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- (Dec 13) Recover lost SmartMedia files?! Reader Gerald Payne wrote in with a tip for anyone suffering "disk corruption" on a SmartMedia card (and I suspect this will work for CF cards also): No report on his ultimate success back yet, but Gerald heard that accidentally-deleted images can be retrieved from SmartMedia cards by using an external SmartMedia reader with a program called RecoverNT version 2.5. Note that this won't work with the FlashPath unit, since that apparently doesn't give you a true disk directory tree to work with. Thanks, Gerald!
- (Dec 13) Linux does Photos! This one is from Steve's Digicams also: gPhoto (GNU Photo) is the first free GUI-based application for Linux that handles downloading, indexing, printing, saving etc. of images from a variety of digital cameras. Using the photoPC library from Eugene Crosser, it supports cameras from Agfa, Epson, Olympus, Sanyo, and Nikon. The pre-release beta is available now on the gPhoto home page, but a more stable release with new features is said to be right around the corner. (Thanks, Steve!)
- (Dec 3) New drivers for Lexar SmartMedia Reader: Lexar has announced a driver-software upgrade for their external SmartMedia reader that clears up some problems the device had been having with 16MB cards. Visit their web site at www.digitalfilm.com to download the updated driver.
- (Nov 24) IMPORTANT Tip for PDA owners! Reader Rhyder McClure successfully diagnosed a very thorny problem with his recently-purchased Olympus D-400 Zoom (lucky guy). After quite a bit of thrashing around, being unable to transfer data over the serial connection, he discovered that the serial driver for his Palm Pilot PDA was "hogging" the serial port! The solution was as simple as right-clicking on the task-bar icon for the Palm Pilot and turning the driver off. Thanks, Rhyder!
- (Nov 12) Qimage Beta 1.0 released It seems a lot of our info on software updates these days are coming from Steve's Digicams! (Get busy out there, readers!) The latest is that the program formerly known as PegMe has now been released as Qimage, in beta version 1.0. This sounds like a handy image-management and printing application, and the new version includes several useful enhancements, including auto-fitting of 4x6 images to pages, and the ability to see what's in the print queue by viewing thumbnails of the print jobs. Visit the Qimage site for a free download. Thanks, Steve!
- (Nov 12) ThumbsPlus Revved: Another item from Steve's Digicams: The perennially popular Thumbs Plus from Cerious Software has now been released. Here's what Steve had to say about the new version: New in ThumbsPlus version 4 is a fancier Windows style interface with a redesigned toolbar and Explorer-like folder tree format, multi-threaded operation, image stamping, step-based batch processing, digital image watermarking (using Digimarc technology) and multiple monitor support, synchronized image viewing for comparing images. Also new is the way you download the program. Rather than having to download the whole program you download an Internet-based installer which examines your system and then downloads only those components that are necessary. Visit the Thumbs Plus site to download a demo copy. Thanks, Steve!
- (Nov 7) Updated USB drivers for Intermart CF reader Steve, of Steve's Digicams posted this useful tidbit: SCM Microsystems, manufacturer of the Intermart USB card readers, has recently posted an updated driver for the PCD-30USB. This is the USB card reader being sold by d-store. Many users have had problems with this and other USB devices installed on their computer at the same time. Hopefully this new driver will solve the problems, be sure to read the INSTALL.TXT file inside the ZIP after you download it for the proper way to uninstall your current drivers. Be sure to download the drivers dated 10/3/98, these are the newest ones. When unpacking the ZIP files be sure that your ZIP utility keeps the path names as it should create two subdirectories (\win95 and \win98) on your new installation diskette. Thanks, Steve!
- (Nov 3) iMac USB drivers for Kodak DC220/260 We received a press release from Kodak, along with a personal note from IR reader Louis Brazil, relating his personal experiences with the new drivers. There's now a copy of beta USB drivers for the iMac and DC220/260, available from Kodak. (Actually, it comes from FlashPoint, the developers of the DC220/260's operating system. IMPORTANT NOTE: you MUST be running Mac OS 8.5 for these drivers to work! Louis reports that the 1.2 meg download expands to 2.7 meg, and includes a Photoshop Plug-In, USB drivers, two Digita Extensions, and two Apple USB enablers. The beta software only allows viewing and download of images, not erasing of them from the camera, and only supports the JPEG file format, not FlashPix. Louis did say that download speed was "excellent", and that images with audio attached worked fine as well. This version only supports the iMac: The final release version of the drivers will be available at the end of November, and will support serial-cable connectivity to older Macs, and USB support through PCI add-in cards. Louis also sent a link to the official Kodak DC220/260 FAQ, as well as the unofficial FAQ maintained by Steve Haehnichen (sp?) Thanks, Louis!
- (Nov 3) Cameraid v1.1.1 available for Macs This item is from Steve's digicams: Cameraid is a very useful Mac program for downloading and managing images from a variety of popular camera types, including models from Agfa, Epson, Olympus, and Sanyo. Benefits include much faster download times (up to a full 230,000 baud!), the ability to view images as soon as they "arrive," and to mark, move, and rename pictures, and advanced "drag and drop" support. (It's very inexpensively-priced shareware, at $15 for a license.) A BIG benefit (for us, anyway), is that it now also supports lossless rotation of JPEG images, which we'll now be using on all our outdoor portrait shots, so you'll see *exactly* what the cameras can do!
- (Oct 22)Time that lag! Many have noticed the variable delay between when you press a digicam's shutter-release button, and when the camera actually takes the picture. "Van" Van Horn of Digital Eyes had a friend write a tiny Windows program that helps time this lag. It gives you a large count-down timer to help you push the button at the right instant, then gives a large time readout in tenths of a second. Point the camera at the screen, push the button at the right moment, and the picture you capture will show the delay in seconds and tenths. You can download a copy of the program here. We'll be using this on all our future reviews and reporting the results.Thanks, Van!
- (Oct 22) Nifty Utilities! The super-tele and super-macro pages Tianhuat led us to below also led us to the home page of Max Lyons' "TawbaWare". Max has some useful-sounding programs here to control Agfa, Olympus, and Epson cameras, to extract information from digicam files, and to automatically make web-page indexes from digicam files. Thanks again, Tianhuat!
- (Oct 22) Ultra telephoto & Ultra Macro! Reader Tianhuat of battery-testing fame (see below) turned up an interesting site: Check this page out for the "poor man's super-telephoto". Bottom line: A $15, 15x monocular from Wal-Mart, a little mechanical fiddling, and you can turn your digicam into a veritable digital telescope! The same site has information on using an inexpensive magnifying loupe to give your digicam microscopic capabilities. None of these schemes produce ultimate optical quality, but they're a great way to (cheaply!) get pictures that would be impossible otherwise. Thanks Tianhuat!
- (Oct 16)FlashPath Review DCRP reader Tom Beardmore has put together a detailed review on the popular FlashPath floppy-disk adapter for SmartMedia memory cards. If you're considering buying one of these, check out Tom's article for a good overview of how they work. Thanks Tom!
- (Oct 16) Reader Tianhuat has been testing NiMH batteries with an obsessiveness that puts even Imaging Resource tests to shame! He likes both NEXCell and GP batteries from Thomas Distributing, and has had exceptionally good luck with Thomas' MH-C777 charger. If you really want to know how long to expect batteries to last under various conditions (all tested in a Nikon CP900), check out Tianhuat's page. Thanks Tianhuat!
- (Oct 13) Here's a great one from official IR friend-of-the-site John Cowley for owners of digicams with a flat, rotating lens mount: A great, simple, do-it-yourself optical viewfinder for use in bright sun. John made his for an Agfa ePhoto 1680, but the same design should also work on the 1280. Although it already has its own optical finder, the concept could also work for the Nikon CoolPix 900 as well, for those times you're working with a tele-extender add-on lens. The concept is simplicity itself - John used a pair of plastic cable-clamps to mount a small "spotting scope" type of monocular device to the body of his digicam. John reports it works great! Check out the "viewfinder" page at his Lone Star Digital site. Thanks, John!
- (Oct 13) "Came" v0.8 is now in beta! We visited Randy Glass' (aka "Ed") Feather River Canyon News site the other day, and boy, does he have some great mini-reviews and general information on digital imaging posted! (Check it out, you'll be glad you did!) One of the latest additions is an upate to the camera-control program "Came" (pronounced "Kah-mee", means "turtle" in Japanese. Came lets you control lots of camera settings, some of which you can't access any other way (like the power-off delay on a Nikon CP900). Randy lists the cameras Came can now control, which include:
C-1400XL, D-600XL, C-1400L, D-600, C-1000L, D-500L, C-900Z, D-400Z,
C-830L, D-340R, C-840L, D-340L, C-820, D-320L, C-420L, D-220L, C-800L,
D-300L, C-410L, D-210L, C-400L, D-200L
ePhoto1280, ePhoto1680, ePhoto307
CP600, PhotoPC700, CP500, PhotoPC600, PhotoPC550, CP200, PhotoPC500,
DSC-X100, VPC-X350, DSC-SX1Z, VPC-Z400, DSC-V100, VPC-G250, DSC-X1,
VPC-X300, DSC-V1, VPC-G200
To get Came, go to Randy's site, and click on the Turtle icon for Came. You'll find a bunch of descriptive information, as well as links to the Came download sites. Thanks Randy, for putting together such a useful resource!
- (Oct 13) Indirectly on the same topic ("hacking" your digital camera via the serial port), Came's author, TsuruZoh Tachibanaya mentioned Eugene Crosser's web site in a letter to Randy of the FRCN. Eugene has compiled an incredible amount of "behind the scenes" information on cameras based on the Fujitsu chipset (see the list above). Check out Eugene's website if you're the sort of techie type that loves to take things apart to see how they work...
- (Oct 8) Reader Danny Hollis posted a note in the Imaging Resource Forum of problems he was having applying the DC210 Plus firmware upgrade to a DC210A he bought in Hong Kong. Whenever he tries to apply the firmware upgrade, his menus revert to Japanese! Apparently, the unit he bought in Hong Kong was a Japanese model that had a "downgrade" performed on it to the English-language 1.51 revision. After similar reports from readers having difficulty applying upgrades to Japanese DC210s, we checked with Kodak and learned that the DC210A is in fact a unit intended only for Japan, and one that won't take English-language firmware installations(!) Thus, although DC210's can be had very cheaply in Japan (see the earlier posting below), they may not be such a good deal unless you read Japanese! If you did get stuck with a unit like this, our Kodak contact suggested specifically discussing the situation with Kodak repair, pointing out that you purchased the unit as an English-language camera.
- (Oct 4) New drivers for popular CF, PC, SmartMedia card readers. This item just in from Steve's digicams: A number of users have had problems with parallel-port card readers interfering with Windows '95/98 dial-up networking. Memorex now has updated drivers on their web site that fix the problem, no only for their unit, but others from the same OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). Third-party units the software should work with are sold under the model names ImageMate, FilmMate, and FlashMate 2000. Check Steve's site for details.
- (Oct 4) CamerAid v1.1 in Beta. This item also from Steve's digicams: Cameraid is a very useful Mac program for downloading and managing images from a variety of popular camera types, including models from Agfa, Epson, Olympus, and Sanyo. Benefits include much faster download times, the ability to view images as soon as they "arrive," and to mark, move, and rename pictures, and advanced "drag and drop" support. (It's very inexpensively-priced shareware, at $15 for a license.) Program author Juri Munkki is currently looking for beta testers for his new version 1.1 (The link above is for the old version, the new one isn't publicly released yet.) Email him to be included, maybe get a free license if you produce some useful feedback!
- (Oct 4) NikonView 1.2 released. At the risk of becoming "Steve's Digicams North," here's one more from Steve's site: Nikon has released NikonView 1.2 for Windows '95/98 and NT 4.0. The new version fixes a number of problems, including some compatibility issues with Internet Explorer 4.0. Check the NikonTech download site for full details.
- (Oct 1) HP announces Windows NT support for PhotoSmart. Extending the reach of its excellent, easy-to-use PhotoSmart digital photography products (see our reviews of the C20 camera and the scanner), HP has announced the availability of software drivers for Windows NT users. This is a bit of a breakthrough for NT users, as most digital imaging companies have neglected the platform. (Expect more companies to announce support, now that HP has broken into that market.) Drivers are available free of charge from HP's web site, at http://www.photosmart.com
- (Oct 1) UMAX 1220 software upgrade. Macintouch reader Mike Millard reported that the new Mac drivers released to support the UMAX Astra 1220U on the iMac will also work with the SCSI-based Astra 1220S on other Mac models. He said "VistaScan 3.0 has a MUCH nicer, friendlier interface than the v2.4.3 that came with my 1220S." You can find the new Mac drivers on www.umax.com, on the download page. NOTE: When installing the software though, you'll need to remove a few things specific to the 1220U - check the Extensions, Startup Items, and Shutdown Items folders for files containing the string "1220U", and trash them...
- (Sept 27) More than you ever wanted to know about camera testing! We've been wanting to get this up for months, finally did so: We put a lot of time and effort into defining the test procedures we use at The Imaging Resource, and execute our tests under carefully controlled conditions. Finally, the "Test Descriptions" link on the Comparometer(tm) page has a full description of our philosophy, what we test for, and a discussion of how to use the test images to really "smoke out differences between various cameras. Check it out here, or from the "!" link on the Comparometer - DC260 Japanese/English Limitations? Reader Andy Leung posted a note on the Q&A forum, describing a problem he had trying to upgrade a Japanese version 1.02 DC260 to the English version of the 1.04 firmware. Apparently the 1.02 English version was no problem, but no go with the later rev. Taken together with Martin Reynolds' experience with a Japanese DC210 (reported below), it sounds like Kodak is taking steps to prevent the migration of less-costly Japanese models to the US... (Thanks, Andy!)
- (Sept 27) More info on Mac Stylus Photo Drivers: Macintouch reader Tom Easterday reports a minor glitch in the previously-reported tip about using the Epson Stylus 700 drivers to run your original Stylus Photo. Check the post we've put on the Q&A board for full details. - This trick will probably also work for PC drivers as well!
- (Sept 17) UMAX Posts Mac/USB drivers. More good Mac stuff: UMAX has posted MacOS drivers on their website for their Astra 1220U scanner. These may not be the final version, as they're called "Final Release Candidate". It's a BIG download though, at 13.8 Meg, so you may just want to leave your computer on overnight while it drifts onto your hard drive... (This also looks like it's coming from overseas (UK?), so it might take even longer!)
- (Sept 17) Great way to share sample images! David Rowley of PhotoPoint and I have been corresponding back and forth for a little while now. PhotoPoint.com is a neat free service for uploading images to make on-line albums. No strings attached! After seeing some sample files from digital cameras that people had uploaded, it struck me that this would be a great way for all of us to share sample images from various digicams! To support that, we've featured PhotoPoint in our "cool stuff" section above. Have some images (especially from a more obscure digicam)? Post them for everyone to see!
- (Sept 17) Great Stylus Photo Tip for Mac! This tidbit is from Macintouch reader J.P. Adams: "There hasn't been an update to the (Mac) Epson Stylus Photo driver recently so I downloaded the Stylus Photo 700 driver update and tried it. It works great on my Epson Stylus Photo printer and adds many new features such as fit to page, 2 up and 4 up printing. I thought this might be of interest to your readers that aren't aware of this capability." Thanks, J.P.!
- (Sept 11) Active Buyers Guide: Check it out & let us know! As of today, we're introducing a new service on the site, called the Active Buyers Guide. This is a joint effort between The Imaging Resource and Active Research. As you'd expect, the Buyers Guide is a tool to help you select digital cameras that meet your needs and interests. What's different about it is that it uses "fuzzy logic" and artifical intelligence to help refine the options. Other database-driven guide typically only give you exactly what you've asked for, whereas the Active Buyers Guide will provide a range of "close" matches. We've provided some data to Active Research, and they'll eventually be linking into our reviews. In the meantime, check out this interesting tool. (There's ample space on every page to give feedback, and Active Research will be "actively" monitoring all comments to improve the service.) Check it out!
- (Sept 11) Read ATA, CF, and SM all at once! (Huh?) That's a mouthful of acronyms, but ActionTec has announced CameraConnect Pro(tm), a parallel-port device that can read all three popular image-card formats, including ATA PCMCIA cards, CompactFlash, and SmartMedia (including the new 16MB format). The new unit will support Windows 95, 98, and NT. No ship date or price was given in the press release though. (Who writes these things anyway? What use is it to announce a product with no indication of when it might be available or what it might cost? - Of course, I just did the same thing! ;-)
- (Sept 8) New drivers for the Kodak DC210! We reported below on the upgraded model of Kodak's DC210, the DC210 Plus. Now, all current DC210 owners can get a (free) update to all of the firmware features of the 210 Plus, by visiting this link on Kodak's web site. There you'll find software and instructions for downloading the new firmware to your camera. Features include: faster shutter response time, 20% improved battery life, multi-language user interface, faster start-up time, date stamp option, exposure lock option (for panorama shooting), and video-out slide show capability. This upgrade once again demonstrates the advantages of the downloadable-firmware capability of the Kodak cameras. (Late note: Users seem to be reporting varied experiences with this upgrade: Some notice clear improvements, others are distinctly unimpressed. Also, it appears that the 20% power savings referred to is the same 20% the last firmware upgrade provided.)
- (Sept 8) New USB drivers for Epson Stylus 740! Epson has released an update to their software drivers for the Stylus 740 printer, correcting problems some Apple iMac owners were experiencing. The new drivers can be found on the Epson support site. NOTE: Be sure to download and apply the Apple iMac Update 1.0 patch before loading the new Epson drivers!