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George Washington profile is subject of winning National Parks contest entry

Picture Kristin Gillig's uniquely composed shot of the first president's Mount Rushmore profile was selected Grand Prize winner from among more than 10,000 entries to the 2003 National Parks Pass Experience Your America Photo Contest and will grace the 2005 Pass. 

The 28-year-old Washington, DC-area Web development consultant snapped her winning photo while on a nine-month jaunt around the world with her husband. 

"This was the icing on the cake. I wasn't even sure if I should enter, and never in a million years did I think my picture would win. I couldn't be more excited." 

She had plenty of photos to choose from. She and her husband used their Parks Passes to visit 21 National Parks in three months. The $50 pass allows one year of unlimited entry into all National Parks that charge entrance fees. The contest is sponsored annually by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation with Eastman Kodak Co.

The Grand Prize package includes a trip for her and her husband to the National Park of their choosing, a Kodak EasyShare Zoom Digital Camera, a Camera Dock and a personalized National Parks Pass.

Mamiya America Changes Name to MAC Group

Mamiya America Corp. has changed its name to MAC Group. The company's website is now

"Our mission is to provide professional photographers, educators and students with the finest tools they need to create an image. In the new age of photography, we are moving firmly in this direction and this requires a name that better reflects our diversified range of professional brands and services," said Jan Lederman, president of the MAC Group.

The MAC Group offers a range of brands including Mamiya, Sekonic, Profoto, Monaco by X-Rite, PocketWizard, Tenba, XtremePower, ShootSmarter, Toyo-View and Cabin.

Cameraphones Hit 3 Megapixels in Japan

Japanese cellular carrier KDDI plans to begin selling the Casio A5406CA 3 megapixel cameraphone in early June. The phone features a USB cradle for easy image transfer, 12.8 MB of internal storage and a slot for miniSD cards.

Last week Sharp unveiled a new cameraphone with optical zoom function, which is also a world first, according to the company. The V602SH handset will go on sale in Japan in late June this year through Vodafone KK and features a 2-megapixel image sensor. A 2X optical zoom can be realized with a single button push when the phone is in digital camera mode, while a second push returns it to no-zoom. Positions between these two settings are not available.

Getting better-quality optics and especially a zoom lens into a cell phone represents a challenge for manufacturers because this demands more space and that's difficult to find inside a cell phone without making the device larger. Sharp installed the camera module and zoom lens in the V602SH behind the hinge on the lower half of the clamshell phone, to make use of the extra space at the thickest part of the case.

Camera makers are also facing similar issues of quality versus size. Sony's DSC-T1, a 5-megapixel camera launched in October last year, and several other cameras launched recently get around the problem by mounting the lens sideways inside the camera so that it points upwards rather than out. A prism is then positioned to bounce light so that the sensor and lens are effectively "seeing" what's in front of the camera, a design first utilized by Minolta in the Dimage X.

SanDisk 256MB Memory Card with Built-in Wi-Fi &
New 6-in-1 Card Reader

SanDisk announced the availability of the SanDisk 256MB + Wi-Fi SD Combination card that includes both memory and WLAN (802.11b) communications in a single SD card. The new card is compatible with handheld devices that feature an SDIO-enabled slot and use Microsoft Pocket PC 2002, Pocket PC 2003 or Windows Mobile 2003 operating environments. Shipping is planned by the end of June to worldwide markets.

The new SanDisk SD Combination card ships with both consumer and enterprise-grade security solutions, including WEP, 802.1x, PSK and WPA on the Windows CE platform. It uses Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) Wireless LAN technology to provide bandwidths of up to 11Mbps and ranges of up to 800 feet depending on environment. The 256MB+Wi-Fi SD Combination card has a suggested list price of $129. It will be initially available through popular e-tail websites in the Americas, Europe and most of Asia.

In addition, SanDisk introduced its 6-in-1 PC Card Adapter, giving notebook computer users the largest number of card formats for moving files to and from flash memory devices such as digital cameras, PDAs, MP3 players and mobile phones.

Supported formats include: SD, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, xD-Picture Card, and SmartMedia. To read a card, users simply insert it into the adapter, and then slide the adapter into any computer with a PC Card slot. In this mode, the adapter works like a removable hard drive. Protected by a stainless steel cover, the adapter replaces SanDisk's 4-in-1 Adapter but will sell at a comparable suggested retail price of $29.99. Units are planned for shipment to stores by early summer.

Two New Lenses from Sigma

Sigma announced the 18-125mm F3.5-5.6 DC (27-188mm equivalent on most digital cameras). Sigma's DC lens line is designed exclusively for digital cameras with APS sized sensors. The new lens will initially be available for Sigma, Canon and Nikon mounts and sell for around $400. 

Availability for Pentax and Minolta mounts is TBA (to be announced).

The lens is compact and lightweight with internal focus, a non-rotating front element and features SLD glass elements. It is designed to be an all-in-one lens for the new class of low cost digitals such as Canon's Digital Rebel and Nikon's D70. 

Where the 18-125mm is designed to be a general purpose lens with a wide zoom range the 24-60mm F2.8 EX DG is a fast compact "normal" zoom covering an effective zoom range of 36-90mm at a fast f2.8 maximum aperture. 

This is still a lightweight compact lens with a formula that includes two SLD and three hybrid aspherical elements and according to Sigma, very little light fall off in the corners. Minimum focus distance is approx. 11 inches. 

Price and release date are not yet available.

Canon Offers Free Upgrade to Digital Photo Professional 
for EOS-1D & EOS-1Ds

Digital Photo Professional version 1.0.0 is now available for free downloading from Canon's Web site. DPP is a powerful application for working with Canon RAW files from the EOS-1D & EOS-1Ds. It is not compatible with Canon's other digital cameras. 

You can get the upgrade through the following links:

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