "First Look" at the Toshiba PDR-M4 2-megapixel digicam. No pithy conclusion to quote here yet, as he's so far mostly outlined basic camera functions and controls. He does note that it's *fast* though, which we ourselves see as being one of this camera's most important points. We were a bit delayed in getting on top of this camera, due to Dave's recent vacation, but Toshiba's said they're shipping one to us very soon, so we hope to have our usual treatise available for this model in the next few weeks.
    - Kodak posts DC-265 firmware upgrade! - This doesn't sound like a major one, as it seems to mainly tweak the Red/Magenta color handling, and make the external flash sync work as it should. Here's what Kodak has to say about it...

    The firmware upgrade contained on this DC265 website is for English user interface cameras only. If you have a Japanese user interface camera, visit the Kodak Japan website at http://www.kodak.co.jp
    Update Specifics
    Version 1.0.3 Firmware Upgrade provides a number of performance and reliability improvements including:



    • Elimination of the Red -> Magenta Color Shift

    • External Flash Sync is now active for all photos when this option is enabled





  • DC265 Firmware version 1.0.3 is considered a minor firmware upgrade, however once you upgrade the camera firmware, you cannot revert to the previous version.
    Note: In our investigation of red -> magenta color shift in DC265, we have found that recent sensor production can be seperated into two primary categories. In either case, this firmware addresses the issue..

    - MetaCrations spins off consumer apps - In a move aimed to focus the company more firmly on their professional-level applications, MetaCreations announced the acquisition of their consumer-level products by ScanSoft. The applications affected include Kai's Super GOO, Kai's Photo Soap 2, and Kai's Power Show. ScanSoft is a leading provider of OCR and scanner-interface software. The newly-acquired applications appear to fit this business as additions to software "bundles" to use with flatbed and sheetfed scanners.
    - Nikon School expands with 4 new cities. The "Nikon School" is a highly reputed road show that travels about the country offering one-day photography seminars taught by professional photographers. Aimed at advanced amateurs, the feedback we've heard on the classes has been excellent. (Dave was scheduled to attend the one in Atlanta this last spring, but came down with a on-his-deathbed flu bug just as the show rolled into town.) The show will now tour a total of 21 cities, including newly-added venues in Southbury, CT, Durham, NC, Mesa, AZ and Indianapolis, IN. See the press release for a full schedule.
    - ColorBlind for the Net! - "Color management" is a perpetually nettlesome problem, dealing with the issue of trying to insure that images look the same in print as they do on the monitor, and on different monitors and printers. When the monitors and printers are spread out all over the world, the problem becomes even more severe. Imaging Technologies has announced a new version of their "ColorBlind" color-management system that incorporates technologies facilitating color synchronization across the internet. No pricing was mentioned, but this is definitely in the "professional" class of solutions, as it relies on colorimeters to measure and characterize each users CRTs and printers...
    - Digicams on display in Tokyo! - With Mike still out of town, Dave's limping badly in the translation department. Nonetheless, once more into the breach, with a brief translation of PC Watch's digest of Windows World/Tokyo99, by their pro photographer reporter Yamada: (I'll translate items in the same order as they are presented in Yamada's report, so you can follow along here and view the pictures in the PC Watch article.)
    Nikon D1
    While Yamada noted that this was the first "public viewing" of the D1 since it's formal announcement, the model was only visible inside a plexiglass display case, leading us to suspect it was the same wood-block mockup we saw back in February at PMA. Nikon was showing some A3-sized (roughly 11x17 inches) prints from it, and Yamada was very impressed by their quality. He remarked that the quality difference between the prints from the 2.7 megapixel D1 and 2-megapixel class cameras was very noticeable. Nikon also apparently had a gaudy stage show set up around the CP950, which Yamada groused was out of keeping with Nikon's staid professional image
    Sony
    The next segment of Yamada's report is on Sony, who showed both the new (black) DSC-D770, and the black version of the DSC-F55K we reported on earlier. Also on display was a new & tiny digital video camera, the DCR-PC3. This unit sports a memory stick slot for still-image capture. I couldn't properly translate Yamada's comments about the DSC-F55K, but he seemed quite impressed with the focus-confirmation feature of the '770. (This new feature indicates the point of optimum focus when the lens is being adjusted in manual mode - a common feature on 35mm SLRs, but absent on most digicams to date.) Yamada felt that the D770 worked as well in this respect as a 35mm SLR. There's a shot of the new FD-88 Mavica, but it isn't clear why it was included, as there's no commentary in the text about it.
    Olympus
    Olympus also had a stage show, but apparently more to Yamada's liking than Nikon's! Olympus showed their newly-announced C-21 mini-digicam, and one of the shots shows just how small it was. (We won't reproduce it here, out of respect for PC Watch's copyright: Follow the link to their page.) Yamada was surprised (as were we!) by the non-appearance of Olympus' C-2500L 2.5 megapixel SLR digicam. He speculated that Olympus would later formally announce that this model wouldn't be available until sometime later this fall. (It was originally projected to be available by the end of this summer.) Olympus also displayed a couple of underwater cases for their cameras, although they're shown as pictures without comment in the PC Watch article.
    Fuji
    Fuji filled-out their digicam lineup with the 1.5 megapixel FinePix 1500, and the 2.3 megapixel, zoom-lens-equipped FinePix 2900. Yamada commented on a "one-touch" image correction software Fuji offered for sale separately from their cameras. He appeared quite impressed with it, particularly given the very low price of only 8,500 yen. (About $70)
    Toshiba
    Toshiba exhibited their M4 camera, and Yamada appeared particularly struck by how light the camera was. (Interesting: We Americans tend to associate lightness with cheapness, preferring instead dense, meaty hunks of technology...)
    Sharp
    Yamada had a fair bit of material about a digital camera integrated with Sharp's Zaurus Windows CE palmtop. - Frankly, I couldn't make out what he was saying about this one, but it doesn't appear especially relevant to our readers anyway...
    Epson
    Epson displayed their new CP-800 2-megapixel digicam, along with their PrintOn printer. (This unit is based on the Digita Operating System, prints directly from camera memory cards via a PC-Card adapter, and is quite flexible, but hasn't made it into this country as yet.) Yamada appeared impressed with the hands-on availability of both the Epson and Sony products.
    Iomega
    Iomega showed the PC-Card version of their Clik! drive, which packages a 40MB removable-media disk drive in a Type-II PC Card(!) This is really an impressive engineering feat, packing the motor mechanism into a TypeII form-factor, whilst leaving room for the removable cartridge itself! Proud of their efforts, they showed two drives with the top of the PC Card case open, one with and one without the removable cartridge inserted. Very impressive
    !

     



     

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

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