Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online


Memory Cards Safe From Airport X-Rays

Recent tests at the TSA Security Laboratory in Atlantic City, N.J. found no evidence of X-ray scanner damage to digital camera media cards or to the images they hold. 

The tests of scanner models currently in use in the U.S. transportation industry were jointly conducted by the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A), SanDisk Corporation, and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Hand checks of high speed film (ISO 800 or greater) are still recommended. 

Nicole Kidman Wins Restraining Order Against Paparazzi

Actress Nicole Kidman has won a restraining order against two Australian paparazzi. She claims their aggressive and intrusive behavior have made her fearful of leaving her Sydney mansion. 

The restraining order was granted after two recent incidents. A bug was found in the building used by Kidman's security team, presumably to listen in on conversations among her security people as to her travel times and destinations. The other involved a high speed chase by paparazzi on wet roads that left Kidman shaken. In that incident paparazzi drove through red lights and on the wrong side of the road in pursuit of Kidman's vehicle while trying to snap pictures, raising disturbing comparisons to the circumstances that led to Princess Dianna's death in a fatal wreck allegedly caused in part by pursuing paparazzi.

Kidman is in Australia to begin filming the movie Eucalyptus but according to her publiscist Wendy Day "Nicole would like to make it clear that she acknowledges she is a public figure and that reporters and photographers have a job to do and she respects that. However, these are specific actions against two individuals who, over a period of time, have caused her to feel threatened, intimidated and unable to leave her home without fearing for her safety."

Lawyers for Jamie Fawcett and Ben McDonald denied the pair were involved in the chase. And Fawcett refused to confirm he was the man captured on security video tape planting a listening device near Miss Kidman's home.

A Variable Focal Length Liquid Lens

Researchers De-Ying Zhang, Nicole Justis and Yu-Hwa Lo of the University of California, San Diego have published a paper detailing the design of an optical lens fabricated using a UV lithographic-galvanic-like process involving soft lithography and wafer bonding. In simpler terms it is a liquid filled lens that whose focal length is varied by adjusting fluid pressure. Current lens designs adjust focal length by varying the distance between two glass elements (Optics Letters, Volume 29, Issue 24).

Why should you care?

The authors speculate that such lenses could be manufactured using batch processes similar to those used in the manufacture of integrated circuits. The result would be a lens system requiring much less space while costing significantly less than a comparable glass lens system. The scientists were able to demonstrate a zoom ratio (the ratio of the maximum and minimum focal lengths) of two. According to the team, zoom ratios of four and above can be achieved with this design.

French firm VariOptic is also active in the area, but rather than using pressure to vary lens shape it applies a voltage to the lens substrate modifying the contact angle of the liquid drop.

But don't expect to see these lenses for your SLR anytime soon as they're still in the experimental stages.

Seagate Introduces 5GB Compact Flash Hard Drive 
for Digital Cameras

Seagate announced it will begin shipping its new CompactFlash Photo Hard Drive in 2.5GB and 5GB capacities in January 2005. The drives will be compatible with any digital camera with a Compact Flash type II media slot. 

To put that in perspective, the 5GB capacity represents the ability to store 1,500 6 megapixel images or over 4,000 3 megapixel images on a single card.

3D Movement Recognition, Look for it on SLRs Next

The Samsung SCH-S310 cameraphone, with a 1.3-megapixel camera, incorporates 3D movement recognition to carry out commands.

Samsung Electronics Inc., Seoul, South Korea, unveiled the SCH-S310, a"3D movement recognition" mobile phone featuring an antenna slide design with GPS, 1.3-megapixel camera, music-on-demand, and mobile banking capabilities. An 'Accelerometer' is built in to accurately calculate and ascertain movement in three dimensional space and carry out commands according to those calculations. This technology will do away with the need for complex keypads on mobile phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and other handheld products, the company says.

Samsung Electronics President Lee Ki-tae says, "Our new movement recognition technology opens a new chapter in natural communication. We will continue to work on technology breakthroughs for mobile phones that make life more convenient for people." Samsung has already developed movement-controlled functions that will be adopted on later models. These include switching from landscape to portrait when shooting video or snapping a still picture, or preventing the picture from becoming blurred from hand movement.

Lowepro offers new Rolling Mini Trekker AW backpack

Lowepro has a new ultra lightweight, compact all-weather backpack, with easy-rolling wheels and a tuck-away shoulder harness & waist belt. The Rolling Mini Trekker AW backpack uses sealed bearing wheels to provide smooth, easy rolling and shock absorbing comfort while protecting the bottom of the bag and camera equipment from damage. The extendable single-tube handle reduces weight and bulk from its double tube predecessors and is curved to provide perfect balance, says the company.

The backpack offers several pockets and compartments for storing camera equipment and accessories. Its padded dividers can be reconfigured and customized to handle a variety of camera, lens and accessory combinations and individual pockets provide storage for pens, cell phones, or PDAs. The Rolling Mini Trekker also includes SlipLock attachment loops for add-on accessories and a tripod holder on the backpack's face for hands-free carrying and balanced weight distribution. A built-in All Weather Cover protects the bag and its contents from damaging moisture, dust, and sand.

The new backpack will be available at U.S. photo specialty retailers in March and have a suggested list price of $279.

Sandisk Introduces SD Card with Built-in USB Connector

SanDisk has introduced an innovative SD flash memory card with built-in USB connectivity. The new product means greater convenience and cost savings for consumers who can just plug the SD card into any SD card slot such as is used in most digital cameras, and then plug it into any USB port without needing an SD card reader to transfer data, images, audio or video between computers, digital cameras and other electronic devices.

The first products to be released by SanDisk with this new technology are scheduled to be introduced in Q1, 2005 at the annual Photo Marketing Association (PMA) show, Feb 20-23 in Orlando, Fl, with capacities up to one gigabyte.

SanDisk Cruzer USB Drives Get Upgraded

SanDisk Cruzer Micro USB flash memory drives are about to become personal fashion statements as well. Starting with spring shipments, the portable drives will be packaged with interchangeable colored skins and caps. The popular drives will now be available in 2 and 4 gigabyte (GB) models and the SanDisk Cruzer Micro will have 1GB and 2GB models.

Olympus New C-7070 Wide Zoom 7.1-Megapixel Digital

The new C-7070 Wide Zoom from Olympus features a high-performance wide-angle lens in a rugged, magnesium body. 

The camera’s wide-angle zoom lens lets photographers frame more of a subject into their composition, and with the high-resolution 7.1-megapixel CCD, photographers can produce larger than life prints with amazing vividness. Two new Autofocus (AF) modes enable photographers to shoot fast, sharp photos of subjects in motion, so no fleeting photo opportunities are missed.

The all glass lens provides a 4x optical zoom equivalent to 27 to 110mm, f2.8–f8.0. For nature photographers, the C-7070 features a Super Macro mode that enables shooting from 1.18 inches to capture details as delicate and nuanced as the wings of a butterfly or the petals of a flower.

The C-7070 Wide Zoom features a number of professional SLR-type features to satisfy the artistic needs of advanced users, including two autofocus systems. A Predictive AF mode enables users to shoot subjects moving towards them via an external AF sensor that detects the distance the subject has moved and predicts its location at the moment of shutter release. And an AF Target Selection function enables users to choose from 143 AF target zones to focus on virtually any area of their composition without reframing the shot. The C-7070 Wide Zoom also features a manual focusing mode, giving users full control over the accuracy of their focal range.

Kodak to acquire Creo for $980 Million

Eastman Kodak has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Creo Inc., a supplier of prepress systems used by commercial printers worldwide, in order to bolster Kodak's strategy to push more aggressively into the commercial printing business.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kodak will pay approximately $980 million in cash, or $16.50 per share, for all the outstanding shares of Creo, on a fully diluted basis. Creo presently has approximately $85 million of cash on its balance sheet and no debt. The transaction, which has been approved by Kodak's and Creo's respective boards of directors, is to be carried out by statutory plan of arrangement under Canadian law and is subject to regulatory approvals, the approval of Creo's shareholders, and court approval.

The proposed transaction follows the announcement on Jan. 12 that Kodak has entered into an agreement to become the sole owner of Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG), its joint venture with Sun Chemical Corp. 

KPG is the world's leading supplier of digital and conventional lithographic plates, digital color proofing products, and graphic arts films, with strong worldwide distribution.

Declining Profits in Both Film and Digital Categories 

Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd., reported a 17.7 percent drop in quarterly operating profit on sliding demand for photographic film and falling digital camera prices, and left its full-year outlook unchanged, reports Reuters.

Olympus Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. also posted lower profits reflecting a struggle by all digital camera makers to maintain profit margins due to price competition and slowing growth in major markets such as Japan.

The tough transition to digital products facing photographic film and paper makers was highlighted last week by U.S. rival Eastman Kodak Co., which posted a preliminary quarterly loss due to heavy restructuring costs and weak film sales.

New Canon SELPHY CP-400 Compact Printer

According to Canon it's new Compact Photo Printer SELPHY CP-400 makes printing brilliant, high quality photos from a digital camera quick and easy. It replaces Canon's popular CP-220 model, the new Compact Photo Printer SELPHY CP-400 allows consumers to make beautiful 4 x 6-inch postcards or photographs in approximately 81 seconds, which is four seconds faster than previous models.

It can also print credit-card size photos, photo stickers, photo labels and 4 x 8-inch photo greeting cards. This new dye sublimation device creates water and fade resistant prints that last up to 100 years. It is PictBridge compliant.

It is expected to be available in January 2005.

New Canon PIXMA iP90 Mobile Printer

Canon's new PIXMATM iP90 mobile printer offers consumers and business professionals a compact, high-speed printing solution for both photo and document printing. The PIXMA iP90 faster text and graphics printing speeds compared with the i80 it replaces, a new Save Black Ink Mode and a new Use Composite Black Mode.

A Save Black Ink Mode has been added to the driver of the new PIXMA iP90 mobile printer. This mode allows the printer to switch to long life mode, which can achieve up to 66% more ink yield by laying down less ink on the page. The new "Use Composite Black Mode" will allow the user to switch the printer to composite black when the standard black ink tank has run out. Composite black is created by mixing cyan, magenta and yellow inks together, which can provide the critical ink needed when the black tank runs dry at a truly inopportune moment.

An optional Bluetooth adapter for wireless printing is available. The new PIXMA iP90 printer will be available in January for an estimated selling price of $249.99.

Nikon to Begin Shipping D2X & 300mm f2.8G IF-ED

Nikon announced that the D2X digital SLR will begin shipping on February 25th at a MSRP of $4,999.

Nikon also announced that the AF-S VR Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens will begin shipping in late January 2005 at a retail price of $5,999.


Firmware Updates

Nikon D70 Firmware Update

To download D70 Firmware B Update version 1.03 for Windows click here, for Mac click here.


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