By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Both Casio and Pentax made additions to their 2004 digital camera lineups last week, updating existing models with improved battery life, faster performance and longer movie modes.
Casio announced a new addition to its Exilim line of ultra-compact digital cameras, saying the newcomer is far less power-hungry than its predecessor.
The 4-megapixel EX-Z40 incorporates Casio's new "Exilim Engine" image-processing module that the company says accounts for the camera's diminutive dimensions and low power consumption.
The Z40 features a battery life 2.5 times that of previous models, such asthe EX-Z4U, Casio said, allowing up to 360 photos to be taken on a single charge.
In addition to longer life, the Z40 features a 3x optical zoom, a 2.0-inch TFT LCD screen, PictBridge compatibility and a Direct On function for one-touch record and play modes.
The camera boasts a start-up time of 1.6 seconds (with the flash off) after turning on the power and a shutter release time lag of approximately 0.01 seconds (again with the flash off). The Z40 can capture 320 by 240 resolution movies with sound to the length of an SD/ MMC card. The camera offers 9.7MB of internal memory.
The Exilim EX-Z40 will be available at the end of April for a suggested retail price of $399.99.
Pentax announced a second-generation version of its fully submersible digital camera, the 4-megapixel Optio 43WR. According to Pentax, the camera may be immersed in up to three feet of water for less than 30 minutes but cannot be operated underwater.
The 43WR sports a 2.8x optical/4x digital zoom lens and a JIS Class 7 waterproof rating signifying that the camera remains watertight when rinsed, splashed or submersed in water. Operationally, Pentax souped up the start-up and click-to-click times. A new quick start setting allows users to switch on the power in less than a second prior to shooting, and a new snap shooting mode ensures sharper results from consecutive action shots.
The camera also features a 1.6 inch LCD monitor, an optical viewfinder, 12 pre-set shooting modes, voice memo mode and a movie mode that captures 640 by 480 resolution movies at 30fps to the capacity of an SD card.
The 43WR ships in June for a suggested retail price of $349.95.
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