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Digital Photography News Archive!
August 1999


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Tuesday, August 31, 1999

DIG announces Internet Imaging Protocol reference server!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 23:53 EDT)

The Digital Imaging Group has today announced the availability of its Internet Imaging Protocol (IIP) reference server and supporting IIP developer site. The server was created in Java and can be downloaded from the DIG's web site. "DIG IIP Initiative Group (IG) member companies, Hewlett-Packard Co., HMR, Inc., Eastman Kodak Co., OpenGraphics, LuRaTech and Seattle FilmWorks, created the reference server to make it easier for Web developers to implement bandwidth-efficient, rich imaging across the Internet", according to the press release. Internet Imaging Protocol servers dynamically alter the content that they serve based on bandwidth and needs of the user, ensuring that images load quickly and with appropriate detail.

DIG Appoints William Lloyd and Hiroshi Ohwada as Board Co-Chairs!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 23:42 EDT)

A press release from the Digital Imaging Group announces that it has appointed William Lloyd (vice president, chief technology officer, Hewlett Packard Inkjet Printing Solutions) and Hiroshi Ohwada (senior general manager, International Standards Planning Center, Canon Inc.) as co-chairs of the DIG Board of Directors. The two succeed Robert Blumberg, vice president, Imaging Solutions, Live Picture Corp., and each bring over 30 years digital imaging experience with their respective companies with them. They are also both founding members of the DIG.

Adobe and Digimarc join DIG!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 23:31 EDT)

Imaging software company Adobe Systems and digital watermarking company Digimarc have joined the Digital Imaging Group, according to a press release today. The DIG is now up to 70 industry members, and DIG president Lisa Walker had this to say about the new entries: "Adobe and Digimarc are powerful additions to the DIG. They each bring unique capabilities and expertise to the DIG, strengthening and broadening the influence the DIG has on the industry as a whole, and opening new areas of opportunity."

Digital Imaging Group announces DIG35 initiative!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 22:10 EDT)

The Digital Imaging Group has today announced its DIG35 initiative. DIG35 is aimed at simplifying the process of collecting and managing information about an image by defining a consistent way of storing image metadata (the data routinely stored by many digital cameras as they take an image, such as shutter speed, aperture, etc.). The standard is to be based on XML, about which DIG has the following to say: "XML's powerful data representation capabilities and its wide spread adoption in the Internet will allow virtually limitless flexibility. For example, take the problem of describing the location a picture was taken. Depending on the application domain, location in a consumer photograph could be a place name or a GPS coordinate. For medical images, location would represent a part of the body; for astronomical images, location would carry yet a different meaning." DIG has also partnered with the MPEG committee's MPEG-7 group, also working on still image metadata standardization, ensuring that with DIG's work with the ISO JPEG committee, there should be a common set of still image metadata in both MPEG and JPEG images.

ACD Systems launches ACDSee 3.0 and ACD Image Server!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 20:25 EDT)

A press release from ACD Systems today announces its new ACDSee 3.0 and ACD Image Server programs. ACDSee 3.0, to be available November 3, 1999, in English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French, Korean, Italian and Chinese (with Dutch, Swedish and Portuguese versions to come), archives digital images and sound files in over 30 formats. New features include Photo Services & Send Pictures and ZIP / LHS Archive features. Also announced was ACD Image Server, which adds image handling abilities to existing web servers. The ACD Image Server handles 30 different image formats, displays multi-page TIFF documents, and dynamically generates and displays thumbnails in any desired size.

Nikon announces scanner driver upgrade!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 19:52 EDT)

Nikon has announced an upgrade to its NikonScan drivers bundled with the Coolscan 2000 and Coolscan III film scanners in a press release today. The new driver, scheduled to be available for download on the web and bundled with all new scanners in the box on October 1, adds a new user interface, new color management system and also comes with Altamira Genuine Fractals 2.0 LE. Genuine Fractals is termed as a "resolution-independent" file structure which allows images to be compressed very tightly and easily rescaled, the image being stored using fractal technology. NikonScan 2.5's new color management system adds the ability for users to select from ten RGB color spaces (sRGB, BruceRGB, NTSC RGB, Adobe RGB, CIE RGB, Wide Gamut RGB, Wide Gamut RGB [compensated], Apple RGB, Apple RGB [compensated] and Color Match RGB), as well as CMYK conversion. Other changes include improved scanner profiles, particularly with regard to the smoothness and tone of output images and greater compatibility with Photoshop 5 (and later), thanks to an ICC color profile embedded in the file when an image is saved in TIFF, JPEG, JFIF or PICT format. The driver also features a new interface with a number of changes to improve useability and increase the power of the driver.

Ulead software bundled with HP scanners!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 19:21 EDT)

Ulead Systems has announced that its software is to be bundled with three new scanners from Hewlett Packard, according to a press release today. HP will offer PhotoSmart C500 digital camera and S20 scanner customers three software products from Ulead: Ulead's flagship Ulead PhotoImpact image editing software, COOL 360 immersive imaging software for creating 360 degree panoramic photos, and Photo Explorer for visual file browsing, HTML thumbnail output and slide show creation. The PhotoSmart C200, meanwhile, will ship with Ulead PhotoExplorer.

Sierra Imaging software bundled with new Epson digicam!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 17:31 EDT)

Sierra Imaging has announced today in a hyperbolae-filled press release that its Image Expert software (for acquiring, cataloguing, annotating and viewing digital images) has been selected by Epson to be bundled with the new Epson PhotoPC 850Z digital camera... The release describes Image Expert as "[having] phenomenal support for all computing platforms ... [enabling] users to communicate complete images" - anybody with a thorough understanding of marketing-speke is invited to translate this for us...! That said, the program is still rather nifty, and a version is available for the WindowsCE platform for those of you with Handheld PCs. Image Expert and Image Expert CE 2.0 are also available for sale directly from Sierra Imaging. An electronic download version of Image Expert retails for $59.95. A CD-ROM version can be purchased for $79.95. The Image Expert CE download is sold at $49.95 and the CD version is priced at $69.95.

Nikon details Seybold presence!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 17:15 EDT)

Nikon Inc. has distributed a press release today detailing its presence at the Seybold San Francisco show. According to the release, Nikon is showing:

 - The Nikon D1 2.74-Megapixel Professional SLR
camera (described as "The ideal camera for graphic
arts professionals, photojournalists and every
other photo pro")
- The Nikon Coolpix950 2.11 Megapixel Camera
(described as "faster, more responsive, more
technologically advanced, simpler to use and
smaller to carry than any other camera in its
- The Nikon Super Coolscan 2000 film scanner
(described as "the most revolutionary development
in film scanning, [with] unsurpassed color
accuracy [and] unmatched detail")
- The Nikon Coolscan III film scanner (described as
"[Nikon's] ground breaking technology [in a unit
targetted at home users]")

SanDisk to supply CompactFlash cards for new HP digicams!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 16:53 EDT)

A press release from flash-media manufacturer SanDisk Corp. announces that the company will be supplying CompactFlash cards for HPs newly announced PhotoSmart C500 and C200 digital cameras. A 16MB SanDisk CF card will be bundled with the PhotoSmart C500, whilst the C200 will be bundled with an 8MB card. SanDisk will also cooperate in joint promotions for both cameras. SanDisk CompactFlash memory cards are available in over 11,000 retail outlets worldwide and range in capacity between 4MB and 96MB; the company also offers both parallel port and USB ImageMate CompactFlash readers.

Digital Imaging Group announces OpenSource Flashpix Toolkit!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 16:47 EDT)

The Digital Imaging Group (DIG), an open-industry consortium created to expand the use of digital images across consumer, business and professional imaging markets and applications, has announced the immediate availability of an open source toolkit for the Flashpix format. Created by Flashpix Initiative Group members, Canon Inc., Corbis, Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., and OpenGraphics, the toolkit prepares developers for Flashpix and also for the upcoming JPEG2000 standard. The toolkit along with the Flashpix specification, interoperability test suite (IOTS), test images, and additional implementation material is immediately available on a CD from the DIG's Web site. Members of the DIG receive the CD at no cost, and non-members will be charged a minimal fee of $25. More than 1500 Flashpix Interoperability Test Suite CD's have already shipped in the last six months.

HP reveals more on the PhotoSmart C500!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 12:18 EDT)

HP has revealed further details of its new PhotoSmart C500 digital camera, announced yesterday, in a teleconference this morning attended by your trusty News Editor. The teleconference, hosted by Dean Anderson, Research and Development Section Manager of HP's New Products Division and Steve Saylor, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing of FlashPoint, revealed that HP's latest digital camera runs on FlashPoint's Digita Operating System. Digita, which many of our readers will be familiar with, is an operating system designed specifically for digital imaging appliances such as digital cameras and printers, and is well known for its ability to be controlled by user-programmable scripts.

According to the information we received, HP's C500 is the first digital camera to provide not only access to DigitaScript capabilities, but also to provide application-level scripting of the camera, essentially meaning that it will be possible to completely redesign the interface of the camera from scratch, building the camera's interface to match its planned use. FlashPoint sees the most exciting aspect of this being the possibilities it opens up for third-parties to create essentially entirely new forms of digital photography, an example of this being MetaCreations' impressive MetaFlash technology which allows users to essentially tkae 3-dimensional texture mapped wire-frame photographs of objects with their MetaFlash-enabled Digita camera and PC.

Also noted was an error in the original press release, which specified that the camera was already shipping; the C500 is not yet shipping, although it was expected to "soon".

To recap the specifications:

 - HP PhotoSmart C500 digital camera
- 2 megapixel CCD
- 3x optical / 2x digital zoom lens
- 2" LCD display
- Serial and USB connectivity
- CompactFlash storage (16MB card bundled)
- Based on FlashPoint's Digita OS, allows
programming both through DigitaScript and at the
application level
- Wireless printing using HP JetSend IR technology
- TWAIN complaint driver
- Uses three AA NiMH batteries, comes with charger
- 5.2" x 3.05" x 2.1", weighs 0.821 pounds
- Bundled with HP Photo Imaging Software
- Available in the USA soon for $799 (street)

Toshiba drops price of PDR-M4 digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 2:55 EDT)

Yikes! No sooner had we submitted the previous news item summarising the huge mountain of news we'd covered today than your trusty news editor realised we missed an item in our mailbox! Toshiba has reduced the price of its PDR-M4 digital camera, which we just today completed our review of, by 15 percent. The unit, which we found to be "a very capable 2-megapixel camera, with good picture quality, unusually flexible exposure control, excellent low-light performance, and exceptional speed", has dropped from a price tag of US$699 to an excellent $599! Wow!

Wow! 3 new digicams, 8 new scanners, 8 new printers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 2:48 EDT)

It has been quite a busy day here at the IR newsdesk, to say the least, with a quite unbelievable number of news items burying us! Between 3 new digital cameras, 8 new scanners, 8 new printers and much more, the one day's news is actually more than can fit in the 20 items we now keep on the main news page (in the interests of keeping load times down) - normally, this fits 2-3 days worth of news!

Several articles from earlier today have now rolled into the archives; you can find them easily by clicking on the "August 1999" link at the bottom of the page. In an attempt to summarise what has been a completely hectic day, however, here's a recap of the day's main stories:

 - HP announces PhotoSmart P1000, PhotoSmart P1100,
PhotoSmart P1100xi, Deskjet 970Cse, DeskJet
970Cxi, DeskJet 830C and DeskJet 832C printers
- HP announces ScanJet 3300C, ScanJet 6300C, ScanJet
6350C and ScanJet 6390C scanners
- HP announces PhotoSmart C500 and PhotoSmart C200
digital cameras
- HP announces online photo sharing service
- Epson announces PhotoPC 850Z digital camera
- Epson announces Stylus Color 660 printer
- Epson announces Perfection 610, Perfection 1200S,
Perfection 1200U and Perfection 120U Photo
- Canon announces two new image editing programs
- We post our Toshiba PDR-M4 digital camera review
- Digital Camera Resource Page posts Casio
QV-8000SX review
- Rob Galbraith Online posts Nikon D1 review and
sample pictures
This isn't all the news from the last 24 hours, by any means - remember that the news for today goes right the way back into the August archive!

HP announces 2 new digicams and a 7th printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 2:32 EDT)

The folks over at HP have quite obviously been busy of late, culminating in a flood of press releases today... In the final one we have to cover for today, HP announces two new digital cameras and another printer (bringing the total number of HP printers announced today to an amazing seven!) All three of the products below are available immediately in the USA, and will ship elsewhere on as-yet undecided dates. Without any further ado, here are the specs:

 - HP PhotoSmart P1000
- Uses the same print engine as the P1100 etc.
announced earlier today
- 600 dpi in black
- 2400 x 1200 dpi in color on Photo paper
- 4 x 6-inch photo tray
- USB and parallel connectivity
- Print speeds up to 11 ppm (pages per minute) in
black, and 8.5 ppm in color.
- Uses HP PhotoREtIII technology
- Available in the USA immediately for $399 (street)
 - HP PhotoSmart C500 digital camera
- 2 megapixel CCD
- 3x optical / 2x digital zoom lens
- Wireless printing using HP JetSend IR technology
- 2" LCD display
- Serial and USB connectivity
- CompactFlash storage (16MB card bundled)
- TWAIN complaint driver
- Uses three AA NiMH batteries, comes with charger
- 5.2" x 3.05" x 2.1", weighs 0.821 pounds
- Bundled with HP Photo Imaging Software
- Available in the USA immediately for $799 (street)
 - HP PhotoSmart C200 digital camera
- 1 megapixel CCD
- 2x digital zoom
- CompactFlash storage (8MB card bundled)
- 1.8" LCD display
- USB connectivity
- Power source is 4 AA batteries
- TWAIN complaint driver
- 5" x 3.15" x 1.9", weighs 0.68 pounds
- Bundled with HP Photo Imaging Software
- Available in the USA immediately for $299 (street) offers true photo output at drug-store prices!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 2:19 EDT)

We received a press release from digital photo finishing company on Friday afternoon which we've only just had time to look over. PrintRoom offers high quality digital photo printing using the same silver halide process as 35mm photographs, at extremely low prices that really are comparable to those you'd get at the corner drug store! Members pay only 39 cents each for 4 x 6 prints, with 5 x 7's being $1.75 each, and 8 x 10's being $3.95 each - all orders being subject to a $5.00 minimum and excluding shipping (which is equally reasonable). Membership is free, and also includes free online album space, all controlled through a standard web browser. PrintRoom notes that "Image quality, durability and resistance to fading of these photographs are far superior to those produced with ink-jet or dye-sublimation printers" - and for only 39 cents per picture it really is worth trying the service out to see for yourself!

News from the Seybold Digital Imaging Secrets session!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 2:08 EDT)

We hear this evening that the Seybold Digital Imaging Secrets session (mentioned in our news item "Digital Imaging Secrets - Revealed!" of August 25, and held this afternoon) was a great success! The session, which amongst much else pitted Nikon's D1 and Kodak's DCS 330/660 digital cameras against each other, did much to answer people's questions about the cameras. One particularly important question from attendees was that of whether Nikon seemed to be living up to its product readiness claims for the D1, with the answer apparently being a resounding "yes"... Nikon managed to have a near feature-complete camera ready for John Henshall to test out, and as expected from Rob Galbraith's preview, the camera had received significant fine-tuning before arriving at Seybold. John was able to demonstrate much, perhaps the most interesting thing being the ISO 1600 quality (which, from what we hear, is extremely good!)

ClubPhoto announces Album to Go!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 1:54 EDT)

A press release today from online photo-sharing and finishing community ClubPhoto announces the release of "Album to Go", described as "the world's first interactive photo album", for the Palm platform. Owners of Palm IIIe, Palm IIIx, Palm V, and Palm VII connected organizers will now be able to download photos from their Club Photo online albums or their desktops to create portable digital photo albums. From the Club Photo site, Palm device users can download by simply clicking on the desired picture. Palm device users can also drag-and-drop images from the desktop using the Album To Go Desktop. At the next HotSync operation, the pictures are then transferred into the Palm device and displayed immediately, in 16-bit or 4-bit grayscale, to family, friends and co-workers. Once in the Palm device, the images can be beamed to other devices for easy sharing of photos globally and portably. The photos can be viewed one at a time or shown as a slide show with built-in special effects.

A related press release notes that ClubPhoto and PalmGear H.Q. have formed an alliance, with PalmGear now having a cobranded ClubPhoto website at

UMAX partners with Pantone on PowerLook III scanners!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 1:30 EDT)

A press release today from UMAX Technologies announces that it is now including its Pantone Color Survival Kit with the PowerLook III scanners. The PowerLook III/Pantone promotion is available at a range of $895 to $2,195 depending on the software bundle, and includes the following:

 - The Formula Guide is considered the core of the
industry color standard. It features 1012 solid
PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM Colors on coated and
uncoated paper.
- The Process Guide offers more than 3000 process
color combinations, with CMYK tint percentages on
coated stock.
- The Solid to Process Guide takes the guesswork
out of matching solid PANTONE colors. It
compares solid PANTONE colors side-by-side with
the closest CMYK match.

Kodak selling DCS 330 for "less than $5000"!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 0:17 EDT)

Thanks to IR reader "donnelly" for pointing out a news item on the MacWeek website, noting that Kodak's DCS 330 digital camera is being sold for "less than $5000" at the Seybold show. The camera, which features a 3 megapixel CCD and is based on Nikon's Pronea 6i SLR camera body, had been placed at nearer the $6000 mark previously, and the price drop is presumably to counter Nikon's D1 which is also making an appearance at the show.

ArcSoft launches!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 0:04 EDT)

Digital imaging software company ArcSoft announced in a press release last week its new website. The site features an online photo sharing service offering 10MB of free web space per user, and is described by ArcSoft as "the most
comprehensive and robust photo services network on the Internet". The site has the following features:

· Photo Sharing
- Every member of PhotoIsland receives 10MB of free,
secured Web space that includes an unlimited
number of Photo Albums. They can post and share
their photos online, customize albums and use a
variety of Proprietary Utilities to improve and
enhance the photo-sharing experience.
- A Guest Invitation, complete with a personal photo,
can be sent to family and friends to view members'
albums online.
- Photo album visitors can leave messages and
comments in the member's Guest Book.
- Members can also turn their albums into Slide Shows
with the click of a button.
- To address Web users' Security concerns, ArcSoft
has enabled two levels of password protection -
member and guest. Members can provide family and
friends with a guest password that allows everyone
to log on simultaneously. Guest passwords can
easily be changed and photo albums hidden as needed.

· Entertainment Services
- Visitors can send personalized Photo Postcards using
their own pictures or one of the many templates
provided by PhotoIsland. Music and customized
stamps are also provided.
- PhotoMontage, the unique PC imaging technology
innovated by ArcSoft, has been brought to the Web.
The PhotoMontage Poster Service turns an ordinary
portrait into a one-of-a-kind poster made from
thousands of micro images. Visitors to PhotoIsland
can order personalized posters in one of two sizes.

· Resource & Reference:
- The News & Info section contains helpful hints for
the digital photographer, editorial content from the
experts and the latest in digital imaging news.
- Users can easily Search in their storage room for
photos based on file names, key words and captions.
Members can assign up to six descriptive keywords to
each photo.
- ArcSoft will provide Cool Products for download; these
fun, photo-related products will be free to visitors.
Special versions of ArcSoft's software will be
available including PhotoStudio, ArcSoft PhotoFantasy
and more

Monday, August 30, 1999

Digital Camera Resource Page posts QV-8000SX review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 23:55 EDT)

The fine folks over at the Digital Camera Resource Page have now posted a full review of Casio's QV-8000SX digital camera. So what did Jeff think of the camera?

"Despite some annoyances with the menus/button placement, and the lack of an optical viewfinder I found myself enjoying the QV-8000SX. The 8X zoom is excellent, the photo quality surprisingly good, and the movie feature lots of fun.

At just under $700, it's a bit expensive, but it does offer all the features of the 2Mpixel cameras, for less money -- and none of them have a zoom lens this nice. For most people, the 1.3Mpixel photos are more than adequete for web sites or printing, as well."

Check the full review and sample pictures out here...

Rob Galbraith posts Nikon D1 sample pictures!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 23:47 EDT)

The superb Rob Galbraith Online website has posted a report on the Nikon D1 digital cameras displayed at the Visual Edge '99 show; whilst the cameras were still development versions and not feature-complete, they were much more advanced than the Japanese-only versions seen in other reviews up to this point. Rob has commentary on the handling and picture quality seen in the camera as well as sample pictures which we'd have to describe as "must-see", and even a QuickTime VR movie of the D1! There's also conjecture on whether or not Nikon will be ready to meet their planned rollout date, with strong insistence on Nikon's part that the camera will indeed be ready...

PC Watch reposts Casio QV-2000UX sample pics!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 23:36 EDT)

The PC Watch website has reposted its sample pictures from the Casio QV-2000UX digital camera, noting that pictures which had been altered with PhotoShop had accidentally been posted instead of those from the camera itself, and that the photos have now been reposted. Readers who've formed opinions on Casio's camera based on the PC Watch pictures (which, based on the caution that these photos are from a development version of the camera, hopefully nobody has done anyway...) should definitely take a second look!

HP announces four new scanners!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 23:24 EDT)

HP has today announced four new ScanJet scanners, the HP ScanJet 3300C color scanner and HP ScanJet 6300C, 6350C and 6390C Professional Series scanners. All four scanners use HPs Intelligent Scanning Technology. The 3300C is a home scanner, whilst the 63XX scanners are targetted at business use.

The ScanJet 3300C is priced at $149, and features 600-dpi (dots per inch) optical resolution, one-touch scanning, USB connectivity and a software bundle including HP PrecisionScan LT with integrated Optical Character Recognition, Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home Edition 3.0, HP Color Copy Utility and Creative Ideas Guide (United States only).

The ScanJet 63XX scanners feature one-touch scanning and USB/SCSI connectivity; no mention is made of resolution etc. although the press release describes the scanners as "HP's fastest scanners, offering professional-quality scanning". The software bundle includes HP PrecisionScan Pro 2.0, HP PrecisionScan LAN (for sharing the scanner over a LAN), HP ScanJet Copy Utility, integrated OCR, Caere Pagekeeper Standard 3.0, Adobe PhotoDeluxe Business Edition 1.1, and Boomerang WebShop 5.0 e-commerce and Web site Creator software (United States only). A 25-sheet document feeder offering 5 pages per minute scanning is bundled with the ScanJet 6350C and 6390C scanners, and can be ordered as an accessory for the 6300C scanner. A transparency adapter allowing scanning of 5 x 5-inch transparencies is bundled with the ScanJet 6390C and can be ordered as an accessory for the other two scanners. The HP ScanJet 6300C, 6350C and 6390C are priced at $399, $499 and $899 respectively, .

No availability information is available for any of these four scanners.

HP announces four new printers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 23:02 EDT)

HP has today announced two new DeskJet printers and two new PhotoSmart printers, the DeskJet 970Cse/Cxi and PhotoSmart P1100/P1100xi. Specs are as follows:

 - HP PhotoREtIII technology offers "most like a
photo" quality with up to 29 5-picoliter drops per
- Up to 2400 x 1200 dpi resolution on photo paper
- C6578 ink cartridges provide 50% faster firing
times and twice as many nozzles compared to C1823
cartridges in DeskJet 8XX printers, delivering
7.3 million drops per second
- Print speeds up to 12 ppm (pages per minute) in
black and 10 ppm in color
- Auto duplexer for automatically printing on both
sides of each sheet
- Manual print-cancel button
- Low ink warning prompt
- Automatic print cartridge alignment
- DeskJet 970Cse/Cxi have a 150 sheet paper tray,
USB and serial connectivity, expected price of
- PhotoSmart P1100/P1100xi have a 100 sheet paper
tray, unknown connectivity but with support for
printing directly from a digital camera with or
without a PC, infrared JetSend technology, and an
expected price of US$499
All four printers are available immediately in North America, the DeskJet 970Cse/Cxi also being available worldwide. The PhotoSmart printers will be introduced in other regions at a later date. The press release does not detail the difference between the DeskJet 970Cse and Cxi, nor does it detail the difference between the PhotoSmart P1100 and P1100xi.

HP announces new inkjet photo paper!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 22:20 EDT)

HP has today announced several new photographic papers for use with HP inkjet printers, as follows:

 - HP Premium Plus Photo Paper, Glossy -- Images
printed on this new paper have the look and feel
of conventional photographs and exhibit excellent
image quality, sharp colors and the shine of
classic glossy photographs -- 8.5 inches x 11
inches, 9 mil thick, $17.99(1) for 20 sheets.

- HP Premium Plus Photo Paper, Matte -- With a low-
glare image surface, this new paper offers the
image quality and texture of a conventional
matte-finish photograph. This paper is designed
for reproducing soft-finish photos -- 8.5 inches
x 11 inches, 9 mil thick, $17.99(1) for 20

- HP Premium Plus Photo Paper, Glossy -- The
quality, thickness and shine of this new paper
also is available in 4-inch by 6-inch sheets.
This convenient size is ideal for printing
snapshots and replicates the most popular photo
size ordered at photofinishers -- 4 inches x 6
inches, 9 mil thick, $8.99(1) for 20 sheets.

- HP Premium Photo Paper, Glossy -- This paper
continues to offer customers a cost-effective way
to print glossy images at home, emulating the
look and feel of conventional silver-halide
photographs -- 8.5 inches x 11 inches, 7.5 mil
thick, $9.99(1) for 15 sheets.

HP announces DeskJet 830C and 832C printers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 21:27 EDT)

HP today announced two new photo quality inkjet printers for home use, the HP DeskJet 830C and 832C. Both printers are actually identical, the 832C merely adding a CD-ROM containing 40 greetings cards, 12 pieces of artwork, and five textured blank cards and envelopes. The underlying printer, with an estimated street price of $199, features both USB and parallel connectivity, photo-quality printing with HPs PhotoREtII technology, print speeds of 8ppm (pages per minute) in black and white and 5ppm in color, as well as what HP describes as "a fun design" featuring a purple colored lid.

Both printers feature a software bundle consisting of HP Instand Delivery software (which automatically prints out popular publications on a scheduled basis) and HP Web PrintSmart (which prints out selected web pages in a "personal report"). No planned release date is given.

HP to launch online photo-sharing service!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 20:24 EDT)

Hewlett Packard Co. is to launch an online photo-sharing service called Cartogra, according to a press release today. Cartogra will offer users the ability to upload from their PC photos from any scanner or digital camera, and create personalised web pages (either public or private) with them. The pictures can then be searched for based on keywords or similar image features, and viewed online, printed, emailed and novelty items using the pictures can be created. Uploads to (or downloads from) Cartogra can be scheduled to occur at a predetermined time, to allow users for example to schedule a big upload at a convenient or cheap time such as in the middle of the night. An undisclosed amount of web space will be provided free to customers, with extra webspace available for a fee as a premium service. Members and visitors will be able to discuss photos, albums and editorial content through a discussion function, and images hosted on Cartogra will also be able to be posted to other sites including online auction sites, classified ads, home pages and message boards. HP is currently looking to form alliances with other companies interested in the project, and has yet to release pricing or availability details, or further specifics of the service.

HP announces new 3-color ink cartridge!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 19:37 EDT)

HP today announced a new tri-color inkjet print cartridge for the HP DeskJet 970Cse/Cxi and HP PhotoSmart P1100/P1100xi/P1000 printers. The HP No. 78 cartridge, according to HP, "[delivers] incredibly realistic photographic images; brilliant, fade-resistant color images; and optimal speed and print quality in every print mode."

HP unveils imaging strategy!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 19:33 EDT)

Hewlett Packard Co. today unveiled its new digital imaging strategy, which the company feels underscores its commitment to Internet-enabled imaging markets. Its goal is to offer a total solution from initial capture and creation to sharing and printing. HP has backed this strategy up with a huge announcement of new home imaging products and services, which HP describes as the biggest in its history, including digital cameras, desktop printers, scanners, all-in-ones and web services. (Individual news items to follow on our News page). HP Inkjet Imaging Solutions president Antonio Perez had this to say: "During the past several years, HP has created the necessary infrastructure in terms of standards and technologically advanced products and services to enable digital imaging for the mass market. Our strategy for digital imaging is backed by new digital appliances that enable customers to print photos directly from their digital cameras without using a PC and by new online solutions that allow consumers to archive, index and enhance photos and photo-based documents and send them to friends and family anywhere in moments."

Epson announces three new Perfection 1200 scanners!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 19:25 EDT)

Epson America Inc. today announced three new Perfection 1200 series scanners, the EPSON Perfection 1200U, EPSON Perfection 1200S and EPSON Perfection 1200U PHOTO. The U-model scanners feature USB connectivity, whilst the S-model scanner features SCSI connectivity. The 1200U Photo also adds a transparency unit for scanning transparent film out of the box... All three scanners also feature 1200 x 2400 dpi (dots per inch) optical resolutions through the use of Epson's Micro Step Drive technology. OCR scans are aided by Epson's Text Enhancement Technology which allows enhancement of text scanned on colored backgrounds, whilst Auto Area Segmentation automatically detects and processes text, graphics or photos on the same page. Finally, Epson's ColorTrue II Imaging System provides "premium image quality, amazing detail and incredible color accuracy".

All three scanners include Adobe PhotoDeluxe, NewSoft Presto! PageManager, Broderbund The PrintShop PressWriter, ArcSoft PhotoPrinter 2.0, and Epson's TWAIN scanning software, whilst the 1200U Photo model adds EPSON Instant Photo Print software which automatically sends scans directly to an Epson inkjet printer. Consumers can also choose two additional software titles to receive by mail, from a selection of 15 different home-, design- or photo-oriented titles.

The Epson 1200U and 1200S will be available in mid-September at prices of $249 and $299 respectively. The Epson 1200U Photo will be available in mid-October at a price of $349. The Transparency Unit for the first two scanners will cost $99, whilst the Automatic Document Feeder for all three models will cost $199.

Epson announces Perfection 610 scanner!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 18:57 EDT)

Epson America Inc. today announced its new entry-level Perfection 610 consumer scanner. The unit features an optical resolution of 600 x 2400 dpi (dots per inch), interpolated to a maximum of 9600 x 9600 dpi at a color depth of 36-bits. The high 2400-dpi resolution in one direction is achieved through the use of Epson's Micro Step Drive technology, and the scanner also features one-touch scanning and USB connectivity. The software bundle consists of PictureWorks Hot Shots for image editing, NewSoft(TM) Presto! PageManager for document management, Newsoft Presto! PageManager OCR for scanning text and Broderbund The PrintShop PressWriter for extra creative publishing tools, plus the user's choice of two software titles by mail from from 15 different home, design or photo-oriented titles. Epson's TWAIN driver is also included.

The Epson Perfection 610 scanner will ship in mid-September at an estimated street price of $149.

Epson announces Stylus Color 660 printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 18:50 EDT)

Epson today announced its new Stylus Color 660 inkjet printer, available immediately at an estimated street price of $159 before a $30 mail-in rebate. The printer features 1440 x 720 dpi (dots per inch) resolution, print speeds of 5 ppm (pages per minute) in black and white, and 3.5 ppm in color, and uses Epson's MicroPiezo technology. It uses four ink colors, is bundled with Polaroid PhotoMAX Pro and ArcSoft PhotoPrinter SE software, and has a parallel interface. A USB Adapter kit (usually $39) is offered free via a mail-in coupon, and users can also choose two free pieces of software of their choice from categories including design, graphics, games and more. The Epson Stylus Color 660 replaces Epson's Stylus Color 640.

Digital Intelligence hires former Kodak/HP exec!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 18:43 EDT)

Digital Intelligence, a software developer working to bring digital imaging to the non-PC user with software that brings digital imaging into set-top boxes, games consoles and more has today announced a new appointment in its marketing department. Alan Housley, who has previously worked with HP and Eastman Kodak, amongst others, becomes the new Vice President of Marketing at the company. Housley was most recently vice president, sales and marketing of Atrieva, prior to which he held the position of general manager, vice president of business operations and sales for the Commercial Imaging Unit and general manager and vice president of Digital Systems Products for Kodak's Professional Imaging Division. Previously, Housley held various executive positions at Hewlett Packard including worldwide marketing manager for the ScanJet Scanner Division, product marketing manager for Networking Products and worldwide technical marketing manager. Housley spent 18 years with HP...

Iterated Systems announces MediaBin!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 18:14 EDT)

Iterated Systems today announced its new MediaBin media management solution. MediaBin accepts file formats including Adobe Photoshop PSD and EPS, JPEG, GIF, BMP and TIFF, and creates a searchable "repository" for the images. Also incorporated is the ability to apply image transformations on the server, although the press release is somewhat long on hyperbolae and short on detail as to exactly what transformations can be applied...

Digital Camera buying tips on CD-ROM!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 16:34 EDT)

A new CD-ROM from Audio Computer Information, Inc. intends to simplify the digital camera buying process, and give users the knowledge they need to purchase the right digital camera. "How To Buy Your First Digital Camera" by John Stewart contains five chapters in HTML (as well as RealAudio and MP3 audio) in which readers/listeners assess their needs, learn basic digital imaging concepts, decide on the camera features they need, consider storage options, and look at accessories and power sources. Basic image editing is also considered, and two freeware image editors are included on the CD-ROM (IrfanView and Ultimate Paint). The only requirements for the CD-ROM, which costs $24.95 including shipping, is a Windows95 or better PC with a 24x CD-ROM drive. The CD-ROM is available immediately from the ACPress website.

Epson announces PhotoPC 850Z!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 16:23 EDT)

Epson America Inc. has today announced its PhotoPC 850Z digital camera! The 2.11 megapixel unit features manual capabilites, USB and serial connectivity, 3x optical zoom and a sunlight-assisted LCD display. Here's the full specs:

 - Epson PhotoPC 850Z
- 2.11 megapixel CCD
- Image sizes up to 1984 x 1488 pixels (using Epson's
HyPict interpolation)
- 3x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 35 - 105mm on a
35mm camera); 49mm filter thread
- 2" sunlight-assisted LCD Display (uses Epson's
SolarAssist technology)
- CompactFlash Type-II storage (8MB card bundled);
compatible with IBM's MicroDrive
- USB and serial connectivity
- Built-in flash with red-eye reduction and slow
synch capability; hot shoe for external flash units
- Built-in microphone and speaker for recording sound
clips up to 10 seconds long and listening to them
- Full auto mode (with macro, digital zoom and
panorama settings); Programmed mode (with exposure
adjustment, ISO sensitivity and white balance
settings); Manual mode with user-adjustable
aperture, shutter speed and focus as well as spot-
metering capability.
- DirectPrint cable and software included for printing
directly from the camera to EPSON Stylus Color 740
and EPSON Stylus Color 740i printers, as well as
EPSON Stylus Photo printers.
- DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) and DPOF
(Digital Print Order Format) compliant
- Software bundle includes Sierra Imaging Image
Expert, EPSON Photo!3 TWAIN driver and standalone
utility driver, EPSON Photo File Uploader, EPSON
Program Uploader, Print Mark and Direct Print driver
- Compatible with Epson's Image Authentication System,
which fingerprints the picture and verifies if it
has been altered after leaving the camera (US$99)
- Power from 4 NiMH AA batteries; 4 batteries and
quick-charger (3 hours to charge) included
- Availability set for early October at a price of
US$799; covered by a $50 mail-in rebate and also
includes a mail-in coupon for a free package of
Epson 4 x 6" Photo Paper.

Canon announces new image editing programs!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 15:24 EDT)

Canon Computer Systems Inc.'s software subsidiary, Canon Software Publishing, today announced two new image editing programs, Canon Photo and Canon Photo Gold. Canon Photo Gold is advertised as "[executing] common tasks significantly faster than similar photo editors available today and [performing] these tasks in fewer steps to make digital photography faster and more enjoyable". It features a "remote control"-style interface which allows users to get photos from a digital camera, scanner, hard drive, removable drive or Internet site and organize them into "collections", as well as adding keywords or descriptions to the images themselves to allow easy searching at a later date. Users then have the ability to correct their images either with a "quick fix" option, a "Smart Pix" option which optimises the picture based on a choice of "indoor", "outdoor", "flash", "fluorescent", "cloudy", "sunny" or "shadows" settings. Finally, the program has an option allowing the user to select the best picture from 9 thumbnails with various degrees of correction, simplifying the process. The program also has manual editing features, including cropping, smudging and cloning, as well as the ability to print images or send them as "NetCard" emails, a feature allowing publication of images to Canon's photo-sharing website. Panorama stitching functionality is included, as well as Spin PhotoObjects which allows users to create a picture of an object wherein the object itself can be rotated 360 degrees... Canon Photo contains all the functionality of the Gold version, with the exception of Spin Panorama, Spin PhotoObject and Canon Web Publisher.

The two programs will be available in September at a price of $69.95 (Canon Photo Gold) or $49.95 (Canon Photo). Windows 95, 98 or NT 4.0 is required; a Macintosh version is not available.

Agfa to show DuoScan T2500 at Seybold!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 12:30 EDT)

Agfa's Desktop Products Group has announced that it plans to show its DuoScan T2500 flatbed scanner at the Digital Imaging Group Seybold product showcase, which takes place between 6:00 and 8:00 PM tomorrow at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The t2500 is a 36-bit color scanner with an impressive optical resolution of 1250 x 2500 dpi, and a scanning area of 8" x 14" - along with an equally impressive $4,495 price tag...

Toshiba PDR-M4 Review (finally) Posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 30, 1999 - 0:18 EDT)

Toshiba PDR-M4 Full Review Posted! - Seems like this one has been taking forever: A combination of inclement weather, and a bad eval unit required reshooting a number of the pictures, and the review itself just took an inordinate amount of time, for no good reason... The camera is pretty interesting though: A full 2-megapixel unit, it's far and away the fastest camera we've tested to date, with shot-to-shot cycle times of under 2 seconds! (What's most amazing is that this is a real number, based on our own tests, and it isn't dependent on a buffer memory: You can shoot that fast all day long, or until you fill up your SmartMedia card. No restrictions like "first 3 shots fast, then 25 seconds for the next one", etc. The other big surprise with the camera was the superb job it does in low light: Thanks in part to the tremendous processing power they have on-board, Toshiba implemented a scheme whereby the camera takes a dark-current calibration picture immediately following every exposure shot in "bulb" mode. (1-8 second exposure times) This stretches the time quite a bit, as an 8-second exposure actually ends up taking 16 seconds to complete (8 seconds for the exposure itself, plus 8 seconds for the dark-current calibration). We did find some color shift on the really long exposures (maybe due to our tungsten lighting?), but the results are very impressive though: We felt the PDR-M4 turned in the best low-light performance (in terms of tonal range and noise) of any camera we've tested to date. All in all, a very interesting offering! - Check it out!

Saturday, August 28, 1999

iView Multimedia 3.7 released!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, August 28, 1999 - 9:02 EDT)

We received press release in our mailbox from Script Software on Thusday which we've only just had a chance to get to now, announcing the release of iView Multimedia 3.7 for Mac OS. The program catalogs and displays files in numerous formats including Quark, Canvas, Painter, Live Picture, Freehand, PageMaker, Illustrator, gif, jpg, TIFF, PICT, GX, BMP, Targa, EPS, fonts, sounds, movies, QuickTime VR, animation, MPEG, PNG, Photoshop, and more, and the latest version has the following changes:

 - New German language extension.
- Support for AppleScript Menu attachment, lets
users, easily add their own scripts to enhance
iView's functionality.
- Added basic background sound playback in slide
- Added functionality to open more than one catalog
files from the finder.
- Changed printing of dimensions to match settings.
- Added support for Expn/JacqCAD format.
- Improved support for EPS info.
- Added functionality to auto-register copies of
iView for CD-ROM distribution
- Added "deep" folder searching when re-setting
item paths (find in folder).
- Reinstated image view cmd-click to mark selected
item, dbl-click to return to thumbnail view.
- Modified shutter speed display for speeds
reported in multiples of 10.
- Fixed creator/type bug when exporting annotations
to files that have no resource fork.
- Fixed html export bug when creating untitled web

Friday, August 27, 1999

Lyra Research sees specialty inkjet sales soar!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 27, 1999 - 17:29 EDT)

A report out today from Lyra Research's Digital Photography Systems Advisory Service sees shipments of specialty photo inkjet printers (defined by Lyra as "those models specifically designed and optimized to print digital photographs") breaking through 2.1 million units this year, and reaching 6.5 million units worldwide by 2003! Revenues will surpass $1.7 billion by this time, whilst the average price will have dropped by over 26%. Whilst the prices could potentially be even lower, Lyra sees manufacturers boosting feature-sets to keep prices at this level, increasing image quality and adding features such as memory card slots.

Canon to announce new printer market entry!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 27, 1999 - 17:20 EDT)

No details yet, but Canon has distributed a press release noting that it is to unveil plans for entry into a new printer market segment at the Seybold show. According to the release, Muneo Adachi (Director and Group Executive, New Business Operations), Noboru Narita (Deputy Group Executive, Worldwide Color Laser Copier/Printer Operations), and Mason Olds (Director and General Manager, Graphics Division) will make the announcement 3:30 PM Tuesday, August 31, 1999 at Seybold.

Canon announces new dye-sub printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 27, 1999 - 13:43 EDT)

Canon has today announced a new dye-sublimation printer to replace its existing CD-200 model. The CD-300 produces borderless 4 x 6 inch prints (or, with optional paper, miniature labels and 4 x 10 inch panoramic shots) at a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch). The new printer features front-loading of ink and paper cassettes, supports DPOF allowing DPOF-compliant cameras to be used to tag images to be printed, and has inputs for PC cards, Type-I and -II CompactFlash cards, NTSC and S-Video, as well as PC connectivity. Each print is laminated with a coating to protect against moisture, fingerprints and scratches. The CD-300 dye sublimation printer will retail at an as-yet undecided price in mid-October.

Canon announces PowerShot S10 digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 27, 1999 - 12:35 EDT)

Canon USA Inc. has announced its new PowerShot S10 digital camera today. The unit was first mentioned by the Digital Photography Review who posted a picture of it, followed by the Steve's Digicams website posting an excerpt from a datasheet containing specifications for the unit. The full specs are below - those that are new to us are in italics...:

 - Same form-factor as Canon PowerShot A5 Zoom / A50
- 1/2 inch 2.1 megapixel CCD
- Billed as "world's smallest and lightest 2-megapixel
digital camera with zoom lens and built-in flash (as of
July 1999"
- JPEG Image files sizes of 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, and
800 x 600, in Super-Fine, Fine or Normal compression

- Burst mode allows 1.7 frames per second in highest

- Type I & Type II CompactFlash card storage
- USB, RS-232 and NTSC connectivity
- High-res low-distortion all-glass 2x zoom lens
(equivalent to 35-70mm f/2.8-4.0 on a 35mm camera)
- 2/4x digital zoom, playback zoom with panning
- Selectable ISO from 100 to 400
- Spot metering
- AE lock
- Auto/Manual White Balancing
- Exposure Compensation of +/-2EV in 1/3EV steps
- Image Selection Mode button allows choice of slow-speed
shutter, high-speed shutter, Night Scene, Landscape and
Black & White modes, as well as flash and ISO modes.

- Supports DPOF (Digital Print Order Format)
- Bundled with: Camera, wrist-strap, video cable,
interface cables, PowerShot Solutions CD-Rom, 2CR5
Lithium battery, 8MB CompactFlash card w/case, and
user's manual, CD-ROM includes Adobe PhotoDeluxe and
Adobe PhotoStitch for Mac and Windows, ZoomBrowser EX
for Windows, PowerShot Browser for Mac.

- Availability set for mid-October, price undecided.

Thursday, August 26, 1999

Summer Filmless Photography Sweepstakes - Winners Announced!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 26, 1999 - 22:27 EDT)

Congratulations to the five lucky people listed below, all winners in the Summer Filmless Photography Sweepstakes! Readers may remember that we announced the sweepstakes in conjunction with the Digital Camera Resource Page and the Digital Photography Review on June 22nd. The winners, all of whom have been contacted already, are as follows:

 - Jayne Marquez, of Diamond Bar, CA
- Vilayet Bahadur, of Fremont, CA
- Rick Maglio, of Deerfield Beach, FL
- Stefanie Hendriks, of Costa Mesa, CA
- Frank Catalano, of North Brunswick, NJ
Congratulations once again to the lucky winners!

INCREDIBLE savings on Corel PhotoPaint8!!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 26, 1999 - 22:16 EDT)

There's been a long-running battle between Corel and Adobe for supremacy in the image-editing arena. Generally, Corel's PhotoPaint has tracked the latest offerings from Adobe pretty well, although Adobe usually seems to win out with the professional designer crowd. Still, PhotoPaint is an exceptionally capable program, and in fact arguably has a more powerful "filters" interface, for adding special effects to your pictures. At about $100 or so less than PhotoShop, it's found a broad and loyal following among many digicam and scanner users. Currently, Corel is about to come out with a new version, PhotoPaint 9, that will doubtless have dozens of whizzy new features, to justify it's roughly $500 list price. All right, great, you're saying, so why is this on the "Deals" page? Well... The Imaging Resource has teamed up with, to offer our readers an AMAZING deal on "last year's model" of PhotoPaint, PhotoPaint 8. How amazing? Try $69.95 for a program that had a list price of $495! CHECK IT OUT - Follow this link to order your copy today! - Also, although we hate people who advertise "limited time offers", this actually is good for an uncertain, but limited time: Since this is a product clearance, XOOM only has a certain quantity of the PhotoPaint 8 packages available, and once they're gone, the deal will be gone too!

Disclaimer: "While we've always liked Corel PhotoPaint, as a more affordable alternative to Adobe's Photoshop(tm), and while this deal is an *incredible* offer, we do need to disclaim that we'll make (a little) money whenever one of our readers buy this product - hence, we can't claim to be *completely* unbiased regarding this offer! Caveat Emptor... (But it really is an unbelievable deal!)

PC Watch posts Fuji FinePix 1700Z sample pics!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 26, 1999 - 15:32 EDT)

Equally as surprising as Casio's late Japanese announcement in the item below is the fact that the Japanese PC Watch website didn't beat everybody by days or weeks to printing sample pictures from Fuji's new FinePix 1700Z digital camera (the Japanese equivalent of the Fuji MX-1700 ZOOM)! The Japanese website with the reputation for beating everybody to the scoop has today posted several pictures of the camera as well as three sample photos (all in 1,280 x 1,024 pixel, Fine quality) taken with the camera at its Japanese unveiling... The Fuji FinePix 1700Z will hit the Japanese market September 21st at a price of ¥89,800 (US$811).

Casio Japan announces QV8000SX, QV-2000UX!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 26, 1999 - 15:25 EDT)

It can sometimes seem like all the newest digital cameras are announced in Japan before the rest of the world gets a look in, particularly for the Japanese companies - and so it was when reading a from PC Watch that I had to go on a trawl back through the news convinced that I'd already covered it before... Believe it or not, though, Casio Japan has only just announced the QV-8000SX and QV-2000UX digital cameras, more than a month after they were first announced in the USA, and long after Japanese sites have already posted reviews of the cameras! The 1.3 megapixel, 8x optical zoom QV-8000SX will reach the Japanese domestic market on September 10 at a price of ¥100,000 (US$902) whilst the 2.11 megapixel 3x optical zoom QV-2000UX with its Microdrive-ready Type-II CompactFlash slot will go on sale September 22 at a price of ¥88,000 (US$794).

Fuji Announces MX-1700: True Optical Zoom in a Tiny Package!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 26, 1999 - 9:41 EDT)

Fuji today has announced what's probably the smallest digicam with a true 3x optical zoom lens in it. The 1.5 megapixel MX-1700 has the same form factor as the recent MX-2700, but includes a 38-114 mm zoom lens in the same small package. Fuji's quite proud of their new lens technology, having issued a separate press release just on it. The shot at right is a BusinessWire image of the zoom mechanism for the MX-1700, compared with a "typical" one. (Our guess is it's the zoom for either the MX-600 or MX-2900, the latter being the more likely.) Click on the image to see a larger view. For full specs on the new camera, check our data sheet, and we even have a very rushed "First Look" review up on the site already, with photos of the camera, and a few sample images, despite only having gotten the evaluation unit yesterday! (We'll be testing the camera over the next few days, and will have a full review posted sometime in the next two weeks, what with other cameras ahead of it in the queue, and Dave's last-minute decision to jaunt off to the Seybold show early next week.) The new camera will sell for $599 when it debuts in stores sometime in October. Check it out!

Footnote, 10:52AM EDT:The fine folks over at Steve's Digicams have also posted an excellent review of the Fuji MX-1700 ZOOM this morning... Steve has had the camera for somewhat longer than us (as evidenced by the fact that all the controls on his model are in Japanese!), and so has probably had ample opportunity to get a "feel" for the camera. Here's what he has to say:

"I am happy to report that the MX-1700 cranks out the picture quality, shot after shot. The zoom lens means no more moving to get closer to your subject and wide angle only when you need it ... Fuji will have no problem selling these cameras, anyone can use it in the fully automatic point-n-shoot mode and there's plenty of manual overrides to make the advanced users happy too. The bottom line is always image quality and the MX-1700 delivers it - in spades."

Check out Steve's review here!

Wednesday, August 25, 1999

d# Digital Press previews Olympus Camedia C-2500L!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 18:47 EDT)

The d# Digital Press website has posted its preview of Olympus' Camedia C-2500L digital camera, including numerous sample photos. The pictures are all taken with a development version of the camera, and hence are not fully representative of what can be expected from the final version. In particular, the reviwer notes that the final version should have a wider dynamic range, and slightly improved contrast...

The picture of the couple sitting by the beach was spot-metered, whilst that of the train was using Auto white balance. The second photo of a young child was shot with external flash, and the close-up of the sunflower was shot in HQ mode. All other pictures were shot as SHQ JPEG files, using 5500K white balance.

Adobe PhotoShop 5.5 announced in Japan!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 17:31 EDT)

Adobe has announced its new PhotoShop 5.5 Japanese Edition, according to a news item on the PC Watch website. Adobe PhotoShop 5.5 should hit Japanese stores on September 17, at a price of ¥100,000 (US$902). Upgrades from Version 5.0 should be about ¥20,000 (US$180), whilst upgrades from Version 4.0 and earlier should be ¥25,000 (US$226).

HP announces PSC 500 all-in-one!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 17:23 EDT)

In an item we missed a couple of days ago, HP has announced its new PSC-500 printer/scanner/copier all-in-one machine. The PSC 500 is expected to retail at a street price of US$399 on October 1, and features photo-quality color printing using HP's PhotoREtII technology at at up to 6.5 pages per minute (PPM). Black and White printing is at speeds of up to 9 pages per minute, whilst color copying is at 3 copies per minute (CPM) and monochrome copying is at 5 CPM.

No resolution is specified for either the printing or scanning/copying functions of the unit, which also features one-touch copying modes for making wallet-sized photos, posters, auto-fitting documents to a page, putting two originals on one page or even reversing an image for use on an iron-on T-shirt transfer...

UMAX to show at Seybold San Francisco!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 17:16 EDT)

UMAX has annouced today its plans for this year's Seybold San Francisco 99, running from 08/31 to 09/02/99. The company intends to demonstrate its new PowerColor scanning software, as well as its PowerLook 3000, PowerLook III, PowerLook F3, and Mirage II professional scanners and Astra prosumer/business scanners. The company will also announce a promotion targetted at graphics professionals in conjunction with Pantone.

Agfa ScanWise soon to be ready for SnapScan 1236S owners!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 17:12 EDT)

Agfa Corp.'s Desktop Products Group has distributed a press release today announcing that it is now accepting registrations from Agfa SnapScan 1236S owners wanting to be informed of the release of the new ScanWise driver for their scanners. SnapScan 1236S owners can register at, to receive an email when the driver is ready for download.

Matsushita, SanDisk, Toshiba cooperate on secure Flash card!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 17:06 EDT)

A press release today announces that Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (better known as Panasonic), SanDisk Corp. and Toshiba Corp. have joined forces in creating a standard for a new secure Flash memory card. The new SD Memory Card seems to be based on SanDisk's MultiMediaCard format, as SD Memory Card slots will also be able to accept MultiMediaCards. The SD Memory card adds copy protection, SDMI (Secure Digital Music Exchange) compatibility, and capacities of up to 256MB by 2001. 32MB SD card samples should begin in the first quarter of next year, with volume shipments commencing in the second quarter. 64MB SD cards should become available later in the year. Whilst these cards seem to be designed with portable audio players in mind, there's every possibility that they may work their way into other markets too...

Meanwhile, the PC Watch website has posted photos of the new cards, both by themselves and in comparison with other media including CompactFlash, SmartMedia, and MemoryStick...

Kodak PictureCD hardware provided by Rimage!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 16:28 EDT)

A press release today from Rimage Corp. announces that the company's CD-recording systems are used as the base for Kodak PictureCD makers used in Qualex's photofinishing labs across the USA. Qualex runs labs at many retailers, including CVS, Eckerd Drug, Kmart, Target and Walgreens, and its Rimage Perfect Image® Producer Autostar System is used to transfer customers' images onto PictureCDs. Autostar and its supporting system is based on dual-400MHz PentiumII processors.

Receiver appointed to assist ITEC with turnaround!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 16:21 EDT)

Imaging Technologies Corp. (ITEC), well-known for its color management and printer controller products amongst others, has announced that is has had an Operational Receiver appointed to it by the San Diego Superior Court. ITEC is in the process of turning around its business, and the Receiver was requested by Imperial Bank (who've provided lines of credit to ITEC) to assist in the process.

Best Buy to to demonstrate digital imaging at Minnesota State Fair!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 16:17 EDT)

A press release from retailer Best Buy Co., Inc. announces that it will have a presence at the Minnesota State Fair... Best Buy will be demonstrating digital imaging, with a live demonstration of a digital camera, PC and printer used together as a "virtual photo studio". Attendees will be given a "digital image on a stick" to take home... Sounds - well, rather curious really. ;)

Digital Imaging Secrets - Revealed!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 3:46 EDT)

IR readers attending the Seybold San Francisco show, you won't want to miss this! We've heard news of the line-up for John Henshall's full-day Digital Imaging Secrets special interest session (Monday 30 August 1999), and it sounds like it could be a real slugfest of the spinmeisters!

Not only will attendees get to see the new Leaf Cantare and Foveon's new studio digital camera first-hand, but they can expect to be treated to presentations from both Nikon and Kodak regarding their much-anticipated D1 and DCS330/660 digital cameras! To make things even more interesting, Digital Imaging Secrets is to be host to the first fully-working Nikon D1, as well as the first working models of both the DCS330 and DCS660! John will be showing images taken with both cameras himself, and giving his own expert opinions based on his own use of the cameras in the days before the session... The day is being seen by many as a demonstration of just how ready Nikon is to meet their product readiness claims on the D1, and doubtless the industry is watching to see how Nikon answers this...

We simply cannot do the session justice in a brief summary, but to give you an idea of what can be expected, here's the schedule for a show, which really is a Who's Who of digital imaging heavyweights!

"Schedule for the day (subject to change):

10:30am - 12:00noon
Digital Imaging State of the Art - part one

Top designers of the most important and up-to-the-minute products share the secrets of their new features and design philosophy and functionality. The latest. Here first.

FOVEON - Ray DeMoulin, President & CEO, Foveon
LEAF CANTARE - Yossi Ben Shoshan, Leaf Scitex
NIKON D1 - Tadashi Nakayama, Nikon Inc
12:00noon -1:00pm
Top Ten Products in Sixty Minutes

Which digital camera? Which scanner? Which software? Which printer?
With new products every week, it's almost impossible to keep up to date. In an exciting quick-fire presentation, we sort out some of the very best and tell you what makes them stand out. The informed independent view, by these top industry experts, analysts and consultants:

JOE BYRD - Chief Operating Officer,
KATRIN EISMANN - Artist, Author and Educator
ALEXIS GERARD - Publisher, The Future Image Report
JOHN LARISH - Co-publisher, Electronic Photography News
FRED SHIPPEY - Electronic imaging consultant
JOHN HENSHALL - Digital Imaging Contributor, Seybold Publications
1:00pm - 2:00pm

2:00pm - 3:00pm
Digital Imaging State of the Art - part two

KODAK DCS330 - Peter Jameson, Eastman Kodak Company
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP 5.5 - Katrin Eismann, Artist, Author and Educator
3:00pm - 3:45pm
Photojournalism, Web and Business Imaging - part one

Photojournalism was the first area of photography to go digital, enabling it to take competitive advantage of high speed delivery. Web imaging, on the other hand, has always had to be digital: there is no alternative. In going digital, Business imaging has acquired a wide variety of useful new facilities along the way. A panel of specialists in these fields examine where we're at, where we're going next, and how to manage the resultant assets.

DAVID HANDSCHUH - Vice President, National Press Photographers Association
CRAIG McGOWAN - Digital imaging Group
3:45pm - 4:15pm

4:15pm - 5:00pm
Photojournalism, Web and Business Imaging - part two

Dr MICHAEL McCREARY - General Manager, Microelectronics Technology Division, Eastman Kodak Company
5:00pm - 6:00pm
Experts' Secrets and Answers

Our panel of experienced users has blazed the trail in digital photography. They now share with you what they have found to be the best route to the successful implementation of digital imaging and -- just as importantly -- what to avoid. This is your shortcut to the best way to go.

STEPHEN JOHNSON - Photographer

PC Watch posts Japanese Digicam Rankings!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 25, 1999 - 2:24 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted its fortnightly sales rankings for the period 8/9/99 to 8/22/99, with several significant changes from the previous fortnight. Of particular note are the debut of Sanyo's DSC-SX150, Epson's CP-800 and Olympus' C-21, whilst Nikon's Coolpix950 plummets presumably again due to stock shortages...

1 (1)
Fuji FinePix1500
¥62,800 (US$566)
2 (2)
Olympus C-2000ZOOM
¥113,000 (US$1020)
3 (3)
Olympus C-900ZOOM
¥89,800 (US$810)
4 (4)
Sony DSC-F55K
¥115,000 (US$1038)
5 (6)
Fuji FinePix2700
¥94,800 (US$855)
6 (new)
Sanyo DSC-SX150
¥78,000 (US$704)
7 (8)
Fuji FinePix2900Z
¥99,800 (US$900)
8 (new)
Epson CP-800
¥99,800 (US$900)
9 (5)
Nikon Coolpix950
¥125,000 (US$1128)
10 (new)
Olympus Camedia C-21
¥89,000 (US$803)

Tuesday, August 24, 1999

PC Watch posts Olympus C-2500L sample pictures!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 24, 1999 - 17:37 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted sample pictures from Olympus' newly announced C-2500L digital camera today. The body text notes that photos are from a development version of the camera and hence may not be fully representative of reulst from the final camera. Yamada also notes that he has been unable to take his standard comparison pictures for the zoom lens, nor outdoor pictures in good weather, simply because the weather hasn't been great since receiving the camera...

The pictures are as follows:

 - 6 indoor shots
- 4 outdoor shots
- 3 macro shots
- A picture of a basket of flowers, shot on Aperture
priority AE
- An outdoor shot of a child under overcast conditions,
shot using auto white balance.
- An indoors flash shot of a child using the camera's
internal flash
- An indoors flash shot of several children, using
an unspecified external flash
PC watch also has a page covering the announcement of the C-2500L in Japan; the page has several pictures of the camera itself, as well as a picture of the newly announced flash, a USB CompactFlash adapter and the planned Optical Disk storage media for digital cameras.

d# Digital Press previews Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F505K!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 24, 1999 - 17:25 EDT)

The d# Digital Press website has posted a review of Sony's new Cyber-shot DSC-F505K digital camera, accompanied by a number of sample images from the new unit. The camera reviewed was a development unit, and so may not be completely representative of the final version in the stores, however should still give an indication of what can be expected...

The review starts off by describing Sony Japan's hype-filled gradual unveiling of the camera on its website, then goes on to mention that the most interesting point revealed amongst this was the 5x (equivalent to 38-190mm) Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar optical zoom lens. (The reviewer describes Carl Zeiss as "distinguished".) He then notes that the camera however lacks any form of optical viewfinder, relying solely on the LCD, although fortunately this is a sunlight assisted type. He describes the camera as being a zoom-lens mounted on a Cyber-shot, rather than a zoom lens in a Cyber-shot, however notes that this is simply because the lens is the main feature of the camera and is simply too big to be fitten inside it.

Next, the reviewer notes that the camera tested was a development model, and that it may give different pictures to the final version. He also notes that all pictures were taken in the "fine" setting.

The first two pictures are rather impressive showing a scene from Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", with a massive recreation of Gulliver having been staked and tied to the ground by the Lilliputian Army. The two photos, taken from the same location, show the strength of the camera's 5x optical zoom lens. The reviewer describes the lens as being far larger than the camera body itself, and feels that perhaps rather than being called a "rotateable lens", Sony should be describing the unit as having an angle-changeable body! He notes that because the body is so small, and the shutter-button is not positioned well, it is difficult to hold the camera firmly and he was worried about accidentally dropping it. He goes on to note that focusing is similar to Sony's DSC-F55K, although the shutter lag is really too long. He does go on to note, however, that once you go to the 5x optical zoom you really do find yourself using it, and anything less would simply be insufficient. Overall, he finds the camera to be good despite its faults...

The next seven pictures are outdoor shots, demonstrating the sharpness and color to be expected from the unit. The reviewer notes that again, essentially the camera is similar in picture quality to Sony's DSC-F55K, the pictures being very sharp, although he felt that sometimes the colors seemed a bit peculiar. One particular problem he did note was that of lens flare, which the lens seems to be particularly prone to... He notes however that the adjustable lens design does allow for picture taking in other difficult circumstances, such as over the top of a crowd of people by holding the camera over your head and pointing the LCD down towards yourself. He also found that, being able to swivel the body the other way allowed the user to take very low-angle shots, and with the LCD being a reflective type the screen was still visible even in this position.

The following two pictures show the macro capabilities of the camera. He notes that the photos show the smaller depth of field to be expected in macro shooting, and also show that the camera handles greens quite nicely.

Five more photos demonstrate the low-light capabilities of the camera, whilst the reviewer describes the low-light capabilities of the unit. He notes that the camera has a button specifically for white balance, rather than forcing you to go through the menu system to change white balance as in the DSC-F55K. He also points out that, thanks to the white balance hold, it is possible to deliberately trick the camera into setting the white balance wrongly, and give interesting effects to pictures. He also notes that it is possible to take pictures in the late afternoon and evening without having to boost the ISo rating of the camera, thanks to the ability to take longer exposures up to 1/8 of a second, in shutter and aperture priority modes. He also liked the fact that if the autofocus wasn't able to handle low light conditions, you could use the manual focus and LCD to focus reasonably well instead... Finally, he notes that a focus indicator on the LCD shows when the camera is correctly focused.

Last of all, the reviewer demonstrates the MPEG1 movie capabilities of the camera, showing a Hakodate tram going past the camera. He notes that whilst he didn't use the zoom in the clip, it is perfectly possible to zoom in and out whilst the video clip is recording. Finally, he points out that dial-up users may want to be aware that the file size of the 320 x 240 pixel clip is a whopping 1.31 megabytes...
Thanks to IR Reader Scott Grieff for catching the two translation errors that slipped into this item (corrected above in italics)...

Flaspoint, MetaCreations work on MetaFlash!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 24, 1999 - 14:32 EDT)

A press release today from Flashpoint Technology Inc. and MetaCreations Corp. previews the two companies' MetaFlash technology for Digita Operating System-based digital cameras. MetaFlash, which we've mentioned several times on this news page over the past months, is a combination of a special flash attachment, Digita camera script and MetaCreations desktop software which takes a number of 2-dimensional images of an object, and creates a 3-dimensional textured wireframe model of the object from them. Digital cameras from Kodak and Minolta are expected to use the technology, with Minolta's MetaFlash-ready Dimage EX1500 expected to reach the market by the end of the year!

Olympus announces D-450 Zoom/C-920 Zoom!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 24, 1999 - 14:02 EDT)

Olympus also announced its new D-450 Zoom digital camera today. To be called the C-920 Zoom in Europe (thanks to Steve's Digicams for this), the D-450 Zoom is essentially an upgraded D-400 Zoom. The unit shares the same 3x optical zoom lens and 1.3 megapixel CCD as its predecessor, with the following changes:

 - ISO selectable from 160, 320, 640 or auto; was
ISO 100 on D-400Z.
- LCD Display now viewable in bright light and from
any angle
- Improved flash range
- Slow Sync flash capability
- Improved burst-mode and shot-shot speeds
- New champagne-gold colored housing

Olympus announces C-2500L digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 24, 1999 - 13:42 EDT)

Olympus today announced its new 2.5 megapixel SLR-design C-2500L digital camera. The C-2500L is being billed by Olympus as "the world’s first 2.5 megapixel (1712 X 1368) filmless digital camera in the consumer marketplace (sub $1500 retail price) featuring revolutionary “TruePic” technology for professional photographic quality" (rather a mouthful!). The camera features a true SLR design, 2.5 megapixel CCD, 3x 9.2-28mm (36-110mm equivalent on a 35mm camera) optical all-glass zoom lens, built-in flash, hot-shoe, exposure control and more. The TruePic technology mentioned is an Olympus chip, which according to Olympus "[allows] the C-2500L to manage the image in the camera for truer color, contrast, and tonal gradation, producing a more realistic color photograph."

 - Olympus C-2500L Digital Camera
- 2/3" 2.5 megapixel CCD
- 1712 x 1368 pixel image size (4 x 5 aspect ratio
matches that of traditional film), also 1280 x
1024 or 640 x 480.
- "TruePic" technology
- SLR design with 95% centered optical viewfinder
and dioptric correction
- Non-changeable all-glass 3x optical zoom lens;
9.2-28mm, equivalent to 36-110mm on a 35mm camera.
7-element aspheric type, 43mm lens thread,
- Auto and manual focusing. Minimum focus distance
0.8 to 24 inches in Super-Macro mode, 12 to 24
inches in Macro mode, 24 inches to infinity in
normal autofocus and 12 inches to infinity in
manual focus mode. Low-light AutoFocus illuminator
- 1.8 inch HAST 122,000 pixel LCD display with
2x/4x playback zoom
and scroll.
- Built-in flash (Auto, red-eye reduction, fill-in,
slow synchro with first or second curtain sync,
and off)
- Hot-shoe for external flash
- NTSC video out connectivity
- Programmed AE, Aperture priority and Manual
exposure modes. Exposure correction +/- 2EV in 1/3
EV steps. Exposure detection is TTL.
- Center-weighted or spot metering
- Shutter speeds 1/10,000-1/2 second (auto) or
1/10,000-8 seconds (manual)

- ISO 100, 200 and 400
- Auto, 6-preset manual (from 3000K to 6500K), or
manual hold white-balance modes. White balancing
is TTL.
- 16MB DRAM buffer and dual processors for higher
performance. Burst mode allows 5 photos in 3
seconds in any resolution.
- DCF/EXIF file format, Uncompressed TIFF or JPEG
files. JPEG compression 2.3:1 or 8:1 at 1712 x
1368; 8:1 at 1280 x 1024; 8:1 at 640 x 480.
- DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compliant
- Dual CompactFlash/SmartMedia slots allows use of
either Type-I CompactFlash cards or SmartMedia
cards (maximum size unspecified, but 64MB
SmartMedia compatible)
- Will ship in October 1999 at an estimated street
price of $1499, including a 32MB SmartMedia card,
NiMH batteries and charger, Camedia Master image
editing and download software, Enroute
QuickStitch panorama software, lens cap, strap
and user manual
- Optional Accessory Kit includes a fitted leather
camera case, 4 additional Olympus NiMH batteries,
AC adapter, and Extensis Portfolio image cataloging
software for $99.
- FL-40 flash (30-foot range), B-28 wide angle lens,
1.45X Telephoto lens, PCMCIA SmartMedia adapter,
Flashpath Floppy Disk-SmartMedia adapter also
Updated 14:21 EST; items in italic courtesy of Steve's Digicams!

Thumber Version 3 released!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 24, 1999 - 2:29 EDT)

News on the newsgroup is that Max Lyons has released the latest version of his popular Thumber program. Thumber v3 is described as "the biggest update in Thumber's history", and adds numerous oft-requested features as well as incorporating a number of bug-fixes. The new version also marks another change, in that the program has moved from being freeware to shareware. At the time of writing, we were unable to connect to Max's server to confirm the details, but I'm sure that given the number of features in the program, it will be well worth registering!

Changes in version 3 include:

 - Added ability to generate thumbnails (of any
size) from any JPG file, including those without
embedded thumbnails. Thus, Thumber can now create
web pages and thumbnails from any JPG files,
including "rotated" thumbnails for images that
have been rotated. JPEG quality setting can be
specified by user. User can choose to extract
embedded thumbnails, or generate new thumbnails
for digital camera images.

- Added ability to create resized versions of the
original images when making web pages. Image can
be resized to specified dimensions (in pixels) or
a specified percentage of original image. HTML page
can be created with links to resized images or
originals (resized versions do not replace
originals) and can be of user-defined size and

- Added "Create master index web page" option. This
creates an HTML index page with links to all
thumbnail pages generated in subdirectories.

- Added ability to 'mark' images individually as
they are viewed, and then build a web page (and/or
extract thumbnails) using these marked images.

- Added ability to update file time/date stamp for
multiple files and/or multiple directories

- Added font face and color options to HTML page

- Added "hide border" around thumbnail option to
HTML page creation.

- Added user-defined start number for counter when
renaming files. Number of digits in counter can
also be specified.

- Significantly increased rename speed if the counter
(%C) is the only variable used.

- Expanded program size to 640x480.

- Added/updated Support for Olympus 400, Olympus 2000,
Kodak 240, Kodak 265, Ricoh 5000, Fuji 600 (Fuji
1500, 2900 preliminary support), Nikon 700.

- Fixed rotation problem ("File not found" error) on
Windows NT systems.

- Fixed multiple-directory renaming.

- Eliminated 'Error 9' when generating web pages from
multiple directories.

- Eliminated 'Error 6' when extracting thumbnails
from some Kodak cameras.

- Thumber now uses the system temp directory for

- HTML pages now correctly show exposure times of
greater than 1 second.

- Finally fixed ExposureEV/BrightnessEV reporting.

- Fixed "zero" bug when renaming files by hour.

- Fixed incorrect reporting of am/pm.

- Fixed "am/pm" bug when renaming files by hour if
filetime is between 12:00:00pm and 12:59:59pm.

- Renamed files using 12 hour time format include
leading zero for times 01:00am - 09:59am.

- Pressing the "Next File" button will display the
first image in a directory if no image is currently

- Removed the extra <H1> tag in page title.

- Add/Append/Remove comments to multiple file menu
items work again. Buttons always worked!

Monday, August 23, 1999

Sienna Imaging introduces Pro digital camera backs!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 23, 1999 - 23:45 EDT)

The PMA International Daily Newsline has posted a news item reporting that Englewood, CA company Sienna Imaging is introducing its first line of digital camera backs. The Luma is a one-shot unit for action, models and portraiture, whilst the TreLuma is a three-shot version for product and catalog shots, as well as black and white work. Both units have a resolution of 6 megapixels at 14 bits per pixel, and are compact, with FireWire connectivity, live video and a quick release mechanism allowing them to be rotated four ways.

PC Watch posts Sony DSC-F505K sample pics!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 23, 1999 - 23:36 EDT)

PC Watch, ever on the ball, has already posted its sample pictures from Sony's DSC-F505K digital camera. The page briefly mentions the specifications of the unit (covered in an earlier news item today), before the sample pictures as follows:

 - 3 indoor pictures
- 4 outdoor pictures
- 2 night pictures
- 2 "people" pictures
- Wide, Tele and Tele + Digital zoom pictures
- Effects pictures (Normal, Sepia, Black and White,
Solarize, and Negative modes)
- 3 Macro pictures
- Aperture Priority AE picture
- Standard Compression Wide, Tele, and Tele +
Digital zoom pictures
- Fine Compression Wide, Tele, and Tele +
Digital zoom pictures
- Fine and Standard Compression pictures using a
wide angle converter
- 4 MPEG-1 videos, 320 x 240 pixel

Digital Photography Review posts D1 hands-on!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 23, 1999 - 23:23 EDT)

Phil Askey's Digital Photography Review website has posted a hands-on with Nikon's D1 digital camera. Phil was fortunate enough to be able to view a pre-production camera at the Singapore Camera Show. Phil had this to say: "Wow.. even though this was a pre-production camera it was FAST, very FAST, shooting was just like a traditional high-end SLR, just shoot as you want, in playback scrolling between images and switching to thumbnail view is almost instantaneous and you get a really good shoot-the-moment feeling from this camera. Interestingly, there isn't a distinction between shooting and playback modes, if you switch the LCD on you're reviewing images you've shot and the jog wheel no longer operates the focus points but you can still shoot images, turning the LCD off and the jog wheel controls focus points once more (unless you lock it)." Check the full preview out at the Digital Photography Review website.

InfoTrends releases Japanese digicam market research!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 23, 1999 - 18:50 EDT)

A press release today from InfoTrends Research Group Inc. announces the results of a new study into the Japanese digital camera marketplace. Apparently, the Japanese low-end digicam market is growing by 33% annually, and is set to reach 5.8 million units by 2003. The market growth is slowing, however, and non-PC owning households must be attracted to ensure continued growth. By 2003, the report expects over 50% of digicam purchases in Japan to be by non-PC owning households. Meanwhile, shipments next year for the US market are expected to surpass those for Japan for the first time.

Philips introduces low-cost tethered camera chip!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 23, 1999 - 18:08 EDT)

Philips Semiconductors has announced a new low-cost USB tethered digital camera interface chip. The SAA8115 chip sits in between the VGA resolution CCD, and the USB interface, compressing the video up to 8x, (allowing 15 VGA frames per second, or 30 in CIF and QCIF formats), before formatting the video and sound in USB packets. The new interface chip is compatible with CCD sensors from suppliers such as Panasonic, Sharp and Sony, and is available in quantities greater than 10,000 at $6.50 per piece. A USB Camera reference design is also available, based on a VGA progressive scan CCD sensor and the TDA8784, SAA8112 and SAA8115 chipset.

A big news day at Sony!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 23, 1999 - 13:46 EDT)

Sony Electronics Inc. today announced a number of new products for the US marketplace. Up first (and of most interest to our readers) is the Cyber-shot DSC-F505, a 2.1 megapixel unit which we've reported on several times recently. Sony Japan opted for a gradual "unveiling" of the camera, culminating in the full specifications and sample images. Sony USA, however, went for a much more news-friendly approach, simply announcing the camera and specifications in a press release this morning. Without any further delay, here's the full specifications of the unit:

 - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F505
- 2.11 megapixel 1/2" CCD
- 1600 x 1200, 1024 x 768 or 640 x 480 pixel image size
- Carl Zeiss "Vario-sonar" 5x optical zoom lens
equiv. to 38-190mm on a 35mm camera
- 10x digital zoom
- Playback Zoom allows cropping and saving 640 x
480 pixel section of an image to reduce file size
- 2" LCD display
- USB or RS-232 serial interface
- A/V out (user-switcheable PAL/NTSC)
- MemoryStick storage media
- In-camera copying of files from MemoryStick to
- Auto/indoor/outdoor/hold white balance settings
- Spot metering capability
- Programmable AE, shutter priority, aperture
priority modes
- MPEG movie mode (Presentation, 320 x 240; Video
Mail, 160 x 112)
- Voice Memo mode
- Twilight and Twilight Plus modes
- Landscape and Pan Focus modes
- Sepia, Black & White, Solarize or Negative effects
- Uses InfoLithium batteries, with about 60 minutes
battery life per charge, and time remaining display.
Also announced today by Sony USA were:

 - 32MB MemorySticks (due to ship in October for
- 64MB MemorySticks (to ship in December for $189.95)
- Floppy Disk Adapter for MemorySticks (MSAC-FD1A,
due to ship in November for $99.95)
- Memory Stick PC Card adapter, (MSAC-PC2 due to
ship in October for $79.95, and in excess of twice
the speed of the MSAC-PC1 adapter. This unit is
already shipping with Sony's DSC-D770, which your
trusty news editor owns, and with the new reader
my MemoryStick is actually faster than my 128MB
ATA flash card - although still only half the speed
of Lexar's 8x cards in my informal, unscientific
testing :)
Finally, Sony USA announced its DCR-PC100 digital camcorder today, a unit which we covered the Japanese launch of several days ago. Here's the details:

 - Sony DCR-PC100 Digital Video Handycam
- 1/4" HAD Megapixel CCD
- 1152 x 864 pixel still images, 520-line video
- 10x optical/120x digital zoom lens
- 2.5" swivelscreen 200K-pixel LCD display
- i.LINK DV interface
- RS-232 serial interface
- Analog audio/video input and outputs
- Able to save 304 megapixel images on a 64MB
- 2.5" x 5" x 4 7/8", weighs 1 lb. 3 oz.
- InfoLithium batteries, with time remaining feature
- NightShot InfraRed system (0 lux, slow shutter mode)
- LaserLink wireless transmission system
- SteadyShot picture stabilisation
- Black & White, Sepia, Negative, Solarize, Pastel,
Slim, Stretch, and Mosaic effects
- Old Movie, Luminance Key, Flash Motion, Still, Slow
Shutter, and Trail modes
- Memory Chroma Key, Camera Chroma Key and Memory
Luminance Key modes allow still and video pictures
to be combined
- Intelligent Accessory Shoe allows accessories to be
controlled by the camera, eg. a zoom microphone
automatically alters its pickup to match the lens.
- PictureGear Windows software, AC Adapter, wireless
remote control, lens cap/hood and 4MB MemoryStick
bundled with the camcorder
- Available in October at an MSRP of $2,199.

Friday, August 20, 1999

DCRP posts Casio QV-8000SX sample pics!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 20, 1999 - 18:46 EDT)

The Digital Camera Resource Page has posted its first impressions on Casio's new QV-8000SX digital camera today, as well as some sample pictures and videos in a web-page assembled by the camera itself... Jeff particularly liked the menu system, the big bright LCD display, the in-camera HTML files and the 8x optical zoom, but found the camera a bit flimsy feeling and not the most up-to-date in terms of resolution (1.3 megapixel).

PC watch posts Sanyo DSC-SX150 sample pics!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 20, 1999 - 18:18 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted sample pictures and videos from Sanyo's new DSC-SX150 digital camera today. The camera goes on sale today in Japan, and hence the photos are taken using the final version of the camera and are representative of what users can expect. The Sanyo DSC-SX150 yields pictures of 1,360 x 1,024 pixels. Sample photos include:

 - 4 indoor shots
- 5 outdoor daytime shots
- 1 flash shot
- 3 close-up still life shots
- 2 "people" shots (good for looking at flesh tones)
- 7 indoor "bracketed exposure" shots
- 7 outdoor "bracketed exposure" shots
- 10 burst-mode shots
- 2 compression comparison shots (Normal, Fine)
- 4 ISO comparison shots (ISO100,200,400,AUTO)
- 2 unknown shots (sorry, couldn't translate this!)
- 4 QuickTime videos (320 x 240, 2.7MB; 320 x 240,
582KB; 640 x 480, 2.2MB; 640 x 480, 1.7MB)

Arthur Bleich announces Fall Digiphoto 101!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 20, 1999 - 18:07 EDT)

We received an email today from Arthur Bleich, Contributing Editor of Digital Camera Magazine, announcing that he is now accepting applications for his Digiphoto 101 Fall Class. Arthur's class instructs both beginner and intermediate students in the technical and creative aspects of digital photography, with 10 sessions including lighting, color, texture, composition and more... The summer class is nearing its completion, so you can see examples of the work produced by students on Arthur's site to give you an idea of what it's all about!

Ricoh to release RDC-100G!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 20, 1999 - 14:46 EDT)

A press release today from SanDisk Corp. announces that it will be supplying 4MB CompactFlash cards for Ricoh's RDC-100G digital camera. The RDC-100G features a rugged, rubberized design, and is both water resistant and designed to be easy to use even through work gloves. It features a 1.08 Megapixel CCD, 1.8-inch LCD, video output and CompactFlash storage... The camera is already available in Japan, but Ricoh apparently plans to release the unit worldwide later this year.

Thursday, August 19, 1999

PC Watch posts Japanese pricing data!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 19, 1999 - 19:08 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted its pricing data for the period July 22 - August 18, covering three major stores in Tokyo's Shinjuku and Akibahara districts. Of note as well as the price changes are the following:

 - Kodak DC280J Zoom reaches market at ¥69,800 (US$607)
- Olympus C-21 reaches market at ¥69,800 (US$607)
- Nikon Coolpix950 out of stock at all three stores
- Canon PowerShot Pro70, Olympus C-830L, Casio
QV-5500SX, Konica DG-1 and Sony DSC-D770 out of
stock at one of the three stores surveyed.

Fuji Finepix2900Z¥71,800 (US$625)-¥8,000 (10%)
Epson CP-800¥69,800 (US$607)-¥5,000 (7%)
Konica Q-M200¥49,800 (US$433)-¥10,000 (17%)
Sony DSC-F55K¥79,700 (US$693)-¥100 (0.1%)
Olympus C-900ZOOM¥49,700 (US$432)-¥100 (0.2%)
Sanyo DSC-SX1Z¥49,800 (US$433)-¥10,000 (17%)
Sony DSC-D770¥175,000 (US$1522.25)-¥10,800 (6%)
Casio QV-5500SX¥39,800 (US$346.26)-¥5,000 (11%)
Fuji FinePix500¥34,800 (US$303)-¥5,000 (13%)
Sony MVC-FD91¥94,800 (US$825)-¥13,200 (12%)
Sanyo DSC-X110¥39,800 (US$346.26)-¥5,000 (11%)
Sony MVC-FD73¥54,800 (US$477)-¥5,000 (8%)

Sony announces 32, 64MB MemorySticks!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 19, 1999 - 18:19 EDT)

Sony Japan has announced new higher-capacity MemoryStick media, presumably in preparation for the final announcement of its new Cyber-shot digital camera. The new 64MB MemoryStick media will go on sale November 21, at a price of ¥20,000 (US$174). The specifications of the new MemoryStick are as follows:

Capacity          - 64MB
Connector - 10 pins
Interface - Serial
Clock speed - 20MHz or less
Write speed - 1.5MB/s or less
Read speed - 2.45MB/s or less
Voltage - 2.7 to 3.6V
Power Consumption - 45mA (Standby); 130mA (Operation)
Dimensions - 21.5 x 50 x 2.8 mm
Weight - 4 grams

At the same time, Sony has added its 32MB MemoryStick media (which has been shipping for some time in Japan) to its US website, as the cards are now starting to ship here...

Sony announces megapixel digital camcorder!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 19, 1999 - 18:09 EDT)

Sony Japan has announced its new DCR-PC100 digital Handi-Cam, featuring the highest resolution CCD of any home camcorder! The unit has a 1/4" 1.07 megapixel CCD, which gives still images in a resolution of 1152 x 864 pixels, and should go on sale in Japan at a price of ¥235,000 (US$2050) on September 21. The unit, of which 15,000 will be made monthly, also features a 2.5" foldout LCD display, Sony's Progressive Shutter System to reduce motion blurring, a 40x "precision digital zoom", a 10x optical zoom (equivalent to 48-480mm on a 35mm camera) and a whole lot more:

 - MiniDV cassette and MemoryStick storage
- 1/4" 1.07 megapixel CCD
- Recording time 80 minutes in SP (LP=120)
- Battery life 400 minutes max (NP-FM90)
- Image stabilisation (active image area type)
- F1.8-2.2 4.2-42mm lens equivalent to 48-480mm on
a 35mm camera
- 37mm lens thread
- 10x optical and 40x digital zoom
- Shutter speed 1/4 - 1/4000 second (program AE)
- Operates down to 15 lux (0 lux in NightShot mode)
- Saves still images in 640 x 480 or 1152 x 864
pixel JPEG format
- 180,000 pixel 0.55" viewfinder
- 200,000 pixel 2.5" LCD display
- InfoLithium batteries
- Consumes 3.9 watts on viewfinder (4.4 watts when
using the LCD)
- Dimensions 61 x 127 x 123 mm
- Weight 550 grams (up to 790 grams with NP-FM90
battery and DV tape)
Thanks to an anonymous reader for catching our double-whammy typo! posts panorama tutorial!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 19, 1999 - 17:41 EDT)

The website has posted the first in what is to be a series of "lessons" teaching readers the best way to create stunning panoramas. Part 1 takes readers into ways to select the right control method for your camera, and how to ensure the best exposures. One particularly good tip is to ensure that on "difficult" (ie. very bright or dark pictures) you bracket your exposures; another tip is to expose for both inside and outside the building in indoor shots where external windows are visible, merging the results later on to ensure that both the room itself and the view outside are correctly exposed. Also looked at are how to determine the nodal point and axis of rotation of your camera, and how many photos you'll need to make a good panorama... Great stuff!

Epson PhotoPC 800 hits the market in Europe!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 19, 1999 - 17:23 EDT)

The website has noted that Epson's PhotoPC 800 digital camera is now shipping in Europe. The camera features a 2.1 megapixel CCD, 38-mm fixed focal length lens, CompactFlash storage, and USB/serial connectivity, and should retail at around EUR700.

MGI announces PhotoSuite III!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 19, 1999 - 16:24 EDT)

MGI Software has announced its new MGI PhotoSuite III Platinum Edition. The new version, due to ship next month at a street price of about US$49, adds a number of new features including:

 - Panorama Stitching
- PhotoTapestry (create mosaics made up of thousands
of thumbnail images from one main image)
- More photo-quality templates (now over 1200!)
- New special effects (unspecified)
- new Master Album for organising all your albums

Addonics announces USB Pocket Memory Reader!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 19, 1999 - 15:28 EDT)

Addonics Technologies has announced its new Pocket Memory Reader, a tiny, lightweight USB CompactFlash reader with an iMac-style translucent teal case. The unit, weighing only 4.5 ounces, and measuring some 1.46 x 1.69 x 0.13 inches, should ship next week at an anticipated price of US$79.

Wednesday, August 18, 1999

Steve's Digicams posts Canon S10 datasheet!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 20:52 EDT)

The fine folks over at Steve's Digicams have posted a datasheet from Canon, with specifications for the previously-rumored Canon S10 digital camera. The S10 is a 2.1 megapixel successor to the PowerShot A50 digital camera, and is billed by Canon as "the world's smallest (as of July, 1999) and lightest 2-megapixel digital camera with zoom lens and built-in flash". Here's the rest of the specs:

 - Type I & Type II CompactFlash card storage
- USB, RS-232 and NTSC connectivity
- High-res low-distortion all-glass 2x zoom
lens (equivalent to 35-70mm f/2.8-4.0 on
a 35mm camera)
- 2/4x digital zoom
- Selectable ISO up to 400
- Spot metering
- AE lock
- "Omni selector" (?)
- Bundled with: Camera, wrist-strap, video
cable, interface cables, PowerShot
Solutions CD-Rom, 2CR5 Lithium battery,
8MB CompactFlash card w/case, and user's

Matsushita to launch digital video camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 20:44 EDT)

Matsushita has produced a light-weight digital video camera called the Compact Multi DigiCam, according to a Comline News Service item covered by the PMA International Daily Newsline. The video camera is to be launched August 27th, and accepts mini-DV tapes or MultiMediaCards. The blue and silver design echoes that of the powerMac G3 series computers that it is designed to go hand in hand with, and the camera should retail at a price of ¥298,000 (US$2599) with 1000 units being made each month.
Thanks to IR Reader Jason Watkins for catching our deliberate error (no, honestly!) in this item... :)

Sony continues with Cyber-shot teasers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 20:38 EDT)

Sony has continued to post more teasers on its upcoming Cyber-shot camera, the latest installments showing the camera to have a large lens protruding from the body which can be swivelled upwards to 90 degrees, or downwards to an angle of 50 degrees, and also highlighting the movie capability of the unit. The Digital Photography Review website has posted what they believe to be the full specifications of the camera (although no source is quoted). The unit is believed to be called the DSC-F505, and to have the following specifications:

2.1 megapixel 1600 x 1200 CCD
5x optical zoom Carl Zeiss lens
2x digital zoom
2" sunlight-assisted LCD screen
No optical viewfinder
Auto and Manual focusing
Aperture and Shutter priority modes
Spot Metering
Auto or Manual white balance
Macro mode
Vertically rotating lens assembly (+90 to -50 degrees)
Internal pop-up flash
MemoryStick storage
MPEG movie capability
InfoLithium batteries
USB and Serial connectivity
Video out
Price around US$950
Avilability believed to be October 1999

The final announcement from Sony looks to be coming the day after tomorrow (unless they're going to go for another row of daily icons in the hopes of more mentions in the news!!) posts Olympus C-2000 lab report!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 20:18 EDT)

The website has posted the next in its series of lab reports, this time for Olympus' C-2000 ZOOM digital camera. The reports follow a style that simply describes the operation of the camera, rather than attempting to draw conclusions, and so can be somewhat difficult to summarise - but that said, the title on one section seemed to sum up the reviewer's opinion quite succintly: "[The C-2000's] operation leaves little to be desired"...

Next up to be reviewed is Sony's DSC-D770 (one example of which your news editor is still enjoying greatly, the manual controls making for great fun as below!)

Pentium III owners - get a free personalised mug!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 15:22 EDT), a personalised photo finishing company, has announced a great offer for owners of Pentium III processor-based PCs... In cooperation with Intel's website, iPrint is offering a free personalised coffee mug to the first 20,000 IntelWebOutfitter members to visit through the link on the WebOutfitter site. The WebOutfitter site is for owners of Pentium III processor-based machines only, and does actually confirm that your PC is using a P-III processor as part of the free registration process, but if you can meet this requirement you're eligible for the free mug (including free shipping)...

The offer runs for the first 20,000 applicants through early October, and iPrint's site allows you to customise the graphics and fonts used, reposition and resize everything to your liking, and basically completely design your own layout. The layouts can be saved in the iPrint system for a period of 2 years from the date the item was last ordered, allowing for items to be duplicated in the future.

A related press release notes that members are also being given exclusive access to Adobe Systems' "ActiveShare" software from August 10 - October 9, allowing them to share their photos through the ActiveShare website ahead of owners of non-Pentium III machines. ActiveShare is Adobe's recently announced photo-sharing service, covered in this news page previously.

SanDisk offers 3,000,000 shares!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 12:20 EDT)

Flash media manufacturer SanDisk Corp. has today announced that it has filed forms with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to allow it to publicly sell 3,000,000 shares of common stock. 2,750,000 of the shares will be sold by SanDisk, whilst 250,000 further shares will be sold by SanDisk stockholder Seagate Technology Inc. 2,400,000 of the shares are to be sold in the US and Canada, with the remaining 600,000 shares to be sold internationally.

Sears sells Agfa ePhoto Smile!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 12:05 EDT)

Digital cameras are truly beginning to snowball slowly but surely, with major retailers starting to look at the units (albeit the lower-end ones for the most part) and consider selling them in stores across the USA. The latest news on this front is that Sears, Roebuck and Co., a retailer with some 850 department stores and 2,100 "specialized retail locations" across the USA will be carrying Agfa's ePhoto Smile digital camera. The ePhoto Smile has an interpolated resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, and 2MB of internal non-removeable memory to hold up to 16 images. The press release has no word on Sears' price for the camera, but suggested retail for the unit is US$129.

Tuesday, August 17, 1999

Sony announces DSC-D770 Cybershot Pro!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 17, 1999 - 15:06 EDT)

A press release today from Sony Electronics Inc. announces the US release of its DSC-D770 Cybershot Pro digital still camera. Regular readers will know the specifications of the unit which we revealed some time ago already, however to recap the main points:

 - True fixed-lens SLR design
- 5x optical zoom lens (5.2 - 26mm, equivalent to
28 - 140mm on a 35mm camera)
- ISO 50, 100 and 400
- 1.5 megapixel CCD (1344 x 1024 max image size)
- Auto, preset and manual white balance
- Program, aperture / shutter priority and manual
modes, exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 0.25EV
- Auto and manual focus
- Histogram and framing features
- Built-in flash as well as hot-shoe for external
- TIFF or JPEG format, ability to control sharpening
in camera

The camera is shipping immediately at a suggested retail price of $1999, and is a slightly revised version of Sony's DSC-D700, the main changes being faster focusing, as well as the additional histogram and framing features.

On a related note, your trusty news editor ordered himself a DSC-D770 a week ago from the only mail-order retailer I could find that carries the unit yet, and after a few problems with my credit card/bank received it this morning. The camera itself cost me $1699, and I also ordered a spare battery (price-matched to the cheapest price I'd found elsewhere without question). The retailer was an absolute delight to deal with, helpful and informative at every step of the way, and even threw in a free upgrade to next day AM shipping that ensured that although thanks to my bank, the camera didn't leave the store until yesterday, I had it by 10:15 this morning! All this without a hint of name-dropping on my part ;) has persuaded me that truly deserved a mention alongside this news item... Thanks guys! (I also received a 128MB Simple Technologies ATA PC Card, only $2.10 per MB, from, equally easily ordered and promptly delivered, and it works great with the D770!)

Fuji ships MX-2900 Zoom!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 17, 1999 - 14:26 EDT)

Fuji has today announced that it is now shipping its MX-2900 camera in the USA. Featuring a 2.3 megapixel CCD, 3x optical/2.5x digital zoom lens, flash hot-shoe, plus an array of manual controls, Fuji is targetting the camera (announced previously on this news page, and reviewed by Steve's Digicams - see our article yesterday) at "advanced amateur shutterbugs".

Monday, August 16, 1999

Steve's Digicams posts Fuji MX-2900 review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 16, 1999 - 19:40 EDT)

The folks over at Steve's Digicams have now posted a full review of Fuji's upcoming MX-2900 digital camera, to be announced in the USA tomorrow according to Steve. The unit sports a 2.3 megapixel CCD, 3x optical zoom lens, built in flash as well as flash hot shoe, and plenty of manual controls... Steve was impressed with the image quality, and had this to say overall:

"Even though it's not as speedy as some of the other 2.3Mpixel cameras we've tested, it's still a winner. I especially liked the flash hot shoe feature which lets you add a more powerful bounce flash on the camera. The builtin flash is OK but it isn't very powerful and it's prone to redeye problems because it is mounted so close to the lens. At least with the hot shoe you now have the alternative of adding any flash unit you want."

Nikon announces NP-200 digital photo printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 16, 1999 - 11:11 EDT)

Nikon Japan has announced its new NP-200 digital photo printer, due to reach the Japanese market on September 23rd. The new unit accepts ATA PC cards (or CompactFlash with an adapter), and prints A6-sized 306 dpi dye sublimation prints without the need for a PC. The unit should retail for around ¥62,000(US$535). The printer features presets for printer calendars, as well as 14 titling methods, and 4 frames (oval, heart, rectangle and quadrangle [?]). The printer features S-Video and video inputs, a video output and serial or parallel connectivity for attaching it to a PC. Prints are coated to protect them, and the unit can also make index prints with 16 thumbnails per print.


 - Dye Sublimation printer
- Cyan, Yellow, Magenta in 256 shades each
- 306 dpi (dots per inch)
- 1,450 x 1024 pixels maximum
- Accepts photos from 320 x 240 to 3072 x
204 pixels
- Accepts JPEG or TIFF images
- Prints on A6 (148 x 100mm) paper
- Print size 114 x 85mm maximum
- 83 seconds per print (standard, sealed,
or sealed index print) and 110 seconds
for fade-resistant image. [Data transfer
time from PC not included]
- Type II ATA PC Card slot, video in/out,
S-video in, 36-pin centronics parallel
or Mac serial connections.
- Auto paper feed (25 sheets per cassette)
- 4/9/16 thumbnail mode, calendar mode,
date mode, zoom mode, titling mode and
- Video capture capability
- 100VAC, 50/60Hz power supply
- 225 x 62 x 278 mm (WxHxD) dimensions
- Weighs 1.8Kg including paper cassette
- Comes with paper cassette, power and
video cables, Windows/Mac software CD,
user manual, registration card, warranty
card, paper sold separately
- uses the following paper:
*NP-M50MPD standard, 50 pcs, ¥2800
*NP-MC25MPD fade-resistant, 25pcs, ¥2000
*NP-S25MPD sealed, 25pcs, ¥3000
*NP-SD16MPD sealed, 25pcs, ¥3000

Kodak gets colorful with the DC240i!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 16, 1999 - 10:37 EDT)

There's been so many products recently trying to piggyback on Apple's iMac success story, that to be honest I can't remember if we've already covered this item or not, but news from the excellent Digital Camera Resource Page is that Kodak has announced a new lineup of iMac-lookalike DC240 digital cameras. DCRP reader Karin Johansson pointed out this page, which shows the new versions of the camera in colors called blueberry, strawberry, lime, grape and tangerine. A quick translation of the page reveals that these are limited edition models being sold in Japan only, and also differ from the standard DC240 cameras in what is bundled with them:

- Connection kit for PC, iMac and G3 Mac, consisting of
translucent USB cable and software.
- 8MB CompactFlash card
- Translucent video cable
- Wrist strap (five colors, presumably matching the
camera color)
- Translucent lens cap
- Four AA batteries
- Manual
Thanks to the Digital Camera Resource Page for this item!

Cahners predicts digicam sales reach 29 million in 2003!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 16, 1999 - 9:36 EDT)

A report announced in a press release this morning by Cahners In-Stat Group sees the digital camera market growing rapidly over the next 5 years, reaching a whopping 29 million units in 2003! The report, "Opportunities in the Digital Still Camera Market: Sensors to Digital Film, No. MM9909DI" sees the sub-$500 market occupying the majority of this share (65%) by 2003, and mostly consisting of CMOS-type digital cameras, whilst the more expensive CCD-based cameras will take most of the remainder in the $500+ area.

A number of notes are made by Cahners:

 - Several communication interfaces are vying
for the digital camera market. IEEE 1394,
USB and several wireless standards (IrDA,
Fast IrDA, Bluetooth) will make inroads in
combination with the present serial/parallel
- Digital cameras will use more digital film
as the resolution and picture sizes grow.
Compact Flash, Smart Media, floppy disk, and
now Memory Sticks present storage options.
- Olympus surprisingly moved into third place
in the digital still camera market in 1998.
The market is still small enough that any of
the third-tier manufacturers could move into
a top slot.

Agfa drops price on ePhoto CL50!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 16, 1999 - 9:25 EDT)

Agfa Corp.'s Desktop Products Group has this morning announced a price cut on its ePhoto CL50 digital camera. Effective immediately, the unit (which features a 1.2 megapixel CCD and a sunlight-assisted LCD) is available for $699.

Canon readying 2.1 megapixel A50-lookalike?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 16, 1999 - 9:18 EDT)

According to a news item on the Digital Photography Review, Canon is working on a 2.1 megapixel lookalike of its A50 digital camera, the Canon PowerShot S10. No confirmation as to whether the product is a mock-up, prototype, or even a ready to ship production unit (one rumor that Phil mentions has the camera shipping in only a month...) - but specifications for the unit have been more forthcoming, as follows:

 - 1/3" 2.1 megapixel CCD (1600 x 1200)
- 8.3-12.6mm F2.8-4.0 zoom lens (equivalent to
35-70mm on a 35mm camera)
- Shutter speeds 1/6 - 1/750 second
- Focusing range down to 9cm (macro)
- TTL autofocusing system
- ISO 100/400 ratings
- 2" LCD display and optical viewfinder
- Uses an NiMH battery pack
- CompactFlash storage
- USB, RS-232 and video out connectivity
- Same dimensions as Canon PowerShot A50

Thanks to the Digital Photography Review for this item

Sunday, August 15, 1999

Panasonic announces new dye sublimation printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, August 15, 1999 - 19:55 EDT)

Panasonic Japan has announced in a press release a new dye sublmation printer to be available September 1. The NV-MPX5 printer accepts MultiMediaCards (the format used in Panasonic video cameras) and can handle images up to 3072 x 2048 pixels (6 megapixel) in size. Images are resized to a maximum of 1024 x 1450 pixels in the unit, and printed at a resolution of 306 dpi. The printer can also be connected to a PC, or can capture still images from video signals, and has titling and calendar capabilities.

PictureVision announces new CEO!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, August 15, 1999 - 19:06 EDT)

PictureVision Inc., the independant subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Co. which provides the technology behind services such as Kodak PhotoNet, Sony's ImageStation and AOL's upcoming "You've Got Pictures" has announced the appointment of a new CEO. Michael E. Foss replaces Phil Garfinkle in the position, whilst Garfinkle will retain the role of Chairman of the Board and advisory consultant. Foss will also continue in his role as General Manager, Consumer Digitization Operations and Vice President, Consumer Imaging.

Kodak announces online digital printing service!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, August 15, 1999 - 18:59 EDT)

Kodak announced alongside its new digital cameras a new online digital printing service on Friday. Kodak QuickPrints offers the ability for users to upload their digital images to Kodak and have them professionally printed at a cost of $0.75 per 4x6 print (with an unspecified minimum order cost). The pictures are printed within two working days, and returned by first class mail.

FlashPoint promotes Kodak DC290
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, August 15, 1999 - 18:38 EDT)

A press release from FlashPoint Technology Inc., creators of the Digita operating system used in some digital cameras, has distributed a press release hailing Kodak's new 2.1 megapixel DC290 as "the first Digita-enabled camera to allow developers access to an entirely new class of programming interfaces within the camera itself". According to the release through the use of Digita the camera will offer advanced software solutions such as direct camera to Internet access and other applications that free the digital photographer of any dependence on the PC.

PictureIQ licensed for Sega Dreamcast!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, August 15, 1999 - 13:26 EDT)

Digital Intelligence has announced that its PictureIQ technology has been licensed by Sega Enterprises Ltd. for use in its peripherals for its Sega Dreamcast console, now shipping in Japan and soon to be released in the USA. PictureIQ is designed to allow consoles and set top boxes to replace the role of PCs in digital photography, and peripherals using the technology should ship in Japan this fall. No further details were announced.

MemorizeUSA announces ruggedized SmartMedia!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, August 15, 1999 - 13:20 EDT)

One we missed from a few days ago; has introduced a "ruggedized" variant on the SmartMedia card form factor, its new "Digital Links Portable Data Storage Device". Currently available in sizes up to 32MB, Digital Links should be upgraded in line with SmartMedia, with MemorizeUSA seeing a potential for 1GB cards over the next 2-4 years.

The card, described as "virtually indestructible" and able to withstand extreme pressure and temperatures, chemicals -- including acid -- as well as electromagnetic interference, is to be marketed to the US Department of Defense through Aliron International.

Saturday, August 14, 1999

Olympus Japan announces Camedia C-21 promotion!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, August 14, 1999 - 19:48 EDT)

Olympus Japan has announced a sweepstakes for customers buying its new 2.14 megapixel Camedia C-21 digital camera between August 6 and September 20, 1999. 100 customers who return their sweepstakes entry on buying the camera will prizes of either a Camedia VS100ST digital photo editor, or a Camedia alumnium attache case...

Friday, August 13, 1999

Digital Photography Review posts DC280 review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 13, 1999 - 17:41 EDT)

Now out from under their NDA (non-disclosure agreement), the Digital Photography Review website has posted an excellent review of Kodak's DC280 digital camera. Phil finds that:

"Overall I liked the DC280, it took decent, vivid, sharp and well white balanced (something close to my heart) images. I would like to have seen a more reasonable zoom and the few control quirks ironed out but overall it's a good camera, if slightly difficult to fit against its competitors."

You can check Phil's review out here, and our own review (posted a couple of days ago) here.

More on Sony's upcoming Cybershot!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 13, 1999 - 0:14 EDT)

Sony's next tantalising removal of yet more wrapping paper from its new Cybershot webpage reveals a number of facts about the new model. A close-up of the unit shows auto/manual focus switch, macro button, white balance button and spot metering button, as well as revealing what IR sources suggested when first news of the camera came to light - that the unit uses a 2.1 megapixel CCD.

So what do we know now? The following:

    Model No.: Unknown, Cybershot family
Lens: Carl Zeiss lens, believed to be 5x optical
zoom. Macro capability, as well as manual
and auto-focus capability.
CCD: 2.1 Megapixel
Storage Media: MemoryStick
Connectivity: USB
Other: Manual white balance capability; unknown if
this is through presets or true manual white
balance. Spot metering capability available.
Form Factor: Was believed to be similar to the Sony
Cybershot DSC-F55, but each picture looks
less and less identifiable!

Thursday, August 12, 1999

Wow! Kodak gets busy, announces 4 new cameras and more!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 12, 1999 - 19:32 EDT)

The folks over at Eastman Kodak Company have unquestionably been busy of late, culminating in two huge press releases today announcing amongst other things, 4 new digital cameras. Here's a summary:

Kodak DC290 Zoom Digital Camera
 - Based on the Kodak DC265
- 2.3 megapixel CCD (interpolated to 3.36 max)
- Output sizes: 2240 x 1500 (interpolated)
1792 x 1200
1440 x 960
or 720 x 280 pixels
- TIFF or JPEG (Uncompressed, best, better, good)
- CompactFlash, 20MB CF card bundled
- Optical Viewfinder + 2" TFT LCD
- AF 3x Optical Zoom all-glass lens, equivalent
to 38-115mm on 35mm camera. 37mm lens thread.
- 2x digital zoom
- Focus distance 12" to infinity
- Auto exposure, compensation +/- 2EV in 0.5EV
- Automatic white balance
- Exposure lock
- Shutter speeds 1/400 to 16 seconds
- Apertures f/3.0-15.3 (wide), f/4.7-16.0 (tele)
- ISO 100 rating
- Digita OS with scripting capabilities
- Burst capture to 5 pictures (high res), or 20
pictures (med. res), 0.1 to 3 frames/second
- Time lapse mode
- Auto orientation rotates image right-side up
- Time, date, text and graphic overlays
- In-camera albums for organizing images
- 10 second self timer
- built-in 4-mode (auto, red-eye, fill, off) flash
- tripod mount
- Audio recording and playback
- USB interface, serial and IrDA available
- Uses 4 AA batteries or AC adapter
- User upgradeable firmware

Kodak DC280 Zoom Digital Camera
 - 2.3 megapixel CCD
- Output sizes: 1760 x 1168
or 896 x 592 pixels
- JPEG format (best, better, good)
- CompactFlash, 20MB CF card bundled
- Optical Viewfinder + 1.8" TFT LCD
- AF 2x Optical Zoom glass lens, equivalent
to 30-60mm on 35mm camera.
- 3x digital zoom
- Focus distance 0.25m-0.5m (macro), 0.5m-
infinity (regular)
- Auto exposure, compensation +/- 2EV in 0.5EV
- Automatic white balance
- Exposure lock
- Shutter speeds 1/755 to 1/2 second
- Apertures f/3.0-7.6 (wide), f/3.8-9.6 (tele)
- ISO 70 rating
- 10 second self timer
- built-in 4-mode (auto, red-eye, fill, off) flash
- tripod mount
- USB interface, serial and PC card
- Uses 4 AA batteries or AC adapter

Kodak DC215 Zoom and DC215 Zoom Millenium 2000 Edition
 - 1.04 megapixel CCD
- Output sizes: 1152 x 864
or 640 x 480 pixels
- FPX, JPEG format (best, better, good)
- CompactFlash
- 4MB CF card bundled (8MB for Millenium
2000 Edition)
- Optical Viewfinder + 1.8" TFT LCD
- Fixed-focus 2x Optical Zoom glass lens,
equivalent to 29-58mm on 35mm camera.
- Focus distance 0.2m-0.5m (macro), 0.5m-
infinity (regular)
- Auto exposure, compensation +/- 2EV in 0.5EV
- Automatic white balance
- Exposure lock
- Shutter speeds 1/362 to 1/2 second
- Apertures f/3.0-13.5 (wide), f/4.79-16.0 (tele)
- ISO 140 rating
- 10 second self timer
- built-in 4-mode (auto, red-eye, fill, off) flash
- tripod mount
- Serial and PC card, USB for Millennium 2000
- DPOF compliant (identify image to print, select
image size)
- Video out (NTSC or PAL, user switcheable)

Kodak DVC325 USB Tethered Digital Camera
 - 1/4" progressive scan 640 x 480 pixel CCD
- USB connectivity
- 176 x 144, 30 frames per second
- 352 x 288, 20-25 frames per second
- 640 x 480, 8 frames per second
- proprietary hardware compression
- auto white balance
- auto exposure EV7-12
- 4.6mm f/2.3 lens, manual focus
- focus range 4" to infinity

Infinite Pictures changes name, announces products!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 12, 1999 - 16:14 EDT)

Three press releases (1,2,3) which we missed the day before yesterday from Infinite Pictures Inc. announce a new name for the company, as well as two new products. Infinite Pictures has now changed its name to iMove Inc., and at the same time has chosen a new tagline: "Look anywhere. Go anywhere."

Simultaneously, the company has announced its first products under the new name. The iMove Spherical Video System uses a unique spherical video camera to capture full motion 360-degree spherical video panoramas. The special camera, two inches square and weighing in at five pounds, is connected to the iMove video capture computer by a cable over which multiple 24-bit color video streams are passed. The computer, with a 13-inch screen and 18GB removeable hard disk, stores up to 45 minutes of this panoramic video stream per disk, and is powered by a rechargeable battery. The system will be available in September.

iMove's other new product is its iMove Photo Panorama software, designed for creating cylindrical and spherical panoramas. Developed in cooperation with Kaidan, the iMove Photo Panorama Solution consists of software and Kaidan's QuickPan® Spherical Tripod, and retails for $1,499. Features of the software include:

* Opacity control. Users can eliminate unwanted underlying layers by
making them opaque. This feature is especially useful at the top and
bottom of spherical panoramas where multiple images overlap with a high
degree of warping.
* Image Control Points. By selecting and manipulating image control
points, users can correct the alignment of a very specific portion of
an image such as a guardrail, light post, picture frame or any element
shared by two or more overlapping images.
* Layer Control. This feature lets you control how images are layered
enabling you to place the most distinct image on top.
* Other features that simplify the seaming of adjacent images include
Antialising and sophisticated Automatching. In addition, users can
adjust the horizon and focal length to correct disparities in captured

Polaroid announces PDC1000 digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 12, 1999 - 16:00 EDT)

Polaroid has announced its first true megapixel camera, according to a news item on the PMA International Daily Newsline. The Polaroid PhotoMAX PDC1000 features a 1 megapixel 1/3" CCD capable of an output size of 1,152 x 864 pixels, and comes bundled with a 4MB CompactFlash card. The camera retails for $399 and is bundled with PhotoMAX v3.0 and PhotoMAX Pro software.
Thanks to the PMA International Daily Newsline for this item!

Sony pulls more wrapping paper of its Cybershot!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 12, 1999 - 12:42 EDT)

Sony last night pulled another layer of wrapping paper off its upcoming Cybershot-series digital camera, and - you guessed it, another layer of wrapping paper underneath again...

Here's the latest on what the camera should consist of:

Model No.: Unknown, Cybershot family
Lens: Carl Zeiss lens, believed to be 5x optical zoom
CCD: Believed to be 2.11 Megapixel
Storage Media: MemoryStick
Connectivity: USB
Form Factor: Was believed to be similar to the Sony Cybershot DSC-F55, but each picture looks less and less identifiable! Take a look at the pictures here and decide yourself... (click on the box above the Shockwave logo for Flash presentation, or the one above that for JPEG images. The circles near the bottom of the following screens are links to each day's pictures.)

Now it can be told - The Kodak DC280!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 12, 1999 - 0:08 EDT)

Well, by this time, it's a surprise to no one, given that our readers have already bought and received DC280 units, as we reported a few days ago. As of midnight EDT though, we're out from the non-disclosure "embargo" from Kodak, and so can share our full review of the new DC280 with the world! (Of course, we don't gripe too much about the NDAs though, as that's how we can bring you full reviews for products the moment they're announced!)

The DC280 is significant as Kodak's first consumer digicam to break the 2 megapixel barrier, and as such carries a heavy burden of expectation as it enters the market. In our eyes, it's met the challenge nicely, combining the solid design and ergonomics of the DC240 with a 2 megapixel sensor, and what is arguably the best color we've seen in a digicam to date. Given that the 280's resolution is comfortably representative of other 2MP cameras we've tested, its excellent color is probably the biggest news: While sensor resolution is obviously going to continue to climb, we predict that color-handling will become more and more an area of competitive focus amongst the manufacturers. The DC280 may very well set a new benchmark in that arena...

Wednesday, August 11, 1999

Nikon D1 - the big question answered?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 23:31 EDT)

We noted a few days ago the folks over at the Digital Photography Review and Steve's Digicams picked up on an excellent preview of Nikon's D1 by John Henshall at the Epi-Centre website. We have to agree with Steve that it has been far too long since we visited this fine English web site, and hope to start dropping by more often... The preview gives the full history of the camera and explains why Nikon would choose to undertake the project themselves, before describing the camera itself as well as the lenses and flash announced simultaneously...

So, why the delay in our reporting the preview? We've noted several pages recently reporting in their D1 previews that Nikon were being very tight-lipped as to the manufacturer of their CCD, and so we decided to delay mention of John's excellent article to reveal this information at the same time!

But first - a little history. :) On September 10, 1997 Olympus announced its D-600L digital camera, still with us as the slightly modified D-620L today. The D-600L boasted a 1.4 Megapixel sensor, and instantly became a source of much discussion and excitement in the newsgroup.

The CCD (a very significant part of that excitement) was manufactured by Sony, and Olympus were given a jump start on the CCD before it reached other manufacturers. The cycle was repeated (albeit with a different manufacturer) with the debut of Sony's 2.11 megapixel CCD - again with one manufacturer first, this time Nikon with its much-anticipated Coolpix950. Next to receive the CCD was Olympus, then Minolta and Epson.

We can now reveal, as you've already guessed, that Nikon's 2.74 megapixel D1 CCD too is made by Sony, and following on from past history, it seems logical for Sony to follow the same pattern of allowing one company to reach the market first to much applause, before distributing the CCD to other manufacturers.

So who will get the 2.74 megapixel chip next after Nikon? Well, there is the matter of a camera from Minolta, announced but now interestingly quiet... Initially announced as having two CCDs in the region of 1.4 megapixels each, for a total count of about 2.9 megapixels, it seems possible that Minolta has realised the expense of a 2 CCD camera at a level so close to that of Nikon's low-priced D1 doesn't give the unit a chance. If this is so, it is perfectly possible that this camera has been quietly taken back to the drawing board to offer a second home to Sony's 2.74 megapixel CCD.

Where things get particularly interesting is that it seems likely Sony themselves will be another of these manufacturers, with a follow-on to its ground-breaking Cybershot Pro DSC-D700 and DSC-D770, cameras that still have no rival offering the fully manual capabilities they feature at a comparable price. One of the few complaints leveled at the Cybershot Pro was it's lack of removeable lenses, something that is very important to professional photographers with large amounts of money wrapped up in expensive camera glass they're reluctant to let go of.

Sony obviously wants to solve this situation in its successor to the Cybershot Pro cameras, which we've heard may be called the DSC-D777. However, if it wants the camera to be truly viable, it can't simply make its own removeable lens mount - this doesn't solve the problem of photographers with mountains of existing lenses, nor would a new mount be likely to have a chance against established, trusted designs from other manufacturers. Instead, Sony needs a mount for its camera that already exists and is trusted by photographers... Could it be, that having been granted the opportunity twice to lead the market with new, higher-resolution cameras, Nikon would allow Sony to use its well-known F-mount system on the DSC-D777? Only time will tell this answer for sure, but the potential is certainly there...

Where does Olympus fit it into this, with the favor granted so long ago with the 1.4 megapixel CCD? Well, Sony's professional division has been known in the past to concentrate on niche markets. One niche market that could very much use a high resolution still camera is in the field of microscopes - a niche to be sure, but a very big one. Sony has done a lot with high resolution video in this area, but a high resolution microscope-attachable still camera (which, with the F-mount, could well be the D777 or another similar model) could well be something Sony would find interesting. A point to bear in mind is that both Nikon and Olympus are both heavily involved in the field of microscopes as well, and could perhaps assist Sony in getting a new microscope still camera off to a running start. All in all, there is a lot of very interesting sides to this story, and it could prove very beneficial to all concerned...

And so, back to the starting point of this news item; John Henshall's Nikon D1 report. Bearing the item above in mind, it certainly makes for interesting reading...
Thanks to our anonymous source for this interesting item!

Note from Dave: We don't normally get into a lot of speculation here, often because we *know*, under non-disclosure, and so can't speculate, but also because we're not prone to spreading idle rumors. Our source on the D1/Sony CCD scoop has been *very* reliable in the past though, so we tend to believe that the D1's chip is from Sony. The rest of it, regarding possible F-mounts on future Sony digicams should probably be taken more of a grain of salt, as it falls more to the "interesting theory" category. Still... It's an interesting direction to speculate in, isn't it? If Nikon lenses proved to work both on the ~$6K Nikon D1, as well as on a rather less-expensive Sony unit, it could deal a significant blow to Canon's eventual entry into this market. - Canon's been selling versions of the Kodak Pro camera built on the Canon chassis for a while now, but have been completely mum about anything happening on the pro digital front beyond that. Clearly though, they have to be thinking about it at some level, given their strong position in the professional film world. I haven't heard anything from Canon (If I had, I couldn't speculate like this), but I'd be willing to bet someone a donut we'll see some sort of an announcement from them before the year's out, addressing the pro digital marketplace...

Epson Japan announces printer upgrades!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 21:35 EDT)

The Epson Japan website has announced two upgrade programs for customers with its PM-600C, -700C and -750C inkjet printers. For ¥12,000/US$104, Japanese users can have the PM-700C upgraded to be equivalent to the PM-750C, with a maximum resolution of 1440 x 720dpi, 15% better ink efficiency, and a new printer driver with expansion, reduction, rotation, watermark and preview capabilities. PM-600C and PM-750C customers, meanwhile, can upgrade for ¥37,000/US$322 and ¥35,000/US$305 respectively can have their printers upgraded to be equivalent to the Epson Print-On PT-100. The printers will be modified to allow PC cards to be inserted and read without the need for a PC, as well as CompactFlash with an adapter (supplied), and SmartMedia with an adapter (not supplied). The printers will also be upgraded to 1440 x 720 dpi (PM-600C already complies with this).

IBM MicroDrive review online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 20:53 EDT)

The Steve's Digicams website has posted a review of IBM's 340MB Microdrive. So is it fast? You betcha:

"Timing the IBM microdrive against a Lexar 8x Pro Series 80MB CF card shows it to be a clear winner. The microdrive wrote an uncompressed CCDRaw image in 7 seconds, the Lexar CF card took 10 seconds to store the same image"

Read the full review here!

Lexmark in 100 best-managed companies, worldwide!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 20:30 EDT)

A press release today from printer manufacturer Lexmark International Inc. announces that the company has been named as one of the 100 best-managed companies in the world by IndustryWeek magazine. The announcement comes in the same week as Lexmark's listing on the S&P 500 Index, and follows the company twice being named one of the world's best-performing information technology companies by BusinessWeek and earning the No. 8 ranking on Barron's list of best companies for investors... Impressive stuff!

Hagiwara Sys-Com announces new CF reader!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 17:01 EDT)

Japanese-based Hagiwara Sys-Com today introduced its USB FlashGate CompactFlash reader/writer. Complementing the company's existing USB FlashGate SmartMedia reader/writer, the new device offers speeds 60-160 times faster than serial connections, according to the press release. The device accepts CFA-compliant CompactFlash cards from all manufacturers, and in all capacities; it also requires no external power cable to operate as USB devices are powered by the USB controller itself. Incorporated into the design are an eject button for easy removal of the CF cards, as well as power and status LEDs. The status LED blinks whenever data is being read to or written from the card, whilst the power LED obviously lights up when the unit is powered on. Not so obvious is that the power LED will also change color from green to red when a defective (or improperly seated, presumably) CompactFlash card is inserted.

The Hagiware Sys-Com FlashGate CompactFlash Reader/Writer USB sells at a suggested retail price of US$95.00, and works with Windows98 or MacOS 8.1 and higher.

HP ranked number one in scanner sales!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 16:53 EDT)

PC DataInc. has distributed a press release today in the vein of one previously announcing the HP's dominance of the printer marketplace; this time, it is scanners that HP is dominating...

THe press release notes that HP has steadily gained retail scanner market share, peaking at 30% of total monthly sales in April; in June 1998, the company only had 13% of the total market. This figure dropped back slightly by June 1999, however, to a total share of 26%. Industry-wide scanner sales climbed by 118% in this same one-year period, while HP's scanner sales rocketed by 184%. Average prices fell from $146 to $122 (16%).

One area in particular that has taken off is sub-$100 scanner sales, with nearly 62% of sales being below this mark in June of this year, versus only 39% a year ago.

Looking at individual models, HP feels its $99 3200C scanner contributed significantly, with one third of HPs monthly sales being this particular model since it was introduced in March. On introduction, the unit was second only to UMAX's Astra 1220P, and the following two months it actually took top spot for retail sales. HP's $196 ScanJet 4100Cse comprised over 40% of HP retail scanner sales in January and February of this year, whilst HP's ScanJet 4200Cse represented an average of 28% of the company's sales in April, May and June.

HP's chief rival in the market, UMAX Technologies, meanwhile, has seen market shares of 20-30% in the last year, despite increasing scanner sales by some 40%. Since February, the company has lagged behind HP in unit sales, with a 23% share of the market in June '99. Visioneer, meanwhile, has almost doubled its market share from 10% to 19% over the June 98-99 period, with rebates assisting the company in gaining the number one spot in May with a 30% share of the market. Microtek also increased a huge 86% jump in unit sales, however this was accompanied by only a modest 3% growth in total market share. Mustek, once a strong contender and ranked in second place, has seen unit sales fall 72%, with its market share down an equally painful 15%. The company, now only accounting for 4% of the market, was rated 7th overall. New entries Acer Peripherals and Canon captured 6% and 5% of the market respectively.

Steve's Digicams posts Kodak DCS620 review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 14:46 EDT)

The folks over at Steve's Digicams have posted a review of Kodak's DCS620 camera, concluding as follows:

"I'm not sure how to rate this camera as I have little to compare it to except for vastly inferior consumer-priced digital cameras. The only negatives I see are the price and size of the DCS 620. Other than that it is a photographer's dream -- you have an almost unlimited variety of Nikkor lenses to extend your picture taking capabilities to the infinite."

As well as the review, there's sample photos from the unit (and more to come, including studio shots from the camera)... Check it out!

PC Watch posts Kodak DC215 ZOOM first look!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 10:30 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted its first look at Kodak's recently-announced DC215 ZOOM digital camera, as well as the first sample pictures we've seen from the unit. The preview, as usual by PC Watch's Yamada, begins by detailing the specifications of the camera. The DC 215 ZOOM is a low-cost 1.09 megapixel with a 2x optical zoom lens, based on Kodak's DC210A, and the camera tested in the preview is a development model, hence may not be representative of the results to be expected from production units.

Yamada mentions that 2 megapixel cameras are now the standard, with 1.3-1.5 megapixel cameras now considered to be entry level units. This is part of an overall trend towards digital cameras that can produce printed output at greater than postcard size, to which end Kodak has produced its DC280J (2.3 megapixel) and DC240 (1.3 megapixel) cameras. He notes, however, that lower resolution cameras such as this one have their uses, particularly for images to be displayed on the web/on screen and on small prints, and the DC215 is an entry-level model aimed at exactly this usage.

Yamada notes that the camera, styled similarly to previous Kodak models, looks like a real camera - making it less daunting to those new to digital photography. The camera itself is a bit smaller than the DC210A, which uses essentially the same components. As optical zoom cameras go, the unit is relatively compact, although obviously it is significantly thicker than the latest thin fixed focal length models...

The camera body is made of aluminum, and Yamada didn't seem hugely impressed with the finish of the unit as compared to its appearance in photographs, although he noted that it was reasonable for the low price of ¥39,800/US$348. (Note - this camera is a development model, and whilst Yamada doesn't note if the camera body itself was hand-made, early samples are often completely or partly made by hand, hence not showing the high-quality finish of the final product.) Yamada also notes that recently, the fashion has been for digital cameras to be offered in a variety of colors, something which adds enjoyment and hence a feeling of quality to the units...

[Pictures - 3 sample pictures, setup not specified]

Yamada goes on to discuss the camera in more depth. He notes initially that the camera is designed to be easy for anybody to use, essentially being able to take a picture merely by powering the unit on and pressing the shutter button. The lens offers a 2x optical zoom range, equivalent to 29-58mm on a 35mm camera, offering a reasonable range which should be good for taking pictures in a variety of conditions. The camera could have benefited from the more common 3x zooms of other models, however, and is probably best suited to travel shots and those where a wide-angle picture is required.

The camera is a fixed-focus unit, where it has not any autofocus mechanism but instead is prefocused at or beyond a certain distance. At wide angles, this is in the region of 50 centimeters, whilst at the telephoto end of the zoom a minimum focus distance of nearer 1 meter is found - a reasonably practical range. This offers the advantage that you don't need to press the shutter button halfway and wait for the camera to focus before taking your picture, a definite advantage for inexperienced users who might otherwise fall prey to focusing errors. It also has a very beneficial effect on the cost of the camera itself, not to mention the fact that it essentially removes the majority of the lag experienced with many digital cameras whilst waiting for an often slow focusing mechanism.

[Pictures - 3 sample pictures, setup not specified]

THE DC210A camera, on which this unit is based, is quite a slow unit - and this carries over into the DC215. There is about an 8-second processing time between shots in high-quality mode, however Yamada feels that this is not necessarily any inconvenience for the intended "snap-shot" style use. The camera has been designed to be easy to use, however as compared to a normal film camera it is still likely to be somewhat bewildering to a new user simply because it has more buttons and switches than would the film camera. That said, the compact, tidy design of the unit probably eases this somewhat, and it has no more controls than does the DC210A on which it is based.

The camera sadly only offers an automatic white balance, without any ability to over-ride this with preset white balance modes, which whilst this may practically be suitable for most circumstances, will definitely lead to instances where pictures won't have the desired tone. Yamada notes that, whilst the auto white balance is not bad, he wants to see this changed in future firmware to offer some way to override it.

[Pictures - 2 sample pictures, setup not specified]

The picture quality is essentially the same as exhibited by the DC210A. Yamada describes it as vivid, and with somewhat "peculiar" tones, particularly for blue skies which are probably more reminiscent of what he feels Americans would see in California than anything else... ;) He also notes that greens are vivid, and feels that flesh-tones are reproduced excellently. Overall, he describes the colors are very "Kodak".

On the other hand, he notes that the resolution is clearly inferior to 1.3 megapixel units, and in particular distant objects tend to be "soft", partly due to the fixed focus design and partly the resolution. Overall, the pictures lack a feeling of "sharpness" when viewed on a PC monitor. That said, Yamada notes that if you reduce the resolution of the shots in your PC to nearer 320 x 240, you can get some very nice, clear results which are extremely suitable for email or web use. The results are also suitable for postcard-sized prints, and inserting images into word processor documents.

[Pictures - 2 sample pictures, demonstrating telephoto and wide angle]

Yamada summarises the camera as an easy-to-use bargain model for taking web pictures. He describes the camera as a 1.09 megapixel unit appearing during the glory time of 2 megapixel cameras, and feels it is aimed at a practical use and price-cutting through the use of previous-generation hardware. This results in a camera at an excellent price, especially including its connection kit (often sold separately in Japan) and compact, friendly styling - although it won't amaze with its picture quality. He notes that Dell in particular have picked up on the unit, web use presumably being seen to be a good selling point for Dell customers.

[Pictures - 3 sample pictures, "Best" quality, wide, mid and tele]
[Pictures - 3 sample pictures, "Better" quality, wide, mid and tele]

Sony continues to build up the suspense!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 0:28 EDT)

Sony, obviously working to get as many mentions in the news as possible, has pulled the wrapping paper off its site for the new Cybershot camera - only to reveal more wrapping paper underneath! A close up of a Carl Zeiss lens has been revealed, so we can now add to our information from anonymous sources previously that the lens is obviously made by Carl Zeiss...

Here's what we believe the rough specifications will be at this time:

Model No.: Unknown, Cybershot family
Lens: Carl Zeiss lens, believed to be 5x optical zoom
CCD: Believed to be 2.11 Megapixel
Storage Media: Believed to be MemoryStick
Form Factor: Believed to be similar to the Sony Cybershot DSC-F55

For more information we'll have to see what is under the wrapping paper tomorrow lunchtime, Japanese time... :)

Tuesday, August 10, 1999

PC Watch posts digicam sales rankings!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 10, 1999 - 20:50 EDT)

THe PC Watch website has posted its fortnightly sales rankings for the period 26/7/99 to 8/8/99, with several significant changes from the previous fortnight. Of particular note is the new top-seller, Fuji's FinePix1500, which beat Olympus' C-2000ZOOM into second place. Fuji's FinePix700 has dropped out of the charts completely, having been discontinued, whilst Kodak's DC280J makes its way into the rankings for the first time. Olympus' Camedia C-21 likewise started shipping in this period, although too late to register in the top ten; look for it in next fortnight's listings!

1 (2)
Fuji FinePix1500
¥62,800 (US$549)
2 (1)
Olympus C-2000ZOOM
¥113,000 (US$988)
3 (3)
Olympus C-900ZOOM
¥89,800 (US$785)
4 (4)
Sony DSC-F55K
¥115,000 (US$1005)
5 (6)
Nikon Coolpix950
¥125,000 (US$1093)
6 (7)
Fuji FinePix2700
¥94,800 (US$829)
7 (NEW)
Kodak DC280J Zoom
8 (9)
Fuji FinePix2900Z
¥99,800 (US$872)
9 (8)
Toshiba PDR-M4
¥89,800 (US$785) aims to move to NASDAQ!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 10, 1999 - 18:55 EDT)

Online photo-sharing website has announced that it has filed Form 10SB with the Securities and Exchange Commission, preparatory to listing on NASDAQ SmallCap. PhotoLoft is currently listed on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board (OTC).

MetaCreations announces Painter 6!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 10, 1999 - 17:55 EDT)

MetaCreations has announced today the latest version of its digital painting program, Painter 6. The new version adds a number of features as below:

--   Next-generation brush engine technology provides unprecedented
realism, depth and creative control for artists working within
Painter 6. Brush controls provide more options per tool than ever
before.-- Brush loading for painting with multiple colors in each brush
stroke -- up to a different color loaded on each individual bristle.
-- Impasto (painting with depth) adds extreme realism to artwork
and interactively renders painted surfaces in 3-D. Impasto
painting can both build up above the canvas or cut through
multiple layers of paint all the way down to the canvas.
-- Responsive palette knife that interacts with your individual
brush stroke -- bearing and pressure -- plus takes advantage of
the new multicolor brush loading.
-- Interactive Image Hose that sprays images in real-time on
your canvas with interactive rotation and scaling based on the
bearing, tilt and pressure of your hand. Includes hundreds of
incredibly realistic new Image Hose nozzles added for instant
image creation or enhancement.
-- Text on a Curve and more is available with Painter 6's improved
Dynamic Text. Reshape the baseline by moving Bezier curve
handles; insert, edit, tilt, rotate, stretch, scale and type
words directly on a curve -- all with automatic, configurable
drop shadows.
-- Updated user interface improves workflow through expandable
palettes in an intuitive, accessible, easy-to-use environment.
-- Faster performance via a revamped memory architecture
dramatically reduces processor wait times.
-- Fastest, smoothest painting ever using multistroke spooling,
motion damping and cubic interpolation.
-- Industry-standard extensible layers are incorporated into Painter
6, enabling unprecedented, powerful combinations of paint layers
and effects.
-- CMYK TIFF format support allows easy and fast opening and saving
of CMYK TIFF images without the use of an additional software
application.-- Extensive support for the Intuos tablet, pen and airbrush
technology for more intuitive painting, freedom of illustration
and faster image editing. Painter 6 provides support for Tilt and
Bearing to capture more nuances of the artist's expressive
gesture. Take advantage of 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity
for smooth curves, gradual transitions and precise control. website redesigned!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 10, 1999 - 17:24 EDT)

Imaging Technologies Corp. has announced that its subsidiary company, Inc., has redesigned its website and opened its new headquarters facility in Santa Clara, CA. was created to offer a new distribution channel for ITEC's family of products, and to offer a new brand-name shopping site. The site now features more than 20,000 items, and has been redesigned for ease of use and a more attractive look.

Hitachi Koki announces new appointment!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 10, 1999 - 16:45 EDT)

Hitachi Koki Imaging Solutions announced today in a press release the appointment of ex-Mita Corp. Senior Vice President of Sales Mario Lenci to the position of vice president of North American Printer Sales. Lenci is credited with engineering Mita's sales force infrastructure, as well as numerous training and support programs, and previously held management positions with Canon Corp. (six years) and Sharp (two years). He is a graduate of Hofstra University, holds a BBA in marketing, and will operate from Hitachi's eastern regional office located in Tarrytown, N.Y.

More on the new Sony Cybershot!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 10, 1999 - 15:57 EDT)

We wait with interest to see Sony Japan's announcement this evening on the new Cybershot digital camera, which we mentioned in a news item earlier this morning, however we've heard some very basic details of the unit from an anonymous (but invariably accurate) source... Apparently, the new unit will feature a 2.11 megapixel CCD, 5x optical zoom, and a form-factor similar to Sony's DSC-F55, plus (predictably) Sony's MemoryStick storage media. Hopefully in another few hours, we'll have a better idea of the accuracy of this, and perhaps a name for the unit... :)
Thanks to our anonymous source for this information...

NEWSFLASH: Nikon releases NTSC Coolpix950 update!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 10, 1999 - 15:31 EDT)

It is turning out to be a day for sudden announcements, today! Nikon has just released its NTSC Updater program for the Nikon Coolpix950 digital camera, for use on US cameras. The updater, available from Nikon's website, contains the following improvements:

- The "self portrait mode" green pixel problem has been
- Settings that were not retained when the LCD was turned off
are now saved
- Improved System reliability - many of the bugs causing
camera freeze up have been eliminated
- Focus speed in Macro operation has been optimized
- Improved visibility of LCD when shooting with flash - The
LCD will not dim when shooting with the flash.
- Improved Auto file numbering system operation - This may
mean the sequential numbering problems have been resolved
Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!

Canon Elura camcorder "product of the year"!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 10, 1999 - 15:19 EDT)

A press release today from Canon U.S.A. Inc. announces that the company's Elura DV camcorder received four awards over the last two months from trade publications, as below:

PC Computing -- "PC Computing Best" July 1999
Camcorder and Computer Video -- "The Best of '99" July 1999
Petersen's Photographic -- "Petersen's Digital Photo Editor's Choice"
AudioVisual International -- "Video Grand Prix Award" August 1999

NEWSFLASH: Sony to release new Cybershot digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 10, 1999 - 12:41 EDT)

Thanks to IR reader Kumio Yamada in Japan, for alerting us to a new page on Sony's website which is basically a teaser for news of a new Cybershot series digital camera. The page doesn't give anything away, containing either a normal or "flash" version which both show the top of a digital camera, silhouetted to remove any details. The pages are even linked under the URL "newmodel", so as not to reveal the model name! All that Sony reveals is that it calls the camera "the future" and more will be announced tomorrow at noon (presumably Japanese time, ie. late this evening US time)...

Watch this space!

Monday, August 9, 1999

PC Watch posts Casio QV-8000SX review and sample pics!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 19:12 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted a review of Casio's new QV-8000SX digital camera, along with a number of sample pictures. Note that the camera tested was a development model, and hence may not accurately represent the final shipping version. A brief translation of the review itself follows:

The reviewer (Mr. Digital Cameras himself, Yamada) starts by briefly summarising the details of the camera. The Casio QV-8000SX was announced at the MacWorld Expo New York '99, and features 1.3 megapixel CCD sensor, and an 8x optical zoom lens. The model reviewed is a Beta/development version, and no pricing or release date has yet been set for the Japanese marketplace.

Next, Yamada goes into a little history, noting that the QV-8000SX is essentially a QV-7000SX (a 1.3 megapixel 2x optical zoom camera), but with a class-leading 8x optical zoom instead. He notes that the lens is excellent, but that it is somewhat larger than the QV-7000SX's 2x type. He goes on to say that there is little else externally to differentiate the camera from the QV-7000SX, although he does mention that the unit shares the same 2.5" HAST LCD display as the older camera, which is great to use even outdoors, and thanks to a higher number of pixels offers easier confirmation of focus than most, as well.

Next, Yamada covers the speed of the camera. The unit starts up in only 3 seconds, and thanks to a large buffer has a shot-shot time of only 1.5 seconds. He further notes that the camera is quite fast, with processing of shots taking about 3 seconds, and a burst-mode offering 3 frames per second.

Yamada describes the picture-taking abilities of the camera as being "full-spec", noting that aperture priority AE, shutter priority AE, program AE and manual modes are all available, and the camera offers a wide range of shutter speeds from 1/2000 second to 64 seconds. He mentions that the camera also offers center-weighted, spot and multi-metering, as well as the ability to change the sharpening applied by the camera.

[Pictures - Natural Light and Night View]

Next, Yamada mentions the macro capabilities of the camera, pointing out that not only can it focus up to an incredible 1 centimeter in front of the lens, but also does a reasonably good job of controlling the flash for objects that are so close.

[Pictures - Outdoor Macro, two Flash Macro shots]

In addition, the camera also supports recording of AVI animations, with up to 25 seconds of 320 x 240 video conforming to Motion JPEG and Open DML possible.

Yamada next discusses the interface on the camera, noting two things in particular that he dislikes about it. He describes the menus as circulation type", essentially meaning that you go through confirming settings one by one; if you accidentally go past the setting you want to change, this necessitates many extra button-presses to get back to it and change the setting. He also mentions that it is far to easy to accidentally put the camera into the wrong mode (night, portrait, panorama, animation, etc.) by mistake when you're carrying the camera about. He'd like to see both of these points fixed before the camera reaches shops...

[Pictures - Optical Zoom and Digital Zoom demonstrations]

Yamada next describes the F3.2-F3.5 8x optical zoom lens in more depth. The unit has a focal range from 6 to 48mm, equivalent to 40-320mm on a 35mm camera, which he describes as very practical. He notes that with the addition of a 2x/4x digital zoom, an overall focal length of up to 640mm or even 1,280mm (35mm equivalents) can be achieved. He notes that the picture, whilst obviously not as good quality as if it were totally optical zoom, is still very good and certainly good enough to be used on screen or for web-pages.

Finally regarding the lens, Yamada points out that wide-angle and tele converters are also being made, which if used would extend the range of this camera to essentially cover most anything a 35mm camera could manage.

Next, Yamada looks at the picture quality, noting that for a 1.3 megapixel model the camera performs quite well. He describes the lens resolution as "unexpectedly high", and notes that a sharp image is obtained despite the long 8x zoom range. He says that whilst there is some distortion, this is at quite acceptable levels when considering the length of the zoom.

He also discusses the colors from the camera, noting that they're quite vivid, and that Casio has evolved the camera quite well from the QV-7000SX, which had particularly good greens and skin tones. He also notes that if more natural colors are important, the camera can be adjusted appropriately.

[Pictures - 6 shots demonstrating the color and sharpness to be expected from the camera]

Yamada notes that the camera does quite a good job of automatically setting the white balance and exposure correctly.

[Pictures - Indoor shots under tungsten lighting]

Yamada repeats that domestic (Japanese) availability of the camera has yet to be announced, and when considering the proliferation of 2-megapixel cameras announced recently, this weakens the attraction for this camera slightly.

He feels however, that the amazing 8x optical zoom range more than makes up for this, and the camera's speed and high specification also add to the overall value. He finds the camera and its large LCD display great fun to use! (Always important...)

Finally, he notes that sadly he feels the camera will probably not gain much popularity beyond users who wish to make prints at sizes below A5 or use the pictures on their monitor, due to the lack of a 2-Megapixel chip, and he hopes the price is sufficiently low to take this likelihood into account. He also notes that he is looking forward to seeing Casio join the legions of 2-Megapixel models, with one based on this particular model...

Nikon D1 to make Visual Edge '99 appearance!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 16:11 EDT)

According to the Rob Galbraith Online website, Nikon's Bill Pekala has reconfirmed that the Nikon D1 should be making an appearance at Visual Edge '99. The plan is that 9 pre-production units (built on the assembly line, but slowly to test that the manufacturing process works correctly) will be made, of which up to 6 units will be made available to the workshop stream, and the remainder be used for trade shows. Hence attendees should, barring problems, get to see essentially what the final camera will do! And no, these cameras won't be for sale - the current earliest estimate of production models reaching the market is the end of September...
Thanks to Rob Galbraith Online for this item!

IBM Microdrives shipping, but don't format with Kodak Pro digicams!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 15:58 EDT)

The Rob Galbraith Online website has reported that IBM Microdrives are now starting to ship in volume in Sunday's news update. According to Rob, who hopes to review the drive soon, several US dealers have received their first shipments in the last 10 days or so...

Also noted, however, is an incompatibility between the drives and Kodak's Pro-series digital cameras. Whilst not a show-stopper, as storing and erasing images on the Microdrive with Kodak's cameras works fine, using your Pro camera to format the Microdrive is a definite no-no!

The drive won't be physically harmed by the process, but the header information will be corrupted, requiring a tedious process of erasing all header information from the drive (using the Windows utility Zap, then repartitioning the drive with fdisk, and re-formatting the drive from your PC.

Rob wisely notes that, whilst nothing explicitly mentions problems with formatting the cards using Kodak's acquire software from older Pro digicams should probably be avoided too, just in case there is a similar problem. Kodak will likely fix this problem in a future firmware update for its Pro cameras.
Thanks to Rob Galbraith Online for this item!

Jasc announces Paint Shop Pro 6.0!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 14:27 EDT)

Jasc Software Inc. has today announced the latest updates in its popular Paint Shop Pro series, Paint Shop Pro 6 and Animation Shop 2. CEO Kris Tufto had the following to say on the announcement: "Paint Shop Pro gives you more design flexibility and editing power than ever before. Version 6 includes our most-requested features, such as editable text, vector-based graphics, more-advanced special effects and filters, multiple-image printing, and expanded digital- camera support. Paint Shop Pro 6 and Animation Shop 2 truly provide Web designers with tools needed to create high-quality graphic images."

New features of the package, which will be available in September at a list price of $109 (upgrades $49 through Jasc), as well as simultaneous availability of an evaluation copy for downloading, include:

-- Direct support for more than 120 digital cameras
-- Enhanced Browser for more-powerful image management
-- Digital watermarking for embedding copyright information
-- Vector tools and layers for enhanced drawing capabilities
-- Editable text and ability to place text on a path
-- Multicolor Gradient tool for creating and saving custom gradients
-- Interface enhancements, including roll-up palette and a recent
colors picker
-- Enhanced integration between Paint Shop Pro 6 and Animation Shop 2
-- Adjustment layers for applying color corrections to multiple layers
-- Print Multiple Images function for printing several images on a
-- Improved Layer and Tool Options palettes for added flexibility and
-- An OLE Screen Capture for grabbing screen shots directly from a
host application
-- New special effects, including Bevel, Weave, Blinds and more

Fuji MX-2900 nears European release!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 13:55 EDT)

The website has posted a news item previewing Fuji's MX2900Z digital camera,which we've mentioned on this news page previously. The camera is apparently nearing release in Europe, according to the item, and will be presented at the "Internationale Funkausstellung" (IFA '99) Show in Berlin, before hitting the stores at the start of September, at an expected price of around EUR 900. August Issue online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 13:24 EDT)

We received an email from the folks over at a few minutes ago, to let us know that their August issue has now gone online. At the time of writing, we weren't able to connect to their server, but according to their email the August issue contains the following:

This month's Reviews:
- Sony Mavica MVC-FD91 (1024 x 768) An absolutely amazing zoom.
- Kodak DC-240 (1.3 megapixel) Surprising quality!
- Toshiba PDR-M4 (2.1 megapixel) Competition for the Fuji MX-2700?

- Focal lengths, zooms and digital zooms: a simple explanation.
- Quick Tip: Energy for hungry digital cameras.

UMAX announces new Astra 2200 scanner!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 12:58 EDT)

UMAX has today announced its new Astra 2200 flatbed scanner. The unit, with a hardware resolution of 600 x 1200dpi (interpolated up to 9600dpi) features 36-bit color, USB and SCSI-II interfaces, one-touch scanning and copying (a third one-touch button is user-programmable). The software bundle includes Adobe Photoshop LE, Presto! PageManager (full version) from NewSoft, Caere Omnipage LE OCR, NewSoft Presto! PhotoAlbum LE, and Newsoft Presto! PageType (full version, PC, as well as the UMAX copy utility (PC). The Astra 2200 is available immediately for an estimated street price of $249.

ZDNet gives away a printer a day!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 11:42 EDT)

ZDNet, the web-site arm of publisher Ziff Davis, has announced a sweepstakes promotion in cooperation with Lexmark International Inc. Every day in August, a Lexmark Z31 Color Jetprinter will be given away in the ZDNet AnchorDesk Inkjet Printer Giveaway contest. The Lexmark Z31, due to reach retail next month, has a true resolution of 1200 x 1200 dots per inch (dpi), print-speeds up to 8 pages per minute (ppm) in black and 3.5 ppm in color, and Lexmark's Accu-Feed paper handling system.

HP ranked highly by MIS professionals!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 11:13 EDT)

HP has announced the results of a survey of 300 MIS professionals, conducted by Strategic Marketing Research & Planning. The results reveal that 73% of respondents use HP color printers in their office, with only 28% using HP's closest competitor's machines. More than 63% bought an HP printer as their last printer purchase, whilst more than 69% intend to buy an HP printer as their next purchase. Only 16.5% intend to buy the closest competitor's printers for their next purchase.

At the same time, HP also asked respondants to rate (on a scale of 1 to 7) eight printer manufacturers on a number of attributes, with HP coming first (or equal first) in every category, as follows:

Attribute(1)     HP  Canon  Epson  Lexmark  Minolta  Tek-   Xerox  QMS
------------ -- ----- ----- ------- ------- ------ ----- ---
print quality/ 6.1 5.3 5.7 5.4 5.5 5.5 5.8 4.7
reliability/ 6.1 5.3 5.6 5.3 5.2 5.0 5.8 4.9
service/support 5.6 4.9 5.2 5.1 5.0 4.9 5.6 4.8
ease of use 6.1 5.7 5.7 5.4 5.3 4.9 5.8 5.0
value 5.9 5.4 5.6 5.4 5.3 4.7 5.4 4.4

Enroute announces QuickStitch 2.0!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 10:55 EDT)

Enroute Imaging has announced its new QuickStitch 2.0 panorama stitching software, which the company descibes as "the only panorama software to simultaneously stitch images bi-directionally (horizontally and vertically) for stunning wide-screen panoramas". The new version increases output to 6 megapixels, for larger images, as well as adding multi-page print spanning, QuickTime VR output, the ability to reimport existing panoramas to print or alter, and brightness/contrast controls.

QuickStitch 2.0 will be avilable this month from Enroute Imaging or through MacMillan Publishing, at a price of $49.95.

SST announces new 32, 48MB CompactFlash cards!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 9, 1999 - 10:48 EDT)

Silicon Storage Technology Inc. has today announced its new 32 and 48MB CompactFlash cards, according to a press release on Yahoo! BizWire. According to SSI, the cards offer "the industry's fastest sustained write performance, up to 1.4 MByte/sec", thanks to the use of a dual port SRAM buffer, direct memory access and flash file system. Sample quantities of the cards are available immediately with full production to begin this quarter. The cards are priced at $70 (32MB) and $100 (48MB) respectively, in quantities of 1,000.

Sunday, August 8, 1999

Ricoh firmware update on the way!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, August 8, 1999 - 18:56 EDT)

We broke news of Friday of a reported problem with Ricoh's RDC-5000 digital camera, where the USB connectivity failed to work in cooperation with Microsoft's Windows 98 Second Edition (OSR2). Our contacts at Ricoh have confirmed that the problem does affect English-language cameras, and they intend to have a fix on the Ricoh website tomorrow (Monday 09/08/99), in the form of a user-installable firmware update.

The problem apparently came from a change Microsoft made to the way USB Mass Storage Devices were emulated in the SCSI section of Windows' Device Manager, for the tech-types out there...

PhotoPage 1.2a1 Alpha version released
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, August 8, 1999 - 18:47 EDT)

The MacInTouch website has posted news of a new version of John Vink's PhotoPage program, a freeware utility for automatically creating Web pages with thumbnails from a group of images. The new alpha 1.2a1 version adds the following:

"Added balloon help.
Ability to choose different document fonts.
Ability to choose different document font sizes.
Ability to choose different document font colours.
Thumbnails can now be scaled based on width, height, or longest side.
Ability to choose a background colour.
Document introduction can now be saved as a default.
Descriptions can be placed above or below the image.
Document settings can be saved as default settings.
Default document introduction and document footer can now accept more than 255 characters.
You can now browse for applications to map the HTML file and the thumbnails to.
Improved user interface for document settings and preferences."

New version of Cameraid!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, August 8, 1999 - 18:38 EDT)

A new beta version of Juri Munkki's Cameraid program has been released, according to the MacInTouch website. The current version, 1.1.3b3, has the following changes:

"The ability to use shift with keyboard shortcuts in the shortcuts menu was broken in version 1.1.3b2. I find this feature very useful, so fixed this problem and added some code so that the control key also works with keyboard shortcuts.

There were some minor problems in the TIFF support in version 1.1.3b1. They have hopefully now been fixed. Cameraid can now use temporary memory for downloaded images, so you don't have to have several megabytes of RAM allocated to Cameraid just to download TIFFs.

The manual has been updated to reflect the changes in the manual and the availability of new memory card readers and I/O devices.

New rename tags (:x, :z and :X and :Z) have been added so that image size can be used as a part of the rename pattern.

The HTML panel of the batch processor is now improved and supports captions under the thumbnails and allows easier creation of thumbnails for web pages. Note that you can now produce a web page with links to scaled images and small thumbnails with a single batch processor! (It used to take two.)

You can customize Cameraid by placing a "Cameraid Resources" file in the same folder as Cameraid. It will override resources in the Cameraid application. This is useful if you have changed any resources in Cameraid (like the template for custom photo icons) and want to keep those modifications separate from Cameraid itself.

There's a sample "Cameraid Resources" file in the user's guide folder. Move it into the same folder with Cameraid and restart Cameraid to use it. You have to quit Cameraid if you wish to edit or add resources within this file.

Command-up and down arrow will toggle through items on pop-up menus that are placed after text items."

Intel announces 128Mbit StrataFlash chips!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, August 8, 1999 - 16:45 EDT)

Intel has announced its new 128Mbit StrataFlash chips, according to a press release on Yahoo! BizWire (and a news item on, kindly forwarded to us by IR Reader Richard Greenough). We mulled over this one for a little while before deciding to post it; the digital imaging implications are rather difficult to unravel for a number of reasons. The chips are packaged in TSOP packaging, which is likely not the choice used for Flash cards, and the speed increases noted in the release affect read times only (not write times, which are more important for digicam users). That said, the low cost of the units and the density increase Intel has managed in stacking the storage units could lead to similar improvements in digicam flash storage...
Thanks to Richard Greenough for this item!

Friday, August 6, 1999

Ricoh RDC-5000 - problems with Windows98 Second Edition?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 6, 1999 - 16:01 EDT)

The Ricoh Japan website has posted news that the RDC-5000 digital camera may have a problem with Windows98 Second Edition (OSR2). According to the Japanese page, the USB functionality of the RDC-5000 doesn't work with the English version of OSR2, although it isn't noted whether this applies to all versions of the RDC-5000 or only the Japanese version. The page further notes that Ricoh is investigating whether the problem also exists with the Japanese version of Windows98 OSR2.

The RDC-5000 does have upgradeable firmware, so if there is any problem it shouldn't be too difficult to fix, however we stress that currently there is virtually no information on the Japanese page, and Ricoh's US website does not mention any problems, so it is possible that this only affects Japanese cameras. That said, if you own or plan on buying an RDC-5000, we'd recommend against upgrading to Windows98 OSR2 until more information comes to light...

Windows98 Second Edition was only released in the last couple of months, and is not available as a free upgrade. Newly purchased PCs may come with OSR2, and the update is also available for purchase...
Thanks to the PC Watch website for pointing us towards this item!

WOW! IR Reader receives Kodak DC280!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 6, 1999 - 15:15 EDT)

We just received an email from IR reader Carlo Berardelli, telling us that he's just received his Kodak DC280 digital camera, only four days after we first broke news that the camera (similar to the Japanese DC280J, but with a 20MB CompactFlash card) was soon to hit US shores... Carlo had this to say:

"I just received my dc280 (bought at 3DLogic for $693.44). It's a nice toy. Your specs are correct, CCD is 2.3M and it comes with a 20M card. Tried to register on line on the kodak site but the page is not ready yet."

Carlo kindly included a picture (below) of his camera for us, which should convince any of you that are shaking your head in disbelief at the speed with which the camera arrived!

Dave's Note: Yeesh! Talk about badly-kept "secrets!" - We *still* can't say anything about this product, but stay tuned, we'll have a full report as soon as we're allowed!

Geometrix forms new 3D scanning unit!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 6, 1999 - 14:43 EDT)

Geometrix Inc. has today announced the formation of a new business unit specialising in 3D object scanning services. The Geometrix Scanning Services Group will be headed by Steve Macdonald, formerly Director of Sales for Acuris Custom 3D Modeling. Macdonald has a background as a modeler, animator and texture artist, which gives him an understanding of the issues facing 3D developers. The company's scanning services will start at $500 per model, and will use 3Scan's Dynamic Laser Scanning technology to provide models with sub-millimeter accuracy,photorealistic textures, and "no holes or dangling polygons". (Sounds painful!) To introduce the service, Geometrix will offer one free fully-textured object scan to all new customers through year-end...

IPIX announces IPO, NASDAQ listing, but stumbles!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, August 6, 1999 - 14:18 EDT)

Oak Ridge, TN-based Interactive Pictures Corp. (IPIX) yesterday announced its initial public offering of 4,200,000 shares of common stock, to be traded on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol IPIX. The shares were offered at $18 each, and IPIX subsequently stumbled somewhat (a victim of the slump in the Internet sector and its own less-than-impressive growth rate, according to analysts), falling to $17.75 in late afternoon trading...

Thursday, August 5, 1999

Melco announces CF/SmartMedia reader, ATA Flash!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 19:09 EDT)

Japanese company Melco Ltd. has announced its new MCR-U USB CompactFlash/SmartMedia reader, according to a news item on the PC Watch website. The new reader accepts 3.3v or 5v SmartMedia cards up to 128MB, or CompactFlash Type I or II cards including the new IBM Microdrive without the need for an adapter. It interfaces to a PC or Mac via a USB port, and allows both Smartmedia and CompactFlash cards to be read simultaneously, and even allows copying from one card to the other. The MCR-U, described as metallic silver in color, should ship at the end of August in Japan, at a price of approximately US$83.

Whilst looking at the above item, we noticed another press release from Melco, announcing the debut of its new PowerFlash RPF series ATA Flash Type II PC Cards. Due to ship at the end of August are three new cards, as below (the prices listed seem to be way too high to us, so something may have gone awry in the translation here!):

Model     Size   Price (Yen/US$)
RPF-64M 64MB 47,000 yen/US$410
RPF-96M 96MB 70,000 yen/US$611
RPF-160M 160MB 116,000 yen/US$1014
Melco products are sold in Japan under the brand-name "Buffalo".

{Enable Humor Mode}
Finally for today, I just had to throw this in (although totally unrelated to digital imaging). PC Watch is carrying news of the next in a series of iMac copy-cats (we've heard today that PC manufacturer Emachines has joined this list too) - the first iMac-alike car in Japan, along with photos... It had to happen, really... :)
{Humor Mode Disabled}

Howtek announces first scanning software for film negatives!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 17:58 EDT)

Howtek Inc. has today announced what it is describing as "the first scanning software designed specifically for high quality scanning of film negatives, and support of large format and photographic digital printing", its Digital PhotoLab software. The software is bundled with the 4000 dpi HiResolve Sprint scanner for $22,995, the 8000 dpi HiResolve 8000 scanner for $32,995, and the large-format (18.5" x 24") HiResolve Grand scanner for $44,995. The software contains a database of film types, from which the film being scanned is first selected, before Digital photoLab analyses the film being captured to determine the exposure level and properties of the film. The release is accompanied by rave reviews from several initial users, such as the following from Mark Houde of Carolina Sport: "I tried a couple of other scanners before I found the Howtek Solution -- no other scanner can do negatives properly. The quality of scans with Digital PhotoLab is three times better than anything else and I have increased my productivity to 15-20 scans a day"

Hitachi Koki announces new Dataproducts ink cartridges!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 17:45 EDT)

Hitachi Koki Imaging Solutions Inc. today announced the release of three new Dataproducts-branded ink cartridges. According to Hitachi, Dataproducts ink cartridges are priced approximately 20% below that of the manufacturer's own cartridges, which can result in savings up to $0.06 per page printed. The new cartridges are for Epson's 440, 640 and 740 Series inkjet printers.

Hong Kong Telecom and Kodak join in image service!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 17:26 EDT)

A news item on Yahoo! Finance today notes that Hong Kong Telecom and Eastman kodak Co. have agreed to cooperate on the world's first broadband on-demand imaging service. The service, called ImageOnline, will "allow companies and public sector organisations to maintain a virtual digital library, through which they can instantly access images, data and documents stored in digital form"

Iterated Systems announces distribution, integration!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 17:04 EDT)

Two press releases today from Iterated Systems announce new distribution and integration agreements for the company's STiNG reXpress resolution management software. The software essentially uses fractal technology to offer small file sizes and high quality, which the company claims "eliminate output resolution restrictions"... In the first press release, Iterated reveals that Onyx Graphics Corp. has incorporated STiNG technology into its PosterShop large-format digital color printing software. STiNG reXpress Server costs $9,950, whilst stand-alone STiNG reXpress Desktop software starts from $2,995. The two companies will continue to work together on future products.

The second press release announces that Iterated has secured a distribution agreement with the Digital Technology Group. Chuck Modlin, president of the Digital Technology Group, had this to say: "By adding STiNG reXpress to our digital imaging offerings, Digital Technology Group can deliver our clients a sophisticated image production system that saves time and increases profits and productivity in the imaging workflow."

Peerless in Deloitte & Touche "Fast 50"!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 16:42 EDT)

We noted a few days ago a press release from Imaging Technologies Corp., which announced that the company had been placed on Deloitte & Touche's "Fast 50" list of the quickest growing companies in its area, and see today that another imaging company has also made the list. Peerless Systems, provider of embedded software to OEMs of printers, copiers, fax machines, scanners and more, has been selected as one of the top 50 revenue growth companies in its own area, namely Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Riverside counties.

MicroWarehouse pulls the plug on
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 16:22 EDT)

The Retail Week website is carrying a news item noting that, MicroWarehouse's website aimed at "customers with higher levels of technical knowledge and direct buying experience", has been shut down. The site now forwards over to the main MicroWarehouse website at - no comment could be gained from MicroWarehouse' spokesman as to whether the removal of Computersbynet is permanent, although it was revealed that the closure was announced during a conference call regarding the company's second-quarter earnings.

Thanks to Retail Week for this item!

Canon announces Digital Camcorder discounts for Educational Institutions!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 16:13 EDT)

A press release today from Canon U.S.A. Inc. announces that the company has started a new program offering discounts on Canon digital camcorders to educational institutions. Michael Solomon has been named as the account executive for the new education sales channel, and the company intends to have a network of educational sales agents nationwide by the end of this month. No mention is made in the release of what the discounts are...

Wednesday, August 4, 1999

PC Watch posts DC215 and DC280J sample pics!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 20:23 EDT)

The PC watch website has posted an update comparison index of sample images from 18 different digital cameras. The comparison has been updated to include the first sample pictures we've seen from Kodak's newly-announced DC215 Zoom, as well as re-shot pictures from the final shipping version of Kodak's DC280J. Also worth noting is that Sony's DSC-D770 camera is still listed in the wrong section, as being a 2 Megapixel Camera with Zoom - although the image size has been corrected since the last update... The pictures are (in order left to right, top to bottom):

2 Megapixel Zoom Digital Cameras
Olympus C-2000 ZOOM
(Wide SHQ, Tele SHQ, Wide HQ, Tele HQ)
Nikon Coolpix950
(Wide Fine, Tele Fine, Wide Normal, Tele Normal, Wide Basic, Tele Basic)
Fuji FinePix2900Z
(Wide Fine, Tele Fine, Wide Normal, Tele Normal, Wide Basic, Tele Basic)
Ricoh RDC-5000
(Wide Fine, Tele Fine, Wide Normal, Tele Normal, Wide Economy, Tele Economy)
Kyocera Samurai 2100DG
(Wide Superfine, Tele Superfine, Wide Fine, Tele Fine
Kodak DC280J
(Wide Best, Standard Best, Tele Best, Wide Better, Standard Better, Tele Better)
*Sony DSC-D770
ISO 400 (Wide High, Standard High, Tele High, Wide Middle, Standard Middle, Tele Middle)
ISO 100 (Wide High, Standard High, Tele High, Wide Middle, Standard Middle, Tele Middle)
ISO50 (Wide High, Standard High, Tele High, Wide Middle, Standard Middle, Tele Middle)
*Note: PC Watch has incorrectly placed the Sony DSC-D770 camera in the 2 Megapixel Zoom section; this camera is actually a 1.3 Megapixel unit.

2 Megapixel Fixed-Focal Length Digital Cameras
Nikon Coolpix700
(Fine, Normal, Basic)
Sony DSC-F55K
(Fine, Standard)
Epson CP-800
(Hyper, Superfine, Fine, Standard)
Fuji Finepix2700
(Fine, Normal, Basic)
Konica Q-M200
(Superfine, Fine, Basic)
Olympus C-21 (Development model)

Less than 2 Megapixel Zoom and Fixed Focal-Length Digital Cameras
Kodak DC215 Zoom
(Best Wide, Best Standard, Best Tele, Better Wide, Better Standard, Better Tele)
Fuji Finepix1500
(Fine, Normal, Basic)
Canon PowerShot A50
(Fine Wide, Fine Tele, Normal Wide, Normal Tele)
Kodak DC240
(Best Wide, Best Tele, Better Wide, Better Tele)
Casio QV-5500SX
(S, F, N)
Thanks to PC Watch for this item!
(And thanks to IR Reader Tom Burke for catching our indeliberate translation error - now corrected!)

Kodak Japan announces the DC215 Zoom!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 19:38 EDT)

We got the scoop two days ago on the upcoming Kodak DC215 Zoom digital camera, thanks to IR reader Dan Gulkis, and it looks like we only just got there first! The Japanese PC Watch website has now published news that Kodak Japan has officially announced the camera, which is apparently a smaller version of the DC210A Zoom in an aluminum body similar to Kodak's DC240. Here's the full details:

CCD: 1.09 megapixel (1.04 megapixel effective)
Lens: F4.0 - F4.8, 2x optical zoom (equivalent to 29-58mm
in a 35mm camera)
Storage: CompactFlash
File Format: JPEG and FlashPix, DPOF compliant
LCD Display: 1.8 inch
Focusing Range: 0.5m - infinity, 0.2m to 1m in Macro mode
Shutter Speed: 1/362 to 1/2 second
ISO Rating: 140
White Balance: Auto
Exposure Control: Program AE (can be corrected and
locked in 0.5EV steps to +/- 2.0EV)
Power Supply: 4 AA batteries
Dimensions (W x H x D): 115 x 67.5 x 43.3 millimeters
Weight: 305 grams without battery
Bundled items: 4MB CF card, Mac/PC connection software
and cables, Adobe PhotoDeluxe and Adobe

The Kodak DC215 Zoom is set to ship in Japan at the end of September, at an as yet undisclosed price (thought to be in the region of 50,000 yen / US$434).

Image Control offers alternative to expensive ink cartridges!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 18:26 EDT)

A press release today from Image Control of Toronto notes that with printer prices falling, three ink cartridges can now often exceed the price of the printer itself. The company feels that refilling inkjet cartridges is an effective way to combat these high prices, with savings of up to 93%, but notes that printer manufacturers frown on this practice, with "extreme measures such as 'Refilling may void your warranty' ... cited".

Image Control goes on to promote its ink refills, noting that the company complies ISO 9002 standards including Class 10,000 clean room, conditions, and that if the manufacturers were to state "Refilling will void your warranty", they would be violating three Canadian laws on tied selling. The press release continues by pointing out that Image Control "[assumes] any printer damage liability connected with its refill kits", and since 1992 and with sales of 37,000 refill kits has only had to do so twice.

Check scam hits Chicago-area retailers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 18:15 EDT)

The PMA International Daily Newsline is carrying a news item today regarding a check scam that has struck digicam retailers in the Chicago area:

"Jody Relan, vice president of Elmhurst Camera, Elmhurst, Ill., USA, reported a cashier’s check scam which has affected several retailers in the greater Chicago, Ill., USA, area. The scam begin with a caller asking the prices of digital cameras. According to Relan, the caller then says he will purchase a digital camera, and wants to know the price, including taxes. The customer comes in with what appears to be a cashier’s check, made out to the retailer for the exact amount quoted over the phone, however, the check comes back bad once it is deposited. Relan says the checks look genuine and have watermarks. He said he didn’t know if the checks were stolen, or are counterfeit. Several other photo retailers in the Chicago area have been hit by the scam, he said."
Thanks to the PMA International Daily Newsline for this item!

SanDisk announces appointments!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 17:35 EDT)

SanDisk has distributed two press releases (1,2) today announcing new appointments in the company. First off, Gene Rosenthal (currently director of product and test engineering) has been appointed to the position of Senior Director of Product and Test Engineering. Next up is Heinz Schulte, who established SanDisk GmbH in Hannover Germany, and now moves to the position of Managing Director of European Sales. Sanjay Mehrotra, formerly vice president of product technology, becomes senior vice president of engineering (and has also been named a company officer), whilst finally Jack Yuan (formerly vice president of process technology) becomes senior vice president of technology...

ITEC continues to add to South American distribution!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 14:30 EDT)

We noted in a news item entitled "ITEC secures Bolivian distribution, growing fast!" (July 30) that digital imaging company Imaging Technologies Corp., well known for its color management products amongst others had announced its new Bolivian distributor, and note that the company has further announced distributors today for Brazil and Argentina. In Brazil, Apolo Tecnologiae Informatica will become ITEC's distributor and has placed initial orders for US$100,000 of ITEC's color and monochrome printers, ColorBlind software, spares, and consumables to get the ball rolling... In Argentina, Ultra Tecnologias S.A., which has also placed orders for US$100,000 worth of ITEC products and foresees a potential for $1.5 million in sales in only the first year, will become the local distributor.

American MegaTrends partners with Konica, Hitachi for USB tethered cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 14:22 EDT)

Two press releases (1,2) from computer hardware and BIOS manufacturer American Megatrends today announce that it has developed drivers for Konica and Hitachi's USB tethered digital cameras. In the case of Konica, separate drivers were coded for Windows95 and Windows98, due to the former's lack of support for ActiveX. For Hitachi, drivers were coded for an SH-3 processor based tethered camera, and AMI also coded the firmware for the unit. All of this code was made using AMI's USB-Ware for Digital Cameras software suite.

PhotoLoft and sixdegrees cooperate!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 14:13 EDT)

Online photo-sharing website has today announced the latest in its string of partnerships, this time with online community The agreement calls for sixdegrees to offer a "prominent" link to the website, in return for which sixdegrees members will be entitled to a free premium account, ordinarily $29.95.

Agfa offers extended warranties!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 12:31 EDT)

A press release today from Agfa's Desktop Products Group announces that the company is now offering a choice of 1 or 2 year extended warranty programs for selected DuoScan scanners and ePhoto digital cameras. The warranties are available for customers who have purchased the product within the last 90 days, and are priced as follows:

Scanners                    1 year           2 year
DuoScan T2000 XL $664.30 $949.00
DuoScan T2500 $587.30 $839.00
DuoScan $559.30 $799.00
DuoScan T1200 $118.30 $169.00
DuoScan T1200 ADF $55.30 $79.00

Digital Cameras 1 year 2 year
ePhoto CL50 $69.00 $99.00
ePhoto 1680 $69.00 $99.00
ePhoto 1280 $59.00 $89.00

Tuesday, August 3, 1999

Delkin announces Type II CompactFlash!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 3, 1999 - 2:08 EDT)

Delkin Devices today announced that it is now shipping Type II CompactFlash cards in four capacities up to 80MB. Type II CompactFlash is similar to Type I, but uses a slightly thicker housing (5 millimeters as compared to 3.3 millimeters for Type I). The company notes that it is also testing cards up to 224MB, due to ship in Q4 1999.

Monday, August 2, 1999

ClubPhoto announces US$3000 sweepstakes!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 21:30 EDT)

We received an email this evening from ClubPhoto Inc. with news of its new Summer Sweepstakes, with a whopping $3000 up for grabs... To enter, visit the Sweepstakes page and sign up for a ClubPhoto account to be entered in the Sweepstakes with a maximum prize of $1000. Want more? As soon as your membership is activated, you become eligible for a total of $2000 - and once your album has been shared with friends, family or associates, you become eligible for the full US$3000 sweepstakes prize, to be awarded on September 1, 1999. Wow!

Kodak to release new DC215Z digital cameras?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 17:04 EDT)

IR reader Dan Gulkis (our source for the news item below regarding the US Kodak DC280 digital camera) also contacted us regarding another piece of Kodak news today. Here's Dan:

"Apparently Kodak is releasing an update to the DC210 camera. The latest Dell catalog that I received lists both the DC215 and the DC215Z Millennium 2000 Edition. I haven't seen any mention of this anywhere else...
Here are the details from p.14 of the catalog:
NEW Kodak DC215 Zoom Camera
Get eye opening, detailed 5" x 7" prints from this sophisticated 1 megapixel camera with its 2x true optical zoom lens. Preview your images on the LCD screen, then capture thos special moments and store them in your digital photo album. Comes with Adobe Photo Deluxe software to easily edit your pictures. Add to your purchase for Only $399.
NEW Kodak DC215Z Millennium 2000 Edition Camera
Offering all the features of the DC215 Silver Camera and more, this camera has everything you need to get picture-perfect results every time. Use the sophisticated 2x true optical zoom lens to take clear, sharp 5" x 7" prints, then use the advanced USB card reader for rapid down-loads of your photos to disks, your hard drive, or CD-ROM. Add to your purchase for Only $499.
These two cameras look identical except the base model is silver and the Z model is gold. They are a similar in size and shape to the DC240. However, the lens is on the right side of the front (like the DC220/DC260) instead of being in the middle.
I checked Dell's web site and there isn't really any info there. But when I selected a computer to purchase and used the customize option, the DC215 did show up as an option for $369.95.

Interesting! We did a little sleuthing of our own, and found the Kodak DC215 and DC215 Millennium Edition listed on Dell's Gigabuys website also, for US$398.95 and US$498.95 respectively - and listed as both being in stock...
Thanks again to Dan Gulkis for this item! NOTE FROM DAVE: Once again, with this and the news item below, our lips are sealed by nondisclosures with Kodak. All we can say is: Stay tuned...

Kodak to release DC280 in the US soon?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 16:35 EDT)

We received a note today from IR reader Dan Gulkis with news that the Kodak DC280J (which recently started shipping in Japan) may be hitting US shores soon, as the Kodak DC280...

Dan spotted the DC280 listed by a number of online retailers, including Egghead, MicroWareHouse, HardwareStreet and FirstSource. The camera, which features a 2.06 megapixel CCD and 2x optical zoom, is listed at between US$661 and US$800, the latter price being that quoted by MicroWareHouse, who according to Dan usually retail at the full list price, suggesting that this is also US$800.

According to the listings that Dan has seen, the camera may come with a 20MB CompactFlash card in the USA, as opposed to the 8MB card it ships with in Japan. Also, the listings note the camera has a 5x zoom, suggesting that the remainder above the 2x optical zoom the camera has in Japan is in fact a digital zoom.

Following is a reprint of our June 22nd coverage of the debut of Kodak's DC280J in Japan:

"Kodak announces DC280J Zoom! Kodak Japan has announced a new 2 megapixel digital camera based on the Kodak DC240 Zoom, according to the PC Watch website! The DC280J has a 2.06 megapixel CCD, a new F3.0-3.8 2x optical zoom lens equivalent to a 30-60mm zoom on a 35mm film camera, and can focus down to 0.5 meters (0.25 meters in Macro mode). Also included are an optical and a 1.8-inch LCD display, NTSC/PAL video outputs, USB and serial connectivity, and CompactFlash storage (an 8MB CF card is bundled with the camera). Picture sizes are 1,760 x 1,168 or 892 x 592 pixels, and the camera conforms to DCF and DPOF. The DC280J has a range of shutter speeds from 1/2 second to 1/755 second, an ISO rating of 140, exposure compensation in 0.5EV steps, exposure lock, and auto / daylight / fluorescent / incandescent white-balance settings. It is due to ship in Japan on July 23rd at an estimated street price of 90,000 yen (US$746), and weighs 342 grams without battery in what looks to be the same 133 x 52 x 76mm case as Kodak's DC240 Zoom."
Thanks to IR Reader Dan Gulkis for this item!

A note to Vivitar Vivicam 3100 owners!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 16:08 EDT)

IR Reader Darek Przygoda emailed with news today of an apparent bug i the software of Vivitar's Vivicam 3100 digital camera. The unit, which has no LCD display and hence can only delete either the most recent photo or all photos, sometimes fails to delete the correct image, as described by Darek below:

"It looks like there is a bug in Vivicam 3100 firmware. This camera does not have LCD display, so the flash memory management system is limited to two built-in functions: 'delete all pictures' and 'delete last picture'. The first one seems to work flawlessly, but the other one sometimes behaves poorly. When the memory is almost filled up the attempt to delete last picture may lead to either deleting the wrong picture or deleting more than one picture.
I submitted this bug to Vivitar (the manufacturer of Vivicams) many weeks ago, but so far they did not give me any technical answer how to work it around. As far as I understand the problem it is caused by the implemented scheme of flash memory management in this camera.
So here's the tip: DO NOT USE THIS FUNCTION WHEN :
The bug itself is not really severe one when you know about it; but I learned about it when I accidentally deleted wrong pictures losing the ones I wanted to keep. Some experiments with taking pictures of numbers and deleting them proved that the delete function does not really work as described in the manual.
Thanks very much to Darek for sharing this with our readers!

Adobe PhotoShop 5.5 adds much requested feature!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 15:48 EDT)

We received an email over the weekend from IR Reader Cap Kellogg, with news that the latest Adobe PhotoShop release adds a couple of features that have been very much requested for some time...

"The brand new version of Photoshop, v5.5, now allows one to print more than one image on a page. This is very big news for those that have been screaming for this feature these past 5 years.
Because each piece of software used affects the color balance of an image, using 3d party software to print the image is to be avoided.
v5.5 also includes the new version of Adobe ImageReady. ImageReady is a super program for web images. The batch editing feature lets you do a "web catalogue" of many images in jig time.
Looks like they've grabbed some stuff from Extensis Mask Pro, one of my favorite programs...and other new stuff too.
I ordered a few minutes ago, $129.00 for the upgrade, but will not receive it for 10 days due to backlog
Thanks for the email, Cap!

PhotoHighway to launch Australian subsidiary!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 15:15 EDT)

Digital imaging portal, which launched recently in the USA, has announced plans today to open a new subsidiary in Australia. Asia Pacific Limited will be headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, with coverage including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, amongst others. The announcement was made this morning at the Internet World '99 show.

Vivitar "committed to digital"!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 15:11 EDT)

A news item on the PMA International Daily Newsline notes that Vivitar USA PR contact Robert Sax has stated "Vivitar remains committed to digital imaging and will continue to release digital products". This follows on from a report in Newsline Australia last month that Vivitar, a Japanese company, was "withdrawing from the digital product business to specialize in analog products, particularly silver-halide film cameras".

IOData releases 440MB flash in Japan!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 15:03 EDT)

According to a posting on the PC Watch website, IOData has announced a new line of Type II PC Card (PCMCIA) flash cards, in sizes of 280, 350 and 440MB. The cards accept 3.3 or 5V, and consume a maximum of 150mA. The cards are quoted as reliable for 300,000 write/erase cycles.

Konica launches new Computer Products website!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 14:47 EDT)

Konica Computer Products has today launched its new website, The new site, aimed at supporting Value Added Resellers, offers program information, sales collateral materials, and through a secure area, access to promotional and account information as well as Konica's ExpertWeb online technical support software for Konica Authorized Resellers.

HP announces new Home Office all-in-ones!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 14:21 EDT)

Hewlett Packard Company has announced today the release of two new OfficeJet T Series all-in-one all-color printer/fax/scanner/copiers for the home office, the OfficeJet T45 and T65. The machines, which retail at estimated street prices of $499 and $599 respectively, combine the following functionality:

* HP's exclusive color-layering technology, to deliver vibrant photo-quality color printing
* Print speeds at up to 11 pages per minute (ppm) for crisp black text and at up to 8.5 ppm for vibrant color documents
* Broad media flexibility, including the ability to print on transparencies, labels, photo paper, iron-on T-shirt transfers and greeting cards

* Unattended faxing using the 20-page automatic document feeder
* One-touch dialing, speed dials, auto redial and PC-fax
* Communication in color to color fax machines that meet the International Color Fax Standard ITU-T30E

* Handy, one-button scanning from the front panel for accurate, true-to-original results
* Easy-to-use software that takes only two mouse clicks to add photos or images to documents
* Optical character recognition (OCR) software to provide editable scanned text instantly
* "Scan-to-email" to enable color photos to be sent to e-mail addresses instantly, using the Internet

* Photo-quality color and black-and-white copying at speeds of up to 6 copies per minute (cpm) monochrome and 2 cpm color
* Convenient collation on the OfficeJet T65 all-in-one, for easy production of multiple copies of business documents

Epson and IDG Books publish "Buying an Ink Jet Printer for Dummies"
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 14:06 EDT)

A press release today from Epson America Inc. and IDG Books Worldwide announces that the two companies have jointly released a new addition to the popular "Dummies" series of books, entitled "Buying an Ink Jet Printer for Dummies". The new booklet, available from Epson's website (link not working at the time of this writing), includes the following sections:

1) The State of the Ink Jet -- Discusses the differences between the two popular methodologies of ink jet technology: Epson's Micro Piezo and thermal. Print speeds, color technologies, droplet size and photo-quality printing are also highlighted.
2) Printer Projects and Buying Tips -- Provides information about various papers, and describes a variety of projects that can be used with each type. Also featured are buying tips, and definitions for the wide range of ink jet printer categories: home, small office, business and photo-optimized.
3) The Part of Tens -- Provides ten important questions to ask before purchasing an ink jet printer and ten reasons to purchase an Epson printer.
4) Glossary -- Defines important ink jet printer terms.
5) Coupons -- Offers readers Printmaster®Publishing Suite Software -- a $29.95 value -- free with purchase of any EPSON Stylus®Color ink jet printer.

Epson cuts prices on three color inkjets!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 13:53 EDT)

Epson America Inc. announced today a price cut on three of its color inkjet printers, the EPSON Stylus Color 900, EPSON Stylus Color 850 and EPSON Stylus Color 640. The Epson Stylus Color 900, a four-color CMYK inkjet with a resolution of 1440 x 720 dpi, Micro Piezo technology, variable droplet sizes, and rated "faster overall than the fastest competitive ink jet printers" (12 ppm black, 10 ppm color) by the National Software Testing Laboratory, will now retail for US$399. The Stylus Color 850, which features the same 1440 x 720dpi resolution of the 900 as well as the CMYK inks and Micro Piezo technology, but lacks the speed and variable droplet sizes of the superior model, will now retail for an estimated US$249. Finally, the 1440 x 720dpi 4-color Epson Stylus Color 640, which also uses Epson's Micro Piezo technology, will now retail for US$159 with a US$30 mail-in rebate, bringing the final price down to US$129.

SanDisk announces promotions!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 13:43 EDT)

Flash media manufacturer Sandisk Corp. has announced in a press release today the promotion of its directors of finance and materials. Michael Gray, previously director of finance, will now assume the position of vice president of finance, whilst Jeff Kyle will move from director of materials to vice president of materials. Gray will continue to report to CFO Cindy Burgdorf and Kyle will continue to report to Ralph Hudson, senior vice president of worldwide operations.

Peerless to use VxWorks in digital imaging solution!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 13:38 EDT)

A press release today from Wind River Systems Inc. announces that Peerless Systems Corp. will be using its VxWorks RTOS (Real Time Operating System) as the underlying software of its scalable ImageWorks digital imaging solution. Wind River's Tornado development platform will also be used by Peerless.

Agfa drops price for SnapScan 1212U!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 13:16 EDT)

Agfa's Desktop Products Group has announced a price cut on its SnapScan 1212U scanner, according to a press release today. The scanner, which has a resolution of 600 x 1200dpi (dots per inch) and features a USB interface,is now available for US$99 (off-white model only).

Upgraded Olympus C-900ZOOM on the way?
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 4:10 EDT)

Phil Askey's Digital Photography Review website has posted a tip-off from an anonymous source claiming that an uprated version of Olympus' C-900Z / D-400Z digital camera is on the way. To be called the D-450Z (and presumably also the C-950Z?), the camera is purported to be much faster, and offer a burst mode operable in any resolution. The resolution, however, remains the same as the current camera. Supposedly the camera will retail around US$500, and more info will become apparent at the end of August. Remember folks, this is currently only a rumor, and has not been confirmed by Olympus or attributed to a reliable source as yet...Note from Dave: Without confirming or denying anything, as is often the case, we know things we can't talk about: Stay tuned...

Steve's Digicams reviews JAR Sun Shield!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 4:05 EDT)

The folks over at Steve's Digicams have completed a review of JAR's "Sun Shield" LCD sun shade for the Nikon Coolpix 9xx cameras. The unit, which at US$7.50 is the cheapest Steve has tested, folds down flat when not in use but doesn't obstruct any of the buttons when attached to the camera with its velcro strips... Sounds great, but does it do a good job of shading sun from the LCD? According to a sample picture in the review (which demonstrates what Steve describes as "easy to see LCD screen even with bright and harsh overhead lighting") - YES! :) A version for the Sony Mavica cameras is also available.

Toshiba announces world's first combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 3:59 EDT)

Not really digital imaging related strictly speaking, but interesting nonetheless is a news item from Toshiba announcing the world's first combination CD-RW and DVD-ROM drive. The SD-R1002 reads CD, CD-R, CD-RW and DVD-ROM media, and can write to CD-R and CD-RW. Normal CDs are read at a speed of 24x, DVD-ROMs at 4x, whilst CD-R and CD-RW are written at 4x. The drive fits into a standard half-height 5.25" drive bay, and is available in sample quantities immediately (pricing not available). A kit containing the SD-R1002 and all supporting hardware and software will hit the market in October, at a suggested list price below US$400.

Sanyo Digicam & Digital Album to hit Europe in September!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 3:47 EDT)

The website has posted a news item noting that Sanyo will be shipping its new VPC-SX500EX digital camera and DMA-100 digital photo album, both of which IR readers will have seen mentioned in the past, from September.

The VPC-SX500EX is a 1.5 megapixel camera with a resolution of 1,360 x 1,024 pixels, and uses Type II CompactFlash media (which would allow it to use IBM's 340MB MicroDrive). The camera can also record video with sound in QuickTime format at resolutions of up to 320 x 240 pixels.

The DMA-100 Digital Album, meanwhile, is a set-top box which can transfer images from its built-in SmartMedia and CompactFlash (Type I and II) slots to its built-in CD-RW drive, allowing it to be used to archive pictures without the need for a PC. The unit comes with a remote control with which to operate it, and runs on a hybrid RISC/JAVA operating system. Rudimentary photo editing features are also included... website officially launched!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 3:29 EDT)

PhotoChannel Networks Inc. has officially launched its website. The site, which has been running unofficially for some time, features online photo sharing and editing in the "Darkroom" and "My PhotoChannel" sections, as well as news, reviews, tips and articles in the "InfoCenter". Upcoming features include online albums, slide shows and photofinishing services. The site is still running a competition to win a Nikon Coolpix950 digital camera on signing up for a free PhotoChannel membership.

Nikon re-announces the Coolpix700 & 950!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 3:11 EDT)

Nikon rather curiously distributed a press release yesterday "announcing" the new Nikon Coolpix700 and Coolpix950 digital cameras... The release is the exact same one distributed last February, so we've no idea why it has suddenly been redistributed... Somebody pressed the wrong key on the keyboard, perhaps? :)

A new face for the Imaging Resource News
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 2, 1999 - 1:28 EDT)

As you may already have noticed, there have been some changes at the IR Newsdesk over the last few days. What you are now seeing is the news through our new interface, which promises to make the news more timely and frequently updated for you, whilst making it much easier for us to maintain. What this also means is that there will be some new features appearing on the page over the next few days that should make the IR news even more useful to you...

To use an Internet cliche, please "pardon our dust" for the next few days whilst we're rolling the new system out, and please do let us know if you come across anything that isn't working as it should (or as you'd want it to)! As usual, you can contact us by emailing [email protected]... NOTE: The broken archive links on the main news page have now been fixed. Please do continue to email us with any problems you find!



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!