By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
International CES saw the launch of two major digital cameras targeted at advanced amateurs alongside a host of point-and-shoots for the consumer market.
Casio provided additional details on its forthcoming EX-F1, due in March. The F1 features a burst mode of 60 fps. The camera can also record HD video with 1,920 by 1080i resolution or 1,280 by 720p resolution and can record audio with an external microphone. It can record movies at 300 fps at 512 by 384 resolution and can also capture video at 1,200 fps when shooting at 336 by 96 resolution.
The F1 is "one of the few cameras that can change the world of photography," said Bill Heuer, sales VP, Casio, during the company's International CES press conference.
The F1 offers a "pre-record" function designed to record an image before the shutter is clicked so that the user can have a better chance of catching ideal action shots. Similarly, a slow motion feature was said to be able to slow down the action for a more accurate shot. Its rapid-flash function allows for continuing shooting for up to 20 images.
The F1 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. It will retail for $999.
The 8-megapixel EX-Z80, for a suggested $199, offers a focusing frame feature that alerts users when a subject in the frame is not in focus. It features a 3x optical zoom and face detection, including the ability to save face data and prioritize those saved faces when recording a group photo.
The Z80 will be available in pink, green, blue, black and silver.
Casio also announced a pair of 10-megapixel cameras, the EX-Z200 and Z100. Both feature 28mm, 4x optical zoom lenses, 2.7-inch LCD screens, H.264 movie capture and a new auto best-shot mode that analyzes the environment and chooses the best scene mode for the shot. The Z100 will retail for a suggested $279. The Z200, for $329, adds a CCD-shifting image stabilization mechanism.
All of the cameras will be available in March and feature a new Auto Shutter feature that enables the camera to record an image whenever the subject smiles or camera shake stops.
Also, the EX-S10 and EX-Z80 utilize the AAC audio codec for movies for iPod playback.
Fujifilm introduced the 8-megapixel FinePix Z100fd. The compact camera features a 5x optical zoom lens (36mm-180mm, 35mm equivalent), a 2.7-inch LCD with reinforced glass, face detection with automatic red-eye removal and ISO 1,600.
According to Fujifilm, the camera is the first in the Z-series to offer dual image stabilization, with a CCD-shifting mechanism paired to digital stabilization. The camera ships this month for a suggested $249. It will be sold in pink, silver, brown and black.
Sony said it would replace its first consumer-level d-SLR, the A100, next month with the new Alpha A200. The 10-megapixel camera will ship in two configurations: an A200K kit, for $700, bundles a 3.9x zoom lens (DT 18-70mm/ f3.5) while a A200W kit adds a second lens (DT 18-70mm/f4.5) for $900.
The A200 features a 2.7-inch LCD, a new function menu display, a faster autofocus speed and more compact design than its predecessor. It also adds an automatic pop-up flash and a remaining battery life indicator.
Like the original A100, the new d-SLR offers CCD-shifting image stabilization along with Sony's Bionz processor and D-Range Optimizer, and a full-resolution, 3 fps burst mode. To prevent dust, the image sensor has a static-free coating and will vibrate when the camera is powered on to shake off remaining dust.
VistaQwest announced that it would resurrect the Agfa brand for digital cameras in the United States thanks to a new distribution agreement with Agfa-licensee Plawa.
The first AgfaPhoto-branded products available will be the DV-5000G for a suggested $199. It features movie recording, MP3 playback, and Web camera capabilities. The company will also ship the 8-megapixel DC-8330i for $129 featuring a 3x optical zoom, a 3-inch LCD, face detection and image stabilization. — Colleen Bohen contributed to this report.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.