By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Minolta and Nikon introduced new digital cameras last week addressing disparate demographics in the blossoming digital camera market. Minolta addressed the style conscious-beginner, while Nikon courted the advanced, high-ender.
Minolta enlarged its DiMAGE X family with the new X20, touting it as "the world's smallest and lightest 2-megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom."
The camera will be available in September for a suggested retail price under $250.
The X20 incorporates a slide show playback on its LCD screen, a self-portrait mode, multi-frame drive mode, Image Pasting, extended movie recording, a five-point auto-focus system and Web-cam functionality when connected to a PC via USB.
A curved mirror on the front of the X20 allows users to correctly compose self-portraits, while a new multi-frame drive mode captures nine sequential frames of a single event in one picture. These images are laid out in a 3 by 3 grid in a single frame.
A portrait mode controls exposure, flash, and image processing to emphasize the subject's natural skin tone. Images can also be captured in one of five monochrome modes: black and white, sepia, or red, green, and blue tones.
The X20 features Image Pasting, which allows one image to be placed within another. After choosing the background image, a user selects the frame shape and size and positions it over the chosen background image. The live image is displayed inside the selected frame. After composing the subject in the frame, the user presses the shutter button to embed and save the image.
Minolta also incorporated an extended recording mode (XR) in the X20, which lets users capture digital video with audio to the capacity of the memory card at 160 by 120 or 320 by 240 resolution.
Nikon introduced the D2H, a high-end, Wi-Fi enabled digital SLR camera. The D2H is capable of continuously shooting eight frames per second and buffers up to 40 JPEG images. It incorporates a new 11-sensor autofocus system with nine cross type sensors and host of new features aimed at maximizing the performance of the camera for professional shooters.
In conjunction with the D2H will be a host of accessories, including new lenses. Among the new lenses is the wide-angle AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED lens and the new AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED.
The D2H features a new 4.1-megapixel DX format JFET (Junction Field Effect Transistor) imaging sensor called LBCAST (Lateral Buried Charge Accumulator and Sensing Transistor Array). The new sensor is capable of reading 2 channels of data from each pixel while also handling brightness data in the same process, improving image reproduction speed.
Finally, the D2H features integrated Wi-Fi connectivity when used with the optional WT-1 accessory. Based on IEEE-802.11b technology, the WT-1 can be attached to the bottom of the D2H, and connected to the camera via its USB 2.0 port. It transmits images via a local area network to a host computer access-point using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) method.
Suggested retails and ship dates were not available at press time.
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