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Fujifilm Debuts Cameras For Holidays

Valhalla, N.Y. — With the Camera and Imaging Products Association of Japan (CIPA) predicting greater digital camera sales this year than previously expected, Fujifilm unveiled two models it hopes will benefit from the influx of camera customers.

For high-end users, the company released its newest ultra-zoom model, the FinePix S9100, which replaces the S9000. The 9-megapixel S9100 uses the company’s Super CCD sensor, a 10.7x optical Fujinon zoom lens (28mm-300mm/35mm equivalent), and features light sensitivities to ISO 1,600.

Additional features include Fujifilm’s picture stabilization mode, which bumps up the ISO and shutter speed to combat blur, i-Flash, which measures the surrounding light and adjusts flash intensity accordingly, and a super macro mode for focusing on subjects up to 0.4-inches away. The camera will also sport new processing algorithms, which Fujifilm claims will enhance picture quality, a 2-inch, 235,000 pixel tiltable LCD screen and RAW file shooting.

The S9100 ships this month for a suggested $599.

Fujifilm also added a new model to its A-series of entry-level digital cameras. The 7-megapixel A700 uses the company’s Super CCD sensor (the first 7-megapixel version of the technology), a 3x optical zoom lens, 2.4-inch LCD with anti-glare coating and an automatic ISO sensitivity up to 400.

The camera also sports four scene modes (portrait, landscape, sport and night) and 12MB of internal memory. It is powered by two AA batteries. The A700 ships in October for a suggested retail price of $199.

The digital camera market has recorded stronger growth through the first seven months of 2007 than initially expected, rebuffing forecasts that predicted meager growth.

The holiday selling season should be brisker than expected, according to CIPA. Total shipments of digital cameras increased by 20.3 percent during the first seven months of 2006, vs. the same period last year, the firm noted.

CIPA initially expected a 2006 growth of 4 percent but is now predicting a more robust 12.7 percent. The growth forecasts for 2007 and 2008 have also been revised upward. Next year CIPA predicted the market to grow 4.3 percent from an earlier estimate of 2 percent. In 2008, the research firm expects the market to grow by 2.2 percent from an initial forecast that anticipated no growth.