[an error occurred while processing this directive] A-DIGITAL-EYE (21ST CENTURY DIGITAL CAMERAS, PHOTO PRINTERS, PAPERS, CAMCORDERS, IMAGING SOFTWARE, DIGITAL EQUIPMENT, REVIEWS AND MORE!)
FOVEON & SIGMA ANNOUNCE NEW SIGMA SD10 DSLR & ENHANCED FOVEON X3 SENSOR (10/27/03) As Digital Camera Usage Skyrockets, Study Finds Email Fails to Satisfy Demand for Online Photo Sharing (10/26/03)
FOVEON & SIGMA ANNOUNCE NEW SIGMA SD10 DSLR & NEW ENHANCED FOVEON X3 SENSOR (10/27/03)
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Foveon and Sigma are announcing today the new Sigma SD10 DSLR camera, the first to feature a newly improved & enhanced X3 Pro 10M Foveon image sensor. We have been provided all kinds of useful information from both Foveon and Sigma much of which we are posting below.
Briefly, the Sigma S10 is a new digital SLR camera which improves upon their initial offering, the SD9 in many areas, including the use of a new improved X3 Pro 10M Foveon image sensor. The new SD10 produces 10 megapixel X3F RAW files which contain what Sigma and Foveon contend is superior image data for better picture results. This is achieved by having 3 sensors at each pixel site, with Silicon effectively directing the incoming light to different levels of depth for each of the three primary colors, Red, Green and Blue. The RAW files produced by the X3 sensor can be converted to JPEG images using the Sigma Photo Pro RAW imaging processing software, which is also improved and contains a really interesting new feature from Foveon called X3 Fill Light. Overall, both companies claim the new camera and image processor produce better color results and improved dynamic range.
The concept behind the X3 image processor was first announced back in February of 2002 and it was first implemented in the Sigma SD9, which began shipping one year ago in late November and December of 2002. The technology and concept were relatively new compared to the existing Bayer interpolation method used by most other image processors, and it was expected that it would take some time to improve upon the initial results found in the Sigma SD9. Both Foveon and Sigma have worked on improvements to the camera and the X3 sensor itself to enhance the overall image results. These improvements include use of new microlenses over the pixel sites in the X3 sensor, allowing better sensitivity, up to ISO 1600 as well as faster processing, lower noise, more accurate colors and the ability to produce better dynamic range in the images. The combined improvements to the Sigma Camera, the Sigma RAW processing software with technology from Foveon, and the X3 processor itself sound very promising. The new Sigma SD10 featuring the new Foveon enhanced X3 image sensor is set for release on November 14, 2003. We cannot wait to test the new products out, very soon!
As we stated above, there is a lot of information we have been going through for this major announcement. In addition to what we have, the other digicam sites have some additional information that is helpful and both the Sigma web site and the Foveon web site have all kinds of additional information. However, we have attempted to post right here some of the key information, and so without any further delay, we invite you to check out the items below, which do include specifications, press releases and even a sample photograph which displays how the new X3 Flash Fill improves digital images! We are very excited about these new developments and hope you can take a few moments to read the information which follows!
Summary of Key Differences in SD10:
- ISO 100-800 (default) or to 1600 (extended mode) versus ISO 100-400 using added Microlenses
- Longer exposure times versus a previous limitation (30 seconds at all ISO settings)
- Improved dynamic range
- Improved AF using new Algorithm
- One Battery vs two
- Wireless TTL is with new "EF500 DG Super SA-N" flash
- Exposure Compensation at 1/3 increments vs 1/2
- Thinner Grip Battery Attachment
Summary of Key Differences in SIGMA Photo Pro:
- X3 Fill Light (see information and sample photos below)
- Save Adjustment Settings to X3F files
- Batch Edit White Balance
- Network Support
- Increased Processing Speed
- Compatible with SD9
For the full Sigma SD10 Product Brochure click here.
Here is a brief summary of how Foveon describes their new X3Pro 10M image sensor.
"The Foveon X3 Pro 10M is a 25 mm-diagonal high-resolution CMOS direct image sensor that incorporates breakthrough Foveon X3 technology. Newly enhanced, the latest version Pro 10M sensor achieves significantly longer exposure times, broader ISO selection, and improved dynamic range over its F7X3-B91 predecessor. Foveon X3 direct image sensors capture full-measured color images through a unique stacked pixel sensor design. By capturing full-measured color images, the need for indirect color interpolation and artifact-reducing blur filters is eliminated. As a result, the Foveon X3 Pro 10M delivers the highest effective resolution possible without color artifacts for the 25 mm optical format. The Foveon X3 Pro 10M features the powerful VPS (Variable Pixel Size) capability. VPS provides the on-chip capability of grouping neighboring pixels together to form larger pixels that are optimal for high frame rate, reduced noise, or dual mode still/video applications. Other advanced features include: low fixed pattern noise and ultra-low power consumption."
The new Foveon X3 Pro 10M CMOS Direct Image Sensor F7X3-C9110 Features FoveonX3 Technology including the following:
Three pixel sensors are layered at each pixel location to achieve superior color fidelity through full-measured color.
Images have improved sharpness and immunity to sampling artifacts (moiré).
Foveon X3 technology directly converts light of all colors into useful signal information at every pixel locationno
light absorbing filters are used to block out light.
Variable Pixel Size (VPS) Capability
Several neighboring pixels can be grouped together on-chip to obtain the effect of a larger pixel.
Enables flexible video capture at a variety of resolutions.
Enables higher ISO mode at lower resolutions.
Reduces noise by combining pixels.
Ultra Low Power
Use of the most advanced CMOS process technology allows for ultra low power.
Input voltages to the image sensor are less than 2.5V.
Power consumption is less than 50 mW during readout, less than 10 mW in standby mode,and less than 100 µW
in power down mode.
- Low Noise
- The Foveon X3 direct image sensor offers extremely lownoise readout and high dynamic range.
Proprietary readout circuits suppress fixed pattern noise artifacts commonly associated with CMOS image sensors.
The Foveon X3 direct image sensor is designed to resist the blooming that is characteristic of CCD image sensors.
- Effective Pixel Sensors 10.2 million pixel sensors
- Number of measured-color data points 2268 columns x 1512 rows x 3 layers captured by image sensor (3.4R,3.4G,3.4B)
- Total Pixel Sensors 10.6 million pixel sensors
- Total number of data points in pixel sensor 2304 columns x 1536 rows x 3 layers array (3.5R,3.5G,3.5B)
- Pixel Pitch 9.12 µm Center-to-center spacing of pixel locations
- Effective Area 20.7 mm x 13.8 mm
- Effective Diagonal 25 mm
- Aspect Ratio 3:2
- Frame Rate 4.4 fps for: Maximum number of frames per second in 2268 columns x 1512 rows x 3 layers the rolling shutter mode 25 fps for 576 columns x 384 rows x 3 layers (VPS)
- Variable Pixel Size Increments Powers of 2, independently in Number of pixels averaged together for output
FOVEON ENHANCES DIGITAL IMAGES WITH X3 FILL LIGHT
New technology easily corrects lighting problems in digital photos
Santa Clara, CA (October 27, 2003) Foveon, Inc., a technology leader in high-quality digital image capture, today announced the release of X3 Fill Light, a powerful new technology that dramatically improves the quality of digital images affected by difficult lighting conditions. The technology is incorporated as a new software feature in the Sigma Photo Pro 2.0 application for the Sigma SD10 digital Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera.
The X3 Fill Light feature simulates the photographic method of dodging and burning adding extra light to shadow regions, while preserving highlight detail. It is a powerful method for simultaneously adjusting overexposed and underexposed areas of a digital image with a single simple control. The feature is bundled exclusively with the new Sigma SD10 digital SLR (Single-Lens Reflex) camera, which uses a Foveon X3 direct image sensor.
X3 Fill Light is designed for images taken under lighting conditions such as indoor-outdoor scenes, backlit portraits, or scenes with mixed lighting. Use of the X3 Fill Light feature creates natural-looking images that can be faithfully reproduced in a print.
Challenging lighting conditions, such as backlighting from a window or subjects in front of snow, can result in disappointing images. The X3 Fill Light technology allows photographers to make excellent prints from poorly exposed images which otherwise would have been discarded due to poor lighting and exposure. said Eric Zarakov, Foveons vice president of marketing.
X3 Fill Light is implemented as a simple slider interface that allows the user to control the amount of correction. By increasing the amount of X3 Fill Light, the brightness and contrast of the shadow regions are increased to add visibility into areas that have been underexposed. Simultaneously, the contrast in highlight regions is automatically increased and the brightness is adjusted to avoid saturation.
The Sigma Photo Pro 2.0 software, incorporating Foveons X3 Fill Light, is shipping with the Sigma SD10 digital Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera from Sigma Corporation (www.sigma-photo.co.jp).
About Foveon Since its establishment in 1997, Foveon has focused on developing image-capture technologies and products for digital cameras. The most recent innovation by Foveon is the Foveon X3® direct image sensor, the worlds first direct image sensor that captures red, green and blue light at every pixel location.
Foveon is a privately held company. Investors include: National Semiconductor Inc., Synaptics Inc., New Enterprise Associates, and Franklin Templeton Investments.
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FOVEON INTRODUCES NEW 10.2 MEGAPIXEL DIRECT IMAGE SENSOR
- Sigma SD10 Digital Camera First To Incorporate Improved Foveon Image Sensor
- Santa Clara, CA (October 27, 2003) Foveon Inc., a technology leader in high-quality digital photography, announces the immediate availability of the F7X3-C9110, an enhanced version of the Foveon X3® PRO 10M direct image sensor. The improved 10.2 megapixel (red + green + blue pixels) image sensor doubles the sensitivity and maximum exposure times and offers increased dynamic range over its predecessor. The new Foveon sensor is used in the Sigma SD10 digital Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera. The image sensor allows users to capture outstanding photographs at higher shutter speeds ideal for sports action as well as in low light situations requiring long exposures up to 30 seconds.
The new Foveon image sensor is a result of design and fabrication process improvements that result in higher image quality and superb color fidelity. These improvements demonstrate the speed at which we are evolving the technology and support our confidence that X3 is the most advanced image sensor technology for capturing color images, said Federico Faggin, Foveons CEO.
The first camera to incorporate the new image sensor is the Sigma SD10 digital Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera. The camera supports an ISO range from 100 to 800, plus an extended mode option to ISO 1600, and exposure durations of up to 30 seconds.
The choice of image sensor is becoming a top criterion, when choosing a digital camera, because it is the primary factor that determines the image quality. We believe that with Foveon X3 technology, the Sigma SD10 digital camera offers color resolution and color fidelity comparable to other cameras costing four times the price, said Faggin.
The Foveon X3 PRO 10M direct image sensor has a total of 10.2 million red, green, and blue pixels that are organized into three layers (2268 x 1512 x 3 layers).
About Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensors
Foveon X3 image sensors are the worlds only direct image sensors, which capture red, green, and blue light at every pixel location, and are the first image sensors that leverage silicons inherent color separation property. When silicon is exposed to light, blue light is absorbed near the surface, green light is absorbed in the middle, and red light is absorbed deep within the silicon. Pixel sensors are stacked at the corresponding depths within the silicon so that red, green, and blue light is captured for each pixel location.
Other image sensors on the market such as CCD and CMOS image sensors have only one layer of pixels and use colored filters to capture a single color per location, resulting in color artifacts and image blurring.
Foveon X3 technology is highly scalable for a wide range of cameras including digital still/video cameras, PDAs, cell phones, security cameras and scientific cameras.
- About Foveon
- Since its establishment in 1997, Foveon has focused on the development of image capture technologies and products for digital cameras. Foveon is a privately held company. Investors include: National Semiconductor Inc., Synaptics Inc., New Enterprise Associates, and Franklin Templeton Investments.
- Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of the new Sigma SD10 Digital SLR camera. This high-definition digital SLR camera is powered by Foveon® X3 image sensor, which captures all RGB colors at each and every pixel.
- 1. FOVEON X3® Direct Image Sensor
Foveon® X3 direct image sensor in the Sigma SD10 digital SLR can capture all RGB colors at each and every pixel. The revolutionary design of Foveon® X3 direct image sensor features three layers of pixel sensors
- Using three silicon-embedded layers of pixel sensors, stacked to take advantage of silicons ability to absorb red, green, and blue light at different respective depths, the Foveon X3® direct image sensor can thereby directly capture full color and detail at each and every pixel location, without interpolation. Other conventional image sensors feature just single layer of pixel sensors in a tiled mosaic pattern. Each pixel detects only one color of light, which has been filtered through a single red or green or blue color filter. As a result, two thirds of the color information at each pixel is blocked out. To compensate, the missing color is estimated through a complicated process of color interpolation, leading to color errors, color artifacts and loss of image detail. Sigma SD10, powered by Foveon X3® direct image sensor, however, captures all three colors at every pixel location, ensuring the capture of full, complete color. It efficiently reproduces color more accurately, and offers sharper resolution, pixel for pixel, than any conventional image sensor.
- 2. RAW Image Format
With the RAW data recording system of the SIGMA SD10, it is possible to obtain high picture definition and compact file size. The lossless compression system of RAW data, eliminates image deterioration, provides superior pictures, without sacrificing original image quality and retains full image capture details.
3. Three Resolution Settings
Depending on the intention of the photographer, the SIGMA SD10 allows photographers to select the resolution of RAW data images in one of three resolutions. HI mode (2268x1512x3 layers) delivers highest resolution image performance. MED mode (1512x1008x3 layers) has high definition and recording capacity. LOW mode (1134x756x3 layers) for capturing the most images per given memory capacity.
4. Exclusive SIGMA Photo Pro 2.0 Software
The SD10 comes with SIGMA Photo Pro 2.0 software for modifying recorded RAW data image files. It is easy to make adjustments (white balance, exposure, color balance, and contrast for example) in three modes. The X3F mode stores the original settings of the image at point of capture. In the auto adjustment mode the software analyzes and automatically makes adjustments of RAW data. The custom-mode allows the photographer to make individual adjustments to exposure, contrast, shadow, highlight, sharpness, and saturation. The latest addition to Sigma Photo Pro 2.0 software is X3 Fill Light. This easy to use facility corrects tones on images of high contrast exposure or back lit pictures. The under exposed areas of the image can receive extra exposure without burning out the highlight regions. Conversely, more detail can be obtained from over-exposed sections without plunging the more shaded areas into darkness. SIGMA Photo Pro supports 8-bit TIFF, 16-bit TIFF, and JPEG file formats and also outputs images in four-color space (s.a. sRGB and AppleRGB). The default setting for resolution is the same as the resolution selected when capturing the image on the camera (High, Medium, or Low). It is also possible to select one half, or double the resolution for the processed image.
5. ISO100 1600 setting
In Default or normal mode the ISO sensitivity of SD10 can be set to 100, 200, 400 and 800. If Extended Mode is selected, it is possible to use ISO 1600 sensitivity. In any ISO sensitivity setting, it is possible to select a high shutter speed from 1/6000 sec. to a slow shutter speed of 30secs. *It is possible to see slight noise, if the higher ISO sensitivity and shutter speeds are selected
6. Image Sensor Dust Protector
Most digital SLR cameras are typically vulnerable to dust entering the body especially when the lens is dismounted for changing. Dust and dirt entering through the lens mount of a digital camera, can create serious defects in image quality. The dust protector of the SIGMA SD10 prevents dust from entering and adhering to the image sensor. Even if dust adheres to the dust protector it will not have an influence on image quality, because the dust protector is located away from the image sensor and is therefore out of focus.
7. The Sports Finder
The coverage of a viewfinder of a digital SLR camera with interchangeable lens is almost the same as the picture seen on its image sensor. However, the coverage of viewfinder can be maximum 100%, and no portions of the outside area projected on the image sensor can be seen. SIGMA SD10 is equipped with a "sport finder" which offers a view that extends outside of the frame. The area that is out of the image sensor coverage range is marked by transparent light gray, to distinguish it from the active picture taking area. It is also important to monitor the area surrounding the photographic subject. In this respect, the sports finder makes the photographer aware of imminent photo opportunities.
8. Intuitive Interface
Clearly marked operation panel buttons make it easy for photographers to identify and use desired functions. Each button of the Sigma SD10 is devised and arranged to provide a functional and easy-to-use setting. The SD-10 is probably the most user friendly digital SLR. It is always ready to shoot, even when reviewing earlier images.
9. Mirror lock-up Mechanism Prevents Camera Shake
The mirror lock-up mechanism raises the mirror thus preventing vibration when the shutter is released. This prevents camera shake, and is especially effective for macro photography, shooting scenes using telephoto lenses or scientific work. Use of a remote controller or cable release (sold separately) also reduces the possibility of camera shake.
10. Exposure Compensation and Auto Bracketing
It is possible to adjust exposure in 1/3 EV steps increments up to ±3 EV from the auto- exposure level set for the scene. In situations where it is difficult to determine proper exposure, the auto bracketing function allows a sequence of pictures to be taken of the same subject at three different exposure levels; Appropriate Exposure, Under Exposure and Over Exposure.
10. Non-stop shooting up to 30 frames
A high-speed CPU and high-volume buffer memory enable the SD10 to shoot at 2.5 frames per second for up to 30 consecutive frames in LOW mode, up to 14 consecutive frames in MED mode, and up to 6 frames in high-quality HI mode.
11. IEEE 1394 (FireWire) and USB Interfaces
The SIGMA SD10 can transmit the images from camera to computer with high-speed IEEE1394 (Firewire) and widely available USB interfaces. IEEE1394 (Firewire) interface delivers super-high-speed image data transmission rate.
12. Power Source
SD10 can be powered by two CR-V3 lithium batteries or four AA Ni-Mh batteries or four Nickel Zinc primary batteries or a dedicated AC adapter (included with the camera). Optional battery pack can hold four CR-V3 batteries or eight AA batteries more than enough power for most shoots. When using the camera indoors for an extended period of time or transferring the imaged to the computer, it is advisable to power the camera from a socket using the AC Adapter (provided).
13. Recording on CF cards and Microdrives
The Sigma SD10 records on reliable, high capacity Type I and Type II CF (CompactFlash) cards or a Microdrive to hold larger volumes of data.
- 14. 1.8type TFT Monitor
The SIGMA SD10 is equipped with a large 1.8 appr.130,000 dot low temperature polysilicon TFT-LCD monitor with white LED on the back panel, which displays images, menus and histogram. The coverage area of the LCD monitor is 100%, of that seen from the viewfinder and thanks to the LCD-monitor, the composition can also be seen easily. By operation of +/- Controller, three types of screen display can be chosen; thumbnail display (9 images simultaneous display), Single-Image display, and a Zoom-in display (the area of magnification can be freely chosen by the 4-Way Controller). By pressing the INFO button, detailed image information can be displayed on the TFT-LCD monitor, such as shutter speed, aperture value etc.
SIGMA SD10 cameras video output system can be switched between PAL system (used in Europe, etc.,) and NTSC system (in Japan and the U.S., etc.). This means that video output of SIGMA SD10 pictures is possible in many parts of the world.
16. Wireless Flash Photography With Exclusive EF-500 DG SUPER
It is possible to enjoy the S-TTL Wireless Flash, if two optional electronic EF-500 DG SUPER flashguns are used. In the Wireless Flash mode, the camera will control the flash power level automatically.
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As Digital Camera Usage Skyrockets, Study Finds Email Fails to Satisfy Demand for Online Photo Sharing
We recently attended an annual digital imaging seminar/conference in San Jose sponsored by digital imaging marketing consultants InfoTrends Research Group. A number of very interesting topics were presented on digital camera usage and trends such as sharing methods etc... however much of the data is proprietary and intended for the attendees only. Accordingly, our press or news coverage was limited more to informing readers of the event and some of the companies attending. Some of the major companies at the conference included Sony, and Picasa who were there showing their new Hello digital imaging sharing software. For those of you who missed our prior post, here is a link.
INFOTREND'S DIGITAL IMAGING CONFERENCE (10/10/03)
Recently InfoTrends and Homestead Technologies released a press release regarding their research on the issues of sharing photos via e-mail and the popularity of Online Photo Sharing vs Printing of pictures by Digital Camera Owners. The study indicated the ability to share images electronically is one of the most important reasons for owning a digital camera, and that e-mailing is the most popular method of doing so. InfoTrends projects that over 14 million digital cameras will be purchased in 2003 yet less then 25% of images taken and saved are ever printed out for sharing and those who do usually use a home or office printer. The good news is that the majority of new digital camera owners say they do take a lot more pictures compared to their film usage, with most taking over 40 digital images or more a month. However, the study also showed there are a lot of problems with e-mailing digital camera images that still need to be addressed, as 2 out of 3 who sent e-mails got complaints from their recipients. In addition, as higher megapixel cameras become more affordable, the problems are going to increase especially if new users do not learn how to use image resizing tools and photo editing software.
"Recipient complaints include the photo files being too big, trouble opening and viewing the photo file, photos taking too long to receive, and the photo appearing too large on the recipient's computer screen."
The results of the study were also used to stress the importance and need for new services including the one launched by Homestead Technologies called Photosite, allowing the easy creation of web-based photo albums which can shared with others.
We also saw at the conference Picasa's excellent new photo sharing Hello Service/Software which is FREE.
We have long been impressed with Novatix's Send Photos Gold software (see our sample demonstration post - NOVATIX HTML SAMPLE PAGE - YOSEMITE JUNE 2003/MINOLTA Xi) .
Also, see Simple Star's PhotoShow Deluxe (see our prior story Simple Star's Photo Show Deluxe Software Sample Gallery & Slideshow Posted 09/10/03).
Finally, for the past several years we have used quite extensively a FREE program to help us view, e-mail and edit images called Irfanview. In our opinion, Irfanview is a program all digital camera owners should be aware and many should be using. Among its many attributes, Irfanview can resize images for e-mailing in just seconds! We agree that digital camera owners should know of easy ways to share their digital images and we encourage readers to check out all of the resources we offer on these topics on a regular basis!
Here is the InfoTrends press release with some fairly interesting information.
InfoTrends Survey Shows Two of Three Who Email Digital Photos Receive Complaints From Their Recipients; Online Photo Sharing Outranks Printing for Digital Camera Owners
MENLO PARK, CA - Oct 20, 2003 -- Homestead Technologies, the leading provider of easy-to-use and powerful online communication services, today announced the results of a research study conducted for the company by InfoTrends Research Group, which examined digital camera usage and behavior. According to the study, the ability to share photos electronically is one of the most important reasons for owning a digital camera, and while email is the most common method of sharing digital photos, recipients must contend with a variety of problems accessing and viewing the photo files.
The survey found that the "ability to share photos electronically" ranked second in importance only after the "ability to view photos instantly." In addition, 82% of respondents rated "the ability to share photos electronically" as "important" or "very important." Moreover, 72% of respondents reported that they share photos over the Internet at least once a month, while 58% reported sharing more frequently.
Of the 92% of digital camera owners who share their photos electronically, more than 75% of them do so by attaching the photos to an email. However, while email is the photo-sharing method used most frequently, the survey shows it is far from ideal. In fact, 65% of those who have used email to share photos acknowledge major problems that the recipients of their emails have experienced. Recipient complaints include the photo files being too big, trouble opening and viewing the photo file, photos taking too long to receive, and the photo appearing too large on the recipient's computer screen.
"Sharing is at the heart of the consumer's experience with digital photography," said Michelle Slaughter, director of InfoTrends Research Group's digital photography trends service. "While email is the method consumers use most often to share digital photos, it does not provide the best sharing experience. Additionally, more consumers are likely to experience difficulties emailing photos as they obtain three megapixel and higher resolution cameras and attempt to share multiple photos without using tools designed to improve electronic photo sharing."
InfoTrends forecasts digital camera unit sales to reach 14.3 million units this year and expects digital camera sales nearly to replace film camera sales by 2008. According to the Homestead study, 63% of digital camera users say they take more pictures since they purchased their digital camera, with the average respondent now taking more than 40 photos (the equivalent of two rolls of film) each month. In spite of the increase in picture taking and the popularity of sharing photos electronically, the limitations of email make it difficult to share more than a few, low-resolution pictures at a time. In fact, 67% of digital camera owners still attach only one to three photos per email.
Online Photo Sharing Outranks Printing for Digital Camera Owners
While digital camera owners are taking more pictures, they are being very selective about printing them. According to the study, 73% say one of the best things about having a digital camera is not having to store prints. Moreover, 83% rate "the ability to print only the photos they want to print" as "important" or "very important." In addition, the study shows that digital camera owners print only 24% of the photos they take and save. The study shows that when picture-takers do print digital photos, more than 85% usually print their photos on a printer at their home or office.
"Photo sharing is one of the most important reasons for buying a digital camera, yet neither email nor existing online photo services are optimized to address this need. While email is a natural tool for sending one or two photos, it is woefully inadequate to handle large numbers of photos and gives none of the convenience, creativity or permanence of online albums," said Justin Kitch, CEO of Homestead Technologies. "In addition, existing online photo services have focused on printing or storage solutions rather than on providing a sharing solution that is hassle-free and enjoyable for both photo-sender and receiver. Our research shows that consumers are eager for an easier, faster, and more creative way to share photos, and Homestead is excited to be launching a new service today that addresses exactly that need."
In a separate but related announcement today, Homestead also announced the unveiling of PhotoSite by Homestead, a new, online photo-sharing service that lets digital camera owners quickly and creatively build Web-based photos albums. (See separate release, "Homestead Unveils Fastest, Most Creative Way to Share Digital Photos".)
Epson Unveils the Essential Printers for Digital Photo Enthusiasts: The EPSON Stylus Photo R300 and R300M (10/22/03 - Press Release)
Epson has announced a new 6 ink photo printer which comes in two versions, both with faster photo print speeds, individual color ink tanks, direct printing including PictBridge support and USB Host support, Memory Card slots, borderless printing at all popular photo print sizes (up to 8.3 by 44 inches or panoramas), and direct printing onto DVDs and CDs for high quality labelling. The Epson Stylus Photo R300 is essentially the same printer as the R300M model however the R300M comes with an included 2.5 inch color preview monitor which allows viewing, editing, and selecting pictures before they are printed. Both printers are capable of printing at a resolution of 5760 by 1440 resolution, and they have USB 2.0 connectivity with PCs, as well as the option to connect via BlueTooth with a $69 add-on adaptor. The Photo R300 will sell at a suggested price of $179 and the Photo R300M with the included monitor will sell for $229. We will post a few additional specifications as they become available and we hope to test the print output on models very soon. These look like excellent offerings for digital camera owners to print their photos at home so be sure to check them out! Both models are said to be available immediately at major Epson dealers both online and at retail outlets. Here is the full press release by Epson about these new printers just announced here in the USA this morning.
Update 9:00 am pst: Information up at the Epson Web site confirms these new printers are using Dye-Based inks and that they can achieve an ink-jet drop as small as 3 picoliters, however there is no information that these may be newly formulated inks (as suggested on the Epson Japan Web Site - see Epson story below). 4 by 6 inch prints can be made in as little as 37 seconds. These printers do not support roll sheet printing, however there is less need for this now that Epson is providing 100 cut-sheet 4 by 6 inch Premium Glossy Photo Paper for under $15. The Specifications indicate that the new printers can accept with appropriate adaptors in some cases virtually all types of digital camera memory cards for direct printing without need of a computer or cable, and you can crop and resize etc...in the printer control panel. The website information also confirms that you can UPLOAD images from the printer memory card slots to your PC or DIRECTLY to portable Zip drives and CD-R drives, and at USB 2.0 speeds thus allowing you a faster way to get images from your camera and backed up! There really are fantastic sounding printers, we do hope to test them out very soon!
New Direct Photo Printers Offer Convenient Photo Printing With or Without a Computer, and the Capability to Print Directly onto the Surface of CDs and DVDs
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Oct. 22, 2003-- Epson America Inc. has added two new photo printers to its product line -- the EPSON Stylus® Photo R300 and R300M. The EPSON Stylus Photo R300 and R300M are perfect for digital camera owners who want a flexible and easy to use photo solution. Both printers offer the same convenient and innovative features such as printing directly onto the surface of ink jet printable CDs and DVDs, and being able to print photos with or without a computer. The EPSON Stylus Photo R300M includes a 2.5" color preview monitor for viewing and selecting images before printing them. The preview monitor is not available on the EPSON Stylus Photo R300. These printer models are perfect for the digital photographer who uses a digital camera and wants to share photos with friends and family.
"People are sharing memories now more than ever, and with a printer like the Epson Stylus Photo R300/R300M, anyone can pop in their digital memory card and print out amazing looking photos even without a computer," said Steve Semos, product manager, consumer ink jet printers, Epson. "These printer models not only make it easy and convenient to print photographs, but customers can even personalize CD layouts and print directly onto ink jet-printable CDs and DVDs."
Convenient Photo Printing -- With or Without a Computer
The EPSON Stylus Photo R300 and R300M are designed for digital camera owners and offer up to 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi for creating images with incredible detail, beautiful skin tones, sharper contrast and an ultra-wide color range and are designed specifically for photography customers. Customers can print beautiful, frame-ready, BorderFree images in all of the popular sizes, including 4" x 6", 5" x 7", 8" x 10", 8.5" x 11", and panoramic size photos.
These printer models make it easy for anyone to crop, resize, save and print photos directly from memory cards or picture CDs without having to use a computer. Customers can also save images from their memory cards directly onto a CD-R or a Zip Disk without using a computer by utilizing the printer's front access host USB port. This port makes it simple to connect the printers to a CD-R drive, Zip drive or PictBridge-enabled digital camera. Additionally, both models are equipped with built-in memory card slots that support CompactFlash® Type I and II, MultiMediaCard, IBM Microdrive(TM), xD-Picture Card, Sony Memory Stick®, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, MagicGate(TM) Memory Stick, SmartMedia®, and Secure Digital memory formats.
The printers each have a convenient control panel, which provides customers with the flexibility to make selections such as paper type, paper size and number of copies without having to use a computer. The panel gives users the ability to choose from nine paper types and eight different photo layouts, plus manual adjustments, filters and frames. The control panel also gives users the ability to save their favorite print settings with a simple "one touch" button.
Printing Directly on Ink-Jet Printable CD-R and DVD-R Recordable Media
With the EPSON Stylus Photo R300 and R300M, customers can print directly onto the surface of ink-jet printable CD-R and DVD-R media thus eliminating the expense, inconvenience, and risk of using adhesive labels. Customers can easily design professional-looking CDs and DVDs with customized text, colorful backgrounds and images by using the included CD software. Printing out the CDs is quick and simple with a front loading CD tray that comes standard with the printer models.
Preview Monitor Included with the Stylus Photo R300M
For viewing photos and layouts without using a computer, a 2.5" color preview monitor is included with the EPSON Stylus Photo R300M. This monitor enables customers to review and select images before printing without a computer. It includes a screen saver function, brightness adjustment knob and a tilt mechanism. The monitor also provides an easy way for EPSON Stylus Photo R300M customers to view their cropping selection.
Ink and Media for the R300 and R300M
For the first time in Epson's consumer photo printer line, individual ink cartridges are being utilized to provide an even more affordable home printing solution. With the combination of Epson's exclusive ink technology and high-quality, value-priced papers, customers can reap the benefits of an affordable home printing solution.
The printers also use Epson's fast and convenient quick-drying inks for prints that are immediately dry to the touch and water-resistant on EPSON Premium Photo Papers.
PRINT Image Matching
The EPSON Stylus Photo R300 and R300M both support PRINT Image Matching (P.I.M.) technology to create the best possible prints automatically, without complicated color corrections. Currently there are over 130 P.I.M.-enabled products from 20 manufacturers of digital cameras, printers and software. Exif 2.2 (Exif Print) digital camera standard is also supported by these printer models. More information on P.I.M. as well as a complete and current list of P.I.M.-compatible products is available at www.printimagematching.com.
An optional Bluetooth Photo Print Adapter is available for use with the EPSON Stylus Photo R300 and R300M. This adapter allows users to print directly from a variety of Bluetooth enabled devices including mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and Windows laptops and desktop PCs. The adapter is currently available for an estimated street price of $69.
Print Speeds and Connectivity
The EPSON Stylus Photo R300 and R300M have fast photo print speeds with a 4" x 6" photo printing in approximately 37 seconds. The printer also handles text with ease and can produce a black text document at up to 15 ppm(a) (pages per minute). The printers are both Macintosh and Windows compatible and offer USB 2.0 Hi-Speed connectivity when using a computer with the printer and a separate USB 1.1 host connection for use with CD-R drives, Zip drives and PictBridge-enabled digital cameras.
Pricing, Availability, Warranty and Support
The EPSON Stylus Photo R300 and R300M are available now for estimated street prices of $179 and $229, respectively, and can be purchased through Epson authorized dealers, mail order, computer superstores, photo specialty stores and on the Epson retail Web site (www.epsonstore.com). The printers carry a one-year warranty and are supported by the EPSON Connection(SM),a customer support and technical assistance line. For more information on Epson and its products, call 1-800-GO-EPSON or visit www.epson.com.
SONY ANNOUNCES TWO NEW COMPACT CYBERSHOT CAMERAS (10/21/03)
Sony has issued press releases tonight announcing two new Cybershot digital cameras. The Cybershot DSC-T1 is a 5 megapixel (1/2.4" CCD) camera which features an ultra-slim pocket design, a 3X Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar® optical lens lens (38~114mm 35mm equivalent, f3.5~4.4) that operates within the camera rather than extending out, and a huge 2.5 inch LCD monitor with 211k Pixels, and a Transflective design which reflects ambient light for increased brightness. The DSC-T1 also has a very fast image processor (Sony's Real Imaging Processor) which allows full resolution images to be shot at 1 second intervals and there is a burst mode which takes four image in under 2 seconds. The DSC-T1 has a very fast startup time of just over 1 second and has other impressive specifications including Clear Color and Clear Luminance Noise Reduction, Slow Shutter NR subtractive noise reduction for long exposures, Live Histogram display in record and playback modes, 4 Mode flash (Auto/On/Off/Slow Synchro), TTL Pre-flash metering, red-eye reduction selectable in all modes, Scene Mode w/8 presets, 49 Segment Multi-pattern measuring exposure system and Spot meter modes a 5 area multi-point AF and multi-pattern AE as well as AF Illuminator low light focusing assist. The T1 camera is further capable of capturing and playing back high resolution moving images in MPEG-VX Fine mode (640 by 480 resolution at 30 frames per second with sound) with use of optional Memory Stick PRO Duo* cards which Sony claims is "good enough to make onlookers believe that it was captured with a digital camcorder." The very slim and light-weight design of this power packed 5 MegaPixel camera (about the size of a credit card according to Sony) is further made possible by the newly designed matchbook sized Infolithium® battery system and by use of the smaller Memory Stick Duo format cards. Sony indicates that the T1 is only 7/8th an inch in width and weighs just 6.6 ounces. Included in the box is a 32MB Duo Memory card, an Memory Stick/Duo adaptor and an AC Adaptor/charger, cradle. The DSC-T1 will be available in January 2004 for about $550.00.
The second camera is the new Cybershot U-40, which features the same small compact design as prior U series cameras but now accepts the newer Duo and Duo Pro memory sticks which are smaller in size compared to the original Sony Memory Sticks. The U-40 is a tiny 2 megapixel fixed lens (no optical zoom) camera with a sliding lens cover design which allows the camera to be powered on and ready to take images almost instantly. The Cybershot U-40 also features PictBridge support allowing users to print images directly from the camera to supported Printers without the need for a personal computer. The U-40 will come in 4 stylish colors, silver, black, dark blue and red and is expected to ship in January at a price of around $200.00.
Here are the full press releases from Sony USA.
SONY TAKES 'NO COMPROMISE' APPROACH TO NEW SLIM CAMERA
World's Smallest Five Megapixel Camera Packs Performance and Style
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 21, 2003 *Adding one more case to the "How'd They Do That?" file, the miniaturization wizards at Sony (known formally as product designers and engineers) took features found on more full-figured digital cameras and squeezed them into a slim, pocket-friendly design no larger than a deck of cards.Slide the front lens cover down and in just over one second, the Cyber-shot® DSC-T1 digital camera's large 2.5-inch LCD viewfinder comes to life. It occupies roughly two-thirds of the camera's back-surface area, giving more room to see and show off images at the moment they are captured.
Press the shutter release button and the camera demonstrates why it is perhaps the fastest five megapixel camera. Due in large part to Sony's Real Imaging Processor* circuit, it shoots full-resolution images in one second intervals, and can capture four high-speed burst shots in less than two seconds. But the camera offers more than great still pictures. With optional Memory Stick PRO Duo* cards, the T1 camera captures and plays back high resolution moving images in MPEG-VX Fine mode*good enough to make onlookers believe that it was captured with a digital camcorder.
"True to Sony's DNA, we created a digital camera that balances the cutting-edge performance with eye-catching design," said Steve Haber, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Personal, Mobile and Imaging Products Division. "If the best camera is the one that you have with you at all times, then this is that camera."
So, How Did They Do That?
The slim metallic design of the Cyber-shot T1 digital camera is attributed to a new Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar® optical lens that operates within the camera rather than extending out. In spite of its compact design, the camera still features a five megapixel CCD image sensor and a 3X optical zoom to ensure great image quality. Other miniaturization efforts include the development of a new rechargeable Infolithium® battery system that is roughly the size of a matchbox and a tiny Memory Stick PRO Duo removable media slot.
The USB port, A/V Out and DC jacks have also been relocated to the new camera docking station (bundled accessory) for charging the battery pack or connecting the camera to a TV or computer. The result is a camera that measures about 0.8 inches thin and 2.4 inches tall.
- Taking the Guess Work Out of Lighting Conditions
- The Cyber-shot T1 camera is packed with sophisticated auto-focus and auto-exposure options to help get the picture right the first time. Users can also select from eight different shooting modes in accordance with the shooting conditions. The camera automatically makes the optimum settings to match the scene, making it easy to shoot high quality images even under difficult lighting conditions. In the Magnifying Glass scene mode, subjects that appear on the LCD screen are magnified up to 3.3 times, which allow users to see details that would otherwise be difficult to confirm with the naked eye. Other modes include twilight, portrait, landscape, snow, beach, high speed shutter and even fireworks.
The Cyber-shot T1 camera will be available in January for about $550.
Accessories To Go
To get the most of the new digital camera, Sony will offer a variety of accessories that includes:
· Marine Pack for Cyber-shot T1 camera (MPK-THA): Underwater camera housing that protects the camera to depths as low as 120 feet (40 meters). Available for about $200.
· Removable Battery (NP-FT1): An additional power source for those occasions when a lot of pictures will be captured. Available for about $60.
· Compact Travel Charger (BC-TR1): Convenient and portable AC charger. Available for about $60.
· Memory Stick PRO Duo (MSX-M256A, MSX-M512A): Ultra-small memory card with capacities up to 512MB with prices starting at about $125.
· Leather Case (LCS-THA): Stylish and durable carrying case designed specifically for the Cyber-shot T1 camera. Available for about $50.
UPTOWN CHIC MEETS DOWNTOWN FUN IN SONY'S NEW CYBER-SHOT 'U'
Ultra-Slim U40 Camera Captures Looks
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 21, 2003 * Lipstick: check. Car keys: check. Stylish camera to capture an evening with friends: check*if you have the latest Cyber-shot® U-series camera from Sony. Expected in January for about $200, the stylish U40 camera will come in four colors (silver, black, dark blue and red) that match your mood or your outfit.
Slide the front cover sideways and the two-megapixel camera comes to life in under one second*giving enough time to capture candid shots. "Life happens in the blink of an eye, and the U40 camera is ready when you are," said Steve Haber, senior vice president for Sony Electronics' Personal Mobile and Imaging Division. "It's about the size of a candy bar, but full featured enough to ensure that the shots turn out great."
The new camera accepts both the ultra small Memory Stick PRO Duo* and Memory Stick Duo* flash memory cards. As with other Cyber-shot U-series cameras, the U40 model has a simple-to-use interface. But behind the scenes, advanced photographic features work invisibly to allow users to concentrate on capturing the moment without being distracted by camera settings. These include:
Pre-Flash Metering: For capturing a subject with a scenic background under low-light conditions, the camera illuminates the subject and calculates exposure through the lens directly from the CCD for accurate flash metering. Adjustable flash level and red-eye reduction insure great flash shots.
MPEG Movie Mode (Video only): For those moments when a simple still picture doesn't capture the entire mood, DSC-U40 camera captures up to 15 seconds of MPEG video (160 x 112 pixel resolution) that are perfect for emailing to family and friends.
Bright LCD Monitor: For framing a picture accurately, the reflective LCD absorbs and reflects the ambient light through the LCD to improve brightness outdoors.
Supplied Rechargeable NiMH Batteries: The unit comes supplied with Sony's Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) AAA Stamina batteries and an external charger.
Print Directly to Printers: Via a USB connection, users can print their images directly with any PictBridge* compatible printer.
KONICA MINOLTA ANNOUNCES PICTBRIDGE SUPPORT FOR Z1 & E323 CAMERAS (Press Release)
Here is a press release from Konica Minolta announcing official PictBridge support for their new Dimage Z1 and Dimage E323 cameras. The growth of PictBridge support really seems to be picking up good momentum offering Digital Camera owners the ability to directly connect supporting digital cameras to supported photo printers via a USB cable. PictBridge is a standard which allows the printing of pictures without the requirement of a computer. Here is the press release.
DiMAGE Z1 and DiMAGE E323 digital cameras incorporate new industry standard
for direct printing
Mahwah, NJ (October 16, 2003) - Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc. announces today official PictBridge support for two of the company's newest digital cameras - the 3.2 megapixel DiMAGE Z1 and 3.2 megapixel DiMAGE E323.
PictBridge, a new industry standard for the direct printing of images, allows a user to print directly from a PictBridge compatible digital camera connected via a cable to a PictBridge compatible printer without the use of a PC.
"PictBridge support provides consumers with more options for sharing their digital photos than ever before," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Konica Minolta's Camera Division. "We're delighted that users of our new DiMAGE Z1 and DiMAGE E323 cameras will now benefit by being able to easily share prints of their digital images without using a computer."
About Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc.
Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc., headquartered in Mahwah, NJ, is the North American sales and marketing subsidiary of Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan). On August 5, 2003 Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc. was formed to enhance both the competitive business capabilities and earning capacities of Konica Corporation and Minolta Co., Ltd.
Consumers around the world have come to know and trust the Konica and Minolta brands for all their imaging needs. Since the earliest days of the photo industry, Minolta and Konica have applied their talents and resources to create products and services that are essential to the world of imaging. Today, these efforts concentrate on the most important aspects of imaging: the quality of the images, the tools and methods for creating images, and the creation of environments for the application of images.
This focus on the essentials of imaging ties together the company's key business and consumer product lines. Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc. is a leading manufacturer and marketer of 35mm and Advanced Photo System film, single-use cameras, digital and 35mm film cameras, accessory lenses, binoculars, photographic and color measurement meters. In addition the company offers color print photo papers, Inkjet photo paper, digital minilabs, digital film scanners, optical instruments, software and advanced imaging and sensing technologies. Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc. also provides wholesale photofinishing services and Internet imaging services. It is a complete imaging company, from input through output.
For more information about Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc., its products and services, visit www.konicaminolta.net.
KONICA MINOLTA ANNOUNCES NEW COMPACT 4 MEGAPIXEL G400 DIGITAL CAMERA (10/14/03)
Konica Minolta has announced today a new compact 4.2 megapixel, 3X optical zoom DiMAGE G400 Digital Camera. The DiMAGE G400 features a fast 0.7 second startup time along with a newly designed signal-processing engine (making the G400 2X as fast as the recent G500), which allows picture capture in .2 seconds and a shutter lag of just .03 seconds, Rapid Auto focusing, auto exposure, auto white-balance, a specially designed GT Hexanon lens aimed to reduce flare, unwanted aberrations and for a sharper image result, a built-in lens cover design, a Super Continuous mode which allows 3 images at a rate of 2.5 frames per second and there is a nice 12X zoom playback with improved speeds in playback mode. The G400 also has many advanced features such as color, sharpness and contrast controls, six scene modes, auto noise reduction of images with shutter speeds at 1/2 a second or longer, auto bracketing and movie recording with audio. Finally, the DiMAGE G400 continues a recent trend and offers dual memory card slots for use of both the Sony Memory Stick and/or the SD Memory Card formats. The new Dimage G400 is expected to ship during this holiday shopping season however we do not yet have an expected retail price. Here is the full press release for further details.
Konica Minolta Introduces Stylish New DiMAGE G400 Digital Camera
Easy to use 4.0 megapixel camera features fully automatic operation as well as creative capabilities for enhanced picture taking
MAHWAH, N.J. - Oct. 14, 2003-- Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc., announces today the new high-performance compact DiMAGE G400 4.0 megapixel digital camera. The ergonomically designed Konica Minolta DiMAGE G400 creates beautiful images at the touch of a button. Featuring a built-in 3x optical zoom lens, sleek metal exterior with an impressive 0.7-second startup time, autofocusing, autoexposure, auto white-balance, and other creative capabilities this new compact camera is ready to go at a moment's notice.
"It's appropriate that this fashionable and easy-to-use DiMAGE G400 digital camera is the first to be introduced by our newly formed company," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Konica Minolta's Camera Division. "The new fully-featured DiMAGE G400 is the perfect companion for any photo enthusiast."
The DiMAGE G400 features a 4.2 megapixel CCD for sharp, clear pictures as well as a 3x GT Hexanon optical zoom lens incorporating seven elements in six groups to provide sharp, high-contrast images. The lens is designed to minimize flare and unwanted aberrations so that the tonal range and detail in the scene are apparent in the final image.
A newly designed signal-processing engine makes this compact camera twice as fast as the DiMAGE G500. In fact, the Konica Minolta DiMAGE G400's rapid startup (0.7 seconds) and fully-automatic picture taking and shut down cycles in only 1.5 seconds. This allows users to take a properly exposed and in focus picture in the blink of an eye.
The new Konica Minolta DiMAGE G400 has the technology needed to capture any photographic moment. The camera can automatically focus and determine the exposure in approximately 0.2 seconds and the shutter-release time lag is approximately 0.03 seconds. Konica Minolta's Hybrid Adaptive A*IPS (Image Processing Software) system optimizes autofocus, autoexposure, and auto white-balance processing for fast response. The DiMAGE G400 also employs Rapid Autofocus (AF) to ensure sharp images quickly. Rapid AF uses a passive AF sensor to instantly estimate the distance to the subject and the camera's CCD to determine the precise focus point.
The DiMAGE G400 provides equally impressive performance during playback. Playback mode starts up in approximately 0.2 second. A still image can be seamlessly enlarged from 1x to 12x in 1.5 seconds. Following the tried and true design of traditional film cameras the new DiMAGE G400 is easily slipped into a pocket or bag and taken anywhere.
Despite its small size, the DiMAGE G400 is packed with features. The Super Continuous mode takes a series of three images at a rate of 2.5 frames per second. Six scene-select modes allow a user to quickly optimize camera operation for specific subjects. Auto bracketing makes a three-frame exposure or focus bracket of a scene to ensure the best results. Exposures can also be set manually if desired. The camera can store and recall two sets of frequently used camera settings.
Advanced amateur photographers will also appreciate the DiMAGE G400's creative image-making features. Color, sharpness, and contrast can be controlled to create the desired image. And the camera's color-balance function allows users to change the relative proportions of the red, green, and blue to shift the overall color of an image.
Dark noise, an ever-present problem in electronic systems, presents itself as a grainy or sandy appearance to digital images taken with long exposures. The new DiMAGE G400 combats this problem with a noise-reduction function, which automatically activates for exposures of 1/2 second or longer.
The camera's built-in lens cover not only protects the optical zoom lens, but also turns the camera on and off in one smooth movement. Buttons and controls are ergonomically placed to facilitate operation. And the familiar click of a film-camera shutter sound confirms that an image has been captured.
The DiMAGE G400 can focus as close as 2 inches allowing close-up photographs to be taken of small objects. And, at its maximum magnification, an area of 3.1 x 2.4 inches is covered.
The DiMAGE G400 has a convenient dual card-slot system for flexible image storage. Both Memory Sticks and Secure Digital (SD) Memory Cards can be used alone or in combination. When both memory card types are used with the camera at the same time, up 640MB of data can be saved depending on the capacity of the cards. This eliminates the worries of running out of memory during important photographic events.
The DiMAGE G400 is not restricted to only taking still photographs. 320 x 240 XR (Extended Recording) movies with audio can also be made. The length of the movie clip is only limited by the storage capacity of the memory cards in use. Likewise, audio can be recorded by itself or attached to a recorded still image.
Still images can easily be shared electronically. Favorite images can be conveniently resized to 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 in the camera. Simply connect the camera to a computer with the supplied USB cable to transfer the data so that it can be attached to an e-mail or posted on the Web.
The DiMAGE G400 is supplied with a high-performance, rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The DiMAGE G400 is Exif Print compatible. Menus can be displayed in seven languages: Japanese, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Chinese.
For more information see the Konica Minolta Web Site at www.konicaminolta.net.
FLASHTRAX PORTABLE PICTURE STORAGE UNIT REVIEW POSTED (10/08/03)
We have posted a review of the FlashTrax 30 Gigabyte portable storage unit and MP3 player made by SmartDisk, which is aimed primarily for use by Digital Camera owners who need a way to back-up and reuse their memory cards while away from their home or laptop computers. The FlashTrax features a nice color LCD screen for quick reviews of images and it can be connected to a TV set to play a slideshow of your pictures. The LCD screen also allows you to verify that the images have been successfully transferred off of your Memory Card so you can safely erase it and reuse them while away or in the field. We tested the FlashTrax on a near 3 week trip to Europe and found it to be a great alternative to lugging around larger laptops, especially when our Vacation needs did not require taking a laptop along. The FlashTrax unit appears to be a great idea for those working in the field and taking a lot of pictures at a time, or for those going on a long trip such as a cruise, especially if you have a newer 4, 5 or 6 megapixel camera and you want to use the Fine Quality or RAW capture where file sizes can eat up your existing memory card space rather quickly. Well just how did the FlashTrax perform, and how does it work, come check out our full review and find out!
SMARTDISK'S FLASHTRAX PORTABLE STORAGE UNIT - FULL REVIEW
EPSON UNVEILS NEW DURABRITE INKS AND GLOSSY PHOTO PAPER (10/07/03)
Epson has announced a new $59.99 C64 all purpose printer capable of borderless photo printing which uses what they describe as newly formulated DuraBrite pigment based inks and a new DuraBrite Glossy Photo Paper. The printer uses individual ink cartridges for each of the newly formulated DuraBrite ink colors. Last week we reported that the Epson Japan web site had news of new Photo printers and inks and thus we assumed Epson USA would make some announcements soon. Although the printer just announced is a 4 ink model, it is capable of 5760 by 1440 output with ink droplet output down to 4 picoliters and it uses the new DuraBrite Inks with the new DuraBrite Glossy Photo Paper. The key words in the new paper announced are "Glossy" and "Photo", addressing concerns by previous users of the pigment based DuraBrite inks that they did not print out well on existing Glossy paper. It appears Epson has resolved these issues with both newly formulated inks and Glossy paper. On the Japan site it also addresses the fact that the new inks can apparently be sprayed out at a smaller picoliter volume down to 1.5 picoliters. Prior pigment based inks had previously been limited to around 4 picoliters. Smaller picoliter sized ink drops should assist in the ability of the printers to produce better looking Glossy Photos and Epson Japan does claim that the color range of the new inks is improved. The major benefits to use of pigment based inks is they are less susceptible to fading or color shifting due to exposure to light or pollutants such as ozone, and therefore Photos can last much longer then dye-based inks, upward of 80 years. The DuraBrite inks are also water proof and thus colors will not smear with water contact. We assume that 6 ink Photo printers using the same inks are to be announced very soon. Here is the press release from Epson for more details.
UPDATE: The Epson C64 is already stocked in most major Retail Stores and is available for immediate purchase. We had a chance to check one out last night and one of the main changes that we noticed is the inclusion of the individual ink cartridges for all four colors. At the price of $59.99 it looks like a great all around printer. We did not yet find the new DuraBrite Glossy Ink Photo Paper on the shelves, but we will keep you posted.
Epson Unveils Its Most Affordable DuraBrite Printer Yet: the EPSON Stylus C64
New Printer Offers Water, Smudge and Light Resistance Along with Fast Print Speeds for Only $59
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Oct. 6, 2003--Epson America, Inc. introduced the EPSON Stylus® C64 today -- the company's most affordable all-purpose DuraBrite® ink jet printer to date. The Stylus C64 replaces the Stylus C62, is available for an estimated street price of $59 and offers several features designed especially for value-driven customers who are looking for a simple printing solution at home.
The Stylus C64 is equipped with Epson's exclusive and renowned DuraBrite ink for water resistance, smudge resistance and light resistance for durable, long lasting results that make it easy to preserve cherished photos or important documents. This printer enables anyone to print brilliant borderless 4" x 6" snapshots, as well as text and graphics with ease and offers up to 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi and variable size ink droplets -- as small as four picoliters -- for sharp, vivid output. The Stylus C64 is able to speed through tasks with print speeds of up to 17 pages per minute (ppm) for black text and up to 9 ppm in color(a).
"The EPSON Stylus C64 offers an outstanding value for customers who not only want a printer to handle their documents quickly and easily, but who also want to be able to print high-quality photographs. Epson's newly launched Durabrite Glossy Ink Photo Paper enhances the printer's photo quality on glossy paper," said Rodrigo Catalan, product manager, consumer ink jet printers, Epson. "This printer provides one of the best overall balances between photographic output, clear text, high speed and low cost of operation compared to any ink jet printer in its class."
The printer features a sleek more compact design and a DC motor for quiet printing of any output from the start to the finish. It is both Windows and Macintosh compatible and offers USB connectivity for quick and easy set up.
The EPSON Stylus C64 utilizes the newest and most advanced formula of DuraBrite ink, a pigment based ink that produces vivid, sharp images, and is also specially formulated to resist water, smudges and light. DuraBrite inks can be submerged in water without the ink coming off the page, unlike dye-based inks, which typically run and smudge. This feature is designed to give creators of photographs, fliers, menus, signs, postcards and any other printed output the ability to produce documents and images that will withstand damage caused by moisture-based threats such as rain, spills, humidity or people with wet hands.
DuraBrite inks also have a light-resistance rating of up to 80 years on certain specialty media and an unmatched 70-year(b) rating on plain paper, making it possible to safely place prints in areas where light would normally cause images to fade quickly. Bleed-through is reduced since DuraBrite inks rest on the surface of the paper, which is ideal for applications that require double-sided printing.
The Stylus C64 also includes individual ink cartridges for a more convenient, affordable home printing solution. Since these individual color inks can be replaced at any time, efficiency is maximized, lowering the total cost of ownership. Additionally, each cartridge contains a chip that relays ink level information on screen to the user via the printer driver.
ADOBE ANNOUNCES PHOTOSHOP ALBUM 2.0 (10/06/03)
Adobe has announced today Version 2.0 of Photoshop Album, a program designed to help digital camera owners better manage, organize, edit/fix and share their rapidly growing collections of digital images. The changes in this new version include a simple more streamlined user interface, sharing with handhelds, PDAs, TiVo, and mobile phones, and the Calendar View feature now allows users to see photos in a year, day or month views. The new changes also include the Collections feature with allows groups of pictures to be organized together and easily sorted and found with the Tagging feature as well as cross-referenced.
"Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 comes with a new set of professionally designed templates for greeting cards, including new baby, Valentine's Day, winter holiday season and birthday oriented graphics. Specialized templates also have been added for e-mails, calendars and bound photo albums, Web galleries and slideshows complete with background music and transition effects.".
Adobe's Photoshop Album 2.0 will sell at an estimated street price of $49.99 and owners of the previous version or similar software by other companies can obtain a $15 mail-in rebate. Here is the full press release from Adobe announcing Photoshop Album 2.0.
Adobe Raises the Bar on Consumer Digital Photography Software with Photoshop Album 2.0
Simple User Interface, New Calendar View, Sharing with Mobile Phones, Handhelds, TiVo Make Photoshop Album 2.0 a Perfect Digital Camera Companion
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Oct. 6, 2003-- Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE - News) today announced Adobe® Photoshop® Album 2.0, a dramatic upgrade packed with new features and usability enhancements that allow consumers to quickly and easily find, fix, share and preserve digital photo memories. With a streamlined user interface, digital photographers can utilize the Microsoft® Windows®-based software to easily organize photos, fix common photography problems and create a wider variety of greeting cards, photo books, calendars and slide shows. Sharing photos with friends and family anywhere is simple with new options that provide the industry's most comprehensive support for sending images to mobile phones, Palm OS handhelds and TiVo® Series2 digital video recorders. First introduced in early 2003 Photoshop Album extends Adobe's legendary Photoshop brand to consumers and new digital camera owners.
"Digital cameras will again be the hot holiday gift item this year and Photoshop Album 2.0 is the perfect companion to round out that purchase," said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president of Digital Imaging and Video Products at Adobe. "We've simplified the user interface and added more options that make organizing, editing and sharing photos with anyone, anywhere easier than ever."
Enhanced Find and Fix Features
Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 offers consumers expanded options for organizing and locating photos. Significant enhancements to the popular Calendar View feature now allow consumers to view photos in a year, day or month view, making it possible to track life's moments in pictures.
Collections are another new feature that act as an organizational bin for a specific set of photos like a trip to Paris, a birthday party or an excursion to the zoo. Collections can be easily sorted, re-ordered and dropped into instant slideshows or album views to share with friends and family.
The simple but elegant tagging system in Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 also lets users cross-reference collections in minutes.
Fixing photos has never been easier with one-click fixes and batch auto-fixes for multiple photos, adjusting lighting, color or blurry photos. A one-click red-eye fix now salvages even the most challenging red-eye photos.
Share with Almost Anyone, Anywhere
Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 provides consumers with creative and innovative ways to share digital photos with friends and family on mobile phones, Palm OS handhelds with Adobe Reader® and TiVo digital video recorders. Using TiVo's Home Media Option software, consumers can choose images in Photoshop Album 2.0 and view as a slideshow through their TiVo digital video recorder.
Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 comes with a new set of professionally designed templates for greeting cards, including new baby, Valentine's Day, winter holiday season and birthday oriented graphics. Specialized templates also have been added for e-mails, calendars and bound photo albums, Web galleries and slideshows complete with background music and transition effects. Direct links to popular online services such as Shutterfly(TM) and MyPublisher.com continue to allow users to order high-quality prints and linen-covered hardbound photo books. Online services vary worldwide.
Expanding the Photoshop Album Product Family
With this new release, the Photoshop Album product family has been expanded to meet the varied needs of a diverse spectrum of digital photographers. The family now includes:
Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition, immediately available for free download from www.adobe.com/starteredition. The Photoshop Album Starter Edition is a trimmed-down version of Photoshop Album 2.0 with the tools necessary for very basic organizing, fixing and sharing of digital photos. Adobe Photoshop® Elements 2.0 plus Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0, is a combination of two powerful products together in one affordable package for more sophisticated photo editing capabilities, including photo restoration, color correction, adding text and more. The addition of Photoshop Elements allows advanced users to explore the creative possibilities of image editing and simply enhance images with outstanding results. The Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 plus Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 bundled product is available immediately for an estimated street price of US$129.99.
Photoshop Album 2.0 Pricing and Availability
Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 for Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows Millennium Edition or Windows XP is available immediately in the US and Canada through Adobe Authorized Resellers and the Adobe Store at www.adobe.com/store. The estimated street price is US$49.99. Registered users of the previous version of Adobe Photoshop Album or a competitive product also qualify for a US$15 mail-in rebate.
For more detailed information about Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 and the Adobe Photoshop Album product family, please visit www.adobe.com.
PANASONIC ANNOUNCES NEW 4 MEGAPIXEL 12X OPTICAL ZOOM LENS CAMERA WITH IMAGE STABILIZATION (10/03/03)
Panasonic has announced the new Lumix DMC-FZ10 camera which features a huge 12X precision Leica optical zoom lens (35 to 420mm), F2.8 brightness through the entire zoom range, optical image stabilization, a very fast shutter lag speed, and a 1/2.5 inch 4 megapixel CCD. The new Panasonic also has a nice live histogram feature, a 4 frame per second burst mode, movie capture with sound at 30 frames per second, and it has a full 2 inch LCD monitor. The DMC-FZ10 has also has advanced functioning including full manual exposure controls and shooting modes, manual focusing, an automatic pop-up flash, use of SD cards, and it comes with a rechargeable battery pack and charger unit. This sounds like a very interesting camera and quite a nice development by Panasonic who are apparently trying even harder to come out with competitive digital cameras in a very crowded yet rapidly changing market. We will follow this camera closely as there are a lot of camera users who really enjoy these big zoom lens cameras and many Olympus C-2100 fans who have been looking for a similar camera yet with more megapixels! The camera will be available in November at a suggested price of $599. For further details see the full Panasonic press release below.
Elevating the Performance of Digital Still Cameras to a New Standard of Excellence, Panasonic's New Lumix(TM) Digital Camera is Industry's First 4-Megapixel Consumer Camera Offering 12X ZOOM
SECAUCUS, N.J., Oct. 2 - Panasonic, creator of the celebrated Lumix(TM) line of digital cameras, introduces the industry's first 4-megapixel consumer digital camera with 12x optical zoom. Featuring F2.8 brightness throughout the entire zoom range, the camera's powerful 12x zoom is equivalent to a 35 - 420mm zoom lens on a conventional 35mm film camera. Its precision Leica lens, extraordinary telephoto features and no-lag processing speed enable this camera to capture every detail of distant or quick-moving subjects with superb brightness and clarity.
The new, high-performance DMC-FZ10 Lumix camera is targeted for retail introduction in November, and will have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $599.00.
The camera features a 1/2.5" CCD and F2.8 large-aperture Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with 13 elements in 8 groups and three aspherical lenses. Legendary for rendering images with superb color reproduction and expressive depth, the Leica lens opens the door to exciting new creative possibilities, for both the first-time digital camera user and the experienced photographer.
Especially important for a high zoom camera, Panasonic's advanced MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) enhances the camera's telephoto zoom capabilities, helping to deliver sharp, vivid images even when taking handheld telephoto shots or shooting in low light. This feature uses motion sensors, which detects even slight hand movement and integrally links the lens control to the motion of the camera to reduce jitter. Unlike digital image stabilization systems, this optical system provides precise compensation with no degradation in image quality.
The DMC-FZ10's new histogram feature functions like a digital light meter, providing a graphic representation of the luminance level of the pixels composing an image. By using the histogram, users can exercise more precise exposure control for quality photos. The histogram can be displayed on the unit's large, 2-inch LCD screen while an image is being recorded and also after a shot has been taken.
Incredibly responsive, the DMC-FZ10 captures consecutive shots nearly as quickly as a motor-driven film camera. As soon as the camera's CCD captures the image signal, Panasonic's multi-tasking Venus Engine LSI simultaneously displays images on the LCD while writing data to the memory card, significantly reducing lag time between shots. To capture sudden events as they unfold, Panasonic's exclusive MEGA BURST® recording feature enables consecutive rapid-fire shooting, capturing 4 frames per second with undiminished quality from frame to frame.
The camera can also record motion images (320 x 240 pixel JPEG) in 30 or 10-frames-per-second QuickTimea, complete with audio.
The DMC-FZ10 features manual focus, aperture, shutter and exposure functions to help enhance the picture taking experience. Other features include centering guidelines; self timer; program AE; continuous AF function, Spot AF Switching and AF Lock; digital automatic pop-up flash and multiple flash modes; multiple image display; a special panning mode for capturing fast action with clear detail; built-in USB(1) port and more.
The camera comes with a lens hood to help diminish flare and ghosting when photographing extremely bright scenes. Other accessories included are: rechargeable battery pack and charger; 16MB SD Memory Card; AC cable; DC cable; A/V cable; USB connection cable; lens cap; carrying strap and software on CD-Rom.
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