New introductions last week from Canon, Umax and Veo emphasize diminutive dimensions and aggressive pricing as key differences in this fiercely competitive market.
Canon announced a new PowerShot digital camera that it is calling the "world's smallest" 4-megapixel camera.
The small form factor Digital Elph SD10 weighs in at 3.5 ounces. It will ship in mid-October for a suggested retail price of $449 in four different colors: lacquer black, iridescent white, satin bronze patina or a platinum/silver finish.
The SD10 features a fixed focus lens and a 5.7x digital zoom.
Canon incorporated three new shooting modes on the SD10, the first time such modes have been found in a PowerShot camera. The first, Super Macro, supports auto-focusing on subjects as close as 1.2 inches from the tip of the lens. The second is Quick Shot, which reduces the time lag between pressing the shutter button and starting the exposure. Finally a Clock Display mode shows year/month/day and hour/minute/second displays in shooting mode by pressing two buttons at once.
The camera will ship with a 32MB SD memory card, while dedicated accessories will include an All-Weather Housing that allows underwater photography at depths up to 9.8 feet.
The new SD10 is PictBridge compatible and also supports direct printing to Canon's line of photo printers.
Umax Technologies introduced two entry-level digital cameras, the AstraPix 670 and 630, with immediate ship dates.
Both units can capture video with audio, and feature 3.3-megapixel resolution, a built-in microphone and speaker for audio narration and playback. The AstraPix 670 adds a 3x optical zoom.
The 670 will have a suggested retail price of $229 while the 630 will retail for a suggested $179.
The AstraPix 670 and 630 capture video and audio at a resolution of 320 by 240. The cameras feature a 1.5-inch LCD screen, an SD card expansion slot, 16MB of internal memory, a 2-second and 10-second self-timer and an optical viewfinder.
Veo expanded its line of network cameras and added a key-chain-sized 1.3-megapixel CMOS-based digital camera to its entry-level lineup.
The Veo Mini measures in at 3.7 by 6.1 centimeters and features 8MB of internal memory with an expansion slot for SD memory, supporting cards up to 256MB. The Mini will be bundled with ACDSee 5.0 software, FotoAngelo 2.0 for creating screensavers and slideshows, and FotoSlate 2.0 for creating printing templates. The Mini ships this month for a suggested retail price of $59.99.
Veo also created a new Light Edition (LE) line of consumer-targeted network cameras, which will include the Veo Observer LE and the Wireless Observer LE. They will join the original Observer and Wireless Observer, which will stay on the market.
The wired Observer will have a suggested retail price of $149.99 while the Wireless Observer will have a $249.99 suggested retail price. Both will ship in October.
According to Tim Martin, marketing VP, Veo, the company is trying to build a consumer market for network cameras, which users set up and remotely monitor from an Internet browser using the camera's unique IP address and built-in Web server. Typically network cameras command $400 plus price points and are aimed at business users.
Consumers can use the camera to remotely monitor their homes. A separate motion sensor attachment ($49.99) will generate an e-mail alert with a snapshot of motion caught by the camera when the user is away.
The Wireless Observer features an 802.11b network interface, and both units feature a VGA CCD, 24-bit color output, and automatic exposure.