New Camera Introductions Embrace Versatility

By Greg Scoblete On Jan 16 2006 - 8:00am

Camera makers were determined not to be lost amidst the din of International CES, rolling out new models with more functionality at aggressive price points.

In addition to its dual-lens model, Kodak introduced several point-and-shoots and an ultra-zoom. The 6-megapixel C663 will be Kodak's first model to incorporate the company's Perfect Touch imaging technology previously found on its kiosks and printers. The C663 also features a 3x optical zoom, 2.5-inch LCD, 17 scene modes, in-camera cropping, auto picture rotation, digital red-eye reduction and blurry-picture alert. It will ship in March for a suggested $299.95.

The company also announced the 5-megapixel C530, which will ship in February for a suggested $139.95. It features three different color settings, and in-camera cropping.

Finally, the company added a 10x ultra-zoom to its Z-series of higher-end digital cameras. The 6-megapixel Z650 features a live histogram, 2-inch LCD, 32MB of internal memory, 17 scene modes, aperture and shutter priority modes, in-camera editing and first/last burst modes. The Z650 ships in February for $349.

Hewlett-Packard moved to better integrate its recently acquired photo Web site, Snapfish, into its still camera business with a new option for tagging pictures in-camera for online ordering.

HP introduced a new Premium Camera dock which works with a new Wireless Dock Base (both sold separately) to enabled its M and R-series cameras to transmit pictures wirelessly to PCs or even directly to Snapfish using a home TV. To compliment the new docks, all of HP's new M and R-series models will integrate the Photosmart Express button for tagging images for e-mailing or uploading to Snapfish once connected to a PC or network.

The 5-megapixel M425 features a 3x optical/6x digital zoom, 1.7-inch LCD and 16 MB internal memory. It ships in April, pricing to be determined.

The 6-megapixel M525 features a 3x optical/7x digital zoom, 16MB of internal memory and a 1.7-inch LCD. It will ship in March. The M527 builds off the M525 by adding a larger LCD at 2 inches.

The 5-megapixel E327 is a fixed focal-length model with a 4x digital zoom, 1.8-inch LCD and 16MB of internal memory. It will ship in March.

HP also announced that Snapfish would begin hosting video files in addition to still pictures. Video files up to ten minutes in length can be viewed and e-mailed using Snapfish without additional plug-ins or software beside an Internet browser, the company said. The service costs users $2.99 per month or $24.99 a year for unlimited storage.

Samsung announced three new models billed as “6-in-1” cameras, offering video and voice recording, music playback, data storage and Web cam capability. All three cameras come in red, black or silver.

Two 6-megapixel models, SC-MS25 and MS20, feature a 3-inch LCD, 3x optical zoon lens and a compact design. They record VGA quality MPEG-4 video at 30 frames per second (fps).

The SC-MS25 ($499.99, May) offers 512MB of internal memory, while the MS20 ($399.99, May) features 64MB of internal memory. Both take SD memory cards.

Samsung will also offer a 5-megapixel SC-MS10 in February with a 3x optical zoom, 2.5-inch LCD, 64MB of internal memory and VGA resolution MPEG-4 video recording at 30 fps.

The company also announced three new S-series models, shipping in January. They share several features including a 2.4-inch LCD, 3x optical zoom in both still and movie modes and 16MB of internal memory. They also share in-camera still and movie editing. The 5-megapixel S500 will sell for a suggested $179.99; the 6-megapixel S600 will sell for $229.99, and the 8-megapixel S800 with MPEG-4, VGA/30 fps video recording will sell for $299.99.

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