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Digital Camera News: Windows Media Photo Format, High Capacity Batteries from Duracell, Olympus Firmware Update
by Ben Stafford -  5/29/2006

Introduction of Windows Media Photo Format

During the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, Microsoft announced a new image format that they've been working on, with several partners, for several years now.  The new format: is being called Windows Media Photo (.wmp files).

According to the press release, the WMP files captures more "raw information" of the images to enable better display and editing.  Microsoft is also claiming that a compression ratio of 25:1 can be obtained (JPEG images get to about 12:1 before images start losing noticeable quality).

Here are some more details from the press release:

"WMP is based on a symmetrical algorithm that supports both lossless and lossy compression.  It requires no complex math or special hardware support, and is based primarily on add and shift operations with few multiplies in its inner loops. Memory requirements are also minimal, in part because the algorithm supports encoding and decoding imagines in stripes that only need small buffers.

To preserve compatibility with existing systems, the WMP format uses the existing TIFF "container" including its approach to metadata. The choice of TIFF however limits file sizes to 4 gigabytes, a limit Microsoft will address for high-end users in the future. Microsoft will also release tools to support WMP on existing Windows XP systems."

Duracell Introduces 2650 mAh Rechargeable NiMH Batteries

For anyone who has been using a digital camera that takes AA sized batteries, it's well known that rechargeable NiMH batteries will get the most life out of a single charge.  Also, NiMH batteries can be found in different "capacities", rated in milli Amp-hours (mAh).  Most often, you'll find AA batteries from 1800 mAh to 2500 mAh.  Duracell has announced 2650 mAh AA batteries and 1000 mAh AAA batteries that will be available starting in May.  Look for them in all the usual places (grocery stores, gas stations, electronics stores).  A 4 pack of 2650 mAh batteries has a suggested list priced of $9.99 - $12.99.

Olympus E-330 Firmware Update

Olympus has rolled out a firmware update for the Live View Evolt E-330.   Version 1.1 of the firmware corrects the following:

To get the update, you can get it from the Olympus E-330 Software page.