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Imacon announce Ixpress 'C' digital camera back - New camera back range for ultra high-end digital photography
The new Ixpress 'C' 96 Single-shot model and the 384 Multi-shot model incorporate a 16 million nine-micron pixel CCD sensor. A new 22 million-pixel CCD sensor has also been built into the Ixpress 'C' 132 Single-shot and 528 Multi-shot models. All models shoot full 16-bit colour images, including preview, every two seconds in sequence up to 1150 96MB images or 850 132MB images and offer instant exposure feed-back, including a preview with ultra-fast zoom functionality, histograms and acoustic feedback through the range's new menu-driven colour display system. Flexibility is also greatly enhanced through the use of Imacon's new I-Adapter range with the four Ixpress 'C' digital backs.
"We have received a very positive response to our Ixpress range over the past year, including being awarded the TIPA Award for Best Professional Digital Professional Product and a total of three Vision Awards at PhotoPlus Expo 2002," says Christian Poulsen, founder and joint managing director, Imacon. "With the Ixpress 'C' range we have developed a number of additional functionalities such as an extremely fast menu-driven colour display, which has now been built into the back of the digital back itself, as well as improving the file sizes and speed to again provide the photographer with extended flexibility and portability.
"In addition to this, no other digital camera back manufacturer can offer a comparative number of high-end technological features within the very competitive pricing structure of the Ixpress 'C' range. From an economic point of view this is crucial for the photographer."
As Imacon digital backs are the only systems on the market that are fully upgradeable from Single-shot to Multi-shot (one, four and 16 shot) with the 4*Res module, photographers have the option to either purchase the Ixpress 'C' 384 or 528 backs in the first instance, or buy a Ixpress 'C' Single-shot 96 or 132 model and have 384 or 528 Multi-shot add-on modules retro-fitted at a later date in the factory.
The retro-fit upgrade is achieved through a specially-designed 'split' housing unit in the Ixpress 96 and 132 models, allowing photographers to simply have the 4*Res add-on module added to the single-shot back, providing ultimate flexibility and enabling photographers to take advantage of 4-shot and 16-shot options in the future without having to change camera backs.
The new menu-driven colour display has been built into the digital backs preventing additional power being drawn from Imacon's unique portable Image Bank. Continues Mr Poulsen: "We have spent a great deal of time over the past year searching for a suitable colour display system that doesn't generate heat. We have now achieved this with the colour display system in the Ixpress C. In addition to preventing heating of the sensor, it also secures optimal computer-free workflow through providing instant composition and focus-checking while on location or in the studio."
Switching to the histogram also enables correct exposure assessment, providing a far more accurate result than the best light meters currently available. Additionally, Imacon's patented acoustic exposure feedback system informs the user, through one of three 'beeps', if the images are 'OK', 'over' or 'under' exposed and when images are safely stored, so that the Ixpress can be shut down. A new powerful live video feature enables even greater precision composition and focusing.
With the recently launched range of Imacon I-Adapters, the Ixpress 'C' can also now interface with all high-end professional cameras, enabling the photographer to use a single digital camera back platform across a range of professional camera formats and brands, providing further flexibility and cost efficiency.
"Although we are moving into developing products for other sectors,
such as the new digital back for the Leica R8 and R9 series, " continues
Mr Poulsen, "the launch of our new Ixpress 'C' range is proof of our
continued dedication and commitment to the ultra high-end digital photographic
"All our products at Imacon are built around our concept of 'Unlimited Photography', that is: portable computer-free digital back operation, stunning image quality, ultra-fast performance, and true flexibility - whether in the field or in the studio. The Ixpress 'C' has now moved this concept to a new level not yet seen in the photographic industry."
Imacon has also radically improved image capture modes through a further patented method of precision movements of the CCD sensor, now offering up to 528MB files with the 22 million pixel sensor model. The quality of the image registration is extremely precise with Imacon's 4* Res multiple exposure technique enabling the entire CCD area to capture each colour through piezo-controlled movements - providing maximum resolution and moiré free images without interpolation and free from temperature instability. By shooting the same object more than once, while moving the CCD sensor between the shots, the Imacon Multi-shot provides a much higher resolution (up to 4 times), greatly improving colour quality. This is the only way to maintain the highest quality colour and sharpness and avoid moiré.
The Ixpress Image Bank holds up to 1150 96 MB or 850 132MB images. The digital back can upload more than 100 preview images from the image bank in 2.5 seconds and requires only five to seven seconds to transfer and back up a full resolution file to a laptop or computer. The Giga-bit connection between the Image Bank and the Ixpress 'C' also means it can maintain a continuous two second capture rate with no burst depth limitations.
The Image Bank has a power socket for standard video batteries with up to 8-hour duration under normal working conditions. The read/write speed of the Image Bank is 10 times faster than Micro Drives and Compact Flash media and at the same time 10 times less expensive. In order to provide additional flexibility while on location, the photographer is able to use multiple Image Banks by simply disconnecting the bank and replacing it with another.
Imacon's patented Double Duration Circuit (DDC) also built into the new Ixpress 'C' models, reads the CCD sensors using only 50% of the power normally required. This secures a cool, noiseless sensor environment for operation. Therefore, the DDC takes full advantage of the true 16-bit capture as well as providing the photographer with twice the duration of normal battery life.
As with all Imacon products, Imacon's unique FlexColor Version 3.6.3 is integrated into the new Ixpress 'C'. FlexColor is fully compliant with ColorSync and supports multitasking running Mac OS 10 and Windows Operating Systems, and has all the standard image enhancement tools, including the histogram, gradations and unsharp masking. When working in FlexColor, a TIFF extension file is created containing all image information including capture shot profiles, extended IPTC meta-data tags, copyright and key word search information for input and storage in Imacon's 3F (Flexible File Format) workflow management system. This provides a comprehensive image history for straight and effective application interfacing or image retrieval and re-purposing in FlexColor at any time in the future.
Using 3F, every scanned or captured RGB image is recorded and stored as a 'Raw File' and then saved as an extended TIFF file in the 3F system. Images can then be 're-purposed' for output as often as required without affecting the integrity or quality of the original - the raw data is never touched.
The Single-shot Ixpress 'C' 96, 4*Res Ixpress 'C' 384 Multi-shot and Ixpress 'C' 132 Single-shot models are available from September 2003, with the 4*Res Ixpress 'C' 528 Multi-shot model shipping from January 2004.
As with all its scanner and digital camera back products, Imacon is offering a highly-attractive upgrade policy to ensure photographers who invest in Imacon solutions are able to purchase in the knowledge that their original investment is protected.