Cameras Enter the High Def Era

By Greg Scoblete On Jan 7 2008 - 8:00am




The growing installed base of high definition televisions has catalyzed a groundswell of support for HD video capture (and output) among digital camera manufacturers. Several venders will introduce models capable of recording HD video at International CES. And one camera, from Casio, is capable of recording video at 1920 by 1080i.

Here's a look at what's new:

Casio will formally unveil a previously announced digital camera with a burst mode of 60 frames per second (fps). The Exilim F1 can also record HD video at 1920 by 1080i or 1280 by 720p resolution and uses a stereo microphone to capture audio. Among the F1's performance benchmarks include movie recording at 300 fps at 512 by 384 resolution. The camera can also capture video at 1,200 fps when shooting at 336 by 96 resolution.

It features a high speed, 6-megapixel CMOS sensor that can shift to provide image stabilization, a 12x optical zoom lens, a 2.8-inch LCD screen with 230,000 pixel resolution and an HDMI output. Pricing and release date were not set at press time.

The company will also ship the 10-megapixel KX110, measuring in at .59 inches thick. The camera will feature a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 2.7-inch LCD screen, and a new auto shutter feature to capture a photo when a subject is no longer blurry.

Kodak will ship two HD digital cameras to dealers in the first quarter of 2008 as well as a new model in its inkjet all-in-one line. The 12-megapixel V1273 sports a 3-inch touch screen LCD, a 3x optical zoom lens, 720p video recording and a 16:9 still image capture mode. Using the touch-screen, consumers can crop and edit images as well as navigate menu functions. It will retail for an estimated $299. The 10-megapixel V1070 shares most of the features of the V1273 but its 3-inch LCD does not have touch-screen capability. It will retail for an estimated $249.

The company will also introduce the 10-megapixel M1033, a compact camera available in red, pink, silver, black and green. It will feature a 3-inch LCD and retail for $199.

Lastly, the Z1085IS boasts a 10-megapixel sensor and 5x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization. It will offer both automatic and manual shooting modes and retail for an estimated $349.

Kodak will also debut a new printer that joins the three existing all-in-one models the company introduced earlier this year. The EasyShare Printer 3 (ESP 3) is a third of the size of the original models (which remain on the market). It includes built-in facial retouching software that harnesses facial recognition technology to identify faces in images and remove blemishes. The software can also whiten eyes and teeth and smooth out skin textures, Kodak said.

The ESP 3 employs the same inkjet cartridges as the earlier all-in-ones and will retail for $129.

Liquid Image (formerly Zocker Toys) will introduce a 5-megapixel under-water camera built into a diving mask. A dedicated shutter button on the mask lets users snap images that appear in the mask's cross-hairs. LED lights inside the mask's viewing area inform the user as to camera settings.

The camera mask is waterproof to a depth of 15 feet and records images to 16MB of internal memory or a miniSD card. The product will ship in the spring for a suggested $99.

Polaroid will dust off its brand reputation for "instant printing" with a line of products using Zink's "zero ink" printing technology. The line will include a Digital Instant camera with a built-in Zink printer. The company will also launch a standalone portable printer. The Digital Instant Printer can connect to PictBridge-enabled cameras via USB or to mobile phones via Bluetooth for producing 2-inch by 3-inch color photo printers "in seconds," the firm said.

Polaroid also announced an 8-megapixel camera, the i835 with a 3-inch LCD, 32MB of internal memory, digital anti-shake, face detection, 20 scene modes and a 3x optical zoom. It ships in April for a suggested $129.

The 7-megapixel i737 sports a 2.5-inch LCD, 3x optical zoom lens, 16MB of internal memory and 15 scene modes. It will be available in silver, blue, green, red, purpe, orange, and gold in April for a suggested $99.

Samsung will introduce eight new digital cameras at the show, among them the NV24HD, which is capable of recording high definition movies at 720p resolution/30fps. It can connect to an optional HDMI cradle for displaying images and video on HDTVs.

The 10.1-megapixel camera also boasts a 3.6x wide angle zoom lens (24mm) with optical stabilization. It features a 2.5-inch OLED screen surrounded by the firm's "Smart Touch" user interface and face detection. It will ship in March for a suggested $349.

Samsung will also refresh its PMP-enabled camera. The 8-megapixel i8 features a 3x optical zoom, 2.7-inch LCD screen, face detection, digital stabilization, automatic red-eye correction, MPEG-4 video capture with in-camera editing and the company's world tour guide functionality. The i8 will ship in February for a suggested $299.

The 8-megapixel NV4 features PMP capability, a 3x optical zoom, 2.5-inchLCD, digital stabilization, face detection, ISO 1600, 14 scene modes and a stainless steel body. It ships in February for $279.

The 10-megapixel NV40 and 8-megapixel NV30 boast a new DRIM processing engine, a 3x optical zoom lens, 14 scene modes, 2.5-inch LCD, ISO 3200, dual optical/digital image stabilization, facial detection and Samsung's Smart Touch interface. The NV40 ships in March for a suggested $329; the NV30 is available in February for $279.

Three new models will join the L-series. All will feature a 3x optical zoom lens, a 2.5-inch LCD screen, digital image stabilization, ISO 1600, facial detection, 11 scene modes and auto red eye fix.

The 10-megapixel L210 (March, $269) and 8-megapixel L110 (February, $229) will also include optical image stabilization. The 8-megapixel L100 will retail for a suggested $199.

Xias will add two cameras to its lineup. The 12-megapixel DCS-1260 will ship in the second quarter for a suggested $279. It features a 3x optical zoom lens, a 3-inch LCD, facial tracking, digital shake reduction, 22 scene modes and VGA movie recording.

The 8-megapixel DCS-860 will carry a $179 price tag and will feature a 3x optical zoom, 2.5-inch LCD, face tracking, anti-shake, and 15 scene modes.

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