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Digital Photography News Archive!
September 1999


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Thursday, September 30, 1999

Yashica bundles ArcSoft software!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 30, 1999 - 16:44 EDT)

Yashica has announced the software bundle for its Kyocera Samurai 2100DG digital camera, due to ship shortly in the USA. We've not seen the release online anywhere, so here it is in its entirity:

"ArcSoft Announces Software Bundle with Yashica

Providing a comprehensive software suite for world's first 2 megapixel digital camera with 4x optical zoom lens

Fremont, Calif. (September 27, 1999) - ArcSoft, Inc., a leading provider of digital imaging software and online photo services, today announced a new software bundle with the Kyocera 2100DG digital camera from Yashica. The camera comes bundled with a comprehensive and robust ArcSoft Win/MAC software package that includes ArcSoft PhotoMontage, ArcSoft PhotoFantasy and ArcSoft PhotoPrinter. Additionally, a special edition of ArcSoft PhotoStudio, created specially for Yashica, includes an integrated version of ArcSoft PhotoBase and a link to ArcSoft's imaging resource site, (

'Tailored for Yashica, this bundle offers easy-to-use software for both the amateur and professional photographer,' says Todd Rumaner,
executive director of marketing and world wide business development
for ArcSoft, Inc. 'Our goal is to provide Yashica with a complete
software solution which will enhance their offerings to the customer - allowing the user to create dynamic and unique content with their

Products featured in the Yashica bundle include:
 - ArcSoft PhotoStudio 3.0, specially-tailored for
Yashica, provides novice and professional users
with a complete set of photo editing and retouching
tools as well as a wide selection of special
effects and enhancements. PhotoStudio comes fully
integrated with ArcSoft PhotoBase. PhotoStudio
also includes a direct link to ArcSoft's
photo-sharing Internet service,

- A link to, a full-service online
photo-sharing and archival site that offers
digital imaging solutions and services. Designed
for the consumer, PhotoIsland offers a variety
of free services, including email, photo sharing
and albums, personalized postcards, news, photo
editing and more.

- ArcSoft PhotoBase is a powerful management and
presentation application that enables users to
build albums of photos, video, sound, HTML and
text files. PhotoBase enables users to create
self-running slide shows, video postcards and
albums that can be posted on the Web.

- PhotoPrinter is an easy-to-use printing software
utility that helps users save money on expensive
photo-quality paper by quickly and easily laying
out multiple photos on a single page.

- PhotoMontage is an exciting and unique imaging
entertainment program that enables users to
create a montage of a single image from thousands
of micro-images.

- PhotoFantasy is a fun and easy-to-use digital
image entertainment application that lets users
create "photo fantasies" by combining faces of
family and friends with a wide selection of
fantasy backgrounds.
'The Kyocera Samurai 2100DG is designed as an easy-to-use, high-quality ergonomic digital camera,' said Bill Heuer, President of Kyocera Optics, Inc. 'We wanted the camera to be bundled with the finest software that offered the most options and ArcSoft more than fit that need. ArcSoft has created a package for the Samurai that we feel gives any photographer creative options that are unparalleled in the market today.'"

BeBit posts new S10 sample images!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 30, 1999 - 16:34 EDT)

Thanks to IR reader Steve Wong for emailing the following:

"The BeBit Canon S10 website has some updated new info and two new sample pics.

C300 printer:"

UMAX faces class-action lawsuit!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 30, 1999 - 16:15 EDT)

It's taken us a few days to get to this item (Mike's near the end of the email backlog, honest!) but we received an email from IR reader Ron Tussy with an interesting tidbit which we've not seen show up on any of the newswires: "A class action lawsuit in Santa Clara District Court has been filed against Umax for misrepresetation of their Astra 1220 in that it was sold as a 36 bit scanner but only had a 30 bit A/D convertor. I got wind of the suit through someone previously associated with Umax. HP must be really scared because they did the same thing last year. Its case #CV784146 if your interested. Seems there are a lot of pissed off people out there, enough for a large suit." Thanks for the note, Ron!

Seattle Filmworks announces Crossloader!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 30, 1999 - 15:30 EDT)

Seattle Filmworks has announced its new CrossLoader service, which allows users to transfer their photographs from Seattle Filmworks' website directly to partnering sites via high-bandwidth connections. The service debuts with online photo-sharing service EasyFoto and online community site as partners. Seattle customers can now have their photos scanned free when their film is processed, and then transfer them quickly to either of these sites without having to first download the images to their own computer.

Sierra announces digital camera design kit!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 30, 1999 - 15:24 EDT)

California-based Sierra Imaging yesterday announced its new Raptor Design Kit and Image Transform Processor Simulator, available immediately. The Raptor Design Kit consists of a modular Raptor II megapixel digital camera, accompanied by schematics, electrical specifications and interface information, and is based on the Raptor II chipset, which features throughput rates of up to 3.3 Mpixel/second, support for CMOS and CCD sensors up to 16 megapixels, extended battery life (with the ability to shut down idle components), and instant startup. The ITP Simulator, meanwhile, runs under Windows and allows the developer to develop algorithms and code for the Raptor II Image Transform Processor, and then simulate the results on raw image files to see the results as a JPEG file. Sierra is demonstrating the two products at the Embedded Systems Conference, which ends today. Pricing is available directly from the company.

"Best Buy" award for Canon DR-5080C scanner!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 30, 1999 - 14:45 EDT)

Canon's DR-5080C document scanner has received a "Best Buy" award from Imaging & Document Solutions magazine, which previously awarded the unit the desgination "Best of AIIM", when it was first announced at the April '99 AIIM exposition. The DR-5080C is a high-speed desktop document scanner, able to scan up to 75 pages per minute from a 500-sheet feeder, in 24-bit color or 8-bit greyscale. The unit features 64MB of onboard memory (upgradeable to 128MB), and resolutions of up to 400 x 400 dpi (optical), and has a suggested list price of $9,500.

Target speed of USB 2.0 to be announced soon!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 30, 1999 - 14:26 EDT)

A press release today from the USB 2.0 Promoter Group, consisting of Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Lucent, Microsoft, NEC and Philips, will announce the final target speed of the USB 2.0 specification at the USB 2.0 Developers Conference in San Diego CA, Tuesday October 12. The target speed has been placed at between 30 to 40 times faster (360 to 480 megabits per second) than the current USB 1.1 standard in an announcement at the Intel Developer Forum last month.

Sony licenses MemoryStick to 6 Japanese manufacturers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 30, 1999 - 14:03 EDT)

Sony Corp. has today announced that it has licensed its MemoryStick media to six Japanese companies in an attempt to avoid repeating the dramatic failure of its Betamax video format. Little information is available in the release, however it appears that some or all of the companies will be allowed to manufacture the MemoryStick media itself, as well as being allowed to manufacture devices which use the media. The six companies are Fujitsu, Aiwa, Sanyo, Sharp, Pioneer and Kenwood.

Wednesday, September 29, 1999

IR Newsletter Launched!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 29, 1999 - 22:50 EDT)

For some time, we've wanted a better format for keeping in touch with our readers, and came up with the idea of a newsletter, covering all aspects of digital photography. We test-launched Volume 1, Number 1 on September 16, to a small subset of our readers. The response was phenomenal, and we'll be publishing this regularly, every other week, with hopeful plans to go weekly in November. To subscribe, just send a blank email to: [email protected]. Every issue will contain subscribe/unsubscribe instructions, so you'll be able to pass it to your friends, or unsubscribe any time you wish! The next issue should go out this coming Friday. (9/30 - subscribe quick!) In it, we'll take a look at Kodak's Picture CD process (we're working on a full review of this for the site - we think this will have a big impact on the industry, as it's a very cheap way to try out digital photography), as well as a very interesting upgrade to the PhotoGenetics image-adjustment program we're so fond of. (Here's a hint: Can you say "no more barrel distortion?") Future issues will have some great newsletter-only deals, industry updates, tutorial and general-interest articles, etc, etc. No confirmed schedule yet, but there will also be some newsletter-only sweepstakes in the not-too-distant future! Definitely worth subscribing to! (But then, I may be biased... ;)

Full Review of Fuji MX-2900 Posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 29, 1999 - 22:36 EDT)

This must be "Fuji Day" at the Imaging Resource! A little while in the process, as we've added people and rearranged our workflow, but hopefully worth waiting for! We describe Fuji's new 2.3 megapixel, 3x zoom-equipped camera as an "enthusiast's camera", due to the extensive control it give you over the picture-taking process. Exposure options include external flash (via a hot shoe), and full-manual exposure control (simultaneous control of both shutter speed and aperture). There's also a manual focus option, and the camera is designed to accept an adapter ring for mounting auxiliary lenses. (The adapter ring converts between a set of body-mounted lugs and 43mm filter threads - Provides a solid mount for most any thread-based gadget you might want to attach. (We played with it using a wide-angle adapter from Fuji.)) Very sharp, high resolution, excellent color, good low-light capability, very flexible. About the only real gripe we had was that the autofocus was a bit slow and noisy. Check it out - A very capable camera!

Full Fuji MX-1700 Review Posted!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 29, 1999 - 22:22 EDT)

For everyone who's been patiently (or for some, impatiently ;) waiting for the full review of the Fuji MX-1700, it's finally on-line! As noted in our "First Look" review, posted nearly a month(!) ago, Fuji has worked considerable magic squeezing a 3x zoom into this tiny body. Even more amazing, the MX-1700 takes great pictures! Check out the full review for all the details!

IR Server Up & Down!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 29, 1999 - 22:20 EDT)

Our apologies to all our loyal readers - Our ISP has had a particular string of bad luck recently, with deleterious impact on our server's connectivity. (How's that phrase go? - "Bad luck is what happens to people who aren't prepared.") Unfortunately, the causes were out of our control, other than seeking a new home for our hardware, which process we're engaged upon. We've had multiple reassurances that this can't possibly happen again, but the ISP is undertaking major facilities upgrades, so we won't be surprised to see at least some further hiccups. Thanks to those who wrote to alert us: We're on the 'box so frequently, we generally know when things are awry, but it always helps to have independent reports from the outside world. With the bandwidth we have allocated (this is a *very* expensive site to run!), you should never see slow performance - if you do, something's amiss, and knowing where you're connecting into us from can be helpful in diagnosing the problem. So again, thanks to all who wrote, apologies to everyone, and keep your fingers crossed for us over the next couple of weeks as the ISP goes through their growing pains!

Tuesday, September 28, 1999

ImageExpert CE 2.0 bundled with new HP Jornada!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 28, 1999 - 18:27 EDT)

A press release today from Sierra Imaging Inc. announces that the company's ImageExpert CE 2.0 application is to be bundled with HP's new Jornada 430se Palm-Size PC. Sierra describes ImageExpert CE as "the first and only imaging application optimized to work seamlessly on every Windows CE Palm-size and Handheld PC". The program allows digital images to be viewed, annotated with text, voice or digital ink, and played in slide-shows. The images can then be emailed complete with annotations, or transferred to another HPC or PPC via the infrared port.

SanDisk President issues statement on Taiwan Earthquake!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 28, 1999 - 18:16 EDT)

Eli Harari, President and CEO of SanDisk Corp., today issued the following statement on the status of Taiwanese manufacturing following the country's recent spate of earthquakes:

"The latest information that we have is that the damage to the USC and USIC wafer fabs of the UMC Group where we manufacture our 128Mbit and 256Mbit flash wafers has been significantly less severe than originally estimated. Power at the UMC Group has been restored and 90 percent of the fab machinery has already returned to production.

Initial assessments are that between 8 and 10 percent of the SanDisk wafers in processing will have to be scrapped. We expect shipments of production wafers to resume in the next 2 to 3 days.

Assuming that the production interruption at UMC Group is contained to less than two weeks, which now appears to be the case, and that there are no significant power interruptions or major new aftershocks, we expect to be able to use our existing inventory of wafers and die bank to make up for the temporary shortfall of wafers in the fourth quarter.

The other major facility in Taiwan, at SPIL, where we do the majority of our MultiMediaCard assembly is now fully back in production.

On a personal note, I am relieved that there was no loss of lives or injuries to the people working at UMC and SPIL. These people are courageous, resourceful and highly dedicated. They are working around the clock to make a remarkable recovery under extremely difficult circumstances. We are proud to be their partner."

Pretec announces 700MB ATA flash cards!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 28, 1999 - 18:07 EDT)

A press release today from Pretec Electronics Corp. announces the company's new 700MB ATA flash PC cards. The cards are fully ATA/IDE compatible, work with 3.3V or 5V power sources, and feature 256Mb/512Mb MLC flash technology and full metal ruggedized casing. The new cards complete Pretec's line-up of ATA Flash cards from 4MB, 8MB, 16MB, 32MB, 48MB, 64MB, 96MB, 128MB, 160MB, 192MB, 256MB, 512MB, and up to the new 700MB capacity, which Pretec notes is the world's highest. Delivery will commence in October, at a sample price of US$1750.

PhotoSuite III Platinum Edition wins award!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 28, 1999 - 17:56 EDT)

A press release from MGI today announces that its MGI PhotoSuite III Platinum Edition product has been selected as "Best Edutainment-Entertainment Software" at the RetailVision show in Chicago. Nominees for the awards are selected after meeting each vendor, and seeing a presentation of the vendor's latest product offerings and promotional activities - hence the award is as much an endorsement of the company's marketing and promotional plans as the program itself.

Kodak and PictureVision expand PhotoNet with Cisco!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 28, 1999 - 17:48 EDT)

A press release today announces that Eastman Kodak Co., and subsidiary PictureVision Inc. have selected Cisco Systems Inc. as their preferred technology supplier. The two companies will use Cisco equipment, including routers, hubs, software and consulting services, to bring new retailers onto PhotoNet. At the same time, PhotoNet has been certified as a Cisco Powered Network.

Digital Imaging to drive Photo Processing over $50 billion!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 28, 1999 - 17:23 EDT)

A new report from Lyra Research Inc. today predicts that the worldwide market for photo-image processing will soar to over $51 billion by 2002, thanks to the increase in use of digital images. By 2002, Lyra expects $3.3 billion in revenues for online photofinishing services, with 5.5 billion amateur photos uploaded to such services. Lyra predicts that in the same year, some 19 billion amateur and 4 billion professional digital images will be captured, and photo processing revenues for the two will be $35.4 billion and $16.4 billion respectively.

Reuters picks up on Canon S10 launch!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 28, 1999 - 16:37 EDT)

News agency Reuters has today picked up on Canon's impending launch of the PowerShot S10 digital camera. Detail is minimal, but the Reuters item notes that the 2.11 megapixel unit, which will ship in Japan next month, is the world's smallest and lightest (2.11 megapixel) digital camera. 40,000 units will be made a month, and they'll retail in Japan for ¥89,800 (US$861).

Monday, September 27, 1999

Lexar and SanDisk continue battle...
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 27, 1999 - 23:44 EDT)

Two press releases today from CompactFlash media manufacturers Lexar and SanDisk defy logic by both claiming that their respective company has had its arguments vindicated in their ongoing court case (first detailed in our news item of May 27 1999).

SanDisk claims that "Lexar has conceded that it never had a factual basis for [its] allegations" by dropping all of its CFA-related claims, as well as claims of unfair competition, false advertising and negligent interference with a prospective business advantage. The company continues by noting that the court denied Lexar requests that SanDisk refrain from stating or implying that its cards were faster than those made by Lexar in Hewlett Packard C20, Epson Photo PC 700, Kodak DC120 and Kodak DC210 cameras, and that SanDisk issue a public statement that the court had found Lexar likely to win its false advertising claim. SanDisk then notes that the court did issue a preliminary injunction requiring the company to stop distributing a chart comparing the performance of SanDisk and Lexar cards, finding that the terminology of the chart should be changed from "click to click" to "release to click" technology. SanDisk also notes that "When Lexar filed its CFA-related claims it also issued a highly inaccurate press release aimed at harming the image and reputation of both SanDisk and the CompactFlash Association".

In return, Lexar claims that Judge Breyer, presiding in the case, described SanDisk's chart as "false and deceptive" and that the chart "was used to mislead Lexar's customers". Lexar states that the court found "Lexar is likely to succeed on its claim that SanDisk's 'click-to-click' comparisons are literally false and therefore violate...the Lanham Act....", and that "'Lexar has suffered irreparable injury' as a result of SanDisk's false and misleading advertising".

So, who's telling the truth in its press release, and who's twisting it? Difficult to tell really, but the latest in the case is being touted as a victory on both sides, and is bound to drag on for some time... In the meantime, caveat emptor - don't believe everything you read in advertisements, try for yourself before you buy...!

Agfa sponsor PC Computing Digital Photo Contest!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 27, 1999 - 22:31 EDT)

A press release from Agfa Corp.'s Desktop Products Group announces that the company will be sponsoring PC Computing magazine's 2nd annual digital photo contest. Contestants are invited to enter with a digital photo representing winter, spring, summer or fall, and the entries will be judged on creativity, image quality, and "how effectively the digital image captures the essence of the season". Winning photos will be featured in PC Computing's Year 2000 calendar, to be distributed at Fall Comdex, and prizes include four digital cameras (2 * Agfa ePhoto CL50, 1 * Nikon Coolpix950, 1* Olympus D-450 Zoom).

iGo retails CamPrint!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 27, 1999 - 15:10 EDT)

A press release from online retailer iGo Corp. announces that the company is now selling Syntran's CamPrint device. An interesting little unit, the CamPrint connects between a digital camera and printer from the list below, and enables prints to be made with auto color calibration, automatic print sizing and the ability to print single or multiple prints and index pages, all without the need for a computer. The unit is compatible with the following cameras and printers:

 - Agfa ePhoto 1280, 1680 
- Casio QV-5000 SX, QV-7000SX
- Epson Photo PC 600, 700
- Fuji DX-7, DS-7, DS-20, MX-700
- Nikon CoolPix 900, 950
- Kodak DC200, 210, 220, 260
- Olympus D220L, 320L, 340L, 500L and 600L
- Pretec 600, 800
- Ricoh RDC-4200, RDC-4300
- Umax DC-A1

- Epson Stylus Color 400, 440, 600, 6400, 800, 850,
Stylus Photo EX, 700, 740
- Any ESC/P2 emulation printer
- HP 850C, 855C, 870C, 890C, 1120C, 1600C, 2000C
- Any PCL 5 emulation printer
- Canon BJC 620, 7004
- Any BJC emulation printer
The CamPrint costs $99, and features a Centronix parallel port auto-switch, 9V DC power supply, two parallel port cables, a one-year warranty and a user manual.

Kodak announces DC240i in the USA!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 27, 1999 - 13:59 EDT)

Eastman Kodak Co. has today announced its colorful line of DC240i digital cameras, due to ship in the USA in October. We first covered these units back on July 14, when they first were announced in Japan (they suibsequently shipped in late August/early September); details in the US announcement are very brief but we'd assume they also come with the same colored wrist strap and translucent lens cap/video cable that the Japanese units ship with, as well as the 8MB CompactFlash card mentioned in the US release. The cameras themselves are styled in a very iMac-esque manner, right down to the color names - blueberry, grape, strawberry, tangerine and lime. With specifications identical to the standard DC240, the units feature a 1.3 megapixel CCD and 3x optical zoom. The Kodak DC240i in five colors will be available next month, through value-added resellers, camera dealers, catalogs and traditional computer channels; no mention is made of pricing, but in Japan the unit ships for about 12% more than the standard DC240.

Epson drops price on PhotoPC 750Z!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 27, 1999 - 13:45 EDT)

A press release today from Epson America Inc. announces that the company has dropped the price of its PhotoPC 750Z digital camera by $100. The camera, now selling for $599, features a 1.25 megapixel CCD, 3x optical and 2x digital zoom, 4MB of internal memory, CompactFlash storage (with an 8MB CF card bundled), solar-assisted LCD, and a burst mode capable of 2 shots per second for up to 16 shots in 640 x 480 mode.

Coolpix 800 announced - we have a review!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 27, 1999 - 10:29 EDT)

Nikon's come up with a new "little brother" to the tremendously successful Coolpix 950, cutting the price by going to a plastic, non-swivel body, a new 2x optical zoom lens, and dropping a few features. The result though, is a camera that will sell for hundreds less than the 950 (we've been told it'll retail for $699 list price), yet has many of the 950's desireable attributes, like the amazing "best shot selector" function for unblurred photos when hand holding low-light exposures. Nikon's announcement of the Coolpix 800 today specifies a price of "less than $700", and in-store retail availibility in "early November." We had an evaluation unit for a scant 3 days before the announcement date, but have managed to assemble a pretty complete set of test images, and wrote a brief "first look" review, which appears elsewhere on this site. We've also stitched the images into the Comparometer(tm), so you can compare them side by side with those from other 2 megapixel digicams. Overall, the Coolpix 800 looks like a real winner to us, providing a really rich set of features and excellent image quality at a reasonable price. We think Nikon's done a good job of positioning it relative to the 950, as it won't really compete with the 950 (based on the feature set), yet will provide a lower-cost entry point for Nikon digital photography. Read our "First Look" review for more info.

Friday, September 24, 1999

C3D Inc. to demonstrate Fluorescent Multi-Layer Data Storage!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 24, 1999 - 3:21 EDT)

C3D Inc. yesterday announced that it intends to demonstrate its new Fluorescent Multi-Layer Data Storage technology on October 4, 1999, shortly after concluding its acquisition of Constellation 3D Holdings Ltd., the company behind the new technology. To be offered in two formats, Fluorescent Multi-layer Disk (FMD) and Card (FMC), the technology offers some extremely high data capacities, with pilot production consisting of:

 - A 10-layer FMD-ROM disk in the standard 120mm (CD & DVD)
disk format having up to 140GB capacity
- A 20-layer FMC ClearCard-ROM in the form factor of a
credit card having up to 10GB capacity
- A 10-layer FMC ClearCard-WORM (Write Once Read Many) in
the form factor of a credit card having up to 1GB
Obviously, of these three, only one offers write capabilities, and this is similar to CD-R disks in only allowing data to be written one time, after which it cannot be deleted or overwritten. Particularly interesting though, is that C3D plans to have second and third-generation disks and cards with capacities of up to and exceeding 1 Terabyte (1,000 Gigabytes), and with RAM capabilities, allowing FM disks and cards to be erased and overwritten multiple times... For the FM disk format, existing CD & DVD 120mm disk and drive manufacturing equipment can be to accommodate the new technology "with minimum re-tooling", and FMD drives will be able to read CD and DVD media. FM cards, however, are completely new, and hence new production techniques have been developed by C3D, incorporating technology such as advanced optical multi-focal design to reduce cost per Megabyte in comparison to existing flash media. Whilst no statistics are given, Dr. Eugene Levich, founder and CEO of the newly acquired companies, describes the new media as having "large data storage capacity, low cost per Gigabyte and fast data access and read/write speeds".

Photobit and Basler AG form alliance!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 24, 1999 - 2:59 EDT)

CMOS sensor supplier Photobit Corp. and Basler AG have announced an alliance, according to a press release Tuesday. The agreement calls for Photobit to develop CMOS image sensors for integration into Basler's machine vision systems, in return for which Basler will make makes an $11.7 million strategic equity investment in Photobit, equivalent to a 16% stake, and gain a seat on the firm's board of directors. Photobit CEO Dr. Sabrina Kemeny noted that "[this] alliance strengthens our presence in machine vision, where Basler is a leader, and lets us focus on our consumer electronics markets of PC videoconferencing, digital still cameras, and video cellphones." posts Part 2 of Panorama Tutorial!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 24, 1999 - 2:35 EDT)

The website has">posted Part 2 of its tutorial on Panoramic Photography; in this section, the writer looks at the different stitching programs available, and their respective good and bad points. Included are:

 - Ulead Cool360
- Canon PhotoStitch
- LivePicture PhotoVista
- Enroute QuickStitch and QuickStitch 360
- Picture Works Spin Panorama
- PanaVue Visual Stitcher
- Helmut Dersch's Panorama Tools

PhotoBit urges laws on video privacy!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 24, 1999 - 1:57 EDT)

PhotoBit, the Pasadena CA-based supplier of CMOS image sensors, urged lawmakers to look at privacy laws in respect to increased availability of low-cost video cameras Tuesday, at the opening of its new European office (covered in an earlier news item). Eric Fossum, Chairman and Chief Scientist of PhotoBit, told journalists gathered for a news conference at the opening that with cameras now able to be built as small as a human finger and ranging from $1000 down to as little as $10, a vast array of opportunities for new devices taking advantage of the cameras was opening up - at the same time as an opportunity for "big brother" surveillance. Fossum warned that a balance was needed, asking: "Is there a basic human right to privacy? I would be very uncomfortable if someone was able to follow my day ... We need some sort of social policy. We have to decide if an individual should consent to having his or her image and actions transmitted." Along with the worrying privacy aspects of the technology advances, however, Fossum did foresee significant benefits, with cheaper digital video cameras appearing in applications from medical imaging to mobile phones capable of capturing and transmitting images over the next two years, once transmission media had become sufficiently advanced to cope with the images. Beyond this, Fossum had the following to say: "The potential is only limited by the imagination. It is impossible to predict where this technology is going."

Ritz Camera and PhotoHighway announce partnership.
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 24, 1999 - 1:43 EDT)

Photo specialty chain Ritz Camera and online digital imaging website have today announced a new partnership that will see PhotoHighway relaunch its site with a new Ritz Camera e-commerce store and community area. The relaunch, scheduled for October 6, 1999, will happen at the Internet World show in New York.

iMove ships spherical video system!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 24, 1999 - 1:35 EDT)

iMove Inc. has announced that it has shipped the world's first production spherical video system, the iMove SVS-1000 Spherical Video System. The SVS-1000, which we first saw earlier this year at the PMA show, is a 2-inch square, three pound device that consists of numerous 24-bit color video cameras, mounted on a handle and connected to a portable computer which both provides power from a battery, as well as a 13-inch screen and 18GB of removeable storage. The hard disk can store up to 45 minutes of video from the multiple video streams, which can be reassembled into the 360-degree spherical video using the SVS Post System. The Post System can also be used to add audio, sound effects and titles, and consists of a high-speed workstation running Adobe Premiere and iMove's panoramic media production suite. The first production system has shipped to the Illinois Institute of Technology Research.

Thursday, September 23, 1999

Xerox buys Tektronix' printing unit for $950 million!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 23, 1999 - 17:27 EDT)

Xerox Corp. yesterday announced that it intends to purchase the color printing unit of Tektronix Inc. for US$950 million, a move that will see Xerox jump to the No. 2 spot in color office printing behind HP. The deal, currently subject to reviews and expected to be finalised in the next 60 days, would be the largest in Xerox's history, and according to Xerox CEO Rick Thoman, makes Xerox "more printer-centric and less copier-centric". Thoman sees Xerox being in a strongly competitive position against HP with the deal, and notes that with current market growth there's plenty of room for both companies. Shares in both Xerox and Tektronix closed up on the news. Xerox expects to retain all 2,400 employees of the Tektronix unit, and also gains access to Tektronix' solid ink technology and distribution capacity. The unit currently has about $725 million in annual revenue, one-third derived from equipment and the balance from supplies.

Printer Working Group and IEEE-ISTO ally!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 23, 1999 - 17:19 EDT)

A press release today from the Printer Working Group and the IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization announces that the two have formed an alliance formalizing the PWG as a program of the IEEE-ISTO. IEEE-ISTO will provide an operational legal forum and support services to the PWG, which consists of an alliance of printer manufacturers, printer server developers, operating systems providers, network operating system providers, network connectivity vendors, and print management application developers. Chairman of the PWG, Don Wright, had this to say: "The IEEE-ISTO presented the PWG with a strategic alternative to incorporation, and an excellent complement to continue our support of printer-related standards activities. As a program of the IEEE-ISTO, the PWG will maintain its unique identity, procedures, and flexibility in directions and actions. Additionally the IEEE-ISTO provides the PWG with cost-effective support services and a stable forum to organize as we continue our efforts to develop and support implementable market-driven standards for printing."

Seattle Filmworks and Amazon cooperate!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 23, 1999 - 17:12 EDT)

Photofinisher Seattle Filmworks and online retailer/auction site have reached an agreement to use Seattle's PhotoWorks service to enable customers to upload digital images for their auctions. Amazon's customers will find a direct link to their PhotoWorks archives, from where they can select images to place in the auction. To get the ball rolling, Amazon customers who send in film for processing by Seattle will receive a free CD-ROM containing the digital images of their first photo processing order and can order up to 20 free scans of existing prints at the same time.

Epson bundles PhotoLoft membership with printers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 23, 1999 - 16:42 EDT)

A press release from online photo sharing website today announces that Epson has agreed to bundle a one-year premium account with its EPSON Stylus Photo 750, EPSON Stylus Photo 1200 and EPSON Stylus Color 740i ink jet printers. PhotoLoft describes the memberships as a $29.95 annual value.

IDC reports on CompactFlash vs. SmartMedia!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 23, 1999 - 15:32 EDT)

A report just out from International Data Corp. (IDC) looks at the ongoing battle for dominance between the CompactFlash and SmartMedia formats. According to the report, SmartMedia currently has the advantage, but there's no clear winner yet. IDC notes that whilst more digital camera vendors use CompactFlash memory than SmartMedia currently, SmartMedia cameras and media actually outsell CompactFlash cameras and media. In 1998, 53% of cameras using either CompactFlash or SmartMedia were using SmartMedia, and 58% of worldwide flash card shipments were for SmartMedia cards. IDC sees this being due to strong sales for Olympus and Fuji, however, and expects CompactFlash to gain the advantage in 2000 thanks to much higher capacity.

Agfa announces ePhoto CL30 Clik! camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 23, 1999 - 14:17 EDT)

Agfa's Desktop Products Group has today announced its new ePhoto CL30 Clik!, due to ship slightly later than the October date predicted in our news item of July 26. Consisting of an ePhoto CL30 camera with a built-in Clik! drive and USB connectivity, the unit has the following specifications:

 - 1 Megapixel CCD, 30 bit color depth
- Resolutions of 1440x1080 (interpolated), 1152x864
1024x768 and 640x480; also a 1152x864 black and
white mode. 24-bit color JPEG files.
- 1.8" LCD
- Clik! card slot; 40MB disk bundled
- 2X digital zoom
- 6 to 11 seconds between pictures dependant on
- Focus free, all glass lens; equivalent to 43 mm
on a 35mm camera; macro capability
- Aperture f/2.8 (wide)/ 8.0 (tele)
- Built-in flash (auto,fill,variable energy,red-eye
reduction,external flash trigger,off)
- 10 second self timer
- NTSC and PAL video out connectivity
- USB connectivity
- 5" x 3 1/4" x 1 1/2" dimensions
- Weighs 265g / 9.33 oz (without batteries)

OfficeMax carries ePhoto Smile!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 23, 1999 - 13:50 EDT)

A press release today from Agfa Corp's Desktop Products Group announces that OfficeMax is now carrying the low-cost ePhoto Smile. The unit, which features an interpolated resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, 2MB of non-removeable storage, video-out capability, 10-second self timer, and serial connectivity, has a suggested price of US$129.

Wednesday, September 22, 1999

Demand for FireWire products grows in Japan!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 22, 1999 - 21:44 EDT)

A press release from the 1394 Trade Association predicts (understandably enough) a surge in adoption of the 1394 standard, commonly known as FireWire or i.Link.Trade Association Chairman James Snider of Texas Instruments commented that "[the] 1394 exhibit was easily the most popular trade organization pavilion at World PC Expo this year"; members of the association with exhibits included Sony, Texas Instruments, Philips, Molex, Advanced Technology and Systems, Ricoh, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Yokogawa, Toyo, Zayante, Unibrain, Advansys, FA Systems, and Joinsoon. Snider expected the number of 1394-ready notebooks and PCs to top 8 million this year. Manufacturer Via Technologies, which expects its integrated 1394 chipset to ship in early 2000, foresees 40% of all PCs sold in 2000 integrating the 1394 standard. Texas Instruments expects to sell 24 million 1394-ready PCs in 2000, and 1394-ready PCs breaking the $1000 barrier.

Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Xirlink announces new tethered digital cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 21, 1999 - 19:50 EDT)

Xirlink Inc. has today announced two new tethered digital cameras, sold under the IBM brand as the IBM PC Camera Pro and Pro Max. The two complement the existing IBM PC Camera, adding what Xirlink describes as "high resolution still and video image capture, as well as video e-mail and videoconferencing capability". Unfortunately, the press release does not provide any specifications, beyond noting that the Pro Max has a rather interesting ability - an NTSC video-in port, allowing the camera to also be used to record clips from VCRs, DVD players, camcorders and more. The Pro will retail at $99, whilst the Pro Max will retail at $129, although no availability information is given. The software bundle includes Microsoft NetMeeting, IBM Perfect Photo and Arcsoft's PhotoStudio, VideoImpression, PhotoPrinter and PhotoPhantasy, apparently worth $200 in itself according to the release.

Seattle Filmworks and RealNetworks ally!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 21, 1999 - 19:22 EDT)

Photofinisher Seattle Filmworks and software company Real Networks have agreed to cooperate with their PhotoWorks and RealSlideshow products. PhotoWorks is Seattle's scanning service; photos processed with Seattle can be scanned free of charge and posted to a private site hosted by the company for as long as the consumer remains an active customer. RealSlideshow, meanwhile, is RealNetworks' new software for creating slideshows with audio commentary. The two will provide links to each other from their corporate websites, and will name each other as official source/content provider for audio-captioned slideshows.

HP opens online business center!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 21, 1999 - 17:33 EDT)

Hewlett-Packard Co. today announced its new "HP Printing and Digital Imaging Business Center" web site, designed to bring together all of HP's Digital Imaging and Printing products together, making it easier not only to buy them but to find support materials, drivers, online forums and more. As well as products to purchase, HP notes that the site includes:

 - Access to technology papers and the latest
industry data
- The latest business news, reviews, awards and
- Information on a variety of business topics
related to printing and imaging
- Customer Care Online, a place to quickly access
current support documentation
- Driver for download
- Links to related Web sites
- Third-party solutions

Motorola and FlashPoint show wireless imaging!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 21, 1999 - 17:24 EDT)

A press release today announces that Motorola Inc. and FlashPoint Technology Inc. are demonstrating a wireless imaging solution at the PCS '99 show in New Orleans. The solution consists of a Motorola i1000plus IP-enabled iDEN handset and a Digita-enabled digital camera, and allows pictures to be emailed directly from the camera. The demonstration is taking place in the Motorola booth (#2822, Hall C).

Best Buy shows digital imaging at Virginia State Fair!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 21, 1999 - 17:02 EDT)

National retailer Best Buy has announced that it will be present at the Virginia State Fair, and will show (amongst other things) digital imaging products. Digital cameras will be on hand, and there will be a video presentation on digital imaging. The fair takes place from September 23- October 3, and Best Buy will be in the Technology Center.

PhotoBit establishes R&D center in Norway!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 21, 1999 - 16:56 EDT)

Photobit Corp., the Pasadena CA based supplier of CMOS image sensors, has today announced the establishment of a new R&D center in Norway. The center, announced in a press conference today at Oslo City Hall, is located in the Oslo Research Park nearby the University of Oslo. Photobit foresees cooperation between itself and the University's National Microelectronic and Intermedia centers, as well as closer collaboration with European OEMs during product development, thanks to the new location. An invitation-only open house is to be held tomorrow, followed by a reception at the US Embassy hosted by the U.S. Ambassador to Norway, David B. Hermelin.

Toymax to manufacture WWF digital cameras!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 21, 1999 - 16:46 EDT)

Move over BarbieCam and NascarCam, there's a new KidCam on the block (and this one, you don't want to mess with...!) Toymax has today announced its intention to manufacture digital cameras featuring the WWF brand. The WWF Slam Cam, developed with MGI Software, will retail for $60 when it reaches US retail this fall. No details on the specifications of the unit are available, beyond the fact that the unit will ship with Photo Slam software and a PC connector cable, and that users will be able to "put themselves in World Wrestling Federation scenes, place their heads on their favorite wrestlers' bodies, and create personalized WWF memorabilia such as sport cards, greeting cards, and calendars".

Lexar Media and Sanyo form alliance!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 21, 1999 - 16:31 EDT)

Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement that Lexar and Olympus had agreed to cobrand Lexar's JumpShot USB-enabled CompactFlash cards and cables, a new press release today announces that a similar arrangement has been agreed with Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. The cards and cables will be sold in Japan under the agreement next month, co-branded as both Lexar and Sanyo, and both companies will work on the marketing aspects.

Monday, September 20, 1999

Cameraid 1.1.3 announced!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 20, 1999 - 17:52 EDT)

We received an email over the weekend from Juri Munkki, to let us know of a new version of Cameraid, a Macintosh program for acquiring, viewing, renaming and transforming your digital camera images, as well as creating index web pages and thumbnails. Cameraid 1.1.3 contains the following changes:

 - This update adds improved support for new
cameras, such as the highly popular Nikon Coolpix
950 and Olympus C-2000Z. The image viewer has been
enhanced to show even more information on photos
that were taken with these cameras.

- The TIFF file format is fully supported, including
downloads from cameras that can store images in
that format.

- The HTML batch processor can now automatically
generate web pages with image captions with dates,
filenames and even image size information. Access
to multiple versions of the same photo can also be
provided from a single web page. Captions can
contain links to several different resolution
versions of the same photo.

- Several minor bugs and problems in version 1.1.2
have been fixed for 1.1.3

Lexar Media and Olympus form alliance!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 20, 1999 - 17:44 EDT)

A press release today announces that flash media manufacturer Lexar and Olympus Optical Co. Ltd. have agreed to join forces in marketing Lexar's 64MB USB-enabled CompactFlash digital film cards and JumpShot(TM) USB cables in Japan. The cards and cables will be co-branded with Olympus, and will reach Japanese retail channels next month. The press release goes on to recap the details of the JumpShot CF/cable combination, which provides transfer rates of 850KB per second and USB connectivity without the need for a USB CompactFlash card reader.

Mustek to use Kopin CyberDisplay for digicams!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 20, 1999 - 17:35 EDT)

Taiwanese scanner/digicam manufacturer Mustek Inc. is to release several new digital cameras utilising Kopin Corp.'s innovative CyberDisplays, according to a Kopin press release. Kopin's 320 x 240 pixel CyberDisplay 320C, a 0.24-inch transmissive active matrix LCD that fits some 1700 lines per inch of resolution in to give a tiny, low-power (less than 20 mW) digital viewfinderwill be used first in the Mustek GSmart 350, to be available by Christmas.

The GSmart 350 will give VGA (640 x 480) resolution pictures, has a single digital viewfinder replacing both the normal LCD and optical viewfinders, and a USB interface. When connected to the PC, the USB interface powers the camera, eliminating the need for an external power supply; when on battery power, 3 AA batteries will provide up to 1,000 pictures. The camera should have a retail price of less than $200, and apparently the CyberDisplay will appear to be "several times" larger than a 1.8-inch LCD when viewing pictures.

New Photo of the Day contest online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 20, 1999 - 17:14 EDT)

IR reader Thaine Norris emailed us with news that he's started a new Photo of the Month contest at Thaine intends that photos will be voted on in a number of categories, with prizes to be awarded for the best photos. One photo will be selected for the grand prize each month, currently an Olympus digital camera. Thanks for the note, Thaine...

InfoTrends announces ImageScape '99!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 20, 1999 - 17:08 EDT)

InfoTrends Research Group has announced its ImageScape '99 event, to run alongside Comdex Fall '99 in Las Vegas this November. The event will take place at 7am, Tuesday November 16, at the Flamingo Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. A panel of industry executives will share views on digital imaging, including:

 - Bruce Chizen, Executive Vice President, Worldwide
Products and Marketing, Adobe Systems, Inc.
- Michael Foss, General Manager of Consumer
Digitization Operations and Vice President of
Consumer Imaging, Eastman Kodak Company
- Lorie Wigle, Internet Imaging Services General
Manager, Intel Corporation
- David Rowley, President, PhotoPoint
- Don Strickland, CEO, PictureWorks Technology, Inc.
- Mark Viken, Senior Vice President, Digital Imaging,
Sony Electronics, Inc.
Also attending and exhibiting products will be:

 - Acer Peripherals America
- Agfa
- Applied Science Fiction
- Avid Technology
- Caere Corporation
- Digimarc
- Digital Imaging Group
- Digital Intelligence
- Epson America
- FlashPoint Technology
- Fujitsu Computer Products of America
- Hewlett-Packard Company
- Intel Corporation
- Jasc Software
- LizardTech, Inc.
- Nikon
- ScanSoft
- Sierra Imaging
- Ulead Systems.
The event is invitation only, with a limited number of invitations available. Members of the press wishing to attend are advised to contact Lisa Christopher at FutureWorks, Inc. on 408/428-0895, ext. 106 or via e-mail at [email protected], and vendors interested in exhibiting should contact Matt O'Keefe of InfoTrends Research Group at 617/859-0300, ext. 15 or [email protected]

Kodak and Lexmark join forces on Personal Picture Maker!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 20, 1999 - 14:16 EDT)

A press release from Eastman Kodak Co. and Lexmark International Inc. today announces that the two are joining forces to produce the Kodak Personal Picture Maker. The printer (priced at $199, with a further $50 mail-in rebate available), features built-in SmartMedia and COmpactFlash slots, and allows borders and text to be added to photos before they are printed. The Picture Maker, model number PM100, can also be set to print to perforated 5 x 7, 4 x 6, and 3.5 x 5-inch paper, for borderless prints. Photos can also be stored from the printer directly to a device such as Iomega's Zip drive, and photos can be printed directly from the storage device - all of this without the need for a PC.

Agfa announces ePhoto 1680LE digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 20, 1999 - 13:55 EDT)

The Desktop Products Group of Agfa Corp. has today announced a new low-cost version of its ePhoto 1680 digital camera. The Agfa ePhoto 1680LE will ship next month in the US, at a suggested price of US$549, and features 1.3 megapixel CCD (interpolated using Agfa photoGenie up to a maximum of 1.9 megapixels), 3x optical/2x digital swivel zoom lens, 2" LCD screen and SmartMedia storage (4MB card bundled). Serial and video cables are also bundled, as are 4 AA alkaline batteries for powering the unit, a soft travelling case and Agfa PhotoWise v1.6 software for managing your images.

Saturday, September 18, 1999

Extensis changes name to!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, September 18, 1999 - 20:24 EDT)

We received two emails from Extensis Corp. over the last couple of days, noting some big changes that have been happening for the company. First of all, Extensis has changed its name to, Inc., "[embodying] the company's expanded scope and
[communicating] its role in serving the needs of the entire creative
professional community through its Web site,". At the same time, the Extensis Products Group of has been formed, to continue to develop, market and support Extensis' tools.

At the same time, the website has been expanded to offer a multi-vendor stock photography search, a customiseable "myCreativepro" page, and the Designer F/X image editing and effects service. Designer F/X is based on Corel PhotoPaint technology, and allows users to apply effects to their images online through their web browser.

Cheap microdrives on the way!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, September 18, 1999 - 20:01 EDT)

Here's one we missed from a few days back (Mike's been somewhat under the weather, sorry!), kindly emailed by IR reader Daniel Cardenas. An article on the Electronic Buyer's News "Daily News Digest" looks at possible competitors for IBM's MicroDrive. As well as Halo Data Devices' planned Type-I CompactFlash device, the article notes that Seagate Technology Inc. has shown MicroDrive-type prototypes, and Kyocera International Ltd. has discussed plans to enter the market. The majority of the article focuses on Halo Data's plans, interestingly noting that Halo has trademarked the name MicroDrive, and is apparently planning to release its drives under the same name as that used by IBM - noting that IBM has used the term as a generic product category. Interesting reading - thanks, Daniel!

Friday, September 17, 1999

PhotoGenetics adds features, gets on CNN!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 17, 1999 - 14:07 EDT)

Q-Research, the company behind the popular PhotoGenetics program, has announced a new version with a number of new features. PhotoGenetics 1.1.0 incorporates the following changes:

 - New Features of PhotoGenetics 1.1.0 (both
operating systems)

If a genotype is applied to an image from the
genotypes list and this genotype contains dewarp
information (predefined genotype or a genotype
produced with the Dewarp Evolution Add-on),
there will appear a message box on the screen
asking you, if you want to dewarp the image.
This way you may use different dewarp genotypes
without changing the dewarp genotype in the
"Preferences" panel. You can also make use of
combined genotypes, that contain dewarp
information and an image optimization at the
same time, and so do a complete basic correction
with a mouse click. If you define a combined
genotype as dewarp genotype in the "Preferences"
panel. the "Dewarp" command will not only dewarp
the image but optimize it at the same time. You
can develop your own combined genotypes with the
new Dewarp Evolution Add-on.

- New Features of PhotoGenetics 1.1.0 for Windows

1. Registration of the full version and of Add-ons
can now be done from the "Help" menu.

2. With the "Index" command from the "Help" menu you
will now open a new main manual page in your
default HTML-Browser. From there you have access
to all parts of the manuals, not only to the
reference manual. But this will only work if you
run the new manual installer after you have
installed the new program version. We recommend
to download the current version of the manual
installer (that includes the Add-on manuals) from
our website before you do this.

3. You can drag a selection of one or more image
files onto the program icon of PhotoGenetics and
drop it there to start the program and open the
image(s). You can also drop a selection of image
files onto the main window of PhotoGenetics to
open the image(s).

4. In the image browser you can now move a selection
of image files into another directory by dragging
the selected file(s) to the new directory folder
in the left part of the browser window and
dropping them there.

- New Features of PhotoGenetics 1.1.0 for Macintosh

1. A visual effect has been added to each image
redraw during an evolution. This can be disabled
in the "Preferences" panel.

2. Two new settings in the "Preferences" panel give
you control over sound effect and visual effect
during an evolution.

3. You can now drag an image file upon the program
icon of PhotoGenetics to start the program and
open the image (that was not possible before
because the image browser was opened immediately).
The image browser will stay closed in this case.

4. You can drag a selection of image files from a
desktop window into the browser window. All these
files will be moved into the directory (folder)
that is currently displayed in the image browser.
This will also work in the opposite direction:
Select one or more images in the image browser,
move the mouse to one of them and press the mouse
button. Wait until a selection frame appears, drag
the images to a desktop window (pressing the mouse
button all the time) and drop them there. They
will be moved to the new directory.
At the same time, Add-Ons have been incorporated into PhotoGenetics. Add-Ons, available for purchase separately, currently include Isocolor Evolution, Artistic Evolution, and Dewarp Evolution. Isocolor Evolution allows you to alter the tone, brightness, etc. of a certain color (and similar colors) in an image, Dewarp Evolution corrects for barrel distortion in wide-angle snapshots, and Artistic Evolution simply has to be seen - it defies description! Samples of all three evolutions are available here, and the evolutions only work in a registered version of PhotoGenetics.

We also hear that PhotoGenetics will be featured on the CNNfn program "Digital Jam", in a 3-5 minute clip between 7:30 and 8:30PM EDT tonight - so if you're near a TV then, tune in and see what all the fuss is about!

Important note from Dave: PhotoGenetics is definitely a cool program! It's by far the easiest way I've seen for people to tweak their images without having to be color scientists! We have a review of it posted here on the site, that explains what it does and that gives our impressions of it...

Wednesday, September 15, 1999

Fuji announces MX-1200 digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 15, 1999 - 16:18 EDT)

Fuji Photo Film USA, Inc. today announced its new megapixel MX-1200 digital camera. The unit, priced at a low $299 (retail) features a 1.3 megapixel CCD and SmartMedia storage. Here's the full specs:

 - Fuji MX-1200
- 1.3 megapixel CCD, output resolution of 1280 x 960
- 38mm-equivalent Fujinon lens with macro capability,
minimum focus distance 3.9 inches in macro mode
- 2x digital zoom
- 1.6 inch LCD display
- Optical viewfinder
- Built-in flash (on, off, red-eye reduction, slow
sync and auto)
- SmartMedia storage (4MB card bundled)
- Serial connectivity
- ISO rating of 125
- Auto and preset manual white balance
- Exposure compensation
- Bundled with Adobe Photo Deluxe Home Edition 3.0
- Power from 4 AA alkaline batteries (250 shots
without LCD, 100 shots with LCD)
- Weighs 7.1 ounces
- Dimensions of 4.3" x 3.0" x 1.3"
- Will ship in October for $299

Note from Dave: Zounds! A 1.3 megapixel camera for $299 *list*? I'd just got done applying some final edits to our review of the MX-2900 (which hopefully will finally be up by the first of next week), and I'd noted there that Fuji really had the full range of consumer digicams covered. About to shuffle off to bed, I checked our own news page, and found that Mike had just posted a note on yet *another* new Fuji camera! The MX-1200 basically looks like a DX-10 with an upgraded sensor. When we reviewed the DX-10, we found it to be an ideal entry-level digicam, with unusual flexibility and exposure control for the price point. Now, with 1.3 megapixels at the same price, it's shaping up to be a VERY interesting Christmas in digicam-land! The really interesting question is what will become of the DX-10? I don't know if Fuji has the room in their production costs to drop the price on the DX-10 further, but if they do, they could totally dominate the low end of the market - Against the current crop of ultra-cheap VGA-level (640x480) cameras, it'd be no contest in quality and usability against a price-reduced DX-10! I'd say a lot of Fuji's competition should be having heartburn about now...

Agfa introduces SnapScan 1236u scanner!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 15, 1999 - 16:06 EDT)

Agfa has introduced a new version of its SnapScan 1236S scanner with USB support, the SnapScan 1236u. The unit features 36-bit color depth, 600 x 1200 dpi optical resolution (interpolated up to 9600 dpi), ScanWise software, and a pricetag of $199. It is due to ship in October with a software bundle including MicroFrontier Color it! and Caere OmniPage LE 5.1 for the Mac, or Corel PrintHouse Magic, Caere OmniPage LE 5.1 and Caere PageKeeper for the PC.

Casio introduces Cassiopeia digital camera card!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 15, 1999 - 16:02 EDT)

Casio Inc. yesterday announced its digital camera card for the Cassiopeia E-100 and E105 palm-sized PCs. Regular readers may remember the card from some time back, when we reported on a Japanese web site which showed the unit; in its US incarnation, it is the JK-71ODC and will retail for $299. With a CCD resolution of 350,000 pixels, and a fixed focal length (ie. focus-free) F2.8 lens set at 0.78 meters (normal) or 10 centimetres (macro), the card can record either JPEG still images or CMF (proprietary, based on MPEG1) movie files, at shutter speeds from 1/30 to 1/1000 second. The card weighs 1.6 ounces, and brings battery life of the palm-sized PC down to about 45 minutes.

Addonics announces Pocket CD-RW writer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 15, 1999 - 12:18 EDT)

Addonics Technologies today announced its new Pocket CDRW drive. The unit, which features both PC-Card and USB interfaces, will be priced at $499 with either PCMCIA or USB interface cable, and Adaptec's Easy CD Creator and Deluxe CD software. An iMac version with USB cable and Adaptec's Toast CD software will sell for $529. The drive measures 6.4" x 5.4" x .8", and weighs around 14 ounces, which according to Addonics makes it "one of the smallest CDRW drives available in the market". Both CD-R and CD-RW disks can be written in the unit.

Tuesday, September 14, 1999 sets up Nikon D1 waiting list!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 - 3:06 EDT)

IR reader G. B. "Derek" Weller emailed this afternoon with news that IR advertiser has set up a waiting list for customers who want to buy Nikon's upcoming D1 pro digital camera. According to Derek, interested readers should email [email protected] for details... Thanks, Derek!

Nikon D1 also a Seybold Hot Pick!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 - 2:55 EDT)

We received an email recently from Duaine Brenner at Capital Photographic, commenting on a news item we posted after Seybold, which bears noting. Whilst Kodak's DCS330 digital camera was indeed labelled a "Hot Pick" at Seybold, this was not as exclusive as Kodak's press release (and hence our news item) might suggest. In fact, Nikon's D1 digital camera was also a "Hot Pick", and the label is not so much an award (as suggested by Kodak's press release) as it is a designation of a product worth taking note of...
Thanks for the correction, Duaine!

Visioneer scanners "best sellers" in 2 of the last 3 months!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 - 2:47 EDT)

A press release from scanner manufacturer Visioneer Inc. announces that it has captured the top spot in flatbed scanner unit sales and sheetfed scanner unit and dollar sales for the second time in the last 3 months according to independant figures from PC Data. The release also notes that Visioneer's OneTouch 7600 scanner received PC Magazine's "Editor's Choice Award" last month.

IBM ships USB CompactFlash reader!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 - 2:42 EDT)

A press release from Apricorn Inc., the official manufacturer/marketer of IBM-branded flash products, announces today the release of the IBM USB CompactFlash reader. The unit, compatible with Windows 95 OSR2/98, Windows 2000 and Apple MAC OS 8.5+, is now available at a suggested retail price of $69, and has a performance of up to 12 MBps. updates Sony DSC-D7XX review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 - 2:38 EDT)

The website has updated its review of the Sony DSC-D00 digital camera, adding comments for the recently-released DSC-D770. The overall verdict was that the camera was easier to focus manually when compared to its predecessor, and also that the built-in histogram capability made it quite easy to detect under- and over-exposures. The reviewer did, however, note a problem whereby parts of an image which should be pure white (such as product photos on a white background) were instead a very light purple when using the ISO50 setting, making the IS0100 setting a better choice.

Canon protects dolphins with digital imaging!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 - 2:06 EDT)

From time to time on the IR Newsdesk, we see press releases regarding digital imaging companies donating equipment to worthy causes, and invariably the press releases are from Canon. The latest, distributed Friday by Canon USA Inc., outlines a donation to the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, aimed at preserving bottlenose dolphins. Canon's EOS D2000 digital cameras and XL1 digital video camcorders will allow HBOI researchers to cover larger territories while saving money in fuel, cataloging, film and photo processing, with annual savings expected to reach nearly $20,000. Bravo, Canon!

Monday, September 13, 1999

HP bundles Juno with more printers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 13, 1999 - 17:41 EDT)

Juno Online Services Inc. has today announced that Hewlett-Packard Co. will be bundling version 3.0 of the Juno software with two additional HP printers. Juno software is to be bundled with the HP DeskJet 880C and the HP DeskJet 882C, adding to a selection of printer models with which the software has been shipping since June.

Appeals Court supports Epson in patents case!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 13, 1999 - 17:36 EDT)

A press release today from Epson America Inc. announces that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has "confirmed the validity and enforceability of several Epson patents relating to the structure and design of ink jet cartridges". The case, against Nu-kote International, Inc. and Pelikan Produktions, A.G., was complicated by Nu-kote's filing for bankruptcy last November. Despite this, the court found that Pelikan Produktions can still be prosecuted, and the preliminary injuction against Nu-Kote and its officers upheld. Finally, the Court of Appeals also upheld the District Court's decision that Nu-kote was in contempt of a preliminary injunction.

Jasc releases Paint Shop Pro 6!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 13, 1999 - 14:03 EDT)

Jasc Software has announced this morning the release of a new version of its popular Paint Shop Pro program. Paint Shop Pro 6, which comes with Animation Shop 2, includes the following new features:

 - Powerful graphic design options:
Vector-based editable text tool options
Vector-based illustration tools with node editing
Multiple color/transparency gradients
Special effects, deformations, and filters
JPEG and GIF optimizer tools

- Flexible photo editing and imaging tools:
Multiple-image layout and printing
Adjustment layers for editable color corrections
Direct support for more than 120 digital camera models

- Enhanced productivity options:
Enhanced visual Browser file management
OLE screen capture module
Multiple-level redo
Expanded palette functionality

- Enhanced integration:
Enhanced user interface
Enhanced Animation Shop integration
Expanded file format support

Saturday, September 11, 1999

Steve's Digicams posts Casio QV-2000UX review!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, September 11, 1999 - 17:31 EDT)

The folks over at the Steve's Digicams website have been hard at work on a review of Casio's recently announced QV-2000UX digital camera, and emailed us this morning to let us know that it has now gone online! There's still the final conclusion to come, but in the meantime Steve has sample photos from the unit and a good look at the ergonomics and user interface... Check it out!

Friday, September 10, 1999

PC Watch posts World PC Expo '99 day two report!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 10, 1999 - 2:35 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted its report on day two of the World PC Expo '99; Yamada managed to fit in visits to quite a few digital camera manufacturers, although nothing new was shown...

- Kodak
Kodak showed its DC290 Zoom digital camera, which Yamada notes is a successor to the DC260, and has a very similar casing with a slightly improved grip. Improvements include faster processing (burst mode up to five pictures) and faster/better quality LCD preview. Also shown was Flashpoint's DigitaFX in-camera image editing script. Finally, a range of colored DC215 cameras and an iMac-colored DC240i were shown. Yamada commented that Kodak has not decided yet on whether to sell the colored DC215s, but he's hoping there's a good chance they'll reach the market at under ¥40,000.

- Casio
Casio showed its QV-2000UX and QV-8000SX cameras. Yamada notes that whilst the QV series had lost its way of late, these units were popular in the booth and look set to change that.

- Ricoh
Ricoh showed its 2.3 megapixel RDC-5000 digital camera, although its newly announced RDC-5300 sadly didn't make an appearance. Yamada seemed impressed however with Ricoh's selection of colorful RDC-5000s, noting that the units (sold only in Japan over the Internet) look different in person than on the web, and in particular the blue and red units were very attractive...

- Canon
Canon also sadly didn't show its newly announced PowerShot S10 digital camera, opting instead to show its PowerShot A50.

- Epson
Epson showed its CP-800 digital camera and Print-On printer, and following Canon/Ricoh's lead, failed to show its newly announced PhotoPC850Z, a 2.11 megapixel unit with 3x optical zoom.

- Toshiba
Yet another manufacturer failing to show its latest model was Toshiba; the newly announced PDR-M5 didn't show, with the PDR-M4 instead taking center-stage.

- Matsushita
Matsushita rounded out the digital cameras at the show with its COOLSHOT II mega LK-RQ130Z, a 1.3 megapixel 3x optical zoom unit. Yamada notes that the camera is Matsushita's first digicam for a while, and has two CompactFlash slots... He found however that there was little interest in the unit, and yearned for the smaller chassis of the previous COOLSHOT II cameras, a feature he clearly missed...

HP invests in Digimarc!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 10, 1999 - 1:58 EDT)

HP has announced in a press release that it has invested $1.5 million in digital watermarking company Digimarc Corp. Digimarc's technology embeds copyright information into images, ensuring for example that the true owner of an image can be identified. HP had the following to say on the announcement: "Digimarc has developed a leadership position in digital watermarking, an exciting technology that we think will become increasingly important for the authentication of electronic documents. As the world's leader in digital imaging, HP has a big stake in helping our customers protect any form of output from their personal computers, printers and the Internet. Our investment in Digimarc makes good business and technological sense, and we envision a great future together in this important area."

Thursday, September 9, 1999

Toshiba Japan announces PDR-M5 digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 9, 1999 - 23:16 EDT)

Toshiba Japan has announced its upcoming PDR-M5 digital camera, according to the PC Watch website. The PDR-M5 features a 2.14 megapixel CCD and 3x optical zoom lens, and is based on Toshiba's PDR-M4 camera. As well as the new lens, the M5 adds a movie function, a very fast 4 frames per second burst mode, and a new, larger black chassis. Here's the full specs:

 - Toshiba Allegretto PDR-M5
- 1/2" 2.14 megapixel CCD
- Image size of 1600 x 1200 or 800 x 600 pixels
- 3x optical zoom autofocus lens (F3.5-F5.0/F7.6-
F11.0, equiv. to 40-120mm on a 35mm camera)
- Focusing distance 0.25-0.9 meters (macro); 0.9
meters to infinity (normal)
- 1.8 inch TFT LCD display
- Optical viewfinder
- ISO sensitivity 100/200/400
- Power supply from Lithium Ion battery
- Size 130 x 70 x 78 millimeters
- Weight 320 grams excluding battery
- Due to ship in Japan mid-October, at a price of
¥90,000 (US$821)

Panasonic announces SuperDisk camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 9, 1999 - 16:00 EDT)

Mavica owners, your prayers have been answered! One of the most frequently requested features for Sony's Mavica line of cameras has been the ability to use the new 120MB floppy disks, and the first camera we've heard of that uses these disks has been announced today - but not by Sony! Moving in on what has traditionally been Sony territory, Panasonic has today announced a floppy-disk based camera, the Panasonic PV-SD4090 SuperDisk digital camera. The main problem with floppy disk cameras has been their low storage capacity (unless you're willing to carry a box of floppy-disks everywhere you go!) - but Panasonic's new camera obviously goes a long way to solving this with 120MB of photos per disk! Another stumbling block of floppy disk-based cameras has been speed, and on this point we must confess to waiting with interest to see how the PV-SD4090 does, not having seen a SuperDisk in action before. That said, the camera does have a burst mode allowing for up to 16 images in 640 x 480 at 0.5 second intervals... Without further ado, here's the full specs:

 - Panasonic PV-SD4090 SuperDisk digital camera
- 1.3 megapixel CCD sensor
- 3x optical zoom lens equivalent to 34-102mm on a
35mm camera
- 2x digital zoom
- 120MB SuperDisk storage media (requires SuperDisk
floppy disk drive to be read on PC). Can also
accept normal floppy disks. Max. of 1,500 images
Standard images (640 x 480), 450 SuperFine or 900
Fine images (1280 x 960 pixels) per SuperDisk or
17 Standard, 10 Fine or 5 SuperFine images per
normal floppy disk.
- USB connectivity (allows images to be accessed
from USB-capable PCs with no SuperDisk drive!)
- Video-out capability
- 2.5-inch LCD display
- Built-in flash with red-eye reduction
- Manual (?) aperture of F2.8 or F8
- Auto shutter speeds from 1/4 to 1/750th second
- Automatic white balance
- Mini-movie mode allows recording of 10-second AVI
files, 10 frames per second in 320 x 240 resolution
- Burst mode allows 2 frames per second in 640 x 480
resolution for up to 16 photos
- Audio recording allows for up to 5 seconds of
audio to be attached to each still image
- Time-lapse recording capability
- Self-timer
- Lithium-Ion battery
- Bundled with Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home Edition 3.0,
one 120MB SuperDisk, AC adapter/charger, DC cable,
lithium ion battery, video cable, USB cable,
shoulder strap, and driver software
- Available November 1999 at a price of US$899

Kyocera announces Samurai 2100DG in the US!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 9, 1999 - 15:08 EDT)

Kyocera has today formally announced its Samurai 2100DG digital camera in the USA. We broke news of this camera back on June 17, summarising it as follows:

"The [Samurai 2100DG] has an interesting vertical form-factor reminiscent of a camcorder, and is available in both silver and black versions. Along with the 1/2" interlaced 2.14 megapixel CCD, the unit has an all-glass 6.6-26.4mm F2.8-4.5 4x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 35-140mm in a 35mm camera), 4x digital zoom, optical and 1.8-inch low-temp polysilicon LCD viewfinders. Also included is a built-in 4-mode (auto, red-eye, fill, off) flash, special effects (black & white, sepia), 3-mode white-balance (auto, day-light, tungsten lamp), exposure compensation (+/- 1EV, 1/3EV steps), CompactFlash storage, and a Lithium-Ion battery which gives 200 shots (50% flash use, no LCD) or about 60 minutes of LCD playback. Files are stored in JPEG format (conforming to DCF) in resolutions of 1,632 x 1,232 and 800 x 600, and compression levels on offer appear to be "standard" for the lower resolution and "fine"/"super-fine" for high-res. The unit can focus down to 0.6 metres in normal mode, and 10-25 cm in Macro mode, and has both an infra-red active autofocus and a "video feedback" AF via the CCD. The unit also has a self-timer mode and a continuous shooting mode (12 pictures at low-res, 3 pictures in high-res, interval unknown). The Samurai 2100DG weighs 400 grams (without the bundled 8MB CF card or battery), has dimensions of 57 x 123 x 92mm, and will be available in Japan on June 20 for a price of 128,000 yen (US$1063). Kyocera intends to sell 5,000 units per month, and feels that the vertical form-factor promotes a steadier grip and reduced camera-shake. According to the press release, the unit is the first 2+ megapixel camera announced with a 4x optical zoom."

Curiously, the new press release doesn't mention any pricing or availability information, although our sources indicated previously that the camera was to ship in early September. For reference, the last price we noted for the Samurai 2100DG in Japan was ¥94,800, which would be equivalent to US$880 at current exchange rates. Sample pictures and a preview of the camera can be found at Steve's Digicams, further sample pictures are available in PC Watch's digicam comparison, and finally Kyocera's own website also contains sample pictures from the unit.

Wednesday, September 8, 1999

Forget free PCs, get a free printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 8, 1999 - 17:09 EDT)

Lexmark International and Juno Online Services Inc. have announced a new deal that follows in the footsteps of several free PC deals announced over the past year, with a twist. Instead of a free PC, consumers who purchase their choice of four Lexmark inkjet printers and sign up for one year of Juno Web will receive a rebate of between $100 and $200, in many cases meaning the printer itself is free. Whilst the value of free PC deals is somewhat questionable thanks to a requirement by many that you be bombarded with advertisements and much of the valuable hard-disk space is already taken up holding these ads, this deal sounds to offer much better value - particuarly if you want a Juno account anyway! Eligible printers are as follows:

 - Lexmark Z11 Color Jetprinter; $99(a) with a $100
- Lexmark 3200 Color Jetprinter; $149(a) with a $150
- Lexmark Z31 Color Jetprinter; $199(a) with a $200
- Lexmark Z51 Color Jetprinter; $249(a) with a $200

Compaq announces new inkjet printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 8, 1999 - 17:00 EDT)

Compaq Computer Corp. has today announced a new color inkjet printer, the Compaq IJ750. The unit features a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, and print speeds of 7 pages per minute (ppm) in black and 3.5 ppm in color, as well as a pricetag of $149.99.

BeBit posts Canon PowerShot S10 sample images!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 8, 1999 - 16:55 EDT)

The BeBit website has posted two sample pictures from Canon's upcoming PowerShot S10 digital camera, a 2-megapixel successor to the popular A5/A5 Zoom/A50 models, according to a posting on the Digital Photography Review website. The site, which is in English, also has specifications of the unit and descriptions of the main features.

Tuesday, September 7, 1999

PC Watch posts World PC Expo '99 report!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 18:14 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted a report of the World PC Expo '99, held in Japan. PC Watch's Yamada attended the first (invitation-only) day of the show, and whilst there were no new announcements thanks to the IFA and Seybold shows last week, still found plenty of interest...

- Sony
Sony showed its talent for showmanship with a massive 40:1 scale model of its Cyber-shot DSC-F505K digital camera, which literally dwarfed the people around it. Pocket-sized it wasn't...! Also shown was the new Viao PCG-C1XE PictureBook, the latest version of Sony's tiny handheld-sized PC with a built-in digital camera...

- Nikon
Nikon has two D1 digital cameras at the show, for hands-on demonstrations. Yamada believes this is the last chance for people to see the camera before it goes on sale, and undoubtedly Nikon's booth will be jam-packed for the remainder of the show!

- Olympus
Olympus has its new Camedia C-2500L on display at the show, and a professional cameraman demonstrating the unit on a special stage where pictures from the camera can be demonstrated on a large screen. The booth was unexpectedly empty today, although it is likely to be busier tomorrow.

- Fuji
Fuji has its FinePix1700Z on show, and also has a teaser for its upcoming digital camera with built-in printer, although no substantial information on the unit has yet been released.

PC Watch updates colossal digicam comparison!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 16:37 EDT)

The PC Watch website has updated its truly colossal comparison of images from various consumer digital cameras, adding the Olympus C-2500L, Sony DSC-F505K, Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. FinePix1700Z, and Casio QV-2000UX cameras to the list. The accompanying text notes that some photos are taken with development versions of the cameras and may not be truly representative of what can be expected from final shipping versions... Also noted is that the Olympus C-2500L and Fuji FinePix1700Z pictures are taken in bright, cloudy conditions, and that the C-2500L SHQ pictures are TIFF files and hence cannot be displayed by your web browser. We note ourselves that the Sony DSC-D770 digital camera is still incorrectly listed in the "2 Megapixel with Zoom" section; the mistake is PC Watch's and not ours! :) The pictures are (in order left to right, top to bottom):

2 Megapixel Zoom Digital Cameras
Olympus C-2500L
(1,712 x 1,368 pixel - SHQ, SHQ, HQ, HQ, HQ ISO400, HQ ISO200)
(640 x 512 pixel - SQ, SQ)
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 FinePix1700Z
(Fine, Fine, Normal, Normal, Basic, 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)
Casio QV-2000UX
(High, High, Standard, Standard)
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)
Sony DSC-F505K
(Wide Standard, Tele Standard, Digital Zoom Standard, Wide Fine, Tele Fine, Digital Zoom Fine, Wide Converter Fine, Wide Converter Standard)
*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)

Kodak Japan announces DC290ZOOM digital camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 15:48 EDT)

Kodak Japan has announced the DC290ZOOM digital camera, according to the PC Watch website. The specifications are obviously old news, the unit having been announced some time ago in the US, however of interest is that the unit will ship in Japan at the end of October. No price has yet been announced.

Sony announces first 3.34 megapixel CCD!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 15:29 EDT)

The Sony Japan website has announced the first 3.34 1/1.8" megapixel CCD targetted at consumer digital cameras, due to ship in sample quantities next month! The chip is available in four versions as below:

 - ICX252AQ (Primary color, DIP packaging)
- ICX252AK (Complementary color, DIP packaging)
- ICX252AQF (Primary color, SOP packaging)
- ICX252AKF (Complementary color, SOP packaging)
The unit features a total resolution of 3.34 megapixels (3.24 megapixels effective), 3.45 x 3.45µm cell size, saturation level of 450mV, sensitivity at F5.6 of 270mV (primary color) or 320mV (complementary color), signal/noise ratio of -94dB and a frame rate of 4.28 frames per second. An interlaced singal is used, along with a driving frequency of 18MHz, and the chip features a "draft" mode that allows 30 frames per second for faster AF/AE feedback and a smooth LCD image. The chip gives images of 2088 x 1550 pixels, and will ship next month in sample quantities for ¥28,000 / US$253 per piece (Timing generator CXD2492R available for ¥2000 / US$18 per piece).

Fuji to announce digicam with built-in printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 15:11 EDT)

Following in the footsteps of Sony's recent hype-filled Cyber-shot DSC-F505K launch, Fuji Japan has created a "teaser" web page for an upcoming digital camera over the weekend. The page shows a digital camera with a built-in printer, a concept that we saw at Photokina last year, and as yet gives little else away. The camera has a vertical design, and we believe has a 2.3 megapixel CCD - and obviously the main selling point will be the ability to immediately create prints of your photos on the spot... The camera is to be unveiled soon, and at the moment the Fuji page appears to be running a sweepstakes for Japanese customers who sign up to receive information about the camera when it becomes available.

Update: 15:53PM EST - A brief note on the PC Watch website confirms that this camera is a 2.3 megapixel unit...

Canon PowerShot Pro70 gets expanded software bundle!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 14:48 EDT)

Canon's flagship PowerShot Pro70 digital camera is to get an addition to its software bundle, according to the website. The camera will be bundled with LaserSoft's SilverFast DC software, which will process CCD RAW photos on your PC rather than in the digital camera as is currently the case, which will offer an improvement in image quality which Canon claims could only otherwise be achieved by switching to a camera of significantly higher resolution. No upgrade path is to be offered to existing PowerShot Pro70 owners, nor does the news item confirm whether this new software will be bundled worldwide or only in the European market. The camera will remain at its current price despite the addition. to debut on [email protected]!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 14:40 EDT)

A press release from today announces that the company has agreed on a broadband commerce and promotional relationship with internet provider [email protected] CameraWorld will have a broadband online store for [email protected] subscribers, and will appear in the electronics category of the [email protected] Shopping channel, as well as on advertisements throughout the site. [email protected] will also provide a link from its "Making Pictures" channel to the CameraWorld store in the fourth quarter of this year. CameraWorld will offer exclusive offers for [email protected] subscribers in its "Deals and Dreams" newsletter.

Silicon Film announces new Chief Marketing Officer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 14:34 EDT)

Silicon Film Technologies Inc., formerly Imagek Inc., has today distributed a press release simultaneously announcing its new name and a new appointment to its management team. Douglas E. Howe, previously the President of Vivitar Corp., joins Silicon Film as its new Chief Marketing Officer. Previously, Howe held management/marketing positions at Olympus America, Inc. and Nikon, Inc., and he also holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Epson Stylus Photo 750 now at retail!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 14:02 EDT)

A press release today from Epson America Inc. announces that its new Stylus Photo 750 inkjet printer has now reached the retail channel. The unit, priced at $249 street, offers a droplet size of six picoliters, 1440 x 720 dpi resolution, USB connectivity, six ink colors, and what Epson describes as "color-photo print speeds that no other photo printer on the market today comes close to matching"...

Delkin announces 128MB CompactFlash card!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 11:45 EDT)

Delkin Devices has today unveiled its new 128MB CompactFlash card, hailed as the "highest capacity CompactFlash card on the market". The new card, based on an enhanced Multi-level cell (MLC) 256m-bit technology and .25-(mu)m process, is claimed to offer the industry's highest write performance, the press release in particular singling out (although not directly naming) Lexar's 8X cards as not being as fast as the new Delkin card. Testing also concludes that "Delkin's 128MB CF(TM) card has the highest compatibility in the industry". Delkin notes that, with the release of its new card, it is now "the only digital camera memory manufacturer to offer the highest capacity for every type of flash memory card on the market".

Agfa announces Platinum Dealer Program!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 7, 1999 - 11:35 EDT)

A press release this morning from Agfa Corp's Desktop Products Group announces that it has created a new reseller support program aimed at "[giving] a competitive edge to those dealers who promote and sell Agfa's DuoScan T2500 and T2000 XL". Agfa's Platinum Dealer Program, to be launched this month in the US, offers free promotional materials, news of the latest product announcements and market information and specially priced showroom equipment/demonstration materials. Agfa will also refer customer requests for Duoscan demonstrations and local/regional sales leads to the appropriate Platinum dealer, as well as listing all Platinum dealers on its website.

Monday, September 6, 1999

Variable ISO on PDR-M5!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 6, 1999 - 0:23 EDT)

And the "eagle-eyes" award goes to... IR reader "Ulysses", for spotting in the PC Watch website's photos of Toshiba's new PDR-M5 digital camera, which we reported on last Friday, that the LCD menu shows an ISO option! We'd not seen mention of the unit having variable ISO capabilities previously, but it certainly looks like it will do... Thanks, Ulysses!

Fall Digiphoto 101 soon to commence!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 6, 1999 - 0:18 EDT)

We received today an email from Arthur Bleich, Contributing Editor of Digital Camera Magazine, to let us know that he's still looking to fill a last few places in his Fall Digiphoto 101, as below:


Enrollment is now open for the Fall session of Digiphoto 101, a 10-session interactive web course starting September 21st. Lighting, color, texture, composition, and other photodigital subjects are covered to give both beginning and intermediate students a solid grounding in digital photography.

The instructor, Arthur H. Bleich, has taught creative photography courses at universities and art schools worldwide. He is a professional photographer, syndicated columnist, and the Contributing Editor of Digital Camera Magazine.

Class members get both technical and creative assignments and have access to the instructor as a mentor throughout the course. Each week their assignments are critiqued online, and they may interact with the instructor and each other at a restricted Discussion Board.

Further information may be obtained by emailing [email protected] or by visiting the website where examples of current student work are also posted."

Imagek back - as Silicon Film!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 6, 1999 - 0:11 EDT)

Regular readers of this page may remember a much-anticipated product from many moons ago, promoted by digital imaging company Imagek - a 35mm cartridge that would slot into your film camera, and allow it to take digital photos. The idea sounded great, allowing photographers to take advantage of the benefits of digital, but not requiring them to trade in that expensive collection of traditional camera equipment... Problem was, it never really happened - save for a web site promising that the device would arrive soon, little else was heard from Imagek. Until now, that is! The Steve's Digicams website has posted news that Imagek is back, and this time promising to fire on all cylinders, with the 35mm eFilm cartridge supposedly due to ship in late Fall of this year. eFilm is now to be sold under Imagek's new name of "Silicon Film", and the Silicon Film eFilm EFS-1 film system now consists of a digital image cartridge (capable of holding 24 1.3 megapixel images), ePort™ download carrier (houses and protects the eFilm cartridge when not in the camera, acts as a Type II PC card adapter or provides USB connectivity) and eBox™ mobile storage module (stores images from the eFilm cartridge via the ePort, onto Type I or II CompactFlash cards). The trio should sell together for less than US$800, according to Silicon Film's website, and initially will be available only through Silicon Film and compatible only with the following cameras:

 - Canon EOS 1N
- Canon EOS A2/5
- Nikon F-5
- Nikon N-90/F90
- Nikon F-3
Thanks to Steve's Digicams for this item!

Saturday, September 4, 1999

Kodak DCS330 receives Seybold Editor's Hot Pick Award!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, September 4, 1999 - 0:08 EDT)

The Kodak DCS330 digital camera has received the Seybold Editor's Hot Pick Award, according to a press release on Kodak's website (kindly, and very patiently, pointed out to us by IR reader Rommel P. Feria - sorry it took so long to mention it, Rommel! :) The DCS330, which features a resolution of 3 megapixels, was one of approximately two dozen products at the show to receive the award, granted to products that are considered "not-to-be-missed". The DCS330 is modelled after Kodak's DCS660, according to the release, and features an Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) Charged Couple Device (CCD), a burst rate of one image per second, an ISO range of 125 to 400 and Kodak's proprietary anti-aliasing filter.

Friday, September 3, 1999

PC Watch posts IFA '99 day three report!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 3, 1999 - 22:56 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted its report on day 3 of the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) show. PC Watch's Yamada attended, and sums up Day 3 as follows:

- Canon Inc.
Canon showed its PowerShot S10 digital camera and CD-300 dye sublimation printer at the show. (PC Watch has six pictures each for these two items). Yamada describes the PowerShot S10 as an extremely compact zoom model which is essentially a 2-megapixel version of Canon's PowerShot A50. The camera has a 1/2 inch 2.11 megapixel CCD, and a 2x optical zoom equivalent to 35-70mm on a 35mm camera (down from the A50's 2.5x zoom). Yamada guesses that the slightly smaller zoom is a trade-off that had to be made to fit the 2.11 megapixel CCD into a body of approximately the same dimensions as the PowerShot A50. The camera is also faster than its predecessor, and can now shoot 1.7 frames per second at the highest resolution. Yamada also feels that the LCD display is superior to the previous model. The camera also gains presets for taking pictures in certain conditions, and an adustable ISO from 100 to 400. Yamada feels the camera is extremely easy to use, and notes that it now supports the CF Type II specification, meaning it is compatible with IBM's MicroDrive. The camera has USB connectivity, and when connected to a Windows98 PC will automatically download all images from the camera without intervention. Yamada finally notes that whilst there's still room for improvement, it is certainly a lot more useable than its predecessor. The camera will sell in Germany for DM1,600 (US$868), which Yamada feels is reasonable considering the included 16% german sales tax.

Next up is Canon's CD-300 dye sublimation printer. The unit has a resolution of 300 x 300 dpi (dots per inch) and two print sizes (postcard or panorama) as well as the ability to coat pictures with a protective layer. The postcard-sized print is 141 x 100mm, and is on 169 x 100mm paper which is perforated to remove the blank portions at either end. Thus, the final prints have no white border like they usually would, and the prints feel more like real photos simply because they come right up to the edges of the paper... Panorama prints are 248 x 100mm and are on paper of 276 x 100mm in size, the dimensions tying in with the size of in-camera panoramas from Canon's PowerShot A5-type digital camera. The printer features CF Type II and PC Card slots, and can accept MemoryStick and SmartMedia through the use of a PC card adapter, covering all major media factors. There is also an analog video input and parallel port for PC connectivity. Visitors to the show were able to take pictures with the PowerShot S10, and print them on the CD-300, and Yamada felt that the prints were excellent quality, and would last a long time thanks to their coating. The unit costs DM1,199 (US$650), and paper refills are DM44 (US$24) for 36 sheets. Yamada felt that this printer was the perfect accompaniment to the PowerShot S10 camera.

- Olympus
Olympus showed its new C-920 Zoom digital camera, which PC Watch has 5 pictures of (including a comparison with the C-900 Zoom). Yamada notes that in Europe, Olympus has better than a 30% market share, but that for some reason they chose not to show their flagship C-2500L SLR camera, showing instead the previously unannounced C-920 Zoom. Yamada notes that the camera shares the same 1.3 megapixel CCD and body of the C-900 Zoom, but with a champagne-gold color instead of the previous silver. The ISO rating has been improved from ISO100 to ISO160, and can also be set to ISO320 or even ISO640 if necessary. Color reproduction is also improved, and in particular purples. The unit features a wide view-angle low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD display, and now shows a greater percentage of the final picture than the previous model. The camera is also quicker thanks to a bigger buffer, and can take 1 shot per second for up to 8 seconds in HQ mode. Apparently the unit can even take a picture every 1.5 seconds in normal mode, including autofocusing time. The LCD display also shows how many shots are still unprocessed in the buffer at any one time. Yamada was particularly impressed with the LCD display, noting that after using one of this type he couldn't go back to a normal one. The camera will cost DM1,200 (US$651), essentially leaving the camera at the same price but adding the improvements. Yamada notes that the high sensitivity gives a camera that is much less prone to camera-shake and blurred shots, but wants to see a smaller, higher quality model with the same basic styling evolve from this camera.

- Toshiba Corp.
Toshiba showed its 2.14 megapixel PDR-M5, first announced at the MacWorld Expo. PC Watch has three pictures of the camera, which was not on display to the general public. Press and dealers only were allowed back into a private room to see the unit, although it did appear in catalogs distributed to the public. The PDR-M5 is evolved from the PDR-M4, and features a 3x optical zoom, equivalent to 35-105mm in a 35mm camera, as well as a 2.14 megapixel CCD. Yamada described the camera as somewhat funny looking, and noted that whilst it looks rather large it is quite easy to hold. It is also apparently very quick, and the combination of 2 megapixel CCD and 3x zoom is superb. An animation mode has also been added to the unit, in AVI form with MotionJPEG compression. The unit should sell for DM1,800 (US$977), roughly the same price as Olympus' C-2000 Zoom and Fuji's FinePix 2900Z.

- Kodak

Finally, Kodak announced its 2.3 megapixel DC290 Zoom, as well as the DC215 Zoom and DC280 Zoom. Unfortunately this item is somewhat difficult to translate; it seems that Yamada is either saying the camera wasn't actually on show on the booth, or it wasn't possible to get a close-up look at it. He notes that the unit is externally similar to the DC265 Zoom, but appears to have been changed somewhat, as well as being faster according to Kodak's website.

Panasonic announces Super Dynamic II technology!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 3, 1999 - 15:08 EDT)

Panasonic has announced its new Super Dynamic II technology, which uses a rather interesting technique to increase dynamic range and hence low-light performance of a CCD. The technology is due to make its first appearance in Closed Circuit TV cameras soon, but we felt the technique merited mention here... Essentially, what Panasonic is doing is taking two pictures per frame that the camera outputs - one of about 1/60 of a second to capture the dark areas in the scene, and a second of 1/1000th to 1/4000th of a second to capture the brighter areas. The two images are then combined, the technology also assuring that black level references are set, and the resulting image has a 64x greater dynamic range than conventional video cameras. The technology also offers impressive low-light performance down to 0.8 lux using an f1.4 lens.

Epson cuts price of Perfection 636U scanner!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 3, 1999 - 11:26 EDT)

In the wake of Epson's announcement at Seybold of four new Perfection scanners, a press release today notes a price cut on an existing Perfection model, the Epson Perfection 636U USB scanner. Previously available at a street price of $229, the unit falls 15% to $199. It features USB connectivity, optical resolution of 600 x 2400 dpi, Epson's Micro Step Drive technology, 4MB of onboard memory, one-touch scanning, and Epson's Text Enhancement Technology and Auto Area Segmentation to improve accuracy of OCR scans. Bundled software includes Epson's TWAIN driver, Adobe's PhotoDeluxe Home Edition, Presto! PageManager and Broderbund's The PrintShop PressWriter.

HP promotes JetSend IR connectivity!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 3, 1999 - 11:15 EDT)

Nothing new here, but it is worth noting that HP has distributed a press release re-announcing its new HP PhotoSmart C500 digital camera and PhotoSmart P1000/P1100 ink-jet printer, both devices featuring HP's JetSend InfraRed communications technology. JetSend devices can communicate with each other without the use of cables. This allows, for example, the PhotoSmart C500 digital camera to print photos to a JetSend-enabled printer, or a WindowsCE-based handheld PC with a JetSend IR port to print documents to a JetSend-enabled printer - all without the need for cables. Clever stuff!

Canon announces new multi-function printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 3, 1999 - 10:59 EDT)

Canon Computer Systems Inc. has announced a new Multi-Function Printer which claims to offer "the latest advances in multifunction Bubble Jet printing in the industry's smallest footprint". The Canon MultiPASS C530, which should retail for $349 and comes with a $50 mail-in rebate, features bubble-jet printing, copying, scanning and faxing capabilities, including the ability to send and receive color faxes! The press release notes that the multi-function printer market is set to almost double by 2003, to more than $1.1 billion in shipments...

 - Canon MultiPASS C530
- Smallest all-color MFP on the market
- Based on Canon's BJC-4000 bubblejet printer
- Photo-realistic output at 720 x 360 dpi
- 5 pages per minute (ppm) in black, 2 ppm in color
- 14.4K monochrome/color stand-alone plain paper fax
- Stand-alone color copying at 360 x 360 dpi
- One-touch color scanning at 600 dpi (interpolated?)
- Bundled with Canon Creative Pro software suite
- Due to ship in October for $349 with a $50 mail-in

Adobe PhotoShop 5.5 optimised for PowerMac G4!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 3, 1999 - 10:35 EDT)

A press release from Adobe Systems Inc. announces that the latest version of its PhotoShop image editor is optimised for the recently announced Power Macintosh G4 platform from Apple. Adobe PhotoShop 5.5 is claimed to run at twice the speed of PhotoShop 5.0 on a PowerMac G3, with some functions apparently running at 10-15 times the speed! Specific common operations noted in the press release as being significantly faster are as follows:

 - The optimized lighting effects plug-in provides
faster rendering of 3D lighting effects.
- Distortion plug-ins like polar coordinates, ripple,
spherize, and twirl show dramatic speed increases.
- Layer blend modes like normal, lighten, and hard
light offer vastly improved responsiveness when
painting or compositing.
- Image transformations such as resize and rotate can
now be done in half the time.
- Widely used filters such as Gaussian blur and
unsharp mask perform significantly faster.
- Color correction functions like curves and levels
also perform noticeably quicker.

Calling All Marketeers! (Job openings)
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 3, 1999 - 1:18 EDT)

We don't normally "do" job listings, but know that there are a lot of industry types that scan this news feed daily. So, we thought we'd try listing this one, just to see what might happen. - If it turns out there's a big response, maybe its something we can do more regularly, albeit probably on a page of its own...

The photo-sharing company ClubPhoto is figuratively bursting at the seams, and looking to hire people with strong marketing experience in consumer realms, preferably with an imaging focus. (Our poor paraphrasing of what our contact told us, check with them if you're interested...) To see what they're generally up to, click any of the "Share Photos" links in the left-hand nav bars of our site. To inquire, send email to: [email protected]

Dave's Seybold Update!
By David Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 3, 1999 - 1:05 EDT)

Well, after all our bruiting about of the rumors of Nikon's anticipated difficulty producing a working D1 for John Henschall's Seybold session, we have to say at the outset that they apparently came through with flying colors! Meanwhile, Kodak showed their *shipping* DCS330, as well as some cool (and free) firmware & software updgrades. On the consumer end, I think the biggest news was Epson's forthcoming 850Z camera, although the itty bitty Canon S10 was very impressive as well, in no small part ;) for its diminutive size. I didn't have time to do a *real* report on the Seybold show, but did cobble together a mini-report, which you can read by clicking here.

Thursday, September 2, 1999

PC Watch posts Japanese pricing data!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 2, 1999 - 2:23 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted its pricing data for the period August 18 - September 01, covering three major stores in Tokyo's Shinjuku and Akibahara districts. Of note as well as the price changes are the following:

 - Kodak DC240i Zoom reaches market at ¥64,800 (US$583)
- Sanyo DSC-SX150 reaches market at ¥59,800 (US$538)
- Nikon Coolpix950 still out of stock at all three
stores surveyed
- Kyocera Samurai 1300DG and Sony DSC-D770 out of
stock at one of the three stores surveyed.
Olympus C-2000ZOOM¥85,800 (US$772)-¥4,000 (4%)
Fuji FinePix 2900Z¥79,800 (US$718)+¥8,000 (11%)
Epson CP-800¥62,800 (US$565)-¥7,000 (10%)
Olympus C-21¥67,000 (US$603)-¥2,800 (4%)
Sony DSC-F55K¥79,800 (US$718)+¥100 (0.1%)
Toshiba PDR-M4¥49,800 (US$448.2)-¥10,000 (17%)
Fuji FinePix 2700¥59,800 (US$538)-¥10,000 (14%)
Olympus C-900ZOOM¥47,000 (US$423)-¥2,700 (5%)
Canon PowerShot A50¥52,800 (US$475)-¥7,000 (12%)
Canon PowerShot Pro70¥118,000 (US$1062)-¥10,000 (8%)
Kodak DC240 Zoom¥57,600 (US$518)-¥2,200 (4%)
Sony DSC-D770¥185,800 (US$1672)+¥10,800 (6%)
Fuji FinePix1500¥47,700 (US$429)-¥2,100 (4%)
Sony MVC-FD83K¥74,700 (US$672)-¥100 (0.1%)
Sony MVC-FD91¥108,000 (US$972)+¥13,200 (14%)
Sanyo DSC-X110¥34,800 (US$313)-¥5,000 (13%)
Fuji CLIP-IT80¥29,700 (US$267)-¥100 (0.3%)
Sony MVC-FD73K¥59,800 (US$538)+¥5,000 (8%)

Digital Photography Review looks at Sony DSC-F505!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 2, 1999 - 1:50 EDT)

The folks over at the excellent Digital Photography Review have posted a full review of Sony's DSC-F505 digital camera... Whilst Phil didn't have the camera as long as he'd have liked, he still had enough time to form this opinion: "The Sony DSC-F505 breaks new ground in digital camera design, shocking at first it soon confirms itself as being well built, ergonomically designed and able to take excellent images. This camera is a serious contender to the Olympus C2000Z and Nikon Coolpix 950 which currently rule the roost. With it's bigger lens, hybrid LCD and InfoLithium batteries you could be forgiven for having it very high on your list." Ultimately, the best vote for the camera is that Phil thinks he'll probably buy one himself - check the full review out at the Digital Photography Review!

Happenstance turns the Coolpix950 into a slide copier!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 2, 1999 - 1:48 EDT)

We received an email from Happenstance Products of Marine, MN, to let us know about a nifty device they've made for copying slides with the Nikon Coolpix950 digital camera. The Happenstance slide copier attachment looks to be very well constructed out of stainless steel and acrylic, and takes advantage of the Coolpix950's excellent macro capabilities to scan slides in a way that, whilst it might not deliver as high resolution as a slide scanner, is certainly a whole lot cheaper... The attachment costs $40 inside the US or $45 elsewhere, including shipping...

Wednesday, September 1, 1999

PC Watch posts IFA '99 day one and two reports!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 16:22 EDT)

The PC Watch website has posted reports on Day 1 and 2 at the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) show - which our mediocre German translates as International Radio Exhibition, although we could well be wrong. ;) The show runs from August 28 - September 5, and as usual PC Watch's Yamada is in attendance. Here's what he has to say:

- Day 1
Sanyo Vischer gmbh (the German arm of Sanyo Electronics) showed the new VPC-X360EX digital camera. The unit features an 850,000 pixel CCD, and is a fixed focal-length unit based on the Sanyo DSC-X110. The body has been rounded off to make it more stylish and easier to hold, although it is still too easy to block the lens with your fingers like on the DSC-X110. The camera has also been lightened, the body being plastic. Also in common with the DSC-X110, the new camera can record animations up to 120 seconds in length. The camera is set to ship in Germany for DM899 (US$487), which Yamada felt was too high. That said, he still wanted to see the camera go on sale in Japan as after removing the included 16% German tax, and also the general price differences between the two markets, it might potentially reach the Japanese market for less than ¥40,000 (US$362) - a much more reasonable price. Yamada also wanted to see a choice of colors for the unit.

Also shown by Sanyo was the VPC-SX500EX (a European version of the DSC-SX150), as well as Sanyo's DMA-100 Digital Photo Album, both models being extremely popular.

Ricoh, meanwhile, showed its new RDC-5300 digital camera. The unit is essentially Ricoh's existing 2.3 megapixel RDC-5000 model with a 3x optical zoom lens in place of the RDC-5000's 2.3x zoom. Other changes include faster processing speeds, and changes to the user interface. A rubber handgrip has been added, making the camera easier to hold, and the LCD display is now more responsive and better quality. Yamada commented that the LCD display is now equal to those on rival cameras, and that he no longer heard any dissatisfaction aired over the display in the exhibition hall. Ricoh has apparently also added the ability to turn the LCD display off with the main switch on, for users who prefer to use the optical viewfinder and save batteries. An improved buffer brings the shot-shot time down to 2 seconds, and allows a maximum of four full-resolution shots at this speed. Yamada also felt that the picture quality had been improved, although he was unable to confirm this in the exhibition hall.

The RDC-5300 is apparently set at a price of DM1,698 (US$909); Yamada felt the new camera was easy to use and responsive, and hoped that it would be introduced in Japan soon...

- Day 2

Sony announced its MiniDisc Discam camcorder today, and Yamada concentrated on this. The DCM-M1 Discam uses MD Data2 discs, which overcome problems with the initial MD Data discs. MD Data discs had a low capacity of 140MB, and didn't catch on due to low speed and high price. MD Data2 discs increase capacity to a much more respectable 650MB, and have write speeds of 4.7MB/sec and read speeds of 9.6MB/sec... Yamada feels that the Discam is the first practical example of MD Data2 media in the world...

The concept of the Discam is that it doesn't require a PC to be used effectively; editing video is easy due to the near-instant speed of the media when compared to tapes. It is possible to retouch pictures in-camera with a simple "paint" program, as well as playing multiple videos alongside each other for comparison purposes (in the example, playing two golf swings alongside each other to compare form). It is also possible to apply effects like fades and transitions, and Yamada felt that the ability to do all of this in the camera without needing a PC was truly groundbreaking.

The camera records in MPEG-2 format, and whilst Yamada felt this was fine for video he did think that the picture quality for stills wasn't as good as in JPEG still images. The camera can only record 20 minutes of video per MiniDisc (only 10 minutes if the camera is set for highest picture quality), nowhere near as long as for tape media. Yamada felt though that this was acceptable, as you are unlikely to need to record one continuous shot longer than 20 minutes in length, and it is always possible to just pop in a new Data2 disc.

Interestingly, the PC connectivity of the camera wasn't an i.LINK interface as might be expected, but rather unexpectedly the camera had an Ethernet interface. Apparently the decision was made that Ethernet cards are far more commonplace, and easy to obtain. The camera communicates with the PC via TCP/IP, allowing you to operate it from a standard web browser. Yamada pointed out that this raised the possibility of connecting the camera to the Internet, to show images to somebody on the other side of the world, although the booth staff didn't mention this possibility themselves...

Sony gave no indication as to when they intend this product to reach the marketplace, nor at what price, and whilst Yamada felt that he understood the reasoning behind this, he hoped that it would be as soon as possible...

Hitachi Maxell announces USB tethered camera!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 15:30 EDT)

Hitachi Maxell has announced a new USB tethered camera in Japan with a unique design, to say the very least. The unit features an aspheric F2.8 lens, 640 x 480 pixel CMOS chip, can focus from 30cm to infinity and provides up to 30 frames per second video - but what is interesting isn't the specifications, it is the design. It really defies description - the best we can think of is that the camera looks like one half of a pair of Elton John's wildest glasses, in transparent iMac blue!

HP PhotoSmart C500 runs on Digita!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 14:16 EDT)

Regular readers of this news page will already know from the teleconference we reported on yesterday that HP's new PhotoSmart C500 digital camera runs on FlashPoint's Digita Operating System, and to confirm this, Flashpoint has now distributed a press release on the announcement. Whilst nothing new is announced on the camera, the press release still makes for interesting reading... September issue online!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 14:00 EDT)

The September issue of, the monthly French/English digital camera magazine, is now online according to an email we've received this afternoon. Reviewed this month are the Sony Mavica MVC-FD88, Kodak DC-280, Konica Q-M200 and Epson PhotoPC800...

Agfa drops price on ePhoto 1680!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 12:23 EDT)

Agfa Corp.'s Desktop Products Group has today announced a price cut on its ePhoto 1680 digital camera. The unit, which features a 3x optical zoom lens, swivel design and a 1.2 megapixel resolution (interpolated up to a maximum of 1.9 megapixels) is now available for a suggested price of $599.

Imacon announces FlexTight Progression!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 12:14 EDT)

Imacon has today announced its new FlexTight Progression glassless scanner, the first to be able to scan not only transparencies but reflectives as well. The A3-sized unit, which uses both FlexTight Technology (FTT) for scanning transparencies, and ElectroStatic Technology (EST) for reflective scanning, is targeted at the pre-press market at a price of $19,995. FlexTight technology uses a magnetic holder to feed transparencies into the scanner and flex tem around an internal drum, allowing scanning without any internal reflections. The new Electrostatic technology holds originals up to 12" x 17" completely flat using electrostatic power, also avoiding the distortions and extra work in preparing the glass when using flatbed scanners.

PictureVision announces streaming photo slideshows!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 1:11 EDT)

PictureVision Inc. and have cooperated to provide a new Streaming SlideShow Service on Kodak PhotoNet (tm), a press release today reveals. The new technology will allow consumers to easily build and broadcast virtual streaming slideshows with digital pictures from Kodak PhotoNet, and includes audio and text formats. Users can preview their slideshows at using the Windows MediaPlayer.

What's involved? Take your film to any of more than 38,000 retailers that offer Kodak PhotoNet online - your film will be scanned and uploaded securely to the Internet; you can then access your photos from Kodak PhotoNet, choose to run the SlideShow application, and a Windows Media slideshow with all your pictures included will be automatically generated. This service should be available in late September, and will also allow emailing of the link to the slideshow to anyone in the world.

Imacon announces FlexTight price cuts!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 1:06 EDT)

Imacon Inc. has announced a price cut on its award-winning FlexTight drum scanner line, which includes the FlexTight Precision II and FlexTight Photo scanners. The Precision II, delivering a 5,600 dpi resolution, is now priced at $14,995, a nearly 12% drop from the original price of $16,995. The FlexTight Photo, meanwhile, has a maximum resolution of 3,200 dpi, and now retails for $9,995, a 15% drop from its previous $11,995 price tag. Both scanners feature software bundles including Imacon's ColorFlex software, Vivid Details Test Strip, and Canto Cumulus Desktop software. The two also feature a magnetic holder that automatically feeds the original into the scanner and "flexes" it around an internal drum, lending the machine the FlexTight name. The image then is scanned directly to the lens without any internal reflections, eliminating the visual noise and/or distortion caused by glass, gel, or tape which is commonly found in conventional drum and flatbed scanners.

Microsoft establishes Windows Color Quality specs!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 1:02 EDT)

Microsoft Corp. has today announced a new industry benchmark for color quality in printers. Developed with Hewlett Packard, and with input from other printer vendors, the Windows® Color Quality Specifications for Printers will be used to decide if a printer is suitable for the Designed for Windows logo, ensuring users can look for the mark to ensure they're choosing a printer of suitable quality. Similar specifications are being developed for digital cameras, scanners and displays. The tests will be incorporated into the next Windows 2000 RTM update of Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQLs) test suite for printers, and the tests will be required as part of the WHQL certification process to qualify for the Designed for Windows logo next year by approximately April 2000.

Lexmark announces Mexican inkjet production!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 0:56 EDT)

Lexmark has announced today that it has broken ground for a new plant in Chihuahua, Mexico and is enlarging its current inkjet operation in Juarez. Previously this year, they announced similar news in the Philippines, as well as an additional inkjet production in Scotland. As the fastest-growing division of the company, per Bernard Masson who is president of the Consumer Printer Division at Lexmark, they forsee keeping a strong hold in the inkjet products market. The company began in the inkjet market in 1994 and started the popular sub-$100 supply category in late 1997.

Imacon announces lightfast inks!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 0:52 EDT)

Tired of your inkjet prints fading, and looking - well, tired? American Inkjet Corp. might just have the answer in a new line of inks for Iris and Epson printers. The inks are specifically designed to up the lightfastness and archivability without losing the range of color of the prints, making it ideal for graphics printing. The three inks, Omni Tones, Pinnacle Gold Iris, and Pinnacle Gold Epson, provide a variety of colors and tones for whatever jobs may be waiting. The Omni Tones are designed for primarily black and white printing; The Pinnacle Gold series designed for new users and veteran users alike who want true colors without risk of losing the integrity, both color and sharpness alike. Display-life tests currently in progress through Wilhelm Imaging Research Inc. show permanance ratings of 30 years for Pinnacle Gold Iris and 20 years for AIJ Omni Tones already, and the predictions from AIJ are that the former will last 75-100 years and the latter 100+ years. The inks are expected to ship next year at an as-yet undecided price.

Epson announces new photo papers!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 0:45 EDT)

A new heavyweight paper with flat matte finish for photograph printing has been announced by Epson America Inc today, according to a press release. Ideal for photographers and graphic artists who want a nonglossy print, the paper is intended for use with the Epson Stylus Color 1520 or 3000, Stylus Photo 1200, and Stylus Pro 5000. It is available in three sizes: 8.5`` x 11'', 11.7`` x 16.5'' and 13`` x 19'', comes in 50 sheet packages, and has a suggested retail price of $14.49, $36.99, and $46.99 in respect to size. Epson Photo Quality Ink-Jet paper also gains a new size, 17`` x 22'' (C size) in packages of 100 sheets for $69.99.

Ulead announces Photo Explorer 5!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 0:41 EDT)

Ulead Systems today announced its new Photo Explorer 5 image cataloguing program, which allows users to identify media types by visual thumbnail representation, as well as rename, copy and batch process files. Enhanced keyword features help users find image files fast, while direct editing tools let users rotate and crop images, adjust brightness, contrast and color balance. Photo Explorer also lets users export hyper-linked thumbnail images to a Web page or create slide shows, calendars and screensavers from their images.

Epson drops Stylus Pro 5000 pricing!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 0:31 EDT)

Epson America Inc. has today announced new pricing for its Stylus Pro 5000 printer. The Stylus Pro 5000 features an 11-picoliter dot size, 1440 x 720 dpi resolution and an external EPSON RS-5000 Fiery LX RIP which has now been made an option. The printer previously had a street price of $9,995, and now costs $7,495 including the RIP. Without the RIP, the printer should sell for $2,995 street.

Epson announces Stylus Color 900 inkjet printer!
By Michael Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - 0:13 EDT)

Epson America Inc. today announced its new Stylus Color 900G printer, described as "the fastest ... color ink jet in its class". The unit features a high resolution of 720 x 1440 dpi, and an optional Firewire high-speed interface. Full specs are as follows:

 - Epson Stylus Color 900G
- 720 x 1440 dpi (dots per inch) resolution
- CMYK inks
- Industry's smallest (3 picoliter) drop size
- Advanced Micro Piezo technology varies droplet
size as necessary dependant on what is printed
- Photo-quality output
- Print speeds up to 12 ppm (pages per minute) in
black and 10 ppm in color
- USB, serial and parallel connectivity
- Optional Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, LocalTalk and
Firewire (IEEE 1394) cards available. Type-B IEEE
1394 Interface Card to ship September 1 for $199
- Mail-in coupon for choice of two free software
titles from categories including utilities, games
and more
- Available immediately at an estimated street price
of US$429



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!