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Nikon to Increase Digital SLR Production and Exit Compact Film Camera Market

In an interview with Reuters, managing director Makoto Kimura said Nikon would raise monthly capacity for the "D70" model to above 90,000 units by September or October, compared to 70,000 when the camera hit stores in March, while eyeing an eventual exit from film compact cameras due to sliding demand.

Nikon aims to sell one million digital SLRs in the current business year to March 2005, compared to about 300,000 in 2003/04. It expects sales of all digital cameras to reach 7.8 million units, up 44 percent from 5.4 million units last year.

Kimura said the average selling price of its compact digital cameras was falling more than its May forecast for a 10 percent year-on-year decline in the 2004/05 business year, but not enough to warrant a change in the company's earnings targets.

Price competition is one reason Nikon sees operating profit in its imaging products division dropping 25 percent to 19 billion yen ($171.3 million) in 2004/05. It also underscores the need for Nikon to do well in high-margin segments, like digital SLRs.    

Leica Introduces New Lens Design

Leica introduced the Leica Summilux-M f/1.4/50mm ASPH. lens, a new design of the high-speed standard lens, featuring an aspherical element. It is the first Leica M lens to feature a floating element - the last lens element alters its position in relation to the rest of the optical system during focusing. To achieve homogeneously high imaging performance over the whole field, the lens not only features high-refraction glass, but also two elements with anomalous color dispersion (partial dispersion), one of which originated in the former Leitz glass laboratory.

Nikon Announces the AF-S VR Nikkor 200mm f/2G IF-ED

The Nikkor AF-S VR 200mm f2G IF-ED becomes the fifth VR lens in Nikon's lineup. The lens is smaller and lighter than the 70-200mm f2.8 VR lens currently in Nikon's lineup with a faster constant aperture. Minimum focus distance will be 6.2 feet.

Introduced along with the new 200mm is a new teleconverter, the TC-17EII 1.7x (also sold separately). Full Auto focus and VR functions are maintained when using he TC-17EII with the 200mm f2G VR.

Price and availability have not yet been announced.

Sea & Sea Introduces D70 and Digital Rebel Underwater Housings

Sea & Sea has introduced underwater housings for the two latest digital SLRs: Canon's Digital Rebel and Nikon's D70.

Both housings allow you a great deal of flexibility in using the cameras functions and menus.

Check out for more details.

Kodak to Close More Film Labs

Eastman Kodak Co. is closing seven film processing labs around the country, according to published reports. An eighth lab will close in January, cutting the company's labs to 13, reports The Billings Gazette.

Kodak announced in September that it plans to diversify its business portfolio by offering more digital services. At that time, Kodak said it planned to cut costs in its film and paper sectors for the next two years to raise cash to strengthen its digital segments.

PhotoVu Adds Support for iPhoto with New PV1910 Wireless Digital Picture Frame

PhotoVu announced the availability of the all new PhotoVu PV1910 picture frame, which adds support for iPhoto™, a redesigned and more refined look, up to 12 megapixel cameras, and a future upgrade path to enhanced wireless standards like Wireless-G. PhotoVu's 19" LCD digital picture frames wirelessly retrieve digital images from a computer's hard drive for easy and addictive viewing on the wall.


Firmware Udpates Galore

Canon EOS-1D Mark II Firmware Update Now Available

Canon is offering a firmware update for the EOS-1D Mark II digital SLR. This update addresses three issues:

  • The screen becoming magenta-colored when shooting bulb exposures

  • The values being cleared when C.Fn-06 is set to “2” and the battery is removed

  • Improves image quality of NTSC video output.

To get the update from Canon click here

Olympus E-1 Firmware Update Now Available

Olympus has release a firmware update for the E-1 digital SLR.

  • It is now possible to shoot photos by fully pressing the shutter button repeatedly, while keeping the shutter button halfway depressed. This improvement allows you to continually shoot photos in C-AF mode, continuing C-AF with the shutter button halfway depressed.
  • It is now possible to display the focus points for 3-point AF on Finder's LCD.

To get the update click here

Nikon D70 Firmware Update Now Available

Nikon has released a firmware update for the D70 digital SLR. Note: the D70 has two separate sets of firmware which must be updated individually.

Issues addressed with A firmware version 1.01
  1. Images captured in Continuous mode at high shutter speeds sometimes displayed vignetting in upper portions of the image.  This problem has been corrected.
  2. When the built-in Speedlight was in its raised position but did not fire, the Automatic Sensitivity Adjustment function (ISO Auto: CSM 5) sometimes failed.  This problem has been corrected.

Issues addressed with B firmware version 1.02

  1. The camera now supports CompactFlash™ memory cards with a capacity greater than 4GB.
  2. When images were captured in Continuous mode at an Image size setting of M and an Image quality setting of FINE, the memory card access lamp sometimes glowed continuously and the camera could not be turned off with the power switch.  This problem has been corrected.
  3. Text errors in display of Chinese menus and messages have been corrected

To get the updates click here

New PocketWizard Upgrade Available for Kodak Professional Digital SLRs

Kodak Company today announced a PocketWizard upgrade for several of its digital SLR cameras. The upgrade, available only as a service upgrade in the US and Canada, direct from Kodak, is compatible with the KODAK PROFESSIONAL DCS Pro 14n, DCS 14nx and DCS Pro SLR/n digital cameras.

The PocketWizard is a digital radio triggering system that fires the flash and camera simultaneously to capture split second action at every angle. It allows photographers more flexibility to position lighting where necessary without being tethered by a Synch cord.

PocketWizard upgrades are US$395, including return shipping, in the U.S. and Canada. The device warranty is coincidental with the camera warranty or 90 days, whichever is longer. Upgrades will be available on a first come, first served basis.

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