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Advanced P&S Models Step Up Performance

NEW YORK – Although the market for entry level point-and-shoot cameras is disappearing rapidly, manufacturers still see plenty of opportunity at the higher end, as evidenced by new fourth-quarter offerings from Fujifilm, Ricoh and Sony.

Fujifilm recently introduced its XQ1, which will ship in October at $499.95 suggested retail in both allblack and all-silver versions, advanced point-and-shoot camera, which is billed as a premium pocket-sized model with a 4x f1.8 zoom lens, 12-megapixel 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II sensor with phase detection, and EXR Processor II with an autofocus speed of up to 0.06 seconds.

It also controls moiré and false color generation using an original color filter array and highly randomized pixel arrangement.

The XQ1 also has sensitivity range from 100-12,800 ISO.

The hybrid contrast/phase detection AF speed is listed 0.06 seconds with a shooting interval of 0.3 seconds between shots, and a shutter lag of 0.015 seconds.

It includes a 920,000-dot LCD screen, records video at up to 1080/60fps with AF tracking, and includes a dedicated Wi-Fi button to link with smartphones and PCs via an iOS and Android app.

Ricoh, meanwhile, kicked off the online launch of its Ricoh Theta spherical-image-capture camera.

The camera, which sells for $399 in the United States, is also being rolled out to consumers in the United Kingdom, France and Germany through Ricoh Imaging online stores. It will also be sold by Ricoh on Amazon, via, as well as B&H Photo and Adorama.

The Theta, which was first announced last month at the IFA show in Berlin, captures a roughly 180-degree view of the scene in front of the camera and a second view of the area in the rear. The two scenes are then combined edge to edge in the camera to produce a single image.

Images can be viewed on smartphone apps as well as Windows and Mac desktops, offering a fully spherical view of the area surrounding the camera. Images can be rotated and panned to view everything around the photographer, including the sky above and the ground below.

Apps for the Ricoh Theta are available for iPhone 4S and 5 running iOS 6.0. Android compatibility is expected before the end of the year, the company said.

The camera includes built-in Wi-Fi to wirelessly connect to devices to send images for viewing.

The app also allows images to be pinched, swiped or rotated to edit size, shape and composition.

Ricoh said images can be uploaded to for sharing on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, as well as Microsoft’s Photosynth.

Sony unveiled one of its most ambitious point-and-shoot offerings yet in the DSC-RX10 (shipping in December at an $1,299 SURE price), offering a 20.2-megapixel 1-inch BSI Exmor R CMOS sensor capable of extreme lowlight shots, 28-200mm F2.8 Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens with macro shooting and built-in ND filter, ultra-fast AF with a new BIONZ X processing engine, FullHD video capture at 24p/60p frame rates with full exposure control, lightweight dust/moisture resistant magnesium alloy body, up to ISO 12,800 sensitivity, 3-inch 1,229,000-dot tilting LCD and XGA OLED electronic viewfinder.

The camera also includes built-in Wi- Fi support and NFC.