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DSC Economy Class Boasts First-Class Features

2/27/2006 07:08:00 AM Eastern

Orlando, Fla. — Penny pinchers will have fewer reasons to put off a digital camera purchase as vendors filled out their entry-level lineups with features that just a few years ago would have demanded a premium.

Canon’s new A-series PowerShots will incorporate a new widescreen 16:9 setting for snapping panoramic-style prints and a new "face brightener" image enhancement option for improving back-lit portraits. The company also changed its My Colors image enhancement mode to allow color changes to saved images. The cameras all ship in March.

The 6-megapixel A540 ($299.99) features a 4x optical zoom, a 2.5-inch LCD, ISO sensitivity to 800, 22 shooting modes and manual controls. The 5-megapixel A530 ($229.99) offers a 4x optical zoom, ISO 800 sensitivity and a 1.8-inch LCD. Finally, the 4-megapixel A430 ($179.99) will build off its predecessor the A410 by adding sound to its movie mode, a 1.8-inch LCD and a 4x optical zoom.

Fujifilm added the 6-megapixel FinePix A600 to its line alongside the current A400 and A500, all of which are the company’s first A-series models to incorporate the Super CCD sensor. The A600, which uses AA batteries, also features a 3x Fujinon optical zoom lens, a 2.4-inch LCD display with anti-glare coating and four scene modes. The camera ships in June for a suggested $249.

Kodak introduced two C-series models to its Easyshare lineup; both run on AA batteries. The 6-megapixel C643 features a 3x optical/5x digital zoom, 2.4-inch LCD, a VGA/30 fps movie mode and in-camera image enhancement. It ships in April for a suggested $229. The 5-megapixel C533 (June, $179) features a 3x optical/5x digital zoom, 1.8-inch display and in-camera cropping.

Nikon will ship three L-series models this month. All new Coolpix models feature a 3x optical zoom Nikkor lens, 2-inch LCD, 15 scene modes and the company’s proprietary in-camera technology.

The 6-megapixel L2 and 5-megapixel L3 offer VGA/30 fps movie recording with sound, 23MB of internal memory and will retail for a suggested $249.99 and $199.99, respectively. The 4-megapixel L4, for $149.99, features 10MB of internal memory and loses the ability to record video with sound.

Mustek will launch the 8-megapixel MDC-832Z. The $249.99 model features a 3x optical zoom lens, 2-inch LCD, 32MB of internal memory and VGA/30 fps video recording.

Vivitar announced the compact 6-megapixel ViviCam 6150s for $199. The model features a 2-inch LCD.