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New Digital Cameras Hit The Market With A Flash

5/21/2001 02:00:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — The battle for the mid-range digital camera customer intensified recently as Olympus, Canon and Sampo recently revealed models targeted toward the burgeoning mid-level digital camera market.

Canon's new entry, which hits shelves in June for a suggested retail price of $599, is the PowerShot S110 Digital Elph camera. It's a 2x zoom, 2.1 megapixel next generation Elph that incorporates direct print capabilities from the new Canon Card Photo Printer CP-10; 20 frame-per-second movie clips with audio at selectable resolutions up to 640x480 pixels and a choice of nine image quality modes.

A new digital signal processing IC in the PowerShot S110 enables high-speed image processing and rapid data transfer through the cameras' USB interface. The PowerShot S110 uses this feature to offer a Direct Print mode that enables users to print hard-copy images using Canon's new CP-10 dye-sublimation printer. The CP-10 allows users to control all print settings directly from the camera's LCD monitor. Printer data is then transferred to the CP-10 directly through a dedicated interface cable.

The PowerShot S110 also features a 2X (equivalent to 35-70mm in the 35mm format) f/2.8-4.0 all-glass aspherical lens, 3-point autofocus, and continuous shooting at 2.5 frames per second. The new camera measures 3.5 (W) x 2.3 (H) x 1.0 (D)-inches and weighs approximately 6.8 ounces.

The new camera is compatible with Type I CompactFlash Cards and will be shipped with an 8MB card. It also comes bundled with ArcSoft PhotoImpression and VideoImpression software, plus Apple QuickTime 4.1, Canon RemoteCapture 1.4, and PhotoStitch 3.1 for both Macintosh and Windows, as well as Canon ZoomBrowser EX 2.7, PhotoRecord 1.2 and WIA and TWAIN for Windows, plus ImageBrowser 1.7 and a Photoshop-compatible plug-in for the Mac.

Olympus made an addition to its nascent Brio family, the Camedia Zoom D-150, and introduced the replacement to its D-490 Zoom, the Camedia D-510 Zoom. Both cameras will be available in June.

The Camedia D-510, which carries a suggested retail price of $499, is an auto focus 3X Optical/9X digital zoom digital camera with a 2.1-megapixel resolution. It features a QuickTime Movie mode that records up to 66 seconds of full motion video with sound at 15 frames per second on a standard 8MB SmartMedia card (included), and USB AutoConnect technology for quicker, software free, downloads to USB enabled PCs or Macs.

The camera's optical zoom is complimented by a seamless 9X Digital Telephoto Zoom capability, extending the camera's effective zoom range to 315mm. "Seamless" means the D-510 Zoom automatically switches to digital zoom when the camera reaches its optical range limit, so users don't have to program multiple steps or menus and miss the action in the process.

The Camedia D-510 Zoom ships with an 8MB SmartMedia card, USB cable, video out cable, Olympus Camedia Master Utility software, 2 AA Alkaline batteries, strap, and manual.

Olympus also announced the second camera in its new Brio family, the D-150.

"Olympus' goal is to bring digital photography solutions to the average consumer. We've named this new point-and-shoot product family after the term 'Brio,' which means "high energy,excitement and enthusiasm," says John Knaur, Digital Product Manager, Olympus Consumer Products Group.

The camera, which has a suggested retail price of $449 and features 1.3 megapixel resolution, has a 3X optical/6X digital telephoto zoom, pop-up flash, shutter release times of under one second, and AutoConnect technology.

Like the Brio D-100, which was announced in February, the Brio Zoom D-150 offers a 1.5-inch, 118k-pixel color LCD monitor that serves as a high-resolution viewfinder, the camera's playback screen and menu control panel. The camera is also equipped with a standard 5 mm – 15mm lens and its digital telephoto capabilities expand the camera's effective zoom range to a maximum of 228mm.

The Brio Zoom D-150 supports the DCF file naming format as well as the Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) standard for adding data to images and tagging specific photographs to print to DPOF-compatible printers. The Brio Zoom D-150 is bundled with an 8MB SmartMedia card, USB cable, video out cable, Olympus Camedia Master Utility software, and two AA long-life CR-3V Lithium batteries.

Sampo has announced that its three-in-one Scream Cam will be screeching into stores this month.

The camera, which has a suggested retail price of $169, is a combo MP3 player, Web cam and VGA resolution digital camera. The Web cam can capture video at 15 frames per second at 160 x 120 or five frames per second at 320 x 240. The Scream Cam also features an LCD for text display of MP3 functions.

The camera comes bundled with an 8MB CompactFlash memory card, a web cam stand, USB cable, headphones, two AA batteries and a CD-ROM of software that lets users manage digital photos, upload MP3 files and manage video.

Epson is incorporating its Print Image Matching technology into its newest digital camera, the Epson PhotoPC 3100Z, which will be available this month at an estimated street price of $799. Epson claimed that the Print Image Matching technology ensures that digital cameras and printers work together to optimize and better match colors.

The PhotoPC 3100Z is a 3.34-megapixel camera that features a print button located on the back of the camera. Pressing the button flags images for printing when the memory card is placed in a printer with a card reader. The camera also features Epson's HyPict image enhancement technology, which provides customers with the equivalent of 4.8-megapixel resolution; and 3X optical zoom.

The camera is bundled with Sierra Imaging Image Expert for retrieving, organizing, enhancing and printing images; Epson Photo File Converter for converting files to upload to the camera; Panorama Stitcher for stitching images together to create panoramic prints; Quick Time 4.0; and Adobe Acrobat Reader.