Digital Camera News: Nikon D40 and D80 Firmware Updates, Slim Lens (aka Folded Optic) Developed by Researchers

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Firmware Updates for Nikon D40 and D80

Nikon has released two firmware updates, one for the D40 and one for the D80. The D40 update (version 1.1) corrects the following:

  • The product will be "Certified for Windows Vista".
  • Support for the new USB Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) has been added.
  • The PTP option in the setup menu’s USB item will be modified to MTP/PTP. The icon will also be modified
  • The range of possible settings for the Date option in the setup menu’s World time item will be changed to 2000-2099.
  • An issue that caused the ISO auto feature to be disabled, when a two-button reset operation was performed with ISO sensitivity set to any option other than ISO 200, has been resolved.
  • When attempting to edit images, which had already been edited using a computer, with options in the D40‘s retouch menu, the camera sometimes froze. Therefore, images that have been edited using a computer can no longer be edited using the camera.
  • An issue that prevented accurate recording of flash output value when manual flash photography was applied with use of the Nikon Speedlight SB-400 has been resolved so that flash output value is accurately recorded.
  • Errors in English, Polish, Swedish, and Traditional Chinese menus have been corrected.
  • When white balance is fine-tuned, "+" or "?" will be displayed with the following icons:
  • White balance mode icon in the shooting information display
  • White balance mode icon in the shooting menu
  • When the mode dial is set to a Digital Vari-Program and the AF-area mode setting is changed, the AF-area mode setting will no longer revert to the default setting with the following operations:
    • The camera is turned off
    • Monitor and exposure meters turn off automatically (auto meter off)
  • The electronic analog exposure displays will flash in the viewfinder and the shooting information display when:
    • The brightness of the subject exceeds the range that can be controlled by the camera, whether too bright or too dark
    • While in P (Programmed Auto) exposure mode with the built-in flash raised.

The Nikon D80 update (version 1.01) corrects the following:

  • The electronic analog exposure display will be displayed in the viewfinder when the brightness of the subject exceeds the range that can be controlled by the camera, whether too bright or too dark, in the following shooting modes: 
  • Shutter-priority auto (S) or Aperture-priority auto (A) exposure modes with the built-in flash up
  •  Programmed auto (P) exposure mode
  • Effects of processing performed when the Long exp. NR item in the shooting menu is enabled have been improved.  
  •  When attempting to edit images, which had already been edited using a computer, with options in the D80’s retouch menu, the camera sometimes froze.  Therefore, images that have been edited using a computer can no longer be edited using the camera.
  • Errors in English, Polish, Swedish, and Traditional Chinese menus have been corrected.

 

Researchers Develop Ultra-slim Imager

Ok, so it’s essentially a "lens", but doesn’t meet the technical definition of a lens, so researchers at UC San Diego are trying to make sure that they define their new deveopment correctly by calling it an "imager" or "folded optic." Their new imager, which is 5mm thick, produces similar results as a standard 38mm lens. In more general terms, Eric Tremblay, first author listed on the research paper in Applied Optics, says that "Our imager is about seven times more powerful than a conventional lens of the same depth." The folded optic can be applied in "lightweight, ultrathin, high resolution miniature cameras for unmanned surveillance aircraft, cell phones and infrared night vision applications."

The folded optic system is not a new concept as it has been used on astronomical telescopes like the Cassegrain telescope, which was developed in 1672. However, better manufacturing/tooling techniques have made it more feasible to create an accurate imager.

Light enters the outermost ring of the folded optic and essentially zig-zags back and forth between rings of mirrors which focus the light by the time it reaches a CMOS sensor in the center of the imager. For a great diagram, see the link below for more information.

The working imager that the research group has perfected, as similar quality and color when compared to the same image taken with a standard 38mm lens. One downside is that the folded optic has a much shorter depth of field. The next steps of the research group (and their next paper), will address this issue.

Read more [via Engadget]

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