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Home >> Kodak Rolls Out Trio Of Digital Cameras
Just in time for the onset of spring, Kodak is now shipping three high-value hybrid digital cameras/camcorders targeting ease of use in a range of shooting applications and budgets.
Although announced earlier in the year, Kodak gave members of the press a more in-depth preview of the cameras to greet the arrival of the first shipments into stores.
As other camera makers push new entry-level d-SLR products, Kodak is answering the call of advanced amateur photographers with an Ultra Zoom 24x model offering 12-megapixel resolution, image stabilization and a wide range of shooting modes and automatic settings.
The Z980 ($399 suggested retail) is also among the first of its kind designed to facilitate shooting from both the horizontal and vertical planes by equipping the unit with a pair of shutter buttons.
It includes a large 3.5-inch LCD and four AA batteries instead of a li-ion battery to double power life over alternative battery options (480 shots per charge). Four batteries and an outboard one-piece nickel-metal hydride battery charger are included.
The camera’s vertical shutter release gives the Z980 “more of a pro-like feature,” said Jerry Magee, Kodak future product marketing manager.
The camera is designed for “serious advanced armatures, who probably already own a d-SLR, but for $399 it includes a lens (24–26mm to 624mm, 35mm equivalent) that blows away what you can do with an SLR from the standpoint of ease-of-use and convenience,” said Magee.
The dual vertical/horizontal shooting configuration was designed into the camera for the convenience for photographers that like to shoot from a variety of angles, he said, adding that “28 percent of all pictures are taken in the vertical mode.”
Included is a hot shoe that fits the P20 flash programmed to the camera for use in automatic mode.
For video, the camera will record in up to 720p/60fps. Images are stored in H.264 format on SD/SDHC cards (not included).
In addition to the camera’s advanced features, Kodak offers its Smart Capture technology that brings point-and-shoot simplicity to picture taking.
The system has been enhanced to bring out details in darkened or shaded areas of an image by first performing an auto white balance, then under exposing the picture (as if shooting chrome film) before bringing the picture into the Kodak Perfect Touch system, where a scene balance algorithm will neutralize the exposure.
For a slightly less demanding audience, Kodak is also shipping the Ultra Zoom EasyShare Z915 ($199 suggested retail) compact digital camera featuring a 10x optical zoom lens (33-330mm 35mm equivalent), 10 megapixel resolution, rapid capture, 2.5-inch LCD and power from two AA batteries. The camera includes Kodak’s Smart Capture and Perfect Touch auto photo systems, and video capture at VGA/30fps resolution.
It includes a slot for SD/SDHC memory cards, and is offered in red, blue, black or gray.
Magee called the target customer for the camera “Moving Up Monica,” referring to a woman probably with 3 to 5 year old children, who needs an affordable camera that is fast on the draw, easy to use, yet still produces professional looking images.
Kodak’s new “rugged” ZX1 pocket HD video camera will fit in the line along side the similarly configured Zi6. Magee called the ZX1 “an upgrade” over the earlier model by offering a weather-resistant housing that is roughly 30 percent smaller than the Zi6.
It offers a 2-inch LCD, 720p/60 fps video recording, a 2x digital zoom and HDMI output with the cable included. It will also bundle a pair of AA batteries and nickel metal hydride charger and records to SDHC memory cards with up to 10 hours or recording time on a 32GB card.
Kodak will include new software with the model for easier video browsing and editing. The $149 unit ships in April in black, blue, red, pink and yellow.
Magee said Kodak has earned a No. 1 market share position in recent NPD rankings, by delivering high performance, easy to use products through key distribution partners including Wal-Mart.
Magee concedes that Kodak has not fared as well in CE channels, particularly after the departure of Circuit City, “but in today’s economy I’d rather be doing better in Wal-Mart.”