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Digital Photography News Archive!
July 2000


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Monday, July 31, 2000

SanDisk supplies MultiMediaCards for Canon 2MC camcorder!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 19:05 EDT)

SanDisk Corp.'s logoSanDisk Corp. announced today that it will supply Canon U.S.A. Inc. with flash memory MultiMediaCards for its new Elura 2MC, a pocket-size hybrid digital video camcorder with still image and video capability.Canon U.S.A. Inc.'s logo A SanDisk 8 megabyte MultiMediaCard will be included with the sale of every Elura 2MC.

Canon's Elura 2MC Digital CamcorderThe Elura 2MC measures 1 7/8" x 4 1/8" x 3 3/8", about the size of a man's wallet, and weighs slightly more than one pound with battery and tape. It records video and still images to the universal MiniDV digital videocassette. To manage, retrieve and download still images more efficiently, the Elura 2MC uses the MultiMediaCard.

Key features of the Elura 2MC include three shooting modes, Firewire computer connectivity, 10x optical/40x digital zoom, image stabilization, a high-resolution rotating view screen and viewfinder, and digital stereo sound. The camera is based on a progressive scan CCD image sensor, RGB primary color filter and a three-element stereo microphone.
"Elura 2MC is a perfect example of how Canon technology is constantly raising the bar," said Nelson Chan, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at SanDisk. "Canon is pushing the limits of miniaturization, style and functionality, packing multiple shooting modes and storage media into a revolutionary new camcorder size."

Mike Zorich, senior marketing manager, video products, Canon U.S.A., Inc., said, "The Elura 2MC expands imaging versatility by recording still images on the standardized MultiMediaCard. This rugged, ultra-light media -- the size of a postage stamp -- makes it easy to store, retrieve, view and download images to a personal computer or printer."
When recording still images to the MultiMediaCard, images are compressed and stored in JPEG format. Users may select one of two image quality modes: Fine - recording about 60 images suitable for making prints, or Standard - recording approximately 105 images appropriate for email attachments or a personal website. Both modes record images in 640 x 480 resolution. Higher capacity SanDisk 16, 32 and 64MB MultiMediaCards, capable of storing a greater quantity of still images, are available at computer and electronics retail outlets.

SanDisk's MultiMediaCards

The manufactured suggested retail price for the Elura 2MC is $1,799, and it will be available to retailers in September 2000.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Minolta Dimage Scan Multi scanners get Digital ROC, GEM!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 18:18 EDT)

Applied Science Fiction Inc.'s logoApplied Science Fiction Inc. announced today the implementation of its Digital ROC (Restoration Of Color) and Digital GEM (Grain Equalization Management) technologies into Minolta's new Dimage Scan Multi II digital film scanner. In addition to introducing ASF's Digital ROC and Digital GEM technologies into the Dimage Scan Multi II, Minolta is making the Digital ROC and Digital GEM technologies available to its existing Dimage Scan Multi scanner owners through an application upgrade via Internet download or CD ROM.

Minolta Corp.'s logoASF's Digital ROC and Digital GEM technologies enable photographers to make the best possible scanned image files from original color negatives and slides, even if the color has faded or the images are grainy. These technologies, combined with the Scan Multi II's ability to produce images with a maximum of 2820 dpi and the ability to handle multiple film formats, provide photographers with the tools and flexibility they need to quickly create high-quality scanned images.
"By introducing this innovative new film scanner, Minolta is raising the standards for high-quality desktop scanning," said Dan Sullivan, ASF's president and CEO. "We are proud that Minolta is expanding its offering of our technology by selecting Digital ROC and Digital GEM to enhance their versatile new Dimage Scan Multi II film scanner. We are particularly pleased that Minolta is offering its existing owner base the opportunity to upgrade their scanners with advanced technology from ASF. We feel our on-going relationship with Minolta will continue to provide end users with cutting-edge solutions for enhanced digital imaging."

"We are delighted to offer increased film scanner versatility to our customers by incorporating Applied Science Fiction's Digital ROC and Digital GEM technologies into our new Dimage Scan Multi II,"
said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Consumer Products Group, Minolta Corporation. "Photographers around the world who depend on quality output for the work they do will be pleased with the time-saving solutions provided by the Dimage Scan Multi II and ASF's Digital ROC and Digital GEM software technologies."
Correcting faded color and reducing image grain has plagued professionals as a painstaking and time-consuming process. Digital ROC automatically restores an image's original colors by analyzing the base image and applying corrections to the faded colors. Minolta's Dimage Scan Multi II scannerUsing a set of proprietary algorithms, Digital ROC reads the dye signature in color negatives and slides and restores colors to the appropriate levels.

By analyzing and reducing the grain caused by the film emulsion, Digital GEM automatically enhances the clarity of a scanned image while preserving its colors, gradations and sharpness. Digital GEM analyzes a film's unique grain pattern pixel by pixel, extracts all data related to image quality, color and sharpness, and removes the grain from the scanned record of the image, which results in dramatically reduced film grain.

The Scan Multi Version 2.0 software will provide the upgrades of ASF's Digital ROC and Digital GEM to existing Minolta customers who own an earlier model Dimage Scan Multi scanner. The upgrade is available either from the Minolta Corporation Web site or by purchasing a CD-ROM/Manual from Minolta's customer service (201-825-4000) starting in August 2000 for $99.95.

Previously, Minolta implemented ASF's Digital ICE in its Dimage Scan Elite film scanner. Digital ICE works from within a scanner to automatically remove surface defects such as dust and scratches from a scanned image, without altering the base image or slowing scan speed. The user does not need to learn or install new software to make these corrections.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Agfa's DuoScan HiD wins award!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 17:56 EDT)

Agfa Corp.'s logoAgfa Corp.'s Consumer Digital Imaging Group today announced that the DuoScan HiD was awarded the title of "Best Digital Scanner in Europe" by Technical Image Press Association. The award is to be presented during Photokina in September 2000 in Cologne, Germany.
"It is a great honor to win this award," said Per Save, Agfa Vice President of the Consumer Digital Imaging Group. "The DuoScan HiD represents a full range of scanners that gives professionals powerful imaging capability with an almost immediate return on investment."
In deciding which products should receive the award, 31 European photography magazine publishers voted for the most outstanding photo/video/digital products presented to the public within the past 12 months.

Agfa's DuoScan HiD desktop scanner.  Image courtesy of Agfa.

Agfa's DuoScan HiD features an optical resolution of 1000 x 2000 dpi, 42-bit color depth and Agfa's patented TwinPlate technology. With a true 14-bits-per-color depth and a wide dynamic range of 3.7D, the DuoScan HiD scanner achieves good quality even in the darkest areas of negatives or positive slides where detail is difficult to capture.

The DuoScan HiD is currently available in the U.S. for the suggested price of $2,895.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Polaroid announces new Senior Vice President!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 14:50 EDT)

Polaroid Corp.'s logoPolaroid Corp. has announced the appointment of Neal D. Goldman as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary.
Gary T. DiCamillo, chairman and chief executive officer, said, "Neal brings a forward thinking leadership style to our executive team. He has made significant contributions to strengthening our Law Department, providing strong counsel on corporate strategic initiatives. He has also enhanced the effectiveness of our corporate governance processes, especially with the board of directors. I look forward to Neal continuing to exert his well-reasoned, action-oriented perspective upon our corporate strategic and operational activities."
Goldman, 49, joined Polaroid in 1997 and was previously vice president and chief counsel of the Law and Patent Division. He was appointed a corporate officer in 1999 and most recently served as vice president, general counsel and secretary.

Prior to joining Polaroid, Goldman was vice president, general counsel and secretary at Nets Inc., vice president and general counsel at Lotus Development Corporation and an attorney for Data General Corporation. Goldman holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Suffolk University and a JD degree from Suffolk Law School.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR NewsWire

Toshiba announces PDR-M70 $100 rebate!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 14:46 EDT)

Toshiba America Information Systems Inc.'s logoToshiba America Information Systems Inc. has announced today that it is offering a $100 mail-in rebate that reduces the price of the 3 megapixel PDR-M70 digital camera to $799, effective immediately. Here's a quick summary of the features of the 'M70, which we first told you about back at the PMA Show last February:
  • Toshiba's PDR-M70 digital camera.  Image courtesy of Toshiba.Toshiba PDR-M70 digital camera
  • 1/1.8 inch 3.37 megapixel CCD gives image at 2048 x 1536 or 1024 x 768 pixels; EXIF 2.1 JPEG
  • 3x all-glass aspheric optical zoom lens, F2 - 2.5, 8 elements in 7 groups, equivalent to 35-105mm on a 35mm camera; macro focusing down to 8 inches; 2x digital zoom
  • 1.8 inch TFT backlit LCD display, (wider vertical viewing angles), 122,000 pixels
  • Built-in five mode flash (auto, on, off, slow-sync, red-eye reduction, fill-in); range 8 inches to 13.3 feet
  • USB (PC/Mac compatible) and NTSC/PAL video out connectivity
  • SmartMedia storage (2 to 6MB; upgradeable to 128MB)
  • Automatic exposure control with exposure compensation +/- 1.5EV in 0.3EV steps; shutter priority and aperture priority AE modes
  • Shutter speeds 1/2 to 1/1000 second (with mechanical shutter)
  • Automatic and four-mode manual white balance (outdoor, incandescent, fluorescent I and II)
  • ISO 100, 200 and 400 ratings
  • Approx 1.5 seconds recycle time between shots, less than one second between images in playback, less than three seconds startup time
  • Multi-shot mode records 36 shots in 1, 15 shots per second
  • Movie mode records up to 120 seconds at 15 frames per second
  • Self timer (2 or 10 seconds)
  • Long exposure mode (1, 2, 4 or 8 seconds)
  • Playback single frame, slide show, 9-in-1 thumbnails, movie, audio or 1.6x/3.2x playback zoom
  • Weighs 14.1 ounces with batteries, dimensions of 116mm x 76mm x 62mm
  • Bundled with USB cable (Mac/PC), video out cable, neck-strap, 16MB SmartMedia card, soft case, lens cap, rechargeable Lithium Ion battery with AC Adapter, and multi-platform CD software from Sierra Imaging for accessing, managing and enhancing digital photos
Our friends over at Steve's Digicams were first to review the camera at the start of May, followed by a review from the Digital Camera Resource Page at the end of the same month, and a review from in their June issue. (Due to their layout, we can't link directly to the Megapixel review, but if you go to their current issue and click on the link for "84 other camera reviews", you'll get a drop down list with all of the cameras they've reviewed...)
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Atmel announces 16 megapixel-ready processor shipping!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 14:28 EDT)

Atmel Corp.'s logoAtmel Corp. today announced the immediate availability of its MPIX 1 single chip digital camera processor. The chip, first sampled in June of this year, supports up to 16 megapixel CCD and CMOS type imagers. Production is now ramping up in support of two major customers, one with a digital camera consumer product and the other with an industrial application.

MPIX 1, which is the first of a family of products, is claimed by Atmel to be the most highly integrated camera engine in the market and to require fewer support chips than any other competitive product currently available. Based on an ARM 7 processor that controls the entire chip, the digital camera processor provides a large number of hardware features including DSP functions for imager processing, baseline JPEG compression/decompression, interfaces for all Flash cards, full speed USB interface and UART for PC camera applications, as well as direct interfaces to UNIPAC, and EPSON LCDs.

The processor IC is, Atmel feels, cost effective enough to support medium quality consumer cameras, and powerful enough to support the highest image quality required in professional and industrial cameras. In addition to high quality still pictures, the chip has movie mode options which include single shot and freeze mode, programmable size imager window and programmable size movie window through decimation and zooming. The MPIX 1 image processor provides smear correction, color recovery, gamma correction, RGB-to-YC and YC-to-RGB conversion, saturation control plus luminance enhancement and chroma gain.
Atmel's Director of Multimedia and Communications Products, Nick Kanopoulos remarked, "It takes still pictures, it displays video, it records/plays back voice memos and it is simply the most integrated camera processor in the market today."
The ARM 7 processor has readily available third party development tools. In addition, Atmel provides an OEM Development kit at a cost of $15,000, this emulates the entire camera and contains a CCD module plus the board with access to all interfaces. The MPIX 1 product is offered for sale in the USA, Europe and parts of Asia at a price of $15 in production volumes.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Wolf Camera, PhotoPoint ally in online photofinishing, retailing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 14:10 EDT)

PhotoPoint Corp.'s logoPhotoPoint Corp. today announced a strategic e-commerce partnership with photography store chain Wolf Camera. The agreement calls for Wolf to provide private-label photo finishing and print processing services to members, as well as offer sales of its camera equipment and accessories through PhotoPoint's e-commerce store.

Wolf Camera's logoIn addition, is launching today its new Cameras & Accessories store, fulfilled by Wolf Camera's, and on August 2 will launch its new shopping cart, initially featuring PhotoPoint-branded PersonalPrints fulfilled by Wolf.

PhotoPoint's Cameras & Accessories store offers a selection of equipment and merchandise, as offered in Wolf Camera retail outlets and on The PhotoPoint PersonalPrints service allows members and visitors of to order 35mm-quality prints of their online pictures in a variety of sizes, including 4" x 6", 5" x 7" and 8" x 10" formats. Other PhotoPoint-branded customized gifts, to be fulfilled by Wolf, will be added to the PhotoPoint shopping cart in the next few weeks.
"We're thrilled to be entering into this agreement with the country's premier photography retailer," noted Ed Bernstein, CEO of PhotoPoint. "As a result of this relationship, we're bringing a new class of products and services to members, Wolf is benefiting from the more than 2 million people who visit our site every month, and our visitors and members enjoy the quality and credibility that Wolf provides. It's a win for all parties."

"We realize that it is important to our future to have a meaningful Internet presence and have long recognized the tremendous opportunities that the Internet offers retailers like ourselves to enhance and grow our business,"
said Chuck Wolf, president and CEO of Wolf Camera. "We view this partnership with as a natural extension of our highly successful brick-and-mortar retail business, and is a win-win situation for both companies."
PhotoPoint's strategy focuses on all aspects of digital and traditional photography for both the consumer and professional markets, including digital prints and processing; photo sharing; event photography; retail co-brands that enable photo services for both brick-and-mortar and online retailers; and sales of equipment and supplies.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Microsoft offers digicam in Windows Me sweepstakes!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 13:44 EDT)

Microsoft Corp.'s logoSoftware giant Microsoft Corp. has announced a pre-launch sweepstakes for its upcoming release of Windows Me (Millennium Edition) on a special web site, according to a news item from publisher Ziff Davis' ZDNet news feed. Up for grabs are a number of prizes, including a Hewlett-Packard digital camera.

Microsoft's Windows Me logoThe sweepstakes, which is only open to North American customers, will offer 50 copies of Windows Me a day through August 30th, each autographed by Bill Gates, as well as a grand prize at the end of the sweepstakes consisting of a tour of the "Digital Home of the Future" on Microsoft's campus, a chance to meet the Windows Me development team, and a Hewlett-Packard C200 digital camera with USB connectivity, 1 megapixel CCD, and CompactFlash storage.

Microsoft's Windows 2000 logoAlso of note, Microsoft today announced the release of the first service pack for its Windows 2000 operating system. Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 has numerous bug fixes, including the following which caught our eye:
  • Improves DirectX performance
  • Corrects inability to access devices connected to a USB hub
  • Fixes errors when unplugging a USB hub
  • Adds interrupt sharing on PCMCIA cards
  • Fixes bandwidth leak with IEEE1394 video capture
  • Fixes HP PhotoSmart P1000/P1100 printer data corruption with ECP Bi-Directional Communication Port
  • Ensures Iomega Jaz drive starts when detected
  • Iomega Tools will now show parallel port drives correctly
...and many more!
Source: Yahoo! News / ZDNet

Server Grief: 6 hours down = back where we started
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 20:18 EDT)

Earlybirds this morning will have noticed that our server was offline for a total of about 6 hours, ending about 10am EDT. This was supposed to have been for a hard drive upgrade to accommodate the gigabytes of sample files we keep uploading, and was supposed to have happened Sunday AM, not Monday AM. Unfortunately, our ISP had a little difficulty understanding that 2am Sunday means two hours after midnight Saturday, not the wee hours of Sunday night. They also seemed to have some trouble understanding how to upgrade the capacity on a RAID storage configuration. The net result what should have been a routine upgrade began seriously encroaching upon our peak traffic period, at which point we told them to just put the old drives back in and get us back up and running. We'll try the upgrade again next weekend, hopefully on the right day to minimize impact to our readers, and hopefully with a slightly more knowledgeable tech at the controls. Apologies for the outage, keep your fingers crossed for us next weekend!

Note: And of course, the server time got blitzed yet again! Note that the time on this and the previous news item are out; the clock has been corrected... -- Mike

PhotoWorks searches for new CEO!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 19:51 EDT)

PhotoWorks Inc.'s logoPhotoWorks Inc. has announced that it has initiated a search for a CEO to lead the company's growth in digital imaging and related Internet services. PhotoWorks has retained Heidrick and Struggles, a national recruiting firm, to conduct the CEO search. Upon the successful completion of the search, Gary Christophersen, current CEO, will assume the position of Chairman.
"With 900,000 digital customers, the largest online consumer photo archive, including more than 125 million images, and $85 million in net revenues in the last four quarters, we believe we are positioned to dominate the online imaging space," said Gary Christophersen, PhotoWorks current CEO. "The Internet allows us to offer exciting and imaginative photo-related products and services, and thereby create very strong customer relationships. We are looking for visionary leaders with proven management expertise to fully exploit these opportunities."
PhotoWorks has recently made two additions to its executive team. Matt Kursh, former head of Microsoft MSN, Sidewalk and HomeAdvisor, was appointed to the Board of Directors. Stephen Brown, founder of Entros, was hired as Vice President of Business Development. Additionally, PhotoWorks has expanded its marketing, information technology and R&D departments in the last 12 months, bringing on nearly 50 new employees. The addition of a new CEO will support the Company's strategic transition to an online business model.
"I am excited to partner with a new CEO to help lead our business," Christophersen said. "I will continue in an active role as Chairman, and will provide leadership through my passion for this company and my many years of experience in the photo industry. I believe that by combining the strengths we have in place with a world class Chief Executive, we will be positioned to continue as the leader in the online photo industry."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Qimage Pro v8.54 released; color profile Coolpix 950, 990; Oly D-600L!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 31, 2000 - 0:12 EDT)

QImage Pro 8.5 logoMike Chaney, author of the extremely popular Qimage Pro image viewing/printing/editing application, has been in touch over the weekend to let us know of a new revision of the program. Qimage Pro v8.54 adds a number of features and bug-fixes over the last version we mentioned on this page, v8.5. Perhaps one of the most interesting features is the color profiling ability of the program, which was introduced for the Canon PowerShot S100 and Nikon D1 cameras in version 8.5. Since then, color profiling has undergone significant changes, and plugins for the Nikon Coolpix 950, Nikon Coolpix 990 and Olympus D-600L digital cameras have been released. Here's a sample of what the plugin can do with one of our sample photos from the Coolpix 990:

QImage Pro Color Profiling comparison - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!

Here's a complete summary of changes since version 8.5 (these changes were made progressively in versions 8.51, 8.52, 8.53 and 8.54):
  • Initial load of thumbnails is now up to 20% faster.
  • Auto-rename option now handles the original of more than one copy as (0000) so that it is sorted correctly. For example, if your auto rename options are set to "S100" and you select three JPG files to auto-rename, older versions would name them: S100.jpg, S100(0001).jpg and S100(0002).jpg. To eliminate problems with sorting files, the same operation will now result in: S100(0000).jpg, S100(0001).jpg and S100(0002).jpg. In addition, if you only rename one file and a copy does not already exist, Qimage Pro will still name the file S100.jpg because it knows that no other copies exist. If you go back later and rename more files in the same folder, however, the software will be smart enough to find the original S100.jpg and rename it S100(0000).jpg so that it "matches" the format of the other copies.
  • The {Q} prefix on batch converted files is now an option! There is a new checkbox labeled "Only use the {Q} prefix when destination file already exists". You will find this checkbox in the Filter Application dialog that appears just before application of any filters and conversion of images. If you leave this box unchecked, Qimage Pro will always use the {Q} prefix on your converted/filtered images (this is the default). If you check this box, Qimage Pro will not use the {Q} prefix unless it runs into a conflict, i.e. the destination file already exists. With the box checked, you can select all TIF images in a folder and convert them to JPG images with the same name for example. Or, if you are using a different output folder, you could save filtered image that have the same name AND same extension without using the {Q} prefix.
  • All Qimage Pro plugins have been updated and now produce even more accurate color. All samples at the Qimage Pro Plugin Center have been updated.
  • Nikon D1 NEF color has also been improved in v8.51.
  • Corrected a bug that was preventing old format plugins from working (like the included D1 Color-v8.4 plugin).
  • A dramatic increase in color accuracy for both the internal NEF decoder and color profile plugins for other cameras (samples at the Qimage Pro Plugin Center have been updated). In addition, the Nikon CP990 Color Profile Plugin is now available at the Qimage Pro Plugin Center. In addition to better color accuracy, we have switched all our profiles to the sRGB color space, which offers better color for users who do not use Adobe PhotoShop or other "ICM aware" applications. Our old profiles, in the Adobe color space, often appeared to have a "yellow cast" or appear muddy on systems when not viewed with high-end photo editors.
  • "Clear Queue" option: When you have images in the queue, simply right click in the queue and select "Clear Queue" to remove all images from the queue.
  • Metric bug fix: A bug was fixed that affected the "right click to set size" option on the "Quick Size/Drop Frames" when Qimage Pro was set to metric units.
  • NEF decoder: A 10% improvement in NEF decoding speed as well as a subtle change to saturation are part of the v8.54 upgrade. Although not noticable in most images, v8.54 corrects for a condition where some areas of the color spectrum were slightly oversaturated in older versions.
  • "File", "Print": The traditional Windows "Print" command has been added to the "File" menu. In addition to allowing you to print without going to the "Queue Actions" tab, this function will be more intuitive for the Qimage Pro "newbie" who is not yet familiar with the "Queue Actions" tab.

Source: Qimage Pro website

Saturday, July 29, 2000

Fuji announces "Nuttiest Family" photo contest!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, July 29, 2000 - 16:03 EDT)

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc.'s logoTo help celebrate the release of Universal Pictures' and Imagine Entertainment's movie, "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" starring Eddie Murphy, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. is announcing a search for the nation's "nuttiest family" via an on-line photo contest.

Individuals may submit their "Nuttiest Family Photo Contest" entries by uploading digital images to the promotional Picture Gallery on the Fujifilm U.S.A. Web site. Soon after the contest ends on August 25, 2000, one family will be deemed America's "nuttiest"... Prizes are as follows:
  • Fuji's FinePix 4700Z digital camera.  Copyright (c) 2000, The Imaging Resource.  All rights reserved.Grand Prize
    Fujifilm FinePix 4700 ZOOM digital camera (Ultra-compact design, 2.4 megapixel SuperCCD sensor delivering 2400 x 1800 pixel images, 36-108mm equivalent 3x optical zoom lens, ISO 200, 400 and 800 ratings, AVI motion JPEG movies, USB interface) and a $50 gift check for a family of four to see the movie.
  • Fuji's MX2900 digital camera.  Copyright (c) 2000, The Imaging Resource.  All rights reserved.First Prize
    Fujifilm MX-2900 digital camera (2.3 megapixel CCD, 1800 x 1200 resolution, 35-105mm equivalent 3x optical zoom lens, full manual exposure, internal or external flash).
  • Fuji's Discovery 312S 35mm film camera. Courtesy of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc.Second Prize
    Fujifilm Discovery 312 35mm film camera (38-120mm 3.2x optical zoom lens, drop-in film loading, auto film prewinding, multi-mode auto flash w/ red eye reduction, landscape/night portrait modes, continuous shooting mode, mid-roll switcheable panorama, self timer, date/time imprint).
Nutty Professor II: The Klumps will feature Eddie Murphy reprising his roles as Sherman Klump, his alter ego Buddy Love and the entire Klump family. The sequel, directed by Peter Segal, pairs Murphy with Janet Jackson and revolves around the professor's latest invention, "youth serum". From Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps was filmed on Fujicolor Negative Film F-250 (8552) motion picture stock. A full list of contest rules is provided on Fujifilm's website.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

NuCORE announces high-powered digicam chipset!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, July 29, 2000 - 15:35 EDT)

NuCORE Technology Inc.'s logoNuCORE Technology Inc. has in a press release introduced what it claims is "the industry's first chipset that delivers 3-CCD color quality to 1-CCD cameras at 50 megapixels per second". The two chips are the NDX-1250 analog front-end and the SiP1250 Smart Image Processor. The company continues by noting that "no other combination of chips comes close to NuCORE's 50 megapixel-per-second image processing with 12-bit resolution."

Both chips employ proprietary algorithms to deliver high image quality, high resolution and wide dynamic range with a single CMOS or CCD image sensor. NuCORE's chipset is aimed at high-end consumer applications as well as professional applications, which typically require three separate signal processing chains for Red, Green and Blue to attain higher image quality. Through its patented NDX process, it amplifies R, G and B separately even though the three signal processing chains are minimized to one, reducing overall cost, size and power consumption.

This chipset lets designers build a hybrid camera, a single device that can be used as both a still and video camera. NuCORE claims that "it has never before been possible to build one camera that can acquire, enhance, compress, display and store 4-megapixel silver-halide-quality, digital still images continuously at a rate of 12 per second and 1.3-million-pixel video at 30 frames per second with 12-bit accuracy."
"Having one camera that can serve both functions has been regarded as the 'holy grail' of digital photography," stated NuCORE CEO Joe Raffa. "It's what digital camera makers have been trying to build, unsuccessfully. Either they build a still camera that takes a few seconds of low-resolution motion, or a motion camera that takes poor quality stills that are unsuitable for photo printing. No other chip maker has been able to give them a solution that can do both, until now."

"We are very happy with the performance of these new chips in areas such as image quality, dynamic range and resolution at 30 frames per second. With NuCORE Technology, we will able to offer a 12-bit solution in our camcorder, providing four times the image quality of our current offering,"
said Keizo Kohno, Chief Engineer, System R&D center, Professional Products, Systems and Network sector, Victor Company of Japan, Ltd. (JVC).
Additionally, NuCORE designed the chipset to minimize power requirements to enable the design of smaller, lighter cameras. Initial tests prove, says NuCORE, that its two-chip solution provides 3x to 5x the battery life of all other solutions.

Until now, camera makers have had to make critical trade-offs, notes NuCORE's release. When designing a still camera, they could increase the number of pixels per photo by capturing the pixels quickly, then processing (adjusting the color, compressing, and doing a host of other functions) after the fact. That, it feels, is why users must wait a while between shots with megapixel cameras (this certainly is not the only reason - other factors such as the speed that a camera can write each image to its storage media also comes into play -- Mike). NuCORE's chipset, the company claims, solves this problem by processing the images in real time. Cameras built with NuCORE's chipset can capture 12 images per second at four megapixels.

Whilst most video camcorders record images between 300,000 and 600,000 pixels per frame, with NuCORE's solution, video images can be recorded at over a million pixels per frame, making it easier to obtain still images from existing footage and better for displaying on next-generation high-definition television sets.

While the two chips can be designed-in separately, the optimal result comes from the combination of features. By developing both chips together, NuCORE was able to take a fresh look at all of the functions required and develop the optimal partitioning of analog and digital processing. This flexibility to be creative in moving functions from the digital to the analog domain and vice versa, as well as moving functions up and down the image processing chain, gave NuCORE an opportunity to overcome some barriers other chip makers have not been able to cross and get spectacular results.

For example, NuCORE moved much of the color balancing from the digital post-processing chip to the analog front-end chip. By color balancing the image immediately, in analog, NuCORE is able to get higher image quality.

NuCORE feels that the speed of all other solutions is hampered by having to implement most (they claim over 70 percent) of the image processing algorithms in software, rather than in hardware. NuCORE is the only company that implements all its image processing algorithms in custom-designed hardware in both chips. And all image processing algorithms are not the same. NuCORE believes it has implemented the most comprehensive set of algorithms in the digital camera industry, providing the highest image quality.

Yet by making its hardware implementation register programmable, NuCORE makes it easy for the camera makers to personalize their own camera designs through tuning, a process that lets one camera maker set colors for warmer tones, for example, while another will tune for a different tonal look.

The NDX-1250 is a CCD and CMOS sensor image digitizer that includes a high-speed differential correlated double sampler, black-level auto-calibration circuitry, a programmable gain amplifier, and a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter. The CDS removes the spurious low-frequency noise from the sensor signal by taking two samples of the sensor output, one with the signal data present and one without. By subtracting the two samples, any noise that is common or correlated to both of the samples is removed. This is performed on a pixel-by-pixel basis at 50 million pixels per second. Analog black level calibration is performed for each color separately. Color balancing, which usually only is performed after the conversion to digital, is performed in analog to help increase the dynamic range.

The dynamic range of an image sensor is significantly less than that of a human eye. That's why professional cameras have, until now, used three sensors to capture all of the details in both the brightest and the darkest parts of a scene. In most single-sensor cameras, the dynamic range problem becomes a huge issue because it cannot easily be made up in software in post processing. The dynamic range is a lost opportunity if it is not captured in analog up front.

NuCORE's patented NDX approach normalizes and changes the gain, pixel by pixel, every 20 nanoseconds to reach the 50 megapixel-per-second throughput. This on-chip dynamic range expansion technique allows the NDX-1250 to, in effect, process R, G and B separately, avoiding the problem other analog front-end chips have because processing one color will then affect the processing of the next color. When processing green, for example, and then processing blue, there can be a 10x difference in amplitude between the two colors, making the blue come out almost transparent without further correction.

The NDX-1250 is claimed to be the only chip that implements decimation in analog. NuCORE's patented decimation preserves battery life by eliminating unnecessary pixels. For example, most camera LCDs can only display images at 320 x 240 or 153,600 pixels. By decimating the unnecessary pixels up front, in analog, when the camera is in view-finding mode, only 153,000 instead of 4 million pixels need to be moved through the complete camera system. Decimation can provide up to a 45 percent power savings compared to full-performance operation. In other designs, decimation is done in the digital processing chip.

The SiP-1250, a pipelined processor designed for image processing, is billed as an ideal companion for the NDX-1250. Virtually all of the necessary functions and image processing algorithms are implemented in register-programmable hardware for maximum speed. The designer can tune the hardware to give the camera a unique look and feel, giving the image output the desired sharp vs. soft or cool vs. warm look desired, just as is done with a traditional analog camera by selecting different types of film, shutter speeds and F-stops. NuCORE states that all other competing solutions use general-purpose core microprocessors or digital signal processors and require that a lot of the imaging-specific algorithms be implemented in software, slowing down the overall camera and adding to power consumption.

The SiP-1250 does not require any cache memory to store images to reach its full throughput.In addition to the standard image processing functions such as Bayer-to-RGB conversation, color correction, gamma correction and YC conversion, the SiP-1250 includes proprietary algorithms that it feels enhance image quality:
  • Skin tone detection. The SiP-1250 includes algorithms that detect skin tone so the camera designer can implement any desired compensation on the fly.
  • Adaptive filtering. The SiP-1250 uses adaptive filtering to change the algorithms locally, as it processes the image in real time. Camera designers can use this capability in combination with skin tone detection to adjust skin color under different lighting. For example, under fluorescent light skin tones tend to turn bluer while under sunlight skin appears redder.
  • Adaptive edge enhancement. The SiP-1250 includes algorithms to selectively make edges more pronounced, sharp and crisp. The chip can detect areas that tend to wash out based on several data points and compensate in real time.
  • False color suppression. The SiP-1250 compensates for color distortions that can often appear in images from single-sensor cameras with mosaic color filtering. This is a problem with thin objects, such as a hair, that may be no more than one pixel in width. Another example of a problem occurs when photographing crystal glass against a white background.
After image processing and enhancement, images can be compressed in a variety of ways. JPEG image compression can be applied in various degrees set by the user. Moving images can be compressed using the motion JPEG standard. Additionally, data can be sent out to an external CODEC for DV or MPEG compression.

The video encoder built into the SiP-1250 lets the user preview captured images on television. The video encoder supports the NTSC and PAL standards. For professional video camera designers, the "GEN-LOCK" clock synchronization function is built-in. In addition, the SiP-1250 includes the standard camera interfaces, such as USB, hard disk drive, and flash memory.

By implementing algorithms in hardware rather than software, NuCORE cuts overall power requirements for its chipset. Additional built-in features, such as horizontal decimation, cut power in stand-by modes. Power consumption of the NDX-1250 is less than 120 mW at 50 megapixels per second and less than 72 mW at 30 megapixels per second. Power consumption for the SiP-1250 is less than 450 mW at 50 megapixels per second and less than 270 mW at 30 megapixels per second.

NuCORE supplies a system-level camera reference design and API based on the Hitachi SH2 microcontroller and the uItron 3.0 embedded operating system. Other processors are also supported. For the SiP-1250, NuCORE supplies necessary APIs for USB, LCD display, JPEG, autofocus and autoexposure. NuCORE supplies digital camera APIs such as zoom control, flash control, button control, etc. NuCORE also supplies utilities and diagnostics, as well as PC-based tuning tools that provide the camera designer with a level of customization.

The NDX-1250 is packaged in a 48-lead TQFP package. Sample quantities are available now. It is priced at $15 in quantities of 100,000. The SiP-1250 is packaged in a 256-ball BGA package. Sample quantities will be available this November. It is priced at $40 in quantities of 100,000.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Friday, July 28, 2000

PictureVision, PhotoPoint announce agreement!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 28, 2000 - 16:49 EDT)

PictureVision Inc.'s logoPictureVision Inc. and PhotoPoint Corp. have announced an agreement enabling traditional film users to have their pictures developed at participating retailers offering Kodak PhotoNet online and then have their photos placed in a gallery at The agreement with PhotoPoint is expected to appeal to retailers that are not using the new Kodak Picture Center online service.

Under the terms of the agreement between PictureVision and PhotoPoint, consumers can take advantage of the products and services offered by both Kodak PhotoNet online and Examples include secure photo-sharing over the Internet; browsing through hundreds of thousands of public galleries filled with member photos and arranged by subject; contests, forums and live chats; photo-customized merchandise and cards; reprint ordering, among others.

PhotoPoint Corp.'s logoThe relationship will enable users of Kodak PhotoNet online to use PhotoPoint to provide a range of photo-sharing services, including free storage. The initiative enables consumers who have their film processed and uploaded to Kodak PhotoNet online via participating retailers and mail-order companies nationwide to access PhotoPoint's features.
"The agreement with PhotoPoint supports our strategy of being a supplier of key digital services to the Internet photography market," said David MacWhorter, president, PictureVision, and vice president, Eastman Kodak Company. "This relationship provides PhotoPoint members an easy way to get their film pictures online using the proven Kodak PhotoNet online infrastructure."

"Our relationship with PictureVision and the ability to access their infrastructure will provide tremendous value to PhotoPoint--and to consumers who will now be able to store and share an unlimited number of their favorite photos on the Internet without changing the way they go about getting their film developed,"
said Ed Bernstein, CEO of PhotoPoint. "We expect this easy way of getting photographs on the Internet will enhance the popularity of online photo-sharing and print ordering by an enormous amount and subsequently, will change the current online photography category."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

PhotoWorks reports losses, expects improvement!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 28, 2000 - 16:22 EDT)

PhotoWorks Inc. has announced its financial results for its third quarter and nine months ended June 24, 2000. The company's previously announced third quarter advertising and marketing expenses of $24 million contributed significantly to a net loss of $21,902,000, or a loss of $1.33 per share, for the quarter compared to a net loss of $4,134,000, or a loss of $.25 per share, in the third quarter of fiscal 1999.

PhotoWorks Inc.'s logoA decrease in net revenues for the third quarter of fiscal 2000 to $19,862,000 from $22,801,000 for the third quarter of fiscal 1999 also contributed to the loss. Net revenues for the nine months ended June 24, 2000 were $59,149,000 compared to $63,615,000 for the comparable period of fiscal 1999. The Company reported a net loss of $27,165,000, or a loss of $1.66 per share for the nine months ended June 24, 2000, compared to a net loss of $7,719,000, or a loss of $.47 per share in the comparable period of fiscal 1999.

While revenues showed an overall decline, revenues from customers ordering the Company's core digital services and products increased 20% as compared to the same quarter in fiscal 1999. This result is consistent with the Company's stated objective to transform itself from a traditional photofinisher to an online photo services company. In February 2000, the Company changed its name from Seattle FilmWorks to PhotoWorks, and beginning in May 2000 began an advertising and marketing campaign with the objective of introducing the PhotoWorks brand in the online digital arena. Over the last three months, PhotoWorks increased the number of customers utilizing its digital services and products by 20% to 900,000 customers. Quarter to date net revenues from customers utilizing digital services and products are nearly double net revenues from customers ordering only traditional analog products. Continued sequential growth in the number of digital customers will depend on the success of the Company's marketing and advertising efforts.

As previously announced, the Company launched an $8 million national brand advertising campaign in May 2000 to promote brand awareness in the online photo services market. The majority of the branding campaign was focused in the third quarter of fiscal 2000 and the campaign is expected to conclude in August. In addition, other marketing programs designed to inform existing customers of the Company's online product offerings and name change were launched in the third quarter of fiscal 2000. The Company also began a direct mail and Internet campaign to acquire new customers interested in its online digital services and products. To take advantage of the summer photo season, approximately two-thirds of the marketing expenditures occurred in the third quarter, with the campaign to be completed during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000. Total marketing expenses were up $16 million as compared to the same quarter of fiscal 1999. PhotoWorks plans to continue to market its online products and services, but the current level of marketing expenditures is not expected to continue in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000 and therefore the Company expects to reduce its net loss in the fourth quarter as compared to this quarter.

The shortfall in expected net revenues for the quarter was primarily due to a greater decline in traditional photofinishing than anticipated. In addition, net revenues were impacted by pricing changes in 4" x 6" prints and 'Pictures On Disk'. As a result of lower than expected volumes for the quarter, cost of goods sold as a percentage of net revenues was higher. Components of cost of goods sold related to service enhancements such as priority mail shipping and customer service were also higher than expected.
Gary Christophersen, PhotoWorks President and CEO stated, "The online photo space is expanding at a rapid pace, we are continuing to invest heavily in marketing, research and development, and information technology systems based on our understanding of those emerging opportunities. The loss in the third quarter is in line with our expectations and strategic initiatives. It reflects our significant activities in promoting the PhotoWorks brand and adding infrastructure as we gear up for the remainder of fiscal 2000 and beyond. With our large customer base, growing list of marketing partners and photofinishing and direct marketing experience, we believe that PhotoWorks is positioned to compete in this emerging market segment. We are continuing to pursue new strategic alliances and marketing agreements to leverage our infrastructure and market presence."

Christophersen continued, "Our PhotoWorks archive now holds over 125 million personal photos which we believe is the world's largest online archive of personal photos. In addition, the number of customers who have photos in the online archive is now over 900,000, up from approximately 750,000 a few months ago. Industry measurements suggest that our customers' online activity in June makes us the leading online photo site in terms of unique pages per visitor per month and time spent on our site. We believe that the growth of the customer base and the archive is an important leading indicator of our future business activities, and we expect to continue to see growth in the number of customers utilizing the archive as a result of our advertising and marketing campaign. By growing the archive, we believe that we can build our customers' personal equity in PhotoWorks as their online image processing company of choice."
PhotoWorks announcements that it feels noteable over the last quarter include:
  • Appointment of Matt Kursh to Board of Directors
  • Addition of Stephen Brown to management team as Vice President of Business Development
  • Partnership with Visioneer, the No. 1 vendor of home-flatbed scanners

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Digital Photography Review posts Sony DSC-F505V review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 28, 2000 - 13:29 EDT)

DP Review's logoOur friend Phil Askey has posted an in-depth review of Sony's DSC-F505V digital camera over at his Digital Photography Review website. The DSC-F505V, which we reviewed ourselves back on June 12th, features the same chassis as the previous DSC-F505 model, but Sony notes a number of improvements:Sony's DSC-F505V digital camera.  Copyright (c) 2000, The Imaging Resource.  All rights reserved.
  • 1/1.8 inch 3.34 megapixel CCD (although only 2.62 megapixels go into the final image, the remainder being masked off by the chassis designed for a 1/2 inch 2.11 megapixel CCD)
  • 12 bit digitization
  • Improved aperture & shutter control
  • Proprietary Sony external flash connectivity
  • TIFF file format option
  • Improved manual focus operation
  • Improved processing speed
  • Improved interpolation algorithm
Phil's review notes that:
"The DSC-F505V has managed to overtake the Nikon Coolpix 990 (in my opinion) for and great combination of image quality and value for money (especially with that big lens). Sure, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles (do you use them all??) So, if you can live without a viewfinder, the additional manual features of some of the competition and can put up with the sometimes slow operation then the DSC-F505V is (at the time of writing this review) probably the best 3 megapixel digital camera around.

With the combination of that excellent 5 x zoom, Hybrid LCD, InfoLithium battery, great resolution and clarity, well saturated bright colours, good dynamic range and smooth noise-free images the DSC-F505V is hard to beat."
Be sure to check out DPReview's insights into the DSC-F505V, along with plenty of sample photos and pictures of the camera itself, in the full review.
Source: Digital Photography Review's Sony DSC-F505V review

Thursday, July 27, 2000

RemoteReality OneShot 360 used in art exhibition!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 27, 2000 - 16:15 EDT)

RemoteReality has announced that Franklin Joyce, a resident artist at the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences in Gifu, Japan, is using RemoteReality's interactive 360-degree immersive technology as part of his demonstration at SIGGRAPH 2000.

Remote Reality's logoAs an artist with a background in physics, engineering and computers, Joyce aesthetically combines scientific intelligence and artistic sensibility. He is incorporating RemoteReality's technology into his immersive video art, "Remember When We Thought Television Was Flat and the Center of the Universe?" His work at SIGGRAPH will showcase the progress of computer graphics and their influence on technology, society, education, business and aesthetics.

Joyce used RemoteReality's optical apparatus, the OneShot 360 Immersive Picture System, with an off-the-shelf digital camera to film seamless 360-degree images that do not require stitching or any post-production work. By capturing an entire space, rather than individual scenes, the audience can be immersed in their own experience of Joyce's work.
"Before using RemoteReality's One Shot, I had been using a slower product and synthesizing the images with computers, which took a lot of time. With RemoteReality's technology helping me produce a faster method of developing immersive visual imaging, I can focus my time on creating new content," said Joyce.

"A new form of content is being developed using 360-degree technology from RemoteReality. Not only can it enhance contemporary art with immersive interactivity, but it also can be used in other markets such as real estate, sports and travel,"
said Hapet Berberian, senior vice president and general manager, Integrated Systems, for RemoteReality. "Applications of immersive imaging can enliven information with interactive audio/visuals and create unique experiences the viewer can customize. RemoteReality is excited to showcase its technology through Joyce's work at SIGGRAPH."
"Remember When We Thought Television Was Flat and the Center of the Universe?" is being displayed in the art gallery at SIGGRAPH.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

PhotoPoint announces new CEO!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 27, 2000 - 15:24 EDT)

PhotoPoint Corp.'s logoPhotoPoint Corp. has announced it has promoted Steve Carley, CEO of PhotoPoint subsidiary JoePix, Inc., and former president of Universal City Hollywood, to president of

Carley, who has also held senior marketing and management positions at PepsiCo, Taco Bell and, will be instrumental in managing the company's growth and brand development plan, including partnerships with several leading online- and retail-based players in the photography arena. Operations at PhotoPoint's JoePix, Inc. unit, the leader in event-based digital photography promotions, will be run by president and co-founder Michael Tremain, who will continue to report to Carley.
"One of the many benefits of acquiring JoePix was having Steve Carley join our team," noted Ed Bernstein, CEO of PhotoPoint Corp. "Steve has already become involved in every part of our business, and he has been a big driver of our commerce strategy. We're very confident that Steve's background with both big and small companies will help drive the scalability and continued success of PhotoPoint."

PhotoPoint co-founder and board member David Rowley added "Appointing Steve as president of really rounds out our world-class management team. I couldn't be more pleased to have someone of Steve's caliber aboard to help us create the dominant brand in digital photography."
As the former president and COO of Universal City Hollywood, Carley was responsible for running all aspects of the number one motion picture/television themed attraction in the world, including Universal CityWalk and the Universal City Cinemas. For more than 15 years, he served in marketing and senior management roles at General Mills, PepsiCo, Taco Bell and The Seagram Company (parent to Universal City Hollywood) before becoming COO in 1999 of, the largest network of radio station Websites on the Internet. In January 2000, Carley joined as CEO and a board member, and successfully negotiated its acquisition by PhotoPoint. JoePix is the leader in providing event-based Internet marketing solutions for major consumer and entertainment brands, including Pepsi, Hard Rock Cafe and American Express.
"I'm very enthusiastic about taking on this role at PhotoPoint," stated Carley. "PhotoPoint has experienced incredible growth and visibility, and we're now embarking on a strategy that will leverage our technology assets and partnerships to bring the benefits of online photography to millions and millions of consumers worldwide. I'm pleased to be able to use my management and consumer marketing experience to guide the company's endeavors at this next stage of growth and expansion."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Rob Galbraith posts Canon EOS D30 report!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 27, 2000 - 12:18 EDT)

Our friend Rob Galbraith over at the website has just posted a report on Canon's upcoming EOS D30 SLR digital camera, currently scheduled to hit the market in September. Rob looks at the camera from the point of view of a photojournalist, detailing what are likely to be its strengths and weaknesses for this use - but even if you're not a photojournalist, the article is of great interest.

Canon's EOS D30 SLR digital camera

Rob covers the following on the EOS D30:
  • Price
  • Image quality
  • Camera construction
  • Interface and controls
  • Frame rate, shutter lag, autofocus
  • Battery
  • Frames per burst
  • Flash and metering
  • Software and camera connectivity
  • Wrap-up
  • D30 links
There's also photos of the camera itself, including an interesting one with the back removed. Rob concludes:
"As you can see, the D30 is a carefully-crafted mix of pro and amateur features. If D30 photos from production cameras look good and print well, especially at ISO 800 and 1600, then it may have a place in small newspaper and freelance photojournalism. Looking at it another way, the D30 is interesting for what it says about Canon's commitment to digital. The company has announced that they have manufacturing capacity for 8000 D30 cameras a month, starting from when the camera is released in September worldwide. If they sell the camera at that rate, it bodes well for the continued rapid development and growth of SLR digital overall. The D30 serves also as a great teaser for the pro camera that Canon promises for sometime next year."

Source: Rob Galbraith's EOS D30 report

Sony shows world's smallest digicam with LCD display!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 27, 2000 - 11:22 EDT)

Sony Corp.'s logoSony Corp. has announced in Tokyo the development of a prototype digital still camera using a combination of its latest miniaturization technologies. The prototype weighs a mere 26 grams, making it the world’s smallest digital camera with a built-in LCD display. This miniaturization is made possible by Sony's latest IC bare-chip mounting technology (67μm electrode pitch) that integrates a "Memory Stick Duo" recording medium, a high-temperature poly-silicon LCD and a Lithium Ion Polymer battery into a single compact package.

Sony notes that portable devices are increasing in importance with the emergence of the digital network era. Technologies utilized in the prototype digital still camera can be applied to various applications to realize a wide spectrum of portable devices in the future. For example, the technologies will facilitate the development of products such as wearable AV/IT devices and "Memory Stick Expansion Modules" which add AV and telecommunication capabilities to PCs and PDAs.

Sony's unnamed MemoryStick Duo-based prototype camera - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!

Technologies Used in the Prototype Digital Still Camera
  • Bare-chip Mounting Technology: 67μm electrode pitch at closest points.
  • Recording Medium: "Memory Stick Duo"
    • Ultra compact media block (20mm x 31mm x 1.6mm) can be fitted together with a cartridge block for full compatibility with standard-size Memory Stick. The "Memory Stick Duo" is currently under development at 64MB.
  • Semiconductor Technology: Thin film color LCD monitor
    • Ultra-thin (4mm) color LCD module realized by super thin reflector and latest connection technology.
  • Battery Technology: Lithium Ion Polymer Secondary Battery
    • Compact-size, (21 x 38 x 6mm), lightweight (7g) and high capacity (210mAh).

Main Specifications of Prototype
  • Dimensions: 21.5 x 62.6 x 13.0mm
  • Volume: 16cc
  • Mass: 26g (incl. battery)
  • Image Sensor: 330,000 pixels
  • LCD: 0.55 inch diagonal (Color) 180,000 dots
  • Image Size: VGA (640 x 480 dots)
  • Battery:
    • Lithium Ion Polymer
    • Battery Size: 21 x 38 x 6mm
    • Weight: 7g
    • Capacity: 210mAh
  • Recording Medium: Memory Stick Duo (64MB)
  • Image Capacity: Approximately 1000 images (JPEG) when using 64MB Memory Stick Duo

Wednesday, July 26, 2000

DCRP posts Digital Wallet, PhotoPC3000Z review; RDC-7 samples!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 26, 2000 - 12:20 EDT)

DCRP's logoOur friend Jeff Keller has been busy of late, posting several new items on his site, the Digital Camera Resource Page! First up, we missed Jeff's review of Epson's PhotoPC 3000Z digital camera a few days back... Jeff noted:
"In most cases, the 3000Z keeps up with the rest of the crowd, and in some cases, is at the top (like in photo quality). The real downer is the slow processing of HyPict and TIFF images, and the lack of a shutter priority mode. I'd recommend the camera, but take a careful look at the competition first before you buy it."
Epson's PhotoPC 3000Z digital camera

Next up is a gallery of sample images from Ricoh's RDC-7 digital camera (one we're currently reviewing ourselves!) - no conclusions or review yet, but plenty of photos to picque your interest!

Also, Jeff has now posted his review of [email protected]'s Digital Wallet, the 6GB portable storage device we recently reviewed ourselves. Jeff liked the speed, battery life, and capacity, but felt the unit to be somewhat confusing, pricey, and perhaps not sturdy enough to stand up to the rigors of mobile life... Be sure to check out the DCRP Digital Wallet review, particularly if you're a Mac user (Jeff concentrated on the Mac OS for his review).

And finally, a note of congratulations to the DCRP for having scored not one, but two mentions in the printed media recently. Jeff's site was first mentioned in an article in Houston's Chronicle newspaper, followed by a mention in the Chicago Sun-Times!

Steve's Digicams posts Casio QV-2300UX first look!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 26, 2000 - 11:59 EDT)

Steve’s Digicams’ logoOur friends over at the Steve's Digicams website have posted a first-look review of Casio's 2.11 megapixel QV-2300UX digital camera. There's no conclusion as yet, but plenty of pictures of the Microdrive-capable, 3x optical zoom camera and information about its operation... There's also the usual sample images, but with a caveat that the weather hasn't been too cooperative with sample photos thus far. Check it out!

Casio's QV-2300UX digital camera

Source: Steve's Digicams Casio QV-2300UX first look review

Tuesday, July 25, 2000

Olympus, Polaroid announce digicam with instant print capability!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 25, 2000 - 13:31 EDT)

Olympus C-211 Zoom digital camera - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!

Olympus's logoOlympus America Inc. has today announced a new digital camera in an online press conference, which is significant for its inclusion of a printer and an alliance with Polaroid Corp.Polaroid's logoWe've seen a camera with built-in printing in the past, Fuji's FinePix PR21 Princam, but the Princam hasn't made it to the USA yet. Olympus' new C-211 also beats the PR21's print time of 30-60 seconds per print with a time of only 15 seconds per print - and it has the Polaroid name, synonymous with instant photo prints, behind it!

Olympus C-211 Instant PrintThe camera looks like a real coup for Polaroid and Olympus, with the potential to create a new category in the US market. It fixes what has long been considered the main problem with Polaroid's instant prints - the fact that whilst it was easy to get the print in the first place, there was no easy way to get a duplicate. If you wanted a copy, you had to go through a laborious process that gave a lower quality version than your original - but the new camera fixes this. It also adds the other benefits of digital (don't pay for photos that don't come out right, share photos by email or on the web, etc.). The photo on the right gives you an idea of the size of the prints...

Coupled with what has been the main selling point of Polaroid's instant film cameras, the gratification of having a print in your hand within seconds of taking the photo, the C-211 really does have a lot going for it! We can see, for example, photos taken at the office Christmas party being printed immediately and copies given to everybody in the photo, or photos given to friends and relatives before they leave after attending a birthday party - and no need for a computer to print the images. Email a copy to anybody who couldn't make the party, and take your flash card to a photofinisher for a larger print to hang on the wall...

Olympus C-211 Zoom digital camera!

Here's the full specifications for the new unit:
  • Olympus Camedia C-211 Zoom digital camera
  • 1/2.7 inch (0.37 inch) 2.11 megapixel CMY Interlaced CCD image sensor. Gives images of 1600 x 1200 or 640 x 480 pixels with two JPEG compression levels in the higher resolution (SHQ, HQ) and one in the lower resolution (SQ1/2). JPEG and uncompressed TIFF format.
  • 3x optical zoom lens; 5.4 - 16.2mm F2 - F4.4 (equivalent to 35 - 105mm on a 35mm camera). 8 elements in 6 groups, includes 2 aspherical lenses. Focuses 20cm - 80cm in Macro mode, 80cm to infinity in Normal mode. 2x digital zoom.
  • 1.8 inch low temperature TFT LCD display with 113,500 pixels. Brightness adjustment possible. Sunlight assisted backlight. No optical viewfinder.
  • Built in Polaroid 500 Print Engine, uses silver halide Polaroid 500 Captiva print media, sold at retail currently for below $10 per pack of 10 prints (65-70 cents per print). Print size is 2 1/4 x 2 7/8 inches. Continuous tone photographic printer, dpi "just like film". Prints are waterproof, and take 15 seconds, develop in 2 minutes. Prints single image, index print with 4 or 9 images, images can be cropped in-camera before printing (1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3x movable in frame). Date/Time position adjustable on 4 sides of Print. Print adjustment (Color Balance, Sharpness, Contrast, and Brightness). Edited images can be printed, so long as they are in EXIF format, either 640 x 480 or 1600 x 1200, with same file name as created by the camera. Film contains its own batteries for printing, so camera battery life is not affected by printing.
  • SmartMedia storage, compatible with cards up to 64MB. Bundled with one 3.3V 8MB SmartMedia card, with software to enable panorama function on the card.
  • Built in manual-pop-up flash with Auto (low-& back-light), Red-Eye Reducing, Off, Fill-in,Slow synchronization, Slow synchronization + Red-eye reduction modes. Working range Wide; 0.2 - 4.0 m, Tele; 0.2 - 2.6 m
  • USB, NTSC Video Out, DC input connectivity. USB compatible with both Macintosh and Windows platforms.
  • ISO ratings of 100, 200 and 400, auto-selected or manually set.
  • Programmed auto exposure with exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/2EV steps. TTL metering, spot metering possible.
  • Shutter speeds 1/2 to 1/1000 second using a mechanical shutter.
  • Apertures of F2.8 of F8 at wide angle, F4.4 or F8.6 at telephoto, automatically selected.
  • TTL Auto or Preset Manual white balance. Presets are daylight, overcast, tungsten light, fluorescent light.
  • TTL auto focusing system. Two preset manual focus possible, presets are for infinity and 2.5 meters.
  • Normal and soft sharpness settings.
  • File name memory can be kept or reset. Also mode settings can be remembered or reset at power-off.
  • LCD viewfinder automatically turned on in Macro mode.
  • Playback modes are One frame, Slide-show mode, Index-display mode (4/9/16 frames), close-up display, file-name
  • Captures movies in QuickTime Motion JPEG format, 320x240 pixels, 15frames per second up to approx. 15 seconds. Movie Index Print Mode (same as C-3030 Zoom)
  • Capable of up to 5 shots in HQ or 45 shots in SQ mode at 1.3 shots per second.
  • Self timer with 12 second delay
  • Power from : 2 x CR-V3 rechargeable batteries, AC adapter or 4 x AA alkaline/NiMH/Lithium/NiCd batteries. Charger and CR-V3 batteries are optional.
  • Temperature 7-40C(operation) /-20-60C(storage) (printer reduced temp range)Humidity 30-90%(operation) / 10-90% (storage)
  • Dimensions of 7" x 5" x 2". Weighs 500 grams without batteries, print media or flash media.
  • Will ship in the USA and Canada in October at a suggested price of $799. No plans for European release.
  • Bundle will include an 8MB SmartMedia removable memory card, Polaroid Type 500 film pack, 2 x LB-01 long life lithium batteries, Camedia Master software, Mac/Windows USB Cable, strap, instruction manual and quick start guide
UPDATE: Olympus have provided us with even larger photos of the front and back of the camera, as well as a large scan of three prints from the camera... Note that these are large 250-400KB files which may crash your web browser if opened directly. To avoid this problem, right-click on the links and select to "Save target as", then open them in your image editor. (Dave's note: The scan of the prints had its color balance a bit out of whack, a rather cyan cast overall. I adjusted it in Photoshop to render the print paper a pure white, and the darkest shadows a neutral black - The results look *much* better!)

"Hands-on" Report from Dave: I mentioned in my reminder post below that I'd gotten a look at the C-211 at PC Expo in June. I just wanted to share my personal observations of it, and comment briefly on the camera itself. As I mentioned, I think this is truly a new category for digicams, and doubtless welcome new territory for Polaroid as well. The traditional problem with Polaroid cameras was what to do about multiples: If you had more than one person who wanted a shot, you really had no alternative other than to try to shoot the same picture over again. With group photos, this never worked out. There's also the high cost of goofs: A bad print cost you just as much as a good one, and we all know how easy it is to take bad pictures! ;-) As I see it, the C-211 really eliminates both of these problems, and provides a useful digital printing capability besides. You have all the advantages of a digital camera, being able to take as many shots as you want without cost, until you finally hit on the one or ones you like. Then, just hit a button, and you can get as many copies of it printed as you'd like, one every 15 seconds or so. I can see this thing being a *huge* hit at parties and social events. (I can envision my teenagers and their friends running up the equivalent of the debt of some third-world countries, making prints for all their friends at the next get-together.) For business purposes, it's ideal too: Insurance adjusters, real estate appraisers, law enforcement types can now snap as many shots as they want at the scene, print as many copies as needed of each. There's a time element too: If you need 3 prints of each shot, and have a bunch of pictures to take, there's no need to wait the 15 seconds for each one while the action is happening - Just snap away, save the images digitally, and then print at your leisure back at the office. Then of course, there's the advantage that all your prints have digital files for them on the memory card, that you can download to your computer and manipulate, email to wherever, etc.

At an introductory list price of $799, this isn't cheap compared to other 2 MP cameras on the market, but if you think of it as a camera and small-format photo printer packaged in a single case, it makes sense. Also, a little bulky, not the stick-in-a-pocket sort of device, but pretty darn compact as printers go. Overall, I think it definitely qualifies for a "too cool" award!

Olympus/Polaroid webcast coming up!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 25, 2000 - 12:22 EDT)

Hi, Dave here: Just a quick reminder that the Olympus/Polaroid webcast on the C-211 Zoom is coming up at 11:30 AM EDT! The link below will take you to the webcast page, and we'll have full specs and information on the product shortly after the end of the webcast. (NOTE that you need Windows Media Player installed on your computer to view the webcast.)

I saw a prototype of the C-211 Zoom under NDA at PC Expo a month ago, and have to say it looked very cool: Maybe not for everyone, but I think it's a product that will be a lot of fun, and that truly does open up a new arena for digicams. Check it out!
Source: Digevent webcast of Olympus/Polaroid announcement.

Monday, July 24, 2000

Altamira to show at Visual Edge 2000!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 24, 2000 - 13:20 EDT)

Altamira Group's logoAltamira Group, the company behind the Genuine Fractals image compression software which we reviewed back in March, will be participating in the Visual Edge 2000 conference taking place at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg from July 23-28. The company has been invited to demonstrate its scaling technology which it feels allows photographic images to be rendered to virtually any output size from a single low- to medium-resolution digital asset.

Altamira will be participating in two events during the five-day conference. Dan Oen, Altamira's product evangelist, will be participating in the breakout session on digital camera technology on Tuesday, July 25, from 2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. and on Wednesday, July 26, from 10:45 a.m.-noon. Oen will also be speaking at "Training for the Edge," discussing how Altamira technology enables the digital camera workflow.

Visual Edge 2000's logoVisual Edge 2000 is an interactive conference designed to provide photojournalists, professional photographers, photo editors and graphic artists a unique entree to the latest technologies in the digital imaging and multimedia environments. The conference will allow participants to select from a range of options that will introduce them to the technology and offer opportunities to present stories in multimedia form. One such opportunity will provide 40 participants to cover assignments in the Tampa Bay area and use the latest digital still and video cameras by Canon and Nikon along with software such as Altamira's Genuine Fractals. Others will have access through computer labs at the University of South Florida and the interactive sessions.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Bidpath announces DC290-based auction solution!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 24, 2000 - 12:13 EDT)

Bidpath Corp.'s logoBidpath Corp. today announced the official deployment of its patent-pending Portable Inventory Collection System (PICS) technology designed to operate with Kodak's DC290 digital camera.

In cooperation with Kodak, Bidpath has developed a firmware application tailor-made for the $200 billion U.S. traditional auction industry. Running on the DC290 Digital Camera, the PICS firmware guides auctioneers through the collection of inventory data, yielding them a 10-to-one time savings according to Bidpath.
"For the past 18 months, we've been working hard to deliver a revolutionary solution for traditional bricks-n-mortar auctioneers which is easy for them to use." explains Scott Laster, CEO and president of Bidpath."It used to be a Herculean effort for our customers to research and post just 20 auction items online, and most didn't bother to make the effort. However, now thousands of items can be uploaded through the Bidpath infrastructure in the span of hours, not weeks."
The Kodak DC290 Digital Camera along with Bidpath PICS firmware is, Bidpath claims, the only technology in the world that enables traditional auctioneers to manage and collect data, digital images and wave files of massive inventories offered for sale. After collection, the digital images are downloaded from the DC290's CompactFlash card to a laptop and distributed to targeted partners on the Internet.
"We are very pleased that Bidpath chose the Kodak DC290 for this demanding business application," said Michael Tenalio, Kodak DC290 Worldwide Product Manager, Digital and Applied Imaging, Eastman Kodak Company. "Using the camera with Bidpath's firmware enables traditional auctioneers to easily manage and collect digital images. This relationship further reflects our commitment to provide all digital camera users with easy-to-use technology for a variety of on or offline applications."
The Kodak DC290 is already being used by customers of Bidpath including John Roebuck & Associates, an auction company operating nationwide with a business concentration in the Southeastern United States.

Kodak's DC290 digital camera.  Copyright (c) 2000, The Imaging Resource.  All rights reserved.Thousands of items are offered for sale by traditional auctioneers including used capital assets from bankruptcies, factory closures and corporate surplus sales. The volume of inventory makes it difficult to manage and process items for posting to the Internet and has prevented the traditional auctioneer from taking advantage of online auction opportunities.

The Kodak DC290 Digital Camera is part of a three-part solution offered by Bidpath that includes firmware, software and Internet distribution channels to allow traditional auctioneers to tap into the Internet.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Kodak reports sales for Q2 2000!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 24, 2000 - 11:24 EDT)

Eastman Kodak Co.'s logoEastman Kodak Co. has reported second quarter revenues of $3.749 billion, an increase of 5% from a year ago, when adjusted for portfolio changes, and up 8% after also excluding an adverse currency impact. Sales were up 4% from the $3.610 billion posted in the 1999 second quarter.
"``With second quarter sales in our core consumer film business up double digits on a volume basis worldwide, we are confident that we are on track to deliver sales growth in the range of 6% to 7%, adjusted for currency and portfolio, for the full year," said Daniel A. Carp, president and chief executive officer. "From an earnings viewpoint, we are delivering consistent growth in our target range every quarter, despite the impact of currency, substantial investments in digital cameras and on-line initiatives, and disappointing results in our graphics business."
Kodak Professional segment sales were $436 million, a decline of 10% from $485 million in the 1999 second quarter. Earnings from operations for the segment were $63 million, down 36% from $99 million a year ago. Contributing to the decline in segment results were lower sales of graphics products to Kodak Polychrome Graphics. The Commercial business continued to see declines in film and professional digital camera sales in developed markets while the Portrait/Social business showed good growth both in traditional and digital sales. Digital & Applied Imaging continued to experience double-digit sales growth, with sales of digital cameras growing by 55% on a volume basis.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Saturday, July 22, 2000

Full Review of Sony MVC-FD95 Mavica posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, July 22, 2000 - 18:35 EDT)

Full review posted for Sony MVC-FD95! Well at long last, we're getting back on the digicam review bandwagon! Our full review of Sony's high-end floppy-based Mavica, the MVC-FD95 is now on line! This is a very interesting unit, sporting a full 2.1 megapixel sensor and a 10x optically-stabilized zoom lens. As we noted in our previously posted picture analysis, this new Mavica uses 12 bit digitization, which has led to dramatic improvements in a number of areas. Most notably, highlight detail is very good, with the FD95 holding a lot of detail even in very strong highlights. Likewise, low light capability is dramatically improved over earlier Mavicas, with the new FD95 actually being one of the top low light performers we've tested to date! Relative to the previous FD91, resolution is dramatically higher, thanks to the 2.1 megapixel sensor. Mavica critics will likely still comment on the image softness that results from the high levels of JPEG needed to squeeze the 2.1 megapixel images onto floppies, but there's no question that the FD95 is a huge improvement in the image-quality department relative to all the floppy-based Mavicas that have gone before. (Meanwhile stay tuned early next week for our full review of the new CD-based Mavica, the MVC-CD1000.) Check out the FD95 review for full details! (It's in the Comparometer(tm) too!)
Source: Imaging Resource full review of FD95

Steve posts "First Look" at Ricoh RDC-7
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, July 22, 2000 - 18:18 EDT)

Our friend Steve Sanders over at Steve's Digicams has posted his "First Look" at the new Ricoh RDC-7 "Image Capture Device". (No conclusions yet, it'll be another week before he has the full review up.) We have our own eval unit of the RDC-7 in-house, and expect to have our usual exhaustive review posted in the next ~7-10 days. It's an interesting beast, clearly aimed more at the proverbial "mobile business professional" than the photography enthusiast. It has some very interesting features though, including the much talked-about "Pro" mode, which doubles the resolution via a pixel-shift technology. (Stay tuned, we'll have some very interesting observations on that. - Meanwhile, read Steve's First Look review.)
Source: Steves Digicams RDC-7 First Look review

Friday, July 21, 2000

Minolta's Dimage 2300 digicam based on Zoran's COACH!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 21, 2000 - 15:53 EDT)

Zoran Corp.'s logoZoran Corp. has announced that the new Minolta Dimâge 2300 camera, using Zoran's COACH (Camera On A CHip) product as its imaging processor, is now shipping production units. The Dimâge 2300 offers resolutions up to 2.3 Megapixels, 1.4x and 2x digital zoom, auto focus lens, NTSC/PAL video out, and USB port in a design weighing just 7.4 ounces.
Minolta's Dimâge 2300 digital camera"Our goal is to deliver excellent digital cameras with the latest technology at a competitive price. We found the highly integrated COACH product from Zoran flexible enough to support us on all counts and provides an excellent image quality that meets our high standards. We were able to include many features in a lightweight consumer-friendly camera that weighs just over 7 ounces," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing at Minolta Corporation. "Working with the Zoran team has resulted in a product that enables demanding users to obtain excellent image quality with good performance at an affordable price."

"At Zoran we're focused on developing the best chips that meet the needs of our customers' products. We seek to integrate additional features and digital camera system functions in each new generation of the COACH product line. This results in a wider choice of features and reduced system costs for our major OEM customers like Minolta,"
said Alon Ironi, vice president of engineering and camera products at Zoran. "With our recent acquisition of PixelCam, we now have compelling CMOS sensor technology to add to the range of choices we offer forward-looking camera manufacturers."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

PhotoLoft and ez prints ally for online photofinishing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 21, 2000 - 15:36 EDT)

ez prints' logoez prints has announced that its digital image e-photofinishing capabilities have been taken up by online photo site PhotoLoft Inc. ez prints' technology allows PhotoLoft end users to order prints of their digital images directly from the PhotoLoft web site.
"We're thrilled to be able to partner with a true industry pioneer such as PhotoLoft. Combining PhotoLoft's expertise in providing web-based photo sharing enabling technology with ez prints' push-button, high-quality e-photofinishing service is a powerful solution for customers across the Internet," said Bob Miller, president and CEO of ez prints. "This is a great example of where we add value and help to extend our partners' services by being `the guys behind the print button'."

"Partnering with ez prints has enabled us to provide our end users with a fast and easy way to transform their digital albums into actual prints,"
said Jack Marshall, CEO of PhotoLoft. "We selected ez prints as our e-photofinishing partner because of its ability to integrate seamlessly with our site, as well as its longstanding commitment to providing the highest-quality products and services."
PhotoLoft Inc.'s logoTo use the ez prints e-photofinishing service, PhotoLoft end users click on the "Loft Shop" icon to order prints of their stored images. Products available include prints from wallet size to 4" x 6", 5" x 7", 8" x 10" and 11" x 14".
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Polaroid notes strong second quarter, digital camera sales!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 21, 2000 - 15:22 EDT)

Polaroid Corp.'s logoPolaroid Corp. has reported an operating profit of $51 million for the second quarter of 2000, a 24 percent increase over the $41 million operating profit for second quarter last year. Net earnings for the quarter totaled $27 million, an increase of 80 percent over the $15 million net earnings for the second quarter in 1999.

The company reported $0.59 diluted earnings per share for the quarter versus $0.33 for the same quarter last year, an increase of 79 percent. After adjusting for the sale of real estate, the company realized a $0.45 diluted EPS for the second quarter compared to a $0.33 diluted EPS for the second quarter of 1999, an increase of 36 percent.
Gary T. DiCamillo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said, "I'm very satisfied with the state of the business and our positive momentum. We sold 65 percent more instant cameras and seven percent more instant film during the second quarter than we did during the same period last year. And our revenues from new products totaled $98 million for the second quarter of 2000."
Sales of Polaroid digital cameras showed strong gains. The company sold nearly 400,000 digital cameras over the first six months of 2000, nearly equal to what it sold in all of 1999. According to ACNielsen data, Polaroid remains the number-one digital brand in the U.S. Food, Drug and Mass Merchandising retail channel for the most recent 13-week period.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR NewsWire

Thursday, July 20, 2000 launches new photo-sharing site!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 20, 2000 - 17:05 EDT) Inc.'s Inc. has announced today the launch of a its new Internet photo-sharing community. is a free online service for people who want to remain close to friends and family by sharing their memories via the Internet. The site offers the ability to display and store an unlimited quantity of your own pictures online.
" is the next step in digital photography, using the Web to share, manage and store photos -- in essence, taking what we know as a physical memory album and photo shoebox and moving it to the Internet," said Chris Spinella, Partner."This is a value to anyone online. Pictures may be taken and subsequently uploaded to and stored for life -- without limit. The shots may be accessed via PhotoFun Albums at anytime and from any location in the world. All that's necessary is a connection to the Internet. For many people, this has become the primary reason the Web is used." membership registration requires only an e-mail address. Users can upload their digital pictures onto's site through a simple two-step process. Once digital photos are uploaded, members can create online photo albums (called PhotoFun Albums). PhotoFun Albums can be viewed publicly or privately, via secured password only access. Members who build online photo albums at receive a unique URL (web address) for each album so that friends and family can easily remember where to find and view the online pictures. The software technology behind is the result of seven years of software design.
"This site is a work of art. Over 12,000 man hours of programming and creative design time has gone into the site" said Spinella. "The goal, of course, was to make it easy for users to make emotional magic happen with their most precious memories."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

[email protected] Digital Wallet review posted!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 20, 2000 - 12:14 EDT)

Minds@Work's logoWe told you yesterday about the release of [email protected]'s Digital Wallet, a 6GB portable storage device that's been designed to eliminate the need for a bulky laptop computer to accompany you on long journeys where you're likely to fill your flash-cards with "keeper" photos numerous times, and at that time we promised a full review of the device. We've just posted the review, and found the combination of small size, high storage capacity, simple user interface, and high data transfer speeds make it a near-ideal solution for digital photographers on extended trips.

Minds@Work's Digital Wallet. Copyright (c) 2000, The Imaging Resource.  All rights reserved.Compared to the cost of 6GB of memory cards, even at its $499 list price, it is a real bargain. We did encounter some problems with the Mac interface and corruption of memory cards which had been written to with a PC, but found the unit to be 100% reliable for moving data solely from memory cards to a host computer, which would be the most likely use for a digital photographer anyway... There is also a limit of 110 flash cards worth of information in the unit regardless of card size, which means that with cards smaller than about 56MB, you'll run into a limit of number of cards worth of data before you reach the capacity of the 6GB drive, although realistically a card of around 50MB is necessary anyway if you want to be able to take a reasonable number of photos each day, assuming you aren't carrying the Wallet with you! Overall we have to give the unit a qualified recommendation - it looks like a good solution for the digital photographer on extended trips, with a few bugs still to be worked out...

Here's a list of Pros & Cons for the Digital Wallet, as we saw them:

  • Compact
  • Enormous storage capacity
  • Fast data transfers
  • Compatible with CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Microdrive, full-size PCMCIA memory cards, or earlier MemoryStick adapters (firmware patch coming for latest MemoryStick PCMCIA adapter.)
  • Good battery life
  • Pricey for an accessory
  • We'd like to see a more rugged case
  • Somewhat finicky on uploads from computers (downloads are fine)
  • A little quirky with the Mac OS
  • Needs more robust firmware generally
Be sure and check out the full review of [email protected]'s Digital Wallet for the whole story! Also, check out the reviews from the Digital Photography review here, and Steve's Digicams here, for a different perspective. The Digital Camera Resource Page also has a review on the way, which they expect to be online later this week.

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

[email protected] releases the 6GB Digital Wallet!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 15:20 EDT)

Minds@Work's logo[email protected], a privately-held Southern California company, today announced the release of its Digital Wallet, a palm-sized storage device with 6GB of storage capacity, a Motorola ColdFire™ microprocessor, a Toshiba hard drive and a rechargeable battery system. Since we first mentioned the Digital Wallet, we've seen a huge interest from readers wanting a way to store their images when away from home, without the need for a bulky, expensive laptop computer - and the interest we've seen in the device seems justified!

Minds@Work's Digital WalletThe device is billed by [email protected] as the largest capacity "smart" portable storage device currently available on the market. It can be purchased for US$499 online at with retail sales to follow shortly.
"The Digital Wallet answers a real marketplace need, particularly given the high demand for memory devices," said Marc Ganouna, president and CEO. "With the Digital Wallet, users can not only store thousands of images from digital cameras, for example, but also dramatically expand the storage capacity of PCs, in a highly portable fashion," he added.
As part of the company’s strategy to secure a significant percentage in the portable storage products sector, [email protected] has partnered with companies including Motorola and Toshiba (SAO:1SEMP3.SA).

The Digital Wallet provides a solution for corporate users and business travelers, who require storage and transportability options for large data files, such as presentations and spreadsheets. In addition, the product is practical for vacationers, professional digital photographers and technology buffs who want a portable storage solution.
"With its high storage capability, the Digital Wallet can be used by consumers who download and store music files and digital videos from the Internet. Similarly, the Digital Wallet can be used by individuals or small businesses wanting to ensure documents, data and keepsakes are secure. In short, we’ve developed a product with storage capabilities that are limited only by the imagination," Ganouna added.
According to [email protected], the Digital Wallet has already been recognized as the winner of Popular Mechanics 2000 Editor’s Choice Award for "New Product Design and Innovation."

We've already got a unit in house as we speak, and are expecting to release our full review some time tomorrow... Watch this space to find out as soon as we post it!
Source: [email protected]'s website

Harbortronics updates the DigiSnap 1000!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 15:02 EDT)

Harbortronics' DigiSnap 1000 Remote Control / Shutter Release unitHarbortronics, the folks behind the DigiSnap 1000 wired remote control / electronic shutter release have informed us of some rather interesting news... Through a cooperation with Nikon, they've altered the firmware for the DigiSnap to make it more reliable, and have plans to extend the device even further, adding new features and even the ability to upgrade it at home with your PC! The new firmware is available for current users of the DigiSnap, but does require the unit to be returned for upgrade currently... Here's what Harbortronics had to say:
"Nikon has recently honored Harbortronics by releasing to us, under a non-disclosure agreement, the full serial protocol specification for the Coolpix 950!

Having access to this specification will allow us to refine our poduct's firmware to better comply with the camera's protocol, as well as provide other feature of which we were previously unaware. Since the protocol is common to other camera makes, we anticipate most of the future enhancements will also be applicable to cameras beyon the Nikon Coolpix series.

Since receiving the protocol we have already improved the support for the Coolpix 990! When using the 990 with the modified serial cable, the camera will sometimes fail to recognize the attempts made by the DigiSnap to communicate with the camera, which obviously tests the patience of the photographer! We have developed a workaround to this problem, making the process much more reliable. All units shipped starting from July 10, 2000 will incorporate this workaround. This firmware is now available as Version 1.2, and is available to all DigiSnap 1000 owners. They simply need to return the unit to Harbortronics, where we will re-program the unit and return the following working day. The only cost to the owner will be the shipping and handling charges!

We have also determined that it IS possible to use the LCD on the Coolpix 950 when controlling the camera via it’s serial port! This is a VERY exciting development, tremendously increasing the functionality of the DigiSnap 1000 for use as a simple remote release, in addition to it’s excellent performance as a time lapse controller. This feature improvement will be available in Version 2.0.

We anticipate a general release of firmware Version 2.0 in mid August, which will incorporate all of the above changes, plus enhanced features for time lapse photography, and possibly other goodies! This firmware release will again be free to all owners. Another exciting feature of the 2.0 firmware is that it will provide a much easier upgrade path to further feature improvements, allowing the owner to upgrade the DigiSnap firmware via a PC! The upgrade to Version 2.0 will be the last time the owner would need to return the unit to Harbortronics for feature improvements!

Harbortronics has plans to continue supporting the DigiSnap 1000 product, adding features and enhancements. The comments by the owners have been a great source of inspiration to enhance the product, and we encourage feedback!

We have already begun development of an accessory board for the DigiSnap 1000 (the entire package will be released as the DigiSnap 1500), adding external I/O all within the same small package. The DigiSnap 1500 will incorporate relay outputs which could be use for external lighting (i.e. charging a flash, illuminating a time lapse scene at night), as well as Infrared signaling for wireless control of the DigiSnap and camera! No other information is yet available about this product, but feel free to email [email protected] if you have specific I/O requirements."
We recently reviewed the DigiSnap 1000, and loved it even before the changes! For the latest updates, be sure to check the Harbortronics website...
Source: Harbortronics' website

Corel announces bundling agreements with HP!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 14:42 EDT)

Corel Corp.'s logoCorel Corp. today announced a worldwide OEM agreement to bundle its software with a new line of scanners by Hewlett-Packard Co. Corel will bundle Corel PHOTO-PAINT 8 for Power Macintosh OEM version and Corel Print Office 2000 OEM version with the HP ScanJet 5370C scanner, which targets the small office and home office market. The agreement includes a number of localized versions of Corel Print Office 2000, including French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Korean.

Corel PHOTO-PAINT 8 is a photo-editing, image composition and painting application. Corel Print Office 2000 is a publishing program aimed at the small office and home office user.
"Teaming up with HP to offer Corel PHOTO-PAINT 8 for Power Macintosh OEM version and Corel Print Office 2000 with the powerful HP ScanJet 5370C scanner will allow users to take full advantage of their creativity and enjoy the ultimate scanning solution," said Jon Riis, director of OEM North American sales for Corel Corporation. "It is very exciting that HP, the market leader in the flatbed scanner market, has once again chosen Corel as a key strategic software solutions provider."

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s logo"Bundling Corel PHOTO-PAINT 8 for Power Macintosh OEM version with the HP ScanJet5370C for Macintosh and bundling Corel Print Office 2000 with the HP ScanJet 5370C for PCs will provide HP's customers with excellent image-editing software. This software will give home and business customers the ability to design creative new projects,"
said Dana Miller, product manager, HP's Colorado Digital Imaging Division.
Corel and HP have partnered on a number of initiatives in the past. Most recently, the companies announced a worldwide OEM agreement to bundle Corel Print House 2000 OEM version with the HP ScanJet 4300C scanner.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

IXLA announces Photo Easy DualCam Edition for Mac!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 14:23 EDT)

IXLA Ltd.'s logoIXLA Ltd. today announced that its ixla Photo Easy DualCam Edition for the Mac is shipping nationwide to US retailers. Photo Easy DualCam Edition consists of an ixla Digital DualCam 640 camera with 640 x 480 resolution, 2MB internal memory storing up to 32 photos in low quality, or 16 in high quality, a fixed focus lens focusing from 3 feet to infinity, self timer, built in reuseable flash and auto flash sensor, USB connection to iMac, iBook or any other USB enabled Mac running system 8.6 or greater and Cable connection to TV. The camera has dimensions of 95 x 65 x 35 mm, and weighs 112 grams.

IXLA's DualCam 640 digital camera, part of the Photo Easy DualCam Edition bundleixla Photo Easy DualCam Edition for the Mac also comes with USB cable, TV/Video cable, strap, 2 AA batteries, Corel Photo House photo editor, Corel Project Designer and Canto Cumulus to organize and create slide shows.

IXLA's official launch of the ixla Photo Easy DualCam Edition for the Mac will be held at the Macworld Expo on July 19 - 21st located in the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NY, NY at the Consumer Pavilion, Booth #2105.

Ixla's Photo Easy DualCam Edition for Mac - Macintosh not included. :)

Ixla Photo Easy DualCam Edition for the Mac is being distributed to major retail chains and online leaders including; CompUSA, The Wiz, J&R Computer, Fry's, DataVision, Cyberian Outpost, MacMall, Club Mac, and Barnes &
"We are anticipating a warm and welcome reception from Mac enthusiasts for ixla Photo Easy DualCam Edition for the Mac" said IXLA's VP of Sales, Paul McManus "IXLA's goal at Macworld is to promote ixla Photo Easy DualCam Edition as a complete, economical all-in-one digital photography solution, exclusively for Mac users."

"With integrated Apple technologies for managing color consistency and print quality, the Macintosh platform is perfect for digital photographers,"
said Clent Richardson, Apple vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "IXLA's ixla Photo Easy DualCam Edition provides a complete, affordable digital photography solution exclusively for Mac users."
PC Data, the computer industry's primary reporting source for software and hardware sales accounting for nearly 95% of total US computer industry sales, reports the IXLA sister product, ixla Photo Easy Deluxe for the PC platform, is currently the 4th largest revenue generator for year to date sales as of May 2000 in the Business / Photo Editing category. ixla Photo Easy Deluxe was presented with the Consumer Digest "Best Buy" award this month reviewed in Consumer Digest July/August 2000 issue.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR NewsWire

More on the Contax N Digital SLR!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 19, 2000 - 12:51 EDT)

We reported yesterday on the announcement by Kyocera of its upcoming digital variant of the just-announced Contax N1 SLR 35mm film camera, and have been endeavoring since then to find further details on the camera. Kyocera are, quite understandably, hesitant to provide details on the camera with the launch not scheduled until Spring next year, but between a number of sources we've managed to gather the following likely specifications for the N Digital:

Contax's N Digital SLR Front View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!
  • Contax N Digital Interchangeable-Lens SLR Digital Camera
  • Same chassis as the Contax N1 Digital 35mm film camera
  • 6 megapixel or greater image sensor. No confirmation as to whether the sensor is CMOS or CCD. No focal length multiplier! Sensor believed to be full 35mm frame-sized, although one source suggests that the camera possibly contains optics to compensate for a smaller CCD without a focal length multiplier. 3:2 aspect ratio on final images.
  • N-mount lenses accepted. 4 Carl Zeiss lenses designed for the Contax N1 camera currently available:
    • Vario-Sonnar T* 24-85mm F3.5-4.5
    • Vario-Sonnar T* 70-300mm F4-5.6
    • Planar T* 50mm F1.4
    • Makro-Planar T* 100mm F2.8
    Two further lenses to be introduced in Spring 2001 may be available by the time the camera ships:
    • Planar 85mm F1.4
    • Vario-Sonnar 17-35mm F2.8
    Should also be compatible with all seven Carl Zeiss T* lenses for the Contax 645 medium format camera using a NAM-1 mount adapter:
    • Distagon T* 35mm F3.5
    • Distagon T* 45mm F2.8
    • Planar T* 80mm F2
    • Apo-Makro-Planar T* 120mm F4
    • Sonnar T* 140mm F2.8
    • Sonnar T* 210mm F4
    • Tele-Apotessar 350mm F4
  • Optical viewfinder. 2" polysilicon TFT LCD display. Info LCD on top of camera. Backlit? (Light button next to LCD display)
  • CompactFlash Type-I or Type-II storage, Microdrive compatible. Believed to have dual CompactFlash slots (note the "CF" button on the rear top left of the camera, which we believe to be for selecting which slot is active).
  • External flash hot shoe
  • IEEE 1394 (Firewire) connectivity
  • NTSC/PAL Video Out connectivity
  • Dual controls - second shutter button for portrait mode on bottom front right of camera. Roller-style command wheels on top and bottom front right of camera.
  • Battery compartment appears to be in handgrip for portrait mode along base of camera.
  • Program, aperture priority, shutter priority or manual exposure (AV, TV, P, M icons visible on top left of camera)
  • 5-Point Wide Array Diagonal Auto Focus System (joystick for selecting focus point on back right of camera). Can manually select on of five auto focus points (center, left upper, left lower, right upper or right lower) or let camera decide. Can also select multiple focus points to widen focus area (All, Upper, Lower, Left or Right).
  • Manual focus, single auto focus or continuous auto focus modes. Focus illuminator on top right front of camera?
  • Variable ISO ratings (ISO button on rear top left of camera).
  • Manual white balance capability (button on rear of camera)
  • Shutter speeds from 32 seconds to 1/8000 second. Maximum flash sync speed of 1/250 second. Uses a high-speed vertical travel focal-plane shutter.
  • 5 section Matrix, center-weighted average and spot metering
  • Continuous shooting capability ("Drive" button on top of camera, continuous auto focus mode)
  • Stores files as JPEG in 1/4, 1/8 or 1/16 compression, RGB TIFF, Ycbcr TIFF or CCD RAW mode.
  • Dimensions of 152mm (W) x 116.5mm (H) x 69mm (D); 5 15/16" (W) x 4 9/16" (H) x 2 3/4" (D)
  • Planned to ship in Spring 2001 (perhaps May?). Planned price of under ¥1,000,000 (US$9261) - hoped to be under ¥800,000 (US$7409).
Contax's N Digital SLR Rear View - click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!

Tuesday, July 18, 2000

IR readers kidnapped - Mike all alone?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 23:00 EDT)

Whilst doing a quick run-down of his (lengthy) to-do list, Mike noticed this evening that it has been almost three weeks since anybody last posted a comment on a news item... Have our readers been kidnapped? We need to know!

Seriously though, remember that the comments pages are your opportunity to share your thoughts on the latest news with other readers... Spotted a trend in industry news that others might not have noticed? Feel a feature is missing (or equally, an important feature is included) in a newly announced product? Post a comment, let folks know - our page is not only read by fellow imaging enthusiasts, but the industry types who make the decisions as well. (We know, they've told us so! ;)

Posting your opinions is a valuable way of providing feedback to manufacturers as to what they've done right, and what they can do to make things even better...

Look out for some new features on the way soon, including (amongst others) the ability to register with our comments system so you don't have to keep re-entering your name and password, and the ability to be emailed when your comments are responded to... To comment on any item, click on the "click here to discuss this news item" link; note that currently, the comments count is only updated each time we add a news item - this too will be changing in an upcoming upgrade...

Arcsoft PhotoMontage, PhotoStudio; BoxTop ProJPEG reviewed!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 22:49 EDT)

Well, we haven't posted any new reviews for almost a month. That doesn't mean we haven't been working very hard to bring you high quality reviews, though, so watch out - we're finally breaking out the software! We've posted three new reviews over the last couple of days, which should be enough to get the ball rolling... ;)

ArcSoft PhotoMontage 2000
First up is a review of ArcSoft's PhotoMontage 2000. If you're into mosaics, or you've ever wanted to make really cool posters, this software is definitely for you. The great thing about Photomontage is that it automatically selects and arranges thousands of micro-images to recreate a picture of our choice. I'm sure that you're wondering, "Where in the world am I going to find enough pictures to make a mosaic?" Lucky for you, ArcSoft has you covered and included over 20,000 individual pictures to help you create your own photo mosaic. The software even manages to find the best matches for your picture, so that you don't have to. Check out the review, because we're sure you will be impressed!

BoxTop Software ProJPEG
Many people want to put pictures in JPEG format online. Unfortunately, we all know that with JPEGs come long download times. And with long download times, people tend to leave pages quickly. If you're having this problem, we have the software for you. BoxTop Software's ProJPEG can help you decrease download times and keep people on your site. ProJPEG is a Macintosh and Windows plug-in for Adobe Photoshop that lets you create smaller JPEG files than with just Photoshop alone. What's really great about the software is the side by side image preview window. This allows you to compare images before and after compression without actually having to modify and save the JPEGs for viewing. It even has a slider from which you can set the level of JPEG compression and see an instant preview of how that level of compression will modify your image. For an overview of this great compression software, read the review!

ArcSoft PhotoStudio 2000
Take a good, hard look at the pictures you've recently taken. Could your images use some color help? Would an image editing program make them better? If so, which one should you use? That's they key question that haunts anyone who stands behind a lens, as an amateur or as a professional. If you're still looking for that perfect image editing program, check out our review of ArcSoft's PhotoStudio 2000. (Sorry Mac users, this is strictly a Windows program.) This very user-friendly program is packed with many features and utilities that give it a "high-end" feel. From macros and batch processing options to red-eye removal and stitch features, it's possible to create masterpieces from your ordinary photos. Customizing the desktop is as easy as dragging palettes where you want them positioned. You can even acquire images straight from your digital camera. This full-featured easy-to-use program is definitely worth looking at, so check out the review!

Applied Science Fiction debuts Digital ICE in digital minilabs!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 21:30 EDT)

Applied Science Fiction Inc.'s logoApplied Science Fiction Inc. announced today the introduction of its Digital ICE image correction & enhancement technology into the digital minilab market. Noritsu Koki Co. Ltd. presented two DMLs equipped with ASF's Digital ICE technology at the Lab System Show 2000, which was held in Tokyo on June 7th - 9th, 2000.

Noritsu Koki Co. Ltd.'s logoASF's Digital ICE technology works from within a scanner to automatically remove surface defects, such as dust and scratches, on scanned images without altering the base image. Unwanted film scratches and dust that adversely affect picture quality can occur during picture taking or during the printmaking process. ASF's Digital ICE technology enables the minilab to correct for these defects without degrading the image quality or slowing the print speed.
"Noritsu is committed to delivering the best possible pictures to its customers while also meeting the increasing demands of the digital imaging community for compelling, innovative new technologies," said Jerry Johnson, executive vice president of worldwide sales, marketing & operations of ASF. "The combination of Noritsu's established minilab customer base and our market leadership in delivering innovative, advanced digital imaging correction technologies allows us to partner and to offer a digital solution that surpasses the expectations of this expanding market. ASF will continue working with Noritsu to develop the next generation of digital imaging technologies."
Previously, Digital ICE has appeared on the market in the Minolta Dimage Scan Elite and the Nikon Coolscan 2000 and Nikon Coolscan III (LS-30) desktop film scanners. These Digital-ICE enabled scanners offer scans virtually devoid of artifacts from surface defects such as scratches or dust spots. The user does not need to learn or install any additional software to make Digital ICE technology work.

The Japan Color Photo Finishers' Association sponsored the Lab System Show 2000, showcasing the latest photo finishing equipment by international companies to photo equipment manufacturers. At the show, Noritsu exhibited two new DMLs, the QSS-2801 and QSS-2802, each using film scanners equipped with Applied Science Fiction's Digital ICE technology. These scanners can produce approximately 2,600 prints per hour and support 110, 135F, 135H, 135P, 135HD, 135FP, IX240 (C H P), 6x6, 6x7 and 6x9 film types. ASF has been working closely with Noritsu to integrate its technology into a variety of Noritsu scanners.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Fuji USA announces FinePix 40i!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 21:17 EDT)

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc. has today announced that the Fujifilm FinePix 40i Digital Camera, which we first told you about back on June 1st in our news item "Fuji announces new SuperCCD MP3 digicam!", will be available to the U.S. market late August 2000 at an estimated street price of $699.

Fuji's FinePix 40i digital camera / MP3 player combo

Featuring the same SuperCCD image sensor found in Fujifilm's FinePix 4700 ZOOM digital camera, the super-small (3.4" W x 2.8" H x 1.1" D) FinePix 40i has an equivalent ISO sensitivity of 200, built-in flash, five programmed exposure modes, a USB port for transfer of images and audio and a 1.8-inch LCD display. Compatible with SmartMedia cards, the FinePix 40i also can capture 80 seconds of continuous AVI video with sound.

Just like other MP3 audio players, users can download music to the FinePix 40i via its USB port. All MP3 controls (play/stop, forward/back, volume) are on a tethered remote into which the FinePix 40i's provided headphones, or the user's own, can be inserted for private listening. As an added bonus, the remote control can be used with the camera to take and then view captured pictures, along with controlling the camera's digital zoom.
"With the FinePix 40i, we've created a digital camera that not only produces great pictures, but also offers consumers the benefits of the MP3 audio format," said Darin Pepple, Product Manager, Consumer Digital Products, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. "The FinePix 40i is a digital convergence product in the truest sense of the term, further exemplifying Fujifilm's commitment to digital as well as its overall technology prowess."
In addition to Fujifilm's traditional silver magnesium alloy housing, a limited supply of metallic blue FinePix 40i digital cameras also will be available to consumers.

Bundled along with the camera will be two nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, a charger, Adobe ActiveShare photo editing software and RealJukebox digital audio software.

Fuji's FinePix 40i digital camera / MP3 player combo

Here's the full specs:
  • Fuji FinePix 40i
  • 2.4 megapixel SuperCCD gives images up to 2400 x 1800 pixels
  • Fixed focal length lens equivalent to 36mm on a 35mm camera. Built-in automatic lens cover. Focuses to 50cm in Auto mode, or 6cm in Macro mode.
  • 1.8 inch LCD display
  • SmartMedia storage. Uses SmartMedia ID media for copy-protected MP3 audio
  • Built-in flash
  • USB connectivity (MP3 files must be recorded to the device through the USB connection
  • Headphone cable-type remote control with play/stop, cue forward/backward and volume up/down buttons and LCD info display. Either provided or third part headphones can be plugged into remote control.
  • ISO rating of 200, five programmed exposure modes. Automatic or manual exposure and white balance
  • Video capability with sound, up to 80 seconds in 320 x 240 pixel resolution, 10 frames per second. AVI format file with MotionJPEG codec.
  • Uses two NiMH or NiCad AA batteries. Battery life of 150 minutes for MP3 audio only.
  • Aluminum/Magnesium alloy body in silver or blue (Japan also has a pale pink version). Pale blue color is in a limited supply for the US market.
  • Dimensions of 85.5 x 28.5 x 71.0 millimeters
  • Weighs 210 grams including batteries and media
  • Bundled in the USA with 2 NiMH batteries, charger, Adobe ActiveShare photo editing software and RealJukebox digital audio software
  • Will ship in the USA in August 2000 at a price of US$699

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

PhotoWorks announces Board of Directors appointment!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 20:58 EDT)

PhotoWorks Inc. today announced that Matt Kursh has been appointed to its Board of Directors. The appointment brings the number of board members to seven.

PhotoWorks Inc.'s logoKursh, 35, brings over 15 years of software and Internet startup experience to the PhotoWorks' board of directors. Kursh started his career as president and co-founder of Clearview Software, which he sold to Apple Computer in 1989. Kursh then co-founded and was CEO of eShop Corporation, one of the first companies to offer platforms and services for online shopping. eShop's customers included such companies as AT&T, Tower Records, Spiegel, 1-800-Flowers and the Good Guys. eShop was later acquired by Microsoft where Kursh ran Sidewalk, HomeAdvisor and Kursh left Microsoft in 1999 to focus on creative projects and work with start-up companies.

Commenting on his appointment, Kursh stated, "I am thrilled to be joining the PhotoWorks board. The company is well positioned to capitalize on the rapidly emerging digital marketplace. PhotoWorks' digital Internet strategy represents the natural evolution of its core competencies in photofinishing and direct marketing. I look forward to working closely with Gary Christophersen and the other members of the PhotoWorks management team."

Gary Christophersen, PhotoWorks' president and chief executive officer, said, "Matt's track record is exceptional, and I am delighted to welcome him to our board. His proven abilities to found, lead and manage Internet businesses will be a valuable asset to the company."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

d-store acquires Internet distribution rights to Imation PhotoJet paper!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 20:53 EDT)

Imaging Resource advertiser today announced their alliance for the exclusive Internet distribution rights of Imation PhotoJet Paper.

d-store Inc.'s logoThe new Imation PhotoJet Paper features a new Advanced Multi Layered Coating structure, resulting in reduced ink consumption and potential cost savings. The image quality is claimed to be improved because the ink is wicked away by the absorbent layer, optimizing the ink jet printer's ability to capture and accurately reproduce the pixel size and structure.
"The comparison between prints produced with this new Imation PhotoJet Paper and conventional photo printing paper is astonishing," says Pete Klinkowski, Co-President of d-store, Inc. "The colors are sharper, crisper, and more precise. And, the new paper costs less than most papers currently on the market." will be offering the new Imation PhotoJet Paper in a variety of different textures and styles including Artist's Canvas, Adhesive Photo, High Resolution, Premium Photo and Ultra Glossy.
"We are anticipating that these exciting new paper products from 3M will continue to support the ongoing surge of digital photography interest and awareness," said Klinkowski. "This exclusive Internet offering of 3M Imation PhotoJet Paper by re-enforces our commitment to customers to offer the best digital photography products available at competitive prices."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR NewsWire

Digimarc announces MediaBridge for Mac!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 20:44 EDT)

Digimarc Corp.'s logoDigimarc Corp. has announced today that its Digimarc MediaBridge Reader software is now available for the Apple Macintosh platform. Consumers can download the free program from Digimarc's Web site.

MediaBridge, which we first told you about back on June 20 in our item "Digimarc announces Intel MediaBridge deal!", allows consumers to access related web sites by showing MediaBridge-enabled magazine pages to a Web camera attached to their computers. Advertisements and editorial content in Popular Mechanics and Wired magazines contain a digital code, which when held up to a Web camera on a PC or Mac running the Digimarc MediaBridge Reader software, will launch a browser, sending readers to websites where they can learn more or buy directly on the Internet.
"Digimarc MediaBridge is now available for users of the most popular operating systems," said Bruce Davis, Digimarc CEO. "Mac users and PC users alike are now able to access online information that interests them, without the hassle of enduring extensive searches or manually typing lengthy URLs."
More than 150 magazines, with over 150 million readers, are licensed to use the Digimarc MediaBridge system. A Digimarc 'D' symbol in the lower corner of the page indicates that it is MediaBridge-enabled. Publishing groups scheduled to launch magazines containing Digimarc MediaBridge this year include Time Inc., Ziff Davis, Hearst Corp., Smithsonian, and Primedia Consumer and Special Interest Groups.

Digimarc's Web site features information on how to recognize the `D' symbol and how best to use the Digimarc MediaBridge system. Digimarc MediaBridge Reader software is currently available for Macintosh computers running Mac OS 8.6 or greater.

The following cameras are approved for use with Digimarc MediaBridge on the Mac:
  • 3Com® HomeConnect(TM) PC Digital Camera
  • Philips PCVC680K Vesta Pro PC Camera
  • Philips PCVC675K Vesta PC Camera
Users must also have Adobe® Acrobat Reader installed on their computer to use MediaBridge.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Kyocera planning digital SLR and 3 megapixel point'n'shoot!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 12:58 EDT)

Our friends over at the excellent PC Watch website in Japan have, as usual, beat the rest of the world to news of a new interchangeable lens SLR digital camera, this time from Japanese company Kyocera Corp, and badged under Kyocera's Contax brand name.

Contax's N1 35mm film camera, big brother to the upcoming N Digital.

The Contax N Digital camera, planned for the Spring of 2001 (PC Watch suggests May as a likely introduction date), will feature a "more than 6 megapixel sensor", according to Contax.

PC Watch's information continues, noting that the N Digital should feature a Type-II CompactFlash slot compatible with IBM's MicroDrive, a 2-inch polysilicon TFT LCD display, and a targetted price of under ¥1,000,000 (US$9261) - perhaps even under ¥800,000 (US$7409). The camera will be able to use N-mount lenses without any focal length multiplier; PC Watch believes that this doesn't mean that the camera has a 35mm frame-sized sensor, but instead that the camera body contains optics to convert between lenses designed for a 35mm frame size and the smaller image sensor. Contax has provided no specifics as to size or even whether the sensor is a CMOS or CCD type, as yet.

With the N-mount, the N Digital will be compatible with four lenses designed for the N1 camera by Carl Zeiss, three of which incorporate ultrasonic motors:
  • Vario-Sonnar T* 24-85mm F3.5-4.5
  • Vario-Sonnar T* 70-300mm F4-5.6
  • Planar T* 50mm F1.4
  • Makro-Planar T* 100mm F2.8
Additionally, the camera should be able to use all 7 Carl Zeiss T* medium format lenses from the Contax 645 camera using the NAM-1 Mount Adapter, as follows:
  • Distagon T* 35mm F3.5
  • Distagon T* 45mm F2.8
  • Planar T* 80mm F2
  • Apo-Makro-Planar T* 120mm F4
  • Sonnar T* 140mm F2.8
  • Sonnar T* 210mm F4
  • Tele-Apotessar 350mm F4
Two more lenses are planned to be introduced in the Spring:
  • Planar 85mm F1.4
  • Vario-Sonnar 17-35mm F2.8
PC Watch has several exclusive pictures of the N Digital camera, and our friends over at Steve's Digicams have two pictures of the N1 35mm film camera on which the N Digital will be based. Our own photo above, courtesy of Contax, is also of the N1.

Also announced at the same time was the Kyocera Finecam 3300, a 3.34 megapixel, 2x optical zoom (38-76mm equivalent) unit scheduled to go on sale on September 15 at a price of ¥79,800 (US$739). The camera will feature Type-II CompactFlash storage, Lithium Ion battery, and AVI video capability, and have dimensions of 93.5 x 37.5 x 66mm and a weight of 200 grams without battery or flash card. Again, PC Watch and Steve's Digicams have exclusive pictures of the new camera...
Source: PC Watch's Contax N Digital and Kyocera Finecam 3300 info

Kaidan announces new panoramic/object VR products!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 12:02 EDT)

Kaidan's Inc.'s logoNo less than 5 press releases from VR specialists Kaidan Inc. arrived in our mailbox this morning... Feasterville, PA-based Kaidan offers a range of hardware and software solutions for creating both panoramic and object-based VR photos, and has made announcements and shown new products at the MacWorld Expo as follows:

Kaidan AutoPan
The AutoPan is a motorized, computer-controlled panoramic tripod head. The modular system will eventually support a wide-range of cameras and image-capture solutions. The first member of the AutoPan family supports the Kodak DC290 digital camera. Through use of a Digita script the camera controls the movement of the motorized head and the capture of the images. Kaidan is actively working with other digital camera manufacturers to provide AutoPan support for their cameras.

The Kaidan AutoPan consists of a motorized indexing head, motor control unit, rechargeable battery, AC adapter/charger, DC290 camera bracket, DC290 wide-angle lens and adapter, Digita camera control script software, universal bracket (has a 1/4-20 threaded stud that can be used to mount other tripod heads), cabling and documentation. All the above is shipped in a protective plastic transport case. A version that includes a Kodak DC290 digital camera will also be available.

Pricing and availability of the Kaidan AutoPan will be announced by
September 1, 2000. e-commerce site
Kaidan Inc. and of Redmond, WA announced the creation of The site will resell Kaidan equipment through its e-commerce virtual store, and will go live July 20, 2000.

QuickPan Spherical unbundled, KiWi+ Spherical announced
Kaidan's QPS-1 Quickpan Spherical tripod head. Photo courtesy of Kaidan / Jook Leung Photography.Kaidan announced that their QuickPan Spherical panoramic tripod head is now available separately. Previously, the QuickPan Spherical was only available bundled with panoramic imaging software. The QuickPan Spherical Panoramic VR Tripod Head (QPS-1) is now available for a suggested retail price of $999.95. In addition, the QuickPan Spherical Elevation Camera Bracket (QPSE-1) is available separately
for existing Kaidan QuickPan owners w wanting to create multi-row panoramas. The QPSE-1 is essentially the QPS-1 less the indexing base. The QPSE-1 has a suggested retail price of $729.95.

A new product, the KiWi+ Spherical has also been announced. The KiWi+
Spherical combines the multi-row camera bracket of the QPS-1 with the
indexing base of the KiWi+. It offers a lightweight solution for those
wanting to shoot multi-row panoramics with smaller digital cameras (Limited to camera with a mounting surface-to-lens center dimension of 2 1/8 inches or less). The KiWi+ Spherical has a suggested retail price of $749.95. Additionally, a KiWi Spherical Elevation Camera Bracket (KSE-1) is available for owners of KiWi, KiWi-L and KiWi+ Panoramic Tripod Heads. The KSE-1 has a suggested retail price of $624.95.

Panoscan Offset Bracket
The Panoscan Offset Bracket is a Panoscan camera accessory that mounts the camera on its motorized base in such a manner as to properly locate the nodal point (optical center) of certain lenses, such as the Nikkor 16mm fisheye lens. The Offset Bracket is an accessory for creating full view images with the Panoscan camera, such as iPIX spherical or the upcoming cubic QuickTime VR.

The Kaidan Panoscan Offset Bracket will be available in July 2000 at a suggested retail price of $199.95.

Kaidan's PiXi manual turntable.  Photo courtesy of Kaidan / Jook Leung Photography.

QuickTime VR Object Creation Utility Software and eBay Submission Tool for QTVR Objects
Kaidan announced a software application designed to simplify the creation of QuickTime VR Object Movies. QuickObject processes a sequence of digital images into an interactive QTVR object movie.
"Simplicity was the main goal with QuickObject. The user needs only to drag-and-drop a folder of images onto the QuickObject application, specify the method and level of compression, rotation direction and the name of the QTVR object movie file. That¹s all." said Jim Anders, President of Kaidan. "With Kaidan QuickObject, anyone who can take digital pictures, can also create a compelling object movie that is ready for posting on auction web sites such as eBay, in a matter of minutes."
To assist people with placement of QTVR object movies on eBay, Kaidan has
also developed an eBay QTVR object web placement page to help post object movies to the eBay site. eBay users will be able to add QTVR object movies of their auctioned items. Bidders will be able to virtually hold and inspect goods instead of relying on numerous flat photographs. QuickObject will be sold separately on a Macintosh/Windows hybrid CD-ROM, along with QuickTime software for $49.95. It will also be included with the PiXi Photographic VR Object Starter Kit, which includes a PiXi manual turntable and the QuickObject software for $179.95.

Monday, July 17, 2000

Ricoh RDC-7 user review posted!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 17, 2000 - 16:00 EDT)

Ricoh's RDC-7 digital cameraWe've mentioned several times recently on this page the sample photos from Ricoh's upcoming (in the US, it is already shipping in Europe and Japan) RDC-7 digital camera published by Guenther Bindl, a German user of the camera. Guenther has now added a brief review of the pros and cons of the camera to his page, which makes for interesting reading... Hop on over to Guenther Bindl's RDC-7 Pros and Cons page for the full story...
Source: Guenther Bindl's RDC-7 Pros and Cons page

Epson cuts price on 4 scanners!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 17, 2000 - 15:28 EDT)

Epson America Inc.'s logoEpson America Inc. has announced that it has reduced the price of four of its award-winning Perfection scanners in a press release distributed today.

The estimated street price of the EPSON Perfection 610, which is designed for novice customers in work, home or school environments, is now $129. The street price of the EPSON Perfection 636U, geared toward home and SOHO consumers using dedicated USB devices such as the iMac, is now $149. The EPSON Perfection 1200U, meanwhile, has a new street price of $199, and the EPSON Perfection 1200U PHOTO is now $299. The Epson Perfection 1200 series products are geared toward photo enthusiasts and entry-level graphic artists.
"Epson has built its award-winning reputation in the scanner market by achieving an unmatched combination of superior technology, flexibility, ease of use and value," said Daniel Oey, product manager, scanners, Epson. "With these price reductions, whether customers are graphics professionals or scanner novices, they will be able to find the Epson scanner that is best-suited to their needs at even more attractive prices."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Pixami adds new feature for photo sites!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 17, 2000 - 15:18 EDT)

Pixami Inc.'s logoPixami today announced it has developed a new photo album technology that it believes will help photo sharing and photofinishing web sites generate more revenue from higher margin prints (5x7 and 8x10), and multiple orders. Called "Keepsake Pages," the technology will allow photo sites to provide their users with "a full set of creative and useful page layouts".

Each 5x7 and 8x10 Keepsake Pages layout includes a stylized background theme, with multiple places for users to insert their own photos, captions, and page titles. The result is a personalized print with, according to Pixami, much more value than a standard enlargement or anything obtainable from traditional film processing. Users can also bind multiple pages together to create a photo album from their online digital photos.

Pixami will distribute the Keepsake Pages technology through partnering relationships with online photo sharing and photofinishing web sites.
"To be successful, photo sites need to come up with more and better ways to convert their huge accumulations of online photos into revenue," said Tom Moore, CEO and President of Pixami. "While sales of 4x6 prints at photo sites are booming, 8x10's currently represent only one percent of overall print orders. In developing our Keepsake Page technology, Pixami's goal was to help photo sites drive sales of larger prints, as well as generate multiple orders from a single photo. We are confident that this technology will be extremely valuable to photo sites and their users alike."
The Keepsake Pages product is the fifth 'technology component' to be made available to photo sites by Pixami. Other components already available include editing tools (red-eye, crop, instant fix, etc.), creative tools (special effects and textures), preview-based uploading (from camera or disk), and templates (cards, calendars, frames, etc.).

Pixami notes that it is currently working on several more new technologies, all designed to meet its company goal of helping photo sites more effectively convert online photos into revenue.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Agfa to show four scanners at MacWorld 2000!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 17, 2000 - 15:12 EDT)

Agfa Corp.'s logoAgfa Corp.'s Consumer Digital Imaging Group has announced that it will exhibit the newest members of its digital imaging family at MacWorld 2000, to be held this week in New York. Highlighting the expanded scanner line-up is the new SnapScan e50 - featuring an optical resolution of 1200 x 2400 dpi, 42-bit color depth.
"We are living in the 'e' generation and consumers do not want to fuss with setting the software for specific applications," said John Phillips, Product Manager for desktop scanners and digital cameras. "Our strategy is to design devices that do more than scan pictures. This is a scanner that lets you communicate in pictures."
MacWorld's logoThe SnapScan e50 provides 42-bit color depth at a resolution of 1200 x 2400 dpi. A 'lightplate' built into the scanner cover uses a light-diffusion process for scanning 35 mm transparencies. Agfa also includes slideholders for a 35 mm strip, and framed holders for easy handling and positioning.

With the push of a button, users can scan directly to their email application, OCR program, printer driver, or ScanWise scanning software. The four buttons are located at the front of the scanner for easy access.

The SnapScan e50 also features interchangeable colored handles and button covers in translucent orange, translucent blueberry and translucent graphite, so users can change the scanner colors based on personal preference or to match their computer or room decor. Agfa introduced interchangeable color handles to the SnapScan Touch in 1999. Agfa's decision to feature them on the 'e' series scanners was based on the consumers' favorable response to the translucent handles of the SnapScan Touch.

The SnapScan e50 is currently available in the U.S. for the suggested price of $199.

Also on display will be the newest member of the DuoScan family, the DuoScan HiD, which features an optical resolution of 1000 x 2000 dpi, 42-bit color depth and Agfa's patented TwinPlate technology. With a true 14-bits-per-color depth and a dynamic range of 3.7D, the DuoScan HiD scanner captures a high level of image quality, especially in the darkest areas of negatives or positive slides where detail is difficult to capture. The DuoScan HiD is currently available in the U.S. for the suggested price of $2,895.

The DuoScan T2500, also to be shown, is a 36-bit (12 bits per color) flatbed scanner with a maximum true optical resolution of 2500 x 2500 ppi, interpolated to 5000 ppi. Dynamic range is 3.4 with a 3.5 Dmax. Maximum scanning area is 8" x 12" (200 x 300 mm) for transparencies and 8" x 14" (200 x 350 mm) for reflective originals.

The DuoScan T2500 comes with a set of scanning, image-editing and color-management software. Agfa's exclusive Total Film Scanning (TFS) technology improves the quality of color negative scans. Users select from a list of film brand names and types or create a specific film profile. This allows the software to make adjustments for a specific film's characteristics, improving the quality of the scan. A batch scanning feature saves scan settings automatically, which is particularly important in a high-volume environment. If the scanning is interrupted for any reason, the user does not have to reset the scanning parameters. The DuoScan T2500 is currently available in the U.S. for the suggested price of $5,175.

Finally, the DuoScan T1200 will also make an appearance at MacWorld 2000. The T1200 is a true 36-bit, 8.5 x 14 inch flatbed color scanner, with 600 x 1200 ppi optical resolution and a maximum output resolution of 2400 ppi for color and 3600 ppi for line art. The scanner offers a Dmax of 3.0 and maximum transparency size is 8 x 10 inches. With the T1200's optional batch slide holder kit, there is no glass between the lens and original, thus eliminating the possibility of optical distortion. Users can also prepare the transparency plate offline and prepare reflective originals while transparencies are scanning, or open the scanner while transparencies are being scanned.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

New version of Digital Print Order Format announced!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 17, 2000 - 14:54 EDT)

Canon Inc.'s logo

Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd.'s logo

Canon Inc., Eastman Kodak Co., Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic), have today announced that they have jointly developed a new version of the digital print order format (DPOF) for printing, transferring, and viewing photos from digital cameras. The revision is version 1.10.

Eastman Kodak Co.'s logo

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. brand name Panasonic's logo

Since the original launch of DPOF in October 1998, more than eighty companies have been licensed. Industries involved in digital imaging have supported the format, introducing a variety of DPOF-based products, such as digital cameras and printers. In addition, photofinishing services supporting the format have contributed to its popularity.

As digital cameras continue to improve in image quality and home printers yield better quality prints, digital photography continues to gain acceptance. And the number of photofinishing labs that accept the DPOF format is constantly increasing. Today images from digital cameras are regularly shared over the Internet, and many companies offer printing services online. Advances in the market have created the needs for a new level of support in digital cameras and other related equipment as well as photofinishing services. Version 1.10 responds to these needs.

Digital Print Order Format logoWhere version 1.00 defined the auto print format for directly printing images, version 1.10 further defines the format for auto transfer and auto play of the images stored in the removable media. The new version of DPOF offers a variety of new functions:
  • Multiple Image Print, so that multiple pictures can be printed on the same sheet
  • Specific Size Print, so that the user can select different sizes for their printed images
  • Automatic Transfer, so that image files can be electronically transmitted to selected e-mail addresses or fax numbers.
  • Automatic Play, so that the user can create 'slide shows' of still pictures, audio files, and movie files that can be displayed using a digital camera, computer, or electronic display device.
  • Unicode, so that images can be annotated in many different languages (Unicode is a 2-byte character code that supports most of the world's languages).
Additional information is available in a white paper published on Panasonic's Japanese website.

The DPOF version 1.10 specifications are available free to those who already hold a license. Licensing operations for version 1.10 will begin on July 18. The logo remains unchanged.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Polaroid planning its first 2 megapixel, MP3, Internet and instant print digicams!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 17, 2000 - 14:26 EDT)

Polaroid Corp.'s logoGary T. DiCamillo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Polaroid Corp. has outlined the company's digital strategy and the lineup of digital products scheduled for release during the second half of 2000. DiCamillo and other Polaroid executives shared their plans with the media at the company's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Digital cameras were clearly the highlight of the first half of 2000. During the second half of the year, we will release new digital photo printers and innovative digital scanners for a variety of users," said DiCamillo. "Our objective is to bring the same type of innovative, easy-to-use, affordable technology to the digital space as we brought to the optical space -- and that plan is already well under way."
DiCamillo reaffirmed three critical components, first made public earlier this year, that comprise the Polaroid digital strategy. First, leverage the company's core instant picture technology platform in the digital marketplace. Second, stake out a position in the mobile, digital and wireless markets offering fast, easy and affordable input and photo printing solutions. Third, utilize the Internet and other value-added features and services to enhance customer relationships, particularly with "Generation Internet" and with commercial users.

Polaroid has implemented this digital strategy to capitalize on projected growth of the Internet and wireless technology. Industry analysts predict rapid growth over the next five years for a variety of technologies, including the Internet, personal digital assistants, set top boxes, streaming video and mobile cellular, fueling a need for instant communication with digital images.

Showcasing the breadth of both current and future Polaroid product offerings at today's meeting were Larry Swensen, Director of Marketing for Consumer Digital Products, and Tim Palmer, Vice President for Consumer and Business Imaging.

Swensen highlighted the range of consumer digital cameras Polaroid has released in 2000 and previewed those scheduled for release later this year. New offerings include an MP3 digital camera that will bring multimedia technology to consumers. The product, slated for launch by the end of the year, features a 640 x 480 resolution digital camera with MP3 storage and playback capability. Also on tap for later this year is the Polaroid Digital 2300Z, a 2.3 megapixel camera with 2x optical zoom, available to consumers in November at a retail price of $399.95. The 2300Z will provide the most features and best resolution of the Polaroid consumer digital camera line.

With its PhotoMAX line of digital cameras aimed at the mass market, Polaroid notes that is a leader in the consumer digital imaging space. Starting at a retail price of only $59.95 with the PhotoMAX Fun! Digital 320, the company's current consumer digital camera line includes five of the top 10 digital cameras in the mass merchandising channel, according to ACNeilsen data. Earlier this year, Polaroid added to its digital line with the release of a number of new digital products, including the PhotoMAX PDC 1100, the company's first megapixel camera.

Palmer discussed Polaroid offerings in the mobile arena, including the PhotoMAX modem camera that will allow the instant download of photos to the Internet via a phone line. Palmer also highlighted a digital photo printer, which will take advantage of emerging wireless technology to allow printing and transferring images on the go, and a digital printing camera, which will produce instant prints of digital images. Both are currently scheduled for release in the second half of 2000.
"These products will appeal to technology savvy, wired consumers," said Palmer. "Both are compact and convenient, features that are critically important to our target market."
Rounding out the company's new digital offerings are additions to the I-Zone line. The Polaroid I-Zone Webster, a handheld device that instantly digitizes I-Zone pictures directly into a PC, will be launched this fall. Again targeting the Gen-I demographic will be the company's Pocket Combo Camera, a pocket-sized digital camera that also produces instant film pictures, to be introduced in the next few months.
"Polaroid has a deep commitment to leverage our technology heritage to make highly complex technology easy-to-use and affordable for everyone," said DiCamillo. "These products are great examples of how we intend to leverage our imaging know how and capture a variety of opportunities in the digital and wireless arena."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR NewsWire

Friday, July 14, 2000

Kodak chops pro digicam prices!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 14, 2000 - 14:27 EDT)

This just in from Kodak has reduced prices on a number of their professional digicams. The new prices bring their popular DC620 into close price parity with Nikon's D1 for the first time since the D1 was released, chop a significant chunk off the price of the new ultra-high ISO speed DCS620X, and bring their APS-body-based DCS315 and 330 down to surprisingly affordable price levels. (Note that the prices below are part of a Kodak promotion in force only until October 15th, and prices are estimates: The street pricing will be determined in significant part by the dealers. As to the October 15th date though, we'd personally be awfully surprised if the price went back up after that date.) Here are the details:

  • DCS 620 bare-bones camera body is now $5,500 This setup includes the lower-cost IR blocking filter instead of the standard anti-aliasing filter,no charger, AC Adapter or power cable set. (Sorry, that sounds like just a little bit *too* much left off for the sake of a lower price!)
  • DCS 620 "kit", with anti-aliasing filter, dual-slot charger, AC adapter and power cable set is now about $6,000.
  • DSC 620X standard kit is now about $6,400. This is the amazing new model they've just announced, with a base ISO of 400, and ISO speeds running all the way up to 6400. (See the article below for a link to Steve's Digicams review of it.) We're hoping to get our hands on one of these, to run against the D1 tests we did earlier. It'll be interesting to see just how well it does in our closely-controlled low-light tests. Given the new CMY filters and Kodak ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) sensor technology, we expect great things from it...
  • DSC 315 - Not part of the same promotion, but the kit including an IX-Nikkor 24-70mm lens now has a suggested list price of only $1795, which means street prices should be close to $1500. While only a 1.5 megapixel camera, this is by far the lowest price so far for an SLR digicam with interchangeable lenses!
  • DCS 330 - Also not part of the promotion, but this model now has a suggested list price of $3495, with an expected street price of $3000. (A great price on a 3 MP SLR digicam!)

While the lower prices are doubtless giving Kodak and their competitors heartburn, this bodes well for those of us hankering for SLR digicams at affordable prices. For pro journalists, the $6,400 price tag on the new DCS 620X should have them jumping for joy: This camera appears to have no equal for low-light shooting or shooting at high shutter speeds to capture fast action, key requirements for photojournalists!

Source: Rob Galbraith's news item on the new prices

Thursday, July 13, 2000

Microtech acquired by SCM Microsystems!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 13, 2000 - 19:38 EDT)

SCM Microsystems Inc.'s logoSCM Microsystems Inc. announced in a story we missed (it has to happen sometimes!) June 29 that it has completed the acquisition of Microtech Int'l Inc., the distributor of IBM's Microdrive CompactFlash Type II hard drives.

Microtech International Inc.'s logoSCM is paying approximately $20 million to purchase Microtech, in equal portions of cash and stock, which includes performance related payments of up to $5 million.
"Microtech is pleased to be joining the SCM team," said Brian Campbell, President of Microtech. "The complementary focus of our two companies expands the opportunities to address the need for access to digital content. We are excited to combine our strengths to leverage these opportunities worldwide as we expand our presence into Europe and continue our focus in the U.S. and in Japan, which are the world's largest markets for digital photography solutions."

SCM Chairman Steve Humphreys added, "We have worked closely with Microtech and its talented management team for several years, and are delighted they are joining SCM. Microtech has earned a strong reputation in the channel and will deepen our sales capabilities while broadening our market coverage. With Microtech, we can address through the channel new worldwide markets such as broadband access and PC security."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR NewsWire

Steve's Digicams posts Kodak DCS620X first look!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 13, 2000 - 15:57 EDT)

Kodak DCS620X Professional Digital CameraOur friends over at the Steve's Digicams website have been hard at work as usual, this time posting a first-look review of Kodak's DCS620X Professional digital camera. If you're not familiar with the DCS620X, here's a quick summary:
  • 2-megapixel (1736 x 1160) 13um, ITO, CCD sensor.
  • Flexible ISO of 400 - 6400(!); calibrated from ISO 400-4000.
  • Serial port for GPS receivers and direct cellular telephone connectivity.
  • Burst rate of 3.5 frames per second, and a sustained burst depth of 12 images.
  • Patented on-board histogram lets photographers verify exposure accuracy on the spot.
  • Cast magnesium alloy body ensures high durability, while its light weight makes it ideal for field use.
  • Calibrated color response and the TTL auto color balance option ensure that the camera adjusts image color to match the light source.
  • 36-bit color (12 bits per channel) for capturing color and detail in shadows and highlights.
  • Intervalometer to enable automated capture over timed intervals for remote applications.
  • Open Application Programmer Interface (API) lets third-party developers write their own custom software applications.
  • Color liquid crystal display (LCD) provides instant review of images.
  • IEEE 1394 interface provides fast and reliable transfer of images.
  • Voice annotation provides audio notebook to document specific shots.
  • Dual PC card storage interface offers storage flexibility.
  • Delivers 6MB finished files in 24 bit RGB.
  • Onboard JPEG compression with three levels of resolution.
  • Removable batteries for easy transport and recharge.
  • New NiMH batteries for extended battery life.
  • Improved version 5.9.1 Adobe PhotoShop Plug in / TWAIN acquire software tools.
There's no conclusion as yet, as the review is a first-look, but there's plenty of up close and personal pictures and info about the DCS620X, as well as 18 sample pictures... When you're done with Steve's first look, be sure to check out these other DCS620X reviews:
Source: Steve's Digicams' Kodak DCS620X first look review

Pixami and PhotoWorks win award!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 13, 2000 - 15:25 EDT)

Pixami Inc.'s logoPixami, Inc. and have received Advanced Imaging magazine's Imaging Solution of the Year 2000 award, a press release announces. Advanced Imaging magazine, a Cygnus publication, presented the award in 10 imaging categories and awarded Pixami and top honors in the 'Interactive Imaging & Communication; Multimedia' category.

PhotoWorks Inc.'s logoPixami, which provides online digital imaging technologies to photo sharing and printing sites, partnered with (the former Seattle FilmWorks) to deliver a new photo enhancement solution for consumers that would not be constrained by bandwidth limitations. The result, which the companies call "Bandwidth Independent Processing", is currently being integrated on the site.

The major advantage of BIP technology is fast image processing performance, which is claimed to be unaffected by image size or connection speed. This is accomplished by a design that eliminates the need to pass high-resolution images over the Internet. The technology developed by Pixami includes the ability to enhance photos online and apply special effects, plus a variety of creative templates, photo album pages and print layouts.
"Online photo enhancement loses its appeal because the reliance on bandwidth results in an inconsistent and often slow experience for the user," said Tom Moore, president of Pixami. "Advanced Imaging magazine recognized how important it was that Pixami solved these bandwidth issues, and the impact this technology will have on consumers. was the perfect partner to showcase the advantages of our technology."
Pixami's technologies include online photo album creation, printing layouts, editing tools (red-eye, crop, instant fix, etc., as well as special effects and textures), uploading (from camera or disk), templates (cards, calendars, frames, etc.) and product visualization (online preview of gift orders - coffee mugs, t-shirts, etc.).
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

PhotoPoint sees 2 million visitors in May!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 13, 2000 - 15:08 EDT)

PhotoPoint Corp.'s logoPhotoPoint Corp. today announced that its consumer photo-sharing Web site attracted more than two million unique visitors in one month, according to Media Metrix, Inc. The Media Metrix May 2000 Digital Media Report shows that had 2,079,000 unique visitors in May, and as a result the site ranked as the 173rd most trafficked Web site during the month.
"We're ecstatic that online photo-sharing is growing by leaps and bounds, as evidenced by the number of new members and photos we acquire daily," noted PhotoPoint CEO Ed Bernstein. "This latest report from Media Metrix indicates that these online photo-sharing enthusiasts are having a profound effect on the Internet audience at large, bringing in millions of new folks who are coming to PhotoPoint not only to see photos, but who are in turn signing up to share photos of their own. Our tremendous growth is largely attributed to the highly viral nature of online photo-sharing."
Media Metrix, Inc. is an industry source for audience ratings, e-commerce, advertising and technology measurement services. Its Media Metrix 500 is an ongoing ranking of what it feels to be the top 500 Digital Media sites, including Commercial Online Services, Internet Service Providers, e-commerce and other ad supported sites and applications that attract the most 'unique' visitors over the course of one month.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Kodak DC280 wins Best 'Advertainment' for June 2000!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 13, 2000 - 14:59 EDT)

Kodak DC280 Digital CameraAdvertain On-Line Inc., a company offering sweepstakes as a reward for customers who view and rate "Advertainments" (short animations demonstrating products and services) today announced Eastman Kodak Company's Kodak DC 280 Digital Camera was the Best Advertainment for June 2000 with a consumer rating of 8.01 out of a possible 10.
"Interest in Digital Photography is increasing at unprecedented levels, this practical and pioneering deployment by Kodak for their Kodak DC 280 Digital Camera re-affirms Kodak's leadership position in this market," said A Cage, CEO and President of "The Kodak DC 280 Digital Camera Advertainment demonstrates the innovative new way companies can now offer product information to their customers via the Internet. By offering potential customers new product information in a original and interactive format, Kodak now increases interest and retention while also spiking the confidence level of the consumer to learn and embrace new technologies."
The Best Advertainment poll was conducted from June 1st through June 30th 2000 at the website. Tallied results show over 3000 exposures during the month, resulting in a consumer rating of over 8 out of 10.
Comments received by for the Kodak DC 280 Advertainment included: "This camera works like a computer. I would love to own one. The ad explains how to use all the features; 'it' (Advertainment) should be included with the product -- Rated 10 out of 10."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR NewsWire

Biomorphic announces 4 new CMOS sensors, one megapixel!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 13, 2000 - 14:07 EDT)

Biomorphic VLSI Inc.'s logoBiomorphic VLSI Inc. has announced a new line of color image sensors designed for use in still and video digital cameras. The first device now available is the Bi8602. With 300K-pixel resolution, it is a 1/3-inch progressive-scanning sensor designed for standard still and dual-mode digital camera applications. It offers high sensitivity, a high dynamic range, low fixed-pattern noise, and low dark current, and uses a RGB primary color mosaic filter.

The new single-chip CMOS device integrates correlated double sampling, 10-bit A/D conversion, timing and scanning circuits, programmable gain, windowing and exposure control into a single chip, reducing system device count and application complexity.

According to Dr. Bimal Mathur, Biomorphic VLSI's President, the new 10-bit 300K-pixel Bi8602 Color Image Sensor is just the first in the company's Y2000 Series, which will also include three additional devices:
  • Bi6612 8-bit 1/5-inch digital CIF CMOS sensor
  • Bi8802 10-bit digital 800K-pixel XGA CMOS sensor
  • Bi8801 10-bit digital megapixel CMOS sensor
The new family of Biomorphic Color Image Sensors are designed to cover the color sensor chip requirements of a broad segment of the still and video camera OEMs. Typical applications include: Dual-mode Digital Cameras, Videoconferencing Cameras, Digital Still Cameras, and Industrial/Security Cameras.

All the devices in the line will be packaged in 48-pin PLCC or CLCC, except for the Bi6612 which will be in a 36-pin LCC. Priced at $14.95 for a quantity of 1,000, the Bi8602 is available now in engineering samples and production quantities. The follow-on devices will be announced throughout the year.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Infotrends sees European digicam sales to reach 19 million by 2005!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 13, 2000 - 13:53 EDT)

Infotrends Research Group Inc.'s logoA press release from InfoTrends Research Group Inc. covers a new study that projects the European Low End digital camera market (cameras below €1,000) is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 55% through 2005. Infotrends predicts that unit sales will grow from over 3.8 million to reach nearly 19 million in 2005, whilst revenues generated from digital camera sales will reach €1.2 billion and grow at a compound annual rate of 24% to reach €3.6 billion in 2005. Revenue growth will begin to flatten due to rapidly falling prices for digital cameras. The market for sub-€200 digital cameras will exceed 10 million units in 2005. All of Infotrends' figures do not include toy digital cameras.

Over the next five years, the company notes, European mainstream consumers will adopt digital cameras. Digital camera sales will surpass film camera sales (not including one-time use cameras) within this forecast period.
"The European market is often characterized as solely demanding superior image quality and high resolution. However, it is now ready to adopt digital cameras that offer basic point & shoot capabilities and deliver sufficient image quality for sharing digital photos via the Internet," says Michelle Lampmann, market research analyst for InfoTrends Research Group. "This turning point is a result of the increasing PC penetration and Internet connectivity."
In 2000, Infotrends points out, industry sources show that PC penetration in Western European households will exceed 30%, and over 65 million Western Europeans will be connected to the Internet. In addition, the Western European market is ripe for wireless imaging solutions. In 1999, 47% of Western European households owned a cell phone. Though only a small percentage of these users can access the Internet through their cell phone, over the next five-years, this will become much more common. Already, a few digital camera vendors are offering wireless imaging services in Europe.

Olympus, Kodak and Fuji are, according to Infotrends, the digital camera market leaders in Europe. These vendors capture a combined share of approximately 55%. Since 1997, Olympus has been the leader in the market by a margin of at least 10-percentage points. However, in 2000, other vendors are becoming much more competitive, and the gap is closing. Vendors such as Agfa are targeting first-time buyers with sub-200 Euro digital cameras. The European market for digital cameras is quickly progressing beyond early adopters.

The UK, Germany and France are the three largest markets for digital cameras in Europe, together representing almost 70% of the total market, the press release continues. Through 2005, these countries will remain the largest markets for digital cameras, due to their population size, strong per capita GDP and technology adoption rates.

Infotrends' new report, '2000 European Low End Digital Camera Forecast,' covers major trends in the sub-€1,000 digital camera market, and includes a five-year market forecast for digital camera unit shipments, revenues, vendor market share and unit shipments for eight major regions in Western Europe, including Germany, UK, France, Italy, Benelux, Iberia, Scandinavia and the Rest of Europe. This forecast projects digital camera sales by price segment: point & shoot (€200 - 1,000) and entry-level (up to €199). The forecast also analyzes resolution trends by price segment. Additionally, the forecast provides projections for digital camera unit sales compared to film camera sales for six regions, including Western Europe, Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Iberia. The report is available immediately in hard copy and electronic format.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Swiss Army Knife gets new blades!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 12, 2000 - 12:20 EDT)

We reported only yesterday on a new version of Max Lyons' "digital camera swiss army knife", Thumber - and Max already has another new version out! Thumber is a great program we use ourselves for creating thumbnail index pages, and can also add comments to your images, rename them, display EXIF information, view and edit the images, and more... The new version, Thumber 3.21, has the following new features:
  • Added drag-and-drop capability from Windows Explorer to Thumber:
    • Drop on image panel to display image.
    • Drop on information panel to display image and open properties window.
  • Added interpretation and reporting of some camera-specific (Nikon 990, Nikon 950, Casio QV2000, Casio QV3000, and some Olympus models) information contained within MakerNote tag.
  • Added ability to read Interoperability EXIF Tag.
  • Added reporting of EXIF Byte Order (Motorola "MM", or Intel "II") on properties window.
  • Added font size controls to Image Properties screen.
  • Image Properties window no longer resets to top of page when loading new data.
  • Image Properties window size is remembered when saving options.
  • Added support for Nikon D1
The new version also includes a number of bug fixes:
  • Trying to launch a second instance of Thumber no longer generates an error message.
  • Increased DDE timeout for slow machines.
  • Fixed web-page creation problem where final "</table>" tag was omitted if no end-of-page text was specified.
You can download Thumber as well as a number of other useful digital imaging programs from the Tawbaware website...

Tuesday, July 11, 2000

QBEO announces 'My Photo Gallery', new appointment!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - 20:34 EDT)

QBEO Inc.'s logoQBeo Inc., formerly Q-Research Inc., has announced that it is adapting its digital imaging technology to the broadband cable environment. Leading the technical development of My Photo Gallery will be QBeo's newly appointed vice president of engineering, Rob Clark, a former technical lead at Netscape Communications and Sun Microsystems.
"My Photo Gallery will integrate traditional and digital cameras, digital video cameras, televisions, printing and merchandising into one seamless system that provides cable subscribers with image archiving, editing and output capabilities," said Del Clark, president of QBeo. "We are bringing the consumer imaging experience to the family room, with the speed of broadband and the ease of use that marks our technology."

"We are confident that Rob will guide QBeo in the implementation of My Photo Gallery,"
Clark said. "His proven technical expertise and strong leadership skills make the perfect addition to QBeo's management team."
Before joining QBeo, Rob Clark was the director of product development, client applications, for Bellevue, Wash.-based Attachmate. He was responsible for the development of multiple core products, supervising a staff of 50 across international sites. During his time at Netscape Communications, Clark served as a technical lead for the development of Netscape Application Server. He has also held various positions at Sun Microsystems, most recently as staff engineer. Clark led the development of Sun's Java Web Server, the precursor to the Java for the Enterprise technologies.
"I'm really excited about joining the QBeo team and leading the development of My Photo Gallery," said Rob Clark. "I believe we have a unique opportunity to bring together the two most successful consumer electronic devices in history, the TV and camera. Using a set-top box to run My Photo Gallery will open up the world of online photo sharing and digital imaging to a whole new set of users."
QBeo's technology currently powers three consumer imaging applications. PhotoGenetics allows anyone to improve still digital photos, with tools for cropping, rotating, dewarping and red-eye reduction. VideoGenetics enables anyone to enhance digital video as it plays. The recently released VisualGenetics brings a new suite of imaging tools to the Internet, including an "instant fix" for one-click enhancement and effects such as painting, warping, layering and blending.

To enhance an image or video display, users compare and rate the original image against a series of variations. QBeo's patent-pending ImageOp technology creates the new images by altering a dozen characteristics such as hue, gradient, color balance, contrast, gamma, color temperature, color shift and saturation. With the click of a mouse, people can apply their desired enhancements to the image.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Viking offers 2GB flash for Kodak Pro cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - 20:20 EDT)

Kodak DCS620X Professional Digital CameraViking Components Inc. has today distributed a press release recapping its Type II PC card flash memory line, which runs from 16MB right the way up to a 1GB card which we first told you about in our article of April 11, entitled "Viking ships 1 gigabyte flash cards!".

The press release points out that, thanks to Kodak's inclusion of two Type-II PC Card slots in its digital cameras, Kodak Pro camera users now have the ability to store up to 2 gigabytes of images in their camera...
"Viking is committed to enhancing the performance of digital devices through the development of industry-leading, high-quality flash memory solutions," said Shannon Biggs, executive vice president of engineering and manufacturing, Viking Components. "Viking was among the first in the industry to ship the 1 GB Type II PC Card and we will continue to increase the capacity of all our flash memory solutions for those users that require gigabytes of digital image and data storage space."
Viking's high capacity Type-II PC card line includes the following cards:
  • 448 MB (FL448MDVA)
  • 512 MB (FL512MDVA)
  • 640 MB (FL640MDVA)
  • 768 MB (FL768MDVA)
  • 1 GB (FL1024MDVA)

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Sound Vision announces new appointment!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - 19:54 EDT)

Digital imaging software and hardware developer Sound Vision Inc. has announced the appointment of Steve Hoffenberg to the newly created position of Director of Product Management. In his new role, Hoffenberg will be responsible for refining the company's current product offerings and creating and executing new digital imaging product concepts.
"It's great to have Steve on board," said John Morey, President and CEO of Sound Vision, "He will help us immensely in our plans to revolutionize the imaging semiconductor business."
Prior to joining Sound Vision, Hoffenberg was Director of the Digital Photography Advisory Service at Lyra Research Inc., where he headed its market research activities for digital cameras, photo printers, and online photo services. Previously, he had been Product Manager for Digital Photography at Leaf Systems (now a division of Scitex), which in 1992 produced one of the world's first digital camera systems for professional photographers.

Hoffenberg holds a B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Vermont, and in 1990 he became the first person ever to receive an M.S. degree with a concentration in Electronic Publishing from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

BellSouth and SnapFish create co-branded site!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - 19:15 EDT)

BellSouth today announced a partnership with Corp. under which the two have co-branded the Snapfish service to offer BellSouth customers the ability to use all Snapfish services in conjunction with existing BellSouth Internet Services offerings. The company also announced it has taken an equity stake in Snapfish.

Following closely on the heels of BellSouth's launch of its national portal, BellSouth-MyWay, the agreement represents an emphasis on providing value-added Internet offerings to BellSouth's current and future customers. Using the new portal, BellSouth customers may log onto BellSouth- MyWay or visit a BellSouth-Snapfish co-branded site at to gain free access to Snapfish photo development services.
"With this venture, we are in a position to enhance every one of our customers' online experiences," said Laura Reid, director of marketing, BellSouth Consumer Internet Services. "With BellSouth-Snapfish, we provide an avenue for our customers to connect and create something with friends and family by sharing their photos. This is the type of functionality customers have been asking for to use the Internet in a meaningful way in their daily lives."

"Strategic partnerships with companies like BellSouth, Kodak and Compaq enable Snapfish to offer its unique free photo services to millions of targeted customers,"
said Suneet Wadhwa, vice president of business development and co-founder of Snapfish. "BellSouth now offers its customers free developing, free online sharing and free prints for all its images, a service that makes BellSouth-MyWay a complete destination for families who use the Internet to run efficient households and keep families connected."
Snapfish offers developing, printing, digitizing, and online storing and sharing of users' photographs - all for free. The Snapfish service is for everyone, users of traditional 35mm film cameras as well as those who own digital cameras. For free 35mm film developing, customers simply send their roll(s) of film in a pre-addressed, postage paid envelope provided by Snapfish where it is developed, digitized and posted on the Internet in a private, online album. A single set of 4x6 prints with original negatives is also mailed back to the customer, at a cost of $1.69 per roll shipping and handling.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

More RDC-7 samples!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - 18:47 EDT)

We told you back on June 19th about the first sample photos we'd seen from Ricoh's new 3.34 megapixel RDC-7 digital camera, posted by our friends at PC Watch in Japan, and shortly afterwards on June 26th found some more photos posted by a German RDC-7 user, Guenther Bindl... Whilst checking today, we noticed some more samples from the camera, worth noting because they demonstrate the macro capabilities of the camera very well. The pictures have been posted by a British RDC-7 owner, and the damselfly photo in particular has dimensions of only about 4 x 6 centimeters!

PhotoAccess updates website, offers custom print sizing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - 18:21 EDT) Corp. today announced the availability of what it calls 'Digital Camera Prints'. Since most digital cameras take pictures in a 3:4 aspect ratio, while traditional photo prints range from a 2:3 to a 4:5 aspect ratio, digital camera images are typically printed with part of the image being cropped off or the image being shrunk to fit the paper, leaving white borders on either side. Digital Camera Prints in effect print a full image from the digital camera without borders (in other words, PhotoAccess crops off the extra white paper for you).
"Nobody has been focused on providing an optimized solution for the digital camera owner the way that PhotoAccess has," said Gene Wang, chairman and CEO for PhotoAccess. "With the introduction of prints matched to digital camera image formats, we are demonstrating once again our full commitment to this new and dynamic market."
Digital Camera Prints are available in 5", 6", 8", 10", and 12" lengths. Your image is printed with the long side equal to the Digital Camera Print size and the short side equal to the length required to print the entire image, so for example on a typical digital camera, a 6" Digital Camera Print is 4.5" by 6".
"One of the great things about this technology," added Jerry Barber, vice president and general manager for Internet Services, "is that even images cropped in photo editing packages come out printed correctly."According to Barber even a perfectly square image will print correctly and beautifully.
Digital Camera Prints are, PhotoAccess notes, priced to be competitive with most standard size prints from other companies. 5", 6", 8", 10" and 12" prints are $0.39, $0.49, $1.49, $2.49, and $4.95 respectively.

At the same time, PhotoAccess has announced the addition of new features to the web site, including multi-image move and copy between albums; one, four, nine, and sixteen image per album page display, and inter-account album copy.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Datacolor targets Ricoh RDC-7 buyers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - 18:06 EDT)

Ricoh's RDC-7 digital cameraDatacolor International company Color Vision has announced a targeted marketing partnership with Ricoh Corporation. Through the venture, Color Vision will offer its PhotoCal/mc7 computer monitor color calibration package to purchasers of Ricoh's new RDC-7 digital camera. Information about the Monitor Calibration system will be included in a 'Partner Pak' that will be distributed at the camera's point of purchase. The system will also be available for sale through the Ricoh Online Store.
"The user of a 3 million pixel camera such as the RDC-7 is not your average consumer, but more of a prosumer," said Jeff Lengyel, Ricoh's Marketing Manager - Digital Cameras, PC Peripheral Business Unit. "Therefore, we feel that Color Vision's technology represents a significant added value to many RDC-7 users for whom accurate representation of color is critical. We're always anxious to provide Ricoh customers with information about products that can complement their digital camera experiences."

Brian Levey, Vice President, New Ventures for Color Vision, agreed. "This partnership with Ricoh introduces high-end consumers to our products," he said. "Our color-matching products, like the PhotoCal/mc7 package, will help Ricoh's customers obtain high-quality color fidelity from the camera to the monitor to the printer. We are delighted to be working with Ricoh on this partnership. On a more basic level we hope to help educate digital camera consumers regarding color communication issues in general. We're confident that knowledgeable consumers will become Color Vision customers."
The PhotoCal/mc7 calibration package, which includes PhotoCal calibration software and the mc7 color sensor, installs on both Macintosh and PC computers. It enables users to preview, proof and print digital images with high color fidelity every step of the way.
"Desktop calibration has been a long-neglected, critical component of digital imaging, and digital imaging is a rapidly expanding industry," said Ricoh's Lengyel. "The PhotoCal package is really the first step in offering an end-to-end solution to optimize the digital imaging experience."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

Thumber 3.20 released!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - 14:37 EDT)

We spotted on this morning that a new version of Max Lyons' excellent Thumber, which he describes as a "Swiss army knife for digital camera owners", has been released. Thumber 3.20 has the following updates:
  • Feature: Thumber now uses DDE to accept additional filenames passed on the command line.
  • Feature: Added ability to read the data within the "MakerNote" tag if it appears to follow EXIF structure.
  • Feature: Tidied up presentation of EXIF data in image properties window, and "text" imageinfo reports.
  • Feature: Full path of currently loaded image is now displayed on main window.
  • Feature: Added subject distance to display window.
  • Feature: New installation program should eliminate warning messages about files being in use and/or older than current version.
  • Feature: Added "Open Current Image Directory In Explorer" menu item.
  • Feature: Added ability to transfer "txt" and "mov" files -- for Nikon 990 users.
  • Feature: Added Support for Nikon D1
There's also a number of bug fixes as follows:
  • Bug Fix: Thumber now "unmangles" short file names such as "C:\myimag~1\pictur~1.jpg" to "C:\my images\picture 1.jpg" which solves problems when using marked images.
  • Bug Fix: Updated comment reading routine to find comments better within file.
  • Bug Fix: Changed placement position of comments within file to comply with JFIF specification.
  • Bug Fix: Fixed problems where framed pages did not work correctly on Netscape Navigator.
  • Bug Fix: Fixed problems (hopefully) with Thumber crashing during creation of web page (resample.dll error).
Max also lists a few notes to be aware of with the new version:
  • 1. Because of the new DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) feature, an existing instance of Thumber can now accept additional filenames passed on the command line once it has been launched. This is useful for using Thumber in conjunction with other programs, such as IrfanView, that pass a filename on the command line to an existing instance of an application.
  • 2. This version of Thumber requires a new version of resample.dll, included with Thumber's setup file. New versions of Thumber will not work with the old version of resample.dll and vice-versa.
  • 3. Because of the bug fixes in the way Thumber works with comments, you can "reposition" the location of comments within a file placed with earlier versions of Thumber by removing and then adding them again.

Source: Thumber home page

Callisto announces PhotoParade 3.0
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - 13:56 EDT)

Callisto Corp. has announced the availability of PhotoParade 3.0, a new version of its slideshow and screen saver creation software. PhotoParade combines animation, graphics, music, narration and photo titling with a user's digital photos. PhotoParade also includes editing tools for touching up and enhancing photos.

PhotoParade 3.0 has new features to make displaying and sharing PhotoParade slideshows easier. The easy-send feature lets users share their PhotoParades with anyone by simply entering the recipient's e-mail address and clicking send. To view PhotoParades sent to them, the recipients need the free PhotoParade Player (available for both Windows and Macintosh).

PhotoParade 3.0 has a built-in screen saver feature that turns any PhotoParade into a personalized screen saver. Users can display PhotoParades they have created or PhotoParades sent to them by friends and family. The wallpaper feature allows users to decorate their desktop by turning their favorite photo and caption into their wallpaper.

Other new features include auto-repeat, which plays the selected PhotoParade continuously instead of just one time, and improved red-eye editing for touching up red eye problems on photos.

PhotoParade includes dozens of PhotoParade themes for showing off photos from vacations, weddings, holidays and other special occasions. Each theme has its own music, animation and art.

PhotoParade 3.0 is available now for purchase and download directly from the PhotoParade web site. PhotoParade is sold in three theme bundles: Standard Edition, which includes 4 multi-purpose themes for $19.99, Premium Edition, which includes nine themes for $29.99, and Super Edition, which comes with 37 themes including Wedding Album, New Baby and a variety of holiday themes for $39.99. PhotoParade Player is available as a free download. PhotoParade runs on Microsoft(R) Windows 95/98/NT/2000. PhotoParade Player is available for both Windows and Macintosh.
Source: Callisto PhotoParade web site

PC Photo Review announces review contest!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - 13:44 EDT)

Our friends at the PCPhotoReview website wrote to let us know that they're currently hosting a contest which runs through to the end of August for anybody who reviews a camera or posts a sample photo at their site. For each review or sample photo you post, you'll get one entry in the contest, with prizes including an Olympus C-3030 Zoom digital camera, $500 gift certificate from EPC-Online, and a Kodak DC215 digital camera...

Monday, July 10, 2000

Add IR remote, GPS capability to Digita cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 10, 2000 - 18:15 EDT)

IR reader Stelios Koroneos wrote in to let us know of two accessories he's created for cameras using the Digita operating system. The first is the iRemote, an infrared remote shutter release... The iRemote consists of a three-button keyfob remote control, and an infrared sensor which is attached to the camera by a metal bracket which you screw onto the tripod mount, allowing the sensor to be positioned anywhere around the camera and providing 360-degree coverage. A slide show application, IR-Show, allows the remote control to be used for controlling a presentation remotely, an added bonus!

Photo GPS Interface, meanwhile, adds the ability to connect your Digita camera to a GPS receiver, and add latitude/longitude coordinates and UTC date/time to your pictures. Like iRemote, PhotoGPS is a combination of hardware and software. It is compatible with any GPS, apparently, and continuously monitors NMEA data from the GPS and passes it as an ASCII string to the camera when requested.

iRemote is compatible with the Kodak DC260, DC265, DC290, Minolta Dimage EX1500 (untested), Kodak DC220 (untested) and Hewlett-Packard C500 cameras. The IR-Show application which is bundled free with the iRemote is only compatible with the Kodak DC290 currently. PhotoGPS is compatible with the same cameras with the exception of the DC220 which is not listed as being compatible, and with the caveat that the Minolta and HP cameras do not allow watermarking, and hence the GPS info cannot be embedded into the photo. The PhotoGPS interface costs $145, and iRemote costs $100. There's a $5 shipping charge, which can be combined if you purchase both items.

Kodak offers Picture Authentication for DC280!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 10, 2000 - 17:29 EDT)

IR reader and frequent contributor Rommel P. Feria wrote in to point out something he'd not seen before which he found browsing the Kodak web site. Kodak is offering a Picture Authentication Module for the DC280 digital camera, which tests captured images to determine if they've been modified in any way. A white paper at the same location describes Kodak's technology, which is based on the Digital Signature Standard, and adds about 3-8 seconds to the capture time for each photo... Thanks, Rommel!

CyWarp announces CyPics 1.0!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 10, 2000 - 16:57 EDT)

Brisbane, Australia-based CyWarp has released CyPics 1.0, an image cataloguing and slide show program for Windows apparently built to handle tens of thousands of digital images spread over many CDs or other removable volumes. CyPics features CD naming support, smart image registration, menu driven image selection, thumbnail views and slide shows. CyWarp feels the software is suitable for digital camera owners, Internet enthusiasts, professional photographers and collectors where mixing digital imaging with CD storage makes naming CDs a must have feature.

CyPics does not treat your images on CD as just being on drive D: or E:. CyPics records the CD identification and requests a 'friendly name' to be used for each CD in load requests. CyPics knows which CD each image is stored on and will request the required CD whenever access is made to the original image. Where a slide show is to play images from multiple CDs you can set the order in which the CDs are used rather than having a CD shuffle.

The labor intensity of the image registration process is reduced by an approach that remembers the past. CyPics makes use of the fact that successive photographs often have things in common such as time, place and people. With the information from preceding photographs readily available the number of keystrokes is reduced and productivity improved.

CyPics Standard Edition 1.0 is priced at $39.95 (USD). A free, fully-featured 30-day trial of CyPics Standard Edition 1.0 can be downloaded from CyWarp's Web site at

New digicam discussion list announced!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 10, 2000 - 16:50 EDT)

We recently received an email from Eric Prentice at announcing a new email discussion list for digital camera users. Here's what Eric told us:
"Hello. I'm pleased to announce the DigiCam email discussion list. DigiCam is a forum for discussion of digital cameras of all kinds including still and video cameras. DigiCam joins the other lists hosted at including G4, iBook, MacGames, MacUSB, MacFireWire, and Duo/2400 List.

Sending a message to will begin
subscription to the list. Or you can fill out one of the forms at:"

A look at online photofinishing, and a great new tool for your photos!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 10, 2000 - 13:33 EDT)

Over the weekend, Mike struggled through preparing two extremely unhappy computers to be reformatted, and in the process stumbled across a couple of emails which had gotten lost some time ago, and never got the news items they deserved. In the first, Dennis Curtin of the website told us that he'd added "a very long comparative review of photo printing sites". This extremely modest description led us to an absolutely superb resource, which compares features and capabilities all of the online photofinishers listed below and rates the services both in terms of print quality and overall experience. Add to this a look at the equipment these photofinishers use, and suggestions on how to prepare your photos for printing, and you've got a very worthwhile read... Here's the sites that the review covers:
  • AOL's You've Got Pictures
  • Digital Camera Network
  • eFrames
  • EZ Prints
  • FotoWire
  • iPrint
  • Kodak Quick Prints
  • Mystic Color Lab
  • Ofoto
  • PhotoAccess
  • PhotoLoft
  • PhotosByNet
  • PrintsMadeEasy
  • Printroom
  • Seattle Filmworks
  • Shutterfly
  • Signature Color
  • Snapfish
  • Wolf Camera
Quite a list! Hop on over to the review, and find out who the best photo sites were, and why...

The other email we found covered a new service by the name of The site offers 50MB to store your images free of charge, and a number of image effects based on UNIX's GIMP, an Open Source Photoshop clone. The site lets you play with your photos in some of the following ways (and this isn't the full list, by any means!)
  • Color balance
  • Brightness/contrast
  • Hue/saturation
  • Color correct
  • Image quality
  • Combine
  • Crop
  • Transform
  • Export
  • Stone mosaic
  • Cubism
  • Artistic
  • Texturize
  • Light FX
  • Age/wear
  • Blur FX
  • Noise/randomize
  • Distortions
The site has, from our first impressions, a very friendly interface, and even offers the ability to batch-process multiple images at once! Check it out...

Updated: Nikon Coolpix 800 and 950 rebates!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 10, 2000 - 12:48 EDT)

We reported here last Friday on Nikon's extension of its $100 rebate on the Coolpix 950 digital camera, and addition of a $75 rebate on the Coolpix 800, and at the same time listed a number of reviews we were aware of for each camera - but now realise we missed John Cowley's reviews of both cameras, over at the Sorry, John - no slight intended! If you're considering either of these cameras, be sure to check out the insights and sample pictures in the Lone Star Digital Coolpix 800 review and Coolpix 950 review...

Whilst you're at Lone Star Digital, be sure to check out the impressive demonstration John just posted of Nikon's D1 digital camera in combination with the incredible Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 zoom lens, a 4 lb. mammoth of a lens that comes in at a very reasonable $1000 (street price). The pictures John posted are extremely impressive, and that 10x zoom lens look pretty useful to us!

Friday, July 7, 2000

KB Gear announces appointment!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 7, 2000 - 16:49 EDT)

KB Gear Interactive today announced that it has named former Mattel sales executive, Michael Goodman, as its new Senior Vice President of domestic and international sales. Goodman, a 10-year veteran of the software industry, joins KB Gear from Mattel's Interactive division (formerly The Learning Company). He will join the company on July 11.

Goodman joined the Learning Company in 1995 and was most recently responsible for growing sales of the company's Creative Wonders Division to $70 million from $17 million. Among his accomplishments at the Learning Company was leading the sales efforts behind lines such as Sesame Street, Pokemon, Arthur, and Dr. Seuss.

Goodman is the second person in the past six months to be added to KB Gear's senior management team. In February, the company named Tricia Fischer Senior Vice President of Operations. Fisher brought 16 years of operations and manufacturing experience with the robotic RAM Center, as well as Honeywell, Unisys and Video Sentry Corp.
"We are building an executive team and the operational structure that will enable KB Gear to become the worldwide leader in delivering innovative digital products and online services that promote fun and easy ways to communicate online," says KB Gear CEO and Chairman, Dave Dorn. "Adding Mike and Tricia is just the beginning of our building process to strengthen our management team to position us for our continued, rapid growth."
In May, KB Gear Interactive unveiled its 2000 product line, which will be available in more than 15,000 retail outlets starting in August 2000. Its offerings will include its new 'Jam' line of digital products, which amongst others will feature the JamCam 3.0 digital camera, which adds to KB's previous version with a 640 x 480 true VGA resolution sensor provided by Agilent Technologies, Inc., an expandable memory slot and an automatic flash. The unit is manufactured by Concord Camera Corp.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

Konica doubles HP OEM supply, plans several new digicams!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 7, 2000 - 13:49 EDT)

A Reuters news item notes that Konica Corp., Japan's second-largest photo film company, had agreed to double its supply of digital still cameras to Hewlett-Packard Co. In the year to March 2001, Konica will supply HP with 700,000 digital still cameras, as compared to the 350,000 it supplied in the last business year.

Konica currently supplies HP with two digital still camera models, and will apparently add a new model later this year. The company sells about 30,000 units annually under its own name in Japan, and plans to introduce three or four new models in February or March of next year...
Source: Yahoo! Finance / Reuters

Future Image survey - 2 megapixel digicam up for grabs!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 7, 2000 - 13:32 EDT)

Future Image Inc., who offered a 2 megapixel camera as a prize for one respondent in a survey we told you about last March, are conducting another survey, according to an email we received. This time the survey is about what folks expect and want for wireless imaging - and in return for your input, Future Image will again award a 2MP digital camera to one lucky respondent. The questions are at the Future Image Web site.

As for last March's survey, Future Image has announced that Greg O'Rear of Raleigh, NC was the winner of a Nikon CoolPix 800 for responding to its survey on sharing photos and ordering prints on the Web... announces survey, sweepstakes!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, July 7, 2000 - 13:27 EDT)

Our friends over at the website is currently hosting its Summer Survey 2000, which includes a sweepstakes with almost 120 prizes up for grabs... It isn't immediately clear if the sweepstakes is open to visitors outside of Europe, as whilst the survey page notes that it is designed to find the interests of European customers, the survey form itself does allow for visitors outside of Europe...

Up for grabs are:
  • 1 x Olympus C-2020 Zoom digital camera
  • 2 x Olympus C-860L digital cameras
  • 1 x Olympus P-330NE photo printer
  • 1 x Olympus PowerMO 640 MO drive incl. DIMO
  • 3 x MGI Reality Studio software
  • 10 x MGI PhotoVista software
  • 100 x Olympus MediaSuite Pro limited
To enter, visit the survey form, which consists of 9 questions...

Thursday, July 6, 2000

Nikon extends Coolpix 950 rebate, announces Coolpix 800 rebate!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 6, 2000 - 18:29 EDT)

A press release this afternoon from Nikon Inc. announces that beginning July 1, 2000 it is offering a $75 rebate on the Coolpix 800 digital camera, currently priced at $599 MSRP. It has also extended the $100 rebate on its Coolpix 950 digital camera, currently priced at $899 MSRP. The rebates are effective July 1, 2000 and end September 30, 2000.
"Between the kids at camp, summer homes, and traveling college students, it's tough to keep in touch during the summer," said Bill Giordano, National Marketing Manager, consumer digital products at Nikon. "Some people are great at sending post cards, but if you're the type that wants instant gratification, a Nikon digital camera is a great way to go."
To qualify for Nikon's summer rebate, buyers must obtain an application provided by authorized Nikon dealers nationwide or download it from Nikon's website. Once completed, customers can mail in the application with proof of purchase to receive a rebate check from Nikon Inc. All rebate applications must be postmarked to Nikon no later than October 15, 2000.

Here's the reviews we're aware of for each camera:

Nikon Coolpix 950Nikon Coolpix 800
Source: Yahoo! Finance / PR Newswire

SanDisk buys into new Israeli wafer fab!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 6, 2000 - 18:06 EDT)

Tower Semiconductor and SanDisk Corp. have entered into an agreement under which SanDisk will make a $75 million strategic investment in Tower, a press release announces.

In return for its investment, SanDisk will receive equity, corresponding representation on Tower's board and committed production capacity in the new fab Tower plans to build in Migdal Ha'emek, Israel. The announcement was made at a joint Tower-SanDisk press conference.

Tower plans to raise additional equity, mostly from other strategic partners in similar transactions, of approximately $350 million. It is expected that following the completion of all the financing transactions necessary for the new wafer manufacturing facility, SanDisk will hold approximately a 10% stake in Tower, while Israel Corp. will have about 20%. Additional strategic partners that will join the initiative will hold together approximately 30% of the company.
"I am pleased to announce that SanDisk is joining us both as a major investor and wafer partner in the new fab," said Dr. Yoav Nissan-Cohen, Tower's Co-Chief Executive Officer. "The two partnerships announced so far - first with Toshiba and now with SanDisk - were significant steps toward the new fab. Following this agreement with SanDisk, we expect to announce similar agreements with additional wafer partners in the very near future."

Nissan-Cohen continued, "This fab, which will be the most advanced pure-play foundry facility in Europe, will enable us to provide our customers with leading edge processes and meet the demand for our advanced specialized technologies. With the new fab, we will be able to maximize the value of our CMOS image sensor technology, and also of the microFLASH process, which we developed jointly with Saifun Semiconductor based on their pioneering technology."

Dr. Eli Harari, President and CEO of SanDisk said, "SanDisk is very pleased to announce this strategic investment in Tower Semiconductor. This step represents a natural extension of our strategic alliance with Toshiba for the joint development and manufacturing of advanced flash memories and SD (Secure Digital) Card controllers. Toshiba has recently agreed to transfer its advanced CMOS Logic technology to Tower under a separate Technology License Agreement. We intend to incorporate this technology in the design and future manufacturing by Tower of the advanced controller chips used in SanDisk's flash memory cards. Our highly successful SanDisk Israel Design Center, which has the responsibility for developing every SanDisk Flash controller used in our MultiMediaCards and Secure Digital Cards, will work closely with Tower to bring up the production of future advanced controller chips for SanDisk."

Harari also said, "The strong financial incentives package expected from the Israeli government, including substantial grants and favorable tax incentives, was a critical element in our decision. We were also impressed with Tower's reputation for excellent customer service, and we agree with Tower's strategy to position itself as a European Centric foundry specializing in advanced CMOS logic, embedded microFLASH and CMOS Image Sensors."

Tower and Israel Corp. Chairman Idan Ofer commented, "This agreement reflects Israel Corporation's decision to focus on the semiconductor industry as one of our main holdings. An advanced wafer fab is central to Tower's long term plans. The combination of Toshiba's advanced technologies, Tower's quality people and management team, and SanDisk's leadership and product innovation in its market, will help us transform Tower into a world class, leading edge semiconductor manufacturer over the next few years. We are now proceeding to put into place the other necessary elements of the new fab. We are working to obtain approval of a government incentive package, bring in additional wafer partners and secure the necessary financing to launch this exciting project."

Yasuo Morimoto, the president of Toshiba Semiconductor Company, said: "Toshiba welcomes SanDisk's decision to join Tower as a wafer partner in its new fab. We are already cooperating with SanDisk in the area of NAND Flash, and we believe the Tower project will enable the two companies to enhance their business. We are also confident that the support of Toshiba and SanDisk will contribute to the success of Tower's project."
Tower will use the investment, expected government grant, bank loans and its own cash toward constructing an advanced fab adjacent to its current facility in Migdal Ha'emek, Israel. The new fab, called 'Fab 2', is planned to employ approximately 1,000 professionals and produce up to 33,000 200-mm wafers per month. Tower has already started recruiting employees for Fab 2 in Israel and abroad, and is preparing a training program to bring the new recruits to the necessary skill level. Tower is planning to commence construction of the new Fab later this year. The agreement between Tower and SanDisk follows the previously announced technology transfer agreement between Tower and Toshiba Corporation pursuant to which Toshiba agreed to transfer to Tower the deep sub-micron CMOS process technologies to be used in the new fab. Transfer of know-how from Toshiba has already begun with Tower engineers at Toshiba's plant in Japan.

Under the terms of the agreement, SanDisk's investment will be made in several stages over an approximately 18 month period, against satisfactory completion of key milestones for the construction, equipping and commencement of production at the new wafer fab. SanDisk will receive from Tower a guaranteed portion of the available wafer capacity at competitive pricing, with first production expected in 2002. SanDisk will also hold an option to acquire additional equity of approximately 10% of Tower under generally similar terms. The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.5 billion through the end of 2003.

The closing of the transaction with SanDisk is subject to several conditions, including the timely approval of a financial incentive package from the Israeli government, securing additional required financing from other wafer fab partners and banking and/or financial institutions, and timely commencement of fab construction.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire releases July issue!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 6, 2000 - 13:57 EDT)

Our friends at the bilngual (French/English) website have just released their July issue. This month they bring us reviews of the Nikon D1, Sony DSC-S70, Epson PhotoPC 3000Z and Kodak DCS315 digital cameras. There are also articles on Kodak's PalmPix camera for the Palm organizers, a first-look of Ricoh's RDC-6000, a review of Pictorico's ink jet media, and a look at the impact of image manipulation on photography and society.

PhotoWorks announces new appointment!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, July 6, 2000 - 13:34 EDT)

PhotoWorks Inc. today announced the appointment of Stephen Brown to the position of Vice President of Business Development, a newly created position reporting to the President, responsible for the development and execution of strategic business initiatives, alliances and acquisitions. Brown's appointment is effective immediately.

Prior to joining PhotoWorks, Brown was founder, president and CEO of Entros, a company that creates interactive experiences for entertainment venues, corporate events and for a wide range of business partners including Disney and MSN. Brown is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal and holds an MBA from Stanford University.
Brown stated, "I consider PhotoWorks to be the best positioned online photo company in the industry. I am excited to join the PhotoWorks management team and look forward to contributing to the company's ongoing progress."

Gary Christophersen, PhotoWorks president and CEO stated, "Stephen brings the kind of proven business development acumen we are seeking to further leverage PhotoWorks' capabilities in the online photo space. We welcome Stephen aboard and look forward to benefiting from his career experiences."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

Wednesday, July 5, 2000

Digi-Frames hit 2nd largest US consumer electronics chain!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 5, 2000 - 17:22 EDT)

Digi-Frame Inc. has announced an agreement with Good Guys, the USA's second-largest specialty retailer of consumer entertainment electronics, for sales of Digi-Frame's DF-560 and DF-390 models. The DF-560 and DF-390 are the only digital picture frames that are compatible with both CompactFlash and SmartMedia memory cards. Digi-Frame operates with most digital cameras in use today.

Both frames display images from a digital camera by simply removing the memory card and inserting it into the Digi-Frame. The DF-560 is a 5.6" frame with a retail price of $599.00, while the DF-390 is a 3.9" frame and is available for $399.00.
"Digi-Frame creates easy-to-use products that are ideal for anyone who doesn't want computer hassles," said Jerry Klein, vice president of sales and marketing for Digi-Frame. "We chose Good Guys because they are positioned as a strong West Coast retailer in the sales of high-end quality products."
Both model frames have active-matrix back-lit color TFT LCD screens that provide high-resolution images. With its on-screen menu system and multi-function control wheel, you can view memory card images at a glance, create slide shows, select variable timing between images, add transitions, special effects, delete images from cards, and more. The frames also provide manual image controls and adjustable contrast and brightness, as well as featuring an automatic rotating switch for vertical or horizontal display that adapts the image's orientation to the frame's position.

For displaying pictures from e-mail or the Internet, the frames connect to both Macintosh and PC computers with the included Digi-Link software and cables. The DF-560 and DF-390 feature a self-contained slide show for retail point-of-purchase display, with no memory card required. The DF-390 frame includes rechargeable batteries, power supply, battery charger, and an auto-switching AC adapter for use anywhere in the world.
Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

MGI receives Canadian High Commissioner's Award!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 5, 2000 - 17:18 EDT)

MGI Software has announced that it has been presented with the Canadian High Commissioner's Award for 2000, an award "recognizing an innovative contribution to increasing trade between Canada and the UK". The award was presented by the Honourable Roy MacLaren, Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and former Canadian Minister for International Trade, at an official ceremony celebrating Canada Day today at the Savoy Hotel in London.

MGI was chosen to receive the award, which is presented annually, following a selection process within the Commercial Economic Division of the High Commission to identify a winner from a range of commercial sectors, including agricultural, utility and industrial organizations. Previous recipients have included Wines of Canada, Naya Water, Clearwater Lobster and Seagull Pewter & Silversmiths Ltd.
"We are extremely honoured to receive this award," said Anthony DeCristofaro, MGI's president and CEO. "MGI has experienced unprecedented growth worldwide, with revenues increasing by 6,000 per cent in five years, and almost doubling over the past 12 months. In the UK, within three years, we have achieved market leader status with our consumer product portfolio, and we aim to duplicate this with our new Internet imaging technology in the business arena."

Source: Yahoo! Finance / Canada NewsWire

DCResource reviews Tri-Media reader, posts 3000Z samples!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 5, 2000 - 15:19 EDT)

Our friend Jeff over at the Digital Camera Resource Page has added a review of the VST Tri-Media Reader to his website, an interesting device that could be just the thing for users of floppy-less Apple Macintosh computers... The Tri-Media reader is rather unique in offering a floppy disk drive, 3.3V (only) SmartMedia slot with support for cards up to 128MB, and a Type-I / Type-II CompactFlash slot in one device... Jeff notes:
"For Mac users, the VST Tri-Media Reader is a great investment. A floppy drive alone costs around $100, and for only $60 more, you get two types of flash memory readers! I definitely recommend it!"
MicroDrive users, though, should definitely note a caveat about using their MicroDrives in the device - whilst it should work, if there's any other media in the drive at the same time, the power-hungry MicroDrive could cause damage to itself or the USB-powered Tri-Media Reader.

Jeff has also posted the beginnings of a sample picture gallery for the Epson PhotoPC 3000Z digital camera, as well as fireworks photos shot with the same camera... introduces fortnightly tips!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 5, 2000 - 15:09 EDT)

Our friends over at the website in Germany have announced the introduction of a fortnightly column from photographer Jürgen Rautenberg, offering tips on how to improve your digital photos... Jürgen writes for the Minolta periodical "Minolta Spiegel", and starts off his series at with an item entitled "Framing the shot: a neglected way of influencing information", offering suggestions on how the way you frame your photo can affect its meaning.

FotoTime update software, site, pricing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 5, 2000 - 14:37 EDT)

Online photofinisher has made a number of changes recently, according to the Digital Photography Review website... The company has updated its pricing, released a new version of its FotoAlbum software, and made a few changes to its website as well - here's the details:
"FotoTime Web Site - 6/26/2000
  • Improved web printing. Both the ActiveX and Netscape print controls now support all paper sizes (originally supported only letter). Also works better with non-standard proxy servers when downloading pictures to print.
FotoTime Web Site - 6/18/2000
  • Reduced prices for prints
    • 4x6 - $0.49
    • 5x7 - $0.99
    • 8x10 - $2.99
  • Added new $3.00 shipping option when ordering prints using standard US mail.
  • Better support for AOL and other non-html e-mail clients for all e-mail sent from FotoTime.
  • Non-recursive option for web
FotoAlbum 1.12 - 6/18/2000
  • Ability to create a CD image for easy archiving of your pictures to CD.
  • Casio camera driver for QV3000
  • Camera driver for cameras that interface with Windows by creating a virtual drive (drive letter) within explorer
  • Preference to set background color for slideshow screen. Other preferences to hide toolbar and captions on slideshow screen.
  • Preference to make albums non-recursive. (Only show pictures in currently selected group/album).
  • Added "Extra-Large" display option for thumbnails.
  • Support for all papers sizes when printing.
  • Selection of pictures now works more like explorer.
  • Faster start up time."

Source: What's New page
Thanks to Digital Photography Review for this item!

Qimage Pro v8.5 released!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, July 5, 2000 - 12:58 EDT)

A new version of the popular Qimage Pro image viewer/printer application has been released, according to our friends over at Steve's Digicams. QImage Pro 8.5 extends the color profiling abilities of the program, previously targetted at Nikon's D1 camera, to Canon's Powershot S100. Here's what author Mike Chaney notes about the new release:
  • "Color Profiling: We have been spending a lot of time profiling the latest digicams so that you can get the most accurate color possible. It all started with the Nikon D1 when Qimage Pro began to offer super accurate color correction algorithms to decode Nikon's NEF images. Then, the phenomenon spread to include the ability to correct not only raw data, but also JPEG's created by the D1 camera itself. In our research, we have developed a new and unique way of profiling digicams to produce super accurate color. Consumers owning a Canon S100 Digital Elph will be the first to benefit from the technology developed in our lab. The Canon S100 is just the first on our long list of popular digicams that we plan to profile in the weeks/months to come.
  • What? Plugins are not free?: If you are a registered user of Qimage Pro software, you already know that all future software upgrades are free once you purchase Qimage Pro. This will never change. However, due to the excessive amount of time and effort needed to develop color profiles, we cannot offer the plugins free of charge. In addition, selling plugins separately will encourage other companies to develop plugins for use in Qimage Pro in the future. Instead of raising the price of Qimage Pro for future buyers, we decided that we would still offer Qimage Pro for the unbelievably low price of $30. We do, however, have to pay for our development costs in the "plugin area" so we will be charging a small fee for certain plugins that require a lot of research and development to produce and/or are related to a particular type/model camera. For example, the color profile plugins are now $12.99 each.
  • Software versus plugins: Although we must charge a fee for plugins to justify development time, the cost is minimal and will allow users to purchase exactly what they need for their application rather than paying an increased cost to get support for cameras that they don't use. Plugins will allow us to address issues on specific cameras or camera types while at the same time allowing all users to continue to upgrade Qimage Pro software at no cost.
  • Nikon D1 NEF Color: The internal color correction "engine" in Qimage Pro has changed drastically. As a result, the D1 NEF decoder is now even more accurate than previous versions!
  • IMPORTANT - NIKON D1 QIMAGE PRO USERS: If you were using v8.4 to correct JPEG's from the camera, the old filter is still available in v8.5. To access it, instead of checking the "D1 Color" box in the batch filter, simply drop down the plugin box in the same area and select "D1 Color-v84" as your plugin. This is the only plugin that comes with Qimage Pro free of charge. The D1 plugin that is available in the Plugin Center is also a D1 JPEG color correction plugin, but is improved and more accurate than the v8.4 plugin. The supplied D1 plugin still does a great job of correcting color in JPEG's from the camera, but is a bit less accurate than the new plugin at the plugin center since the new version is based on the new Qimage Pro profiling engine.
  • Bug fix for "misplaced redeye correction" in printouts. If you ever got misplaced redeye correction circles in your printouts, v8.5 should correct the problem."
Qimage Pro 8.5 can be downloaded here; plugins for color profiling, currently for the Nikon D1 JPEG and Canon PowerShot S100, can be downloaded here.
Source: Qimage Pro website
Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!

Monday, July 3, 2000

July 4th Fireworks tips!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, July 3, 2000 - 18:37 EDT)

Amana Fireworks, copyright (c) 1999, 2000 Michael R. Tomkins.  All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Click for a bigger picture!

Amana Fireworks, copyright (c) 1999, 2000 Michael R. Tomkins.  All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!Once again, July 4th is with us, and many American readers will no doubt be anticipating their local fireworks displays, a sight that always seems to fill us with awe - and is a great subject for photos, if you know what to do!

Digital cameras can really come into their own for fireworks photography, as Mike found out at a fireworks display in the Amana Colonies, Iowa last August (the three photos accompanying this article are just a sample of those I shot that night - click on each for a larger version)...

Whilst an attempt to really give you a handle on fireworks photography would take quite some space, and is outside the remit of this news page, we can certainly give you a few tips that worked for us in the past...
  • Choose your location carefully... As Dave found out last July 4th, whilst the fireworks might be spectacular to watch up close, for interesting photos you're better off shooting the 'works from a bit of a distance, so that you're getting a "side view" rather than looking up at everything.
  • This might sound obvious, but don't underestimate the importance of a good tripod. One of the most common problems we've experienced with fireworks photography in the past has been that our tripod wasn't sturdy enough, or that we tried to handhold the photo or balance our camera on a car roof as we weren't expecting the display and were caught without a tripod. Whilst you'd be surprised what you can handhold with some digital cameras, a sturdy tripod will always give you the best results...
  • If your camera has a remote shutter release, use it! Even tripod mounted, you're likely going to shake the camera a little when you press the shutter button - a cabled shutter release or better still an infra-red one will eliminate this possibility.
  • Make sure your camera is set up right before you get to the show! It is always so easy to forget a setting change you made, and get back home to find that your photos aren't quite what they could have been because the last time you used the camera, you increased the compression or something equally trivial. Make sure you confirm the camera setup ahead of time, and even try experimenting with your camera before the show starts to get an idea of what setup you might need...
  • Make sure all of your flash cards are blank, and all of your batteries are charged - better safe than sorry! If your camera doesn't take rechargeables, be sure you have plenty of new batteries to hand!
  • Remember that fireworks are actually pretty bright! You'll want to expose for the highlights, as that is what's important in fireworks, and if you over-expose, you'll lose the colors and detail of the 'works. This could be tricky depending on what control your camera offers...
  • Try and give yourself some leeway in the length of your photos - a longer photo has more chance of catching a firework from start to finish, and giving impressive "streamers" rather than little specks of light. Don't over-do it though, too many fireworks in one shot can be a bad thing, making it impossible to see anything...
  • If your camera offers variable ISO ratings, a lower ISO will help with both of the above points... If possible, so will smaller apertures (and they'll also help depth of field, too!) In a snip, use a neutral density filter if you can fit one to the camera... I've even seen a pair of sunglasses attached to a camera before, and although this is bound to affect color and picture quality, it still might be better than no photos at all!
  • Be sure to bracket your exposures somewhat. Even though the subject is continually changing, varying your exposure (best accomplished, if possible, by varying your aperture slightly) will help ensure that you get plenty of correctly exposed photos. If you guess wrong and take all of your photos with the same settings, you might get home and find they're all disappointing...
  • Most of all, remember digital's big advantage here - if the photo doesn't work, you can just delete it. Take as many photos as you can (without letting the camera-work detract from your enjoyment of the display, of course) - you can delete the bad ones later. The more photos you take, the better your chances of some really stunning shots! Intermissions in the fireworks display, if there are any, are a great time to shoot through your photos and free up some space by deleting anything that didn't turn out great...
  • To give an idea of what you might expect, my photos accompanying this article were shot with a Sony Cyber-shot Pro DSC-D770 camera in fully manual mode, using an ISO rating of 50, a shutter speed of 4 seconds (the maximum the D770 can manage), and various apertures from about F8 to F9.5. The camera was manually prefocused, tripod mounted, and several hundred shots were triggered using the infra-red shutter release. The camera was in its highest size and quality modes, had two fully charged batteries, and the 128MB ATA PC card and 8MB MemoryStick were both filled up more than once before the end of the show!Amana Fireworks, copyright (c) 1999, 2000 Michael R. Tomkins.  All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!Most of all, be sure and have fun! Don't spend the entire evening with your eyes glued to the camera - enjoy the fireworks in person, and take plenty of photos so you can relive the experience at home too! Here's a few links to help you out and inspire you, courtesy of Steve's Digicams, Rob Galbraith Online and our own coverage from last year:
    Images copyright (c) 1999, 2000 Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved

    Visioneer and PhotoWorks ally in scan-to-'Net!
    By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
    (Monday, July 3, 2000 - 12:36 EDT)

    PhotoWorks Inc. and Primax Ltd. subsidiary Visioneer plan to work together to enable customers to scan digital images with a touch of a button directly into the PhotoWorks online consumer photo archive, according to a press release distributed yesterday.
    "The majority of images on photo-sharing sites today originate from home scanners," said Gary Christophersen, PhotoWorks President and CEO. "Our relationship with Visioneer makes the process of scanning photos and using online photo services such as sharing, albuming and online reprints extremely simple. PhotoWorks has always valued ease-of-use, which Visioneer has clearly built a reputation around, and we look forward to delivering joint services very soon."

    "Our customers have told us that they have large libraries of irreplaceable photos,"
    said Murray Dennis, President of Visioneer. "This alliance will make it simple for them to order reprints and share those photos with friends and family via the Web. We are pleased to be able to integrate our scanners with a trusted provider of online photo services like PhotoWorks and extend our Internet offerings to include new solutions for photo printing and sharing."

    Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire

    Saturday, July 1, 2000

    Iomega's FotoShow nominated for CNet Best of Show award!
    By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
    (Saturday, July 1, 2000 - 17:26 EDT)

    Iomega Corp. has announced that its new digital imaging product, FotoShow was nominated for a CNET Best of Show Award at PC Expo, which concluded yesterday in New York.

    The FotoShow image center was nominated by CNET for its 'Best Vision of the Future' category. The product, equipped with PictureIQ software, will arrive at retail this fall, allowing both consumers and businesses to view digital photos on a television as well as store, organize, edit and share photos with family, friends, clients and business associates.
    "Considering the number of new products unveiled by companies this week at PC Expo, this recognition for the FotoShow image center makes all of us at Iomega very proud," said Bruce Albertson, president and CEO, Iomega Corporation. "We expect the digital camera market to continue to grow rapidly over the next several years. So, for the consumer who not only wants to safely store images taken with their digital camera equipment as well as the convenience of sharing those images away from the confines of their personal computer, the FotoShow image center is going to be a 'must have' when it arrives at retail later this year."
    Digital photos saved onto digital camera memory cards can be inserted into the Compact Flash or Smart Media card slots on the FotoShow image center. With the press of a button, pictures can be transferred from a memory card to a Zip disk even when the device is not connected to a TV or PC. When connected to a PC, the FotoShow image center functions as a Zip 250MB USB drive, enabling consumers to transfer photos to the FotoShow image center from any source - including the hard drive, scanned pictures, pictures attached to personal e-mails, or those downloaded from the Internet - for later viewing on the television. When connected to the television, the FotoShow image center functions as a photo viewer, editor, organizer and storage device, thus creating a portable 'digital photo album'.
    Source: Yahoo! Finance / BusinessWire



    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!