DigitalCameraReview.com
Digital Camera News: Nikon Battery Recall, Nikon Firmware Updates, Slowing Digital Camera Market
by Ben Stafford -  11/8/2005

Nikon Recalls Defective Batteries

Nikon has issued a notice that certain lots of EN-EL3 batteries can experience a short circuit that causes the battery to overheat and possibly melt.  Acccording to Nikon, there have only been four incidents worldwide, but they've decide to issue a recall to replace batteries from certain lots.

To see a list of the affected lot numbers and instructions on identifying if you battery is eligible for replacement, please see: http://www.nikonusa.com/email_images/nikonusa/service_advisory/battery.html

Nikon Updates Firmware for D2Hs and D2X

Firmware updates for the Nikon D2Hs and Nikon D2X are now available from Nikon's site.  Version 1.01 of the D2Hs firmware fixes the following:

  1. Autofocus performance has been increased. 
  2. An issue that prevented the AF-assist illuminator from firing when the Speedlights listed below were used has been corrected. Speedlights effected: SB-29s, SB-29, SB-23, SB-22s, SB-22, SB-20
  3. In images captured at a shutter speed of 1/250 s with a Speedlight SB-800, set to Distance-priority manual flash (GN), or Manual flash (M) with flash output set to full (M1/1) mounted on the camera, the top portion was often dark.  This issue has been addressed.  However, under the circumstances described above only, the guide number is reduced from that of full flash output level by approximately 0.6 EV. 
  4. Errors in Dutch menus have been corrected.

In addition to the above, version 1.01 of the firmware for the Nikon D2X fixes the following:

  1. Images captured at white-balance settings of Incandescent, Direct sunlight, Cloudy, Shade, and Choose color temp. tended to have a reddish tint.  This issue has been addressed.

Head to Nikon's Knowledge Database to download and for instructions.

Olympus Posts a Loss and Konica Minolta Cuts Costs

Reported at Bloomberg.com, Olympus missed forecasts and the imaging divison posted a 69% drop in quarterly profit.  In the three months ending on September 30, their net income was 1.77 billion yen versus 5.65 billiion yen last year.  Despite the drop, the company raised its annual profit goal, expecting a rebeound in the second half of the year.  Olympus is planning to eliminate 30% of the imaging group's workforce to cut costs.

Their shipping numbers also tell the tale.  In six months ending on Sept. 30, Olympus shipped 3.7 million cameras, missing their target of 4.2 million units.  They also revised shipping estimates for next year from 9.5 million to 8.1m million units.

In related news, Konica Minolta will be cutting about 3,300 of their 33,000 strong workforce.  They're going to concentrate (like everyone else) on the higher-end products like digital SLRs.