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The Shuttle Columbia is Lost with All Aboard

As we prepared to release this issue we received news that the Space Shuttle Columbia had been lost with all aboard. Our heartfelt prayers go out to the families of the crew and to all those at NASA who are dealing with this tragedy.

But as the media rush to speculate about the cause of the crash we should be shocked not by the fact that a shuttle has crashed, but rather by the fact that NASA, amid extreme budget constraints, has made the violent act of being launched into space seem so mundane.

Technologies that have flowed from space exploration include great strides in medicine, improved quality of life, the Internet; it has even made the computer on which you are reading this story possible.

We are explorers by nature. From the first hunters roaming the savannah, to sailors climbing aboard wooden ships, to the first astronauts to ascend to the moon we can't help ourselves. We MUST explore.

Risk and death have always been the companions of explorers. So let us put aside petty talk of budgets and blame and instead use this as a rallying point. Let us make the commitment to step outward into space. That would be the greatest tribute we could pay to the seven men and women who understood; and willingly put everything on the line to explore.

Nikon Announces New Line of Digital Only Lenses
Nikon has announced the new 12-24mm f/4G DX lens. It is the first in a new line of f-mount lenses specifically for digital cameras. 

D1X/H shooters can now produce images equivalent to Canon and Kodak shooters using the new full-frame cameras. For more information on the new line of Nikon digital lenses click here

Kodak Announces Software Give-away

Kodak is giving away software designed to make digital photography easy & simple. The software is called EasyShare, and the big news is that it will work with any digital camera - not just Kodak's.

The EasyShare software is one part of Kodak's new EasyShare system which includes a line of 12 cameras, docking stations that eliminate cabling hassles, and of course the software which makes it easy to organize, email, and print your images.

One of the biggest frustrations expressed by digital camera users is that they can't get good quality prints from their inkjets because of color calibration issues. Kodak addressed this by building in support not just for inkjets but for printing through an online service or for printing at a Kodak Picture Maker digital kiosk that you can find at your local mall.

So why give away the software? Because that Kodak Picture Maker kiosk is filled with Kodak paper, and it's a good bet that the online service (Ofoto) will be using Kodak supplies as well. It's a smart idea that benefits both the consumer and Kodak.

You can find out more about the EasyShare system at by clicking here or you can go right to Kodak's download page and get your copy of the software.

Can You See Me Now? Camera Phones Take Off in Japan

Sanyo Electric Co., Japan said it would spend ¥45 billion ($380 million) over three years to boost production of chips used in camera-equipped mobile phones, Reuters reports.

Sanyo is one of many Japanese high-tech manufacturers, from component maker Murata Manufacturing Co. to chipmaker Toshiba Corp. that plans to catch the rising wave of popularity for photo-snapping handsets, the report said. "Nobody thought camera phones would take off like this," Sanyo Electric President Yukinori Kuwano.

Sanyo also plans to boost its production capacity for CCDs, chips used as "electronic film" in digital cameras and photo-taking cellphones, to 50 million units a month by spring 2004 from 10 million at the end of last year.

Sony Corp., Tokyo, Japan, the world's largest CCD manufacturer, plans to raise capacity to 4.6 million chips per month by the end of March, from 3.5 million, and expects to exceed its initial CCD production target of ¥70 billion for 2002-2003, a spokesman said.

Most of Sony's CCDs, however, are higher-end chips with millions of pixels for digital still cameras and camcorders. In camera phones, CCDs face competition from sensors made with the CMOS process used for the vast majority of microchips.

Camera phone makers initially preferred CMOS sensors for their low power consumption and low cost, but Sanyo's success at cutting power use spurred many to switch to CCDs, which offer better sensitivity to light and superior picture quality.

CMOS sensor manufacturers like Micron Technology Inc., Boise, Idaho, USA, are fighting back, however, vowing to boost picture quality to match CCDs, Reuters reports.

...And You Have to Print those Cell Phone Photos...

Omron will launch a print service called Sassoku Print for mobile phones to enable customers to print images taken by camera-equipped cellular phones with a special print terminal, according to Nikkei Business Publications Inc.

The new print machines will be set up as a trial service, mainly in the Tokyo, Japan, metropolitan area. The print terminal will look like a Print Club vending machine, which takes a photo and prints it into a sheet of stickers on the spot. Print Club machines have been popular in Japan for several years.

Users connect their camera-equipped cell phone with the printing terminal via a cable and transmit the image data. Next, the images are processed and printed on a sheet of small photo stickers. It costs ¥200 per sheet (about US$1.70). Omron will provide its terminals in shops and mini-labs operated by partner companies.

Mitsubishi started a similar service called Melutte Pri (which means 'e-mail for printing') at ten locations around Shibuya ward in Tokyo last month.

Melutte Pri has a different printing procedure from Omron's service. With the Melutte Pri service, users e-mail image data in JPEG format to the service and receive an ID and password via e-mail that can be input into the LCD touch panel of a kiosk in the shop. The images are downloaded to the terminal and they can get a sheet of printed stickers.

There are also services available from Kodak and Fuji in Japan that deliver the printed images to customers by mail or by door-to-door delivery service.

Tetenal starts new business unit
Tetenal of Norderstedt, Germany, formed a new prepress and professional imaging business unit, according to PMA European Newsline. The new unit combines the marketing and personal resources of the previous Graphic Arts and Professional Photo Lab business segments. The product portfolio ranges from traditional and technologically new products for prepress applications and offset printing over a wide range of inkjet media and ink for high-quality large format applications right through to color management solutions for digital printing. Franz Repp, Gerhard Senger and Simon Smith will run the new business unit.

Leica Ending Production of Leica M6 Cameras

Leica  is ending its 18 years of production of the M6 with a special edition of the last 999 M6 TTL cameras. These collectors' items bear the imprint "LEICA M6 1984-2002" on the camera top, signifying the period from the introduction of the camera in 1984 to its discontinuation at the end of December 2002. They each have a serial number between 001/999 and 999/999 and come in a wooden case with a certificate signed by Hanns-Peter Cohn, CEO of Leica Camera AG, and Ralf Coenen, the company's vice president of Technology.


Alive & Well - Flash Bulbs ?!?

Did we say flash bulbs? I've seen NOS (New Old Stock) flash bulbs gathering dust on the shelf of the local used camera store but I never gave them much thought. After all who uses flash bulbs beyond a few collectors of antique cameras?

A press release from Cress Photo piqued my interest and it turns out that more and more people are using flash bulbs. Hollywood is their biggest consumer and Cress Photo is well known to the movie industry as a provider of flash bulbs, flash pans and flash guns (shown at left). 

Images shot with flash bulbs have a different look from the electronic flash units most of us use. Flash bulbs can be used to achieve a "classic" look in photos that was popular in glamour photography from the 40's through the 60's; but they're also finding a home in specialized photography from caves to large halls, and in one case even in newspaper photography. It turns out there are a lot of interesting things you can do with flash bulbs.

The Cress Photo Web site has a wealth of information regarding flash bulb photography with both classic and modern cameras. Check them out at

Canon wins infringement suit regarding inkjet cartridges
Canon won a patent suit against Pelikan Hardcopy Deutschland GmbH and Pelikan Hardcopy European Logistics and Services GmbH,according to PMA European Newsline. On Jan. 16, 2003, the district court in Düsseldorf, Germany, ruled Pelikan Hardcopy is not allowed to distribute or sell ink cartridges violating patents of Canon Inc. Existing stock must be destroyed, and Pelikan has to pay damage compensation; the amount is still to be fixed.

Firmware Update for EOS 1D

Canon has announced a firmware update, version 1.4, will be made available to all EOS 1D owners free of charge.

This is not a recall nor is it in response to problems with the camera. 

This update is part of Canon's ongoing support for the 1D and adds features to the 1D including:

  • Noise reduction tone curve settings are added to the EOS-1D's monitor menu. 
  • Continuous shooting is supported with Remote Capture 2.5 or higher. 
  • Exif 2.2 (Exif Print) is supported. 
  • Windows® XP is supported. (Direct connect support via WIA 4.5) 
  • Camera settings metadata has been modified.

For more details and to download the update go to:

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