Digital camera manufacturers Ricoh, Toshiba and Logitech's announcements last week of several new models coincided with an IDC report on declines in digital camera shipments for the third quarter. (For more on the report, see sidebar on page 35.)
Ricoh expanded its efforts in the high-end consumer and business markets with the new Caplio RR1 digital camera and a network accessory for the i700.
The new 4-megapixel Caplio RR1 is shipping now for a suggested retail of $699, and offers three operating modes: digital still, voice and motion picture. The camera ships with a 64MB SmartMedia card and 8 MB of onboard memory, for 72MB of memory out of the box.
The Caplio RR1 features a pivoting LCD viewer and offers a 10.8X zoom (3X optical) capability. The camera also has a 0.4-inch super-macro mode, continuous shooting capability and time lapse.
The lens architecture uses three aspherical lens elements to minimize light dispersion and maximize light refraction to achieve 200-mm/line resolution across the entire zoom range.
The RR1 feature set includes a text mode, which records printed material or a whiteboard in a black-and-white image that can be made more readable by adjusting density. Other features include an in-camera cropping tool to trim images directly in the LCD or on a PC, and dual shutters positioned for vertical or horizontal pictures - backed up by an in-camera editor that allows a picture to be rotated after taking it.
The Caplio RR1 is one inch thick with a metallic body designed to fit into a shirt pocket.
Ricoh also announced the iMove (Internet Mobile Observation Equipment) system for its i700 wireless Internet-ready camera. The iMove incorporates 802.11 technology to convert the RDC-i700 into a real-time image transmission device allowing users to send live video feeds from the field to viewers online.
The camera can broadcast what it "sees" at 320 x 240 pixels to a Web browser at a rate of 10fps (frames per second). Once logged on to the camera's built-in graphical Web interface, viewers can control the camera remotely. Users can also capture 3 megapixel still images that are automatically transferred to a secure photo sharing and archiving site, without wires.
The operating range of the i700 camera with the iMove system is 300 feet from the access point when using 802.11b, or up to 3 miles by using proprietary wireless systems. Users connected to the access point server can access the camera's unique IP address from anywhere in the world.
At a suggested retail price of $2,500, the iMove system includes the RDC-i700 digital camera, a palm-sized 802.11 bridge to talk to any access point and a PCMCIA LAN card. A weatherproof housing is also included.
Toshiba announced its smallest digital camera to date, the new PDR-M25. This 2.2-megapixel digital camera is the follow-up to the company's PDR-M61 camera.
The PDR-M25 is currently shipping with a suggested retail of $279.
The camera features an aspherical glass lens (equivalent to a 38mm-114mm lens on a 35mm camera) equipped with a 3X optical zoom and 2X digital zoom and macro mode.
The camera's built-in flash, which is effective to a distance of 8 feet, has five modes: automatic, red-eye reduction, off, fill-in flash and slow synch. The M25 also features auto focusing and auto white balance with manual overrides. The camera uses a programmed auto exposure (AE) mode that automatically selects the best aperture and shutter speed for any given scene.
It measures 4.1 x 2.6 x 2.2 inches, weighs 8 ounces without batteries and ships Sierra Imaging's ImageExpert software.
Logitech introduced two new Web/digital cameras to its Clickmart line that began shipping this month. The ClickSmart 310 and 510 offers one-click QuickSync technology for instant picture downloading to the PC via USB. When tethered to the PC, both ClickSmart cameras use Logitech's Web camera software, which lets users send video instant messages, create video e-mail message, make video calls over the Internet using Microsoft NetMeeting, directing stop-motion and time-lapse animated movies, and set up a video monitoring system using Digital Radar II.
The ClickSmart 510 has a VGA (640 x 480) sensor that allows a still image resolution up to 1.3-megapixels, a built-in microphone, automatic strobe flash, SmartMedia port and self-timer. It comes bundled with an 8MB SmartMedia memory card and is powered by four standard AAA batteries. The ClickSmart 510 will carry a suggested retail price of $149.95.
The ClickSmart 310 has a CIF (352 X 288) sensor that allows a still image resolution up to VGA, a self-timer and a protective lens cap. It is powered by four standard AAA batteries and will retail for $79.95.